The Case for Christ: A Review

Monday, April 24, AD 2017

My bride and I went to see The Case for Christ last Saturday.  I must admit to some trepidation on my part.  I have seen quite a few “Christian” films that had their hearts in the right place but were also simply bad, even laughably bad, films.  I was fearful this film would be more of the same.  I am pleased to report that The Case for Christ is a very good film, and a profound one.  I heartily endorse it for anyone who wishes to see a well-acted and well-made film that asks profound questions about the human condition.  My review is below the fold and the usual caveat about spoilers is in full force:

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6 Responses to The Case for Christ: A Review

  • I have Lee Strobel’s Study Bible in my collection somewhere:

    It is typically Evangelical Protestant and is missing the Deuterocanonicals, but otherwise it isn’t bad.

  • Very good review, thanks. MrsD and I saw The Promise last night. Any plans for a review here?

  • I am intrigued by what I have seen of that film in trailers. If it is at a theater close to us my bride and I may go to see it.

  • I thought it a very good movie. It used a love triangle plot to move the characters around so that some of the major threads of the genocide could be depicted. I thought about 5 minutes of triangle dialog could have been cut, MrsD disagreed. We both agreed that the post-riot bed scene added nothing to the film.

    Historical inaccuracies:
    1) The brutality and violence was severely underplayed.
    2) The religious motivation for the conflict was underplayed
    3) The timeline was inaccurate. It shows the roundup of Armenian intellectuals in April 1915, then the next scene has a title that reads “Six months later…” Problem is the climatic battle and rescue at the end would have happened 3 to 5 months later (the battle went on for 59 days, a fact that is astounding given the circumstances and not mentioned in the film).
    Yes, please see it.

  • Problem is the climatic battle and rescue at the end would have happened 3 to 5 months later in July – September 1915
    Apologies for the lack of clarity

  • Eventually, Strobel comes to believe because he says not believing takes a greater leap of faith than believing. In other words, accepting Jesus is simply a logical choice. For some reason I can’t quite determine, that was unsatisfactory to me. Possibly because it totally discounts faith and reduces belief to something quantifiable.

As If They’d Have Him

Thursday, January 19, AD 2017






Garrison Keillor is still alive? was my initial reaction to this proclamation by former humorist Garrison Keillor that he is searching for another religion due to the number of Christians who voted for Trump:


So I’ve been shopping around for a new religion to see me through the next four years. Too many of my fellow Christians voted for selfishness and for degradation of the beautiful world God created. I guess they figured that by the time the planet was a smoky wasteland, they’d be nice and comfy in heaven, so wotthehell. Anyhow, I’m looking around for other options.

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16 Responses to As If They’d Have Him

  • It was half a generation ago that I saw a most apposite article on him with the subtitle “Nasty Man”. I suspect he’s one of those people like Albert Gore or Mark Shea who start out agreeably enough and then just get worse every year. In my family, I’ve never seen the phenomenon among men and only seen it among women and only when alcohol or some very banal character flaw (e.g. indolence) was involved. I find Keillor puzzling, and his creativity puzzling in context.

  • Hey!! I gave $3.00 to help save Tony Orlando’s home….Lol.


    This is beautiful.

    I ask any TAC contributor or supporter to please join me in a toast. Non-alcoholic beverages count of course. Please raise a pint of your favorite libation and say with deepest sincerity….So long Michelle and Himself Obama. So long and good bye.


    OK. I’ll take several Evangelical Christians for one Nancy Pelosi.
    Throw in a Joe Biden and I’ll take a hundred more Evangelicals.
    Good swap I’d say!

  • The ugliness of sore losers.

  • Amendment.

    Make that 1 Evangelical, 1 Wicca Warlock, a box of pencils and one Obama Chia Head for the “in the dark,” Joe Biden.

    Bye bye Uncle Joe.

  • “I’ve been shopping around for new religion”, then you never really had one.
    My favorite literary quote is from GK Chesterton, Why I am Catholic:

  • I know of him, but don’t really know him. Not my cup of tea. Is he Catholic?

  • Fallen away Plymouth Brethren. Lately he has been attending an Episcopal Church.

  • SO Lame!
    I think he was a fairly deep thinker, but he lost the handle some time back.
    If you have listened to him lately his “musing” has really deteriorated and has been sometimes fit for the gutter…in an attempt to be cool and with it I think, which doesn’t suit him really.
    But it does encourage me that Donald says he is trying the Episcopal way. Maybe something in him is yearning a bit for tradition. His presentations of Lake Woebegone- in the old days of Garrison Keillor were great and maybe he will circle back around.
    As a seeker He will prob re-find a home in Jesus – the One Who healed the lame.
    He takes all of us if we keep searching.
    Many of the Brethren, and versions of the same, who are my friends are very very good Christians and in some ways more Catholic than they know.

  • I used to listen to “Prairie Home Companion” back in the early and mid ’80s, when it was actually funny without being mean-spirited, and Keillor’s anecdotes of small-town Midwestern life rang true to me (having grown up in a small Midwestern town I knew many people like the denizens of Lake Wobegon). Some years later, at a garage sale, I picked up a copy of a book titled “We Are Still Married” — a collection of some of his essays and short stories (some, but not all, in the Lake Wobegon vein). In one of the essays, he said he had grown tired of being known as a humorist, and would “like to quit humor and write irritation for a while.” Which is pretty much what he did. Also, some of you may recall that around ’85 or ’86, he married a Danish woman who had been an exchange student at his high school (they reconnected at a class reunion) and moved to Denmark. He “retired” from PHC around the same time, but many NPR stations kept playing reruns of his old shows so some fans may not have noticed he was gone. By the early ’90s he had divorced the Danish lady, moved back to the States, and revived PHC, but by then his “humor” had become significantly more hard-edged and left-leaning and I couldn’t stand to listen to the show after that. I’m sure many of his former fans feel the same way.

  • The Dane was co-incident with putting his common law out on the curb (and canning her from her job). I have a feeling he’s been rolling downhill ever since.

  • “I used to listen to “Prairie Home Companion” back in the early and mid ’80s,”

    So did my bride and I Elaine. Keillor was always a leftie, but either he, or perhaps Margaret Moos his producer and mistress, had brains enough to keep it from influencing the entertainment much. He married the Danish gal in 1985. Either she or Reagan being re-elected, or the firing of Moos, changed him, but ever since then he has been increasingly a bitter leftist, and never shy about letting his audience in on that bleak fact.

  • I would accept some pro-life agnostics!

  • I call it “the Fundamentalist Shuffle”. Some Protestants will quit their Church and seek another because of some petty disagreement with their Pastor, maybe like, he speaks with dangling participles. Catholics usually require that the Priest commits something egregious before throwing in the towel. TR

  • As for “players to be named later” joining the Catholic team: I used to think that Rush Limbaugh might convert, based on his enthusiastic praise for Pope Benedict XVI. In fact, it was during his show that I first heard the news of Pope Benedict’s election. However, I suspect that between his multiple marriages and Pope Francis, whatever enthusiasm Rush had for the Catholic Church has probably cooled considerably.

  • The show had no history without Moos. She was a functionary of Minnesota Public Radio assigned to work on it from the beginning, though she wasn’t the producer initially. She’s still a public radio producer, but a contractor rather than a salaried employee (the Riverwalk jazz show is her baby). After Keillor discarded her, she managed to find a proper husband within a couple of years (to whom she is still married).

  • Let’s see….over there, in aisle 5 is the not so Christian Scientists…aisle 6 ….. TR

Change of Heart

Friday, December 23, AD 2016



I think the antics of the crazed left since the election of Trump are costing them supporters.  Case in point, Rod Dreher publishes a letter from a young mother:

I’m a secular/agnostic Californian and longtime reader of your blog. I’ve enjoyed your books beginning with Crunchy Cons, and have valued your insights over the years.

Though you don’t know me, I feel like I know you and your family. And I want to share with you, from the liberal bastion of Northern California, that I am officially tired of the type of people who have surrounded me my entire life. In the wake of Trump’s election, I am experiencing “tribe fatigue.” I’m not tired of The Other, Detestable Tribe. I’m tired of my own.

A bit about me: I am a [deleted] with two young children. My parents were non-religious Democrats, and my ex-Catholic mom loathes organized religion to this day.

So I was raised a secular liberal. My college professors were secular liberals. During my journalism phase, my newspaper colleagues were secular liberals. My law school professors and peers were – in the vast majority – secular liberals. Almost everyone at my corporate law firm was a secular liberal. My California neighbors and friends are secular liberals, as are my colleagues. My mother, siblings, and their spouses are all secular liberals.

By all rights, I should be a member in good standing of their tribe, “liking” their Facebook posts and joining their candlelight vigils against the evil Trump Administration. But November 8 and its aftermath revealed to me that I am just so tired of these people. I can’t be like them, and I don’t want my kids turning into them.

I am tired of their undisguised contempt for tens of millions of Americans, with no effort to temper their response to the election with humility or empathy.

I am tired of their unexamined snobbery and condescension.

I am tired of their name-calling and virtue-signaling as signs of supposedly high intelligence.

I am tired of their trendiness, jumping on every left-liberal bandwagon that comes along (transgender activism, anyone?) and then acting like anyone not on board is an idiot/hater.

I am tired of their shallowness. It’s hard to have a deep conversation with people who are obsessed with moving their kids’ pawns across the board (grades, sports, college, grad school, career) and, in their spare time, entertaining themselves and taking great vacations.

I am tired of their acceptance of vulgarity and sarcastic irreverence as the cultural ocean in which their kids swim. I like pop culture as much as the next person, but people who would never raise their kids on junk food seem to think nothing of letting then wallow in cultural junk, exposed to nothing ennobling, aspirational, or even earnest.

I am tired of watching them raise clueless kids (see above) who go off to college and within months are convinced they live in a rapey, racist patriarchy; “Make America Great Again” is hate speech; and Black Lives Matter agitators are their brothers-in-arms against White Privilege. If my kids are like that at nineteen, I’ll feel I’ve seriously failed them as a parent. Yet the general sentiment seems to be these are good, liberal kids who may have gotten a bit carried away.

I am tired of their lack of interest in any form of serious morality or self-betterment. These are decent, responsible people, many compassionate by temperament. Yet they seem two-dimensional, as if they believe that being a nice, well-socialized person who holds the correct political views is all there is, and there is nothing else to talk about. Isn’t there, though?

I am tired of being bored and exasperated by everybody. I feel like I have read this book a thousand times, and there are no surprises in it. Down with Trump! Trans Lives Matter! Climate deniers are destroying the planet! No cake, we’re gluten-free!

These are good people in a lot of ways. But there has got to be a better tribe.

That leads me to . . . drum roll . . . the Christian Right. It is no small feat, switching tribes. It feels stressful and weird to abandon your tribe for the Detested Other Side.

Since November 8, my husband and I have been taking the kids to church. (He is politically conservative with a religious bent, so no argument there.) I have come this close to buying a giant poster of the American flag for the living room. I may do it still.

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18 Responses to Change of Heart

  • The most bizarre thing about this the left is melting over someone who is not even a conservative.

  • Yes, but he is much more conservative than the Northern California echo chamber. He also lead the charge against political correctness. Just maybe this had the effect of causing some on the Left to think about arguments they’d never heard before.

  • The young mother above and her children are the refugees that we don’t hear about.
    Waking from a perpetual nightmare and walking away from a tribe filled with hate of neighbor that isn’t in their camp, contempt for all outside their tribe and apathy for things conservative. I predict that these refugees will grow in number.

  • Remember, folks, it’s liberal-ISM. It is just like alcohol-ISM. It’s I, Self and Me. That’s what causes alcoholism (“the bottle was only a symptom of our disease” – Bill Wilson in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous), and it is what causes liberalism.

  • I had a college friend from San Francisco. He established a law practice there. He was in town once, and my wife and I had dinner with him and his wife. They began talking about overpopulation, and how they think it’s selfish to have children. My wife and I have eight children. They began talking about how abortion is needed to protect the environment from overpopulation. I am a pro-life activist. On Facebook, it got worse. And worse. And worse. He was insulting to everyone outside of San Francisco who had ever been his friend, while insisting he was not. Finally, I cut ties with him. He wasn’t like that when we were in college together. It was sad. He seemed to have a compulsion to show just how great a guy he was by holding all of the right opinions, and denigrating anyone who held a different opinion. He had ZERO insight into how this looked to other people. It reminds me of the society in Brave New World, which looked with disgust at things such as natural childbirth.

  • St. Augustine wrote in the fifth century that enemies of the Faith, sinners, et al should be loved in Christian charity because as long as they live they may come to a better mind.
    Also, as LDQ above notes: liberalism is a pathology.

  • What an enchanting voice to read such a mysterious beautiful poem! Thanks for sharing. This woman’s children will be well schooled.

  • T Shaw wrote, “St. Augustine wrote in the fifth century that enemies of the Faith, sinners, et al should be loved in Christian charity because as long as they live they may come to a better mind.”

    The Doctor of Grace also says, “For the effectiveness of God’s mercy cannot be in the power of man to frustrate, if he will have none of it. If God wills to have mercy on men, he can call them in a way that is suited to them, so that they will be moved to understand and to follow. It is true, therefore, that many are called but few chosen. Those are chosen who are effectually [congruenter] called. Those who are not effectually called and do not obey their calling are not chosen, for although they were called they did not follow.” [To Simplician 2:13]

  • My impression of libelism ( oh, you meant LIBERALism ) is summed up in a picture of that great scholar, Timothy O’Leary. He’s squinting off in the distance, with one hand shading his eyes.
    And the caption reads, “I wonder if I can make it to there, from here ?”
    Maybe they’re on a noble ( Nobel ) quest like Star Trek. Only the “Final Frontier” could be
    Canada, or, Venezuela.
    Timothy R.

  • O’Leary might have been the originator of the awesome and mystical New Age quote,
    “No matter where you go, there you are”. Gives me chills.
    Timothy R

  • I hope she’s strong enough to keep at it. If you’re not use to it, social pressure is insanely hard to resist.

  • For several years here in the San Franpsycho Baytheist Area, I had a license-plate holder I had brought up from Arizona, “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. My son–in-law was USMC 1st Light Armored Recon, participated in the first wave assault on Baghdad and also helped clean out Fallujah. I was quite proud of it. The plate had migrated in time to Mrs. Phoenix’ car.
    However, it is now relegated to an honorable place in the garage: why? A few months back, she was disembarking from her car when a man, possibly in his 40’s, saw it and verbally assailed her, a-la-crazed-lefty-on-Jet-Blue-flight-vs-Ivanka-Trump, in very tony Saratoga, screaming, at her and pointing at it, “What’s that supposed to mean? Why d’ya have that?”–He was an anti-Bush, anti-war, deranged lefty, as he proceeded to make evident. (Oh, how I wish I had been there, but.. Besides these types run crying were somebody to give them a boo-boo.) “He was really brave to assail a chubby lady in her middle years,” was Mrs. Phoenix’ comment.
    After this near-confrontation (it actually was the 2nd of its type ), the license-plate – holder with the obviously incendiary message, went to the garage wall of honor. Not worth dealing with the loon-left here.
    Peace on earth.

  • 🙁 Sounds like the spiritual brother of the guy who went from complementing my (admittedly adorable) baby girl to accusing me of wishing his death and destroying the world when he saw that there were *three* car seats in the back of my van. (And one booster, but I don’t think he could see that. And he couldn’t tell I was pregnant, either.)

  • Steve Phoenix, if I meet a person like that, then one of the two of us will not be walking away. I am done with these godless leftists. Dear Lord Jesus, please grant to your unworthy servant the courage of your man of honor Caleb who at 85 years of age was ready to drive the Anakim out from the land!
    Joshua 14
    6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal; and Caleb the son of Jephun′neh the Ken′izzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Ka′desh-bar′nea concerning you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Ka′desh-bar′nea to spy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God. 9 And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children for ever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness; and now, lo, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong to this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war, and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day; for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities: it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out as the Lord said.”
    13 Then Joshua blessed him; and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephun′neh for an inheritance. 14 So Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephun′neh the Ken′izzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kir′iath-ar′ba;[a] this Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. And the land had rest from war.

  • I voluntarily enlisted eight days after graduating from Rex Mundi HS. I couldn’t wait because someone(s) had murdered my hero, John F. Kennedy. the news Media was predicting that we would soon catch up with the killer(s) and kick butt. And I wanted to get my licks in !
    Well, I wound up being gone for four long years. The last three years of that time I was stationed with an MP unit in Germany. I was homesick and missed my Family. I missed my Hometown too !
    When I finally arrived at our small Airport, I couldn’t wait to get off the plane and step, once more on friendly soil ! I took one step into the Terminal and some dirtbag ran up to me and spit on my uniform ! Welcome home.

  • It is a strange grace to have returned to the San Franpsychopath Baytheist Area about 5 years ago for work and family reasons, having been gone to Arizona about 20 years, to witness the “progressive” drift of the society, just like the California seismic plate and the San Andreas fault, drifting further and further left, further and further out to sea. ( But for the grace of God and the traditional Catholic Faith, which I badly drifted from by my 20’s, there go I. ) These people have no mooring, and the very darkest of spirits loves a vacuum.

    Some here are almost irretrievably self-deluded (the first victim of lying is yourself, of course). There are many good and devoted people still here of course. But they cant speak up, or they lose their job, they (by the loon-left, who once bitterly complained of John Kerry’s quite-legitimate “Swift-Boating”) will get “Facebooked” (Disgracebooked), and they often too have family to care for. I also care for my disabled brother as well, and that keeps me in check; also it isn’t fair to make Mrs. Phoenix, who was shaken by the sheer bitter viciousness of the verbal attack, the 2nd of its kind occasioned by little more than a license-plate holder, suffer along with me.

    After all, I know of one lefty-loon who walked up to a Jesuit priest in the Haight-Asbury a few years ago, and stuck a knife in the back of his head, outside St. Agnes Church where he was greeting people. Yeah, that didn’t make the news. He miraculously recovered, but he has never been the same.

    A strange grace, you say? Well, it is always good to see what the deranged left is up to, and it helps to therefore be ahead of the curve. The “Sanctuary Cities”, the public nudity (be very careful where you drive in SF: check ahead), the decades-old, laissez-faire, total ignoring of violations of law and code (that is what occasioned the Oakland Warehouse fire a few weeks ago, where 33 people died: gee, with great mayors in Oakland’s past like crack-addict Ron Dellums, toke-smoking now-gov Jerry Brown, and ultra-leftist Jean Kwan, how could anything go wrong witht that leadership and enforcement of law?), and now the movement to secede from the Union—the same people who went nuts over Texas’ and Gov. Rick Perry’s threats to secede a few years ago, isn’t it precious?

    We have our escape already planned in a few years. I still have a house in Arizona and will probably buy another in gun-loving Utah or Wyoming. But I will still maintain a foothold, here to watch. And watch California, the new Atlantis, sink into the waves of the angry Pacific. Keep lots of Jiffy-Pop ready.

  • Maybe we could chip in and get all of the Liberals in Wash.DC one of those Medic-Alert
    necklaces. Only theirs’ would say, “Help! I’m having a lucid moment. And I can’t find my
    stash !”
    Timothy R.

  • Atheism is unconstitutional, patently violating our First Amendment. The atheist must be tolerated as a deathbed convert. Aldous Huxley, cold blooded atheist, author of Brave New World had his normal Christian character hang himself in a cold-blooded act at the end of the book. Huxley died the same day JFK was assassinated and no one knew he was gone for ten years. Brave New World was Huxley’s wish for us.


Tuesday, July 12, AD 2016



Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts points at one of the remarkable trends of the past few years:  muslim conversions to Christianity:


The fields are white already to harvest

You might miss this in the national press, but conversions to Christianity across the Muslim world are spiking.  Nothing inspires people to consider the faith more than martyrs, and in that strange twist of fate, as Muslim groups have pressed down on Christians, more and more Muslims are inspired to convert.  And by convert, I mean something good.  I don’t consider conversion a dirty word.  I stopped worrying about trying to convert others when it dawned on me that the ones telling me it is wrong to convert others were trying to convert me.

Thankfully, in parts of the world where the Faith is a matter of life and death, we don’t have squabbling over nuanced definitions.  You have living the Faith.  And in doing so, Christians across the Islamic world are bringing glory to God.  In this story,  we hear about two Muslim clerics embracing faith in Christ, as well as  the freeing of 4500 slaves currently held by the Taliban.

There is still much violence, much hatred.  Human slavery is at unprecedented levels in the world.  But it’s a start.  Lighting a candle in the darkness might not light the entire room, but it’s a start.

Go here to comment.  With modern technology, and incredibly brave missionaries and Arab Christians, the Gospel is being preached as never before in Islamic lands:

Extraordinary stories about massive number of Muslims converting to Christ are appearing around the world. Recently at World Magazine, writer Warren Cole Smith interviewed 25-year missionary David Garrison who has documented his findings about the Muslim phenomenon. “There is a revival in the Muslim world,” Garrison says. He believes between 2 and 7 million former Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past two decades. His book, A Wind in the House of Islam, contains impressive research to back up his claim.

Why is this happening? Nabeel Qureshi, a popular speaker and author, explains in his book and online testimony that the gospel is being proclaimed with greater effectiveness. Qureshi affirms that the Holy Spirit works primarily by and through Scripture. And in his own experience, he says that subjective visions about Christ were also steps in his conversion from Islam to faith in Christ.

Open Doors USA recently reported a remarkable conversion story of a former Muslim man in Iran named Taher. He would beat his family and even threatened to kill them because of their faith in Jesus. After Taher’s family fled abroad, time passed and in his growing despair he cried out: “I will believe in the God who reveals Himself to me.” According to his story (here), the living God answered his prayers through a dream. It isn’t clear how much of the Bible Taher was exposed to, but he heard the gospel through the witness of his family and saw the reality of their faith in the face of persecution.


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7 Responses to Conversion

  • Wonderful.

    The role of Scripture and dreams in these conversions puts me in mind of the late Begum Bilquis Sheikh’s conversion story as related in her “I Dared to Call Him Father” (1978).

  • Here is a recent conversion story, which perhaps was a visitation without a dream:

  • All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
    and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
    for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.

    All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
    Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
    They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!
    -Psalm 22:27-31 NIV

  • One of the constants of Christian martyr stories is the “and __ of their guards were struck, and executed with them” sort.

    It would be easy to wave it off as a traditional story, but it even pops up in the Japanese martyrs stories– they are martyred and people are converted by their example.

  • Yet our Pope has assured us that proselytism is “solemn nonsense”, and
    told an audience that it had no place in Catholic schools…

  • Amazing statistics. Twenty years ago in Penang, Malaysia we attended Mass at a large RC church. Besides those of us with European ancestry, there were Straits Chinese and Indians with Portuguese names probably of Goan ancestry. There were no Malays in attendance. To convert from Islam would make them an apostate.

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Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s Conversion

Monday, March 10, AD 2014



Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Napoleon on Christ





A powerful, and unlikely, conversion account, demonstrating that no one is beyond redemption and hearing the call of God’s grace.  When it comes to religion no atheist is ever completely guarded from a question that has haunted mankind since the Crucifixion:  What if Christ is who He said that He is?

The word Jesus stuck in my throat like an elephant tusk; no matter how hard I choked, I couldn’t hack it out. Those who professed the name commanded my pity and wrath. As a university professor, I tired of students who seemed to believe that “knowing Jesus” meant knowing little else. Christians in particular were bad readers, always seizing opportunities to insert a Bible verse into a conversation with the same point as a punctuation mark: to end it rather than deepen it.

Stupid. Pointless. Menacing. That’s what I thought of Christians and their god Jesus, who in paintings looked as powerful as a Breck Shampoo commercial model.

As a professor of English and women’s studies, on the track to becoming a tenured radical, I cared about morality, justice, and compassion. Fervent for the worldviews of Freud, Hegel, Marx, and Darwin, I strove to stand with the disempowered. I valued morality. And I probably could have stomached Jesus and his band of warriors if it weren’t for how other cultural forces buttressed the Christian Right. Pat Robertson’s quip from the 1992 Republican National Convention pushed me over the edge: “Feminism,” he sneered, “encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” Indeed. The surround sound of Christian dogma comingling with Republican politics demanded my attention.

After my tenure book was published, I used my post to advance the understandable allegiances of a leftist lesbian professor. My life was happy, meaningful, and full. My partner and I shared many vital interests: aids activism, children’s health and literacy, Golden Retriever rescue, our Unitarian Universalist church, to name a few. Even if you believed the ghost stories promulgated by Robertson and his ilk, it was hard to argue that my partner and I were anything but good citizens and caregivers. The GLBT community values hospitality and applies it with skill, sacrifice, and integrity.

I began researching the Religious Right and their politics of hatred against queers like me. To do this, I would need to read the one book that had, in my estimation, gotten so many people off track: the Bible. While on the lookout for some Bible scholar to aid me in my research, I launched my first attack on the unholy trinity of Jesus, Republican politics, and patriarchy, in the form of an article in the local newspaper about Promise Keepers. It was 1997.

The article generated many rejoinders, so many that I kept a Xerox box on each side of my desk: one for hate mail, one for fan mail. But one letter I received defied my filing system. It was from the pastor of the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church. It was a kind and inquiring letter. Ken Smith encouraged me to explore the kind of questions I admire: How did you arrive at your interpretations? How do you know you are right? Do you believe in God? Ken didn’t argue with my article; rather, he asked me to defend the presuppositions that undergirded it. I didn’t know how to respond to it, so I threw it away.

Later that night, I fished it out of the recycling bin and put it back on my desk, where it stared at me for a week, confronting me with the worldview divide that demanded a response. As a postmodern intellectual, I operated from a historical materialist worldview, but Christianity is a supernatural worldview. Ken’s letter punctured the integrity of my research project without him knowing it.

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2 Responses to Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s Conversion

  • “Who do you say that I am?”
    Jesus Christ called Himself the Son of Man. Jesus Christ is the perfect man, born of the perfect woman, the Immaculate Conception. Jesus Christ is the Son of God because God, Christ’s Father, said so :”This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” “Listen to Him.”

  • I was very much struck by the passage, “One Lord’s Day, Ken preached on John 7:17: “If anyone wills to do [God’s] will, he shall know concerning the doctrine” (NKJV). This verse exposed the quicksand in which my feet were stuck. I was a thinker. I was paid to read books and write about them. I expected that in all areas of life, understanding came before obedience.”

    I recalled that the Children of Israel accepted the Torah with the words, “We will do and we will hear” (Ex 24:7). Surely, this is back to front? Or, perhaps, not.

    There is Pascal’s advice, “You want to go toward faith and you do not know the path; you want to be healed of unbelief, and you request a remedy. Learn about those who have been bound as you have, and who wager all their worldly goods. These are people who know the road which you will wish to follow and are healed of the harm of which you wish to be cured. Follow the way by which they have begun: in doing all things as if they believe, taking the holy water, having masses said, etc. This same method will naturally make you believe. . .” [tout comme s’ils croyaient, en prenant de l’eau bénite, faisant dire des messes, etc. Naturellement meme cela vous fera croire]

Kirsten Powers and the Hound of Heaven

Monday, November 4, AD 2013

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
           I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
        I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
           Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
        I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
                            Up vistaed hopes I sped;
                            And shot, precipitated,
        Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
           From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
                            But with unhurrying chase,
                            And unperturbèd pace,
             Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
                            They beat—and a Voice beat
                            More instant than the Feet—
     ‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’.

Francis Thompson, from The Hound of Heaven



Kirsten Powers writes in Christianity Today about her conversion, and what a reluctant convert she was:


I began to read the Bible. My boyfriend would pray with me for God to reveal himself to me. After about eight months of going to hear Keller, I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity. But I didn’t feel any connection to God, and frankly, I was fine with that. I continued to think that people who talked of hearing from God or experiencing God were either delusional or lying. In my most generous moments, I allowed that they were just imagining things that made them feel good.

Then one night on a trip to Taiwan, I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, “Here I am.” It felt so real. I didn’t know what to make of it. I called my boyfriend, but before I had time to tell him about it, he told me he had been praying the night before and felt we were supposed to break up. So we did. Honestly, while I was upset, I was more traumatized by Jesus visiting me.

Completely True

I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn’t shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.

I didn’t know what to do, so I spoke with writer Eric Metaxas, whom I had met through my boyfriend and who had talked with me quite a bit about God. “You need to be in a Bible study,” he said. “And Kathy Keller’s Bible study is the one you need to be in.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand. (It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.)

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

The horror of the prospect of being a devout Christian crept back in almost immediately. I spent the next few months doing my best to wrestle away from God. It was pointless. Everywhere I turned, there he was. Slowly there was less fear and more joy. The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.

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7 Responses to Kirsten Powers and the Hound of Heaven

  • St Augustine, the Doctor of Grace says, “The effectiveness of God’s mercy cannot be in the power of man to frustrate, if he will have none of it. If God wills to have mercy on men, He can call them in a way that is suited to them, so that they will be moved to understand and to follow… God has mercy on no man in vain. He calls the man on whom he has mercy in the way He knows will suit him, so that he will not refuse the call… Who would dare to affirm that God has no method of calling whereby even Esau might have applied his mind and yoked his will to the faith in which Jacob was justified? ”

    So, scripture says “I will have mercy on whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please Me” (Exod. 33:19)

  • To perform abortion to save the life of the mother, the mother’s death must be imminent, happening right now, or it is conjecture. Prognosis is guessing.
    Through DNA, science has proved that a new individual human being is conceived with free will and intellect in his human soul, growing. Innocence, sovereignty , immortality and virginity are among the gifts of God. Human sacrifice is older than Obama or Cuomo.

  • She’s still a proponent for baby killing.

  • Actually she is coming around on that issue Tito. She spoke out strongly against Kermit Gosnell and she helped break the media’s wall of silence in regard to that story. She is a work in progress and she is moving in the right direction.

  • Watching the hand of God move among us and latch on to the seemingly least likely is a beautiful thing. We can start with the conversion of St. Paul. As Don says, “she is a work in progress.”

  • It’s a beginning for Kirsten. Dr. Nathason, Abby Johnson, and many more blatant pro abortion providers and supporters have come to the Lord. One of my most pro abortion friends( and believe me it was a tough friendship) when her daughter became pregnant did not have an abortion! The Lord works in mysterious ways.(This was a woman who would pull up in front of the Catholic school( to make deliveries) with her “pro abortion and proud of it” bumper sticker and dwaddle so as many folks as possible could see it. Bumper sticker gone as of this post.

  • After the 2012 election I heard the “pro-life” ‘Ms Powers on Fox News attribute the Republicans’ loss to their antiquated abortion/contraception views (paraphrased). I had hoped that this news (to me) that she was a pro-life Christian implied that she had left this notion behind, but it seems that she said that AFTER meeting The Lord of Life. More to come for her, I pray.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit

Tuesday, December 11, AD 2012

When I was a kid I loved watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents, known in its last four years as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  His sardonic wit and macabre sense of humor I found vastly appealing and no doubt had an impact on my own developing sense of humor.  Hitchcock was a Catholic, although some have claimed that he became estranged from the Faith later in life.  Father Mark Henninger in The Wall Street Journal relates his own encounter with Hitchcock shortly before his death.

At the time, I was a graduate student in philosophy at UCLA, and I was (and remain) a Jesuit priest. A fellow priest, Tom Sullivan, who knew Hitchcock, said one Thursday that the next day he was going over to hear Hitchcock’s confession. Tom asked whether on Saturday afternoon I would accompany him to celebrate a Mass in Hitchcock’s house.


I was dumbfounded, but of course said yes. On that Saturday, when we found Hitchcock asleep in the living room, Tom gently shook him. Hitchcock awoke, looked up and kissed Tom’s hand, thanking him.

Tom said, “Hitch, this is Mark Henninger, a young priest from Cleveland.”

“Cleveland?” Hitchcock said. “Disgraceful!”

After we chatted for a while, we all crossed from the living room through a breezeway to his study, and there, with his wife, Alma, we celebrated a quiet Mass. Across from me were the bound volumes of his movie scripts, “The Birds,” “Psycho,” “North by Northwest” and others—a great distraction. Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks.

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10 Responses to Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit

  • Every so often I read something such as this (last Friday’s WSJ) and say to myself, “It’s still worth the subscription price.”

  • Whenever I read a story of a penitent, I think of the sermon that Bossuet preached at the solemn profession of Mlle de la Vallière, (Sister Louise de la Miséricorde) the former mistress of Louis XIV, as a Carmelite nun.

    He took as his text, “And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new'” (Apoc 21:5).

    He also discusses the mystery, even the paradox of grace, both “Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!” (Ez 18:31) but also, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”(Ez 36:26)

  • One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Isaiah 1: 18:

    “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

  • You have a good heart Donald. Thanks for the touching story.

  • Donald…..very good story. It reminds me of the movie, “immortal Beloved” about the life of Beethoven. In the movie, the dying composer refuses to see a priest and receive the last rights. In reality, according to Thayer’s Life of Beethoven, he died during a terrific hailstorm after having devoutly received the last sacraments. His Missa Solemnis, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, ” is a mighty profession of faith in a personal God by one of the greatest geniuses of all times, who composed it in the midst of the growing doubt and impending moral and spiritual disintegration of his age.” I don’t know the reason why Hollywood and the publishing industry do not want to tell the truth or downplay the influence of belief in God but it must have something to do with the agnostic/atheistic ingrained prejudice against the compatibility of Catholic faith and intellectual or artistic genius. They think only stupid or simple people could believe in God.

  • ” They think only stupid or simple people could believe in God.”

    This fits in with their usual ignorance of history, religion and ludicrous overestimation of their own intelligence.

  • Arrogant, half-witted hypocrites think everyone else is (if it were possible) stupider than they are.

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  • And also that ‘veritable icon of modernity’ the great poet Wallace Stevens:

  • Poetcomic…..thank you very much for the informative link…..great story also.

Wanted: Orthodox Catholic Political Leaders (Time To Get Serious)

Thursday, May 10, AD 2012

My adult conversion to Catholicism came about through many converging spiritual streams, but one of the things I remember that had perhaps, the biggest positive impact, was my introduction to the Papal Social Encyclicals. I was immediately impressed by the non-ideological, Biblically-consistent worldview expressed by the Catholic Magisterium. As my initial conversion led to graduate Theological studies, teaching in Catholic high schools around the world, and a run for Florida State House; I have remained an ardent admirer of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

It is one of my lifetime goals to find ways to promote the social teachings of our Catholic Magisterium, and to find practical ways to cultivate Catholic political leaders who are similarly dedicated to the work of building civilizations of love founded upon the principles of our complete corpus of social doctrine teachings. As a candidate I discovered that most parishes are ill-equipped to nurture future Catholic leaders or even assist in the process of educating and informing the laity of how they can better influence elections on the basis of the many important moral issues (which have specific Magisterial guidance). It is great to pray for Christian Justice in our world, and it is necessary to take up the responsibility of voting when given that opportunity. But grace builds upon nature, and there is so much more that we could be doing as Catholics to better organize ourselves to have more positive collective impact on our communities and American society.

I urge that we work on two fronts simultaneously-1. Educating the Catholic laity to the Catholic social teachings and the guidance given by our Pope and Bishops’ 2. Use our religious freedoms more effectively at the parish level. I often make use of the story of William Wilberforce, a Christian politician who fought tirelessly to stop the slave trade in Great Britain- he was eventually successful utilizing organizational tools which we could use today (as the Civil Rights Movement here in America demonstrated). I hope my practical advice will be of some use for all those interested in maximizing our public Catholic witness in the social (temporal) realm.

Here are some specific practical proposals:

1. Every parish should organize “Social Doctrine Nights” where specific issues are discussed in the context of the social doctrine, as taught in official sources like Papal Encyclicals, the Compendium of Social Doctrine, the Catechism, US Bishop Pastoral Letters, and so forth. The parish priest should be front and center publicizing the Nights from the pulpit and being present for the meetings to put teeth into the promotion.

2. It would also be good if every parish started a “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church book club”. This would help to locate a core group of lay persons who are truly interested in fulfilling their responsibility to the Temporal Order, to reform the world according to Christ’s teachings and will, as revealed by our Church’s authoritative documents. These hardy souls will go far in sharing their knowledge on those Social Doctrine Nights. At the least, we will give the laity many chances to inform their consciences on public policy matters.

3. As the election cycle nears, every parish should start scheduling town hall meetings and Candidate Forum events. Political candidates should be held accountable before the election takes place. They need to go on record with their thoughts on the issues that our parishioners deem important. The only requirement for such forums is that all candidates are invited with no
obvious bias during the event. Town hall meetings should be convened on singular issues of great importance, and local leaders and potential leaders should be invited to participate or attend.

4. Documents from the U.S. Bishops’ Conferences should be distributed widely in every parish. These documents can easily be inserted into every Sunday Bulletin.

5. Questionnaires for candidates from Catholic Conferences and reputable Catholic Pro-Life organizations should be distributed with information on the issues providing the reader with a clear idea of what the official Church is advising/teaching on the political issue being raised. These questionnaire results should be widely distributed well in advance of the actual Election Day.

6. Potential Catholic political leaders need to be groomed and supported by the Church by all legal means. We cannot be hamstrung by laws that seem bent on keeping an artificial (and false) wall of separation between Church and State. Both the Church and State have particular functions in society, they are not the same, but they are not to be pitted against one another. One way to cope with the reality here, in the United States, is to help private Catholic action groups and organizations, to form apart from the official dioceses and Catholic conferences. These private Catholic organizations could form PACS and contribute directly to Catholic individuals who are seeking to serve the common good first and foremost. They should be committed to serving the official Church social doctrine.

7. Catholic schools should also do more to promote the social doctrine among the youth. I once organized a debate for all congressional candidates in the Catholic high school where I was teaching. The students wrote the questions and had a chance to mingle with the candidates afterwards. It was the only such debate for those candidates in the entire election cycle and many students were positively impacted by the experience. Another area of improvement would be in the development of textbooks with a Catholic perspective, and that covered such areas as Literature, History, Media, Social Studies and so forth. The Catholic worldview and social doctrine have been confined to religion classes, and this has contributed to the compartmentalization of Catholic understanding and expression. Catholic students, with rare exceptions, are not graduating and moving the public debate beyond the narrow partisan/ideological confines of Political Left/Right.

I offer these suggestions because I believe that, as Catholics, we have the blueprint for building a civilization of love at every level of human society. The blueprint is our social doctrine and the gift of our Magisterium in guiding the principles and teachings of Christ into our complex world. As a candidate for public office I discovered a huge void in our Catholic parishes for offering a

place of contact between budding political leaders and the Catholic laity. Nurturing orthodox Catholics to become political leaders in our society is something that also seems missing from the average parish. Having a unique Blueprint (our Social Doctrine) but not having sound organization to carry out the plan is a terrible waste of potential. It is time to go from the drawing phase to building and implementing- to make visible this civilization of love our beloved popes write about with such strong conviction. This is our potential, this is an essential part of our Catholic evangelization. There are a lot of Catholic groups and organizations who lobby politicians after the fact of their election, but we should be intervening in the process from the beginning- nurturing leaders, educating every generation of voter, and providing candidate forums and town hall meetings in our churches (all perfectly legal!).

Once again, these strategies involve the following precepts:

– social doctrine promotion
– town hall meetings
– candidate forums
– encouragement of private Catholic PACS
– Catholic youth mentoring

Pope John Paul II insisted that was necessary for Catholics “to seek the Kingdom of God in dealing with temporal realities and in ordering them in accordance with the divine will.” And he urged us to be courageous in giving witness to our faith in the public arena.

Quoting from “Lumen Gentium”, No.36, Pope John Paul II said that lay men and women, after receiving a sound catechesis and continuing formation, have a clear mission “to extend the Kingdom of God in and through their secular activity, so that ‘the world will be imbued with the Spirit of Christ and more effectively attain its purpose in justice, in love and in peace” (No.3). Hence, the faithful need to receive clear instructions on their duties as Christians, and on their obligation to act in accordance with the Church’s authoritative teachings, the Pope added. And to those who object that such instruction has overly political tones John Paul II stated clearly: “While fully respecting the legitimate separation of Church and state in American life, such a catechesis must also make clear that for the faithful Christian there can be no separation between the faith which is to be believed and put into practice and a commitment to full and responsible participation in professional, political and cultural life” (No.3).

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10 Responses to Wanted: Orthodox Catholic Political Leaders (Time To Get Serious)

  • Good thoughtful post Tim; definitely good considerations to ponder. All who seek to be faithful to the magisterium should have the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, along wth the Catechism, and work to be familiar with both in their entirety; not cherry picking a favorite section here or there. For most of us their will be plenty that will challenge our political orientation. What I we should encourage others to work for is building The Faith, as a secure foundation first, with politrical involvement and activism following. Building that foundation is a must, and can seem tedious. It is indispensable for any social activism which follows to bear fruit for Christ. Your ideas are a good start.

  • I have emailed this to our St. Philip Neri Oratorio ministry chair (whose name is also Tim, so he should be pretty receptive.)

    This is exactly the kind of thing that we should be doing, as Americans, as Christians, as Catholics and as free men & women. Excellent on all fronts, Tim.

  • I would love to tack this article to the doors of all the churches in my Deanery…hmmmm…perhaps I will…:)

  • Thanks for the feedback and follow-ups- this is my companion piece to the Catholic Education Vision- I would like to see faithful Catholic make a deeper impact than we are currently- we have schools and parishes- why not maximize their potential for good? What are we afraid of?

  • Thank you– that is well thought out and should be do-able for many many parishes and parish clusters.

  • The problem with the USCCB when it comes to socio-economics is that their approach is often more ideological than pastoral. Their leftist tilt on issues like economics, immigration, capital punishment and the like often does more to distort an authentic Catholic understanding of how the faithful are to form their consciences on these matters than it does to inform.

    Catholic teaching on these matters admits of a much greater diversity than the USCCB often portrays them. In so far as they function in their official capacity they need to remain neutral, thus allowing them to hold both sides accountable to Catholic moral principles. their taking sides leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by one side and needlessly alienates the other. A recent example was the unjust USCCB attack on Paul Ryan’s budget. I am not saying they should endorse it, but they should defend it as legitimate from a Catholic point of view.

    Instead of inserting USCCB letters into parish bulletins, excerpts from papal encyclicals that stress the importance of the principles of subsidiarity as it pertains to economic issues as one example.

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  • I Love You!!! Yes, yes, yes!!! As a religious education instructor for over eighteen years I thought I would lose my mind trying to deal with other teachers and administrators who threw all knowledge of the faith out the door, and some who had NO knowledge of the faith to throw but just made it something up as they went along and that sufficed as educating our children. One of my main pleas was to “educate the educators”. We cannot pass on the true faith when the “flock” has such little knowledge of it. This is why I feel we have such a crisis of faith today. Big shock. Anyway we all could use on going education of the truths of the faith. Then if you don’t want to be a Catholic you shouldn’t be one.

  • Here’s one easy way I have helped strengthen the Church in my state:

    Donate subscriptions to the Knights of Columbus magazine Columbia to every Catholic high school & college library and to every Catholic student center on secular campuses.

    If you’re a knight in a good council, you should organize this project and propose that the council fund the subscriptions.

    Work to get it into the public libraries in Catholic parts of town, too.

    It was fantastic to see the Columbia issue on the HHS mandate at my lukewarm local Catholic college’s periodicals section.

    I am working on taking this project nationally, more will be forthcoming.

  • I realized today: All Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine.

    While hearing the readings at Sunday Mass today (May 13, 2012), I realized that ALL of Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine! Social Doctrine is not some off-to-side sub-specialty of interest only to a few. It is all there is! Listen to some verses from today’s Mass readings:

    Reading 2 1 Jn 4:7-10:
    Beloved, let us love one another,
    because love is of God;
    everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
    Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
    In this way the love of God was revealed to us….

    Gospel Jn 15:9-17:
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
    Remain in my love.
    If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
    just as I have kept my Father”s commandments
    and remain in his love.”
    “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
    and your joy might be complete.
    This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
    No one has greater love than this,
    to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
    You are my friends if you do what I command you….
    It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
    and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,….
    This I command you: love one another.”

    So, why do I think that ALL Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine?

    Because all Doctrine has but one purpose: To lead and guide and help and inspire and attract us to fulfill this from Jesus: “This I command you: love one another.” (Jn. 15:17).

    Learning or holding or adhering to doctrine for its own sake is not the end or purpose of the Catholic life on earth.

    Rather, the end and purpose of life on earth is to fulfill that from Jesus: “This I command you: love one another.” (Jn. 15:17).

    Even the Catholic Doctrine about the Holy Trinity is Social Doctrine, since the Trinity is a unity of three divine Persons who love each other. Even the Catholic Doctrine about the Holy Eucharist is Social Doctrine, for reasons that are all too obvious.

    Consider this from America magazine: “As Pope Benedict made clear in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, life issues are social justice issues and social justice issues are life issues.” See

    But I would go much further. Yes, Life Issues are Social Justice Issues. But there are nothing but Social Issues, ultimately, if you define “Social” as embracing all the relationships that pertain to Life on Earth and Eternal Life: The Holy Trinity; The Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints; The Works of Mercy; The Unity of Humankind; The “Greatest Commandment” according to Jesus, having two parts, love God with all of your mind, heart, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself; loving strangers; loving enemies; loving your spouse and remain faithful to him or her for life; and so on.

    In sum, Social Doctrine is all that the Church has.

    The fact that people don’t think of things this way shows, I respectfully propose, how far we are from where God wants us to be.

Chuck Colson: Requiescat in Pace

Saturday, April 21, AD 2012

Chuck Colson died today at age 80.  A former self described Nixon hatchet man, he went to prison for his involvement in Watergate.  He underwent a religious conversion and turned his life around.  After his release from prison he founded Prison Fellowship, an organization that has won accolades for its work in bringing the gospel to men and women incarcerated.  He was ever a tireless voice for the unborn and the handicapped, as the video above indicates.  In a time of easy cynicism and fashionable atheism, Colson’s conversion was a reminder of the power of the grace of God for those who humbly repent and accept it.  The world is poorer by his passing.  May God grant him mercy and the Beatific Vision.

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6 Responses to Chuck Colson: Requiescat in Pace

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  • I thought so much of Chuck Colson and gained so much from his “Break Point” commentary.
    He is such a great example of how our lives can change when we turn wholly to God… he took his energy and intelligence and put it to work! plus he helped so many others in their own turn around.. his life is really a study in Hope and Love

  • I have long been an admirer and supporter of Colson and his Prison Fellowship ministry. His books exploring church-state and church-society issues, such as “Kingdoms in Conflict” and “Loving God” are outstanding and though written from an Evangelical point of view, contain many positive references to the Catholic Church. One of his books (can’t remember which one offhand) includes the story of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe. Truth be told, he was one of several prominent Protestants that I would not have been surprised to have seen “jump the Tiber” eventually. (I believe his wife was Catholic.) May perpetual light shine upon him….

  • The world is poorer by his passing. May God grant him mercy and the Beatific Vision.

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  • I always enjoyed listening to Colson. He clearly had a deeper appreciation for the Church Fathers and Councils than many other Protestants, and I too always had the feeling that he was close to conversion.

    May God have mercy on him and may we all meet happily in heaven.

Father Matthew Munoz Talks About The Conversion of His Grandfather: John Wayne

Wednesday, October 5, AD 2011

Hattip to Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  I have written previously on the deathbed conversion of John Wayne:   John Wayne-Cardiac Catholic.  His grandson, Father Matthew Munoz, has recently talked about his grandfather’s conversion.

“My grandmother, Josephine Wayne Saenz, had a wonderful influence on his life and introduced him to the Catholic world,” said 46-year-old Fr. Muñoz, a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.  

“He was constantly at Church events and fundraisers that she was always dragging him to and I think that, after a while, he kind of got a sense that the common secular vision of what Catholics are and what his own experience actually was, were becoming two greatly different things.”

Fr. Muñoz’s grandparents married in 1933 and had four children, the youngest of whom – Melinda – is his mother. The couple civilly divorced in 1945 although, as a Catholic, Josephine did not re-marry until after John Wayne’s death. She also never stopped praying for her husband’s conversion – a prayer which was answered in 1978.

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2 Responses to Father Matthew Munoz Talks About The Conversion of His Grandfather: John Wayne

  • its great to hear father matthews story about his grandfather. My father is 78 and he belives in god but he has not been to a church in 67 yrs my mother prays every day that he gives the lord a chance so he can see what a bliss the house of the lord is. About father matthew i want to share what he did for me last yr. I had not been to church in 30 yrs i also believed in god but like my father i never went to church that morning was christmas eve life had taken its tole on me i didnt want to live any more i decided to go to church that morniing and then come home and take a bunch of pills that i had to take my life because i didnt want to live any more well after mass out of know were father matthew came from behind some rose bushes in front of our church well i went up to him and asked him to please say a prayer and bless me because i was going to take my life he took the time to pray and talk to me that morning that by the time i got home my life felt diffrent his blessing and prayers touched my heart after that day i go to mass monday threw friday 6:30 mass and on sundays i take my little girl tammy and i also work 3 masses helping out. thanks to father matthew taking the time that day my little girl has a mom and i belive in god 100 percent. i just got back from the holy land and that made my life complete the only wish that i want to see is that some day i get a chance to thank father matthew in person he left our parish in cypress ca never saw him agin but i hope and pray that some day i can tell him that thanks to him and god im still here and my daughter has a mom that believes in god 100 percent.

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Abby Johnson and the Still Small Voice of God

Friday, April 15, AD 2011

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am an attorney, for my sins no doubt.  It supplies me with bread and butter for my family and myself as well as an opportunity to observe the frailty, follies, crimes and, occasionally, the nobility, of the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve.  However, that is just my day job.  For over a decade now I have also been chairman of the board of directors of the Caring Pregnancy Center located in Pontiac, Illinois in Livingston County, the county in which I live.  There, dedicated pro-life volunteers, almost all of them evangelical women, labor ceaselessly to help women in crisis  pregnancies.  In the movie the Agony and the Ecstasy Pope Julius II is depicted as saying that when he comes before God he will throw into the balance the ceiling painting of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel against the weight of his sins and he hoped it would shorten his time in purgatory.  If such an opportunity exists for me, it will be due to my association with the Caring Pregnancy Center and their truly awe-inspiring and selfless female volunteers.

On April 14th, we held our 25th anniversary banquet which was a grand affair, with our supporters and well-wishers turning out in en masse.  I opened with a few introductory remarks where I talked about the Center and its 25 years of service to the women of Livingston County and their babies.  I also asked why we did this.  First and foremost to protect innocent human life, and, second, because we remember with Thomas Jefferson, “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”  It will come as a vast shock, no doubt, to faithful readers of this blog that I somehow worked into my remarks the surrender of Fort Sumter 150 years before on April 14, 1861 and Mr. Lincoln’s remarks in his Second Inaugural Address that the terrible war the nation had been through was God’s punishment on both the North and the South for the sin of slavery.  I ended by stating that it was still possible for America to turn around and repent for the great sin of abortion and that the great words of the prophet Isaiah, as always, give us hope:  “Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be made white as snow.”

Abby Johnson was our speaker, and she gave the most effective pro-life speech I have ever heard and I have heard many over the decades.

She was funny and moving at the same time.  Her delivery was as natural as if she was talking to a next door neighbor, but every word she said was riveting.

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14 Responses to Abby Johnson and the Still Small Voice of God

RealCatholicTV, Creating Reversions and Conversions to the Faith

Wednesday, February 23, AD 2011

RealCatholicTV has created controversy among dissident Catholics for it’s orthodoxy and frankl fidelity to the Magisterium.  For some unfathomable reason even some faithful Catholics are put off by this blunt and direct approach.

I for one don’t agree with some of those faithful Catholics because what may seem blunt and direct is actually honest and refreshing.

Souls are at stake and no amount of hang-wringing causes me any lost sleep because Michael Voris states only the Truth.

Those that are uncomfortable with the Truth being spoken should only go back to the Holy Bible and what Jesus says about watering down the Truth:

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

— the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 18:6

For RealCatholicTV click here.

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43 Responses to RealCatholicTV, Creating Reversions and Conversions to the Faith

  • For some unfathomable reason even some faithful Catholics are put off by this blunt and direct approach.

    I for one don’t agree with some of those faithful Catholics because what may seem blunt and direct is actually honest and refreshing.

    FWIW, I think there are different emotional and intellectual tones which work better in speaking to different people. While I’m quite sure some find Voris’s approach bracing and encouraging, others seem to find it abrasive or off-putting.

    I think that there’s enough to understand about God that in many cases there can be more than one legitimate way of talking about true doctrine, not because one conceals the truth while the other shows it, but because the things we as Catholics seek to describe are large enough to be discussed profitably in multiple ways.

    To the extent that Voris is helping people remain in their faith or come back to their faith, I would see him as doing good work. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that his is the only way of doing good work and keeping people in the faith.

    So, I think that someone could legitimately think that other approaches than Voris’s would be better at reaching certain people, or even people in general, without being against the truth.

  • Darwin,

    Well said.

    Being part Neanderthal I appreciate Michael Voris’ approach.

    And those that take this approach a different way I completely respect.

  • Do we have a statistic on the number of reversions and conversions that can be attributed to Mr. Voris?

    If so, I wonder how they compare to the number of reversions and conversions that can be attributed to EWTN and its much lower-key approach. I know that EWTN played a key part in my conversion because everything about the programming evinced a love for the Church.

    I like some of what Mr. Voris does, but am completely put off by his attitude toward the successors of the Apostles. Where I saw love for the Church as a would-be convert watching EWTN, if I were a would-be convert watching only RealCatholicTV, I might run in the other direction rather than be part of a Church whose leaders were held in such contempt.

    With Mr. Voris, we see a lot of what’s wrong with the Body of Christ, and very little of what’s right with it. I’m not sure that’s an elixir for creating much of anything, much less reversions and conversions.

  • Heh. I don’t think Voris goes far enough sometimes, to be quite honest.

    But I do appreciate anyone who speaks absolute truth to power. And on most issues he is speaking the truth. He isn’t afraid to offend liberals with his language, and he isn’t afraid to point out the appalling and cowardly behavior of certain priests and bishops.

    He also wages war against the false modernist liberal idea of “charity” in speech, the idea that we must be polite and deferring at all times, even in the face of the most terrible abuses, blasphemies, and sacrilege. This idea of “charitable speech” as it has been promoted by modern liberalism only serves to obscure truth. I absolutely reject it. And I’m glad Voris does too.

  • God reaches people through more than one method.

    To criticize Michael Voris is to bring criticism to your own view on his tactics.

  • I periodically enjoy a good, strong glass of porto. But not on my breakfast cereal.

  • “To criticize Michael Voris is to bring criticism to your own view on his tactics.”

    Again, my comment is aimed solely at the assertion that Mr. Voris is directly responsible for reversions and conversions. I am speaking as a convert to say that his style would not have swayed me toward entering the Church.

    Mr. Voris’ style is good for exposing where there are shortcomings in the Church and its institutions. While I wish he weren’t so harsh with respect to the Bishops, I take no issue with what he sees as his mission.

    The ONLY thing I’m taking issue with is the notion, as stated in the title of this post, that Mr. Voris’ style is likely to bring about a significant number of reverts or converts.

    Perhaps I’m mistaken, but, again, speaking as a convert who is, substantively, probably more in agreement with Mr. Voris than not, I do not find his style to be the sort of thing that would have made me WANT to enter the Church.

  • Mad bad Jay.

    Too much porto in my frosted flakes.

  • Voris reminds me of the Tea Party: uninterested in bridging understanding, populist in a “take it back from the intellectuals and the authorities” kind of way, and usually right.

  • The only people who find Voris offensive are the priests and bishops who aren’t doing their jobs, lay people who are reminded of the shortfalls of their faith and practise, and certain Catholic apologists who think he’s dodgy. I think most faithfl Catholics are qite happy with Mike.

  • “The only people who find Voris offensive are the priests and bishops who aren’t doing their jobs, lay people who are reminded of the shortfalls of their faith and practise, and certain Catholic apologists who think he’s dodgy.”

    The product of a lot of study on the subject of Mr. Voris’ detractors, no doubt.

    I wonder in which category I fall. I’m not a priest or a deacon. I’m not an apologist. I must be one of those lay people who fall short in their faith and practice. I think the definition is “sinner”.

    Guilty as charged.

  • The only people who find Voris offensive are the priests and bishops who aren’t doing their jobs, lay people who are reminded of the shortfalls of their faith and practise, and certain Catholic apologists who think he’s dodgy. I think most faithfl Catholics are qite happy with Mike.

    Well, personally, I find his overall style kind of abrasive and annoying — though I am sure that some Catholics find it helpful and I certainly don’t begrudge them that. Similarly, I’m sure that many people would find the writings I find most helpful to be overly intellectual and bogged down in qualifications.

    I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader, however, to figure out which of the above buckets I fall into.

  • I must be one of those lay people who fall short in their faith and practice. I think the definition is “sinner”.

    Guilty as charged.

    Ok, funny story from my college days… I showed up for Confession one Saturday afternoon, and I got in line behind my buddy Vito. He looked me up and down with a disgusted look on his face, and said in a disdainful tone: “Sinner!”

    As for Mr. Voris, I don’t have a problem with the content of his message; it’s more in his delivery.

  • “Do we have a statistic on the number of reversions and conversions that can be attributed to Mr. Voris?”

    Zero. I can assure you that Michael attributes every single reversion/conversion only to the work of the Holy Spirit. RealCatholicTV doesn’t change lives, only God does that.

  • “I wonder in which category I fall. I’m not a priest or a deacon. I’m not an apologist. I must be one of those lay people who fall short in their faith and practice. I think the definition is “sinner”.”

    With due respect Jay, this isn’t what we are talking about. To sin against the faith by denying it or watering it down or falsely representing it in public is nowhere near the same as to be a “sinner” in general. Yes, we are all sinners, myself, Voris, etc. But Church teaching and history, and common sense – since that is the popular phrase these days – show us that we must be able to correctly identify the faith, to distinguish it from false opinions and heretical ideas, even as lowly lay persons.

    Voris does this (to some extent). People who hold views that are contrary to those of the Church’s place themselves by their own obstinacy outside of her, and this is not the same as holding the faith but being a sinner – an adulterer, a fornicator, a thief, etc.

  • Many people, not just Michael Voris ,think that the hour is late. The time to come to Jesus is now. The sentimental “God loves you” is fine for ages 7 and under, but people steeped in sin and in misunderstanding of the Bible, Catholicism and the Magisterium need help now. It doesn’t matter if you like his style, is he telling the Truth?

  • Lisa – It’s not that simple, is it? A statement like “bishops aren’t holding true to the faith” is correct, but it could undermine a person’s belief and drive him further from the Faith. It could make a person more likely to attend a goofy independent church that claims to be more faithful. It could expose the Church to ridicule. It could lead a person to believe that the problem is too much strictness rather than too much lenience. Casual general criticism is a dangerous thing.

  • I don’t know if “watering down the truth” is the right context for the verse of the Gospel of Matthew quoted.

  • I’m going out on a leg here and saying Jay isn’t a priest nor a nun.

    If bishops and priests feel uncomfortable with Michael Voris, then it’s a perfectly good sign they need to shape up or Lucifer will find a spot on the floor to his home for their cranium.

  • This video is self-congratulatory and shameless self-promotion. It seems that the narrator is quite comfortable with what he has done to convert individuals to Catholicism. Well, if one has read the Saints of the Church that the narrator himself refers to, one would immediately see something wrong with his attitude: he is *comfortable*–he thinks he is doing something better than say, the University of Notre Dame. No saint of the Church has expressed in his or her writings such comfort. Instead, the closer these holy men and women get to God, the more uncomfortable they become and the more inadequate they find themselves–as we can read from holy people like Mother Teresa.

    So in such spirit of loving oneself that seems acceptable in this blog, I’m going to praise myself and my husband. We very much agree with the Opus Dei approach to evangelization, which is perhaps diametrically opposed to what the narrator expresses here. Our friends who have converted to Catholicism perhaps as a result of our influence, have done so not because we told them “in their faces” how wrong they were. Instead, they were curious about something… I don’t know exactly what… maybe icons everywhere in our house, rosaries in our car, shoot, I don’t know. When they asked questions, they were puzzled by how well we knew Scripture, tradition, history, and how well we were able to explain the teachings of the Church. So I would say it has been a result of our actions, not of our denouncement of their beliefs.

  • If bishops and priests feel uncomfortable with Michael Voris, then it’s a perfectly good sign they need to shape up or Lucifer will find a spot on the floor to his home for their cranium.

    Well, or it might be that they feel that Voris would be more effective in reaching people if they spoke about things differently.

    Every so often, I cringe at how people I completely agree with go about expressing the beliefs that we share in common, because I worry that by the way they go about arguing in favor of our mutual position, they’ll end up turning people off rather than persuading them.

  • heh

    I’m one of them knuckle-dragging, first-generation-walking-upright, uncouth loats that thinks Varis is okay.

    I usually see his stuff over at Catholic Cavemen. Do you think there’s a connection?

    Just saying . . .

    Plus, I will not revert to slugging down Dewar’s for breakfast. That never ended well.

  • “So in such spirit of loving oneself that seems acceptable in this blog, I’m going to praise myself and my husband.”

    I think that goes with most blogs. Just look at Vox Nova.

  • ” Our friends who have converted to Catholicism perhaps as a result of our influence, have done so not because we told them “in their faces” how wrong they were. ”

    Are you sure it is Catholicism they are converting to?

  • “Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.” — St. Thomas Aquinas, quoted by Pope Leo XIII in Sapientiae Christianae, 14

  • “16. No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. “All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Saviour, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith.”(16)

    From the same encyclical quoted above.

  • The Spiritual Works of Mercy:

    Admonish the sinner.
    Counsel the doubtful.
    Forgive all injuries.
    Instruct the ignorant.
    Pray for the living and dead.

    Every day, in every way.

    Did I miss any?

  • The Church is called Catholic for a reason — it is universal, all embracing, and there is a place in it for all who are willing to accept Her teachings and Her authority. How one lives this out can vary, as evidenced by the lives of the saints. There are humble, quiet saints like Therese of Liseiux; there are calm, reasoning saints like Thomas Aquinas and Thomas More; and there are forceful, even hotheaded saints like Paul and Jerome. Each one of them manifested God’s grace in his or her own way.

    As someone who tends toward being painfully shy and awkward in personal conversation — and who writes much better than she talks! — I appreciate the talents of people like Michael Voris who can do what I can’t. I can also appreciate people who prefer a more subtle approach. Not everyone will be won to the faith the same way and that is why we have a variety of devotions, charisms, apostolates, etc.

  • I think Michael is talking to other Catholics, rather than trying to convert non-catholics. I think he’s excellent. (like the contributors at AC 🙂

  • Look, I believe everything the Church teaches, and I’m no liberal, but I don’t like Voris simply because his theology is oftentimes bad or misleading, his ecclesiology is, to put it bluntly, “Americanist,” and his manner is obnoxious.

    But, all that being said, I do have to admit that the very existence of Voris and his ilk testifies to the failure of the American bishops in successfully implementing a good catechesis capable of reaching large numbers of people. So I don’t blame Voris himself for the phenomenon he has become.

    I also think that Katerina’s comments on this thread are to the point.

  • One other thing: Note that, in the letter sent to Voris, the writer opposed the “real” and “true” Catholic faith to that of “liberals.” Now, I agree, actually that liberalism is opposed to Catholicism at its deepest level, and so on one reading of the letter I am heartened. However, it is clear that by “liberals” Voris and his audience do not understand *all* liberals, but one subset of liberals–the kind, for instance, that you find sipping lattes in San Francisco, subscribing to NPR, and reading Commonweal Magazine. This is, to my mind, dangerous, because it conflates the theological distinction between orthodoxy and unorthodoxy with a political distinction between “liberals”–and here, only one set of liberals (we all know who they are)–and “conservatives”. And it thereby might lead somebody to think that in becoming “orthodox” they are (or should be) becoming “conservative.” But this is a category mistake.

    My suspicion is, however, that it works the other way. Self-described political “conservatives” who for one reason or another are unhappy with the Church’s involvement in the the plight of illegal immigrants, its social teaching, and so on, and who (sadly) are rightly scandalized by Catholics who have no problem voting for pro-abortion politicians, find Voris, and they think: here all my preexising political allegiances are confirmed and are redescribed as those attending the “true” or “real” Faith, and they are gratified by this, and it provides them further ammunition against those “liberal” Catholics who (for whatever bizarre reason) continue to downplay the holocaust of abortion. This is all a very complex process, but my thought is that Voris–and Real Catholic TV more generally–merely participates in and exacerbates, rather than corrects, the depravity of our current cultural and social order.

  • Joe, it’s below the belt to question the authenticity of one’s conversion when one has no evidence.

    In the main, Voris is not my cup of Everclear, though he does do good work in exposing the apparently willingness of Catholic leadership (clergy and lay) to jettison Catholic distinctives and doctrine at will.

    I also agree that he’s the product of a failure to defend that identity and doctrine, as well as bad catechesis. To the extent leadership is revulsed by him, they can blame themselves. There’s a market for what the man is offering, and there wouldn’t be one if they did their jobs better.

    That said, I’m a little bemused by the idea that less than full-throated support for MV is suspect. Especially in a Catholic environment. As can be seen by the multiplicity of orders and liturgy, there are many legitimate forms and expressions of orthodox Catholicism, and not all will appeal to everyone.

  • “Apparent willingness.” Argh.

  • “My suspicion is, however, that it works the other way. Self-described political “conservatives” who for one reason or another are unhappy with the Church’s involvement in the the plight of illegal immigrants, its social teaching, and so on…”

    “This is all a very complex process, but my thought is that Voris–and Real Catholic TV more generally–merely participates in and exacerbates, rather than corrects, the depravity of our current cultural and social order.”

    Of course the first part of your post also seems to do little to alleviate the depravity of the cultural and social order. There is nothing inherently “liberal” (philosophically or politically) about CST. That includes topics like illegal immigration. The link to Bishop Molino’s letter on the situation in Wisconsin points out how people can licitly disagree on matters like union rights, immigration etc. There is much less room for disagreement on abortion, however, as Bishop Molino notes.

  • Philip,

    I agree that there is nothing inherently liberal about CST. Indeed, I think that CST is, at its foundational level, opposed to liberalisms of all kinds. (People disagree about this, but that’s my view, and I think it’s well supported by a careful reading of the documents and the theological anthropology subtending them.)

  • CST as presently implemented in the US is the catholic cadre of the dem (liberal) party.

  • “I agree that there is nothing inherently liberal about CST. Indeed, I think that CST is, at its foundational level, opposed to liberalisms of all kinds.”

    “My suspicion is, however, that it works the other way. Self-described political “conservatives” who for one reason or another are unhappy with the Church’s involvement in the the plight of illegal immigrants, its social teaching, and so on…”

    Then perhaps that suspicion is warranted.

  • I’m a little bemused by the idea that less than full-throated support for MV is suspect

    I didn’t write that anything less than full-throated support is suspect (of ones faith?).

    You probably are referencing some comments.

  • Dale,

    “Joe, it’s below the belt to question the authenticity of one’s conversion when one has no evidence.”

    I didn’t question any “one” conversion, I simply wondered aloud if someone who is “converted” on dubious grounds – perhaps by people who for politically correct reasons do not tell them the whole truth about what we believe – is really believing in Catholicism.

    That isn’t below the belt at all.

  • I can’t credit Voris for my reversion, but his show The One True Faith was a big help in catechizing myself once I came back. I learned more about angels and demons in one 45-minute show (the first episode) than I did in a decade of CCD classes.

    I think Voris is great, but I know people who would be completely turned off by his style, especially in his short videos. (These are the same folks who are conservative to the bone but would never call themselves such because they wouldn’t want to be lumped in with the Becks and Limbaughs, whose bombastic styles they abhor.) If they ran across the Vortex, they’d move on in about ten seconds, and never discover Voris’s deeper, more thoughtful work.

    That’s a shame, but as the first commenter said, different approaches work for different people. We’ve already got tons of people using the non-confrontational, I’m-ok-you’re-ok, don’t-scare-them-off approach, so presumably people who are susceptible to that method are already being served. But very few voices were talking to those who would respond better to being challenged bluntly and told that Catholicism demands things of us, that it’s not just a good way to live, but the only way to live. Voris is doing that. If someone had talked to my friends and I when we were 14-years-old about the faith the way Voris talks about it — unapologetic and straightforward, as if it’s something more awesome than comfortable — I might never have drifted away.

  • “K: Our friends who have converted to Catholicism perhaps as a result of our influence, have done so not because we told them iin their faces’ how wrong they were.

    JH: Are you sure it is Catholicism they are converting to?”

    As posed, your question is larded with assumptions regarding the converts, i.e., that Katerina and Michael soft-pedalled the truth. Thus, it *is* below the belt, as it suggests PC trumping truth. Unless, of course, you have specific knowledge as to the circumstances which support the assumptions. I would concede the validity of it as to converts at, say St. Joan in Minneapolis.

  • Tito:

    Fair enough–I read too much into your post on that point. I guess my concern is that a flinching away from certain forms of spirituality, proclamation and practice does not necessarily say anything bad about the practice or the flincher. Again, on the whole, I think Voris does good work and I am unsympathetic to criticism from leadership which has given free reign to all manner of nonsense and worse over the past 45-odd years.

    I have heard that employees of the archdiocese I live in are discouraged from any contact with RCTV, which I find to be grimly amusing given the fact we’re still not recovered from the Dearden hangover. Then again, our current archbishop has also warned against associating with Spirit of V2 (think both missile and council) fanatics like the American Catholic Council, so I’m inclined to cut him a little slack.

  • As a proud Neanderthal, I agree with Tito. Of course, I also know that Tito likes Fr. Corapi. So for whoever wrote that they prefer the gentler approach of EWTN, I assume you don’t watch EWTN on Sunday nights.

    I know many people who are afraid of Fr. Corapi and I admit that he is a little scary, which is why I like him and for that matter Voris too. If it isn’t your cup of tea, that’s OK. Mr. Angelica and Fr. Groeshel are just as right as Corapi or Voris. The issue is the unwatered down truth. The manner of delivery is a preference. What we must agree on is that lukewarmness is vomit-worthy.

Sergeant York and Gary Cooper-Part I

Friday, June 4, AD 2010

In 1941 the film Sergeant York was released.  A biopic on the life of America’s greatest hero of WWI, it brought together two American originals:  Alvin C. York and the actor Gary Cooper.

York arrived in this world on December 3, 1887, the third of the eleven children of William and Mary York.  He was born into rural poverty.  Although both of his parents were quite hard-working, the Yorks lived in a two-room log cabin at a subsistence level.  None of the York children received more than nine-months education, as their labor was desperately needed to farm the few hard scrabble acres that the Yorks owned and to hunt for food to feed the large family.

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13 Responses to Sergeant York and Gary Cooper-Part I

  • Great story… I have always loved this guy. I aspire to his humilty..

  • What few know is that on a per-day casualty basis, World War I was America’s bloodiest war. While I’ve always found Jehovah’s Witness theology risible-to-far worse, the argument Satan was thrown down to the earth in 1914 is one of their more effective ones.

  • It didn’t help that Pershing was a mediocre field commander at best. He had his gifts as an organizer and a trainer of troops, but when it came to operational command in combat he was a poor chooser of divisional and corp commanders over-all, and often made things worse by sacking men in the midst of operations and bringing in replacement commanders who had to sink or swim and all too many sank. The Meuse-Argonne was won by the troops and not by Pershing’s lack-lustre supervision of the offensive. Pershing gave a negative example that provided useful tips on what to avoid by many of the US army commanders in World War II.

  • The thing is, I’m hard pressed to think of a single great field commander in the First World War. The stalemate-ending breakthroughs were invariably a function of exhaustion, undermanning or flat-out stupidity by the other side.

  • What a horribly bloody and stupid war that was, but a fantastic story in Sgt York. I had never seen the movie from beginning to end until about 10 years ago when the wife and I rented it. Top-land(er) and bottom-land(er) became words we used often for a year or two. We somehow managed to fit it into many conversations. 😉

  • An excellent narrative of Sgt. York’s courage, coolness under fire, and marksmanship can be read in Laurence Stallings’, The Doughboys, an all around excellent book on the US in WWI.

    Here is the MoH Citation.

    Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company G, 328th Infantry, 82d Division. Place and date: Near Chatel-Chehery, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Pall Mall, Tenn. Born: 13 December 1887, Fentress County, Tenn. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machinegun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.


    “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.”

  • Allenby and Plumer for the Brits were pretty good. Von Lettow-Vorbeck for the Germans was excellent. The Hindenburg and Ludendorf team using stosstruppen tactics came close to winning the War for Germany in 1918. Petain, of ever-lasting World War II infamy, with his concept of the elastic-defense at Verdun, probably saved France from defeat.

  • Allenby (Middle East) and Lettow-Vorbeck (Africa) were on peripheral fronts, but there’s no denying their success. The latter’s is something out of an epic, I grant. Plumer recognized the idiocy of British over-planning, to his credit, and was loved by his troops. Good, but not great.

    I’ll give you the stormtrooper tactics, at least in part. But Ludendorff and Hindenburg’s plans were assisted by the fact they had an additional 50 divisions freed up from the Eastern Front.

    I tend to think of Petain as more of a McClellan figure–good at organizing and motivating, which was what the French needed after the mutiny. I tend to think that after Nivelle wrecked the French Army in early ’17, Petain had little choice but an elastic defense. But he did save France, to be sure. A pity he obliterated himself by collaboration.

  • SGT York was a great example of rural America’s greatness.

  • Sometimes I truly think that 1914 marked the end of the West. It was certainly the end of the European Age. I agree with RL that it was a completely stupid mess and I am very sorry the US got involved in it. Nonetheless, I honor the valor and bravery of Sgt. York. (And the service of my maternal grandfather, who stares solemnly at me from a old photo which hangs on the wall next to my computer. Leo is in a WWI Army uniform – he made it to France, but was not in combat – and looks dashing. He is surrounded by his sisters, who look, frankly,dowdy with their long skirts and Victorian buns. I have noticed that in old photos that the men often look more ‘modern’ than the women.)

  • In regard to WWI, I tend to agree with G.K. Chesterton that Prussian militarism needed to be stopped. Kaiser Bill, with all his hysterical outbursts, was certainly no monster like the Austrian Corporal of WWII, but living under the Prussian Eagle in occupied France and, especially, Belgium was quite bad enough.

    “After the Battle of the Marne, the Western Front rapidly became a huge system of fortified posditions and trenches streaching from Switzerland to the Channel. Although the Germans were stopped, they had overrun most of Belgium which remained in German hands for most of the War. German authorities governed with repressive measures. The Germans confiscating houses and other property for the occupying troops. German troops killed civilans who resisted. While the German actions were nothing like those pursued by the NAZIs in World War II, they were bad enough and shocking at the time. They were effectively used by British to sway public opinion in America. The Germans also used civilians for forced labor. These laborers were poorly fed. The Germans also seized food supplies with little or no concern about the impact on the civilian population. The British naval blockade in the North Sea caused shortages in the occupied areas which eventually spread to Germany itself. Belgium like Germany was not self sufficent in food production. German authorities attempted to take advantage of the Flemish-Walloon division. They supported Flemish Activists–a radical nationalist group that agreed to work with the Germans hopeing to gain independence for Flanders. The great majority of the Flemish remained loyal to King Albert and Belgium. There was little support for the German-supported Council of Flanders. Nor was the German decesion to change the University of Ghent from a French-language to a Flemish-language institution well received. (The Belgian government made the State University of Ghent partially Flemish and then in 1930 fully Flemish.)”

    A good and careful report on atrocities committed by German troops during the sacking of Louvain in Belgium in 1914:

    There was a large amount of Allied propaganda during WWI that touted fake, or exaggerated, accounts of atrocities by the Germans, which made many people initially cynical as to reports of German atrocities in the Second World War, but there is a hard core of accurate reports that life under the German army was quite bad, especially for public opinion in the much more innocent days of WWI, not yet deadened by the type of savagery to come from fascism and communism in the rest of the 20th century.

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Repent and Believe in the Gospel

Thursday, February 18, AD 2010

… The call to conversion, in fact, uncovers and denounces the easy superficiality that very often characterizes our way of living. To be converted means to change direction along the way of life — not for a slight adjustment, but a true and total change of direction. Conversion is to go against the current, where the “current” is a superficial lifestyle, inconsistent and illusory, which often draws us, controls us and makes us slaves of evil, or in any case prisoners of moral mediocrity. With conversion, instead, one aims to the lofty measure of Christian life; we are entrusted to the living and personal Gospel, which is Christ Jesus. His person is the final goal and the profound meaning of conversion; he is the way which we are called to follow in life, allowing ourselves to be illumined by his light and sustained by his strength that moves our steps. In this way conversion manifests its most splendid and fascinating face: It is not a simple moral decision to rectify our conduct of life, but it is a decision of faith, which involves us wholly in profound communion with the living and concrete person of Jesus.

To be converted and to believe in the Gospel are not two different things or in some way closely related, but rather, they express the same reality. Conversion is the total “yes” of the one who gives his own existence to the Gospel, responding freely to Christ, who first offered himself to man as Way, Truth and Life, as the one who frees and saves him. This is precisely the meaning of the first words with which, according to the Evangelist Mark, Jesus began the preaching of the “Gospel of God.” “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).

“Repent and believe in the Gospel” is not only at the beginning of the Christian life, but accompanies all its steps, [this call] remains, renewing itself, and spreads, branching out in all its expressions. Every day is a favorable moment of grace, because each day invites us to give ourselves to Jesus, to have confidence in him, to remain in him, to share his style of life, to learn from him true love, to follow him in daily fulfilling of the will of the Father, the only great law of life — every day, even when difficulties and toil, exhaustion and falls are not lacking, even when we are tempted to abandon the following of Christ and to shut ourselves in ourselves, in our egoism, without realizing the need we have to open to the love of God in Christ, to live the same logic of justice and love.

~ Pope Benedict XVI Ash Wednesday Address 2/7/2010

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Ash Wednesday Address by Pope Benedict

Wednesday, February 17, AD 2010

Pope Benedict XVI’s Ash Wednesday Address in English:

Here is the complete text of the Pope’s message:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the Church’s Lenten journey towards Easter.

Lent reminds us, as Saint Paul exhorts, “not to accept the grace of God in vain” (cf. 2 Cor 6:1), but to recognize that today the Lord calls us to penance and spiritual renewal. This call to conversion is expressed in the two formulae used in the rite of the imposition of ashes. The first formula – “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” – echoes Jesus’s words at the beginning of his public ministry (cf. Mk 1:15). It reminds us that conversion is meant to be a deep and lasting abandonment of our sinful ways in order to enter into a living relationship with Christ, who alone offers true freedom, happiness and fulfilment.

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Bishop Sheen on Fatima

Wednesday, February 3, AD 2010

The things that you find on the internet!  Bishop Sheen gives a brilliant exposition of the miracle of Fatima.

Bishop Sheen believed that our Lady of Fatima would lead to the conversion of Islam.  Here are his thoughts on that subject:

Moslemism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism.

Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty, and His Creative Power, and uses it as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God.

Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet only.

The Catholic Church throughout Northern Africa was virtually destroyed by Moslem power and at the present time (circa 1950), the Moslems are beginning to rise again.

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6 Responses to Bishop Sheen on Fatima

  • Wow – this is a totally new perspective on Christian-Muslim relations. This means that “dialogue” should really focus on Mary. Are there any follow ups on this line of thinking, on groups that took it up in their missionary efforts, even Orthodox groups perhaps?

  • Very interesting. Thanks for posting this.

  • Thanks for this Don.

    Fulton Sheen was definitely a powerful and dramatic orator. I knew of him when I studied with the Redemptorists back in ’58 and ’59 testing a vocation, and knew a little of his assertion concerning the conversion of Islam. But that’s the first time I have seen these videos, and the first time I have read the full text of his talk on Fatima.

    Excellent stuff.

  • Abp. Sheen said this more than 50 years ago. He noted the growth of anti-Christian sentiment and predicted it would increase. That is happening. But there are also reports of Muslims converting, making great sacrifices and facing death as a result.
    When Fulton J. Sheen is canonized, perhaps an additional title could be placed after his name, “Prophet”.

  • Thank you JJO2 and Don. Bishop Sheen had a great gift of communicating in simple direct terms complicated truth. I think this show on Fatima was one of his best efforts.

  • Dear writer and all

    I would like to point out that those whom submit to God’s will are called Muslims and their religion is called Islam. Not moslems, moslemism or Mohammedism, Muslims do not worship Mohammed (Peace be upon him) nor do we believe he is the founder of Islam. The name Islam and Muslims is what God calls us in the Quran, it is not a religion named after a man.

    And regarding why muslims believe Jesus (peace be upon him) is a prophet, and not Son of God or God, is answered in the following link.

    Prophet Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them) in the Holy Quran and Previous Scriptures

    Other useful websites


    Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)

    By a German diplomat

    I hope this provides a better understanding.

    It says in your scripture “blessed are the peacemakers” I hope Jews, Christians and Muslims co-exist peacefuly.

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