Line of Grace

Saturday, August 29, AD 2015

6 Responses to Line of Grace

  • Just one thing- Baron references comedians for publicity. With Hollywood part of his diocese, If he wanted the publicity it would have been better for Baron to have written to Colbert and reprimanded him for his views on abortion. Particular since Colbert uses his public profile to spout his Catholic upbringing and Faith. That’s the game Baron should be playing, so to speak.

  • St. Colbert… the patron saint for those struggling with conscience formation.

    Lol on the line of Grace. Artwork is priceless.

  • Thanks to God .. Again and always! Absolutely great communique of truth. Hope Colbert and Fr. Barron read this.
    And Fr Jim and folks at “America” Jesuit magazine too.

  • Fr. Barron wants to reference Colbert, Well, for Fr. Barron, I want to reference the late Soupy Sales, for Barron deserves a pie in the face for his foolishness!

  • I wish the fingers on the icon were rearranged: as depicted they signify the Trinity and the Incarnation. Let’s not give Colbert any ideas.

Father Barron and the Bomb

Thursday, August 13, AD 2015

Here is a guest post by Greg Mockeridge:


It should go without saying that readers of TAC are familiar with the work of Fr. (soon to be bishop) Barron. His presence on You Tube is ubiquitous. He has also produced the Catholicism series, featured not only on Catholic media outlets like EWTN, but also on secular outlets like Pbs. In and of themselves, using outlets such as these to get the message of the Church out are commendable. And certainly Fr. Barron has done some good work along these lines and has earned a rather immense popularity as a result. Again, in and of itself, being popular is not a bad thing. But popularity can be just as dangerous in Catholic circles as in secular circles. In fact, I would say it is even more dangerous in Catholic circles than secular, given that it is done under the aegis of Catholic orthodoxy.

Any honest Catholic who has paid attention to what has gone on in popular orthodox Catholic circles cannot deny that there are serious problems with the way many Catholics, clergy and lay alike, prominent in orthodox circles have conducted themselves over at least the last decade. For example, we have seen the mean spirited and calumnious treatment by Mark Shea of those, Catholic and non-Catholic, who take views on geopolitical matters that conflict with his. It doesn’t matter to Shea that such views are both consistent with Catholic teaching and factually compelling. Even worse is the manner with which bishops like Archbishops Chaput and Cordileone speak on matters such as capital punishment, going to the extreme of falsely asserting that the death penalty system is administered in a racist manner against minorities. We have also seen Cardinal Timothy Dolan engage in race baiting calumny against the state of Arizona over SB 1070, which allows, pursuant to what has been federal law since 1940, for local law enforcement to inquire about the immigration status of those they have reason to believe are in the country illegally. We also have the scandal of the USCCB, in their annual Fortnight for Freedom campaign, listing certain state immigration laws as violations of religious liberty equal to that of the Obama Goonsquad (err Administration) forcing employers to provide coverage for contraception in their health insurance plans, despite conscience objections baed on religious conviction. Equating these two things cannot by justified by any stretch of the Catholic imagination.
Although I wouldn’t say Fr. Barron has gone to the lengths of the examples listed above, he is not without his serious problems. I first saw problems with Fr Barron when he gave a glowing review of Ross Douthat’s book Bad Religion. This book was bad in its own right, bad research methodology and some bad religion of its own. Douthat nakedly  misrepresents Catholic teaching with regard to socio-economics as well as misrepresenting Michael Novak. Douthat’s portrayal of the torture issue is no different in substance than that of Mark Shea, sans the snark. How any respectable orthodox Catholic, much less one who is an influential cleric, can give a glowing review of such a dishonest piece of work is beyond baffling.
Then Fr. Barron, in this article for the National Review of all publications, draws parallels between the anti-Catholic sentiment of many of the American Founding Fathers and the pro-abortion movement of today. To be sure, many of our founders did harbor anti-Catholic sentiment, but to draw the parallels Fr. Barron did is not only without merit, but downright appalling. No such parallels are anywhere close to existent. I would say that the pro-abortion movement is not anti-Catholic as an end in itself, but sees Catholic opposition to abortion as a threat. In fact, these very same people are very favorable to the elements of Catholicism they think comports with their “social justice” worldview and often invoke it in an attempt to buttress their views.
So, it should be of no surprise that when Fr. Barron deals with an issue like the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (the 70th Anniversary of which passed a few days ago), his analysis would be woefully devoid of Catholic moral principles and a real good faith attempt to accurately present the circumstances within which President Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bombs.
Recently, I came across a video he did last year where he deals with the subject. In it, he confirms that hunch. And in the same manner he juxtaposes the anti-Catholic sentiment of our Founders with the pro-abortion movement of today, he does the same with drawing parallels with support for the bomb drops with rejecting Catholic sexual teaching. First of all, his assertion that “very few” wars in human history were just vis-a-vis Catholic moral teaching is a matter of opinion, namely his, not of fact. He repeatedly says “clearly” that things like carpet bombings as well as the atomic bombings did not comport with the principle of proportionality. Well, clearly, he is either ignorant of the circumstances within which these actions were taken or he is counting on the ignorance of his viewers. And, unfortunately, counting on the ignorance of many orthodox Catholics on issues like this is a well-founded assumption. Proportionality has do with the bad effect being avoided being greater than the bad effect inflicted. And in the cases he discusses, especially with regard to the atomic bombings, the case for the principle of proportionality being met is compelling. I would say it is incontrovertible. He says nothing about the principle of double effect and how it may apply to this situation.

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37 Responses to Father Barron and the Bomb

  • Great article. Fortunately for me, I have such an abrasive personality that the problem of the world liking me is very remote.

  • What a terrible analysis. I gather it makes you feel good to think that the American experiment has been a Catholic project since the beginning. You are suffering from a bad case of Americanism– a heresy diagnosed by Pope Leo XIII in 1899 –and today is more virulent than ever. , The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not a close moral case. The problem is consequentialism –a moral heresy that since that day has become the most popular moral heresy in the postmodern world. It has been condemned by every pope since it happened and ever major Catholic theologian including Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen who, along with many others, believed that Hiroshima was far more than just a military /political operation (as you wish to analyze it) but a singular event that resulted in the moral chaos which gave rise to the Sexual Revolution and the Culture of Death.

  • “You are suffering from a bad case of Americanism”

    Ah, Americanism, the phantom heresy!

    Gibbons was on good terms with both Pope Leo, who gave him his cardinal’s cap, and Pope Pius of whom he wrote a biography. Americanism was an imaginary heresy, largely the result of Pope Leo XIII being ill-informed about conditions in America and paying too much heed to idiots among American clerics who delighted in attempting to stir up trouble over nothing. Modernism was a real enough heresy, although Pope Pius tended to throw the baby out with the bath water and completely orthodox Catholic scholars suffered along with complete heretics.

    Cardinal Gibbons and the rest of the American heirarchy responded that no one among them taught these propositions that were condemned:

    1.undue insistence on interior initiative in the spiritual life, as leading to disobedience
    2.attacks on religious vows, and disparagement of the value of religious orders in the modern world
    3.minimizing Catholic doctrine
    4.minimizing the importance of spiritual direction

    They were really scratching their heads on this one and had a hard time figuring out why the Pope was concerned with a non-problem in this country.

    This tempest in a papal tea pot had more to do with the French Church. A biography of Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists and now a Servant of God, was mistranslated into French and portrayed Father Hecker as some sort of flaming radical which he was not. This book became popular among liberal Catholics in France. As usual the relationship
    between the French Church and the Vatican was turbulent at this time. Pope Leo XIII’s concern about “Americanism” could have better been labeled a concern about “Frenchism”. Purportedly Leo XIII was reluctant to attack the Church in America, which he had often praised, and made his rebuke of “Americanism” as soft as possible.

    “We having thought it fitting, beloved son, in view of your high office, that this letter should be addressed specially to you. It will also be our care to see that copies are sent to the bishops of the United States, testifying again that love by which we embrace your whole country, a country which in past times has done so much for the cause of religion, and which will by the Divine assistance continue to do still greater things. To you, and to all the faithful of America, we grant most lovingly, as a pledge of Divine assistance, our apostolic benediction.”

    The statements of loyalty from the American heirarchy were sufficient for the Pope and “Americanism” vanished from history as quickly as it appeared.

  • “The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not a close moral case.”

    Agreed. It was clearly the best of the bad options Truman confronted.

    “It has been condemned by every pope since it happened and ever major Catholic theologian”

    Incorrect on both counts.

    “but a singular event that resulted in the moral chaos which gave rise to the Sexual Revolution and the Culture of Death.”

    One of the sillier things that Bishop Sheen said, for which there is bupkis evidence. By the way Becky, did you know that both Bishop Sheen and the Popes supported nuclear deterrence during the Cold War? Nuclear deterrence only worked because of the certainty that if we were attacked by the Soviet Union or China with nuclear weapons, we would unleash nuclear weapons on their cities that would make the atom bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like firecrackers. This is a much more complicated area than you conceive of, and deserves far more thought than your cut and paste diatribe that you have used several times on this blog.

  • Thank you for posting this article. It contains thoughts I’ve had for quite some time. I am continually amazed how so-called orthodox Catholics periodically leave logic and reason behind, and frequently the truth, then tell me my contrary view is not Catholic. It’s almost as though they are trying to maintain their credibility/popularity with the left. Mr. Mockeridge lists several of the usual suspects, but sadly, there are quite a few more.

  • Chances are, 99.99% of the time those questioning the merits and positions of Fr. Barron had best re-calibrate themselves.

  • Fr.Barron, in spite of his perceived conservative orthodoxy, is a liberal. He has publically taught Adam and Eve aren’t historical figures. He’s also against the death penalty. So, his stand on the Bomb shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has taken the time to understand what he really believes.

  • “Chances are, 99.99% of the time those questioning the merits and positions of Fr. Barron had best re-calibrate themselves.”

    I remember visiting a center of Opus Dei once. They were debating the morality of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most felt it immoral but there were two who offered very cogent arguments on why they were. These individuals weren’t equated with those rejecting the sexual teaching of the Church. The group held that the Church had not definitively judged the bombings and that there was legitimate freedom in disagreeing.

    Perhaps Opus Dei is now a heretical sect. Or perhaps there is room to licitly disagree.

  • Wow, this article is a mish-mash. Ad hominem attacks against Fr. Barron (with whom I disagree about much, including my strong area of interest, capital punishment). Misapplication of the principle of double effect, the first requirement of which is that the act to be done must be good in itself or at least morally indifferent– dropping atomic bombs on civilians is not “good” or “morally indifferent” so double effect does not even apply. And throwing up counterfactual historical theories such as the laughable army of women, old men, and children that would supposedly have faced American troops. The Japanese could not even clothe these “troops” much less train or arm them. In any event, if they would have engaged our military, their deaths would not be morally attributable to our actions, but to their own and their government’s.

    This is yet another weak attempt to evade the clear teaching of Veritatis Splendor and Pope Saint John Paul II’s condemnation of the primary error in moral reasoning in our time, that of consequentialism, the idea that avoiding some perceived evil or attaining some great good justifies the direct commission of an immoral act.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not populated by the laughable militia we’ve now seen several references to… they were civilian populations with minimal military significance. Their destruction was not intended to advance a military goal, but simply to terrorize the Japanese government into surrender by the threat of further mass killing of civilians.

    That this direct, deliberate killing of tens of thousands of civilians, including women, children, the elderly, might have averted the need for an invasion of Japan, does not justify it according to traditional Catholic moral principles.

    I have seen no argument yet that does not run afoul of either Veritatis Splendor’s condemnation of consequentialism, or of the clear magisterial condemnation of the use of nuclear weapons:

    Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons—especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons—to commit such crimes. (CCC 2314; cf. Gaudium et Spes 80)

  • What a terrible analysis. I gather it makes you feel good to think that the American experiment has been a Catholic project since the beginning.
    The modern method [of argumentation] is to assume without discussion that [your opponent] is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it Bulverism. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father — who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third — ‘Oh you say that because you are a man.’ ‘At that moment’, E. Bulver assures us, ‘there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.’ That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth [and Twenty-First] Century.

    –C. S. Lewis, “Bulverism,” in God in the Dock, p. 273

  • Fr. Jone’s conclusion, by the way, is not a vindication of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is theoretically possible that the use of the bombs on a purely military target, for instance, an island like Iwo Jima which had been totally occupied by enemy troops, would be justified.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not significant military targets, but even if they had been, the presence of tens of thousands of civilians would violate Fr. Jone’s restriction of use of these weapons to military targets only.

    At any rate, the bombings were not a military necessity, but a perceived political one. Don’t take my word for it, if you’re interested in the views of actual military experts (not merely bloggers), check out what George Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, William Leahy, Chester Nimitz, and Curtis LeMay said about the bombings, here:

    No group of suspicious Catholic libruls there. But alas, even when military experts who were there and had far more intimate knowledge than any one in a combox could possibly have, it will not convince those who do not wish to be convinced, since maybe they’d have to admit that Truman made a poor choice.

  • Never thought to much of Father Barron since he said he didn’t know if hell really existed. I don’t guess he’s read the Bible.

  • , doesn’t sound like the Fr. Barron others are seeing. Comments like that are much the problem here. You mistake the “existence” of a place with the knowledge that it’s “populated”. The church has always said “yes” and “don’t know”.

  • Tom: On capital punishment, the death penalty, ordained and consecrated men and women are to serve God through the Catholic Church. Ordained priests, all priests are above the secular world of the state. Read John Henry Cardinal Newman on capital punishment and the duty and power of the state. It is among the most beautiful language, I have ever read. This is for Father Barron too. Being completely computer ignorant, I cannot supply a link.
    On the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. First, I was alive at the time, being 73 years old now, People were exhausted, Rosie the Riveter, Uncle Sam, there was no more left in the American people fighting the war on two fronts. There was no more left. (Lisa Mitner who had discovered nuclear fission refused to help build the bomb, her nephew did, Oppenhiemer was revealed to be a double agent for the USSR, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were gassed for treason and bloodguilt during war.) There was no more left. No one really knew much about the BOMB. The scientists themselves believed that the nuclear fission started would consume the atmosphere and all the earth with its inhabitants would perish. The Enola Gay was to drop the bomb on Tokyo, but Tokyo was too far away. The twin cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war production. After the war, many of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki toured the globe with their skin hanging off as though it was melted, as it was, and on TV, pretty much accused the USA of being an aggressor and a monster.
    The bomb brought the Japanese war back to Japan. No apologies necessary. If Japan had won the war and global dominance, Fr. Barron would probably not even be here. What would Hitler and Hirohito face off bring?
    Let me tell you about how Czar Nicholas II waged war. 9 to 15 soldiers were sent out onto the battlefield with one rifle. When the first soldier fell, the second soldier picked up the rifle, down the line. That is how war was fought without proper armaments. I have no doubt that the Japanese, who believed that their emperor was a god, would have fought to the death. The threat was real. The enemy was not to be trusted. If the bomb saved one American soldier it was moral and licit. Would that he be John Basilone of Raritan, N.J.

  • Father Barron did not say that hell is empty of souls. Father Barron said that we, as people, cannot know if a person has gone to hell, which is true, but let me add that souls in hell are never remembered, so, if anyone is wondering if a certain person is in hell, he probably is not, if he is in your memory. The torments of hell are unimaginable. To experience hell, even through another person’s experience of hell is unsustainable. The children at Fatima would have died upon seeing hell but for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s hand. The children saw the souls of the damned falling like snow into hell and asked for First Saturday Penitence. Father Barron is correct when he says that the fires of hell are the love and mercy of God as rejected by the sinner, as death fixes our relationship with God as unchangeable. Heaven is the Beatific Vision forever and forever and forever.

  • Every time the issue of the atomic bombs (and other issues like it) come up within the Catholic Media Complex, the term “consequentialism” gets passed around like a joint in a hippie commune.

    With regard to Gaudium et Spes, it doesn’t say anything like “even though the line between combatant and non-combatant has been erased”. And that is an essential element in any moral analysis of the bombings.

    Mr. Check’s analysis is some of the same tripe his predecessor at Catholic Answers, Karl Keating, put out a decade ago. In the words of Pete Townsend, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    Apparently, Chris Check has no problems with the death penalty, seeing as how he executes a whole slew of straw men.

    Anyone who understands the nature of the enemies we faced in WWII (Japan even more so than Germany) knows why the Allies were insistent on the unconditional surrender. It prevented WWIII, which would have occurred within about a decade after WWII if not sooner.

    I find Mr. Check’s article all the more painful because he was an artillery officer in the Marine Corps. And he has to know much of what he says is not true.

    Father of Seven, I agree with you. The list of bad actors is much longer than the list I provided. I didn’t want to get too far afield in my article. To give a thorough treatment of the problem would require a book.

  • This about the battle of Okinawa. While this is from Wikipedia and thus subject to error, one can see that there was already a fairly robust conscription of civilians including “middle school seniors.” The number conscripted represents about 10% of the estimated civilian population of Okinawa at the time. Ultimately almost 100,000 civilians died in the invasion.

    “The Japanese land campaign (mainly defensive) was conducted by the 67,000-strong (77,000 according to some sources) regular 32nd Army and some 9,000 Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) troops at Oroku naval base (only a few hundred of whom had been trained and equipped for ground combat), supported by 39,000 drafted local Ryukyuan people (including 24,000 hastily drafted rear militia called Boeitai and 15,000 non-uniformed laborers). In addition, 1,500 middle school senior boys organized into front-line-service ‘Iron and Blood Volunteer Units…'”

    More on the Boeitai:

    “The Boeitai was a Japanese “home guard” force of World War II. It was established by the War Ministry in June 1944 in response to the worsening war situation facing Japan, and initially comprised all reservists in the 20-40 age group including those who would not normally be liable for military service under the Japanese conscription system. The Imperial Japanese Army’s area armies had responsibility for raising and administering Boeitai units, and there was considerable variation in how these formations were structured and used. Boeitai units were established in the Japanese home islands, Okinawa, Korea and Formosa. Unlike regular Japanese Army soldiers, Boeitai personnel were not indoctrinated to fight to the death or consider themselves to be imperial subjects.

    “Around 20,000 local Boeitai conscripts were involved in the Battle of Okinawa during 1945, with most initially serving as labourers or in support roles but some augmenting frontline Army units. Most of the Okinawan Boeitai were teenagers or aged in their 30s and 40s. As the fighting continued, many of the support personnel were assigned to combat duties despite not being provided with any training for this role or effective weapons; some Boeitai personnel were ordered to conduct suicide missions in which they attempted to blow up tanks with satchel charges. In addition, several Okinawan Boeitai groups fought as partisans armed mainly with spears and grenades.”

    For those who were planning the invasion of Japan and considering the use of the bomb, the thought of a militarized Japanese population was a realistic expectation.

  • Tom:

    The mass conscription that turned the entire country of Japan into a military base was the very military objective (which was the word actually used) described by Fr. Jone. And there is nothing “laughable” about the massive bloodbath, made more bloody by the chaotic civilian involvement, that would have resulted from an invasion of mainland Japan.

  • Truman was a democrat. Enough said.
    “. . . At any rate, the bombings were not a military necessity . . .” Not sure about that.
    My opinion, to the extent that (fallen, fallible) civilian and military authorities were convinced that the bombs would quickly induce surrender, there would be both military necessity and purpose.
    Hiroshima, I believe, was the location of an army corps HQ. Hit the snake in the head. However, my target preferences would have been first Imperial Army HQ and then (if it was not a heap of radioactive ashes) Hirohito’s palace. That’d show millions of murderous fanatics that the Emperor is not god.
    Herein I’m channeling Curtis Lemay. If the shia mullahs both want the end of the world and the bomb, I suggest someone (Israel maybe ) detonate a demo model over the next mass meeting. Now, Obama and the rest of the western losers are acting like Chamberlain and Quisling on steroids.

  • I think its time to rename this blog, “The Americanist Dissenting Catholic.”

  • wj,

    I missed the arguments for the opinions you are disputing.

  • Why tamper with the title? To simply cast aspersions?
    Location identified.
    Religion identified.
    As to assent and dissent, there are reflections of morals guided by the faith taught carefully by our Lord, thanks be to God.

  • a dose of moral sanity from ed feser, philosopher and orthodox Catholic:

  • jpk,

    Ed Feser is a great philosopher. So he knows that killing the innocent, no matter what the reason, is wrong. He, contra many Catholics of disordered thinking, also defends the death penalty:

    I juxtapose these issues because he knows of double effect, he knows one can use lethal means to stop an aggressor and he would know to engage the arguments posted above rather than provide a bland comment.

  • Philip,

    IProf. Feser does reference the PDE in the combo box thread of the post I referenced above. He writes (August 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM) in response to another commentor:


    Yes, naturally (as a natural law theorist) I subscribe to PDE. But PDE doesn’t justify Nagasaki. It would do so only if the bombers were not trying to kill people who they knew to be innocent, but were instead trying to destroy munitions factories or some such thing, and the civilian deaths were a foreseen but unintended byproduct. But that is not what they were doing. They were, again, trying to kill the civilians.

    You might respond “But they were doing so only for the sake of ending the war sooner.” True, but irrelevant, and to think it is relevant evinces a misunderstanding of PDE. PDE doesn’t say “As long as your ultimate goal is OK, you can justify whatever means you need in order to achieve it.” The act of intentionally bombing thousands of innocent people is itself intrinsically immoral, and the reason you are doing it doesn’t change that. The act of intentionally bombing a city for the sake of destroying munitions factories is (according to PDE) a different act, even if you know civilians will die as a result, because killing the civilians is not part of the intention behind the action.

    Feser also agrees in another thread how bad the Japanese were, and how it is in consequence extremely difficult to stick to moral principles in the face of grave evil. The link to that thread is here:, and here is a relevant quote but the whole article and comment discussion is worth the read:

    Third, for that reason it is probably true that the atomic bombings saved many lives, both Allied and Japanese, that would have been lost in an invasion. It is also probably true that it saved the lives of POWs like Zamperini. Given Japan’s wicked “kill-all” policy of massacring POWs before they could be liberated – which had been carried out already many times in other parts of Japan’s empire – it is likely that only the abrupt end to the war the shock of the bombings made possible could have prevented the implementation of that policy in the home islands. Critics of the bombings should not pretend otherwise: If they hold (as they should) that we should never do what is intrinsically evil, regardless of the consequences, then they should admit that Hiroshima and Nagasaki force them to put their money where their mouths are, if any real-world example does.

    I agree that Prof. Feser is a great philosopher and a Catholic gentleman. That is why I’m thankful that he is out there providing sound reasoning consonant with the Catholic faith on such weighty issues. I certainly need all the help I can get.

  • But that does not address the question if a large part of the civilian population had been militarized.

  • As I said above, the term “consequentialism” gets passed around the Catholic Media Complex like a joint in a hippie commune. And Feser takes a nice long toke. Nowhere does he address the the issue of mass conscription that erased the line between combatant and non-combatant. Neither does Jimmy Akin. To do so would lay bare just how ridiculous their argument are.

  • Please give a principled response to Feser below:

    What matters is that any consequentialist must allow that it is at least in principle legitimate intentionally to kill the innocent for the sake of a “greater good.” And from the point of view of us reactionary, bigoted, unprogressive natural law theorists and Catholics, that is enough to make consequentialism a depraved doctrine. For it is never, never permissible to do what is intrinsically evil that good may come – not even if you’d feel much happier if you did it, not even if you’ve got some deeply ingrained tendency to want to do it, not even if it will shorten a war and save thousands of lives. Never.

  • “at least in principle legitimate intentionally to kill the innocent for the sake of a “greater good.””

    Actually the Church has allowed the killing of the innocent in War to serve a “greater good”. The Crusades would have been impossible if the innocent had an all embracing exemption from harm that critics of Mr. Truman think they should possess. What is being argued here, among other issues, are questions of intentionality, foreseeability and just how much of a target needs to have military applications before it is licit to bomb the target. All this of course is being debated in an atmosphere of the neo-Pacifism embraced by the Church since World War II, a new stance for the Church, probably the product of the very simple fact that contemporary popes no longer wage wars, unlike the vast majority of their predecessors. However, even with this neo-Pacifism the popes of the Cold War did endorse nuclear deterrence that rested on obliterating entire civilian populations in retaliation for a nuclear attack. I think this poses a problem for the Hiroshima critics that I have never seen them address.

  • The principled response is that I agree. There is no reason to commit evil so that good may come of it. However, you continue to miss the point.

    But yet we are allowed to go to war. The reason is (as with the death penalty) is that the state can use lethal force to defend itself and others. This has been consistent Church teaching. The discussion is, if the Japanese had de facto conscripted the majority of their population, then in fact the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were not bombings directly aimed at civilians but at regular and irregular (conscripted) military.

    Yes, there would still be civilians in those cities, but the Church has always accepted that there may be casualties among civilians if the intentions was to target the army (or militarily related targets) and not civilians, there was proportionate reason to do so and that the act did not proceed through the killing of civilians (the argument from PDE.) Thus, for example, the Church allowed besieging cities, knowing that there would be harm and death among civilians, in order to defeat an aggressor army.

    Here, now I will help you. The argument will now turn on two points. That the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had in fact been conscripted (at least in principle) and that their numbers were proportionate reason to use the bomb given the effects of the bomb that could be foreseen (the deaths of civilians.)

  • Gentlemen, thank you for your responses. I will think more on the issue.

  • First: Japan is guilty for the deaths of all the innocent people who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in the war Japan started.
    Second: Reparations being demanded and paid to the people interned in Arizona by the government, interned because they were Japanese is nonsense. These people were in protective custody. The kids across the street were “the germans”. In a Polish neighborhood, a hail of stones greeted them every time they came around. They were “the germans.” Mussolini and Mrs. Mussolini were dragged through the streets by their feet, tied upside down in the public square and beaten with sticks.

  • Consequentialism is a term used by Pope Saint JPII to describe just the type of moral reasoning occurring in these discussions.

    I suppose the late Pope might be viewed as a hippie passing a joint around, but I prefer to see his teaching in VS a mere reiteration of the Church’s timeless moral reasoning, which was in effect even during the Crusades, during which any direct killing of innocents would never have been viewed as morally justified. The Crusades were carried out by lay armies, not by moral philosophers. Abuses happened, and they were just that: abuses, not examples of moral behavior.

  • “The Crusades were carried out by lay armies, not by moral philosophers. Abuses happened, and they were just that: abuses, not examples of moral behavior.”

    If there was any condemnation by the Church at the time of the massacre of almost all the Muslim and Jewish population of Jerusalem after its fall to the First Crusade, I am unaware of it. The attitude of the Church towards War today has not always been the attitude of the Church towards War.

    Citations by authority are weak arguments Tom, as I am sure you would agree since you were certainly unconvinced by John Paul II’s statements against the death penalty.

  • Consequentialism is a term used by Pope Saint JPII to describe just the type of moral reasoning occurring in these discussions.

    Quote and source, please, if not an actual link to the entire context.
    You have shown a consistent pattern of interpreting statements in ways that are not supported by their actual content, and ignoring that which cannot be interpreted away.

  • Now, Veritatis Splendor did have a condemnation of consequentialism.
    Problem being, it’s got nothing to do with the form of an argument, it’s a matter of foundation claim.
    The condemnation is of those who go by that name who maintain that it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition of particular kinds of behaviour which would be in conflict, in every circumstance and in every culture, with those values.
    In other words, denial of inherently wrong actions being possible.
    About the only way this could reasonably get dragged into this discussion would be via an unexamined assumption that an action is inherently immoral coupled with a projection on to the other side that they agree and are arguing that an inherently immoral action is OK in this case.
    For example, someone who believed that cutting a living human is inherently wrong would have to come up with some sort of a system that worked that way to deal with surgery, even the very ancient sorts.

  • The Judicial system. Justice is predicated on intent. Surgery to save a life; and any law may be broken to save human life as in the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as self defense against an aggressor, or the Court ordering a blood transfusion for Jehovah Witnesses, not to intervene in their religion but to save a life, even an unborn child who becomes an aggressor against his own mother may be aborted justly. This last case scenario has never happened. The child would be removing himself from life-support, but it is the case of self-preservation and self -defense inscribed in our natures and in the Preamble.
    The intent to take a life is homicide and a sin and crime. The informed consent to commit homicide (attempted murder) and the intent to commit a grave mortal sin in informed consent, self-excommunicates a person from the church and makes an outlaw of a citizen, a persona non grata, and exile.
    This informed consent is the free will exercise of the will and a proof that man has a soul, a sovereign soul, from the very first moment of his existence, who directs his life and growth.
    America dropped warning leaflets on Hiroshima and Nagasaki warning the inhabitants of the bomb and instructing them to leave for two weeks prior to the bombing. America did not intend to kill any inhabitants. America intended to disable the cities and scare a surrender out the Emperor god. The Emperor god knew that the bomb was coming, yet Hirohito did nothing to save his people. Hirohito’s “subjects and loyal servants to the imperial state” perished. Are “subjects” and “loyal servants to the imperial state” waging a war of aggression innocent? Ought these” subjects and loyal servants to the imperial state” supposed to be in surrendered non-combatant state of being?

I AM and Us

Wednesday, August 27, AD 2014

[56] Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. [57] The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [58] Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. [59] They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

John 8: 56-59



Father Barron has a magnificent article in Catholic World Report in which he explains why it is improper to think of God as a Supreme Being:

Now to God’s invisibility. One of the most fundamental mistakes made by atheists both old and new is to suppose that God is a supreme being, an impressive item within or alongside the universe. As David Bentley Hart has argued, the gods of ancient mythology or the watchmaker God of 18th-century Deism might fit such a description, but the God presented by the Bible and by classical theism has nothing to do with it. The true God is the non-contingent ground of the contingent universe, the reason there is something rather than nothing, the ultimate explanation for why the world should exist at all. Accordingly, he is not a being, but rather, as Thomas Aquinas put it, ipsum esse subsistens, the sheer act of to be itself.

Thomas goes so far as to say that God cannot be placed in any genus, even in that most generic of genera, namely, being. But all of this must imply God’s invisibility. Whatever can be seen is, ipso facto, a being, a particular state of affairs, and hence something that can be placed in a genus, compared with other finite realities, etc. The visible is, by definition, conditioned—and God is the unconditioned. I hope it is clear that in affirming God’s invisibility, I am not placing limits on him, as though he were a type of being—the invisible type—over and against visible things, a ghost floating above physical objects. The invisible God is he whose reality transcends and includes whatever perfection can be found in creatures, since he himself is the source and ground of creatureliness in all its manifestations. Anything other than an invisible God would be a conditioned thing and hence utterly unworthy of worship.

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13 Responses to I AM and Us

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  • Thomas Aquinas said that man’s finite mind cannot comprehend an infinite God. The Bible says that all the books in the world cannot hold the truth about God. Using the word “supreme” would indicate that there is only one God, as there cannot be two supreme Beings. Only one can be supreme as two would preempt one another.
    The word “sovereign” would indicate that almighty God is Lord over all.
    The virtue of humility in “Be it done unto me according to Thy will.” brings the Supreme, (one and only) Sovereign, (creating “ex nihilo” and keeping all things in existence) Being (I AM WHO I AM) to us as our God. The Supreme Sovereign Being WHO is:”I AM WHO I AM” exists and is existence, loves and is love, is beatitude and truth. Only God is good.
    Jesus asked: “Who do the people say that I AM?”, and Peter answered: “The Son of the Living God. The Christ” and Jesus called Himself the Son of Man.

  • I have always thought that the words spoken from the burning bush are just too deep and original to have been a fabrication or legend. They MUST have been spoken in just the way the Bible relates.

  • TomD: I’ve had the exact same thought. Exodus 3:14 is an amazing passage.

  • Fr Barron’s writing and work is great. As someone who has studied both philosophy and theology I can state categorically that he has a great ability to explain the most profound and sublime truths concerning the Mystery of God-most especially in the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas-in a way a person with little or no philosophical/theological training can grasp.

  • I remember being taught (I thought orthodoxly…orthodoxically… …correctly) that Jesus was not to be called a human being, but a divine being with a human nature. Is that incorrect?

  • Pinky, it’s a little more complicated that that.

    The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches are Dyophysite, and their belief is reflected in the Nicene Creed phrase “true God and true man”.

    The Eastern Oriental churches claim to be Miaphysite; they don’t use the Nicene Creed, but if they did they would translate it as “true God-man”.

    There is a growing movement, spearheaded by Benedict XVI, that maintains that these differences are due to mistranslations and misunderstandings and so the basic theology is about the same, and so the theological hornet’s nest that has existed over these definitions is probably unwarranted. But I still think it would be good to look at the history to fully answer your question. A simple place to start might be

  • Pinky and TomD

    The Church recognises that different language may be used to express a mystery that cannot be fully captured by any formula. The Fifth Ecumenical Council, in its eighth canon, anathematizes those who say “one Nature incarnate of God the Word” [Μία φυσις του θεου λογου σεσαρκωμενε] unless they “accept it as the Fathers taught, that by a hypostatic union of the Divine nature and the human, one Christ was effected.”

    The question is not whether we speak of “one nature” or “two natures,” but what we mean by it.

  • “I AM WHO IS”. “Being” is a verb made noun and both are correct. “to be is to be” and to be is being, being a being is correct since there are three Persons in the Blessed Trinity. Peter’s: “You are the Son of the Living God.” Christ’s: “I AM the LIFE”.
    “accept it as the Fathers taught, that by a hypostatic union of the Divine nature and the human, one Christ was effected.”
    This ony makes sense if a person acknowledges that God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Ghost willed the hypostatic union. Christ is, was effected by God. One Christ is before all ages.

  • Mary De Voe

    The Fifth Council had before it the statement of the Antiochene party, “‘Before the worlds begotten of the Father according to the Godhead, but in the last days and for our salvation of the Virgin Mary according to the Manhood; consubstantial with the Father in the Godhead, consubstantial with us in the Manhood; for a union of two natures took place, wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to the understanding of this unconfused union, we confess the Blessed Virgin to be Theotokos, because the Word of God was incarnate and made man, and through her conception united to Himself the temple He received from her.”

    The usage of both the Alexandrian and the Antiochene parties was to speak of the Son or the Logos before the Incarnation and of Christ after it.

    However, as St Athanasius (one of the “fathers” referred to by the Council) says,”All that He ever had continued to be His; what He took on Himself was only an addition. There was no change; in His Incarnation, He did but put on a garment. That garment was not He.” The “garment” is HIs human nature. According to St Cyril, the phrase “the one nature incarnate” is also Athanasius’s, who, like the Fathers at Nicea used physis (nature) and ousia (being) interchangeably – τὸ λεγόμενον κτίζεσθαι τῇ φύσει καὶ τῇ οὐσί (Orat II. 45)

  • Thank you, Michael Paterson-Seymour

  • As atheists misunderstand and reject The Supreme Sovereign Being, these same atheists misunderstand and reject One True God. What is apparent and misbegotten is that these same atheists use God’s Name: “I AM” all day long, and especially when they (the atheists) file suit in court for their “rights”. Using God’s Name “I AM” to reject and deny God is duplicity and perjury in a court of law. Imposing their rejection of God on all citizens through the courts denies the freedom inscribed in our Founding Principles. Not even the courts have the authority to alter our Constitution without ratification by the states.
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: ““‘Before the worlds begotten of the Father according to the Godhead, but in the last days and for our salvation of the Virgin Mary according to the Manhood; consubstantial with the Father in the Godhead, consubstantial with us in the Manhood; for a union of two natures took place, wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to the understanding of this unconfused union, we confess the Blessed Virgin to be Theotokos,…”””
    I have always written and read “mankind” as the whole human race, especially when women go about complaining about being left out of Holy Scripture. “Manhood”, like sovereign personhood, is so much better. “consubstanial with us in the Manhood” cannot be mistaken for anything but the whole human race.

  • Botolph: “Fr Barron’s writing and work is great.”

    I listened to Father Barron on EWTN Saturday and I an convinced that Father Barron’s writing and work are magnificnt.
    Father Barron spoke of the atheist competing with God.

Father Barron v. Bart Ehrman: No Contest

Wednesday, April 16, AD 2014




In the category of mismatched adversaries, Father Barron gives us a striking example today:

In this most recent tome, Ehrman lays out what is actually a very old thesis, going back at least to the 18th century and repeated ad nauseam in skeptical circles ever since, namely, that Jesus was a simple itinerant preacher who never claimed to be divine and whose “resurrection” was in fact an invention of his disciples who experienced hallucinations of their master after his death.  Of course Ehrman, like so many of his skeptical colleagues across the centuries, breathlessly presents this thesis as though he has made a brilliant discovery.

But basically, it’s the same old story.  When I was a teenager, I read British Biblical scholar Hugh Schonfield’s Passover Plot, which lays out the same narrative, and just a few months ago, I read Reza Aslan’s Zealot, which pursues a very similar line, and I’m sure next Christmas or Easter I will read still another iteration of the theory.

And so, once more into the breach.  Ehrman’s major argument for the thesis that Jesus did not consider himself divine is that explicit statements of Jesus’s divine identity can be found only in the later fourth Gospel of John, whereas the three Synoptic Gospels, earlier and thus presumably more historically reliable, do not feature such statements from Jesus himself or the Gospel writers.  This is so much nonsense.  It is indeed the case that the most direct affirmations of divinity are found in John — “I and the Father are one;” “before Abraham was I am;” “He who sees me sees the Father,” etc.

But equally clear statements of divinity are on clear display in the Synoptics, provided we know how to decipher a different semiotic system.

For example, in Mark’s Gospel, we hear that as the apostolic band is making its way toward Jerusalem with Jesus, “they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid” (Mk. 10:32).  Awe and terror are the typical reactions to the presence of Yahweh in the Old Testament.  Similarly, when Matthew reports that Jesus, at the beginning of the last week of his earthly life, approached Jerusalem from the east, by way of Bethpage and Bethany and the Mount of Olives, he is implicitly affirming Ezekiel’s prophecy that the glory of the Lord, which had departed from his temple, would return from the east, by way of the Mount of Olives.  In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus addresses the crippled man who had been lowered through the roof of Peter’s house, saying, “My son, your sins are forgiven,” to which the bystanders respond, “Who does this man think he is?  Only God can forgive sins.”  What is implied there is a Christology as high as anything in John’s Gospel.

And affirmations of divinity on the lips of Jesus himself positively abound in the Synoptics.  When he says, in Matthew’s Gospel, “He who does not love me more than his mother or father is not worthy of me,” he is implying that he himself is the greatest possible good.  When in Luke’s Gospel, he says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away,” he is identifying himself with the very Word of God.  When he says in Matthew’s Gospel, in reference to himself, “But I tell you, something greater than the Temple is here,” he is affirming unambiguously that he is divine, since for first century Jews, only Yahweh himself would be greater than the Jerusalem Temple.  Perhaps most remarkably, when he says, almost as a tossed-off aside at the commencement of the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard it said, but I say…” he is claiming superiority to the Torah, which was the highest possible authority for first century Jews.  But the only one superior to the Torah would be the author of the Torah, namely God himself.

Obviously examples such as these from the Synoptic authors could be multiplied indefinitely.  The point is that the sharp demarcation between the supposedly “high” Christology of John and the “low” Christology of the Synoptics, upon which the Ehrman thesis depends, is simply wrong-headed.

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18 Responses to Father Barron v. Bart Ehrman: No Contest

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  • The “quest” for the historical Jesus is an inherently fruitless investigation. And that’s because the fundamental truths of the Faith are ahistorical.

  • Mr. Schreiber: But Jesus himself is historical. He “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” He lived, died, and rose again at a particular historical point. He is real, not a myth.

  • Is “historical” kind of a chameleon word- taking on the color of the surrounding words. Apparently whatever a guy wants it to mean.
    What do you historians think about the fact that Jesus is God is not historical ?according to one famous author.

  • Today, the twenty-fifth day of December,
    unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth
    and then formed man and woman in his own image.
    Several thousand years after the flood,
    when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.
    Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;
    thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.
    Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;
    one thousand years from the anointing of David as king;
    in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.
    In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
    the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome.
    The forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
    the whole world being at peace,
    Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
    desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
    being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    and nine months having passed since his conception,
    was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.
    Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

  • “What do you historians think about the fact that Jesus is God is not historical?”
    I would say that’s true, but only in the sense that God, being outside of time, isn’t historical. My comment was about the methodological limitations of my discipline. It’s the same point Father Barron makes in the linked essay:

    Most of the skeptical critics of Christianity subscribe to some version of David Hume’s account of the miraculous. Hume said that since no reasonable person could possibly believe in miracles, those who claimed to have experienced a miracle must be unreasonable. They must, then, be delusional or naïve or superstitious. Hume’s logic was circular and unconvincing in the eighteenth century, and it hasn’t improved with age. Yes, if we assume that miracles are impossible, then those who report them are, to some degree, insane. But what if we don’t make things easy for ourselves and assume the very proposition we are trying to prove? What if we keep an open mind and assume that miracles are, though rare, possible? Then we don’t have to presume without argument that those who claim to have experienced them are delusional, and we can look at their reports with unjaundiced eyes.

    “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried” is indeed an historical claim –a well attested one at that. “[D]escended into hell[,] rose again[,] ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead[,]” are theological claims, not historical ones. As are “concieved by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.” And by that all I mean that their truth isn’t testable by historical standards, not that they’re not true.
    And that, I hope, brings the discussion back around to where I tried to start from, i.e. that the search for the historical Jesus hasn’t been productive because historians, by the very nature of what they do as historians, tend to want to elide the metaphysical and theological. And that’s how you end up with these accounts of Jesus as apocalyptic prophet and social reformer that aren’t as interesting as the Gospel narratives of Christ the redeemer of the world.
    Historians, as historians, literally can’t handle the Truth.

  • Anzlyne, I like Bishop Otto of Freising’s account from the 6th chapter of the 3rd book of his Chronicle:

    And so when all the strife of sedition was at last allayed, a hitherto unknown peace was restored to the world and the whole earth was divided into provinces in accordance with the census held by the Romans. This was in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Augustus and the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the founding of the City, in the one hundred and ninety-third Olympiad, when five thousand five hundred years had elapsed since Adam, and an alien, Herod the son of Antipater, was ruling in Judaea in the sixty-sixth week according to Daniel. At this time, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but according to the flesh a son of David, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judaea. And that he might be pointed out as the light of the world and the true peace, on the night on which he was born an angel appeared to shepherds amid a great light, announcing the joy due to him that had been born. And a multitude of the heavenly host sang, in unison with him, GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, and proclaimed that peace had come on earth to men of good will.

  • Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, was a perfectly innocent man, therefore, death had no hold on Him. Christ returned to His Father in heaven by the power of the Holy Spirit, as all men will return to our Father in heaven after each man is cleansed from sin.
    Miracles are the ordinary. Sin is outside of and destructive of the ordinary.
    Crossan is trying to prove that Jesus Christ is a myth. Crossan will return to the mind of his Father in heaven Who has created him from myth.
    Jesus Christ, the Son of God was sent into the world to redeem mankind.
    Crossan will not find the historical Jesus until Crossan accepts the Blessed Trinity and accepts God the Father.

  • Thank you Ernst.
    I felt almost insulted by the lack of awe, by the hubris, when I heard Bill O’Reilly say that he doesn’t mention that Jesus is God in his bestselling book, because that fact is not historical. To think that God doesn’t meet some secular standard of categorization; He doesn’t even get a “Participant” ribbon.
    The dismissal of His personal bodily entry into the story of human events is arrogant. “Get back into place God, this is something for man to discuss, we’ll call you.” As if there could be history without God. He IS the protagonist of history. He drives the story, He IS the Denouement.
    God created Time and Place. Ex nihilo; of Himself.
    He in Whom we live and move and have our being, created time (for us), a framework providing points of reference and change, and a material plane, for us.

    Jesus entered Time and Place to enable us to come with HIm-eventually- (that is, through time and events) into timelessness.

  • Ernst Schreiber

    To speak of “miracles” assumes that there is an order of nature, to which miracles are an exception. But how do we go about proving this?

    Most secularists take “the uniformity of nature” as an axiom. If they treated it as a mere hypostasis, they would find it challenged by every report of “witches flying, tables turning, Saints being levitated, oracles coming true, horoscopes being verified, broken limbs being cured by faith-healing, and the like.” Unless one assumes that nature is uniform, what grounds does one have for claiming the evidence in support of these events is false?

    I call the uniformity of nature an axiom, for it is obvious that it cannot be proved; even if all past experience supported it, why should we assume the future will, in this respect, resemble the past, unless, of course, we assume nature is uniform? Why should we suppose it even probable? Hume says, rightly enough that “We suppose, but are never able to prove, that there must be a resemblance betwixt those objects, of which we have had experience, and those which lie beyond the reach of our discovery.”

  • I felt almost insulted by the lack of awe, by the hubris, when I heard Bill O’Reilly say that he doesn’t mention that Jesus is God in his bestselling book, because that fact is not historical. To think that God doesn’t meet some secular standard of categorization; He doesn’t even get a “Participant” ribbon.
    The dismissal of His personal bodily entry into the story of human events is arrogant. “Get back into place God, this is something for man to discuss, we’ll call you.” As if there could be history without God. He IS the protagonist of history. He drives the story, He IS the Denouement.

    Now you’re just trying to provoke what’s left of the Calvinist in me.
    he joshed

  • 🙂 is there a little of Calvin in all of us esp. those of us who like to think of our thinking…

  • Seriously? You’re trying to fight for miracles by using Hume, to whom nothing is a miracle because everything is just disconnected stuff happening all by itself?

    Unless you believe in a God Who is endlessly fickle and has no law or logic or morals except whim (one of the few things that all Muslims have been forced to believe in, because all their logical-God people got persecuted or killed off), you believe in the God of order and logic, Who established the laws of nature and “weight and order and measure.” Miracles are beyond our understanding, but it is likely their occurrence is more about God commanding the universe to do unusual things according to super-duper applications of various back doors of the laws of nature, rather than just breaking them.

  • Suburbanbanshee

    God eternally decrees, not only the things that come to pass, but the causes of them and the order in which those causes operate, in a single, utterly self-consistent act, free and unconstrained, for, with Him, there is no time.
    Now, everything in the universe is unit and individual; because our minds cannot grasp things in their individuality, we categorize and theorize by inferences drawn by us from experience. These are notions of ours, not His. We reason from premises to conclusions; Omniscience does not.
    Miracles may be supernatural to us, but they are not supernatural to God; His nature is infinity and nothing exceeds it.
    Hume’s argument against miracles is a vicious circle: “since nature is uniform, miracles do not happen,” glossing over the fact that “do miracles occur?” and “is nature uniform?” are simply two forms of the same question. It also contradicts his real insight into the nature of probability.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: Thank you, well said.

  • There is another strand to much of the effort at debunking the Divinity of Jesus Christ. He clearly makes difficult demands on our moral life, especially the business concerning sex. This is the subterranean driver, the force that that drives many of these fellows day and night. I know this as I am sinner myself, and would gladly love to find a less condemnatory Jesus, but He has made His requirements unequivocal and there is no way around it.

  • Yes Ivan, I think that is actually huge in the debates that pretend to be about the historicity of Jesus, but are actually about whether or not He is God. ANYone could admit God into history, if only they could admit God.

  • We should ignore all the nonsense, and stick to a Catholic Bible, and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” which contains the Doctrine of the Faith that all Catholics are required to adhere to.
    “….. let us ask ourselves if we have actually taken a few steps to get to know Christ and the truths of faith more, by reading and meditating on the Scriptures, studying the Catechism, steadily approaching the Sacraments.” – Pope Francis, May 15, 2013.

Andrew Cuomo, Father Barron and Alexis de Tocqueville

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014

Statue of Bigotry

Hattip to cartoonist Michael Ramirez for his brilliant Statue of Bigotry cartoon.  A guest post by commenter John By Any Other Name:



Father Robert Barron, who no one could credibly call a firebrand, had a post at National Review Online that caught my attention:

“In the course of a radio interview, Governor Andrew Cuomo blithely declared that anyone who is pro-life on the issue of abortion or who is opposed to gay marriage is “not welcome” in his state of New York. Mind you, the governor did not simply say that such people are wrong-headed or misguided; he didn’t say that they should be opposed politically or that good arguments against their position should be mounted; he said they should be actively excluded from civil society!”

The good guv’ner somewhat walked back his comments, trying to spin it that it wasn’t that people who were pro-life, pro-“assault weapons” and “anti-gay” (these were the other two descriptors Cuomo used) weren’t welcome, just that they would have a hard time winning office in the state.  Yet, Father Barron properly captures the evil of this in his observation: “they should be actively excluded from civil society!”
This is precisely what Alexis de Tocqueville was discussing in the below quote.  I stumbled across this one while looking for another quote from Democracy in America.  I confess I haven’t actually read the book, though it’s on my reading list after I finish the Knox translation of the Bible and a few other important books.  Emphasis is mine.

Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else.  But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than  death.

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25 Responses to Andrew Cuomo, Father Barron and Alexis de Tocqueville

  • Andy and his father Mario are Catholic – pro-infanticide, pro-sexual perversion Catholics in public! They brag about it! Why aren’t they publicly excommunicated as St. Paul did to the sex pervert in 1st Corinthians chapter 5? Or as Hymenaeus and Alexander were excommunicated in 1st Timothy chapter 1? What is wrong with Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Hubbard? It is one thing to have private sin even sexual, fail but try to do good again. It is another to brag about and extol one’s perversion.

  • Cuomo is a thug who needs to be held responsible.

    NYS is the worst-taxed state in the US, with NJ a close second worst.

    All the libs have are class hate/war, gender, race-baiting, and sexual orientation.

    Your so-called social justice is class war with a thin vaneer of pious-sounding claptrap. (N.B. I stifled myself from typing a more colorful metaphor.)

    First they came for the Jews, and I did nothing . . .

    Do something. That could be desultory, passive resistance or emigration to remnant America.

  • “”You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.””

    This is called white martyrdom. It may be called segregation. It is called taxation without representation. How can Andrew Cuomo represent his constituency, when he refuses to acknowledge their existence and sovereign citizenship, even as they constitute the state?
    Ostracism, also known as exile, and shunning were intended to drive evil from your midst, as called for by Moses and his law. This was mandated to maintain purity, innocence and virginity in the tribes of Israel. Innocence and purity are necessary virtues to deliver Justice. It is the duty of the state to deliver Justice. Therefore, it is the duty of the state to protect and provide for innocence and virginity. Here, Andrew Cuomo drives innocence and virginity away from our midst, making of the people a thoroughly criminal class unable to deliver Justice.
    Andrew Cuomo is an indecent and unjust man who ought to be impeached for not representing his constituency.

  • Paul W Primavera: “Andy and his father Mario are Catholic – pro-infanticide, pro-sexual perversion Catholics in public! They brag about it!”
    Andy and Mario Cuomo are wannabe pro-abortionists, wannabe homosexual sodomists. These are campaigning for the pro-abortion and pro homosexual sodomy vote and disenfranchising, disengaging and discarding their constituents. Pro-abortionists and pro-sodomists have already exiled themselves from the halls of Justice because vice and lust can never be changed into virtue and love. They have self-excommunicated themselves and probably do not receive Holy Communion. It is up to the Catholic parishioners to make sure that they do not.
    This is the end fruit of embracing: “I am personally opposed to abortion but I cannot impose my morality (or lack thereof) on anyone.” Read: “I do not do abortions and I do not commit sodomy but so, I must impose my vacuum on all of my constituents for the abortion and gay vote” Immorality imposed, constituents disavowed, bigotry enacted.

  • These are campaigning for the pro-abortion and pro homosexual sodomy vote and disenfranchising, disengaging and discarding their constituents.

    Well, if they keep winning elections, then it would seem they are not disenfranchising, disengaging and discarding their constituents, or at least not enough of them to lose office. Cesspools like NY, NJ and the Left Coast will remain what they are until those who feel marginalized “vote with their feet.” Although I would think that, politicians being what they are, the average Joe gets shafted while muckety mucks (who you would think would like to avoid such high-tax places) get back room deals to make it worth their while to stay.

  • There are the motives for the left’s long-running campaigns to control education and chuild-rearing (latest is all day pre-school); seize your guns; tax your income; and confiscate/regulate (how you use) your property.

    Gibbon “Decline and Fall . . . “ paraphrased: “An educated, well-informed populous, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince (despotism).”

  • T Shaw is correct. Democracy is the despotism of a simple majority ignorant of principle and intent on voting themselves bread and circuses, thus are Democrats like Mario and Andy Cuomo despots. Only in a Republic does T. Shaw’s educated, well-informed populous, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies exist. Today’s populous of Facebook, reality TV and gay sex promoting Grammy Awards is NOT that populous, but rather a people with whom the likes of Caligula would be most at home.

    I hate Democracy – two wolves and one sheep voting on what is for dinner. I love liberty – a well armed, well educated sheep contesting the vote.

    Democracy – the tail side of the coin whose head is Socialism.

    Liberty – freedom – is always contrary to both Democracy (dictatorship by the majority) and autocracy (dictatorship by an autocrat).

    Democracy – 1st Samuel chapter 8 in action.

  • My father had the great misfortune to work for Mario Cuomo, He thought Mario was an egomaniacal gas-bag, who shamelessly unleashed the powers of his office on anyone (and there were several of these people) who Mario did not like. Mario personally saw to the destruction of an industry that employed thousands of people. It was an industry for which New York State was famous. Mario did not like the people running the industry. So he wrecked it, and put thousands of people out of work, and left huge, rusting, unused buildings on the horizon.
    My father said he had exposure to Andrew the evil spawn. Andrew, “man of the people” that he is, yelled and screamed at a parking lot attendant at a NYS facility, for not recognizing the then 20-something lawyer as the “Governor’s son”. My father said Andrew did this in order to impress the senior NYS officials who were with him at the time. My father was not favorably impressed.
    The Cuomo’s are a bunch of filthy, oppressive, elitist scumbags, on both a political and personal level. I moved out of New York State a long time ago. Although I am generally regarded as “the stupid one” of all my parent’s children, the fact that I got out of New York before that greasy, loudmouthed slimeball Andrew took over gives me an automatic win when I am with my siblings. So I am grateful to the Cuomo clan for that, I suppose.
    Andrew Cuomo is certifiably insane. I have no doubt that he is going to take care of himself, and as he goes down the political toilet to dwell with the Eliot Spitzers and Anthony Wieners of this world, we will all simply pray for a second flush, to somewhat alleviate the stink he left behind.

  • Not that I want to pile on . . .

    But, you won’t see this anywhere in the media.

    A. Cuomo was head of US HUD late in the Clinton maladminsitration.

    I don’t know if he has had all the copies burned, but he misspent tax money to publish a big, glossy magazine type publication touting his vast achievements as US Housing Cappo di Cappi (spelling?).

    He controlled FNMA/FHLMC/GNMA/FHA. He dictated that the mortgage agencies (government sponsored entirprises) that 50% of their trillions of $$$ home loan purchases had to be to “low-to-moderate” income borrowers.

    The rest is history.

    A. Cuomo mightily helped inflate the housing bubble, crash, and the great recession.

  • The majority voting idiots of New York State elected the imbecilic Cuomo, just as the elected his father three times.

    I invite the good, observant Catholic New Yorkers and other pro life New Yorkers of any Christian belief to pack up and get the hell out of Cuomo’s empire. Policies enacted by the NYC majority have made the most of the rest of New York State an economic disaster.

    I dread the day when Philadelphia and its suburbs lord it over the rest of Pennsylvania as NYC and its burbs do to the rest of New York State. Ed $pendell was elected twice as Pennsylvania governor with his power base in Southeastern Pennsylvania and God help us if another Filthy-delphian pol takes the Governor’s Mansion.

  • Andrew Cuomo swore an oath to uphold the Constitution on inauguration day. For Andrew Cuomo to turn around and refuse to represent some of his constituents after swearing an oath to represent all of his constituents and after taking in the citizens’ tax money is more than bigotry, it is malfeasance in office, subject to impeachment.

  • Meanwhile, back in the Land of Lincoln, we have someone who appears to be a lakefront Chicago liberal Democrat in GOP clothing — gazillionaire Bruce Rauner — going all out to buy, I mean win, the Republican primary for governor by flooding the airwaves with campaign commercials and raking in huge campaign donations.

    For reasons that would take all day to explain, I really, REALLY don’t trust this guy and if the general election ends up being Rauner vs. incompetent, bumbling Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn, I refuse to vote for either. His signature issue is reining in state employee unions and abolishing (not just reforming, but abolishing) their pensions (which is a serious issue); never mind the fact that he made a substantial chunk of his fortune off of investing… wait for it… state employee pension funds!

    By the way, Rauner contributed LOTS of money to Ed “Spendell” just a few years ago and he’s a close enough buddy of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that their families have taken vacations together. Why he’s running as a Republican, I don’t know, unless he’s trying to make sure that the more socially conservative candidates (there are 3 others, at least 2 of whom are pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment) never get past the primary.

  • “we have someone who appears to be a lakefront Chicago liberal Democrat in GOP clothing — gazillionaire Bruce Rauner”

    You said it Elaine! His wife is a big time pro-abort. Each year she contributes $5,000.00 to Personal Pac, the pro-abort lobbying group in our state led by the fanatically anti-Catholic bigot Terry Cosgrove. Rauner’s ads manage to say precisely nothing. He is a perfect example of the one party, the Combine in John Kass’ immortal phrase, that dominate our state and use it as their personal piggy bank.

  • Meanwhile, back in the Land of Lincoln, we have someone who appears to be a lakefront Chicago liberal Democrat in GOP clothing — gazillionaire Bruce Rauner

    One gets the impression that if you all had Carol Mostly Fraud in the governor’s chair you wouldn’t have worse policy but the conduct of public business might be more amusing. Did her fiancee ever turn up or is he still on the lam?

  • Penguin’s Fan: the Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier, and Western New York have some abiding problems but otherwise the state is in passable condition. Cuomo was returned to office in 1990 because of the state GOP’s self-destructive stupidity, which is an abiding feature of political life in New York. The electorate was so fed up with him by 1994 that they put goodfella George Pataki in office.

    And Cuomo is not an imbecile, the voters are. They could not tolerate David Patterson, who is the only normal human being who has occupied the governor’s chair in the last 30 odd years; he retired in part because his poll numbers were wretched. They’ve spurned a number of class acts over three decades (Jacob Javits, Harry Wilson, and Herbert London to name three) in order to put the likes of Alphonse d’Amato, Charles Schumer, and George Pataki in office.

    As for Cuomo, ‘borderline psychopath’ might come closer to the mark.

  • Believe it or not Art she ran for mayor of Chicago in 2010 coming in fourth. She was evicted from her home in 2012. Mostly Fraud is the living embodiment of contemporary Illinois politics.
    As far as I known Kgosie Matthews is still in the never never realm where so many people who embarrass Democrat pols seem to end up.

  • She was evicted from her home in 2012.

    Well, then, she needs the work.

  • Haven’t we been hearing for years from ‘pro-abortion Catholic politicians’ that they have to represent all of their constituents? Governor Cuomo shows that ‘politically pious dribble’ to be an outright lie

  • In the interests of accuracy, Gov. Cuomo NEVER said that pro-lifers, etc. were “not welcome” or “should be excluded from civil society.” He said, in the context of a discussion of GOP politics in the state of New York, that they “had no place” there, and that “that’s not who New Yorkers are”. These statements are open to different interpretations, the most likely (and the one later confirmed by the governor himself) being that social conservatives “have no place” in the NYGOP because voters won’t vote for them. Which is, as I’ve said before, a sobering enough statement as it is. However, Fr. Barron doesn’t help his credibility by misquoting the guy.

  • (and the one later confirmed by the governor himself)

    Yeah, after he was caught. Cuomo, who is a very nasty piece of work, would put a bounty on the head of pro-lifers if he could.

  • Sorry Elaine, but the logical conclusion of Cuomo’s comments is that pro-lifers are not welcome in New York. Yes, technically the statement was about elected Republicans (or those who hope to be elected Republicans), but if pro-life Republicans are not welcome in the New York state GOP, then logically pro-lifers are without a representative voice, ergo they would be unwelcome in their own state.

  • ‘Tyranny in democratic republics … It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul.’
    Once the souls of ‘Christians’ are overcome, such as that of the lost governor, contagion rages, spreading deadly and insane symptoms of weak and mean character throughout society. The debates over what comprised the so called platform of the D party in the last ‘election’, for example, revealed the weak spot for such as the overcome heads of state to eliminate. Capitulation, apathy, ignorance, and fear keep the diseased overpaid and actively contagious, urging more to sell their souls.

  • Elaine, I submit to you that Fr. Barron wasn’t actually misquoting or taking him out of context. Also, my selection of de Tocqueville’s point about tyranny’s manifestation in a democratic republic is precisely supported by Cuomo’s original statement as well as the “clarification”. Let me line these up (hopefully the HTML works with me…):

    Cuomo: “if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are.”

    Cuomo clarification (per the statement excerpt at Politico): “If you read the transcript, it is clear that the Governor was making the observation that an extreme right candidate cannot win statewide because this is a politically moderate state.”

    Father Barron: “he said they should be actively excluded from civil society!”

    de Tocqueville: ” For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that.”

    Personally, I can see how the “clarification” has the veneer of making the statement appear less offensive…but to me, I still hear the hollow ring from the application of public relations spin. Maybe I’m jaded, but that’s why I’m looking to what a host of other more learned folk are saying, including Father Barron.

    First Things chief editor R.R. Reno observed when interviewed by National Catholic Register said this:

    “My predecessor [Father] Richard John Neuhaus has the answer: When orthodoxy is optional, it will eventually be prohibited. Put differently, when moral truths are made optional so as to be ‘inclusive,’ they will eventually be prohibited,” Reno told the Register.
    “Andrew Cuomo’s remarks are telling,” said First Things’ Reno. “Yes, they were off-the-cuff and shouldn’t be taken as thought out or programmatic. But they reflect a sometimes unconscious liberal intolerance. Everybody is welcome — as long as they’re liberals. I see it as a political expression of the ‘dictatorship of relativism.’”

    In that same article by Joan Frawley Desmond, George Weigel weighed in:

    “Father Neuhaus’s observation about optional orthodoxy becoming banned orthodoxy helps a bit in explaining the slippery slope from Mario Cuomo to Andrew Cuomo. But so does a lot of obviously ineffective catechesis and preaching,” Weigel told the Register.

    “Andrew Cuomo has often talked about the portrait of Thomas More in his office. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s playing Henry VIII (or at the very least, Thomas Cromwell), not More, in the drama of Albany.”

    And Desmond had linked to Michael Gerson at The Washington (com)Post:

    Cuomo has reached an advanced stage of political polarization: regarding one’s democratic opponents as unfit for democracy. I imagine the feeling will now (in some quarters) be returned. And so the spiral continues — sometimes leftward, sometimes rightward, ever downward.

    Then you have Rev. George W. Rutler over at Crisis Magazine comparing and contrasting Cuomo with Pliny the Younger (who persecuted Christians, contra Candida Moss’ “scholarship”):

    “He [Cuomo] did not threaten to throw anyone to wild beasts, but the tone of the governor of the Empire State was decidedly imperious, and the threat of having to move west of Hudson River might be unsettling to even the most devout Catholics.”

    I really think that the crux of the quotes, citations, and such is that Cuomo is exhibiting a social intolerance for certain types of thought. As a test, if you were to substitute, say, racism/slavery as the subject of Cuomo’s rant, I daresay virtually everyone here would be onboard with him. The Ku Klux Klan has effectively been marginalized in civil society, and that’s just and proper. But here, the same exercise is being applied to a significant minority of the state (and that same minority in New York represents various majorities elsewhere in the Union). Further, whereas the positions and views that the KKK can be regarded as objectively and morally wrong, the position and views of those, at the least, on the pro-life side are quite the opposite on the yardstick of merit. The point is that since Cuomo is unanchored from any apparent moral ground as a consequence of moral relativism, he can’t make any distinction between the two. Thus, the only consistent reaction he, like other progressives can take, is the superficial equivalence of treating pro-lifers, pro-Second Amendment types, and traditional marriage supporters.
    So I close with a final observation on James Madison from Gerson’s comments:

    While James Madison would not be surprised, he would not approve. “In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion,” he warned, “the rights of the minority are in danger.” A majority, he argued, can easily become a “faction,” seeking “illicit advantage.” This is dangerous in a democracy, not only because the rights of individuals are important but also because diversity of opinion balances factions against each other. Madison hoped that U.S. leaders would help check the passions of factions rather than inciting them for political advantage, so that “reason, justice and truth can regain their authority over the public mind.”

  • Editing fail:
    Thus, the only consistent reaction he, like other progressives can take, is the superficial equivalence of treating pro-lifers, pro-Second Amendment types, and traditional marriage supporters with legitimately wrong groups that should be excluded from civil society. Let me also add another de Tocqueville quote that I think is relevant here:

    Most religions are only general, simple, and practical means of teaching men the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. That is the greatest benefit that a democratic people derives from its belief, and hence belief is more necessary to such a people than to all others. When, therefore, any religion has struck its roots deep into a democracy, beware lest you disturb them; but rather watch it carefully, as the most precious bequest of aristocratic ages.

    This appears to be the source of the quote “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great”, frequently mis-attributed to de Tocqueville…which, while he didn’t write that, it still has the ring of truth to it.

  • “”Cuomo: “if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are.””
    Cuomo does not get to say who New Yorkers are. That is like telling a woman to get gender reassignment, or a man to get sterilized.

Lent in a Sinless Age

Wednesday, February 13, AD 2013

I have never much enjoyed Lent, of course the purpose of Lent is not enjoyment.  Repentance, mortification, fasting casts for me a gray pallor over this time of year.  Like many things in life I do not like, foul tasting medicine, judges who insist on strict adherence to the law, honest traffic cops, I benefit from Lent.  It reminds me of my sins and the necessity to amend my life.  This is especially good for me because we live in a sinless age.

Prior to say 1965, people enjoyed sinning just as much as we do, but most did not delude themselves about what they were doing.  Promiscuous sex was just as fun then as now, but few were able to convince themselves that what they were doing was not, deep down, wrong.  A trip to an abortionist might “solve” a small “problem”, but the destruction of human life that went on in an abortion was acknowledged by almost all.  Standards of morality, as even a cursory study of human history reveals, have often been ignored by men, but the standards remained.

Now we live in a new and glorious day!  If something is physically pleasant then there can be no sin about it.  Good and evil have been banished from our lexicons, to be replaced, at most, with “appropriate” or “inappropriate” behavior.  If over a million innocents have to die for one of our pleasures each year it is a “small” price to pay, and in any case we aren’t the ones paying the price.  Some of our friends find gratification in sexual behaviors that were near universally condemned a few decades ago?  Not a problem!   We will rewrite the laws to make their behaviors “appropriate” and give a hard time to those retrogrades who do not adjust their concepts of “appropriate” and “inappropriate” to match ours.  We will celebrate those with great wealth and seek to emulate their lives, no matter how squalid, unless they hold political opinions that are “inappropriate”.  We will create wealth out of thin air to care for the poor through that magical device known as “government”, the same poor that we would never personally lift a finger to aid.  Lies will cease to be lies if we wish to believe them, and the term lie will soon be banished in any case.  Too “judgmental”, the closest thing we have remaining to sin.

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14 Responses to Lent in a Sinless Age

  • A heads up to the Fr. Barron lovers out there ~ my comment may rub you the wrong way. Here goes nothing. I must say, I guess I can admire Fr. Barron’s ability to find and give Catholics a teaching moment from the series, “Rome”, which to my mind is nothing but soft-porn clothed in historical fiction. Heck, even my anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, non-religious sister won’t watch it because of its over the top sex scenes. He apparently watches it regularly as he mentioned a previous season. He must have the ability and confidence to filter out the parade of skin and sex.

    Whatever happened to a priest’s admonition of practicing ‘custody of the eyes’? Frankly, I would think what we’d be hearing from Fr. Barron, or any Catholic priest, that we shouldn’t watch the show, period. But then again, I’ve read recently that Fr. Barron isn’t so sure that many people are even in Hell. How disappointing to see where Fr. Barron is at these days and equally disappointing that his talks and sermons are so popular. I guess I can see why.

  • This thread is not going to devolve into a pointless back and forth on Father Barron. Such comments will be deleted by me. Perhaps we could all try to stay on point in the comboxes of TAC for Lent?

  • thanks for the mediatation which strikes at the heart of the modern culture and convicts many who live within it—including me. one question to show (and hopefully alleviate) my ingnorance: what are the sources of the quotes from the “wise men” in the article? i am guessing C. S. Lewis might be one but I would like to find out for sure so that I could have the chance of both reading and learning more. thank you again and wishing you a blesssed and healing Lenten season.

  • Fyodor Dostoevesky from The Grand Inquisitor story in The Brothers Karamazov. It was as if he had a vision of the shape of things to come for the next century and a half after his death:

    Correct as to CS Lewis. It is from Screwtape Proposes a Toast:

  • Have you all noticed how, in trying to abolish the concept of sin and replace it with “intolerance” that they point towards animal behavior to somehow justify their own? The argument they imply is that if animals do it, it must be natural, and if it’s natural it must not be a sin. How far we have sunk when the mating behavior of bonobos and penguins becomes that moral standard which rules our behavior.

  • Donald, thanks very much for the info on the references and links thereto.

  • “The great lie of our time, and the great despair, is that we are creatures merely of our appetites with transient, meaningless lives.” BOOM!!!!!

  • Interesting point to consider: Oswald Spengler held that Dostoevsky was true to the spirit of Christianity while Tolstoy was a mere Westerner. Tolstoy is a social engineer but Dostoevsky is Orthodox at heart.

  • My thoughts on this article: Amen Brother! Right is wrong and wrong is right.

  • Tolstoy was an absolutist theoretician, a Plato. Dostoevsky was more an Aristotle.

    Then again, Dostoevsky was probably insane.

    Or, if I could steal a concept from Chesterton (and I always do), no matter how crazy Dostoevsky was, he was grounded by an understanding of human nature. No matter how sane Tolstoy’s religion was, it was unhinged by Reason detached from humanity, even though it claimed to be purely human.

  • Pinky, that was wonderfully put! Yes, Tolstoy was certainly platonic. Dostoevsky knew the human heart better and perhaps consequently saw the world with an aristotelian eye. I was unaware Dostoevsky was insane, though it would seem to be Tolstoyn would be the one to lose it of the two!

  • It seems the same people that want to write a million laws taxing, regulating, or banning nearly every thing concomitantly believe there is no such a thing (except disagreeing with them) is a sin.

    Is that irony, or what?

    Here it is. They hate God and the Church because God and the Church stand in their way.

Feast Day of the Angelic Doctor

Monday, January 28, AD 2013


As a highly Pagan poet said to me: “The Reformation happened because people hadn’t the brains to understand Aquinas.” The Church is more immortally important than the State; but the State has its rights, for all that. This Christian duality had always been implicit, as in Christ’s distinction between God and Caesar, or the dogmatic distinction between the natures of Christ.
But St. Thomas has the glory of having seized this double thread as the clue to a thousand things; and thereby created the only creed in which the saints can be sane. It presents itself chiefly, perhaps, to the modern world as the only creed in which the poets can be sane. For there is nobody now to settle the Manichees; and all culture is infected with a faint unclean sense that Nature and all things behind us and below us are bad; that there is only praise to the highbrow in the height. St. Thomas exalted God without lowering Man; he exalted Man without lowering Nature. Therefore, he made a cosmos of common sense; terra viventium; a land of the living.
His philosophy, like his theology, is that of common sense.
He does not torture the brain with desperate attempts to explain existence by explaining it away. The first steps of his mind are the first steps of any honest mind; just as the first virtues of his creed could be those of any honest peasant.

G.K. Chesterton

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12 Responses to Feast Day of the Angelic Doctor

  • It is worth recalling Etienne Gilson’s comments on Chesterton’s biography of St Thomas.

    “I consider it as being without possible comparison the best book ever written on St. Thomas. Nothing short of genius can account for such an achievement. Everybody will no doubt admit that it is a “clever” book, but the few readers who have spent twenty or thirty years in studying St. Thomas Aquinas, and who, perhaps, have themselves published two or three volumes on the subject, cannot fail to perceive that the so-called “wit” of Chesterton has put their scholarship to shame. He has guessed all that which they had tried to demonstrate, and he has said all that which they were more or less clumsily attempting to express in academic formulas. “

  • Pingback: My Three Favorite Stories from the Life of St Thomas Aquinas | Big Pulpit
  • I have started Etienne Gilson’s Elements of Christian Philosophy. I will admit that it has been on the shelf for awhile. Just couldn’t get past the first chapter. Then, as a lark, I read it out loud. Ah, what a difference. Maybe I’ll try the same with Mr. Chesterton’s treatment of the Angelic Doctor. It’s been sitting awhile, too.

    Wasn’t it Stacy Trasancos that sighed longing for a relationship with the Catholic religion that went beyond the bookshelf?

  • One philosophic error of Aquinas, contrary to Chesterton, seems to be that he exhalted man while lowering God. Or that he at least opened the back door to humanism.

  • Not at all. Aquinas believed that God gave us our intellects by which we could understand much about Him. However he also understood that the human mind could never hope to entirely fathom God and that what the mind cannot understand the human heart often can. Near the end of his life Thomas had a mystical experience and stopped writing. He explained it to one of his fellow Dominicans:

    “I adjure you by the living almighty God, and by the faith you have in our order, and by charity that you strictly promise me you will never reveal in my lifetime what I tell you. Everything that I have written seems like straw to me compared to those things that I have seen and have been revealed to me.”

  • The critique I’ve come across is that Aquinas lacked a ‘high’ view of the Fall. He didn’t take into account the profound effect the Fall had on our intellect. This seems to have elevated nature on a par with grace to where nature would soon dethrone grace, i.e. the humanist ‘renaissance.’

  • Jon

    It is important to distinguish between St Thomas’s own teaching and that of some of his commentators, especially Suarez and his successors. They had talked of a “natural order,” governed by Natural Law, consisting of truths accessible to unaided human reason, as something that can be kept separate from the supernatural truths revealed in the Gospel. This “two-tier” account of nature and grace was based on this view that the addition of “grace” was something super-added to a human nature that was already complete and sufficient in itself and apart from any intrinsic human need.

    To rebut this misunderstanding of St Thomas was a central aim of the Nouvelle Théologie and united such such disparate thinkers as Blondel, Maréchal, the Dominicans, Chenu and Congar and the Jesuits, Lubac and Daniélou. Their central thesis was that the natural and the supernatural do not have utterly separate ends in and of themselves and that this is the teaching of St Thomas.

  • “The critique I’ve come across is that Aquinas lacked a ‘high’ view of the Fall.”

    “In this way the sin of the first parents is the cause of death and of all like defects in human nature. For the sin of the first parents removed original justice; through this not only were the lower powers of the soul held harmoniously under the control of reason but the whole body was subordinated to the soul without any defect…. Once, therefore, original justice was lost through the sin of the first parents, just as human nature was injured in soul by the disordering of the powers, so also it became corruptible by reason of the disturbance of the body’s order. (Summa Theologiae I-I1, 85, 5)”

    The Angelic Doctor used the imagery of wounds to liken the effect of original sin on human souls and human nature. I do not think that Aquinas viewed the Fall as anything but devastating when it came to its impact on Man.

  • There’s a line – it may in fact have been from Chesterton describing Thomists – that you learn more about them by reading their works than you learn about their subject. I don’t see how you could fault Aquinas for errors in emphasis without having a full picture of his thinking. Aquiring that picture would take at least a lifetime – but oh, what a life it would be.

  • My one problem with Chesterton’s book is that he set up Augustine and the Augustinians as the bad guys (or to put it better, the bearers of a less sane understanding). There may be truth in that. But I haven’t been able to reconcile it with the fact that the Dominicans were essentially an Augustinian order.

  • Chesterton didn’t like ambiguity or anything approaching a fideistic stance. So he would have held to that sentiment about Augustine. Chesterton liked that Aquinas affirmed the world and the mind and probably felt Augustine in some sense disparaged them both. But that was Chesterton–his personality and inclination.

  • St Augustine was a Platonist and, as Mgr Ronald Knox puts it, “The issue hangs on the question whether the Divine Fact is something given, or something to be inferred. Your Platonist, satisfied that he has formed his notion of God without the aid of syllogisms or analogies, will divorce reason from religion”

Father Barron Reviews For Greater Glory

Monday, September 10, AD 2012

The Blu Ray and DVD releases of For Greater Glory are coming out on September 11, 2012For Greater Glory tells the story of the Cristeros who bravely fought for religious freedom and the Church in the 1920s in Mexico.  I heartily recommend this film.  The above video is Father Robert Barron’s insightful review of the film.   (I believe he is too sanguine as to the effectiveness of purely non-violent movements in the face of regimes who don’t care how many people they kill, but that is a debate for another day.)   The below video has additional remarks by Father Barron on the film.  Go here for my review of the film.

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12 Responses to Father Barron Reviews For Greater Glory

  • Thank you, Donald! I watched Fr. Barron’s first video above, but it’s now time to shower to go to “Neutrons ‘R Us” and be productive. But I just wanted to say that while I am among the first to advocate that our Second Amendment protests the First, maybe there is something to Jesus’ rebuke against the sons of thunder for wanting to call down an air strike against those unrepentant villages of yore. True – not the same situation as the Cristeros, but victory is through the Cross and always has been. I will still, however, keep my mini-14 in good working order lest, Heaven forbid, we ourselves in America face our own Plutarco Elias Calles. God bless!

  • Opps – protects, NOT protests! Darn fat fingers on iPad keyboard!

  • Christ was never interested in politics Paul, or any of the more mundane matters that must concern us. The truth is that Christianity has been effectively exterminated by force in many regions of the planet throughout history. The examples cited by Father Barron, Gandhi and King, would have been completely useless in the face of totalitarian regimes. One can imagine the short shrift that Gandhi would have received if the Nazis had ultimately conquered the British Empire for example. Traditionally the Church has understood both the need for priests and soldiers and I stand by that traditional wisdom.

    “And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,

    And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.”

  • “One can imagine the short shrift that Gandhi would have received if the Nazis had ultimately conquered the British Empire for example.”

    Sounds like you may have read Harry Turtledove’s “The Last Article.”

    One of the grimmer short stories from his oeuvre.

  • Thought so. 🙂

    Great, insightful alternate history that rings wholly true.

    Sure, the tyrant can repent in the face of non-violence, but he has to accept the legitimacy of that tactic in the first place. He has to have a conscience, and it has to be a lot like yours.

    Speaking of grim Turtledove ruminations, I just re-read “Ready for the Fatherland” last night–my wife found it in storage. A helpful reminder that one of the greatest assets to the Allied cause in wartime was Hitler’s armchair generalship.

  • Gandhi’s advice to the Jews in Germany prior to World War 2:

    “Can the Jews resist this organized and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not to feel helpless, neglected and forlorn? I submit there is. No person who has faith in a living God need feel helpless or forlorn. Jehovah of the Jews is a God more personal than the God of the Christians, the Musalmans or the Hindus, though, as a matter of fact in essence, He is common to all the one without a second and beyond description. But as the Jews attribute personality to God and believe that He rules every action of theirs, they ought not to feel helpless. If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment . And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can. Indeed, even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany, they can bring no inner joy, no inner strength. The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the god fearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep.”

    Gandhi’s belief in non-violence admitted no failure, even if all the people attempting it were massacred. I assume the Jews found this letter cold comfort indeed, as the more perceptive among them no doubt realized that a massacre on an unbelievable scale was where the Nazi anti-Semitic policies were heading.

  • Toleration, passive aggressive-resistance and non-violent resistance.

    Being sued and penalized for practicing my freedom of religion is not toleration. Government is the servant of the sovereign person. Toleration of freedom by the government is the enslavement of the sovereign person. Freedom comes from God, our “Creator”.

    Government is constituted by its constituents to celebrate the freedom of its constituents, to protect, to guard and to do combat for the freedom of its constituents. Toleration of the freedom of religion by the individuals who constitute government is totalitarianism. Non-violent resistance is labeled “passive aggressive resistance” by a government that is no longer government, but dictatorship. The dictatorship says: “I will let you…have some of your rational, immortal soul”. The dictatorship says: “You did not build that”.

    Government says: “God built that”.

    Paul W. Primavera: May your “fat fingers” continue to comment.

    Donald McClarey: “Traditionally the Church has understood both the need for priests and soldiers and I stand by that traditional wisdom.” “You shall not stand idly by while your neighbor’s life is in jeopardy.”

  • I think Fr. Barron’s priase of those who didn’t directluy participate in the fighting and writing off the combatants as merely “well intentioned” rather silly when you consider the fat that the young boy who has since been beatified was a comabatant and those who didn’t directly participate did what they did in support of the Crsteros combatants.

  • The Crusades were ordered by the reining Pope. The Crusades were not a non violent response to the Muslims. The Church gave the world the just war concept. So much for non violence.

  • In non-violence, the purpose of which is to instruct people with the reality of the human being’s immortal soul, Ghandi said: the scripture: “an eye for an eye”, will make the whole world blind. The law was written to save some of the eyes in the world. When Jesus told Peter to put down the sword, Peter was already an ordained priest, since the Last Supper, just as Father Barron is an ordained priest, who belongs to the church, first and to the people second. Lay people serve as armed forces and may, God forbid, die by the sword. Non-violence does not repudiate armed force. Armed force repudiates violence.

Solidarity and the Welfare State

Thursday, August 23, AD 2012

An interesting look at Paul Ryan by Father Barron based upon the twin poles of Catholic social teaching:  subsidiarity and solidarity.  It is easy to see how the welfare state, consolidating ever more power in the central government, is destructive of subsidiarity.  What is often overlooked however, is how destructive the welfare state tends to be also of solidarity.

1.  A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them.  We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash.  Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

2.  A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy.  Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

3.  As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

4.  By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

5.  Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women.  The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society.

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15 Responses to Solidarity and the Welfare State

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  • It is remarkable how rapidly the main social functions of the family have been transferred to the state. Until 1745, here in Scotland, north of Stirling, justice, production and consumption, education, health were almost entirely the responsibility of the family, especially the extended family, the sept or clan. In the Lowlands, the burghs were, effectively, petty republics, governed by the incorporations or guilds and, in the countryside, the laird and his barony court and the minister and elders in the kirk-session, were the effective government. A very good example of subsidiarity and solidarity working together.

  • Nicely done. I would just add a few thoughts.

    The danger for us as critics, I believe, is to so dislike the welfare state that we disconnect from the principle of solidarity altogether. While I am extremely reluctant to count government mandated redistributionism as any kind of charity and question its virtues in many ways, I do think in solidarity we must recognize our “sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone”. So your question as to what replaces the welfare state must be fully answered, I think, before it can be replaced.


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  • Here’s a charitable man.

    From Bay Times which just fact-checked it.

    “In July 1996, the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain Capital, had disappeared,” the story reads. “She had attended a rave party in New York City and gotten high on ecstasy. Three days later, her distraught father had no idea where she was. Romney took immediate action. He closed down the entire firm and asked all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find Gay’s daughter. Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott and hired a private detective firm to assist with the search. He established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with the NYPD, and went through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain did business with in New York and asked them to help find his friend’s missing daughter. Romney’s accountants at Price Waterhouse Cooper put up posters on street poles, while cashiers at a pharmacy owned by Bain put fliers in the bag of every shopper. Romney and the other Bain employees scoured every part of New York and talked with everyone they could – prostitutes, drug addicts – anyone.

    “That day, their hunt made the evening news, which featured photos of the girl and the Bain employees searching for her. As a result, a teenage boy phoned in, asked if there was a reward, and then hung up abruptly. The NYPD traced the call to a home in New Jersey, where they found the girl in the basement, shivering and experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a massive ecstasy dose. Doctors later said the girl might not have survived another day. Romney’s former partner credits Mitt Romney with saving his daughter’s life, saying, ‘It was the most amazing thing, and I’ll never forget this to the day I die.’”

    That is my Romney reverse detraction for today.

  • You are giving Romney too much credit, T. Shaw. It was of little consequence for Romney to make this easy gesture. First, he is rich so it doesn’t count. Second, the closure of his firm was hardly a sacrifice since the government that built it no doubt continued to run it. Finally, the real hero was government in the form of the NYPD, which plainly would have found the girl eventually.

  • 1. A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them. We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash. Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

    The public housing authority, the child protective apparat, the ‘family services apparat’, state asylums and sanitoriums, and the public schools require a great deal of manpower. Insurance, voucher, and cash transfer programs, not so much.

    2. A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy. Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

    More precisely, increases economic sclerosis. France has a particularly serious case.

    3. As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

    Yes, but what often divides these two classes is a position in the life-cycle. I suspect you would find occupational factors, cultural factors, and social-psychological factors more important in influencing voting behavior.

    4. By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

    True, but a great deal of the problem is not common provision per se but poorly structured incentives incorporated into the existing programs.

    5. Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women. The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society.

    True of AFDC and like problems. The thing is, AFDC turned out to have a permissive influence on this sort of behavior. It was not much of a motor of it and the reduction in the size of welfare rolls has not been accompanied by improvements in family maintenance.

    6. Welfare benefits tend to foster a sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to tolerate any diminution of such benefits for the common good, even when a country is careening toward bankruptcy.

    There is a good deal of truth to that with regard to benefits for the elderly. The trouble is, the elderly are the least able to adjust to changes in economic circumstances. You do not really see much in the way of mobilization of the non-elderly poor. The resistance you’re seeing comes from the delivery apparat and from the brokering politicians.

    7. Welfare states tend to involve ever-increasing domination of society by those who write the rules that govern the welfare state and administer it. Rather than societies governed by debate and compromise, government diktat becomes the order of the day.

    Aaron Wildavsky would have disagreed with you. He said the hallmark of contemporary political society was bureaucracy without authority.

    It increasingly seems Congress is incapable of accomplishing anything at all.

    8. Welfare states, because of their scope and power, inevitably threaten basic human freedoms. The HHS mandate, devised by President Obama for a cheap political advantage this election year, is a prime example.

    More precisely, they are one vector among many that acts to diminish independence of mind and self-confident discretion on the part of both the man in the street and local politicians.

    9. Welfare states dull the desire of people to engage in charitable activities, and take ever greater sums from the populations they exist upon, depleting the funds available for charity.

    This is true to a point, but often welfare bureaucracies and private charity are addressing somewhat different sets of problems. One is not a substitute for the other.

    10. Solidarity is possible only in societies which view their people as adults, capable of working together for the common good. Welfare states tend to view populations as clients who must be led into paths that the controllers of the welfare states deem desirable.


    One of the great questions of this century will be what comes after the welfare states, which are manifestly dying. The beginning of an answer would be to consider what contributes in a society to true solidarity and what does not.

  • MP: Thanks.

    St. Melanie (my wife) thinks I had a bad day. On the contrary, it was a good day. I didn’t get shot when, within a minute of when I was and a hundred yards of me, 10 were less lucky. You don’t hear the one that hits you.

    Even better, I learned that it’s a blessing to vote for the 100% pro-abortion incumbent prez and VP candidates because Romney’s so-called Catholic running mate is objectively evil: he’s only 98% pro-life.

  • Sending up a prayer for your deliverance T.Shaw and for those who were not so fortunate.

  • Thank you, Mac.

    Recalls that we do not know the hour or day.

    The Blessed Virgin Mary and my sainted mother in Heaven, obviously, have prayed and interceded for me these many years.

    Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it know that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you O virgin of Virgins, my Mother. To You I come. Before You I stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate despise not my petitions but in Your Mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

  • It is reasonable to oppose Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc. because they are used by those who embrace socialistic government control of the economy.

    Social Security (retirement) has been a systematic looting of alleged “retirement benefits” by the federal government. There is no respect for private property and the level at which the secular leaning government that is involved is too high, and prone to corruption. Retention by the individual of ownership of the funds, if we are to require a set aside of funds would be allowing the individual retain his money for himself and his family for their benefit and for their use in the society, including supporting and helping the poor.

    Other programs, such as unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. as currently used are designed not to help the recipients, but to enslave in a cynic manner for retention of power. In addition, as we see in the current administration, whether it be the “freedom to worship,” denial of Catholic agencies to provide adoption services (to this children not murdered by abortion), denial of Catholic agencies to assist victims of the international slave trade because they won’t provide or promote intrinsic evils and the HHS mandates, the exercise of the state of solidarity by the provision of unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. is designed, implicitly, to marginalize the role of Faith in the society. The Church, and other believers, need to say that the so-called “welfare” state has failed and that even if the faith-communities provisions of unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. is lacking, it is much better in the long run for both the physical and spiritual needs of those members of the Body of Christ that are in need. Unfortunately this is an all or nothing proposition because the once the politicians get a nose under the tent, they are an 800 lb. bully. In the area of solidarity services, you cannot be a little pregnant with State. (Additionally, it is likely that the absence of the Leviathan, would allow for greater marketplace rewards that could be used to either employ others or help the truly needy.)

    The absence of government in the provision of these services, in this digital age, would be a blessing because it would require those members of the Church, who support the coercive solidarity of the state to stand and be counted and support the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) and not the State. Supporting the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) is not a matter of charitable deductions; it is a central obligation of the Faithful to support the mission of the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) and not for the benefit of a tax return.

    Given the history of failures of the socialist-based policies of the so-called Progressives through the New Deal, the Great Society to the present, I think the most cogent moral position is that for a country the size and complexity of ours that the coercive solidarity of the state has been a failure and should be rejected and abandoned.

    A closing note, by way of a simple and simplistic example of the failure of the coercive solidarity of the state; the “Head Start” program has since its inception cost the taxpayers of the USA approximately $160 billion dollars (or 1% of the current national debt) and it has never demonstrated any measurable long-term beneficial effect on the society or to those to which is was directed, yet the socialist left refuses to accept this and demands more money to “make it work.” The principal here is power and its retention, and not the provision of any benefit to which is was directed and that is why this, and so much else of the coercive solidarity is in conflict with the Church’s teaching of subsidiarity.

    N.B. The portion of the national debt relating Head Start is for one failed program, imagine if all of the failed programs were eliminated and what the national debt would be? What amount of private capital and income could in the society and from which faithful Catholics could, in the true and faithful spirit of solidarity and subsidiarity could be directed, effectively by Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) to those needy and less fortunate in our society.

    Pray for me as I pray for you.

  • There is another reason to oppose many (most? all?) government “social welfare” programs (and many other things as well, like art endowments, etc) If Oskari Juurikkala is correct in his analysis of Social Security and fertility rates, then Social Security is one of the last things the Church and other pro-lifers want to have around. (Making Kids Worthless, found at

    I have also read that public education is also correlated with fewer children (and homeschooling correlated with having more), but I don’t have much information on that. That information came to me from “There’s No Place Like Work” by Brian Robertson.

  • Yesterday a young woman who had had a minor accident came into the office some two months after the accident, claiming that she needed disability as she had lost her job and still had pain from the accident. Her exam was normal. A refusal to give her disability provoked a hostile sarcastic remark. Last week a male and female “significant other” couple wanted disability for her severe muscle pain. Her exam was normal. Refusal to give disability was followed by the couple’s disapointed exit with the female partner abandoning her slouched painful gait in favor of a brisk walk. A man paid by the state to administer insulin to his somewhat developmentally delayed wife failed to do so and still recieved payments. His excuse? “we were moving to a new apartment”. I could go on and on. What will become of our nation when the receptees of largesse from the state outnumber taxpayers? Sol Olinski knows.

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Real Freedom Isn’t Something Caesar Can Give or Take Away

Friday, July 6, AD 2012




Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops had a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.


Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.


The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

At the closing mass for the Fortnight of Freedom on July 4, 2012 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Archbishop Charles Chaput delivered this homily on freedom:



Philadelphia is the place where both the Declaration of Independence and the  United States Constitution were written. For more than two centuries, these  documents have inspired people around the globe. So as we begin our reflection  on today’s readings, I have the privilege of greeting everyone here today — and  every person watching or listening from a distance — in the name of the Church  of my home, the Church of Philadelphia, the cradle of our country’s liberty and  the city of our nation’s founding. May God bless and guide all of us as we  settle our hearts on the word of God.

Paul Claudel, the French poet and diplomat of the last century, once  described the Christian as “a man who knows what he is doing and where he is  going in a world [that] no longer [knows] the difference between good and evil,  yes and no. He is like a god standing out in a crowd of invalids. … He alone has  liberty in a world of slaves.”

Like most of the great writers of his time, Claudel was a mix of gold and  clay, flaws and genius. He had a deep and brilliant Catholic faith, and when he  wrote that a man “who no longer believes in God, no longer believes in  anything,” he was simply reporting what he saw all around him. He spoke from a  lifetime that witnessed two world wars and the rise of atheist ideologies that  murdered tens of millions of innocent people using the vocabulary of science. He  knew exactly where forgetting God can lead.

We Americans live in a different country, on a different continent, in a  different century. And yet, in speaking of liberty, Claudel leads us to the  reason we come together in worship this afternoon.

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3 Responses to Real Freedom Isn’t Something Caesar Can Give or Take Away

  • In Henry VIII’s England, persons were persecuted and put to death in body for their adherence to the Catholic Church. In present day America, principles are being eradicated to dumb the souls and minds of the people. Purposely, the principles of freedom and truth are being obliterated. Instead of killing people’s bodies, here in America, people’s principles are being killed. Our Constitution is the only one outside of the Vatican City State that guarantees freedom.

  • The Supreme Court for the United States of America and its Justices are the dispensers of Divine Justice, according to the Freedom ENDOWED BY OUR “Creator”. Freedom created and endowed by God belongs to each and every person. Atheists and secular humanists repudiating TRUTH and all of TRUTH’S facets repudiate endowed FREEDOM and impose their non-beliefs, which are rejected by believers, to hide their errors.
    No God-given freedom intents to offend. If offense is taken, those offended are mistaken. Every word spoken or thought about God is intended for the good of every person ever created. For the atheist to say that she is offended by the gift of being remembered before God is untenable. The atheist enjoys the Freedom endowed by God but refuses to acknowledge God as the Creator and giver of the gift of Freedom. If the atheist truly embraced atheism, he would remain silent for the freedom of speech is from God.
    In the 1990 Smith case the Supreme Court said that it “tolerates” God’s gift of freedom, Religious Liberty. Justice requires the Supreme Court to acknowledge the gift of freedom created and endowed by our Creator. What the Supreme Court said in 1990 Smith was that the Supreme Court “tolerates” persons with religious Liberty. I guess that that is a good thing if the people can “tolerate” the Supreme Court’s unequal Justice for all.

  • What is there in the HHS mandate to protect the sovereignty of the Vatican City State, the sovereignty of the Vatican’s Catholic Churches and the sovereignty of the parishioners of the Vatican’s Catholic Churches?
    The redefinition of Freedom of Religion to freedom of worship does not redefine sovereignty. Sovereign immunity, like diplomatic immunity, exempts persons from obeying an injunction or participating in a mandate that violates their sovereignty. The sovereignty of the person extends to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution that cannot force a person to testify against himself. If a sovereign person cannot incriminate himself, how can he be penalized by the HHS mandate for preserving his sovereignty?
    Obama has vowed to seize all private property in Executive Order 13575 Rural Councils and attached the 32 Czars in his cabinet to enforce this order. Order 11004 gives Obama the power to relocate people. EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders. Obama does not get to redefine the authority of the Department of Justice.

Fortnight For Freedom Day 2: Martyrs for the Liberty of the Church

Friday, June 22, AD 2012


The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”

Sir Winston Churchill



Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the second of these blog posts.

June 22, is the feast day of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher, the two great martyrs of the Church who died for the liberty of the Church when King Henry VIII, in order to secure a divorce, sundered the Catholic Church in England from the Catholic Church and placed this new Anglican Church under his control.  Throughout her history the Church has stood foursquare against the attempts by governments to exercised domination over her, and More and Fisher were two in a very long line of martyrs who have died fighting against such attempts.

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day 2: Martyrs for the Liberty of the Church

  • ‘ … We are commanded by Christ to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s. Pope Benedict on September 17, 2010, while visiting England, reflected upon Saint Thomas More and the liberty of the Church: ‘

    ‘ … The liberty of the Church and religious freedom are our birthrights as Catholics and as Americans. Eternal vigilance and prompt action in defense are ever necessary to safeguard these treasures. … ‘ Donald MacClarey


    ‘ … but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.” ‘ Sir Winston Churchill

    Would these “c”atholics, who bash and betray their Lord ( who is in their churches and the deposit of their faith for them ), with their heartless ways of detraction, mocking, and turned backs, begin to do the same with Caesar and one another when that is what’s left for them? Will their media, the LCWR, the liberal naysaying clergy, Mr. GS and crew of hired hands, and their government parties legislate, order, and report spiritual comfort to fill the deadly emptiness of having none?

    If only they could take a step to lift up their hearts to God, who waits, their funerals, weddings, baptisms and holidays (Holy Days) could start wonder at the mysteries of their lives (first, of course) and God in His Ways.

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Father Barron and Edmund Burke on Atheism

Sunday, February 26, AD 2012



We know, and it is our pride to know, that man is by his constitution a religious animal; that atheism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts; and that it cannot prevail long. But if, in the moment of riot, and in a drunken delirium from the hot spirit drawn out of the alembic of hell, which in France is now so furiously boiling, we should uncover our nakedness, by throwing off that Christian religion which has hitherto been our boast and comfort, and one great source of civilization amongst us, and amongst many other nations, we are apprehensive (being well aware that the mind will not endure a void) that some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading superstition might take place of it.

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9 Responses to Father Barron and Edmund Burke on Atheism

  • In Obama We Trust


    Obama Bless America

    We swear on our sacred Obama . . .

    I love my master . . .

    Stop me!

  • Atheism – the easy way out.

  • The American Catholic The finite mind cannot comprehend the Infinite Mind. The sovereign being cannot comprehend the Supreme Sovereign Being. If there were two Supreme Sovereign Beings, neither would be Supreme. There can be only ONE Supreme Sovereign Being or each will preempt the other as the word” Supreme” implies.
    There is no way a finite mind will comprehend an Infinite Mind because the finite mind does not have the capacity to encompass and make his own, the intimate knowledge of an infinite nature. There is no way a finite mind can be offended by an Infinite Mind, because of the lack of information needed to make an informed consent. Unless the finite mind perjured itself and pretended to know, the finite mind can only know what the Infinite Mind instills in it. Therefore, since God is not offended by Himself, neither can man be offended by God. God instills only love in man’s finite mind.
    The devil, created as Lucifer, the Great Angel of Light is a creature with a finite mind having had a beginning and needing to be created. Lucifer rebelled against the Infinite, Supreme Sovereign Being, our Creator, without the knowledge of WHO God really is. Lucifer made war against God without knowing WHO IS LIKE UNTO GOD. Lucifer lies and murders the soul of man. Lucifer does not know God, yet, Lucifer promises to make Adam and Eve, already created as finite human beings into Infinite Human Beings. A pretty good trick since Lucifer himself is not infinite. WHO is like unto God.
    Almighty God adopts the children of men and makes of us children of God and, as his children, almighty God refers to man as “lesser gods”. God does not change the nature of man as Lucifer promised to do. God accepts man as his children and loves us forever.
    Militant factions have demanded legal equality under the law and have successfully achieved their goals. Among these are atheists, homosexuals and feminists. And now, they are MORE equal than the body of people. The atheist denies to ALL men the freedom to acknowledge almighty God, our Creator, who endows men with freedom and creates men equal. The atheist denies to all men the infused immortal soul. Man’s immortal, rational soul makes of man the crown of God’s creation. Atheism makes of man despair and hopelessness, property of the state, soulless, powerless and servile. The homosexual militants practicing psychiatry have foisted arrested development as “normal” on the medical profession. The radical feminists have emasculated our culture. Militant feminists have refused to be feminine and have refused to allow other women to be feminine. So, women are acting out, appearing in public naked to prove that they are female, rather than neuter. Men, too, are acting out in violence to prove that they are not neuter, murdering other people, raping and vandalizing. Some people are teaching trans-genderism in public school to prove that they are not neuter.
    Man’s immortal soul and his human dignity is denied to us by our current interpretation of rights, giving to atheists the freedom to tyrannize, to deny the same freedom to all people. The freest soul among us is the newly begotten sovereign person in the womb when two become one. This free soul has no moral or legal guilt, is endowed with virtue and has the gift of virginity. This free soul is hunted down and aborted, killed by his parents, neutered to make him equal to the atheists. The free will choice by the atheist has denied the American citizen his free will right to acknowledge God, our Creator, the freedom to express his immortal soul through response to the gift of Faith from God in speech, press and peace.
    The atheist uses “our Creator endowed UNALIENABLE rights” to deny to others the self-same “our Creator endowed UNALIENABLE rights”. To paraphrase Pope John Paul II “When one person is denied human rights all persons are denied human rights.” When that one Person is the Person of God and the nation is America, every citizen is a victim of the anti-Christ. It is time for a renewal of the Spirit of ’76.

  • and speaking of superstitions again: Superstition in the Supremacy of TRUTH is Catholic. If it is not true, than it is a lie. The infallibility of the Truth is Catholic. Moral relativism is like wandering in the desert. We know where we are to go but we do not know how to get there. Moral relativism is a map to nowhere, a map to more moral relativism and more relativism and finally to being nowhere. God bless us one and all…from a Christmas Carol

  • Very true Atheism has become the opium of the masses

  • I actually liked the bus sign campaign by atheists precisely because it wasn’t directly anti-religion (i.e., it did not bash any particular religion to make its point). If religious adverts were like political campaigns, these ads would clearly not be considered a negative/attack ad.

  • The superstition of religion brings comfort and has calmed some groups while causing friction and killing among others. Our instincts do seek this kind of ease but reason creates doubts. Reason and close communication can ulitimately bring peace to our species. I wish I had the comfort of “the gift of faith” but it was not given to me.

  • There is a difference between superstition and true religion as revealed by God Frank. It is one of the key teachings of the Catholic Church that faith and reason are completely compatible. God is always extending the gift of faith to us, but we have to accept that gift. Some of the greatest saints in the Catholic Church have struggled with their acceptance of that gift. A prime example is Saint Augustine who possessed one of the sharpest intellects of his day, or any day. Good luck on your journey.

Father Barron Explains What the Obama Administration Means by “Freedom of Worship”

Monday, February 20, AD 2012


Ashley Samelson McGuire of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty noted the use of the term “Freedom of Worship” rather than the usual “Freedom of Religion” by Obama back in 2010 in several speeches:

Freedom of worship” first appeared in a high profile speech in Obama’s remarks at the memorial for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting last November, a few months after his Cairo speech. Speaking to the crowd gathered to commemorate the victims, President Obama said, “We’re a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses.” Given the religious tension that marked the tragic incident, it was not an insignificant event at which to unveil a new way of referring to our First Freedom.

Shortly after his remarks at Ft. Hood, President Obama left for his trip to Asia, where he repeatedly referred to “freedom of worship,” and not once to “freedom of religion.”

Not long after his return, “freedom of worship” appeared in two prominent speeches delivered by Secretary Clinton. In her address to Georgetown University outlining the Obama Administration’s human rights agenda she used “freedom of worship” three times, “freedom of religion,” not once. About a month later, in an address to Senators on internet freedom at the Newseum, the phrase popped up in her lingo once again.

To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling.
The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves—yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.


Those who would limit religious practice to the cathedral and the home are the very same people who would strip the public square of any religious presence. They are working to tear down roadside memorial crosses built to commemorate fallen state troopers in Utah, to strip “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and they recently stopped a protester from entering an art gallery because she wore a pro-life pin.

The effort to squash religion into the private sphere is on the rise around the world. And it’s not just confined to totalitarian regimes like Saudi Arabia. In France, students at public schools cannot wear headscarves, yarmulkes, or large crucifixes. The European Court of Human Rights has banned crucifixes from the walls of Italian schools. In Indonesia, the Constitutional Court is reviewing a law that criminalizes speech considered “blasphemous” to other faiths. Efforts to trim religion into something that fits neatly in one’s pocket is the work of dictators, not democratic leaders. So why then have our leaders taken a rhetorical scalpel to the concept of religious freedom?

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9 Responses to Father Barron Explains What the Obama Administration Means by “Freedom of Worship”

  • Going back to the founding principles of The Declaration of independence, we read that all men are created equal and endowed by our CREATOR. By causing a vacuum in the religious expression of Faith, Obama pretends to become our savior. Obama pretends to become our savior on two fronts 1) by imposing himself as a remedy to fill a need for God for his constitutents, while Obama has employed his power to render God incommunicato and ostracized. a giant fraud 2) by imposing himself as the only interpretation of our founding principles, The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Both must be ratified by two-thirds of the states for any change to be lawful. Obama violates his constituency by denying their conscience rights and free will. Obama violates the First Amendment by refusing to permit his constitutents freedom to exercise their conscience and free will. “One person cannot own another person” A. Lincoln. It is called slavery. Obama has created hell on earth and he calls it change. but there is hope. I will vote for Santorum in the next election.

  • If Obama wins, then the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are gone. Expect to see Bishops and Priests imprisoned for refusing to support HHS, and Catholic laity fired from their jobs on the pretext of being terrorists because they are pro-life. Just watch TV and see how pro-life people are routinely referred to as terrorists. This is all a part of the programming done by the main stream media for Obama.

  • Paul
    The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution must be taught in our public schools, every day and in every class.

  • I think the switch to “freedom of worship” and the Obama’s other anti-religious attitudes may be partly because of its pro-homosexuality attitude. The Obama administration is committed to advancing homosexuality worldwide and does not want religious objections to get in the way. Since some objections are based on religion, and allowing “freedom of religion” could hinder the administration’s homosexual goals, “freedom of religion” must be curtailed.

  • My goodness, I have to invest in a company that makes fainting couches. In a world full of real problems the ones that people invent are awfully stupid. You people seriously need to get a grip on reality.

  • Reserve one of your fainting couches for yourself come election night Gus. I suspect you are going to need it.

  • Homosexual filth, murder of the unborn and contraception are very real problems and until these are dealt with, we can expect all the other problems of society to continue to become greater and greater until society itself collapses. This November we have a chance to help in stopping that sad decline. Unfortunately, too many people want social justice and the common good without personal righteousness and holiness. That’s not how God made the universe to work.

  • The most effective solution to the real problems ruining America is to vote out Obama and all dems.

    Remember in November.

  • 12:42: That statement about problems and reality works two ways.

Father Barron on the HHS Mandate

Thursday, February 9, AD 2012

Over at National Review Online, Father Robert Barron has, as usual, a perceptive take on what the HHS Mandate means:

The secularist state wants Catholicism off the public stage and relegated to a private realm where it cannot interfere with secularism’s totalitarian agenda. I realize that in using that particular term, I’m dropping a rhetorical bomb, but I am not doing so casually. A more tolerant liberalism allows, not only for freedom of worship, but also for real freedom of religion, which is to say, the expression of religious values in the public square and the free play of religious ideas in the public conversation. Most of our founding fathers advocated just this type of liberalism. But there is another modality of secularism — sadly on display in the current administration — that is actively aggressive toward religion, precisely because it sees religion as its primary rival in the public arena.

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6 Responses to Father Barron on the HHS Mandate

  • This is about the 7th time Obama has bared his fangs over the last three years. Hopefully, this time, people will understand what he is.

  • O Lord, this November, ” . . . deliver us from evil.”

  • Good thing for the Lord’s Prayer – there’s always just what we need to say to Our Father.

  • To me, this is exactly what is Obama’s Agenda : “…Catholicism off the public stage and relegated to a private realm where it cannot interfere with secularism’s totalitarian agenda”. Since be believes American Catholics are not committed to their Church’s Teachings, he hopes the objections of the Church will result in a split in the Church. Those pseudo Catholics who sides with him, will ensure he is re-elected and the remnant of the faithful Church will be so weak as not to threaten his totalitarian agenda. Hitler took the same route, too.

  • Think of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemani suffering bitter agony for our sins.

    I desire true repentance for my sins.

Bringing Tim Tebow & Others To The Fullness of Truth That Is The Catholic Church

Wednesday, December 14, AD 2011

A very interesting debate broke out recently following my article on the attacks Denver Quarterback Tim Tebow is coming under from militant liberal secularists concerning his public displays of faith. Catholic writer David L Gray wrote this piece and of course there have been many others. The debate shifted to Tim Tebow’s father who is an Evangelical leader and who takes missionary groups to Catholic countries like the Philippines so the people can “Hear the Gospel.” These kinds of statements either make Catholics laugh or get them angry. Whenever I hear these groups say that they are taking the Gospel into Catholic countries I think we should all say, “We have been preaching the Gospel since before the Canon of the Bible came to be,” or “When did your church start?  Actually, we have been under the same management for 2,000 years.” The crux of the matter is how do we willingly lead people to a place we think they most certainly want to go?

I have always found that outside of a few fundamentalist crackpots, most Evangelicals respect us when we humbly but boldly tell them about Church History, Apostolic Succession, the Real Presence and other Sacraments. Why? They sincerely want to know all they can about Jesus and with the aforementioned they aren’t even getting the Readers Digest version let alone the Fullness of Truth.

In some ways Evangelicals are the low hanging fruit of the religious world. They are eager people who want to know Jesus and boy can we show them Jesus. What about the Catholic Church Abuse scandals some say; shouldn’t that prevent them from coming home to Rome? Evangelicals are familiar with scandals, in many ways they have a belief that if a scandal brews it is the work of the devil and where the devil is you know that somewhere nearby the Gospel is being preached, otherwise the devil wouldn’t be there. The devil doesn’t waste his time fighting against with fluff, because fluff never saved souls. I dare say that some Evangelicals might also take to sites such as this or even sites like Michael Brown’s Spirit Daily that delve a little into Catholic Eschatology.

Some may say what about Catholics who have fallen away? Of course it is important for our lost brothers and sisters to come home. However, many are working on that, including Catholics Come Home which is doing amazing work bringing Catholics back home. Recently in Phoenix, 92,000 fallen away Catholics registered in Phoenix parishes thanks to a concerted diocesan campaign implement by Catholics Come Home, which included commercials on television and radio.

Some may say that reconciling the split with the Orthodox Church which took place in 1056 is the most important step, after all aren’t they closest to us in ideology and practice, and hasn’t reconciliation with the Orthodox Church been the primary push by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI? Yes the last two pontiffs have made a big push with our liturgical friends to the East. However, here are a couple of points. There are more Evangelicals in the United States alone than there are Orthodox Christians in the entire English speaking world. Time is running out to bring our Evangelical brothers and sisters home. Why? Sadly most Evangelical organized churches outside the Southern Baptists are in a statistical freefall due to being raided by non-denominational mega churches. These mega churches which are increasingly becoming entertainment oriented churches have no sound theology to which to build their foundation. We all know what Jesus said about what you need to build your foundation on.  (You might want to read the following article one on what liberals have done to churches in an article entitled: If You Want Liberals To Run Governments Look At What They Have Done To Religion; Left It In Tatters & the effect of entertainment churches on society in an article entitled; Margaritaville Christianity, God’s Way or Our Way?

This leads us to one of the most underreported religious stories of the year; the Catholic Diocese of Orange, California buying Dr. Robert Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral, the nation’s first mega church which had gone bankrupt.  Some folks got caught up in the argument over whether a Catholic Church could even use something that hardly looks like a traditional church. However, think of the significance of the event. Rev, Robert Schuler was such a powerful name, his words were listened to and his church started an entire movement. Yet, look where his church ended up, going back home to Rome. What a metaphor for going full circle back to the Fullness of Truth, the Catholic Church.

While working on our upcoming national cable television show Non Negotiable, Producer & Director Christian Peschken talked about this very subject. Christian implored me that I needed to make this a bigger deal than it already was going to be for my upcoming book. He felt the symbolism of this the nation’s first and once most powerful mega church being turned over to the Catholic Church could not be understated. They who built their foundation on sand have now put their foundation on the Rock of Peter.

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17 Responses to Bringing Tim Tebow & Others To The Fullness of Truth That Is The Catholic Church

  • The debate shifted to Tim Tebow’s father who is an Evangelical leader and who takes missionary groups to Catholic countries like the Philippines so the people can “Hear the Gospel.”

    I’m pretty sure the Tebow family was around Mindanao, the Muslim area– that’s where he went back to talk to school kids not so long ago.
    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front could stand to hear the Gospel, and if the Evangelicals can get around the hate to get them to listen, more power to them.

  • I wonder if our atheist trolls will return to raise havoc with this blog entry. BTW, very good, David Hartline! My family is all Pentecostal Evangelicals. I am the only Catholic, so anything they learn about the Faith probably comes from me.

  • Until I had read Dave’s earlier piece about Tebow, I had just assumed he was another Phillip Rivers, what with his pro-life other Catholic-like stances. So that tells me that he just may be the kind of person who could easily cross the Tiber, if not plunge head-long toward his true home much like he does against his opponents despite his father’s anti-Catholic views. I’ve seen stranger conversions, after all.

    By the way, I just saw on the news a report about a controversy involving a rabbi, who says that the pro-Tebow crowd will go nuts and burn down mosques if the Broncos end up winning the Super Bowl.

  • Joel T.: I saw that, too.

    Sic semper tyrannis.

    They murdered 100,000,000 in the 20th century. Using the same “logic”, there ought to be a bounty on atheists.

    Liberals aren’t just evil and hate-filled. They are freaking stupid, too.

  • I recently posted a couple of articles on Tim Tebow also as I am am becoming increasingly saddened by the lack of willingness to understand Tim Tebow’s enthusiasm for serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Feel free to check them out.

    Jesus once was asked by His disciples if they should forbid some other people who were preaching in His Name but did not follow with them. Jesus said, surprisingly “NO.” He further said that “those who are not against Me are for Me.”

    Tim Tebow is our Christian brother and should be respected as such. That is the teaching of our Church and Catechism (reference 817-820). His family is doing a marvelous work in a needy place. Do I wish they brought the Gospel from a strictly Catholic perspective? Of course. But I would rather see a good Protestant who deeply loves Christ than a bad Catholic who snoozes through Mass any day. For us to condemn their work as “anti-Catholic” because they do not follow the hierarchy is ludicrous.

    I say let’s pray for Tebow, and hard. His job is not easy and the temptations are very real in the world he now lives in. satan and not a few women would love to see him fall. Perhaps, just perhaps, he will surprise us all and become a Catholic priest one day. It just could happen.

  • “I say let’s pray for Tebow, and hard. His job is not easy and the temptations are very real in the world he now lives in.”

    I agree, as long as we are not referring to pass completions or fourth quarter comebacks, etc. We pray that Tebow follows and obeys God’s will, whatever that may be. Praise God always, even after a spectacular, improbable, nationally-televised failure. God has a plan for each of us, and we pray for the grace and the wisdom to make the right choices at the right time. Our chosen profession is not always the one God wants for us, and failures — small or spectacular — can be a way of telling us we need to move on.

    Marion Barber deserves my huge respect and prayers for comments he made after his spectacular, improbable, nationally-televised failure:

    I respect Tebow for the adversity he has overcome, not (yet) for on the field success.

  • Richard,
    I agree with most of what you say, but (i) I think your notion that some Catholics view Tebot’s work as anti-Catholic is a pure red herring and (ii) your description of Catholicism as following the hierarchy is a disappointing trivialization of who we are.

  • Foxfier,
    Although there is a significant Muslim population in Mindanao, Catholics still make up 63% of the population there. Besides this, Tebow built his hospital in Davao which is 95% Catholic.

  • “This leads us to one of the most underreported religious stories of the year; the Catholic Diocese of Orange, California buying Dr. Robert Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral, the nation’s first mega church which had gone bankrupt. Some folks got caught up in the argument over whether a Catholic Church could even use something that hardly looks like a traditional church. However, think of the significance of the event. Rev, Robert Schuler was such a powerful name, his words were listened to and his church started an entire movement. Yet, look where his church ended up, going back home to Rome. What a metaphor for going full circle back to the Fullness of Truth, the Catholic Church.”

    So what does the Church of Nicea being turned into a mosque mean? Secondly, I don’t understand why Muslims need converted if the Church says that they can reject Christ and still inherit eternal life. Not being combative, just some honest thoughts.

  • I like to remind some people of some Gospel-biblical Truth. Jesus told the apostles when they told Him some people are teaching your material but are not with us. His reply, those who are not against us are with us. Revelation gives us the crude truth that if we are lukewarm, not hot or cold, Jesus will “puke” us out! Too manyespecially older Catholics today who do attend Mass are out the door as soon as Communion starts or walk out when they receive the sacrament. I witnessed that so much in a US resort area. St Paul is the patron saint of those who were so full of hate he met Jesus and he sure accepted Him as Lord and Saviour and showed he believed Him when Jesus said why persecute ME, the Church and zealously filled up and built up that Church until they chpped his head off in Rome. The Tebows are doing Jesus’ work and please GOD they will do a Paul on the road to Damascus and make it “all better” as the little ones say, and do not join a parosh where Mass is over for most of the congregatiom while the Supper of the Lamb is being served to the other guests.

  • Thanks for your post G Burch. What does the Church at Nicea being turned into a mosque mean? Sadly, it means the people of the day were taken over in a bloody invasion that saw what is now modern day Turkey become Muslim. Our old friend Mack who posts here occasionally refers to Istanbul as “Occupied Constantinople.” I never give up hope because the Church is who she says she is, “The Fullness of Truth.” I don’t say this out of pride or arrogance but only because Christ said He was the Way the Truth and Light.” He passed that light via the keys of leadership to St Peter and every other successive Pope. The Church says that other religions have pieces and or slivers of the truth. However, the Fullness of Truth belongs to the Church Jesus founded, the Catholic Church. Jesus will judge us all and He knows the ins and outs of all of ours souls. I hope that helps.

  • Us Catholics should be ashamed. Where does the “press” go to find out the “truth” about our Church? Biden, Kerry, Pelosi, “sister” Teresa Kane, “SNAP”, “catholics” for choice, etc.. Even though Tim & his family don’t have all the truth, at least they are standing up for Jesus as in Col. 3:17, which is something that we are not doing very well, are we? Didn’t Jesus say that all men will bend the knee to Him (also, God said the same in the O.T.) & now, men that wouldn’t dare to bend their knee in public (not very manly) are doing the same on national T.V., even though it is in mockery, but who knows just how & when the Holy Spirit will hit them. It will be a wonderful day the the Tebows became Catholic. Can you imagine the horror from the press when a Catholic will do the same as Tim on the field & in front of a microphone? Glory & Praise the Lord. +JMJ+

  • JMJ, yes it is very sad that so many Catholics are CINO’s (Catholic In Name Only.) However, the Fullness of Truth marches on and is examplified in the fine work of many people, some of which I mentioned in the article. While we may be angry at those who let down the Faith, we should never forget those who show her best side to others. Maybe we will have our own version of Tim Tebow someday, or maybe just maybe someone will show him The Fullness of Truth!

  • There are 23 truly ancient churches of varying shades of heresy and schism to the Catholic church. These range from Nestorians and Copts to the Armenian Church and the Chaldeans, Ethiopian church etc. ALL venerate Mary as a unique channel of grace. ALL of them are hierarchal, venerate images and share dozens of beliefs and tendencies with the Catholic church. NONE of the most ancient churches are remotely like the ‘primitive’ church the protestants cooked up from historical ignorance, pride and fantasy. For two hundreds years the apostolic church subsisted without ‘the’ Bible’ which is the gift of the church guided by the Holy Spirit to all Christians. History + Protestantism + Bibliolatry = 33,000 Protestant sects and growing.

  • I am a Filipino and I’m grateful to what Tim Tebow is doing to serve the underprivileged and the needy in my country. I certainly admire Tim for his courageous witness of how to be a true follower of Jesus Christ as he knows it. I’m a Catholic and would be overjoyed to hear the news someday about Tim entering the Catholic Church but I leave that work to the Holy Spirit. I can only pray so much for him. Whether he becomes a Catholic or not in the future, as long as he remains faithful to God until the end, I see no problem with that.

  • Well, Tebow and his team saw their winning streak come to an end against the Patriots. At least he will be keeping his lamp that is his faith out for all to see rather than hidden under a table.

The Catholicism Project

Friday, December 11, AD 2009

Word On Fire Catholic Minstries is currently working on The Catholicism Project and is in the final stages of being completed.  It is a groundbreaking documentary series presenting the true story of Christianity and the Catholic faith, which comes in an especially timely moment in human history.

The following is a short trailer professionally done with Father Robert Barron showing snippets from footage that is being targeted for release by Christmas 2010 A.D.

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One Response to The Catholicism Project

  • Simply awesome! Father Barron appeared on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” last night and discussed his ministry and this series. It’s apparently 10 hours (48 min./each, plus commercials) that will be released on DVD for certain, although they are trying to sell it to either network or PBS affiliates as a possible mini-series.

    Fr. Barron via Word on Fire is doing excellent work and could very well be the kind of joyful and charismatic priest that can break through modern secular mindsets and reach people where they are. Could we hope for another Bishop Sheen for the 21st century? Perhaps… and in any case, his work is very worthy of Catholic support!

5 Responses to Fr. Robert Barron reviews Michael Moores Capitalism: A Love Story

  • He says the same thing I’ve been saying for some time. Moore is good at identifying the problems – it’s just his Socialist (thus materialist) solutions where he departs Church teaching.

  • The idea that everyone should keep just enough to cover essentials and give the rest away is intriguing, and probably aspirationally correct, but using government to do this will not work. Pretty much everyone will stop working soon after covering the essentials. Very little will be produced that can be given away. This fact can be illustrated by tax rates. At a 0% tax rate the government gets essentially the same revenue generated by a 100% tax rate. It is why the Soviet Union economic motto was “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

  • Our modern world had become intentionally complex leading to much confusion about what is meant by words. Capitalism and socialsim/communism are such words and we’ve had another thread on here addressing that.

    What Moore fails to do is be honest. He is a Marxist and his attack on ‘capitalism’ isn’t designed to point out the perceived excess in capitalism but seeks to promote the virtues of socialism. Fr. Barron already killed that argument.

    Furthermore, the excess in capitalism is not inherent in the system of a natural free market; rather it is in the disordered appetites of fallen humanity. The solution is not a better capitalism, but a more virtuous human. That cannot be accomplished by any materialist system. It requires a massive cultural shift away from the vices of modernism and an upward view of life.

  • That Priest is a great teacher.

  • Moore against capitalism? Not according to the IRS and Fleet Financial, a high-end brokerage firm out of Boston.
    Check out the PF990 forms for his one-man operated non-profit: Center for Alternative Media and Culture. The year he made Stupid White Men, and claimed not to won any stocks, he told the IRS his foundation owned $280,000 in corporate stock and $100,00 in corporate bonds.
    His foundation has owned Pfizer, Merck, Genzyme, Elan PLC, Eli Lilly, Boston Scientific, Pharmacial Corporation, and Tenet Healthcare. . Not what you’d
    expect from a man who made Sicko. Hates big oil and Haliburton – then why did he own stocks in them?
    The above and more is from Peter Schweizer’s Do As I Say (Not as I do). Check our enviornmentalists Ted Kenneday and Nancy Pelosi. What hypocrites!
    Bottom line, the guy is a multi-millionaire who has treated the Catholic Church contemptimbly over issues such as marriage, contraception/abortion, homosexuality and now tries to get “approval” from the Church when it suits him.
    Rerum Novarum specifically condems socialism and is adamant about the principle of subsidiarity. Centisimus Annus confirms it. I’m not sure where Fr. Barron get the idea that big government interference is warranted to correct injustice. Lest we forget – big government in the form of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is part of the problem.
    The Acton Institure and the Distributist League disagree with each other but the traditional New Deal as nostalgia school of economics that Fr. Barron subscribes is one thing both groups disagree with!
    Anyone familiar with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Economics? It went two two Americans who documented that government spending during the Depression actually prolonged it by five years.