A “Call Out” and “Two Thumbs Up” to Professor Patrick Deneen

Sunday, January 29, AD 2012

What’s a tenured associate professor of government teaching at a Catholic university to do when he believes the institution isn’t really Catholic?

It’s pretty easy to say “Give up your tenure and go where you will find what you are looking for.”  Sometimes, witness to one’s faith entails suffering.

Agreed.  But, making that decision isn’t so simple when other considerations—like those of family, financial obligations (a mortgage, for example), and the like—must also be factored into the equation.

The situation presents an authentic ethical dilemma, one that confronted a former Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, Patrick Deneen.

In a letter published at Front Porch Republic, Deneen said with regard to Georgetown University:

…Georgetown increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to Truth. Its Catholic identity, which should inform every activity of the community, from curriculum to dorm life to faculty hiring, has increasingly been cordoned off to optional activities of Campus Ministry.

Describing his experience, Deneen wrote:

In the seven years since I joined the faculty at Georgetown, I have found myself often at odds with the trajectory and many decisions of the university.  In 2006 I founded The Tocqueville Forum as a campus organization that would offer a different perspective, one centered on the moral underpinnings of liberal learning that are a precondition for the continued existence of liberal democracy, and one that would draw upon the deep wisdom contained in the Catholic humanistic tradition.  I have been heartened and overjoyed to witness the great enthusiasm among a myriad of students for the programming and activities of the Forum.  However, the program was not supported or recognized by the institution, and that seemed unlikely to change.  While I did not seek that approval, I had hoped over the years that the program would be attractive to colleagues across disciplines on the faculty, and would be a rallying-point for those interested in reviving and defending classical liberal learning on campus.  The Tocqueville Forum fostered a strong community of inquiry among a sizeable number of students, but I did not find that there was any such community formed around its mission, nor the likely prospect of one, among the more permanent members of the university. I have felt isolated and often lonely at the institution where I have devoted so many of my hours and my passion.

So, where is Professor Deneen headed?

The University of Notre Dame (UND).

However, Deneen appears not to be headed to South Bend blinded by all of the UND hype.  He wrote:

I don’t doubt that there will be many battles at Our Lady’s University.  But, there are at least some comrades-in-arms to share in the effort.

UND hired Deneen, he wrote, because they regard him as “someone who can be a significant contributor to its mission and identity, particularly the Catholic identity of the institution.”

Although considerations like these are not typically a criterion for hiring at Georgetown as Deneen noted, The Motley Monk would humbly suggest that even in those institutions where they are, there’s quite a distance between espousing those ideals and translating them to pedagogical lessons in every classroom, dorm, and student activity.

For Professor Deneen’s willingness to witness to the importance of an institution’s Catholic identity in name and in fact, The Motley Monk offers a “call out” and “both thumb up.”

To read Professor Deneen’s letter, click on the following link:

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9 Responses to A “Call Out” and “Two Thumbs Up” to Professor Patrick Deneen

  • Two old sayings come to mind. “Never say die.” and “Out of the fire, into the frying pan.”

  • My impression — and it is only that — is that Notre Dame accepts its Catholic identity and is genuinely proud of it, even if it all too often misunderstands it; while Georgetown cannot quite decide if it should accept its Catholicity or be embarrassed by it. I could be wrong.

  • The rise of the gay pride organisation at Georgetown with its lavender graduation was coerced by the Supreme Court in view of a D.C. law and presages the recent arising health insurance dilemna facing the Church:

    from their history of their rise….

    “GPGU petitions GU for recognition again and is denied for the third time; GPGU and the Gay Rights Coalition (GU Law Center) sue GU for recognition under the DC Human Rights Act. In Gay Rights Coalition v. Georgetown University, the Supreme Court rules that Georgetown University has violated the D.C. Human Rights Law by refusing to recognize its LGBTQ organization.”

    see their history with their frequent infiltrations of campus tours for new students:


    In a 1988 settlement, GU ends up indirectly funding them:
    “After 8 years of litigation and 199 years after its founding, GU settles with GPGU , agreeing to fund the group through a secondary body as to not violate Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality. This led to the creation of the Student Activities Commission (SAC). ”

    So the question is….would Christ fund a sodomy group through a secondary body. No…I think He would close the school and move it to another area. My cousin is gay and I’ve prayed for her for decades and will pray until her death as I prayed for her partner who died and was a divorced Catholic who turned gay after divorce. She, when alive and thinking I would agree, denounced to me certain relatives who objected but then was fiercely mad at me for agreeing with them and saying to her face that
    Scripture is crystal clear in Romans 1 that it is deadly sin for both genders.

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  • I have a couple of questions regarding this and maybe it is because I am in search of, on a conquest for my own authentic masculinity. Do we stay and fight in a situation like this…or is the can kicked so far down the road that return to Catholic University status at G’Town is slim to none? Can more of an effective fight be waged at ND which needs to be more authentically Catholic (at least what I can see from the news the last few years).

  • As an ND alum, I cannot speak for Georgetown, but I say without reservation that there is hope for Notre Dame, and the last thing that the oft-beleaguered faithful among the students and faculty at ND need is to be written off as a lost cause by the rest of the Church. Here is a good place to start:


  • Michael,
    I think that folks should fight the good fight from whereever they sit. I see no reason, or really any practical ability, to engage in our unfortunate culture war on just certain fronts or battlegrounds. Catholics who care about Georgetown or who are in a position to be influential there should direct their energies there, just as Catholics with ND relationships should fight the good fight there. That is just my 2 cents.

  • In case it was not clear, my last comment was in response to MJP’s.
    I agree completely with MB’s post.

  • “conquest”







    I love it when you guys comment thusly.

    Let them also “admonish”, “counsel”, “instruct”, and “pray for.”

Advent Light in Darkest Night

Sunday, December 18, AD 2011

 It is time to awaken from sleep. It is time for a waking up to begin somewhere. It is time to put things back where God the Lord put them.

Father Alfred Delp, SJ

During Advent 1944 Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit, wrote a reflection on Advent.  Go here to read it.  It is a fine Advent meditation.  The circumstances of its writing demonstrate that the light of Christ, which I have always felt most strongly during Advent, can permeate any darkness.  Father Delp wrote it while he was a prisoner of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.

Alfred Delp first saw the light of this world on September 15, 1907 in Mannheim Germany.  The son of a Catholic mother and a Protestant father, he was raised as a Protestant although he was baptized as a Catholic.  He was confirmed in the Lutheran church in 1921.  Following a bitter argument with his Lutheran pastor, he embraced Catholicism, made his first communion and was confirmed.  His Catholic pastor, seeing rare intelligence in the boy, arranged for him to continue his studies.

In 1926 he joined the Jesuits.  In 1937 he was ordained as a priest.  His further philosophical studies curtailed at  the University of Munich due to his anti-Nazi beliefs, Father Delp worked on a Jesuit publication until it was suppressed by the Nazis in April 1941.  He was then assigned as rector of Saint Georg church in Munich.  All the while he was helping Jews escape into Switzerland.  Father Delp’s Jesuit provincial Augustin Rosch was active in the anti-Nazi underground.  He introduced Father Delp to the Kreisau Circle of anti-Nazi activists.  Father Delp taught Catholic social teaching to the Circle and arranged contacts between them and  Catholic leaders.

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Jesuitical 11: Jesuits and Drag Shows

Thursday, July 22, AD 2010

Hattip to Creative Minority Report.  Strong content advisory as to the video at the top of this post.

 Part 11 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.  Santa Clara University, a Jesuit University in Santa Clara California, describes its mission:   “As a Jesuit, Catholic university, we are committed to faith-inspired values and educating leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion who will help fashion a more just, humane, and sustainable world.”   

Santa Clara, I assume as part of that mission, has long hosted annual drag shows on campus hosted by a recognized student group sophomorically calling itself GASP (Gay and Straight People for the Education of Diversity).  Here  the group is listed under the Women’s and Gender Studies Program of the Santa Clara website.   The video at the start of the post was taken at the 2010 drag show.

These events are not obscure affairs, but are celebrated on campus.  Here is a story about the 2007 drag show which appeared in The Santa Clara, the official student newspaper:

May GASPED and GALA have your attention, ladies and gentlemen — or ladies dressed as gentlemen — or gentlemen dressed as ladies? The 6th annual Santa Clara Drag Show will be breaking down gender stereotypes left and right, say participants and organizers, tomorrow, May 4, at 8 p.m. in the California Mission Room.

Downstairs Benson Center will be transformed into an eccentric staging area full of students dressed in drag. Along with the usual lip-syncs and dances, there will be some new elements that organizers hope might make you think.

Representatives from Gay & Straight People for the Education of Diversity and Gay and Lesbian Alliance, as well as from Santa Clara Community Action Program, say they have worked hard to ensure that this year’s show incorporates more elements of education about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual/two-spirited and queer/questioning communities. This year, skits and interviews about the history of transgender prejudice that will be incorporated into the show.

Though James Servino, program coordinator of GASPED, said Santa Clara has a history of support for the LGBTQ community, the support is not absolute. “Santa Clara students are aloof to this community unless they actually know and associate with a gay or lesbian person,” he said.

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19 Responses to Jesuitical 11: Jesuits and Drag Shows

Papa Bene on the Importance of Spiritual Direction

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

Spiritual Direction is where you have a spiritual director, whether a priest or layperson, offer advice, guidance, and feedback in your spiritual health.

This usually involves going over what ails you, whether spiritual or even non-spiritual at times.  Then your director offers his or her direction in what aspect of your spiritual life may be deficient and offers a remedy to that deficiency.

This has been my experience so don’t take me as an expert, but as a witness in having spiritual direction.

Saint Theresa of Avila had outstanding spiritual directors which I long for and are a rarity to find.  She had spiritual direction from well educated and newly formed Jesuits who attacked the problem at it’s core.

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14 Responses to Papa Bene on the Importance of Spiritual Direction

  • Isn’t this why St. Josemaria Escriva established the Opus Dei prelature?

  • AK,

    Yes, one reason why.

    What’s with the Cthulhu icon?

  • Spiritual direction has been a tremendous grace for me. I’ve been getting it off-and-on for years from Opus Dei people, but I finally “got serious” about it a year ago. It’s probably the only way a schlub like me will ever be able to kick the devil’s ass.

  • Tito,

    No idea. I’m technologically incompetent. In addition to spiritual direction I am in need of technical direction.

  • AK,

    Just poking fun at you.

    I’ve changed the self-generating gravatar from abstract to monsterID.

  • I’ve had nothing but disappointment in my search for a spiritual director. A few priests are willing to be a spiritual director to a certain kind of person – say, in a particular state of life – and aren’t seemingly interested in anyone else, but many aren’t seemingly interested in *anyone*.

    I say “seemingly” because it’s not my place to judge them. At some point a priest’s lack of support for a person in spiritual crisis has to rise to the level of serious sin. I’ve had a couple of confessors whose souls I pray for with significant concern.

  • Pinky,

    I haven’t encountered what you have, but I do long for an excellent spiritual adviser, which I haven’t found yet.

    I’m worried about putting more stress on our priests.

    That is why I mentioned the Jesuits of Saint Theresa of Avila’s time because THAT is what exactly I need.

    Well formed, well educated, and kind spiritual advisers.

  • Tito, I wouldn’t want to say anything that would discourage someone from looking for a spiritual director. I, personally, am just shell-shocked from my experience, but I had some bad luck. And I can’t complain (but sometimes I still do). When you consider the Fall of the House of Maciel, a lot of good people must feel a lot more let down than I ever have.

  • Pinky,

    I hope my comment hasn’t led anyone to be discouraged to search for a spiritual director.

    As for me, I am still looking and so should you!


  • It is nice to know that I am not the only sinner in need of direction. I must admit that pride gets in the way. When I reverted to the Faith, I think I was captivated by Grace and then I relied heavily on the natural virtue of religion. It seems a schmuck like me needed to get catechized after three decades of paganism. It worked for a while and then it became like I was reaching for faith by my own power – God had another plan and he let me get knocked down. He is wonderful.

    Now with my new found humility and a vestigial tinge of pride, He has brought me to the realization that I am NOT so special and I am just like every other sinner; which is to say infinitely special in His eyes, and of the lowest consequence from every other perspective. That is great.

    But, then I feel lost. I know the faith better than the average ‘Catholic’ – I am not boasting, I think this is natural for converts and reverts – The Catholic religion is very exciting and intellectually stimulating. That is NOT enough, in fact, I am not so sure it is even all that necessary. Apparently, the Cure d’Ars was not too bright and yet he was far more faithful and in love with God than I. So I began going to Reconciliation more often, and as often as possible to the same priest. That was very helpful, but he is new, he is busy, he has other sinners that need confession and we can’t really get deep into the issues. He tells me I have a pretty good perspective on the nature of my sins – that has to be Grace. But, I know I need something more.

    I used to think the holier people went to daily Mass, weekly confession, and had spiritual directors. I am now realizing that all that assistance is probably not for the holiest souls, but for the least – like me. I think I need more help, I don’t think I am alone (judging from this thread and the poor quality of Catholic culture in our country). So where to go?

    I have been bumping into Opus Dei more and more and St. Escriva’s books are, well, just amazingly insightful. I keep reading about different spiritualities and praying for guidance, but I seem to like aspects of de Sales, Ignatius, de Montfort, etcetera, etcetera. All good stuff. All orthodox Catholic. But it seems I need focus. So that is what lead me to think of spiritual direction.

    Then I am absent from this site for over a month and the moment I come back, Tito, posts this thread. Theoincidence? Must be.

    So how do you go about figuring this out. Opus Dei is the direction I am planning on going in. In fact, before I stumbled across this thread, I had called to the local Opus Dei study center to make an appointment.

    Do any of you know more about what is required, expected and the type of direction one can expect. I don’t want to be too skeptical, but I know that once the founder dies, things can get dicey. Heck, the Church’s Founder lives and things are dicey. Before, you tell me to pray for the Spirit of discernment – I am doing that. I am still looking for some practical advice from others exploring the same thing. I know this is just a blog, but I have found some of the mos profound Catholic insights on here, although y’all are charitable enough to tolerate some serious wackadoos, too. I might be one whenever the Federal Reserve or the War for Southern Independence comes up 🙂

    Any ideas?

  • Theoincidence

    I like that term! 🙂

    As a Catholic I don’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.

    This ‘theoincidence’ probably means God is directing you to follow a holier path. To pray more often during the day and do an examination of conscience at least once a week.

    I attend the month Opus Dei evenings/mornings of reflection. They involve over a two hour period three talks on the faith, reflection, prayer, and benediction of the Holy Sacrament. All throughout the evening/day the Sacrament of Confession is available.

    It’s pretty peaceful and you feel as if your spiritual batteries are recharged after each reflection.

    So I highly recommend it AK!

    (Here in Houston we have an evening of recollection once a month and a morning of reflection once a month… normally these monthly reflections coincide on the same week. This may differ from city to city)

  • Thanks, Tito,

    Theoincidence is not my word. I heard one of my brothers use it on our weekly Cardo Pivot Point call.

    I have been to the reflections, we have one next weekend. I like the Saturday morning Opus Dei reflections with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    I am going to go meet with one of the Opus Dei priests and I’m sure he’ll have some ideas about what I should do to make the decision.

    St. Josemaria was inspired to develop Opus Dei during the Spanish Civil War, so it seems perfect for our times. It is sometimes tempting to run into the desert and become a hermit; but, I don’t think that is where God wants most of us. I am glad you brought this important aspect of spiritual growth to everyone’s attention. I think it is a path many, if not all, of us should pursue.

  • For my part, God has blessed me with a wonderful Jesuit director for many years but then I have to say he’s directed me under duress bc he’s my brother so he basically has no choice 🙂 That said, a wonderfully accessible book has been published this year precisely for Catholics who say they can’t find a good SD. For 15 bucks, its helped me alot & might help others: Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Michael Gaitley, MIC by Marian Press.
    If you’re serious, this book will help and, best part, its not written by academics for academics!

  • GB,

    Thank you for that recommendation!

    If there are other such books out there that our readers are aware of, please share them with us.

    One reason I posted about his was because I too am yearning for a top-notch spiritual director.

    You are very blessed, GB, to have such a good SD!

Great Jesuits 6: Peacemaker

Sunday, June 13, AD 2010

Number 6 in my series on great Jesuits of American history.  Pierre-Jean De Smet first saw the light of day in Dendermonde in Belgium on January 30, 1801.  His parents would have been astonished if they had been told that in his life their newborn would travel over 180,000 miles as a missionary, and most of it in the Wild West of the United States.

Emigrating to the US in 1821 as part of his desire to serve as a missionary, De Smet entered the Jesuit novitiate at Whitemarsh, Maryland.  In a move that today would have secularists screaming “Separation of Church and State!” and conspiracy buffs increasing the tin foil content of their hats, the US government subsidized a Jesuit mission being established in the new state of Missouri among the Indians.  At the time the US government often did this for missionaries of many Christian denominations among the Indians.  So it was that in 1823 De Smet and other members of the order trekked west and established a mission to the Indians at Florissant, Missouri, near Saint Louis.  Studying at the new Saint Regis Seminary in Florissant, Father De Smet was ordained on September 23, 1827.  Now a prefect at the seminary, he studied Indian languages and customs.  In 1833 he returned to Belgium for health problems and was unable to return to Missouri until 1837.

In 1838 he founded the St. Joseph Mission in Council Bluffs for the Potawatomi Indians.   He also began his career as a peacemaker as he journeyed to the territory of the Sioux to work out a peace between them and the Potawatomi.  It should be emphasized that Father De Smet was making these journeys at a time when he was often the only white man for hundreds of miles other than for a few mountain men and scattered traders.  He quickly earned a reputation among the Indians as utterly fearless and a white man whose word they could trust.

In 1840 he journeyed to the Pacific Northwest to establish a mission among the Flathead and Nez Perces tribes, who had been begging for a decade for “Black Robes” to be sent to them and teach them about Christ.  After visiting them, Father De Smet promised that he would go back to Saint Louis and return with another “Black Robe” to establish a permanent mission.  On his way back he visited the Crow, the Gros Ventres and other tribes.  In 1841 he returned to the Flatheads along with Father Nicholas Point and established St. Mary’s Mission  on the Bitterroot River, thirty miles south of present day Missoula.  The mission was quite successful as indicated by this event.  One of the converted chiefs of the Flatheads, after baptism, chose the baptismal name of Victor.  On one occasion Father De Smet was preaching to the Flatheads and mentioned how in Europe the Holy Father confronted many enemies of the Faith.  Victor became indignant and said, “Should our Great Father, the Great chief of the Black robes, be in danger–you speak on paper–invite him in our names to our mountains. We will raise his lodge in our midst; we will hunt for him and keep his lodge provided, and we will guard him against the approach of his enemies!”

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4 Responses to Great Jesuits 6: Peacemaker

  • Blest are the peacemakers.

    Blest are whose missions are the salvation of souls.

  • Thanks for another great history post, Don.

    And one other side note, having a house full of young ladies who must be read do: The town of De Smet, South Dakota is named after Father De Smet, and in the 1880s became the home of the Ingals family of Little House fame, and the setting of the last five books of Laura Ingalls-Wilder’s books.

  • Excellent post, Don! And Darwin–thanks for that tidbit. I never would have put the two together.

    My wife and girls are convinced fans of the series, and my son and I enjoy them, too. For my money, “The Long Winter” is a masterpiece.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) I reminded Don about the “Little House” connection while he was finishing up the post — thanks for mentioning it, Darwin & Dale! “The Long Winter” makes a great read-aloud over the summer, a chapter a day. Hot, humid summers with the occasional torrential downpour or tornado seemed just a bit more bearable for the kids (when they were younger) & I, when we had the privations the Ingalls family endured to compare them with.

Great Jesuits 5: Medal of Honor

Sunday, February 21, AD 2010




Number 5 in my series on Great Jesuits of American history.  A hallmark of the Jesuit Order has always been utter fearlessness.  The Order founded by that Basque soldier turned saint, Saint Ignatius Loyola, had as little use for fear as it did for doubt.  The “black robes” of the Jesuits in New France were typical of the Jesuit soldiers of Christ in their almost super-human courage in disdaining the torture and death they exposed themselves to as missionaries to warlike tribes.

Firmly in this tradition of courage is Joseph Timothy O’Callahan.  Born on May 14, 1905 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, he attended Boston College High School.  He joined the Jesuits in 1922  and obtained his BA from Saint Andrew’s College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1925, and his Masters in Philosophy at Weston College in 1929.  Ordained in 1934, he served as a professor of Mathematics, Philosophy and Physics at Boston College until 1937.  He then spent a year as a professor of Philosophy at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, before becoming head of the Mathematics department at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

On August 7, 1940, Father O’Callahan was appointed a Lieutenant JG in the United States Navy.  His decision to join the Navy as a chaplain shocked some of his friends, one of them remarking, “Let someone younger help those boys.  You can’t even open your umbrella!”  Nothing daunted, Chaplain O’Callahan served at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola,  Florida from 1940-1942.  From 1942-1945 he served as chaplain at Naval Air Stations in Alameda, California and at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.   It was almost at the end of the war when he was assigned to sea duty and reported aboard the Franklin, an Essex Class Fleet Air-Craft Carrier on March 2, 1945.  The Franklin was the fifth ship in the United States Navy to be named after Benjamin Franklin, and had seen a lot of combat during the War.  It was about to see more.

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16 Responses to Great Jesuits 5: Medal of Honor

  • Thank you for this great feature and videos about Fr. O’Callahan. Absolutely amazing.

    I seem to remember that the Philippine government also honored Fr. O’Callahan for helping then Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon get to the U.S. for treatment for TB during the war. The award may have been post-humous, as it was received on his behalf by his sister, Sr. Rosemarie O’Callahan, a Maryknoll Sister in the Philippines.

    Sr. Rosemarie was my English professor at Maryknoll College. She was no intellectual slouch, either.

  • Thank you for the info Marie! In 1946, Father O’Callahan served as Escort Chaplain as the body of the late Philippines President Manuel Quezon was carried from the United States to Manila.

  • Thank you, Donald, for this precious bit of history.

    I’ve just done a search on Sr. Rose Marie O’Callahan, MM, and I’m saddened to know that she passed away on Dec. 24, 2004. She was a devoted Catholic religious, a no-nonsense teacher, and a great American.

    This article,

    written by their mother’s cousin’s son tells that Sr. Rose Marie was among the heroic Americans who (resisted the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and) were incarcerated for three years in the Los Banos (Laguna) concentration camp.

    (I was born in 1943, but know the story of the Los Banos prison camp as I came from the area and because my baptismal godfather was among those who fought side-by-side with U.S. troops in liberating Los Banos. It was on the same day that U.S. marines planted the American flag on Iwo Jima, so Los Banos didn’t get any press at all.)

    “During that time the O’Callahan family had not heard a word about her fate. While in the Pacific Father Joe had hoped to discover his sister’s circumstance first-hand. He was unable to do so.”

    Sadly, Sr. Rose Marie’s obituary (2004) has no mention of her famous brother:


    “Sister Rose Marie O¹Callahan, M.M.
    a missioner to the Philippines for 42 years, died Dec. 24 in the Residential Care Unit of the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining. She was 96. She was assigned to the Philippines in 1930, first serving as an elementary school teacher and then as a hospital bookkeeper. During World War II she and other Maryknoll Sisters were kept under house arrest and then confined in the Los Banos internment camp before their liberation by U.S. forces in 1945. She then taught at a high school before serving as registrar and an English and theology teacher at Maryknoll College in Manila, 1947-1967. She was dean of La Salette College in Santiago, 1967-1972. After returning to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 1972, she served as secretary to the Renewal Office and on the Senior Center Council. After study, she began a new career in nursing at age 71, serving on the staff of the Center Health Unit at the Sisters Center and as a nursing assistant at the Maryknoll Sisters Nursing Home. Born in Cambridge, Mass., she entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 1927 and made final vows in 1933. A Funeral Mass was offered Dec. 30 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. Burial was in the sisters¹ cemetery.”

    Eternal rest grant unto Sister Rose Marie, O Lord.

  • Marie, once again thank you! I think Sister Rose will have her own post here on American Catholic eventually. What a truly remarkable brother and sister!

  • Thanks – great post – I needed to read it…

  • Good stuff. Always glad to hear stories that demonstrate the Holy Spirit at work.

  • Well, its a real pleasure to read this post and a real change from the Jebbie-bashing that Catholic blogs seem to enjoy. Thank you!

  • Though he didn’t say it himself, O’Callahan’s feat inspired the headline, “Praise God and pass the ammunition!”

    The story is included in Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation Speaks which is a worthwhile read, never mind the author’s politics.

  • Great story. I am so glad you are posting these inspiring accounts. I have a question. Do you know how many warships, destroyers or frigates were named in honor of Catholic chaplains? Your article names two. And I remember the other chaplain hero who died saving lives at Pearl Harbor. Don’t have his name before me, but you wrote a tribute to him some months ago.

  • George that would be be Lieutenant JG Aloysius Schmitt who died saving 12 men on the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack. He could have avoided death by drowning easily as the compartment he was in filled with water, but he thought it was more important to save the lives of the other men. The destroyer USS Schmitt was named in his honor. His actions warranted a Medal of Honor although he did not receive that decoration.


  • Selfless religious like the O’Callahan siblings are a reminder of why it is so very important to financially support the vocations. Many who get a calling struggle with the economic burden of schooling. Giving towards vocations is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

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  • It was nice to come across this site tonight and read all of your kind words about Sister Rose Marie Father Joe. They were my grandmother’s cousins (Katherine O’Callahan daughter of “handsome Jack” O’Callahan…their father and and my great grandfather were brothers). Growing up we always heard the stories, but we never realized how great they both were until getting older.

    In 2000 I received a Christmas card from Sister Rose Marie – her handwriting was very shaky, but her words flowed and her mind was still as sharp as a tack. I’ll always treasure it, along with a pair of Father Joe’s rosary beads.

    There is a room dedicated to Father Joe in SC at the USS Yorktown Museum if any of you are ever in the vacinity.

    You can also see that very famous original film clip of Father Joe praying over a wounded sailor in the Victory At Sea Series in the USS Ben Franklin section.

  • Lee, one of the joys of doing these posts on chaplains is hearing from relatives of these very brave men. We live in freedom only because of the dauntless courage shown by men like Father Joe. This reminds me too that I need to do a post on Sister Rose Marie who led a remarkable life in her own right.

  • Good morning Donald, you’re up with the birds this morning 🙂

    With yesterday being 9/11, I was doing some reading online about the brave first responder police and firefighters who lost their lives. Since “Handsome Jack” (we called him Pa) was a firefighter, at some point in my searching I keyed in his name and the Central Square Cambridge fire dept. I have a few pictures of Pa on the horse drawn fire wagon that I thought would be nice to donate to the station – and don’t you know, up popped Father Joe’s name…as it always does… which, in turn, led me here.

    It gives those of us in the family a very warm feeling to see all of you taking an interest in the story of his and Sister’s lives, no matter if it’s over the internet, in books, or wherever there is a gathering.

    By the way, the USS Ben Franklin Association had one of their reunions at a college in Franklin VA several years back. I believe it was one of the crew members who wrote a play about Father Joe and the students performed. The hat, gloves, Medal of Honor and a few other personal possessions of Father Joe were on display on a table at the front door to the small theatre. Of course I could not resist running my finger over that medal and thought the same thing you mentioned, how lucky we are today because of these brave men and women.

    Another cousin, Jay O’Callahan, has quite a lot of information on Father Joe. He’s a storyteller and is on NPR very often. He has published some books about Father Joe and various recordings if you haven’t already come across him in your research.

    I’m looking forward to your posts on Sister Rose Marie.


  • I came across Jay O’Callahan Lee when I was doing my initial research. As long as there is a US Navy, Father Joe’s memory will be honored. He was a Jesuit to remember!

The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

Wednesday, January 20, AD 2010

Throughout the last few years and specifically the last decade or so, the voluminous number of kooky quotes and statements coming from religious believers (heterodox Catholics included) and non believers alike is mind boggling. It can’t but help push the reasonable minded into the Catholic Church. Most casual observers are familiar with the number of high profile converts and reverts to the Catholic Church in the last 25 years or so. They range from theological luminaries like Dr Scott Hahn and Dr Francis Beckwith to political figures like Deal Hudson, Laura Ingraham and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Many like them have come to the Church after years of study and reason, but many also have come to the Church after years of seeing their particular religious denomination become unrecognizable.

The latest world calamity has given us two examples of sheer kookery coming from a religious leader and a secular voice. After the horrific earthquake that left the western world’s most impoverished nation in tatters, the Reverend Pat Robertson chimed in with a quote that was not only tragically insensitive but historically inaccurate. The onetime presidential candidate (who actually came in second in the 1988 GOP Iowa Caucus) and a leading voice of the Evangelical world blamed the earthquake on Voodoo, a cult that sadly far too many people practice in Haiti.  Robertson voiced his opinion on his popular 700 Club television program. Robertson repeated the fundamentalist canard that in the early 1800s the leaders of a slave revolt fighting against French colonial forces forged a pact with the Satan to thrown off the chains of their oppressors.

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12 Responses to The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

  • Since when is pro-abortion Brown “the truth”?

  • Who said he was? I never mentioned his name in the article. However, when the people of Massachusetts (the only state who voted for George McGovern) can see the craziness of the left, you can rest assured that they are not alone.

  • “As evidenced by the stunning results in the Massachusetts special election seat vacated following the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, even in the most liberal of locales the public will eventually clamor for the truth.”

    You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.

  • “You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.”

    Hmm, I didn’t get that from this statement. In any case, one doesn’t have to be impeccable to demonstrate the principle that the mind of the people is changing. Brown is obviously not perfect, but I don’t think Dave is talking about his politics or theology so much as the change that his election represents.

  • The change the election represents I don’t think is exactly as Republicans are making it out to be; while some of it might be on Obama, and other aspects of it might be on health care, another aspect people have to remember is Coakley assumed the seat was hers and didn’t campaign properly. That, I think, is the lesson all sides might want to remember: don’t assume you are a sure-win and do nothing because of it. Nothing, however, to do with “truth.” Nothing in the results shows truth wins — since abortion does.

  • I agree with Henry.

    Brown did make the centerpiece of his campaign as a referendum on ObamaCare, though other factors such as Coakley’s poor campaigning certainly played a factor into it.

  • “I agree with Henry.”

    Tito, that’s the first sign of the apocalypse!

  • The truth that believing Catholics shouldn’t be barred from working in emergency rooms certainly won.

    Brown is quite problematic (and it’s not like I sent him money), but at least we are spared the spectacle of another Massachusetts Catholic baying for abortion in DC.

    I’ll take my silver linings where I can find them.

  • Dale

    So, what silver linings do you find for Obama? Can you find some?

  • I questioned authority relentlessly. Holy Mother Church had all the answers.
    Some retreat to the Church, others flee or are driven, some even backtrack, and many seem to crawl, but, always, the door is wide open.
    Inquisitive mind + Road To Damascus (TM) moment = conversion/re-conversion. Sweet.

  • Despite the badly-concealed sneer with which you pose your question, Henry, sure. Haitian relief, support for a limited range of renewable energy sources, uniting (briefly) the country after the Fort Hood terrorist massacre, helping a limited range of distressed homeowners and credit card and equal pay protection come quickly to mind.

    But, as you know, he’s been a pro-abortion stalwart–deceptively so–when it comes to the protection of human life and issues of conscience.

    Thus, my great relief that a putative sister in the Church–one who expressly finds the Catholic faith disqualifying from life-saving work–will not be able to work on a national stage to implement her bigotry, nor be able to lend her support to the most problematic parts of the President’s agenda.

    Your mileage evidently varies.

Jesuitical 10: Campion Award to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Saturday, January 16, AD 2010

Hattip to Midwest Conservative Journal The latest in my on-going series on the follies of some modern Jesuits.  Proving yet again that they have the charism of being impervious to irony, the editorial board of America magazine announced that they were awarding the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the Campion Award.  Considering the fact that Saint Edmund Campion, SJ, was martyred for his efforts to give spiritual succor to Catholics unwilling to desert the Faith for the Church of England, one might think that even the denizens of the editorial board of America might regard this as a trifle odd.  However, it actually makes sense when you think about it.  First, it allows them to take a backhanded slap at the Anglican initiative of the Pope, and, second, what the Church of England has morphed into, a left wing pressure group with prayers, is frankly what America has been championing for years in the Catholic Church.  Their hopes have been crushed, but they can by this award salute Rowan Williams, and give another gesture to the Pope.

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9 Responses to Jesuitical 10: Campion Award to the Archbishop of Canterbury

  • Why do Catholic sites and journals refer to Rowan Williams as the “archbishop of Canterbury”? He is not even a priest, much less a bishop.

  • Any organization Gabriel can come up with their own titles. Besides, if the Vatican uses such titles, and it does, I do not see why we cannot.


  • In all honesty, Donald, I’ve stopped believing that the Jesuits (Sure to soon change their name to the Gaiaits) are even Catholic. I don’t count them as a Catholic order, and as soon as I see S.J. (soon to be S.G) after an author’s name, I put the book away.

    It’s too bad, really. The Jesuits used to be a powerful, orthodox order; and they had the most badass habits ever (believe it or not, Neo’s costume in the Matrix is modeled after Jesuit garb).

    Oh well, there’s always the Dominican’s, right?

  • (Sure to soon change their name to the Gaiaits)

    LOL Michael!

    In truth, what you say about the Order is all too accurate in many cases. However, there is an orthodox remnant in the Jesuits and I salute their efforts.

  • Actually, if you can find good Jesuits, they’re unbeatable. But there never seem to be more than one or two in the same place. I bet there aren’t many in the offices of America.

    What’s the award for, anyway? “A noted Christian person of letters”? Williams is a fool.

  • Donald R. McClarey writes Saturday, January 16, 2010 A.D.
    “Any organization Gabriel can come up with their own titles. Besides, if the Vatican uses such titles, and it does, I do not see why we cannot”.

    Indeed the Vatican, i.e. the Church, does use such titles. But the titles refer to something existing, something real, a power to ordain and to confirm, “the power to bind and to loose”.

    So called bishops of Protestant rites merely go through the motions. The Church definitively decided that the Church of England ordinations and the like are non-existent. It is a fraud on their followers.

  • Gabriel Austin,

    Why do Catholic sites and journals refer to Rowan Williams as the “archbishop of Canterbury”? He is not even a priest, much less a bishop.

    Excellent point.

    Are we being disrespectful when we refer to him instead as Dr. Rowan Williams or simply Mr. Williams?

    I will never call a woman priest “father”.

    For example I call the leader of the Episcopal church in America High Priestess Katharine Jefferts Schori.

    She doesn’t deserve even the designation of Bishopess.

    Is that too far?

  • “Any organization Gabriel can come up with their own titles. Besides, if the Vatican uses such titles, and it does, I do not see why we cannot”.

    Indeed the Vatican, i.e. the Church, does use such titles. But the titles refer to something existing, something real, a power to ordain and to confirm, “the power to bind and to loose”.”

    If you had read the document I linked to Gabriel, you would have seen the Vatican using Church of England titles in regard to Church of England prelates. I am not going to be more Catholic than the Pope on the question of Protestant titles.


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The New Jesuit Review

Sunday, December 6, AD 2009

[From the website]: The New Jesuit Review has as its goals the recovery of Jesuit spirituality from its authentic sources and reflection by contemporary Jesuits on its significance for their lives. The writings of St. Ignatius and the First Companions, the lives of Jesuit saints and martyrs, and classics of Jesuit spirituality are examined in the spirit of Perfectae Caritatis, the Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life of the Second Vatican Council:

It redounds to the good of the Church that institutes have their own particular characteristics and work. Therefore let their founders’ spirit and special aims they set before them as well as their sound traditions — all of which make up the patrimony of each institute — be faithfully held in honor. (Perfectae Caritatis, 2)

A promising venture (HT: Fr. John Zuhlsdorf).

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One Response to The New Jesuit Review

  • Sounds like a great start!

    Here in Texas we here good things coming from the Jesuit seminary of the Southern Province in Louisiana.

    Though the society is still infested with heretics and dissidents, we can trust in God that all will be well in the end.

Translations and Fisks

Friday, December 4, AD 2009

America, the Jesuit magazine, has an article against the new Roman Missal translation which attempts to rectify some of the truly wretched translations that the English speaking peoples of the world had foisted upon them in the Sixties.  The piece is written by Father Michael G. Ryan.  Little did he know that he was going to be subject to one of the best fisks ever delivered by the Master of the Fisk, Father Z.

“What if we, the parish priests of this country who will be charged with the implementation, were to find our voice and tell our bishops that we want to help them avert an almost certain fiasco? What if we told them that we think it unwise to implement these changes until our people have been consulted in an adult manner that truly honors their intelligence and their baptismal birthright? [What would that entail, this “consulting our people”?  Would that mean, what… having our people do the translation?  Would it involve, what… voting?] What if we just said, “Wait, not until our people are ready for the new translations, but until the translations are ready for our people”?  [How would that work, exactly?]

Heeding Our Pastoral Instincts [Two really precise terms there!]

The bishops have done their best, [But apparently, they did a pretty bad job of it, according to the writer.  Maybe “our people” can do a better job of making these decisions.  Right!  The bishops shouldn’t decide!  “Our people” should decide!  Down with the bishops!  Up with “our people”!  UNITE!  Crush the IMPERIALIST…. er um… okay… sorry…. I digress….] but up to now they have not succeeded. Some of them, led by the courageous and outspoken former chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., [ROFL! You knew his name would pop up, right!] tried mightily [What a Hercules, he!  What a David!  What a …  er… um…. sorry….] to stop the new translation train but to no avail. The bishops’ conference, marginalized and battle-weary, allowed itself slowly but steadily to be worn down. [By those wicked new translation loving types!  DOWN WITH THEM!] After awhile the will to fight was simply not there. Acquiescence took over to the point that tiny gains (a word here, a comma there) were regarded as major victories. Without ever wanting to, the bishops abandoned their best pastoral instincts and in so doing gave up on the best interests of their people.  [The writer is pretty worked up.]”

Go here to read the whole fisk.  It is not to be missed.

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13 Responses to Translations and Fisks

  • I have to confess being confused. Not by Fr. Z, but by the objections raised by the America writer.

    During a recent dinner conversation with friends, the issue of the new translations came up. Two at the table were keenly—and quite angrily—aware of the impending changes; two were not. When the uninformed heard a few examples (“and with your spirit”; “consubstantial with the Father”; “incarnate of the Virgin Mary”; “oblation of our service”; “send down your Spirit like the dewfall”; “He took the precious chalice”; “serene and kindly countenance,” for starters), the reaction was somewhere between disbelief and indignation.

    I could understand “disbelief and indignation” if the phrases included “go in peace, and be sure to vote Republican.”

    But “And with your spirit” and “consubstantial with the Father” gave the dinner party guests had dinner party guests reaching for their Rolaids? All of those phrases look either like expressions of basic Catholic belief or a way of injecting some grace and poetry into the Missal.

    I honestly fail to see how they can be described as “ideological.”

  • The problem for those who believe that the Church began with Vatican II is that the more accurate translation is a reminder of the vast history of the Church. I have heard consubstantial disparaged as “scholastic”. That, and the fact that most rebels eventually become reactionaries. The Mass reached perfection in their eyes in the Sixties and Seventies and must remain frozen in amber. That is why in the first decade of the Twenty-First century so many American Masses are laded with abysmal hymns from the Seventies.

  • Poor old aging hippies. Okay, I was a hippie too, but I got over it and GREW UP. Time for the bongos and felt banners to go the way of the Edsel.

  • The hippies and neophytes that hate the Church can take a flying leap into the baptismal hot-tub for all I care.

    They can quote Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, and Bono all they want, they know that the Smoke of Satan is being cleared from the Church and them with it!

  • A theological point: the original Creed read “I believe”. The Americanist Creed changed this to “We believe”. The error is to be noted if one uses “We confess” instead of “I confess”. The simple point is that we do not sin communally; we sin individually. And likewise in professing our faith.

    The bishop who was upset at the reversion to “I believe” remarked that the Orthodox Church uses “We believe”. This is untrue. It is simple enough to check. Call a local Orthodox Church.

    [What is interesting is that none of the bishops present at his discourse called him on this. One can but suppose that they have lost all their little Greek].

    I am taking bets that the author’s “dinner conversation with friends” was in a Jesuit house.

  • The dissident Catholic Manifesto:

    “A spectre is haunting Rome–the spectre of dissident Catholicism. All the Powers of
    orthodox Catholicism have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre:
    Pope and Cardinals, Bishop’s Committees and neo-cons, radical Bloggers and Priests
    under the age of fifty.

    “Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as “Catholic Lite” by its
    opponents in power? Where is the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding
    reproach of Pseudo-Catholicism, against the more advanced opposition party, as well as
    its reactionary adversaries?

    “Dissident Catholics of the world, UNITE!”

  • I think it’s a car, or what they used to call it in the old days of the 1970s, a “motor vehicle”.

  • The Edsel was a high end Ford model built in the 50’s. It was a major flop. So notorious of a flop that you often see it referenced as above. 🙂

  • I remember seeing Edsels as a boy. They came out shortly after we stopped using feet powered vehicles as depicted in the Flintstones. 🙂

  • What if we told them that we think it unwise to implement these changes until our people have been consulted in an adult manner that truly honors their intelligence and their baptismal birthright?

    What if you had thought of that ca. 1969????

  • There is a great hatred of Scholasticism in much modern theology. Just did a course where the major text spent a good part of its efforts denoucing Scholasticism (read Thomism). Preferred existentialism and phenomenology. The prof. talked about the problems of Scholasticism being that it was based on pagan philosophy and why should we Christians allow our faith to be based on a pagan philosophy. Of course this then led to the denial of the Eucharist as being the Body and Blood of Christ.

  • Does anyone find it odd that the Novus Ordo proponents want to wait to make a ‘change’?

    Don’t they change the Novus Ordo every week already?

    We just want to change it back. It is pretty simple really. Innovation is great! Technologically, artistically, liguistically, etc.

    Innovation in liturgy is disobedient and we all know where that leads. Liturgy changes slowly, orgnaically over a long period of time and it isn’t noticeable. Sadly we have had no organic change. The Novus Ordo was a schismatic, jarring change. We need to go back and then move slowly so that the Mass may have a slightly different form in our great-great-great-great grandkids old age.

    Dóminus vobíscum,

Great Jesuits 4: With God in Russia

Sunday, November 15, AD 2009

Fr_ Walter J_ Ciszek, S_J_

Part 4 of my series on great Jesuits in American history

Perhaps there are braver men than Walter Ciszek, but they don’t come readily to mind.  Hard enough to be brave for a short period when the adrenaline is flowing.  Ciszek was brave under often horrendous circumstances for almost a quarter of a century.

Born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania on November 4, 1904, the son of Polish immigrants, he grew to be  a wild, tough kid, a bully and gang member.   He therefore floored his parents when he told them he wanted to be a priest.  Entering a minor seminary he remained tough as he related:

“And I had to be tough. I’d get up at four-thirty in the morning to run five miles around the lake on the seminary grounds, or go swimming in November when the lake was little better than frozen. I still couldn’t stand to think that anyone could do something I couldn’t do, so one year during Lent I ate nothing but bread and water for the forty days –another year I ate no meat at all for the whole year –just to see if I could do it. “

Always looking for a challenge, Ciszek simply presented himself to the Jesuit provincial in the Bronx in 1928 and announced, “I’m going to be a Jesuit!”

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Great Jesuits 3: Dynamo From Ireland

Monday, November 9, AD 2009

Father John McElroy, S. J.

Number 3 of my series on great Jesuits of American history.

A year before the colonies won their fight for independence, John McElroy first saw the light of day in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Ireland on May 11,1782.  At this time English imposed penal laws meant that Irish Catholics were treated like helots in their own land.  The great Edmund Burke described the penal laws well:

“For I must do it justice;  it was a complete system, full of coherence and consistency, well digested and well composed in all its parts.   It was a machine of wise and deliberate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

As a result of these laws McElroy could receive little education in Ireland.  Ambition and a thirst for knowledge caused him, like many Irish Catholics before and since, to emigrate to the US, landing on our shores in 1803.  He became a bookkeeper at Georgetown College, studying Latin in his off hours.  In 1806 he joined the Jesuits as a lay brother, but his intelligence and his industry quickly marked him down to his Jesuit superiors as a candidate for the priesthood.  Ordained in 1817 , for several years he served at Trinity Church in Georgetown, until being transferred to Frederick, Maryland, where, during the next twenty-three years, with the boundless energy which was his hallmark,  he built Saint John’s Church, a college, an orphan’s asylum, and the first free schools in Frederick.  He was then transferred back to Trinity in Georgetown where he remained for a year until the Mexican War began.

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5 Responses to Great Jesuits 3: Dynamo From Ireland

Jesuitical 9: Marquette and Dave Barry

Tuesday, September 29, AD 2009

Hattip to Instapundit.  Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some Jesuits in this country.  Marquette is a Jesuit run university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Notoriously, Marquette has employed as a  Professor of Theology for decades Daniel C. Maguire.  Maguire is an ex-priest.  He has long been an ardent pro-abort.  He has been an adviser of the pro-abort group Catholics For a Free Choice for decades.  One of his recent books is Sacred Choices which is a look at the right to contraception and abortion in ten religions.  In 2007 the USCCB publicly condemned as erroneous various aspects of the views propounded by Maguire and the statement can be read here.

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8 Responses to Jesuitical 9: Marquette and Dave Barry

  • Marquette, Jesuit, that explains it all.

  • Well, speech codes are hardly unique to Marquette or Jesuit schools. As Barry and FIRE point out, its endemic to colleges around the country. But then, everyone knows colleges aren’t about searching for truth or clash of ideas, they are all about getting that piece of paper so you can get a decent job. Nothing else.

  • A couple of points.
    Marquette University [cost: $39,000 p.a.] is not a Jesuit college. There are a few token Jesuits around, but the Board of Trustees are lay people. [Need that to get state funding].

    What is needed is the naming of such as the Jesuit Provincials who seek shelter in anonymity.

    The protested line was first spoken by Thomas Paine, followed by Thomas Jefferson, and the many others.

    One should disrecommend [is that a word?] students from the English department, given the incoherent gobbledey-gook served up as a mission statement.

    It would be entertaining to ask the trustees and faculty members if they knew who Pere Marquette was, and if they have read Agnes Repplier’s wonderful biography.

    Maguire is but one of many Irish Americans who gave a vow as priests and then broke it. Much as I find questionable in Freud, I believe he might well be correct that it is a sexual failing, with an overbearing mother in the background.

  • Ah, yes, my alma mater (hangs head in shame).

    Actually, I consider I got a pretty good education at MU. However, I did not get a Catholic one.

  • Donna, much of my education at the University of Illinois consisted of listening intently to my professors, and then doing the opposite of what they advised!

    I will say that Marquette has a pretty campus. My family and I visited there about a decade ago.

  • MU’s Gesu church is a beauty.

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Jesuitical 8: I am Shocked! Shocked!

Saturday, September 26, AD 2009

Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some of the Jesuits in this country.  Dana Loesch discovers that the Jesuit run Saint Louis University is still funneling volunteers to Acorn.   Of course this is over a year after the USCCB froze funding to Acorn, not to mention the recent colorful revelations that have led to investigations of Acorn and the cutting of funding by governmental bodies from coast to coast.  This is also after many years of scandal involving Acorn and voter registration fraud and misuse of funding.   I guess the hard pressed organization still has some friends among American Jesuits.  I am however shocked that the Jesuits would send student volunteers to a corrupt left wing organization, in much the same way that I am shocked that fire burns and water is wet.

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When did Senator Kennedy abandon his commitment to the unborn?

Monday, August 31, AD 2009

As has been pointed out, Senator Kennedy was pro-life at least until late 1971. Like Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and other prominent figures on the left, his stance changed as “abortion rights” became a major plank on the Democrat Party platform.

What happened?

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3 Responses to When did Senator Kennedy abandon his commitment to the unborn?

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  • I think it may be appropriate to compare Sen. Kennedy to the Senators and Congressmen of the 19th century who supported slavery, such as Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas.

    These men were significant figures in U.S. history, known for their political and oratorical skills, and were considered “lions of the Senate” in their own time. They considered themselves good Christians, did a lot of good things in their careers, and were admired by many people of all political persuasions. As far as I know they were personally nice, intelligent, well-mannered and trustworthy people. (Douglas, in fact, courted Mary Todd before she married Abraham Lincoln.)

    Yet, all the good they did cannot obscure the fact that on the number one moral issue of their era (slavery), they were wrong, and few if any people would even think of voting for someone with the same convictions today. Douglas, especially, is a prime example of someone who was “pro-choice” on slavery the same way many politicians are pro-choice on abortion today.

    Perhaps, by the grace of God and much prayer and sacrifice, the pro-abortion point of view will be just as unthinkable in the next century as the pro-slavery point of view is now.

    Here’s another analogy to consider. Suppose there had lived in the mid-19th century a famous politician who was a Quaker and came from a well-known Quaker family. Suppose this person claimed to be an observant Quaker, attended services regularly or attempted to, and made public statements about the value of his Quaker convictions and how they affected his votes on issues like war — but at the same time, he constantly defended the right of Southerners to own slaves, voted for the Fugitive Slave and Kansas Nebraska Acts, praised the Dred Scott decision, had a 100 percent favorable rating from pro-slavery lobbying groups, and repeatedly claimed there was no conflict between his Quaker convictions and embracing slavery.

    Now, how many Quakers do you think would have voted for such a man, and how would the press of the time have regarded him — as a sterling example of “progressive” Quaker thinking, or as a despicable hypocrite?

  • Those of that kind, not singling out Ted Kennedy, seem to serve special interest groups, Planned Parenthood, Unions.

Great Jesuits 2: Chaplain of the Excelsior Brigade

Thursday, August 6, AD 2009


Excelsior Brigade

Part 2 of my series on great Jesuits in American history.  Ireland has given many great gifts to the United States of America and one of them was Joseph B. O’Hagan who was born in the Olde Sod in County Tyrone on August 15, 1826, the feast of the Assumption.  His family emigrating to Nova Scotia, he entered the seminary in 1844.  Meeting a Boston Jesuit in 1847, he joined the order in December of that year.  Finishing his theological studies in Louvain, he was ordained a priest in 1861.

Returning to the US he joined the Union Army as a chaplain for the New York Excelsior Brigade, one of the hardest fighting outfits in the Army of the Potomac.  Assigned to the 73rd New York, at first Father O’Hagan didn’t think much of many of his fellow soldiers as this passage from a letter he wrote on August 7, 1861 indicates:  “Such a collection of men was never before united in one body since the flood. Most of them were the scum of New York society, reeking with vice and spreading a moral malaria around them. Some had been serving terms of penal servitude on Blackwell’s Island at the outbreak of the war, but were released on condition of enlisting in the army of the Union, and had gladly accepted the alternative..”  The sense of humor of Father O’Hagan is demonstrated by his account of a regiment electing a chaplain:  “Over four hundred voted for a Catholic priest, one hundred and fifty-four, for any kind of a protestant minister; eleven, for a Mormon elder; and three hundred and thirty-five said they could find their way to hell without the assistance of clergy.” .

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35 Responses to Great Jesuits 2: Chaplain of the Excelsior Brigade

  • What percentage of your “Great Jesuits” will be related to the military?

  • Keep reading, which I know you would in any case, and find out Catholic Anarchist.

  • Seems the Company of Jesus is related to the military in its very makeup and its founder’s roots and vision.

  • Ignatius left the military, you twit.

  • And Saint Ignatius was the General of the Order, required military style obedience, used military imagery throughout his writings and had no qualms about Jesuits serving as military chaplains. Rick nails it.

  • Always pleasant witness to authentic Christianity(TM), Michael. Even as I don’t dispute being called a twit, I never said or implied that Ignatius never left the military. As Don explained, the military allusions and character of the Company of Jesus is evident to most, even semi-functional twits like myself.

  • Rick & Donald:

    Why don’t the two of you tossers quit picking on Iafrate and try to follow his rather exemplary demonstration of genuine Christian ideals such as derogatory name-calling and outright condescension, will ya?

  • Catholic Anarchist I deleted your comment. I will not tolerate your calling me a fascist and I certainly will not tolerate your calling Rick a fascist. When you can behave like an adult, I will approve your comments. If this is simply beyond you, peddle your insults elsewhere.

  • Yeah, I can understand someone thinking me a twit. The person who thinks that has to have a fairly developed world view (valid or not) and consider me outside the bounds of what is or ought to be. The measure is their own view of reality. However, while the word fascist is considered in many different lights, it’s still a fairly objective term and to consider me a fascist is to not know what a fascist is or to not know the first thing about me. It’s just not a reasonable conclusion to make.

  • I wonder if michael understands that fascism (by which I mean Fascist political parties and philosophy) was very much a movement of Left.

    Perhaps, though, such a recognition would have gotten in the way of the name-calling and cheap labeling.

  • The real question is why Michael I. feels an automatic desire to spit and rage whenever Donald puts up a post about a military chaplain. Are these men he feels should not be honored? Does he consider their service contemptible? Should their sacrifices be forgotten and their names erased from history? Well, I think we know the answer to those questions.

    But even if he holds these men in no esteem, why feel the need to drop a predictably sour and uncharitable comment into a thread meant to honor them? Simply scrolling past the post is an option.

  • Keep posting these historical vignettes, Donald–I am enjoying them immensely.

  • Thank you Dale! I enjoy writing them!

  • I note with interest that Vox Nova now has a blogger who doesn’t like Michael’s style of argumentation. http://vox-nova.com/2009/08/08/establishing-a-raca-principle/

  • Pope John Paul the Great, in his 2003 message to military chaplains, wrote: “Peace can only be achieved through love! Right now we are all asked to work and pray so that war may disappear from the horizon of humanity.”

    While we must honor the courage of Jesuits who administered sacraments to men engaged in warfare, we must also recall that those men should never have been there in the first place. The best service our chaplains can offer American soldiers is to protect them from the evil of modern war itself – especially with regard to its demonic methods of indoctrination and training. Here’s one of the cadences I recall singing heartily:

    “Burn the town and kill the people
    Throw some napalm in the square
    Do it on a Sunday morning
    While the people are at prayer
    Throw some candy in the school yard
    Watch the kiddies gather ’round
    Slap a mag in your M-16
    And mow those little f#*$&#s down”

    We sang these, and worse.

  • Here’s the one we used to sing the most often, I recall:

    “I went to the playground
    Where all the kiddies played
    I pulled out an uzi
    and I began to spray

    Left Right left right
    Left Right Kill
    Left Right Left Right
    I think I will

    I went to the market
    Where all the people shopped
    I pulled at a machete
    and I began to chop

    Left Right left right
    Left right Kill
    Left right left right
    Ya know I will.”

  • I’m not sure why it is that Catholic chaplains come in for so much disapproval from modern Catholic pacifists. I don’t know if it’s still the case now as it was prior to Vatican II (now that people are so much more “rational” about Last Rites), but in Fr. O’Hagan’s time Catholic chaplains went into battle battle and braved enemy fire (unarmed, and making no attempt to defend themselves) in order to bring the sacraments and first aid to the wounded and dying — of either side.

    I would think that for a Christian pacifism, the witness both of battlefield chaplains and of the medics/stretcher bearers of that period (who were often Quakers or other pacifists) would be a powerful and positive one, not something to be rejected.

  • The great problem as I see it, DC, is that the chaplains are officers in the military rather than ’embedded’ civilians. Chaplains are bound not only by the UCMJ, but also by the military’s efficacious indoctrination and culture. Many of the chaplains I met in the military were very sympathetic to peacemaking, but these sympathies were private beliefs that they kept to themselves.

    The secondary reason why pacifists focus on chaplains is one of scandal. The presence of uniformed priests in the military serves to legitimize modern war, especially for young soldiers. I will never forget the day that the Archbishop of the Military Archdiocese preached at West Point. This was right before the invasion of Iraq, and he told us that it wasn’t our duty to listen to the Pope when he spoke out against the war. Rather, it was our duty to obey the orders of the Commander in Chief.

    God bless Archbishop O’Brien, but he let many of us down that day. He wanted to reassure our consciences, but he only made our struggle worse. The chaplains are in a tough spot – how are they to preach resistance to unjust wars when both the UCMJ and their training say they must do otherwise – that they must comfort soldiers in their duty? Chaplains must not only be priests. They must be prophets. God help them!

  • Well, guess one of the first things you’d have to ask yourself is whether your thinking on this is the same as that of the Church. After all, the see of US Military Archdiocese fell vacant a couple years ago, and Pope Benedict XVI immediately filled with Archbishop Timothy Paul Broglio. I think one could probably take it from this action that our pope does not consider it a scandal for there to be uniformed priests providing the sacraments to US soldiers — even with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan actively ongoing (as they certainly were in 2007 when Apb Broglio was appointed.)

    Traditionally, certainly at the time of Fr. O’Hagan (when Pope Pius IX himself was actively calling for faithful Catholics to come serve in the papal army and fight Italian nationalists — armed with the very latest military rifle technology), the Church has not called on each soldier to decide if the war he is ordered into by the ruler he is sworn to serve is just — rather rulers were held responsible for waging just wars, and soldiers were held responsible for behaving justly in the individual situations they found themselves in.

    While I think there’s some virtue to calling on soldiers to question whether they are being deployed in a totally unjust or downright evil cause (a category into which I can hardly see the Iraq war falling — but that’s a topic for another day) I think that Church has traditionally had it’s priorities right in focusing first on individual souls: on providing the sacraments to men living near death. Indeed, I always found it rather inspiring that bishops in both the North and South in the Civil War went to significant lengths to authorize chaplains with both armies to provide the sacraments to those in need within their diocese. That despite the truly weighty causes which lay between the two sides, the Church focused first on the needs of the souls on both sides, rather than on delivering lectures on which side was just who and who conscientiously object, strikes me as ringly far more truly to the universal nature of the Church than the modern peace movement.

  • You make some good points, DC. Pope Benedict’s filling of the post of Archbishop certainly indicates that he feels there is a need for the position. Howeover, the Archbishop is not an officer in the US Military, he is not liable under the UCMJ, and he does not undergo indoctrination and training in warfare. I think it is right to have an Archbishop and priest assigned to minister to soldiers, even soldiers engaged in unjust wars. But I do not think it is right to force our priests to endure military indoctrination and to be subjected to military law and authority.

    Aggressive warfare is an intrinsic evil, and those who kill in such a war commit the grave sin of murder. God help them, and our chaplains, to resist orders to wage unjust wars!

  • Aggressive warfare is an intrinsic evil, and those who kill in such a war commit the grave sin of murder.

    I agree with the first part of your statement, Nate, but I’m not so sure the second part necessarily follows. One only need to think of a conscript going into battle and fighting only because he doesn’t want the sergeant to put a bullet in the back of his head. If God understands all, including what’s in our hearts, and is just and merciful, then I doubt He considers that soldier guilty of murder. It seems to me that those who culpably put the soldier in that position will have to answer for consequences and injustices of their actions.

  • Rick, I think you and I probably agree, if we make the distinction between grave sin and mortal sin. Are you saying that killing in an unjust war is a grave sin, but not necessarily a mortal sin? I would agree with that wholeheartedly. Many (if not most) soldiers who fight in an unjust war typically do so without full knowledge or full freedom – lessening their culpability.

    Think of the Japanese and Germans who died fighting in an aggressive and unjust war – I doubt that most of them did so with full knowledge and full freedom. Yet surely the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor must be described as a murderous action – a grave sin. Yet if I’m understanding you correctly, we should be clear in making a distinction between grave sin and mortal sin.

  • I think it is right to have an Archbishop and priest assigned to minister to soldiers, even soldiers engaged in unjust wars. But I do not think it is right to force our priests to endure military indoctrination and to be subjected to military law and authority.

    I guess I’d have to understand more clearly what you think is being done to chaplains that is so horendous. Overall, however, I’m having trouble understanding how on the one hand you’d accept that it is a good thing that the Vatican has a US military chapliancy, and on the other insist that the chapliancy as it exists (and the Vatican has accepted it) is totally unacceptable — indeed so unacceptable that one shouldn’t even praise the bravery a priest living 150 years ago who worked under fire to bring the sacraments to the dying.

    Are you saying that killing in an unjust war is a grave sin, but not necessarily a mortal sin?…
    Think of the Japanese and Germans who died fighting in an aggressive and unjust war – I doubt that most of them did so with full knowledge and full freedom. Yet surely the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor must be described as a murderous action – a grave sin.

    See, I guess the thing that rubs me the wrong way about this way of looking at things is the “the good side and the murderers” element of it. This strikes me as judgemental and dualistic in a way that’s more likely to inspire conflict than peace.

    Also, working with the precise modern, Catholic definition of “just war” I’m having a bit of trouble with it. I mean, take the following: In WW2, the Soviet Union invaded Finnland in an aggressive war. Germany later invated the Soviet Union in an aggressive war. Finnland, which was still desperately fighting off the Russian invasion, sought and received German help — in the form of arms and even a small number of German soldiers as “advisors”. So here are a German and Finnish soldier sitting in a foxhole together, and Soviet soldiers are charging at them. Is it murder for the German to shoot because Germany is waging an unjust war against the Soviet Union, but legitimate defense for the Finn to shoot because he’s defending his country against the unjust aggression of the Soviets?

    Or if one accepts that the war in Iraq is unjust: When US and Iraqi soldiers are out on patrol together looking for members of an illegal militia which has been terrorizing civilians in the area, is it murder and unjust for the US soldier to be there but legitimate for the Iraqi soldier to be there? When they’re working together and doing the same thing?

    Those just don’t make sense to me.

  • DC, I didn’t say that the current military chaplaincy was totally unacceptable, but rather that they must be prophetic, and that their status as officers makes that very difficult, if not illegal under the UCMJ. I also didn’t say that we shouldn’t praise the bravery of chaplains, but rather that “we must honor the courage of Jesuits who administered sacraments to men engaged in warfare”.

    Your questions about the Fins, Germans, Soviets, Americans, and Iraqis are complex ones, I agree. I think that highlights the need for a better theology of war, peace, and homicide. The intense focus on just-war theory is analogous to focusing on the bare minimums of the Catholic life. What would we say about a priest who regularly preached about the minimum requirement of receiving communion once a year rather than the merciful grace of receiving communion daily? When it comes to our thinking about war and peace, we’ve really let the minimum set the standard instead of calling us to something greater.

    Archbishop Carlson of Saint Louis has a wonderful peace letter that he wrote a year ago, which you can find on my website. I think he nails it:


  • “And Saint Ignatius was the General of the Order, required military style obedience, used military imagery throughout his writings and had no qualms about Jesuits serving as military chaplains. Rick nails it.”

    It’s important to be careful Donald about how far you stretch that “military” language. For example, Superior “General” is just meant as far as I can tell to mean the opposite of “particular,” which would be the superior of a particular house in a city. The “general” superior governs the whole world.

    I don’t think that the obedience is particularly military style. That would be the Legionaries maybe, but not us. There are many forms of representation in the Society of Jesus, where superiors can be questioned and even sidestepped. The obedience that Ignatius founded — which was an afterthought by the way — was meant to be practical, to keep them together when already as a young order they were going all over the world. Their form of obedience, as opposed to the monastic form, precluded them returning for Chapter on a regular basis. It made for easier and more practical missionary work.

    The military language that Ignatius used is more akin to his former allusions to knighthood, such as Amadis de Gaul, rather than the Prussian military form that we know. A “soldier” in the former sense referred to one who had more of a “vocational” relationship with his king than the relationship that we would associate with a soldier in the American military. Go back to the Spiritual Exercises and read the Kingdom of Christ meditation again. It is all about a knighthood or soldiering of personal relationship. Hence, the individual has quite a bit to say, which goes back to the obedience bit. There is a dialogue at work in this meditation, particularly at the end in the Colloquy.

    By laying down his arms at Montserrat, Ignatius truly left the military, and by using some of this language again, he subverted it in the service of a higher calling. It is primarily the “impulse” to higher service that he borrows from the military as opposed to anything substantial.

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  • Good points Nathan, although I disagree with your ultimate conclusion. I think that Saint Ignatius deliberately set out to have his Company of Jesus, company of course being the basic military unit in the sixteenth century, established along military lines to form an army for Christ. This perhaps is seen most clearly in the opening words of his Formula of the Institute:

    “Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross in our society, which we desire to be designated by the name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman pontiff, the vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching, lectures, and any other ministration whatsoever of the word of God and further by means of the Spiritual Exercises, the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity and the spiritual consolation of Christ’s faithful through hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments.

    Moreover, he should show himself ready to reconcile the estranged, compassionately assist and serve those who are in prisons or hospitals and, indeed, to perform any other works of charity, according to what will seem expedient for the glory of God and the common good.”

    Although the Jesuits themselves were not to wield carnal weapons, they would, and did, serve as chaplains for those who did. Unfortunately I can not find it on line, but I recall a letter from Saint Ignatius to Emperor Charles V urging a naval crusade against the Turks. I have always been struck by the strategic insight shown by the Saint in that letter. Of course long after the deaths of both Saint Ignatius and Charles V, Pope Saint Pius V cobbled together such an alliance to shatter the Turkish fleet at Lepanto in 1571.

  • Here is a link to the book,
    History of the life and institute of St. Ignatius de Loyola, by Daniello Bartoli


    and the quote,

    “He brought about a reconciliation between the Pope and the king of Portugal; he concerted with John de Vega to persuade the Emperor Charles V. to fit out a fleet against the Turks”

  • Thanks for the info and the link Joseph!

  • Donald – You are living in a fascist dreamworld. Your children must be proud. Happy Sunday to you. Go to Mass, clean the guns.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I approved your last comment so our readers could see the typical type of bilge I delete which you submit. You are banned forever from commenting on any of my posts on this blog. Go be a total jackass elsewhere.

  • You know, I’ve long been a sucker for the “maybe there’s some redeeming quality in this guy, we shouldn’t shut out the opposition” school of thought on Michael — but I think that kind of comment pretty much underscores how, in the end, there is not a Christ-like fiber in his being. This alleged pacifist is one of the most consistently angry and in-humane people I’ve ever encountered online, and it seems well past time to cut things off with him. He just doesn’t add anything positive.

    I’ll commit to banning him from my posts as well — and to be fair I’ll go ahead and never try to comment on Vox Nova (or Catholic Anarchy) either. At a certain point, sanity and standards have to kick in.

  • Michael,

    I didn’t appreciate your last comment on my post.

    Please stop with your juvenile comments.

    You’ve been warned.

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