Nap Time

Thursday, March 30, AD 2017


From LarryD at Acts of the Apostasy:


SLEEPY HOLLOW – Three-year-old Remy Nodderson took full advantage of the gospel at Sunday’s Mass, as the priest read the long form rather than omitting the bracketed sections, allowing him to get what he called “the best nap I’ve had in weeks”.

“I was all prepared to throw a Category 6 tantrum,” Remy told AoftheA News. “It welled up inside me during the Responsorial Psalm, and I felt it cresting during the second reading. But when Father went long form for the Gospel? It was lights out, baby.”

Remy’s nap on the cushioned, soft-as-a-cloud pew bench, his head supported by his dad’s comfortably weathered leather jacket, lasted until the Sign of Peace, when his older sister Corma stepped on his face as she reached out to hug her mother.

“Yeah, if she hadn’t shoved her Florsheim up my nose, I would’ve slumbered like a baby through Holy Communion, nestled safely against daddy’s shoulder. I thought about screaming like a stuck pig for maybe half a second, but damn, that nap was soooo good. I really couldn’t care less.”

Remy yawned, stretched his little limbs, and cracked his knuckles. “Sure, my parents are grateful now. Wait til it’s 2 in the morning, and they’re still trying to make me go to bed.”

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4 Responses to Nap Time

  • I love Pope Benedict XVI, napping and awake.

  • That 27 hour visit to Malta occurred in April 2010. His Holiness’ catnap on the altar was not mentioned by the Times of Malta. The real news on that trip was that Benedict arranged a prayerful meeting with victims of clerical abuse, and that he praised citizens of Malta for their devotions to the faith. Abortion and divorce are illegal in Malta and he praised the citizens for their continued respect for life and marriage . Pope Benedict will 90 years old April 16th. Who knows what meds he was or is prescribed that might induce drowsiness.
    He needs our prayers even in retirement.

  • Thanks for the link, Don!

  • Thanks Larry for giving me a smile so many times with your articles!

Happy 89th Your Holiness!

Saturday, April 16, AD 2016

Pope Benedict Miss Me Yet

“I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator…leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us…. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined. There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit would obviously not have picked.”

Cardinal Ratzinger, 1997

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3 Responses to Happy 89th Your Holiness!

  • Miss you dearly.

  • One of the marvelous side effects of the conflict when ambiguity confronts one’s faith, is that it causes the truly faithful to dig even deeper into what they believe, eventually to find the answers. Truth, as we’ve been told, will solve the problem.
    This is a marvelous light-emitting quote.

  • I hope he had a happy happy birthday! When he looks back at the all that has happened in his lifetime and his own efforts to be faithful to Jesus – I hope he feels comfort and real consolation. God be with him.

PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

Friday, March 4, AD 2016


PopeWatch is a teetotaler, but his heart was gladdened by the above picture of Pope Benedict and friends hoisting some beers in celebration of his 88th birthday.  It brought to mind this statement by Hilaire Belloc from The Four Men: 

It was five miles since we had last acknowledged the goodness of God in the drinking of ale, which is a kind of prayer, as it says in the motto :

 “Laborare est orare sed potare clarior

which signifies that work is noble, and prayer its equal, but that drinking good ale is a more renowned and glorious act than any other to which man can lend himself. And on this account it is that you have a God of Wine, and of various liquors sundry other Gods, that is, imaginations of men or Demons, but in the matter of ale no need for symbol, only that it is King.

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11 Responses to PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

  • “Guinness for Health.”

    I always liked this catch phrase from our Dublin brew master Arthur Guinness. Can’t have my pint for a few more miles though.
    Happy 88th to Pope Emeritus.

  • God bless dear Benedict XVI.

  • Fosters ale is excellent value in a can until Trump puts a tariff on it…unlikely… since his clothing line is made in China, Bangladesh and Mexico. I also recommend Drambuie in milk, a Rusty Nail….and Blackberry Brandy in milk and gin in water 1:1 with ice.

  • Foster’s was OK until I visited Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, not far from Brisbane.
    Once there, the brew XXXX became a poor boys choice. I was twenty one at the time.
    Lots of BIRDS to look at. 🙂 Single days.

  • It’s so good to see Benedict enjoying himself and others. Want to bet a lot of people are asking “How do I get that job?”

    Where I live Theology on Tap loos like it is really taking off. About half of all parishes doing it.

    Don’t forget about the book Drinking with the Saints

  • Fosters is not popular in Australia but is second most popular lager in England according to one site.

  • Pope Emeritus?
    Wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    Guys wake up!
    Francis and Ben XVI are birds of the same strategic feather. They just use different tactical means.
    Really! People!

  • Pope Benedict XVI – Joseph Ratzinger – was born April 16, 1927, in a month and a half he will celebrate his 89th birthday, GOD willing … so that ale is pretty old now ….

  • Scott Voit.
    🙂 Good on ya!

    My birthday wishes were very belated.

  • Each night, after a jigger of Dewars, I drink one each, half-liter can of imported (from Germany) Bitburger bier, claims to be the best tap bier in Germany. There was a US air base in Bitburg, (then West) Germany.

    Pope B may like it. It may not suit American tastes.

  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI… My kind of Pope! He stays his beliefs and is a great representation of Christ on esrth?!

The Girl Who Reversed Agincourt

Sunday, October 25, AD 2015


Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.

Sir Winston Churchill

By the death of King Henry V in 1422 it seemed as if the English had succeeded in conquering France.  Then God chose otherwise.  Three years old at the time of Agincourt, by the time of the end of her short life on May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc had set in motion forces that would result in the utter defeat of the English.  She transformed a squalid dynastic squabble into a crusade for the French.  One of the examples of the direct intervention of God in human affairs, the brief history altering life of Saint Joan of Arc has attracted the admiration of the most unlikely of men, including the Protestant Sir Winston Churchill, and the agnostic Mark Twain who called his book on Joan of Arc the finest thing he ever wrote.  She was not canonized until 1920, but almost all of her contemporaries who met her had no doubt that she was a saint sent by God.  Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.   Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan:   ”We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation”.  With Saint Joan humanity came into contact with a messenger from God, and the result to her was as predictable as it was lamentable.  However, the outcome of her mission was exactly as she had predicted.  The weak Dauphin that she had crowned would reign as Charles VII and end the Hundred Years War in victory for France, something that none of his contemporaries thought remotely possible before Joan embarked on her mission.  With courage and faith she altered the course of the history of France and of all the world.

On January 26, 2011 Pope Benedict spoke of Saint Joan:

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20 Responses to The Girl Who Reversed Agincourt

  • “Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.”

    Andrew Lang, a Scotsman and therefore an impartial historian in the English and French quarrels, although he notes the rôle of the Scottish Free Companies, has a remarkable passage on this remark, which was made by one of Henry VI’s secretary: “They were all lost. The curse of their cruelty did not depart from them. Driven by the French and Scots from province to province, and from town to town, the English returned home, tore and rent each other; murdering their princes and nobles on the scaffold, and slaying them as prisoners of war on the field; and stabbing and smothering them in chambers of the Tower; York and Lancaster devouring each other; the mad Henry VI was driven from home to wander by the waves at St. Andrews, before he wandered back to England and the dagger stroke—these things were the reward the English won, after they had burned a Saint. They ate the bread and drank the cup of their own greed and cruelty all through the Wars of the Roses. They brought shame upon their name which Time can never wash away; they did the Devil’s work, and took the Devil’s wages. Soon Henry VIII was butchering his wives and burning Catholics and Protestants, now one, now the other, as the humour seized him.”

  • “and therefore an impartial historian in the English and French quarrels,”

    Thank you MPS! I needed a good laugh to start my day!

  • Ah! Dr Johnson thought otherwise. Contrasting the Scots and the Irish, he remarked, “The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false representations of the merits of their countrymen. No Sir, the Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of each other.”

  • A true love of Jesus equates to a true love of neighbor. It can not be otherwise. Hero’s and Heroine’s are selfless and grounded in love that defys gravity. I love the Saints.
    Their conquests are inner first, than exterior thereafter. That too can not be otherwise.
    The beauty of life in God is that the soul becomes radiant and pure, how it was when it was created. The stories of the Saints teach us that regardless of our souls current condition, we too with patience, prayer and grace, can recognize the pristine condition of our own souls when they were formed, if only we conquer ourselves.
    Thank you Donald for sharing this great Saint with us, Joan.

  • I admit to knowing almost nothing of this war. At the time, Spain was still fighting the Moors, the Turks were attacking the Hapsburg Empire and the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth and Portugal was navigating the African West Coast.

  • Philip: “Their conquests are inner first, than exterior thereafter. That too can not be otherwise.
    The beauty of life in God is that the soul becomes radiant and pure, how it was when it was created. The stories of the Saints teach us that regardless of our souls current condition, we too with patience, prayer and grace, can recognize the pristine condition of our own souls when they were formed, if only we conquer ourselves.”
    Sovereignty over oneself is sovereign personhood, the pursuit of Happiness. St. Joan’s mission in life, her vocation, is her pursuit of Happiness, achieved is her destiny, of which no state may interfere. This post is remarkable. The comments are remarkable.

  • “No Sir, the Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of each other.”

    A fair amount of truth in that, as in this saying of Dr. Johnson:

    DR. JOHNSON: Sir, it is a very vile country.
    MR. S: Well, sir, God made it.
    DR. JOHNSON: Certainly he did, but we must remember that He made it for Scotchmen. Comparisons are odious, Mr. S, but God made Hell.
    Dr Samuel Johnson, A journey to the “Western Islands of Scotland, 1775

  • St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Joan of Arc: pray for us in our hour of need. My only fear is that it will get worse before it gets better.

  • “God made Hell.” God was forced to make hell. God, in respect to man’s free will, will not force any soul to heaven. Every soul is destined to heaven, but not every soul wills to go to heaven.

  • Mary De Voe.
    God is remarkable.
    A soul that finds Grace detestable on earth, will find Heaven detestable as well, hence Hell.
    In Hell the soul finds what it longs for on earth, namely; greed, hatred, malice, selfishness, pain, and darkness. These are comforts to a soul which has fought the truth during its lifetime on earth. This Hell is home for them.

    B.Franklin once penned a truth that was used at the end of a movie that I can’t presently name, however the quote went something like this; ” I firmly believe that the action’s of man in this life will determine his destination in the next.” God doesn’t send souls to hell. We make the choice. Grace helps us to understand love, (aka Jesus on the Cross.)
    With grace we cooperate in our souls mission from the very beginning… To Love as Christ loves.

  • Check out The Passion of Joan of Arc, which covers only her trial. It is a silent from 1928:

  • Not only Pope Benedict and Churchill: G. B. Shaw wrote the play, “St. Joan.”
    Until recently Ireland was a Catholic nation. Scotland and Wales not so much.
    Among the Irish, Scotch, and Welsh, the Irish stand alone as the subject people that made themselves a nation once again; and a republic. The others remain [fill-in your own insult]. .
    I may be the only person that sees the irony wherein when for nearly 300 years they’ve fought and died for other countries, and yet it’s, “Scotland the Brave.” And, how can a subjugated province of England have a national anthem? I don’t much care for United Kingdom the Brave, either.
    And, after Culloden, the English maltreated the Scotch so as to make post-Civil War Reconstruction look like a Sunday picnic.
    If you’re not Irish, it’s okay to look down your nose at the Irish. No Irishman cares what a low-caste, English (Johnson) serf thinks.

  • Thank you for this inspirational post on a day when inspiration is dear.

  • A bit of trivia: the actress in your clip, Leelee Sobieski, is a descendant of someone else you’ve written about.

  • There is much to dislike about modern French culture that has largely turned away from the Church. However, I just can’t ever see France as lost because she has the best female saints. With such patronesses, how could God ever really turn away. Joan, Therese, Bernadette, Jeanne Jugan, are the few that come to mind.

  • Our Lady of LaSalette; “Rome will loose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.”
    To me, it seems that France was/is a particularly favored land by our Queen and Lady. To witness it’s decline in faith is telling of our time we live in. All the more to pray as never before.

  • Mrs Zummo wrote, “I just can’t ever see France as lost because she has the best female saints”
    I have always admired Frémiet’s statue of the Maid in the Place des Pyramides in Paris. It marks the spot where the maid was wounded, trying to storm the city wall.
    There are many such statues throughout France and ceremonies are held there on 8 May, which is both the Fête de la libération (a national holiday) and the anniversary of St Joan’s raising the siege of Orléans in 1429.

  • T Shaw wrote, “And, after Culloden, the English maltreated the Scotch so as to make post-Civil War Reconstruction look like a Sunday picnic.”
    The British government treated the Catholic clergy with unexampled savagery after the failure of the ’45.
    Of the priests who had accompanied the Prince, Rev Mr Colin Campbell of Morar was killed at Culloden, shot down in cold blood by Hessian mercenaries, whilst trying to rally the fugitives for one last charge. Rev Mr Allan MacDonald, rector of the illegal, but tolerated, seminary at Scalan, near Glenlivet was imprisoned for a year in a military garrison and then ordered to leave the country. Scalan itself was burned on the orders of the Duke of Cumberland, as a “nest of traitors.”
    Rev Mr Aeneas McGillis of Glengarry was put to the horn (outlawed) and fled the country.
    Of those who had stayed at home, but had “prayed for the Pretender,” Rev Mr Neil McFie of the Rough Bounds, Rev Mr Alexander Forrester of Uist and Rev Mr James Grant of Barra were bundled on board ship and deported to France, without the formality of a trial.
    Rev Mr William Harrison of the Rough Bounds was later captured carrying Jacobite dispatches and similarly deported.

    Bishop Hugh, the Vicar Apostolic had to rebuild the Church more or less from scratch. Himself the son of Alexander MacDonald of Morar and of Mary, daughter of Ranald MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart, he recruited his priests mostly among the Highland gentry; ordained “ad titulum patrimonii sui” and unpaid, they stayed with relatives, or with influential friends, and served their native place. Thus we have Alexander MacDonald of the Scotus family living in Knoydart; Austen MacDonald of Glenaladale in Moidart; Allan MacDonald of Morar living in the Morar area; James MacDonald, son of John MacDonald of Guidall in the Rough Bounds, and so on. Bishop Hugh was succeeded by his nephew, John MacDonald.

  • Today more than in the more or less recent past, we should also remember Saint Joan’s saying that “The men at arms will give battle, God will grant the victory”.

  • Alas, we know of no direct intervention of God to reverse Hastings.

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, August 11, AD 2015

4 Responses to Quotes Suitable For Framing: Pope Benedict XVI

  • It is one horror to be destroyed by an enemy, it is another, far more horrible, to willfully hand that enemy the means by which they will accomplish their evil.

    We’re not talking here about handing Goliath a sling so that he can fight with David fairly, though with todays moral confusion, I’m certain many of our present leaders would demand that happen..

  • Oops! I meant to post the above under the “No deal with Iran” commentary.

  • I’m glad you posted this. Last week, there was a rash of facebook posts bashing any involvement with WWII. The bashing was so bizarre. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. The minority of people were saying, “you have no idea what it was like back then, so you can’t use today’s standards to judge it.” I’m so glad I homeschool — no revisionist history. I’m kind of shocked by Catholics who prefer revisionist history.

  • “I’m kind of shocked by Catholics who prefer revisionist history.”

    Our involvement in WWII shatters the neo-pacifist utopia make believe world that they seek to inhabit. Thus they take refuge in myths and lies.

PopeWatch: Mystery

Monday, July 20, AD 2015



One of the deeper mysteries currently in the Church is why the Pope Emeritus resigned.  Ostensibly for health reasons, more than two years later he is still with us, quite healthy for a man of 87.  If the resignation was not done for health reasons, why?  Pope Benedict has suggested that he had a mystical experience that caused him to resign.  If so, why didn’t he indicate that at the time?  Andrea Gagliarducci at Monday Vatican gives us the latest speculation:

According to Fr. Fausti, Cardinal Martini, already gravely sick, met with Benedict XVI on June 2, 2012, on the occasion of the World Day of Families in Milan (Cardinal Martini later died on August 31, 2012). When he met the Pope, he told him: “You cannot reform the Curia, you can’t do anything else than give up.”

Benedict XVI had come back very tired from the trip to Mexico and Cuba, at the end of the preceding March. During that summer he began speaking about the possibility of resigning with his closest collaborators who tried to discourage him from taking that decision. In December 2012, Benedict XVI called a consistory for the creation of six cardinals (no Italians, no Europeans, no curialists among them) in order to “re-balance” the College of Cardinals, and on February 11, 2013, he publicly declared his intention to resign from the active exercise of the Petrine ministry.

But according to Fr. Fausti, the resignation was already programmed from the beginning of the pontificate in case things did not to go as planned. And it was even planned since the conclave of 2005, when Cardinal Martini transferred his votes to Cardinal Ratzinger in order to avoid the “dirty games” of cardinals aiming at eliminating both of them as contenders so that they could elect instead “a man of the Curia, very shrewd, who could not make the cut,” Fr. Fausti revealed.

“Once he caught on to the trick, Cardinal Martini went to talk to Ratzinger in the evening, and he told him: ‘Accept your election as Pope tomorrow with my votes. You should accept, as you have been working in the Curia for 30 years and you are intelligent and honest. If you are able to reform the Curia, ok, if you cannot, you can leave office.’”

This narrative is certainly suggestive, and it reveals some aspects that are generally not taken in consideration. First, in 2005, the distinction between conservative and progressives had become outmoded. This development was certified by the longstanding Vatican-watcher Giuseppe De Carli, who announced in his book “Breviario del nuovo millennio” that the conservative-progressive dialectic was outdated.

Secondly and consequently, Cardinal Martini and Cardinal Ratzinger were not on different sides. Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, proved this when he presented the third book on Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI. Speaking at the beginning of the presentation, Fr. Lombardi read aloud some of Cardinal Martini’s statements, among them, “I wanted to write a book on Jesus, then Ratzinger did everything I would have done.” This from the cardinal loved by progressives.

However, this interpretation of the 2005 conclave has some holes in it. First, Fr. Fausti said that Cardinal Martini had a bigger number of votes than Ratzinger – a detail that all those involved at various level in the conclave and also the famous “Diary of the Conclave” dismiss. Ratzinger was always in first place in every poll, and Cardinal Martini was not even taken in consideration as a candidate, given that he was already suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The identity of the “shrewd cardinal of the Curia” is also a mystery. If we lean toward accepting as valid the reconstructions of the “Diary of the Conclave”, there were no other curial cardinals on stage, and the only opponent to Benedict XVI’s election was Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Eight years later, the name of Bergoglio was proposed once again, from almost all the same old cardinals of the Curia who placed him among the “papabili” eight years earlier.

So, Pope Francis’ election conveyed the message that the pontificate of Benedict XVI was just an isolated parenthesis in the history of the Church, and that the cardinals had perhaps been mistaken in their earlier approach, while today, with Cardinal Bergoglio’s election, they were setting out on a more just path, closer to the spirit of the world.

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10 Responses to PopeWatch: Mystery

  • I was stuck in the Regnum Christi/Legionaries of Christ cult. When the Maciel thing came out, I remember there was hoopla surrounding how Pope Benedict was going to fix the problem. Sadly, he never was able to. I’m sure that also plays into the whole, “you can’t change the curia” thing, and him giving up trying.

  • When Francis dies or steps down in a few years, I wonder whom the cardinals will elect. I shudder to think of what a string of popes as pathetic and embarrassing as the current one will do to Christianity in an age of such hostility to it, and such a mass social media (and in this I include listicles and dubious news sites) obsession, where every already embarrasisng detail will be contorted, exaggerated, broadcast and ever present to every Christian, especially the low information ones.

    We need a dynamic, evangelical, hard-working, intelligent, orthodox public figure to transform the Church and the world, or at least someone who knows he is not this, and will shut up so that other people who are can step forward.

  • “Birds of the same feather flock together”
    Ben 16 and F 1 are both from the same camp and both have the same agenda.
    People open your eyes and see

  • Benedict XVI always seemed ambivalent about becoming Pope. During John Paul II’s
    pontificate he had repeatedly asked to be allowed to retire, but his boss kept him in place
    as head of the CDF. When elected Pope, Benedict famously asked the faithful to pray
    for him, that he wouldn’t flee “for fear of the wolves”. And when he visited the relics of
    St. Pope Celestine V (the first Pope to abdicate) Benedict left the stole he’d been vested
    with at his inauguration atop the former Pope’s coffin. I suspect that for Benedict XVI,
    an abdication was always an option if he wasn’t able to make the changes he was
    hoping for.
    John Paul II was ill in the final years of his pontificate, had mobility issues, and very
    little stamina. While he was sharp mentally, his body was betraying him, and he was
    unable to keep a firm hand on the rudder at the Vatican. And so, then-Cardinal
    Ratzinger saw what would happen in such a papacy, where the foxes would see their
    chance to run the chicken coop. Perhaps Benedict XVI thought that by leaving office
    before his own physical decline, he would avoid a repetition of that scenario.
    Sadly, I think that if that was Benedict’s reason for abdicating, it was all for nothing.
    The foxes appear to be doing quite well in the new pontificate.

  • One frequently overlooked virtue necessary for any Pope is courage.

  • If Benedict XVI lacked courage, he could have simply declined his election to
    the Chair of Peter. (He never made a secret of not wanting to become Pope).
    During his pontificate, he was physically assaulted twice that I can recall, but
    never demonstrated a lack of physical courage during or afterwards.
    It’s just my opinion, but I see Benedict’s abdication as a calculated gamble on
    his part, and not due to a lack of courage. The task before him was immense–
    and allies were not thick on the ground. He wasn’t getting younger, yet his
    duties called for the vigor of a younger man. He saw what could happen if he
    became ill while in office. While he had the common sense and pragmatism
    essential for a politician, but he didn’t like the intrigue and theater of politics.
    It’s understandable that he would have thought it reasonable to get out and
    let someone else who was up to the task come in to do the job. It takes a
    certain courage (and humility) to admit that one can no longer do one’s duty,
    and see the need to step aside to make room for someone who can.
    Sadly, we don’t seem to have ended up with the sort of replacement our
    former Pope had in mind.

  • When he resigned he knew who some of the other potential candidates were. Being so smart and insightful and aware of the ” wolves” it must have been such an act of trust in God’s provision for the Church for him to relinquish the keys entrusted to him
    I hope he is still feeling that trust

  • He’s healthy for an 87 year old man who isn’t pouring all the energy needed to keep him alive into his work.
    Especially if there was a lot of behind the scenes conflict, in which case he’d have been looking at “keep working, and fail, and die” or “retire, and maybe the next guy can do something– and with your help.”

  • So, Pope Francis’ election conveyed the message that the pontificate of Benedict XVI was just an isolated parenthesis in the history of the Church, and that the cardinals had perhaps been mistaken in their earlier approach, while today, with Cardinal Bergoglio’s election, they were setting out on a more just path, closer to the spirit of the world.

    The Cardinals should have known to make that left turn in Albuquerque.

Pope Benedict on D-Day

Tuesday, June 3, AD 2014

On the 6th of June, 1944, when the landing of the allied troops in German-occupied France commenced, a signal of hope was given to people throughout the world, and also to many in Germany itself, of imminent peace and freedom in Europe.  What had happened?  A criminal and his party faithful had succeeded in usurping the power of the German state. In consequence of such party rule, law and injustice became intertwined, and often indistinguishable. The legal system itself, which continued, in some respects, still to function in an everyday context, had, at the same time, become a force destructive of law and right. This rule of lies served a system of fear, in which no one could trust another, since each person had somehow to shield himself behind a mask of lies, which, on the one hand, functioned as self defense, while, in equal measure, it served to consolidate the power of evil.  And so it was that the whole world had to intervene to force open this ring of crime, so that freedom, law and justice might be restored.

We give thanks at this hour that this deliverance, in fact, took place. And not just those nations that suffered occupation by German troops, and were thus delivered over to Nazi terror, give thanks. We Germans, too, give thanks that by this action, freedom, law and justice would be restored to us.  If nowhere else in history, here clearly is a case where, in the form of the Allied invasion, a justum bellum worked, ultimately, for the benefit of the very country against which it was waged.

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11 Responses to Pope Benedict on D-Day

  • What an awesome insight. Benedict speaks the truth with such clarity. This statement carries real power because it is imbued with real virtues of faith hope and love backed by reason and truth (humility). I love this man!

  • What Anzlyne says about Pope Benedict is so true. “A criminal and his party faithful had succeeded in usurping the power of the German state. In consequence of such party rule, law and injustice became intertwined, and often indistinguishable”
    Only our Constitution has prevented some people from being killed for speaking out against government’s position on abortion, euthanasia, pornography and the state takeover of public lands and waterways. Some of us have been killed in the womb and euthanized. The rest of us are being forced by taxation to pay for it. But none of us are acknowledged as having an immortal soul in this atheistic mire.

  • “We,”First Person Plural, are the persons in the Constitution

  • “We Germans…”?

  • Yep, the Pope Emeritus is German.

  • The Second World War was not fought to liberate Germany from Nazi tyranny. It was fought for the same reason that the previous war was fought; to prevent an aggressive and militaristic Germany from imposing her will on other nations by force of arms. The rationale behind the long struggle against Bonaparte was basically the same. The nature of the regime was a factor in German aggression, but had Hitler been content with a revision of Germany’s eastern borders to mitigate the worst aspects of the Versailles Treaty (this was what Stresemann wanted at Locarno in 1925, and arguably got it in principle) then there would not have been a war.

    The main actor in the defeat of Nazi tyranny was another tyranny even more genocidal than Hitler’s, so to see the war in terms of a moral crusade is ludicrous. The plotters of July 1944 could claim moral justification for tyrannicide but their main motive was patriotic; they wanted to save Germany from total defeat and subjugation. In this they were naïve, since the Allies would not have agreed to a negotiated peace at this stage of the war, even with the Nazis out of the way. Churchill, with his visceral hatred of Bolshevism, might have been tempted, but Stalin would never have agreed and Roosevelt would have sided with Stalin.

    I suppose if you’re going to be invaded it’s better to be invaded by the British and Americans rather than by the Soviets; many of the occupied countries, not to mention a sizeable chunk of Germany, merely exchanged one tyranny for another.

  • “so to see the war in terms of a moral crusade is ludicrous.”

    Complete and utter rubbish.

  • …On stilts!

  • “We,” First Person Plural, are the persons in the Constitution.
    Justice is predicated on intent. Capital one homicide is predicated on the intent and murder of another person. The innocent, newly begotten child in the womb has been invited to live in the womb by the parents, mother and father, without whom there would be no invitation. The word invite INVITE means to offer life.
    Immediate death must be the only reason or situation here a child in utero may be removed, to save the life of the mother and/or of the child.
    “We, hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Men are CREATED EQUAL… not born equal. The sovereign person in the womb has been identified by his existence as Homo-Sapiens, “an individual substance of a rational nature” the person: “I AM”, created and endowed by our Creator with an immortal human soul.
    ““We Germans…”?”
    When a person renounces his citizenship by an act of the will or commits treason he loses his citizenship. When a person commits a heinous sin he is excommunicated and so on. When an individual behaves like a demon, his sovereign personhood is placed in suspended animation and he functions, possessed by his particular demon. The Nazis behaved like Nazis and therefore, having created a culture of Nazism, they suspended their own sovereignty and became hated by God, hated by themselves and hated by others as genocidal maniacs.
    It is important to note that Nazis through a free will act chose to be Nazis.

  • “”We,” First Person Plural, are the persons in the Constitution.” from the Preamble, the unchangeable purpose of the Constitution. “We” and our constitutional posterity, all future generations are human persons because the state does not create or endow sovereign personhood to an individual. The state merely certifies sovereign personhood. The state certifies sovereign personhood as citizenship.
    Atheism, as you can see, is the cause of the state’s rejection of all unalienable human and civil rights. Acknowledgement of the human being in existence as a person is denied by the state. The state cannot remove or deny sovereign personhood. Yet, the state has denied the acknowledgement of sovereign personhood to the one celled fertilized human egg who has been endowed by our Creator with life and growth, the proof of an immortal human soul.
    The atheist as a sovereign person in suspended animation must be tolerated until he chooses to adhere to the truth of the Constitution. Atheism is unconstitutional.

  • “I suppose if you’re going to be invaded it’s better to be invaded by the British and Americans rather than by the Soviets; many of the occupied countries, not to mention a sizeable chunk of Germany, merely exchanged one tyranny for another.”
    You have confused the Allies with Stalin.

PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

Friday, February 28, AD 2014


John Allen, from his new perch as a Boston Globe columnist, notes recent actions taken in support of Pope Francis by the Pope Emeritus:


First, his closest aide and confidante, German Archbishop Georg Gänswein, gave an interview to the Reuters news agency on Feb. 9 in which he insisted there’s “a good feeling” between Francis and Benedict, and that the two men see one another often.

Second, Benedict XVI made a surprise appearance at a Feb. 22 consistory ceremony in which Francis elevated 19 new cardinals into the church’s most exclusive club, sitting in the front row and beaming during the event.

When Francis made his way over to wrap Benedict in a hug, the pope emeritus removed his white zucchetto, a skullcap that’s one of the symbols of the papal office — a small gesture that told insiders he was acknowledging Francis as the new boss.

Third, Benedict responded in writing to questions by veteran Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli concerning speculation that he’d been pressured to step down and therefore his resignation was invalid under church law. Following that reasoning to its logical conclusion, it would suggest that Francis isn’t really the pope.

Benedict dismissed the hypothesis as “simply absurd.”

“I took this step in full awareness of its gravity and novelty but with profound serenity of spirit,” Benedict wrote in comments published Feb. 26. “Loving the church also means having the courage to make difficult, painful choices, always keeping the good of the church in mind and not ourselves.”

Fourth, Gänswein, who still acts as Benedict’s private secretary and who lives with the former pope in a monastery on Vatican grounds, gave another interview to the Washington Post in which he said the two pontiffs didn’t know one another well at the beginning but are becoming steadily closer.

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11 Responses to PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

  • “is why PopeWatch believes the retirement of a Pope is a very bad idea and hopes that Pope Benedict’s retirement will not be something his successors emulate.”

    Amen and Amen!!

  • ” . . .the retirement of a Pope is a very bad idea and hopes that Pope Benedict’s retirement will not be something his successors emulate.”

    I agree.

  • I can’t say one way or the other that future papal resignations would be a good idea, but definitely a Pope Emeritus who does not follow the example of humility that Benedict is setting would be very bad for the Church. Just imagine the scandal of such dissention! Thanks to the media and the internet it would be worse than the papal schisms of Avignon and Pisa, even if the actual words and deeds were minor by comparison.

    One thing about the resignation that I find positive is that it undermines many of the nasty criticisms of Benedict. Not that he or any pope should resign in the face of criticism – far from it! – but I love to see his critics proved wrong.

    In the matters of the resignation and election of a Pope we can only pray for God’s inspiration and direction. The fact that God’s will can be manifest in the actions of good but imperfect men should be seen as a comfort for us all.

  • Wow “….just imagine if the Pope Emeritus were right now airing differences he had with Pope Francis and imagine the chaos within the Church that would result. “. That opens some interesting possible concerns for me.
    Is it that the pope Emeritous would not have freedom to express his real and deeply held concern, if such were to be the case. Would he have the duty to speak or the duty to keep silent ? Would he have to choose Order over Truth?

  • Good questions, Anzlyne. Cardinals, especially the papabile, must face the same issues from time to time to some (hopefully small) degree. It is all likely resolved the same way: Order and Truth both get served, in private.

  • Anzlyne,

    It would not and never should be ‘order over truth’, but always ‘truth with charity’ and that is expressed in communion. Communion is what we all need and should strive for-from the ‘last’ member of the Church to the ‘first’

  • I agree Botolph there shouldn’t be a conflict between Truth and Order! God IS Truth and we see His mark of Order in everything He has revealed of Himself. We know there is no contradiction in God. …and Justice and Peace shall kiss .., but not in this temporal world
    My thoughts were just about a hypothetical bind possible for a pope Emeritus who strongly disagreed with the pope and how obliged he would be to speak or to keep silence in order not to unleash chaos ( or you might say- Protestantism ). Sorry. My own wacky sense of humor there
    And of course you are right. Communion is the answer.

  • On the other hand, what if Benedict were as nasty as the press thinks, and Francis were as liberal as they think, and Francis stepped down too, and then a new pope was elected and the three of them had to live under the same roof at St. Peter’s! And they had a sassy African-American secretary who wouldn’t take no lip from any of them. And the janitor is a Muslim fundamentalist who keeps trying to kill them. My Three Popes, coming this fall on ABC.

  • Pinky,

    You are a riot!

  • “My Three Popes, coming this fall on ABC.”

    I volunteer to be the surly “uncle” who keeps house!

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The Cross: Sign of God’s Life

Friday, March 29, AD 2013

A Good Friday meditation on the Cross by commenter Greg Mockeridge.

Out of all Christian symbols, the sign of the Cross is by far the most significant. In the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths, the blessings given by priests, which are believed to convey actual grace, are given with the sign of the Cross.

The Cross also symbolizes one of the cruelest forms of capital punishment ever inflicted in human history. So it should be no surprise that this “sign of contradiction” is seen by many as the largest “stumbling block” of the Christian faith.

Such reaction, while superficially understandable, ignores a foundational truth of human experience large and small as attested to by history: the greatest of life’s triumphs and successes have always come on the heels of the worst failures and horrors.

This truth finds it fulfillment in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord.

While believing firmly in the truth of this great paradox, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Cross symbolized something more than just a paradox, a deeply profound paradox though it may be.

In reading what then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now pope emeritus Benedict XVI) had to say regarding the sign of the cross in his book Spirit of the Liturgy, I believe my hunch was vindicated. The sign of the Cross is the sign of God’s mark on creation prior to being a sign of crucifixion.
He states:

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There Is Not Just One Way To Be Pope

Thursday, March 21, AD 2013

One of the things that’s been bothering me (as well as several other good bloggers I read) in the days since the election of Pope Francis is the seeming need of many to identify a single cookie-cutter model which every “good” pope most follow. I recall some of this when Benedict succeeded John Paul, but it was perhaps more muted both by a certain gravity stemming from John Paul’s very public death and funeral, and also by the fact that the although we certainly lived in a “new media” age then, it hadn’t gained the dizzying speed which social media has since provided to “reax”.

Thus it seems as if much of the coverage of the new pope boils down to, “Francis isn’t as intellectual and liturgically focused as Benedict, so he’s not as good” or else “Francis is so ‘humble’ and focused on the poor, he’s clearly a much better pope than Benedict”. Then there’s the next level of escallation in which each side tries to steal the virtues of the other: Oh yeah, well if Francis were really humble he wouldn’t insist on simplicity, which is really a subtle exercise in saying “look at me”! You say Francis cares about the poor and about simplicity? Well look how much Benedict cared about the poor and about simplicity!

I think this quickly gets silly, and more to the point it starts to act as if there is only gone right way for the pope to act. The fact is, being the shepherd of God’s flock on earth is a job large enough that there are multiple different ways of doing it that are right. (Which is not to say that every way is right, obviously, we’ve had some pretty bad popes over the centuries.)

It seems to me that John Paul II’s dense intellectualism combined with his oversize and highly charismatic personality was arguably exactly what the Church needed at the time of his pontificate — as we emerged from a time in which it seemed like the roof was coming down and everything was up for grabs. Benedict’s liturgical focus was another thing that the Church desperately needed at the time that he was chosen — and I think that his ability to write deeply yet clearly was also a huge need. If John Paul II’s struggle to incorporate Catholic teaching and a moderl philosophical understanding of the human person were something very much needed in our modern era, I at the same time suspect that Benedict’s books (both his books about the life of Christ and the many books he wrote prior to his pontificate) may actually be read more often by ordinary Catholics in the coming decades than anything that John Paul II wrote.

Similarly, I think that Francis’ intentional simplicity is something that we need to see in our pope at times. This is not to say that Benedict and John Paul were not simple. They were, though in different ways. But while not every saint needs (or should) be simple in the sort of over-the-top way that our pope’s namesake St. Francis of Assisi was, St. Francis nonetheless remains a good saint to have. That it is good that we have St. Francis as an example does not mean that every other saint is the less for not being St. Francis. (I mean, let’s be honest, St. Francis could be kind of nuts.) And similarly, admiration of Pope Francis’s qualities need not, and indeed should not, be turned into a criticism of other popes for not being like him in every way.

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10 Responses to There Is Not Just One Way To Be Pope

  • catholics are more than billion, so from that billion, others pray faithfully. What l know for sure, our Popes are chosen by God, He hears our prayers, He knows what his church need

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  • Good article, and I’ve also seen the unfortunate comparisons that are, perhaps, inevitable, but we will hopefully grow out of as the months and years go on.

    Another thing that bothers me, along the same lines, is the overwhelming notion that our whole Church will either collapse or flourish due to the style of a single pope. One of the greatest emphases of Vatican II was that the whole Church, down to the youngest Catholic in the pews, shares responsibility in the Body of Christ. History shows that the Church survives bad popes while faithful laymen and religious do their jobs, and the Church, even with holy popes, suffers because of the sins of her other members. We can’t now put our hope in even this Servant of the Servants of God if it means not being fully aware of our own very great responsibility to be evangelists with the virtues of faith, hope, and love.

    For the Church to actually change, a personal metanoia multiplied by as many Catholics as sit in the pews each Sunday will be more fruitful than one sitting on the throne of Peter. To deny this is to deny the Holy Spirit His potential in the baptized Body. We desperately need holy popes, but we just as desperately need holy Catholics, and as many of them as possible. We don’t just need more Pope Francises. We need more Jorge Bergoglios in every city of the world, washing feet; more Joseph Ratzingers to challenge Catholics to know and love orthodoxy, more Karol Wojtylas, challenging the secular world with philosophy that conforms to the Word. And we can’t wait to be served by them. We ourselves must serve.

  • Most of what’s being discussed has nothing to do with matters of doctrine or administration. Those are arguably the two most important aspects of the papacy. Doctrine is the long-run biggie, and we can rest assured that there won’t be any mistakes on that front. Administration is important for the short-term, and I’m reluctant to judge any pope’s record. With all the dioceses, seminaries, orders, Pontifical Commissions, Congregations, and things I’ve never heard of, I’m sure I’m not qualified to appraise the quality of a pope’s work.

    I should also make note of the least-apparent of the pope’s duties, pious prayer for the faithful. I believe that we are especially blessed to have Benedict and Francis keeping us in their prayers.

  • Thank you so much for writing this. Some of the blog articles I’ve read are just … awful. Focusing on what he wears or doesn’t wear… when and where he holds Mass… etc. *sigh* I am so grateful Our Father in Heaven didn’t make us all the same, nor all our Popes or Saints… that would certainly get awfully boring. Just sayin’.

  • And since we’re not the same, we live the Christian spirit differently. So what Pope Francis does as an example, we have to examine and apply to our vocation as fits. For example, his spirit of poverty called him to take public transportation when he was Archbishop. But my job really requires me to have a car, and a home, and a lot of other things. This of course does not mean I need the nicest car or home. And this spirit calls on me to make sure I really need what I purchase and without extravagance. In the end, for both of us, this spirit calls upon us to be detached from the goods of this world as we direct our lives to the other.

    The spirit of poverty he lives, as well as other examples he will show us, is one proper to a religious. The spirit I am called to live is proper to the layman.

    I think the ultimate problem that will occur when some will point to Pope Francis and say “There, you have to do that.” That will do injustice to the variety of vocations in the Church.

  • One great advantage of Francis’s papacy will be that in four years time the LCWR, Tina Beattie, the ‘nuns on the bus’ and other divers heretics will realize that they are no nearer their ideal of wimminpriests and acceptance of ‘gay’ marriage than they were under the archreactionary Benedict. And they will shut up.

  • John – I think the real advantage is that in four years, the nones on the bus, as well as the rest of my unlamented generation, will be four years closer to extinction. We’re the ones that took everything down in the 60’s; we won’t shut up for good until you get to throw dirt on top of us. Holy Mother Church simply keeps on trucking along, praise be to God. In a couple of hundred years, the whole hippiepinkokumbaya mess will be a brief footnote in the Ecclesial History text, ancd the last copy of “Sing a New Church into Being” will be returning to compost in a landfill somewhere.

    Every Catholic pope hastens the day.

  • The more a man grows in holiness, the more freedom he experiences to become whom he is called to be.

Atheist Defends Pope

Wednesday, March 6, AD 2013



Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.    I have always had a sneaking liking for magician and atheist Penn Jillette.  I disagree with most of what he says, but he always honestly says what he thinks, never simply to be part of the herd of independent thinkers, and he obviously attempts to think through his beliefs on the various topics he comments upon.  Go to New Advent here to see him defend the Pope Emeritus against “Catholic” Piers Morgan.  (I am afraid that I took delight in finding out that the wretched Piers Morgan, ratings plummeting, is a liberal “Catholic”.)

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9 Responses to Atheist Defends Pope

  • Is Piers Morgan still on the air? The last time I checked, his ratings were so low it would take Mt. Everest-like climb just to reach the toilet…which makes him a perfect fit for MSNBC.

  • Kudos to Penn. Sigh…how/why is Piers a Catholic?

  • Penn J struck me as a contrarian. In his career, if most people line up on one side he has taken the other.
    The world loves Mother Teresa, he ridicules and demeans her. His finger is in the wind.
    Back when he was on Larry King He broke his own “outrageous left” icon of himself defending the tea party, and he liked that. Now when he is on Piers Morgan, the world is against the pope, Penn defends him.
    I think he’s very very intelligent, and all of his trips ’round the mulberry bush, arguing different sides of different arguments, will probably be his salvation. His making it public may in fact mean advancement in wisdom and holiness for other people too.

  • Penn Jillette is not so much a contrarian as immune to the zeitgeist. He doesn’t care if you disagree with him. He is not captive to his feelings. It’s obvious he reads up on lots of things so that he can articulate his reasoning for what the Catholic Church actually teaches, rather than the strawman church that most of the MM attack.

  • Kudos to Penn. Sigh…how/why is Piers a Catholic?

    As bad as the Church in America has been, the Church in Britain has been a progressive playground. He is, sad to report, emblematic of its problems.

  • Here’s a
    video of Mr. Jillette talking about an encounter he had with a Christian fan.
    The man strikes me as intellectually honest, and–who knows?– that might
    lead him Home. Certainly it will encourage some of his more honest fellow
    atheists to re-examine their assumptions and what they think they
    know about the Church.

    As for the execrable Piers Morgan, the less said, the better.

  • I apologize, my link above is faulty. Sigh.

    The video is posted on Brietbart TV, 20 Dec. 2008, “Atheist Magician Penn
    Jillette Describes Remarkable Encounter with Christian Fan”.

  • What do I dislike about Obama? Obama displaces citizens, constituents, and denies their sovereign personhood, their rational, immortal soul, and makes of us his beasts of burden to the state. There can be no religion test to represent people of the Constitution. Obama denies his own sovereign personhood begotten in his immortal soul wherein his constituents take and acknowledge their citizenship and their unalienable rights endowed by our Creator. While proceeding as a man of body and soul, Obama uses his soul to deny others, his constituents, their immortal soul, their personhood and their conscience. Respect, Obama has no respect for his constituents. My conscience did not let me vote for a hypocrite.

  • Thanks Mary, but this thread is about Penn Teller and the Pope.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

Sunday, March 3, AD 2013

It was a stunning video, one full of historical and modern analogies all pointing to back to the man (Pope Benedict XVI) and the institution he ran (the Catholic Church.) The helicopter ride Pope Benedict XVI took from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo flying over modern Rome and the ancient landmarks known the world over, such as the Coliseum and the Apian Way made for a breath taking array of images. For faithful Catholics one of the illuminating high points of watching papal transitions is the fact that the mainstream media is not always in control.

The historic images speak for themselves which must be somewhat maddening to those who have to throw their digs into the Church that Christ Himself started via Peter. NBC News anchor Brian Williams made the mainstream media’s point Friday on the lead off segment of the NBC Nightly News when he stated the Catholic Church does images well, but there is scandal behind the images we see. One could say the exact same thing about the mainstream media’s coverage of the White House and yet nary a word of that sort is heard.

Perhaps the helicopter ride of the Holy Father made many of the media’s gatekeepers cringe because those historical landmarks (the Coliseum, the Apian Way) were like many modern secular government’s landmarks, supposedly everlasting. If someone would have told the Roman power structure in Diocletian’s time that within 100 years Rome would be Christian and the empire would be gone, howls of laughter would have echoed through the Pantheon. Modern secular leaders and the often militant secular scholars whom they follow, view traditional Christianity much in the same way those in the seats of power in Rome once did, something that should have no influence or bearing on the affairs of its citizens.

Though a towering intellectual giant, Pope Benedict XVI is a simple man who never wanted to be Pope and pleaded that Pope John Paul II let him go back to Bavaria and write when then Cardinal Ratzinger reached the age of 75. His gentleness was seen in the Conclave when it was said he won many of the Third World Cardinal’s votes. It is said that he did so because he showed a kind father or grandfatherly hand when other princes of the Church were perhaps not so welcoming upon the Third World’s prelates arrival in Rome. This sort of gentleness coupled with a refusal to water down the truth made the man from Bavaria a towering figure in the history of the Church. Often the stature of towering figures grow with time, unlike our pop culture heroes whose legacy becomes all too often faded and forgotten.

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9 Responses to Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

  • Dave Hartline-
    Poetic words for a “towering man.”
    You captured the man and the pulse of this moment in time.
    Thank you.

  • I am just now getting around to reading this, like it so much going to share the link with some groups to read. When I read good articles like this I think of Saint Augustine’s “City of God”. As you wrote the media will look for anything ‘black’ in the Church but not look at the ‘black’ in front of them.

  • How awesome is the Pope Emer.?

    My Mormon neighbors are sad that he resigned. (also very curious)

  • He wasn’t as prolific or as profound a thinker as John Paul, though he seems to have shared much in common with him.

  • Jon

    I would say Benedict XVI is every bit as profound a thinker as JPII was, albeit in different ways. BXVI is much better at making complex theological truths accessible to the average person than his predecessor.

  • Foxfier:
    With Pope Benedict’s resignation, surrender of his Title and Chair of Peter, and title of Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI has promised to remain the Servant of the Servants of God, the most beautiful title he holds. Realize that when Pope Benedict XVI removed himself from the Vatican, the head of the Lavender Mafia was crushed. All heads of departments in the Vatican are vacated as well, a new era of holiness and trust may be established, akin to St.Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. I love Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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  • This is a beautiful tribute to Benedict XVI and Mary De Voe’s comment puts the icing on the cake.

  • It has been amusing to listen to the secular media trying to make what they think are relevant comments on the renouncing of the papal throne by Benedict and the upcoming conclave. It reminds me of an old lesson on the art of writing. Write about things you know. They certainly sound foolish and it becomes obvious that their concerns are not ours. Pray for us, Benedict XVI as we will pray for you.

Resignation Questions

Thursday, February 28, AD 2013


Pope Benedict will  resign his office today.  I wish him all the best.  I can only imagine the burden he lays down now.  Actually I can’t.  Being the Vicar of Christ and having the responsibility of shepherding His Church?  Only the men who have have filled the shoes of the Fisherman can have any comprehension of what must be the crushing weight of that office.  I hope he enjoys his well earned rest.  What are the practical long term consequences of his decision?

1.  What does the old Pope think? The new Pope will have to deal with something none of his predecessors had to deal with:  an aggressive world wide media incessantly trying to ask Benedict how his successor is doing.  I am confident that Benedict will remain mum, but that will not stop rumors from constantly arising as to whether he is pleased or displeased with the actions of his successor.  If this resignation starts a trend in popes resigning, then this may be something new for future popes to have to wrestle with.

2.  Will Benedict write his memoirs?  I doubt it, but it is a possibility.  Popes commenting on their own papacy in retrospect is something new under the sun.

3.  New ammo for the sedevacantists?  Opposition to the new Pope, and opposition there will doubtless be, on the fringes may argue that he is not really Pope because the resignation was invalid.  Since popes have resigned before I do not find this argument logical, but I am certain this will be made.

4.  Push for a papal mandatory retirement age?  There is already a mandatory retirement age of 70 for priests and 75 for bishops and archbishops.  I always have thought this was an unwise act on the part of Paul VI and I fear that there may be a push for such a mandatory retirement age for popes.

5.  Psst, did you hear the Pope is going to resign?  The Vatican has always been a rumor mill and now we will have a new one.  Whenever a Pope sneezes the rumors are going to fly.

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4 Responses to Resignation Questions

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  • We may be religious or not, we may agree or disagree with Pope Benedict’s views, but I believe we have to admire a decision that places the good of the Catholic Church above his personal prestige.

  • To the first question: I think the kind of man who would step down willingly from the papacy wouldn’t ever undercut his successor. Maybe if there is a mandatory retirement age, though, a less humble former pope wouldn’t be so well-behaved.

    To the second question: Again, this being Benedict, I can’t see it happening. I wonder, though: would he be tempted to write as a theologian, which is his true passion? That could actually cause some problems. Not real problems, but I could see some people getting confused about the relative weight to put on a former pope’s writings. I think he’s old, and retiring for a reason, but I imagine that he could write letters and such.

    Two other thoughts I’ve had lately. One, I’m surprised that Benedict didn’t stay through the canonization of John Paul. Personally, I don’t like the idea of rushed canonizations, but it does surprise me that Benedict wouldn’t see that through to the end. Second, the Pius X’ers. I keep thinking about Don Corleone, who set up peace between the families with the full knowledge that his son would kill all the family’s enemies when he took over. That’s grim, I know. But I get the feeling that Benedict did all he could to reunite them with the institutional Church, and his successor will not feel a need for greater acts of patience.

  • Pope Benedict XVI did what is in the best interest of the Church. It is going to be a bumpy ride for the Lavender Mafia.

Armchair Pontiffs Come Out of the Woodwork

Sunday, February 24, AD 2013

Perhaps because it happens in sports, entertainment and politics, we knew it was bound to happen with pontificates. However, judging the accomplishments of holy leaders is a little different than judging whether a coach should have used a 4-3 defense, a President has the right tax policy, or a film director allows too little or too much dialogue.

Our friends in the mainstream media, especially those of the unabashed liberal persuasion (they seem less bashful in using that term these days) have certainly not backed away from critiquing Pope Benedict XVBI’s pontificate. However, even our friends on the political and theological right have taken their shots at the Holy Father as well.

Watching Morning Joe on MSNBC can certainly cause an orthodox minded Catholic to contemplate pulling their hair out. A recent episode in which Mika Brzezinski and Mike Barnicle, two northeast liberal Catholics, critique the current Holy Father’s pontificate and implore the upcoming conclave to change the direction of the Church by listening to the criticism of militant secularists seemed more than a little ridiculous. The Reverend Al Sharpton chimed in to tell the audience that African cardinals certainly don’t represent his views on the world (Thank God.)

The whole episode should have been a Saturday Night Live skit, but sadly they meant every word of it. The Western Left shouts from the rooftops about diversity, but when it comes right at them via the Third World, well then it really isn’t diverse. The Left preaches change but would never change their views to reflect reality, i.e. the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (among others) insisting Washington doesn’t have a spending problem. All too often they unwittingly enjoy relishing in the Dictatorship of Relativism (coined by Pope Benedict XVI.) By doing so they unknowingly echo the words of Pontius Pilate, who said, “What is truth?”

In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I note that the infamous American Bishop Shelby Spong dismissed his fellow African-Anglican clergy’s views on social teachings because they were in his words, “only one generation removed from Animism and their brand of Christianity was superstitious.” In rebuttal to Bishop Spong, the late Catholic priest, Father Richard John Neuhaus noted that there were a higher percentage of African-Catholic Cardinals with PhD’s than were those from Western Europe or North America.

Sadly, even some of our friends on the theological and political right have taken the opportunity to pile on what they view as the mistake prone pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. One of the more interesting critiques came from Joseph (Jody) Bottum, the former Editor of First Things. On a personal note, I owe a great deal of gratitude to Mr. Bottum who referenced a very early article of mine in one of his First Things article. Actually the positive reaction that stemmed from it helped convince me to right my first book. However, some of Mr. Bottum’s assertions in this Weekly Standard article on the pontificate of Benedict XVI should not go unanswered.

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12 Responses to Armchair Pontiffs Come Out of the Woodwork

  • I judge Pope Benedict XVI’s term to be a success. Poep Benedict issued the motu propio Summorum Pontificum, which grants priests in the Latin Church the unfettered right to celebrate the Mass according to the Missal of 1962. Many in the church hated this, but too bad for them, as they are the one who must enjoy liturgical dancing, etc.

    The other great success is the Anglican Ordinariate. The number of Anglicans who come into the Catholic church may never be a huge amount, but the fact that this was accomplished was a success.

    I care not what the American media says, any of it, about Pope Benedict. The American media is infested with fools.

  • Let the dead bury the dead. That’s all I have to say about MSNBC.

  • Ha! I think the dead are the only ratings demographic that MSNBC would win!

  • Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, called to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was always with Pope John Paul II and John Paul II with him. I remember the day when it was announced by Pope Benedict XVI, that the Latin Mass had never been banned by Vatican II, that Latin, kneelers, altar rails and kneeling to receive Holy Eucharist had never been banned. Pope Benedict XVI wanted the kiss of Peace to be made before Consecration of the Mass, so that the consecrated hands of the priest would not be profaned by shaking hands of the laity. Some priests do not keep their index and thumb fingers solely for the Holy Eucharist as they have promised to do and go about shaking hands of parishioners as though their parishioners are not in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, WHO is on the altar after Consecration.
    Pope Benedict XVI brought the translation of the Liturgy to refect more accurately the Holy Trinity, the Persons of God.
    Pope Benedict XVI ‘s Ash Wednesday homily characterizes the devil as constantly trying “to exploit God”. The Pope advocated for more exorcisms, especially in the West. He brought ecumenism that had run rampant and roughshod over the church into confomity with orthodoxy, without heresy.
    A good exorcism would force the devil to return Gary Wills soul.

  • Jay Leno said things are so bad over at MSLSD that last week they laid off 300 Obama spokespersons.

  • If all these armchair pontiffs think they know so much, then why is it that
    they were all caught flat-footed by the Holy Father’s announcement? Now,
    if one of these self-appointed ‘experts’ could demonstrate that they’d thought
    his resignation was a possibility, then I’d be willing to give my attention to
    whatever else he/she had to say.

    I understand that most of these folks get paid to publish their expert opinions,
    but in this matter their musings should be issued with a disclaimer, something
    like “this is only idle speculation– actually, your guess is as good as mine”.

  • Now I am no fan of Jody Bottum. In fact, I thought his being hired as editor at First Things was a huge mistake on the part of the late Fr. Neuhaus. I don’t agree with everything he says in his Weekly Standard article, but he does make some valid points.

    What I find most refreshing about his article is that is a departure from the shill fest quasi canonization we have seen from the rest of the orthodox Catholic ivory tower regarding the pope’s decision to resign.

    Mr Hartline asks for evidence that the next pontiff will be looking over his shoulder while Bendedict is still alive. Don’t you think it is rather self-evident that he will at least be tempted to do so? To be sure, the former pontiff will do everything in his power to prevent that, but, again, it will remain a natural temptation to say the least. It is at least reasonable to question the wisdom of the pope’s decision to resign. Even Benedict XVI himself seems to imply this when he, in his annoucement recognized the seriousness of this decision.

    Did Pope Benedict make the right decision? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else. What effect will this have on the Church in the long and short term? Again, it remains to be seen. I think it is premature at this point to say one way or the other.

    Now as far as whether or not Joseph Ratzinger’s pontificate has been a failure or success. In my mind, it has been something of a mixed bag, as I guess any pontificate has been. In the positive, I think he has, as pontiff, done well to remain, for the most part, silent on matters outside the Church’s competence like whether or not penal systems are adequate enough to protect society without recourse to the death penalty as one example. This is a marked improvement over the previous pontificate, which I believe created much confusion regarding this issue. I think he has done much to disabuse the rock star image that has been attributed to the papacy during the pontificate of the more charismatic John Paul II. In the negative, he appears to have failed miserably to bring much needed reform to the Roman Curia. In his pre-papal days, Ratzinger was rather critical of the over bureaucratization of the Vatican, but yet created a whole new bureaucracy with erecting the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, even though there already exists a whole Congregation for Evangelization. As important as I think the New Evagelization is, creating a whole new bureaucracy not only not helps such an effort, but in fact probably hinders it.

    While one can certainly take issue with Bottum’s assessment, it is by no means over the top.

  • I find it interesting that the secular media wants the next pope, and therefore the Church, to model itself after the secular media’s ideals. They just don’t get it that it’s Christ we should be looking at. We do not conform our lives to the secular world. Rather, we need to conform our lives to Christ, through the Church. Ignore those people. They’re looking in the wrong direction. They truly have nothing to say to us.

  • Instant assessments of any pontificates tend to be worthless. Case in point Pius IX. Any assessment of his pontificate immediately after his death would have emphasized the loss of the Papal States and the animosity between the Church and the new Italian state. As the decades have piled up, both of those have become increasingly insignificant in judging the lasting impact of Pio Nono’s pontificate while Vatican I looms ever larger, along with his pioneering attempts to form a direct link using modern technology between the laity and the Pope. Perspective is needed when assessing any papacy, and the most important element in forming that perspective is the element of time.

  • Pingback: Everything You Want to Know About Pope Benedict XVI
  • I found Bottum’s article stupefying. It relied quite heavily on unsourced assessments of the Pope’s daily routine, unsourced assessments about the social dynamics of the Vatican apparat, held the Pope responsible for the obtuse and malicious character of elements of the media, and added a comment about the Institute for Religious Works, as if Bottum knew banking from bingo. Andrew Greeley used to put this sort of tripe into his columns. It is conceivable that George Weigel is acquainted with enough people employed at the Vatican to produce an assessment of this nature, not Bottum (now resident in South Dakota after the board of the Institute on Religion and Public Life handed him his walking papers).

  • The next Pontiff will stand tall on the shoulders of Pope Benedict XVI, the Servant of the Servants of God. I believe that this is one title Pope Benedict XVI will keep and epitomize ever more.

Resignation Rumors

Saturday, February 23, AD 2013

Well this was inevitable.  When something that hasn’t happened for almost six centuries happens, there are going to be rumors about why it is happening:

VATICAN CITY – With just days to go before Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the Vatican is battling rumours that his decision was triggered by an explosive report on intrigue in its hallowed corridors of power.

The secret report compiled by a committee of three cardinals for the pope’s eyes only was the result of a broad inquiry into leaks of secret Vatican papers last year — a scandal known as “Vatileaks”.

The cardinals questioned dozens of Vatican officials and presented the pope with their final report in December 2012, just before Benedict pardoned his former butler Paolo Gabriele who had been jailed for leaking the papal memos.

The Panorama news weekly and the Repubblica daily said on Thursday that the cardinals’ report contained allegations of corruption and of blackmail attempts against gay Vatican clergymen, as well as favouritism based on gay relationships.

The Vatican has declined to comment on these two reports, with spokesman Federico Lombardi saying they were “conjectures, fictions and opinions.”

In an interview with El Pais, one of the investigating cardinals, Julian Herranz, said the scandal was “a bubble” that had been “inflated”.

“There will be black sheep, I am not saying there are not, like in all families,” he said, adding that the investigators had “spoken to people, seen what works and what does not, lights and shadows”.

Speaking to Italy’s Radio 24, Herranz said the idea that “Vatileaks” might have influenced the pope’s decision was one “hypothesis” among many others.

“These are decisions that are taken personally in the deep of one’s conscience and they must be profoundly respected,” the 82-year-old said.

At his final public mass last week, Benedict himself condemned “religious hypocrisy” and urged an end to “individualism and rivalry”.

“The face of the Church… is at times disfigured. I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the Church,” he said, without elaborating.

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24 Responses to Resignation Rumors

  • I sat through the child protection seminar three years ago and left confused by two things: how can the Archdiocese straight faced say that there is no homosexual connection to the abuse and how can it be that the highest ranking members of our clergy were not utterly enraged by the stories they heard.

    I have read snipets of the referenced allegations for several years due to translations of Italian news outlets – outlets consumed with interest in scandal, particularly secular and Vatican political scandal. Allegations of homosexual impropriety at the Vatican are legion.

    The elephant in the room is that homosexuality appears to be more prevalent than we want to acknowledge and enough of our clergy are acting on their impulses to bring scandal to the Church on an ongoing basis. Benedict forcefully affirmed the Church’s position early in his Papacy. We will likely never know if he would have gone farther or if the push-back from the hierachy was too much for him to have purged their ranks of the actively homosexual priests.

  • “how can the Archdiocese straight faced say that there is no homosexual connection to the abuse”

    The efforts to make such an argument, in defiance of all the facts of the abuse, were both striking and ridiculous.

  • I sat through the child protection seminar three years ago and left confused by two things: how can the Archdiocese straight faced say that there is no homosexual connection to the abuse and how can it be that the highest ranking members of our clergy were not utterly enraged by the stories they heard.

    They say it because they are listening to members of the helping professions, in part out of lack of self-confidence and in part because their lawyers tell them to do so. As for the helping professions, denying the pathologies and personal responsibility of the homosexual population is part of their professional ideology. It is a postulate.

  • As I understood the argument, attraction to children is a distinct class of sexuality, distinguishable from homosexual and heterosexual sex. Fair enough… But, within that class, surely there are sub-classes of those attracted exclusively to young boys, exclusively to young girls, and indiscriminately deviant?

    The other problem I had was that the presentation used only the most eggregious abuse as examples, the ones that left me, as a parent, wondering “and the parents let this go on for how long?” The Grand Jury Report in Philadelphia suggests that a large percentage of the coerced sex was from male clergy to post-pubescant boys, 16 to 19 years old or so.

    Surely the man who finds young men or women attractive is in a different, albeit deviant too, place than one who is attracted to young children?

    It is surprising to me that the Church treats homosexuality within the churchas nearly taboo and that makes me wonder if these recurring stories are not true.

  • Marie Carre’s AA-1025 book about the communists infiltration of the Catholic Church; fodder or fact?

  • As I understood the argument, attraction to children is a distinct class of sexuality, distinguishable from homosexual and heterosexual sex

    There are biologists who specialize in taxonomy; some are ‘lumpers’ and some are ‘splitters’.

    There is a specialist in sexual behavior named Bailey (sociologist or psychologist at Northwestern, IIRC) who was raked over the coals by ‘activists’ about 10 years ago for publishing a monograph which argued that transexualism is a surface manifestation of one of two sorts of deviance: it can express intense homosexuality or an odd sort of sexual fetishism. This thesis got some people’s noses out of joint.

    A librarian of my acquaintance had this to say: “all schemes of classification are ultimately arbitrary. The point is, ‘can you learn them’?”. This may not be altogether true, but should the purveyors of psychotherapy and ‘counseling’ really be accorded such trust that one does not notice that their taxonomies are verrrrry conveeeenient.

  • The Grand Jury Report in Philadelphia suggests that a large percentage of the coerced sex was from male clergy to post-pubescant boys, 16 to 19 years old or so.

    The Grand Jury apparently fancies that the Catholic clergy have a median age of about 32 and are recruited exclusively from the ranks of military officers and athletic coaches.

  • The OT and NT both acknowledge that bestiality and male homosexuality exist in the human condition. The medical community sees a distinction between same-gender attraction (homosexuality, from homos, Greek, not homo-Latin so it is genderless). And attraction to infants and pre-pubescent males and same for females AND post-pubescent males and females. Media and bishops alike and at times Vatican offiicials bandied about the word “homosexuality” to apply to all without distinction. The US bishops have a Charter that presumes that even one allegation made, proven or confessed decadaes ago demands the canonical death penalty for clergy. The sociological evidence and Court cases are slowly revealing the high incidence of abuse by males, and females, single and married against each gender of all ages. The media-legal mud and revelations from Church and State officials are slowly showing that University professors, medical personnel and teachers as well as all varieties of Protestant and Jewish clergy and also guilty of power-abuse of all age groups from grade school through University and adults in the various medical and other professional care, are a large part of the actual story. Most abuse is incest and abuse within the family. Is it not time then to lay off old and false unproven allegations and past deeds of hierarchy and clergy and deal with the whole culture and Church and make a sharp distinction between very sick men and women and boundary violations by clergy who were coming to emotional maturity after a sheltered all male formation and education- hot-house versus the wind and rain of the outside world.

  • Besides AA-1025 has anyone read Bella Dodd’s interviews and the number of young men of communist persuasion who were sent to the seminaries to subvert the faith? Her book School of Darkness is still available. All this was planned out by the Grand Masonic Lodge in Rome, read the Alta Vendita–which one of our past popes had printed had his own expense so lay people would be warned.

  • It would be comforting to be a conspiracy theorist and believe that the problems within the Church were caused by Masons and Communists. Alas, this is so much crank wackery, and our problems are basically a result of too many of both the clergy and the laity turning their backs on traditional Catholicism in favor of Catholicism Lite, a Catholicism stripped of its beauty and empty at its core.

  • I’m sorry LoneThinker, I am not following you. Could you state the same thing more simply?

  • “….comforting to be a conspiracy theorists…”

    There’s nothing comforting about the warfare going on, nor the means by which the enemy will use to win souls. On the two hundredth anniversary of the Masons a young seminarian studying in Rome was witness to the celebrations of professed destroyers of Catholic Church. St. Maximilian Kolbe noticed the hatred of the Masons as they waved their banners of Lucifer crushing the head of St. Michael.
    This is a warfare of the possession of souls by Christ through grace or by the prince of this world through sin.
    To easily dispute the notion of conspiracy and name it “crank wackery” is akin to saying that spies never existed in WWII. You are correct in the obvious, that Catholic Lite is the choice of many, however to rule out subversion of our Holy Church by any means possible is unbecoming of your great intellect.

  • Nope Philip it is simple rubbish today. The problems that currently beset the Church are not caused by evil conspiracies of, cue the foreboding music, Masons, Communists, Liberals et al. Would that it would be so easy to set all aright by merely defeating a small, albeit influential, cabal! At bottom our problems are caused by too many people within the Church behaving as if they did not believe what the Church teaches is actually true. That is what is at the core of all of our problems: the abuse crisis, the fact that the Mass is celebrated today throughout this country with all the awe, splendor and majesty of a tupperware party, the fact that Catholics routinely vote for pro-aborts, etc. The crisis of the Church is not external but internal, and it is a simple failure of belief.

  • Unfortunately your probably correct.
    We have met the enemy, and it is us.
    Peace Donald.

  • Donald: “the fact that the Mass is celebrated today throughout this country with all the awe, splendor and majesty of a tupperware party,”
    You have said it.

  • As I understood the argument, attraction to children is a distinct class of sexuality, distinguishable from homosexual and heterosexual sex.

    Pedophilia is often used to include ephebophilia– under-aged, but have gone through at least part of the sexual change. (depending on what source you’re looking at, too)

    Probably a lot more common than little-kid pedophilia, and much more likely to get a “pass” or be actively defended.

    From memory, most of the sex abuse in the US was homosexual and aimed at post-pubescent boys.

    Very vulnerable targets, especially for abuse by experienced predators. (That’s why “under aged” isn’t tied to “has started puberty.”)

  • “From memory, most of the sex abuse in the US was homosexual and aimed at post-pubescent boys.”

    Correct. That it is often overlooked is no accident as the Marxists used to say.

  • All of which begs the question: Why doesn’t the Church acknowledge the homosexual connection to the abuse? The first step in healing a patient should be diagnosis.

  • I think Rembert Weakland about sums it up. Former Archbishop of Milwaukee he was heterodox and orthodox Catholics often wondered how he had risen so far in the heirarchy. It came out after he had resigned that he used 450,000 of Church money to pay off his male lover who revealed the story to the press anyway years later.

    Needless to say Weakland has never paid back a dime of the hush money. This thief sits today on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. He is living evidence of the truth that there is clearly a “lavender Mafia” at work within the Church that promotes its members and protects them. The next Pope will have his work cut out for him if he decides to attack this evil head on.

  • Even afterward, Margaret Steinfels said she thought Weakland a ‘good bishop.’

    I suspect

    1. The problems with sexual corruption in the Church are only weakly related to the degree of heterodoxy in a given diocese. One problem with making that assessment is that when you look at a given accused priest, you often find that the bishop in office while he was in formation, the bishop who ordained him, the bishop in charge when the supposed offense took place, and the bishop who processed the complaint against him were four different individuals. That aside, some dioceses have had an alternating series of conservative and liberal bishops. An accused priest in Rochester may have been ordained by Bishop Kearney, supposed to have molested a youth during Bishop Hogan’s tenure, and faced an accusation under Bishop Clark.

    2. The Holy See lacks the manpower to police the Church in aught but a haphazard and episodic way. The Holy See needs to ensure that there are appropriate procedures incorporated into canon law and to be meticulous in its selection of bishops. There will be occasions where a general visitation of a country’s seminaries is in order. However, the leg work has to be done by local ordinaries, or it is not done.

    3. And, of course, what the diocesan bishop can do is often prophylactic. One wretched bit of business has been the accusation against sitting bishops that they are ‘covering-up’ and ‘not protecting kids’ when the complaints they were receiving were filed 15 years after the fact; a bishop cannot protect a 29 year old man against something which happened when he was 14 (when the bishop in question was an administrator at some suburban parish the next diocese over).

  • For what’s it worth; Goodbye good men, by Michael S. Rose asks the questions “what happened?”
    He interviewed over 150 people, priests and laymen in the Catholic Church.
    To sum it up, Liberal attack from the inside.
    Under attack is status quo for Our Holy Church.

  • Rose’s book was subject to some persuasive criticism at the time of its publication on the part of Fr. Robert Johansen and Brian St. Paul, among others. Rose and Dale Vree were fairly neuralgic about it. (The burden of the complaint was that while the problem described was real, some of the specifics were bum raps and much of the narrative was dated, referring to situations no longer current). I think we error if we see it as enemies burrowing away (although that happens) and avoid thinking about problems in the evolution of institutional culture. Why, during the period running from about 1925 to 1985, were an escalating contingent of men with latent (and subsequently uncontrolled) sexual dysfunctions ordained; why did the bulk of the ongoing problem abruptly evaporate around about 1990; what lies behind the irresponsible behavior of a selection of bishops (keeping in mind that addressing the problem well was impossible even for the most capable and conscientious bishops), among them McCormack, Sheehan, Matthiessen, Grahmann, Tshoeppe, Law, &c. ? I am not sure a satisfying and credible answer has been tendered; certainly some of the self-appointed gurus (Andrew Greeley, Thomas Doyle, Richard Sipe, Leon Podles) were not offering any.

  • Art Deco-
    Good questions.
    Is it possible that many just looked the other way?
    Is it from years of orchestrated planning…yes Donald add the foreboding music here…, however it does make one wonder if the checks and balances we’re washed over on purpose, or deliberate.
    We are left with many questions.

  • …not or. ( and deliberate! )
    Please excuse my haste.

Klavan on Pope Benedict

Wednesday, February 20, AD 2013

Andrew Klavan, the mystery writer and humorist I have often quoted on this blog, is a big fan of the Pope:

Pope Benedict, as I’ve said before, is the Last European, by which I mean the last great man and mind who fully comprehends the beautiful but now dying culture that produced him.  It’s appalling to me–though not surprising–that the only thing the mainstream media ever covers about him is how often he apologizes for the abuses of some priests or how politically incorrect his view of gay people is or whatever.  I have now read a good selection of his writings and when the work of Foucault and Derridas and de Man and the rest of that benighted lot has toddled off to the obscurity it so dearly deserves, Benedict’s writings will stand.  They may be the final flares of genius to fly up from the continent he loves before darkness closes over it.

I’m not a Catholic.  My views on authority and sexual morality are too individualistic.  But when I see the level of thought coming out of Anglicanism  – especially the low and despicable crypto anti-semitism in the cowardly guise of anti-Zionism – and then read the grace-filled, spirit-inspired work of Big Ben, well, I’m embarrassed.


B-16′s greatness doesn’t lie in his papacy. Or that is, if it does, I wouldn’t know. It’s his writing, his theology, his thought that elevate him in my mind. When I was but a youngish dude, pounding my way through the great works, it seemed to me that the wisdom of many of the great German thinkers of the 18th and 19th centuries had been thrown aside for no good reason. Kant and Hegel had philosophically rescued the essence of Christianity for the scientific age, and had been ultimately left behind by mainstream thinkers not because they were wrong, but because they were just sort of out of keeping with the atheistic spirit of the day.

As Nietzsche understood, that God-is-dead zeitgeist would perforce lead to moral relativism. And so it has. But Ratzinger, shrugging off the zeitgeist like the cheap suit it is, humbly went on tilling the Kantian and Hegelian fields, making his way back not just to the essentials of Christianity but to the sacred person of Christ himself.

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6 Responses to Klavan on Pope Benedict

  • Interesting. A while back, a European author wrote a book entitled “The Cathedral and the Cube” where he spoke about European decline. I find the many types of European expression wanting, myself.

  • That was actually an American writer, George Weigel.

  • It is common nowadays to refer to the “Catholic turn” in French philosophy, i.e., the way in which the most original and prominent thinkers of contemporary France seem to function within Catholic horizons: the philosophers Rémy Brague, Chantal Delsol, René Girard, Pierre Manent and Jean-Luc Marion, together with writers like Max Gallo, Jean D’Ormesson, Jean Raspail, Denis Tillinac and, Michel Tournier.

    They are continuing the tradition of Maurice Blondel, Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain and of Claudel, Mauriac and Péguy in the last century.

    Perhaps, we shall see theologians like Bouyer, Danielou, Chenu, Congar, de Lubac and Maréchal.

  • The trouble is, if European culture doesn’t survive, and I agree that there are worrying developments, what are we left with? The New World reflects back that culture, its beams somewhat dimmed by having to cross the Atlantic, and I would argue that in the 20th century the contribution of the United States was a negative one, flooding the market with a commercially driven counter-culture based on film and ‘popular’ music which is not only antithetical to the ideals of ‘high’ culture but undermines it by denying its existence.

  • Michael PS:

    Many of the names you mention are familiar to me, but I thought Ives Congar was sanctioned by the Holy See.

  • Mary D Voe

    He was rehabilitated and went on to be a peritus at Vatican II and a member of several important committees.

    To remove any lingering damage to his reputation, in 1994, in Congar’s 90th year, Pope John Paul created him a Cardinal.

Fools to Judge his Papacy

Monday, February 11, AD 2013

Pope Benedict

I have always shuddered when a Pope dies because I am filled with dread of what comes next:   Endless reams of bad commentary by people who pretend to know something about the Vatican but who usually succeed only in revealing their bone ignorance of the subject.  The resignation of Pope Benedict I expect to inspire more of the same.

First up is John Moody, Executive Vice President, Fox News, and a former Vatican correspondent, who takes Pope Benedict to task for what he perceives to be a failed papacy.  Pope Benedict’s main crime appears to be that he was not Pope John Paul II:

By contrast, Benedict’s meek initial outings were public relations meltdowns.  His smile, though genuine, looked somehow sinister, as if he were about to bite  his audience. Determined to restore the Church’s luster in Europe, where it is  often treated like a dotty old aunt, Benedict gave a lecture in Regensburg, Germany, in 2006  that appeared to denigrate Islam. The non-Catholic world howled; the Vatican  cringed and apologized.

On his first visit to the U.S. as pope, Benedict offered contrite apologies  for the Church’s ham-handed treatment of the U.S. church’s sex scandal involving  its priests. Even the pope’s humble mien did not satisfy some, who pronounced  him cold and unfeeling toward the plight of victims of clergy abuse. He joined  the Twitterati, but his first attempt was a sterile: “I am pleased to get in  touch with you through Twitter. I bless all of you from my heart.” At least he  stayed under 140 characters.

In nearly eight years, Benedict issued three encyclicals – direct messages to  the faithful that often reveal a pope’s enthusiasms and interests. Benedict’s  first – entitled “God is Love” — is a caressing, simply worded, logic-based  reassurance that our Lord loves us. Yet even his writing about love suffers in  comparison with John Paul’s towering, intellectual yet intimate canon of  work.

None of which lessens Benedict’s place in the line of Vicars of Christ. His  decision to resign was a brave one, based on personal humility, in keeping with  his message to the faithful that the things of Earth are transient, but the  promise of heaven lasting and infinite.  For that he should be  remembered.

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20 Responses to Fools to Judge his Papacy

  • Of course he’s gotten the typical clueless disparagement from a lot of media folks, but I’ve actually been surprised by how many pretty orthodox Catholics have been relatively lukewarm, if not downright disappointed, with Benedict’s papacy.

    I had no complaints with his reign., but I guess I’ll at least hear out people who did.

  • Yet even his writing about love suffers in comparison with John Paul’s towering, intellectual yet intimate canon of work.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve long felt that Pope Benedict was a much more concise and clear writer than Pope John Paul II. Both were/are tremendous intellects, but Pope Benedict was always able to take complex theological ideas and present them in a way that was somewhat more comprehensible.

  • “but I’ve actually been surprised by how many pretty orthodox Catholics have been relatively lukewarm, if not downright disappointed, with Benedict’s papacy.”

    Too many Catholics, and I often include myself in that group, expect a Pope to come in and fix all the problems within the Church yesterday. The Church has never operated that way. Even in fairly revolutionary times the Church has almost always adopted a go slow incremental approach. Vatican II is a modern exception to that rule, and living in the aftermath of that Council I can appreciate the usual wisdom of the go slow incremental approach. We also live in a time which treasures that mysterious quality called charisma. John Paul II, at least until his final dying years, had that quality more in abundance than any other Pope I can think of, certainly of the modern era. A hard act to follow in that regard.

  • The media are already making fools of themselves. They pass off opinion instead of reporting, and distort the facts.

    Pope Benedict took the job at 79 years old. He never wanted it. He wanted to go home to Germany. He is a nearly 88 year old man and I can think of no 88 year old who wants to work every day all day.

    The Anglican Ordinariate is a massive positive achievement. it is a shame that the Society of St. Pius X would not take the Pope’s offer, but so many of them are too full of themselves to see the world as it is.

    God Bless the Pope. He has earned a retirement.

    God bloess Pope Benedict XVI.

  • Like Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI are inseparable

  • For what it is worth, I think Pope Benedict XVI was one of the best ever. Comparing him to Pope John Paul II is unfair. Each one has his own unique strengths and weaknesses, and the Holy Spirit gave us each one at the right time for God’s often inscrutable purposes. I have heard it described that Pope Paul VI was more prophetic, Pope John Paul II more priestly and Pope Benedict XVI more kingly. That’s certainly an interesting allusion to the oft heard phrase, “Prophet, Priest and King.” I don’t pretend to be so informed that I can critique that assertion, but in modern times, while they all had their faults, we really have had a rash of good Popes since at least Leo XIII in the 19th century. God has been very good to us and we should be grateful.

  • I read the Weigel book “God’s Choice…” a few years back and (rightly or wrongly) became convinced that Ratzinger was really God’s choice. And… that is all we can ask.
    I have prayed for him. I will pray for his successor.

  • I had a friend who was a German WW2 vet. (Suffered on the Russian front, but survived.) German boys were drafted into the army at age 16, then were provisional soldiers performing non-combat duty until age 18 when they received full rank and privilege of a soldier.

    I read an interview with a similar German vet about the time they were still under 18, in training. I try to reproduce it here from my memory…

    Our squad sargeant asked us all what job we hoped to hold someday, and I specifically recall my answer: “Pilot”. In fact, I think most of the boys wanted to be pilots….or tanker, or engineer, or some other manly profession. But when the sargeant came to our radio operator, he clearly and surely said “I hope to become a parish priest” We all laughed at him. Sarge said “Private Ratzinger, I doubt you’ll get very far in life as a parish priest.”

    I’d say he made it pretty far.

  • As a country we are rapidly following the rest of the world into abject secularism. Moral values are forgotten. “Gay marriage”as “equality” will open the door to polygamy and Lord knows what else. We need leadership and moral direction, or else soceity is in big trouble.

    Understand he’s a long shot, but I think Timothy Cardinal Dolan is the man. Charismatic, pastoral and one the world would admire and listen to.

  • I thought his first encyclical was brilliant and perfectly addressed the issues we are facing as a church today. I haven’t been able to make the time to read his second encyclical, but I expect it to be just as awesome. I recall giving “Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club” coffee mugs to friends for Christmas presents the Christmas before he became Pope.

    I had to roll my eyes when I read that Fox editorial this morning. I expected it, though. The news media can’t be expected to praise him in today’s world, which tries to undermine everything the Church teaches. Fox has a reputation for being conservative, but they have so much immorality in their “entertainment” headlines and pictures that I can’t expect that they’ll understand where social conservatives are really coming from.

  • Benedict gave a lecture in Regensburg, Germany, in 2006 that appeared to denigrate Islam. The non-Catholic world howled; the Vatican cringed and apologized.

    True only if the non-Catholic world is restricted to Islam, the rest were not bothered at all. Some dhimmi in the Vatican may have gone into preemptive damage control, but the Pope himself did not. In fact his clarification may have infuriated the intellectuals among the Muslims even more, as the main philosophical point of the Regensberg address is that the attributes of God, require even Him not to act arbitrarily for otherwise He is merely a tyrant. The Holy Father is one those who regard Greek philosophy as a kind of fifth Gospel, this established the high intellectual level of his ratiocinations.

    Possibly for the sake of Christians living (and now fleeing for their lives) in Syria and the larger Middle East, JP11 kissed the Koran. Some Muslims tried the same trick when Pope Benedict was in Turkey later in 2006, but he deftly passed on the koran to his aides. From then it was clear that the (brief) period of kowtowing to Islam and succumbing to the blackmail of its minions was over.

  • @Alphatron

    His third encyclical, “Caritas in veritate,” is also a good one. He had some strong words to say to free-market purists.

  • “His third encyclical, “Caritas in veritate,” is also a good one. He had some strong words to say to free-market purists.”

    Actually, I didn’t take that away from it. It seems he spoke what has pretty much been said about the free market in previous encyclicals.

    What I think differed was his radical rooting of Charity in Truth. Gone should be that raw emotionalism that calls itself Charity per Benedict. Important words as we continue to order our world with bankrupt (literally as well as figuratively) ideas from the past.

  • I have a calm faith that the Holy Spirit will bring forward the man whom He knows is the right man for these evil times. I also can’t help but pray that it’s Cardinal Burke.

    And may God forgive me but I also pray it isn’t Cardinal Dolan. The times we live in call for a lion, another Pius X, not an “oh-so-friendly, easy-to-talk-to, pastoral” man such as Dolan.

  • St. Celestine V pray for us.

  • Moody forget to mention that Gisele Bundchen AND Lady Gaga didn’t like some of the stuff that Pope Benedict XVI said either. Just more proof of his failure as a pope, I guess.

  • even his writing about love suffers in comparison with John Paul’s

    Really? JP II was a great intellect and good writer, but BXVI is just as strong intellectually and a better writer. And that he was not JP II is a feature, not a bug. Each has his strengths, we did not need a JP III.

    Let us hope the Holy Spirit brings forth the pope we need, and not the one we deserve.

  • “Let us hope the Holy Spirit brings forth the pope we need, and not the one we deserve.”

    Maybe what we need is what we deserve.


  • I think we should go back to telling everybody that the Pope can do whatever the hell he wants and if you don’t like it you can take it down the road. Then smack ’em with a ruler.

  • Pray that the next Pope be not one following Political & Governmental Agendas but a Spiritual one following Jesus Christ.