The Saint, the Pope and the Dream


Now when he had come unto the Roman Curia, and had been introduced into the presence of the Supreme Pontiff, he expounded unto him his intent, humbly and earnestly beseeching him to sanction the Rule aforesaid for their life. And the Vicar of Christ, the lord Innocent the Third, a man exceeding renowned for wisdom, beholding in the man of God the wondrous purity of a simple soul, constancy unto his purpose, and the enkindled fervour of a holy will, was disposed to give unto the suppliant his fatherly sanction. Howbeit, he delayed to perform that which the little poor one of Christ asked, by reason that unto some of the Cardinals this seemed a thing untried, and too hard for human strength. But there was present among the Cardinals an honour-worthy man, the lord John of Saint Paul, Bishop of Sabina, a lover of all holiness, and an helper of the poor men of Christ. He, inflamed by the Divine Spirit, said unto the Supreme Pontiff, and unto his colleagues: “If we refuse the request of this poor man as a thing too hard, and untried, when his petition is that the pattern of Gospel life may be sanctioned for him, let us beware lest we stumble at the Gospel of Christ. For if any man saith that in the observance of Gospel perfection, and the vowing thereof, there is contained aught that is untried, or contrary unto reason, or impossible to observe, he is clearly seen to blaspheme against Christ, the author of the Gospel.” When these arguments had been set forth, the successor of the Apostle Peter, turning unto the poor man of Christ, said: “Pray unto Christ, my son, that He may shew us His will through thee, and when we know it more surely, we will more confidently assent unto thy holy desires.”
Then the servant of God Almighty, betaking himself wholly unto prayer, gained by devout intercession that which he might set forth outwardly, and the Pope feel inwardly. For when he had narrated a parable of a rich King that had of free will espoused a fair woman that was poor, and how the children she bare shewed the likeness of the King that begat them, and so were brought up at his table, even as he had learnt this of the Lord, — he added, as an interpretation thereof: “It is not to be feared that the sons and heirs of the everlasting King will perish of hunger, even they that have been born of a poor mother in the likeness of the King, Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that shall themselves beget sons through the spirit of Poverty in a little poor Religion. For if the King of heaven hath promised an everlasting kingdom unto them that follow Him, how much more shall He provide for them those things that He bestoweth alike on the good and on the evil? ” When the Vicar of Christ had diligently hearkened unto this parable, and the interpretation thereof, he marvelled greatly, and perceived that Christ had of a truth spoken through a man. Moreover, he maintained, by the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, that a vision that at that time was shewn unto him from heaven would be fulfilled in Francis. For in a dream he saw, as he recounted, the Lateran Basilica about to fall, when a little poor man, of mean stature and humble aspect, propped it with his own back, and thus saved it from falling. “Verily,” saith he, “he it is that by his work and teaching shall sustain the Church of Christ.” From this vision, he was filled with an especial devotion unto him, and in all ways disposed himself unto his supplication, and ever loved the servant of Christ with an especial affection. Then and there he granted his request, and promised at a later day to bestow yet more upon him. He sanctioned the Rule, and gave him a command to preach repentance, and made all the lay Brethren that had accompanied the servant of God wear narrow tonsures, that they might preach the word of God without hindrance.

Saint Bonaventura, Life of Saint Francis

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Angelo M. Codevilla





Who, a generation ago, could have guessed that careers and social standing could be ruined by stating the fact that the paramount influence on the earth’s climate is the sun, that its output of energy varies and with it the climate? Who, a decade ago, could have predicted that stating that marriage is the union of a man and a woman would be treated as a culpable sociopathy, or just yesterday that refusing to let certifiably biological men into women’s bathrooms would disqualify you from mainstream society? Or that saying that the lives of white people “matter” as much as those of blacks is evidence of racism? These strictures came about quite simply because some sectors of the ruling class felt like inflicting them on the rest of America. Insulting presumed inferiors proved to be even more important to the ruling class than the inflictions’ substance.

 Angelo M. Codevilla

PopeWatch: Political Advice From the Pope



The Pope had a fairly, for him, low key airline interview on his way back from his visit to the Caucasus.  The New York Times reporter attempted to elicit political advice from the Pope:

John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times Magazine: Holy Father, as you know the United States is nearing the end of a long presidential campaign that has been very ugly and has received much attention in the world. Many American Catholics and people of conscience are struggling with how to choose between two candidates, one of whom diverts from some aspects of the Church’s teaching and the other of whom has made statements vilifying immigrants and religious minorities. How would you counsel the faithful in America and what wisdom would you have them keep in mind next month when the election occurs?

Pope Francis: You pose me a question where you describe a difficult choice, because, according to you, you have difficulty in one and you have difficulty in the other. In electoral campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign. I’ll just say a word: Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience. Then, I’ll leave the issue and I speak of a fiction, because I don’t want to speak to this concrete issue. When it happens that in whatever country here are 2, 3, 4 candidates that no one likes, that means that the political life of the nation perhaps is too politicized but perhaps it doesn’t have that much politics. And,one of the jobs of the church, also in the teaching in the (university) faculties, is teaching to have political culture. There are nations, and I’m thinking of Latin America, which are too politicized. But, they don’t have political culture. They are from this party, or this one or this one. Effectively, (they are) without a clear thought on the foundations, the proposals.


Continue reading

First Vice Presidential Debate

The first Vice Presidential debate occurred almost forty years ago on October 15, 1976, and like all subsequent Vice Presidential debates it was soon forgotten.  Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this debate now is that both the participants are still alive, with Bob Dole being 93 and Walter Mondale 88.  Both men would go on to end their political careers with unsuccessful Presidential runs, with Walter Mondale coming briefly out of retirement in 2002 to suffer the humiliation of losing a Senate race in his home state of Minnesota.

Cultures in Isolation

An interesting look at the Ancient Egyptians, the Mayans and the Early Modern Japanese.  Not bad although the history is a bit weak at points, especially in regard to the contention that these civilizations were peaceful.  That would have come as a surprise to the subjects of the Egyptian Empire of the New Kingdom or to the Koreans fending off Japanese invasion in the late Sixteenth Century.  Japan, after the Meji Restoration in the 1860s, soon went on a path of rapid foreign expansion that ended only in 1945.  Only the Mayans really fit the argument being made in the video about the cultural advantages of isolationism and peace.  Cultural isolationism can also produce stagnant cultures like the Polynesians, the Eskimos and, actually, the Japanese of the Eighteenth Century.  However, I do enjoy cross-cultural looks at history, so I applaud the attempt if not the results.

PopeWatch: Gender Theory





When it comes to the pernicious make believe known as gender theory Pope Francis is right on target:

In an extended, off-the-cuff speech in Georgia, Francis said that today we are witnessing a “global war to destroy marriage” in which gender theory places a key role, fighting “not with weapons, but with ideas.”

The Pope has been an outspoken critic of LGBT agitators’ efforts to impose same-sex marriage and theories of gender fluidity that divorce gender from biological sexual differences.

Earlier this year, Francis published an lengthy teaching text on marriage and the family called The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), in which he underscored the unique value of motherhood and fatherhood, neither of which is dispensable or replaceable with a unisex version of “parent.”

He also said that the “legal deconstruction of the family” taking place in many countries cannot bode well for the future of society. It is unacceptable that “international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex,” he said.

In that same letter, Francis slammed gender theory for its denial of “the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman,” and for its dream of “a society without sexual differences.”


“An appreciation of our body as male or female,” he said, is “necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves.” Efforts to cancel out sexual differences based in anatomy are a symptom of a sick society that “no longer knows how to deal with it,” he wrote. Continue reading

October 2, 1780: Death of Major John Andre

After a court martial composed of senior generals of the Continental Army, Major John Andre, who had been captured on a mission to Major General Benedict Arnold who was about to betray West Point to the British, was executed on October 2, 1780.  Andre made a positive impression on all American officers who came in contact with him, universally praised for his courage and good humor in adversity.  However, the rules of war were the rules of war.  He had been captured in civilian garb within enemy lines on the mission of a spy.  He must therefore meet the fate of a spy.  Andre appealed his sentence to Washington, not to spare his life, but that his mode of execution be an honorable firing squad rather than the dishonorable gallows.  Washington declined the appeal although he esteemed Andre, in his phrase, as an “accomplished man and gallant officer.”

We have an eyewitness account of Andre’s death from James Thatcher, a surgeon in the Continental Army:

October 2d.– Major André is no more among the living. I have just witnessed his exit. It was a tragical scene of the deepest interest. During his confinement and trial, he exhibited those proud and elevated sensibilities which designate greatness and dignity of mind. Not a murmur or a sigh ever escaped him, and the civilities and attentions bestowed on him were politely acknowledged. Having left a mother and two sisters in England, he was heard to mention them in terms of the tenderest affection, and in his letter to Sir Henry Clinton, he recommended them to his particular attention. The principal guard officer, who was constantly in the room with the prisoner, relates that when the hour of execution was announced to him in the morning, he received it without emotion, and while all present were affected with silent gloom, he retained a firm countenance, with calmness and composure of mind. Observing his servant enter the room in tears, he exclaimed, “Leave me till you can show yourself more manly!” His breakfast being sent to him from the table of General Washington, which had been done every day of his confinement, he partook of it as usual, and having shaved and dressed himself, he placed his hat upon the table, and cheerfully said to the guard officers, “I am ready at any moment, gentlemen, to wait on you.” The fatal hour having arrived, a large detachment of troops was paraded, and an immense concourse of people assembled; almost all our general and field officers, excepting his excellency and staff, were present on horseback; melancholy and gloom pervaded all ranks, and the scene was affectingly awful. I was so near during the solemn march to the fatal spot, as to observe every movement, and participate in every emotion which the melancholy scene was calculated to produce.

Major André walked from the stone house, in which he had been confined, between two of our subaltern officers, arm in arm; the eyes of the immense multitude were fixed on him, who, rising superior to the fears of death, appeared as if conscious of the dignified deportment which he displayed. He betrayed no want of fortitude, but retained a complacent smile on his countenance, and politely bowed to several gentlemen whom he knew, which was respectfully returned. It was his earnest desire to be shot, as being the mode of death most conformable to the feelings of a military man, and he had indulged the hope that his request would be granted. At the moment, therefore, when suddenly he came in view of the gallows, he involuntarily started backward, and made a pause. “Why this emotion, sir?” said an officer by his side. Instantly recovering his composure, he said, “I am reconciled to my death, but I detest the mode.” While waiting and standing near the gallows, I observed some degree of trepidation; placing his foot on a stone, and rolling it over and choking in his throat, as if attempting to swallow. So soon, however, as he perceived that things were in readiness, he stepped quickly into the wagon, and at this moment he appeared to shrink, but instantly elevating his head with firmness he said, “It will be but a momentary pang,” and taking from his pocket two white handkerchiefs, the provost-marshal, with one, loosely pinioned his arms, and with the other, the victim, after taking off his hat and stock, bandaged his own eyes with perfect firmness, which melted the hearts and moistened the cheeks, not only of his servant, but of the throng of spectators. The rope being appended to the gallows, he slipped the noose over his head and adjusted it to his neck, without the assistance of the awkward executioner. Colonel Scammel now informed him that he had an opportunity to speak, if he desired it; he raised the handkerchief from his eyes, and said, “I pray you to bear me witness that I meet my fate like a brave man.” The wagon being now removed from under him, he was suspended, and instantly expired; it proved indeed “but a momentary pang.”

Andre, who wrote poetry in his spare time, had a poem in his pocket written by Jehoida Brewer in 1776 that Andre had transcribed during his captivity from memory: Continue reading


I will be doing my usual post on Lepanto on October 7, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity today to post the above video.  Tom Kratman, who does a grand job reading Chesterton’s poem, is a science fiction author and a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army.    In Lepanto Chesterton captured the spirit of Catholicism at its best in this world, a spirit that can never be beaten no matter the forces arrayed against it.

Yeah, It Was Just Pneumonia




As resolutely as most of the media attempts to ignore it, signs continue that there is something seriously wrong with Hillary’s health:

‘We love you, Hillary!’ an audience member shouted, giving her time to recompose herself. ‘Thank you!!’ Clinton replied.

She coughed once more and cleared her throat three additional times before she fully recovered. 

At the end of her remarks, as she was headed for the exit, Breitbart News noted that Clinton had to reach out for her lead Secret Service agent’s arm and steady herself for a moment before she descended down the steps.

It was the second time this week Clinton lost the struggle to control her voice in public. Since developing pneumonia, she’s had coughing fits several times and observers have noticed strangeness about her gaze. 

Continue reading

Liberals Have Another Pauline Kael Moment




“I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

Pauline Kael, Film Critic for The New Yorker, December 28, 1972

When it comes to our politics the divisions in our country are often deplored.  What really should be deplored is that one side of our politics, leftists, tend to lack the imagination to conceive how anyone could possibly in good will disagree with them.

Case in point Gail Collins’ op ed in the New York Times entitled “How Could Anyone Vote for Trump?”.

Why isn’t she leading 3 to 1? This is not a normal race between a Democrat and a Republican. One of the candidates has made it clear that he has no attention span or self-control. World security experts in both parties are terrified by the idea of a Trump presidency. He’s screwed small contractors in his business dealings and bought dumb presents for himself with money from his charitable foundation — a charitable foundation, by the way, that appears to have been managed by a team of gerbils. Also, he keeps changing his positions on critical issues and has paid settlements to people alleging he discriminated against them on the basis of race or not being attractive enough. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Seasonal



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

Just in time for the start of Fall, local hipster priest Fr. Kale Adams announced this morning that he has consecrated his first batch of Pumpkin Spice Eucharist.

Although the seasonal pumpkin flavor of Jesus’ body has been condemned by the Vatican, Fr. Adams has told his parishioners that they’re not sheep, but rather, “free souls that can’t be contained by the man or the Vatican.”


“Pumpkin Spice Eucharist allows me to express myself and my love for JC in ways you wouldn’t believe,” Adams told EOTT as he sat down to finish knitting a cover for his iPad. “And listen, to all those establishment bishops in Rome,  I was consecrating before it was cool. And that’s why my parishioners dig me and why so many of them have returned to the Church in the first place. You gotta give them what they want. And what they want is Jesus…Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, with a flawless blend of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger.”

At press time, Fr. Kale Adams is trying on his brand new hemp vestments. Continue reading

Tippecanoe and Tyler Too



Something for the weekend.  Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!  The 1840 campaign for President was considered to be an insult to intelligence by more than a few observers.  The Whigs put up a military hero of the War of 1812 William Henry Harrison.  Prior to the War of 1812 in 1811 he had gained the victory against massed Indian tribes under Tenskawtawa (the Prophet) the brother of Tecumseh.  The two Shawnee brothers had been meeting with some success in setting up a nascent Indian confederation to resist American expansion.  The battle was fought at Prophetstown, modern day Lafayette, Indiana, near to the confluence of the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers, hence the name of the battle was Tippecanoe and became a nickname for Harrison.  Harrison went on after the War to be a Senator from Ohio and an ambassador to Colombia, but had met with little political success in the 1830s.  At the time he received the Whig nomination he was Clerk of Courts for Hamilton Country Ohio.  His running mate was John Tyler, a Virginia aristocrat and former Democrat, who had turned against Jackson.  Tyler had served in the state legislature in Virginia, in Congress both in the House and in the Senate, and as Governor of Virginia.  He was put on the ticket to ensure Southern votes.

The incumbent Martin Van Buren had reaped the whirlwind sown by Jackson’s economic policies and the country was ready for change.  However, serious discussion of the issues of the day was largely absent from the campaign.  The Democrats then, as now, posed as the champion of the common man..  Van Buren came across as something of a stuffed shirt.  When a Democrat paper made the mistake of sneering, completely inaccurately, as a backwoodsman, who would be content to live in his log cabin if awarded a pension of 2000 a year and a barrel of hard cider, the Whigs seized upon it gleefully.  Usually accused as being the party of the rich, the Whigs ran a “hard cider and log cabin” campaign decrying Martin Van Buren as a New York aristocrat who wore frilly shirts, used perfume and ate off of gold plate.  The tenor of the campaign is illustrated by this little ditty that Whig partisans would chant:

Old Tip he wore a homespun coat, he had no ruffled shirt: wirt-wirt,
But Matt he has the golden plate, and he’s a little squirt: wirt-wirt! Continue reading

Trump’s Letter to Pro-Lifers: My Personal Rubicon

725 Fifth Avenue · New York · New York · 10022 ·
September 2016
Dear Pro-Life Leader:
I am writing to invite you to join my campaign’s Pro-Life Coalition, which is being spearheaded by longtime leader Marjorie Dannenfelser.
As we head into the final stretch of the campaign, the help of leaders like you is essential to ensure that pro-life voters know where I stand, and also know where my opponent, Hillary Clinton, stands.
Hillary Clinton not only supports abortion on-demand for any reason, but she’d take it a step further:  she wants to force the taxpayers to pay for abortions by repealing the bi-partisan Hyde Amendment.  Hillary Clinton also supports abortion until an hour before birth. And she will only appoint Supreme Court justices who share this view.
She doesn’t even try to hide her extremism. When asked on Meet the Press when unborn children have constitutional rights, Clinton bluntly responded, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.” She is so committed to this view that she proclaimed in a speech that “religious beliefs…have to be changed” in order to advance her abortion agenda.
Hillary Clinton’s unwavering commitment to advancing taxpayer-funded abortion on-demand stands in stark contrast to the commitments I’ve made to advance the rights of unborn children and their mothers when elected president. I am committed to:
Nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide.
Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and re-allocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care
for women.
Making the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.
Your help is crucial to make this contrast clear in the minds of pro-life voters, especially those in battleground states. Together we can form this vital coalition so that Mike Pence and I can be
advocates for the unborn and their mothers every day we are in the White House.
Donald J. Trump

Continue reading

Awful Foreshadowing


Events in history sometimes seem as if they were written by a novelist, or should I say Novelist.  Such was the sad case of Philip Hamilton.  Eldest son of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Hamilton, Hamilton graduated at the age of 19 from Columbia, a brilliant student like his father.  It was at a Fourth of July celebration at Columbia that he heard George I. Eacker, a 27 year old lawyer and a political supporter of Aaron Burr, give a speech attacking his father.  Hamilton and his friend Richard Price called Eacker out in a Manhattan theater on November 21, 1801.  Eacker called them damned rascals and they responded by challenging Eacker to duels.  Eacker fought a duel the next day with Richard Price in which neither of the participants was injured, although shots were exchanged.

On November 22, 1801 in Weehawken, New Jersey, the same place where his father would receive his fatal wound from Aaron Burr, Hamilton and Eacker faced each other.  Apparently they faced each other about a minute without raising their pistols, and one wishes that reason had prevailed.  Eacker finally fired, hitting Hamilton in his right hip and left arm.  Hamilton also fired, but this may have been merely an involuntary reaction to the force of the shot that hit him.  Some sources say that Alexander Hamilton had counseled his son to fire in the air before his opponent fired, so that the matter could be settled honorably without blood shed. Continue reading

PopeWatch: What Beautiful Clothes the Emperor is Wearing!





Tom Hoopes over at National Catholic Register demonstrates why so much of what passes for Catholic journalism in this papacy is worse than useless:

I’ll go further: My vocation, in fact, calls me to defend the Holy Father wherever and however I can.

I freely admit that this is not always easy. I spent a year working on What Pope Francis Really Said, and what a year it was. It was the year of Laudato Si and the synod on the family. I was writing about papal remarks on everything from “Who am I to judge?” and “rabbits” to Zika and Amoris Laetitia.

At first, I hated it. I hated slogging through the Pope’s words at exactly the moment great doubt was being cast on him.

But now, I am so grateful that I did it. I can hardly contain my joy. I discovered a secret I desperately want to share: Far from tearing the Church apart with oafish ambiguity, Pope Francis is building it up with strategic intelligence.

It would take a book to explain what I mean. But suffice it to say that we needn’t either strike down our own shepherd on the one hand or cover up his embarrassment on the other.

What we should do, in fact, is unite around “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful,” which, Catechism 882 tells us, is “the Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor.” Continue reading

Short For Gabriel


A Passage For TrumpetTwilight Zone episode originally broadcast on May 20, 1960.  Drunken, suicidal trumpet player Joey Crown, (Jack Klugman), gets a second chance at life, courtesy of an angelic trumpet player, (John Anderson), named Gabe. Continue reading

Pope Leo and Saint Michael the Archangel



(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.
Continue reading

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