2 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: William Shakespeare

  • I am re-reading the new, Mark Lee Gardner, Rough Rides book because (I am a retired, useless drain on society) I wanted info to “judge” whether TR did his heroics (and he was very heroic in Cuba – he led from the front and was on horseback, “Little Texas,” or moving along the lines upright at all times in heavy small arms/arty fire while ordering his troops to not take unnecessary risks) because of political ambition or his drive to be a “man” as he saw it.
    He and a great soldier, Leonard Wood (an MD who was awarded the MoH for actions in the Geronimo Campaign) recruited, organized, trained and equipped the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. His “volunteers” (cowboys, miners, lumberjacks, Ivy League football players, lawyers, et al) were at the forefront of the victorious fights around Santiago with the Army regulars.
    I am convinced TR did it out of his life-long drive to be a “man.” I think his political ambition was a derivative of his drive to be a “man” as he defined the term.
    IMO TR earned an MoH for Cuba, but was denied – political and Army jealousy(?). He finally, posthumously received it late in the 20th century.
    TR chapter heading quote: “I put myself in the way of things happening, and they happened.”
    “He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again. … ” Hamlet, I, ii. Not to worry. America is in process of banning manhood from the public sphere.

  • You are now what I hope to be some day T.Shaw! My motto will them be: “I’m retired. Don’t ask me to do anything! And get off my lawn!”

Angels With Dirty Faces: Fake Cowardice, Real Courage and Redemption

Sunday, October 11, AD 2015


A profoundly Catholic movie, Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) is usually not perceived as such.  The tale of two slum kids, Jerry Connolly, Pat O’Brien, and Rocky Sullivan, James Cagney, who attempt to steal fountain pens from a train.  Sullivan, who can’t run as fast as his friend, is caught after the robbery.  Connolly wants to share in the blame for the theft, but Sullivan tells him not to be a sucker and takes all the blame.  Sentenced to a brutal reform school he embarks on a life of crime while his friend becomes a priest, assigned to the same slum parish which he and Sullivan attended as boys.


The priest and the gangster renew their friendship with Sullivan quickly becoming the idol of the slum boys that Connolly is trying to keep from a life of crime.  Connolly embarks on a crusade against the local gangsters, including Sullivan.  Sullivan murders his partner Jim Frazier, Humphrey Bogart, and Mac Keefer, George Bancroft, to save Connelly who they were planning to have killed to stop his anti-crime crusade.


Sullivan, who tells the authorities all he knows about the local criminal operations, is tried for these murders and sentenced to death.

The ending of the film is a powerful look at courage and redemption:


Father Jerry:  We haven’t got a lot of time.
I want to ask one last favor.
Rocky:   There’s not much left that I can do, kid.
Father Jerry:  Yes, there is, Rocky.
Perhaps more than you could do
under any other circumstances.
If you have the courage for it,
and I know you have.
Rocky:  Walking in there?
That’s not gonna take much.
Father Jerry:  I know that, Rocky.
Rocky:  It’s like a barber chair.
They’re gonna ask, “Anything to say?”
I’ll say, “Sure, give me a haircut, a shave
and one of those new electric massages.”
Father Jerry:  But you’re not afraid, Rocky?
Rocky:   No. They’d like me to be.
But I’m afraid I can’t oblige them, kid.
You know, Jerry, I think to be afraid,
you gotta have a heart.
I don’t think I got one.
I had that cut out of me a long time ago.
Rocky:  Suppose I asked you to have the heart, huh?
To be scared.
Rocky:  What do you mean?
Father Jerry:  Suppose the guards dragged you out of here
screaming for mercy.  Suppose you went to the chair yellow.


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19 Responses to Angels With Dirty Faces: Fake Cowardice, Real Courage and Redemption

  • Good post. As a kid in the late 1950’s in NYC we would watch these old movies and see it live in the streets. Thankfully, I could run just fast enough.

    I think this is an example of the “grace” we may choose to find in everything we encounter/experience,

    I don’t know if it was a written or unwritten rule. In the “good old days” Hollywood movies the bad guys had to be unattractive and had to lose and the heroic, good guys always won. Today, not so much.

  • T Shaw.

    Just goes to show what types of guys run Hollywood…. Bad guys or good guys?
    Money v. Virtue.

  • Just had a thought about Catechism or CCD curricula of these past few decades having not much influence over corruption of innocents. Lying, cheating, and selfishness running rampant could be better prevented by watching, for example, this movie so giving catechists a boost. For quite a time, as a sub for some of this inner city’s reprobates, showing movies was a path to communication – ‘Moonstruck’ being their favorite by the miles and it was , it seems, the family dynamics that won the day.

  • Not so teensy little problem here. Does it dawn on anybody that the priest asked the Cagney character to lie, that is, to commit sin against the Eighth Commandment? One may not do evil that good may come from it. The ends don’t justify the means. That has always been a tenet of Catholic moral theology. WIth movies like this (and the Crosby priest movies, too) Catholic understanding of moral theology is corroded, all in the name of “entertainment”.

  • I just knew that someone would bring that up. No Janet, I do not think that a lie under this circumstance was in any way evil, even assuming that pretending to be afraid when you are not is a lie, which I think is debatable. (How would we then deal with someone pretending to be brave when they are secretly afraid in a wartime situation? Rather than a lie and a sin is that not the epitome of courage and a great virtue?) I think it was a great good deed, attempting to spare boys that admired him from walking their own last miles, that would probably have saved the fictional Rocky Sullivan’s soul from eternal damnation. To understand the complexity of this area when it comes to morality read the post linked below:


  • Bad analogy. Courage truly exists in the face of the natural self-preservation instinct. It’s an act of will not emotion. A person is courageous because he/she decides to be, often in contradiction to their emotions.

    The portrayal of a priest lying, and even asking another to lie, is beyond the pale. I will say this for the Crosby “Fr O’Malley” movies; they did depict the lies backfiring in his face.

  • “Courage truly exists in the face of the natural self-preservation instinct. It’s an act of will not emotion.”

    Will controlling emotion is precisely what Cagney’s character did. Is it any less deceptive to say to an opponent that you will beat him to within an inch of his life if he does not surrender, when you know that if he attacks that you will run, than what Rocky Sullivan did? This type of pettifogging, “I would sooner give Jews up to the SS than tell a lie!”, something no morally sane person would even contemplate, only makes Catholicism look ludicrous. Thank heavens when push came to shove during the War tens of thousands of priests and nuns did engage in deception to save innocent lives.


    During the War many deception operations were engaged in to make the Nazis think that the Allies would land in Calais instead of Normandy. Anyone who says this was morally wrong, or lying to protect people who would be unjustly slain if discovered, I simply refuse to take seriously when it comes to examining moral questions.

    A good examination of the knots this question has produced over the ages due to Augustine and Aquinas:


  • Oh. I loved this movie. I thought the priest knew the inner fear that Cagney’s character felt, and which he had In fact been battling all his life with his bravado.
    That character knew good from evil in his last act. He was afraid although. He denied it. And in kindness the priest helped him find a way to seek the good of others rather than his own….his last act admits the recognition of good / evil. That means repentance and attempt at reparation.
    The priest cared for Cagney character soul as well as the boys. He helped him do good as the last outward act of his life.to express love for others. Love love love this movie and may others by that good Catholic man Jimmy Cagney.

  • Janet Baker.

    Fifteen years working in Memory Care units is gratifying. One of the heart breaking moments for care givers is the lie we tell when a client with Alzheimer’s repeatedly asks the whereabouts of his/her deceased spouse.
    If we tell the truth the client re-lives the moment of the loved ones death. It’s dehumanizing. The agony they go through at that moment is hell. If we lie and tell them she/he is out with family they accept that without the trauma. They forget moments later they were even looking for their spouse.

    Until you experience this you can’t fully appreciate the event.

    Will we suffer for our lies in our industry?
    I don’t worry about the judgement to come and the lies we tell our patient.

    BTW. Family is very appreciative of our lie’s.
    They have been witnesses of that trauma themselves, and rather a lie be told, than place their parent through that Hell, agian.

  • If the character, Rocky Sullivan did not know fear, then, Rocky Sullivan would not have known how to portray fear. George Bancroft was poorly cast and did not portray the gangster kingpin as well as he ought. Bancroft did not come across as a tough guy. Maybe too fat.

  • Janet Baker wrote, “Does it dawn on anybody that the priest asked the Cagney character to lie,..”
    No, there is no lie here, for there is no false statement.
    We may never lie, but, in appropriate cases, we may use evasion, equivocation or mental reservation (which is what this was) in order to mislead. It is no meore lying that wearing a disguise or using a nom de guerre is lying.
    The Salamanca School have wagon-loads of cases of conscience on the subject, many of remarkable ingenuity.

  • “many of remarkable ingenuity.”

    Indeed, and often they make a straight forward lie seem honest in comparison. There is a reason why casuistry has a bad reputation.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “often they make a straight forward lie seem honest in comparison.”
    Let us say they perfected the conjurer’s art of misdirection.
    That is why Talleyrand said of the Vatican diplomats of his day, “Watch the juggler’s eyes, not his hands.”

  • The Church’s precise understanding of the boundaries of the 8th Commandment has not been static and likely will continue to develop. Even the Catechism’s summary has meaningfully changed, even in recent years, and certainly orthodox theologians continue to debate those boundaries. My own view is that a moral obsession with Cagney’s selfless “lie” signals a flirtation with scrupulosity.

  • Looking back at my reactions (over the years) to the end scenes, I wasn’t sure that Cagney’s character was actually “yellow” or not.
    Anyhow, sanctimonious saints looking down your noses at the rest of us. the commandment is to not bear false witness, i.e., not harm your neighbor with a fabrication. If this movie charade (if it were such) hurt anybody, I don’t see it. In fact, it was meant to help youths avoid the near occasion and crime-ruined lives.
    Plus, we have no duty to be truthful with evil men committing evil acts.

  • “Looking back at my reactions (over the years) to the end scenes, I wasn’t sure that Cagney’s character was actually “yellow” or not.”

    Cagney when asked would never give his opinion, preferring the ambiguity that the scene presents. However, there is nothing in the rest of the movie that indicates that the Sullivan character, for all his moral failings, was not a very brave man.

  • I was going to point out that the 8th commandment says to not bear false witness against one’s neighbor, but T Shaw beat me to the punch, as it were. If one goes to hell for lying, then I suspect it won’t be for the kind of lie which that priest admonished the prisoner to make.
    “I will tell the truth no matter how many innocent people die because I self-righteously and Pharisiticly (is that a word?) kept my holier-than-thou conscience clean.” “Look at me, Lord, I am not like that publican….”

  • Being brave and being scared are not mutually exclusive. Being brave only happens when it overcomes fear.
    He was brave on two levels. Facing death as a person. And giving up his public persona for the young men he was truthful and so was the priest who saw the depth of rocky, who trusted the mercy of God, and helped Rocky to do the right thing.

  • Justice is predicated on intent. This does not mean that the end justifies the means if the means are evil. He who lives in the Lord is above the law.

Thomas S. Vander Woude: A Name That Deserves to Be Remembered

Monday, April 21, AD 2014


Thomas S. Vander Woude who died in 2008 is part of my personal pantheon of heroes:


Thomas S. Vander Woude, 66, died last week while helping his son Joseph, who has Down syndrome, after he fell into a septic tank while working in the yard, police said. The tank was eight to 10 feet deep, Steve Vander Woude said.

His father climbed into the 2-by-2-foot opening, managed to get under Joseph and was pushing him upward to keep his head above the sewage. Initially, Vander Woude was able to keep his own head above the muck, telling a workman who was helping from above, “You pull, I’ll push,” Steve Vander Woude said. But he eventually sank and was later pulled out by rescue workers, who were unable to revive him, Prince William County police said.

Joseph, 20, was hospitalized last week with pneumonia but was released Saturday and attended the Mass for his father in a wheelchair, connected to an oxygen tank. His family said doctors expect a full recovery. A few days after his father’s death, Joseph’s family sat with him in the hospital and explained to him that his father had died.

Upon hearing the news, Joseph “sat back . . . he closed his eyes, his chin quivered, and he started crying,” Steve Vander Woude said. “I think he understands as much as he can right now.”

Another of Thomas S. Vander Woude’s sons, Tom Vander Woude, pastor at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Alexandria, gave the homily. In it, he likened his father to Saint Joseph, a man who patiently and quietly supported his family, did odd jobs for those in need and was content to worship God and not seek the limelight, Tom Vander Woude said.

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October 14, 1947: Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier

Tuesday, October 15, AD 2013

I was always afraid of dying.  Always.  It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit.

Chuck Yeager



I am a day late on this, but 66 years and one day ago Captain Chuck Yeager, a double ace in World War II, flying the experimental X-1, broke the sound barrier.  Two days before the flight Yeager broke two ribs and was in such pain that he could not close the cabin door without assistance.  Needless to say he did not report his injury to anyone in authority who could scrub him from the flight.  George Welch, also a World War II ace, may have broke the sound barrier on October 1, 1947, flying in an XP-86, but his speed could not be verified.

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John Wayne Catholics Throughout History

Saturday, September 7, AD 2013

This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy’s motives for creating a dangerous world – a world in which moral issues really come to the point. He sees as well as you do that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.

CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Paul has mentioned here the wonderful post by Pat Archbold in which he longs for John Wayne, a death bed Catholic convert, Catholicism as opposed to what he calls the Woody Allen Catholicism adopted by too many Catholics in the past half century:

Oh how I long for a religion with enough boldness to loudly, proudly, and  incessantly proclaim uncomfortable truths, even to its own supposed adherents,  until they all understand what it means to be Catholic.

How I long for a religion with that quiet and gentle resoluteness. A  religion that can acknowledge the mistakes of its members while loudly  proclaiming the Church One, Holy, Apostolic, and Infallible.

I desire John Wayne Catholicism in a Woody Allen world.

But the thing about John Wayne characters, without fanfare, gratitude,  understanding, or appreciation, they just did what needed doing for no other  reason than it was the right thing.

So I guess I will just try to do that.

I agree.  The Catholicism that Pat longs for is the Catholicism that has existed throughout almost all the history of the Church.  Some reminders:




1.  John Sobieski- After defeating the Turks at Vienna in 1683 he sent the green flag of Islam to the Pope with this message:  “Venimus, Vidimus, Deus vincit”!  (We came, we saw, God conquered!)

2.  The Martyrs of Otranto-Twelve years before Christopher Columbus discovered a New World, 800 men and boys of Otranto laid down their lives for Christ.  The city of Otranto, at the heel of the boot of Italy, was seized by the Turks under Gedik Ahmed Pasha, grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire.  Archbishop Stefano Argercolo de Pendinellis was murdered in his cathedral by the Turks and the garrison commander was sawn in half.  Following a massacre of most of the population the Turks offered some 800 men and boys the choice between conversion to Islam or death.  Led by an elderly tailor, Antonio Pezzulla, the men and boys chose death rather than apostacy, and were beheaded on the hill of Minvera outside the town on August 14, 1480, their families forced by the Turks to help in the executions.

The witness of the martyrs of Otranto was truly remarkable.  Not priests or soldiers, they were just plain, ordinary folk.  They had every earthly reason to attempt to save their lives, but with supernatural courage they went to their deaths for a love that passes understanding.  The old tailor spoke for them all when he addressed them after the Turks had given them their grim choice:

My brothers, until today we have fought in defense of our country, to save our lives, and for our lords; now it is time that we fight to save our souls for our Lord, so that having died on the cross for us, it is good that we should die for him, standing firm and constant in the faith, and with this earthly death we shall win eternal life and the glory of martyrs.

The martyrs in response cried out that they were willing to die a thousand times for Christ.

3.  Archbishop John Hughes-After the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he called on the mayor of New York, an anti-Catholic bigot, and informed him that if a single Catholic church were touched in New York, New York would be a second Moscow.  (The reference was to the burning of Moscow in 1812 during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.) Not a Catholic church was touched.  On another occasion when a threat was made to burn Saint Patrick’s cathedral the Archbishop had it guarded within hours by 4,000 armed Catholics.  No wonder his enemies and friends nicknamed him “Dagger John”!

4.  Father Joe Lacy-On June 6, 1944 at 7:30 AM,  LCA 1377 landed the Rangers on Omaha Dog Green Beach, the first landing craft to land on that section of Omaha Beach.  Father Lacy was the last man out just before an artillery shell hit the fantail.  Everything was chaos with the beach being swept by German artillery and small arms fire.  Wounded men were everywhere, both on the beach and in the water feebly trying to get to the beach.  Father Lacy did not hesistate.  With no thought for his own safety he waded into the water to pull men out of the ocean and onto the beach.  He began treating the wounded on the beach and administering the Last Rites to those beyond human assistance.  On a day when courage was not in short supply men took notice of this small fat priest who was doing his best under fire to save as many lives as he could.  While his battalion led the way off Omaha Beach, Father Lacy continued to tend their  wounded and the wounded of other units.  For his actions that day Father Lacy was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest decoration for valor, after the Medal of Honor, in the United States Army.

5.  Don John of Austria and his Men-Before the battle of Lepanto Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

At the hour of the battle, and this fact is very well attested, the Pope was talking to some cardinals in Rome.  He abruptly ceased the conversation, opened a window and looked heavenward.  He then turned to the cardinals and said:   “It is not now a time to talk any more upon business; but to give thanks to God for the victory he has granted to the arms of the Christians.”  So that Catholics would never forget Lepanto and the intercession of Mary, he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  To aid in this remembrance G. K. Chesterton in 1911 wrote his epic poem Lepanto: 


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35 Responses to John Wayne Catholics Throughout History

  • You’ve got reality messed up with hollywood romanticism.
    John Wayne was a deathbed conversion to Catholicism much the same as Constantine. Although the Wayne family was Catholic, …John Wayne always married Hispanic Catholic wives. He had 3 marriages and 2 divorces. One of John Waynes grandsons is a Catholic priest and has received some press as a ‘Surfing Priest’.

    So one is not really a John Wayne Catholic in any way, anymore than one is an Errol Flynn Catholic or an Alec Baldwin Catholic or a Anthony Quinn Catholic.
    Anthony Quinn by the way was born Catholic , buried a Baptist had several wives and divorces and several children out of wedlock. Although he played a Pope in the movies.

    Orange County, California

  • I guess you didn’t bother to read the original post by Pat Archbold RB or my post that I linked to about the deathbed conversion of John Wayne that fully covered his marital misadventures. Reading: it saves so much wasted effort in commenting. I did like the comparison of Wayne to Constantine, completely erroneous but colorful.

  • I’m just tired of *you guys* (writers) passing off undeserving actors as examples to Catholics. I grew up in a studio town of LA, roamed the sets, these are actors not examples of christian virtue or icons of Christianity. I’ve had quotes read to me from Anthony Quinn during a homily at mass once. Now you and others are promoting John Wayne to us.

    Roman Martyrology has more examples of heroism than celluloid figures. Take St. George who did the right thing speaking boldly to Diocletian and then promptly losing his life. All the myths aside.

    As to me not reading Archbolds article, yes I didnt read it first before replying.
    But I didnt need to, you see I’ve heard and read it all before, I live next to John Wayne Airport in Orange County California.
    He’s was a native here! Him and his grandson(Munoz) gets press here both in the newspapers and the Catholic media. I note that you or Archbolds article contained an error claiming that John Wayne lost his scholarship to USC because of a football incident. Thats erroneous as to the cause of the injury.

    As to the similarity between Constantine and John Wayne, delaying their entrance into the faith, you claim it erroneous?

    Tell me how I am wrong?

  • “I’m just tired of *you guys* (writers) passing off undeserving actors as examples to Catholics.”

    Once again you completely missed the point. No one was attempting to pass John Wayne off as an exemplar for Catholics and it is obtuse of you to pretend otherwise.

    “Take St. George who did the right thing speaking boldly to Diocletian and then promptly losing his life.”

    The whole point of Archbold’s post is that Catholicism in our day does not boldly and fearlessly proclaim the truth. That is his Woody Allen Catholicism which he contrasts with John Wayne Catholicism. Sheesh, his post was not hard to understand.

    “As to me not reading Archbolds article, yes I didnt read it first before replying.”

    That was obvious and now you are flailing about to justify your original erroneous comment.

    “Tell me how I am wrong?”

    Constantine had been a Catholic in belief for decades before his death. He delayed baptism until death approached, not uncommon for his time, due to rigorist concerns about the efficacy of the forgiveness of sins following baptism. John Wayne had no such concerns and did not delay entry into the Church for that reason.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deathbed_conversion
    A deathbed conversion is the adoption of a particular religious faith shortly before dying.

    Perhaps the most momentous conversion in Western history was that of Constantine I, Roman Emperor and later proclaimed a Christian Saint. While his belief in Christianity occurred long before his death, it was only on his deathbed that he was baptised, in 337.

    Sickness and death
    The Baptism of Constantine, as imagined by students of Raphael

    Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting-place for himself.[245] It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill.[246] He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of İzmit. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen, and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia.[247] He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness.

  • Your right.
    I commented on this, your title: “John Wayne Catholics Throughout History”

    Its your bait and I criticized it!
    I criticize using the lure of sinful actors, most of whom have not lived their lives in any kind of accordance with the gospel, being presented as a lure to Catholicism.

  • Thankfully John Travolta didnt pick his parts anywhere near as well as John Wayne.
    Even though Travolta’s mortal sexual sins(gay vs. divorce/multiple marriages) are of a different nature than John Waynes, they are still mortal sin.
    Somehow, I dont think you’d be calling for us to be ‘John Travolta Catholics’.

  • Priests and those in the religious life will relate how they dont watch much TV because it can lead them astray. Being constantly exposed to the culture through TV and movies can warp our perceptions and values. Good faithful Catholic I knw who I presume would, or maybe not, suffer through a bad marriage because of their Catholic convictions. They relate to me how this or that public figure should divorce their wife or husband and get someone else because of this or that humiliating offense(cheating,etc. ). I never mention that people should do divorce/remarriage even lightly.

    Do they mean it? But the culture affects them, and me and you to.
    Now you wouldnt’ mention ‘John Travolta Catholic’ , but in another 20+ years,
    with even a baser more pagan culture, your successor might.

  • If John Travolta were to repent on his deathbed, receive Confession, and die a good death, he’d be a model Catholic in that moment.

    Not all his life. But in that moment, the moment of the last chance, he would become one.

    The mystery of God’s mercy and our salvation is that we are encouraged to live well, but that even great sinners can often die well in Christ. Some of us are more like Mary and John and Mary Magdalene; but those of us who are more like the Good Thief can also be, this very day, with Jesus in Paradise, if we will call on Him. He calls us even at the eleventh hour, and He pays the last workers as generously as the first.

  • RB, it’s very clear from the post that the reference is to the sort of characters whom John Wayne played as an actor. Those characters did the right thing because it needed to be done, and without fanfare.

    It would be nice to have more of those Catholics. I know quite a few. They volunteer in the pregnancy centers and homes for unwed mothers. They step up for fundraisers for the pro life movement, and teach in RCIA and children’s religious ed. They don’t expect anything for it. They don’t trumpet what they’ve done. They just do it, and move on to the next task. Furthermore, they do it boldly. They don’t shrink from their Catholicism. They embrace it, and take courage from it. When adversity strikes, they overcome it.

  • Thank you for this post. Today, as I prayed for peace as Pope Francis requested, I thought about Don John and Sobieski and Charles Martel. Pacifism never brings peace. Strength of faith and willingness to defend that faith are what is needed today.

  • “John Wayne” is an archetype– as is made very obvious by the post itself.

    Though she didn’t decide to share it– I had the image of this fellow dancing in my head since I read SuburbanBanshee’s post on him.

    I just adore the mental image of someone smiting his attempted murderers with a stone cross….

  • Re: Omaha beach. Some died in the surf due to their heavily loaded water soaked backpacks.

  • As the valiant King John Sobieski has been mentioned already, may I throw in a few others?

    Pelayo, who escaped from a Muslim slave caravan in eight century Spain, went to Asturias and began La Reconquista. Queen Isabel the Catholic, who completed La Reconquista. Blessed Junipero Serra, who built the missions in California. Demetirus Gallitzin, who forfeited his place in Russian royalty and became the Missionary to the Alleghenies of west central Pennsylvania.

    Let us not forget the significance of today – September 8 – the birth of Mary, as well as September 12, the Most Holy Name of Mary.

  • “John Wayne Catholics” refers to the strong and good hero he played in the movies, as opposed to the uninspiring characters Although John Wayne’s choices of heroic roles may have had something to do with his inner life and “heliotropic” later years.

    And thanks Penguins Fan – great list. I add Miguel Pro.

  • well if on their death beds the most horrible of people make a good confession I was under the impression they could be saved just as the person who has led an exemplary life of holiness. Was Sister Gabriel wrong? I have always had problems with the likes of Hitler etc. So John Wayne wherever you are and whatever you’ve done there was always hope. Our Lord wanted ALL of His little lost sheep saved. Better late than never. Even if our silly minds can’t understand it. Oh and Don I get it. LOL

  • This is the problem with society in general, everything is taken out of context and distorted from its original intent to fit the liberal agenda, which is to destroy God’s plan and instill Satan’s. RB, get a life! John Wayne is being used as a metaphor meaning he always did the right thing in his movies and regardless of what type of things one does in their life they can and will be forgiven if they truly have truth in their heart.

  • i’ve got to be more careful- I had a pretty wordy comment and deleted part out of the middle– In my previous post I deleted more than I meant to! I should have said:

    “John Wayne Catholics” refers to the strong and good hero he played in the movies, as opposed to the uninspiring characters played by Woody Allen. The reference is to the roles they played in the movies, not necessarily their personal lives. Although John Wayne’s choices of heroic roles may have had something to do with his inner life and “heliotropic” later years.

  • Archbishop Hughes was hardly the hero that airbrushed biographies would suggest. While a champion of the Irish immigrants, he notoriously cold-shouldered the first influx of Italians. He also had approved the slave system when he visited plantations in the South and Cuba, and he preached on the benefits of slavery in Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1854. When the Irish leaders Daniel O’Connell and Father Theobald Mathew started an anti-slavery petition, Hughes accused them of interfering. Only reluctantly, and at the last moment, did he appeal for calm during the Draft Riots against blacks in Manhattan, largely the work of Irish Catholic immigrants, when 126 were killed and 2,000 injured and the Colored Orphans Asylum was burned to the ground in twenty minutes. In his rambling speech he did not mention slavery and instead attacked abolitionist Horace Greeley as a fanatical demagogue. The riots were stopped, not by him but by the arrival of state militiamen from Albany. His friendship with Secretary of State William Seward somewhat cooled over Hughes’ disapproval of the Emancipation Proclamation – Hughes thinking there should be a national referendum. The Civil War diarist, George Templeton Strong, was angry that Hughes was so tepid about emancipation. At the time of the archbishop’s funeral in January, 1864, he wrote: “Archbishop Hughes is dead. Pity he survived last June and committed the imbecility of his address to the rioters last July.”

  • 1. You left out that Archbishop Hughes worked with all his heart for the Union and that he helped keep foreign powers from intervening on the side of the Confederacy by undertaking a diplomatic mission to the Union. He opposed slavery, at least in the abstract, but thought that many of the abolitionists were dangerous fanatics as some of them, that is your cue John Brown, were. It did not help that some of the Northern abolitionists were also anti-Catholics and often butted heads with the Church. That was certainly the case with Horace Greeley who bashed the Church and the Irish on July 9, just prior to the draft riots. That is what Archbishop Hughes was referring to in his speech.


    2. George Templeton Strong was a Yankee blue blood bigot who despised both Catholics and Irish immigrants. Quoting him on Archbishop Hughes is akin to quoting Hitler on Churchill.

    3. Hughes was dying at the time he addressed the rioters; it is a miracle that he had the strength to make the address at all, and contrary to your statement it did have a calming effect on the rioters.

    4. Lincoln wrote on the death of Hughes:

    “[H]aving formed the Archbishop’s acquaintance in the earliest days of our country’s present troubles, his counsel and advice were gladly sought and continually received by the Government on those points which his position enabled him better than others to consider. At a conjuncture of deep interest to the country, the Archbishop, associated with others, went abroad, and did the nation a service there with all the loyalty, fidelity and practical wisdom which on so many other occasions illustrated his great ability for administration.”

  • “John Wayne Catholics” were by no means all men. One thinks of La Pucelle – On 29 April 1429, she arrived at the city of Orléans, which the English had been besieging since 12 October 1428. She took Les Augustins on 5 May, took the bridgehead of “les Tourelles” on the 6th when she was wounded and raised the siege on the 7th. The English abandoned their remaining positions on the 8th.

    Rejoining the army on 9th June, with no support from the Dauphin, who, as usual, had no money, in a lightening campaign, she took Jargeau on the 12th June, the bridge at Meung-sur-Loire and Meung itself on the 15th, Beaugency on the 17th and on the 18th completely routed the English relief force under Talbot, one of the greatest commanders of the day, at the battle of Patay.

    On 29th June, she set out for Rheims. Auxerre surrendered to her on 4th July, Troyes on the 5th, she entered Rheims on 16th July and on the following day, the Dauphin was anointed with the same holy oil with which Clovis had been anointed a thousand years earlier and crowned as Charles VII, Roi très-chrétien. No wonder the French call him Charles le Bien-Servi – Charles the well-served.

    All this, without considering her greatest victory, her glorious confession in the market-place of Rouen.

    Her statue at Orléans bears the words from the Book of Judith, “Fecísti viríliter, et confortátum est cor tuum” – For thou hast done manfully, and thy heart has been strengthened.

  • Shorter RB:

    “I don’t want these filthy, disgusting sinners in my church.”

  • Another point that doesn’t get emphasized enough about Don John is his humility: he was a man in his early twenties, appointed because Philip II insisted that a Spaniard be fleet commander, and he had minimal military experience.

    He sought out the advice and counsel of the savvy, experienced leader of the Venetians, Sebastiano Venier, and utilized it to perfection. A less sensible man would have been more insecure.

  • Also, an Arkansas SWAT team was justified in killing a 107 year-old geezer.

    “The riots were stopped, not by him but by the arrival of state militiamen from Albany.”

    Above, I quoted only one of the numerous misleading items in your comment, B. R.

    In fact,10,000 federal troops, fresh off the lines at Gettysburg, were deployed to massacre American cirtizens in New York City.

    ” . . . colonel of the 11th New York, Henry F. O’Brien, who was of Irish ancestry, after he used a howitzer to clear Second Avenue, killing a female bystander and her child.

    ” . . . troops of the 74th New York reached the city, followed by a Buffalo regiment and, at 4am on Thursday, July 16, the famous 7th New York. The 8th and 152nd New York infantry arrived later that morning. Ellis wrote, “All told, 10,000 veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg poured into the city, [which] was divided into four military districts.

    “Troops assaulted ‘infected’ districts, using howitzers loaded with grapeshot and canister…to mow down rioters, and engaged in fierce building-by-building firefights. Rioters defended their barricaded domains with mad desperation. Faced with tenement snipers and brick hurlers, soldiers broke down doors, bayoneted all who interfered, and drove occupants to the roof, from which many jumped to certain death below.”

  • Herein we remove the airbrush from the story of the Irish in America:

    “The Irish were the most despised ethnicity in the United States during much of the 19th century.

    “‘No Irish need Apply’ isn’t the half of it.

    “Ships full of sick immigrants fleeing the famine were turned away from New York and Boston, with entire shiploads dying in the St. Lawrence (there are mass graves for tens of thousands on islands below Montreal, unmarked to this day).

    “Police in major cities cordoned off Irish neighborhoods and watched as the gang members murdered each other.

    “According to Thomas Sowell, the Irish were shipped south for work too dangerous for the slaves. Slaves were worth money, while Irishmen were worth nothing.

    “And what was the Irish response in later years? Did they seek revenge against the WASP elites that had treated them so badly? Did they tear down the culture that had preceded them?

    “They did nothing of the sort. They became one with America, and today comprise one of the most admired ethnic strains in this country.”

  • Bl. Franz Jäggerstätter should be included

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  • Emperor Constantine I had definitely not “been a Catholic in belief for decades before his death” as claimed above. Although his mother St Helena was a devout Catholic, for most of his life he was a pagan. During the earlier part of his 25 year reign he was a sun-worshipper, as evidenced by thye “Sol Invictus” depicted on coins of that era. Later he became a sort of universalists believer in all religions including Christianuity, but he firmly rejected Catholicism. He much preferred Arianism which denies Christ’s divinity and sees Him as merely the greatest of men. Coinstantine used all of the military and political power available to him to try to force Catholics to convert to Arianism, even trying to make the bishops gathered for the Council of Nicea embrace Arianism, by a mixture of bullying, cajoling and largesse (the bishops’ travel expenses were paid with government money). The vast majority rejected his advances and he continued to promote Arianism until the day he died. He was baptised on his deathbed, but he was baptised by a notorious Arian priest into the Arian heresy. Some Eastern Christians regard him as a “saint” (mainly because they see it as enhancing the prestige of Constantinople) but the Catholic Church does not. The fact that he repealed (when he was a pagan) the laws authorising violent persecution of Christians does not make him a Catholic or even a Christian, much less a saint.

  • Wrong. Constantine was a professing Catholic from at least the age of 42 and probably a good deal before. For eight years after his accession he still had pagan images on his coins, but probably as no more than a sop to his many followers who were still pagan. He convened the Council of Nicaea that condemned Arianism. Eusebius, the bishop who baptized him was a favorite of his niece. He definitely had Arian leanings, but at Nicaea he was forced to sign the orthodox confession.

  • Thanks Donald.
    Reading all these comments make me smile and wonder how our own historical record as a Christian stands up to scrutiny ?

  • Depends if we get a supposition of innocence by the person doing the scrutinizing….

  • “He much preferred Arianism which denies Christ’s divinity and sees Him as merely the greatest of men.”

    Well, no. Arianism denied that Christ is theos in the same way God the Father is theos, but did not claim that he was a mere mortal. The Christ of Arianism was a divine being, but less than the Father.

  • T. Shaw. I agree completely. No whining on and on for decades. Just sought to improve themselves and assimilate. Great reminder. Thank you.

  • “Being constantly exposed to the culture through TV and movies can warp our perceptions and values.”

    It can, but it doesn’t have to, if we’re smart about how we interact with it. People are not always at the mercy of forces outside their control, to be battered about like a ship with no anchor. Some individuals may absorb everything passively and uncritically; others do not.

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The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

Sunday, June 16, AD 2013



(I originally posted this on September 28, 2009 and it has always been one of my favorites.  I am reposting it now since I assume many current readers of the blog have not read it, and, with the recent death of my son, Larry, it now has a special meaning for me.)




In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

Red and his wife made two decisions.  First, they decided not to reveal to their son how ill he was;  if  worse came to worst they wanted him to enjoy the time he had left.  The boy’s leukemia was temporarily in remission and outwardly he appeared healthy.    When the boy saw “The Last Days of Pompeii” on TV and was fascinated by it, his mom and dad made their second decision.  They were going to take him and his sister to Europe so the boy could see Pompeii and other parts of Europe and the world, and to allow the parents to consult with foreign physicians and also to conduct a pilgrimage for their son.  The Skeltons were Protestants, indeed, Red was an active Mason, but they had chosen to educate their kids at a Catholic school and Richard was very religious, his room filled with religious pictures and statues.  Like many Christians of whatever denomination, in their hour of utmost need the Skeltons decided to seek aid of the Catholic Church.

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Men Acting Like Men

Monday, July 23, AD 2012

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13


Remember these men who, sadly, are no longer with us:  Matt McQuinn, Jonathan Blunk, and Alex Teves.    One of the prime duties of any man is to defend those he loves, and these gentlemen lived up to that responsibility at the cost of their lives:

They took bullets for their beloveds.

Three young men are being hailed as heroes for their old-fashioned chivalry  and courage under fire in saving the lives of their girlfriends.

While using their bodies as shields, Matt McQuinn, 27, Jonathan Blunk, 26,  and Alex Teves, 24, were killed in the worst mass shooting in US history.

Nine others were also murdered when deranged gunman James Holmes unloaded a  fusillade of bullets into the packed Century 16 theater early Friday in Aurora,  Colo.

McQuinn dived in front of his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, also 27, when the  gunfire erupted. She was shot in the knee. McQuinn was fatally struck three  times.

Jonathan Blunk threw his date, Jansen Young, 21, to the floor, pushing her  under the seat.

“Stay down!” he told her, moments before he was shot to death.

“He took a bullet for me,” Young told NBC’s “Today” show.

“He always talked about if he were going to die, he wanted to die a hero,” Blunk’s estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, told NBC News.

Teves, of Phoenix, used his body to cover girlfriend Amanda Lindgren, Teves’ grandmother Rae Iacovelli told The Post.

“He shielded her. He got down on the floor and covered her up,” said  Iacovelli, who lives in Barneget, NJ. “She was pulled out from under him. I  don’t know who pulled her out.”

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A Brave Kid And A Few Good Men

Thursday, May 3, AD 2012

And when he goes to heaven

To Saint Peter he will tell:

Another Marine reporting, sir;

I’ve served my time in hell!

Epitaph on the grave of PFC Bill Cameron, (USMC), Guadalcanal, 1942

Go to Weasel Zippers here for an explanation of the title.  There are a lot of good people in this world, and more than a few of them have worn the uniform of the United States Marine Corps.

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11 Responses to A Brave Kid And A Few Good Men

  • Like their song goes…with possible memory tweeks…. Should the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes/ they’ll find the roads are guarded by United States Marines.

  • Rest in peace, Cody.

    Don’t let anyone tell you the 1% works in paneled offices and travels in private jets.

    The top 1% serves with blood, sweat and tears and wears the uniform of the United States armed forces.

  • What a neat stor . God bless the little guy – I trust he will be resting in God’s bosom.

    On a ,perhaps, related topic, there is a squad of around 80 US marines here in NZ taking part in military exercises in the high country in the central North Island with our SAS and reguler force. This is the first time that the US military has conducted joint exercises on NZ soil since 1983 , when the then Lange (Labour) government got into a shit fight with the US over the nuclear free policy. It’ll be good for all involved, and just as our winter is setting in – snow and frost – man’s country 🙂

    Strength to their arm – may this co-operation flourish.

  • “I trust he will be resting in God’s bosom.”

    i have no doubt of it Don.

    “Strength to their arm – may this co-operation flourish.”


  • and to those who would remove the cross from the veteran’s memorial at Mt. Soledad, let them be handed their deportation papers.

  • Don-
    do you know how they got over there? Or if they have helos or those hover craft boats? (I’m curious who I should be envious of for getting to cruise over that way– it’s probably an LHD or LHA, the kind of ship I served on; probably from Japan, too.)

  • No Foxfier, but I will check into it when I have time this evening or over the weekend.

  • Semper Fidelis

    “From the Halls of Montezuma
    To the shores of Tripoli
    We fight our country’s battles
    In the air, on land, and sea;
    First to fight for right and freedom
    And to keep our honor clean;
    We are proud to claim the title
    Of United States Marine.

    Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
    From dawn to setting sun;
    We have fought in every clime and place
    Where we could take a gun.
    In the snow of far-off Northern lands
    And in sunny tropic scenes;
    You will find us always on the job —
    The United States Marines.

    Here’s health to you and to our Corps
    Which we are proud to serve;
    In many a strife we’ve fought for life
    And never lost our nerve.
    If the Army and the Navy
    Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
    They will find the streets are guarded
    By United States Marines.”

    found the Marine Hymn at http://www.usa-flag-site.org/song-lyrics/marines-hymn.shtml

  • Lux Aeterna, Cody. You “did your best.” (Cub Scout Motto)

    Tiger Leader, Webelos mom, WoodBadge (Eagle Patrol), Navy Reservist’s kid

If Liberals Lose Big In This Fall's Election, The Professional Left Will Mock The Religious Faithful

Wednesday, August 18, AD 2010

This fall all of the hopes and dreams of those who have detested Middle American values stands in the balance. Those values are best exemplified in religious beliefs shared by many faith traditions. However, Catholics, Evangelicals, Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Jews are those to which the angry Professional Left, to use Robert Gibbs (President Obama’s Press Secretary’s) term, will most turn their anger.  Some may say this seems a little far-fetched, after all aren’t some of those people from the “Professional Left” religious themselves? Yes, some on the “Professional Left” are religious, but they often go to great pains to say they are not affiliated with any faith tradition. They often classify themselves as “spiritual.”

During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, then Senator Obama made by his own admission his biggest gaffe. The future President, speaking in  San Francisco, called those middle Americans of western Pennsylvania, “bitter clingers.” In his own words, the future President described western Pennsylvania residents as hard working salt of the earth folks who clung to “their guns and religion,” presumably because they weren’t enlightened enough to understand the modern world.

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  • “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”

    The True Story of “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” Occurred in Puerto Rico between 1899 and 1909, and has been narrated by eyewitnesses.

    We can see The Terrible Situation of Poverty in Latin America at this time; The Initial Disbelief of the Bishop; The Miracle Flowering of Faith… go through the Miracle Mercy of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    The fulfillment of 73 of over 76 of their Prophecies, are consistent with Her Messages in La Salette; Lourdes, Fatima and Garabandal.

    “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” Prophesied for the “End of Time”, and your Message can be Announced by a Film Made by You.

    Ricardo Fernández – Franciscan Mary

  • Please do not blame only the left, as your italicized section above strongly implies, for religion in tatters, especially the Catholic Church. The so called, good Catholic conservatives have their share too.

    I consider myself a conservative, for whatever that may matter and yes, the left is a particularly heinous lot, but they are not alone.

    Thank you.

  • Karl, the italicised words to which you refer link to an article which I wrote. Perhaps the prudent thing to do would be to read that article before you comment. Since you went out of your way to stick up for the left, perhaps you are an altruistic poster who defends conservatives from attacks on the many liberal blogs. That is only known to you, however, in retrospect, I would suggest you read the article to which you referred before you claim that I only indict the left. I would also suggest you read the italicised section referring to the Conservative Intelligentsia. I take them to task as well. Take care!

  • Is the “professional left” composed of those who oppose a Cross in the Mojave Desert? Or, those who stopped rebuilding of the Orthodox Church at Ground Zero? Or, those oppose “In God We Trust” on the money? Or, who oppose “Under God” in the pledge of Allegiance? Or, oppose private enterprise? Or, oppose equal opportunity? Or, oppose the free market? Or, oppose the right to life? Or, those who hate America? Or, . . .

    We need to pray for said professional left. That they come to a better mind/repent, confess, do penance, amend their lives, and through good works glorify Almighty God.

  • T Shaw, we certainly do need to pray for the Professional Left. I was immediately drawn to the term because if Robert Gibbs uses it and feels the White House’s policies aren’t liberal enough for some in the mainstream media (my guess is he was talking about the talking heads at MSNBC) than heaven help us all.

  • We’ll just have to keep our trust in God that he will draw good from evil, even if that means allowing for the far left to accede to power as a way of awakening Americans to the reality of the “Party of Death.”

  • Well okay, they will snicker and mock, oh my, not that!

    If anyone wants or has even a bit of expectation of being admired by the elite in this time that we live in, for fighting for the things we believe in, had better expect some kind of reaction. I will gladly take all the mocking, snickering etcetera, rather than alternatives that can be expected, when and if the left becomes stronger in the future. The fact that they are still making fun of us is better than then arrest and trial for holding illegal and irrational beliefs that we may come to expect.

    Recent history of Russia and Eastern Europe shows clearly the fate of traditional believers. There are lessons like this all over the planet.

    Secularism is one thing, arrests in the night is another thing all together. These things are not impossible here, however unlikely. It is uncanny how close the beliefs and values of our progressives are to those of that the left widely held, one hundred years ago in another part of our civilization.

  • This is a good article, thanks. However, just to pick on the title a bit, the Pro Left will bust our nuts whether they win or lose.

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

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Try on this one, Bunky:

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

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

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

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

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

    Fits alright.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • RR,

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

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

  • AD,

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

    It shouldn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • And if it is written?

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

  • Pingback: If Liberals Lose Big In This Fall’s Election, The Professiona Left Will Mock The Religious Faithful « The American Catholic
  • This article has a lot of interesting points. However, it rambles all over the place. The essay would have been easier to understand if it was broken up into three mini essays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hi Dave,

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

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

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

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

WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.

Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

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4 Responses to WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

  • Great column as usual, Dave. It just blows my mind that our nation is no longer a republic of, for and by the people but an elite and arrogant oligarchy that is unleashing one perverted social experiment after another on us.

    The far left have the nerve to needle the conservatives for wanting to have less government yet have government restrict marriage. Quite the contrary, we want to be able to decide how our society should function, not have the government do so.

    It’s a shame that the voters in my state of California were robbed once again, but we can still hope for the Supreme Court to save the day. In the meantime, this should serve as a wakeup call for the voters, especially those in the 45 states who have kept marriage to one man and one woman, to vote the radicals out in the fall and make sure the Democrats never control government again as long as the militant secularists who are ruining this nation continue to call the shots for the party.

  • This is almost a grand slam!

    This is government hate speech against, and injurious to, Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    Oh, that’s okay!?

    Never mind.

    Thanks for voting for them dems.

  • Prepare for the worst. There is little doubt that in the near future Christians will be arrested and imprisoned by the American Socialist State if they continue to preach the gospel and traditional morality. The American politicians have created their long desired Atheistic State which will have no tolerance for believers. Prepare for the dark days of persecution but the good news is that it will separate the wheat from the shaff and the sheep from the goats.

  • But Jesus and the Apostles were arrested and even put to death for their speech.

    When DeGaulle was reproached for not taking more care against assassination, he replied: “It comes with the job”.

Blessed Bernard Lichtenberg and Courage

Sunday, February 14, AD 2010

“Our wholehearted paternal sympathy goes out to those who must pay so dearly for their loyalty to Christ and the Church; but directly the highest interests are at stake, with the alternative of spiritual loss, there is but one alternative left, that of heroism.” Pius XI from Mit Brennender Sorge

We Americans tend to be an outspoken lot.  We give voice to our opinions freely and many of us enjoy raucous debate, as can be seen on most American blog sites, including this one.  We are fortunate to live in a free society where there is no penalty for expressing ourselves.  But what if we didn’t live in a free society?  What if we lived in a vicious dictatorship where dissent is a one way trip to a concentration camp and then to an unmarked grave?  How many of us would then have the courage to speak out, especially if almost everyone else were keeping their heads down and not saying anything?  For many people throughout history this has not been a game of what if.

Born in Ohlau in the province of Silesia in Germany on December 3, 1875, Bernard Lichtenberg studied theology at the seminary in Innsbruck, Austria and was ordained a priest in 1899.  He served as a  priest in Berlin, becoming the parish priest of the Sacred Heart parish in the Berlin suburb of Charlottenburg in 1913.  Ever an energetic priest, he laid the foundations for five parishes and a monastery in Berlin.  Somehow he also found the time to be active in the Catholic Centre Party, and was for a time a member of the Berlin regional parliament after World War I.  He also carried out missionary and charitable works among the poor of Berlin.

He was made a canon of the Cathedral Chapter by the first Bishop of the newly created diocese of Berlin, Christian Schreiber, in 1931.  In 1932 he became pastor of Saint Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin.  He also attracted the ire of the Nazis by his support of the pacifist Peace League of German Catholics, and was denounced by Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels in the Nazi paper Der Angriff.

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Father Lichtenberg attempted unsuccessfully to convince Cardinal Bertram, the president of the German Bishop’s conference, to protest against the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.  In 1935 he protested to Herman Goering against the treatment of the Jews.  Goering denied everything and demanded that Lichtenberg be taken into “protective custody” for spreading lies about the German state.

In 1937 Father Lichtenberg helped to distribute clandestinely throughout Germany copies of the blistering condemnation of the Nazis by Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge.  After Kristallnacht, a Nazi led pogrom throughout Germany against the Jews, he said from the pulpit of Saint Hedwig’s:  ‘we know what happened yesterday. We do not know what tomorrow holds. However, we have experienced what happened today. Outside, the synagogue burns. That is also a house of God.’ From that time forward, Father Lichtenberg prayed publicly during evening prayers, in the heart of Nazi Germany, for the Jews and Christians of Jewish descent.

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5 Responses to Blessed Bernard Lichtenberg and Courage