Something For Conspiracy Theorists to Sweat About!

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A fascinating piece in the New York Times which will have leftist moonbats reaching for their tin foil head gear:

When we think political influence, we think big money: the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson. Father McCloskey has taken a vow of poverty, but he has another kind of influence. He has helped shape the spirituality and the thinking of powerful people who have similar views about the market and social issues. Many of his converts know one another; it is a kind of club. As Pope Francis is breathing life into the Catholic left, Father McCloskey is defibrillating the Catholic right.

In Palo Alto, where Opus Dei sent him in 2013 after a period in Chicago, Father McCloskey and I shared a late-afternoon cocktail. He talked about his college years, his time on Wall Street and his calling to become a priest. I had expected to be overwhelmed by charisma and instead was drawn in by gentleness. He listened more than he spoke, asked about my family, touched my arm several times.

Then, when it was over, Father McCloskey surprised me by asking that I not quote him. Opus Dei would not let him speak on the record.

So, to learn more about him, I turned to some of the men and women whom Father McCloskey has counseled.

Several discussed the pleasure he takes in conservatives’ company, and his quiet facility with networking. He gets referrals. To take one example, before Mr. Regnery ever met Father McCloskey, he knew about him from Mr. Kudlow and Mr. Novak, converts of Father McCloskey’s who, as conservative opinion columnists, knew pretty much everyone.

And in a church whose priests are often on the left economically, Father McCloskey has a niche. He is a devout free-marketeer, a priest who defends the compatibility of pro-business policies and Catholic theology.

But more than anything, when I asked what made Father McCloskey so successful at persuading people to join the church, I heard the answer, counterintuitive in its simplicity, that he befriends people, whether they ask for it or not.

“Once Father John gets his claws into you, he never lets go,” said Mr. Kudlow, who was fighting addictions to alcohol and cocaine when he met Father McCloskey in the 1990s.

“He reaches out and gives you that kind of companionship, and stays in touch,” Mr. Kudlow, now clean for almost 20 years, added.

Shortly after he began counseling Mr. Kudlow, Father McCloskey suggested that he go to church. Mr. Kudlow found that he loved Mass, and in 1997, he was baptized Catholic.

Mr. Brownback and Mr. Lehrman did not respond to requests for comment. Nor did the presidential candidate Rick Santorum, whose son was baptized by Father McCloskey. But Mr. Regnery, whose family firm has published William F. Buckley Jr., Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza, did respond, effusively.

In the 1990s, dissatisfied with the Episcopal Church, Mr. Regnery attended two weekend retreats run by Father McCloskey. They became friends, and in 2006 or 2007, he became a Catholic. Continue reading

Daffey Thoughts

 

A blog I have been reading lately is Daffey Thoughts, run by David Griffey, a Baptist minister who converted to Catholicism.  The video above is from 2006.  He is a graceful writer as demonstrated by this recent post:

This year has been a struggle, as I work things out relative to the shifts that have happened in Catholicism since I’ve been Catholic.  The last vestiges of pre-progressive culture have been swept behind us, except for those sexual issues that would likely not impact celibate men.  Everything else is increasingly along the lines of modern, Western, progressive and even secular social and political theory.

That is enough right there.  Add to it the slammed doors on any hope that I will be able to act in the capacity of a minister of the Gospel, and it’s been tough.  What to give up?  What to sacrifice?  What to commit to?

Well, I decided, a few weeks into Lent I admit, that my penance will be a daily visit to Catholic and Enjoying It.  That may sound strange.  But here is why.

In my early days of looking at non-Protestant Christianity, I stumbled on CAEI largely by accident.  I was searching for some free downloadable articles by Scott Hahn, without success.  Then I found an article by someone named Mark Shea.  It dealt with the strange aversion many Protestants have regarding Mary.  It was direct, but nice.  Even respectful.  There were some clever zingers, making the point without offending.  But the point was solid, fair, and truthful.

I went back, found his website, and gobbled up the articles.  They were almost all wonderful.  Here was a conservative American Catholic, not afraid to point out when Conservatism wasn’t following the path of Christ.  He was also fair when liberalism was correct.  His blog was a little more raucous.  But those were usually the readers.  Mark himself was often the goalie, stepping in and stopping things before they went too far.  Even telling his friends to back off.  No personal attacks or accusations were allowed.  Those would get you the door.

There you had it.  You could be conservative and Catholic.  The stereotype of Catholicism and Liberal Socialism voting Democrats as the sacramental calling of modern Catholicism was not universal.  You could love America, admit it sins, but not emphasize them (which Mark pointed out was often a very un-Christian thing to do).  You could respect the heritage of Western Civilization. You could evenly boldly declare “Why We Must Fight” following 9/11.  He even liked Tolkien, and the books I liked.  And his humor and mine were not too far off each other.

Perhaps it was my own fault that I saw in Mark’s rather balanced approach as what Catholicism was, rather than looking further.  But that was well over ten years ago.

Today, the Church has changed in just the time since we came into it.  The generation that had welcomed Protestant Clergy Converts into the fold have passed to retirement.  With some exceptions in the priesthood, most now in charge (Boomer age) seem to want little to do with us, unless we can design webpages or raise money.  And it isn’t hard to see that Oprah style liberalism and the growing pronouncements about reality from Church leaders sound increasingly the same.  The Bishops’ willingness to almost in one voice support the Democrats in all things, as long as they don’t screw the Church, and the shift toward accepting the Secular narrative are hard to miss.

True, Pope Francis is a horse of a different color.  But those who have studied liberation theology and the Marxist influences in South American Christianity will recognize at least some influences there, even if what he is willing to take a stand against other forms of radical leftist morality (again, usually where sex is concerned).

On CAEI, the change is even more pronounced.  It’s almost an entirely different world.  An entirely different blogger.  Most regulars of old have long since moved on.  The readers are either post-modern non-conformists cheering on their own superiority over all those loser “tribal Catholics”, or clearly hard to the Left progressives, with varying degrees of anti-abortion and non-gay marriage support.  In fact, opposing gay “marriage” is about the only thing that separates much modern talk about homosexuality in the Church from your average LGBT rally. And CAEI echoes this.

CAEI is a strange mixture now of Jack Chick, Glenn Beck, Huffington Post progressive thought, and a reminder that Catholics are, whether we want to admit it or not, heirs of the Inquisition.  For a couple years, many regulars tried to warn that there was little to do with enjoying anything on CAEI, and a growing discrepancy between a man who claims to be conservative, and a man who increasingly seems to love liberalism but hate conservatism.  One by one, those readers have apparently given up and moved on.  Only a handful remain.  God love them.

For me, who has been accused of horrible things by the stock readers and by Mark himself – including not caring about murdered children at Sandy Hook and desiring to increase human slaughter – there is little joy or happiness now.  The anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Traditional and anti-Conservative narrative fully embraced has made me more of an outcast there than I was at the Huffington Post.  And to be honest, I’ve been called far worse on CAEI than I was at the Huffington Post.  And it was leaving HP (as well as being banned for not being liberal) that was one of the reasons I started my blog!  Which is always a possibility at CAEI, since the thing that gets you banned now is pretty much defending traditional and conservative viewpoints, with rare exception. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Martians

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

New Calcedonia, Mars––Thousands of New Calcedonian martians from the northern quadrant of sector 490-3t protested outside New St. Peter’s today as bishops began talks on a number of heated issues including inter-species marriage and receiving communion in the pinchers. “The faithful and bishops alike are hoping to cover all the core issues that the average Catholic martian on the planet’s going through; issues such as understanding ‘the fall’ in regards to the martian race, and of course, receiving communion in the pinchers as opposed to one of the tongues,” spokesman for the Church in sectors 490-3t and 490-4t Androm’da Zmit told the press outside New St. Peter’s Square. “I have faith that our Holy Father Beeblebrox XV, together with the bishops, will be able to guide the faithful in these decisions…to help them better understand how he, she, or heshe can better telecommunicate the gospel.” One issue receiving lots of attention is that of intergalactic marriage. The question of whether humans could lawfully marry martians was first thrust into the spotlight when well known intergalactic space hockey player Xed Zardox fell in love with martian actress Trillion Pan Vogon, causing a storm of controversy. Other issues the bishops are considering are whether it’s admissible to form crop circles outside one’s own property and whether human probing is to be allowed during Lent. Continue reading

Flag, Country and Love

 

Something for the weekend.  Columbia the Gem of the Ocean seems appropriate for a Flag Day weekend.  Written in 1843, by Thomas a Becket, yeah, the name is correct, Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean was probably the most popular patriotic ballad of the Nineteenth Century:

O Columbia! the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot’s devotion,
A world offers homage to thee;
Thy mandates make heroes assemble,
When Liberty’s form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white and blue.


When war wing’d its wide desolation,
And threaten’d the land to deform,
The ark then of freedom’s foundation,
Columbia rode safe thro’ the storm;
With her garlands of vict’ry around her,
When so proudly she bore her brave crew;
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the red, white and blue,
The boast of the red, white and blue,
The boast of the red, white, and blue,
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the red, white and blue.
 
 
 

The star spangled banner bring hither,
O’er Columbia’s true sons let it wave;
May the wreaths they have won never wither,
Nor its stars cease to shine on the brave.
May thy service united ne’er sever,
But hold to the colors so true;
The army and navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
The army and navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue

Here is a rendition by Bing Crosby of Edward Everett Hale’ s story The Man Without a Country.  Published in the midst of the Civil War in December 1863, I have always regarded it as a profound meditation on Patriotism, Home and the meaning of America.  Hale, a grandnephew of Nathan Hale, hoped to bolster support for the Union with this plea for love of country and patriotism.  Schoolchildren used to be taught it, and when I first read it as a young boy it brought tears to my eyes. Continue reading

Christopher Lee: Requiescat in Pace

 

At 93 his death does not come as a shock, but it did come far too soon on June 7.  The great underrated actor of several generations in Great Britain, Christopher Lee was something of a man for all seasons.  In World War II he fought for his country with the Royal Air Force and had adventures worthy of a book on their own.  (Prior to serving in that War he had volunteered to fight for Finland in the Winter War of 1939-1940, although he did not see combat.)  His activities with the Special Air Service are still classified.

Taking up acting after the War, he achieved fame by starring in endless horror films produced by Hammer films.  His Dracula is still considered to be the definitive portrayal.  Lee warned his fans about getting involved with the occult:

“I have met people who to claimed to be Satanists, who claimed to be involved in black magic,” Lee continued.

“I certainly haven’t been involved and I warn all of you – never, never, never – you will not only lose your mind you’ll lose your soul.”

 

He could play anything, acting in over 200 films, although he seemed to have a penchant for over the top villains.  A world champion fencer, he probably has the record for the number of sword fights in films.  He always seemed to be having  a very good time on and off screen.

In addition to his acting he had a notable career also as a singer.

He was fluent in several languages, including Mandarin Chinese, although he never recorded any Chinese love ballads, alas.

He entitled his first volume of memoirs:  Tall, Dark and Gruesome.

 

Unlike a lot of actors and actresses he had a happy home life, married to the same woman for 53 years.  Your life was a grand performance Mr. Lee and you will be missed.

 

Slobs at Mass

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Father Z, with his comments, brings us the remarks of Bishop Tobin in regard to the way too many people dress and act at Mass:

The Holy Mass – “Let the Whole World Tremble”

After attending Sunday Mass in Florida not too long ago I came across the following admonition in the Sunday bulletin: “Please come to Mass early enough not to disrupt. Leave late enough not to insult. (The Mass does not end until the final blessing). Worship reverently enough not to distract. And dress proudly enough not to offend.” [Excellent.  Fathers, jot that down.  No, wait.  You are ignoring this.]

“Now that little blurb contains some very useful reminders,” I said to myself. It addresses a recurring problem in some our churches these days – an habitual lack of reverence for the sacred mysteries taking place in our midst, especially when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered.
While all of the points in the bulletin article have merit and should be observed, the reminder to “dress proudly enough not to offend,” might be the most relevant, especially now as we enter the hot and humid, casual days of summer. The sloppy and even offensive way people dress while attending Mass is something I’ve witnessed personally and regularly receive complaints about.

You know what I’m talking about; you’ve seen it too. Hirsute flabmeisters[Well done! Just the other day I taught my altar boys the word “hirsute”.] spreading out in the pew, wearing wrinkled, very-short shorts and garish, unbuttoned shirts; mature women with skimpy clothes that reveal way too much, slogging up the aisle accompanied by the flap-flap-flap of their flip-flops; hyperactive gum-chewing kids with messy hair and dirty hands, checking their iPhones and annoying everyone within earshot or eyesight.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

These displays reveal a gross misunderstanding of the sacred space we’ve entered in the church and the truly sacred drama taking place in our midst. C’mon – even in the summer, a church is a church, not a beach or a pool deck. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Green Encyclical Likely to be Worse Than Anticipated

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Judging from one of the three designated presenters at the rollout of the Green Encyclical on June 18, the Encyclical appears likely to be worse than critics feared.  Rorate Caeli gives us the details:

 

The Vatican has just revealed in today’s Bollettino the line-up of speakers for the official presentation of the “Environment Encyclical”, Laudato Si, on June 18 at the New Synod Hall.

– Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace;

– His Eminence Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church;

– Prof. John Schellnhuber, Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

 

Metropolitan John, 84 years old, is the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s leading figure in ecumenical discussions and has long been close to the Catholic ecumenical establishment. However this is the first time that an Orthodox metropolitan would be officially co-presenting a papal Encyclical. There are reports that the Encyclical will draw upon the teaching of Patriarch Bartholomew (whose interest in environmental issues is well known) and that there was even a proposal — which proved to be “not possible” — that the Encyclical be jointly promulgated by both the Pope and the Patriarch. 
Perhaps of far greater interest to most of our readership would be the presence of Prof. Schellnhuber on the panel. The father of the “two-degree target” to stave off global warming, he is the founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany (which is funded by the German government), Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He was one of the experts (alongside Jeffrey Sachs) tapped by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to write their joint statement on climate change published in April of this year, titled “Climate change and the common good: a statement of the problem and the demand for transformative solutions”. A description of the final document’s call for a “zero-carbon world” can be found here; the final published version seems to have been removed from the official website Pontifical Academy of Sciences, but to our knowledge has never been retracted.

In the words of the New York Times, Schellnhuber is “known for his aggressive stance on climate policy” and famously declared in 2009 that the “carrying capacity” of the Earth is less than one billion people:

A scientist known for his aggressive stance on climate policy made an apocalyptic prediction on Thursday.  

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said that if the buildup of greenhouse gases and its consequences pushed global temperatures 9 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today — well below the upper temperature range that scientists project could occur from global warming — Earth’s population would be devastated. 

(…)

“In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people,” said Dr. Schellnhuber, who has advised German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate policy and is a visiting professor at Oxford.

 At that temperature, there would be “no fluctuations anymore, we can be fairly sure,” said Dr. Schellnhuber, exercising his characteristically dark sense of humor at the morning plenary session on the closing day of an international climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

He is also known for his intense advocacy of rapid de-industrialization in order to stave off global warming. A 2009 article quotes him as follows:

Four degrees of warming would be hotter than any time in the last 30 million years, and it could happen as soon as 2060 to 2070.

“Political reality must be grounded in physical reality or it’s completely useless,” John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the conference.

Schellnhuber recently briefed U.S. officials from the Barack Obama administration, but he says they chided him that his findings were “not grounded in political reality” and that “the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this”.

He had told them that the U.S. must reduce its emissions from its current 20 tonnes of carbon per person average to zero tonnes per person by 2020 to have an even chance of stabilising the climate around two degrees C.

China’s emissions must peak by 2020 and then go to zero by 2035 based on the current science, he added.

“Policymakers who agreed to a two-degree C goal at the G20 summit easily fool themselves about what emission cuts are needed,” Schellnhuber said.

Last but not the least he is an advocate of a very real form of “World Government”, also in the name of defeating the climate crisis. His ideas are laid out in “Expanding the Democracy Universe“, where among other things he discusses his dream of an Earth Constitution, a Global Council elected by the people of the whole world, and a Planetary Court with jurisdiction over the whole world and with the power to penalize violations of the “Earth Constitution”.

Continue reading

June 12, 1945: Guildhall Address By Eisenhower

Seventy years ago General Eisenhower was honored at the Guildhall in London by being presented with a ceremonial sword and being made an honorary Londoner.  His speech, that he gave without notes, is quite eloquent and belies his usual reputation of being a poor public speaker.  It deserves to be better known and here is the text of the speech:

 

The high sense of distinction I feel in receiving this great honor from the city of London is inescapably mingled with feelings of profound sadness. All of us must always regret that your country and mine were ever faced with the tragic situation that compelled the appointment of an Allied Commander-in-Chief, the capacity in which I have just been so extravagantly commended.

 

Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends. Conceivably a commander may have been professionally superior. He may have given everything of his heart and mind to meet the spiritual and physical needs of his comrades. He may have written a chapter that will glow forever in the pages of military history. Still, even such a man, if he existed, would sadly face the fact that his honors cannot hide in his memories the crosses marking the resting places of the dead. They cannot soothe the anguish of the widow or the orphan whose husband or whose father will not return.

 

The only attitude in which a commander may with satisfaction receive the tributes of his friends is a humble acknowledgement that, no matter how unworthy he may be, his position is a symbol of great human forces that have labored arduously and successfully for a righteous cause. Unless he feels this symbolism and this rightness in what he has tried to do, then he is disregardful of the courage, the fortitude and the devotion of the vast multitudes he has been honored to command. If all the allied men and women that have served with me in this war can only know that it is they this august body is really honoring today, then, indeed, will I be content. Continue reading

Hath Melted Like Snow In The Glance Of The Lord

Assyrian Empire

 

 

The Destruction of Sennacherib

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

  Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

  For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

  And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

  And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

  And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

George Gordon, Lord Byron Continue reading

The Ten Commandments and Freedom

And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:  35-40

 

Dennis Prager, the founder of the Prager University series of videos, notes that the structure of the Ten Commandments follows what Jesus taught:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

You shall not kill.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

The Ten Commandments begins with our duties to God and ends with our duties to our fellow men.  Continue reading

PopeWatch: Computers

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The Pope recently spoke some common sense about computers:

Parents should not let children use computers in their bedrooms, the pope has said, while warning of the dangers of internet ‘filth’.

Pope Francis – who has 19million Twitter followers – also revealed he believed computers to be ‘bad for the soul’ as he launched into a lecture on the dangers of the internet age.

But he praised those parents who were concerned about their children’s exposure to pornographic material on the web, and only allowed the use of computers in common areas. 

*********************************

 

Francis went on to criticise those who are ‘too attached to their computer’, which he said is ‘bad for the soul’ and amounted ‘a psychological illness’.

‘It makes you a slave to your computer,’ he added.

He said that many parents trying to have a family meal felt like children were ‘in another world’ on their smartphones Continue reading

PopeWatch: Novelty Seekers

 

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So much for Fatima?

 

 

Francis spoke during his morning homily, three days after making a day trip to Sarajevo. En route home, Francis told reporters the Vatican would soon decide whether to formally recognize the Medjugorje phenomenon as authentic.

In his homily, Francis dismissed those “who always need novelty in their Christian identity” and say: “But where are the visionaries who tell us today about ‘The letter that the Madonna will send tomorrow at 4 p.m.?'”

“This isn’t Christian identity,” he said. “God’s last word is called Jesus and nothing more.” Continue reading

Gennarini, Archer and Shea

population%20control,%20copenhagen,%20china,%20abortion,%20save%20the%20earth%20abort%20a%20child-thumb-250x236-8013

 

Faithful readers of this blog will recall the interview that Stefano Gennarini conducted with Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, go here to read all about it.  The interview has developed into a larger controversy following a First Things article by Gennarini.  Go here to read it.  Mahound’s Paradise sets the stage for us:

 

 

The President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS), appointed by Pope Francis in 2014, just publicly dropped the “H” word on a pro-life writer at First Things.

The full saga involves the First Things writer, Stefano Gennarini, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo and Margaret Archer, the president of PASS. It was in the context of initial criticism by Gennarini of the Vatican working closely with “population control” advocates Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs.

Lifesite News sums the whole thing up well here. But I wanted to excerpt (with a few annotations) some of the worst parts of the letter written by Ms. Archer. The letter is extremely nasty–completely out of proportion to Mr. Gennarini’s initial calm criticisms–and often bizarrely off-subject, as when she accuses Mr. Gennarini of ignoring mass graves in Malaysia.
 
Keep in mind that this is a Vatican official appointed by the Pope, not some non-Catholic or squishy Catholic academic. And it was posted on an official Vatican website, not Salon or the Huffington Post:

Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth?…If so, this is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching. [Gennarini of course never says anything of the kind, but this is a standard move.] 

Why are you so totally uninterested in vicious practices, such as human trafficking that are an offence to the human dignity and right to life that you purport to defend? [Ditto.] 

In the last two weeks of April in question, mass graves were found in Malaysia and Thailand of those killed by their intended traffickers; tens of thousands were set adrift at sea without food or water by those intending to traffic them before they feared for their own lives through the ‘civilized’ solution of a ‘blockade’. Is this of no concern to you? [Ditto again.] 

Of course, your comments imply that you are a climate change denier… [Burn him!] 

Why do you direct a hate message to Bishop Sánchez Sorondo alone? [There’s that H-bomb.] Various Cardinals were present at different meetings. Instead, blame me, blame PAS. [Well, yeah, but Sorondo is the Chancellor.] We are respected academics who take full responsibility for our actions and have, according to our Statutes, the duty and privilege of advising the Church on matters of Social Doctrine and its application. I am appointed by the Pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold. Moreover, we work pro bono and are therefore are (sic) self-supporting, which makes me wonder which lobbyists meet your salary bill? [You dare to disagree with us? Who’s paying you?]  

Why are we not allowed to speak to Jeffrey Sachs or the Secretary General of the UN? [It’s a bit more than that.]…Well, that was not the attitude of Pope Francis who invited him to a private Audience, immediately prior to our joint PAS/PASS meeting on 28 April – to discuss climate change and human trafficking. Do you really have a higher moral standard than the Pope? Or is your own minimalistic version of the Creed, consisting of the single item: ‘’We believe in the ethical depravity of abortion’ considered to be an improvement? [Ditto for the third time.] 

It seems as if abject poverty, malnutrition, no schooling, and the prospect of no employment are of little concern to you after (children) have been born. [Well, personally, I also deeply care about employment opportunities for the unborn. But that’s just me.]

Who is Margaret Archer? As well as being the President of PASS, she is the Director of the “Centre for Social Ontology” at the University of Warwick.
Go here to read the rest. I find it rather odd that the President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences would engage in pro-abort rhetoric rather than address the moral problem with the Vatican getting into bed with pro-aborts.  (Yes, Hitler has a terrible policy regarding the Jews, but we can work with him on ecological issues.)  Mark Shea has chimed in, and his opinion is that the controversy is all the fault of the nasty pro-lifers:

There have been a number of pre-emptive strikes against Francis and his imminent encyclical.  So…

This time, they messed with the wrong woman – Margaret Archer, world-renowned social theorist and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In the context of an all-too-typical hit piece from First Things, she issued a defiant response. She asks a sequence of questions, starting with this one:

“Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth? If so, this is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching, whose concern is not confined to the newborn but extends to the development of all those potentialities and powers that exist only in potentia at birth (such as walking and talking) that develop or can be irreparably damaged throughout life.”

I’ve had people get mad at me when I’ve pointed out that things like the death penalty gun violence, unjust war, torture, or poverty are prolife issues too.  One reader furiously demanded to know why prolife activists were expected to drop everything and go protest some shooting in Detroit that killed a couple of people while a million and a half were dying from abortion, etc.  I was, I was told, placing an impossible demand on people with limited resources to do everything and be everywhere.

But that’s not what I’m saying.  I get that people have their focuses and can’t be everywhere doing everything.  Well and good.  If you are devoted to working against abortion full time and can’t fit anything else into your schedule then thank you for your hard work and may God bless and prosper it.  You are one of my heroes.

Yet here’s the  thing.  An awful lot of the “prolife” subculture, protesting that it has no time to expand its energies beyond protesting abortion, *does* have a huge amount of time and energy to work *against* the clear and obvious guidance of the Church on the issues I mention above.  Indeed, they often give every indication of having more time and energy for working against the Church on such issues than for actually doing prolife work.

Go here to read the rest.

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Good Vibrations

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Hmmm:

 

Pope Francis hopes people wish him well, no matter what they believe.

The head of the Catholic Church often asks people to pray for him, but he offered an alternative on Sunday, “Pray for me, and if some of you can’t pray because you are not believers, send me good vibrations,” Reuters reported.

The pope, 78, was meeting with Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, at the Vatican and spoke to reporters in Spanish, but his alternative to prayer has now been translated and shared in many languages around the world.  Continue reading

Death of William Quantrill

quantrill_grave

 

Doubtless “Captain” William Quantrill would have stood trial for the many crimes he and his partisan bands committed during the War, if he had not died on June 6, 1865.  In the spring of 1865 he had led a series of bloody raids in Western Kentucky.  The man that led to his downfall was Captain Edwin Terrell, in many ways a Union counterpart of Quantrill, who led Federal irregulars in Kentucky.  Starting as a Confederate he had switched sides after murdering a superior Confederate officer and established a reputation of plundering and killing Confederate sympathizers.  He was described by one of his soldiers as a bad man, perhaps as bad as Quantrill.  Quantrill and his few remaining men were ambushed by Terrell and his men at Wakefield Farm on May 10, 1864.   Quantrill and his men had sought shelter in a barn.  As he attempted to flee on horseback, Quantrill was shot in the back.  He was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.

When questioned, Quantrill denied that he was Quantrill.  Terrell believed him and rode off.  Frank James and four other men of Quantrill’s band attempted to rescue him after the Federals left.  Quantrill realized his life was drawing to a close:  Boys, it is impossible for me to get well, the war is over, and I am in reality a dying man, so let me alone. Goodbye.

Realizing ultimately that that he had shot Quantrill, Terrell rode back two days later and took Quantrill into custody.  Quantrill died at the Federal prison hospital in Louisville, Kentucky on June 6, 1865.  Nursed by a Catholic priest, he converted to Catholicism prior to his death and received the Last Rites.  He was 27 years old.  Terrell did not enjoy his notoriety long.  Less than a year later, on May 26, 1866, he was ambushed and partially paralyzed by one of the bullets shot at him by a posse seeking to apprehend him for his misdeeds.  He lingered for almost two and a half years in great pain, dying on December 13, 1868 unmourned, the Louisville Journal commenting in his obituary:   “No man ever more richly deserved a torturous death.”   He was 23 years old. Continue reading

800 Years of Magna Carta

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
What say the reeds at Runnymede?
The lissom reeds that give and take,
That bend so far, but never break,
They keep the sleepy Thames awake
With tales of John at Runnymede.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede:
‘You musn’t sell, delay, deny,
A freeman’s right or liberty.
It wakes the stubborn Englishry,
We saw ’em roused at Runnymede!

When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid line
The first attack on Right Divine,
The curt uncompromising “Sign!’
They settled John at Runnymede.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Your rights were won at Runnymede!
No freeman shall be fined or bound,
Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
Except by lawful judgment found
And passed upon him by his peers.
Forget not, after all these years,
The Charter signed at Runnymede.’

And still when mob or Monarch lays
Too rude a hand on English ways,
The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
Across the reeds at Runnymede.
And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
And crowds and priests and suchlike things,
Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
Their warning down from Runnymede!

Rudyard Kipling

 

 

We in America are the heirs of a very old English political tradition which established many of the concepts of civil liberty that we treasure.  At the heart of this tradition is Magna Carta, the great charter of rights that King John’s rebellious barons compelled him to sign at Runnymede on June 15, 1215, almost 800 years ago.

Documents like Magna Carta were commonplace in Western Europe during the Middle Ages, when the authority of kings was strictly restricted by nobles, commons and the Church.  However, what is unusual about Magna Carta is its vitality.  The English never forgot it, and whenever there was political upheaval in ages to come after 1215, the cry of Magna Carta was ever heard.

Much of Magna Carta contains provisions of little relevance to our time, although its general theme of  restrictions on governmental power is timeless.  Three provisions are just as important today as they were on that long ago June 15th:

(38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

(39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

(40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

 These provisions remind us that the study of history is not a mere antiquarian’s amusement, but rather an examination of the building blocks on which our world rests.  The text of the Great Charter: Continue reading

PopeWatch: Bear Growls-Broken Crucifix

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Saint Corbinian’s Bear notes a crucifix mishap for Pope Francis:


So many impious comments come to mind… Bear must resist. So Pope Francis broke his staff. How do you think this might have happened?

Can’t say the Bear’s ever been a fan of this ugly crucifix. Christ looks utterly defeated, and drawn toward the center of the earth. Inhuman. Even the cross is bent. Shouldn’t there be a hint of triumph? At least shouldn’t we be able to watch the Pope without being repulsed by the odd staff? That’s old, old news, of course. Yes, the Bear knows this comes from St. Pope John Paul II. It still doesn’t improve it.

Without making too much of it, he might have chosen to go onstage without it, rather than sending a message of fracture. Then again, Bears are a bit superstitious. Continue reading

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