Persecution of Christians in the US

Monday, January 9, AD 2017

For the first time the group Persecution.Org, that looks each year at persecution of Christians around the globe, has numbered the United States among the persecutors.
On June 11, 2016, Omar Mateen, a US-based radical Muslim, attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring 53 more. In a call to 911, he clearly laid out his motivation. The attack
was driven by his allegiance to ISIS and desire for retribution for attacks on ISIS. Incredibly, after the attack, numerous high profile media outlets blamed the attacks on what they perceive as the anti-LGBTQ atmosphere that Christians have created. 
In short, Christians in the US are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and close- minded. The characterization in the media may be translating into direct attacks as well. The First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the US dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom, documents such actions and reports that attacks on religion doubled between 2012 and 2015.
More importantly, Christians and all religious people are being marginalized through the law.
From the case of a Christian football coach suspended for praying at the 50-yard line, to Christian business owners forced to pay a $135,000 fine for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, the number of troubling cases directed towards Christians has exploded.
In 2011, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship lost their official recognition as a student organization in all of their respective chapters across 23 California public colleges. This occurred because the
Christian organization required their respective leaders to uphold a doctrinal statement of Biblical principles, which allegedly conflicted with California State universities’ policies. After four years of embattled negotiations, InterVarsity regained their official recognition in June 2015.
In 2014, Eric Walsh was terminated one week after being hired by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The basis of termination was alleged undisclosed income from prior employment in California.  However, the Georgia DPH knew that Walsh was a Christian preacher outside of work and went to great lengths to review and investigate the content of his sermons posted on YouTube. Georgia officials have even requested copies of Walsh’s sermons, despite prior statements that the termination had nothing to do with his religious views or affiliations.
Walsh is currently suing the Georgia DPH for wrongful termination and religious discrimination.
The rise of these cases stems partly from a broad cultural shift towards secularism. The Pew Foundation found that those identifying as non-religious in the US rose by seven percent, to 23 percent of the total US adult population within just seven years (2007 to 2014).
Anti-Christian entities have been able to leverage the growing secularization of society and culture to their advantage, utilizing the courts as a preferred venue to gradually marginalize and silence
Christians. Using the cudgel of “equality,” secular forces in and out of the courts have worked to create a body of law built from one bad precedent after another. Claims of intolerance and inequality are used to fundamentally distort the clear intent of the First Amendment.
The Founders carefully and deliberately placed religious freedom as the first liberty because it encompasses several fundamental rights including thought, speech, expression, and assembly. The First Amendment explicitly grants freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The essential aim is to protect the right of citizens to practice religion in the public square.
Decades of accumulated poor judicial decisions and precedents have twisted the First Amendment so that the courts, in defiance of the Founders, are pushing religion out of the public square, and into the small space of private expression. In essence, the courts are deciding that you only have full religious freedom and expression in the church and your home. In the public domain, your religious views and thoughts must be restrained and controlled.
This trend is extremely worrying in the country that has long held the ideal of religious liberty.
While there is no comparison between the life of a Christian in the US with persecuted believers overseas, ICC sees these worrying trends as an alarming indication of a decline in religious liberty in the United States.

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5 Responses to Persecution of Christians in the US

  • Jesus said that it is going to get worse. Luke 21:12-18
    .
    12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be a time for you to bear testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; 17 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

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  • Christians often bring these things upon themselves. Mainline Protestantism has bent over backwards to accommodate the increasingly hostile secular culture and in the process have become nearly empty shells.
    The Catholic Church hierarchy in the US and Canada has done much the same thing. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue…..talk, talk, talk, while, with the explicit approval of Cardinal Wuerl, give Communion to so called Catholics who openly oppose Catholic teaching on abortion and any number of other issues.
    Meanwhile, fundamentalists swarm Internet comboxes blathering Bible quotes and tell everyone who will or will not listen that Catholics aren’t Christians.
    The adherents of the SSPX, the Traditional Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox and few others get it. Not many others do.

  • Calling it persecution is rather florid. We live in an age, though, where the institutions in society which least merit our respect are the academy and the judiciary.

  • My doctor is Eastern Orthodox. She is an Egyptian and we have had many interesting discussions during my visits. We shared an “Eureaka” moment one day. I was asking her about where in the pancreas lay the Islets of Langkerhans, when suddenly I got it ! I uttered, “That proves there’s a God. We don’t even
    know what we are !” She slammed her fist on the desk and shouted, “That’s right !!!”
    Timothy R.

Chinese Christians Standing Up

Tuesday, May 31, AD 2016

 

From Instapundit:

IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN, I SHALL BECOME MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE: The Chinese Christian Crackdown:

Between 1,200 and 1,700 crosses have come crashing down over the past two years in China’s Zhejiang Province, where the brutal repression of Christians has also seen churches demolished and pastors imprisoned, all with the blessing of top party officials. . . .

Having recognized Christianity as a potential threat to the CCP’s grip on power, Xi could be test-driving religious persecution in China’s Christian heartland before taking the policy nationwide. As we’ve said before, the ongoing persecution is not in China’s national interest; if anything, it may make Christians stronger.

Repression is turning a largely placid Christian population into deeply unhappy one. So far in Zhejiang Christian leaders have sermonized against the new policies and their parishioners have organized protests, sometimes going as far as clashing with security forces and blockading churches slated for demolition. Take this policy nationwide, and China’s government may be in for a massive showdown with a Christian community that outnumbers the Communist Party.

Onward, Christian soldiers.

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3 Responses to Chinese Christians Standing Up

  • Not really into all the women acolytes, but after all, this is quite obviously a Protestant community.
    However, on many occasions women have proven to be as strong as men, if not more so, so I totally applaud their faithfulness, and completely agree with your last paragraph.
    When is our culture going to staunch up and face off the likes of Obama and his acolytes, and there are no shortage of his ilk in our country, our neighbor brothers the Aussies, and our ancestral migrant homelands, Britain, Holland and the rest of Catholic Europe?
    The good thing is that our present migrant Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese and Indians – all form the new Church in Asia – are giving us an example in courage and commitment to the gospel and Faith in Christ. Long may it continue.

  • The freaky thing about women is that we tend to keep the home fires burning– banked ashes when the visible flames of the male leadership are…gone.
    I know that China thinks very differently than we do, but you’d think they’d be smart enough to look over at Japan and see how “well” official repression worked.

Parodies

Sunday, September 27, AD 2015

17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

2 Peter 2:  17-22

 

 

Both the videos should be parodies, but sadly only the one below from those brilliantly twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire is an intentional one:

 

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4 Responses to Parodies

End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

Monday, September 1, AD 2014

It’s the unofficial end of Summer and it’s my annual gratuitous post of myself day.  The pic below was taken in mid-July, but I waited to fix the feed to The American Catholic in order celebrate the Summer.  Needless to say, it’s fixed and the Summer is almost over.

During the Summer I asked my fellow blogger Don for some book recommendations for the French Revolution.  Of the few he did mentioned, I picked up Simon Schama’s ‘Citizen’.  The reading is in-depth, interesting, and balanced.  I’m a bit over halfway finished of the 948 pages and am so far impressed.  Considering that we are in the post-Cold War era, I wanted to know a bit more on the French Revolution since their errors have already engulfed Europe and has almost metastasizing here in the United States.  The book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens.

My opinion on the subject is that the French Revolution is the confluence of anti-Christian ideas emanating from the so-called era of enlightenment.  These very same ideas unleashed the short-term devastation of the rape of nuns, the execution of priests, and the degradation of houses of worship.  The long-term affects have furthered the cause of eliminating God from all aspects of life blossoming further in the Communist Revolution in Russia and continued to bear the fruit of death in World Wars I & II.  From this compost grew what we now call modern liberalism & democratic socialism.

End of Summer Tito Edwards Simon Schama Citizens 500x625Happy Labor Day!

 

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36 Responses to End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

  • The best histories of the French Revolution probably remains those of two Catholic historians, Hilaire Belloc and Lord Acton.
    Belloc brings out the central rôle of Carnot, the War Minister and effective head of the Committee of Public Safety and gives full credit to the “generation of genius,” Kléber, Moreau, Reynier, Marceau, and Ney commanding the army of Sambre et Meuse, Hoche, Desaix, and St. Cyr on the Rhine and, above all, Bonaparte and Masséna in the Appenine campaign.
    Acton rightly divined the underlying political motive. “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege — were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”
    The love of equality, the hatred of nobility and the tolerance of despotism naturally go together, for, If the central power is weak, the secondary powers will run riot and oppress The Empire was the consummation of the Revolution, not its reversal and Napoléon’s armies gave a code of laws and the principle of equal citizenship to a continent.

  • Thanks Michael!

    Those recommendations are going on my Reading List for next Summer, awesome!

  • Simon Schama’s ‘Citizens’ was published for the bicentenary of the French Revolution. It is regarded as the best work on the subject in the 20th century. The French hated it, calling it ‘Thatcherite history’. Its main thesis, that the violence of the Revolution was inherent, particularly upset them.

    In particular, Schama makes the point that pre-Revolutionary France was not an ossified feudal society but one that was obsessed with modernity. He also stresses that when the revolutionaries destroyed the Church they destroyed the social welfare system with drastic results in the 1790s.

    People tend to mythologize their revolutions. Englishmen did so regarding 1688; Americans still do over theirs (even though many of the mythologizers are well-educated) and the French are no exception.

  • Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.

  • I find a 948 page book to be daunting.

    I am eagerly awaiting the shortest book in history: subject what Obama did right.

  • I want to clarify that the criticism of Simon Schama’s book, Citizen, is my own. He refers to nuns and monks and unfulfilled citizens, it, not meeting any of their potential because they are cloistered. I am not sure if he was be sarcastic, which would be fine, or serious, which would explain my criticism.

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  • My complete recommendations to Tito:

    “In regard to the French Revolution a good starting point is Citizens by Simon Schama:

    http://www.amazon.com/Citizens-A-Chronicle-French-Revolution/dp/0679726101

    Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France still cannot be beat as an analysis of the early Revolution and is eerily prophetic. Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution is quite dated, and written in his usual odd style, but has valuable insights overlooked by many modern commenters.

    The late Henri Lefebvre, although a Marxist, did valuable work on both the French Revolution and Napoleon and I recommend his tomes. His style is dry as dust, but his research is impeccable.”

  • Um, what beach was that?

  • Tito Edwards: I expected you would look more like Padre Pio. You look happy.

  • Tamsin,

    An undisclosed location on the gulf coast of Florida.

    Mary De Voe,

    LOL. Very happy, my wife was there with me, but she had to take the picture. 🙂

  • My brother Mike lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Say “Hi” to him for me.

  • Thank you for fixing the feed!

  • Tito, I share your view of the French Revolution. It lives on in the Social Radicalism that permeates so much of our politics. Social Radicalism is a phenomenon that bears close scrutiny. It transcends the individual with a mindset all its own. If not scrutinized and moderated the mindset morphs into moral chaos. This can happen in slow creeping fashion or with the rapidity of revolution. The French Revolution is a signal example. It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage. Carlyle describes it thus: “On a sudden, the Earth yawns asunder, and amid Tartarean smoke, and glare of fierce brightness, rises SANSCULOTTISM, many-headed, fire-breathing, and asks; What think ye of me?” Do I engage in hyperbole when I compare the presentable, well-clothed and well-intended modern social radical with the maddened mob of Paris? Yes but to make a point. I cross a Robespierre and risk the guillotine, the loss of my life. The modern well-dressed social-radical only asks that I risk my soul. Who does me less violence?

  • John Nolan wrote, “Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.”
    Another Catholic, G K Chesterton described the tragedy of England:
    “A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
    Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
    They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people’s reign:
    And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
    Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
    Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
    In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
    We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
    We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
    The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
    And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
    And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.”
    Hilaire Belloc, too, another Catholic, whose grandfather served in the armies of Napoléon, declared, “Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the Republican Energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”

  • William P Walsh wrote, “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.”
    Certainly, it did start with a bankrupt government, but here is the curiosity: this bankrupt nation found itself able to sustain twenty years of war against the whole of Europe and to raise and maintain an army to fight it. For most of that period it had 700,000 men in the field. As for “open rebellion,” it crushed it wherever it showed itself, in Brittany, in Lyons, in the Vendée. It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.

  • “It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.”

    1. Mass murder against opponents.
    2. Mass repudiation of the debts of the Old Regime.
    3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals that rose to the fore as a result of the Revolution.
    4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preocupation of peoples.

  • Donald R McClarey

    “3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals”

    I would certainly agree with that. There is a sense in which Napoléon, Dumoriez (despite his later defection), Kellerman, Hoche and Kléber were the French Revolution – It is their legacy.

    “4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preoccupation of peoples.”

    The levée en masse and all that it entailed was the achievement of Carnot, but we sometimes forget what an astonishing achievement it was. The army was increased from 645,000 in mid-1793 to 1,500,000 in September 1794. The unbroken succession of victories, from Fleurus in June 1794 to Marengo in June 1800 were all, in a sense, his. He was ably seconded by Lindet, in effect, minister of food, munitions and manufacture.

    The political will and administrative skills needed to raise, equip, train, discipline and provision armies on that scale was enormous and quite without precedent. Much of the credit must go to the Committee of Public Safety, which was, in effect, the War Cabinet and to the brilliant innovation of seconding the “Deputies on Mission” from the National Assembly, as political commissioners to the armies.

  • Michael points out my inattention to the economic situation in France. I admit to a lack of formal study of that dismal science. I have yet in mind the diabolical ingredient of revolution. The first revolution starts with Lucifer’s “Non Serviam” and every revolution carries that sentiment in its bloodstream. The laws of economics are swept away when everything can be stolen from rightful owners. The State can be most efficient when it can murder the opposition. “If God does not exist, all things are permitted”. The Social Radical who looks so benign in his well-tailored clothing can do great injustice with a pen-stroke. If the end justifies the employment of any means, we are living in a state of moral chaos. We are then lunatics pulling down our house upon us. But I sing to the choir, as I sort out my thoughts.

  • I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.

    I am an admirer of Belloc but he was fundamentally wrong on two counts – all his life he believed a) that the French Revolution was a ‘good thing’ and b) Dreyfus was guilty.

  • John Nolan
    I think both Belloc (and Chesterton, too) wrote a great deal in reaction to the way the Revolution and Napoléon were portrayed in England.

    There is a print, which can still be seen in the bar parlours of some country inns, of the handshake of Wellington and Blucher after Waterloo. They must have been produced by the million

    http://tinyurl.com/m42zlof

    Chesterton summed up the whole business pretty well.

    “Our middle classes did well to adorn their parlours with the picture of the “Meeting of Wellington and Blucher.” They should have hung up a companion piece of Pilate and Herod shaking hands. Then, after that meeting amid the ashes of Hougomont, where they dreamed they had trodden out the embers of all democracy, the Prussians rode on before, doing after their kind. After them went that ironical aristocrat out of embittered Ireland, with what thoughts we know; and Blucher, with what thoughts we care not; and his soldiers entered Paris, and stole the sword of Joan of Arc.”

    To both Belloc and Chesterton, the fall of Paris to the Allies could only be compared to the sack of Rome by the Goths.

  • An interesting summary of an enormous matter,re. the French Revolution: “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.” – William P. Walsh
    However, from whence came the bitterly murderous hatred of the Catholic Faith and its individual servants, only the abyss could cough up that demon.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Chesterton wrote ‘The Crimes of England’ in 1916. It’s a polemic, brilliant in parts, but it ain’t history. The author’s unreasoning ‘Teutonophobia’, his withering scorn for Pitt, Castlereagh and Peel (in contrast with his hero-worship of Charles James Fox) and his take on the French Revolution and Bonaparte simply parade his prejudices. Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights, especially since French armies had looted and plundered their way across Europe for the previous twenty years. Historical method requires conclusions to be based on evidence. Both Belloc and Chesterton were counter-historical, if not positively anti-historical. They rightly challenged the consensus of the Whig historians, but what they put in its place was too intuitive and subjective. Since it did not rely on evidence it could be sometimes right, but more often wrong.

    Simon Schama’s book is revisionist, not least in that he uses the narrative approach which was unfashionable in 1989 (Orlando Figes does the same in his study of the Russian Revolution ‘A People’s Tragedy’). But both men are historians; Belloc and Chesterton, for all their brilliance, were not.

  • The errors of the french revolution came from somewhere!
    The protestant reformation shaped Europe and the world in ways we are still discerning. That “reformation” preceded the Enlightenment, which came to the “spirit” of revoltion of the 18 and 19 centuries everything from the very un- “reason”able reign of terror to marx to the culture kampf– and what follows in russia and mexico and china and on and on and on

  • John Nolan wrote, “Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights…”
    Hardly. In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.
    Belloc’s evaluation of the Revolution is not all that different from the great French historian of the Revolution, Louis Blanc. Blanc, one recalls, during his exile in London (he had fought on the barricades during les journées de juin 1848), had access to Croker’s unrivalled collection of manuscripts and pamphlets.
    Acton summarises Blanc’s principle: ”He desires government to be so constituted that it may do everything for the people, not so restricted that it can do no injury to minorities. The masses have more to suffer from abuse of wealth than from abuse of power, and need protection by the State, not against it. Power, in the proper hands, acting for the whole, must not be restrained in the interest of a part.” That was also the view of the great Dominican, Lacordaire, “Between the weak and the strong, between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, it is freedom which oppresses and the law which sets free.”
    This was a principle Belloc and Chesterton would have heartily endorsed. It is the negation of Liberalism and its doctrine of laissez-faire.

  • “In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.”

    Please. Even as hyperbole that is over the circus top. The French Revolution was a complex historical event, but by the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times, one with delusions of grandeur. It was a very good thing for the peace of Europe that Napoleon fell in 1814 and that he was soundly thrashed in 1815 at Waterloo which brought an end to his “Golden Oldies” attempt at a Bonaparte revival.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “[B]y the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times.”
    That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne. As Chesterton said, “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Swinburn’s “Sea-Eagle of English feather”) understood:
    “And kings crept out again to feel the sun.
    The kings crept out — the peoples sat at home.
    And finding the long-invocated peace
    (A pall embroidered with worn images
    Of rights divine) too scant to cover doom
    Such as they suffered, cursed the corn that grew
    Rankly, to bitter bread, on Waterloo.”

    Those “carrion kings, unsheeted and unmasked,” described by Michelet, the great historian of the Revolution.

  • “That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne”

    Augustus was a military dictator, the last man standing of the ambitious warlords/politicians who murdered the dying Republic. Charlemagne was not a military dictator but the scion of a family that had been running the chief of the Frankish states for some time. Napoleon owed his position to his military brilliance and his willingness to use military force against civilian rule and nothing more.

    “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”

    That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.

  • M P-S, the ‘barbarians from beyond the Rhine’ produced Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to name but a few. I’m sure those German citizens, living in their peaceful towns and villages, often in the shadow of old-established monasteries on which the local economy depended and which were soon to be destroyed, were overjoyed at the arrival of Revolutionary French armies with their portable guillotines. Germany in the eighteenth century was civilized in the real sense that the local ‘civitas’ enforced its own laws for the benefit of the citizens. It is telling that the incidence of capital punishment in the German states was far lower than in France or England.

    Michael, get off your hobby-horse and face facts. Bonaparte has a good record when it comes to establishing (or more correctly re-establishing, since the Revolution had destroyed much) institutions in France; but he also erected a police state. His hubristic lust for conquest led (as in the case of Hitler, with whom he has much in common) to eventual nemesis. And France only recovered its 1789 levels of foreign trade in the 1830s by which time Britain had far outstripped it.

  • “I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.”
    .
    The sovereign personhood of the newly begotten human being (His body and his soul) constitutes the nation from the very first moment of existence. His absolute moral and legal innocence are the standard of Justice and the compelling interest of the state in its duty to deliver Justice and in protecting the newly begotten human being. Francisco Suarez says that: “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.”
    .
    The newly begotten human being who constitutes the state from the very first moment of his existence and through his sovereign personhood endowed by “their Creator” is the citizen. At birth the new citizen is given documents to prove his citizenship and a tax bill.
    .
    The French Revolution must have been dealing with the loss and denial of citizenship by the state as in “persona non grata”. Religious persons, priests and nuns, do not forfeit or surrender their God-given sovereign personhood and/or citizenship by answering their vocation. A higher calling, in fact, purifies their citizenship and brings “the Blessings of Liberty”.
    .
    It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth.
    .
    This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.

  • Donald R McCleary wrote, “’ French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.’ – That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.”

    And yet it was, in effect, endorsed by Walter Bagehot, a man politically poles apart from Chesterton. Writing of the nephew, that shrewd cynic observed, “The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas: anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, ‘Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?’ the inquiry comes out thus—’Will you be governed in a way you understand, or will you be governed in a way you do not understand?’ The issue was put to the French people; they were asked, ‘Will you be governed by Louis Napoleon, or will you be governed by an assembly?’ The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.'”

  • “The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.’”

    Preposterous. The plebiscite of 1851 was instituted only after wannabe Napoleon had instituted repression. It had as much validity as one of Stalin’s show trials in the thirties. Like his much greater uncle, wannabe Napoleon owed his imitation imperial title, eventually granted him officially through another plebiscite with an unimaginative 97% yes vote, to the bayonets he controlled rather than the ballots he manufactured in pretend plebiscites.

  • Donald R McClarey
    Louis Napoléon may not have been supported by a numerical majority of the nation, that’s as may be; but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion—determinant in intensity and in weight, that is, as well as in numbers. That was true of his uncle also and it needed no plebiscite to establish this obvious truth.

  • “but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion”

    Nope, like his uncle he had control of the military and crushed all opposition. Speculations about his “true” popularity among the people or the elite are meaningless when he made certain that his opposition had no voice.

  • Mary De Voe’s, “It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth. . This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.”, nails it.
    In America today, the newly begotten human being is no longer protected, the person who is religious, a veteran, a supporter of Constitutional rights is a potential domestic terrorist. Remember Andrew Cuomo’s saying that a supporter of the Second Amendment has no place in New York State. If he becomes President, that may apply to the whole country.

  • I started to watch Simon Schamas tv program about judiasm since i enjoyed his shows about England. I caught an episode in the middle and what amazed me was that the program seemed more of a rant against the injustices perpetrated upon the Jews by Christians than a true unbiased history of Judaism.
    I was a bit shocked but it may explain this “book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens “

Francis Has Returned As Pope?

Wednesday, March 13, AD 2013

The signs are as unmistakable as they are stunning; Francis has returned to rebuild the Church. The first New World Pope, who happens to be the first Jesuit Pope, has taken the name of Francis. It didn’t stop there. St Francis known for his miraculous ability to communicate with God’s creatures may have sent a sign. It seems a stubborn seagull kept landing on the Sistine Chapel smoke pipe a couple of hours before Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the very modest living prelate from Argentina was chosen.

About the name Francis, could it also be for Francis Xavier the famous Jesuit missionary to the Far East? Who knows for sure but perhaps it is a very deft touch by the man from Buenos Aires. In addition, was it not a Franciscan Pope (Clement XIV) who famously suppressed the Jesuits in France in the 1700s, which many believe helped the radicals of the French Revolution in their bloody but unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Church? Another sign; perhaps a nod to reconciliation? The Conclave began on March 12, the day both St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuits and St Francis Xavier, perhaps the second most famous Jesuit saint) were officially canonized in 1622.

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9 Responses to Francis Has Returned As Pope?

  • Dear Lady, please guide that evangelical into the fullness of Our Lords Body amén! A nudge!

    Very interesting post, a conservative Jesuit is like finding the prize in a catholic cereal box!

  • Not to pick but, did you say Dark Ages for particular purpose? It is generally used to slandar the Church as in “there was the greatness of Rome, then a dark age of religious superstition that remained unbroken until the Reformation ushered in an age of enlightenment.”

    The choice of Francis is interesting and I’m sure a few of the career Vatican clerics are squirming as they try to determine what it means for them. “Simplification” strikes me as an odd choice in calls to arms for the Church though.

    Catholicism is catholic because it encompasses the diverse needs of human souls. God, in His infinite wisdom made our intellects and emotional selves unique. Some need the simplicity of the simple country church and some Notre Dame. Vatican II was speaking to this need, not the corrupted view that has dominated the Church in the West for 40 years, a view that all of the grandeur of the pre-Vatican Church was discordant with Church teaching.

    Before we “herald in a new age” of “simplicity,” we had better be sure we know what that means for the Church.

  • Ioannes, great post. The beauty of God will always draw people to the Church if they allow their hearts to succumb to God’s love, truth and beauty. David, with all due respect because some anti-Catholic writer somewhere in the mists of time used a quote about the Dark Ages to attack the Church means we don’t use the word Dark Ages? The word Dark Ages was coined by the Church, or at least those monks who kept the world illuminated during that time with their scholarship. In those days, few could read and write and the Church was under attack from the Dark side via various Barbarian invasions and heretical movements and individuals.

    As far as simplification; the Holy Spirit (if we listen) is always equipping us with our needs for that time. In the era of Pope John Paul II it was communication to a world hungry for truth. In the age of Pope Benedict XVI, it was the emphasis on proper liturgy, devotions and scholarship so lacking in this secular age. Now it appears Pope Francis will use the weapon of simplicity. We might recall that St Francis used this “weapon” to rattle the consciences of the detached wealthy he encountered in Italy as well as Muslim soldiers he met in the Middle East.

    The key to the Holy Spirit’s gifts is our desire to use them. I was struck that even the secular mainstream media showed that fascinating image of that bird perched atop the Sistine chapel’s smokepipe. They showed similar images of the same seagull like bird perched on St. Francis in some of the earliest paintings in which he is depicted. Perhaps in small signs such as these we see the mind of God, if only we will listen.

  • Ioannes: “Very interesting post, a conservative Jesuit is like finding the prize in a catholic cereal box!”
    A beautiful prize.

  • Great post. The new Pope’s humility was inspiring. He will be good for evangelization generally and specifically for Latin America and for Jesuits who have been on the verge of extinction. There will be more orthodox candidates discerning vocations to the priesthood. I hope they can find enough orthodox Jesuits to teach them..

  • Unitl this election, I had just assumed some others were of the SJ order.

  • Fantastic post of yours, Dave.

    I studied in jesuit school in Brazil, full of layman communist professors. But, confirming your point, the school was much better administered when a conservative director arrived.

    I used to love jesuits, but many of them went to liberation theology, then I turned to Dominicans. I am stunned to see a conservative jesuit that dislikes liberation theology. God´s Spirit.

  • Thank you for your kind words Pedro. The Argentines love to speak of the Hand of God World Cup Soccer Goal via Diego Maradona. Well this Argentine Holy Father is the real Hand of God at work! It seems both of our lives have some parallels. We both worked with Jesuits and Dominicans, but it seems we both more recently worked with Dominicans. May God Bless both of their orders now that they are intrinsically linked with our new Holy Father!

  • God love his church so much ! the election of Pope Francis I is one of the most powerfull sign of how the holy spirit will continue working, cleaning and building the church. The Catholic Church is the guardian of the faith and the truth , the truth give and teach by Jesus him self. Yes , we as catholic we are fail in many things and I as catholic many times I am not the best example as well, what is the motivation the help me to go back on my feets and not give up even when I feil ? is the understanding, faith and mercy of God . I try to do my best day in day out , and what always help me is to remember how many times Jesus feil down carrying the cross? Yes, 3 times – how many times he back up ? 3 times- what for me Jesus is not just tell me but teaching me is : no matter how many times we mess up and feil , what really is important is to go back in our feets , move forward , ask God forgiveness and try to do our best.

    With this election Pope Francis I , I see the best of the two elements needed rigth now , a solid formation as a priest ( as all know Jesuits are known for that ) and a very prophetic Name Pope Francis I ( who all we know , Francis was call to help rebuild the church – with his simplicity and humility – what a similarity with our new Pope ).

    Let try to stay faithful to God love and be always glad of His mercy and forgiveness .

    God bless Pope Francis I and us , as one .

The Conclave; A Glimpse Into Heaven

Monday, March 11, AD 2013

Cardinals speak of feeling as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders. While we watch the awe and majesty of a Conclave to pick the next pontiff, the Princes of the Church speak of it with trepidation, some with fear. The 115 cardinals who will pick the next pontiff rightfully feel their solemn responsibility. The Church’s greatest task is to save souls and the man who will figuratively grasp the keys given to St Peter by Jesus assumes an awesome responsibility.

The procession from St Peter’s to the Sistine Chapel may be one of the most moving and beautiful events a believer (and even a non-believer) may ever witness. As the Litany of the Saints is chanted the cardinals process into the Sistine Chapel, pulling themselves away from the outside world to pray and vote for the Successor of St. Peter. For the truly faithful, the days of the Conclave are often one of the rare moments in the public life of the Church where the mainstream media isn’t dictating who the cardinals should pick and why the Church’s Teachings need to be changed. Now some will attempt to do just that, but it often comes across as shallow and shrill due to the solemnity of the moment.

Monday on ABC’s World News Tonight, Diane Sawyer interviewed South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier. His Eminence, who was present at the last Conclave, was asked what it was like picking the future pontiff. The Cardinal from Durban spoke of looking at Michelangelo’s Last Judgment painted above him in the Sistine Chapel, and pleading for Jesus to help him make the right decision.

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Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

Sunday, March 3, AD 2013

It was a stunning video, one full of historical and modern analogies all pointing to back to the man (Pope Benedict XVI) and the institution he ran (the Catholic Church.) The helicopter ride Pope Benedict XVI took from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo flying over modern Rome and the ancient landmarks known the world over, such as the Coliseum and the Apian Way made for a breath taking array of images. For faithful Catholics one of the illuminating high points of watching papal transitions is the fact that the mainstream media is not always in control.

The historic images speak for themselves which must be somewhat maddening to those who have to throw their digs into the Church that Christ Himself started via Peter. NBC News anchor Brian Williams made the mainstream media’s point Friday on the lead off segment of the NBC Nightly News when he stated the Catholic Church does images well, but there is scandal behind the images we see. One could say the exact same thing about the mainstream media’s coverage of the White House and yet nary a word of that sort is heard.

Perhaps the helicopter ride of the Holy Father made many of the media’s gatekeepers cringe because those historical landmarks (the Coliseum, the Apian Way) were like many modern secular government’s landmarks, supposedly everlasting. If someone would have told the Roman power structure in Diocletian’s time that within 100 years Rome would be Christian and the empire would be gone, howls of laughter would have echoed through the Pantheon. Modern secular leaders and the often militant secular scholars whom they follow, view traditional Christianity much in the same way those in the seats of power in Rome once did, something that should have no influence or bearing on the affairs of its citizens.

Though a towering intellectual giant, Pope Benedict XVI is a simple man who never wanted to be Pope and pleaded that Pope John Paul II let him go back to Bavaria and write when then Cardinal Ratzinger reached the age of 75. His gentleness was seen in the Conclave when it was said he won many of the Third World Cardinal’s votes. It is said that he did so because he showed a kind father or grandfatherly hand when other princes of the Church were perhaps not so welcoming upon the Third World’s prelates arrival in Rome. This sort of gentleness coupled with a refusal to water down the truth made the man from Bavaria a towering figure in the history of the Church. Often the stature of towering figures grow with time, unlike our pop culture heroes whose legacy becomes all too often faded and forgotten.

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9 Responses to Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

  • Dave Hartline-
    Poetic words for a “towering man.”
    You captured the man and the pulse of this moment in time.
    Thank you.

  • I am just now getting around to reading this, like it so much going to share the link with some groups to read. When I read good articles like this I think of Saint Augustine’s “City of God”. As you wrote the media will look for anything ‘black’ in the Church but not look at the ‘black’ in front of them.

  • How awesome is the Pope Emer.?

    My Mormon neighbors are sad that he resigned. (also very curious)

  • He wasn’t as prolific or as profound a thinker as John Paul, though he seems to have shared much in common with him.

  • Jon

    I would say Benedict XVI is every bit as profound a thinker as JPII was, albeit in different ways. BXVI is much better at making complex theological truths accessible to the average person than his predecessor.

  • Foxfier:
    With Pope Benedict’s resignation, surrender of his Title and Chair of Peter, and title of Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI has promised to remain the Servant of the Servants of God, the most beautiful title he holds. Realize that when Pope Benedict XVI removed himself from the Vatican, the head of the Lavender Mafia was crushed. All heads of departments in the Vatican are vacated as well, a new era of holiness and trust may be established, akin to St.Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. I love Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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  • This is a beautiful tribute to Benedict XVI and Mary De Voe’s comment puts the icing on the cake.

  • It has been amusing to listen to the secular media trying to make what they think are relevant comments on the renouncing of the papal throne by Benedict and the upcoming conclave. It reminds me of an old lesson on the art of writing. Write about things you know. They certainly sound foolish and it becomes obvious that their concerns are not ours. Pray for us, Benedict XVI as we will pray for you.

Both World Wars Were A Catalyst For Religious Growth; What Future Tragedy Will It Take For Another Revival?

Sunday, December 16, AD 2012

Sadly it often takes tragedies for religious faith to grow. It seems an unfortunate part of our fallen nature. We have been hit by a spate of tragedies as of late; in its wake we often see churches full of worshippers seeking answers where once there were but a few. Following both world wars, there existed a religious resurgence that unlike the recent tragedies did not ebb and flow. It remained constant due in large part to the horrific loses of human life.

Modernism was alive and well and condemned by the likes of Pope Pius X even before the Guns of August began in 1914. The Catholic and Protestant churches were increasingly seeing relativistic elements entering their seminaries. However unlike recent times, they were quickly addressed. Though we are gaining the upper hand, it has been 40 years since Pope Paul VI lamented that “The Smoke of Satan” had entered the Church. In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I speak about the positive events occurring within the Church, as well as those movements who aim to do us harm. In addition, the book delves into how we got into this mess in the first place.

Following World War I there was a great return to religious devotions, especially those having to do with the Blessed Mother. The events of Fatima which had occurred during the war and were being followed closely around the Catholic globe. As I mentioned in my article on the Schoenstatt Movement, the likes of Father Josef Kentenich chastised theological authorities who were giving short shrift to these devotions as well as those who dismissed popular devotions to those who recently passed away like the future Saint Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower.) Father Kentenich reminded these scoffers that Jesus did indeed say that we must become like little children if we are to enter the Kingdom.

The well heeled of Europe and many American ex pats found their way to Paris to rebel against the religious side of the equation. On the whole, they were a gloomy lot who seemed to drown their sorrows in all matter of drink and sexual exploits which only made them more unbearable. Some even found their way to more exotic locales like Casablanca, as did the fictional Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in the epic film Casablanca.

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7 Responses to Both World Wars Were A Catalyst For Religious Growth; What Future Tragedy Will It Take For Another Revival?

  • In Spain, the Franco regime and its views led to pent-up hostility towards the Catholic church after Franco died.

    France began slipping away from the Faith at the time of the Revolution and not even the numerous apparitions of Mary have been able to return the French to her former status as Eldest Daughter of the Church.

    The unification of Italy in the 19th century unleashed hostility towards the Catholic clergy, seeing them as privileged (gross oversimplification).

    Germany, Holland, Austria….others know the reason for the decline better than I do.

    In the USA, I blame the turn in popular culture as well as the Kennedys. In the 1950s, during the beginnings of the Cold War, Hollywood made many movies based on Old Testament stories. Fr. Peyton and Loretta Young made Catholic themed programs and Bishop Sheen was popular.

    The 1960s…there was the heartwarming Dragnet episode where the little Latino boy returns the Baby Jesus to church before Christmas Eve Mass.

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

    Today, there is open hostility to religion from Hollywood and academia, and far too many young people eat it all up.

  • Dave.
    Fr. John Hardon, (d.2000) gave striking warnings of a future American landscape if Catholics didn’t return to the sacraments.
    Catholics because they are the privileged members of the Body of Christ.
    Fr. Hardon; “If American Catholics do not return to the true faith, return to frequent the sacraments, then they will experience the sufferings of First century Christians.”

    The battleground is Christian America.

  • Penguins Fan wrote

    “France began slipping away from the Faith at the time of the Revolution…”

    The “slipping away” began almost a century and a half earlier, in the aftermath of the Wars of Religion in France (1562-1598) and the Thirty Years War in Germany (1618-1648) These ended in a stalemate; the Reformation gained no new territory, but it proved impossible to restore the unity of Christendom. The all but inevitable result was the growth of scepticism: both sides could not be right, but they could both be wrong. Theology, as a science (a means of knowledge) was generally viewed as discredited. It was to such people that the Pensées of Pascal were addressed.

    On the eve of the Revolution, few of the middle classes went to Mass in the great towns, hardly any of the artisans. The faithful were a sincere though ill-instructed and dwindling minority. Nothing better illustrates the condition of the Church than that priests like the Abbé Sieyès and bishops like Talleyrand were not untypical. Acton notes that “Those among them who had been chosen by the Church itself for its supreme reward, the Cardinal’s hat—Rohan, Loménie de Brienne, Bernis, Montmorency and Talleyrand—were men notoriously of evil repute.” Maury, afterwards Cardinal and Archbishop of Paris, was a man whose character was below his talents.

  • ‘However, what price will it take for our hubris and narcissism to defer to God’s love, truth and reason?’

    Vital question. Something like pulling the plug or a ‘forty’ day or year span of character building or voices to balance the scale in culture.

    ‘In the USA, I blame the turn in popular culture as well as the Kennedys. In the 1950s, during the beginnings of the Cold War, Hollywood made many movies based on Old Testament stories. Fr. Peyton and Loretta Young made Catholic themed programs and Bishop Sheen was popular.’

    The 1960s…there was the heartwarming Dragnet episode where the little Latino boy returns the Baby Jesus to church before Christmas Eve Mass.

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

    Today, there is open hostility to religion from Hollywood and academia, and far too many young people eat it all up.’ –

    … to the point of Churches being locked due to the victimization.

    The violent insane seem to attack the defenseless, such as in schools, theaters, and gatherings. What provokes violent behavior are celebrated elements of the culture which have lost civility and balanced character traits of decent restraint.

    I think of some not funny comedians, the loss of board games to computer ones played alone, the gang phenomenon, the irony of the women’s liberation movement and the outrageous displays of today’s women, artisans becoming ‘artists’ of the useless, and more, and vaguely, electronic replacement of human activity/work. Mental inability and illness, loss of human care to gov. regulations and courts strangling progress.

    ‘On the eve of the Revolution, few of the middle classes went to Mass in the great towns, hardly any of the artisans. The faithful were a sincere though ill-instructed and dwindling minority.

    … a man whose character was below his talents.’ ***

    Education becoming unrelated to the character building of good judgement or virtue. Lifetimes given to learning from the inspirations and beauty of our Creator have value. So what will bring more than a temporary turn to religion in reaction to sorrowful tragedy is what M P-S wrote. Character. The culture of death is deterring religious growth and its strength of character; so maybe, simply accepting God’s gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love (in even horrible circumstances brought on by evil afoot) would serve to rebuild His recommended culture of life.

    People finding the great comfort of a more religious life, however found, will grow to see the discomfort in a solely material world and loss therein. Hunger and thirst for more works both ways.

  • I think this is a complete misreading of the past century.

    WWI saw the collapse of faith in state, royalty, race, and progress, which were the reigning beliefs in Europe. The facade of faith was slipping away, and France drifted into despair. Nihilism, drugs, and eventually existentialism did little to fill the void. Russia fell. The US won the war and retained its optimism or something like it, until the decadence of the 1920’s collapsed into the Great Depression. Germany went a different route, re-embracing race and progress in an awful way. By the end of WWII, the spirit of despair ruled most everywhere. European countries gave up their empires and gave in emotionally to the Soviets. America held together because of its devil rather than because of its god.

    There are little ripples throughout history which can make it seem like one decade is holier than another. And we are affected by (not controlled by) our culture, so I shouldn’t say that all of us within a given country move in lockstep. But the trendline for the past 100 years has been ugly. The wars led to loss of faith among millions.

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  • There are some great posts here. Yes, Penguins Fan when faith begins to slip it can fall in a hurry, much like someone climbing a mountain, a momentary slip can take the climber a great deal of time to return from where he momentarily slipped.

    Philip, Father Hardon was prophetic, he was fond of saying the modern rebellion began in the 1930s. I can’t remember exactly the date he was referring to but it had to do with a group of priests in pre- WWII (Belgium?) taking liturgical matters in their own hands. He saw the slipping away of reverance and the degree to which the sacraments were being dismissed as a harbinger of something awful to come.

    Michael Paterson Semour, yes few realize the true impact of the Reformation when it was put into the hands of men like Jean Calvin who saw to it that mystery was dismissed. In addition, Calvin saw to it that churches were closed during the week to prevent “superstitious rituals” like Marian Devotion and Eucharistic Adoration from continuing. Putting doubts in people’s minds certainly set the stage for the unholy terror that was the French Revolution. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton saw it for what it was but even thinkers like Thomas Jefferson were fooled into thinking that it was an Englightened event.

    PM, yes as I indicated in my article it is hard to believe that Hollywood helped the faith with many fantastic films, and it even had powerful messages in TV dramas as late as the 1970s. However, Father Peyton saw the troubling signs years before and tried to prevent the catastrophe which is now controlling our media culture. In the 1940s, Father Peyton believed Hollywood could evangelize the world through films, but he also knew it would also become a target of the dark side.

    Pinky, true we are responsible for our actions but wealth and prosperity have always been the tool to which the dark side lures societies going back to Sodom and Gomorrah, Nineveh, Rome etc to walk away from God. However, tragedies have sobered people up long enough to see the error of their ways. For a decade starting in the mid 1990s, Poland was ordaining half of Europe’s priests. Look at the saints France gave us after the nightmare of 1789.

    It is important to note that we will be the last man standing so to speak. The faithful will come our way because Jesus predicted that it would happen (The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.) Let’s hope and pray that in the final showdown large segments of the populace see through the demonic disguise of the evil one.

Jack Kerouac, John Lennon & Bob Marley All Embraced Traditional Faith & Values In Their Latter Days

Sunday, December 2, AD 2012

Their stories are as old as time but worth repeating in this present age where so many seem to think they are too smart for God, religion and all of His love and grace. I must admit that being a fan of contemporary music and literature, I threw the stories of Jack Kerouac, John Lennon and Bob Marley’s late in life embrace of faith and tradition into my book without giving it much thought. However, I am surprised to find that so many who have read or perused my just released book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn have stated that they were not familiar with these stories and found them very revealing. Perhaps it is because our rebellious society has lionized figures who want to throw out God or just leave him as far distant as possible. Yet all three men realized that the traditional values, in which they were raised and the love of God they were once shown, was too important to forever jettison.

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24 Responses to Jack Kerouac, John Lennon & Bob Marley All Embraced Traditional Faith & Values In Their Latter Days

  • Thanks for this, I’m going to have to buy your books! i tried reading a biography of Kerouac and threw it away in disgust before I even got half way through; all that ‘behaviour’ with Ginsberg, Burroughs, et al. It put me off his books too, which I had enjoyed in my rebellious youth. This sheds a new light on him, for which I’m grateful; it’s never nice to have to give up on someone.

  • There has been much discussion of the “Catholic turn” in French philosophy, i.e., the way in which the most original and prominent thinkers of contemporary France seem to function within Catholic horizons: the philosophers René Girard, Pierre Manent, Jean-Luc Marion, Rémy Brague and Chantal Delsol, along with the writers Michel Tournier, Jean Raspail, Jean D’Ormesson, Max Gallo and Denis Tillinac.

    The Faith is alone capable of answering the existential challenges posed by modernity and post-modernity and more and more people are recognising this.

  • Now if you could get more than 3% of the population of France into Mass on Sunday …

  • I suspect that John Lennon had a bit more of a conservative/traditional streak than people think as evidenced by his rejection of the “overpopulation” propaganda of the time:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yRh5NNiFG0

    Is it possible that one reason we don’t hear more about Lennon’s conservative leanings is because Yoko Ono, who has spent the last 30 + years as the keeper of his legacy a la Jackie Kennedy, wasn’t completely on board?

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  • Lennon also stated in his last interview that he was a “most religious fellow”, and that he had come to appreciate what Christ had taught in his parables. He had outgrown the childish nihilism of “Imagine”. It’s a shame that so few people knew about this.

  • Sources please? What are your sources?

  • I heard this many years ago about John Lennon, but rarely is it mentioned. Let’s hope he’s at peace with the Lord. Even in his earlier days I never felt that he was evil, just very confused. Unfortunately, his “Imagine” is still used as a socialist national anthem. I’m sure he regrets it. Also, from what I’ve read, Bob Dylan too has embraced Our Lord, though he keeps a very low profile these days.

  • Elaine, yes the whole Yoko question is one that might never be truly answered, but it certainly seems both John and Yoko were headed in very different political and religious directions. Pete, the book has extensive endnotes that reference the sources for this and every other segment of the book.

    Siobhan, Bob Dylan has always been somewhat of an enigma. After the 1963 March on Washington, he became disillusioned by the Left and some on the Left became upset at his lack of support for their causes. He never ranted against God or any particular faith as did some of his generation. In addition long before his Christian Slow Train Coming period, Dylan had lyrical references to God. Incidentally, the Slow Traing Coming album might be the finest religious album ever written and recorded by a non-religious oriented artist. Today Bob Dylan seems to be part of a Messianic Jewish group, but I am not sure anyone really knows.

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  • Imagine! John Lennon in heaven.

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  • I, too, have never heard about these men embracing traditional Christianity in the latter part of their lives. I am interested to learn more.

  • I read an article recently that discussed how Andy Warhol lived a devout Catholic life, though he was surrounded by people who liked to party. This was a complete surprise to me. It was a very interesting article. I recommend doing an internet search on the topic.

  • As Pete says, sources please! I have to be frank: I don’t believe any of this. It sounds too good to be true. It sounds to hard to believe. It sounds like urban myth. Please provide sources with quotes.

  • I have to admit to being slightly stunned. I have been writing articles here and other Catholic sites, as well as political sites like the National Reivew, for some time. However, never have I been sought out in this demanding of a manner, via e-mail and other communications to provide details for the sourcing of this article. The lack of faith in the conversion of souls is rather revealing. As I indicated in a previous post, this information is thoroughly provided in the endnotes of my book. However, here are a couple of links for those who fall into the category of a Doubting Thomas. Read and believe!
    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/lennon-was-a-closet-republican-assistant
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/januaryweb-only/001-22.0.html
    http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/1999/kerouac.html
    http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/6031

  • This is truly amazing. I was a huge fan of Dylan, Marley, and Lennon in high school and college. They all certainly pined for something greater than themselves in many (not all) of their songs and lyrics. Marley got me interested in the Psalms in a better way than the Christian rock music of my day, and Dylan’s Slow Train Coming stopped my in my path. After I commented to my friend’s roommate how much I loved that STC and why it was so relatively unknown, he simply said that Dylan’s music producers thought it was just too Christian or religious and they just did want to promote it. It took Dylan years to get the songs released, he explained to me.

    I am forwarding the article to all of my 80s and 90s hipster siblings. I was just so heartneded to hear Lennon reject the overpopulation myth as presented in his time. And I like how he just rejected the interviewer’s snarky retort. Thank you so much!

  • I believe it was Fulton Sheen who said that at the end of time, we’ll be surprise to see who the Lord will put to the right and who to the left. Another rock star that comes to mind is Jim Morrison, who on the surface, was a pretty bad dude (though in my younger years I was a fan of his.) I read that after he died in Paris, they discovered notebooks of his “poetry” which were later published, though one notebook they found he wrote on every page, “God help me, God help me” over and over again. Now did the evil one snatch him away before he was able to convert, or did God hear his cry and take him? Time will tell.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=FG5FANKYhpcC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=jim+morrison+notebook+God+help+me&source=bl&ots=e722ZrkavG&sig=KI3wkQSvY_aOdUe3EPkE0MkIvLM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4M2-ULOALIiW0QGT_oG4Bw&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=jim%20morrison%20notebook%20God%20help%20me&f=false

  • Excellent post Siobhan, Jim Morrison is one of those figures that electrifies the militant secualr left, for to them the Lizard King seems to be thumbing his nose at God or worse throughout his life. To see him scribble and plead for God to help him shows humility, another characteristic the militant secular left hates. We could go on and on about major rock stars coming full circle. For example Rick Wakeman of Yes, who not only plays benefits for Conservative Party candidates in his native England, but also has embraced his childhood church.

    If more of these stories became known, it would be blow the lid off the facade that our popular culture has tried to cultivate about faith and traditional values.The idea of John Lennon challenging Jesus or Jim Morrison getting arrested for lewd behavior on state behavior in Miami is the kind of thing the militant secular powers that be want us to remember. They don’t want to see the late in life humility shown by Lennon and Morrison and their pleas for God’s help.

  • “I was a huge fan of Dylan, Marley, and Lennon in high school and college. They all certainly pined for something greater than themselves in many (not all) of their songs and lyrics.”

    That is a quality I see in the much-maligned “Imagine” — Lennon’s attempt to envision an un-fallen world, where there would be no NEED for religion in the sense of conscious submission to beliefs or morality (it would “come naturally” to us), or nations, or possessions; where there would seem to be “no heaven” since it would be one with earth, and “no hell” because no one would go there. Of course where he went wrong was in thinking this un-fallen world could be produced purely by human effort — sort of like a child thinking that all that mumbo-jumbo about aerodynamics and airplanes was bunk and people could fly just fine without it if they simply flapped their arms hard enough.

  • Imagine there’s no Heaven. It’s easy if you try. No Hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living for today. You, you may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will be as one. -John Lennon.

    It’s a beautiful message. But I think it’s a little late to start claiming John Lennon for the “Traditional Religion” Team of Heavenly Pick-up Basketball.

  • Russ, you might want to check your facts. Imagine was written and recorded in 1971. John Lennon started having doubts about his utopian views by the mid 1970s. As referenced in my book, “The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn” through various sources including the links below among others, by the mid 1970s Lennon had a serious change of heart about his political and religious views. It was a full fledge change of heart by the late 70s.
    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/lennon-was-a-closet-republican-assistant
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/januaryweb-only/001-22.0.html

  • Jean-Louis Kirouac (as baptized) and the sad reality of the mythical Jack Kerouac.

    It is on page 143 of “One and Only – The untold story of On The Road” (Gerald Nicosia & Anne Marie Santos – Viva Editions) ) that one can find the most paradoxal photo of Jack Kerouac, taken in his bedroom while looking through his photo collection of his girl friends. On the wall, in a little black frame, the Black Cross of Temperance; hanging from the luminaire, his black Rosary.

    But all that has not kept him from rejecting before her birth his only and legitimate daughter Janet (Jan) Michele Kerouac (from Joan Heverty, his second wife), an abandonned child to whom he left knowingly a whole hell of misery and sufferings.

    But it is with that myth called ON THE ROAD, written in a long fit of frustration that poor Jack continues to mystify all his fans. Read One and Only and Kerouac will never be the same… for the worst and the best.

  • “Help Me To Help Myself” – demo not included on Double Fantasy album but produced as part of that project.

    Well, I tried so hard to settle down
    But the angel of destruction keeps on houndin’ me all around
    But I know in my heart
    The leaves are shining in the sun,
    That we never realy parted.
    Oh no, oh, help me, Lord,
    Oh, help me, Lord,
    Please, help me, Lord, yeah, yeah,
    Help me to help myself,
    Help me to help myself.

    They say the Lord helps those who helps themselves,
    So I’m asking this question in the hope that you’ll be kind
    ‘Cause I know deep inside
    The leaves are shining in the sun,
    I was never satisfied
    Oh no, oh, help me, Lord,
    Please, help me, Lord, yeah, yeah
    Help me to help myself,
    Help me to help myself.

    Who knows?

19 Responses to Jefferson’s Jesus

  • Poor Jesus. If only He had the benefit of Jefferson’s wise counsel while He dwelt among us! Or perhaps Jefferson could have benefited in having CS Lewis to give him counsel:

    (In the first place they all tend to direct men’s devotion to something which does not exist, for each “historical Jesus” is unhistorical. The documents say what they say and cannot be added to; each new “historical Jesus” therefore has to be got out of them by suppression at one point and exaggeration at another, and by that sort of guessing (brilliant is the adjective we teach humans to apply to it) on which no one would risk ten shillings in ordinary life, but which is enough to produce a crop of new Napoleons, new Shakespeares, and new Swifts, in every publisher’s autumn list. In the second place, all such constructions place the importance of their Historical Jesus in some peculiar theory He is supposed to have promulgated. He has to be a “great man” in the modern sense of the word – one standing at the terminus of some centrifugal and unbalanced line of thought – a crank vending a panacea. We thus distract men’s minds from Who He is, and what He did. We first make Him solely a teacher, and then conceal the very substantial agreement between His teachings and those of all other great moral teachers. For humans must not be allowed to notice that all great moralists are sent by the Enemy not to inform men but to remind them, to restate the primeval moral platitudes against our continual concealment of them. We make the Sophists: He raises up a Socrates to answer them. Our third aim is, by these constructions, to destroy the devotional life. For the real presence of the Enemy, otherwise experienced by men in prayer and sacrament, we substitute a merely probable, remote, shadowy, and uncouth figure, one who spoke a strange language and died a long time ago. Such an object cannot in fact be worshipped. Instead of the Creator adored by its creature, you soon have merely a leader acclaimed by a partisan, and finally a distinguished character approved by a judicious historian. And fourthly, besides being unhistorical in the Jesus it depicts, religion of this kind is false to history in another sense.

    No nation, and few individuals, are really brought into the Enemy’s camp by the historical study of the biography of Jesus, simply as biography. Indeed materials for a full biography have been withheld from men. The earliest converts were converted by a single historical fact (the Resurrection) and a single theological doctrine (the Redemption) operating on a sense of sin which they already had – and sin, not against some new fancy-dress law produced as a novelty by a “great man”, but against the old, platitudinous, universal moral law which they had been taught by their nurses and mothers. The “Gospels” come later and were written not to make Christians but to edify Christians already made.)

  • What is this? Bash Jefferson Week

  • A week from now, everyone will be celebrating the Declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson, amid whoops and hollers. Ol’ Tom was hardly the only deist among the Founders; in fact, most were Deists and not Christians.

  • Wrong Joe. The vast majority of the Founding Fathers were perfectly conventional Christians.

  • I don’t mean to belabor the point. I just reemphasize that it is essential that we understand our historical figures for who they really are, and not for who we want to pretend they were.

    Let us hope the same applies to Lincoln and Hamilton : )

    BTW, Don, I accept your wager. As I look at a five-dollar bill, I already am having positive thoughts about ol’ Abe.

  • Correct, Don. Not all of the Founders were conventional Christians, but Jefferson stands apart for his heterodoxy.

  • Don, what’s a “perfectly conventional Christian”?

  • Let us hope the same applies to Lincoln and Hamilton : )

    Of course! I’m for disseminating all the facts, just not caricatures based on cherrypicked evidence.

  • Paul, in a wider context, Jefferson, along with Madison, co-authoried the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom. Without it America would have gone on as it was — with Jews banned from holding office in some states, Catholics in others, and Protestants in Maryland. So while Jefferson had doubts about the divinity of Jesus, he nonetheless embraced Intelligent Design. By the way, if one studies Mother Teresa’s life, she had many doubts, too.

  • Researching, I came across this list. I cannot affirm its accuracy but if it is then I suppose most were “Christian,” although not quite conventional:

    Here is a list of our Founding Fathers religion.
    Signers Name

    Religious Affiliation
    Connecticut
    Adams, John Congregationalist/ Unitarian
    Adams, Samuel Congregationalist
    Bartlett, Josiah Congregationalist
    Braxton, Carter Episcopal

    Delaware
    Clark, Abraham Presbyterian
    Chase, Samuel Episcopal
    Carroll of Carrollton, Charles Roman Catholic

    Georgia
    Clymer, George Quaker/ Episcopal
    Ellery, William Congregationalist
    Floyd, William Presbyterian

    Maryland
    Hall, Lyman Congregationalist
    Gwinnett, Button Episcopal/ Congregationalist
    Gerry, Elbridge Episcopal
    Franklin, Benjamin Episcopal/ Deist

    Massachusetts
    Hancock, John Congregationalist
    Harrisson, Benjamin Episcopal
    Hart, John Presbyterian
    Hewes, Joseph Quaker/ Episcopal
    Heyward Jr., Thomas Episcopal

    New Hampshire
    Hopkinson, Francis Episcopal
    Hopkins, Stephen Episcopal
    Hooper, William Episcopal

    New Jersey
    Huntington, Samuel Congregationalist
    Jefferson, Thomas Episcopal/ Deist
    Lee, Francis Lightfoot Episcopal
    Lee, Richard Henry Episcopal
    Lewis, Francis Episcopal

    New York
    Middleton, Arthur Episcopal
    McKean, Thomas Presbyterian
    Lynch Jr., Thomas Episcopal
    Livingston, Philip Presbyterian

    North Carolina
    Morris, Lewis Episcopal
    Morris, Robert Episcopal
    Morton, John Episcopal

    Pennsylvania
    Rutledge, Edward Episcopal
    Rush, Benjamin Presbyterian
    Ross, George Episcopal
    Rodney, Caesar Episcopal
    Read, George Episcopal
    Penn, John Episcopal
    Paine, Robert Treat Congregationalist/ Unitarian
    Paca, William Episcopal
    Nelson Jr., Thomas Episcopal

    Rhode Island
    Sherman, Roger Congregationalist
    Smith, James Presbyterian

    South Carolina
    Thornton, Matthew Presbyterian
    Taylor, George Presbyterian
    Stone, Thomas Episcopal
    Stockton, Richard Presbyterian

    Virginia
    Walton, George Episcopal
    Whipple, William Congregationalist
    Williams, William Congregationalist
    Wilson, James Episcopal/ Presbyterian
    Witherspoon, John Presbyterian
    Wolcott, Oliver Congregationalist
    Wythe, George Episcopal

  • Franklin, listed as “episcopal/deist,” was more the latter and may have, like some of the others, filled in the religion box for the sake of political correctness. He famously speaks for himself here:

    “God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” -Ben Franklin–(Constitutional Convention of 1787)

  • Without it America would have gone on as it was — with Jews banned from holding office in some states, Catholics in others, and Protestants in Maryland.

    I’m not trying to pile on, but in a bitter irony, *Catholics* had been disenfranchised in Maryland by the Revolution. They were only 8 percent of the population of that colony at that point, and the Protestants were determined to keep them chained. The example of Charles Carroll (of Carrollton) radically changed the views of the Protestant majority, and this injustice was remedied.

    I strongly recommend Bradley Birzer’s biography of Carroll, “American Cicero.” It gives a nice background on the status of Catholics in the colony.

    Birzer also advances the argument that the Quebec Act was the real final straw for a lot of the American colonists.

  • Your list is wrong about Carroll’s colony–Carroll was a native of Maryland, and arguably the richest man in America by the time of the Revolution.

  • There’s something wrong with that list. The names of the signers are in roughly alphabetical order. I’d guess that there was an embedded column in the cut-and-paste that distorted it.

  • It’s also worth noting that the founders were representitives of colonies, each made up of a large number of denominational emcampments. They weren’t looking to encode their own beliefs into the founding documents; they were trying to protect their populations. So this wasn’t a Deist document, or a Presbyterian/Episcopalean document. It was intended to protect the rights of every goofy New England utopian town of 200 souls, and everyone else. That’s the danger of emphasizing the founders’ individual beliefs over those beliefs that they wanted to prevent government from restricting.

  • There were witnesses to the “historical Jesus”, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

  • Pinky: That is good reasoning.

  • When Jefferson was in charge of the University of Virginia, he actively urged all the local religious groups to use the university buildings and grounds for events. Which was shrewd for gaining community support and goodwill, but also showed that his instinct was to be generous and impartial. It’s the American way to share.

    No, Jefferson’s beliefs were weirder than a barrel of komodo dragons, but that didn’t mean he didn’t believe in other people following their own religions.

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Rewriting Jefferson

Monday, June 25, AD 2012

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a link to David Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson. It’s almost like my friend, knowing my academic interest in Thomas Jefferson, cast some bait in my direction. And two months later, I took it.

I can honestly say that I went into it with an open mind. Even if Barton misinterpreted Jefferson, maybe he would do so in at least a semi-convincing way. After all, it’s possible for individuals to have high opinions of Thomas Jefferson without being historical hacks. I have tremendous respect for David Mayer, for example, and his opinion of Jefferson is completely different than mine.

Sadly, my low expectations were met. To be sure, Barton does offer enough arguments to rebut the most absurd and historically inaccurate claims about Jefferson. For example, Barton correctly points out the fallacy of the claim that it has been definitively proven that Thomas Jefferson fathered children by the slave Sally Hemings. I also believe that Barton’s insinuations about the partisan motivations behind the claims have some merit. But this chapter exemplifies so much of what is wrong with Barton’s methodology. While there can be no conclusive argument made that Jefferson fathered children by Hemings, it is also impossible to assert with any certainty that he did not. But Barton cannot leave well enough, and Barton distorts the findings of the commission tasked with determining the paternity of Hemings’ children to make it appear that Jefferson almost certainly could not be the father. While it’s certainly true that genetic testing at this stage of history cannot offer conclusive proof one way or the other, the idea that the father of Hemings’ children can be any one of  a dozen men or so is also not really credible. Personally I am rather agnostic on the question, and don’t think it is of huge historic import, but Barton stretches the truth almost as badly as those who adamantly insist that Jefferson was the father.

The real meat of the book focuses on the topic of religion. Again, Barton is incredibly frustrating to read. He asserts towards the beginning of the book that it is important to read primary sources, and to truly understand the historical context when judging historical figures. He is correct on both counts. He then incredibly proceeds to selectively cite dubious secondary sources in order to prove his assertions, and then ignores broader context when cherrypicking quotes from Jefferson.

A prime example of Barton cherrypicking Jefferson occurs in a chapter in which Barton tries to prove that Jefferson was no fan of the secular French Enlightenment. Barton offers as proof of this assertion a critical passage in one of Jefferson’s letters regarding the French philosopher Guillame Raynal. Evidently one critical passage about one obscure thinker is all the evidence we need that Jefferson was at odds with French Enlightenment philosophy. Well then.

Barton’s reliance on dubious sources bites him when discussing the supposed Jefferson Bible. Again, Barton is correct in the narrowest sense when he notes that Jefferson did not attempt to create a bible. Rather, two separate works by Jefferson – The Philosophy of Jesus and The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth – were compilations of Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. It wasn’t a “bible,” and Jefferson never attempted to pass these compilations off as such. But then Barton claims that neither work was as unorthodox as historians have claimed them to be. Jefferson did not cut out the supernatural elements from the Gospel, and indeed included some stories that referenced miracles and the afterlife. But as Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter demonstrate in Getting Jefferson Right, Barton’s source declaring that Jefferson included the miracle stories in his compilations is just plain  wrong. As for the other examples of Jefferson including references to the supernatural, these were mainly concerned with the afterlife. Throckmorton and Coulter concede that Jefferson did believe in the afterlife, thus it isn’t all that surprising that Jefferson would include these references. After all, Jefferson was not an atheist. He certainly believed in God, though he did not believe that Jesus Himself was a member of the Godhead.

And that is really the fundamental problem with Barton’s work. Barton tries mightily to paint Jefferson as some kind of conventional Christian, suggesting that his heterodoxy developed late in life as he fell under the Unitarian influence. Barton has to ignore almost an entire lifetime of Jefferson’s work in order to reach this conclusion. Here is how Jefferson expressed his views on Jesus:

The question of his being a member of the Godhead, or in direct communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers, and denied by others, is foreign to the present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrinsic merits of his doctrines.

1.He corrected the Deism of the Jews, confirming them in their belief of one only God, and giving them juster notions of his attributes and government.

2.His moral doctrines, relating to kindred & friends, were more pure & perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews; and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants and common aids.  A development of this head will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all others.

3.The precepts of philosophy, & of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only.  He pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man; erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head.

That’s pretty clearly not orthodox Christianity to me.

Jefferson would even call Jesus’s teachings defective, though he praised Jesus as an ethicist. His compilations from the Gospels were meant to restore Christ’s teachings to their original intent, as it were. Jefferson believed that Paul and the other Apostles had distorted Christ’s work, so that is why he took out all accounts of miracles and references to Jesus being in any way part of the Godhead. Most importantly, his compilation ends at the death of Christ on the cross and his placement in the tomb. Jefferson rejected the resurrection.

Jefferson repeatedly excoriated Paul as one of the principle impostors who distorted Christ’s teachings.

Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and firm corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.

Jefferson added that Paul was a “Platonist who had brought beclouding mysticism to Jesus’ clear moral teachings.”

Barton also glosses over Jefferson’s disdain of the clergy. He cites some examples of Jefferson praising men of the cloth, but in almost every example Jefferson was praising a fellow heterodox Christian. It would be like trying to prove that someone is a faithful Catholic by highlighting their words of praise for Voice of the Faithful or Catholics for a Free Choice.

In several of his letters, Jefferson overtly criticized organized religion. “My opinion is that there never would have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest,” he wrote to Samuel Smith, meaning that religion creates artificial guidelines which restrict freedom of thought. He added that clergy only lay down these rules in order to augment their own power. “The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there.”

Barton is correct to temper some of the more extreme claims about Jefferson and religion. Jefferson was no atheist, and it would not entirely be correct to say that he disdained Christianity as such. On the other hand, Barton glosses over much of Jefferson’s more negative assessments of Christianity. Most importantly, his attempt to portray Jefferson’s heterodox views as a late-life aberration is simply laughable.

Barton and those that follow him do neither conservatism nor Christianity any favors by distorting the historical record. Barton seems to be under the impression that each of the Founding Fathers must be protected from the slings and arrows of Progressive historians who would tear down these great men. I share Barton’s distrust and even contempt for most contemporary historians. But Barton’s pseudo-history is no way to counter this trend, and only provides ammunition to those who would mock conservative Christians. The progressive reading of Jefferson happens to be the correct one. Well, you know what they say about stopped clocks.

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14 Responses to Rewriting Jefferson

  • “then ignores broader context when cherrypicking quotes from Jefferson.”

    The ignorance of some people who write books on subjects is vast. The cherrypicking quotes phenomenon is picking up steam the past few years on historical themes, where polemic and assertions based on a very superficial knowledge of a period and the individuals involved appear to be the order of the day. I see this all the time in books about Lincoln.

  • I was delighted to see this review and correction. I concur with Mr. McClarey that cherrypicking historic narratives is totoally destructive of decent scholarship. As Christians the refromers did it to the Bible and gave us heresies and schisms that abound to this day.

  • I read and at times skimmed Barton’s book and found it weak in portraying the true Jefferson. As one who esteems Jefferson, who crafted one of the greatest documents in history — The Declaration of Independent — and who espoused limited government, states’ rights and individual liberty, I lament that we live in Hamilton’s America characterized by big central government with “implied” constitutional powers beyond those originally intended. Indeed, Jefferson had his warts, as we all do, but in the main our third President was a great man whose ideas and ideals helped form a great nation.

    As much better description of Jefferson the man and his political philosophy can be found in Marco Bassani’s book, “Liberty, State & Union: The Political Theory of Thomas Jefferson.” Bassani writes that in Jefferson’s view the three greatest men that civilization had produced were John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. In contrast, Hamilton said the “greatest human: was Julius Caesar.

    Don and others are right in noting that “cherrypicking” of quotes is a common practice used to support an author’s sometimes skewed or mistaken point of view. Mencken, Hitchens, Dawkins and other atheists frequently quoted from Scripture and other sacred writings to argue their cases, as do countless others. As has been said, “The Bible is an old fiddle on which you can play any tune.”

  • I lament that we live in Hamilton’s America characterized by big central government with “implied” constitutional powers beyond those originally intended.

    Wrong. In fact, we are very much living in Jefferson’s America, but it’s the anti-tradition, utopian Progressive Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton was not the proponent of a leviathan state that his critics (and, I guess, some supporters) have made him out to be.

  • Jefferson is easier to cherrypick than other figures since he had a vast correspondence throughout his life and he wasn’t the most consistent thinker to begin with.

  • Paul, I respectfully disagree. States’ rights, a linchpin of Jeffersonian democracy, have all but vanished. Once considered sovereign, the states, which are supposed to have all rights not reserved to the federal government, are subordinate to the federal government. This was the core of Hamilton’s national view.

  • Joe, you have to separate the surface-level stuff from the deeper philosophy. Yes, Jefferson was an ardent states’ righter – in fact, his views on states rights can be considered extreme. But when you dig deep into Jefferson’s worldview, you have actually have the elements that lead to the creation of the leviathan state. Jefferson would have abhorred what has happened to state sovereignty, but in a greater sense its his very own philosophy that helped lead to this moment. And isn’t that the fundamental problem with the Progressive philosophy, namely, unintended consequences?

  • Jefferson is easier to cherrypick than other figures since he had a vast correspondence throughout his life and he wasn’t the most consistent thinker to begin with.

    Very true. Thomas Jefferson left behind an enormous amount of correspondence, and over his life you can probably find him taking both sides of almost any issue. But I do think that it’s possible to sift through the totality of his writing and come to very firm conclusions as to where he generally stood.

  • Paul, when you refer to a leviathan state I automatically think of Hobbes whose thesis was that government rested on a social contract, an idea that Locke among others embraced. It is know that Jefferson was influenced by Locke and perhaps a step removed by Hobbes. No doubt Jefferson would have “abhorred” the loss of states’ rights but I imagine, too, that even Hamilton, Madison and the other Framers would not have recognized the modern United States of America.

  • Not that it is terribly important, but I remember reading somewhere that the descendants of Sally Hemings’ oldest child had French markers so he could not be Jefferson’s son. The descendants of her other children did not have those same markers, but had markers found in the Jefferson family. I remember that his nephew was strongly suspected as the father, but Jefferson himself could not be ruled out. Now someone tell me if I am remembering correctly.

  • Jenny,

    I believe that it is true. Hemings’ oldest son, Thomas, has been ruled out as being Jefferson’s son.

  • Nearly OT, but worth sharing: there’s an interesting theory that Jefferson may have been inspired by St. Robert Bellarmine’s writings (as filtered through an absolutist Anglican critic) in drafting part of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

    http://www.amazon.com/Virginia-declaration-rights-Cardinal-Bellarmine/dp/B003TU1ULG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340736492&sr=8-1&keywords=virginia+declaration+of+rights+bellarmine

    More expansive (and unsupportable) claims have been made regarding Bellarmine’s influence, but Hunt’s thesis makes modest and more supportable claims.

  • I have read that Charles Carrol, influenced by Bellarmine, also influenced Jefferson

  • Man, as a sovereign person, constitutes the government, gives government its sovereignty. When government stops respecting and appreciating the sovereignty imbued to it by the sovereignty of the human being, it ceases to be government and is hell.

Benedict at Westminster

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

The text of Benedict’s keynote speech on his trip to the UK is here; video of the speech can be found here.

Obviously, you read or watch the speech in its entirety, but I will present a few highlights for readers:

And yet the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved? These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

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One Response to Benedict at Westminster

Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

The proposed mosque set to be built near Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001 attacks has brought a sweeping condemnation from both rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia. Now that President Barack Obama has weighed in the matter, seemingly supporting the effort, one can only imagine how this will be used in the fall elections. However, a rift has appeared to have been opened concerning the views of the rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia following the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker over same-sex marriage. Many of the conservative intelligentsia, along with the establishment wing of the Republican Party has either been silent or voiced the view that the wished the whole gay marriage issue would simply go away. This has led to bewilderment from some conservative voices.

The best Catholic tie in with the efforts to build a mosque on Ground Zero came from the famed conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is Jewish. In his opposition to the mosque being built near Ground Zero, he correctly pointed out that Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

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27 Responses to Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

  • Which members of the conservative intelligentsia who aren’t also rank and file Republicans, have expressed opposition to the mosque?

  • There are plenty of natural law and non-religious arguments against homosexuality. It is not a natural co-equal with heterosexuality. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Men and woman are complementary, not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically.

    Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Almost every society, primitive and complex, has had laws and taboos against homosexuality. This isn’t just a Christian thing. There will always be a visceral reaction to homosexuality because it goes to the very heart of the survival of our species.

    Where homosexuality occurs in the animal world, it is primarily a temporary condition, and when the opportunity presents itself, animals will copulate heterosexually.

    Two-parent heterosexual families, despite the exceptions, are proven over history, across cultures, as the better way for healthy child development. Healthy children produce healthy societies.

    It’s time, in my opinion, for a Constitutional amendment that establishes once and for all that marriage is between one man and one woman. Then we can put this issue to bed.

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage. I suppose it is because Americans of all stripes have internalized the notion that it is “mean” to express “intolerance” toward homosexuality. Genuine intolerance, however, including intolerance toward Catholics, remains quite socially acceptable.

  • discarding Western Civilization’s definition of marriage (2,000+ years) is simply a non starter.

    As pointed out above, it’s not just Western Civ’s definition, it has been humanity’s definition since recorded history, and likely pre-dates that as well. try more like 5,000+ years.

  • From what I can tell, those members of the conservative “intelligencia” who aren’t members of Fox & Friends or proprieters of talk radio shows have mostly remained in favor of religious freedom — as they should.

  • Try on this one, Bunky:

    “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage.

    I suspect you usually could not do this without making evaluations of their personal disposition and conduct, as in noting that some folk appear other-directed by default (Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher) or have been married four times (Theodore Olson), or make use of the self-description ‘conservative’ to obfuscate (Conor Friedersdorf).

    Someone on the payroll of The American Conservative or the Rockford Institute can likely also supply a dismissive commentary to the effect that those resisting this burlesque have neglected some deeper cultural deficiency which these resisters are too shallow to detect and about which we can do nothing in any case.

  • “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

    Fits alright.

  • Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Same can be said of blacks. I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

  • Tide turning towards Catholicism? Just today I read a credible report saying that in the last 10+ Catholic marriages have decreased. One point of view is that the religion is too strict and another is that it is not needed with modern thinking. I just had a conversation with a liberal who said life is a pendulum goes from one extreme to the other finding it’s way in the middle. I do not believe this that societies do go by the wayside, that they undo themselves, with no virtue to survive pop trends.

  • I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

    Why don’t you try making the case FOR it? Start with an explanation of why male friendships which do not incorporate sodomy as part of their daily practice should received less recognition than those which do.

  • Art Deco, I don’t know why you want me to make the case for it but you asked so I’ll try.

    The closer the relationship, the greater the rights and responsibilities between them are. If we want to legally protect expectation interests, we will want to recognize intimately committed couples in ways that we don’t recognize mere friendships. We may also want to legally recognize friendships but that’s not at issue here.

  • RR,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored? Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    My question was rhetorical. The gay lobby wants this as a gesture of deference. The only reason to give it to them is that they will be put out by refusal. Lots of people do not get their way, and public policy is enough of a zero sum game that that is inevitable. For some, it is incorporated into their amour-propre to regard some clamoring constituencies as composed of those who are So Very Special. Then there’s the rest of thus, who are not so well represented in the appellate judiciary.

  • AD,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored?

    It shouldn’t.

    Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support. When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties, it would be unjust to allow one party to escape their duties at the expense of the other(s). It’s why we enforce contracts. If your father and his friend did have such an arrangement, it should be enforced.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

    Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

  • Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

    Nobody would object if those wanting to building the mosque volunteered to build it elsewhere. But who is the more honorable person? The Jew who welcomed the Carmelites or the Jew who told them to go somewhere else?

  • Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

    They ignored the law and act to frustrate lawfully constituted immigration policy. Can we have a wee bit o’ antagonism, pretty please?

  • I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support.

    I cannot say if they borrowed money from each other or not. Ordinarily, working aged men are expected to be self-supporting if not disabled.

    When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties,

    Human relations are not commercial transactions and the law does not ordinarily enforce amorphous and unwritten ‘expectations’ that someone else is going to pay your rent.

    Right now, RR, I am pricing insurance policies. I was offered (unbidden) discount rates by the agent if I was in some sort of ‘committed relationship’ with some other dude. Uh, no, nothing like that Chez Deco, ever. I inquired about purchases for my sister. No discount offers there.

    Maybe sis and I can manufacture an ‘expectations interest’ and get you and Judge Walker to work on our problem.

  • And if it is written?

    Are you opposed to insurance discounts for spouses or for discounts for siblings?

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  • This article has a lot of interesting points. However, it rambles all over the place. The essay would have been easier to understand if it was broken up into three mini essays.

    There’s no intrinsic connection between the Cordoba Mosque, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage. Why lament that some conservatives have an opinion on one topic but not the other? You might (rightfully) argue that the establishment of a mosque near Ground Zero does not carry even a tenth of the socio-moral import of same sex marriage. But the logical independence of the two questions renders party lockstep on the two issues irrelevant. Let the GOP/right/conservative rank and file make up their own minds about the relationship between these two variables.

    Gratuitous aside: I know that you and other faithful/orthodox Catholic bloggers must boost reparative therapy. To not do so would negatively impact one’s orthodox Catholic street cred. Still, one can be a faithful Catholic, live morally, and not support COURAGE. Indeed, I found the meetings emotionally intrusive and psychologically manipulative. I wish that the Catholic orthodox/conservative/right would think twice before lavishing praise on an organization and therapeutic model that at the very least has emotionally troubled some participants. Sing your praises only after attending a meeting or two.

  • Sorta Catholic, the beauty of writing an article for a blog or newspaper column is that you have the freedom to write it as you see fit. Perhaps, some would like shorter columns, while others may favor longer columns, the choice is up to the writer.

    As for Courage, the group’s spiritual mentor is Father Benedict Groeschel, his credentials are certainly good enough for me. Perhaps, the meeting you attended was not run properly. I can only tell you that the group is trying to impart the Church’s teachings in a world that has become enamored with self, and not with faith.

    As for orthodox-minded street cred, we aren’t trying to impress anyone only help spread the message of Christ through His Church. We have divergent opinions on a variety of topics, but yet we fall under the same umbrella of supporting the Church’s teachings. The longer you submit to the will of God, the more you realize the wisdom of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church. It really does make you a more content indiviudal, free from the whims of the modern world. Take care!

  • It is a shame that the likes of Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh would let their libertarian views get the best of them when it comes to SSM. Divorcing that from their preaching for conservative values is not the charitable thing to do when the eternal salvation of those who engage in homosexual acts is at stake. Frankly, by doing so, they are committing the grievous sin of omission. A priest in Texas recently made that point clear when he said that Catholics have a moral duty to oppose abortion and SSM.

  • By the way, one of my favorite journalists, WorldNetDaily’s founder Joseph Farah, hits the nail on the head of this issue in offering his take on why some conservatives are “capitulating” to the gay agenda pushers: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=192761

  • Hi Dave,

    A person that bases his or her judgement of an organization on the perceived reputation of a founder/leader/mentor in that organization commits the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority”. Now, Fr. Groschel is an upstanding authority. I respect him as a religious leader even if I do not agree with many of his points. Even so, the absolute metric for any organization is its ideology/methodology. Perhaps you’ve provided a rigorous defense of reparative therapy elsewhere on your website. If so, point me there. Otherwise, an appeal to authority without prior analysis of an institution’s ideology or methodology is rather insubstantial.

    Appeals to authority or subjective statements such as “X is trying to impart the Church’s teachings […]” sometimes hide insufficient research. Also, “orthodoxy” (i.e. strict adherence to a religion’s dogma/doctrine) does not guarantee the success or failure of a particular therapy.

  • Hi SortaCatholic, I hope your day is going well. I must say that I find these sorts of exchanges very interesting. I don’t believe my “Appeal to Authority,” is some sort of man made or earthly authority. You see I have worked for the Church in a number of capacities. I have seen the good, bad and the ugly. There is some great people who work for the Church and some really inept ones. I have always felt with all of these inept folks, the Church would have to be who she says she is to have survived 2,000 years!

    Perhaps someone at Courage might come across this and answer some of your questions. I do know that God does help us and prayer does work, but rarely in the sort of miraculous way in which we would like it to happen. God sorts and sifts us. We all have our own sets of problems, blessings, gifts, talents and struggles. I have always found Christ’s words of seek and you shall find, knock and you will be heard to be very true (Matthew 7:7-11.) In addition, I have always found this Scripture reading from Hebrews about God showing us the way through trial and struggle very revealing in my own life (Hebrews 12:5-12.) Take care!

MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.[1]

2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.

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Anne Rice Breaks Up With Christianity

Thursday, July 29, AD 2010

I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

And with that announcement, Anne Rice publicly renounced her identity as a Christian on Facebook.

I’m compelled to wonder, however — who is the more preferable and honest of the two?

  • The “Anne Rice”‘s of the world — who recognize their open disagreement with traditional [Catholic / Orthodox] Christianity, and agree that they can no longer identify themselves as such because the moral positions they hold are fundamentally incompatible?
  • The “Nancy Pelosi”‘s of the world, who publicly repudiate various traditional moral positions of [Catholic / Orthodox] Christianity, yet simultaneously proclaim themselves “practicing Catholics” (up and including the reception of the Eucharist), and yet relegate their disagreements as “differences of opinion”?
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39 Responses to Anne Rice Breaks Up With Christianity

  • Anne Rice hands down.

    She may not know a lot about Catholicism, she is at least honest in her beliefs.

    Madame Speaker on the other hand knows her faith very well and purposely and consciously goes against the teachings of God.

  • Wow. I know the sexual abuse scandal really bothered her but didn’t expect this.

    I think I would probably still prefer an Andrew Sullivan Catholic than the new Anne Rice though. Her lost of faith in the leadership combined with all the time she spends online being both urged by Maureen Dowd Catholics and attacked by Catholic Answers Catholics may have pushed her over the edge.

  • I don’t think that anyone ever accused Nancy Pelosi of being able to write, either.

  • “may have pushed her over the edge.”

    I think this loon has been over the edge for a long, long time.

    http://www.boundlessline.org/2007/08/anne-rices-mean.html

  • Liberal political commitments are more popular and easier to understand than orthodoxy.

    Interesting, though, it sounds like she still thinks of herself as a disciple of Christ? “In the name of…”

  • “…Obama, peace be upon him.”

  • “I’m compelled to wonder, however — who is the more preferable and honest of the two?”

    Ann Rice.

  • I like how you phrased the post so as to minimize negative comments about Ms. Rice, Chris. It highlights that she is – and has been – honest and upfront about her differences with traditional Christianity. The tone of her post suggests frustration and anger; it’s not clear exactly what the source for these are (and what is ‘anti-life’ about Christianity?), but whatever her difficulties are, it would be best to treat her with kindness and charity.

  • It is a complex question. As far as ecumenical efforts go, Pope Benedict has clearly stated that disagreements should be worked out within the context of communion. Ms. Rice’s list of grievances do not strike me as good reasons for leaving communion.

    As far as Nancy Pelosi goes, a lay person disagreeing with the bishops should not a public scandal make. She is a symptom of the larger catholic culture and not its cause. Does anyone doubt that if she resigned her House seat tomorrow that someone just as bad if not worse would take her place?

  • I find the post to be a little rambling. Ok, she likes gays, feminism, and birth control. Not surprising even if it is disappointing. But then she gets kinda weird.

    “Anti-Democrat?” I mean, some would argue but I think it’s weird she thinks Catholics must be Republicans (or can’t be Dems). I mean, many pro-lifers think that (with some good reason) but why she thinks that is odd.

    “Anti-secular humanism” I don’t know what that means; I’m not sure any religion accomodates pure secular humanism. What is she talking about?

    And finally, “anti-science?” How on earth is a Catholic anti-science? That one really confuses me.

    It makes me wonder whether she ever took the time to examine the beliefs she once claimed and are now rejecting. While I think she’s right to not claim Catholicism if she disagrees with it, I wonder what would have happened if she had actually challenged herself with the teachings of the Church.

  • It’s functionally impossible to be a Democrat if you’re pro-life. Besides, being a lib these days means believing in the pseudo-religion of government anyway. It necessarily crowds out other competing beliefs. Libs have made government into their new God.

  • I am praying this is a person that had a very bad day and like a lot of us hit the submit button too soon.

    I have a hard time thinking she will really leave her Christian faith.

  • I would expect that to the extent the tone of her tweet is angry, it’s because the process into and then out of organized Christianity has been difficult for her, and when we are dealing with difficult situations we often resort to anger as a way of reaching a decision — not unlike ending a relationship, where it becomes necessary to convince oneself that the other is bad.

    There are two ways of looking at such things, but I tend to lean towards thinking it’s more honest to renounce a religion if one seriously thinks it false on major issues, rather than claiming to know it better than it does itself.

  • We all know it already, but for the sake of the uninitiated who will probably find their way here to troll:

    * “I refuse to be anti-gay.”

    She refuses to defend the sanctity and true purpose of marriage and sexuality. She aligns herself with perversion.

    * “I refuse to be anti-feminist.”

    She refuses to accept that the political arguments for women’s equality, which have only ever been accepted and integrate en masse in Western Christian societies, do not automatically transpose themselves into a radicalized theology.

    * “I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control.”

    Again, perversion over the true purpose of sexuality.

    * “I refuse to be anti-Democrat.”

    I can’t blame her on that one. The current make-up of the Democrat party means that only those of the most agile and subtle intelligence can reconcile their faith with allegiance to it.

    *”I refuse to be anti-secular humanism.”

    Then she had no business ever being a Catholic. It was because I refused to be a secular humanist that I could become a Catholic again.

    * “I refuse to be anti-science.”

    She refuses to read a history book or the Church’s modern interaction with the sciences and understand the complete bankruptcy of this claim.

    * “I refuse to be anti-life.”

    Secular humanism IS anti-life.

    * “In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

    No comment.

  • Yes, I changed what I said and removed the comments. I went too far, as I sometimes do, and I won’t try to rationalize it.

  • Wow, this is a real bummer because the book she wrote about her reversion to the faith, “Called Out of Darkness,” was a pretty good book and I found it kind of inspiring.

    She sounded genuine in it, and admitted she had difficulties with certain Church teachings but figured that faith was more a matter of trusting that the popes, saints, Doctors of the Church, etc. knew what they were doing, than a matter of having 100 percent perfect personal understanding and agreement with EVERY point of Church doctrine and morals.

    Now I thought that was a good way to look at it… to realize that faith does NOT mean you have to know exactly where every nut and bolt on the Barque of Peter is located, and understand how every single part operates, it means you get on the boat, and stay on it, once you have determined that it is seaworthy, will get you where you need to go (heaven) and the captain knows what he’s doing. (That’s my metaphor, not hers, just to be clear)

    Her comment about being “anti-gay” probably has more to do with the fact that her son (her only surviving child) is gay than with any conscious “alignment with perversion”.

    Also, I have a book of interviews with her that was published in the mid-1990s, not too long before she returned to the Church. In it she makes some interesting comments about how disillusioned she had become with leftist/feminist “orthodoxy” and how in many ways it was far more repressive and anti-human than even the old fashioned, pre-Vatican II Catholicism she had grown up with. So I don’t know that she’s all that big a fan of secular humanism either.

    I agree with John Henry that she needs charity and understanding more than condemnation at this point, and that we should give her credit for being honest about her convictions.

  • “There are two ways of looking at such things, but I tend to lean towards thinking it’s more honest to renounce a religion if one seriously thinks it false on major issues, rather than claiming to know it better than it does itself.”

    What is interesting is she is not just Catholicism but all Christianity

    She is not announcing she is joning the TEC or some other progressive Christian body where her views would be welcomed.

    So does she see well if Catholcism is wrong then all Christianity is wrong.

    Again I will keep her in my prayers. Something has set her off and people need to reach out to her.

    I think her reconversion was very genuine.

    Oh a side note I would say from what I can tell from the general Christian population and indeed the Catholic population they were respectful of her conversion. In fact I an think of several conservative traditional Catholic blogs right off the bat that were very gracious and Christian to her.

    Again she needs our prayers and I hope Catholics and Christians near her reach out to her

  • She had to choose between the ways of Christ and the ways of the world, and the world won. I pray that this is only one battle, and that she will come to understand that the teachings of the Church are born of love, not hate.

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  • “I’m compelled to wonder, however — who is the more preferable and honest of the two?”

    Whichever will throw herself on the mercy of God on her deathbed.

    Honesty is merely a natural virtue, yes? Should we really prefer the honest apostate to the liar who has faith?

    Pelosi could be piously following the teachings of some dissenting priest or religious sister she encountered in her formative years and mistook for Catholic orthodoxy.

    For her part, Rice has a gay son, so family loyalty is possibly trumping loyalty to her faith.

    Neither should be religious ed teachers, and like the rest of us both deserve correction through competent personal contact when necessary. But why prefer the “noble pagan” to the crooked Christian?

  • It’s not like she’s doing anything groundbreaking here. Lots of people decide that the ‘real Jesus’ just happens to agree with their own stances on .. pretty much everything. Amazing coincidence.

  • “Why prefer the ‘noble pagan’ to the crooked Christian?”

    Remember the parable Christ told of the two sons whose father asked them to work in his vineyard… one said “Yes, I’ll go,” but never did, while the other said “No” but later changed his mind and went. “Which one did what the father wanted?” Christ asked.

  • Should we really prefer the honest apostate to the liar who has faith?

    That does presuppose the liar has faith. The other possibility is the liar is simply a liar and has no faith. But since she is a liar, you never can tell (though it would seem to be rather odd that a simpleton like me can understand the big points of Catholic moral teaching, but the third in line for the Presidency of the US cannot – and my teachers were no better than hers).

    That parable is a bit confusing here. It seem neither is doing the work in the vineyard at this point. Here, one says yes (Pelosi?) but does nothing (in fact, goes out of her way to ruin the vineyard), and the other (Rice) says “no” and….does nothing?

    Anyway, Rice probably just needs time alone to think things out. Pelosi needs a road to Damascus whooping, a divine 2×4 upside the head.

  • The blame falls squarely on the catechists, us included. We’ve failed to persuade her that (a) our intentions are good, and (b) our doctrines are right.

    For example, the Church isn’t anti-gay. It puts forward a holy but tough alternative to the gay lifestyle. We need to demonstrate that we’re not “anti”. Aristotle said that the first step toward persuading someone is to convince him of your good character. There’s a lot of hope for Rice because she seems to strongly believe in Christ’s good character.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with Anne’s decision to disassciate with organized Christianity. So much of the modern message has become anathema to the gospel, and the Church has historically demonstrated a reluctance to discipline itself in ways that reflect the true teachings of Jesus. Did Jesus bash gays as he traveled about in the company of men. Did he rant against making love except for the express purpose of procreation? Did Jesus tell us that women are somehow different and lesser in the eyes of God.

    Could Anne have rejected Catholicism but then wrapped herself in one of the “feel good” versions that preache the virtues of accumulated wealth and evangelical superiority?

    Must you belong to a Christian church, or start yet another dissatified sect, in order to identify and align yourself with the message of Jesus?

    Jesus did not charge us to go out and build an edifice, he didn’t lay out the design for the Vatican, and he never extolled us to jihad (Crusades). He never defended religious persecution (The Inquisition). He didn’t charge us to believe the Earth was the center and only relevant corner of creation (anti-science). And he never told us to place blind faith in religious leaders (Pharisees.papists and Swaggertites).

    Jesus told us to love one another. He told us to give to the poor and the needy. He told us to trust in His message and all would be revealed by the Spirit of God.

    I am a baptised Catholic that utterly rejects Catholicism and both organized and disorganized Christianity. I prefer to get my doctrine unfiltered by men with a selfish or heretical agenda. I prefer the simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught.

  • I am a baptised Catholic that utterly rejects Catholicism and both organized and disorganized Christianity. I prefer to get my doctrine unfiltered by men with a selfish or heretical agenda. I prefer the simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught.

    In the end the rejection of historical Christianity is a rejection of Christ. It is rather shallow and immature to think that your personal recreation of Christianity is ‘unfiltered by…a selfish or heretical agenda.’ At best you have replaced the selfish or heretical agendas of others with one of your own creation. Chesterton wrote that joining the Church freed him from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age; your comment is childish both in this sense and in the sense that only naivete could account for your uncritical self-confidence.

  • Pinky,
    I think you are too easy on her. I happen to know for a fact that folks have tried to catechise her and reason with her on Church issues, but she is exceedingly stubborn. In particular, when Sister McBride was excommunicated Rice went ballistic. When Church teaching was meticulously explicated re the intentional taking of an innocent human life she simply ignored all reasoning that disturbed her comfortable consequentialist views. And I do mean ignore. No engagement; no effort; just blind outrage. Did I say blind?

  • And tell us, Marc, how it is that you know of the “simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught”? Did He mystically appear to you in a dream and teach you these truths? Did a book containing these truths miraculously fall out of the sky and into your possession one day?

    The Bible didn’t just write itself. To the extent we know anything about Christ and the “simple uncomplicated truths” that He taught (and, in fact, some of Christ’s teachings are ANYTHING BUT “simple” or “uncomplicated” – see, e.g., divorce, remarriage, and adultery), it is because of the work of the Church. Some people may like to pick and choose which teachings of the Church they want to follow, but they should at least admit that that is what they are doing, and not pretend that they have some special insight into the “simple uncomplicated truths” of Christ apart from what the Church has taught for 2000 years.

  • I will pray that Anne Rice sees the error of her ways, along with those who agree with her. Earlier this year I wrote an article on this site entitled; “The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.” I believe this is another step in that direction. Anne’s ego, along with those who defend her, seems to suggest that they know better than the Church. How ridiculous, Jesus Himself said to the Apostles; He who Hears You Hears Me, He who Rejects You Rejects Me (Luke 10:16.)

    We fail to remember that even before Calvary many of Jesus’ followers left Him. It started with John 6 when most of His followers rejected Jesus after His disocourse (the longest in the Bible) on the Eucharist. Judas’ biggest sin was pride, thinking he knew better than everyone. We might recall that Judas got upset with Jesus when the pentient woman poured the expensive perfume over Him. Judas thinking because he hung around in the most well to do circles, he was naturally smarter than everyone. Sadly the sin of pride remains very alluring to many, especially today. Jesus gave us the Magesterium and popes (the Teaching Authority of the Church) which is unsettling those whose sin of pride tells them, they are so smart. I hope and pray that this sin is eradicated so the likes of Anne Rice and her defenders can truly see the wisdom of God and His ways.

  • I am a baptised Catholic that utterly rejects Catholicism and both organized and disorganized Christianity. I prefer to get my doctrine unfiltered by men with a selfish or heretical agenda. I prefer the simple uncomplicated truths that Jesus taught.

    Except that your declaration is manifestly untrue. As with every person I’ve seen issue encyclicals like yours, you haven’t abandoned organized religion, you’ve simply chosen to shrink it to a membership of one–yourself. You are simply the Pope of the Church of Marc Stephens, and you thunder with even more magisterial self-assurance than the Syllabus of Errors. Yours isn’t a declaration of liberation from organized religion–it’s a proclamation of your own infallibility.

  • Both are headed to the same place.

    Ms. Rice is, at least, open and candid; and not dangerous to our country and our way of life.

  • Her most recent post: ” My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than C…hristianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.”

    and personally I think she has a point. Christ is more important than Christianity in terms of an organization. We should all strive to be followers of Christ more than adherents to a system.

  • Also, we’re not to judge either Anne Rice or Nancy Pelosi or anyone else. Faith or lack therof is between that person and God.

  • Mike, yeah, I probably am going too easy on her. It was a visceral reaction. Any time the question “who’s the worst Catholic” is asked, the answer is supposed to be “me”.

  • No, we have every right to condemn public attacks on the Church.

    We’re not to judge a person’s SOUL. Their ARGUMENTS should be laid to waste with all of the terrible judgment we can muster.

  • IMAO, most writers don’t understand religion enough to talk about it sensibly. They seem to reduce everything to words. So to many of them, leaving a religion is more like throwing away old clothes or deciding you’re sick and tired of the color red. Of course, those decisions can be over dramatized with the right words as well.

  • Ms. Rice’s diatribe angers me. She reaches an immense audience from her pulpit and the opinions of many people are formed by what she preaches. Many souls were edified and brought back to the Church through her beautifully-written books about Jesus. How is she going to make reparations to the sheep that she formerly nourished with her writings about Jesus? Has the Rosary she brandished in many photographs been relegated to a bureau drawer? Had she been faithful in reciting the Rosary, it would have been a shield against the corruption she spoke about Christianity, thereby diminishing not only the Church, but Our Lord Jesus. This isn’t just about Ms. Rice’s soul. I think her diatribe was evil and self-centered and has the potential to kill the very souls that she was attempting to save. It’s just despicable.

  • Agreed Moe. She deserves rebuke, not coddling.

  • “Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some a hundred. He said unto them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

    “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable…. And he said unto them, The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”

    It seemed apropos.

Inception's Leap of Faith: Christianity v. Neo-Conservatives

Sunday, July 25, AD 2010

My wife and I went to see Inception this weekend and I’ve been mulling over it the past two days. I’ve been looking through the internet to find a good analysis and, not finding one fully to my satisfaction, look Tolkien & Lewis’s advice and just wrote my own. If you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t know why you’re reading this but rest assured you will be lost. For those who did see it, I’ll see you after the break.

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25 Responses to Inception's Leap of Faith: Christianity v. Neo-Conservatives

  • you may want to check out memento it could give you a deeper understanding on what nolan planned to do at the end of this movie, at-least with the open ending that requires your own interpretation and both answers are good answers

  • So yeah, I thought the movie was brilliant for quite a few different reasons. He, I’m assuming intentionally, sets the viewer up to WANT to make a decision as to what the meaning of the film is – interpreted through the glass of whether he truly was in a dream or not. But as I have pointed out (and you cursorily suggested here yourself), they BOTH have issues. Questions like how did the grandfather know to be there, why were the kids the same age and in the same position as in his dreams come to mind trying to indicate it is still a dream. And yet, at the same time, the top DID wobble, and it was not a scene of, “how did I get here”.

    Truth be told I think the genius of the movie was not in the fairly amazing cliff-hanger at the end, but rather in the VERY thorough representation that both sides have their defects. If you take this in light of your interpretation using Stauss, then it becomes apparent that somehow Stauss is both, simultaneously, right and wrong. I like the analogy you pulled here for a few reasons. It is CLEARLY a movie which will be interpreted by philosophers for years to come, and I think it was intended to be such. He raised a very difficult question, said which side is right, and then on a less superficial level says, “what if neither of them ARE?”

    I could ramble on much more about this movie as I thought it was downright brilliant in its acting, its casting, and its directing alike, but I think this is a set of questions that will continue to be “up in the air” so to speak for a long time to come. I’d love to speak with you in person about the movie if you’d like.

    Pax Christi

  • For those who may not know who the heck Leo Stauss was, wikipedia does a fairly good job at the link below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss

    In regard to Strauss and religion I believe this passage in the article does a good job of correcting some of the misconceptions of the views of Strauss:

    “At the end of his The City and Man, Strauss invites his reader to “be open to the full impact of the all-important question which is coeval with philosophy although the philosophers do not frequently pronounce it–the question quid sit deus” (p. 241). As a philosopher, Strauss would be interested in knowing the nature of divinity, instead of trying to dispute the very being of divinity. But Strauss did not remain “neutral” to the question about the “quid” of divinity. Already in his Natural Right and History, he defended a Socratic (Platonic, Ciceronian, and Aristotelian) reading of divinity, distinguishing it from a materialistic/conventionalist or Epicurean reading (see especially, Ch. III: “The Origin of the Idea of Natural Right”). Here, the question of “religion” (what is religion?) is inseparable from the question of the nature of civil society, and thus of civil right, or right having authoritative representation, or right capable of defending itself (Latin: Jus). Atheism, whether convinced (overt) or unconvinced (tacit), is integral to the conventionalist reading of civil authority, and thereby of religion in its originally civil valence, a reading against which Strauss argues throughout his volume. Thus Strauss’s own arguments contradict the thesis imputed to him post mortem by scholars such as S. Drury who profess that Strauss approached religion as an instrument devoid of inherent purpose or meaning.”

  • Michael, did it remind you at all of a law school exam? Almost the same amount of factors for either interpretation are there, and you can interpret it either way. I kept thinking of the instruction: “It doesn’t matter which side you come down on, just pick one and argue it, but don’t forget about the other side”.

    The funny thing is, I still think my interpretation of the ending is right, and I’ll argue with anyone who picked the other one.

  • Interesting post, apart from the subtitle — I confess I’m really tired of seeing ‘neocons’ played as the token enemy absent — 1) a clear definition of who the ‘neocons’ were; 2) what ‘neoconservatism’ is.

    Likewise, as Robert Alter puts it, “it has become received wisdom that a direct line issues from Strauss’s seminars on political philosophy at the University of Chicago to the hawkish approach to foreign policy by figures like Paul Wolfowitz and others in the Bush administration.” Several books of late have challenged this: Steven B. Smith’s Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism (Excerpt); Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Straussians against Shadia Drury and Other Accusers and “Will the real Leo Strauss please stand up?” (Nathan Tarcov, American Interest).

    The movie does sound interesting, however. =)

  • Tim:

    I think I’ve been sold on seeing a few more Nolan works, Memento being at the top of the list.

    Shane:

    The grandfather being there doesn’t bother me too much. Now, as far the kids go, the article I link to states that according to the credits, there are two sets of kids: one with the girl at 3 and one again at 5. That would be consistent with the kids changing, and the ending being reality not a memory-unless of course the different actors were one for the phone call and one for the screen time. You can play these games all day; nothing is a solid argument.

    Amanda:

    Now that you say that, it does remind me of a law school exam. Thank you for ruining the movie for me eternally.

    But what interpretation of the ending do you have?

    Don & Chris:

    You both may be right in that this isn’t Strauss’s worldview. As I said, I didn’t have the time to write an article about whether it is or isn’t his position. I do think however that people have ascribed it to him and that some who call themselves neo-conservatives have that viewpoint. I probably wouldn’t have used the term “neo-con” at all if I didn’t think that the Dark Knight represented a lot of things that the”neo-cons” approve of, but I agree with Chris that the term isn’t all that useful.

  • I want to know if the movie is worth watching for someone like me that has at best a rudimentary understanding of philosophy.

    That and I caught a snippet of a review that it was a pro-environmentalist film (didn’t hear the whole review though).

    So I pretty much decided not to watch it in order to save my soul.

    But if the movie is worth watching and I won’t lose my soul over watching it, tell me without giving away the plot (I haven’t read MD’s post).

  • I probably wouldn’t have used the term “neo-con” at all if I didn’t think that the Dark Knight represented a lot of things that the”neo-cons” approve

    Why not rummage through the writings of some folk associated with the Committee for the Free World &c. and tell us all why you think they were advocates of relgion-as-crowd-control? I’ll give you five names:

    Edward Banfield
    Midge Decter
    Joseph Epstein
    Jeane Kirkpatrick
    Robert W. Tucker

  • Tito,

    If there was an environmentalist message to Inception it slipped past me.

    All of Nolan’s films are excellent. Insomnia doesn’t focus on deception vs. reality like the others, but is a fascinating reflection on conscience. And The Prestige involves the same themes as Inception and Memento.

  • Hmm.

    Since I’m bringing up neo-cons in my next post, I may as well link to a post where I discussed them before:

    http://joeahargrave.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/uncle-leo-and-the-neocons/

    One thing I never quite understand about people who take umbrage at the word “neoconservative” is whether or not they a) deny the existence of neoconservatism, placing it in the same category as the tooth fairy, or b) understand that it is a real tendency in political thought but is poorly understood.

  • BA,

    That’s enough for me!

    I’ll be catching this film later this week.

  • I admit to an appreciation of the original neoconservatives — Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz — discovered by way of the original ‘Catholic neocons’ (Fr. Neuhaus, Michael Novak) of First Things which I digested back in college.

    But since 9/11, ‘neoconservativism’ has come to mean everything from a Straussian-Jewish cabal covertly manipulating the Bush Administration to practically anybody who supported military intervention in Iraq (ex. Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld are all labeled such).

    The term has become so amorphous (much like “liberalism”) that, if used at all, I prefer context and clarification.

    (Apologies to Michael D. for getting off-topic).

  • One thing I never quite understand about people who take umbrage at the word “neoconservative” is whether or not they a) deny the existence of neoconservatism, placing it in the same category as the tooth fairy, or b) understand that it is a real tendency in political thought but is poorly understood.

    It was an intellectual circle of liberals disaffected with the run of political discourse in the Democratic Party, the media, and academic life. In some cases social policy was the primary source of disaffection, in others foreign policy and a general disposition toward the military and patriotism, and in others the degradation of the universities. Their views on most questions of public policy were variegated and a number (e.g. Penn Kemble) returned to the fold of the Democratic Party after the end of the Cold War.

    What was common to them was elements of biography and networks of personal association. Neither aspect includes an association with Leo Strauss. Norman Podhoretz’ mentor was Lionel Trilling, if it matters. The palaeobabblers who complain about ‘conservatism’ being hijacked by Trotskyists have likewise forgotten that the earlier cohort of publicists which assembled around WF Buckley was shot through with disaffected reds, Whittaker Chambers and James Burnham to name two.

    It isn’t ‘poorly understood’. It is a cuss word favored by the twits who don’t know crap from apple butter.

  • “It isn’t ‘poorly understood’. It is a cuss word favored by the twits who don’t know crap from apple butter”

    Precisely. This is a debate over foreign policy and has nothing to do with Leo Strauss and the handful of people who actually could be called neo-conservatives. What rankles self-proclaim paleo-cons is that most conservatives do not share their views on foreign policy. The neo-con charge is merely a tactic in the on-going debate and doesn’t say amything of substance in regard to that debate.

  • I have seen the movie the day before yesterday and I enjoyed it. Having said that, references to Christianity seem far-fetched to me.

    I can’t recall see anyone praying, or crossing himself; there is no sign of anyone of the main characters having any sort or organised religious life (going to Church, say), no single (serious) mention of Jesus in a film which obviously plays in the present days (the cars).

    ” The Book of Eli” was the last movie of which I could say that Christian themes were evident.

    I have seen more crossing oneself and faces put heavenward in prayer during the last Football World Championship than in a couple of years of films at the cinema. In a way, this is encouraging, we know Hollywood “doesn’t do God”, at all.

  • we know Hollywood “doesn’t do God”, at all.

    Hence why they are out of touch with society and are slowly becoming irrelevant with each new movie release.

    Look at the bombs that Hollywood continues to make and the only real successes they have are ‘family’ films.

    Yet they don’t ‘get it’.

  • Fully agree, Tito.

    The last movie with Jlo about the woman who wants an artificial insemination (how so very funny, not) has already disappeared from London’s screens. But a movie like “The Passion” becomes a worldwide success.

    It is the same with bookstores, at least here in England. The best selling books are Christian books but you find everywhere huge “gay and lesbian” section and not much (and that, often stupid) in the religion section. Often there is not even a religion section, but a “spirituality” section with a lot of new age bollocks for aging wiccans and, amazingly, books from atheist authors.

    Then they complain that Amazon & Co. increase sales whilst they go bust (here in the UK, “Books etc.” and “Borders UK” alone in the last 12 months).

  • Mundabor:

    While I agree with the idea that hollywood is shooting itself in the foot by not pursuing more Christian movies, I disagree with the way you evaluate whether a movie has “Christian themes.”

    I don’t think it’s necessary to mention Christianity explicitly to touch on a theme that is represented by Christianity. In this movie for example, they discuss how they desire to create their own world, their own cathedrals is out of a desire to play God and the movie shows how this desire ultimately is destructive.

    The point isn’t whether Inception is Christian; that’s debatable. But I don’t think it has to explicitly show someone praying or mention Jesus to be Christian. Tolkien actually thought that such mentions detracted from the message, and he managed to produce one of the greatest and most Catholic works of literature ever in Lord of the Rings. I just don’t like the idea that Christian works & themes are found only in the Christian section of the bookstore.

  • Michael,
    I agree with you that to have a Christian theme, a film does not have to be explicitly labelled as Christian. As you say, Tolkien but also C.S. Lewis, the Italians Manzoni and Fogazzaro, or in his own peculiar way G.K. Chesterton come to mind.

    But in my eyes a couple of phrases in a two-and-a-half-hour film do not really qualify for the film to be defined in that way, nor does it the general theme of the film. The theme of the Hubris leading to self destruction is very old and certainly pre-Christian; many atheists would instinctively agree with the concept without becoming an ounce more Christian.

    In my eyes, as we still live in a world shaped by Christian values it is very easy that some concepts shared by Christianity find their way in a film, but I think “Inception” stops short of the insistence and pervasiveness of Tolkien’s, Manzoni’s, Chesterton’s message.

    Just my two cents of course.

  • This movie is ENTIRELY about faith. Here’s how I interpreted the film…allow me to “enlighten” you: This movie is about Dom Cobb being stuck in purgatory. The movie starts with him there, washed up on the shore. He sees his kids, and falls alseep – from then on he is dreaming while in purgatory. God (Michael Caine) with the assistance of Angels (Ariadne, Arthur, Eames, Saito, Yusef) perform Inception on Cobb so that he may have emotional catharsis and accept his faith. So basically, Cobb is in purgatory, has a dream that allows him to forgive himself of his sin and take his leap of faith, and then wakes up on his plane “home” to Heaven with the angels. He is even greeted at the GATE by a guard (St. Peter) who says “Welcome Home.” God then personally escorts him to his children. That’s the true reason why it doesn’t matter if the totem keeps spinning or it doesn’t – since they are in heaven either outcome if justified. There is so much evidence of all this throughout the movie. Watch it again and find all of the religious references – there are TONS OF THEM! For instance, that scene where the walls are closing in on him?- Look at the screen right before he gets out. Everything is black, except for the BIG BRIGHT LIGHT at the end of the alley. He’s trying to get to it, but he can’t because he is not ready. When Cobb is training Ariadne why does she line up those mirrors that show them infinitely? She’s trying to show him eternity, but he’s not ready for it so it shatters. What is the basement where all the people who cannot dream go to dream? It’s hell. They are showing him what hell is like. Also pay close attention to Caine’s character who is simply seen as a father figure-it is never stated whether he is Mal’s Father, or Cobb’s. He is also a teacher, so: Teacher+Father to all=God. At one point Eames and Cobb were talking about how to perform inception. He then says that they need to start with the “relationship with the Father” (Cobb’s faith and relationship with God). ALSO, Fischer is Cobb’s subconscious. That’s why it’s so important that they make Fischer forgive his father and have his catharsis, since it really means that Cobb had his. Go see the movie again and you’ll realize that there are piles and piles of evidence that support this theory, and every single question gets answered. That’s why Cobb isn’t with his kids, because children get a pass from Purgatory. Mal doesn’t get to heaven because she committed suicide-which is an unforgivable sin, but in Cobb’s dream in purgatory, Mal is the devil taking the form of Cobb’s love, knowing that Cobb will just assume that Mal is his own mind’s projection. She then uses temptation and guilt to try and convince Cobb to stay in Purgatory. THIS IS JUST A TASTE of WHAT I”VE FOUND! SEE THE MOVIE AGAIN AND FIND MORE EVIDENCE ON YOUR OWN. Interpreting this film is a fulfilling adventure that just might help strengthen your own faith.

  • I’ve seen reviews comparing this movie’s worldview to Buddhism. Can someone explain that to me?
    I think one would have to BE a Christian to see any comparisons to our faith in “Inception.” The leap of faith references in the movie had nothing to do with religion, per se. I agree with the article’s explanation of the Christian “leap of faith”, which is NOT created from our dreams or imaginations or false beliefs. It is created by God through incarnate Christ. This movie was meant to be psychological, not religious.

  • I should add, I’ve seen the movie 3 times in a little over a week. It completely intrigues me!

  • We’ve gotten for the stage wherever a film that wanders remotely away the reservation stuns and wows us and leads us to believe it is terrific. “Inception” isn’t a terrible dvd. It’s definitely improved than something else Hollywood has to provide this year. Neither, having said that, is it wonderful.

  • Just one little point that you can discuss with your wife. The totem wiggles but we don’t see it fall But remind your wife that the point of having the totem is that it would only work if no one else touched it. They couldn’t be allowed to know the exact weight and shape and feel of it. In this case cobb’s totem was compromised when he washed up on the shore and the Asian man played with it.

    I think it was a dream because all the characters at the airport continued to look at him, like he maybe wasn’t suppose to be in that persons mind.

    In general i liked it and can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so i can watch it again. I just refuse to pay another $10 to see a movie in the theatre.

  • My two cents worth.

    I saw nothing Catholic about it.

    What I did see was a lot of Mormon theology.

    Being your own “god” kind of thing when they keep falling into a sleep.

Is Islam Part of Gods Plan?

Sunday, July 11, AD 2010

Most of us are aware of the Christian exodus from the Middle East where the fundamental problem is Muslim intolerance towards non-Muslims.

Father Samir hopes to change all of that.

In this interview with Father Samir Khalil Samir done by Mirko Testa of Zenit, Father Samir explains the possibility of learning form Lebanon’s coexistence between Christians and Muslims:

The coexistence of Christians and Muslims is good for civil society because their mutual questioning of the other’s faith acts as a stimulus and leads to deeper understanding, says a Jesuit priest who is an expert in Islamic studies.

This is the opinion of Father Samir Khalil Samir, an Islamic scholar and Catholic theologian born in Egypt and based in the Middle East for more than 20 years.

He teaches Catholic theology and Islamic studies at St. Joseph University in Beirut, is founder of the CEDRAC research institute and is author of many articles and books, including “111 Questions on Islam.”

ZENIT spoke with Father Samir regarding the June 21-22 meeting in Lebanon of the Oasis International Foundation, which seeks to promote mutual knowledge among Christians and Muslims.

ZENIT: Why was the subject of education placed at the center of the Oasis meeting this year?

Father Samir: The problem we are experiencing both in the Church as well as in Islam is that we are not always able to transmit the faith easily to the new generation and the generations to come. The question we ask ourselves is: In what way should we rethink the faith for young people, but also in parishes or in mosques, in the talks that religious address to their faithful?

This is what we want: to make a study of the Christian experience in Lebanon, and the Muslim Sunni experience and the Muslim Shiite experience in this ambit. We want to compare, to identify even if it is only the common difficulties, to seek together an answer to them. I think this has been the main objective of our meeting in face of a dialogue of cultures in the Christian and the Muslim faith.

ZENIT: What effect would the disappearance of the Churches of the Middle East have on the Christian and Muslim world?

Father Samir: The disappearance of the Churches of the Middle East would be, first of all, a loss for Christianity, because, as John Paul II said, the Church, as every human being, lives with two lungs: the Eastern and the Western. Now, the Eastern Churches were born here in the land of Jesus, in the territories of the Middle East, where Christ lived. And if this experience, these millennia of tradition are lost, then the loss will be for the whole Church, both of the Christians of the East as well as the Christians of the West.

However, there is more to this: if Christian leave the Middle East, in other words, if the Muslims remain alone, an element of stimulation will be lacking — represented, in fact, by that element of diversity that Christians can contribute. Diversity of faith, because Muslims ask us every day: How is it that you say that God is One and Triune? This is contradictory. And we say: How is it that you say that Mohammed is a prophet? What are, for you, the criteria of prophecy? Does Mohammed answer to these criteria? And what does it mean that the Quran is from God? In what sense do you say that it descended on Mohammed? We say that the Bible is divine, but mediated through human authors, whereas Muslims want to remove Mohammed’s mediation.

These questions that they ask us and that we ask are a stimulus, not only for civilization, but also for civil society. It would be a great loss because the risk exists of wishing to found a society, a state based on the sharia, that is, on something that was established in the seventh century in the region of the Arabian Peninsula, even if for Muslims the sharia is generic and true for all centuries and all cultures.

And this is Islam’s great problem: how can Islam be re-thought today? The absence of Christians would make the problem even more acute.

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4 Responses to Is Islam Part of Gods Plan?

  • Nice ideas. Maybe they will work. We can pray. Our Lady is revered by the Muslims, at least as much as any woman is revered by Islam – she can lead them to the truth. We need to ask her.

    That being said, Lebanon was drowned in 15 years of civil war for political reasons born of the Muslim mind and that includes the influence of Islamic thinking patterns on Christians. Islam is like the Matrix, even non-Muslims living in Muslim lands are plugged into the lie.

    As for Muslims and Christians getting along in Lebanon – sure they do, however, some like Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hizb’Allah, don’t like it and will only lie in wait until they are strong enough to do something about it. In any event most Muslims and Christians that get along are essentially secularists. I am not so sure that indifferentism toward all religion is a cure for the plight of Christianity in the region that Christ walked.

  • Is malignant melanoma part of God’s Plan?

  • There has always been a certain percentage of Muslims who sincerely seek the truth. Never more than a tenth of the population at any given time, they are the earnest ones who have questions about the Trinity and the Eucharist. Such Muslims by their very nature do not threathen the Christians. No Christian is about to abandon his home and hearth, just because he can’t handle the apologetics. Instead they are leaving because they are being murdered as in Iraq, through widespread intimidation and the unfailing standby of harassment of their women.

  • I think we need to discuss the Catholic ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and not just accept the secular media’s interpretation. This is important for our understanding and relationshoip with Muslims.
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.com/2010/07/apologist-simon-rafe-in-real-catholic.html#links

    Thursday, July 15, 2010
    APOLOGIST SIMON RAFE IN REAL CATHOLIC DIFFICULTY : MAGISTERIUM SAYS EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE A VISIBLE MEMBER OF THE CHURCH FOR SALVATION, EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS

    Apologist Simon Rafe says:

    The teaching of the Church is that a person CAN be saved if they are not a visible member of the Church.
    Lionel: Yes. True. This is not being denied.

    Rafe :To deny this is to cease to give full acceptance to the Church.
    Lionel: It is not being denied.

    Rafe:Non-Catholics can be saved, DESPITE their failure to be a visible member of the Church. This is the teaching of the Church.
    Lionel: This is not the official teaching of the Church. This is a popular interpretation.

    I would say everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to be saved and there are no known exceptions. If a person was saved without being a visible member of the Catholic Church it would be known to God only, we cannot know any such case.

    It’s a real Catholic difficulty these days, with the new doctrine, which goes like this: everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation except for those in invincible ignorance, the baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    When people say that everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church except for those in invincible ignorance, with the baptism of desire and a good conscience it could be right or wrong depending on the interpretation.

    1. It is WRONG if they mean that every one does not need to become a visible member of the church. Then this is a new doctrine and contrary to the Deposit of the Faith.

    2. It is RIGHT if they mean every one does have to become a visible member of the Catholic Church to avoid Hell and if there is anyone with the Baptism of Desire, genuine invincible ignorance and a good conscience it will be known only to God.

    (Note: Above I affirm the Baptism of Desire, invincible ignorance and a good conscience and I also affirm the dogma that everybody needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.)

    The dogma says everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church.

    ‘…it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.). Ex Cathedra

    ‘…none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation…

    No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” – (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) Ex Cathedra
    The dogma does not contradict other Church Documents regarding the Baptism of Desire.

    Simon Rafe’s problem is one being faced by many Catholics, including those who have orthodox Catholic beliefs.Some Catholics are describing the situation as ‘a mystery’.So Rafe is only repeating the problem as other Catholics face it i.e everyone needs to be a visible member of the church and everyone does not need to be a visible member of the Church.

    Catholics in erroe interpret the Catechism and the Vatican Council II according to the Jewish Left media and believe there is no other interpretation. Simon Rafe and others needs to interpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church,Vatican Council II and the Letter of the Holy Office 1949, in line with the ex cathedra dogma which says everyone needs to be a visible member of the catholic Church and there are no exceptions. Simon agrees everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church for salvation but when I ask him of Lumen Gentium 16 contradicts this teaching of the dogma he does not answer.

    The Magisterium of the Church cannot reject an ex cathedra dogma.
    So interpret all Church documents according to extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Catholic Church documents say everyone needs to be a visible member of the Church to avoid Hell and there is no Church document issued to refute it.

    1. For instance we can misinterpret the Letter of the Holy Office 1949.

    In order for someone to be saved, it explained, “it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church as an actual member, but it is necessary at least to be united to her by desire and longing.”-Letter of the Holy Office 1949. The same message is there in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    True however this (not receiving the Baptism of water as an adult and being saved) is only known to God. It is not as real as the Baptism of Water. So it was wrong to suggest that everyone does not have to be a visible member of the Church, as if the Baptism of Desire is explicit and visible by nature. So this is a distorted interpretation of the Letter of the Holy Office using the Cushing Doctrine. It is heresy. It is clear ‘double speak’. Discerning Catholics consider this new doctrine a hoax, the equivalent of the fabled Emperors New Clothes. Liberals call it a developed doctrine.

    Through his books Fr. Hans Kung uses the Cushing Doctrine, suggesting Lumen Gentium 16 refers to explicit and not implicit salvation, to question the infallibility of the pope ex cathedra. He maintains the Kung Deception that the Church has retracted extra ecclesiam nulla salus after Vatican Council II.

    Without the Cushing Doctrine, one could say: For salvation everyone needs to be a visible (explicit) member of the Catholic Church with no exception and if there is anyone with the Baptism of Desire or who is in invincible ignorance it will be known to God only.

    If this point in the Letter is ministerpreted one could also misinterpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the Church alone saves from the flood like Noah’s Ark and so everyone needs to enter the Ark to be saved. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    N.845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.-Catechism of the Catholic Church n.845
    Here we have an interpretation of the Catechism affirming the dogma.

    3.”Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.-Catechism of the Catholic Church 846
    CCC 846,847 like Lumen Gentium 16 refer to implicit salvation, those saved ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).They are known to God only.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.-Catechism of the Catholic Church,N.847

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”-Catechism of the Catholic Church,N.848
    Those saved implicitly (CCC 847,848) for us, they are just a concept, something hypothetical, a possibility. It is not explicit. Since it is not explicit it does not contradict CCC845, 836.It does not contradict Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14 and the infallible teaching outside the church there is no salvation.

    CCC836 which says all people need to enter the Catholic Church include all Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church, Jesus’ Mystical Body.
    If CCC 846,847(invincible ignorance etc) referred to explicit salvation, it would be irrational. Since we cannot judge who has a baptism of desire or is in genuine invincible ignorance.It would also mean that the Catechism, which is the ordinary Magisterium of the Church, is correcting and contradicting an ex cathedra teaching. So it would be a rejection of the dogma on the infallibility of the pope.It would mean CCC 846,847 (implicit invincible ignorance etc) is a new Christian doctrine or Christian Revelation.
    Yet this teaching was not mentioned for the first time in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or Vatican Council II (Lumen Gentium16).It was referred to in the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cushing. The popes over the centuries always considered those saved by implicit faith as, implicit. Hence the ex cathedra teaching said everyone with no exception needs explicit faith (the baptism of water and Catholic Faith).
    So 846,847 do not refer to explicit salvation. Otherwise it would be irrational, illogical and contrary to the Magisterium of the past and present.
    The Catholic Church is saying everybody needs to be a visible member of the Church to avoid Hell.Those who are aware of Jesus and the Church and yet do not enter are on the way to Hell, definitely.
    CCC is also saying that all non-Catholics in general need to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell. All. If there is anyone among them with the baptism of desire, invincible ignorance etc (implicit faith) it will be known to God only. We cannot judge.
    De facto everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation.
    De jure there could be the probability, known only to God, of someone ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) being saved with implicit faith. God will provide all the helps in the manner known to Him only; it could include explicit faith (the baptism of water).So if someone says the Catechism says that they can be saved who are in invincible ignorance etc, the answer is: ‘Yes, as a concept only. In principle.’ De facto everyone explicitly needs to be a Catholic to go to Heaven is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.(CCC 845).Simon Rafe needs to clarify this point.

    “For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament” (CCC 1259).
    In other words everyone needs to de facto be a ‘card carrying member’ of the Catholic Church, everyone needs to have his name on a Parish Register. All who are in Heaven, people of different countries, cultures and times, are Catholics, the chosen people of God, the Elect, the people of the New Covenant. I think Simon Rafe and Michael Vorris would agree here. They recently produced a video on ONLY CATHOLICS IN HEAVEN! ( http://www.youtube.com/user/RealCatholicTV#p/a/u/0/2Dcfj0PU_JQ ) . It is highly recommended.( I try not to miss Michael Vorris’ videos)

    4.In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the sub title‘Outside the Church there is no salvation’ has been placed over N.846.It should really be above number 845.

    The ex cathedra dogma says everyone needs to explicitly enter the Church for salvation. It is in agreement with n.845

    N.845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church….(quoted above in full )
    Here is the ex cathedra dogma:

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215). Ex cathedra.

    2.“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.).Ex cathedra.

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) Ex cathedra
    – from the website Catholicism.org and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS http://nosalvationoutsideofthecatholicchurch.blogspot.com/
    It says everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.

    So CCC 847,848 must be interpreted as referring to implicit salvation, in ’certain circumstances’ and unknown to us, otherwise it would contradict the infallible teaching.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.-Catechism of the Catholic Church
    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”-Catechism of the Catholic Church
    CCC 847, 848 do not refer to explicit salvation and so do not contradict the dogma. There is no de facto baptism of desire that we can know of. There is no explicit Baptism of desire that we can know of. While implicit Baptism of Desire is only a concept for us. Since it is known only to God.

    So if asked if everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation the answer is YES.

    5. Everyone explicitly needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation and those who have the baptism of desire or are invincible ignorance would be known only to God.

    All men are certainly called to this Catholic unity. The Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ and all mankind belong to or are ordered to Catholic unity.-CCC 836

    Here again we have an affirmation of the ex cathedra dogma and the word all is used as in Ad Gentes 7.

    6.

    How do we understand this saying from the Church Fathers? All salvation comes from Christ through his Body, the Church which is necessary for salvation because Christ is present in his Church…-CCC846
    Here the Catechism places de jure and defacto salvation together. It does not conflict with the ex cathedra teaching that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Catholic Church .We cannot personally know any cases of a genuine invincible ignorance, baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    7.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848
    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved -and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    8. CCC 1257 The Necessity of Baptism

    CCC 1257 affirms the dogma when it says that the Church knows of no means to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water. This is a reference to explicit salvation for all with no known exceptions.

    CCC 1257 also says that for salvation God is not restricted to the Sacraments. This must not be interpreted as opposing the dogma or the earlier part of CCC 1257. This is a possibility, ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) and we cannot judge any specific cases. Th Baptism of Desire is never explicit for us humans.
    I repeat the Church refers to the ordinary means of salvation (Redemptoris Missio 5. The word ordinary is used in RM 55).

    In Dominus Iesus the words de jure and de facto are used in the Introduction.

    In CCC 1257 we have the baptism of water as the ordinary means of salvation for all people with no exception.

    In CCC 1257 we also have those saved with implicit faith (invincible ignorance,BOD etc) as the extraordinary means of salvation.(‘God is not limited to the Sacraments’).

    VI. THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM

    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. -Catechism of the Catholic Church 1257

    The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 while affirming the dogma and the need for everyone to be a visible member of the Church to go to Heaven with no exceptions- also says that ‘in certain circumstances’ a person can be saved with implicit faith, if God wills it.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848

    St.Thomas Aquinas says God will ‘provide the helps necessary for salvation’ by sending a person to baptize the one needing help in this extraordinary situation OR telling the person what he needs to do.

    Here we are in a conceptual area, open to theories since this is the nature of the baptism of desire etc which cannot be explicitly known to us humans.
    St.Thomas Aquinas also said that everyone with no exception needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church for salvation. De facto everyone needs to enter. De jure there could be the man in the forest for St.Thomas Aquinas. He did not have a problem with de facto and de jure.

    On the Saint Benedict Centre website, the community founded by Fr.Leonard Feeney in New Hampshire,USA it is written, that Fr.Leonard Feeney knew that his view on the Baptism of Desire was only an opinion.
    Finally everyone’s view on the Baptism of Desire is ONLY AN OPINION. De jure. This is seen clearly in CCC 1257.
    It reminds one of Jesus’ saying that ‘he who does not collect with me disperses’ and ‘those who are not against us are for us.’

    9.When it is said that only those who know about the Catholic Church need to enter to avoid Hell (Ad Gentes 7) we can mistake this to mean only this category of people are on the way to Hell. Instead we know that all non Catholics are on the way to Hell with no exception ( ex cathedra dogma) and if there is any one among them who is in invincible ignorance etc it will be known only to God.

    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved-and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    So the Catechism is not asking us to reject the notion that one can be saved without the Sacraments according to the ordinary way of salvation. (Redemptoris Missio 55).If one says it does it is a misinterpretation of the Catechism.

    Where it refers to being saved without the Sacraments it is referring to that exceptional case, which in ‘certain circumstances'(Letter of the Holy Office 1949) are known only to God. We do not even know if there has been any case of the Baptism of desire during our lifetime.

    A.Practically speaking everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven.

    B.Theoretically (de jure, in principle) a person can be saved through implicit faith (if God wills it) even without the Baptism of water.This is the official teaching of the Church.

    B is in accord with the Catechism which mentions the Baptism of water as a concept (it cannot be anything else other than a concept)

    B is in accord with Fr.Leonard Feeney who mentioned the Baptism of Desire (catechumen).It was a concept in his mind (something dejure).

    B is in accord with the website of the Saint Benedict Centre,one of Fr.Leonard Feeney’s communities, which defines the Baptism of Desire. A definition is a concept.

    So when Simon Rafe says in his e-mail to me that ‘Non-Catholics can be saved, DESPITE their failure to be a visible member of the Church. This is the teaching of the Church.’ it is true ( de jure, in principle). However de facto everybody with no exception needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church, Jesus’s Mystical Body to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.

    -Lionel Andrades

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Simon Rafe

    Simon Rafe is a former undergraduate in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Sheffield University, England. An immigrant to the United States, he is an adult convert to Catholicism, formerly being what he describes as a “militant atheist”. Simon has been heavily involved in the Internet for over a decade, working as a webmaster and performing web design for several companies in the UK. He is well-versed in the ethos of the “New Evangelization”, having both found his wife and come to know Christ and the Catholic Church thanks to the Internet. He is the author of the book “Where Did The Bible Come From?” and consultant-author for the Saint Michael’s Basic Training series.

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