PopeWatch: Henry VIII

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

 

Sources in the Vatican are now confirming that Pope Francis has agreed to posthumously grant King Henry VIII an annulment from Catherine of Aragon. Numerous reports have come out in the past couple of days about the possibility of such a move, with aides close to Queen Elizabeth telling EOTT that such a decision on the Vatican’s part would essentially end the centuries old schism.

Media outlets in England are also reporting that once the annulment takes effect, that Queen Elizabeth will relinquish her claim as “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke to the media today, saying, “This is, indeed, an historic moment, and I shall welcome reunion with Rome. Everyone must understand that all the shite we we’ve been doing with regards to the ordination of women and openly-homosexual men has only been in retaliation.” Welby went on to confirm that he would “stop the charade” once the decree of nullity was made official. Continue reading

By the People

 

Something for the weekend.  Kids at the 2013 Illinois State Fair reciting the Gettysburg Address.  Seemed appropriate to recall Lincoln’s second greatest speech on the weekend following the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s greatest speech, which has never had the cachet with the American people that the Gettysburg address has had.  Endless recitals of the speech have been given.  Here is one by Johnny Cash who had a strong life long interest in the Civil War:

My favorite recitation of the Gettysburg address was given by Englishman Charles Laughton: Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 3/6/15

- Patrick Archbold has an excellent response to the Gang of Four joint editorial on the death penalty.

They are specifically calling on a Court to override the proper legislative authority of the states.  They are willing to grant plenary legislative power to a group of black-robed oligarchs that is specifically reserved by the U.S. Constitution to Congress and the States if they prefer the policy outcome. Remember, it is this very same power which these editorial boards grant so freely that unconstitutionally nullified the ability of state legislatures to protect the lives of the unborn over forty years ago.  As a result of the same unlawful exercise of power they espouse today, millions upon millions of babies have perished with God-fearing Christians in many states unable to do anything about it.

This is the same mistake that the USCCB makes time and time again in this case and in others. The USCCB willingly feeds the Federal beast even when every reasonable person understands that the federal government is the single greatest threat to life and religious liberty in America.

The USCCB got in bed with the Federal Government to force universal government healthcare on Americans even though many Catholics in good standing opposed it on prudential and constitutional grounds while warning of the dangers of federal interference with life and religious liberty.  The ink wasn’t even dry on that particular power grab before the very same federal government with which the Bishops allied in support of their preferred healthcare policy turned on Catholics and tried to force them to violate their religiously informed consciences.  This outcome was entirely predictable, but the lessons clearly are not yet learned.

– The national GOP may be a mess, but on the state level they continue to do things like this:

The West Virginia legislature on Friday voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s (D) veto over banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The move comes after Republicans in Congress also tried to pass a 20-week abortion ban but had to drop the effort in January after a revolt from female members and centrists.

Can we get one of these guys in West Virginia to be the next Speaker of the House?

– Surely slippery slope arguments against same-sex marriage are invalid, right? Right?

Ummm, about that . . .

Three gay men from Thailand have tied the knot in what is thought to be the world’s first three-way same-sex marriage.

Happy newlyweds Joke, 29, Bell, 21 and Art, 26, took the plunge on Valentine’s Day after exchanging their vows in a fairy-tale ceremony at their home in Uthai Thani Province, Thailand.

– Trust in Hillary starting to wain in light of the email scandal.

I kind of don’t get this. She’s been in the national spotlight for over two decades, has been embroiled in scandals since the beginning, has shown herself to be every bit as much a pathological liar as her husband, and this is what finally gets the public to start doubting her truthfulness? Better late than never I guess.

– With Hillary slumping, you know who’s waiting in the wings? Martin O’Malley.

Excuse me a second . . .

– And with that, I’ll remind you that Saturday evening is arbitrarily turn your clocks forward so we can pretend to save energy although every study under the sun shows that this doesn’t save a lick of energy but we’re gonna keep doing this anyway even though it means that we get less daylight in the morning but who cares about people who work for a living we get an extra hour of sunlight in the evening to theoretically do stuff who are we kidding we’re just gonna watch television anyway so really this is a complete waste and eventually we’ll probably expand it so that it lasts the entire year time.

March 6, 1865: Last Confederate Victory

 

Although the Confederacy would win some skirmishes after March 6, 1865, the Battle of Natural Bridge in Florida was the last significant Confederate victory, and ensured that Tallahassee would end the Civil War as the only unconquered Confederate state capital east of the Mississippi.

 

battle-of-natural-bridge-925

The Confederate defenders consisted of the odds and ends of a  few small Confederate military units, elderly volunteers and teenage cadets from the Florida Military and Collegiate Institute.  About a thousand all told, this motley, but sturdy, force held the bridge against unimaginative Union assaults for the entire day.  The Union expedition, consisting of the 2nd and 99th Union Colored Infantry, sustained 148 casualties to 51 Confederates.  They withdrew to the Union fleet at the end of the day from which they had landed, the Union offensive to take Tallahassee ended.  Florida State University Army ROTC remembers the cadets who fought there that day with a battle streamer on their flag, one of four Army ROTC programs nationally to have a battle streamer for a Civil War action.

PopeWatch: Ukraine

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us some behind the scenes information on the furious Ukrainian Bishops who believe they have been betrayed by the Vatican:

ROME, February 20, 2015 – He had a lot to be sorry about, Pope Francis, with the bishops of Ukraine who recently arrived in Rome for their periodic “ad limina” visit.

To these bishops and to their priests and faithful, when two weeks ago Jorge Mario Bergoglio had denounced to the world the war that is devastating their country, the words he had used had sounded terrible. “Fratricidal violence,” the pope had called it, putting everyone on a par, aggressors and victims.

And it had been even worse when Francis had looked up from the text and added on his own: “When I hear the words ‘victory’ or ‘defeat’ I feel a great pain, a great sadness in my heart. Those are not the right word; the only right word is ‘peace.’ Think about it, this is a war among Christians! All of you have the same baptism. You are fighting among Christians. Think about this scandal.”

The fact that Bergoglio has a soft spot for Russia had already been seen with the outbreak of war in Syria, when he called for a day of prayer and fasting to oppose the armed intervention of the United States and France against the regime of Damascus, and Vladimir Putin publicly praised him.

Then there is the influence of the ecumenical factor: of the 200 million Orthodox Christians in the world, 150 million belong to the patriarchate of Moscow and “of all Rus’,” and it is therefore with Moscow above all that the pope wants to cultivate good relations.

But the fact that the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the armed occupation of its eastern border, the annexation of Crimea should have left the pope indifferent to “victory” or “defeat,” was intolerable for the sentiments of Ukrainian Catholics. All the more so in that these words of Pope Francis promptly brought the applause of Moscow, this time not from Putin but from Orthodox patriarch Kirill, who also has jurisdiction over the Orthodox of Ukraine.

Memories of the persecution of Ukrainian Catholics on the part of the Soviet regime are too fresh. Their Church, after the second world war, was literally annihilated, with countless martyrs killed in the most atrocious ways, crucified, walled up alive, drowned in boiling water.

It was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that brought this Church out of the catacombs. But its efforts to regain breathing space have been difficult and are still incomplete, with churches and homes in the hands of Orthodox bishops and priests.

Today the almost five million Ukrainian Catholics know very well that they are the true obstacle to the encounter between the pope of Rome and the patriarch of Moscow. But they will not agree to be sacrificed on the altar of this ecumenical dream.

Ukrainian Catholics are resisting in the western part of the country, in Galicia, in Lviv. But in occupied Crimea and the Donbass, the repression has taken another ruthless turn.

The Vatican nuncio in Kiev, American archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, appointed by Benedict XVI in 2011, has compared it to that of the Soviets in 1946, “with the complicity of the Orthodox brethren and the blessing of Moscow.” He even evoked “the lessons of ISIS and the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria,” to say that “such a tragedy” could also happen elsewhere.

The reports that the nuncio is sending to Rome are detailed and alarming. And Ukrainian Catholics have been furious to see how none of this has appeared in the words of Pope Francis. It is their conviction that in the Roman curia as well, as in Ukraine, the pro-Russian party has free rein and is influencing the pope.

On February 10 the secretariat of state responded to the protests of Ukrainian Catholics with a note, to “clarify that the pope has always intended to address all the interested parties, trusting in the sincere effort of each one to apply the agreements reached by common accord and recalling the principle of international law.”

But this slight reference to legality was certainly not enough to worry Moscow, certain by now that its annexation of Crimea has in fact been accepted by all, including the Vatican, and that for the Donbass, Russianized and with no more Catholics, the same thing could happen. Continue reading

A Disgrace

 

 

As my co-blogger Paul notes here, National Catholic Register, the Jesuit rag America, National Catholic Distorter Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor have a joint editorial calling on the Supreme Court to decree by judicial fiat, in precisely the same manner that it legalized abortion, the abolition of the death penalty.  Well, lets look at these four publications.

No surprise from America and National Catholic Reporter.  They are leftist propaganda organs and have precisely the same respect for the traditional teaching of the Church as they do for the Constitution:  bupkis.

Our Sunday Visitor has always been a fairly lickspittle publication that has usually blown to and fro with the changing winds from the Vatican.  Their theme song might as well be Company Way:

 

That brings us to National Catholic Register.  They should know better.  They should especially know better than to try to defend their blatant betrayal of principle with the following cheesy editorial:

From the time of the publication of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope St. John Paul II urged Catholics to re-examine the use of the death penalty — teaching that its use today should be “very rare if not practically nonexistent.” His successors Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis consistently have taught the same.  

We’ve taken that teaching to heart. We’ve prayerfully pondered it, and we accept it. Our reporting over the years has reflected this teaching. And, while we recognize that the Church has allowed for the legitimate use of the death penalty for society’s self-defense, we find that it’s harder and harder to argue that a particular act of capital punishment is circumstantially necessary today in contemporary America. We believe the right path is to seek its abolition, and we’ve taken the opportunity, along with other members of the Catholic press, to encourage our readers to consider this stance as a part of comprehensively embracing the gospel of life. 

Today, we face ever-increasing assaults on the sanctity of human life. Unity among Catholics in defense of life can send a powerful message. Euthanasia, abortion, war and capital punishment differ in moral weight, but they all threaten human dignity, and we must work to end them. While we look forward to the day we can stand in unity with the other Catholic publications on each of these life issues, we stand today on the death penalty, strengthened by the teaching of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, and say, Capital punishment must end.”

 

Let’s take this apart piece by piece, shall we?

1.  Prior to 1995 the Church had absolutely no problem with the death penalty.  John Paul II’s stance was at odds with the consistent teaching of the Church since the time of Christ.

2.  Even John Paul II did not call for the complete abolition of the death penalty, because that would have been a flat reversal of the prior teaching of the Church, which is what this editorial calls for.

3.  Capital punishment not necessary in contemporary America?  I will assume that no one on the editorial board of the National Catholic Register has loved ones who work in prisons.  Murders by individuals serving life sentences are not uncommon of both guards and fellow inmates.  Of course the issue is additionally complicated by the fact that Pope Francis has come out against life sentences.  This would indicate under 2267 that the death penalty is licit since contrary to the assertion in that section of the Catechism, we have no way of assuring that a convicted murderer cannot kill again, especially if we follow the Pope’s lead and no longer have life sentences for murderers.

4.  The Gospel of Life-The idea that the death penalty is antithetical to the protection of innocent life is so looney that it could only have been developed during a period when society, and a great many clergy and laity within the Church, had badly lost their moral compasses.  Equating convicted murderers with unborn children is simply obscene.  I can understand people who have prudential concerns about the death penalty.  For 33 years I have seen up close what an imperfect instrument law is.  If the people of a state or a nation wish to abolish the death penalty, it is not a hot button issue for me.  However, such prudential concerns are a far cry from the assertion that being for the death penalty is in any way in opposition to the Gospel.

5.  While we look forward to the day we can stand in unity with the other Catholic publications on each of these life issues,

That is the most hilarious section of the editorial.  America and National Catholic Reporter do not give a damn about abortion or euthanasia. When they are not giving space to people who think abortion and euthanasia are civil rights, they are carrying water for the party of abortion and euthanasia.

6.  The most disheartening aspect of this editorial is how adamantly determined it is to pretend that Catholic teaching on the death penalty began in 1995.  Of all the heresies that beset the Church today, perhaps the most perfidious one is presentism, the idea that all that matters in the Church is what current Popes and other ecclesiastics say and do rather than the broad teaching of the Church.  That is not how the Church operated for almost all of her history, and that is not how our greatest Saints viewed the teaching of the Church. Continue reading

Various and Sundry, 3/5/15

- Jay Anderson has indicated he has written his final blog post, so I will provide him one last link. It seems that the heads of the four families – excuse, me the big four Catholic publications have joined forces and issued a joint editorial. They have set aside their differences and collaborated to discuss the burning issue of the day. Liberal and conservative, orthodox and heterodox: these labels mean nothing when it comes to this unequivocal teaching of the Church*. Yes, finally, America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor have written their joint editorial calling for an end to abortion, rebutting same-sex marriage, condemning the genocide of Christians taking place in the Middle East, calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

These four Catholic publications have decided that the paramount issue bridging the gap between these distinct entities is the death penalty. What’s more, they’re not calling for the election of local legislators who will vote to outlaw the death penalty in their respective states. Oh no, they’re calling for the raw judicial activism when the Court decides on the case of Glossip v. Gross. Despite the fact that the death penalty is one of the few things manifestly countenanced by the U.S. Constitution, (after all, if you need to write amendments saying you can’t deprive someone of their lives without due process you’re tacitly admitting you can deprive citizens of their lives with due process) these four publications are totally cool with judicial activism so long as such activism comports with their personal preferences.

Jay notes that in his very first blog post he wrote:

Sir Thomas More’s admonition to Roper should serve as a warning and a reminder to Catholics that the activist Court that sides with us in this particular instance is the same activist Court that is likely in the future (as it has in the past) to “turn round on us” and use its increasingly strident activism to decide cases contrary to our Catholic values.

This was in reference to Roper v. Simmons, another death penalty case. Now, here we are, ten years later these supposedly Catholic publications are totally fine with the use of raw judicial power. They’re fine with it now, but where will they be in ten years when judicial activists deprive Catholics of basic First Amendment rights?

Like Jay I am personally opposed to the death penalty, but I’m even more opposed to legislation by judicial fiat, and those who support the Court declaring unconstitutional that which is concretely and unambiguously constitutional are compliant in an act of judicial tyranny, even if it is for an ostensibly good cause.

*Footnote here for the sarcasm impaired. Let’s just say that traditional Catholic teaching is no more prohibitive of the death penalty than the U.S. Constitution.

– Anna Mussmann muses that we’re over-complicating motherhood. It’s of a similar vein to what I’ve written before, suggesting that helicopter parenting is a symptom of selfish parenting. Her take is a little different, but well worth the read.

– I just can’t quit the latest Clinton scandal. It’s odd that this is the thing that has dented the Clintons’ teflon coating, to the point where even Lawrence O’Donnell is abandoning ship. Now the website Gawker demonstrates that Clinton’s use of a personal email account was a huge security risk. Long story short, Clinton preferred having her emails fall in the lap of Russia than an intrusive American press.

Here’s another Hot Air link. The Republican party now controls more state houses than any point in recent history, and they owe it all to President Obama. The party that is supposedly on its deathbed is routing Democrats at all local levels. This ascendancy started before Obama was immaculated, but has only sped up since.

– Darwin’s take on when to call the cops on a kid.

If you see a property or violent crime being committed, by all means call the cops. Or if a kid is doing something which seems likely to directly result in death or injury. If a child seems genuinely lost, upset or hurt, and you’re not able to find an adult connected with them (especially if you’ve taken the time to ask the kid if she needs help and she says yes) then by all means summon help.

But keep in mind that calling the cops on a family can have traumatic (and at times even fatal) consequences. “I wouldn’t let my kid walk home alone,” is probably not a serious enough reason, unless you happen to live rather literally in a war zone.

A victory today for the revolutionaries who dared to sled on Capitol Hill.

Rosica Retreats

 

 

 

Well, well, well, Father Thomas Rosica has decided not to sue blogger Vox Cantoris after all.  Go here to read all about the original suit threat.  Here is Rosica’s graceless announcement that he is not going to sue:

 

Jeremiah 18:18-20

 The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;let us carefully note his every word.”
Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say.Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.
As the CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network, I am not a high-ranking Vatican official nor a member of the hierarchy of the Church as erroneously claimed in several recent blogs.  In addition to my work at Salt and Light, I have had the privilege of serving since 2013 in a volunteer capacity as English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office.  I relate on a daily basis to hundreds of English language journalists around the world.  I know that this daily service has been encouraged and appreciated by the Vatican and by hundreds of journalists all over the world.
I fully support the teaching of the Church and welcome Pope Francis’ invitation to the whole Church to reflect seriously on the foundations of our faith. The recent Extraordinary Synod of Bishops has invited us to mature, honest dialogue and conversation and to find new ways and a new language to communicate the ancient story of the Church and our beautiful, unchanging doctrine to future generations.
Mature expressions of differences are welcome.  It is one thing to have differing opinions on church matters. However, there is fine line between difference of opinion and blatant destruction of person’s lives and reputations. Having been strongly advised to respond, as an individual and in no institutional capacity to the Vatican or to my place of work, to the continuous false, slanderous statements of a blogger over a long period of time that resulted in gross distortion, misinformation, many phone calls, letters and clear threats from callers based on the repeated false information contained in the blog, it was never my intention to sue, but rather to issue a letter to “cease and desist” the frivolous calumny. A legal firm, offering its service pro bono to us, issued a letter to cease and desist. No lawsuit was ever launched against the blogger! The matter is now closed.
Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have taught clearly that the Internet and blogs can be of tremendous service to the up-building of the Church and of humanity. They have never taught that blogs and social media should be used, in the name of fidelity, to engender slander, hatred, reviling and destroying.
In a world torn apart by hatred, terror and violence, often through the gross distortion of religion, we must be much more attentive to our use of social media and how it is used to unite rather than destroy humanity. Many in the Catholic blogosphere have contributed enormously to the spread of the faith, the defense of all that is good and beautiful about our faith and our Church, and the opening of dialogue among strangers. They are to be congratulated and encouraged. Others have chosen to turn the blogosphere into a black hole of vitriol, anger and profound sadness. As Catholics, the great privilege and freedom of expression and access to social media also have certain obligations of decency, integrity, honesty and charity that reveal who we really are as a faith community.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
Some comments about this statement:
1.  Note how Rosica is at pains to indicate that he is not a Vatican official.  Why he is just an unpaid volunteer, sort of like your local priest suddenly being asked to run an operation out of the Vatican! Uh huh, sure.  My guess is that Rosica was instructed to put as much distance between himself and the Vatican as possible over this hornet’s nest he stirred up.
2.  However, there is fine line between difference of opinion and blatant destruction of person’s lives and reputations.
He then proceeds to give no evidence that anything posted about him by Vox Cantoris fit into that category.
3.  Having been strongly advised
By whom?  An attorney?  A superior at the Vatican?
4.  A legal firm, offering its service pro bono to us,
Yep, I can tell you after a third of a century practicing law that high powered law firms are just begging to represent people for free in defamation law suits.  If such a firm has not offered such pro bono services to you, you might want to call up such a firm and inquire about the legal services they are eager to provide gratis!
5.   They have never taught that blogs and social media should be used, in the name of fidelity, to engender slander, hatred, reviling and destroying.
Once again, such statements would be so much more effective if any proof were proffered that Vox Cantoris had engaged in such conduct.
6.  Others have chosen to turn the blogosphere into a black hole of vitriol, anger and profound sadness.
Once again, no examples.  I rather suspect that Rosica views any criticism directed his way to fit into that category.
Vox Cantoris’ statement in response to the news that he will not face bankruptcy as a result of threatened litigation:
Dear Friends,

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Pope Stands Behind Pell

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Now, this is interesting:

Pope Francis on Tuesday stood behind his embattled finance czar Cardinal George Pell, signing a series of statutes consolidating Pell’s authority and giving him sweeping powers to oversee Vatican finances. The controversial cardinal, the former archbishop of Sydney, had recently become the subject of a smear campaign to discredit him.

Last year, Pope Francis tasked Pell with cleaning up Vatican finances, long plagued by scandal and corruption. He appointed him head of a powerful new ministry known as the Secretariat of the Economy, where Pell – known for his no-nonsense management style and unblinking tenacity – reportedly ruffled a lot of feathers, particularly in the Italian-dominated curia.

Pell implemented new measures for transparency and accountability applicable to all Vatican departments, including those that had never had any financial oversight whatsoever. He further irritated critics when he announced in February that he had discovered $1.5 billion in assets that the Vatican did not know it had, due to muddled accounting practices. Also in February, he issued a new procedure requiring Vatican department heads to sign a legally binding document stating that their financial statements were accurate and complete.

Pell met with increasing resistance. Critics said Pell went beyond his mandate to clean up finances, and wanted to centralize power in a “superministry.” One influential Italian cardinal suggested creating a panel of cardinals to oversee Pell, and exempting some of the biggest Vatican departments from his financial control altogether.

Last week, his critics went even further, and the pugnacious Pell became the target of an old-style Vatican smear campaign. Italian weekly L’Espresso published leaked documents and receipts painting Pell as a profligate spender, despite his mandate to impose financial discipline. The magazine alleged Pell spent money on business flights, furniture, and tailored clerical robes, and said the pope confronted Pell about his spending.

The Holy See press office quickly issued a statement saying the attack against Pell was “unjustified and petty,” and condemned the leaks as illegal. The next day, the Secretariat of the Economy — Pell’s office — dismissed the allegations as “completely false,” the alleged conversation between Pell and the Pope as “a complete fiction,” and said that the operational costs of setting up the secretariat were actually under budget. Continue reading

Various and Sundry, 3/4/15

Is winter over yet? Supposedly we’re getting somewhere between a centimeter and a foot of snow tomorrow.

– Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the Obamacare subsidy case. It looks like Anthony Kennedy stuck his finger in the air and it was blowing the government’s direction today. We’ll see if the Court determines that words do, in fact, mean things.

– Stop the presses, David Brock was spinning on behalf of Hillary Clinton. His performance on MSDNC this morning was so outlandish that even co-host Mika Brzezinski was forced to sigh, ““Oh my God. I’m not sure what planet I’m on right now,” in response to one of Brock’s evasions. To paraphrase one of the commenters at NRO, when Miza Brzezinski is the voice of reason, oofta.

Looks like Brock’s gonna have his interns working double tonight to produce another 17-page document that is largely a giant tu quoque argument.

– Michele Obama’s attempts to brainwash our kids by feeding them tasteless junk is well underway. I cringe when I read things like this:

Under the complex “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” legislation, which has long been a signature issue for the first lady, participating schools take federal money but must stringently limit the number of calories and the amount of sugar, fat and sodium in every morsel of food sold at schools. Also, in what presumably falls outside the hunger-free aspect of the act, there are calorie caps.

A Maryland lawmaker is also pushing legislation that would require fast food restaurants to offer water, 100% pure juice, and low fat milk as the default beverage option for kids’ meals instead of water.

You know I don’t necessarily have a problem with the idea of government promoting healthy nutrition. What I do take issue with is them issuing mandates based on outmoded and discredited nutrition concepts. Evidently the only way children are eating healthy enough for the government is by eating tasteless vegetables and low-calorie foodstuffs.

Now, I’m fortunate enough to have children who actually like eating vegetables. I also try to prepare said vegetables in a manner that will make them more prone to eating them. If you have to add a little fat to the veggies to make them a bit tastier, so be it. There’s also no need to force feed them stuff when they might prefer other foods that have high nutritional value.

Four lessons from the fourth season of Downton Abbey. Not sure I completely agree with all of the interpretations, but certainly some interesting food for thought.

Catholicism Has Rules?

 

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels for the Church so frequently that I have name him Defender of the Faith, has a look at a “Catholic” who is outraged that teachers who teach at Catholic schools should be required to lead Catholic lives:

You know what would really be nifty, asks Christine Haider-Winnet.  If Catholic bishops would just quit running the lives of every single person in the entire world:

For several years now, we have seen a troubling trend in Catholic places of employment. Bishops are overstepping to meddle in employees’ personal lives. Firing competent, beloved teachers for same-sex marriages, requiring whole staffs to agree to statements calling contraception evil, and forbidding discussion of women’s equality in the church are now being included in morality clauses that administrators, teachers, and staff must sign.

The Reformation?  What the hell is that?

New contracts, like the most recent one in San Francisco, now govern whom one can marry, use of birth control and other reproductive choices, and in the most egregious of cases, what events one can attend and whom one can and cannot associate with. Attending your nephew’s wedding to his husband, or posting a congratulatory message on Facebook, could now cost you your job.

Hey, gang!  I heard that some German monk named Martin Luther just nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Haven’t read ‘em yet but I hear that they’re pretty spicy.

Perhaps the most disturbing part is the hierarchy’s claim that this is for the good of children. What our children need are good teachers and safe, affirming environments in which to learn and grow. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender role models and open, accepting communities are essential not only to the safety of our children, but to their growth and overall well-being. As research indicates, kids who are LGB or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity are up to four times as likely to commit suicide as their straight peers. Being in a community that rejects them increases that risk astronomically.

Yeah, but here’s the thing.  The ONLY job of Catholic bishops is to tell the truth.

What are Catholic school students to think when they see a beloved teacher fired for getting married?

That they forgot to find out where he/she was registered?

Or hear she lost her job for getting pregnant using alternative methods?

That Christ and Zeitgeist are not the same thing?

When it comes to employment, should not the focus be on professional competency? If a teacher can teach, shouldn’t he or she be applauded for this dedication and quality as an educator? Sifting through one’s private life in order to gauge doctrinal orthodoxy as a measure of job performance is disturbing and dangerous. Is this what our Catholic faith has come to? Is this the precedent we wish to set?

Well, yeah, insofar as the Catholic Church

ACTUALLY BELIEVES STUFF

and shouldn’t be forced to employ anyone whose life choices undercut its beliefs.

Let’s go at this bass akwards there, Chrissie.  If I ever went to work for your little group, “Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations committed to LGBT equality,” and started writing about how homosexual activity was a sin, how long do you think that I would I keep my job?  So “morality clauses” are nothing new.

Folks just have to have the correct “morality.”

 

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Cupich of the West

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Christ told us by our fruits he shall know us.  In regard to Popes it is by their appointments that they tend to be known:

 

It’s being called the “Cupich appointment of the West,” and not without reason – resolving the highest-profile vacancy on the current US docket, at Roman Noon tomorrow the Pope is slated to name Bishop Robert McElroy, the 61 year-old auxiliary of San Francisco known as one of the Stateside bench’s most outspoken progressives, as the sixth bishop of San Diego and its 1 million Catholics in the nation’s seventh-largest city.

As reports of the appointment quietly circulated for much of last week, three Whispers ops appraised of the move confirmed the news over the weekend. Coming just shy of six months since the premature death of Bishop Cirilo Flores after a brief struggle with cancer, as reports here at the time indicated, the succession was indeed fast-tracked given both the relative freshness of the consultations leading up to Flores’ own selection in early 2012 and the diocese’s still-unsettled state from its 2007 bankruptcy amid a torrent of sex-abuse lawsuits, which was settled for $197 million.

Go here to read the rest.  Robert McElroy is no stranger to PopeWatch.  This from October 21, 2013: Continue reading

Various and Sundry, 3/3/15

I’m bringing back an old feature, which I will hopefully be able to bring back nightly. Please feel free to use this as an open evening thread for anything you’d like to share, including news and prayer petitions.

– I’m beginning to feel a lot like Ace here.  The argument that Congress is limited in its ability to push back against the President only goes so far, and certainly collapses when you actually do have the power to tie his hands. I also agree with AllahPundit that we shouldn’t be too impressed with the number of Republicans who voted against the leadership, as many of them would have voted for the funding bill if their votes were really needed.

This isn’t even purely a partisan issue. At some point the legislative branch has to be willing to stop the continuing overreach of the executive. The checks and balances of our form of government is arguably the quintessential element of the republic. As these checks are eroded, so too is the notion that we are, in fact, dwelling in a republic.

– Party over, whoops, out of time, it looks like we’re living through the 90s again. Hey, the ability to totally ignore the Constitution without consequence is now an essential trait in any would-be President.

– Curt Schilling tweeted some words of pride and congratulations for his daughter, and naturally some individuals decided to take the opportunity to exemplify everything that is wrong with the internet, including tweeting some rape threats against his daughter. Schilling took to his blog and outed these fools, one of whom (at least) was fired, while others face other forms of discipline.

This incident is interesting as it gets to the idea of public shaming for internet comments. There was a story recently (that I’ve unfortunately misplaced) following rather infamous internet celebrities who lost jobs and any sense of privacy due to ill-advised tweets. The article made the point that the “grab the pitchforks” mentality can really go way overboard, and people have their lives ruined over 140 unwise characters. On the other hand, public shaming does have the effect of silencing the worst and most obvious offenders, and in this case I will cry no tears over someone losing their job because they tweeted their rape fantasies.

– Speaking of public shaming, I would like to do that the dolts employed by the Montgomery County (MD) Child Protective Services who found some local parents guilty of “unsubstantiated child neglect,” their sin allowing their 10-year old and 6-year old to walk home by themselves from the park. Now they will be “watched” by CPS for the next five years. As one of the commenters put it:

I think we need to start lobbying state legislatures for reasonable laws that provide some clarity and security for families in these situations. As I understand it, this is the law the Meitivs were accused of violating: “A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.” How does letting your kids walk home from the park even trigger an investigation under this statute? It is unacceptable that CPS has the authority to interpret the law so loosely in order to bring a family into the system.

I was happy that most of the callers into the local radio show this morning were as perturbed by this decision as I was, but one person would just simply not accept the fact that kids are in no more danger of abduction today than they were 30 years ago. Some people just can’t let fact get in the way of unsubstantiated fear mongering.

– Rebecca Taylor is right: the UK has just made a frightening decision to allow the creation of three-parent embryos, and Catholics have largely been silent on this abomination.

Even more infuriating is that fact that, at the very same time that the UK approves the genetic engineering of the next generation (and the next, and the next), Hershey’s has been so hounded by food purists on social media that the confectioner has given into the pressure to remove any ingredients that come from genetically-modified organisms.

Great. We will be eating GMO-free chocolate (reading about the spread of Dengue fever) while we blissfully ignore the creation of genetically-modified kids.

– Kevin Williamson is just awesome. But you already knew that.

Here he is destroying Politifact for, as usual, not getting its facts straight.

And here he is, defending Archbishop Cordileone’s “scandalous” decision to uphold Church teaching.

And here he is one more time, once again writing about the good Archbishop.

The people who have the strongest feelings about Catholic teaching tend to be the people who know the least about it. That the archbishop is a fallen creature, a sinner like the rest of us, is not a challenge to Christian teaching—it is a vindication of Christian teaching. Of course the archbishop is called to a life of greater holiness—just like the rest of us—and of course he is going to fail—just like the rest of us. That’s the weird tough nut at the heart of Christianity: “Here’s an impossibility high standard that you have to try to live up to as part of a faith based on the understanding that you are not going to do that.

We Are Being Sold Out

“You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”

Winston Churchill

 

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Congress today that President Obama is selling us out in regard to the proposed treaty with Iran which will inevitably lead to a nuclear armed Iran.

Robert Zubrin at National Review Online gives us the details:

 

Iranian centrifuges now have a capacity of 5 SWU per year each. The regime is working on upgrading this to 24 SWU each, a figure that would match American centrifuge performance. Even if we assume that they will remain unable to reach that goal, the 6,500 centrifuges permitted by the treaty will still give Iran a capacity of 32,500 SWU per year. Examining the table above, we see that while producing 17 bombs from 0.7-percent-enriched natural uranium would require a total of about 75,000 SWU, if the first step of enrichment to 4 percent has already been accomplished, then only 17,000 SWU would be required. Thus, after allowing creation of a large stockpile of 4 percent U235, the 32,500-SWU-per-year enrichment capability that the Obama treaty will grant Iran would allow it to transform that stockpile into first-class nuclear bombs at a rate of 32 per year. We should note that the current cost of natural uranium is about $100 per kilogram, while the cost of one SWU is about $140. Therefore, if all Iran wanted was 4-percent-enriched reactor fuel, it could buy the 100,000 kilograms of natural uranium for $10 million, and have France or Russia enrich it for them at a cost of another $8 million, for a total price that is insignificant compared with the cost that current international sanctions are imposing on the country. It should therefore be clear that there is only one reason Iran needs the enrichment capability it is insisting on: so it can quickly turn reactor-grade material into a powerful nuclear arsenal.
In morally saner times, Obama would be currently facing impeachment and trial, with his own party leading the charge.

Beecher Bibles

 

Andrew Klavan does a first rate job demonstrating how much reliance persecuted Christians around the globe can place on the Obama administration.  The answer is quite a bit if the reliance consists of the conclusion that Obama and his gang of merry incompetents would sooner eat ground glass than help them.  However, some Christians in the Middle East are beginning to realize the truth of the admonition of Benjamin Franklin:  God helps them who help themselves.

 

Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council, an Assyrian Christian militia, said the fight was existential. “[We are] like a tree that you uproot from its land,” he said. “We are a people with a historic lineage. We have been contributing to human civilisation for five or six thousand years, and we can still give.”

The fighters, along with modest Kurdish reinforcements, are trying to defend Tal Tamr, a town that straddles a tributary of the Euphrates river. The Assyrians in the area had taken refuge there three generations ago, fleeing the Simele massacre of their people by the Iraqi kingdom.

The Isis attack on the villages appeared tailored to draw forces away from Tal Hamis, where it is battling a Kurdish push aimed at forcing the group further to the east. The fate of the hostages remains unclear, with some members of the community believing Isis intends to trade them for its own captured fighters, or use them as human shields. Others though, mindful of public executions of Egyptian Copts by Isis militants in Libya, fear a similar grisly spectacle.

“We will defend ourselves,” said Gabriel. “We will not allow another Seyfo to happen to us [in reference to a pogrom perpetrated by the Ottoman’s early last century]. We will sacrifice everything.”

“We want help and support from all the democratic forces in the world that are fighting the extremism in the Middle East, to stop these enemies of humanity,” he said. “Their targeting of our people, the Syriacs, has been ongoing. What they did in Iraq … and [elsewhere in] Syria shows that this is what they want.

“After a couple of generations, the culture will disappear. Nobody will remember us.”

The Assyrians say they deserve support like the Kurds in Kobani, the peshmerga in Iraq and the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar. “We stood with Kobani and supported the resistance there and we are now facing the same thing,” said Gabriel.

 

I hope they will receive support, if not from the feckless governments of the West, then from private Christians.  I recall the “Beecher Bibles” shipped to free soil settlers in Kansas during the 1850’s.

“He (Henry W. Beecher) believed that the Sharps Rifle was a truly moral agency, and that there was more moral power in one of those instruments, so far as the slaveholders of Kansas were concerned, than in a hundred Bibles. You might just as well. . . read the Bible to Buffaloes as to those fellows who follow Atchison and Stringfellow; but they have a supreme respect for the logic that is embodied in Sharp’s rifle.” Continue reading

PopeWatch: Miscellania

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa has brief reports on various stories swirling about the Vatican:

 

When Sant’Egidio upstages the secretariat of state

On Saturday, February 21, German chancellor Angela Merkel spent 40 minutes with Pope Francis and a full hour with cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher. She talked with them about the next G7, Ukraine, and more.

Afterward Angela Merkel went to the headquarters of Sant’Egidio, and in this case as well the visit lasted a little more than an hour. But thanks to the effective management of communications for the event, the meeting with the organization founded by Andrea Riccardi trounced the one with the heads of Vatican diplomacy, media-wise. Suffice it to say that “Corriere della Sera,” the major Italian newspaper read in all the corridors of power, gave much more space to Merkel’s visit with Sant’Egidio than to the one at the Vatican, not even making reference to the meeting with Parolin and Gallagher. No small letdown for the heads of Vatican diplomacy, who traditionally see as a smokescreen the encroachments of the lauded “parallel diplomacy” of Sant’Egidio:

> Vatican Diary / Sant’Egidio in supervised freedom (20.12.2011)

On the other hand, however, this coveted media exposure of their competitors may not be unwelcome to the churchmen who work with the pope on his diplomatic initiatives, seeing how the pontiff himself stigmatized this in the homily on Ash Wednesday:

“When something good is achieved, almost instinctively the desire is born within us to be esteemed and admired for this good action, to get some sort of satisfaction out of it. Jesus invites us to perform these works without any ostentation, and to confide solely in the recompense of the Father ‘who sees in secret.’”

*

Malleus (aliquorum) cardinalium

Hard times for the cardinals who are seen as”dissenters” with respect to the guidelines of the current pontificate. An example of this are the three beatings that the ultra-Bergoglian portal “Vatican Insider” has handed out to three cardinals on its blacklist, in the span of a few days.

On February 14 it featured, emphasizing the name of the target, a post from the blog of Washington cardinal Donald Wuerl in which, without naming him, he blasted his fellow cardinal Raymond L. Burke for lèse-majesté toward the pope:

> Cardinal Wuerl’s response to Burke (and dissenters)

On February 16 it reported, with an abundance of exclusive details, on the moves that the pontifical council for legislative texts, with pontifical mandate, has put into action to limit the powers that Cardinal George Pell would like to attribute to himself as prefect of the secretariat for the economy, in the statutes that they are preparing:

> Ma sopra Pell c’è uno “zar” più potente di lui

On February 19, finally, it gave great emphasis to the criticisms, even sarcastic, that a Chinese priest and blogger has lodged against Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, accusing him of boycotting every hypothesis of “appeasement” between Beijing and the Holy See:

> “Cardinal Zen, don’t you believe in miracles?”

*

Big hunt for the “kangaroo” Pell

After the pontifical council for legislative texts (see above), the Vatican pension fund has also taken the field against Australian cardinal George Pell. It has done so with a statement on February 20 in which it offers reassuring data on the situation of the fund itself, to oppose the “alarming data” circulating “for several months” and “even amplified by news in the press”:

> Comunicato…

The statement delves into the figures to demonstrate this assumption. But beyond the accounting aspects, what is important is the “political” side. For some time, in fact, Cardinal Pell has been sounding the alarm on the stability of the medium-term accounts of the Vatican pension fund. He did so in July of 2014, when he announced the creation of a committee of experts – crammed with big names – to study the question. The announcement came in an article published in the “Catholic Herald” in December, and was picked up on February 13 by the website “Crux” of the “Boston Globe”: Continue reading

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