For the might of the gentile,
Unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow
In the glance of the Lord.
Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib
If I have learned anything over this wildest of Presidential campaigns it is not to underestimate Donald J. Trump, or rather I should say President Elect Donald J. Trump. With all of his manifest flaws, he has triumphed in a pursuit of the Presidency that I at first thought was a bad publicity stunt. After he took the nomination I grudgingly concluded that in this odd year, against a status quo candidate like Hillary Clinton, he would win. However, his achievement should not be underestimated. Against a biased, and proud of its bias, media, against the entertainment industry, against big business and big unions, with a divided party, and spending much less money than his adversary, he won. To be sure Hillary Clinton had her problems, but she also had the Clinton political machine behind her and a media intent on covering for her as much as possible, with a corrupt establishment fully in her corner. Trump’s defeat of all that power arrayed against him is unbelievable, and a tribute to him and his hard core supporters. I have predicted that Trump will be a bad President. May that prediction be mistaken. May we all join in this prayer for him and for us that is adapted from George Washington’s letter to the States of June 8, 1783:
Almighty GOD; we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection, that thou wilt incline the hearts of citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa reviews the recent attempts to act as the mediator between the Venezuelan regime and the opposition:
ROME, November 7, 2016 – Mysteries of Vatican information. “L’Osservatore Romano” is rightly appreciated for the extensive coverage that it provides every day of events around the world. But in order to know that Pope Francis on the evening of October 24 met at Santa Marta with the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, its readers had to wait until November 3, and learn it from the pope’s own words, spoken during the return flight from Sweden to Rome and reported on the last page of the newspaper.
“L’Osservatore” – as also the official bulletin of the Holy See – also kept a complete silence on the Vatican’s role in opening discussions between the Maduro regime and the opposition, begun right after the unexpected meeting between the pope and the Venezuelan president.
In effect, since October 24 “L’Osservatore Romano” has published highly detailed reports every day on events in Venezuela. But without a single line on what has been making the most news, namely the direct efforts in Venezuelan affairs by the pope and the Holy See, with his emissaries on the ground.
So let’s reconstruct this story. Starting with what led up to it.
A first attempt at dialogue between the government and opposition, with the presence at the dialogue table table of the nuncio in Venezuela, Aldo Giordano, dates back to April of 2014, and also back then Pope Francis put himself forward to support it, in particular with a message addressed to President Maduro, to the members of the government, to the representatives of the opposition and to the members of the Union of South American Nations, initialed UNASUR:
The attempt fizzled at the outset and there was no effect, in September of that same 2014, from a second appeal of the pope, read by nuncio Giordano during an interreligious meeting for peace organized in Caracas by the national council of the laity of Venezuela:
It took two years for a flame to be reignited, while Venezuela plunged into an ever more devastating crisis.
On July 25, 2016, the secretary general of UNASUR, former Colombian president Ernesto Samper Pizano, wrote a letter to the pope also in the name of three other ex-presidents: José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, Martín Torrijos of Panama, and Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic.
In the letter, the four ask that the Holy See become part of the group of “facilitadores” of the dialogue between government and opposition in Venezuela.
The response to the letter came not from Pope Francis but from his secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who knows Venezuela well, having been nuncio there from 2009 to 2013.
In his response of August 12, Parolin declares the willingness of the Holy See, on the condition that it be the interested parties, government and opposition, that issue the invitation and show themselves “receptive to accepting the eventual suggestions”:
> Texto de la carta del card. P. Parolin al secretario de UNASUR
Among the bishops of Venezuela, however, many are skeptical. “A government that does not provide food and medicine for its citizens and refuses to allow religious and social organizations to work to alleviate the suffering of the population lacks the moral authority to invoke dialogue and peace,” Cumaná archbishop Diego Padrón Sanchez, president of the episcopal conference, said last July.
And even more critical toward the Maduro regime is the archbishop of Mérida, Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo. Whom Pope Francis included on October 9 among the next new cardinals.
On the evening of October 24, a coup de theatre. Maduro makes a stop in Rome on his way back from a trip to oil producing states in the Middle East, and is received at Santa Marta by Pope Francis.
The meeting is private, and there are no official photos or statements from it.But the Venezuelan presidency and various press offices – including Vatican Radio and the quasi-Vatican blog “Il Sismografo” – publicize it with the images of the previous audience with Maduro in 2013, this one indeed perfectly official and conducted in the Apostolic Palace, as if to authenticate a new “blessing” of the pope on his guest.
In Venezuela, among the critics of the regime, the first reactions were therefore of dismay, increased by the arrival in Caracas on October 25 of an envoy from the pope in the person of the nuncio to Argentina, Emil Paul Tscherrig, with the mandate of beginning a dialogue precisely when “the country is at its last gasp” and the “deadlock” between Maduro and the opposition is at its acme, as stated by a headline in “L’Osservatore Romano.”
Newly created cardinal Baltazar Porras says that he has not been informed of the arrival of an envoy from the Holy See. While the nuncio in Caracas, Giordano, is silent, apparently superseded by his colleague in from Buenos Aires at the mandate of the pope.
Tscherrig instead speaks and acts. He meets separately with representatives of the government and of the opposition, although with the refusal of a part of the latter, and announces for October 30 a first round of discussions on the island of Margarita.
The tension reaches its peak on Friday, October 28, with the country paralyzed by a general strike and even “on the brink of the abyss,” again as in a headline in “L’Osservatore Romano.”
But then, little by little, some pieces fall into place. Tscherrig exits the stage and in his place there comes from Rome the “true” emissary of the pope, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli (see photo), former president of the disbanded pontifical council for social communications, but above all a diplomat of long international experience, from China to South America.
Celli arrives in Caracas with a letter in hand “en nombre del Papa Francisco,” addressed to all the sides in the dispute: Continue reading
You’re a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see facts flat-on, without that horrible moral squint… With a little common sense you could have made a statesman.
Cardinal Wosely to Sir Thomas More, A Man for all Seasons
(A repost from 2010. It seemed very appropriate today.)
In this political season I was curious as to which saint was the patron saint of politicians. Much to my shock I learned that on October 26, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Saint Thomas More as patron saint of politicians and statesman. It was an inspired choice, but I think the average politician might find Saint Thomas More difficult to emulate.
1. As far as I can tell, Saint Thomas More always told the truth. Most politicians seem to regard lying as a job requirement or a job perk.
2. Saint Thomas More was noted by contemporaries for not taking bribes. Such honesty was just as rare among politicians then as it is now.
3. As Cardinal Wolsey, unforgettably portrayed by Orson Welles, noted in A Man for All Seasons, Saint Thomas always viewed issues of public policy with a “moral squint”. Most politicians would view this as a severe handicap.
4. Saint Thomas gave up the highest office in England over a matter of principle. I am afraid the average politician’s reaction to this would be, “You have got to be kidding”.
5. Most politicians when viewing the movie “A Man for All Seasons” would probably think that Richard Rich is the hero of the film. Continue reading
As usual, TAC will have an open thread for election night. In regard to the presidential contest, most of the polls show Clinton with a three to four point advantage. However, two of the most accurate polls from 2012, the Los Angeles Times Daybreak Poll and IDB, show Trump ahead by three and two points respectively. Additionally, while national polls were placing Clinton ahead yesterday, most electoral college projections showed Trump’s position improving, with him nipping at Clinton’s heels. This really does not make much sense, but that is par for this skunk-fest of an election. My hypothesis is that the polls have been off because of an inability of most them to accurately gauge Trump’s support. We shall all find out soon enough.
Things to watch for tonight: If Trump takes Florida and Ohio he will likely need just one or two blue states to win, assuming that Iowa and the Romney states from 2012 fall to him. There will be likely a titanic contest in the upper Midwest tonight over Michigan, Wisconsin and, perhaps, Minnesota. The Dems also seem worried about Pennsylvania. If Trump flips one of these states, than he can likely start calling himself Mr. President. New Hampshire and Maine 2 could be absolutely critical if the contest is close and Trump does not flip one of the states in the Upper Midwest or the Keystone State. In such a scenario, assuming that Trump takes Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, they set him up to win if he takes Nevada or Colorado. Additionally, keep your eyes on Oregon. If there is one state I think might shockingly flip from blue to red, in defiance of all the polls, it would be that one.
In regard to the Senate, it could be a nail biter to see which party controls it. In the House the GOP is expected to hold, but the margin in the House could be critical over the next two years.
It promises to be an exciting election night if not an edifying one! As always, put your comments in the comboxes.
All times are Central Standard Time
6:30 AM-Just got back from voting. One of the perks of living in a small town is little waiting in order to vote. It seemed to me as if the polls were less busy than in 2012 and 2008.
5:05 PM-First polls close in an hour. Lots of exit poll chatter that I won’t bore you with due to my conviction that exit polls tend to be unreliable.
6:00 PM- Vermont called for Clinton. Indiana and Kentucky called for Trump. Too close to call: Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia and South Carolina being too close to call is not good news for Trump.
6:30 PM-West Virginia called for Trump. North Carolina and Ohio too close to call. Republican Senator Portman of Ohio has won re-election.
6: 45 PM-Go here to see the latest vote tallies for states whose polls have closed.
6:50 PM-South Carolina called for Trump.
7:00 PM-Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee called for Trump. Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Massachusetts called for Clinton. Democrat pickup in Illinois in the Senate where Tammy Duckworth unseats Mark Kirk.
7:07 PM-Rhode Island called for Clinton.
7:15 PM-Marco Rubio has won re-election to the Senate from Florida.
7:25 PM-Young beats Bayh for the Senate seat in Indiana. An important victory in the Republican attempt to retain control of the Senate.
7:30 PM-Alabama called for Trump.
7:35 PM-The Republicans will retain control of the House.
7:50 PM -One can never be sure about anything when it comes to Presidential elections in Florida, but it looks like Trump is going to have a narrow win.
8:00 PM-New York is called for Clinton. Donald Trump sweeps the states of the Great Plains and Texas.
8:05 PM-Arkansas called for Trump.
8:22 PM-Connecticut called for Clinton.
8:40 PM-New Mexico called for Clinton and Louisiana is called for Trump.
8:57 PM-Virginia called for Clinton.
9:00 PM-Montana called for Trump.
9:10 PM-Burr, the Republican Senator in North Carolina has won re-election. Likely that the Republicans will retain control of the Senate.
9:25 PM-Ohio called for Trump. Colorado called for Clinton.
9:30 PM-Florida called for Trump.
9:45 PM-The New York Times now projects that Trump has a 92% chance of winning the Presidency. Right on cue North Carolina is called for Trump.
9:50 PM-Republican Senator Ron Johnson has won re-election in Wisconsin. Grand! One of my favorite conservative senators!
10:00 PM-California, Washington and Hawaii called for Clinton. Idaho called for Trump.
10:10 PM-Utah called for Trump.
10:25 PM-Oregon called for Clinton.
10:30 PM-Wisconsin called for Trump. That is the blue state he needed. Iowa called for Trump. I’m calling it. Trump is going to be the 45th President of these United States. In the year of Brexit and the Cubs, the improbable was probable. The ladies have been waiting to sing this song in celebration of the defeat of Hillary Clinton:
10:40 PM-Georgia is called for Trump.
11:24 PM-Nevada called for Clinton.
11:40 PM-My bride’s reaction to the election results:
12:07 AM-Maine called for Clinton, but not Maine 2 with its one electoral vote.
12:25 PM-Roy Blunt, Republican Senator from Missouri has won re-election.
12:27 PM-Pat Toomey has won re-election in Pennsylvania. Hurrah! It is certain that the Republicans have retained control of the Senate.
12:50 PM-Pennsylvania is called for Trump. Trump will have at least 290 electoral votes, and quite possibly he will end up north of 300.
With that, I will be turning in. Much analysis tomorrow and in the days to come. The Democrats had a very bad night, and the Republicans find themselves in control of the Congress and the Presidency, although admittedly Trump makes an odd sort of Republican. I will end this night’s blog coverage with this observation that I have made on other election nights:
After the 2008 elections many on the Left, giddy with victory, predicted that in future the Republican party would be only a rump party of the South, doomed to wander in the political wilderness for 40 years. Typical of this commentary was a piece written by frequent commenter Morning’s Minion:
For look at what the Republican party has become in recent years: a rump party of the south and the plains, mired in an anachronistic culture that has little resonance with the modern world and with the younger generation.
Of course this commentary betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of American political history. In that history there are no final victories and no final defeats. The great issue in contention since the days of the Federalists and the Republicans, the role of government in the lives of a free people, has remained with us no matter what names the two parties call themselves. When a party dies, the Whig party for instance, a new party steps forward to carry on the fight. The parties themselves shift and change, but the large issues involved tend, at bottom, to remain the same. Kipling wrote long ago:
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
That is sound advice in American politics, no matter if an election is good for your party or bad for your party.
Pope Francis is wasting no time in installing one of his new red hats into a position of power:
(RNS) Pope Francis had already delivered the Catholic Church’s version of an October surprise when he included Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin in the batch of new cardinals he announced last month — promising a red hat to the leader of a relatively small Midwestern diocese of 230,000 Catholics that had never before had a cardinal, nor would ever expect one.
Then on Monday (Nov. 7) the pontiff doubled down with a November stunner as the Vatican announced that Francis was moving Tobin to head the Archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey. He replaces Archbishop John Myers, who is resigning at age 75.
In a statement released early Monday after the Vatican announcement was official, Tobin, 64, compared these last few weeks to an earthquake, saying the news on Oct. 9 that he would become a cardinal was his “first jolt” and the phone call on Oct. 22 informing him that he would be going to Newark was a “second tremor.
Never before has a cardinal been moved from one diocese to another, and church observers across the board also expressed shock at the unprecedented transfer, which seemed to signal a new stage in Francis’ effort to revamp a U.S. church that had become increasingly conservative under the pontiff’s two predecessors.
Not only is Newark a much bigger archdiocese than Indianapolis, with some 1.2 million Catholics, but it’s never had a cardinal and, like Indianapolis, never expected to get one.
That’s mainly because a cardinal perched across the Hudson River from Manhattan would have been seen as a rival to the archbishop of New York, a post currently occupied by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Continue reading
One of my favorite actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood is Claude Rains. Throughout his career he brought vibrant intelligence and a world weary cynicism to his roles. From his screen personae, it might be assumed that Rains was an English aristocrat educated at elite English “public” schools. Actually he was London Cockney, and had a very pronounced Cockney accent and a speech impediment as he was growing up. He served gallantly in World War I in the British Army in the London Scottish Regiment, rising from private to captain, and being blinded in one eye as a result of a gas attack.
He quickly achieved post war success in England as an actor. He began acting in American films and became an American citizen in 1939. His first big hit was the title role in The Invisible Man in 1933. He went on to achieve stardom with unforgettable roles, such as Prince John in Robin Hood (1938), Senator Joseph Paine in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and, doubtless the role he is most known for, Captain Renault in Casablanca (1942):
In 1946 Rains appeared in probably the most unusual role in his career as Satan in Angel On My Shoulder. The plot involves Satan’s attempt to use a deceased gangster, Eddie Kagle, played by Paul Muni, to discredit a living judge the gangster resembles. The film is filled with bon mots by Rains, including him asking “What in my domain is that?” in reference to a ruckus caused by Eddie Kagle after he arrives in Hell. The film has a rather profound sequence where Satan, or “Nick” as he is referred to in the film, expresses his exasperation with God for taking such concern over mortals. He cannot understand why he loves them. I suspect that is the case with the real Devil, and that the love of God is a complete mystery to him. As CS Lewis noted in his The Screwtape Letters: Continue reading
Pope Francis, in a 55 minute rant to a Vatican sponsored meeting of Third Word left wing pressure groups, attacked capitalism:
He denounced yet again “the globalizing ideological colonialism” that seeks to impose solutions that “do not respect the identity of the peoples” or their cultures.
He called on the popular movements to work “at the local and universal” levels and praised them for looking beyond the problems and creatively seeking solutions that give dignity to people, also through creating work. “I accompany you,” he assured them.
Francis told them that all the social teaching of the church and the magisterium of his predecessors “rebels against the idol that is money, which rules instead of serves, tyrannizes and terrorizes humanity.”
But he said, “no tyranny sustains itself without exploiting our fears,” and thus “every tyranny is terroristic.” Moreover, when this terror “which is sown in the peripheries by massacres, looting, oppression and injustice, and explodes in the center with different forms of violence, even with hateful and vile attacks, those citizens that still retain some rights are tempted by the false security of physical or social walls,” which “close in some and exclude others.”
Fear “is fed and manipulated,” Francis stated. It gives good dividends to “the merchants of arms and of death,” but “it weakens us, it destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, it anesthetizes us against the suffering of others and makes us cruel.”
He urged those who have such fear to pray for courage and said “mercy is the best antidote against fear” and “is much more effective than walls, that barbed wire fences, than alarms and arms, and it is free. It is the gift of God.”
He called on the members of these movements worldwide “to build bridges between peoples, bridges that allow us to knock down the walls of exclusion and exploitation.”
He praised the popular movements for the countless different initiatives—such as cooperatives, recycling, restoring failed factories and so on—by which they succeed in overcoming “the atrophy of the socio-economic system that is unemployment” and help provide labor, housing and land for people. Continue reading
FBI Director James Comey delivers a November surprise:
Dear Messrs. Chairmen:
I write to supplement my October 28, 2016 letter that notified you the FBI would be taking additional investigative steps with respect to former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.
I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.
James B. Comey
Impact? Hard to say. We are right on top of the election and normally a big event in an election needs a few days to seep into the public consciousness. Most people will probably hear about it tomorrow, and the number of people who haven’t made up their minds by this time how they are going to vote, if they are going to vote, is probably small. It is probably marginally good news for Clinton, but I doubt if will have much influence due to the lateness of this revelation and the fact that most people have probably reached a decision on Clinton, one way or another. Whoever is elected, Comey needs to go. Having Prince Hamlet as FBI Director is bad for the country.
Of course the real reason that the Democrats fight voter id laws is not to protect the voting rights of minorities, but to ensure that the vote fraud that the Democrat party traditionally has relied upon to win close elections continues.
Four years ago I was convinced that Romney was going to win in a landslide so take what follows with a boulder of salt.
We are coming to the end of a very odd campaign. In Trump and Clinton we have the two most unpopular major party candidates for President in US history. During the course of the campaign we have had Trump accused of sexual assault by a baker’s dozen of women. Clinton is currently under renewed criminal investigation for her using non-secure civilian e-mail servers as Secretary of State in order to protect her business of selling access and influence to the highest bidders. WikiLeaks has revealed various unsavory aspects of the Clinton campaign and Project Veritas has shown the Democrats engaging in plots to incite violence at Trump rallies. Trump is on audio as praising physical assault as a means of sexual success. Clinton has jealously guarded her health records although there is demonstrable evidence that she is suffering from some malady. Her secret paid speeches to Goldman Sachs revealed by Wikileaks underline that she routinely, as a matter of deliberate policy, says one thing in public to the people and another thing in private to the powerful. I suspect that most Americans would wish to have as little to do personally as possible with either candidate. In short, it has been a contest between two skunks.
This in part explains why the polls have been all over the place throughout the campaign. Having said that, the national polls currently tend to show either a dead heat or Clinton with a very slight advantage. The state polls indicate that Trump may be surging, with the most recent polls showing him ahead in the blue stronghold of New Hampshire, and extremely close in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. He seems to have beaten off threats in Arizona and Georgia. Early voting indicates that the black vote may be down from 2008 and 2012 while the Hispanic vote is up. Overall, the Republicans seem to be holding their own in early voting in most states.
The above are the states I view as currently safe for each side. This gives Clinton 182 electoral votes to 164 for Trump.
Next let’s add states that are almost certain to fall to each side: for Trump, Arizona and Georgia, for Clinton, Minnesota and New Mexico. This ties Clinton and Trump at 197 electoral votes each.
Next we have the states where it is close, but there seems to be a clear advantage to one side: this gives Trump Iowa, Ohio and one electoral vote for Maine 2 (Maine allocates one electoral vote to each of its Congressional districts), with the other three Maine electoral votes to Clinton. This gives Clinton 200 electoral votes to 216 for Trump.
Now it gets tricky with true battleground states. I give Florida, North Carolina and New Hampshire, based on the latest polls, to Trump. Florida, as usual, will be very close, but with a decrease in the black vote, Trump Democrats, and a large effort by the Cuban community, I think Trump will win. North Carolina, based on early voting, I think Trump will take, and probably by a wider margin than that by which Romney took the state in 2012. Clinton will take Virginia, although recent polls are showing it quite close, and Pennsylvania. The Democrats who control Philadelphia will manufacture votes if they have to in order to win in the Keystone State. That gets Clinton up to 233 and Trump up to 264.
Something for the weekend. Rosin the Beau. A traditional Irish folk song, it was popular among soldiers on both sides during the Civil War. It gave the tune to the most stirring election song in American history: Lincoln and Liberty Too: Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
In a press conference aboard the papal plane this morning, Pope Francis confirmed reports that he would be investigating the life and works of 16th century “reformer” Martin Luther, stating that it was better late than never in “the Church’s eternal quest for ecumenism.”
On October 15, Pope Francis welcomed a number of Lutherans from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Germany to his residence in the Vatican, and called Martin Luther a brave Christian who was trying his best to reform a financially corrupt Church, which automatically makes the person a saint in the Church’s eyes.
Francis also said that the pivotal character in the Protestant Reformation was in heaven, noting that “all Christians that fight against greed are saints.”
“From here on, paintings and statues of Martin Luther are welcome in all churches around the world, because he is blessed,” Francis told those gathered. “Christians who suffer ridicule today because they, in essence, overturn the tables of the money changers extend a reflection of Martin Luther’s courage and bravery.”
Francis went on to state that it was his hope that by this time next year, all members of the Catholic Church would be reciting the entire Ninety-five Thesis just after the Nicene Creed during Mass, and that the next Jubilee would commence by his walking through the “Holy Door” of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg where the Ninety-five Thesis was first posted. Continue reading
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!
Anti-Catholic Guy Fawkes Day Doggerel
The idiotic anti-Catholic celebration of Guy Fawkes Day , observed each November fifth, was effectively ended two hundred and forty one years ago in America during the Revolution, in large part due to George Washington. Here is his order on November 5, 1775:
As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope–He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada. Continue reading
Pope Francis attempts to improve on Christ by suggesting six new beatitudes:
— Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
— Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness.
— Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
— Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
— Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
— Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians. Continue reading
The Pope’s refusal to vacation at Castel Gandolfo has had some unfortunate side effects:
Over the last few years, as Francis’ choice to not take time off at Castel Gandolfo became more and more apparent, Vatican officials have begun opening up bits and pieces to the public. This summer, not only will visitors be able to tour the ground of the papal palace, but for the first time in history anyone can step foot in the pope’s private chambers, Winfield reports.
On one hand, this is a good alternative for the Vatican, as turning Castel Gandolfo into a museum puts the estate to good use without having to sell it. But for the locals, many of whom traditionally make much of their living when the pope—and his throngs of followers—came into town for the holiday, Pope Francis’ decision to stay away from the estate isn’t quite as commendable, Pullella reports.
“We fear it will be a tombstone for us if future popes follow his example,” Castel Gandolfo mayor Milvia Monachesi tells Pullella. “The fact that the palace is now a museum will make a reversal in the future difficult.”
Whether or not future popes decide to resume residencies at Castel Gandolfo is impossible to say. But for now, the estate’s vacancy offers the rare opportunity to peek inside the living quarters that housed some of the most powerful leaders in world history.
Go here to read the rest. Two observations. First, the Jesuits that PopeWatch have known have not demonstrated total non-concern for their comfort. Second, the pursuit of a humble life is probably good for an ecclesiastic, but it can be taken to extremes. PopeWatch recalls that one of Gandhi’s associates one time mused at how much it cost to have Gandhi live a life of ostentatious poverty. Pride can grow in poverty almost as easily as it grows in wealth.