Prisoner 16670

Tuesday, January 27, AD 2015

(Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.  I am taking this opportunity to rerun this post from All Saints Day 2009.)

Today we celebrate all the saints who now dwell in perfect bliss before the Beatific Vision, seeing God face to face.  All the saints love God and love their neighbor, but other than that they have little in common.  We have saints who lived lives of quiet meditation, and there are saints who were ever in the midst of human tumult.  Some saints have easy paths to God;  others have gained their crowns at the last moment, an act of supreme love redeeming a wasted life.  Many saints have been heroic, a few have been timid.  We number among the saints some of the greatest intellects of mankind, while we also venerate saints who never learned to read.  We have saints with sunny dispositions, and some who were usually grouchy.  Saints who attained great renown in their lives and saints who were obscure in life and remain obscure after death, except to God.  Among such a panoply of humanity we can draw endless inspiration for our own attempts to serve God and our neighbors.  For me, one saint has always stood out as a man with a deep meaning for this period of history we inhabit:  Saint Maximilian Kolbe.  Why?

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7 Responses to Prisoner 16670

Love Makes All the Difference

Friday, October 24, AD 2014

20 Responses to Love Makes All the Difference

  • Perfection. Your love for God and family is nothing less than perfection.

    Todays psalm 24:3,4 reads; “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He (Larry) whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.”

    Your description of your love for Larry is incense so sweet and so pleasing to God most high. It’s extremely sad that the woman in the story could not find what your family has such an abundance of…love.

    God is Love.
    Peace Mr. McClarey.
    Peace.

  • Beautiful writing Don. So inspired by faith, and so inspired by your son Larry.

  • Thank you Philip and Tom. God has been gracious to me in surrounding me with good people throughout my life. Larry was the icing on the cake.

  • Donald McClarey: “Christ gave us as His two great commands: Love God and Love our Neighbor. No one is more our neighbor than the children God gives us. Without this love, a pale reflection of the love that God has for each of us, we are but poor beasts indeed.”
    .
    Stunningly beautiful.

  • Such a gorgeous and elegant response to that horrifying article, Mr. McClarey. My twin brother Patrick is autistic and also has seizures (though he hasn’t had one in over a year, thank God). He can be such a pain sometimes, but this just affirms the fact that he’s human. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

  • Thank you Mary and Rodney for your very kind comments.

  • Yours is the story and the example that should have been presented to the recent Synod on the Family, Donald. You turned a Cross – the disability of your son – into a Crown of how life should be. When I read your description of Larry and his disability, I am reminded of what St Paul wrote, that the power of God is made perfect in human weakness. Thus does disability turn from detriment into asset. Should we ask to become half as disabled? If only to become half as holy? For without holiness no man shall see God.

  • “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

  • Veritatis Splendor – 80. “[…] Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat laborers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honor due to the Creator.” (132)
    .

    Sipping from the poisonous cup of social justice . . . Doubt and confusion. Muddy the waters. It’s how they rationalize advancing abortion and all the evils attendant with progressivism.

  • My hope is that you may be led to reach out in love rather than reject in condemnation.

    Is this woman, who has expressed her feelings, not your neighbor?

    Might you consider laying down the stone and sharing your love?

  • Elizabeth, this woman wishes she had slain her son and encourages other women carrying Down’s children to do so. The height of love is sometimes to tell someone when they are acting like a monster.

  • You have brought tears to my eyes Donald, esp when I got the the two words, “my boy”.
    That love and the difference between you, your wife and other children, and that woman.. is grace. Available to her too, but it must be received.
    You have grown closer to God no doubt because of Larry. Thank you for being willing to share with us.

  • Thank you Anzlyne. My eyes often well up when I think of Larry, but that is counterbalanced by the fact that I know I will see him again. That, and the good memories of him that will remain with me throughout the rest of my journey through this vale of tears.

  • Mr. McClarey, you and your family accepted your son Larry as a blessing rather than as a cross to bear -although I’m sure there were times it felt like a cross, as all parents who love their children know.

    Children with disabilities force their parents to realize that these children will always need them and that the carefree retirement in the Sunbelt and long vacations and ocean cruises aren’t going to happen. The ones who look to the Lord can find the strength to deal with the situation. Those who are selfish – and who isn’t a little selfish from time to time, as I can be – act like the lady in the Daily Mail. One day she will meet her Maker and answer why she did not want to carry her cross.

  • Extraordinary words and writing, Mr. McClarey, and beyond “touching the heart”.

    I have briefly commented before that I am honored to be the guardian for my brother, Joe, who like Larry was, is an autistic adult; in Joey’s case, is blessed with extraordinary good health and strength; but like Larry did, he makes our lives every day unique, intriguing and decidedly un-dull. Like Larry, he loves to lead us in prayers, esp. before meals (can’t drop that!), and prays the “Eternal Rest” prayers also for all the family before every sitting; he also loves going to Mass and knows it is something very important about God and Jesus and “Sweet Virgin Mary” (=his articulation). At Mass: he is quiet as a mouse–amazing! And perhaps best of all, I am/we are always fortunate to have someone who will always say the Rosary with me/us, no matter how long the drive and no matter how many Mysteries we’ve gone through already. A veritable Rosary Machine!
    I can only imagine the hole in one’s life without Larry, based on how much I wonder how poor would my life and a very generous Mrs. Phoenix’s life would be, without Uncle Joe.
    ….
    What is the value of a life, and its meaning? “I know our lives would have been happier and far less complicated if he had never been born. I do wish I had an abortion. I wish it every day.” (Daily Mail excerpt) Some people will never know: the value of a life. It is the secret of a life, the secret of the Rosary, the secret of God’s presence in unbelievable circumstances. Franz Werfel said it best: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible”.

  • “My eyes often well up when I think of Larry,”
    Don, mine did reading this. Thank you

  • Thanks, Don. I needed to read this.

  • “I know our lives would have been happier and far less complicated if he had never been born.”

    Less complicated, maybe, but happier? That is the fatal assumption far too many people make in our culture of death: that less complication, less inconvienience, less effort and less pain always equal more happiness. Many people discover, far too late, that this is not true.

    Oddly enough, I stumbled across a VERY lengthy article in Newsweek (online) yesterday concerning a rather sordid case of a wealthy New York woman on trial for murdering her autistic son. The article goes off into quite a few tangents about the mystery of autism, the search for cures, the “neurodiversity” movement (which advocates accepting autistic youth and adults as they are rather than trying to change them), etc. but way, way, down toward the end of the story is one priceless quote that could apply to any disability:

    “A day at Oak Hill (a residential school/facility for autistic youth in California) reminds you that autism spectrum disorder is exactly as complicated, frustrating and inscrutable as human existence disorder. This, I think, is where the neurodiversity crowd, which can sometimes lapse into anti-science, has a point: Autistic people are, above all, people. We all have our own pathologies. Some are visible. Some are not. Some we can cure. Some, not yet. Some, maybe never.”

  • “You have one here who is greater than the prophets.” Jesus Christ was not referring to His divinity. Jesus Christ was referring to His humanity. Jesus Christ was referring to the opportunity of people to love.

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Saint Augustine: Late Have I Loved Thee

Sunday, March 30, AD 2014

st-augustine-of-hippo7_opt

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  and here to read the first four posts in the series, we come to the whole purpose of Lent.  We repent our sins and turn away from them, but these are not ends in themselves.  We do them to help reawaken in our souls our love of God.  God loves each of us with a love the intensity and magnitude of which we, in this life, cannot hope to fathom.  It has been said that God loves each man as if he were the only one.  He loves us enough to die for us, the creator of life suffering an ignominious human death to bring us to Him.  Blinded by sin and the follies of this Vale of Tears we are often unable to see that the sweet loves we encounter in this life are but pale reflections of His love.  Saint Augustine, after a wasted youth, did finally understand that love, and wrote about his discovery in imperishable words:

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7 Responses to Saint Augustine: Late Have I Loved Thee

Dear Future Mom

Saturday, March 22, AD 2014

Hattip to Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report. A very well meaning person once told my wife and I that she understood what a cross we had to bear due to the autism of our son Larry.  I responded by stating the simple truth:   that Larry had never been anything but a blessing from God for us.  So he was, from his first day to his last, and continues to be as he went ahead of us to the next world.  In this Vale of Tears many terrible things can happen to us, but the birth of a child, no matter what, is never among them.

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17 Responses to Dear Future Mom

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself. My own daughter, now 18, is autistic as well, and while there are certainly many difficulties there are also some difficulties that parents of “normal” children have which we have been spared. Just one example, she couldn’t care less about the toxic swamp of youth/popular culture and is content with far fewer material possessions than I suspect most young people her age would be.

  • Innocence is always beautiful.

  • A deeper love, a perfected love is revealed to the parents and society when embracing a child of God such as yours Donald and Elaine.
    God bless parents like you.

  • My father passed away last night. Life is beautiful, it’s temporary, and it’s followed by something better. Praise to the Author of Life!

  • May he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision Pinky.

  • Pinky.
    I’m sorry for your loss.
    It’s been just over 4 months since my father passed on.
    May your dad share in the company of the Holy ones forever.

  • Pinky, prayers for the repose of the soul of your father. I will try to remember to pray for him tomorrow at Mass.

    We recently found out that my wife is pregnant. I am 50. She will be 45 next month, so this is already considered a high risk pregnancy. We will accept what God gives us.

  • Thanks. As Don can tell you, it may be true that none of us are worthy of Heaven, but there sure are some good people up there. Penguin, congratulations. Yeah, nervous about it I’m sure, but congratulations.

  • That should have been “thanks all”. Thanks all.

  • “We will accept what God gives us.”

    Prayers on the way PF for a good result! That phrase has been a saving grace for me during last year.

  • God never makes mistakes. Children such as these are God’s gift to us, and how we welcome and care for them is our gift back to God.

  • Don and Penguin’s Fan: ““We will accept what God gives us.”
    Prayers on the way PF for a good result! That phrase has been a saving grace for me during last year.”
    .
    Make me as holy as I am to be holy.
    .
    Victor R. Claveau, MI: “God never makes mistakes. Children such as these are God’s gift to us, and how we welcome and care for them is our gift back to God.”
    .
    Thank you.

  • Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts and kind words. I am in need of them and I am grateful.

    I knew some of this before getting married or even before I met my wife – that children belong to their parents – in one sense – for as long as the live, but in a larger sense, for only a little while. It is an awesome task to meet the everyday responsibilities of caring for young children and to work to prepare them for the world that awaits them when they reach adulthood. I had some sense of this as my three brothers are younger than I am and, not being a completely average kid, saw and realized what goes on. My wife was an only child. She had no brothers and no cousins her age. It is a greater challenge for her to deal with a two year old boy that is high strung and a kindergartener. She thought she would homeschool and then found out that she does not have the temperament for it.

    The local parish has a Catholic school. I became unhappy with the way Mass is celebrated there and I have the nagging suspicion that this school is no better than the Catholic school I went to in the 1970s.

    One thing I have developed is a greater sense of understanding and sympathy when people take their young children out in public – be it a dinner (usually at a family restaurant), at Mass, shopping for groceries, traveling, you name it.

    One develops a special kind of anger at crooked politicians, inept clergy, mindless bureaucrats, selfish people and foolish businesses who embrace silly current fads that will have a long lasting and damaging effect on the world that today’s children will inherit.

  • Dear Future Mom was beautiful and heart warming. There is so much ignorance about these exceptional children. I hope it was and will be broadcast on network TV as a public service announcement.

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  • First of all, to Pinky: my sincerest thoughts and prayers with you and your family on the occasion of the loss of your father. Requiem aeternam, dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis.

    Secondly, to Donald, thank you for describing the gift of Larry, your son. Every situation is different: I learn of more and more people every day it seems that have a “special-needs” family member in their lives. We are the fortunate ones.

    My autistic brother, of whose care and custody I have, now that our own father has passed, is a daily occasion, yes, DEFINITELY sometimes of frustration and annoyance, but predominately, of happiness, liveliness, and unbelievably zany humor that only, we the fortunate ones, can know about.
    ******************
    So, I thought, here are 8 things that are the unique gifts of having an autistic child/sibling/family member in your life:
    8) Strange little humming noises can be very pleasing and satisfying.
    7) Harley Davidsons are the most exquisitely Awesome Machines on land. MUST STOP AND WATCH.
    6) Forget Frank Lloyd Wright and Mary Jane Coulter: Some telephone poles are true works of art.
    5) The pipe organ is the most exquisite instrument of music—and esp, the music of JS Bach, Julius Reubke, Maurice Durufle, and Jehan Alain make it talk!
    4) Boeing makes the most Awesome Vehicles that Fly: MUST STOP AND WATCH.
    3) Certain people’s voices, either speaking but especially singing, are Very Annoying.* (*and watch out for them, I have learned he is telling me…)
    2) Nirvanic Rocking can be very soothing to anyone, especially after a very stressful
    day: try it, while you think about what to do next.
    1) And finally: Blessed are the pure of heart, for of such is the Kingdom of God.

Love Conquers All

Wednesday, October 2, AD 2013

 

Commenter Sywink sent me the above video.  My response:

 

Well that brought tears to my eyes.  My twins had a similar relationship.  When my non-autistic son was praised for helping my autistic son, he would always respond:  “He’s my brother.”  He got back in time from college to act as a chaperone for his brother’s class to a zoo.  When I asked him if he would do this he said, “I would be honored”.  This was on the Tuesday before Larry’s death.    Numerous photographs were taken of this outing.  His class after my son’s death put together a collage of the pictures that have Larry in them.  One shows his brother hugging him.  Needless to say that these pictures are now priceless family heirlooms.  Love conquers all, even death.

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4 Responses to Love Conquers All

Anne de Gaulle

Tuesday, August 6, AD 2013

Anne De Gaulle

(I wrote this post back in 2009.  I am republishing it now because it has always been one of my favorites and the blog readership is far higher now.  Additionally it is one of several posts that I have written that I think, in retrospect, may have been God’s way of preparing me for the loss of my son Larry on May 19 of this year. )

 

 

Charles de Gaulle could be a very frustrating man.  Churchill, in reference to de Gaulle, said that the heaviest cross he had to bear during the war was the Cross of Lorraine, the symbol of the Free French forces.  Arrogant, autocratic, often completely unreasonable, de Gaulle was all of these.  However, there is no denying that he was also a great man.  Rallying the Free French forces after the Nazi conquest of France, he boldly proclaimed, “France has lost a battle, France has not lost the war.”  For more than a few Frenchmen and women, de Gaulle became the embodiment of France.  It is also hard to dispute that De Gaulle is the greatest Frenchman since Clemenceau, “The Tiger”, who led France to victory in World War I.  However, de Gaulle was something more than a great man,  he was also at bottom a good man, as demonstrated by his youngest daughter Anne de Gaulle.

Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle were both devout Catholics, so when their youngest daughter Anne was born on New Years Day in 1928, they had a strong faith to fall back on when they learned that Anne had Down Syndrome.   She also had birth injuries that meant that she would never walk unaided. There was never any question about Anne being institutionalized.  She was a member of their family, and she stayed with the family in all their travels.  There was one sacred rule in the de Gaulle household:  Anne was never to be made to feel different or less than anyone else.  Charles de Gaulle was noted for his reserve and even with family members he was usually not very demonstrative.  Not so with his daughter Anne, who received a warmth that he had seemed to be storing for his entire life just for her.  “Papa” was the one word that Anne could say clearly.  He would sing to her, read her stories and play with her.  She was, he said simply, “My joy”.   As de Gaulle said, “She helped me overcome the failures in all men, and to look beyond them.”

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8 Responses to Anne de Gaulle

  • Gen and Mme de Gaulle frequently attended the 6.30 am weekday mass at the Madeleine, quite close to the Elysée Palace. I saw them there once, on my occasional visits in the early 1960s.

  • That is a very moving story and one that I was unaware of. Certainly a different attitude than the one Joseph Kennedy had for his daughter Rosemary.

  • “(Now, she’s like all the others.)”

    Every so often, Mac, you have remind me why I read this blog.

    This darned eye allergy . . .

  • Why therefore, given examples like these, can’t liberals understand that a defect doesn’t make one defective and unworthy of living, but rather gives cause to live even more brilliantly (i.e., luminously) than those without defect?

  • Paul, your response was perfect for Charles’ and Anne’s love story – one which we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

  • It’s not my response originally, Steve W., but St. Paul’s in 2nd Corinthians chapter 12:

    7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Can it not be argued that what made Charles de Gaulle truly strong was not his intellect, or his ability at strategy and tactics, or his acumen as a political leader, but rather the strength of his “weak and defective” daughter, a strength born and made perfect in such weakness and defect?

    OK, that’s enough sobriety and sanity from me for one day. Back to “Neutrons ‘R us”. 😉

  • Thank you for posting this. It is a beautiful story and should be shared frequently.

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The Illusion of Security

Wednesday, June 12, AD 2013

One Child

 

 

 

Lauren Sandler, a proponent of having one child, writes a predictable piece in a predictable news magazine, Time, about he joys of stopping at one child.

She’s on to something. According to the USDA, a child born in 2011 will cost an average of $234,900 to raise to age 18. If your household income is over $100,000, you can raise that number to about $390,000. Yes, there are some savings after the first child — you don’t have to buy another high chair! — but it’s not as though you get a huge volume discount on subsequent offspring. There are also opportunity costs of a mother’s loss of income from parental leave, scaling back hours or dropping out of the workforce entirely. No wonder, according to the USDA, two-parent households with two children devote over one-third of their income to their kids. Add it all up and there’s a strong economic case for stopping at one child.

And yet the world will tell you — from grandmothers to sitcoms to strangers in the supermarket — that money shouldn’t be a factor in deciding to have more children. If you express concern about how much children cost, then you’ve clearly got your priorities wrong. You’ll make it work, they tell you. Don’t be selfish. (I wrote about this and other stereotypes of parents with singletons in a cover story for TIME.)

Having raised three children I can say that for my family the 234,900 per child figure was way off base, unless one adds into the mix the lost funds of my wife not having a job during much of the time that the kids were growing up.  Of course that is the wrong way to look at it.  My wife and I did not get married in order to see how much stuff we could accumulate during our lives.  We got married because we loved each other and hoped that our love would be blessed with children.  My wife worked harder than I had to in our efforts to raise our kids, and I often told her that she had the important job in our house and I worked merely to facilitate her efforts for the kids.

In this vale of tears we have no guarantees as to our economic success, no guarantees as to how many, if any, kids we will be blessed with and no guarantees as to how they will turn out.  Every minute of our lives we are working without a net.  I often plan and calculate various aspects of my life to ensure the best outcome that I can, but I realize that the most important parts of my life are often completely out of my control.  It takes quite a bit of faith to endure the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that come our way in this world and to realize that we always and everywhere are dependent upon the mercy of God to see us through.  Modern men and women mostly do not accept this.  They think that they can eliminate risk and turn our journeys through this life into a cocoon where we will have endless fun, accumulate lots of material items and never hear of such things as pain and sacrifice.  Such is not, and never will be, our mortal lives.

A much more accurate reflection of our lives is contained in the closing prayer of the Rosary:

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15 Responses to The Illusion of Security

  • From a practical viewpoint, having one child by choice is a bit daft. We become a burden as we age. That is the reality and the more adults to share that burden, the better.

    My maternal grandfather died in 1954, when my mother was seven. Worse yet, he was the only child to survive to adulthood, as was his mother and father. My mother was an only child of an only child, of an only child.

    Mom describes her childhood as “lonely,” surrounded by aging and distant relatives. She cared for my grandmother for many years, a draining task for single children.

    We may not need lots of kids to work the farm anymore but they are still the surest security we will have in old age.

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  • An article in The Economist reported the demographic crisis in the West.

    In the European community there is 1.4 fertility rate — that means that in five years deaths will outnumber births. The most prosperous areas have fewer children. The fertility rate in Italy and Spain is 1.2, that translates into a population in twenty years to half of what it is today.

    The typical citizen will have no brothers and no sisters, no cousins, no aunts and uncles. The Economist continued that the situation in the US is better because Americans are more devout — we are churchgoers and churchgoers get married and have families.

    One of the reasons the Church defends marriage in the face of divorce, cohabitation and redefinition of marriage is that marriage and family are the Sanctuary of Life and when that sanctuary is violated, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, real happiness, society itself are at risk.

    Church is hated by liberals and democrats because it is the one bastion against their cult of death.

    As western populations age, we will see the generation that aborted their children euthanized by the survivors.

    Do the math: 4 grandparents -> 2 parents -> 1 child

  • Mr. Shaw,
    Your second to last paragraph is brilliant. I will have to borrow it in argument.

  • In addition to the other good comments; who will the Dems tax if there are no children? Or, “Jordan, te presento a Juan Carlos.”

  • We can be sure that the Moslems are not worrying about the cost of raising up a large family.

    We will pay for this selfishness, and not just by the lost productivity of millions unborn.

  • A weighted average of the total fertility rates in the Near East and North Africa places it at around 2.66 births per mother per lifetime (and the most recent measure for Israel is 3.0). A weighted average for the Central Asian states and Pakistan is around 3.5, and (bar Afghanistan) rates in these countries went into long-term decline around 1985). The 2011 rate for the U.S. was 1.89, but the rate has been above 2.0 for most years since 1990.

  • “and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” One of the purposes of our Constitution.” “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” from The Declaration of Independence. “A nation divided against itself shall not stand.”

  • The typical citizen will have no brothers and no sisters, no cousins, no aunts and uncles.

    And I was feeling lonely because my kids only have two first cousins once removed, and three first cousins twice removed that we actually get to see….

  • Today’s (June 13, 2013) Wall Street Journal reports, on page A8, that 12,419 more white, non-Hispanic Americans died than were born in the year ended June 2012. In 2009, there were about 200,000 more births than deaths among that demographic group.

  • I hate those child cost statistics. They ignore the benefits of raising children and reduce it to how many fewer toys a person can buy. A child may cost money in direct expenses and lost earnings, but each of those children will provide a benefit to society when grown. They will add to GDP when they enter the workforce, and the amount they produce will far outweigh what they cost. Children are an investment who will yield a profit. The greatest predictor of wealth for a society is the level of investment compared to consumption.

    Rather than count the cost of raising children, we should count the cost to society of those who remain childless by choice so that they can spend everything on themselves. Children are not leeches. Selfish people are leeches. I say we ban contraception and require everyone to have at least five children! That will pull our economy out of its current long term prospects for insolvency.

  • “I say we ban contraception and require everyone to have at least five children”

    Believe it or not, that WAS actually the law at one time in one country…. Ceaucescu’s Romania. The motivation there was to build up the country’s military and it’s workforce. Unfortunately, it was also a big part of the reason there were so many Romanian orphans after their revolution.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying that we shouldn’t be more supportive of largers families, or that there are not real dangers to a declining birthrate or to a critical mass of adults in society choosing to have only one child or none at all. And I agree that the “cost of raising children” articles are extremely misleading.

    That said, the Ceaucescu five-child policy was, in some ways, comparable to the Chinese one-child policy in that it treated people as mere cogs in an economic and military machine, and was instituted by a repressive Communist regime. I doubt very much that it was motivated by reverence for human life or for the integrity of the family.

    It’s one thing to try to make life easier for those who choose to raise more children via tax breaks, etc.; it’s another thing entirely to establish a de jure or de facto maximum or minimum number of children that everyone “should” have and ostracize or punish those who violate the “norm.” Also, don’t forget that there are many people out there (like me) who have only 1 child, or none at all, because God for whatever reason saw fit not to give them any more. I sure do wish I had more siblings and that my daughter had some but it just didn’t happen and it’s too late to do anything about that now.

  • “12,419 more white, non-Hispanic Americans died than were born in the year ended June 2012.”

    Could that be as much attributable to the start of the dying off of the Baby Boom generation (the oldest of whom are now 66-67 years old; I know several people who died of cancer or other conditions at that age) as to a decline in births?

  • I strongly disagree with the idea that the State should encourage childbearing because I see nothing to suggest that such a policy would encourage those who should have more kids to have them.

    The State is not advantaged by single-parent households. Extraordinary stories of great single-parenting are exactly the, extraordinary. Parenting is hard work; hard enough for two parents and damned near impossible for one. (why anyone in command of their wits would choose to be a single-parent is beyond me.)

    A policy like you suggest would add to kids from single parent homes without adding kids to two parent homes. We did that before if you recall. It was the effect, if not the stated purpose, of American welfare laws before Welfare Reform.

    Furthermore, the parents that I know with only one or two kids didn’t limit their procreation because they couldn’t affor more kids. They did so because their values include exptic vacations, new cars before the old is worn out, expensive private schools, and “time for us.”

    Parents of many kids, as I gather from your other writings, understand parenting to be full of sacrifice. Those with one or two kids want the benefits of kids without those sacrifices. (Understanding of course that this is a broad generalization.)

  • It wasn’t a serious suggestion. I was deliberately being over the top with the suggestion that the state require five children from each couple. I had no idea that Romania had that policy. Wow! I just did a little quick reading on it. The policy applied to single was well as married. Both single men and women who didn’t have any children by age twenty five were taxed punitively. Yeah, that’s not the Catholic model. Children are the product of love, not social engineering.

2 Responses to Paperman and the Accidents of Love

Veterans Day: John 15:13

Friday, November 11, AD 2011

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

Epitaph on the Memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Division at Kohima

War is a curious part of the human condition.  It is a summary of the worst that Man is capable of:  violence on a massive scale, cruelty, greed, hatred, and the magnification of every human vice.  Few of us are more “anti-war” than those who have had the misfortune to fight in one and witnessed all the folly, loss and endless pain produced by the inability of men to frequently resolve their differences without resort to the sword.  Yet, in war we also see men rise to the heights of what we are capable of at our best:  self-sacrifice, courage, love and the magnification of every human virtue.  War as the direst of human institutions is to be bitterly regretted, but we must ever pay homage to those who find themselves in this terrible maelstrom and acquit themselves with honor.

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One Response to Veterans Day: John 15:13

  • “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.” Chapter Heading, The Doughboys by Laurence Stallings

    Our soldier drove in from Fort Benning, GA (Uncles Sam’s School for Wayward Boys) at about 0400 hours this AM.

    He (CIB, airborne ranger infantry) spent 2009 in Afghanistan. It was hard year for his Mother, too. “They also serve who only sit and wait.”

    The POG’s at #OccupyFail talk about the 1%. These heroes are the 0.45% that deserve our blessings and gratitude this day and every day.

Advent: God So Loved The World

Sunday, December 12, AD 2010

Advent might be summarized by John 3:16:   “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

In daily life it is often easy to lose sight of the fact that we are always in the hands of an infinitely loving God who became one of us, His creatures, as a result of that love.  Men often fear and deny God I think out of a profound belief that they are unworthy of this love.  Peter, the prince of the apostles, after meeting Christ asked Him to leave him because Peter was a sinful man.  In our times, drenched in cynicism and wallowing in sin, love is in short supply it seems, and the idea of a loving God is one that many of us flee from and attempt to futilely deny.  This attitude calls to mind this passage from the Screwtape letters:

The truth is I slipped by mere carelessness into saying that the Enemy really loves the humans. That, of course, is an impossibility. He is one being, they are distinct from Him. Their good cannot be His. All His talk about Love must be a disguise for something else—He must have some real motive for creating them and taking so much trouble about them. The reason one comes to talk as if He really had this impossible Love is our utter failure to out that real motive. What does He stand to make out of them? That is the insoluble question. I do not see that it can do any harm to tell you that this very problem was a chief cause of Our Father’s quarrel with the Enemy. When the creation of man was first mooted and when, even at that stage, the Enemy freely confessed that he foresaw a certain episode about a cross, Our Father very naturally sought an interview and asked for an explanation. The Enemy gave no reply except to produce the cock-and-bull story about disinterested love which He has been circulating ever since. This Our Father naturally could not accept. He implored the Enemy to lay His cards on the table, and gave Him every opportunity. He admitted that he felt a real anxiety to know the secret; the Enemy replied “I wish with all my heart that you did”. It was, I imagine, at this stage in the interview that Our Father’s disgust at such an unprovoked lack of confidence caused him to remove himself an infinite distance from the Presence with a suddenness which has given rise to the ridiculous enemy story that he was forcibly thrown out of Heaven. Since then, we have begun to see why our Oppressor was so secretive. His throne depends on the secret. Members of His faction have frequently admitted that if ever we came to understand what He means by Love, the war would be over and we should re-enter Heaven. And there lies the great task. We know that He cannot really love: nobody can: it doesn’t make sense. If we could only find out what He is really up to! Hypothesis after hypothesis has been tried, and still we can’t find out. Yet we must never lose hope; more and more complicated theories, fuller and fuller collections of data, richer rewards for researchers who make progress, more and more terrible punishments for those who fail—all this, pursued and accelerated to the very end of time, cannot, surely, fail to succeed.

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3 Responses to Advent: God So Loved The World

  • Nice post Don.
    I’ll have to plagiarise it for my next practice homily. 😉

  • Thank you Don! I have always been intrigued by the concept that many men spend their lives hiding from the love of God. Francis Thompson touched on this in his unforgettable The Hound of Heaven:

    I fled Him down the nights and down the days
    I fled Him down the arches of the years
    I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
    Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
    I hid from him, and under running laughter.
    Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
    Adown titanic glooms of chasme d hears
    From those strong feet that followed, followed after
    But with unhurrying chase and unperturbe d pace,
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
    They beat, and a Voice beat,
    More instant than the feet:
    All things betray thee who betrayest me.

    I pleaded, outlaw–wise by many a hearted casement,
    curtained red, trellised with inter-twining charities,
    For though I knew His love who followe d,
    Yet was I sore adread, lest having Him,
    I should have nought beside.
    But if one little casement parted wide,
    The gust of his approach would clash it to.
    Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
    Across the margent of the world I fled,
    And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
    Smiting for shelter on their clange d bars,
    Fretted to dulcet jars and silvern chatter
    The pale ports of the moon.

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-hound-of-heaven/

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Jefferson Davis and Pio Nono

Friday, August 13, AD 2010

Jefferson Davis was always a friend to Catholics.  In his youth as a boy he studied at the Saint Thomas School at the Saint Rose Dominican Priory in Washington County Kentucky.  While there Davis, the only Protestant student, expressed a desire to convert.  One of the priests there advised the boy to wait until he was older and then decide. Davis never converted, but his early exposure to Catholicism left him with a life long respect for the Faith.

When the aptly named anti-Catholic movement the Know-Nothings arose in the 1840s and 1850s, Davis fought against it, as did his great future adversary Abraham Lincoln.

During the Civil War, Pope Pius wrote to the archbishops of New Orleans and New York, praying that peace would be restored to America.  Davis took this opportunity to write to the Pope:

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27 Responses to Jefferson Davis and Pio Nono

  • Thank you for this post.

    I am reading (again) Sears’ Gettysburg – slower this time. I had never thought of this possibility. Sears mentions that the South could have called for a Constititional Convention instead of firing on Fort Sumter. In that way, the North would have either negotiated or been the first to open fire on fellow Americans.

    Has anyone else seen that interesting concept?

  • I’m reading again (for the fourth time) Bruce Catton’s “The Coming Fury” and it seems clear that the clamor for secession overcame any voice of moderation after Lincoln’s election, which was seen as doom for the hopes of the south to have new territories come in as slave states (which would maintain a balance in Congress between slave/non-slave states).

    Even better than a constitutional convention (at which the south would not be able to prevail) it would have been better if South Carolina had let Ft. Sumter be… and if Lincoln had not insisted on calling up troops from the states for invasion of the south, Virginia, Tenessee, and N. Carolina would likely not have seceeded, and the common wisdom is that a confederacy of only deep south states would not have lived long.

    In short, there were alternatives to the revolution that was the civil war, but alas– firebreathing secessionists and firebreathing abolitionists would have none of it.

  • Secession would not have happened except in an atmosphere of crisis. If southern representatives and senators had remained in their seats in Congress, they could have blocked any legislation they feared with the help of Northen Democrats. They would have quickly realized that no, Lincoln wasn’t going to take away their slaves, put them in jail and have their slaves and carpet baggers from the North running things in their states. Secession was a completely over the top reaction to the election of Lincoln, and like many over the top reactions it ultimately brought about what was feared.

  • I’ve often been asked for citations of Davis’s correspondence with Pius IX (and wondered myself about how extensive it was). I’ve heard that he wore the brown Scapular and was ultimately given last rites by a Priest.

    In any case, thanks! I found this post because WordPress told me I was linked in it, but it must have been one of those transitory “Related Post” links.

    I’ll be linking this to my existing work on Davis!

  • Thanks, I knew you gents would be on top of this.

    I was always more interested in the military and armchair-general aspects. So many years out of school: the politics/causes give me brain-freeze.

    Once the guns started, it was a fight to the death – tragic.

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  • In Supremo Apostolatus
    Apostolic Letter of Pope Gregory XVI on the Slave Trade. Promulgated on December 3, 1839

    PLACED AT THE SUMMIT of the Apostolic power and, although lacking in merits, holding the place of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, being made Man through utmost Charity, deigned to die for the Redemption of the World, We have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men. Assuredly, since there was spread abroad, first of all amongst the Christians, the light of the Gospel, these miserable people, who in such great numbers, and chiefly through the effects of wars, fell into very cruel slavery, experienced an alleviation of their lot. Inspired in fact by the Divine Spirit, the Apostles, it is true, exhorted the slaves themselves to obey their masters, according to the flesh, as though obeying Christ, and sincerely to accomplish the Will of God; but they ordered the masters to act well towards slaves, to give them what was just and equitable, and to abstain from menaces, knowing that the common Master both of themselves and of the slaves is in Heaven, and that with Him there is no distinction of persons.

    But as the law of the Gospel universally and earnestly enjoined a sincere charity towards all, and considering that Our Lord Jesus Christ had declared that He considered as done or refused to Himself everything kind and merciful done or refused to the small and needy, it naturally follows, not only that Christians should regard as their brothers their slaves and, above all, their Christian slaves, but that they should be more inclined to set free those who merited it; which it was the custom to do chiefly upon the occasion of the Easter Feast as Gregory of Nyssa tells us. There were not lacking Christians, who, moved by an ardent charity ‘cast themselves into bondage in order to redeem others,’ many instances of which our predecessor, Clement I, of very holy memory, declares to have come to his knowledge. In the process of time, the fog of pagan superstition being more completely dissipated and the manners of barbarous people having been softened, thanks to Faith operating by Charity, it at last comes about that, since several centuries, there are no more slaves in the greater number of Christian nations. But — We say with profound sorrow — there were to be found afterwards among the Faithful men who, shamefully blinded by the desire of sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries, did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, negroes and other wretched peoples, or else, by instituting or developing the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, to favour their unworthy practice. Certainly many Roman Pontiffs of glorious memory, Our Predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their charge, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous for the spiritual welfare of those engaged in the traffic and a shame to the Christian name; they foresaw that as a result of this, the infidel peoples would be more and more strengthened in their hatred of the true Religion.

    It is at these practices that are aimed the Letter Apostolic of Paul III, given on May 29, 1537, under the seal of the Fisherman, and addressed to the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, and afterwards another Letter, more detailed, addressed by Urban VIII on April 22, 1639 to the Collector Jurium of the Apostolic Chamber of Portugal. In the latter are severely and particularly condemned those who should dare ‘to reduce to slavery the Indians of the Eastern and Southern Indies,’ to sell them, buy them, exchange them or give them, separate them from their wives and children, despoil them of their goods and properties, conduct or transport them into other regions, or deprive them of liberty in any way whatsoever, retain them in servitude, or lend counsel, succour, favour and co-operation to those so acting, under no matter what pretext or excuse, or who proclaim and teach that this way of acting is allowable and co-operate in any manner whatever in the practices indicated.

    Benedict XIV confirmed and renewed the penalties of the Popes above mentioned in a new Apostolic Letter addressed on December 20, 1741, to the Bishops of Brazil and some other regions, in which he stimulated, to the same end, the solicitude of the Governors themselves. Another of Our Predecessors, anterior to Benedict XIV, Pius II, as during his life the power of the Portuguese was extending itself over New Guinea, sent on October 7, 1462, to a Bishop who was leaving for that country, a Letter in which he not only gives the Bishop himself the means of exercising there the sacred ministry with more fruit, but on the same occasion, addresses grave warnings with regard to Christians who should reduce neophytes to slavery.

    In our time Pius VII, moved by the same religious and charitable spirit as his Predecessors, intervened zealously with those in possession of power to secure that the slave trade should at least cease amongst the Christians. The penalties imposed and the care given by Our Predecessors contributed in no small measure, with the help of God, to protect the Indians and the other people mentioned against the cruelty of the invaders or the cupidity of Christian merchants, without however carrying success to such a point that the Holy See could rejoice over the complete success of its efforts in this direction; for the slave trade, although it has diminished in more than one district, is still practiced by numerous Christians. This is why, desiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations, having fully reflected over the whole question and having taken the advice of many of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour. Further, in the hope of gain, propositions of purchase being made to the first owners of the Blacks, dissensions and almost perpetual conflicts are aroused in these regions.

    We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices abovementioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.

    Note: This Apostolic Letter was read during the 4th Provincial Council of Baltimore, December 3, 1839.)

  • VETO MESSAGE.

    EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, February 28, 1861.
    Gentlemen of Congress: With sincere deference to the judgment of Congress, I have carefully considered the bill in relation to the slave trade, and to punish persons offending therein, but have not been able to approve it, and therefore do return it with a statement of my objections. The Constitution (section 7, article I.) provides that the importation of African negroes from any foreign country other than slave-holding States of the United States is hereby forbidden, and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same. The rule herein given is emphatic, and distinctly directs the legislation which shall effectually prevent the importation of African negroes. The bill before me denounces as high misdemeanor the importation of African negroes or other persons of color, either to be sold as slaves or to be held to service or labor, affixing heavy, degrading penalties on the act, if done with such intent. To that extent it accords with the requirements of the Constitution, but in the sixth section of the bill provision is made for the transfer of persons who may have been illegally imported into the Confederate States to the custody of foreign States or societies, upon condition of deportation and future freedom, and if the proposition thus to surrender them shall not be accepted, it is then made the duty of the President to cause said negroes to be sold at public outcry to the highest bidder in any one of the States where such sale shall not be inconsistent with the laws thereof. This provision seems to me to be in opposition to the policy declared in the Constitution – the prohibition of the importation of African negroes – and in derogation of its mandate to legislate for the effectuation of that object. Wherefore the bill is returned to you for your further consideration, and, together with the objections, most respectfully submitted.

    JEFF’N DAVIS.

  • “In any case, thanks!”

    You are entirely welcome GodsGadfly!

  • Good grief, slavery was enshrined in the Confederate Constitution. You couldn’t become a member of the ‘Confederacy’ unless you endorsed and embraced slavery. No amout of neo-confederate embroidery will change those historical facts.

    “We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices abovementioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.”

    These words have meaning. You should read them.

  • Trevor, you calling me a neo-Confederate is rich. As the thread linked to below indicates, I have long been engaged in combox battles with neo-Confederates.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/27/abortion-foreign-policy/

    I will assume that you are not a faithful reader of this blog, or you would not be confused on this point.

    In any of my posts dealing with historical topics, I try to be as accurate as possible and to give the subject his or her historical due. You brought up the slave trade and I cited a Davis veto on the subject that indicated, accurately, that the Confederate Constitution banned the international slave trade. I think you need to grind axes less and read more, lest you become a mirror-image of the neo-Confederates you oppose who are afraid to simply let the historical record be examined, warts and all.

  • Donald – Can you write an article addressing the following: Why do many blacks have Irish last names? Did Irish Catholics have plantations in the South and what happened to the Catholics in the South since it seems that they largely disappeared until recently? (recently re-appeared due to Catholic moving from the North)

  • Here is a discussion of the topic John.

    http://web.mac.com/jamesdwithrow/iWeb/Site/Blog/0C7FF890-B6D6-4BB1-82B6-A6273F647B88.html

    With all due respect to the fictional Scarlett O’Hara, Irish Catholics tended to be underrepresented among plantation owners in the antebellum South. I assume that most of the Irish names are from slaves adopting the names of Scot-Irish who owned them, not an uncommon occurrence, or through unions, in matrimony and out, between blacks and whites.

  • Thanks Donald – That makes more sense. Catholics in the South didn’t disappear, rather, they were never there. The names of black people can be explained by non-Catholic Scots-Irish.

  • Donald,

    The 1839 Apostolic Letter which was read at the 4th Provincial Council in Baltimore makes no distinction between domestic and international slave trading, it condems the practice in its totality.

    Yet Jefferson Davis’ veto twenty one years later doesn’t uphold a ban on all slave trading, only on international slave trading. Did it matter to the Catholic Church whether the slaves were traded from Ghana or Maryland when it issued the letter? Did Pope Gregory XVI have inernational politics or basic human rights on his mind when he wrote it?

    Perhaps you should read the letter again, this time to gain a fuller understanding what the Vatican was trying to convey, before continuing your defense of Jefferson Davis.

  • And perhaps you should try reading what I have written Trevor. In your fierce grinding of the ax you have a death grip on, you have failed to notice that I said nothing about whether the veto was in accord with the text of the letter, nor am I defending Jefferson Davis. You are the mirror image of the obsessed neo-Confederate.

  • Quoting Mr. Davis: ” . . .we desire none of our enemy’s possessions, but that we fight merely to resist the devastation of our country and the shedding of our best blood, and to force them to let us live in peace under the protection of our own institutions, and under our laws, which not only insure to every one the enjoyment of his temporal rights, but also the free exercise of his religion.”

    First, I admit to being a little biased since I am the descendant of people who were enslaved in these United States. But it seems to me that Mr. Davis is being a little bit dishonest here since he supported an institution which took possession of people’s bodies and treated human beings as cattle. Slavery, especially as practiced in the United States, was an ongoing assault against human dignity. How Mr. Davis could possibly claim that southern laws and mores “insure to everyone his temporal rights” is beyond me. This repesents a severe disconnect from the reality he was well acquainted with as a slaveowner. I strongly urge you to read some of the books detailing the internal slave trade before romanticizing the ante-bellum south. (I especially recommend “Slave Trading in the Old South” by Frederic Bancroft. Then, just to put a human face on the suffering, read “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northrup.) It’s an ugly chapter and no amount of correspondence between the Pope and Mr. Davis can obscure that.

    Also the opposition to the international slave trade was a form of protectionism since it kept the prices of slaves in the U.S. high. Virginia plantations made fortunes in meeting the demands for slaves as new slave territories to the west opened up. Re-opening the African slave trade would have lowered the prices of slaves.

    The anti-slavery movement was laregely spearheaded, both here and in England, by Protestants and had an explicitly religious grounding. They absolutely refused to play footsie with this institution. To my mind it was Protetantism’s finest hour and certainly one of the jewels in the crown of the west. (I am not claiming that all Protestants opposed slavery, merely that the most agressive and active opponents of slavery were almost invariably Protestant; there was no sustained Catholic presence in the movement to eliminate slavery.) Islam resisted the abolition of slavery into the 1960’s.

    Finally, I can only presume that the Irish names which some African Americans have were taken from Scots-Irish since, with the exception of Louisiana and possibily Mobile, Alabama, there were very few Catholics in the South. Even today the American South is overwhelmingly Protestant altho the influx of Latino immigrants is changing this.

    By contrast, Africans in Latin America are largely Catholic, the religion of those who enslaved them. And we don’t want to get started on the Catholic slave regimes in Latin America, which were arguably much more brutal than those of the Anglosphere.

  • “It’s an ugly chapter and no amount of correspondence between the Pope and Mr. Davis can obscure that.”

    No one here is attempting to do that Denise.

    “there was no sustained Catholic presence in the movement to eliminate slavery.”

    Actually Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator in Ireland, supported abolition in the British Empire and America. He served as the model for William Lloyd Garrison. Father Theobald Matthew, the famed temperance priest, was quite active in abolition in this country. You are correct in that no bishop publicly supported abolition in this country prior to the Civil War.

    “And we don’t want to get started on the Catholic slave regimes in Latin America, which were arguably much more brutal than those of the Anglosphere.”

    That is debatable depending upon the country in Latin America, and what part of the Anglosphere is being used for comparison. In any case in Latin America slavery had been abolished prior to our Civil War except I believe in Cuba and Brazil.

    “Islam resisted the abolition of slavery into the 1960?s.”

    I’d say de facto slavery still goes on in many Islamic countries.

  • ” In your fierce grinding of the ax you have a death grip on, you have failed to notice that I said nothing about whether the veto was in accord with the text of the letter, nor am I defending Jefferson Davis.”

    Donald,

    What other purpose would posting the Davis veto memo have than as a rebuttal to the Vatican letter? You’re clearly defending Jefferson Davis here whether you want to or not. Who’s next on your Cavalcade of Confederates seeking redemption, Benjamin Judah?

  • Trevor,

    It seems to me that Donald was just defending truth and making appropriate distinctions. Donald wrote a post about an exchange between Davis and Pio Nono. Best I can tell it is accurate in its account of facts and the little personal commentary is benign. For reason unknown except to you, you posted the Vatican letter condemning the slave trade with no commentary accompaning it. It is left to the reader to divine why you posted it. The observer would not find your cite relevant to the post unless you were somehow trying make the Pio/Davis exchange irrelevant to history.

    Unfortunately, the cudgel you chose wasn’t as relevant as you you hoped. One doesn’t have to defend the Confederacy, slavery, the slave trade, or Davis except to the truth. i.e. Hitler was a horrible human being and caused countless deaths and much more suffering. However, I know of no information that he liked to eat puppy dogs for dinner. Too accuse him of that just because he caused so much evil does not serve truth.

    Davis was president of the Confederate states. He supported the institution of slavery. He opposed reopening the international slave trade. He had a pleasant exchange with Pope Pius IX. It is what it is.

  • “Donald,

    What other purpose would posting the Davis veto memo have than as a rebuttal to the Vatican letter? You’re clearly defending Jefferson Davis here whether you want to or not. Who’s next on your Cavalcade of Confederates seeking redemption, Benjamin Judah?”

    I posted it Trevor to help show how complicated history tends to be and to give another factoid about Davis. As I have indicated clearly in the link that I posted above in this thread, which I doubt you have bothered to read, I have taken to task time and time again neo-Confederates who attempt to pretend that the Civil War was not all about slavery. Indeed I have noted several times that at the onset of the Civil War Davis said the Civil War was all about slavery.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/27/abortion-foreign-policy/

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/cornerstone-speech/

    Not all my posts have to mention that fact, since they are simply slivers of the lives of my subjects and not full blown bios usually, and normally deal with some particular incident or incidents.

    The usual criticisms of my Civil War posts on this blog have been that I am a Lincoln worshiper and a Yankee of the deepest blue, so having you come at me from the other angle is refreshing in addition to being hilarious.

    In regard to Judah P. Benjamin, ante-bellum Senator from Louisiana, and the Jewish member of the Confederate cabinet, married to a Catholic, he was a truly fascinating character and will, in the fullness of time, be the subject of a post. He once responded to Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio calling him a “Hebrew with Egyptian principles”, with this memorable riposte: “It is true that I am a Jew, and when my ancestors were receiving their Ten Commandments from the immediate Deity, amidst the thundering and lightnings of Mt. Sinai, the ancestors of my opponent were herding swine in the forests of Great Britain.” Thank you for the suggestion Trevor!

  • Donald, I’ve read your piece in regards to secession being avoidable if the Democratic party had kept its head in regards to Lincolns win at the polls [1860 Prest elect]. your argument has no basis what ever in this assumption ,for one the Democratic ticket was split asunder. with Stephen Douglas a proponent of popular sovereignty and John C. Breckinridge anti Douglas and anti Douglas’s creed.The contest pre war was the the rights of states. Davis seen the States as sovereign , the federal gov acting on their behalf. the question remains do sovereign states legally have the right to secede from a union of states?.

  • Tom, I have to disagree with your analysis in regards to the clamour for southern Independence or succession.The election of Abe Lincoln in itself was not the catalyst of the rebellion or revolution the problem was inherited by Lincoln, the decline of southern power in the senate, as you rightly pointed out was the basis for separation. As john C. Calhoun once said “The union is a partnership that sectional parity guarantees tranquillity for the nation”.The union changed that configuration by admitting free states whilst keep slave -holding states in check.

    As to Confederate forces firing on FT Sumter, this was exactly what Lincoln had engineered “they fired the first shot”.So much for his promise, where slavery existed so shall it remain unmolested the south had nothing to fear from a Rep adim. It was always in Lincoln’s eye,the horror of slavery although he was never an out and out abolitionist he truly hated slavery.

    As i have alluded to before the civil-war was not fought over slavery, but for Union. as for Va it could not let the Lincoln war machine use her native soil as a land bridge to attack the deep south. While the North fought for Union, The South fought for the Republic.

  • Noleybo, you are mistaken. Secession occurred in a state of crisis that was completely unfounded. Lincoln had pledged to do nothing in regard to slavery in the slave states. Acting with Northern Democrats, Southern representatives and senators could have bottled up any legislation they feared. Instead Secession led to the death of the Peculiar Institution and a fratricidal war that devastated the South. Rarely have a braver people been more poorly led by their leaders than the white Southerners in the Secession Winter of 1860-61.

  • Donald.I must again disagree with your understanding of the crisis as you call it in 1860 in regards to the election of Abe Lincoln.But before I discuss Lincoln and the crisis that you allude to as in 1860, let me draw your attention to compromise after compromise to prevent succession. Missouri 1820, Mexican cession 1850, Kansas Nebraska 1854, all attempts to settle disputes on sectional lines of course not to mention a last ditch effort to advert succession by Davis and other which is general known as The Crittenden Compromise, Lincoln ignored it, he showed utter contempt and disrespect for their efforts.Of course the expansion of slavery was on the table but it showed Lincoln in a true light he’d have no truck with slavery but still he should have had common courtesy to attend.The man was transparent,this pledge that the South had nothing to fear was a total lie. Slavery was safe where it remained was a hollow promise.The Harrison’s Landing[ Genl McClellan] letter proved Lincoln true intent in regards to the slave states when again he showed contempt for the author.

    You again mentioned if the Northern Democrats along with their Southern brethren could have thwarted any legislation proposed by the Lincoln Adim.I put it to you, if they could have agreed on a single candidate the Democrats would have won in 1860.The sectional differences ran deep with Stephen Douglas a fervent support of Popular Sovereignty, animus of Douglas and his policy torn asunder any conciliation between Northern and Southern Democrats.So to contend that a union of both could bottle up Lincoln’s policy is delusional and without recourse to historical accuracy on your part.

  • Noleybo in regard to Lincoln and the Secession Crisis of 1860-61, the only things he was unwilling to compromise on were slavery in the territories and the preservation of the Union. Lincoln even supported an amendment to enshrine slavery in the Constitution if that would mollify the South. The amendment passed Congress and was ratified by three states before it became a dead issue due to the ongoing war. That such an amendment passed the Congress without most Southern senators and representatives being present is a clear indication of how willing Northern Democrats and many Republicans were to allay the fears of the South. Northern Democrats would have been happy to join Southern members of Congress in bottling up Republican legislation. After four frustrating years Lincoln would probably have joined the long list of one term Presidents which was the norm after Andrew Jackson. The South had absolutely nothing to fear from Lincoln. Instead, Southern fireeaters stampeded more moderate colleagues in attempting to secede from the Union by portraying Lincoln as a mortal threat to slavery. Instead, it was the secessionists, by provoking a war they were bound to lose, who signed the death knell of slavery. God must have enjoyed the rich irony.

  • Donald, according to the judgement and interpretations of the Constitution handed down by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case 1857. That Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in the national lands because that would violate the property rights of the Fifth Amendment.So the highest Judiciary in the land reaffirmed what Southerners always believed, that the Constitution guaranteed their property rights [Slaves ] in any territory.

    For Lincoln to support an amendment to the Constitution enshrining slavery is a nonsense because the the Dred Scott case had already stated that position. That slavery was protect by the Constitution.In fact Lincoln set about undermining the decision because according to the Reps and himself the analysis was erroneous. So what had Southerners to fear from Abe Lincoln?

All That Is Necessary For The Triumph Of The Same Sex Agenda Is That Good Men Do Nothing

Friday, July 23, AD 2010

All that is necessary for the triumph of the same sex agenda is that good men do nothing.  The fear of reprisal, both materially and physically, can cause good men to do nothing.

Having not experienced this form of intimidation, I am still disturbed by the tactics that are utilized by the more militant arm of the same sex marriage agenda.  This exposure to such violence is almost non-existent for me.

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12 Responses to All That Is Necessary For The Triumph Of The Same Sex Agenda Is That Good Men Do Nothing

  • I fully agree that prayer is the answer. I believe that both action and informing the public about the purpose of traditional marriage, how it relates to Christianity, and explaining the reasons why same-sex “marriage” goes against the purpose of marriage- procreation- is very important for traditional marriage defenders to be able to win this debate or culture war. It is impossible for same-sex couples to have an openness to procreate. Traditional marriage couples have that openness (to procreate) regardless of whether the couple is having infertility issues or not. But, it is an impossibility for two males or two females to procreate naturally.

  • Seems extreme/fanatical narcissists believe in free speech for themselves but not for us. That they can silence those who may believe differently than they. The Age of Enlightenment is past.

    When we find ourselves alone and the government is derelict in its duties to protect liberties and persons. There are instances wherein physical force is justified.

  • I just can’t take this debate seriously any more.

  • Anthony,

    Should I laugh at your comment?

  • Do what you like, Tito.

    I just think that its near impossible to discuss the matter in a rational way.

  • I think I agree with Anthony.

    As Orwell (or was it Gibbon?) said (I think, I don’t have it here.) “I never make the mistake of arguing with irrational people over beliefs/issues to which they they cling that have no moral or rational basis.”

  • I’m just a little blogger, myself, and yet I’ve had a radio host suggest that people beat me up, while a kind person over at Daily Kos once opined that I should be strung up from a street lamp with a meat hook. Meanwhile, my partner in blogging was once upon a time roughed up by union goons who didn’t like his opinion being expressed in the public square.

    Some years back I managed to catch some flak for calling our progressive friends “junior-league Leninists” – it was a “how dare I?” moment. But that is what they are: narrow minded, bitter, hate-filled fanatics. They don’t want debate – to debate implies that the other side might have a valid point, and they’ll never accept that.

    And so, this is what we see – and I really doubt its a new phenomena; its likely that we’re just seeing more of it due to the advent of the New Media. In the end, this is a good thing – the more these kooks are exposed, the more outrage builds among average Americans and thus comes the greater chance of securing the power necessary to make real changes.

    Mark Noonan

  • Anthony,

    I understand now.

    n4nadmin, Teresa, T. Shaw,

    Yeah, at times (maybe most) it is impossible to engage in any dialogue with people that are this intolerant and bigoted against us.

  • “the more these kooks are exposed, the more outrage builds among average Americans and thus comes the greater chance of securing the power necessary to make real changes.”

    Just to ruffle feathers, I will say that I have little confidence that once power is obtained it is utilized properly. Power is predictably used to (1) bring reprisal on political enemies and/or (2) make it difficult to dislodge who’s in power.

    Supporters of “traditional marriage” are just as susceptible to that kind of corruption as the pro-gay marriage side.

    To this day I still believe the only peaceful way out of the argument is to walk away from state-sanctioned marriage. Both sides of this debate concede a crucial (and I think, fatal) point: that governments, even secular ones, have authority to tinker with the personal relationships between consenting adults.

    There are moral hazards on both sides of that coin. On the pro-gay marriage side there is a real risk that the next logical step is a breach into theological issues by governments, forcing religions to accept same-sex marriage or finding ways to punish them for not. On the traditional side, there is a real risk of some individuals hiding behind the issue in order to enact homophobic policies (the genuine kind, not the trumped-up kind).

    The only role I could possibly see for governments is in their authority to enforce contracts and mediate contractual disputes between individuals. There’s nothing about that power which requires the word “marriage” attached to it.

  • I tend to lean to Anthony’s side–the State didn’t create marriage, and if it were to get out of the marriage business entirely there wouldn’t be much to yell about, would there?

    Realistically, I don’t see that happening. It may be useful to remind folks who think their “tolerance” badge will be tarnished if they don’t give in to this exercise in social engineering that the State really shouldn’t be meddling if it can’t demonstrate a compelling interest. The State’s interest in traditional marriage is that it provides the best environment for raising children who do not subsequently become problems for the State. I believe that compelling interest is largely absent (or at least, highly optional) in same-sex relationships.

  • My qualm with “the State’s interest” is that it shifts with the political winds.

    Under certain circumstances it could be in the state’s “interest” that abortion become illegal. The need for cheap labor, future soldiers, taxpayers and population collapse could all be reasons for the state to do away with abortion. On the other hand, reducing costs, freeing the supply of goods, eliminating undesirable traits and population control could (and are) used to justify abortion.

    Take marriage. I could just as easily justify allowing gay marriage by saying the practice would (or could) stabilize promiscuous behavior, “normalize” certain consensual sexual acts, reduce instances of violence against gays while providing the state with fiscally stable homes in which to place unwanted children. All are reasons to be a-okay with letting gay marriage move forward. And, selfishly, the State will undermine the Church, thus increasing government’s sway with people over that of religion.

    Where do we really go to worship? The Church, or the State? It’s an important question to answer because it seems that both sides wish to see their values either codified or validated through the coercive powers held by government. If “my values” receive the government’s stamp of approval then “the Truth” be damned.

    These are questions Christians of all stripes should think long and hard on before rushing to pass laws or fire shots in the culture wars.

  • The State isn’t going to get out of the marriage business. Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock foundation of our society. Homosexual “marriage” is a travesty being foisted upon society by those who wish the State to give its stamp of approval to homosexuality and use the coercive power of the State against those who dissent. This is an important battle and should be fought against by all those who realize that this is part of a struggle waged by those who wish to turn the concept of family on its head.

Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

Sunday, May 9, AD 2010

When I was growing up in the late Sixties and early Seventies the number one sex symbol going away was the actress Raquel Welch.  What little I had heard of her opinions seemed to be those of a conventional Hollywood liberal.  Therefore I was shocked by this column she wrote for CNN on the anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill:

Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.

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6 Responses to Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

  • Putting these two quotations next to each other was a stroke of genius. Many thanks!

  • Amazing how these two different kind of people’s opinions could be brought together in agreement.

  • Divine Wisdom as it’s best…Thank You…GOD!!!

  • “‘I know one thing you don’t. I know the difference between right and wrong. They didn’t teach you THAT at school.’

    Rose didn’t answer; the woman was quite right: the two words meant nothing to her. Their taste was extinguished by stronger foods – Good and Evil. the woman could tell her nothing she didn’t know about these – she knew by tests as clear as mathematics that Pinkie was evil – what did it matter in that case whether he was right or wrong?

    ‘You’re crazy,’ the woman said. ‘I don’t believe you’d lift a finger if he was killing you.’

    Rose came slowly back to the outer world. She said, ‘Maybe I wouldn’t.’

    ‘If I wasn’t a kind woman I’d give you up. But I’ve got a sense of responsibility.’ Her smiles hung very insecurely when she paused at the door. ‘You can warn that young husband of yours,’ she said, ‘I’m getting warm to him. I got my plans.’ She went out and closed the door, then flung it open again for a last attack. ‘You be careful, dear,’ she said. ‘You don’t want a murderer’s baby,’ and grinned mercilessly across the bare bedroom floor. ‘You better take precautions.’

    Precautions. . . . Rose stood at the bed-end and pressed a hand against her body, as if under that pressure she could discover. . . . THAT had never entered her mind; and the thought of what she might have let herself in for came like a sense of glory. A child . . . and that child would have a child . . . it was like raising an army of friends for Pinkie. If They damned him and her, They’d have to deal with them, too. There was no end to what the two of them had done last night upon the bed: it was an eternal act.”

    (The inimicable Graham Greene, Brighton Rock)

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The Church Loves The Homeless And Will Not Abandon Them

Thursday, February 18, AD 2010

Pope Benedict visits a local shelter in Rome and is moved to tears by woman who was once homeless and is now helping others with the same plight.

Here is the complete text of the above YouTube video:

Workers, volunteers and those who are served at  homeless shelter in Rome, were filled with joy by Pope Benedict XVI’s visit.

But it was the pope who was moved to tears while listening to what this woman had to say about over coming homelessness.

“When I got to the hostel I was desperate, but now I’m a changed person.”

She got help and after being rehabilitated she wanted to help others in her shoes and is now a volunteer at the shelter.

During the pope’s visit to Don Luigi di Liegro shelter he affirmed the Church’s commitment to helping the poor.

Papa Bene:

“The Church loves you deeply and will not abandon you.”

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2 Responses to The Church Loves The Homeless And Will Not Abandon Them

  • I hate to ask, but…who sets up the poverty line? I grew up well below the poverty line in the 80s and 90s, but we lived very comfortably and my folks didn’t go into debt.

    I’m all for helping out folks who really need help, I’d just rather not encourage envy from folks that just don’t have lots.

  • Probably some well meaning social worker who believes that not being able to afford a cafe latte and drive a prius is considered the poverty threshold.

Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

Monday, December 7, AD 2009

17 Responses to Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

  • Leftist Catholics rightly identify Christ as the savior of human beings, body and soul alike. What they fail to understand is the consequences of Original Sin for the body, and the limitations on human life imposed by sin and finitude. They wrongly think that if everyone on Earth was a Saint, there would be no more suffering. Leftist Catholics think that there are no limits to human progress, which is to say they are very modern.

  • Some Leftist Catholics remind me of the Zealots who thought to bring about the Kingdom of God through the sword. A communist dictatorship though is a funny sort of Kingdom of God.

  • Such words for the “Catholic Left.” Then what is wrong with the “Catholic Right,” I wonder? Or does the “Right” comprise of the Catholics who “get it?”

  • Selective interpretation of the social teaching of the Church… which ultimately stems from liberalism as Leo XIII and Pius XI understood it.

  • In regard to the Catholic Right Eric, I can’t think of a comparable attempt by Catholic conservatives to trojan horse a body of doctrine completely inimical to Catholicism into the Church as has been the ongoing effort of some Catholics on the Left to baptize Marx. The nearest parallel I can think of predates the French Revolution with the unfortunate throne and altar doctrine of many clerics, although at least they could make the argument that the states they sought to wed the Church with were not anti-Catholic. In the case of Marxism, its overwhelming anti-Christian praxis should have innoculated Catholics from it without the necessity of papal intervention, but such was not the case.

  • Tito,

    No. 🙂

  • I think there’s a pretty strong throne and altar doctrine on the Catholic Right today, at least in the U.S., where the throne takes the form of military power.

    A case could also be made for a “‘Shut up, your Excellencies,’ he explained” doctrine, which denigrates the role of the bishops, individually and especially collectively, in developing social policies.

  • I read the Pope’s document carefully.

    Now I’m perplexed:

    1. Exactly what is objectionable in what he said?

    2. Has the Pope not condemned, in this very document, the arms buildup and the disgrace of military solutions? He only appears as a right winger if you’re looking from the vantage point of an extreme left wing ideologue.

    Maybe a few here ought to put down their Che Guevara coffee mugs read it again. The Holy Father is spot on.

    It is simply a fact of history that collectivist movements have enslaved the very people they promised to liberate.

    I am frankly a little more than concerned at the prideful inability of many leftists to acknowledge this fact of history, nay, the desire to whitewash this disgrace from history.

  • Who here is attacking the Pope?

  • MI,

    They participated and got deeply involved with Marxist governments. Dissidents such as Jesuit “Father” Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua who was involved with the Communist government then.

  • I’m always amused when people, especially conservatives who decry the tactic in others, appoint themselves the experts of All Things Liberal.

    I don’t think that Acts 4:32 is a bad things for which to strive. Certainly better than cuddling up to Pinochet or Cheney.

  • I’d rather cuddle up to Cheney than Karl Marx or Joseph Stalin any day of the week.

  • The early Christians quickly abandoned common ownership as completely unworkable Todd. Outside of monasteries and convents it has only been revived by Christians for short periods, usually with dire results. The Pilgrims tried it, and almost starved to death. William Bradford, the governor of the colony relates what happened next:

    “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

    The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

  • Michael I.,

    Donald will delete it at his leisure.

    For the time being I’m just amusing myself by reading your comments, thanks!

3 Responses to Sounds like a plan.