One of the more colorful episodes in the siege of Petersburg, the Great Beefsteak Raid of September 14-17 helped cement Major General Wade Hampton III as a worthy successor to Jeb Stuart in command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Learning that a large herd of cattle were being grazed by the Union at Edmund Ruffin’s plantation on Coggin’s Point on the James River, Hampton decided to launch a raid behind enemy lines with 3,000 troopers, capture the cattle and drive them back into Confederate lines to feed the Army of Northern Virginia that was on starvation rations.
Hampton and his men seized the herd on September 16, and got 2,468 of them back into Confederate lines on September 17. Along with the cattle he brought back 304 Union prisoners, having suffered 61 Confederate casualties during the course of the raid. President Lincoln referred to it as “the slickest piece of cattle stealing” he had ever heard of. An exasperated Grant, when a reporter after the raid asked him when he expected to defeat Lee, snapped, “Never, if our armies continue to supply him with beef cattle.”
In 1966 a heavily fictionalized film on the beefsteak raid, Alavarez Kelly, was released. Here is Hampton’s report on the raid: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
(I originally posted this in 2010. I think I will begin posting it on each September 29, the feast of the Archangels.)
In 1947 Father Domenico Pechenino related what he had witnessed over six decades before.
“I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.
“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”
Cardinal Giovanni Batista Nassalli Rocca di Corneiliano wrote in his Pastoral Letters on Lent: “the sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day.”
The Prayer written by the Pope is of course the famous prayer to Saint Michael:
Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.
Amen. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Note to self: never get on Kevin Williamson’s bad side. Here is Williamson’s rebuttal to a particularly empty-headed column from Lena Dunham.
If you would like to be filled with despair for the prospects of democracy, spend a few minutes attempting to decipher the psephological musings of Lena Dunham, the distinctly unappealing actress commissioned by Planned Parenthood to share with her presumably illiterate following “5 Reasons Why I Vote (and You Should, Too).” That’s 21st-centuryU.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.
It is an excellent fit, if you think about it: Our national commitment to permanent, asinine, incontinent juvenility, which results in, among other things, a million or so abortions a year, is not entirely unrelated to the cultural debasement that is the only possible explanation for the career of Lena Dunham. A people mature enough to manage the relationship between procreative input and procreative output without recourse to the surgical dismemberment of living human organisms probably would not find much of interest in the work of Miss Dunham. But we are a nation of adult children so horrified by the prospect of actual children that we put one in five of them to death for such excellent reasons as the desire to fit nicely into a prom dress.
It’s not for nothing that, on the precipice of 30, Miss Dunham is famous for a television series called Girls rather than one called Women. She might have gone one better and called it Thumbsuckers. (The more appropriate title Diapers would terrify her demographic.)
And he’s just getting warmed up.
Williamson’s contempt for Dunham is shared by yours truly, as she is representative of a completely narcissistic generation of pseudo-intellectuals whose idea of good citizenship is casting ballots that elicit warm fuzzies in the cockles of one’s heart. Dunham’s insipid and banal meanderings would be worthy of mild scoffing were it not for the fact that a generation of Americans is so mesmerized by her lot.
Williamson says in his concluding paragraph:
I would like to suggest, as gently as I can, that if you are voting as an act of self-gratification, if you do not understand the role that voting in fact plays in a constitutional republic, and if you need Lena Dunham to tell you why and how you should be voting — you should not vote. If you get your politics from actors and your news from television comedians — you should not vote. There’s no shame in it, your vote is statistically unlikely to affect the outcome of an election, and there are many much more meaningful ways to serve your country and your fellow man: Volunteer at a homeless shelter; join the Marine Corps; become a nun; start a business.
Statistically speaking, those most in thrall with Dunham, Stewart, et al are likeliest to stay home on election day. Unfortunately, the percentage of Americans who are of this type is growing as we are increasingly becoming a nation of perpetual children (who, in turn, have no actual children, but that is for the next post).
Government fails in its elementary duty to protect kids at a government school where it forbade its citizens from possessing weapons for self defense. Kids are slaughtered. The government solution: regulate home schoolers!
Under a new law proposed this week by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, every homeschooling parent with a child who has been labeled with a behavioral or emotional problem would be forced to submit to a host of strict, burdensome regulations.
School officials could then decree whether parents may continue to educate their own children, reports the Connecticut Post. Administrators could pull the plug on any parents’ homeschooling by declaring that the child failed to make “adequate progress.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Have you noticed that as government becomes more of a ponzi scheme where it takes in huge amounts of money and doles out some of it to a large number of recipients in the body politic it has taken on the hectoring privileges of a parent paying out allowances to wayward brats? The late Kenneth Minogue did. From 2010:
My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us.
No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism.
We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
After the fall of Altlanta, General John Bell Hood, commander of the Army of Tennessee, faced a quandry. He confronted an army led by Sherman that heavily outnumbered his force. Confederate manpower reserves were used up, and he could look for no further substantial reinforcements, while Sherman could rely upon an apparently inexhaustible flow of supplies and men from the North. If Hood remained on the defensive the initiative remained with Sherman who was clearly readying his army to plunge into the heart of the Confederacy.
In these dire circumstances Hood hit upon the plan of heading north and forcing Sherman to follow him to protect his supply lines. This would perhaps forestall a futher advance by Sherman into the deep South and with luck allow the Confederates to retake Atlanta and other occupied territory.
It was a desperate throw of the dice. Moving north Hood moved ever closer to areas that the Union held in strength, and risked his Army being caught in a vice between Sherman and the forces that the Union could quickly amass due to their control of the rail net and the rivers of Tennessee. However, it was probably the best of the very bad options confronting Hood. Here are his comments on the start of his Tennessee campaign which appeared in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, condensed from his memoirs, Advance and Retreat: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”
Saint Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram Libri Duodecim →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Don and Paul are upstanding citizens in their respective communities practicing law.
This video explains it all:
Caring for and ruling the environment are biblical imperatives going back to the Book of Genesis. It’s a no-brainer: There is what might be termed a “Catholic environmentalism.”
This sound, theological proposition is not the ideology of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism and propounded by their stormy petrels and a compliant mainstream media. It is not rooted in contrived “facts” supported by spurious research that, in the end, is dubious research, at best. It also is not “sexy” in the sense that Catholic environmentalism will win the Church a Nobel Prize or that Pope Francis will jet across the imperiled globe in a private jet, increasing his carbon footprint while, at the same time, preaching against everyone else who does so.
No, Catholic environmentalism is constructed upon a profound sense of responsibility for the gift of nature, entrusted to humanity by its Creator. Love of God and of neighbor are the twin pillars upon which Catholic environmentalism is constructed. Catholic environmentalism is, as Pope Francis has said of marriage and fidelity to spouse and family, “a beautiful thing.”
That said, it appears some very high Vatican operatives have become smitten with the secular version of environmentalism, relying upon its dubious “scientific” reserach to assert that it’s a “moral imperative” to act with regard to “climate change.” Consider what the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said to the 2014 United Nations’ Climate Change Summit:
The scientific consensus is rather consistent and it is that, since the second half of the last century, warming of the climate system is unequivocal. It is a very serious problem which, as I said, has grave consequences for the most vulnerable sectors of society and, clearly, for future generations.
Numerous scientific studies, moreover, have emphasized that human inaction in the face of such a problem carries great risks and socioeconomic costs. This is due to the fact that its principal cause seems to be the increase of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere due to human activity. Faced with these risks and costs, prudence must prevail, which requires thoughtful deliberations based on an accurate analysis of the impact our actions will have on the future.
The problem with Cardinal Parolin’s assessment is that no “scientific consensus” exists concerning global warming. What exists are manipulated data—which many have called “fraudulent”—that conform to the ideology of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism and whose political goal is to impose a novus ordo saeculum—a new one-world order—across the globe.
Considering the content of the Cardinal’s speech, it might just as well have been written by those who worship at the altar of environmentalism. Yes, it might not promote the gospel of global warming, but it’s there. Yes, it may not be hysterical in tone, but it’s there. What’s next, a papal encyclical concerning the Earth’s melting icecaps which are raising the ocean’s levels and threatenting to imperil cities, when, in fact those icecaps are expanding? Another papal encyclical calling upon the people of the earth to protect the endangered polar bears whose numbers are actually expanding?
The Vatican oftentimes is criticized for immersing itself in matters that are “beyond the Church’s competence.” That’s certainly apropos in this regard. There absolutely is an imperative—a scripturally-based imperative—to care for and rule creation in order to ensure the next generation’s health and well-being. As Cardinal Parolin notes, that would be “prudent.”
But, to provide propaganda for those who worship at the altar of environmentalism that will be propagated by their stormy petrels as well as a compliant mainstream media isn’t good diplomacy. Especially when those statements are rooted in falsehood.
To read Cardinal Parolin’s address, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Vatican spokesman Fr. Vitateli Devitiamani told EOTT that, “He came for a dinner as scheduled and then proceeded to return to his old living quarters. That wouldn’t be a problem, since His Holiness Pope Francis chose to live elsewhere, the room is open. However, once we asked him where he was going, he simply said, ‘I’m back,’ then proceeded to put his sunglasses on even though we were inside.”
“You have to understand that, months ago, I received a call from Word of Fire Catholic Ministries. It was Fr. Steve Grunow on the phone along with his colleague Jared Zimmerer. They’re both serious about the care of the body and the mind, and offered to help me regain some strength in both. I gratefully accepted. So, after months of training, I’ve lost weight, regained my muscle mass and strength of mind. I’ve never felt better. And to tell you the truth, I never actually filed the paperwork to officially exit my office,” Benedict said just outside the Bernini Columns where he proceeded to flick a lit cigarette into a full barrel of gasoline and walk away as the barrel exploded.
Something for the weekend. Autumn from the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1725, like all of Vivaldi’s music it scampered into obscurity after his death, only to be surprisingly revived in the rediscovery of Vivaldi in the last century.
Fall has always been my favorite season. Gone is the heat of summer and I find the cooler weather bracing. The leaves in all their glorious colors, as they move from life to death, have always struck me as a symbol of a life well spent. A time for action and meditation, at least in my practice for some reason.
In line with My Little Pony Cavalry Commander.
Ye brave Newfoundlanders who plough the salt sea,
With hearts like the eagle so bold and so free,
The time is at hand when we’ll have to say
If Confederation will carry the day.
Men, hurrah for our own native Isle, Newfoundland,
Not a stranger shall hold one inch of its strand;
Her face turns to Britain, her back to the Gulf,
Come near at your peril, Canadian Wolf!
Cheap tea and molasses they say they will give,
All taxes taken off that the poor man may live;
Cheap nails and cheap lumber, our coffins to make,
And homespun to mend our old clothes when they break.
If they take off all taxes, how then will they meet
The heavy expenses on army and fleet?
Just give them the chance to get into the scrap,
They’ll show you the trick with pen, ink and red tape.
Would you barter the right that your fathers have won?
Your freedom transmitted from father to son?
For a few thousand dollars Canadian gold
Don’t let it be said that our birthright was sold.
Newfoundland Anti-Confederation folk song (1869)
Faithful readers of this blog know that my sainted mother was from Newfoundland. My mother and my father after my birth in Paris, Illinois, due to my 21 year old Mom being deeply homesick, lived in Newfoundland from 1957-1961. My brother was born there in 1958. Newfoundland never being an easy place to make a living, for all its stark beauty, my family returned to Paris, Illinois in 1961 so that my father could obtain employment, and that is where my parents lived for the remainder of their lives, and where my brother and I were raised.
Newfoundland was granted dominion status on this day in 1907. During World War I, Newfoundland had a proud war record, its regiment in France being granted the signal honor of being designated the Royal Newfoundland regiment. Alas war debts, the Great Depression and corrupt politicians bankrupted the nation and Newfoundland, with its legislature suspended, and a governor appointed by Great Britain, became a colony, in all but name, again in 1934.
In 1948 a referendum was held to determine the future of Newfoundland, with three options: restoration of dominion status, confederation with Canada, and a continuation of being a colony of Great Britain. The Brits made it quite clear that they could no longer afford to subsidize Newfoundland. There was some sentiment among Newfoundlanders to ask the US Congress for statehood, but supporters of that idea were unable to get it on the ballot. In the first referendum held, a narrow plurality of voters chose dominion status, with confederation with Canada coming in a close second. In the second referendum the option for continued colonial status was dropped. Confederation supporters, some of them, prior to the second referendum, appealed to religious bigotry by arguing that Catholic bishops were telling Catholics to support dominion status, which an overwhelming number of Catholics did support. In the second referendum 52% of the votes were cast for confederation, so Newfoundland joined what prior generations of Newfoundlanders had often referred to as the Canadian wolf! It was still a topic of some controversy in the Sixties among my Mom’s relatives! →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The worst President, alright Mr. Buchanan, I see your hand, maybe he is only tied with you, plumbs new depths of approval for him:
Barack Obama’s approval rating slid into dangerous territory this week, with the latest Reuters-Ipsos poll showing just 35 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job performance even as he leads the nation into a war against Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans expressed disapproval of the White House’s current occupant — 37 percent of them “strongly.” Just 17 percent strongly approved of Obama’s current performance. The poll is based on a five-day rolling average. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
PopeWatch has been amused at a number of Catholic bloggers seeking to convince their readers, perhaps even to convince themselves, that the appointment of Blase Cupich to be Archbishop of Chicago does not send a clear signal by Pope Francis of where he intends to lead the Church. EJ Dionne, Washington Post columnist, yellow dog Democrat, liberal, pro-abort and Catholic, has a better understanding of what the appointment means and does a victory dance in his Washington Post column:
Cupich is a Francis Catholic through and through. He was one of the first church leaders I know who immediately and fully understood the meaning of this pope’s election — Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, was the other — and in an e-mail Wednesday, Cupich embraced the pope’s commission in explaining his priorities.
“I keep going back to the Holy Father’s call for the kind of serious ongoing conversion that all of us are called to,” he wrote, “on the issues of accompaniment, non-judgmentalism and the throwaway culture of exclusion.”
Asked which aspects of the American church needed to be preserved and safeguarded, he offered a list that made his priorities clear. Note what he put first: “our outreach to the poor, the participation of laity in the liturgical life of the church, the vitality of the new immigrant groups, the heroism of parents who sacrifice for their children because of their faith, and the continuing witness of priests and religious women.”
As for American politics, Cupich has emphasized dialogue rather than confrontation with the Obama administration over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. While many bishops declined to help the uninsured sign up for coverage under the ACA, Cupich asked Catholic Charities in eastern Washington to join in the effort on the basis of a long-standing Catholic principle. “We consider health care a basic human right,” he said. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Nathan Bedford Forrest again demonstrated that so long as he was in the vicinity no Union supply line was safe. On September 23, 1864, near Athens, Alabama, he and 4500 troopers were engaged in destroying a Union controlled rail trestle. He easily beat a Union force that sallied from Fort Henderson to stop him. Taking Athens, he began an artillery barrage on Fort Henderson on the morning of the 24th. Convincing the Union commander that he had 8,000-10,000 men, a common Forrest trick, the garrison capitulated. Shortly after the capitulation, 350 men of the 18th Michigan and the 102nd Ohio had the misfortune to arrive by rail. Forrest promptly attacked them, and they surrendered after losing a third of their numbers. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading