In An Unprecedented Move, Left Leaning Bishop Kicanas, Vice President Of US Bishop’s Conference Passed Over For Right Leaning Archbishop Dolan

Tuesday, November 16, AD 2010

It was as stunning, as it was unexpected; by a vote of 128-111 the left leaning Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Vice President of the US Bishop’s Conference was passed over for President of the US Bishops by New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan. In the history of the US Bishop’s Conference, a sitting Vice President has never been passed over for another candidate. It had been assumed to be a foregone conclusion that Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, who is a protégé of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and his seamless garment theology, would easily win.

A number of factors may have tipped the scales toward the gregarious and well loved new Archbishop of New York. Tim Drake wrote an article about Bishop Kicanas which called into question his role as head of Chicago’s Mundelin Seminary. Some had questioned why the future bishop would allow a man who to be ordained even though many had questions concerning the prospective priest’s background. The priest would later be charged with molestation.

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11 Responses to In An Unprecedented Move, Left Leaning Bishop Kicanas, Vice President Of US Bishop’s Conference Passed Over For Right Leaning Archbishop Dolan

  • I’m sure most people will be pleased, not the least, our own Bishop Owen Dolan of Palmerston North diocese (retired) who is the cousin of Archbp. Timothy, and paid a visit to him earlier this year after leading our Diaconate retreat inj Auckland.

    Orthodoxy will prevail. 🙂

  • The Tide is certainly turning, though lets see if good Abp Dolan can back his words with action.

  • Hey Don the Kiwi, I’ve been meaning to ask you about the Archbishop down in Wellington and his level of orthodoxy…

    I visited your beautiful country for a month back in 2007, all of the north island and most of the south island (didn’t get down to Dunedin or the southeastern corner of that island), and I really fell in love w/ Wellington for its mix of people, physical beauty, and vibrant culture. I went to an evening Mass on a Sunday at the cathedral, and was fortunate enough to see the Archbishop preside then. I spoke with him briefly afterwards, and like all good kiwis, he was friendly to this Yank. I don’t remember his homily being anything extraordinary, but it was solid, although I do remember seeing a couple of altar girls serving, as well. Any thoughts on the Archbishop of Wellington?


    P.S. I did pass through Palmerston on my way to the wine country near Hawkes’ Bay. Some delicious wines are produced down there!

  • It’s unfortunate that there are “left-learning” Bishops and “right-leaning Bishops.” Is it possible to use the categories “orthodox” and “heterodox” instead?

  • Zach, if you only knew the hornet’s nest I stirred up by using the word heterodox and orthodox at a church gathering some time ago. There are still some people who won’t speak to me today simply because I used those words. I am of the belief that since I didn’t invent the labels; orthodox or heterodox, along with liberal or conservative, I shouldn’t be held to account if I or someone else fits or doesn’t fit into these particular labels. It seems to that those who are secure in their beliefs don’t mind being called liberal or conservative, and or orthodox or heterodox.

  • Hi Kev in Texas.

    I visited your beautiful country back in 2007……..”

    Keep that up mate, we’ll make you an honorary Kiwi. 😉

    Wellington is indeed a pretty city, but depending on the time of year you visit. Winter time brings very cold and strong southerly winds – the city is known as “windy Wellington”; its also on a major techtonic faultline, so like San Francisco, is gonna get a big one one day in the not too distant future.

    The Archbishop of Wellington diocese is John Dew, and is probably the 2nd most liberal of our 7 bishops in NZ, the most liberal being Bp. Peter Cuneen of Palmerston North diocese (Bp.Dolan is retired and more conservative) I live in Tauranga in the North Island, and part of the Hamilton diocese. Our bishop is Denis Browne, and is slightly liberal of centre, but a fine bishop. Our most orhtodox/conservative bishop is Barry Jones of Christchurch, who is the only Bp. in NZ who sticks to the old traditional “Our Father”. But being such a small country and a small number of bishops, they can’t stray too far from the centre without arrousing comment – although the Church in NZ generally is slightly liberal, but with a strong orthodox bent – like me (forget the liberal though 🙂 )

    And yes, we are blessed with some regions that allow the grape to provide some great beverages. NZ Savignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are world beaters, and our reds are getting better all the time. I’ve gotta say though, that its very hard to beat the Aussies for great reds – but we’re catching them.

    And if you happen to be visiting again, be sure to contact me and we’ll see if we can meet up. ( Don McClarey has my e-mail)

    Bless you, brother.

  • BTW Kev in Texas.

    What part of the State are you? I correspond from time to time with Mark Windsor in Dallas.
    Just sayin’. 🙂

  • So what’s going to change as a result of this? The liberal bureaucracy of the USCCB remains in tact (and will continue to undermine the efforts of orthodox, pro-life efforts).

    It’s great that Archbishop Dolan “speaks out.” But actions speak louder than words. Obama still got his award. Pro-aborts in Milwaukee and NY continue to receive the Eucharist. And in Wisconsin, a bill that forces Catholic pharmacists and Catholic hospitals to distribute the morning after pill went unopposed by Archbishop Dolan–providing cover to enough RINOs that the bill was passed into law despite a Republican-held legislature.

    I don’t mean to be uncharitable, and I’m glad for Dolan’s victory. But let’s not pretend like the landscape has changed. We need heroes, and aside from Cardinal-Elect Burke, they are few and far between.

  • Zach, left-leaning isn’t always synonymous with heterodox… in this particular instance, I’m fairly sure that Bishop Kicanas *is* a left-leaning but orthodox bishop.

    I’m overjoyed that Archbishop Dolan will be the public face of the USCCB, but I don’t think we need to wait to have a bench full of right-leaning bishops in order to do what is ultimately the most effective form of social, cultural and political transformation: our own sanctification.

  • The homosexualists had their last, great hope of transforming the church snuffed by this election. We can be sure that another orthodox, Abp. Kurtz, will be elevated from the vice presidency to replace Dolan three years from now.

Why Is Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda's Crosshairs?

Sunday, October 3, AD 2010

The target of the Notre Dame Cathedral seemed a bit out of place. Every other Al Qaeda target listed by the captured Ahmed Sadiqui was secular in origin, be the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate and Alexander Platz TV tower in Berlin, or the United Kingdom movements of the British Royal family. Why Notre Dame (which means Our Lady in French i.e. the Blessed Virgin Mary) and why not any other churches like St Paul’s in London or St Peter’s or St Michael’s in Munich make the list which has caused world governments to issue terror warnings and travel updates? To understand this question one has to understand the mindset of Al Qaeda. To the tried and true jihadist, Western Europe was almost under their control until two critical events occurred; the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the Siege of Vienna in 1683, when Our Lady intervened and stopped the Islamic armies in their tracks.

Now some would falsely point out that the Crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries were western victories and thus Islamic sore points, this is far from the truth. The Crusades actually were seen as a great victory in the Islamic World. Though we are now told by those in the mainstream media that the Crusades were a heinous act, they were in fact a small defensive action taken by the west to defend themselves against the Islamic armies who had been invading historical Christian lands for centuries. Long before they were Islamic lands, the Middle East and North Africa were filled with vibrant Christian centers and revelatory figures like Saint Augustine.  The very argument that Christianity was not appealing to the masses was left empty by the need of the Islamic armies to have a military conquest. Now my colleague Joe Hargrave has written a great piece on the Crusades which I highly encourage you to read. It is not my intention to go into any further detail about the Crusades for this article. I would again refer to the above link for Joe’s article or a similar article I wrote entitled; A Review of Al Qaeda’s Little Reported On War Against The Catholic Church.

Getting back to the 1571 Naval Battle of Lepanto and the land battle outside the Gates of Vienna in 1683; they were the turning point for Islamic military conquest and military failure. Islamic armies would never again threaten the heart of Europe. The hoped for world Caliphate did not come to fruition. To the militant jihadist it must have seemed as if defeat was snatched out of the jaws of victory. For the faithful Christian, especially the faithful Catholic the Islamic defeats were miraculous seen as the Hand of God working through His Son Jesus Christ and specifically His mother Mary.

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72 Responses to Why Is Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda's Crosshairs?

  • The news is saying Ramstein AB personnel are being advised to beware and not wear uniforms downtown.

    In addition to Our Blessed Mother’s aid in Lepanto and Vienna, the French intelligence service has been strong in counter-terror efforts.

    No US Catholic targets?

  • Pingback: Why Is Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda’s Crosshairs? « Deacon John's Space
  • “The defeat for the Turks at Vienna came about because of a last minute appearance on September 11 and 12, 1683, by the Polish cavalry under the leadership of Jan Sobiesksi. He had his men pray the Rosary before their lightning appearance.”

    The Polish winged-hussars were certainly an important part of the victory, but some credit has to be given to the Austrian infantry in the relief army, who fought their way into the Ottoman camp.

    “As for the battle, military tacticians still can’t figure out how the superior Ottoman Turkish Navy was defeated.”

    Prayer and superior firepower. The Holy League had more, and far more powerful, cannon than the Turks. The six sailing ships at the front of the Catholic formation that had been converted into firing platforms caused substantial damage to the Ottoman line.

    Niccolo Capponi has a great book on Lepanto, called Triumph of the West, that came out a couple of years ago.

  • Anyone interested should also read Yelena Chudinova’s novel “Mosque of Notre Dame 2048”. The English language version is not yet published but the Russian original is readily available.

  • Thank you for this post. I have a book on the battle of Lepanto that I have not yet read that I will now surely check out.

  • I re-read Chesterton’s fine poem LEPANTO every year at this time.

  • Last I heard the Cathedral of Notre Dame is owned by the French government, and that the politicos graciously let Catholics borrow state property under certain conditions alla revolucion.

  • This summer I traveled with Bob and Penny Lord as we traced the life of Saint Peter Julian Eymard and in Toulouse France on the hill over looking the river is a Shrine to our Lady where he visited often.
    Inside this shrine is the most magnificent mosaic of the Battle of Lepanto that exists. We plan to incorporate this mosaic in the program because of its importance to what happened then to keep it from recurring. Our Lady pray for us.

  • I would go back further to 732 and Charles Martellus “The Hammer”. Radical Islam simply can’t get past this one. If one believes the prophecies of hundreds of Catholic Saints (Catholic Prophecy by Yves DuPont), another French hammer is on the way. Deo Gratias

  • The Battle of Tours was on October 10th, 732 btw.

  • We need more people like you. Great post.

  • Every Catholic School in the world ought to have the pictures of Don Juan, King Jan Sobieski and Charles “The Hammer” Martel on the walls of every classroom (In a less prominent position than that of the Crucific, picture or Our Lady and the portrait of the Divine Mercy)

  • “Every Catholic School in the world ought to have the pictures of Don Juan, King Jan Sobieski…. on the walls of every classroom.”

    Check this out — I hope this link works for you:

    If this link doesn’t work, google “Rome of the West,” a blog by St. Louis resident Mark Scott Abeln, and click on his link to pictures of “Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois”.

    This is a stained glass window depicting Jan Sobieski kneeling on the battlefield to thank God for his victory over the Turks at Vienna. The windows here all show great moments in Catholic history both in Europe and in the United States, up to the 1920s when the cathedral was built.

  • Notre Dame is in the crosshairs as a chastisement because the French are the most wicked, promiscuous and blasphemous of the “Catholics”.

  • Aside from Mickey, great comments everyone. We certainly shouldn’t forget Charles Martel. Where would we be without him? I hope to get a chance to write about him, as well as the heroic martyrs of the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe. Mickey, you might want to be a little more charitable with your posts for it sounds as if you are posting from some cave in Pakistan.

    Everyone let’s keep the comments coming and perhaps even throw out some names of famous Catholics who fought the good fight and perhaps were even martyred. Sadly, even among practicing Catholics, I am sure many of the saints and heroic figures mentioned in the article or in your comments, are not known.

  • good article but we forgot what happened at the battle of Covadunga Spain thats why the battle of Lampato happened. at Covadunga Spain angels were seen to fight on the side of Catholics on the verge of being annihilated.

  • in response to who owns Our Lady of Notre Dame guess who owns the tomb of St. Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross the European union.guess who owns the Sistine chapel the japan government.

  • Interesting article on the Blessed Virgin, however one must also note that Catholics and Christians are not at present at war with Islam, in fact the Vatican and many Islamic centers want to keep the peace – therefore I wouldn’t use history as to re-ignite the wars of religion – as many christian sects would love to see – however for your perusal I have cataloged most Marian intercessions in times of war – Vienna and Lepanto are only 2 out of at least 90 intercessions during well known battles, for this please see the following – the major war today is in the hearts and minds of men and women, the soul is the battle ground –
    click here

  • Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

    Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

    How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)

  • Another blow to Turkish pride was their defeat in Malta in 1565. Sicily and the Italian peninsula would have succumbed. Though it must be added that the Knights of Rhodes recently settled in Malta had done their utmost to provoke the Turks.

  • “French are the most wicked, promiscuous and blasphemous of the “Catholics”.

    Mickey, why such a heinous and false comment about French people? I feel peculiarly offended.
    Do you want I list all the sins that deserves an equal chastisement to America and England?
    Yes France will be chastised and America and all the west countries will be chastised too, due to their current apostasy.
    France was the most catholic country for centuries and was at the tip of the fight against Islam and heretics. She provided the greatest saints in the Chuch’s history.
    Without the French priests, monks, nuns and laymen who went in America long ago before the Brits, how many would be the Catholics here?

  • Jacques, thank you for reminding us about the great French saints. In my next article, I may write about them as well as Charles Martel. As for Mickey, I doubt he is English, American or Christian. Maybe he is posting from some cave in Pakistan.

    Mario, thank you for reminding us about the faithful in Malta who have been a beacon of hope and courage to the Christian world for centuries.

  • I don’t remember seeing this in the article, but Oct 7 is also the anniversary of US and allied forces taking care of things in Afganistan. I took great comfort that day, knowing the feast day and its history.

  • The claim the Catholic fleet was superior in firepower and size is secular lies and totally untrue. In fact Protestant countries, including Britain, either actively or tacitly supported the Islamic attempt to wipe out Catholicism. For this sin Queen Elizabeth I will be punished in hellfire as only Catholicism is the true Faith.
    I have no doubt Our Lady would truly have been weeping when England, her ‘Dowry’, sided with the enemies of the true Faith and the true Faith is Catholicism.

  • Bravo Jacques for speaking out for the Holy Kingdom of France. I study the History of Catholic France (is there any other history in France?) and this history is simply amazing. France is truly the Land of the Blessed Virgin, the Eldest Daughter of the Church and if we are to believe hundreds of Catholic Saints (and why wouldn’t we?), France will someday soon rule the ENTIRE world.

    France was given such rich gifts by God starting with the Faith which her missionaries then took around the world. France was blessed with the most incredible gifts of culture, natural resources, and people. However, the evils of rationalism, socialism, communism, and freemasonry flourished first in France and then spread around the globe like an virus. France also killed their divinely appointed King. Thankfully, by the grace of God, Luis XVII was NOT killed and the monarchy will return.

    For these crimes will France pay dearly and her people will turn back to the faith after this chastisement. France is the eldest daughter of the Church and she is supposed to set the example. There are some dark days ahead for France but peace will be restored with the lily returns to the throne.
    An excellent dvd about the Catholic history of France is “The Heart of the Lily” and “Where the World Begins”. It runs on EWTN every so often.

  • Brian Gregory, I am glad you reiterated my point that the Ottoman Turks had far superior naval firepower at Lepanto. It was Divine Providence accompanied by the courage of the Catholic Fleet that led to the Ottoman Turks defeat. I don’t see how anyone can get around this fact.

  • Seeing the images of King Jan Sobieski during a Google search, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity in looks with Lech Walesa when he was younger and had darker hair. As we all know, Walesa had a lot to do with the toppling of communism, apparently like Sobieski did with the Muslim marauders.

  • When I was in grade school ( Immaculate Heart of Mary ) I was the first to crown the new statue of the Blessed Mother. This reading has brought me back to her. Thank you.

    John Claypool

  • I’m sorry Pax Christi of Bakersfield but Lech Walesa had nothing whatsoever to do with the collapse of Communism. The secular press often associate the collapse of Soviet Communism with the American president of that time (Ronald Reagan),the British primeminister of the time (Mr. Thatcher)and Mr. Gorbachev.However,Mr. Reagan, Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Gorbachev all acknowledge the role of the Holy Father in the collapse of Soviet Communism – neither they nor the Holy Father say ‘SOLIDARITY’ brought down Communism. It is claimed in the secular media which is athiestic the Holy Father helped fund ‘SOLIDARITY’, however, ‘SOLIDARITY’s’ uprising was put down in 1981.Soviet Communism did not fall until the Holy Father consecrated the world and especially Russia to her Immaculate Heart on 25 March 1984 (‘The Feast of the Annunciation’ or ‘Lady Day’). Mr. Gorbachev did not come to power until after then unless I am mistaken but that is irrelevant. The Soviet coup took place in August 1991,during the octave of the Assumption,but ended peacefully on the vigil of the Queenship of Mary (August 22nd).Those who use the ‘Extraordinary Form’ of the Mass will know August 22nd in the traditional calendar is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the vigil of which is on 21 August. Mr. Gorbachev about the USSR officially on 25 December 1991. Our Blessed Mother told the shepherd children at Fatima in 1917 the Bolshevik (Communist) uprising would take place one year before it did (in 1918). She also promised if Russia was consecrated to her Immaculate Heart there would be peace. Russia was and there has been peace between Russia and the west, however,to save many souls Our Blessed Mother asked for the Five First Saturdays’ Devotion.

    Referring to England – England was called ‘Mary’s Dowry’ or ‘Our Lady’s Dowry’ because there was a large shrine to Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk with a replica of the Holy House. This vision was seen by Lady Richeldes de Faverches in AD1061. The shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII,however, three shrines were built there in the early 1900s.
    An Anglican shrine,for history see;an Orthodox shrine which is contained in the Anglican shrine and the Catholic shrine see history
    In fact many events and services are truly oecumenical with members of other Christian denominations taking part as well.

    There is also the Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper in Wales

  • My other comment are taken from my blog on MYSPACE.

    ‘NOTIFICATION: ‘CHRISTIAN CONCERN FOR THE BENEFIT OF CHURCH AND NATION’ has launched it’s campaign ‘NOT ASHAMED’ calling on all Christians to wear the symbol of our Faith – the Cross or the ‘NOT ASHAMED’ emblem especially on national ‘NOT ASHAMED DAY’ which is on Wednesday 1st December 2010

    I hope all believers, throughout the world, irrespective of their denomination, rich or poor, famous or unknown will visit their website, offer their support and wear the Sign of our Faith and if possible the ‘NOT ASHAMED’ emblem on ‘NOT ASHAMED DAY’ – Wednesday 1st December 2010.’

    Please consider doing this and letting everyone know about this UK event which I hope will go global.

    My other ‘MYSPACE’ blog I would like to draw your attention to is:
    ‘MAKING OUR FAITH MORE VISIBLE: I hope all believers will consider making their faith more visible by making the Sign of the Cross, saying ‘”God bless you”‘ and if possible wearing a cross or crucifix. Please read the Archbishop of Westminster’s 24/09/2010 ‘PASTORAL LETTER’

    Thank you

  • I cannot compare better the Lepanto victory but to that of Midway: The balance of strength was strongly in favour of the Japs and truly it was a MIRACLE that the Navy’s aircrafts could drop their bombs and their torpedoes onto the japanese carriers at the very moment when the japanese hunters couldn’t take off for momentary technical reasons (they were all being replaced their bombs for torpedoes) to protect their carriers.

  • Mario, the defeat of the Turks against Malta in 1565 was also a miracle since the Turkish troops were half a million vs 30000 Malta’s knights and soldiers.
    But they were much helped by a bubonic plague outburst that occured among the turks.
    This makes me remind of the capture of Malta by the french troops of Napoleon 2 centuries later in a couple of weeks. Then the knights of Malta were only the shadows of themselves.

  • “The claim the Catholic fleet was superior in firepower and size is secular lies and totally untrue.”

    I never said the Catholic fleet was larger. The Turks had more ships. But the Holy League had much greater firepower. Capponi does an extensive analysis of the armament on the different types of ships present. The Catholic fleet was more technologically advanced, which people probably find hard to believe because of the disinformation they have been fed on the Church and science.

    “Brian Gregory, I am glad you reiterated my point that the Ottoman Turks had far superior naval firepower at Lepanto. It was Divine Providence accompanied by the courage of the Catholic Fleet that led to the Ottoman Turks defeat. I don’t see how anyone can get around this fact.’

    Because it’s not a fact. The use of the six Galleasses at the front of the Catholic formation and the devastating firepower they produced had a tremendous impact on the course of the battle. That was part of the plan put together by the Catholic leaders. Give the men who plannned and fought the battle some credit.

  • “Give the men who planned and fought the battle some credit.”

    I haven’t really heavily studied Lepanto or any of the other great Christendom vs. Muslim battles, but even if the Catholic fleet at Lepanto was not quite as outnumbered or outgunned as we have been told — does that really make its victory any less an answer to prayer? The same way that a healing accomplished through ordinary medicine may not be a bona fide miracle but is still just as much an answer to prayer as if it were.

  • “but even if the Catholic fleet at Lepanto was not quite as outnumbered or outgunned as we have been told — does that really make its victory any less an answer to prayer?”

    Don’t get me wrong. The Turks had more galleys, had veteran crews, and were led by very experienced commanders. It was a hard fought battle and certainly could have resulted in a disasterous defeat for the Catholic fleet.

    There are plenty of instances where prayer could be regarded as the difference in the multitude of events that made up the battle.

    Beyond the battle itself, it is almost a miracle that Pius V had been able to weld together the bickering factions that made up the Holy League to create a fleet that was able to defeat the virtually invincible Ottoman fleet.

  • On the contrary Brian English it is a fact. I don’t care what Capponi says.
    Victor Davis Hanson tells us Capponi announces at the outset of his book: ‘I also admit to having something of a soft spot for the Turks as a fighter,my great-great-grandfather,a Crimean War veteran, describing them as the best soldiers in the world.’

    Hanson,quoting Capponi,writes: ‘How did the Christians win the battle? They were probably outnumbered, both in ships and men. Lepanto was fought in Turkish-controlled waters near the Ottoman winter port at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth opposite Patras, the present-day Naupaktos. The Venetians had lost Cyprus and were demoralized from increasingly bold attacks on the coast of Italy.’

    First of all there is no ‘probably’ about it – we were outnumbered. Just by using the word ‘probably’ shows Capponi is attempting to ‘revise’ history. Will he dare say next the Turks were outnumbered?

    Yes,Capponi does mention the use of the six galleasses,however,I reject his claim and that of pseudo-science the galleasses would have been as successful even if God,through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin,had not willed it to be so.If the galleasses,were successful,it was because Our divine Redeemer willed it that way in response to the prayers of Our Blessed Lady because of the Masses, Rosaries and prayers offered for our victory.

    At least Capponi admits we ‘were outnumbered,both in ships and men’ and that ‘Lepanto was fought in Turkish-controlled waters near the Ottoman winter port at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth opposite Patras, the present-day Naupaktos.’He also tells us ‘the Venetians had lost Cyprus and were demoralized from increasingly bold attacks on the coast of Italy.’

    Hanson,again referring to Capponi’s book,tells us ‘The Christian League ….. was never really much more than the galley fleets of Spain, the Papal States, and Venice. England and France kept clear. Both had long ago cut their own deals with the Ottomans. Indeed, during the winter of 1542 the French had even allowed the Ottoman corsair Barbarossa the use of their harbor at Toulon to refit, as he conducted raids along the Italian coast.’ /hanson071207.html

    Brian English and perhaps Niccolò Capponi seem to imply we could have won at the Battle of Lepanto without the aid of Our Lord and Our Lady – because of superior firepower. Interesting point. Why then were the Soviet Russians defeated by the Taliban in Afghanistan? Why on the three (or four occasions) in the past when Britain has been in Afghanistan have we been defeated? Why is it the west,in spite of it’s superior firepower and inspite of the secular media which claims to the contrary,did we lose in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan?:
    (i) The Soviet Russians being athiest denied God.
    (ii)Britain had rejected the true Faith, the Catholic Faith,at the Protestant Rebellion (or Revolution).
    (iii)The western allies consisted of nations which had either become athiestic or rejected the true Faith (the Catholic Faith).
    The only way to win a war against terrorism is to ask the protection and help of Our Lord and Our Lady.

    9/11/2001 does have one thing in common with the Battle of Vienna – the date. The Battle of Vienna ran from 9/11/1683-9/12/1683.

  • “On the contrary Brian English it is a fact. I don’t care what Capponi says.”

    No, it’s not.

    “Brian English and perhaps Niccolò Capponi seem to imply we could have won at the Battle of Lepanto without the aid of Our Lord and Our Lady – because of superior firepower.”

    See my response to Elaine.

    “Why is it the west,in spite of it’s superior firepower and inspite of the secular media which claims to the contrary,did we lose in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan?:”

    Wrong again.

    “(i) The Soviet Russians being athiest denied God.
    (ii)Britain had rejected the true Faith, the Catholic Faith,at the Protestant Rebellion (or Revolution).
    (iii)The western allies consisted of nations which had either become athiestic or rejected the true Faith (the Catholic Faith).”

    Last time I checked, the Taliban didn’t follow the True Faith either.

  • Brian Gregory you have a warped view of history and of reality.

    The Soviets and British were defeated by a race of people who lived and breathed war. As soon as there hands could support weight they were holding AK-47’s. That coupled with Afghanistans extremely inhospitible geography gives you a war that cannot be won. Alexander the Great and Geghis Khan, two of historys greatest conquerers were unable to defeat the Afghans, how do you expect us to?

    And to suggest that human beings werent capable of defeating the Turks at Lepanto as well as Vienna is frankly insulting to our species. To suggest that winning battles is “all in the hands of god” is bringing us back to a very medieval viewpoint which is honestly dangerous. You want to live in an age of faith? Go check out Naples in 1342 where they would burn you alive for questioning the Pope. Or if you want a modern example, check out Saudi Arabia and see how great religion is at running that country.

    By the way, your idea that Catholiscm is the “one true faith” only causes more conflict and is pretty much the reason why thousands of people died in the 1600’s. Accept peoples differences and move on or else your going to have serious problems in the future.

  • Steve what is the point of your post? Is it to advance ego, pride or the atheist cause? What is this nonsense about Naples and the pope in 1342? The Catholic faith was started by Jesus, who was both human and divine, quite unlike the beliefs systems started by the likes of Voltaire, Marx, Stalin or Mao. Whatever your likes or dislikes are concerning Christianity, during the first 300 years the Faith grew by love and compassion, all the while the faithful were being vicioulsy killed for the kindness they exhibited. There never was a peaceful era under the likes of Voltaire, Marx, Stalin or Mao.

    We have too many examples of the pride of man thinking he could do better than God. What a disaster; from the bloody French Revolution to the Soviet death camps, to Hitler’s death camps to Mao’s Culutal revolution to Pol Pot. They all thought they knew better than God and didn’t need God. Look at where it got them. There are over 100 million dead because of it. Keep that in mind, as the people who you mock on this site pray for you.

  • In 1342 (Rennaisance period) in Naples, which was aligned with the Papacy, you could be burned alive for heresy, which would be disagreeing with the Pope.

    Yes but the teachings of Jesus are just as unreasonable as those of Mao and Stalin. In fact if you look at Christianity’s fundamental teachings, there purely Communist! Lets make everyone equal and lets share everything. Draw your own conclusions.

    I love how Christians love to point out all the things “atheists” have done, but never what they have done. And I love how Christians always point out how great there matyrs were, dying at the hands of those evil romans. Then again, Christians have been killing atheists since they have been in control. In fact, once we see Christians begin to lose power we see them become more “moderate”. If they had any power they would be exactly like the Taliban or the Saudis.

  • In fact I’d like to point out I’m not an atheist, I believe in god just I feel what he and his chruch has to say is a bunch of crap

  • Steve: you bring up 1342 – the atheists in China and the USSR were murdering tens of millions in the 20th century, not 700 years ago! You blithely ignore that the Christian wars of religion ended hundreds of years ago, while the Communist atheists got “warmed up” during the French Revolution – killing many thousands in the Vendee – and really came into their own in the century just past, slaughtering 100 million. The Inquisition was child’s play compared to the gruesome evil committed by those who believe they will not have a God to answer to.

    Your equivalence of Saudi Muslims and Christians makes me believe you are woefully ignorant of the basic tenets of both religions. You are, in fact, a prime example of the suicidal tendencies that have infected the West. No other culture on earth tears down its founding religion and the building blocks of its culture the way Western atheists attack the foundation of their society. Atheistic society will not survive. In Europe, secularism is giving way to Islamic fundamentalism. If you are European, your children and grandchildren might very well find themselves longing for the good old days of “Christianists.” I promise you, Islam will not be as gentle with you as modern-day Christians are.

  • PS. A clarification to my post above: the murderous atheist ideologues of the French Revolution were not “Communists.” The French Revolution was, however, the birthplace of the modern Left and the Great Terror has been copied many times by those who wish to place “Man” at the center of the Universe, while not hestitating to slaughter all those humans who stand in the way of “Progress.”

    That includes Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, many of whom studied in Paris in the 1950’s and learned the lessons of the French Revolution well. Ah, yes, Steve, you atheists have really done well in the world. I’m sure that eventually you’ll get it right – maybe after your crew kills 100 more people or so.

    What does it matter to you anyway? After all, humans are only glorified animals in your book. It’s not like they have souls, or are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. Nope, according to an atheist, we’re no better than any other animals (just ask PETA). Why not kill the humans you deem troublesome? There can no higher morality in your book… no good reason NOT to murder people….

  • In fact I’d like to point out I’m not an atheist, I believe in god just I feel what he and his chruch has to say is a bunch of crap

    Goody for you, Steve-o! And you feel free to say it because you know darn well nobody is going to blow you up or issue a fatwa on you for insulting Catholics.

    My, my, what a brave fellow you are!

  • Donna V, excellent posts. It seems to me that Steve represents this sort of new (but very old) way of thinking that yes there is a God, but He’s not doing it my, so he’s wrong. Talk about hubris, pride and narcissism. Yet, isn’t this the same line of thinking we saw displayed in Lucifer when he said, “I will not serve!”

  • Ah but were they killing in the name of atheism? Did Stalin say “lets go kill all the christians because there christians?” No, he just killed people for his political goals, to turn Russia into a modern country and to unify it under the Soviet banner. In fact, Stalin promoted the Orthodox church as a source of Russian nationalism.

    You dont understand the context of the French Revolution, where the church literally had oppressed people for hundreds of years. Why wouldnt they slaughter all the priests then? If a priest had taxed your family to starvation, taken your house, then said you were going to hell, wouldnt you want to kill him too?

    The Saudi government is pretty much the way much of Europe was run until the 1700’s. The Church had all the power and didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything. In fact once society starts to become secular (starting with the Rennaisance) the society begins to progress. Religion holds people back from realizing there full potiential.

    You dont understand that Christianity and communism are one in the same! Jesus taught communism and the early Christians practiced it. Our country wasnt founded on Christianity. The founding fathers detested it, I think Jefferson called it the “most digusting institution on earth”. Ben Franklin was in fact a Satanist. Look at our Constitution and then look at the Satanic bible and you’ll see some striking similaritys.

    I dont think people are glorified animals, in fact the opposite. I believe mankind is the greatest of things to ever come to this planet, it is Christian theology that makes people seem worthless and unimportant. We needed to be “rescued” and “saved” because we are scum and filthy and sinful. Everything we do is wrong. Humanity is fantastic, but Christianity by nature is pessimistic about it.

    Of course Catholics arent going to issue a fatwa (or Crusade in Christian terms) on me, but if they had any sort of real power they sure would. All religions are the same in the sense that there all intolerant once they are in charge.

    And what is your obsession with killing people? Just because I am non-religious doesnt mean I want to kill people. Perhaps you have some feelings toward ending anothers life, but are halted by the news they will go to hell after they die. Religion is a crutch for people who are fundamentally miserable and need something to make them feel good about themselves because they havent done anything of any importance.

  • The French Revolution Dave was planned and begun by the illuminized Masonic order in France and this is a fact.

  • A website that trafficks in conspiracy theories is not a fact site Brian

  • So ‘The New Encyclopedia Britannica’ does not deal in facts but you do and the Masons themselves are lying when they actually acknowledge they were behind it?:

    ”The New Encyclopedia Britannica’ tells us that in France there arose a political system and a philosophical outlook that no longer took Christianity for granted, that in fact explicitly opposed it… The brotherhood taught by such groups as the Freemasons, members of secret fraternal societies, and the Illuminati, a rationalist secret society, provided a rival to the Catholic sense of community.”‘

    The same website tells us: ‘Secret society researcher and author Nesta H. Webster was even more pointed, writing in 1924, “The Masonic book ‘A Ritual and Illustrations of Freemasonry’ contains the following passage, ‘The Masons… originated the Revolution with the infamous Duke of Orleans at their head.'”

    Still Steve you know best don’t you?

  • “Ah but were they killing in the name of atheism? Did Stalin say “lets go kill all the christians because there christians?” No, he just killed people for his political goals, to turn Russia into a modern country and to unify it under the Soviet banner. In fact, Stalin promoted the Orthodox church as a source of Russian nationalism.

    You dont understand the context of the French Revolution, where the church literally had oppressed people for hundreds of years. Why wouldnt they slaughter all the priests then? If a priest had taxed your family to starvation, taken your house, then said you were going to hell, wouldnt you want to kill him too?”

    In regard to Stalin, he waged a war of extermination against the Orthodox Church explicitly because they were Christian. The war entered a period of remission during World War II when Stalin needed the support of Christians for the war effort. Agressive and murderous atheism was always a hallmark of the Bolshevik movement.

    As for the Church under the Old Regime in France, it had almost no secular power, and was noted for its good works in helping the poor. The war waged on the Church by the French revolutionary regime was massively unpopular in France which was the main reason that Napoleon as First Consul engineered a concordat with Pope Pius VII in 1801.

  • The Church had all the power and didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything.

    Statements like that indicate that ignorance is alive and well and that the Church cannot be held culpable for it.

  • Steve asks: “What is your obsession with killing people?”

    Now that’s rich. Steve pops in here, accuses the Church of murder and then, when it is pointed out that secular regimes have murdered far more people, turns around and accuses us of having an “obsession with killing people. It’s always funny to me that people who attack religion for its’ “irrationality” are seldom models of reason and logic themselves.

    Steve, who thinks the Church “didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything” apparently never learned that the modern university system was founded by the Church, as were hospitals. Do you think the Sorbonne or Oxford and Cambridge started out as secular institutions? Have you ever wondered why the vast majority of hospitals in this country have (or once had) some sort of religious affiliation? I realize that’s not the sort of thing that occurs to someone who apparently has learned his history from Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, but you really should try broadening your reading a little (if you read). You might find that Church history is a bit more complex than the simplistic cartoon you have your head.

    Finally, ah ha, the old “religion is a crutch” accusation. Gee, we’ve never heard that one before! Clearly, you’re not miserable and you do many things of great importance – like seeking out Catholic blogs so you can berate believers. My, what a highly significant existence you lead, Steve – unlike, say, a devout Catholic physician friend of mine who spends time working in Haiti as a medical missionary every year. No, attempting to destroy the faith of other people by is doing so much more for humanity, Steve.

  • Ha! Its obvious you Christians have misenterperted my statement. You continued to mention how it would be cool for me and my “crew” to kill people, as well as my apparent lack of morality which would lead me to kill people because they werent “worthy”. After all, all atheists are essentially bad people who would rape and murder if they had the chance.

    Yea thats great, but who were those unviersitys open to? Only the rich. Even earlier universities were used as priest training centers. They were by no means open to all, which you see only happening when secular authorities took over education. Religion is always exclusive.

    Haha more atheist cliches! Yea sure I dont have anything to be proud of, except I’m getting a Army commission in June and begin work in the Intelligence branch. I’m going to be making desicions that can potientially effect the foreign policy of our country. Yea sure I live an unfufilled life.

  • God help the Army if an ill educated bigot like you is actually receiving a commission. By the way, a second lieutenant doesn’t get within shouting distance of having any impact on this country’s foreign policy. Oh, and I hope you are covering your internet tracks well. Military Intelligence background checks tend to be very comprehensive.

    In regard to Universities in the Middle Ages, poor scholars regularly studied at them. Your knowledge of history is as rudimentary as your spelling.

    “After all, all atheists are essentially bad people who would rape and murder if they had the chance.”

    Not all atheists, but I wouldn’t lay any bets on you, considering your belief that it was fine that thousands of priest were murdered during the French Revolution.

    Piece of free advice: stop acting like a jackass and actually do some hard study of both history and theology.

  • Wow so I’m suddenly not qualified to lead soldiers because I dont agree with you? When have I ever said anything bigoted, I came here simply to inform Mr. Gregory that he was wrong on his warped history views.

    I think the real bigots in this community are YOU. Ever since I got here I’ve been talked to like a child, which I am not at all surprised because from exprience most Christians treat non-religious this way.

    And I never condoned the French priest killings, I merely stated I understood why the French would do that.
    Keep letting religion to rule your life, see how much you enjoy it with a god who wont even let you use your free will

  • Steve, why don’t you go back to HuffPo or Daily Kos or I Think Church Sux. com or some other site where nobody will argue with or challenge your goofy and semi-literate assertions. You’ve been talked to like a child here because you write and think like one – a nasty, bigoted one. You sound like a 14 year old who knows nothing and thinks he knows everything.

    As Donald noted, Army standards really are going down the tubes. I thought a basic knowledge of the English language was required of our military officers. You do know that many, many servicemen and women are believers, don’t you? I feel very bad for any enlisted Christian men and women who end up under the command of a such a narrow-minded bigot.

    “Keep letting religion to rule your life, see how much you enjoy it with a god who wont even let you use your free will”

    You have us confused with Calvinists. Do you know what Calvinism is? Do you know how it differs from Catholicism? No, you are ignorant of just how ignorant you are, which is why your attempts to “instruct” us are so risible.

    Good night to you.

  • “I think the real bigots in this community are YOU. Ever since I got here I’ve been talked to like a child,”

    You are a child Steve K. You are a high school student apparently at a Catholic high school. Unfortunately the money that your parents spent to send you to parochial school has been wasted, and you have developed a hatred for the Church. Oh well, you are young and have a lot of life ahead of you. Study hard, work hard and see a bit of the world after you enlist in the Army and check back here in a few years. I’ll be interested to see what you have learned. Good luck to you.

  • Donald, if Steve K. really is a high school kid, I have been a bit too harsh on him. I said similarly silly things when I was 18 (I cringe when I recall coming out of the movie theater after seeing “Reds” and saying “I think I’m a Communist.” That was, as I’m sure you can guess, before I actually knew something about Communists.)

    Your advice is sound. I hope Steve follows it.

  • I remember some of the things I said and did in High School and College Donna and I cringe even three decades later.

  • My last name starts with a C, what are you talking about? I did indeed go to Catholic school and that is indeed where I lost my faith but I have no idea where you got the idea that I’m still in high school.

    I think its disturbing that Mr. McClarey actually went looking for me online, but if you actually think my real name is Steve you are sadly mistaken.

    I am now leaving this discussion. Goodbye Christians, get off the train before it crashes into the mountains.

  • I do wish Dr Charles Krauthammer could take a look at “Steve’s” posts. If “Steve” had went to a liberal Catholic high school, he could have been turned off by their ideoloy and thought Catholicism as being silly. However, “Steve” seems quite certain of God’s existence, but questions God’s ways. I wonder if Steve went to a pretty orthodox minded Catholic school and either realizes a flaw in his own character and doesn’t want to change it, or was of another faith tradition (outside Christinaity) and refuses to acknowledge the truth of what he was taught.

    Whatever the case, I will pray for Steve and if you are reading this Steve know that we all have flaws. God points them out to us so we can become better human beings. Please keep this in mind and know that people are praying for you that haven’t the slightest clue of how you look, where you live and what you think of them. They pray for you because an interior calling brought up by their faith beckons them to pray for people they have never met, but whom they care about nonetheless. They do so because for centuries the saints and simple believers asked God to help those they never met as well following the teachings and practices of Jesus and His Apostles, along with those who initially persecuted the faith, but came into the light like St Paul.

  • Steve, you didn’t “lose” your Catholic faith at a Catholic School, you never had any faith, perhaps our Lord will give you some soon. But in the meantime please write nothing further. Your inane arguments about communism are quite dull. Just skimming your first two posts I can see you’re one of those who literally believe “religion has killed more people than all war in history.” This liberal balderdash you heard somewhere along the way during your liberal education and now you come here to talk about the truth as if you know. But the reality for all to see here is that you don’t know anything but the brainwashing bs taught in liberal schools.

    If you actually knew anything about the French revolution, for example, you’d understand that the average French person at the time of the revolution had a higher standard of living than any country in Europe and probably the world. But, like the good communist that you are (based on your writings), never let an opportunity pass to distort the facts and pedal lies.

  • “My last name starts with a C, what are you talking about? I did indeed go to Catholic school and that is indeed where I lost my faith but I have no idea where you got the idea that I’m still in high school”

    Steve, when you comment on this blog and we have your ip address and your e-mail address, it takes no great skill to learn quite a bit about people who contact us. I looked you up because of your statement about being commissioned in the army which I found hard to believe. If you are going to troll on blogs, truly a waste of time, you need to conceal your internet footprints with greater skill.

  • I suggest Steve you grow up. When the true and only Church God founded, the Catholic Church,was the Church in England before Henry VIII dared think he could make himself Pope by picking what he should and shouldn’t believe(just as you sound like you are doing)there were many chantry chapels set up in peoples’ wills to offer the Mass for their souls after death and the wealthier as part of their Mass bequests left an amount to help the poor and needy. Attached to these chantry chapels were schools to educate poor children. It was only after the 1600s, under Protestantism,that children were indoctrinated with anti-Catholic hate and teaching poor children was thrown out in favour of ‘the work house’. Perhaps you should read Charles Dickens’ novel ‘Oliver Twist’which shows how Protestant Churches really treated orphan children.
    In fact it was a Church of England clergyman in real life, the Revd. Thomas Malthus, who speaking of the poor and starving,who said ‘”the poor should die and decrease the surplus population.”‘However, this Anglican clergyman was Satan’s fool as there was not a surplus population and there never will be.
    In his short story ‘A Christmas Carol’ Dickens has Scrooge say this at the beginning – only later is it revealed to him by the Ghost of Christmas Present, quoting Scrooge back at him,that it was not for him to decide who should live or die (an arrogance of the wealthy).

    Thanks Dave,however,as I will show later while Communism is athiestic Karl Marx,it’s principal founder,as Marxism is just another word for Communism was not an athiest but a Satanist intent on bringing the world to ruin,not bettering it,who knowing he would not go to Heaven because he had chosen to side with Satan so would end up in the Abyss (Hell) which is where he wanted all mankind to go. This is in his own writings. I’ll put a link to some of them later to prove it as I never make statements unless I can back what I can say.

    As for you Steve,if you are at a school labelling itself ‘Catholic’,I wonder if your parents know the anti-Catholic,unhistorical,pro-Communist,pro-Protestant drivel you’re being taught because whoever is teaching it shouldn’t even be in a ‘public’ school (state school)teaching.

  • So,Steve, which is it? Are you at school or in the military? And if you are not a practising Catholic what are you? Lapsed Catholic,a convert to another Christian denomination or another religion!!!! Or are you an agnostic or athiest?

    I believe we have the right to know.

  • I have little doubt that Steve lost his faith at a Catholic high school. Our local Catholic high school works hard at doing this. That way, when they get to Catholic colleges, they are primed for becoming Communists.

  • I’m facebook friends with a few old high school classmates (a Jesuit school) that are defiantly atheist. Looking back on my high school education, this is not surprising.

  • A couple of points to consider: Who knows what if any truth came out of Steve’s keyboard. I have no idea if he is in high school (public or private) is in the military, or wants to be in the military. However since he says he believes God exists and still hates His ways, then we know one thing for surel Jesus said the evil one was the master of all lies.

    Another point as far as Catholic schools goes, I have worked in them and worked as an administrator in a diocesan office. There are some bad ones, but we shouldn’t discount the fact that there are some good ones. I can tell you in some of the schools I have been at recently, the religious instruction and religious curriculum is far superior than when I was a student in the 80s. Order run schools probably have the bigesst disparity. Sadly as Paul pointed out there are far too many Jesuit schools that are known for their high academic standards (which is all the parents care about) and goofy “Zen” oriented religious classes.

    A rather new phenomena to Catholic education are the students who are far more orthodox than their parents. They are serious about their faith and eagerly go to Sunday Mass (and sometimes Daily Mass at school) while their parents nurse a hangover. A recent study showed that those under 25 who go to Mass are more orthodox in their views (especially supporting the Church’s teachings on life) than their parents or grandparents.

    Yet, far too many Catholic youth don’t go to Mass because after having them baptized their parents never taught them thing one about Catholicism. I am increasingly meeting young people who say they were baptized Catholic but never went to Catholic school, CCD, and have only a vague memory of going to Mass for someone’s wedding or funeral. However, I think it should be pointed out that many of the new, more orthodox priests being ordained did go to Catholic school and want to correct the abuses that took place in the Church in the time of their parents generation.

  • I’m not in the military I’m training for the military, I get my commission in June.

    I’m a maltheist. I believe that god is a cruel and unjust and is therefor unworthy of my worship. He is a liar and a thief. I realize worshiping god only gives him more glory, glory which he does not deserve. It does not benefit me in any way to be with god or follow his base teachings.

    Thats my opinion

  • Steve this might be the most ridiculous post I have ever read. You aren’t smart enough to know the history of all the events you recite, and you are all of 18, 19, 20 21, maybe 22. In addition, you hide behind a false name and then you tell us that you are smarter than God and think that He’s doing it all wrong? Steve this is akin to a child who is barely able to mouth a few words telling a Nobel Prize Winner in Physics that he’s wrong. Please tell us that you are yanking our chain. You can’t be this ignorant.

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Praying the Holy Rosary in October

Saturday, October 2, AD 2010

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary — by personal recommendation of Pope Leo XIII:

In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary’s power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.

Beginning on September 1, 1883, with SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO, Pope Leo wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the Rosary, ending with DIUTURNI TEMPORIS in 1898. (Source: Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello,

The spread of the devotion of the rosary is attributed to the revelation of Mary to St. Dominic, who sought her help in battling the heresy of the Albigenses. Robert Feeney’s “St. Dominic and the Rosary” gives a detailed account,

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One Response to Praying the Holy Rosary in October

  • Every day: beginning to end using a small prayer book (my grandmother gave me) with the prayers, meditations and scheduling.

    Prayer Before the Rosary
    “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may be enriched with its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners and (was Russia) America, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary. I ask it for he greater glory of God, for your own honor,and for the good of souls, especually my own. Amen.”

    The Blesed Virgin Mary (my Mother); legions of angels at her bidding; and the Holy Rosary have brought me through many “issues.”

    Each day last year my Rosary was for my son in Afghanistan. Now, it’s for another son or a brother with a chronic disease.

    When my mother was dying, we left her each night with her Rosary in her hands. She prayed the Rosary all her life. When I was taking a test for a scholarship, she was simultanepusly praying that Rosary for me. I scored enough to go to college. It may not have happened otherwise.

    Today and tomorrow will be the Glorious Mysteries.

"The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II" — George Weigel's sequel to "Witness to Hope"

Wednesday, September 29, AD 2010

George Weigel’s new book, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, which was published by Doubleday on September 14, is the fulfillment of a promise the author made to Pope John Paul II less than four months before the pope died. In “A Promise To Pope John Paul II” (“The Catholic Difference” 9/17/10), Weigel gives his account of his parting words to the late Pope before his death:

The conversation over dinner was wide-ranging, and at one point, after the usual papal kidding about my having written “a very big book,” John Paul asked about the international reception of Witness to Hope, his biography, which I had published five years earlier. He was particularly happy when I told him that a Chinese edition was in the works, as he knew he would never get to that vast land himself. As that part of the conversation was winding down, I looked across the table and, referring to the fact that Witness to Hope had only taken the John Paul II story up to early 1999, I made the Pope a promise: “Holy Father,” I said, “if you don’t bury me, I want you to know that I’ll finish your story.”

It was the last time we saw each other, this side of the Kingdom of God.

The End and the Beginning covers the last six years of John Paul II’s life, including:

  • Karol Wojtyla’s epic battle with communism through the prism of previously classified and top-secret communist files
  • the Great Jubilee of 2000 and his historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land
  • September 11th, and the Pope’s efforts to frustrate Osama bin Laden’s insistence that his war with the West was a religious crusade
  • the Long Lent of 2002, when the Church in America grappled with the twin crises of clerical sexual abuse and episcopal misgovernance;
  • John Paul’s ongoing efforts to build bridges of dialogue and reconciliation with the Churches of the Christian East
  • his struggle with illness, “which brought him into at least one ‘dark night’ spiritually; and his heroic last months, in which his priestly death became, metaphorically, his last encyclical”

(Given that Weigel was personally engaged in the Catholic just war debate over the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the extent to which he covers this aspect of John Paul II’s pontificate).


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6 Responses to "The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II" — George Weigel's sequel to "Witness to Hope"

  • Witness to Hope was very well written.

    I never enjoyed a book that long ever since I read the Summa in under a week*.

    *not really.

  • I’m having dinner with him next week. (Weigel, not JPII.) Any questions you’d like me to ask?

  • Patrick,

    Not a question, but a request. =) I think of all the books by Weigel I’ve read, besides Witness to Hope I particularly appreciated Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace (1987). Unfortunately, it’s out of print and I’ve often wondered, with the various developments in just war debates since the time of publication, whether he would consider revising, expanding and putting out a new edition?

    Just a thought. =)

  • I ordered the new book on Monday… should arrive next week… can’t wait! As Christopher knows, I’m not always in agreement on Weigel when it comes to the interaction between Catholicism and liberalism (broadly speaking), but Witness to Hope was, all in all, fantastic, and I’m looking forward to this one.

  • I’ve put it at the top of my Amazon wish list!

  • (Given that Weigel was personally engaged in the Catholic just war debate over the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the extent to which he covers this aspect of John Paul II’s pontificate).

    That will be interesting to see. Personally, I found the sections of Witness to Hope on the lead-up to the Gulf War particularly interesting, as here to Weigel was clearly grappling with an application (or some would say, development) of just war teaching that he found himself fundamentally at odds with. I think the way he dealt with that controversy in the book was thoughtful and to his credit, and I’ll be interested to see the treatment of the second half of the war in the new book.

CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

Sunday, September 26, AD 2010

It would appear that those in the mainstream media who want to do hit pieces on Pope Benedict XVI need to take a number. The latest to engage in Yellow Journalism is CNN. The “network of record” dispatched Gary Tuchman to do the dirty work. One might recall that it was none other than Tuchman who remarked how distressing it was travelling in the heartland during the 2008 Election campaign. He complained that some who recognized him told him that their Middle American views and ideas were repeatedly mocked by the mainstream media, all the while those of the liberal establishment were hailed. Tuchman’s words were quite revealing when it comes to this story.

CNN has been advertising their hit piece on Pope Benedict XVI as if he was already guilty of some sort of cover up, even though during the Abuse Scandal it was none other than the New York Times who praised then Cardinal Ratzinger for tackling the tough problems. What tough problems did he tackle? The most notable example being Father founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Father Marcial Maciel was one of the few prominent conservatives caught up in the Abuse Scandal, most of the abusers were Church liberals who wanted to change the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger took on Father Maciel at the height of his power and popularity. One might recall that Father Maciel was quite close to Pope John Paul II. So from this example we can see that Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) showed no favorites and pulled no punches. The Legionaries of Christ were shaken to the core and as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI removed their leadership and installed his own, hardly the work of someone who was timid.

The CNN piece was perhaps even more despicable than the New York Times hit piece, because in the interim much of the modus operandi of the Old Gray Lady was exposed. Still CNN used the same material and claimed that they had something new. There is nothing new here. The crux of their argument comes from material provided by Jeffrey Anderson the attorney who has made millions off the scandal. Anderson says he is one a mision to “reform the Church.” What kind of reform would that be? Some Catholic dioceses have been forced into bankruptcy, which means the poor whom they dioceses assisted through their social programs are left in the cold. For all his concern of “reform”  Anderson hasn’t provided a penny to these particular poor.

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18 Responses to CNN Joins The Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI and The Catholic Church

  • This is a message for Dave Hartline:
    I was in Woodlawn in Chicago during the early years of
    The Woodlawn Organization when it was taken over by the
    Alinsky operatives, including, Fr. Egan, Nick Von
    Hoffman, I was one of two clergy who opted out
    of the movement for moral and ethical reasons. I read
    your article with comments on Alinsky and the”Radical”
    modus operandi in Fr. Dick Kim’s blog last week. You
    have a far different perspective than the Chicago Diocese at that time. Interesting.

  • Thank you for your post. I do believe there were many people like Alinsky who had great influence on those in the pre Vatican II Church. It was reported that Pope Pius XII wanted to convene the Conference but became too ill to do so. In some US Archdiocese, as well as a few in France and Belgium, movements arose that today one would view as being heretical or schismatic. I do recall the Catholic author Dave Armstrong (who was brought into the Church by Father Hardon SJ) saying that Father Hardon would often say, “The Revolution began…” Dave Armstrong couldn’t remember the precise date but it was sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.

    Anyway, what I am getting at it is before the modern communications era there were folks like Alinksy who claimed to be in line with what the Church was teaching (even though Alinsky was an Agnostic.) In reference to those who say that Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals,” which was dedicated to Lucifer among others was really sort of tongue and cheek. One generally doesn’t dedicate books to the leader of the dark side as some sort of joke. I find that dedication intersting because it happened in 1971, the twilight of his life. Why didin’t he dedicate his previous books to Lucifer? The reason I feel this happened is because it would have caused a stir. Perhaps in the twilight of his life, Alinsky was being more open about his agenda.

    The first time I had heard of Alinsky occurred in my freshman year of college when some radical graduate students were quoting him like most fervent believers would quote the Gospel. In the turmoil that was the Church in the 1970s, I don’t think many people paid much heed to the role of these radicals until recently. However, I dare say that the likes of Father McBrien were quite familiar with the lofty aspirations of Alinksy and those of a similar mindset. This doesn’t even touch on those in the media who were influenced by Alinsky, and who today run those organizations. Does anyone think that the hit pieces on Pope Benedict in particular and the Church in general would have been possible had not these poeple been calling the shots?

    Fortunately as I have said before the tide is turning. I can’t help but refer back to a priest I know who was ordained some five years ago. There was quite a stir when he made no bones about his orthodox or conservative views. I spoke with him recently and he laughed saying, “those in the seminary now make me look like a milquetoast moderate.” Now that is what really drives the left up a wall, they thought the Election of 2008 would end any talk of conservatism prevailing in any sector of society. With the coming election, it appears that it is liberalism whose back is against the wall.

  • For my taste, Mr. Hartline, you seem too optimistic.

    Also, not just from you but from others I keep hearing of how good “new” seminarians are but I have not seen much to bouy my spirits among those have seen.

    Benedict is too little too late. The trials are upon us.

  • Karl with all due respect, it isn’t about your taste or mine, it is about facts. The fact is the Church was ruderless in the 1970s, Pope Paul VI said as much when uttered his famous words, “The Smoke of Satan had entered the Church.” However, Pope John Paul II’s Springtime of the Evangelization is here. We didn’t get into the mess we are in overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight either. However, with Pope Benedict at the helm (perhaps fulfilling St John Bosco’s vision of the Twin Pillars) we will make great strides. The trials have been upon us many times before; the Islamic Invasions, the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, the 1960s Cultural Revolution, and yet here we are still Fighting the Good Fight!

  • I see the same facts but interpret them differently. It is not about taste though, you are spot on. The shoes we walk in influences our take. I remember into the early sixties. I have lived throughout this tempest. I believe we have seen, nothing yet.

  • In light of the customary, infernally low level of intellectual honesty in the Commie News Net pile-on piece of journalistic excrement, here’s my proposed response:

    Keep the Faith.

  • Karl, I certainly agree with you on your concluding point. However, I think we are in much better shape that we were 35 years ago. Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI, through their leadership and those seminarians, women religious and laity whom they influence, are at least beginning to waft out the Smoke of Satan that had entered the Church.

    T Shaw, the Haku War Dance. I wonder if the Knights Templar did something similar before battle? May God Keep Us All Safe from enemies within and without!

  • “All one has to do is read the writings of those who started the French Revolution (which is often widely praised and celebrated in the West)…”

    During the 1780’s, many who made up the Third Estate, particulary the bourgeoisie (merchants, bankers, lawyers, etc), were fed up with the inequities of the ruling class.

    The First Estate (Clergy) and the Second Estate (Nobility) were a small minority of privileged men who made up the Aristocracy. As a result of the blurred lines between the two classes,(holding high positions under the Church’s provision, for example) the Aristocratic ruling class was exempt from almost all taxes. Many of the bourgeoisie were also exempt, which left the burden of paying for wars, affairs of state, etc. on the backs of the peasantry.

    The causes of the French Revolution were many and historians still argue over them but there are aspects of the Enlightenment that conservatives, particularly American conservatives, should appreciate and identify with.

    Those who advocated for change at the time, pushed for positions in government, the Church and the military to be open to men of talent and merit. They fought for a constitution and a Parliament that would limit the king’s power. Religious toleration and fair trials were also part of their agenda.

    Now, as we all know, the French Revolution got totally out of hand but there are reasons for those of us in the West to identify with the philosophes of the 18th century.

  • DP

    It was Louis the XVI who called the Estates General. The likes of Robespierre, Danton et al were not interested in what you suggest above they wanted real power and to remake society as they saw fit. They wanted to import their revolution to all of Europe.

    You know sort of like Lenin and Stalin.

  • Afghani Stan, excellent point. I would also ask that our friend DP consider that some of the ideas that Enlightenment is given credit for dates back to the Magna Carta. In addition, there were already primitive forms of government in some Swiss Cantons (Catholic cantons at that) which espoused early democratic ideals. Sadly, Ulrich Zwingli tried to put a stop to that, which in some ways was the start of the Left’s War on Rural Inhabitants.

  • If memory serves (John Robinson, Dungeons, Fire and Sword), the Templars entered battle assuring each other that, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are The Lord’s.”

  • Stan and Dave,

    Yes, Louis XVI did convene the Estates General at the last minute but only after a hiatus of 170+ yrs and to no avail.

    Robespierre was, of course, an extreme leftist and a tyrant as well. But there are other Enlightenment notables such as Locke (a champion of America’s Founding Fathers), Newton and Montesquieu who contributed a great deal with regard to the expansion of thought and science in secular society.

    In fact, Pope Benedict XIV respected Montesquieu and the advances of the Enlightenment (especially tolerance) even though many of his bishops didn’t share his sensibilities at the time.

    In any case, some of the ideas and ideals of the philosophes should be celebrated by both the West and the Church.

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Benedict at Westminster

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

The text of Benedict’s keynote speech on his trip to the UK is here; video of the speech can be found here.

Obviously, you read or watch the speech in its entirety, but I will present a few highlights for readers:

And yet the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved? These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

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Suspected Al Qaeda Plot to Kill Pope Benedict XVI Foiled In London By Scotland Yard

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

A sophisticated attack to kill Pope Benedict XVI was appearently foiled in London by Scotland Yard. The Middle Eastern Intelligence website Debka, normally on top of such matters reports that the attack was foiled at the last possible moment.  Several men are in custody. Obviously this is still a breaking news story. However, while many people will say the Holy Father and the police were lucky, the faithful look to providence as the answer. How ironic that this is the feast day of the famous German Saint Hildegard. Something to ponder on this momentous day. May God keep our Holy Father healthy!  Below you will find my article that appeared last week which discussed Al Qaeda’s little reported on war against the Catholic Church.  UPDATE: Police in London have released those arrested.

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43 Responses to Suspected Al Qaeda Plot to Kill Pope Benedict XVI Foiled In London By Scotland Yard

  • First heard about it this am on NPR though there was no mention of Al Qaeda or Muslims. I thought it was those dreaded Amish terrorists again.

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  • I have not heard any confirmation that it was Al Qaeda. There is one report that they are Algerians, but nothing is confirmed. We should wait and see before blaming Al Qaeda.

  • Michael, Debka is reporting the Al Qaeda link. I linked to their story in the article. They are the premier intelligence site in the world, which is good enough for me.

  • Didn’t know there were Algerian Amish.

  • Does anybody know when Obama is scheduled to give his next: “Islam is a religion of peace” speech?

  • P.V., don’t confuse Islam with Al Qaeda. That is just plain ignorant.

  • I think Al Qaeda members consider themselves Muslim. Not all Muslims are extremists but some are and there is justification in the Koran for their extremism.

  • Your Debka link isn’t working…at least not when I tried it.

  • take it back…I tried it again and now it works!

  • Debka is not what Dave claims it is; indeed, if you look around, there is indications of it being a propaganda organization, nothing else but that.

  • Scott,.Don’t be so naive/politically correct.

  • Henry, I want to thank you for this post. It shows how little you know. Whether you like it or nor, Debka is made of former intelligence officials. Not only does the US and western intelligence officials read it religously, but so do many countries who are not so friendly to the West, like Iran, Syria etc.

    Debka won Forbes Best of the Web Award. In addition, it spoke of 9-11 style attack on NYC in 2000, one year before the event. In addition, it predicted the 2006 Hezbollah War against Israel months before it occured.

    Perhaps you can rationalize the world in your own Big Government-Kumbaya style parallel universe, but this is not how the world really works.

  • Whether or not people read them is different from whether or not their assessments are true, and whether or not they have been caught misrepresenting facts for the sake of propaganda. They have been caught doing this. They are not “the most credible.” People read all kinds of non-credible sources, because even those sources get something, even if their bias, interpretation, and presentation ends up being false.

    Many also question if they are “former intelligence officials.”

    Your response, therefore, does not deal with the problems behind Debka, and why they are not as absolute a source as you (and many others who do not have an ability to judge credibility of sources) are making them out to be. Just because you read people on the net, like WorldNetDaily, approving of their work does not mean their work is free from an agenda (and many sources which approve of them also have an agenda).

    I love how you end up talking about “big government.” I thought you were orthodox and followed the Vatican. Guess you follow a cafeteria style Catholicism when it comes to government. The Church is not opposed to “big government” and much of its teachings require “big government” intervention.

    BTW will you stop using every post of yours as an advertisement for your book? Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

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  • Henry,

    Dabbling in politics again? Tsk tsk.

    The Church most certainly does not “require big government intervention” – that is a delusion, a fantasy, cooked up by power-hungry authoritarians who lust for control over other people’s lives, who have no respect for the free will and dignity of persons.

    The Church requires that each of us consistently choose to do what is good in every sphere of life – social, political, and economic. And she absolutely requires that the state play a LIMITED role in overseeing this process, for, as Leo XIII said of state intervention: “things move and live by the spirit inspiring them, and may be killed by the rough grasp of a hand from without.”

    I know the idea of people spontaneously doing good without being told by a man in a uniform that they have to is an alien, strange, foreign concept to a bona fide statist control-freak, but it can happen and it will happen when people like you give it a chance and let go of your ultra-Calvinist pessimism about the general and inherent propensity of man to always be evil.

    Oh, and Dave – thanks for the plug again! Great work as always.

  • Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

    Awww, don’t be mad that his book will be read by more than three bored theology professors.

  • Awww, don’t be mad that his book will be read by more than three bored theology professors, who pretended to read the book.

  • The police aren’t saying anything about it and they’re still arresting people. Regardless of what one website says, I think we should wait for confirmation.

    BTW will you stop using every post of yours as an advertisement for your book? Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

    I never noticed this until the Catholic Fascist made fun of it. While I agree it does seem to be overkill at times, quite frankly if I spent the time to write a book that got published, I’d be talking about it every post I got too. My feeling is that those mysterious figures behind the Catholic Fascist secretly wish they could find someone to publish their own books.

  • I’ve long suspected the green-eyed monster of having taken possession of various personages at certain websites.

  • Uh, Henry, is it really necessary to so often invite conflict through the construction of straw men?

  • Joe thanks for the kind words about my article. I also appreciate the support of everyone else who came to my defense. You know I was able to watch the Holy Father for a bit and interestingly enough, he warned the assembled audience about the very thing Joe mentioned in his post. I then came back and was treated to Henry’s screed. I know the fortunes of the political and religious left have plummeted as of late. However after reading Henry’s childish rant all I can say is; goodness how the mighty have fallen.

  • The official news release makes no mention of Al Qaeda and if they do, remember, Al Qaeda was an
    invention/creation of the CIA during the Soviet-
    Afghanistan war in 1979. Al Qaeda translated into
    english means ‘data base’. Keep falling for the
    Nazi propaganda as a pretext to keep these illegal
    wars continuing using Muslims as fictitious enemies.

  • Mike S – I’ve always been curious. When making tin foil hats, what is your preferred brand of manufacture? These Reynolds ones just don’t seem to hold muster.

  • Its not the brand. You need thickness. You need heavy duty tin foil.

  • “Its not the brand. You need thickness. You need heavy duty tin foil.”

    De-magnetized of course.

  • The problem is you can’t get real tin foil these days. The government conspired with the ALCOA machine to supplant tin foil with aluminum. Everyone knows that tin offers far superior wave blocking ability and has the best weight to blocking ratio, which is why lead foil never really took off.

  • The world media is hiding the identity and nationality of these terrorists in a very sugestive way. Only the britanic Guardian mentioned they are believed to be muslim and algerians.

  • Its not the brand you need. Its the thickness….

    And of course, thickness of the skull is also a tremendous help. 🙂

  • I do hope you will now write as lengthy a piece on how all the men have been released without charge…

  • “The six – who work as street cleaners in Westminster – were arrested after they were allegedly overheard in the works canteen discussing an attack.

    Police refused to confirm reports that the men were joking, saying they had a duty to investigate.”

    And perhaps the authorities will release just what the six men were saying when they allegedly “joked” about murdering the Pope. It would also be nice to have their names so that information can be obtained as to their backgrounds and any terrorist affiliations they might have.

  • James you have a rather interesting post. First of all, I did not write a lengthy piece describing the arrest. I believe it was one paragraph. At the end of that paragraph, I noted that I would repost much of a previous article I wrote about Al Qaeda’s War on the Catholic Church. Is that to what you are objecting? It is a factual article using Al Qaeda’s own statements. As Don has already pointed out, the arrests were not without good reason.

  • I have no doubt that Al Qaeda would love to kill or get their hands on the pope in some way. Bojinka was in many ways the predecessor or inspiration for 9/11.

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  • Algerian street-cleaners? Better to get some Christians or Hindus from the Phillipines and India instead. They at least would be grateful for the opportunity to make a living and will not keep the security forces busy.

  • Dave – thanks for your reply.

    Read your first paragraph again in the light of the fact that all the men have been released without charge, along with your headline. ‘Al-Qaeda plot’, ‘sophisticated attack’, ‘foiled at the last possible moment’. All these statements are completely untrue and that is what I am objecting to. It was a rush to judgement based on some very precautionary arrests. Do you not believe in innocent until proven guilty?

    Also, since you claim Debka are ‘normally on top of such matters’, it is interesting to note they haven’t yet reported all the men were released without charge. You may have to work out for yourself why you think that might be.

  • James, thank you for your reply. I really enjoy these types of exchanges and I find them very fruitful and revealing. Yes of course I believe in innocent until proven guilty. I didn’t draw this terrorism link out of thin air. As I noted before, Debka is the most widely read and believed intelligence site out there, they have a Forbes Best of the Web Award to prove it. Now with respect to the Debka article, you may have read Donald’s post about the street cleaners joking about harming the Pope. In light of this news and the continuing Al Qaeda threat and presense in the UK, Debka reported some news that many believed was inevitable, another Al Qaeda attack in Britain.

    Now I have a question for you. With all of the many things one can post about on a Catholic site, why would you post so quickly in making sure that Al Qaeda was not blamed for a possible attack? Do you believe Al Qaeda has an agenda against Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, why or why not?

  • Dave – My original point was simply about the recent arrests in London, not about the wider article.

    Debka wrote: ‘the five Algerians reached their London rendezvous overnight to prepare for their operation’. This is clear fiction. I’m sorry you believe this is ‘premier intelligence’. (I have to agree with Henry on this point.)

    I live in the UK so was aware of how our media was (generally) extremely cautious about these arrests. So where did Debka get this completely untrue info about a rendezvous from? And my point remains – why have they not told their readers that all these people have been released without charge. If they are so reliable, why do you think they have they not been honest enough to bring their readers up to date?

    I’m pleased to hear you say you believe in innocent until proven guilty. However, if you read your headline and opening paragraph you do appear to have jumped to conclusions. For example, on what basis did you call this a ‘sophisticated plot’?

    As for Donald’s comment – these guys were innocent. The cops would not have let them go after one day if they thought there was anything serious here (in UK, they can be held for 4 weeks without charge). In that case, neither Donald nor anyone else has the right to know their names.

    I’m sorry but I don’t have the time to go through everything else in your article. However, I note, for example, your mention of an Al-Qaeda plot to blow up St Petronio’s. Your link goes to a Guardian article which says it was a ‘suspected’ plot. Can you link to newspaper reports of the successful prosecution of the people involved in this ‘plot’?

  • James, I know that through the years there have been many arrests in Italy concerning jihad. Off hand, I have no idea who or how many were arrested, nor what their sentences might have been. However, living in he UK, you should know better than I that the Guardian is hardly the type of publication that is often sympathetic to the views and goals of the Catholic Church.

  • Dave – sorry you didn’t feel able to answer the other questions I asked. However, on the point you did reply to, you said in the article that there ‘WAS an Al-Qaeda plot’ to blow up the church in question. In your reply you said you don’t know ‘what their sentences might have been’. That assumes there was a successful conviction. But you don’t produce any evidence that anyone was prosecuted for such a plot. One vague article pointing to an arrest proves nothing (as the Pope arrests shows).

    And I note that Debka STILL hasn’t written about the six men being released without charge, three days on.

  • James, this is really become intriguing to me. Of all the issues one can write about on a Catholic site, you seem quite annoyed about an intelligence site. Now I have no idea how Debka handles these sorts of matters, they are not a news site, they are an intelligence site, and the most respected site at that. After all, they did win the Forbes Award. However, you seem upset that the arrest of a few men joking about the death of the pope is a great form of human injustice, even though they were set free. Surely, you will admit that in places like Egypt they may very well be in prison for years, for this sort of offense. Then you refer back to the very liberal Guardian article, a publication that is hardly a friend of the Catholic Church. They print an article about a plot in Italy and you want to see Italian arrest and court records.

    In the above article which I wrote, I linked to another article in which Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri threatens “the infidel,” and the “lukewarm Muslim” as he so often does. He also goes on to demand that Pope Benedict convert to Islam. Seeing as that there was a highly sophisticated attack in London some five years ago, as well as others in the UK that were foiled at the last minute, do you believe Al Qaeda poses a threat to the UK and the Western world in general?

The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

Thursday, September 16, AD 2010

Many in the mainstream media have failed to see the obvious concerning Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom, the truth of the Catholic Church has won out. The Pope of Christian Unity (as he is often called by the blogging Father Z) is reaching out to serious minded Christians. The Holy Father is asking them to unite as they once were under the leadership of the Successor of Saint Peter. Now I realize Pope John Paul II went to the UK, but the Anglican Church is in a far more dilapidated condition than it was then.  In addition, I am aware that many in the United Kingdom, and Western Europe for that matter, have little to do with religious matters, but the same could be said in the early days of the Roman Empire. Against all odds, three centuries later Catholicism would be the dominant faith.  It can happen again.

The Holy Father is about to beatify John Cardinal Henry Newman. He was a towering figure in the 19th century state run Anglican Church. He came to the Catholic Church and gave us this memorable quote; To go deep into history is to cease to be Protestant. I am not bringing this up in the spirit of triumphalism but in the spirit of truth. Christ promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, and though it has been through many rough patches (we are currently in one) the truth is winning out. (Matthew 16:15-20.)

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13 Responses to The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

  • Just a small point Dave.

    The pope is going to beatify John Henry Newman – not canonise him. 🙂

  • God bless the Holy Father and good Queen Elizabeth.

  • Thanks Don, I didn’t realize that I got ahead of myself and had Pope Benedict making him a saint!

  • Poor Europe being led by hateful,intolerant,godless fools who know nothing about religion.They have turned away from God and have built and worship their golden calf of secularism.They revolve their lives around perishable things of the world while their enemies grow within their borders.They promote a culture of death through abortion and gay rights which produces no life while the Muslims continue to multiply…the liberal left that espouse diversity,tolerance and promote sin will be the first to taste the fruits of persecution that they have sown and nurtured by setting themselves up against God.Open your eyes Europe..turn back to God and stop living sel centered lives where everything is based on passing pleasures.

  • Be sober in spirit and the truth will be made clear. Pope John II once referred to Queen Elizabeth II as the queen of Israel. There is an ancient truth here that supercedes “the truth of the Catholic Church” (as you refer to it). Jesus was fully aware of this truth Matthew 10:6. The real house of rebellion is not the “Protestant” house, it is the house of Israel herself. The Catholic Church would do well to be honest about what she already knows, and submit to the Lords will concerning the lost sheep, being careful not to impose her own agenda over them.

  • Excellent article…@John your comments ring so true. But we all aren’t without recourse. This article is one of hope: the promise that is sure to come and triumph: victory by preservering love and sacrifice. We also have recourse in prayer before the Eucharist in adoration and benediction, recourse in prayer through Mass
    in Communion, and recourse in prayer through the Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours. This staves off the tide if error, quiets the crashing sea foam of sin through its reparation and its remission, and facilitate the conversion of those souls obstinate in sin. I suggest you knights and prayer warriors put your man-on and gear-up to battle by the above means. Of course by all means go to confession (on a regular basis) like all good soliders before entering the battle. For it is good to be here while the mouthpiece of our Lord, the Pope, implement his prophetic strategies and embattlements among priests, with universal authority, among the faithful.
    Roll on, Good Pope, God’s Representative, Roll on!

  • @Chris I would have to disagree. The Queen of Israel is the Spouse of Christ, the Mother Church he founded. The queen in judaic culture has always been the mother of the king…not the wife of the king! Queen Mother of the Catholic Church is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus. As for truth: the Church, the mystical body of Christ, and her Groom are one in the same as for Truth. However, we, as members of this same Mystical Body, have much to suffer and gain in our response and to living this Truth.

  • Winkyb.. Thank you for your response and your desire to follow Him. I was relaying what was reportedly said by Pope John Paul II when he visited England several decades ago… We agree on this. The spouse of Christ are His people the Church. What we do not agree on is the exclusivity of the Roman Catholic Church in that role. For one thing, without past decent by His people, God’s word would be quite different than it is today. Witness the politically correct changes in the New Catholic bible, hymns…etc. Done seeming incredulous to the warnings of Revelation 22:18-19. To be blunt, I’ve seen American Catholicism turn more young people away from Christ than I can number. When 70,000 nuns give congress the out they needed to turn their back on the Hyde Amendment and the innocent lives it protected, you can begin to see why the young have turned away (not to mention the more obvious issues). As a non-catholic, I went to mass for 30 years. I have known priests who confided to me their doubts about faith as they faced death, and priests who left the church altogether. All of it a shame, because Christ came to give us abundant life free from fear and doubt. Please be sober in Spirit, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Why not strengthen your Anglican brothers and sisters rather than cannibalize their membership and destroy them in their weakness.
    Yours in Christ ~Chris

  • @Chris your rhetoric keeps redefining the truths and traditions of the Faith of Christ, the Apostolic, True Vine, which evangelized the Anglo-Saxons and founded the Catholic Church in England. Your country still celebrates to this day as St. Ninian. The Archbishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the reality of this True, Apostolic Vine and also its respective title of the Peter and Chair, the Pope, Benedict XVI as The Servant of Servants. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the Apostolic See of Pope and Saint: St Gregory the Great and his influences on the Catholic Church of England. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also incensed, knelt, and prayed before England’s titled Defender of the Faith and king, St. Edward the Confessor whose feast day is stlill celebrated on the litugical calendars of the Catholic Church and Anglican. Chris you keep taking things out of context and redefining them e.g. “The spouse of Christ [are His people-error] (is-truth) the Church. I recommend that you speak the truth. The Archbishop of Canterbury today at Vespers in the present of the Pope, Anglican hierarchy, and media does not even refer to the State Church of England as Catholic but rather as Christain. There is no such thing as American Catholicism: there is only One, True, Holy, and Apostolic catholic church. In America the Latin Rite is practice but there are rites such as Maronite Rite, Byzantine Rite, etc all of one faith and still in union with the Apostolic Chair of Peter. No one is disputing the state church of England abdication from the Church in Rome with its self appointed Head as British Monarch no one disputing that the Queen Elizabeth and Archbishop of Canterbury both references itself as Christian entity despite its historical catholic roots and heritage. No one is disputing that this abdication was vilolently solicited by the king’s demand for adultery and divorce as evident by writ and auguments displayed in the Lambeth
    museum. No one is disputing the martydom of England’s innocent catholic citizens and chanchellor in defense of this state church. And as evident by the invitation of the Queen and acceptance of the Pope that there is a great love and a great moment in between these two kingdoms and among christain brethren 1500 years ago which I will enjoy very much with every replay on the telly for what I see is a joyous occassion despite history. I will say it would be even more joyful if the entire Anglican church reconcile to its true roots and true faith under it Roman Latin Rite for England’s kinship is clear to even those with a blind eye. Lastly, we, Christ’s True Church are not cannibalistic but we do love a bit too much: enemies and friends alike. But how can you do otherwised with Jesus’ arms so much suffered nailed to the Cross to remain opened to all. Cheer up ‘ole boy… today is a great day!
    do hug fr

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  • God Bless our good Pope

  • It is heartwarming to see Pope Benedict reach out to those that want NOTHING to do with the Catholic Church. May God bless his witness.

  • @Nancy, correction: The pope didn’t crash the party he was invited by the prime minister and received by the queen. Your view contradicts the 65,000-100,000 in attendance to Mass, the 125,000 lining the streets to view the pope in his pope mobile…and the attendance/host of the archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican bishops and priests and British hierarchy vying to greet and
    shake his hand. Not to mention worldwide media coverage…look like everyone wanted something to do with the pope…you even bother yourself…about the pope…with an unrealistic comment.

Fides et Ratio

Tuesday, September 14, AD 2010

Today is the anniversary of what might be John Paul II’s most important encyclical, Fides et ratio. Although I have not the time to give it a full treatment, if you have not read it I strongly urge you to do so as soon as possible. Catholicism’s eager embrace of reason & philosophy not only sets it apart from most other religions but also positions it to best respond to the philosophical failures that are hurting the modern world. If the modern world is to find some redemption, it will be because these words are heeded:

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves

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5 Responses to Fides et Ratio

  • I’d welcome — personally and professionally — any thoughts on how we might facilitate the “incarnation” of papal documents amongst the masses; I’ve got a few ideas, but I’d love to hear any thoughts my fellow contributors and commentators might have.

  • I think on Catholic social teaching as a whole, the best thing is to start referencing them in homilies. If the priests act as if Catholic teaching is important, the faithful will follow suit. Furthermore, I think reading clubs or such that go over the encyclical would be great to getting adults caught up; children should get a LOT more exposure to them in religion class/ccd.

    However, I don’t know if there’s anything the Vatican can do to get them respected by the masses-and that shouldn’t be the focus yet. Let’s get the Catholics to care before we start worrying about the non-Catholics.

  • I meant the Catholic masses, Michael… most of them — as you know — are just as clueless as the non-Catholics, much to our chagrin.

    Reading groups are a good idea, but the problem there is that most Catholics are afraid of even *trying*… I think the term “encyclical” must somehow be intimidating. 🙂

    My current thought: start a reading group that emphasizes incarnation, i.e. not just understanding the text intellectually, but embodying it in our lives. And the next crucial step: the participants who value the group need to step up and *invite* others to come! We Catholics aren’t very good at that.

  • I wasn’t sure which masses you were referring to! lol

    Well, most Catholics are afraid of trying-by themselves. They’re intimidated by the philosophy, whatever. I think they can have some success if led by the priest though after the priest builds up some trust in the parish. Even if people are just showing up to hear the priest talk and explain, that’ll do some good.

    That said, I think Catholics could probably use more philosophy in their training so they’re not so afraid of encyclicals.

    And you’re definitely right; the groups need to emphasize that this isn’t just book learning; this is helpful information for how to better live out our lives as we strive for holiness.

  • Agreed, with this caveat: I think those of us who are capable must take the lead; we need to get the approval/permission/endorsement of our pastor, but chances are, he’d be *thrilled* to have us offer something like this… the guys are stretched pretty thin these days, and as much as I’d love to have them doing the actual teaching, I’ll settle for them letting competent laity doing it if he can’t.

The United States Youngest Cardinal

Thursday, August 26, AD 2010

A Profile of Daniel DiNardo

by Jeff Ziegler

On June 17, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo expressed “grave concern over the FDA’s current process for approving the drug Ulipristal (with the proposed trade name of Ella) for use as an ‘emergency contraceptive.’ Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect — that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place.”

Cardinal DiNardo expressed these concerns as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the latest in a line of responsibilities he has assumed in recent years. As recently as 1997, he was simply “Father Dan,” a 48-year-old Pittsburgh parish priest, before he was appointed coadjutor bishop of a small Iowa diocese. At the age of 54, he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Galveston-Houston, and at 58, Pope Benedict created him a cardinal — the first cardinal from a diocese in the South, and the youngest American cardinal since Cardinal Roger Mahony received his red hat in 1991.

Following the consistory of 2007, Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal DiNardo a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (2008) and the Pontifical Council for Culture (2009). In the fall of 2009, he assumed the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life efforts. He will take part in any conclave that occurs before his eightieth birthday in 2029 and appears destined to be one of the leading American ecclesial figures of the next two decades.

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9 Responses to The United States Youngest Cardinal

  • Cardinal DiNardo has been very supportive of the local Anglican Use parish.

    It would be nice if he was also a little more supportive of the Tridentine Rite as well. I don’t get the sense that he is particularly against it, but I also don’t get the impression he is promoting it either. We still only have the one Tridentine Mass per week in downtown Houston. I am unaware of any others in the diocese. Makes it difficult to cram all one million Houston-Galveston Catholics in the Cathedral.

    However, not being an insider to chancery goings on, it may be the resistance is at the parish level, and he does not think it is worth the political capital to push for it.

    On the whole, he seems to be doing a decent job.

  • My guess is that he’s so busy he can only utilize his time on certain things, hoping and praying the best for what he is unable to address such as making the Latin Mass more available.

    But I also agree with your assessment that there are some or many priests that refuse to celebrate the EF of the Latin Rite Mass.

  • Ugh. Must we call it the “EF”?

  • I prefer calling it the “Gregorian Rite Mass” myself, though not that many people may recognize it to mean the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Latin Rite Mass.

    Traditional Latin Mass may be more accurate, but I hear people calling the OF Mass the “Latin Mass” when celebrated in the Latin language, which adds more confusion.

  • Gregorian Rite Mass? A new Rite was not created. Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite is most accurate.

    As a former Houstonian, I wish Cardinal DiNardo the very best. He has a large, multi-cultural, unruly flock to shepherd, much the same as Pope Benedict has.

  • Certainly on the Cathedral, I think he did a fine job. We could have gotten an ugly monstrosity like they have in El Lay, but instead got a pretty nice one – it actually looks like a church rather than some government or multi-purpose building.

  • Living in Houston, I can say the good cardinal was strangly silent about the Pro-choice advocacy of Barack Hussein Obama in the last presidental election.

  • “Certainly on the Cathedral, I think he did a fine job. ”

    Actually, the co-cathedral is more retired Archbishop Fiorenza’s accomplishment than it is DiNardo’s.

  • Strike my last comment, that was uncharitable of me.

At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

Monday, August 23, AD 2010

Marian apparitions have always been a sign of God’s love. It truly is one of His greatest graces, which physically shows us the Blessed Mother along with her love, words of encouragement and warnings about the world in which we live. Sometimes the Church Militant heeds her call, but sadly often it doesn’t. This article will only cover a handful of Church approved apparitions (this can be a little tricky, more on this later,) but what it will show is that often the Blessed Mother appears in lands that have experienced great suffering with often more suffering to follow. Her message to bring the world closer to her Son and live according to Jesus’ teachings is one of God’s greatest graces, something that is often met with violent, evil attacks. The miraculous events surrounding her appearances often take place in the presense of great vistas; a window of sorts into God’s loving handiwork. The said could be said about Jesus at The Transfiguration and the Sermon on the Mount.

Something to keep in mind before we begin; during the early days of the Church investigative bodies were the last thing the Church was worried about at a time when the Church was trying to literally stay alive during an array of persecutions. Following the Protestant Reformation, a more detailed structure emerged for investigating appartions. They often took a long time to investigate in order to prevent any hoaxes. Most reported modern day apparitions are not approved. In the 20th Century only 8 of the 300+ reported apparitions were approved. This link from the University of Dayton, a Marianist institution, which houses the largest collection of Marian Apparitions, might be a helpful.

The year was 1300. Though parts of Spain remained under Islamic control, a liberated area, near the Guadalupe River would reveal an amazing find. A cow herder named Gil Cordero would be told by the Blessed Mother to dig, and there he would find holy treasure. Though laughed at by his fellow villagers, his faithful dig yielded a secret burial vault that would house many relics including that of a lifelike carving of the Blessed Mother. It was said to be carved by St Luke and transported to Spain in the sixth century by Bishop Leander, a relative of Pope Gregory the Great.

The vault had been placed there as Islamic armies were making their way to Spain.  The lifelike carving, which still exists today, was said to have been processed through the streets of Rome around the year 590 AD, at the direction of Pope Gregory the Great. He had been given the famous carving while he was Papal Legate in Constantinople.

The famous pontiff had ordered this procession during a terrible plague and famine that had engulfed the city, some one hundred and fifty years after the Roman Empire had collapsed.  As the procession ended, the assembled crowd saw the Archangel St Michael sheathing his sword, signifying that the famine and plague were over. (One can still see the statue of the Archangel St Michael atop the Castel Sant Angelo which commemorates this momentous event.)  The carved statue of the Blessed Mother was then sent to Spain where it remains today, seemingly unscathed after spending years underground during the Muslim conquest.

Years later a young Italian navigator named Christopher Columbus would come to pray at this now famous shrine. He was at the end of his financial rope in seeking backing for a “new way to India.” Soon after his prayer, he was granted an audience with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and the rest is history. Few know about this religious side of Columbus. Even fewer know that when he first caught sight of what would be known as the Americas, he had minutes before ordered his crew to pray the Rosary. In gratitude, he named one of the islands he discovered for the site at which his prayers were answered back in Spain, the isle now known as Guadeloupe.

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41 Responses to At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

  • Thanks for that excellent post David.
    I had not heard of those earlier apparitions of Our Lady, so that’s very informative.

    God Bless your work.

  • Guadalupe, Mexico, near present day Mexico City. Though the modern day mainstream media may glorify the Mayans and especially their doomsday prediction of 2012, living under their thumb often resulted in death; ritual human sacrifice was very common in Mexico and the neighboring countries to her south.

    Are you perhaps confusing the Mayans and the Aztecs? Both practiced human sacrifice, but the Aztecs were more concentrated around Mexico City; the Mayans were more to the south and the Yucatan peninsula (as well as further south of Mexico itself).

  • No C Matt I am not confusing the two. Both civilizations power bases were essentially destroyed by the time the Blessed Mother appeared at Tepeyac Hill. True the Aztec power base was in the north, however, their influence was not greater than the Mayan people. In the south of Mexico even though the Mayan Culture’s power base was dead their descendants still numbered more than the Aztecs. At the peak of the Mayan Civilization, their numbers were over 20,000,000.

  • Nice article, but I’m surprised you didn’t mention Medjugorje, especially given how profoundly connected Kibeho is to Medjugorje. I assure you that Medjugorje is the real deal, and one of the most important Marian apparitions in history. The fruits of Medjugorje are worldwide, the conversions are in the millions, and if you take a look at the medical testing done on the visionaries by some of the world’s top doctors and scientists, you will be very surprised. Of course, the devil HATES Medjugorje and has done everything he can to plant the seeds of confusion among God’s children. But look around you and you will see that we’re in battle! God bless you.

  • Dave,

    This is the best article I have of yours yet!


    In the church in Zeitoun where Mary appeared, that church has a high concentration of saint’s relics. In addition the apocryphal story states that Jesus, Mary, & Joseph, stayed in or near Zeitoun during their time in Egypt.

    These two facts alone can help explain why the Blessed Virgin graced her presence there.

  • Sean, I would think that Medjugorje wasn’t mentioned because it is not an approved apparition.

  • Yes, Mary, nor is it unapproved. What the world needs now, more than ever, is the message of peace and reconciliation that is flowing from Medjugorje. I’ve been to Kibeho, and I’ve been to Medjugorje many times, and they are the same message. The Kibeho visionary Alphonsine actually went to Medjugorje in the nineties, and the priests at the Kibeho shrine believe the two apparitions are linked. I just would have liked to see Dave mention Medjugorje, even with a caveat of it still being under investigation, because it has, after all, become one of the most visited Marian shrines in history.

  • Sean, the author mentioned in the beginning of the article that he would only deal with approved apparitions. Medjugorje is not approved. Your reaction and defensive stance makes it seem more like a cult with cult-followers. There are many reasons as to why Medjugorje can be seen as unauthentic, which I won’t go into here. Perhaps its popularity is just a sign of the evil times that we live in and the weak-faithed.

  • I concur with Sean. But I think it is out of prudence that Medjugorje should be treated in a future article. Dave, I’ll be waiting on this one.

  • I concur with Katherine. There are many reasons as to why Medjugorje can be viewed with skepticism and may not be authentic. Peace and reconciliation not rooted in truth has no foundation. The last thing the world needs right now is any false concept of peace and reconciliation possibly rooted in and further promoting a worldwide ‘Dictatorship of Relativism.’

  • Medjugorje is not an approved apparition…

  • The apparitions at Cuapa, Nicaragua, May 8 to October 13th, 1980, fully demonstrate that when apparitions like those that took place then occur, trouble is ahead. The country had just gone through a bloody uprising against an entrenched dictator, and 50,000 casualties.
    When the apparitions took place, the so-called “Contra War” was getting underway, and before it was over a decade later, another 50,000 had died. The purported messages of the Most Holy Virgen were of much comfort to Nicaraguans throughout, and a continuing sign of the merciful presence of God. I was there then.

  • Pingback: At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After | Crosshairball
    Though Medjugorje is as yet not been approved I, for one, can truly say, without a doubt, that I know Our Lady is appearing there. I was there in 1987. One only has to go there to understand that truth. I would stake my life on it. Her presence is so apparent that no one leaves that place without believing it. Of course, I know that we need to wait for total church approval. It was also said, concerning these apparitions, that when they totally end that decision will be made. Pope John Paul II, said, in many interviews, that if he were not Pope he would have already been in Medjugorje.That is not hearsay, it is documented.He met many times with some of the visionaries.Anything that you think could be used against these apparitions is most probably wrong information that you have heard.

  • I don’t know about the legitimacy of that medjugorje apparition. I do know about the negative comments and rebellion by its followers when a statement by the commission possibly restricting or rejecting begin to rumor. There were no presence of humility or obedience rather defiance and arrogance displayed. More than fruits will need to be considered for legitimacy. There is no spirit of poverty surrounding the visionaries like at Fatima…we must wait til the church makes a decision. I am concerned about one message that says don’t pray for others nut pray for yourself…that’s not like Mary our Mother who say forget your brother when you come before God in prayer! It is neither here nor there that you bet your life on medjugorje nor does your belief or disbelief assures its legitmaticy…only the church can do such…

  • Like Anita, I know what I have experience in Medjugorje is sincere and pure. Our Lady has given me to her son, Jesus through his presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I have come to know God’s love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I have seen, heard and know the fruits of Medjugorje. It is all about Jesus and being Roman Catholic who loves our Holy Father in Rome.
    For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. God bless everyone!

  • I have seen Marija and Ivan in person and I can say that they are as human as anybody else, but yet very humble and prayerful. My understanding is that the visionaries have been obedient to the Church. My family and I have been to Medjugorje and stayed there for 5 days, and though I have not seen any startling natural phenomena except for the water that constantly flows from the knee of the Resurrected Jesus (at the time, I thought it was moisture on the bronze statue forming every day), I always have believed in the apparition there, yes, even long before we visited the place, back in the late 80s when I first heard about it.

  • Excellent article. Only one comment: Christopher Columbus was from Spain

  • The saddest part about the Medjugorje episode is that so many Catholics, who should know better, are ignoring it. It reminds me of how many Jews, who should have known better, ignored both John the Baptist and Jesus.

    Medjugorje is the most important apparition of Blessed Mary in history, and I will say flat out so as to be unambigous, it is heralding the Second Coming of Jesus.

    For those who don’t listen to their Mother and turn back to God now, it will be too late, as Blessed Mary herself says. She said those waiting for the sign – for many it will be too late. She means that the sign is a ways off yet, and so before then many will die of natural deaths etc. w/o having converted or turned back to God because they were waiting for the sign. It is very possible that Jesus will return BEFORE the Church rules on Medjugorje and many will not be ready.

    But alas, I also believe when the warnings come, many will convert and the Church will urge them to do so too – the Church will finally approve the apparition, but it will be too late for those who have not converted between 1981 and then.

    Sad, really. God bless you.

  • “The saddest part about the Medjugorje episode is that so many Catholics, who should know better, are ignoring it. It reminds me of how many Jews, who should have known better, ignored both John the Baptist and Jesus…”

    Seriously? You’re going to compare the rejection of the Messiah (God incarnate, whose coming was essential for salvation) by His own chosen people to skepticism over an unapproved apparition, belief in which (regardless of whether the Church ever decides to speak to its authenticity or lack thereof) is NOT essential to the faith?

    It’s the over-the-top certitude of such statements with regard to Medjugorje in the face of the Church’s caution that (1) causes many to remain skeptical and (2) makes me glad that assent to private revelation is not essential for one to be a faithful Catholic.

  • Jay, maybe you don’t “need” Medjugorje because your faith is already so strong and you are on the right path. That’s awesome for you, and I commend your devotion. But, as I’m sure you know, you are the minority in this world. There are so many lost and faithless people out there (I, myself, was one of them) and Our Lady is trying to reach them through Medjugorje. I’m certain that if you ever go there, you would agree with me. Just as Jesus himself said that He came not for the righteous but for the sinners, Our Lady has come to lead the nonbelievers and the lukewarm to her Son. What happens in Medjugorje? It’s not some crazy place where fanatics are running around looking for miracles. On the contrary, it is a shrine filled with people praying, confessing and worshipping God through the Sacraments. It is a place of conversion. You can FEEL it when you’re there. I’ve traveled to approved apparition sites all over the world, but no where is there such a sense of peace and holiness as there is in Medjugorje. Again, it sounds like your faith is strong enough that you don’t need Medjugorje, but I urge you, and everyone who shares your viewpoint, to be patient and not persuade anyone from going there to see for themselves. It could be the difference between life and death for that person, eternally speaking of course.

    Have a look at this video of an apparition:

    I challenge anyone to show me someone — an actress, perhaps — who can cry on command while staring up at thin air, without any wavering of the focal point of her pupils for five minutes straight, and who can turn her voicebox on and off inexplicably (scientifically impossible), and whose brain waves go to such a heightened sense of awareness in a split second (during the apparition) that doctors have never seen it before.

    Medjugorje is 100% real. I’m no fanatic and I don’t believe many things, but this I’m certain of, and one must only go there with an open mind to see God’s work in action. I am incredibly thankful to Our Lady for leading me and my entire family to the Catholic Church. My wife (also a convert after going to Medjugorje) and I are raising our little children in a strong Catholic setting, something that would have been inconceivable to us before Medjugorje ever came into our lives. Our story is no exception. There are millions of us out there. WE NEEDED MEDJUGORJE, and thank God no one told me not to go before I did that first time. God bless you all.

  • Sean, you forgot to mention about the Adoration of the Holy Eucharist from sunset till late evening. Aside from long lines of Confession and full-packed Masses, this devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is one undeniable proof that God is Present among His people in Medjugorje. Who else will know the sure way to lead us to Christ? Who, but the one who nursed Him and lulled Him to sleep while yet He was a baby, and who was there at the foot of the Cross during the last moments of His life?

    All these are tangible manifestations of God’s love for us, while yet we have time. Let’s help bring conversion of everyone to the LORD! Our Lady is here to help us. According to St Louis de Monfort, Mama Mary is the surest way to Jesus. She’s bidding everyone of us to come and go to Him!

  • It’s not about whether I “need” Medjugorje for my faith to be strong or not. I’m as much a weak and sinful person as any other Catholic. But the depth of no one’s faith should be made dependent on whether or not they assent to any private revelation.

    I make no judgments about the authenticity of Medjugorje, other than to note (1) that the Church has not yet spoken on it and (2) that statements like those Bob made comparing skepticism over Medjugorje to the rejection of Christ as the Messiah are WAY over the top.

    I have great respect for many who do believe in the authenticity of Medjugorje. In fact, one of the priests I most admire – the Dominican priest who brought me into the Church and who just so happens to be the Prior Provinical of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph – has been to Medjugorge on a number of occasions. That fact, alone, is enough for me to give some credence to its authenticity.

    But I’ll wait for the Church before giving full assent.

  • Sean,

    You said, “because it has, after all, become one of the most visited Marian shrines in history.” Sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t allow you to mislead anyone reading these comments. You are sadly misinformed or purposely being misleading. Medjugorje is NOT A MARIAN SHRINE, the Catholic Church has not currently raised the status of any Church in Medjugorje to ‘Shrine’.


    You said, ‘Pope John Paul II, said, in many interviews, that if he were not Pope he would have already been in Medjugorje.’ Did JPII say that, or did someone else say he said that? Please produce the article showing the direct quote. Let me also remind you it is a well known fact that Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, was a stalwart supporter of Fr. Marcial Maciel, the disgraced, recently deceased founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order and its lay arm, Regnum Christi.

    For anyone truly interested in discerning the ‘fruits’ of Medugujorje, I recommend the following links. In the meantime, LETS BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!

  • A few points before this thread winds down. I will be happy to write about Medjugorje once the Church takes an official stand on it. In the meantime, perhaps the prudent thing to do is for those who hope the Church rules favorably on the apparition is to politely say “for your discernment.” I believe this is the approach Michael Brown uses. The evil one loves drama and disunity in the Church. I think we can all agree that whatever we believe, we don’t need to give the evil one any new ammunition. We should trust the Holy Spirit.

    In addition, I believe someone corrected me by saying Christopher Columbus was a Spaniard, no he was an Italian born In Genoa. Finally, what the disgraced Father Maciel has to do with Pope John Paul’s view on Medjugorje is immaterial to this thread. Father Maciel was an evil deceiver who fooled many, so we can’t condemn all those who might have liked the Father Maciel they thought they knew.

  • Dave,

    Please understand, my reference to Father Maciel was not a condemnation of anyone. The purpose of the reference was to highlight how easily we can be deceived and the illogic of using an uncomfirmed JPII quote as evidence of authenticity, an idea I stole from Patrick Madrid:

  • No problem Dismas. God Bless, take care and have a nice weekend!

  • Dave,
    You’re right in saying that Medj supporters should include “for your discernment”. That would help diffuse things. It would also help diffuse the inflated rhetoric if Medj opposers would also not pull out the “Cult Card” every time the topic comes up. Can we agree?

  • Great article.
    You may want to research the first apparition of the Blessed Mother in the last millenium.Our Lady appeared the last saturday of April 1001.
    The structure of the present church was approved by St. Pio and Pope John Paul II visited there both before and after his election.
    The shrine is outside of Foggia in so. Italy and is the site of many pilgrimages.
    Your article is very eye-opening and very necessary in our “morality deprived” depraved society.

  • Joseph Forina, sounds like something I will have to research. GB, I certainly agree with your post!

  • Dismas, to me and to many other people, Medjugorje is a shrine. Please note that I didn’t capitalize the word shrine. You capitalized it, out of context, and then claimed I was being misleading (or misinformed). Please look up the definition of the word ‘shrine’ and I think you might reconsider your harsh words towards me.

    Please understand that Medjugorje changed my life incredibly, and I’ve seen it change the lives of so many others, so I am passionate about it. I wish everyone could go there to see for themselves.

    Those links you presented from Unity Pub. are not even journalism. They are tabloidism. They’ve been proven wrong many times. Would you like to be judged by the same measure as the people who penned those articles (ie, Unity Publishing)? The one about Caritas is about a group that claims to be related to Medjugorje, but please note that they have no official connection to the parish and should be judged on their own.

    As for documents about what John Paul II said about Medjugorje, please see the book “Medjugorje and the Church” by Denis Nolan, which contains photocopies of actual signed letters written by John Paul to some Polish friends, in which he expresses his belief in Medjugorje. Those letters are available for anyone to see. The book also contains letters from Mother Teresa which indicate her belief in Medjugorje, as well as quotes from numerous priests, bishops, cardinals and clergy — all stating their belief in Medjugorje. If nothing else, it’s an interesting read.

    I will end with this: don’t be so quick to condemn Medjugorje without knowing enough first-hand about it. Be a first-hand witness if you choose to talk about it. Only then will you know.

    God bless you all. Oh yes, this post is for your discernment.

  • Sean,

    I appreciate you considering the evidence I presented and bringing the conversation back into the realm of the rational. I ask for your prayers.

    I have no doubt that Medjugorje has changed your life incredibly and many others as well, that is not the issue of most importance here.

    The fact of the matter, regarding Medjugorje, is the Catholic Church by the local Bishop of Mostar has declared it Non constat de supernaturalitate. The Commission prepared a draft “Declaration” in which were listed the “unacceptable assertions” and “bizarre declarations”, attributed to the curious phenomenon. The Commission also stated that further investigations were not necessary nor the delaying of the official judgement of the Church. The bishop duly informed the Bishops’ Conference and the Holy See, and he then informed the public during his homily in Medjugorje in 1987.[19]

    For the sake of converstion lets throw out the Unity Publishing evidence as well as the Caritas Articles. Let’s soley focus on the Official Bishop of Mostar documents which I notice you conveniently avoid?

    Based on these findings and statements of a Bishop in good standing in the Catholic Church and faithful to the Magisterium, anyone in opposition to his statements and teaching is in grave spiritual danger. Anyone enticing or tempting anyone else to disobedience to the Bishop of Mostar’s statements not only puts themselves in grave spiritual danger but is now responsible for the demise of others as well.

    Pax et Bonum

  • Sean,

    I neglected to respond to your Shrine argument. A Shrine defined within the confines of the Catholic Church is:

    In the Roman Catholic Code of Canon law, canons 1230 and 1231 read: “The term shrine means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary, is by reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims. For a shrine to be described as national, the approval of the Episcopal Conference is necessary. For it to be described as international, the approval of the Holy See is required.”[11]

    I have to point out to you that neither the local Ordinary or an Episopal Conference has raised any church in Medjugorje to the status of Shrine.

    I apologize that you found my words harsh, however they are truth. Once again I have to point out the grave spiritual dangers of pride, ego and disobediance that allows anyone to put themselves outside or above the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the safe Barque of Peter.

  • Again, you capitalize the word shrine, thus taking my comment out of context.

    Still, I’m confident that I’m on the right side of things here. This may be of interest to you:

    Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, Archbishop of Zagreb, a member of the Bishop’s conference that studied Medjugorje, said: “After three years of studies by the Commission, we, the bishops, have accepted Medjugorje as a Shrine, as a sanctuary. This means that we have nothing against the veneration of the Mother of God in accordance with the teaching of the Church and our faith… This is why we leave this question to further studies of the Church. The Church is not in haste.”

    So, if this cardinal, a member of the Bishop’s Conference, calls Medjugorje a Shrine, then why can’t I?

    Here’s more on that:

    You accuse me of pride and ego, and yet in the preceding sentence you classify your words as “truth.” Maybe you should write a letter to the cardinal who called Medjugorje a Shrine and give him the “truth.”

  • Thank you for bringing this article to my attention. I advise you give this article further discernment and reflection. In response to your question: ‘So, if this cardinal, a member of the Bishop’s Conference, calls Medjugorje a Shrine, then why can’t I?’ If not solely for the sake of prudence and caution, then because both local Bishops of Mostar; Bishop Zanic and his successor Bishop Peric are not in agreement with the Conference of Yugoslavia and have the support of the Holy See. Please see the excerpt from your article refuting the findings of the Conference of Yugoslavia:

    Nevertheless, Mgr Pavao Žanic, Bishop of Mostar, interprets the Declaration of Zadar as a negation of the supernaturality of the events of Medjugorje, and as a document forbidding pilgrimages. The Ordinary of Mostar continues to uphold this position: “The Ordinary has on several occasions warned that the supernatural character of the apparitions cannot be spoken about nor announced publicly in churches, as it was not possible to state that Our Lady is appearing. This is why official pilgrimages to Medjugorje are not allowed”, writes Mgr Ratko Peric, successor of Mgr Pavao Žanic. (See Prijestolje Mudrosti, Mostar 1995, p. 282) And he continues: “Neither the diocesan bishop, as head of the local diocese and Church of Mostar-Duvno, nor any other competent person, have until now declared the parish Church St James of Medjugorje as a Marian shrine, nor confirmed the “cult” of Our Lady based on the supposed apparitions. On the contrary, because of its contestability, he has on many occasions prohibited to speak on the altar or in the church about supernatural “apparitions and revelations”, and to organize official pilgrimages in the name of parishes, dioceses, and generally in the name of the Church. These and similar warnings were published also by our former Bishops´ Conference and by the Holy See itself. Anyone acting in an opposite manner, is acting expressly against the official position of the Church, which, after 14 years of supposed apparitions and developed commercial propaganda, are still valid in the Church”. (Ibid, p. 285-286)

  • I urge you, go see for yourself, and in the meantime, don’t squelch the fruits that continue to flow from Medjugorje.

    This will probably be my last post here because I’m off to La Salette and Medjugorje. All the best and God bless. Please pray that I have a safe journey, and I will in turn pray for everyone here. God bless.

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

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Try on this one, Bunky:

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

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

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

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

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

    Fits alright.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • RR,

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

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

  • AD,

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

    It shouldn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • And if it is written?

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

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  • This article has a lot of interesting points. However, it rambles all over the place. The essay would have been easier to understand if it was broken up into three mini essays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • By the way, one of my favorite journalists, WorldNetDaily’s founder Joseph Farah, hits the nail on the head of this issue in offering his take on why some conservatives are “capitulating” to the gay agenda pushers:

  • Hi Dave,

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

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

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

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

War Crimes

Tuesday, August 10, AD 2010

As the New York Times remembers Hiroshima, Richard Fernandez asks us to name the two greatest losses of civilian life in the Pacific war. (“Hint. In both cases the civilian casualties were greater than Hiroshima’s. In one case the event took place on American soil.”)

Meanwhile, Donald Sensing (Sense of Events) thinks it’s past time for Western churches to stop treating Japan as victim every Aug. 6 and 9:

I refuse on principle to pollute God’s ears with prayers dedicated only to Hiroshima Day and the dead of those cities while ignoring the tens of millions of Japanese-murdered souls who cry for remembrance, but do not get it, certainly not from the World Council of Churches and its allies who have no loathing but for their own civilization. If the prayers of the WCC’s service are to be offered, let them be uttered on Aug. 14, the day Japan announced its surrender, or on Sept. 2, the day the surrender instruments were signed aboard USS  Missouri. Let our churches no longer be accessories to Japan’s blood-soaked silence but instead be voices for the  millions of murdered victims of its bloodlust, imperialist militarism.

(HT: Bill Cork).

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97 Responses to War Crimes

  • Excellent post Christopher. Apparently Pius XII wasn’t as certain initially in his condemnation of the bombings as those members of Catholic blogdom in this country who engage in the self-flagellation ritual of spitting on the grave of Harry Truman in the annual August bomb follies. When the chief diplomat of the US mentioned an editorial of L Osservatore Romano that criticized the US for the bombings Pius responded that the editorial had not been authorized by him. I truly pray that those swift to condemn Truman never have to deal with making a decision that would kill hundreds of thousands, or likely kill millions if they do not make the decision. The cry of “consequentialism” is of course useful on Catholic blogs, and fairly useless when dealing with grim realities that constantly arise in war.

  • Sitting in Truman’s seat I may well have made the same decision. But I would not have tried to defend it before my Creator. The intrinsically evil nature of the act is not altered by either its good intentions or beneficial consequences. Some sins are simply more forgivable than others. While I’m willing to defend Truman I am unwilling to defend his decision, even though I certainly sympathize with his predicament. As wrong as his decision was, Truman is a far more morally sympathetic character than most of his vain and self-righteous critics.

  • Thanks for this post, Christopher. The last two paragraphs–yours and Michael’s–pretty well sum up where I am now.

    My sons and I visited the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force last month, and one of the exhibits is the original “Bockscar,” the B-29 which dropped “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. I posed my sons by a Spad XIII (the same model as flown by Eddie Rickenbacker) and by an F-86 Sabre (Korea). I refused to do the same with Bockscar. I explained to my oldest (I was trying to keep my youngest from touching every. single. aircraft. in the museum) what it was, and also said that it killed thousands of innocent people, and was dropped by a Catholic cathedral. If nothing else, I think he’ll remember that and understand the horrid complexity of war, even when the war itself is necessary.

  • It’s true that the Japanese army committed atrocities during WWII with a greater death toll than Hiroshima, but when was the last time you read an article trying to justify the Rape of Nanking?

  • I’m not sure what VDH’s point was about the Tokyo raids. Because we had done much worse, Hiroshima is not bad?

    The correct moral decision is clear enough. The fact it would be difficult to follow through on it is no real surprise. Doing the right thing is rarely easy.

    I have no desire to villify Truman for dropping the bomb; but I don’t consider him a hero either.

  • The firebombings of earlier in the war both in Europe and Japan were clearly nothing more than acts of terror deliberately calculated to demoralize civilians… and Dresden was a particularly horrific example of this barbarism (cf.,

    “Bomber” Harris, the Brit commander behind Dresden and similar attacks, also memorialized in Britain by a statue in his honor, famously said he did “not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier.”
    “the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive…should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.”

    “It should be emphasized that the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.”

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only extensions of this immoral military doctrine. The Brits, who during Germany’s V-2 campaign suffered a small fraction of the casualities they themselves would inflict on a supine German civilian population, should have known better.

    Truman should also have known better.

  • I am not able to argue against any of the comments posted by Tom so I will not attempt it. To give the military the benefit of the doubt for their actions, many soldiers had to act on the notion “kill or be killed” – which is totally different than our plush civilian lives.

    Many soldiers did not know who they could trust and saw death because of it. Leaders tried to keep their soldiers alive. Many were battle weary from long months of fighting in extreme conditions. We take the emotinally scars of these individuals for granted.

    This was war. We were attacked. Japan would not surrender and contiuned torturing people. Truman was obligated to defend this country and our allies and wanted to bring the troups home. I am not sure that we now are qualified to make a judgement statement such as “Truman should also have known better”.

    The dropping of these bombs was a tragic event. With the determination of Imperial Japan, what would have stopped them? Should we consider additional bombing raids that would have killed more people any less evil? Would sending our soldiers into certain-death situations be less evil since many were physically and emotionally drained? Are we supposed to consider self-defense and defense of others as evil?!

  • I am not able to argue against any of the comments posted by Tom so I will not attempt it. To give the military the benefit of the doubt for their actions, many soldiers had to act on the notion “kill or be killed” – which is totally different than our plush civilian lives.

    Many soldiers did not know who they could trust and saw death because of it. Leaders tried to keep their soldiers alive. Many were battle weary from long months of fighting in extreme conditions. We take the emotional scars of these individuals for granted.

    This was war. We were attacked. Japan would not surrender and contiuned torturing people. Truman was obligated to defend this country and our allies and wanted to bring the troups home. I am not sure that we now are qualified to make a judgement statement such as “Truman should also have known better”.

    The dropping of these bombs was a tragic event. With the determination of Imperial Japan, what would have stopped them? Should we consider additional bombing raids that would have killed more people any less evil? Would sending our soldiers into certain-death situations be less evil since many were physically and emotionally drained? Are we supposed to consider self-defense and defense of others as evil?!

  • My opinion: liberal, left-wing catholics resurrect this uncharitable (“He who is without sin . . . , etc.) opinion each August in order (I think) to salve their consummate consciences for voting for abortion: because America Hiroshima is evil, don’t you know? But, it’s not evil to vote for abortion.


  • T. Shaw,

    Most, if not all of us who frequent here are adamantly opposed to abortion and I have never voted for anyone who supports the killing of the unborn (whether the candidate has a D or R after his name).

    This is not Vox Nova.

    But evil is evil, and wrong is wrong. I agree with the others that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were evils, as well as Dresden, etc. It should be no surprise that even generally good people can do evil things.

  • Of course, our national flirtation with war-crime-as-policy began with Lincoln, who unleashed Sherman on the civilian population of the South:

    Quoth Sherman,
    “The Government of the United States has in North Alabama any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war – to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything . . . . war is simply power unrestrained by constitution or compact…. We will . . . take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper.”

    Not rebellious southern civilians alone were subject to this policy, but the Indians too:

    “It is one of those irreconcilable conflicts that will end only in one way, one or the other must be exterminated . . . . We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to the extermination, men, women and children” … “The more Indians we can kill this year, the less will have to be killed next year… They all have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers.”

    There’s no ambiguity about it: deliberate targeting of non-combatants and their homes and property is flat out immoral. I hope The American Catholic continues to rank the noun above the adjective.

  • Of course, our national flirtation with war-crime-as-policy began with Lincoln, who unleashed Sherman on the civilian population of the South

    Er, no.

    That hypothesis would be news to the Iroquois, who referred to George Washington as the “burner of towns” for his dispatch of John Sullivan to root out the pro-British tribes in 1779. Sullivan performed his mission with gusto, obliterating at least 40 Iroquois villages.

    Washington was actually rather disappointed with the results, truth be told.

  • There seems to be a great deal of confusion in the use of the word “moral”. The Church quite clearly teaches that morality is a personal attribute. A nation, an institution, a group cannot sin. It has no soul, no free will.

    [Likewise, the Church did not commit the sexual. They were acts of individuals. And again the Church did not cover up the acts. Those were decisions by individual bishops].

    The question then becomes “whose was the sin?” Who should be put on trial?

    There is a great deal of the disingenuous in those who point to others as the sinners. It is just a tad too easy at a distance of 60 years. And there is a touch of discerning the mote in the eye of others.

    Should not those who so quick to condemn the bombings, to condemn the war, be willing to give up all the benefits they enjoy as a result of the war?

    It seems to me that we Americans did what amounts to acts of contrition by rebuilding Germany and Japan after the war, and ridding those countries of the brutal regimes which oppressed them.

  • I think that several of the comments here misunderstand the upshot of the original post. Is it possible to hold both that

    (1) the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and other bombings of non-combatants, both in WWII and after, is an intrinsically evil act


    (2) the agents responsible for committing those acts were in all liklihood not possessed of a desire to commit an intrinsically evil act, but by a desire to do the best thing possible in a very bad set of circumstances.

    Sometimes holier-than-thou-types seem not to understand that holding (2) does not remove the force of (1) but, if anything, testifies even more strongly to how pervasive sin is in the world: sometimes what seems to be the very best thing to an already compromised ethical agent (and who is not already compromised) is intrinsically evil.

    I take it that there exists an analogy between Truman and his desicion and the sister in charge of medical ethics at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, who ordered the D&E on the woman who appeared to be dying from priaclampsia [sic?].

  • Of course then we would have the burning of Chambersburg by the Confederates after the citizenry were unable to come up with the monetary ransom requested by the boys in gray.

    Then there is also the fact that the Confederate States decreed death for all former slaves in the Union Army and the officers who led them.

    “3. That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong to be dealt with according to the laws of said States.

    4. That the like orders be executed in all cases with respect to all commissioned officers of the United States when found serving in company with armed slaves in insurrection against the authorities of the different States of this Confederacy.”

    Neo-Confederate apologists for the Confederacy have a lot to explain when they want to take Lincoln to task for “total war”.

  • One element I would like to raise in this thread is the alternatives to what Truman did. The opponents of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also oppose the fire bombing of Japanese cities which was the only way to destroy from the air the spread out Japanese industries. Presumably they would also have opposed an air tight blockade of the Home Islands, probably going on for years, in order to starve Japan into surrender. Of course while this was still going on Japan would have still controlled a large part of Asia and continued to kill, on average, some 300,000 civilians each and every month. An invasion of the Home Islands would have led to a mammoth death toll of civilians. During the battle of Manila in March of 45 MacArthur restricted the use of artillery and air power in order to attempt to spare civilian casualties. Some 100,000 civilians died anyway, some deliberately slain by the Japanese, but most simply dying as a result of being caught in the cross fire of two armies battling in an urban area.

    So, critics of Truman, you are in his shoes. What do you do? (I do hope that no one brings up the truly fatuous idea of inviting the Japanese military to observe a test of the bomb. The Japanese didn’t surrender after Hiroshima. A test of a bomb would have had no impact upon the Japanese government.)

  • I understand that the bombing of Dresden was immoral. It was (as far as I know) a civilian, not a military, target. But does that distinction apply to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The Japanese civilians were doing machine work in their houses; the families were trained for combat. Granted, they weren’t uniformed, and who knows if they would have resisted or surrendered, but I don’t see how they can be classified as non-military.

  • Oh – let me add, “unless I’m wrong”. I’m no ethicist or historian.

  • Hindsight may be 20/20, but war crimes are forever.

  • Don, if I were Truman, I would not have insisted on unconditional surrender.

  • Actually Pinky Dresden was rather heavily involved in the German war effort. A good revisionist look at that bombing is linked to below:

    In regard to what an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands would have entailed the most recent study is linked below.

    “Giangreco, a longtime former editor for Military Review, synthesizes years of research in a definitive analysis of America’s motives for using atomic bombs against Japan in 1945. The nuclear bombing of Japan, he concludes, was undertaken in the context of Operation Downfall: a series of invasions of the Japanese islands American planners estimated would initially cause anywhere from a quarter-million to a million U.S. casualties, plus millions of Japanese. Giangreco presents the contexts of America’s growing war weariness and declining manpower resources. Above all, he demonstrates the Japanese militarists’ continuing belief that they could defeat the U.S. Japan had almost 13,000 planes available for suicide attacks, and plans for the defense of Kyushu, the U.S.’s initial invasion site, were elaborate and sophisticated, deploying over 900,000 men. Japanese and American documents presented here offer a chillingly clear-eyed picture of a battle of attrition so daunting that Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall considered using atomic and chemical weapons to support the operation. Faced with this conundrum, in Giangreco’s excellent examination, President Truman took what seemed the least worst option.”

  • “Don, if I were Truman, I would not have insisted on unconditional surrender.”

    What terms would you have offered Japan restrainedradical? Here are the terms Truman offered.

    Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender
    Issued, at Potsdam, July 26, 1945

    “1.We-the President of the United States, the President of the National Government of the Republic of China, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, representing the hundreds of millions of our countrymen, have conferred and agree that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war.

    2.The prodigious land, sea and air forces of the United States, the British Empire and of China, many times reinforced by their armies and air fleets from the west, are poised to strike the final blows upon Japan. This military power is sustained and inspired by the determination of all the Allied Nations to prosecute the war against Japan until she ceases to resist.

    3.The result of the futile and senseless German resistance to the might of the aroused free peoples of the world stands forth in awful clarity as an example to the people of Japan. The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole German people. The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.

    4.The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.

    5.Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay.

    6.There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.

    7.Until such a new order is established and until there is convincing proof that Japan’s war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies shall be occupied to secure the achievement of the basic objectives we are here setting forth.

    8.The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

    9.The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.

    10.We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.

    11.Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to re-arm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.

    12.The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.

    13.We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.”

  • So, critics of Truman, you are in his shoes. What do you do?

    If I were Truman my priority would have been to end the war quickly so as to prevent Soviet entry into the war (the fact that the Allies actually encouraged Soviet entry is one of the more boneheaded moves in all of diplomatic history). If ending the war quickly meant accepting something less than unconditional surrender (say, by letting the Japanese keep their Emperor), then it would have been cheap at the price.

    If you were going to use the atom bomb, I don’t see why you couldn’t have dropped it on a strictly military target (such as the troops at Kyushu). That would have achieved the same effect as Hiroshima without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children.

  • Arguing from counterfactuals is rather unhelpful in this instance. Our knowledge of what *may* have happened, given a different decision, is so slight as to provide no reason for acting. This is, by the way, why moral absolutes are important for Catholic theology. One does not have to provide an (impossible) answer to McClarey’s question–it is all just speculation at this point, anyhow–in order to determine that Truman’s act was wrong.

  • “If you were going to use the atom bomb, I don’t see why you couldn’t have dropped it on a strictly military target (such as the troops at Kyushu).”

    The Japanese located their military units in urban areas in the Home Islands.

    For example:
    “At the time of its bombing, Hiroshima was a city of considerable military significance. It contained the headquarters of the Fifth Division and Field Marshal Hata’s 2nd General Army Headquarters, which commanded the defence of all of southern Japan.”

    In regard to the Emperor, prior to Hiroshima, Japanese advocates of a negotiate piece assumed that such a peace would have to entail, at a minimum, no occupation of Japan, no dis-arming of Japan and Japan keeping some of its overseas conquests. Japanese militarists laughed at such peace advocates and assumed that Japan could stop an American invasion and cause the US, sick of war and high casualties, to withdraw from most of Asia and the Pacific. A negotiated peace is a fantasy.

  • “One does not have to provide an (impossible) answer to McClarey’s question–it is all just speculation at this point, anyhow–in order to determine that Truman’s act was wrong.”

    Wrong. Catholic moral theology has never simply thrown up its hands in regard to the real world. If Truman hadn’t dropped the bombs there would have been consequences, almost certainly terrible consequences. Condemning Truman without owning up to those consequences and accepting them, is to pretend that we live in a pacifist dream world rather than a world where the leaders of nations sometimes have to make decisions that will end up killing lots of people no matter what they do or not do. Condemning is easy, thinking through the consequences of acting or not acting is much harder and less pleasant, but must be done if moral theology is to be something more than a bat to swing in Catholic comboxes.

  • The Japanese located their military units in urban areas in the Home Islands.

    To suggest that the bomb couldn’t have been dropped on a military target in Japan without resulting in 95% civilian casualties is just silly. Dropping the bomb on the assembled forces at Kyushu would have had the same effect as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but without the massive civilian loss of life.

    In regard to the Emperor, prior to Hiroshima, Japanese advocates of a negotiate piece assumed that such a peace would have to entail, at a minimum, no occupation of Japan, no dis-arming of Japan and Japan keeping some of its overseas conquests.

    I would say these were the maximum expected demands, not the minimum. However, even if the above were what it would take to end the war without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children, I think Truman should have accepted them.

  • “I would say these were the maximum expected demands, not the minimum. However, even if the above were what it would take to end the war without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children, I think Truman should have accepted them.”

    Which of our Asian allies would you have advised to “suck it up” BA and continue to live under the Rising Sun? How do you think the American people would have reacted to the idea that the nation that brought them Pearl Harbor was going to retain some foreign conquests, not be occupied, not be disarmed and probably be ready for another go at the US in twenty years. Your suggestion might fit some fantasy world. It certainly could not have been implemented by any US President in 1945.

  • Oh, and BA, Hiroshima had 43,000 troops in it when the bomb was dropped.

  • Donald,

    You’re right, I’m sure America never would have stood for China or Korea living under oppression.

    Actually the Chinese wanted to make peace with Japan at the beginning of 1945, but didn’t out of deference to America. The idea that Truman bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he was concerned about the plight of the Chinese is the real fantasy.

    And as far as I can tell you have no answer as to why the bomb couldn’t be dropped on the troops at Kyushu.

  • Oh, and BA, Hiroshima had 43,000 troops in it when the bomb was dropped.

    And how many were there in Nagasaki?

  • Good way of completely avoiding the question of which of our Asian allies you would have thrown to the wolves BA. The idea that such a thing would have been entertained by the US government is a tribute to the absurdity that usually surrounds the August Follies. In regard to China making a separate peace with Japan, unless you can cite chapter and verse, I will also assume that this is a fantasy of yours. The Japanese army had actually gone on the offensive in 44 and 45 in China and controlled a huge amount of China.

    There was zero prospect that Japan was going to willingly withdraw from China absent surrender by Japan. As a matter of fact, several overseas commanders after Japan surrendered contemplated carrying on a war.

    As to your odd assumption that there were large military units in Kyushu out in the open waiting to be bombed, the military units of Japan were subject to conventional bombing like everything else in Japan. They were dispersed, with most of them located in urban centers, as was the case in Hiroshima.

  • And how many were there in Nagasaki?

    I don’t know how many strictly military folks there were, but I know the Japanese lady at Sasebo’s indoc mentioned that it was their primary Navy shipyards. (Sasebo became the largest afterwards.)

  • Presumably they would also have opposed an air tight blockade of the Home Islands, probably going on for years, in order to starve Japan into surrender.

    One thing about the blockade – it takes a lot longer (as you admit, years) and it can be reveresed, as well as regulated to allow certain subsistence amounts in (and refugees out, if you are so inclined), and the repeated opportunity to surrender, change minds, etc. With the bomb, it’s all over in an instant, and there is no going back.

  • Mitsubishi shipyards, if anyone wants to research.

  • I don’t know that a blockade would have taken years. Like Britain, Japan was and remains a net food importer, and our submarine force was annihilating their merchant marine at will. I don’t think their navy would have been able to escort sufficient convoys to keep them going for very long.

    Then again, famine and the attendant diseases can’t be flipped off like a light switch, either. I can easily see the civilian death toll from a blockade leaping into the high hundred thousands, if not more than a million, in relatively short order, even given a surrender.

    And as to subsistence blockades–well, that certainly hasn’t hurt the Kim tyrants in North Korea. That ratchets down the likelihood of surrender, I think, and ups the likelihood of continuous conventional bombardment.

  • The famine would have hit in the Spring of 1946. MacArthur only avoided the famine historically with huge shipments of food that he insisted be sent to Japan from the US. Needless to say, sending food to Japan was not popular. MacArthur in response to opposition said that he was responsible for keeping the Japanese alive and that he would resign rather than allow mass starvation on his watch. It was Mac’s finest moment in my opinion.

    I have my doubts that even mass starvation would have caused the Japanese to capitulate, absent intervention by Hirohito, something he was unwilling to do until after Nagasaki.

  • FWIW, there was a similar discussion here on a few days ago.

    Most opinions were that “The Bomb” was the right decision under the circumstances, for all the reasons above mentioned.

    This will be debated for many years to come, by those who will moralize and condemn those who had this truly terrible decision to make, in the dispassionate comfort of their safe armchairs.

    Does the end justify the means? No.
    Was this means justified? If the END was to prevent the continued destruction of human life, and in bringing the war to an abrupt end, prevent the killing of many more millions than “The Bomb” would kill, then yes, the MEANS was justified.

  • The only non-negotiable I would insisted on would have been withdrawal from occupied lands. Some disarmament would probably have been necessary too. I may also have insisted on a reparations fund.

  • Intrinsically immorlal means can never be justified by good ends/consequences. Truman was wrong. But he was still a good man trying hard to do the right thing. This is not all that different from the Sister Margaret McBride, who when confronted with the choice of directly taking a life (via a direct abortion) versus allowing that same life and that of another (the mother) to die did what most sensible and well-intentioned people would do — choose to have one person to survive rather than none. Very understandable. But still very wrong.

  • After Nagasaki, Japan agreed to all terms except removal of the emperor. It was rejected and conventional bombing continued, killing thousands more.

  • Your understanding of those events is faulty restrainedradical. Here is actually what was said on August 12 by the Allies:

    “From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms. …The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people”

    The Allies heard nothing from Japan on August 13, and ordered a resumption of bombing for August 14, previously halted by Truman, the date when Hirohito, finally, eight days after Hiroshima and five days after Nagasaki, addressed Japan and ordered the capitulation:

    “Despite the best that has been done by everyone—the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people—the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

    Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

    Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

    The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.”

    American bombing was halted after Hirohito’s address. Japanese units on the Asian mainland continued fighting for several days after Hirohito’s address.

  • Donald,

    You are misunderstanding my point–which is also the point of Catholic moral theology. To say that one need not provide answers to any of your multitudinous counterfactuals in order to determine that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was evil is just to say that the intentional killing of civilians is *intrinsically* evil. To say this, however, is not to say what you appear to think it says, that I–and the Church–are throwing up our hands with respect to “the real world.” Quite the contrary, the structure of reality, as revealed by Christ and his Church, is precisely what is being respected in the confident determination that some acts are so destructive of the imago dei that they can never, under any circumstances, be permitted–come what may. The intentional killing of innocents has always been regarded as such an act, and for good reason.

    From the perspective of Christian moral theology, it would have been better for Truman–and for any who were cooperators in this act–that the Japanese were militarily victorious than that he should have committed such an act. That is the hard truth.

    Now, you may disagree with the Christ and the Church’s teaching here–many do, Christians and non-Christians alike–but let us not be deceived by a sophistry which attempts to lessen the gravity of this evil act by appeal to a set of conjectures which remain just that, conjectures. From the perspective of Catholic moral theology, it is you, and not I, who are ignoring the “real world.”

  • Don, it’s not incumbent on one who is pointing out the immorality of intentional targeting of civilians to solve the problem of “what other course was there?”

    But the “other course” here would have been to continue the conventional war and perhaps pursuing something other than unconditional surrender.

    Oh, and with regard to the confederates, Bobby Lee in his forays north expressly forbade the type of tactics Sherman expressly adopted.

    Chambersburg should not have been burned, but by 1864 the Confederates were responding to Yankee war crimes, specifically in this case, Hunter’s devestation of civilian targets in the Shenandoah.

    Such is the logic of “total war”– it tends to suck in those who would otherwise not want to practice it.

  • One other thing: from the perspective of the civitas dei, which is the perspective that all Christians are exhorted to conform themselves to, it matters very little who wins what wars, what kinds of polity we are subject to here below, etc. For the Church, there are good things and bad things that accompany *any* political regime, and it is a dangerous, and finally idolatrous, mistake to believe that the defense of any particular civitas terrena–whether it be America in the 20th century, Rome in the 5th, or some future city–is worth the commission of an intrinsically evil act, which destroys one’s participation in the civitas dei.

    None of this entails pacifism. But it does entail our willingness to call a spade a spade.

  • From the perspective of Christian moral theology, it would have been better for Truman–and for any who were cooperators in this act–that the Japanese were militarily victorious than that he should have committed such an act. That is the hard truth.

    I’m not clear that “it would have been better” scenarios along these lines are all that useful. Frankly, from a perspective of Christian moral theology, it would be better if one no had earthly responsibilities for anyone else. Paul, after all, enjoins people not to even marry (and thus take on the responsibilities of a spouse) and for spouses to be celibate (and thus not take on the responsibilities of children) because earthly responsibilies tend to turn us away from true eternal priorities. And yet, we as Catholics also recognize that it is necessary that we as a human community have marriage, have children, have rulers and law, etc. Greater earthly responsibilities invariably distract people from their eternal destinations — something which I think Dante well summarizes the thinking of the Christian tradition on in Purgatorio. And yet, there is also a sense in which it is necessary that a portion of society make the sacrifice of focusing on earthly responsibility. Why?

    One other thing: from the perspective of the civitas dei, which is the perspective that all Christians are exhorted to conform themselves to, it matters very little who wins what wars, what kinds of polity we are subject to here below, etc.

    It seems to me that this misses an obvious issue, which is that the environment in which people find themselves often affects their ability to live in accordance with the the civitas dei. Look at conflicts such as the French Revolution or the Spanish Civil War in which one side was actively invested in stamping out the Church and perverting the order of society. To be sure, such situations offer the opportunity for martyrdom, but for most they offer the opportunity for apostacy, collaboration and corruption. I’m reminded similarly of some of the pieces I’ve read about the archives which are now open in Germany of East German secret police files, where people were constantly encouraged to inform on each other and rewarded for betraying of friends and family. Surely such an environment is destructive to many souls.

    Without question each society presents its own temptations and corruptions, and if anything I lean heavily in the direction of Christians seeking the path to God in their own societies as they exist rather than embracing a revolutionary ethic of overturning the social order in order to make society “more holy”. And armed struggle has a tendency to corrupt all sides. But I can’t see that complete indifference is the right response either.

  • Darwin,

    I mean “would have been better” in the strict sense that it is always better not to commit an intrinsically evil act than to commit one. I do not mean to say, nor is it true that, marriage, law-making, etc. fall under the same category. I am assuming here a post-lapsarian condition.

    As for your second comment: fair enough. I am more Pascalian in my outlook than most, and I am well aware that certain regimes produce certain evils that are on first blush more destructive than the evils of other regimes. (I am not so certain, however, that collaboration, apostasy, etc. are not equally prevalent in the West. There are more lapsed Catholics in American than any other denomination, they say.) But would you at least acknowledge that if my position leads to a skeptical indifferentism, it is nonetheless within the bounds of orthodoxy, and in fact corresponds nearly exactly with Augustine’s own view, whereas the danger in becoming too tied up with the “justness” of a particular regime on earth leads rather quickly to unorthodoxy and idolatry: one excuses intrinsic evils committed by that regime in order to ensure its own continued existence, rather than admitting that such an act has been committed?

    I fear that I discern something of this in McClarey’s hand-waving about the behavior of the Allies–and America in particular–in WWII.

  • Like Darwin, I can’t go so far as to say that it matters little who wins wars… Certainly there are just wars, and WWII was one example. It’s the old Thomistic distinction between jus ad bellum, whether a war is just in the first place, and jus in bello, whether a war is conducted in accordance with moral principles.

    Collateral damage is inevitable in modern warfare, but where the Allies went wrong was in aping the evil done by the Axis powers, i.e., deliberately targeting civilians and non-military targets for the purpose of “demoralizing” the populace.

  • (I am being especially procrastinatory today.)


    First, I agree that yours is a perfectly viable interpretation of where the Allies went wrong in WWII. I agree with it, in fact, and, as I said, nothing in my own position commits one to pacifism.

    But I still think that it is *also* true that, at least according to Augustine and several other thinkers in the Augustinian tradition, it *still* makes little difference what regime a Christian lives under, for the reason that *every* regime is dominated by the libido dominandi, and so, from the perspective of the civitas dei, they are all equal.

    Thomas, and the Thomistic tradition more generally, has a less skeptical view. One that, I hasten to add, is perfectly legitimate. It seems to me that the Church, within the bounds of orthodoxy, allows for a range of opinion on this matter.

    I am not so much bothered by any disagreement here as I am by the hesitancy to call a spade a spade.

  • Don (Kiwi)

    You seem to contradict yourself. First, you say that the ends cannot justify the means, and then you do precisely that – you state the end of ending the war justified the means of dropping the bomb. Am I missing something?

  • “The intentional killing of innocents has always been regarded as such an act, and for good reason.”

    Actually it depends on how you define intentional. Papal armies in the Middle Ages routinely besieged cities, a normal military operation of the time. The cities would be caused to surrender usually through blockades that produced starvation, and, inevitably, disease would usually explode in the cities. If any pope ever breathed a word against sieges as a method of warfare, I am unaware of it. This is quite a bit more of a complicated area than it seems at first glance.

  • That papal armies acted or did not act in certain ways with or without the permission of popes is immaterial. Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?

  • c matt.

    Re-reading my comment, I appear to do as you say. However, in the context of what was occuring – a war costing huge casualties on both sides, a stark choice became presented. Do we continue as we are, and lose many millions of lives, or do we introduce a new stratagem, and save arguably millions of lives which would otherwise be lost? ( the other choice was, as Wj said earlier, to lie down and be conquered, which to me , would be unacceptable)
    I guess the choice was therefore, a lesser of two evils. No doubt it can be debated whether or not a less evil choice is the correct moral choice in view of the principle, that the end does not justify the means.
    Quite a connundrum, isn’t it?

  • All ends are achieved by a means.

    But the end does not (necessarily) justify the means.

    Some means are justifiable, others are not.

  • Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?

    I think you mean “are you denying that…has ALWAYS been regarded as an intrinsically evil act,” or “are you CLAIMING…has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act.”

    Perhaps a better tact might be to find out when it was first enumerated as an intrinsic evil?

    I think the situation is significantly more complicated than folks are willing to consider– even with folks that I KNOW are honestly trying to just figure it out, there’s incredible simplification.

    Does it matter that there was warning given so the population had a chance to leave?
    Does it matter that military operations were moved into civilian areas, even into family dwellings?
    Does it matter that “aiming” with bombs in that day was more an art than a science?
    Do prior tactics of the Americans matter?
    Do prior tactics of the Allies matter?
    Does our responsibility to defend the innocent that WEREN’T in those cities matter?
    What effect does the (possible) Japanese military stopping civilians from evacuating have on the morality of it?
    How much information did they have about what was going on at ground level, and how much could they reasonably be expected to have?

    (stuff like this is probably why a lot of folks think morality should be restricted to philosophy, not the real world– it’s just not as simple IRL, even if it is still black and white)

    I know full well I don’t have nearly enough information to make an informed, binding judgement on these actions that happened before my parents were born. Luckily, I don’t have to; it’s useful to try to figure out, in case a similar case comes along, but it’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not cut and dried.

  • “That papal armies acted or did not act in certain ways with or without the permission of popes is immaterial. Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?”

    I think the praxis of the Church is always of importance, especially when that praxis went on for centuries. I am denying that the Church has condemned all military operations which, by their very nature, were bound to take quite a few innocent lives.

    Let’s think this through. Hiroshima is bombed from the air, either fire bombed or nuked. Bad, intrinsically immoral. Hiroshima is taken by the US in a ground assault in the spring of 46 which, in a house to house fight against the Japanese Army, kills most of the civilian population, who are caught in the cross fire. Morally acceptable. I assume the difference is one of intention, but I find that argument weak. A military man would have to be brain dead not to realize that large scale combat in an urban area is going to kill huge numbers of civilians. If mass casualties are foreseeable in a ground assault, how does that materially differ from mass casualties caused by an air assault? The current Church stance may be an argument for pacifism, but I do not think it adequately addresses that other measures taken in military operations, presumably morally licit, may kill just as many civilians, if not more, than the measures condemned.

    I might also note that in the spiritual realm popes have been quite willing to take actions which have had adverse impacts on innocent parties. A good example would be the Interdict which prevented the dispensing of the sacraments in nations or regions. Imagine a pope saying that a dying innocent could not have the comfort of the Last Rites. However, it was done, and not infrequently, for reasons that the popes employing it deemed good and sufficient. The last use of the Interdict, in a fairly mild form, was by Saint Pius X in the early years of the last century. The idea that innocents have an all-embracing immunity is one that is popular in the Church today, but it is rather a novel one.

  • Now you are just obfuscating. For who would not agree with your following assertion? (I certainly don’t disagree with it.)

    “I am denying that the Church has condemned all military operations which, by their very nature, were bound to take quite a few innocent lives.”

    We don’t need to go through the motions of explaining how the doctrine of double effect applies in ius in bello scenarios on this blog. I’ll just take it for granted that most people reading here have a working knowledge about how unintentional though foreseen civilian casualties, for example, are a different kind of thing than INTENTIONALLY DECIMATING A CIVILIAN TARGET.

    Most ALL military operations involve the unfortunate killing of innocents, and if the Church is to have a doctrine of just war at all, which she most assuredly does, then it is basic to such a doctrine to differentiate foreseen but unintended evils from evils intentionally committed. So while, for example, the intentional slaughter of women and children has always been rightly condemned by the Church–which is not to say that she has not at times engaged in this practice against her better lights (thereby proving true what she has to say about sin)–the unfortunate killing of innocents as a result of some other strategy which does not *directly* target them is a more difficult scenario to parse. There is an entire casuitical literature on this and related topics. We all know all the moves here.

    What you are now doing, in fact, is redescribing the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as if this weren’t the intentional killing of civilians. But, on any plausible account of intentional acts (i.e. Thomas, Anscombe, Suarez, etc.), the bombing most clearly *was* an intentionally, and not merely foreseen, attack on noncombatants. Which is, as I said before, intrinsically evil.

    Either you do not understand or you do not agree with the distinction between foreseen and intended consequences–a distinction which is basic to Catholic moral theology. Which is it?

  • By the way, there is one other theological assumption in your response that I take issue with.

    1. The fact that the Church in the past–yea, even for centuries in the past–did or did not intentionally target or unjustly allow a disproportionate number of civilians to be killed in any of her wars is immaterial to the issue at hand. Why? That the Church acted one way or another in the past has, apart from her explicit teachings on doctrine and morals, no bearing on the normative status of that action. For centuries the Church abused the theology of indulgences; from this it does not follow that we, in the present, are supposed to be okay with the selling of indulgences on the grounds that the Church did it in the past. You are conflating two very different kinds of “tradition” and how they have normative bearing in Catholic theology.

    Of course, if you deny the distinction between an intended and a foreseen end, then you are a consequentialist. But if you are a consequentialist, then you have a problem with the decalogue. Do you have a problem with the decalogue?

  • I apologize for the somewhat heated and exasperated tone. If I had known that you denied the difference between an intended and foreseen end, I would have found your defense of the bombings much more intelligible–though not, I am afraid to say, any less repugnant.

  • “Either you do not understand or you do not agree with the distinction between foreseen and intended consequences–a distinction which is basic to Catholic moral theology.”

    My problem WJ is that what is considered as unforeseen in war in regard to civilian casualties is predictable as night follows day. Two corps battling each other in an urban area will produce large amounts of civilian deaths. A siege of a city will produce a large amount of civilian deaths. Foreseeability in this area seems like a very frail reed on which to make categorical distinctions. Because of the technology of the day, bombing an urban center in World War II was going to produce quite a few civilian casualties no matter what was done. My point is that if it is intrinsically evil to ever intentionally engage in the targeting of civilian populations in war, why is it not intrinsically evil to engage in actions in war which, completely predictably, will lead to civilian deaths? Hiding behind foreseeability in this area strikes me as exalting form over substance.

  • No sweat WJ. This is an area which people get passionate about. I certainly am in that category.

  • Donald, I think this response of yours points the way toward a difficult and important issue in the theology of Just War. At least we are now down to brass tacks, as it were. I am enjoying this quite a bit. You write:

    “My point is that if it is intrinsically evil to ever intentionally engage in the targeting of civilian populations in war, why is it not intrinsically evil to engage in actions in war which, completely predictably, will lead to civilian deaths?”

    The short answer to this is that the intentional targeting of a civilian is murder, and murder is always wrong. Why is it wrong? Well, even Augustine, who was not, I have to admit, terribly worried about civilian casualties, views murder as the sort of action which destroys the imago dei in the soul of the person committing it. (Indeed, murder is like any violation of the decalogue in this respect.) So the intentional targeting of a civilian is wrong not *only* because of what happens to the civilian (as you point out, the civilian may well be killed unintentionally via another strategy) but also what happens to you.

    In the second case, the military commander is intending to engage a lawful combatant, and he foresees that as a result of his action some number of civilians will die. This is not *intrinsically* evil, first, because there are some circumstances in which it is permitted; in a less tautological sense, it is not *intrinscially* evil because the ACTION in question is not murder, but some other action describable in a different way, and so the commander in question is not deprived of grace.

    Of course, it way well be the case, at least according to Just War Theory, that at some point the unintended yet foreseen civilian casualties issuing from some or other military strategy outweigh the good that is to be rationally expected to result from that strategy, and in this case the unintended yet foreseen killing of civilians is evil, though not intrinsically so. Some of Pope Benedict XVI’s skepticism as to whether any modern war can be “licit” (cf. interview with Zenit in March of 03 I believe) derives his beliefs that most contemporary wars cannot but fail to be just in their in bello execution. This is an important and complex issue, and it is not one about which I am certain.

    But can I ask a clarifying question? Do you deny the difference between an intentional and a foreseen end per se, or only the validity of this difference as it applies to actions in war?

  • As a follow up: I am not a pacifist, but it has always seemed to me that one of the strongest arguments for pacifism from a strictly theological point of view has to do with the *near impossibility* of ensuring that even the most just war from a ius ad bellum perspective will be able to be fought successfully and justly in bello. Many of your examples seem to support this view. I guess one can go one of two ways here. One can view the near impossibility of ius in bello conduct to constitute a strong argument for a practical, if not principled, pacifism, or one can argue that the Church’s understanding of ius in bello conduct has to be changed or expanded or loosened in some way.

  • “Do you deny the difference between an intentional and a foreseen end per se, or only the validity of this difference as it applies to actions in war?”

    Depends entirely on how likely a foreseeable end is. An artillery barrage is made of a grove of trees. Tragically some lumberjacks are killed. Clearly different from intentionally targeting the lumberjacks.

    A division of enemy troops are in a city filled with civilians and intermingled with the civilians. The artillery unit is told to attack the enemy and civilian deaths results. I don’t view that much differently from intentionally targeting the civilians, since their deaths are entirely predictable. Of course the artillery men didn’t want to kill the civilians, they were merely in the way of accomplishing the goal of winning the war. This area is tricky and filled with moral land mines. Whenever double effect is trotted out, I listen very carefully, but am rarely convinced by it.

  • If you hold that “of course the artillery men didn’t want to kill the civilians,” then you hold that they didn’t intentionally kill them. It seems to me that this is entirely different than the artillery unit intentionally targeting the civilians. Does it not seem so to you?

    I wonder what you make of double effect as it applies to abortion. Do you see the moral difference, that is, between surgically removing a mother’s fallopian tubes, knowing that the child inside them will die as a result of this procedure necessary for saving the mother’s life, and flooding the fallopian tubes with chemicals intended to kill the child? (There are any number of other scenarios, which all share the same structure.)

    The reason I ask is that in both cases the death of the child is entirely foreseeable.
    and directly killing

  • “It seems to me that this is entirely different than the artillery unit intentionally targeting the civilians. Does it not seem so to you?”

    Only if intention governs all. In that case why do the airmen of the Enola Gay not get a pass since they most definitely were not intending to kill civilians but rather to convince Japan to surrender? How does this differ materially from the artillery men intending to win a battle in a city, not intending to kill civilians, but knowing that civilians will be killed in large numbers by their bombardment?

    Frankly in the abortion case where the child cannot survive I see no problem with the desperate necessity of removing the fallopian tubes in order to preserve the mother’s life since the child simply cannot survive in any case. I pray for the day when technology will eliminate this sad quandry.

  • The answer to the first question is that you can’t separate intention from the object of the act. You can’t for example, burn your neighbor’s house to the ground and then say that your “intention” in doing so was to stop him from playing loud music. No, pretty clearly you intended to burn his house down with the further end in mind of ceasing his loud music. But this further end in mind does not mean that in burning his house down you acted unintentionally. So with Truman. The intention was clearly to kill large amounts of Japanese civilians with the further end of bringing the war to a speedy halt. This further end–bringing the war to a speedy halt–does not evacuate the intentional structure of the prior act. If you don’t mind a recommendation here, I suggest you read Anscombe’s classic work “Intention.” She demonstrates all this quite persuasively.

    Indeed, in the latter case, the whole point is that the removal of the fallopian tubes is a *different* act than the direct killing of the child. Which is why it is licit.

  • The intention was clearly to kill large amounts of Japanese civilians with the further end of bringing the war to a speedy halt.

    I have to disagree on the “clearly” part of that — you do NOT warn people to leave and give them time if you are trying to kill large numbers of them.

  • “The answer to the first question is that you can’t separate intention from the object of the act.”

    Ah but that is where foreseeability rears its ugly head. The artillery men bombarding the city filled with enemy troops know that large numbers of civilians will be killed. As a matter of fact Hiroshima had 43,000 Japanese troops in it. Once again, I do not think this is simple at all.

  • What is often ignored by Catholics who spill ink on this issue ignore is 1) The pertinnent Catholic moral principles involved and 2) The actual circumstances within Truman made his decision.

    With respect to the use of atomic weapons, Catholic moral theologian Father Heribert Jone defined them this way:

    The fourth condition required for positing an action that has an evil effect that there be a sufficient reason, i.e., a proportionate resulting good, to permit the evil effect. The morality of using either the atomic or hydrogen bomb as a weapon of war is therefore, not a question of principle, which remains unchangeable, but a question of fact, and the fact questioned is whether there can be a military objective so vital to an enemy, the destruction of which would be a sufficient reason to permit the death of a vast number of civilians who at most contribute only remotely and indirectly to the war effort. We think this proportion can exist 1) because today’s concept of “total war” has greatly restricted the meaning of the term “non-combatant”; 2) because in modern warfare the conscription of industry, as well as manpower, greatly extends the effort on the home front; and 3) because it is difficult to set limits to the defense action of a people whose physical and even spiritual existence is threatened by a godless tyranny. Therefore, while use of atomic weapons must be greatly restricted to the destruction of military objectives, nevertheless, it may be justified without doing violence to the principle of a twofold effect. (Moral Theology #219 pp. 143-44 1961 Edition)

    Unfortunately, all of the of Catholic moral theologians and writers who condemn the bombings demonstrate no knowledge of the circumstances involved. The most horrendous and despicable example, in my view, is the recent piece written by well-known Catholic author and senior apologist at Catholic Answers Jimmy Akin.

    The objections these people raise is that the atomic bomb drops cannot be justified because they targeted innocent civilians. To be sure, there is no moral justification for deliberately killing innocent people regardless of how noble your end purpose is. The ends do not justify the means. You cannot do evil so that good can become of it. True enough.

    However, this was not the case with atomic bombings. In WWII Japan, the meaning of the term non-combatant was not only “greatly restricted” it was completely obliterated. William Manchester, in his biography of General Douglass Mac Arthur states:

    Hirohito’s generals, grimly preparing for the invasion, had not abandoned hope of saving their homeland. Although a few strategic islands had been lost, they told each other, most of their conquests, including the Chinese heartland, were firmly in their hands, and the bulk of their army was undefeated. Even now they could scarcely believe that any foe would have the audacity to attempt landings in Japan itself. Allied troops, they boasted, would face the fiercest resistance in history. Over ten thousand kamikaze planes were readied for “Ketsu-Go,” Operation Decision. Behind the beaches, enormous connecting underground caves had been stocked with caches of food and thousands of tons of ammunition. Manning the nation’s ground defenses were 2,350,000 regular soldiers, 250,000 garrison troops, and 32,000,000 civilian militiamen, a total of 34,600,000, more than the combined armies of the United States, Great Britain, and Nazi Germany. All males aged fifteen to sixty, and all females ages seventeen to forty-five, had been conscripted. Their weapons included ancient bronze cannon, muzzle loaded muskets, bamboo spears, and bows and arrows. Even little children had been trained to strap explosives around their waists, roll under tank treads, and blow themselves up. They were called “Sherman’s carpets.” This was the enemy the Pentagon had learned to fear and hate,a country of fanatics dedicated to hara-kiri, determined to slay as many invaders as possible as they went down fighting. [William Manchester: American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 510-511)]

    The mass conscription of “all males ages fifteen and all females ages seventeen to forty-five” is practically the entire adult population. With this, the entire country of Japan became a large military base and no longer a civilian, but a military asset, and therefore, a legitimate military target.

    This idea that the bomb drops were a deliberate attack on innocents is flat out false.

    Furthermore, given the alternatives, either an invasion or blockade would have killed more Japanese, not to mention caused more than a million Amreican casualties in the case of an invasion, the most merciful thing Truman could have done was to drop the bombs. He most certainly could have justifiede it before his creator.

  • Donald,

    I have to get to bed–not a night person–so I’ll conclude by reiterating a distinction which you seem to deny (why? I can’t understand). There is a difference between the object of an intentional action and the foreseeable consequences that follow from that action. If I burn my neighbor’s house down, there will be smoke. I foresee that the act of burning my neighbor’s house down will necessarily produce smoke, and yet the production of smoke is not my intent in burning his house down. My intent is simply: to burn his house down.


    I don’t understand you. Is your claim that there were NO innocent Japanese (as you argue in the first half of your longish post) or that there were in any case LESS (innocent) Japanese killed as a result of the bomb than through other means? If the first, then I don’t see why you mention the second; if the second, then everything I’ve already written here applies to that argument. (I don’t think you’ll get many people agreeing to your first claim, though.)

  • Greg.

    Very interesting, and confirms my thoughts and understanding of the situation.

  • Wj.

    If I burn my neighbour’s house down, there will be smoke………”

    INO, applying this thinking is obfuscation of conscience.
    You know that you wish to burn down his house and you know fires create smoke. You therefore cannot claim that the creation of smoke is non-culpable, while the burnng of the house is.

  • Just because an action is or may be the lesser of two evils (dropping the atom bomb vs. all out ground invasion of Japan) doesn’t make it good or justified, or a precedent to follow in the future. The lesser of two evils is still an evil. However, this being a fallen world, sometimes a lesser evil is the best we can do. Unfortunately, what often happens is that instead of simply making the least bad choice possible and asking God’s forgiveness for any sin involved, we try to paint that choice as being entirely good.

  • WJ:

    I did not say there were no innocent Japanese. What I said was that the line between combatant and non-combatant had been erased due to the mass civilian conscription and therefore we were not TARGETING innocents.

  • “If I burn my neighbor’s house down, there will be smoke. I foresee that the act of burning my neighbor’s house down will necessarily produce smoke, and yet the production of smoke is not my intent in burning his house down. My intent is simply: to burn his house down.”

    Your example WJ illustrates precisely where the diffculty in this area lies. Intention either always determines the morality of an action or it does not. I think neither at Hiroshima nor my artillery against a city example is the goal to kill civilians, rather the killing of civilians is a necessary part of the action being undertaken to reach another goal, winning a battle or a war. The difference you would raise between them is that the bomb was directed against civilians while the artillery men only kill civilians accidently. This distinction is of cold comfort morally I think when the deaths of the civilians from the use of the artillery are completely predictable and foreseeable. If the goal is allowed to make the action moral in the case of the artillery barrage, I am uncertain why the same logic is not applicable in the case of Hiroshima.

  • Going to have to agree with Greg M. that the notion of “civilian” took a rather major beating in this situation– probably why the Gen. Conv. spent so much time hammering out who is a civie and who isn’t.

    Is someone standing by the soldier and reloading a valid target?
    Are you not allowed to fire at a foxhole that’s trying to gun you down, because you can see they’ve got a red cross worker trying to patch them up?
    Can you destroy a yard full of military ships under construction or repair?
    Can you bomb the not-formally-military staffed bomb factory?
    If it’s required for someone to be a formal military to be a military target, how do you deal with informal attacks? (getting a bit to close to modern issues, so I’ll stop there)

  • Well, despite the best efforts of bombing apologists, we’re left at the end of the day with the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated, not because of their military value (which was slight and certainly less than many other potential targets), not because the civilians there were a threat (regimes like Japan’s always threaten that their civilians will rise up against any invader… they don’t), but because our bombing policy was, as I stated before, identical to “Bomber” Harris’ vision of demoralizing CIVILIAN populations.

    Thus, all this talk of Hiroshima’s bombing being justified either because of its military use or the ridiculous notion that the little old ladies and kids were armed threats to our forces, is bunk.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out in order to terrorize the populace and thus break the will of the military to resist.

    That END was produced immediately by the MEANS of purposeful destruction of innocent lives, NOT as a by-product or collateral result of legitimate bombing. Why can’t folks here acknowledge simply what everyone, especially Truman, knew at the time– the bombings were done to terrify the Japs so completely at our ability to incinerate civilian centers that their military would capitulate?

  • I think the evidence supports Tom’s contention. And I think the application of Catholic teaching yields a rather clear cut answer. That said, his moral error notwithstanding, Truman is still a far mor sympathetic character than many of his self-righteous critics.

    A man might deliberately kill his comrade in arms if that comrade is dying and in agony. Such an act is murder and intrinsically evil. Yet, I would hardly make it my business to scold him. All sins are forgivable of course — but some certainly more than others. Truman’s act was not heroic; it was wrong; but it was certainly understandable and forgivable.

  • Tom, you’re entitled to your own view, but not your own facts, and what you’re claiming as “facts” are far from proven.

    Feel free to call me whatever you like– heaven knows I can’t stop you– but your OPINIONS of what was true are far from persuasive, and should not be stated as if they are objective reality.

    (On a side note, I’m so sick of being one of the folks who has to say “hold up a sec, we don’t actually KNOW X, or Y, and Z is totally wrong.” Even when I agree with a conclusion, or don’t disagree, it’s a bad idea to let incorrect claims stand.)

  • Foxfier:
    It is completely appropriate to bomb a bomb factory, even knowing that some civilians will likely be killed. That is because a bomb factory is a military target. An entire city is not.

  • Mike-
    Military bases are sometimes cities. (Zip code, hospital/power/stores/water, own police force, civilian families, schools, etc.)

    Military bases, since they are military bases, are military targets.

    Thus, it’s clear that entire cities CAN be a military target.

  • Fair enough I suppose, but are you seriously suggesting that H or N were military bases? If so, then no need for further discussion since we occupy different universes.

  • Mike-
    Not going to fight this, because– like I said way up above– I don’t think we have enough information to do a decent job of it.

    My rough limit is basic damage control on the BS I _know_ I’m going to have to deal with in the next five years, in the form of “X who is (or was) a Catholic said Y, so it must be true, defend it.” Generally in the middle of family reunions or parties with geek friends.

    If you can’t make your argument off of facts, why on earth are you trying to state it as fact? Just throw in an “I” here or there, maybe in conjunction with “think” or “reason” or “believe,” refer to sources for your claims and bada bing: no conflict.

    Shoot, you could even say “I don’t see how it could be justified to bomb an entire city, because cities are not military targets” and it’s no longer something I, or some poor idiot like me, will have to defend. It’s your educated belief from the facts as you know them and your understanding of Catholic teachings. (Anybody talking Catholic theology with a half-dozen highly intelligent folks who have little to no use for organized religion, let alone the Church, needs to have their head examined. No offense to the real Catholic apologists among us.)

  • Foxfier,

    It’s not exactly as if there is no considered stance on this issue by the overwhelmingly vast majority of bishops, theologians, popes, etc. over the past fifty years. The only people who pretend as though this is somehow a difficult question for the Church to address are a handful of American Catholics.

    It is much better to do as Donald does: reject the reasoning of the Church forthrightly. It is no good pretending as though there is an epistemic difficulty here where there is not one.

  • Yay, appeal to authority, and total missing of the point.

    Have fun, I’m out.

  • “reject the reasoning of the Church forthrightly.”

    Questioning is not rejection, especially in an area such as this where we are not dealing with revealed truth, but rather the application of hair splitting logic.

  • (Same way I duck out when folks start bringing out “but all these guys say that the death penalty isn’t needed anymore! So I win!”)

  • Mike.

    Check the anecdotal historical evidence of who were in occupancy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the military operations and indusctrial complexes attached to those cities.

    One could arguably conclude they were military bases.

  • I’m out after this one as well.

    Don, I didn’t mean to be inflammatory. I take it that you do reject the distinction between foreeseable consequences and intended ends *in certain instances*; but perhaps you only question their analytic efficacy. Fair enough. I think your position commits you to consequentialism (or at least some kind of proportionalism, a la McBrien, et. al.), which I don’t think you want to be committed to, but that’s a different topic. It is an important conversation to have, though.

    Foxfier, I wasn’t so much “appealing to authority” as showing that what you take to be a difficult, perplexing, epistemically vague scenario appears only to be so for a subset of American Catholics and not for the universal Church as a whole. This is an empirical claim.

  • Don the Kiwi,
    Sorry about the oddly abbreviated post above. I am well aware that both H and N contained both military operations and industrial complexes attached to the war effort. Same for Chicago and Detroit. And targeting those operations and complexes would have been morally licit, even if done quite imperfectly. But that is not what happened, and the evidence is quite clear that Truman knew exactly what he was doing. As I said earlier, I don’t really blame him — even if I can safely conclude from my comfortable perch that he were morally wrong. But I refuse to reason backwards either. Just because I’m sympathetic, actually very sympathetic, to the consequences, does not mean that the means were morally acceptable. They weren’t. Pretty much all of us do bad things for good reasons, and that does not make us bad people — just sinners.

  • Fortunately we don’t have to speculate on why Truman chose Hiroshima and Nagasaki and whether it was because the cities were military targets.

    His own press release states that the Potsdam ultimatum was issued to Japan (calling for their unconditional surrender) “to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction.” NOT the Japanese military, NOT the Japanese industrial ability, but the Japanese people themselves.

    Besides, the US had already joined in the British practice of terror bombing by helping in the destruction of Dresden and by firebombing Tokyo, a practice which indiscriminately killed thousands of civilians.

    As Doolittle’s raid early in the war demonstrated, it was entirely possible to target industry and military targets without wiping out entire cities.

    We simply adopted the Brit practice of firebombing, and ultimtely, nuclear bombing, to demoralize the civilian populaces of our enemies, not to advance a military objective.

  • Actually Tom Truman referred to the “military base of Hiroshima” when he announced the Hiroshima bombing. You can say that was incorrect, but that is how Truman looked at it.

    The firebombing of the cities of Japan wasn’t undertaken for terror purposes, but because that was the only way to take out the Japanese industries that tended to be located within residential areas. Precision bombing of Japanese industries was attempted until around March of 45 and had proven completely ineffective.

  • The Doolittle raid was a propaganda operation in 42. 15 of the 16 B-25s were lost, along with 80 airmen. The damage to Japan was completely negligible. From a morale standpoint in the US it was a success. From a military standpoint it was a disaster.

    The technology of the day made precision bombing usually a wistful dream rather than a reality.

    “In practice, the Norden (bombsight) never managed to produce accuracies remotely like those of which it was theoretically capable. The Royal Air Force were the first to use the B-17 in combat, and reported extremely poor results, eventually converting their aircraft to other duties. USAAF anti-shipping operations in the Far East were likewise generally unsuccessful, and although there were numerous claims of sinkings, the only confirmed successful action was during the Battle of the Philippines when B-17s damaged two Japanese transports, the cruiser Naka, and the destroyer Murasame, and sank one minesweeper. However these successes were the exception to the rule; actions during the Battle of Coral Sea or Battle of Midway, for instance, were entirely unsuccessful. The USAAF eventually replaced all of their anti-shipping B-17s with other aircraft, and came to use the skip bombing technique in direct low-level attacks.

    In Europe the Norden likewise demonstrated a poor real-world accuracy. Bombing was computed by assessing the proportion of hits falling within 1,000 feet (300 m) and 2,000 feet (600 m) circles about an MPI (mean point of impact). To achieve a perfect strike, a bomber group would have to unload all its bombs within the 1,000 ft circle. By the spring of 1943 some impressive results were being recorded. Over Bremen-Vegesack on 19 March, for instance, the 303d Bombardment Group dropped 76 per cent of its load within the 1,000 ft ring. Under perfect conditions only 50 percent of American bombs fell within a quarter of a mile of the target, and American flyers estimated that as many as 90 percent of bombs could miss their targets.[5][6][7] Nevertheless, many veteran B-17 and B-24 bombardiers swore by the Norden.”

  • There is an ongoing myth that the British were primarily interested in terror bombing for the heck of it since they could not bloody the Germans in any other way. This is the received wisdom after Vonnegut and Irving. But it makes very little sense for the British to lose all those highly trained men of the Bomber Command (55,000 killed) and spend all that money to build a large strategic force merely to terrorise the Germans. The bombers were the British contribution to the continental war, as they lacked the ability to insert their forces into the field in a decisive ways. A much fairer assessment is provided in this book .

  • Harry S Truman was a 33° Freemason, an enemy of the Catholic Faith, which may be why Nagasaki, the center of Japanese Catholicism, was targetted. (More Catholics were killed on August 9th, 1945 than in four centuries of brutal persecution.)

    General Tomoyuki Yamashita was executed for the atrocities committed in the Battle of Manila (the “one case [in which] the event took place on American soil” mentioned in the post), despite the fact that said atrocities were committed by troops who had disobeyed his order to withdraw from the city to avoid civilian casualties.

7 Responses to Stealing From The Poor

  • Poverty comes in many forms. Some of us are in dire “poverty” yet are given even less by many who should know better, thus causing immense suffering.

    There is not sufficient reflection on this reality. As such, it is an occasion of grace for those afflicted………but a yolk upon those who chose to ignore how their actions, in word and deed, injure another, already almost unable to bear their cross.

    Nice post. Thanks.

  • Does the Church teach that you will be judged by your personal charitable/corporal works; that is what YOU DO with YOUR money and your time/talents?

  • Really good article.

  • “However, the investment of superfluous income in secureing favorable opportunities for employment […] is to be considered […] an act of real liberality, particularly appropriate to the needs of our time.”

    In other words, one way (though certainly not the only way) that rich people can help the poor is by starting up businesses that provide jobs for them! Score at least one for the economic conservatives 🙂

    “It will be necessary above all to abandon a mentality in which the poor – as individuals and as people – are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

    Very true; however, that raises the question of whether the growth of high-tax nanny-state liberalism hasn’t done a lot to contribute to the perception of the poor as “irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

  • Elaine, I agree about the rich starting up a business, but we have to admit that there are many other rich who start up business ventures with not a care for those being employed thereby. I am thinking, especially, of all the CEOs and vice presidents of corporations who think nothing of taking a 1Million or 3M salary, while at the same time causing the company to need to downsize to maximize profits. Truly, a real board of directors should say to such money-grubbing CEO wannabes: “You say that your requested 3M salary is the ‘going rate’ for truly qualified executives. We say that no executive who would ask for such a salary could possibly be morally qualified for the job. We’ll look elsewhere.”

  • Pingback: The $1 Million Chelsea Clinton Wedding « The American Catholic
  • The mega corporations and the excessively compensated executives cannot exist without the incestuous relationship of Big Government and Big Business. Mutual funds are a trick to get people to fund corporations without having any voting rights. The wealth of all is controlled by a very few. This is a problem that must be dealt with or everyone will become a slave, begging the government/corporations for a handout and charity (caritas, love) is not something that corporations or governments can engage in.

    As for our excess wealth, this is a relative area for us to discern. What may constitute excessive wealth in sub-Saharan Africa is not the case in the USA. We have tax obligations that they do not, we have transportation costs that they do not, we have many costs that they do not have and what we have in excess has to be looked at from that perspective. Additionally, money is not wealth. Having a few dollars in money market, CD, etc. is not wealth, it is merely a temporary store of currency that is losing value faster than it can be earned or profited from. a 10,000 sq. ft. home with only two children, that could be excessive – but, a 10,000 sq.ft. home with a dozen children, maybe not.

    This article is excellent because it summarizes Church teaching and, at least to me, it seems to stress the necessity of a free market, restrained government, strong Church and men who desire to lead a life of virtue. Sadly, our culture of duo-opolies intentionally clouds our thinking about such matters. Big Government vs. Big Business, Democrats vs. Republicans, Capitalism vs. Socialism, Thesis vs. Antithesis – all are two paths to the same perdition. We need to break free of this dualistic thinking, making us think we have choices. There is really only one choice: God or man. Hard as it is sometimes, especially with vestiges of ideology trapping my thinking, your’s too I suspect, we need to be more Catholic – we are so far short of the mark following years and years of minimalism.

    It is time for Maximum Catholicity and this article appears to summarize exactly that sentiment. Thanks for the reminder. Can you do it again tomorrow? 🙂

Margaritaville Christianity; God's Way Or Our Way?

Wednesday, July 28, AD 2010

As Europe emerged from the Dark Ages, a growing populace happy for good news and grateful for these positive turn of events in their lives openly and without apology made the Catholic faith the center of their lives. They believed in the Word of God, even if they couldn’t read or write. They hung on to every word of those who could read. Even during the workday, if at all possible those working in the fields would briefly slip into town to see the priest raise the Host during the Consecration at Mass. Though their lives were full of toil and often misery (they weren’t allowed the liberty of attending daily Mass) the people of this era used any opportunity they could to make religion a part of their daily life.

Fast forward a thousand years and we can certainly see that daily life has shifted some 180 degrees. Many of the elite often snicker or poke fun at those who are serious about their faith. Even those who are considered serious in their faith pursuit, often hide the true extent of their faith, for fear of being called a holy roller.

The secular talking heads tell us that we should be more like the modern world we are trying to help and change. Religion should be more like the popular culture they tell us. We should try to glean words of wisdom from thinkers like Voltaire, Marx, Freud and Alinsky and entertainers like Madonna, Lady Gaga or even Jimmy Buffet. Yet, have these secular talking heads ever taken their own advice? Have these leftists ever thought, “why was Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher so popular? What could we learned from them? “ (For more on this read my column, If You Like What The Political Left Has Done To Politics, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters) along with my article, The Construct of Rebellion.

Some might say wasn’t Jesus somewhat of a cultural outcast, like modern day pop culture figures? Well Jesus certainly enjoyed some fun; otherwise he wouldn’t have been at the wedding feast performing his first miracle by turning water into wine no less. However, he was hardly the type of person that endorsed the “its Five o Clock somewhere lifestyle.” He forgave the woman caught in adultery, but told her to “sin no more.” Incidentally, she probably had more clothes on than some who show up at church on Sunday. However, that’s another story.

Our educated world makes excuses for the behavior of those pop stars like Lady Gaga who make edgy and sacrilegious videos and show up in public (at the New York Yankees club house) clad only in undergarments. Those illiterate peoples that lived in Europe one thousand years ago were smart enough to know that despite the corruption they knew existed in the Church, they were far better off listening to the Teachings of the Church than the whims of the world in which they lived. They and their forbearers had witnessed violent feudal warlords that had plunged Europe into centuries of horrific darkness; a darkness that we face today if we listen to the sirens of militant secularism who want us to return to the dying days of Rome.

We often forget it was in those dying days of Rome that many of the elites longed for the days of their elders, when Christianity was outlawed and orgies were commonplace at homes of the movers and shakers of Roman high society, and violent spectacles took place at the coliseum. Today their descendants are gaga over the likes of Lady Gaga, and treat abortion as if it were some sort of coming of age ritual.

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20 Responses to Margaritaville Christianity; God's Way Or Our Way?

  • It’s odd you pick Margaritaville for the title of this post. As you may recall, the lyrics are a not so subtle progression of the singer realizing/admitting that his woes are due to his own fault. A confession, at least, if not a full repentance. That is closer to Christianity than many of the other things you (rightly) point out.

  • If anything, Margaritaville strikes me more as a purgatory than heaven.

  • Matt, the reason I selected Margaritaville as the title was due to the e-mail I received from the woman I mentioned in the article. There really is no disrespect intended to Jimmy Buffett, only to those who look at the mythical Margaritaville as some sort heavenly location. As I indicated in the article, I enjoy Jimmy Buffett’s music and not only have some of his cd’s, but even some albums and dare I say 8 tracks! I agree with you that the lyrics to Margaritaville, as well as others like Son of A Sailor and Come Monday are more introspective than some might otherwise assume.

  • 8 tracks!! Do you still have the equipment to play them?

  • Too bad the pastor likened heaven to Maragaritaville. Although there is plenty of material in the Bible and Church history itself to work with, if he had to use Margaritaville, seems he could have done a much better job focusing on its introspection. But then, I assume this pastor of a mega-church probably does not believe in Purgatory, which would have been a more appropriate comparison.

    I am personally not a big fan of trying to use contemporary pop culture to illuminate Church teaching (particularly since most of pop culture is garbage) but I suppose it can be done with the rare gems that are around and by someone who truly understands what he is doing.

  • My old stereo, complete with 8 Trak died years ago, but I do have a friend that has an operable 8 Trak player (sort of!)

    As for the entertainment based mega churches, I do believe it is the last stopping off point for Catholics & Evangelicals on their way to total isolation from recognizable faith practices. While we have lost too many Catholics to these churches, Evangelicals are in even worse shape as many of their flock have left serious churches for entertainment based mega churches, never to return to an open practice of their faith. One only need look at small towns in rural America where beautiful old mainline churches seemed weathered and beaten, because many left them after their theology and social views took a sharp left turn in the 1970s. The next stop for these folks was often the non denominational church, followed by the entertainment based mega church. When all the bells and whistles were exhausted, many went home.

    Joel Osteen and even Rick Warren have had to make special financial appeals. This reminds me of an e-mail I received shortly after my book, “The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism came out.” Someone e-mailed me as to how exciting Joel Osteen’s services were, and then went on to poke fun at the “boring Catholic Mass,” or so they thought. The e-mailer concluded, “we have fireworks after our service, do you?” I was tempted to say, “not even at gunpoint.” However, I thought that perhaps some liberal Catholic parish might have done this so I held off.

  • This is funny – a few years ago I walked into a liberal Catholic church and was greeted by a huge picture of what looked like to me as Jesus the beach bum. I dubbed it “Jesus of Margaritaville.”

  • Wow Jane that’s wild. My view about liberal Catholic churches is once you think you have seen it all, something like this pops up. Once on vacation, I remember hearing a priest give a homily in which I wasn’t sure if he was talking about Jesus or Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. However, judging from his tie dye vestements, maybe he thought they were one in the same.

    For the longest time the liberal establishment shunned the mega churches for they perceived them to be part of conservative America. However, following the news that some of the same mega churches that went heavily for GW Bush in 2004 went for Barack Obama in 2008. Now it seems these mega churches aren’t all bad to the discerning liberal in mainstream media or his liberal Catholic follower.

  • Great article. I get frustrated when I read in the news about “Catholics” who want to change our faith and interpret the gospels to their own liking. I think it comes down to obedience. These “teens” have never grown up. You can’t tell them what to think, how to dress, who their friends should be, etc. Plus they are just lying to themselves about the good they are doing when actually they are causing great harm.

  • This morning three young girls in tee-shirts and short shorts took up the offeratory. But normally it seems it is the older men who mostly wear shorts to church. And here in the mountains, you would not think you would find attire more suited to the beach but you do.

    Yes, I have had the sad experience of a world traveler pastor who with his men friends went to Hawaii beaches, Las Vegas, etc. He decorated the church with a bunch of hanging fabric and told us how Jesus ate and drank Hiw way through the Gospels and how we are to enjoy life ‘abuntandly’. He dog has been at the altar and jumped in the baptismal pond during a baptism once. Everyone seems to find it amusing as well as the sometimes off color jokes. One finds mroe reverence and a non=denom entertainment church sometimes.

    Considering the lack of catechesis for 40 years and the ‘liberal’ (unfaithful) bishops who stay in power until either age or the civil authorities remove them, it is something that a remnant remains. But then our church WILL last until the end of time, irregardless of what we sinners do.

  • Very interesting article and comments. I have spent the better part of the last 15 years writing letters to priests, bishops, “Catholic” newspapers, etc., and in general making myself persona non grata to those in my home parish and diocese in New York. Be that as it may, I certainly didn’t write to become popular or well-liked, merely to beg them to consider that they may be failing those of us on the other side of the altar, and how hungry we were for something more than they were offering. What should one do in these instances? I remember that we are called to humility, to refrain from judging others, but when we sit week after week, listening to wishy-washy homilies, never hearing enough about the fact that we are sinners, struggling, or authentic Catholic teaching, seeing EM’s step into the sanctuary in shorts, sloppy pedal pushers, tee shirts, short skirts, skimpy tops, etc., and young people in skirts that barely covers their buttocks, or short shorts, taking up the collection, etc., and you just sit there thinking “what is wrong with people”. Well, here’s what’s wrong….as was mentioned previously, a whole generation of Catholics who were not properly catechized, who are now raising children, who, through no fault of their own, don’t get it. How do you undo years of weak-kneed, spineless bishops, (not all but some) who were more concerned with the bottom line, their standing in the community at large, etc., then to be shepherds to their flocks? How to undo this? It has taken every ounce of self-control I could muster to keep silent, when I sit a row behind a female EM, with a husband couple of young children with her, as she chews gum all throughout Mass, only to get up onto the altar to give us Communion, and she in tight “walking shorts”, and sleeveless tops….I should not have to be distracted from my prayer by this, nor feel the urge to say something to her about her manner of dress or her gum chewing….that should come from the pastor, but needless to say the pastor at this particular church in the diocese of Raleigh, NC, is more concerned with being well-liked and thinking what a great parish he’s got and how wonderful he is, and singing his homily every Christmas at midnight Mass, projecting every baptism, at every Mass, onto the ceiling of the Church, and parading each baby held in the air, up and down the aisles; its all about bells and whistles, and so not about the state of our souls, or a deepening of our spirituality. At 60 years of age, I have almost given up hope, I attend Mass, but look for nothing from it besides the Eucharist, and fullfilment of my obligation, and I watch my grown children, who were raised to love the faith, with reverence and respect, wonder what in the world is going on here, what has happened to the Catholic church. I realize more than ever, we are pretty much out here on our own, and we should learn not to depend upon anyone other than Christ himself.

  • David, the article is a bit long….the problem range from having the cake and eating it too…to Catholics having an identity crisis…they want to identify with the world and its spirit, they don’want to abandon self and self-interest, they do not want to acknowledge their faults and
    sinfulness, they don’t want to imitate Christ nor do they want to imitate Mary the Mother of God. Once all the interior spirituality is suck out of the soul they are left with this empty hull, a graceless void, that will now be filled with the errors of modernisms…dead, dried branches separated from the vine…good for nothings other than to burn. What is the remedy: renewal of theit baptismal vow through consecration to Mary, returning to sacraments of confession for starter…limit your worship at institutions with the 4 legitimate marks of Christ’s True Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic…and upholds the pillars of Faith via: Holy Scripture, the Magesterium, and Oral Tradition. These duplicious, heretics hide behind the rubrics of the Catholic Church do so much harm.

  • Interesting post. I left the Roman Catholic Church for the Byzantine Catholic Church because of the abuses in the liturgy. After suffering liturgical dances, heretical (and unsingable) hymns, invented eucharistic prayers, sermons on the need for “vacations”, extraordinary ministers of communion handing out the Eucharist like mere crackers (without reverence or knowledge of what they were doing) I couldn’t take it anymore. The Lord led me to the local Byzantine Rite Church — I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
    I was raised in the Latin Rite, but the Novus Ordo is pure torture to me now. Give me a Tridentine Liturgy or the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom/St Basil any day over the watered down liturgy of the Novus Ordo. It’s no wonder that so many Catholics have left the Church in the last 40 years. We’ve been wandering in the desert for that long. I only hope the Latin Rite will reform itself and go back to the Tridentine mass. There was (and is) nothing like it for worshiping the immutable, omnipotent God.

  • These souls move from one pleasure to the next and pay heed to whomever tickles their ears. Suffering and sacrifice has no value, consider something to avoid at all costs, and an annoyance and an inconvenience. This darkness makes them foolish and blind for if they encounter a faithful soul’s correction their either mock, flee, ignore, or take offense…and always always always attack the church, its priests, its Pope and its Teachings, and Scandalize the souls of the faithful first, the innocent second, and the ignorant last…they are the poison arrows and darts hurl at the Church from within. To often the impact of these individuals are minimized to sighs and complaints while casualties of souls occurs because of them. They have trully loss their Catholicity…its a wonderment why do they stay…

  • I’ve worshipped with the Byzantine Mass very, very beautiful…what stuck me most is the humilty of responses and acknowledgement of one sinfulness and repeated prayers for mercy and forgiveness from God…the entire Mass is sung…I will stay with the Latin Rite but my second love is the Byzantine…I hear a Maronite rite will be coming to my city soon…I hope to experience that Mass soon…it is wonderful the beauty of the different rites in union with the Pope and these poor soul forgo this beauty to attend non-denominational gyms.

  • The mention of the Sisters of St. Mary in Ann Arbor brings to mind the recent salutatorian speech in Latin, which wowed the crowd, by a Harvard grad who will be joining the convent. Perhaps Lady Gaga draws a bigger response, but we all know where the path that is wide and easy leads to.

  • Mr. Hartline,

    I admittedly only skimmed your article due to its length. However, I have to heartily and emphatically disagree with you about something you said in the last paragraph ‘There’s nothing wrong with having a cold one or listening to Jimmy Buffet’. The second part of this sentence is where I take issue. I too rather enjoyed Jimmy Buffet. But not too long ago, I made a conscious effort to throw away every last tape and CD of his I owned into the trash. The reason? Buffet promotes rampant promiscuity, lewdness, and drunkeness in many of his songs. As I’m sure you’ll agree, this is completely antithetical to our Catholic faith and morality. It may be ‘fun’ music, of which I listened to it for many years, but it ultimately debases the dignity of women and the beauty of sexual intimacy as God intended between husband and wife. God bless you.

  • Great article and comments! Dave, I used to read The Catholic Report almost every day and I loved your writings there! You might remember that I’m the blind guy who works in Christian radio and we used to correspond occasionally. I know you have good reasons for discontinuing The Catholic Report, but I hope that God will lead you to bring it back someday.

    As usual, your comments are right on target and I agree completely. That’s why I love priests like Father John Corapi. I wish there were more priests like him at our parishes. I would love for Father Corapi to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast or a similar event. Unfortunately, we had to endure Obama’s liberal secular rants and Secretary of State Clinton really made my blood boil when she spoke! Can all of you imagine what it would be like if Father Corapi spoke at one of these events? The way he and others like him preach the truth would make a lot of people squirm but more importantly, it might lead to some conversions.

  • Victor, so good to read your comments. I remember you well. I pray for you and all of the fine folks who were apart of the Catholic Report. Life keeps me busy with faith, family, employment and writing articles. The fact that the so many people are upset at the Church shows that the Church is doing what is necessary. We stumbled for a while, but as with other times in Church History the stumbles are often followed with great bursts of faithful evangelization.

  • I agree with the poster who threw out his buffett cd’s. He is an ex-Catholic and often ridicules the church and specifically altar boys. His music is a scourge that has taken millions down the wrong path in life. He even idiotically blamed bush for the recent gulf oil spill.

John Paul II: Nine Days That Changed the World

Monday, July 12, AD 2010

Nine Days That Changed the World is a film produced by Citizens United, Newt Gingrich’s, former Republican Speaker of the House and Catholic convert, group.  That Gingrich produced it will probably reduce the number of people who will see the film, due to the fact that Gingrich is subject to legitimate criticism for his past infidelities to his first two wives, and because he is a devil figure for the Left.  That is a shame because this film is a thoughtful look at one of the pivotal events in the last century:  the unraveling of the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, which began in Poland and was directly sparked by the visit of John Paul II in 1979 who inspired Lech Walesa and other Poles to found Solidarity and give voice to the Polish cry for freedom that ultimately prevailed.

In his address to the civil authorities in Poland on June 2, 1979, the Pope touched upon the never ending desire of the Poles for their independence:

We Poles feel in a particularly deep way the fact that the raison d’être of the State is the sovereignty of society, of the nation, of the motherland. We have learned this during the whole course of our history, and especially through the hard trials of recent centuries. We can never forget that terrible historical lesson—the loss of the independence of Poland from the end of the eighteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. This painful and essentially negative experience has become as it were a new forge of Polish patriotism. For us, the word “motherland” has a meaning, both for the mind and for the heart, such as the other nations of Europe and the world appear not to know, especially those nations that have not experienced, as ours has, historical wrongs, injustices and menaces. And thus the last World War and the Occupation, which Poland experienced, were still for our generation such a great shock thirty-five years ago when this war finished on all fronts. At this moment there began the new period of the history of our motherland. We cannot however forget everything that influenced the experiences of the war and of the Occupation. We cannot forget the sacrifice of the lives of so many men and women of Poland. Neither can we forget the heroism of  the Polish soldier who fought on all fronts of the world “for our freedom and for yours”.

We have respect for and we are grateful for every help that we received from others at that time, while we think with sadness of the disappointments that we were not spared.

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Happy Independence Day! (A Roundup)

Sunday, July 4, AD 2010

Happy Independence Day, folks! — Here is a roundup of some choice reads as we commemorate the birth of our nation:

Following are two books which I heartily recommend for some engaging historical reading of the American Revolution and our founding fathers.

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