Fortnight for Freedom, Illegal Immigration, and the Bastardization of Religious Liberty

Friday, June 30, AD 2017

A guest post by commenter Greg Mockeridge:


To characterize my view of how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has responded to the secular left’s all out assault on religious liberty, culminating with the 2012 Obamacare mandate, as less than impressive would be a massive understatement to say the least.

Even the more positive elements of the annual Fortnight for Freedom in the context of their longstanding track record of getting into bed with Caesar is, at best, a dog and pony show, and a bad one at that!

To make matters worse, since at least 2014, the Fortnight for Freedom has listed efforts from a handful of individual states to deal with the problems they face face due to illegal immigration as a threat to religious liberty.

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7 Responses to Fortnight for Freedom, Illegal Immigration, and the Bastardization of Religious Liberty

  • Thank you. Bishops, such as those mentioned in this post, need to be called out for their faithlessness and hypocrisy. Just as in Europe, the majority of bishops in this country have a death wish for the continued existence of this country as a sovereign nation. America is not some historical accident, nor is she easily recovered. America is a unique exception in the history of the world bought with the self sacrifice of many. She is worth preserving even if that means resisting the faithless bishops.

  • The bishops are doing their level best to assure that no one pays them any more mind than they would any other lobbyist for the social work industry. Each one is Marian Wright Edelman in colorful robes.

  • America’s freedom was bought and paid for by soldiers, sailors and airmen in uniform defending our freedom at the sacrifice of their lives and limbs. These military men and women died that “We, the people” may experience and embrace true sovereignty over ourselves and true sovereignty in the family of nations.

  • City of God Book 19: Chapter 7.— Of the Diversity of Languages, by Which the Intercourse of Men is Prevented; And of the Misery of Wars, Even of Those Called Just.

    After the state or city comes the world, the third circle of human society,— the first being the house, and the second the city. And the world, as it is larger, so it is fuller of dangers, as the greater sea is the more dangerous. And here, in the first place, man is separated from man by the difference of languages. For if two men, each ignorant of the other’s language, meet, and are not compelled to pass, but, on the contrary, to remain in company, dumb animals, though of different species, would more easily hold intercourse than they, human beings though they be. For their common nature is no help to friendliness when they are prevented by diversity of language from conveying their sentiments to one another; so that a man would more readily hold intercourse with his dog than with a foreigner.

    AmBishops are being paid a handsome some to bring foreigners here with different languages, religions, and cultures and who does not understand that such a praxis increases the number of problems American born men already experience.

    Diversity + proximity = violence/war is what some men have begun to speak about but in any event when a country decides to increase/multiply diversity/difference ,Cui bono?

    The State, for men will naturally appeal to it to help sort out the increased burdens/problems that an influx of unassimiable people creates.

    There are so many problems the Bishop are contributing to by their praxis for they are bringing in people who tend to be ill, poorly educated, with no prospect of a job. How does any of this help America?

    It s the job of the Government to work for the common good of its own citizens.

  • The USCCB is little more than a public relations tool of the Democrat Party to used promote Progressive causes that on contrary to Catholic teaching. Hopefully, Trump will take away the Bishops $80 million slush fund and use the money to protect our country from illegal immigrants.

  • Thank you. this post is very good.
    Capital punishment is executed by the citizenship of the condemned, by his membership in the state and in the human race as a human being and by his refusal to pass away with grief over his murder of an innocent member, another citizen of the state and God’s adopted child. The murderer in the first degree ought to have expired with grief over his capital crime against another sovereign person. Unable to grieve for his crime invokes the murderer, in the first degree’s power of attorney to come to the condemned murderer’s aid. Eternal Justice does not change. People have suffered jeopardy of life when the first murder was enacted. Second jeopardy of life continues as long as the condemned murderer in the first degree lives. Justice cannot and does not allow the murderer in the first degree the chance to relive and enjoy reliving his murder in the first degree.
    Eternal Justice like eternal Truth is immutable. God cannot and does not contradict Himself.
    “all men are created (not born) created equal” in original innocence with endowed unalienable, innate human rights. (The newly begotten are the standard of Justice for the state.) Rights are endowed by “their Creator”, never by the state. The human being, the sovereign person has a right to self defense (The Preamble, the purpose of the state and our Constitution). Self defense, an innate human right of all sovereign persons cannot be waived for a murderer in the first degree, not by God, not by the Church and never by the state instituted by the victims. God does not contradict Himself.
    Archbishop Chaput is overreaching in his questioning of capital punishment for murderers in the first degree.
    The murderer in the first degree has denied his victim time to make peace with God. The soul of the victim is scandalized by the homicide.
    The murderer in the first degree may not be enabled to enjoy the commission of his crime in jail. A truly repentant murderer will have expired with grief over his crime. Now, in his arrogance the murderer is enabled to relive his crime and enjoy his evil deed.
    Every sentence handed down by the Court may be served by anyone who wishes to spare the condemned…except the death penalty. The death penalty must be served by the murderer in the first degree. To remove the peoples’ self-defense against double jeopardy of life is injustice and cries to heaven for redress.

  • Karen Steinle’s murder cries to heaven for redress. If the bishops cite statistics showing that citizens commit many more killings, they need to repent and start teaching the catechism.

The Present Persecution

Wednesday, April 13, AD 2016





David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts explains why the treatment of  believing Christians in this country deserves the term persecution:


Without the need for Gulags or Gas Chambers.  Pope Francis says so over here.  All too often, when Christians object to the clear and obvious assault on the right to not be liberal, advocates of the new tyranny resort to denial if not downright mockery.

Stop whining, we’re told.  There is no persecution. I’ve always wondered what their standard for persecution happens to be.  This is a movement, after all, that used to declare Fascism! and McCarthyism! when a record store wouldn’t carry a Madonna song.  So I’m not sure how they reconcile Christians saying they don’t want to be forced by the government to take part in a ceremony against their religious convictions as whining.

After all, as far as I know, the various cases that have arisen where a photographer here, or a bakery there, have been legally assaulted have had to do with actual gay marriage ceremonies.  It’s not that the businesses in question refused to serve gay people.  At least two of the owners I’ve seen interviewed said they don’t mind serving anyone.  They just don’t want to be part of something that specifically cuts against the exercise of their religious conscience.

And yet, against that, all hell has broken lose.  And when Christians have objected to being financially punished, to being hit with exorbitant financial penalties because of this, advocates of the Left simply shrug, wink, giggle, and act as if Christians have no reason to complain.  Why not?  Again, go back to the 70s and 80s and see what liberals said when religious groups tried to get a show pulled from television or a radio station wouldn’t play The Rolling Stones.  It was nothing less than Big Brother all the way!

That includes Catholics and other Christians, BTW.  Not just those who have embraced the gospel of liberalism, but others who want to come off as voices of reason.  Perhaps afraid of looking too conservative, or afraid of being laughed at by those who want to do the persecuting, they often step forward and say, “Now let’s not be hasty.  There’s really no persecution.  We don’t even know what that means.  Look at Syria or Iraq.”  Sure.  Those are cases of one extreme form of persecution.  Often, it’s the final stage of persecution.

But as Pope Francis says, there are other stages, and we’re seeing those play out now.  I wish he would speak more bluntly as to just who and what is behind this.  When it comes to things like the historic sins of the Western Democracies or Capitalism, he has no problem dropping names.  I wish he would drop names here. That would leave no wiggle room.  It would leave no doubt as to just who he’s talking about.  It would also keep people from trying to twist it around and say he’s really talking about those traditionalists who want to impose their values on others by committing the mortal sin of failing to embrace the true religion of the Left.

By the way, speaking of principalities and powers.  The battles we fight are ultimately spiritual battles beyond the visible.  But in keeping with the usual Satanic promises, have you noticed the essence of this entire religious liberty battle?  The fight is over businesses who don’t mind serving anyone, gay or otherwise.  They just don’t want to be forced to take part in a religious observance that is against their fundamental beliefs.  Like making a Kosher deli cater a pig roast for Easter services. They aren’t even attacking gays.  They simply say, in this particular case, they would prefer not to be part of the event.  And yet it’s nothing less than Nazi flavored hatred and bigotry.

And how do those who want to impose their values on these business owners fight back?  Why, with nuclear retribution.  They come in and punish entire states.  They do things that could hurt everyone in the state, allies and opponents alike.  They pull out and hurt the entire flock of people: gay, straight, religious, non-religious, LGBTQ supporters, gay marriage opponents, friend, foe.  They essentially carpet bomb the opposition, hurting anyone and everyone in the process.

An observation of warning.  We’ve come to believe that a Christian business owner, willing to serve anyone, but asking not to be forced to take part in a morally pronounced religious ceremony fundamentally opposed to their own beliefs, is the essence of hate and intolerance.  And those institutions and organizations and individuals who wield tremendous power and have billions at their disposal, who are willing to do nothing less than extortion in order to mandate conformity, and do so by harming anyone in their target range – friend and foe alike – are the champions of tolerance and inclusion.  How we got there has to be a tale of unprecedented dumb. But given our cultural and educational standards over the last few decades, I’m not shocked.  Not in the least.

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12 Responses to The Present Persecution

  • Engage in the public square.

    Coming up in two weeks is a coordinated rally in many of the sidewalks in front of Worse than Murder Inc. aka, PP.

    Eric, agian, is leading the way.

    If you don’t see a city near you jump in and get your hands wet.

    Pro-Life Action League.
    The focus is on the abuse of justice in David Daleiden case. California’s AG is just one of the bought and paid for thugs owning to Worse than Murder Inc.


    Stand up is right.

  • Forcing Christians to participate in gay marriage celebrations, compelling female Christians to share bathrooms with transgendered “women”. . .
    Hmm, I wonder if Muslim celery will have to do gay weddings (I suspect not), and if Muslim women and Muslim public school children will have to share public bathrooms with Trans folk?

  • “Christians of course have only themselves to blame for this state of affairs”. Well said. Christianity makes unique claims. Of all people, its adherents should know this. When Christians lack the courage to defend their unique, superior moral beliefs, the natural state of affairs is such that no one else is going to do so. I mean, if not for Christianity, and its forefather Judaism, the world is simply a place where might makes right. I guess the light came into the world but the world really did prefer the darkness.

  • Orwellian progressives (the OP): Coercion is inclusion. Censorship is multiculturalism.
    A Christian baker must sell and write on a wedding cake “Steve Loves Steve,” or it is persecuted.
    A Kosher or Muslim butcher legally refuses to sell pork chops. Anyone except a Supreme Court Justice and a bloody idiot can see that’s unequal protection under the law.
    The latest: you are worse than Hitler if you oppose a 43 year-old-nut-job-in-a-dress’s human right to take a dump in the stall next to your eight-year-old daughter.
    There is no law except God’s. Time to practice middle class anarchy.

  • Bend the knees before the Almighty God in the Blessed Sacrament. It is giving our God all due respect. I have read that PF doesn’t give our Lord this small sign of love and respect.
    If true…I wonder of PF’s time in prayer, especially in Adoration.

    Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen;

    This pontificate can not, nor will not look at these open-minded absurdities and counter the attack. Instead his choice is to widen the expansion of indifference negating the Truths found in the written Word of God.

    So it is up to all of us to stand firm on the street corner shoulder to shoulder with other like minded Christians. It’s refreshing to be fighting this fight with Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist and other Protestant believers, because they too see the writing on the wall and will not sit this one out.

    We are one at these public gatherings.
    United in love of God and neighbor.
    If you haven’t stood up in protests to these absurdities in public, will you when they outlaw the celebration of the Holy Mass? Or when they gather up your neighbor because he has broken the law by having a Bible in his possession?

    Get your game face on now. Join us a week from Saturday. Let’s NOT give the empty headed open-minded liberal zombies a chance to erode our most precious freedoms. Look around. The political landscape is Orwellian.

  • The Pope’s comments on freedom for Christians brings to mind his occasional references to the book “Lord of the World” and all of this was reinforced when on April 12 he actually used the expression “great apostasy” to descrbe our times. This brings to mind a very specific prophesy in the Bible that refers to the topic that is raised and the vision that comes from the Bible itself. I do not know if the Bible’s solution merits the description of an age of the Holy Spirit, but it certainly stresses the role of the Holy Spirit in the future life of the Church and in overcoming the problems of the present age. The passage I am referring to regards a “coming” of Christ which is spoken of by St. Paul that is clearly not his final coming (i.e. the last judgment). Nevertheless, given the content of the prophesy, it is an event of enormous significance in world history. This one is basically ignored even in the liturgical readings (the passage is not in the lectionary). Just after calming his readers about any need to worry that the “day of the Lord is at hand” (2 Thess 2:2), St. Paul helpfully goes on to give the signs to know when this event is at hand. None of this is included in the reading (31st Sunday of Ordinary Time in year c). In fact, in the Bible reading, the signs are rather detailed. It speaks first of all an “apostasy” (apostasia in the original Greek) and the revelation of the “lawless one” who “opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship … claiming that he is a god [the rise of contemporary atheism and nihilism].” “And now you know what is restraining [the papacy], that he may be revealed … whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth [i.e. the Holy Spirit] by the manifestation of his coming” (2 Thess 2: 3-8). The problem sounds very much like that described in the book, but the solution sounds very much like the Fatima prophesy [Russia will be converted and my Immaculate Heart will triumph and a time of peace will be given to the world, etc.]. Interestingly, 2017 will be the first centenary of the Fatima apparitions and Pope Francis has declared that it was his desire that his pontificate be particularly under the patronage of Our Lady of Fatima. Could the Pope himself see this connection? How could God grant a time of peace to the world without a special action of the Holy Spirit or “another Pentecost” as Pope John XXIII prayed for at the time of the Council?

  • gabriel

    Some wonder if Isaiah 65:17-25…the New Heaven and new Earth passage deals with Our Lady’s statement at Fatima. The thousand years of peace.

    I don’t know. I love the idea of this time period yet doesn’t also state that after the thousand years are at an end Satan has one last shot at human souls? Then the second coming?

    It’s all very interesting and the coming of the second Pentecost, the Holy Spirit renewal, is inspiring to say the least.

    Prayer is key for all the earth’s inhabitants.
    Pope Francis is getting his request filled; pray for me. We are. I would hope his zeal for souls outweigh his zeal for earth. Eventually the earth will pass away, but the eternal soul has only one home. Heaven or Hell.

  • Thank you for your comment Philip. Prophesy, of course, is difficult to interpret. Not even the Apostles understood that the Messiah and the Suffering Servant of Isiaiah were the same person until after it happened. Certainly the world needs a radical renewal if we are not to destroy ourselves. One other thing I would remark on: as far as I know, the number 1000 takes its meaning as a cubic expression of ten (which is already an expression of completeness), which as a cubic number means a very perfect number rather than an exact mathamatical number. It is interesting (given that God is triune) that the book of Revelation uses this concept to express perfection.

  • “An expression of completeness.”

    Thank gabriel.

    I’m reviewing the Profession of Faith pgs. 193 thru195, in the Catechism prompted by your use of the word completeness.

    I came upon this; #732 “On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the ” last days,” the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated.”

    These last days of course is from the founding of Holy Church, Pentecost Sunday, to present time. An expression of completeness is living in the abundance of the Holy Spirit. So the perfection of Pentecost is today, and the reign of peace, ( in the end my Immaculate Heart will Triumph ) is attainable and manifests within each of us as we pray to be empty of ourselves and like Mary profess our willingness to surrender to God, trusting completely that we too can be Christ bearer’s.
    Maybe this is the great Triumph spoken of by our Lady. As our personal Fiat ascends to Our Father, the Holy Spirit overshadows us, creating the living Tabernacle within us as each worthy reception of Jesus in the Eucharist sanctifies us and prepares us to help in the sanctification of neighbor. I said help and it’s worth repeating, because he is power.
    As one of my favorite Venerable’s has said; “God condescends to use or powers if we don’t spoil His plans with ours.” -Fr.Solanus Casey OFM Cap. (d. 1958)

    In the end my Immaculate Heart will Triumph.
    Maybe that’s yours and others that are consecrated to the two hearts. Mary’s Immaculate Heart and Jesus’ Sacred Heart.
    Maybe our hearts enveloping the whole world is this Triumph. Maybe this IS the second Pentecost.

  • Thank you for your comments Philip on the importance of the consecration to the Immaculate Heart which the Virgin Mary urged us to make at Fatima. Certainly this explicit acceptance of the gift of Mary that Jesus made to us on the cross is an important part of God’s salvific plan, but as the Pope pointed out, we are still in the “great apostasy” and much work remains that is urgent for the salvation of many souls.

  • For those who wonder why these people have such an animas toward the Church, I would offer a simple explanation found in most reputable psychology textbooks. These people know, by virtue of conscience, that what they do is immoral. However, they feel that if they can require the rest of society to act with approval, then their actions are no longer wrong. Evil must have companionship to survive and this is the direction that deviants take.

  • CS Lewis, the great writer and prophet, saw much of this fifty years ago, when in The Last Battle he had the ape Shift (Obama) betray Narnia (the US) to the Calormenes (Islam/Iran) and in That Hideous Strength he accurately described the desecration done to Christianity and Christian symbols by the evil people at NICE.
    So, yes, we are being persecuted by both NICE and Calormen on a daily, if not hourly basis via the pulsing snake of lies known as the internet.
    The only solution is the tell the truth all the time: God made men and women in his image, and he instructed men to cling to their wives and become oneflesh. This is extremely simple-minded and even a five year old can understand and explain it but university liberals with advanced degrees cannot.
    Fight back in this war against the truth by telling it.
    God made women for men and men for women. There is no other arrangement that is not, as CS Lewis described it, “bent”. In truth there are no “gays” or “lesbians”, there are just delusional, sexually-traumatized liberals being led around by Satan’s lies. We need to stop referring to them as a special interest group when they are possessed and in need of exorcisms.
    Islam is a false religion, Muhammed is a false prophet, the Koran is a compilation of the thoughts of an insane monomaniac, murderer, pedolphile and liar. We need to stop acting as if those billion fools who follow that nonsense are somehow on the same level as we are. They are not. Their “god” is a satanic moon demon. Our GOD is GOD.

Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2015

Pope Francis and Kim Davis

Just when I think I have Pope Francis figured out, I am back at square one.  Inside Vatican is reporting that Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis:

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

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54 Responses to Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

  • Good for Francis. I had a wish that he would join a march in front of a Planned parenthood aboritorium.
    Imagine the response from both sides as they pass each other shifting their evolving likes and dislikes.

  • I read about this yesterday. I hope it is true. If true, then it should be publicized far and wide..

  • Pope Francis seemingly defends marriage between a man and a woman. Very sad that this should shock us.

  • . On a similar note, he blasted the pro gay/ pro euthanasia Mayor of Rome as a pretend Catholic. Could he have been touched by the US meeting with Davis into “judging” the Mayor at some level…

  • BTW, folks, the news articles published on Yahoo and elsewhere are getting the expected cursing from all the pelvic crazed baboons.

  • I hope this meeting with Kim Davis represents a shift in Vatican attitudes and policies toward the sodomites

  • On the papal flight back to Rome after the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis was asked about Kim Davis and he didn’t know who she was.

    I’m digging around to try to confirm this story, if it’s true or not.

  • Tito,
    Some degree of non familiarity is shown in the gifts of rosaries to two Protestants who then gave them to Catholic parents. I suspect he was hurriedly briefed on the story and presumed they were Catholic.

  • The yahoo news article about the mayor of Rome described him as unpopular in the Italian press. If you’re wondering why the pope is publicly criticizing him, but not Pres Obama etc, their comparative popularity might be relevant info.

  • Bill Bannon,

    I agree.

    I’ve dug around and about 40 minutes ago, the mainstream media (secular and liberal press) just exploded on the news.

    The Vatican, Fr. Federioc Lombardi, has confirmed the meeting took place but won’t divulge any details.

    The lawyer for Kim Davis, Staver, also confirmed the story.

    Kim Davis as well has confirmed the story.

    The story looks genuine and true.

  • NBC on the 28th prior to knowing about Davis has the Pope saying to reporters on his return plane that conscientious objection in such situations is a human right..

    Good response by Francis on the matter of those intimately radicalized against God for the sex abuse by priests…” I understand that woman”.

  • “…pelvic crazed baboons”
    Paul W. P. you are a genius of the keyboard.

  • Pingback: Pope Francis Met With Kim Davis - Big Pulpit
  • From Yahoo, I’m not surprised. The NHL blog I used to read there, Puck Daddy, was run by a big time gay marriage supporter. I presume he is not alone at Yahoo with that view.

  • If they were intellectually consistent, the papal positivists would treat this the same way they did, say, his phone call to Jaquelina Lisbona–i.e., it’s just her version of the story, she has an interest in it being spun this way, she misunderstood, etc.

    Now, I’m inclined to think this turned out the way the Davises said it did–but I also believe Mrs. Lisbona, too. Getting in contact with the Pope would be pretty well unforgettable.

  • How did ETWN coverage miss this?

  • Explains the sudden spinning of the Pope telling Islamic folks who don’t like being associated with terrorism that they should, y’know, CONDEMN IT as “pope calls Koran a book of peace.” (He did one of those “hey, if you are saying X, then you should do Y” rhetorical devices.)

  • This just confirms my belief that the Pope had his hands tied, to a certain degree, on the stage of Catholic political issues, coming to America. He can criticise an Italian mayor because frankly, he isn’t really anybody. Criticise an American congressman, and you’ll feel it. As someone previously said, congressman act like little gods.

    he isn’t rocking any boats publicly, because they’ll pressure him out like they did with Benedict. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but it all makes sense. He is treading his power very carefully, whilst staying true to the Gospel.

    And it also confirms my initial belief that his speech to congress was intentionally diplomatic, otherwise he would not have been invited.

    I Wouldn’t be harsh on him on this matter. We don’t see what really goes on behind those Vatican walls, nor the conversations or the decisions that are made.

    This is not excusing his lack of a “heavy hand”. This is understanding the logic behind his politics.

    PF is a good man doing a very tough job. I Pray for the Pope.

  • Bergolio’s “leaked” (Really? You believe that?) “secret” encounter with a Christian who refused to issue sodomite “marriage” licenses, in my opinion, was a media stunt, well organized by his buddies in the Vatican.

    Seriously now, are we THAT naive?

    “WOW, you see, Bergoglio is against sodomite marriage”… REALLY?

    The guy should be ashamed of himself pretending to be the Vicar of Christ and doesn’t have the COURAGE of a Protestant to declare and proclaim his faith and say to a nation that “what you did was wrong and either you correct yourself or you will go to Hell.” How many public speeches and homilies he gave in America? How many times he explicitly condemned the sodomite marriage law when he had the chance? Not one single time. Most, if not all of his gibberish was about his freaking mother earth and government’s redistribution of wealth.

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • Will you please decide if the Vatican is great at setting things up, or horrible? And if they want to slap orthodox Catholics in the face, or make us like them?

    Also, how on earth a “well organized media stunt” manages to go past the Catholic media that would welcome it, mostly bypass the official media, and only sneak around the back with the far side of crazy that hate the Pope because he worships anything but their goals?

    I found out about it this morning from someone that assumed it was another “all dogs go to heaven” type rumor that went viral.
    I think the Pope has rather poor personal judgement on a lot of issues, and without a doubt holds some very questionable notions. That’s different from not being Catholic.
    You don’t think he’s strident enough, great. You don’t agree with his tactics. I don’t, either, but your choice of tactics is rather questionable when it drives someone who agrees that the Pope should be acting differently out of wanting any kind of association.
    He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step.

  • Question: Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?

    There is no doubt at all, if you watched his actions and words since he was put on Peter’s Chair, that when addressing non-Catholics, when addressing issues that are contrary to Catholicism when meeting the non-Catholics, he NEVER says anything defending the teachings of the Catholic Church and never says any objectionable word to these people.

    He wants to be nice to sinners. He wants to be popular and the media darling. He is from this world.

    Instead of correcting sinners, he welcomes them and even declares a year of “mercy”.. i.e. everything is allowed for a year because that’s what it’s really about… the “year of mercy” … starting with allowing and facilitating for Catholics to divorce.

    And don’t assume that after the year, everything will go back “Catholic”.. No Sir Ree Bob!!!

    Once he opened the door for “everything is allowed”, and the Synod will confirm it, it will be the new “normal” just like sodomite “marriage” is the new “normal.”

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • “He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step”

    Agree Foxfier.

    I wander sometimes, in the way some Carholics carry-on, what differentiates them from a fanatic Muslim Ayatollah. ?

  • While the pope’s meeting with Davis is, in itself, praiseworthy, I find it strange in the context of the entirety of Francis’ visit to the U.S. When the pope is speaking about the hoax of man made global warming errr Climate Change and the naked anti-death penalty activism, he is not only bold but in your face about it. But on stuff like this that actually has bearing on Catholic Christian morality, he is oh so secretive. Something doesn’t smell right here.

  • >>>Throughout his papacy, Francis has insisted that marriage is between a man and woman, but he didn’t emphasize this church teaching during his trip because he wanted to offer a “positive” message about families to America, Lombardi (Bergoglio’s “press secretary”) told reporters<<<

    I wonder what would Jesus say or do….

    Correcting sinners, leading them to Heaven or telling them everything you're doing is honky-dory, it's "mercy time"??? "I'm not going to offend you, I'm going to be nice to you because that's how you're going to believe in me…..I'll let you live and die sinners."


  • Ezabelle –
    Greg- if we assume he really is trying to draw people into the faith, and that in the US the global warming and anti-death-penalty folks are most likely to be, ah, not in agreement with the important bits… he may be trying to get common ground, get them to like him, so they’ll listen to him enough to save their souls. That whole “find common ground” tactic.
    He didn’t make a secret of the visit to the Little Sisters, but it didn’t much hit the news outside of Catholic circles– and they’re nuns, people would EXPECT him to visit them!
    I heard folks talking about his speech to Congress and expected a lot of open borders junk…I go read it, and find that he did a good job of drawing a distinction between what HE supports, and what principles we need to apply.
    ( I sure as heck don’t think it’s very loving to be the pressure relief valve for Mexico, so that the folks who are most desperate can take the “steal a loaf of bread when starving” route with immigration laws rather than improving the country.)
    Of course, that goes back around to the question of his practical judgement… did he KNOW that his speech would be mined and treated as ammunition for exactly the opposite, to drive people away from the Church? If not, who the heck isn’t doing their job about briefing him? I know that they mentioned he doesn’t let anybody know everything he’s planning to do, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get a blessed briefing about “ways the English language media is going to screw this up.”

  • What would Satan do?

    Satan would be nice to people, all people because he wants to have followers. So, he will not offend anybody. He will welcome everybody. He will be merciful to everybody. He will not correct anybody who offends God.
    Instead, he will tell everybody that there are no sinners as fas he is concerned.
    He will give people the impression that God is judgmental, not nice, bigot, discriminatory, and evil. But that he isn’t any of these.
    He is merciful, loving, caring, welcoming, accepting, forgiving.
    He will let you do anything you want and he will never judge you but instead he will encourage you and help you do what you like to do.
    Satan would be the good guy and God the bad guy.
    Satan will appoint a representative on earth. And who can represent him better than the pope himself, the Vicar of Christ, Satan’s sole enemy?

    Bergoglio is leading souls to Hell.

  • “Bergoglio is leading people straight to hell”. Ok. We’ll tally them up at the end of his papacy. If you believe some, the body count is going to be huge!

    It seems he won’t please anyone until he starts condemning the infidels to hell. Sounds like another religion to me.

    His name is Pope Francis, not Bergoglio.

  • Some, err, many so-called “Catholics” venerate to the point of almost worshiping humans instead of their creator. And I don’t care if this human is the pope or not. He was created just like the rest of us and unfortunately, Jesus is ignored even by the pope. If Jesus, with a BIG Halo, was walking in St. Peter’s Square while ANY pope is doing his round, people will still be cheering for the pope and ignore Jesus. I bet my life on it.

  • I rarely comment despite the growing hatred and vitriol so common on almost every online news outlet. I did not expect to find the same entrenched intolerance in reading a Catholic publication. Obviously I disagree with most of you. Kim Davis is breaking the law. If her principles and conscientious objection are more important than her $80,000+ a year salary, then she should quit. It is not her right or job to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.

    Like millions of others who claim rich faith in God, Davis is usurping His right to make judgement. Reading many of these comments, it seems you think God applauds intolerance, hatred, and judgement. That concept goes against everything I was taught as a Catholic, including that He loves all of his children. I simply cannot fathom why so many of those who profess abiding conviction in God’s plan and wisdom, do not trust his Judgement. It is, or should be, at the core of our faith.

  • Err…whatever JPIV…and in more important news, I received this letter from RTL this afternoon…

    Good morning all,
    I am speaking at RTLA Conference tomorrow.
    However at the last minute yesterday Peter Dutton cancelled the visa of the keynote speaker Troy Newman due to pressure from the far left pro- abortion lobby lead by opposition leader Penny Wong.
    Troy Newman is the President of Operation Rescue who have exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted foetal tissue.
    Troy Newman landed at Melbourne Airport at 7am this morning and is currently being questioned in immigration. RTLA have sent a lawyer and many people are lobbying Peter Dutton to reverse his decision.
    Please pray that righteousness, truth and wisdom will prevail and no weapon formed against Troy and his wife Mellissa (and their family in the US) will prevail.
    Thank you so much.
    Kind regards,

    * Penny Wong is a left-leaning federal politician in opposition. She is also alesbian with two children conceived via IVF through a donor.


  • Sorry to bombard Donald- but this is also happening currently in Australia – if anyone is interested.

    Perhaps the effort in micro-analysing PF could be put in fighting and defending our own Catholic communities.

    “As you may have heard, Archbishop Julian Porteous is being taken to the Anti-discrimination board in Tassie, (Tasmania, Australia), by the greens representative, for distributing the “Don’t Mess with Marriage” pastoral letter to parents at Catholic schools and also to Catholic parishes. Aside from the great power of prayer, this petition is another active way to support the Archbishop and to join your voice in support of marriage:

  • “to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.”

    Nan, do you realize just how ridiculous you sound? Throughout all of recorded history marriage has been between men and women, and that remains the teaching of the Catholic Church. You act shocked and outraged because many of us do not agree that same sex marriage is marriage. This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre.

  • “Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?” Well yes, of course, when it comes to certain issues that all his well educated friends in high places are against. God bless him for the meeting, but the lack of openness about it sends the message loud and clear. I was instantly reminded of the scene from Blazing Saddles when out of gratitude an old woman brings the black sheriff a fresh baked pie and asks him if he has the decency not to mention it to anyone. After all, appearances you know.

  • Comment of the week F7. Take ‘er away Sam!

  • Congratulations to Pope Francis for his mysteriously stealth support of Kim Davis and against SSM. Let us hope he comes out again , openly and frequently, in support of Catholic doctrine. When he does this he is most impressive and worthy of attention.

  • “This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre”.


  • Nan –
    your trigger-word program needs work. When claiming to respond to comments, it helps if the topic you’re commenting on was actually MENTIONED in the comments; two dozen comments into a thread, they’re all about figuring out the Pope, and your “oh I OF COURSE am always here” comment is about…. a totally unrelated subject.
    Not just name-calling and lying, but doing a bad job of it. Dang.

  • “Big underground success”!
    Just maybe the last Our Father of the rosary said by the faithful for the intention of the pope and other prayers for him are being heard.

  • Foxfier:

    The anti-death penalty movement effectively exploiting the Church hierarchy and using it as a wedge between pro-lifers to advance their anti-life agenda (yes the anti-death penalty movement is anti-life at its core) has long proved the whole “find common ground tactic” a failure. It seems to me even St John Paul II started to realize that taking sides on capital punishment was a mistake. When Cardinal Ratzinger sent that letter to Cardinal McCarrick stating that Catholics enjoy a “legitimate diversity of opinion” with regard to capital punishment, he acting not merely on his own personal behalf, but in his official capacity as head of the CDF. To my knowledge, he said nothing publicly about the death penalty as Pope Benedict XVI. I searched in vain to find any statements to that effect. And now Pope Francis not only digs up the whole anti-death penalty nonsense, he ups the ante with his opposition to life sentences.

  • Greg-
    I don’t disagree on how effective it is, at least in the US, but it is still something a person can reasonably disagree on…especially when they are charismatic.
    Given that the Pope obviously doesn’t trust organizations to have power– even while he thinks they MUST have that power– supporting life in prison over death penalty makes sense. (Do YOU trust Iran’s use of the death penalty?!) Same way his view of capitalism makes sense if he thinks crony capitalism is normal.

  • Foxfier:

    First of all, Pope Francis opposes life sentences. He calls it a “hidden” death penalty. Do I trust Iran’s use of the death penalty? I don’t trust Iran. It has nothing to do with the death penalty per se. Our very judicious use of capital punishment is in no way comparable to the way it is used in totalitarian hell holes like Iran, China, North Korea etc. The pope surely knows that. If he doesn’t, his ignorance is scandalous. We don’t execute people for expressing political disagreement or engaging in homosexual acts, or the like. I think the fact of the matter is this pope is more concerned with advancing an ideological agenda than he is the mission of the Church.

  • It doesn’t matter if he knows it’s different in degree, if he’s bought into things like the Innocence Project’s stories that it’s not different in kind.

    Same reason it’s not good for the Church to jump into scientific situations, it confuses folks about her authority; a simple and LOUD lay-out of the principles involved– without their preferred course of action even mentioned— would be nice, but… yeah, I’ll take a pony, too…..

  • I think the very low key, later leaked meetings with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Davis (well, in Davis’s case, as I understand it, the Vatican didn’t even leak it; an American made the claim and the Vatican didn’t deny it, was how the story first broke) show a distinct difference.

    America has probably more people who would be attracted to a guy who talks about conscience rights and freedom of religion than people who are attracted to a guy who talks about the evilsi of air conditioning.

    The only way making one message loud and clear, and the other muted and unadvertised, is so that he can emphasize one, and leave a bread crumb for orthodox Catholics who want to think that the pope identifies with them too.

    But the idea that this is a good evangelical strategy is not convincing. 1 because the Good News himself probably priorities life issues and the freedom to worship him above air conditioning, and 2 because, this guy has never made Jesus the focal point of his public life. Yeah, he talks about him, but proclamation of Jn3:16 sounding concepts is not a priority with this guy when we are honest with ourselves.

    Priorities. What are yours?

  • Autocorrect apparently wet crazy on the above, apple culpa.

  • I don’t care if he “identifies with” Snips on My Little Pony– and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that does actually matter, immensely, to the sort of folks that he’d be trying to reach if my theory is correct.

  • “…if he bought I to the Innocence Project”

    Maybe the Church hierarchy will buy into common sense. I’m not holding out too much hope of that happening anytime soon.

  • Re local DC FOX news this a.m. – Kim Davis’ lawyers say she and her husband met with PF for 15 min in private. The Vatican says PF met with a group of people inclluding Davis at the Vatican embassy before leaving for NYC. That he did meet in private with someone, but it was not Kim.

    Well someone is lying. What a mess.

  • To CAM. I guess it was too good to last. Since they are getting flak from their gay constituents the Vatican is walking back, the now infamous (apparently to them), Kim Davis episode. What a bunch of mealy mouthed creeps. Disgusting. Let us hope the news report on this was incorrect.

  • I am disgusted again:
    Maybe we should start paying attention to our local parish briest and our local diocesan bishop. And if we don’t have a good parish priest, then maybe we should change parishes until we find one. Maybe in the end it is best if we pay no heed to what comes out of the Vatican – it is just too darn depressing.

  • What in the world? The Vatican’s comment on the meeting with Davis…( Pope Francis: ” Stay strong”) now says the meeting should “not be considered as support for her position.” Apparently the Vatican sees Francis’ words …stay strong…as possibly an exhortation to do push ups and sit ups every day. The translation of English into further English continues.
    Seriously this could have one legitimate nuance if a moral theologian from a Rome university called the Vatican and said that in his opinion the cooperation of a County Clerk was remote material cooperation with a homosexual marriage …somewhat like a Catholic fuel truck driver delivering heating oil to an abortion clinic….bad looking but permissable. If that type of cooperation in sin technicality motivated the Vatican, they should have revealed that and given a lesson in moral theology according to the opinion they are favoring while other moral theologians might take a stricter view and see it as sinful cooperation. But by the Vatican not explaining their comment, it sends a signal to active gays like those at NCR combox that change…repealing Romans chapter one….is possible.
    Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker.

  • “Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker?”
    I dunno probably the latter: lavender mafia. I have no familiarity with moral theologians. I imagine it’s very hard work making up stuff both about God and about morality. My reaction to the news that Pope Who had met with the brave woman was, “A stopped clock is correct twice each 24 hours.” And now they screwed up that.

  • Greg Mockeridge,.
    You like Pope Benedict probably for other reasons but he publicly as Pope called for the elimination of the death penalty unfortunately. What is bizarre is that all three of these last three Popes did not look at figures for those regions of the world which have millions of poor people which is where deterrence becomes obvious….China murder rate 1 per 100,000/ non death penalty Brazil and Mexico 24/20 respectively….per 100,000. Links to Benedict calling for its end follow:

  • Paul W Primavera-
    hold the disgust, and remember that’s from the guy who is careful with his words.
    Looking at what they’re careful to label the full statement, here:
    it jumps that he’s dancing around something by being very, very specific… I would guess that the Pope didn’t give anybody a heads up about this.

“Mr. President, when did the Democratic Party declare war on the Catholic Church?”

Saturday, July 19, AD 2014

Hattip to Darleen at Protein Wisdom.  Senator Ted Cruz (R.Tx) is a Southern Baptist.  If all Catholic members of Congress had a tenth the willingness to do battle for the Church and the First Amendment as Cruz does, I would have no concern for the future of the Church in this country, at least from assaults by Caesar.

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11 Responses to “Mr. President, when did the Democratic Party declare war on the Catholic Church?”

  • Wow – Ted Cruz strikes me as very presidential.
    But what staggers me is that he had to stand in the senate to speak in this manner.
    How far has the USA sunk ? If not its people, certainly its government – which in reality is a reflection of many of the people.

    And the idiot Obama has two years and four months to go in his presidency. What other attacks is he and his henchmen Democrats going to lay on the American people?
    Very, VERY sad.

  • Ted Cruz IS very presidential, but the Republican establishment will crush him if he seeks that high office. The enemy of the Republican establishment is not Barack Obama, but rather, genuine conservatives like Cruz.

  • If Kennedy were alive today, it’s hard to believe that he would still be a Democrat.

  • Moral clarity. Ted Cruz doesn’t seem to get swamped by opinion. He seems to see a light in all this fog.

  • I’m sharing this with as many friends as I can. God bless Ted Cruz for speaking truth so clearly and consistently.

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  • Not much different than: Convert, pay tax, or die, Islamic State warns Christians – Yahoo News–business.html

  • “Ted Cruz IS very presidential, but the Republican establishment will crush him if he seeks that high office. The enemy of the Republican establishment is not Barack Obama, but rather, genuine conservatives like Cruz.”

    If you ever have a chance to hear Cruz speak live, be sure and go. I heard him live in Florida this past fall. He is one of the best speakers I have ever heard in my life.

    The Republican party establishment works constantly at all levels to cement their control over the advancement/defeat of candidates bearing the R on the ballot. In our state the Republican establishment will only allow candidates who have true convictions and who operate from and vote their convictions (like Cruz) to be elected at the state level or below. The party establishment does not want anyone in office whom they cannot control–people who stay true to their conservative principles regardless of a given party line at the time cannot be controlled. One of my friends who has devoted huge portions of her life to the Republican party here in our state found this out when she ran for Congress this year. I had tried to point out to her in the past, but she had to witness it first hand in order to believe it. Political party structures,in my experience, are about top-down control, punishing your enemies, and rewarding your friends.

  • Sorry.

    I meant to say “the Republican party establishment works constantly at all levels to cement their control over the advancement/defeat of candidates bearing the R on the ballot dependent upon the establishment’s view of those individual candidates (favored candidates are advanced/disfavored”candidates are stopped by any means necessary.)

  • The Democratic Party has evolved to become close to being what we years ago understood and called Godless Communism. Do you remember the outburst of rage on the floor at the Democratic Party convention at the mere mention of “God”.

  • It’s like hearing a voice in the wilderness of Washington DC.

An Illiberal Catholic Assault on Hobby Lobby

Monday, April 14, AD 2014

Note: once again, this is a guest post by Stephen Herreid, not Bonchamps.

“Well, it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” – President Barack Obama

“…America was never well-founded, so either needs to be differently re-founded or at least endured, even survived.” – Patrick Deneen

Faced with the historic government overreach that is the HHS mandate, it ought to be easier than ever for Christians to know who their enemies are. One would hope that in this desperate time conservatives and Christians would unite against the enemies of the Church, and defend the religious liberty that has already been half-robbed from us. Unlike in many other countries, where Christians are already third class citizens and some are killed and violated by the thousands, America is the home of a long-standing Constitutional Republic, a Rule of Law tradition that explicitly protects and honors our religious liberty. The army of the Left is united in its effort to topple that grand tradition and the Church that it protects. Appallingly, the army of the Right is not so united in their defense.

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26 Responses to An Illiberal Catholic Assault on Hobby Lobby

  • Deneen’s argument is appalling. Hobby Lobby goes out of its way to incorporate its Christian values into its daily operations. It has put everything on the line to challenge this mandate. And I would love to see this smug academic lecture people with limited budgets about shopping at over-priced mom-and-pop stores instead of affordable chain stores. These people don’t care about “the common good”, they care about an ideological vision that would inevitably harm the common good in order to be realized.

  • It is a pretty vicious attack and tragically misguided. Hobby Lobby bucks the dehumanizing trend by (1) staying closed on Sunday, and (2) paying a living wage at hire and (3) offering health coverage to all employees.

    Sadly, Deneen has made his ideological demand for the perfect a savage enemy of the good. What is he trying to achieve with such an essay?

  • Deneen is trying to make himself the ideological leader of a “third force” in American politics, to agglomerate to himself the discontent and frustration of Catholics who have failed to make any real impact in national policy. Instead of trying to remedy that futility, he is trying to make it a badge of honor, an implicit condemnation of the American constitutional system.

    Check out Deneen’s self-congratulatory manifesto for Catholic separatism:

    To which I would answer: How well is the Church doing by its own standards? Sex abuse, instant annulments, 95% of Catholics rejecting Humanae Vitae…. Why should anyone look to US for leadership?

  • Scratch a liberal and you find a fascist every time.

  • What is the function of intellectuals, bar to tells us things are not as ordinary people see them? Do you ever get the impression that Dr. Deneen’s writings are a series of onanistic exercises?

  • Patrick Deneen doesn’t approve of what many of us do with our freedom, he doesn’t trust what the citizens of Bedford Falls will do in Bailey Park and he doesn’t much Like Hobby Lobby and its customers. That’s OK. He’s free to be that way.

    (Deneen uses liberalism to mean something close to what the American Founders meant by liberty.)…/

    “…liberalism is not a “shell” philosophy that allows a thousand flowers to bloom. Rather, liberalism is constituted by a substantive set of philosophical commitments that are deeply contrary to the basic beliefs of Catholicism… ”

    Is Deneen saying a good life won’t happen under liberalism? Is he saying that If people have too much freedom they will do bad things (I agree) and they shouldn’t have the freedom that allows them to do bad things (I disagree)? Does he want to make virtue mandatory? I think he does think that it’s bad that people are free to choose for themselves what he would not choose for them.

    In a 2012 review of IT”S A WONDERFUL LIFE, Deneen suggests that Bailey Park is a bad thing in much the same way that he thinks that Hobby Lobby and WalMart are bad things. People shouldn’t choose them and (maybe?) shouldn’t be allowed to choose them.…/12/its-a-destructive-life

    “By contrast, Bailey Park has no trees, no sidewalks, no porches, but instead wide streets and large yards with garages. Compared to Bedford Falls, the development is pedestrian-hostile, and its daily rhythm will feel devoid of human presence, with the automobile instead displacing the ambulating passerbys. The residents of this modern development are presumably hidden behind the doors of their houses, or, if outside, relaxing in back patios. One doubts that anyone will live in these houses for four generations, much less one. The absence of informal human interaction in Bailey Park stands in gross contrast to the vibrancy of Bedford Falls.”

    Here is my favorite comment from the review.(Read the whole review and the comments.)

    “Chesterton Fan • a year ago
    Community is not a matter of proximity or housing development fashions. Farmers live in isolation, but come into town to meet up with neighbors that live 5 miles away. They meet up at church, at a cafe, at a sporting event etc. Meanwhile, in New York City, a person can live 5 years in an apartment and not interact with a single person on their floor who has also lived there more than 5 years. Same goes for suburban neighbors. Some suburban neighborhoods are close knit. Kids play with each other, and parents take turns hosting. Others are just collections of families that happen to live near each other. While I love mom and pop places, one can evidence community in a Starbucks that has regulars who come to meet and share joys and sorrows. With good leadership, a chain store can foster community among employees that expresses itself in good service to customers. Industrialization was transformed, not by abandoning the technological improvements and going back to cottage industry, but by way of cultural transformation. Houses now have family rooms and game rooms that can function in much the same way as the porch used to. After all, even with a porch, a neighbor still either needed to be invited to come up for a glass of lemonade or a beer or have some kind of connection whereby he felt free to stop by. As Chesterton so often made clear, academics often miss the forest for analyzing the individual trees.”

    Fortunately, Patrick Deneen does not rule the world.I’m glad.

  • I don’t know if this question’s been raised or not, but what is it exactly that Deneen is lobbying for, a nation that’s more Catholic, or more illiberal?

  • Fred Siegel, in his 2013 book about the modern roots of American liberalism, “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism has Undermined the Middle Class,” notes:

    “Liberalism is anti-business and anti-democratic. It despises the small town business ethic which drove too much of American life. In its place was a heroic model populated by elite experts, writers and social scientists who fundamentally distrust the public and place great confidence in the “leading role” of the state, to borrow the Marxist term. The scorn and fear generated among liberals by the Tea Party movement illustrates the basic contempt that liberals hold for the common man and the American middle class.”

  • From the sounds of it, Dineen seems to be the sort that writes for the Remnant. The hold everything but traditional Catholicism in contempt. Religious freedom? Their response is that the only suitable state is a Catholic confessional state ruled by a Catholic monarch. Kinda like Europe was centuries ago. How did that turn out?

    Their views on economics are as bad as the current Catholic hierarchy. From what this bunch wants, it sounds like a combination of mercantilism and distributism.

    Sorry but the genie is out of the bottle. It is not possible to return to the Middle Ages.

    The American Conservative is a journal that is influenced by Pat Buchanan. I do not know how Buchanan has credibility with anyone. He has spent his adult life in Washington, DC, a place detached from reality if there ever was.

    The world is as it is. What can we do to make it better for our succeeding generations? One of the things we can do is to ignore Pat Buchanan and his followers.

  • Leave Pat Buchanan out of this, please. I was at the first meeting which organized The American Conservative, and have had close contact with its editors for most of its run. Buchanan NEVER exercised any editorial functions; he simply lent his mailing list and his name. The magazine has gone very far left in recent years, and is now virtually indistinguishable from the Distributist Review. Its money man, Wick Allison, endorsed Obama in BOTH elections. It should rename itself more candidly.

  • Pat Buchanan has credibility with me. But then, I agree with his non-interventionist foreign policy, while PF has a personal anti-Russian axe to grind.

  • My problem with non-interventionism is that, historically speaking, its loudest proponents aren’t opposed to interventionism per se, just Amerian intervention.
    Just a passing observation. I’m not trying to derail the thread any further.
    I have no idea where Deneen is coming from. But then, I don’t understand why more Catholics don’t understand that the Democrat party left them a long time ago. On the other hand though, Penguins Fan has a point about confessional politics in European history.

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  • Penguins Fan and Ernst Schreiber

    I sometimes wonder whether American (and British) Catholics are as aware as they should be of the dangers of a sort of “political Catholicism,” like that that bedevilled France from1870 to 1959 and that reached its zenith in Action Française and the Catholic atheism of Charles Maurras; this was “civic religion” with a vengeance.

    Nor is the danger only on the Right; Le Sillon’s attempt to align Catholic Action with the labour movement was equally dangerous and was also roundly condemned by the Holy See in Notre Charge Apostolique, which could be read with profit by some (politically) progressive Anglophone Catholics, as well as more recent condemnations of Liberation Theology.

    The danger arises whenever loyalty to a political movement is seen as, not merely compatible with, but demanded, by the Faith itself. It also manifests itself in a denial of the legitimacy of any political authority that refuses to accede to its demands.

    The spiritual mission of the Church in France was gravely hampered, during the first 70 years of that period, by the open hostility of most Catholics to the Republic, which neatly matched the anti-clericalism of the bouffeurs de curé. Leo XIII had exhorted Catholic to “rally to the Republic,” explaining that a distinction must be drawn between the form of government, which ought to be accepted, and its laws which ought to be improved, only to be accused by the Catholic press of “kissing the feet of their executioners.” In 1940, alas, too many Catholics rallied, not to the Republic, but to Vichy. After the Liberation most of the leaders of the Catholic parties were in jail, a few were shot and the rest fled abroad. It was De Gaulle and the Fifth Republic that began to heal the divisions.

    The state of the Church in France today owes much to this bitter legacy of turning faith into faction

  • The sad truth is that ultimately we’ve done not much better in a modern “democracy” which has been declaring false aherence to Christianity for so long it is finally giving up that charade to betray the religious foundations most Americans (cumulatively counting from the beginnings of the nation) understoodf as essential to the survival and later, the explosion of success which both marked the United States as an economic and military superpower and within which were contained the seeds of its destruction.

    I have no more belief in the efficacy of a Catholic confessional state than I do in what passess for democracy today, if for no other reason that the world has turned inward in self-aggrandisement and self-worship. Nobody would tolerate the return of monarchy – Catholic or otherwise. Overall, however, I can’t see where modern democracy has any worse a track record than European Catholic monarchies decried by PF.

    How did that turn out? Not much worse than what we’re headed for now. There were many solid devout Catholic monarchs interspersed with heathen-minded tyrants. We have a pseudo-Christian fascist in the White House, and the next election will give us eight years of the first woman president unless something unforeseen occurs.

    By the end of that time institutional fascism will be thoroughly cemented in place throughout our political, governmental, and military infrastructures. Likewise, in all the other social and cultural institutions which the Left nearly owns now in toto. Our much vaunted democratic republic barely exists today.

    This character Deneen would only deliver us into this hell all the sooner. However, he’s a zero who ultimately will receive benefits and position only as it is pleasing to his masters who will despise even his watered-down form of faux-Catholicism. RINOs engage in the same wasted energy in their continuing betrayal of America through their never fulfilled yearning for love and approaval from liberals and their media sycophants.

    Since Obama stole the 2012 election (this is the first time I’ve EVER seriously believed an American presidential election has been hijacked), I no longer believe the battlefield is ANYTHING but spiritual. We have lost the political, social,and cultural battles. Even the military is lost to anti-Christian, lesbian-loving, Wiccans or at least atheists.

    Persistent prayer and lots of it is the first and last line of defense and offense. Yes, by all, means let’s expose fraudulent Catholics like Patrick Deenen who are no better than quislings, but let’s not think that a focus on such responses are anything more than satisfying gestures which won’t do anything to win this struggle against the forces of evil arrayed against the last best hope for man – the Roman Catholic Church.

  • If the state humbly acknowledges its existence brought about by the sovereignty of its citizens with respect, the shenanigans brought about by closed door conspiracy would not have taken place.
    Penguins Fan : “Their response is that the only suitable state is a Catholic confessional state ruled by a Catholic monarch. Kinda like Europe was centuries ago. How did that turn out?”
    Had the Catholic confessional state stayed Catholic, with virtue and charity, Europe would have turned out alright. St Joan of Arc set them straight. When Catholic principles were abandoned the countries fell.
    Blessed John Cardinal Henry Newman said speaking of separation of church and state:
    “It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”
    And again, Thomas Jefferson said in his Danbury letter:
    “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

    What is it that Hobby Lobby is guilty of? Denying the state transgression into its own conscience? Concerning a mandate that was not given by the people, not voted on by Congress but inserted in the ACA after Congress made the bill into law. The HHS Mandate was unconstitutionally imposed on a free people without their informed consent.
    Hobby Lobby is hauled before magistrates to defend its right to be a free enterprise or at least assent to just laws imposed. Unjust laws, not at all.
    This is about patriotism, about constituting our United States as a free nation. Only a nation conceived in liberty can form the virtue of patriotism. People are not stupid. When a citizen cannot love his country, his conscience and his country need to be reassessed. This is about the government imposing totalitarianism to serve one faction of the public opinion. The HHS Mandate is not equal Justice for all, especially for the innocent souls conceived and obliterated by abortaficients. Every citizen, from atheist to Catholic, must insure that the sovereign citizen must be free to constitute his nation in peaceable assembly. or in Penguin’s words: “How will that turn out?”

  • Phil Steinacker: “We have a pseudo-Christian fascist in the White House, and the next election will give us eight years of the first woman president unless something unforeseen occurs.”
    Let us pray that the next president is more than a mouth and face for demonic activity. Even the devil is being disgusted with this nation’s human sacrifice and violations of the civil rights of man, whom our Created created in freedom. Human sacrifice is unconstitutional. As worship of the devil, abortion cannot be imposed.

  • “whom our Creator, created in freedom” I’m sorry.

  • Americans used to have- at least I grew up with – a real confidence in America. At the same time the “ascendance”of Catholicism seemed (again- to me) to be a natural progression of Truth and Justice.
    Now Americans and Catholics alike have lost their self confidence. Lift up your heads!
    Orestes Brownso his reflections on the publication of the Syllabus of Pius IX: “The civil power is bound to obey the law of God, and forfeits its authority in going contrary to it. We shall not suffer those who refuse to believe the infallibility of the Pope, [only] to assert the infallibility of Caesar or the state.”
    First thing for Patrick Deneen and for all of us is to remember who we are.

  • Anzlyne: “First thing for Patrick Deneen and for all of us is to remember who we are.”
    My constant prayer.

  • Bonchamps can worship at the feet of Washingtonian blowhard Buchanan.

    Bonchamps accused me of having a personal anti-Russian ax to grind. To clarify it, I expressed concern for Catholics in areas taken over by Putin and linked to a news story highlighting incidents where Russian military units harrassed Ukrainian Catholics. I do not and have no advocated the US government getting involved.

    Now, it is true that i have an ax to grind. I presume that most people who post here have heard of the terrible attack at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, PA, a Pittsburgh suburb. 19 high school students were injured, four critically. One nearly died last week.

    An incident that made the Drudge Report and the Washington (Com)Post, but was curiously ignored by the local Pittsburgh media, surfaced this week. A 15 year old special needs student in South Fayette High School (the school district I pay a fortune for in property taxes -and everyone else here, too) was continuously bullied by other kids. This 15 year old recorded the actions of the other kids bullying him. when faced with the evidence, school administrators told him to erase the evidence and reported him to the local police, who accused him of violating a Pennsylvania anti-wiretapping law. This 15 year old was cited for disorderly conduct, was chewed out by the local magistrate, and paid a $25 fine plus court costs.

    Due to the Franklin Regional incident, this story has grown legs and is now all over the Internet , although the local socialist rag, the Post Gazette, which now charges for online content, had no coverage that I could locate. I put up with bullies in Catholic grade school and a crummy Northeast Ohio public school district and I have no patience for this BS from overpaid school bureaucrats. I am showing up at the next school board meeting, which i anticipate to be overflowing with irate parents.

    Net time you wantto tell the world that I have an ax to grind, Bonchaps, ask me first. Otherwise, do the Internet version of shut up and don’t purport to talk for me again.

  • Mary, my point is that there are some hard core Traditionalists who believe in their hear of hearts that the only legitimate state is a Catholic confessional state with a Catholic monarch. Europe had these but no more. Kings, queens and emperors are no more immune from the human condition than prime ministers, presidents and elected legislatures. Our system of government, if people cared enough, provides us with the ability to get rid of incompetent or criminal politicians. Instead we have a political party – the Democrats – who resemble organized crime, and another, the Republicans, who are either too timid to speak up or just want to go along.

    Could the English Catholics who rebelled against Henry Tudor get rid of him? They tried but could not. Charles V, who debated Luther, invaded the Vatican.
    Charles V’ great grandfather, King Henry of Spain, was a weak man and easily manipulated. There was a King Phillip of France who pressured the Pope to suppress the Knights Templar because he wanted their money.

    I’m going to sign off of here – at least for posting – for a few days. Senora Penguins Fan has a 45th birthday coming up. She is in her ninth week of pregnancy. This is her fifth pregnancy – we have two terrific little boys and we lost two babies due to miscarriage. We are expecting guests for Easter and the house needs “redd up”. I have spent too much time here arguing and being annoyed by a Paulbot. My school district has me angrier than a hornet’s nest. All in all, not a great Holy Week.

    Please remember the Catholics in this world who live under repression or terror (Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, occupied Ukraine) and be grateful that this hasn’t happened to us – yet.

  • Thank you, Penguins Fan. Prayers for a safe delivery of one of our constitutional posterity and thanks too for him. Happy Easter.

  • The magazine has gone very far left in recent years, and is now virtually indistinguishable from the Distributist Review. Its money man, Wick Allison, endorsed Obama in BOTH elections. It should rename itself more candidly.

    Left? You’re assuming they have a recognizable perspective.
    The whole point of the publication is to provide a display window for the self-aggrandizing idiosyncracies of its editors and staff, including each one’s frequent and repetitive references to their superiority to ‘movement conservatives’. Truth-in-labeling kills the joke.

  • Penguins Fan: “Bonchamps accused me of having a personal anti-Russian ax to grind. To clarify it, I expressed concern for Catholics in areas taken over by Putin and linked to a news story highlighting incidents where Russian military units harrassed Ukrainian Catholics. I do not and have no advocated the US government getting involved. ”
    My parents’ families reside in north eastern Poland, on the Russian border. My father’s family was started by Tartar rape of my mother’s family in 1595. Being somewhat Polish I recommend that Bonchamps’ observation be taken as a great if not wonderful compliment, and I take it as such. Half of my dad’s family went to the concentration camps. Then, there was the Katim Forest blamed on Hitler. My dad’s brother went to the seminary to become a Catholic priest. He was harassed until he had a nervous breakdown from which he has not recovered. When my dad visited Poland several years ago, he was arrested and placed on house arrest. Money is usually extorted for release. Another man promised money for release, when the man got home to America he found Russian agents IN his house for the money.
    Bonchamps has a lot to learn.

Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?

Tuesday, January 21, AD 2014

Hello again TAC! It has been nearly a year since I posted here, and it is good to be back. I have a long one for you this time, but I think you will find it interesting and my hope is that it will contribute to an ongoing discussion about an important topic.

In December of last year John Zmirak, a Catholic author I know and respect, wrote a piece for titled “Illiberal Catholicism.” In it, Zmirak takes to task a growing tendency among both Catholic traditionalists (bear in mind I consider myself a traditionalist) and various leftists to denigrate liberalism in general and America’s classical liberal heritage in particular. The piece rubbed quite a few people the wrong way, as several hundred Facebook posts I skimmed would attest. There were lengthier responses from some corners of the Catholic blogosphere as well. If I had to offer the thesis statement of the piece, it would be this:

 [T]here is something very serious going on in Catholic intellectual and educational circles, which — if it goes on unchecked — will threaten the pro-life cause, the Church’s influence in society, and the safety and freedom of individual Catholics in America.  The growth of illiberal Catholicism will strengthen the power of the intolerant secular left, revive (and fully justify) the old anti-Catholicism that long pervaded America, and make Catholics in the United States as laughably marginal as they now are in countries like Spain and France…

From there, Zmirak provides us with an overview of the lack of tolerance in Church history that was bound to rankle traditionalists, as well as an endorsement of political and economic liberty that anti-capitalist traditionalists and leftists could not but despise. He also explicitly identified with “Tea Party” Catholicism – what could be more philistine for the enlightened anti-capitalist crowd, traddie or leftie?

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81 Responses to Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?

  • I have always felt this way, but I am conflicted partially. I mean, force and the threat of force when it comes to religious convictions seem to be woefully inadequate just in terms of human nature; there is a big difference between “I believe God is real” and “I believe if I say that I believe in God, this will keep me from getting whacked, or could get me a nice government job.”

    So, I wonder, is religious liberty always and everywhere going to be the best option, even though it (in and of itself) is no more than a concession to human nature rather than something to be sought for its own goodness?

    A lot of the popes I have read on this seem to suggest that the ideal state has no religious tolerance, but I wonder whether the ideal state could exist, and whether this belief falls within the parameters of their statements taken holistically.

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  • At the same time we cannot reject religious liberty in practice, unless we are prepared to be denied the right to publicly exist and profess as authentic Catholics. We must know and profess that our religion is true, and yes, that other religions are in fact false, while simultaneously defending their right to be false.

    Which Judaism and Christianity can do, adhering to the common belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and so has free will to choose Him.
    But some religions do not play well with others; I’m thinking of Islam and Leftism, each of which is built to exclude all other ways of finding God (or the Good). To defend religious liberty is necessary but not sufficient when professing Christians cannot profess and still earn a living baking cakes.
    As to the separation of Church and State, I get awfully frustrated when we argue with Leftists over laws, and we accept the Left’s characterization of themselves as rationally guided towards the Good, and ourselves as irrationally driven by God and making everybody miserable to boot. And no, simply repeating the phrase “human flourishing” over and over again does not correct the characterization.
    Eugene Volokh had a recent blog post addressing this problem with how arguments are framed: Your side tries to impose your beliefs; my side seeks justice. Any Catholics of whatever stripe who assist the Left in framing arguments this way are scoring an own goal. Religious Liberty is a mirage until everybody comes clean about having a system of beliefs.

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  • Here, here!!

  • “Religious Liberty is a mirage until everybody comes clean about having a system of beliefs.” Excellent statement of truth, tamsin.
    Films, movies, books, the media, and every politician have agendas. Jesus Christ came to serve God and man. Religious Liberty is about the freedom to come to know, to love and to serve God in thought, speech, press and peaceable assembly.

  • “Which Judaism and Christianity can do, adhering to the common belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and so has free will to choose Him.”

    I do not believe that Catholic policy in the age of Christendom denied man his free will. The Church never recognized forced conversions as valid. The Church has always held that a baptism is not valid for a person of the age of reason who does not consent to that baptism. What the Church did do, however, was forbid the public expression of religions such as Islam within Christian lands. I would not recommend this practice today, but can I condemn it as an intrinsic evil in violation of a basic human right? I won’t.

    “I get awfully frustrated when we argue with Leftists over laws, and we accept the Left’s characterization of themselves as rationally guided towards the Good, and ourselves as irrationally driven by God and making everybody miserable to boot.”

    Did I do that somewhere? For my part, I view the left as irrationally driven by radical egalitarianism. It is a civilization-destroying ideology.

  • In order to speak in a complete way about “religious liberty” one must first come to grips with the Tradition concerning “Church and State”.

    Christ Jesus introduced a distinction between state and religion for the first time in human history. Since all governments, and families for that matter, saw a profound unity between ‘authority’ and ‘the divine’, leaders of governments and ‘fathers of families’ were raised to new heights. In most cases, being divinized, becoming ‘gods’ or having ‘god-like’ authority. Even ancient Israel when it finally established their monarchy endowed the king with divine authority-just take a look at Psalm 2 (read in the context of the ancient monarchy). Also recognize the very close association in the Jewish mind of the authority in families with God, in the relationship of the fourth commandment immediately following the first three all of which have to do with the Lord God.

    When Jesus was speaking, both Rome and Jerusalem saw no real separation of religion and state, yet Jesus said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. It might seem that this statement was a coy avoidance of a dispute over giving taxes to Caesar, but the whole question about the coin, and whose image was on the coin-Caesar’s has a deeper meaning. Caesar himself, as a human being is created in the image of God. Thus, the ‘state’ has only certain rights and expectations while the Original-God has the right to all or love with out whole being etc.

    If there were a question about this, then the Lord’s response to Pilate during His trial cinches it. There in John 18, Jesus says that His Kingdom does not belong to this world. Jesus is indeed a king, but not a political king. He reminded Pilate that his authority did not come from Caesar but God Himself yet that power and authority is not absolute. It is both under God and bounded by “truth”: the truth about God and the truth about ‘man’

    The Church Fathers were very clear about this ‘distinction’ [I call it a distinction because I do not want to confuse it in anyway with the supposed principle of the “Separation of Church and State” as it is understood today. This distinction however is closer to the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment.] In the Letter of Diognetus, there is a wonderful pithy remark which sums it up: “we pray for the emperor, we do not worship him”

    In the Arian crisis, there was a profound political implication at work as well in the heresy. If indeed Jesus Christ was not the consubstantial Son of the Father, then all bets were off who represented God’s authority on earth. If the Arians were right, then the Emperor represented God’s authority [there was more than conviction at work with so many emperors fighting the nicene bishops]. However, if Jesus Christ is indeed homoousion [consubstantial] with the Father then He first of all images the authority of the Father and after him, the bishop, most especially the bishop of Rome. The Fathers of the Council understood this implication. That is why they put a permanent reminder into the Creed: “He suffered under Pontius Pilate” They were reminding people for all time that “Caesar” is not God but very much a frail, sinful man.

    Pope Gelasius would further this tradition in his ‘two swords”: the political sword (authority) and the religious sword-with the understanding that there was a separation of the two powers.

    In all of this there was never a hint of equivocation of watering down the ‘true religion’ whether in terms of the Church’s relations with the pagans or the ultimate heretics, the Arians. In the early Councils, the Church (on al sides of the disputes) found the machinations and scheming of the “Christian emperors” problematic to say the least. Their scheming led to the exaltation of the bishop of Byzantium into becoming the Patriarch of Constantinople, second only to the pope (but for political reasons!). In later councils both Nestorians and Monophysites broke with the Church more for the interventions of the Emperor than for the doctrinal language and questions at hand.. More than one Pope was pressured by the Emperor to soften his stand or abide by a decision etc, even one being abducted from Rome and brought to Constantinople in chains. The Church, especially the Church in Rome saw very specific distinctions between the two powers. it would be only later that things got confused and even mushy

    It was Augustine, the great Church Father who really brought in confusion. In order to quell the reactionary schism of the Donatists, Augustine, in exasperation, wrote to the local Roman authority to intervene and to squash the reactionaries. In his letter he gave all sorts of high sounding reasons to do so, and in this way paved the way for the Church from that time forward to use the arm of the political authority to deal with the Church’s ‘problems’. From this heretics were burned, witch hunts took place and pogroms of the Jews found ‘succor’

    So which is really the more traditional?

  • Liberty is God-given.

    A government that infringes on a God-given, human right is illegitimate: organized brigandage. They can take your life and property. They cannot take your liberty or your soul.

    Fear not that which can only destroy your physical life but cannot kill the soul. Fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell. See Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:2-7.

  • “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” God created Caesar and Caesar’s state through the sovereignty of personhood. Personhood comes before citizenship in order. Caesar belongs to God. Christ was put to death for blasphemy. Separation of church and state will forbid state punishment for sins. The church forgives sins, the state prosecutes crime. As Thomas More said: “then let God arrest him.”
    Atheism undermines the sovereign state, denies unalienable civil rights and the Divine image in man. “Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?” Both, as church virtue and state necessity. Only by admitting to church and state can there be separation in principle of each.

  • Botolph,

    I appreciate your overview of the ancient Christian conception of “church and state.” It certainly isn’t the first issue that St. Augustine may have mucked up either. But I don’t believe that the Medieval/Early Modern view of church and state that prevailed – at least officially – up until Vatican II was in any sense a contradiction of the “two swords” doctrine. Popes from Boniface VIII to Leo XIII reaffirmed this doctrine and always understood the demarcating line between secular and ecclesiastical authority. The question of religious liberty is related but ultimately distinct. Church and State may have different functions, which is what the two swords refers to, but States still have positive duties, among which is the recognition of the true religion.

    I don’t believe that this recognition necessarily entails the sort of repression that Augustine requested. The ideal Catholic statesmen would have discretion regarding the implementation of the doctrine. Religious toleration is compatible with an established religion, in which case the established religion would simply receive preferential treatment while all others would more or less be on their own, to sink or swim according to their merits.

    To put it simply, there’s a difference between the idea and its implementation.

  • Bonchamps,

    You are correct that the Medieval and early modern Church is not ruptured from the earlier ‘two swords’ of the early and Patristic Church. My point was to show that the ‘two swords’ and the accompanying way the Church dealt with its problems [persuading and if necessary calling a Council: basicallly putting into practice Matthew 18] was very different than the way the medieval/early Modern Church dealt with such issues: call in the govt, the troops and the use of force.

    See my point is to put a mirror up for us to see ourselves in a very distinct/different light. A light we used to be, but over the centuries became frustrated with dissent, error etc and began to rely more and more on the other sword to enforce our issues. Until the American experiment prevented it for their own reasons [not theological ones], we believed that this second way of doing things was the only way to deal with our problems. The American experiment ‘shocked’ us into looking at our whole history and soon we discovered this older truer way.

    We still hold that the Catholic Church is the true Church etc but we can deal with our difficulties with our own tools, ‘our own ‘sword”, and not turn to the State to enforce our doctrines etc.

    There are moral issues that are very much in the vanguard in our own day. Let’s take for example Life issues. Is it enough for us to work to change laws and criminal codes in order to end such atrocities as abortion etc. Yes, they are important but the real work is to raise consciousnesses, begin to illuminate clouded and even ignorant minds, melt hardened hearts and seek the conversion-but not forced conversion-of our neighbors. It is then and only then that America will truly be pro-life.

    Error does not have rights. People who are in error have the rights

  • I would distinguish between whether or not it is prudent for the Church to demand the use of force to further some aim on the one hand, and whether or not the Church ought to proclaim a positive obligation on the part of governments to acknowledge the one true faith, or – if dealing with non-Catholic governments – the obligation of Catholics to support, when practicable, the establishment of such a government.

    I make the distinction as well between the minimal and maximum demands of an establishment of religion. Religious toleration is entirely compatible with the minimum demands, which are public recognition of the true faith, legislators who profess the true faith, and preferential tax support (I don’t like the idea of subsidies, but exemptions are fine). Nothing about this arrangement necessarily entails the violent repression of those who adhere to other religions.

    This minimal establishment would be in accordance with what Pope Leo XIII prescribed, in my view.

  • Hello Bonchamps,
    I apologize for the confusion — I think we are in close agreement as regards free will, and reason. My complaints were not directed at you. Your discussion of religious liberty got me started thinking about the larger problem: define religion.
    I wonder if we would be better off defending “conscience” rights rather than “religious” liberty, because the word “religion” is poorly understood, or has been mis-defined, to our detriment in the game of writing laws in this country. Per my link to Volokh.
    I view the left as irrationally driven by radical egalitarianism. Agreed. It is a tenet of their religion.
    Thank you for the excerpts from Pope Leo’s writings. Very helpful!

  • If I may, (do not let my appearances of humility fool you, as I will any how.) Faith is a gift from God to which man responds in thought, word, and deed, in a relationship with God, our Creator. This acknowledgement of God cannot be prohibited by any entity, not man, nor beast, nor demon. “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”, a constitutional relationship that may not be prohibited.
    In thought, in prayers and petition in meditation and contemplation. In word, speech and free press. In peaceable assembly, community, church, in the forming human being in the womb. Man and his God are inseparable. The atheist denies his Creator and his immortal soul which is perjury in a court of law. The human person is endowed with unalienable, that is, infinite civil rights by his infinite Supreme Sovereign Being.

  • There is not a word in Dignitatis Humanae that prohibits the recognition and establishment of religion by the state. What it forbids is coercion by the state in matters of religion, whilst fully recognising those limitations that may be imposed in the interests of “just public order.”

    The real threat to religious freedom from the liberal state was well summarised by Lord Acton: “Civil and religious liberty are so commonly associated in people’s mouths, and are so rare in fact, that their definition is evidently as little understood as the principle of their connection. The point at which they unite, the common root from which they derive their sustenance, is the right of self-government. The modern theory, which has swept away every authority except that of the State, and has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

  • “There is not a word in Dignitatis Humanae that prohibits the recognition and establishment of religion by the state. What it forbids is coercion by the state in matters of religion, whilst fully recognising those limitations that may be imposed in the interests of “just public order.”

    And yet, MPS, there was a time during which the Church did insist upon coercion in matters of religion for the sake of souls, and not public order. The implication of DH remains: the Church supposedly ignored or denied a fundamental human right for nearly two thousand years, an utterly preposterous conclusion. Moreover, DH does regard as right and good that which Pope Leo XIII and other pontiffs had designated as an evil that at most was to be tolerated. That line of thinking is an insult to the entire history of Christendom. DH goes too far. Pope Leo XIII found the right spot, acknowledging that the Church may have to conform to the times, but still insisting on the fundamental distinction between right and wrong – as opposed to changing it!

    There is another problem. It’s a thin semantic line, but there are likely many people who would regard the official recognition of a religion by a state to be an act of coercion if it is to go beyond mere words and extend into a minimal policy of a religious test for public officials and tax exemptions and/or subsides. It may be impossible to practically separate establishment from coercion.

  • Bonchamps,

    I will certainly let MPS speak for himself. He is extremely capable. However, I might point out that you have a gap in your own logic.

    You state that indeed the Church did use coercion in matters of religion for the sake of souls and not for the sake of public order. We are agreed. That stems back in the West to Augustine’s ‘request’ that the Roman authorities suppress the recalcitrant reactionary Donatists who were creating havoc for the Church in North Africa. We already established this in another post.

    Yet, what is faith? Is not faith a gift which cannot be prevented from being exercised? Is not faith while fundamentally graced nonetheless be a free human act. How could or can the Church possibly hope to gain unity of faith when the unity is nothing more than coerced conformity? Is faith free or not?

  • Botolph,

    As I previously established, the objective of the Church’s coercion, at least in the Middle Ages and beyond, was to prevent the public expression of non-Catholic religions. The point was not to change a person’s religion by force, but to prevent those of other religions from proselytizing or exerting other influences upon the Christian community. I do not claim that this practice is something that ought to be done in all times and places, but I do reject DH’s necessary implication that it was an intrinsically evil act.

    The Papacy had specifically outlawed forced conversions and would not recognize them. So the question, “is faith free or not”, is not relevant to this discussion. What happens in a man’s head and heart is more or less free, ontologically and morally.

  • Bonchamps,

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that ghettoizing the Jews both physically as in Rome or Warsaw or preventing them from owning property as farmers etc thus ghettoizing them into the financial trades (irony of ironies we did that!) not only was ok but still is IF we had the opportunity?

  • Botolph,

    Is “ghettoizing” the same exact thing as “preventing the public expression of non-Catholic religions”? The answer is quite obviously no. The most prominent example I had mind did not pertain to Jews, but rather to Muslims living in Spain. The Papacy insisted that Catholic rulers forbid the call to prayer and other public expressions of Islam in Christian lands, not for “public order”, which I presume John Courtney Murray would be ok with, but for the sake of souls.

    Distinctions and semantics are 90% of the debate here.

  • Bonchamps,

    I agree distinctions and semantics are indeed at least 90% of the debate here.

    My first comment concerning the pope’s insistance concerning the Moslems of reconquered Spain, is that he probably did not have to insist too hard. The Spanish and Portuguese Catholics had been repressed for centuries and, on the human level, it was payback time.

    You make an interesting point however. The pope insisted that Catholic rulers….. Are you interpreting a pope’s insistence, or even a ‘ruling’ to be Church teaching? [As you say distinctions and semantics are 90% of the debate]. You see I would maintain that what appeared to be ‘set policy etc’ based on tradition (notice the small “t” not the capital “T”) is the same as Magisterial teaching. They are not the same.

  • Botolph,

    I would think that a directive issued through one of the official councils of the Church, in this case the Council of Vienne, would count as Magisterial. Here is the entire paragraph, #25, followed by a link to the text:

    “It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the Christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to Christian princes where Saracens live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place, in the hearing of both Christians and Saracens and there make public declarations in his honour. There is a place, moreover, where once was buried a certain Saracen whom other Saracens venerate as a saint. A great number of Saracens flock there quite openly from far and near. This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful. These practices cannot be tolerated any further without displeasing the divine majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council’s approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in Christian lands. We enjoin on catholic princes, one and all, who hold sovereignty over the said Saracens and in whose territory these practices occur, and we lay on them a pressing obligation under the divine judgment that, as true Catholics and zealous for the Christian faith, they give consideration to the disgrace heaped on both them and other Christians. They are to remove this offence altogether from their territories and take care that their subjects remove it, so that they may thereby attain the reward of eternal happiness. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet. They shall also forbid anyone in their dominions to attempt in future the said pilgrimage or in any way give countenance to it. Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.”

    That and DH occupy two different moral universes, do they not?

  • Bonchamps,

    I do not accept that the Ecumenical Council of Vienne and the Ecumenical Second Vatican Council are in two different moral universes. I do agree they are facing very different issues and problems and arrived at their positions accordingly.

    If you take another look at what the Council states (in your own quote above) you can ask yourself this question. Is the Council addressing a doctrinal, moral or disciplinary issue. Now it is absolutely true that the three are not totally independent, yet, like each Person of the Most Blessed Trinity they are distinct and have their own mission. I believe we both agree that the ‘statement’ is not doctrinal-no doctrine is in question (except of course the preservation of the Catholic Church and faith) But no specific doctrine is being debated etc.
    I will grant that there is a fine line of distinction between the moral and the disciplinary. In fact for many they seem to be the same, however they are not. Moral teaching fundamentally is the Apostolic Moral Tradition that has been passed down through the centuries etc, needs to be passed on, preserved, protected [for example the Church’s teaching on abortion, marriage, birth control]. The Council of Vienne is not passing on Apostolic Moral Tradition here. Instead, what we have is a very important part of Church life called “discipline’. Canon law is very much rooted in this. It has to do with how Catholic life is or ought to be lived out at that time. Unlike doctrine or moral teachings however, disciplines, canon law while organic nevertheless changes.

    As to the authority of ‘canons’ of Ecumenical Councils, they are of varying levels of authority and in fact some are not even accepted at all. I presume you kneel during the Canon of the Mass [Eucharistic Prayer], yet the canons of Nicea I call for the faithful to stand. There are canons from the Council of Constantinople I (381) that the Catholic Church refuses to accept-placing the Patriarch of Constantinople second in rank among the Patriarchs because he is the bishop of the New Rome while the pope is the Bishop of old Rome [notice nothing to do with Peter etc]

    Councils and all Church documents, like Sacred Scripture need to be exegeted Bonchamps. In a letter to Fr Feeney S.J. in the late 1940’s, the official communique stated that no one should interpret a Church teaching, statement etc except with the understanding of the Church.

  • “I do agree they are facing very different issues and problems and arrived at their positions accordingly.”

    Is that so? I don’t know how you can agree, when I would not hold that the issues they face are so different. They are not. The same issue is before both councils, at least in general if not in the specifics, and they came to two different conclusions.

    I never made the claim that it was a doctrinal statement. What I do claim, because it is quite simply true, is that what the Church called for at the council is in direct contradiction to what Vatican II calls for with respect to religious liberty. Now you can say that this is merely a “disciplinary” matter, but frankly I think that what Pope Leo XIII wrote was more aligned with a shift in Church discipline. Vatican II, as opposed to Pope Leo, distinct from Pope Leo, proclaims a fundamental human right, a God-given right. This goes beyond discipline. I do not say it extends all the way to dogma.

    I also don’t see how it is relevant to invoke disputed canons of ancient councils to question the authority of a canon of a council that is not in the least disputed by Catholics.

  • Bonchamps

    One very important point about the mediaeval practice is that the Church courts always claimed exclusive jurisdiction over cases of heresy and apostasy. The temporal courts could only punish those relaxed to the secular arm. In other words, the jurisdiction of the state over religious opinions was consistently denied.

    Throughout the Middle Ages, such cases were extremely rare. In the year 1222, Archbishop Stephen Langton held at Oxford a provincial council, where a deacon who had turned Jew for the love of a Jewess was relaxed and burned. That is the first instance in English history of someone being handed over to the secular arm and burnt. The next recorded case is the burning of Sawtry the Lollard in 1400, also relaxed by a provincial council as a relapsed heretic, having some years before abjured the same heresies before the bishop of Lincoln. He was a priest and his bishop did not even suspend him after his abjuration.

    Two executions in the 800 years, from St Augustine’s mission in 597 to the Statute De Hæretico Comburendo – I leave open the question of whether Sawtry was burned at common law or under that statute; the sources are unclear. Bracton who begins the series of English law reports, on the basis of the 1222 case, says it is the penalty for apostasy; he does not mention heresy.

    In Scotland, the first person burned for heresy was John Resby, an English Lollard, in 1407. He taught that no one not in a state of grace could exercise any authority, ecclesiastical or civil – Heady stuff. In 1433, Paul Craw or Crawer, [Pavel Kravař] a Bohemian physician and a Hussite, was burned.

    It is only when we come to the Reformation period, nearly a century later that we find a spate of burnings: Patrick Hamilton, a Lutheran, was burned in 1527; in 1517, at the age of 13, he had been appointed titular abbot of Fearn, from which he drew the revenues, but never visited. Henry Forrest was burned in 1533, David Straiton, excommunicated for resisting payment of teind in 1534, Thomas Forrest and Duncan Simson, also John Kyllour and John Beveridge, Dominicans and Jerome Russell, a Franciscan, all in 1539, The St John’s Toun Martyrs of 1543 were; Robert Lamb, William Anderson, James Hunter, James Raveleson, James Finalson and Helen Stirke. George Wishart, a disciple of Calvin and Zwingli, in 1546 and Walter Milne [alias Myln or Mill] in 1558.

    Again, the requirements of public order were very different in societies in which the ecclesiastical and civil orders were closely intertwined and where religious dissent went hand in hand with defiance of the established government. The French King, for example ruled by the grace of God as roi très-chrétien, anointed by the Church with the oil of Clovis and to attack the Church was to dispute his title.

  • Bonchamps,

    I thought you would get my point about the disciplines/canons of the Church not being universal, absolute etc I was wrong you did not pick up on that. Sorry. While I would say that no one is calling for a rejection of this particular disciplinary statement of the Council of Vienne, (therefore not in dispute) it is hardly being called to mind in any way to be revived, renewed etc. It simply was/is a time-bounded discipline.

    Tell me Bonchamps, how do these principles break with Catholic Church teaching?

    “The Sacred Council begins by proclaiming that God Himself has made known to the human race how people by serving Him can be saved and reach happiness in Christ. We believe that this one true religion exists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord entrusted the task of spreading it among all peoples……All are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and the Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it.

    The Sacred Council likewise proclaims that these obligations bind peoples’ consciences. Truth can impose itself on the human mind by the force of its own truth, which wins over the human mind by gentleness and power. So while the religious freedom which human beings demand in fulfilling their obligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral obligation of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ…..DH 1

    “The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that everyone should be immune from coercion by individuals, social groups, and every human power so that, within due limits, no men and women are forced to act against their convictions nor are any persons to be restrained from acting in accordance with their convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others. The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. The right of the human person to religious freedom must be given such recognition in the constitutional order of society as will make it a civil right.

    It is in accordance with their dignity that all human beings, because they are persons, that is beings endowed with reason and free will, and therefore bearing personal responsibility, are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and to direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth. But human beings cannot satisfy this obligation in a way that is in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy both psychological freedom and immunity from eternal coercion. Therefore the right to religious freedom is based not on subjective attitude but on the very nature of the individual person. For this reason, the right to such imunity continues to exist even in those who do not live p to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it. The exercise of this right cannot be interfered with as long as the just requirements of public order are observed. DH2

  • immunity from eternal coercion

    I think you mean external?

  • c matt

    Yes, the ‘x” got dropped. The word is ‘external coercion”


  • immune from coercion by individuals, social groups, and every human power so that, within due limits, … nor are any persons to be restrained from acting in accordance with their convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others.

    Seems this would prohibit the banning of a public Saracen call to prayer as was done by the Council of Vienne.

  • c. matt

    A key phrase of DH is “within due limits”. This is speaking about objective law based on natural law: for example if a religion practiced human sacrifice, or Islamicist terrorist bombing etc.

    Given that, yes, DH would not allow or call for the silencing of the Islamic call to prayer-just as it would state categorically that Islamic countries cannot forbid Catholics practicing their faith etc

  • c. matt,

    You did not explicitly say so, however are you concerned about what seems to be a contradiction between two Ecumencial Councils?

  • Botolph,

    “I thought you would get my point about the disciplines/canons of the Church not being universal, absolute etc I was wrong you did not pick up on that. Sorry.”

    This really isn’t called for. I most certainly understand the general point. I did not argue, at any point, that canon 25 of the Council of Vienne was a binding dogmatic statement. However, I did think obvious that such a directive could only issue from a Church that manifestly did NOT share the view of religious liberty expressed in DH, namely that “the human person has a right to religious freedom.” The Saracens were human persons. The Church did not recognize their right to such a freedom.

  • It is also obvious that the Council of Vienne was NOT concerned with the “due limits” of public order, but rather sought to prohibit the public expression of Islam for entirely spiritual and cultural reasons. It is deemed an insult to God, a scandal, for this practice to continue. No explicit threat to public order is ever mentioned.

  • My problem with DH is that it proclaims as a right what the Church was only ever obliged to recognize as an expedient privilege. It elevates an arguable necessity, given the way the world had changed, into a positive virtue. I believe that goes “too far”, and, as I stated as clearly as I could, Leo XIII’s position represents the ideal point along that spectrum.

  • It is trite learning that Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in their legislation nor in their policies.

    As Bl John Henry Newman points out, “Nor is a Council infallible, even in the prefaces and introductions to its definitions. There are theologians of name, as Tournely and Amor, who contend that even those most instructive capitula passed in the Tridentine Council, from which the Canons with anathemas are drawn up, are not portions of the Church’s infallible teaching” and he notes that “in the Third Council, a passage of an heretical author was quoted in defence of the doctrine defined, under the belief he was Pope Julius, and narratives, not trustworthy, are introduced into the Seventh.”

    Following the 1870 decree on papal infallibility, the Swiss bishops declared, “”The Pope is not infallible as a man, or a theologian, or a priest, or a bishop, or a temporal prince, or a judge, or a legislator, or in his political views, or even in his government of the Church”; the same holds for an ecumenical council. What we have from Vienne is a piece of legislation, pure and simple.

  • Bonchamps,

    This did not come up on the agenda of the Council of Vienne, but the Church of that time did not have a major problem at all with human slavery. In fact, as Thomas Aquinas would argue, it a ‘good’ if and when comparing it to the execution of all prisoners etc. However, over time, thanks be to God, the Church began to recognize that slavery was an evil contrary to the human dignity of each and every person created in the image of God. There is something similar going on here. It is a development, not a contradiction or a break in the Moral Tradition of the Church.

    Does this make sense?

  • Botolph,

    In the sense that what you propose is coherent, yes, it “makes sense.” That does not mean I am obliged to agree with it. I disagree with the idea of “moral progress” and all of its Hegelian implications. History is not a process of God coming to understand himself, nor is it the process of the institution that God entrusted with the promulgation of the Gospel coming to understand itself – as has been implicitly and explicitly suggested by the post-conciliar popes, particularly Paul VI and JP II.

    What of slavery? Historically there were different kinds. I think the Christian attitude towards slavery was always practical and humane, as it was towards all social situations it encountered: it established definite moral rules and guidelines that people in positions of power and of subservience had to obey. It made the absolute best out of a situation that was brought about through both barbaric customs as well as the iron laws of scarcity and economic necessity. The abolition of slavery, and we can add serfdom as well, only became a widespread notion when technology had so improved the productivity of human labor that it became counterproductive to rely on masses of raw human labor power to produce goods.

    All of that said, the Church was far ahead of the historical curve in prohibiting the sort of chattel slavery that came to dominate in the early modern period. The Church prohibited the enslavement of indigenous peoples under threat of excommunication. It continued to allow the enslavement of those who were in a state of war with Christendom, such as the Muslim pirates that would take Christian ships and towns and enslave those whom they did not kill. Such was the norm in the world at the time.

    The conditions under which men live, change. The Church, in her wisdom, adapts to these changes. She did not continue to insist that Christian rulers could take Islamic aggressors as slaves, and I don’t believe she continued to insist that Muslim prayers be silenced. Vatican II’s pronouncements were not required for this. It was never necessary to declare that slavery is an absolute moral evil, nor was it necessary to declare, at least by implication, the prohibition of public displays of non-Catholic religions as moral evils. They are simply practices which no longer serve a useful and prudent purpose, and may therefore be set aside in favor of policies that are.

    So you see, I completely agree with you. These are, in the end, policies. It is not me, but Vatican II, that elevates the discourse beyond a mere policy dispute into an absolute moral discussion.

  • Bonchamps

    Vincent of St Lérins (died c 445) – he of the famous “Quod ubique, quod simper, quod ab omnibus – says in his Commonitórium Primum, “Thus even the dogma of the Christian religion must proceed from these laws. It progresses, solidifying with years, growing over time, deepening with age.” It is no great stretch to argue that the same holds true of the moral demands of the Gospel.

    You are right to point to the social conditions which led to tolerance of the practice of slavery (and you could equally have pointed to the question of usury) In societies where religion was central to social cohesion and to the legitimacy of the ruler, individual rights would tend to be marginalised. It is no accident that, as recently as 1745, in the Scottish Highlands, people were Catholic, Episcopalian or Presbyterian by clans. Even now, in Glasgow, the common term of abuse for Catholics is “Fenian B*****s” In an age when religious dissent was closely associated with political disloyalty, the claims of religious freedom were unlikely to be respected..

    This does not mean that the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae does not articulate the demands of the Gospel

  • There is quite a difference, MPS, between what a 5th century saint may have meant by the word “progress” and what people living in a post-Enlightenment, post-Jacobin, post-Bolshevik world may mean by that word.

  • Bonchamps,

    Actually I am pleased. You are developing what is known as a ‘historical consciousness’ for you wrote,
    “There is quite a difference between what a 5th century saint may have meant by the woird ‘progress’ and what people living in a post-enlightenment, post-Jacobin, post-Bolsehvik world may mean by the word”

    Now that’s progress ! 🙂 Of course now that same sense of differences due to historical context applies to everything-including the Ecumenical Council of Vienne and the Ecumenical Second Vatican Council.

    However, for a more recent witness, how about what Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote in his opus magnus “On the Development of Doctrine”?

  • I didn’t think you had a quality that could exceed your pedantry, but you have proven me wrong with your condescension.

    I have had a “historical consciousness” since I have been conscious.

    At no point before Vatican II did the Church ever imply or declare that her practices were at one point intrinsically evil. The pre-conciliar Pontiffs defended the legacy of the Church. They didn’t apologize for it. That’s the difference between “development” and rupture. One of them at least.

  • And your response is not sarcastic etc?

    Point is this. You do not like/ or even reject Vatican II. What you are doing is attempting to justify that stance. If that is the real issue then we can end this here, because this will go on endlessly. I accept Vatican II as both an authentic Ecumenical Council of the Church and authoritative for the faith of the Church. That acceptance is indeed an act of faith, freely made under the grace of the Spirit.

  • Botolph,

    There has been no sarcasm in my response. I have no need of it, or any other rhetorical aggression.

    You are right: I don’t like Vatican II. But I am not engaging in a pointless Vatican II-bash. The point of my post was to highlight a reasonable course between both the rigid reactionary position of some traditionalists and the Vatican II position on religious liberty.

  • Bonchamps

    Ok fair enough. We obviously do not agree on our approach to Vatican II, I both like andaccept it. However, let me say this to you-something I have said repeatedly in here. I do not subscribe in any shape or form to ‘the spirit of Vatican II’. Although a very amorphous phrase etc., there are those who use it (grant you not all) who actually have not simply misinterpreted VII but corrupted it to the point of destroying it. They have done great harm in the Church. They have given support to a supposed style of being Catholic in which one can pick and choose the doctrines etc one likes about Catholicism. At the same time they have so corrupted and betrayed VII that more traditional Catholics are ‘turned off’ or even ‘scadalized’ by what they believe is VII but is really the ‘spirit of VII”‘s interpretation.

    As to the Declaration on Religious Freedom, it needs to be placed in the context not only of the Catholic tradition but within Vatican II itself. For example, Vatican I and Vatican II cannot be divorced as frequently happens by both ideological sides. Vatican I dealt fundamentally with the ab intra of the Church, giving a solid foundation to an understanding of the Church in which the pope is over the whole Church without interference etc of governments etc and the bishop is over the diocese without interference of govt etc. However, the relationship of the Church ab extra-the relation of the Church with the external world was not described etc and as the Bishops entered into the first session of Vatican II it was understood by all that this relationship of the Church with the world outside it needed to be put forward.

    Therefore we have the four fundamental Constitutions: on Divine Revelation, on the Liturgy, on the Church and on the Church in the Modern World. These are the key to VII, everything else revolve around them. Of course they need to be read in continuity and not discontinuity with the Catholic tradition that preceded them. Like Scripture itself, anything quoted out of context etc will give a very different meaning than when it is read in context etc.

    Thus the Declaration (not a Constitution) on Religious Freedom is to be read in the context especially of Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes. It cannot be read or understood without them. It is rooted in the deep Thomistic contemplation found in Gaudium et Spes which has as its focus and base the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. If one is caught up in the Incarnation one begins to recognize that in a mysterious way, the Incarnate Son of God identified Himself with each and every person from the moment of conception until natural death. This does not mean they are “Christians” nor does it mean they are ‘automatically saved”. It does mean that The Incarnate Son has revealed the dignity of each and every human being, a dignity which is not fulfilled by merely giving or gaining certain rights, but that each person from the moment of conception is called to communion, to participate in the Life of the Blessed Trinity in and through the Paschal Mystery of Christ.

    It is only in this light, not some secularist view of man, that the religious freedom of all people can be seen-because it is in this freedom that they are obliged ultimately to seek the Way the Truth and the Life

  • Botolph,

    I do not share your assessment of Vatican II, though I certainly understand why conservative Catholics feel obliged to hold it. I will say upfront that I do agree with the basic idea that leftists and extreme liberals have run wild with statements from Vatican II. I can agree to the basic proposition that they go beyond perhaps what was intended.

    However, the dense, complicated rhetoric of Vatican II lends itself quite easily to misinterpretation. The fact that so many people have misunderstood what these documents supposedly mean is the first indication that they are riddled with flaws. Ambiguity can be the result of a genuine failure in clear communication; it can also be the result of deliberate design, the ultimate aim being to construct a document that can simultaneously uphold and deny certain controversial positions and ideas.
    You speak of the context of DH. I happen to know that it was authored by John Courtney Murray, that it was barely ratified by the council having met with stiff resistance from men such as Cardinal Ottaviani, and that Murray explicitly and repeatedly relied on Enlightenment thought and viewed it as a significant advance over Medieval thought on these questions. This was not the view of the pre-conciliar popes, as the bulls/encyclicals of Leo XII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, and so on amply demonstrate. It is quite obvious to me that there is a historical context that is just as if not more important than the context of the council itself; for over a century and a half the Papacy waged an unapologetic and unremitting war against ideals that Vatican II would – to put it nicely – adapt itself to or even positively declare. You may say that Vatican I & II somehow shared a unity of purpose, but this would require that you ignore a century of staunch and unapologetic encyclicals by some of the aforementioned popes that, again to put it lightly, in no way support the central themes of Vatican II. Religious liberty is only one of these fronts. Pius IX, remember, declared Papal infallibility in defiance of the entire world; Vatican I was cut short because invading armies caused him to flee into exile.
    I don’t even want to touch the idea that Christ united himself with every man through the Incarnation. That’s way off the topic and would take way too long to address. Suffice to say that I am familiar with the issues and controversies surrounding Vatican II, and that I take the positions that I do for definite reasons. It is difficult for me to regard the proposition that one must begin with continuity as a premise as anything other than an ideological assertion. Continuity is something that must be proven and demonstrated, not assumed at the outset. If you being by deciding that there is continuity, then you will quite naturally overlook everything and anything that could prove otherwise. In what moral universe is this an honest way to read?

  • Bonchamps,

    Ok but I would say the discontinuity is just as ideological a hermeneutic. Don’t you find it curious that the spirit of VII people begin with the very same premise as ‘ultratraditionalists’: a hermeneutic of discontinuity? Not to sound sarcastic but that makes strange bed fellows.

    VII needs to be read not simply in a hermeneutic of continuity but that the type of literature which it takes up is ‘exhortation’. It expresses the ideal toward which the Fathers of the Council desired the whole Church to move. What those (on both sides) who read the documents in discontinuity fail to recognize is that the documents very frequently state a very balanced approach to a subject in order to point the way to the future. Its manner of communication will say: a then on the otherhand b. Why? because both are needed. Catholic seldom means ‘either/or’ and very frequently means ‘both/and”. Reading the documents in discontinuity leads one to take a or b but not both together and in context.

    I too know that John Courtney Murray was greatly responsible for the Declaration on Freedom of Religion. I also know that it was the most debated of the documents. I know as well that Cardinal Ottaviani and Archbishop Lefebvre were not in favor of the final document. However, that is the history of all Conciliar documents down through the centuries. There has always been a minority against any one of the documents of Ecumenical Councils and or against the Councils as a whole. The problem comes with what that minority seeks to do when the majority have ratified the Council etc.

    I want to be clear here. You took up the conversation with me concerning DH. I am not sure if you are new to this blog or not. I can say that some very vigorous conversations and debates have taken place. I basically choose not to argue for the sake of arguing. Some like to do that, I find it a waste of time, although having been on a debating team in my youth.
    If on this and other subjects pertaining to VII you want to carry on a conversation etc about what this document means etc fine. If you are seeking better understanding, fine, I am up for it. However, if you want to just debate, that’s not for me, I find I have much better things to do with my time. Just let me know what you want to do and how you want to proceed or not proceed with me.

  • Botolph,

    “Don’t you find it curious that the spirit of VII people begin with the very same premise as ‘ultratraditionalists’: a hermeneutic of discontinuity?”

    Not really, not anymore odd than extreme reactionaries and Marxists beginning with the same premise of anti-capitalism. It’s the whole “beginning” part that I don’t like. I don’t mean to boast, but I feel it necessary to establish that I have read almost every relevant encyclical of the 19th and 20th centuries in addition to the documents of the council. My aim was to discover whether there was continuity or rupture. My conclusion is that it is not the least bit easy to determine what the situation is with respect to doctrine/dogma – I think only a much larger context can tell us in that case and I’ll leave it alone for the moment – but that it is rather obvious that there is a sharp rupture when it comes to overall attitude and orientation. From roughly the French Revolution to Vatican II, perhaps a few years earlier with the beginning of John 23’s reign, the Church was waging war with the hostile powers of the world. At Vatican II, the war was declared to be over, explicitly, by Paul VI himself in his closing address. It may not be a doctrinal rupture, but it is a significant break with the past all the same.

    “Catholic seldom means ‘either/or’ and very frequently means ‘both/and”.”

    Wisdom means knowing when it means one or the other.

    “You took up the conversation with me concerning DH.”

    My blog post mentions DH. You decided to comment, so, I decided to respond.

    “I am not sure if you are new to this blog or not.”

    I am not. I’ve been posting off-and-on for roughly four years.

    “However, if you want to just debate, that’s not for me, I find I have much better things to do with my time.”

    I respond to almost all posts that are addressed to me. I am willing and happy to share my thoughts on Church history and documents. It seems you really want me to see Vatican II the way you see it, though, and I don’t think that likely. So, its up to you. I doubt I’ll change your mind about Vatican II, but if you want to know why I think the way I do, by all means, ask away. I’d rather have a discussion than a debate. In fact I hate formal debates. Ego-driven nonsense.

  • ROFL Ok you have me. I didn’t pick up on the fact that you were the original author. With that in mind, I did in fact take up the response to your original post.

    You are correct. By the end of VII, the ‘war with the modern world’ came to an end from the Church’s point of view. It was not a ‘surrender” but a new tact, one attempting to find what is good, true etc in what the world is saying and then building on that. That is a decisively Thomist position. It is incarnational. There are those who accept VII etc yet believe that this approach (not the teaching) was too optimistic. That I believe is debatable. I too believe that many aspects which the Fathers of the Council built upon was a very optimistic (perhaps too optimistic) approach to ‘the modern world’, ‘with Islam’, and even other religions (yes there is in all religions the manifestation of the religious impulse however, if they are worshiping false gods they are worshiping false gods. I totally agree that the Church must enter into dialogue rather than wage war on all parties. However in taking up that dialogue we have to be realistic and honest recognizing that all ‘men’ are seriously flawed due to original sin.

    In terms of DH, I believe what it teaches, however, it was really ‘pushed’ by the American bishops who lived in post WWII America and everything was very much in the Church’s favor [as opposed to the laicism of France and Europe]. Now however, America has changed. We no longer live in that country in many ways. Now we live in a culture that is similar to what the Church has been experiencing in Europe for two centuries. I don’t believe the answer is to take up the ‘war’ again, but have a vigorous, virtuuous, holy response which is realistic and not simply idealistic

  • It’s one thing to build on what is good in the pre-revolutionary world. It is a different thing to make that attempt in the post-revolutionary world. I would not deny that the Church had to change her orientation to a certain extent, for she was totally overwhelmed by hostile powers. I maintain that Vatican II went too far – from necessity, to virtue.

    When St. Thomas picked up Aristotle, Aristotle had been dead for roughly 1500 years, and the world had hardly changed. When Vatican II baptized liberalism and humanism, and worst of all, egalitarianism, the liberals and the humanists and the egalitarians were still, and are still to this day, waging their war against the Church. No matter how much the hierarchy gives into their demands, still the world demands more, and more. It remains to be seen how much more will be given.

    As for other religions, again, don’t get me started. Do you want to know what I think was the real impetus behind off-the-rails ecumenism and syncretism? It was Rousseau’s overt threat to the Church, in the closing lines of his Social Contract: anyone who says “outside the Church, there is no salvation” ought to be driven from the state, unless the Church is the state. And since, of course, the Church was not the state or ever would be, well – you get the idea. The original, exclusive, and I believe authentic understanding of EENS was seen by the revolutionary world as one of the greatest obstacles to its supremacy. Rousseau held that no man could be civil and peaceful with those he believed were going to hell. The French Revolution and everything that followed developed this idea greatly, and it eventually infested the Church hierarchy as well. It didn’t affect the Papacy, however, until Vatican II. It didn’t become Church policy to basically twist EENS beyond all measure to the point of gibberish without actually renouncing it until Vatican II. And I believe it did so mostly under duress, though as I have said, they elevated what they once saw as a necessity under the gun into a positive virtue that they were happy to shout from the rooftops.

  • I realize my views aren’t popular on these topics. They’re just personal observations based on my studies, that’s all. I think the Church is suffering and I’m willing to suffer with it. I think its leadership is deeply disoriented and flawed, and I’m willing to accept it – critically, though.

  • Bonchamps,

    I have heard in the past those who believe that Vatican II basically took up the three-fold call of the French Revolution “Liberte, egalite, Fraternite: liberty, equality and fraternity” as the basis and hermeneutic by which one could understand VII. I can see that that would be a major concern for someone like Archbishop Lefebvre, born in France, and seeing the results of the revolution on the Church in France. Yet, the Church is more than France and the French Church. it simply does not make sense that a bishop from another nation, especially not from Europe, and there were many, would even have the French Revolution’s call on their radar screen. What this understanding of VII is is a hermeneutic, A political one at that. I do not believe that one can really come to know the Church or the Church’s decisions and teachings from a secular perspective, a political one at that.

    I understand the ‘fear’ involved on the part of those who see VII in that manner, but not the substance.

  • Bonchamps,

    I am not sure there has ever been a period of time in the Church’s history in which the leadership of the Church has not been deeply disoriented and flawed. As I keep telling my friends, remember it has taken the Church two thousand years to get to where we are today! We are all extremely slow learners, stiff necked, sluggard of heart!

    It is not on the leadership that we base our faith, but on the Holy Spirit continuing to maintain, guide and teach in the Church. The difference is this: the Holy Spirit works in and through the successors of Peter and the bishops in communion with the successors of Peter-not how matter how flawed and disoriented they are themselves. The Pope and those bishops in communion with Him are the apostolic college. There is no other. There is no other place to go.

  • Botolph,

    I can’t say I entirely agree. I think the 19th and early 20th century popes were quite strong and courageous. I think they were true and effective leaders, for the most part.

    On the other hand, in the past, popes have been criticized, publicly accused of heresy, driven out of Rome, etc. The post-Trent centuries gave us a very long succession of exemplary popes. But I am not afraid to say what I think ought to be said about the direction of the post Vat-II Church.

    Also, the fact is that the French Revolution changed the world. Jacobinism set the stage for Marxism and Masonic anti-clerical nationalism, i.e. Italy, Mexico, Portugal, etc.

  • Bonchamps,

    I was not limiting my comments about disoriented and flawed to the popes, pre or post VII popes. I do not share you view of the Pope VII popes, although Pope Paul VI has been roundly criticized from many quarters concerning how he allowed the post-VII Church get out of control. He apparently did not have the personal gifts and or skills needed for that aspect of his ministry. I certainly stand with him in his upholding of Catholic teaching concerning birth control although I myself am not sure that his presentation and arguments were the best.

    Blessed Pope John Paul II was an amazing man IMHO, my guess is that we disagree on him. He certainly had his faults, we all do. However, he was God’s gift to the Church in bringing her out of the chaos unleashed by those running with ‘the spirit of VII’. It is unfortunate that he did not allow the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated to the same extent as Pope Benedict did, but that is Monday morning quarterbacking. His calling for the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 was ‘inspired’ (not full meaning of that term). The assembled bishops gave the six principles by which VII was to be interpreted-principles the Church uses today. JPII’s weakness was that he was a macromanager/leader and not a micro-manager/leader. He did not bring the Curia under sufficient ‘oversight’, and with that certain bishops (only some not all) ‘got through the process’ were ordained etc and well history proves they were not the best etc. However, in his encyclicals, ppost-synodal exhortations, apostolic letters, Blessed John Paulgave us great guidance as we prepared for the turn of the millenium. The promulgation of the Code of Canon Law 1983 and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are not only great riches in their own right but sure and solid interpreters of VII as well.

    Pope Benedict was a much maligned figure by pseudo-progressives in the Church. I really I loved and cherished Benedict. He really firmed up the hermeneutic of continuity in interpreting the Council (there will be no more hesitancy etc in the Church about this) but also re set the whole of the Church based on Divine Revelation, the Word of God and the Liturgy of the Church (spirit of adoration and thanks).
    He was not up for the challenge of the intrigue within the Curia that was both savaging him and undermining his own petrine ministry. He had the courage to step down so that another more capable could finally set that house in order.

    I am generally favorable toward Pope Francis-no much maligned by more traditional sources He had stepped on some landmines in the first weeks of his petrine ministry but seemed to have learned from that. I am generally very favorable about the tact which he is taking up-however, number one, he is not without his faults, and secondly it is really too early to come down with a definitive verdict on him

    For the rest, Bonchamps, I would agree that the French Revolution certainly prepared the way for many other revolutions etc especially te Bolshevist one in Russia, however, I do not see the French Revolution having lasting effect. The Enlightenment, while related is not the same thing, and I do see the lasting effects of that. We are actually at a point in time that while it seems that the Enlightenment is just about at its apex I believe it is actually in its last gasps. We are entering a totally new era of history, one that cannot be easily described or understood, but it is already here in some form. That will be our next challenge.

  • Yes, on birth control I think Pius XI’s Casti Connubii was more to the point. As for JP II, I will leave it at yes, we disagree. There are aspects of his theology that are extremely troubling. However I am at least grateful that he allowed the formation of the FSSP, whose Latin Masses I usually attend. I have great respect for the intellect and learning of Joseph Ratzinger. I have virtually none for that of Francis. His statements on everything from morality to proselytizing to economics have been nothing but irritating and/or myopic. If ever there was a pope to stir my inner rad-trad to fury, it would be him.

    On John 23, Paul VI, and JP II, you may want to research the translated critical biographies of Fr. Luigi Villa. For starters.

  • Botolph and Bonchamps,
    Thank you for an interesting discussion. I am interested in your opinions regarding “The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita” and its effect, if any, on the current age.

  • Bonchamps

    To put VII in context, the church had been in turmoil for at least 60 years before the Council, possibly for a century.

    It was in 1904 that Maurice Blondel wrote, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.”

    We have only to consider the rival Catholic supporters of Action Française and Le Sillon, who fought each other in the streets, to see the truth of that at a political level, but with deep theological undertones (Both movements were ultimately condemned by the Holy See).

    Responding to a national survey in 1907, Blondel articulated his sense of the “present crisis”: “[U]nprecedented perhaps in depth and extent–for it is at the same time scientific, metaphysical, moral, social and political–[the crisis] is not a “dissolution” [for the spirit of faith does not die], nor even an “evolution” [for the spirit of faith does not change], it is a purification of the religious sense, and an integration of Catholic truth.”

    This is a view that was shared by the leading theologians of the 20th century: Brémond, the Oratorians Bouyer and Laberthonnière, the Dominicans, Chenu and Cardinal Congar and the Jesuits, Cardinal Lubac, Cardinal Daniélou, Maréchal and Mondésert.

    Blondel diagnosed the root of the crisis: “First, the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.” Hence, anything “that would hinder this spirit of domination, everything that would recall the role of this interior hearing (auditus interior) of which St. Thomas did not fear to speak, would be pitilessly blasted (foudroyé).”

    It was because of this that Cardinal Henri de Lubac said of Blondel that “he is the one who launched the decisive attack on the dualist theory that was destroying Christian thought.”

    The primary task of the Council was to heal this division and why I would venture to suggest that Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium were its most important achievements.

  • Slainte,

    I have not been ignoring you or your question. I just came back online. Now to your question.

    “Alta Vendita” is a genuine document arising in the 19th century from Masonic circles. It stated that there was a plan to infiltrate the Vatican and take it over. It was hailed by both Pope Pius IX and Leo XIII as genuine and they wanted it to be widely published to show the real danger of Masonry.

    Those are facts that are indisputable. However, with every true story there is a background, history etc. Up until 1870 a relatively large swath of land across the middle of Italy existed which was known as “the Papal States”. The pope was literally a ruler of a sizable portion of land and numbers of people. He had a standing army to defend it, etc. While the actual size of the lands swelled and shrunk according to the historical and political forces of the particular age, they remained in place from the Dark Ages until 1870.

    While the origins of the lands arises from actually many sources, basically as barbarian overlords came to peace with the Church during the Dark Ages they donated tracks of their lands to the popes in thanksgiving for both the Catholic Faith and peace finally achieved. Chief among these were the Lombards, a Germanic peoples who settled down the spine of Italy. A region of Italy is still named after them, Lombardy.

    Over time, what a legend rose which stated that it was the Roman Emperor Constantine who donated the land, thus it became known as Constantine’s Donation. it was a legend which had/has no basis in history. Constantine was generous with plots of land for churches etc but a Constantine would never have dreamed of giving away the unity of his Roman Empire, not even to the Church. However the legend grew and began to believed [this is very important to keep in mind for the specific topic]. In the 800’s a forged document came to be written supposedly a copy of the deed Constantine had given to Pope Saint Sylvester I (the pope at the time of Constantine). That became ‘proof’ of the right of the pope to have what was then known as the Papal States.

    Now there is a real issue at work here. If the pope was subject to any foreign power, which has happened at various points in history, how could he really be independent enough to minister as the successor of St Peter and not be some king’s stooge [See here the development of the distinction between Church and State-even if its form is ‘different’] The popes saw the defense of the papal states to be essential not only as keeping what had supposedly given them but also as the primary means for them to remain independent [You can catch the flavor of this in the Movie The Agony and the Ecstasy: the story of Pope Julius II, the warrior pope and Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel]

    Now to the point Slainte. In the 1800’s there was a movement to reunite all of Italy and Sicily, While popular etc., it was led by Italian Masons who already as Masons had no love for the Church. The leader of the Italian unification movement was the Italian Mason, Garabaldi. The only thing finally in their way to Italian reunification were the Papal States. They waged war in every way they possibly could-including planning on infiltrating the Vatican-via the Curia. It was the Garabaldi forces who invaded Rome precisely was the First Vatican Council was in session in 1870. The Council disbanded and never ended until the very first act of the Second Vatican Council. Italy was reunited. The papal Palace and residence in Rome, the Quirinal Palace was taken over as the residence of the King of Italy (at the time) It is now the official residence and work place of the Italian President. On a hill overlooking the Vatican is a statue of an Italian revolutionary pointing a gun at the Vatican. It is the statue of Garibaldi, the masonic revolutionary.

    Although Pope Pius IX wanted the First Vatican Council to back his temporal role as well as his spiritual and to state that any statement he made was infallible, the Council wisely ‘staked’ out the real claim and power of the Church: faith and morals. Vatican I unified the Church and her mission ab intra (on the inside) [the relationship with the world ab extra still needed to be staked out-which happened in Vatican II] Neither Pius I nor Leo XIII nor any of the popes until Pope Pius XI agreed to the seizure of the Papal States, Rome or so much property in Rome which belonged to the Church. That would all be sorted out during the ministry of Pope Pius XI with Mussolini of all people. With Mussolini the Church was given a very great amount of money in payment for the lost lands property etc. The Vatican City State was established (thankfully) to ensure Papal independence of foreign powers [which would happen very soon with the German Nazi occupation of Rome]. With Pius XI and then Pius XII the Church was able to begin laying the groundwork of how best to ‘work with Italy and the wider world [I would especially point out Pope Pius XII radio addresses on the subject of the Church and State]

    So what of the Alta Vendita? The reason for wanting to infiltrate the Vatican were no longer pressing after 1870. As a group, the Masons do indeed remain inimical to the Church. That needs to be kept in mind. They are not “Protestant Knights of Columbus’. However, there are so many conspiracy theories about them that they give Dan Brown the novelist great material for his novels. Since 1870 the Nazis had plans to infiltrate the Vatican as well as the Soviet Union. Were there ever Masons in the Curia? I would be nuts to say there were not-see that is the nature of a secret organization-but enough to take over the Vatican and the Church? ROFL ! I am sure there were some fascist/nazi sympathizers in the Vatican during those terrible years. I am also sure there were communist spies in the Vatican as well-but again, enough to take over the Church?

    The bigger question is this. Would the Holy Spirit allow such a widespread apostasy of the Church so that popes, councils, bishops etc deliberately set out to subvert, substantially change [for example say: the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood of Christ] the teaching of the Church in faith and morals? There are those who fully expect the anti-christ to be a pope? Can that be? NO! Not unless the whole thing is one big lie/hoax. See Slainte, people really do not think their positions, their conspiracy theories through. If what they say is true then the Holy Spirit is not guiding the Church, Christ is not faithful to His promise, is not the Son of God, and frankly then, there is no god. I believe it was Cardinal Newman who said, take one strand of the truth of the Church out and the whole thing falls to pieces (this is what Pope Francis was referring to in an interview but it was not communicated well)

    In the meantime, and I will end with this. Napoleon Bonaparte marched into Notre Dame in Paris and announced to the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris that he would take over the Church in a month. Now the previous archbishop of Paris had apostasized and went over with the revolutionaries. Knowing this full well the Cardinal Archbishop laughed in Napoleon’s face and said. “Your excellency, if the popes and bishops of the Church have not done this in 1800 years you are not going to do it in a month!” Don’t get caught up with a sense that Christ Jesus is not Lord and Head of His Church. He is. And HIs Promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church built on Peter is very real and true.

  • Thank you Botolph for explaining the historical context of the document regarding the Alta Vendita. Freemasonry is often discounted as the stuff of conspiracy theories, yet not one but several popes took its promises very seriously including Pope Leo XIII who urged that the mask of freemasonry should be ripped off. It is not just the goals but the ideas of masonry that was of concern to the popes.
    The French Revolution is generally understood to have been a masonic enterprise which directly targeted the Church, causing blood to run in the streets, and eventually resulted in the insinstallation of the goddess of reason on the high altar of Notre Dame. From this revolution came the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” of August 26, 1789 which encompassed many principles we would associate with masonry and the Enlightenment.
    Isn’t “religious liberty’ fundamentally a masonic principle, and if so, how does Catholicism and the Council at VII reconcile this with the traditional faith and the warnings of several popes?

  • Slainte,

    Botolph already established what he calls – and I would concur – the “indisputable facts.” The document is a real thing, popes recognized it as a real thing, and so it would be wise to take it seriously. Between MPS and Botolph, you have already read a tome, so I will try to make my own remarks relatively short.

    Where I differ with Botolph is here: the Masonic conspiracy did not end in 1870, the documents of the Carbonari, that is, Italian Freemasonry, did not limit their intentions to the overthrow of the Papal States, that it was not simply their desire to crack the temporal power of the Papacy, but to transform the Church into a Unitarian clearing house for all religions. Abolishing the Papal States didn’t abolish the Papacy, after all. It was still there, stubborn as ever, insisting on the exclusivity of the one true faith. Completely unacceptable to the powers and principalities.

    Botolph asks if the Holy Spirit would allow the Church to be consumed by a Masonic conspiracy. My answer would be to read about what God allowed to happen to the Jews in the Old Testament. Yes, I do believe God could, would, and perhaps has allowed the Church to be viciously scourged by the hostile forces of the world for a number of reasons.

    What I can’t say is whether or not the possibility of Masonic popes = loss of office = sedevacantism = the whole thing is over and is either a lie, or, the end times are immanent and we’ll be seeing Enoch and Elijah. There are sedes who believe they ARE Enoch and Elijah, and I’ve met some of them. It is the ONLY position a sede can take. The end is here and now. Otherwise Botolph would be right; you would have to conclude that the Church is a false institution.

    I think it more likely that the hierarchy is proclaiming bold and strange new doctrines that have not been formally defined as heresies, though they could well be and certainly have the odor of them. I think this ambiguous state of affairs does not easily lend itself to simple and definite conclusions, as so many on both sides of the question would have it. Anti-sedes make a lot of presumptions about what God would and wouldn’t do and what His promises mean and don’t mean; the sedes themselves make a lot of presumptions about what heresy is, whether it applies, what it means about loss of office, etc. All of this presumption, I seek to avoid. I don’t know if we are in the last days, but it seems obvious to me that we are in a time of chastisement, and that we have many wolves posing as shepherds.

    However, if you want some interesting facts, I recommend the critical biographies of John 23, Paul VI and JP II by Fr. Luigi Villa. It seems almost certain that John 23 was a Freemason. At the very least, it is a fact that he was admired by Freemasons.

  • Slainte,

    If as you say that the French Revolution was a masonic enterprise and if as you say that freedom of religion is a masonic principle [I would give a qualitative agreement with the first statement and a negative assessment of the second] how is it that the Catholic Church was persecuted in the French revolution?

    Slainte, we have spoken over a great deal of time. Just step back and think for a second. Is it not in the least a bit suspicious that everything being said against Vatican II etc is related back to the French Revolution as if the Church were merely just one more sociological given which can only run according to socio-political forces. The very fact that secular political terms such as ‘left’/’right’ and ‘liberal/conservative’ are used by those on both sides who read Vatican II as a break in the tradition should give you pause at least.

    Christ has established the new and eternal Covenant in His Blood and promised to be with the Church until the end of the world. He has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church built on Peter. He promised His Spirit to continue to remind the Church of all that Christ has revealed. As terrible and nasty as the French revolution was and as problematic to say the least that the Masons were and still remain-do you really think Christ would abandon His Church, break His faithfulness to His Bride [Israel was not the Bride], and allow revolutionaries and a secret society take His Church away from Him? That Church either remains the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church or everything we confess in the Creed is rubbish. It is that clear, that important!

  • Bonchamps,

    I actually feel very badly that your own spiritual journey has taken you to this point. I am not being sarcastic nor am I giving you ‘false pity’ [just want to make this perfectly clear] I genuinely am saddened by what you are saying. I feel in a situation as if we were two astronauts and that the tether line you are attached to is fraying and you are drifting more and more into deep space. I want to reach out to you brother, I really do.

    I obviously do not agree with much that you wrote. Let me say this. Ancient Israel and the Church are in two very different eras of Salvation History, established by two very distinct and different Covenants, mediated by two very different Mediators. Christ established a new and eternal Covenant in His Blood, establishing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as its center and founding that Covenant Community, the Church on the Apostolic College, headed by Peter. We are not looking for a newer covenant, nor another Church etc. Now I can say outright that there has never been a golden age of the Church-that is perhaps the oldest legend, myth even heresy. If anyone wants to dispute this take a close look at Acts or any of the Letters of Paul, or even the seven Letters found at the beginning of the Book of Revelations. The Church has been attacked on the outside by religious and political forces seeking to either exterminate her or control her. The Church has been attacked on the inside by two [not just one] enemies: heresy (the stubborn refusal to accept in faith/teach what the Catholic Church teaches: the great sin against Truth) and schism (the great sin against charity). Sadly with almost every Ecumenical Council of the Church there has been a minority who have rejected what the Church taught or refused to go in the direction the Church was taking-and went there own way. Some into schism others into both schism and heresy. And where is the Church? The Church is that community that remains with Peter and those bishops in communion with him. It is that Church that is One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic and frankly there is no other (although other churches share in a great deal of this they do not share in its fullness).

    There can be no room for nor reason for either presumption or triumphalism among Catholics. To be Catholic is far more than accepting x amount of teachings as true [athough that indeed is important] It is to answer the call of Christ daily to be a disciple in a community of disciples, growing stronger in being witnesses before the world. It means answering the call of Christ to an ongoing and never ending lifelong conversion of life in Christ’s call to us to be holy. It means to grow more and more in communion with the Church in faith, in the sacramental life and in the unity of community under and with the bishops and pope. There is no room for boasting since none of us has ‘arrived” in the Kingdom. I could go on but will stop here.

    However I need to make one more point. Your reading source from Italy states Pope John XXIII was a mason. In fact that would mean John XXIII did not believe in and consciously rejected the Blessed Trinity, the Divinity of Christ salvation in and through His Paschal Mystery etc (I could go on). Yet in a few months time he will be canonized a saint. Every canonization is an act of papal infallibility, declaring without equivocation that the blessed is living in the Beatific Vision etc. So what is about to take place is an absolutely guaranteed declaration of the most solemn teaching of a pope as defined by Vatican I that an apostate rebel is a saint-according to what your source says and you repeated. Do you realize again what this means? If this actually were true the whole thing-the whole thing=and not just for what you are fighting for is absolute rubbish-can you see that?

  • Botolph,
    I am not questioning the holiness of the Church, the integrity or legitimacy of the popes, or that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and will ensure that the gates of hell will not prevail against her. I affirm and believe all of the foregoing. to be true. I reject sedevacantism as incompatible with the faith and an insult to Truth I do, however, seek to understand how the Church has been attacked historically; the methodologies and ideologies utilized, and whether the same is ongoing today.
    I tend to agree with Bonchamps that God will permit incursions to occur, yet I also agree with Michael Paterson-Seymour that the Church cannot err in matters of faith because of her saving faith, but that she can hold erroneous positions in matters unrelated to the faith, which she eventually will purge and spit out. (MPS please correct me if I have mis-stated your view).

    Do you view “religious liberty” as a matter of “faith” which is infallible or is it a principle which serves some other useful function?

  • Botolph,

    You ask if I realize what it means, if John 23 were in fact a Freemason. I can only reply that I am grateful that I will never know if he was. As for his canonization, believe me, that’s the least of it. It’s the impending canonization of JP II that has many traditionalists on the verge of declaring themselves sedevacantists.

    But if it were true, it would not necessarily make the whole thing rubbish. As I said, the other option is that the end times are here and now, that we are actually living in the Apocalypse.

    I can’t unknow what I know. But I can take comfort in the fact that I don’t know enough to have a definite idea of what the situation really is, nor can I. If I were really convinced of the sedevacantist/end-times narrative, I wouldn’t be getting ready to head out to an approved Latin Mass performed by the Norbertines. I see possibilities and probabilities, that is all. They weigh on me, but they haven’t crushed me.

  • Bonchamps,

    Then my brother in Christ, While we differ over many issue I offer you my hand in communion. I do not believe we are living in the End Times etc. I am not sure how best to proceed in conversation with you but I will not do anything to ‘break’ the communion we still share together.

  • Slainte,

    I think DHs position on religious liberty scandalizes the Church with its implications, but I don’t think it was heretical.

  • Slainte,

    The Church can and has held all sorts of erroneous things over the centuries that are not matter of faith and morals. If anything the Church in more recent years has been more open to admitting this. These are policies, presumptions, contemporary world-views and assumptions (for example the Greek Ptolemaic world view that the sun revolves around the earth). Over time these needed to be and were indeed purged, the gold and silver separated from the alloys-and still is today.

    No new (key word here) ‘doctrine’ or dogma was proclaimed in The Declaration on Human Freedom or the whole of the Second Vatican Council for that matter. However, just because no new doctrine etc was proclaimed does not mean it can be reduced to non-importance etc. In DH [Dignitatis Humanae: Declaration on Religious Freedom] the doctrinal principles are set out in the first two ‘paragraphs’ [1 and 2], in turn they are based on The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World [Gaudium et Spes] which states “The mystery of man becomes clear only in the mystery of the incarnate Word….For the Son of God by His Incarnation did in a fashion unite Himself with every man.” [Gaudium et Spes 22]

    It is in this light coming from the Face of the Incarnate Word of God in which we begin to see the human dignity of each and every person from the moment of conception until natural death. That is the doctrinal foundation etc of GS [Gaudium et Spes] an DH. Putting it simply, the rest of the document is that doctrine applied in various areas of the question of religious freedom.

    The whole of Vatican II was a profound conversion of the Church to the further and deeper implications of the Mystery of the Incarnation and to the truth that the Church as communion is the sacrament of salvation for the world. Jesus Christ is the Light of the Nations and the Church is the means by which that light reaches the nations of the world for the sake of their salvation.

    I see “religious freedom’ as a principle that arises from a deep and penetrating contemplation of the Incarnation of Christ Jesus and what that means in terms of each person’s dignity.

  • Botolph,

    I don’t intend on spending a great deal of time discussing the various “ologies” of the Church – ecclesiology, theology, eschatology, soteriology, and so on. My area of study and expertise is politics. So 90% of future posts will be on topics that I think we can all agree on, as a traditionalist who doesn’t hate America.
    However, if those kinds of discussions interest you, I will always be happy to oblige. I don’t know if we are in the end-times or not. We could be. What I do know is that I need the Mass. I can’t let theories about what may be keep me from it.

  • Botolph and Bonchamps,
    Thank you for your perspectives.
    As France has often been the epicenter of tumultuos events in Church history, I will defer to your responding to MPS’ earlier comment regarding the state of the Church in France pre-Vatican II.
    By the way Botolph, every time I begin to write a comment to you, I pause for just a moment fearful that I might give you a heart attack! : ) Thanks for being a good sport and responding so generously. : )

  • Botolph

    On the question of the Temporal Power, I would only note that, from the Congress of Vienna in 1815, so far from preserving the independence of the Pope, it did much to compromise it, for subversion, rebellion and sheer anarchy in his dominions made him wholly dependent on French or Austrian troops for his protection.

    “For twenty years Napoleon III had been the true sovereign of Rome, where he had many friends and relations…. Without him the temporal power would never have been reconstituted [after the Roman Republic of 1849 under Giuseppe Mazzini], nor, being reconstituted, would have endured.” (Raffaele de Cesare)

    For centuries, the Papal States had involved the Holy See in questionable alliances, during the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines and when the Habsburg-Valois rivalry was fought out in Italy.

    All in all, a very mixed blessing and I cannot but feel a certain sympathy for the Abbé Arduini, when he called the Temporal Power, “an historical lie, a political imposture, and a religious immorality.”

  • Slainte,

    LOL Nah I have a strong heart. However, this might give you a little insight into who I am, or rather what I am like. I took a religious personality test years ago. THe test asked certain questions, how you would respond etc to certain issues etc. There were many biblical personalities such as David, Peter, John, Paul. I came out a perfect Paul-minus the saint part of course. This is not a theological boast etc I can pick up Paul’s Letters etc and know what he is getting at very quickly etc. If you have read Paul you know he could be feisty, pointed in his arguments and sometimes well even crude (I don’t go there thanks be to God).

    Of course I recently took a similar test based on Star Wars personalities and I came out a perfect Yoda ROFL Now what does that tell you lol?

  • Slainté wrote, “As France has often been the epicentre of tumultuous events in Church history …”

    There is an old adage, “The Church is governed from Rome, but does her thinking in France.”

  • I suspect Botolph that you just might be an abbe or a pere or a padre or a frere… : )

  • MPS writes, There is an old adage, “The Church is governed from Rome, but does her thinking in France.”
    But her Heart, my dear MPS, is in Ireland and within the Irish people wherever they may be in the world. : )

  • MPS,

    Thank you for that further clarification. I was attempting to catch the kernel of truth at the center of the Papal States etc. I would concur with your evaluation on the necessary compromises etc that the temporal power imposed on the papacy. While the scene is from a movie, it correlates with reality: I can still see Pope Julius II in all his soldier/knight garb sloping around in the mud amid the carnage of the battles in which he was engaged with the papal armies

    I believe that 1870 was a complete blessing for the Church. At one and the same time She was stripped of temporal concerns (Papal States) with which She had no mission nor business Yet Vatican I staked out her real claim: the realm of doctrine and moral teaching. In the process the papacy went from rather mediocre successors of Peter to-beginning with Pius IX and on, some very great spiritual leaders, even saints: St Pius X, Blessed John XXIII Blessed John Paul II (and I believe soon: Pius XII) (I know some will dispute the latter ones but I definitely include them)

  • Slainte

    Ahhhh the mysteries of the internet lol

  • The mysteries of the Internet are not always so mysterious.
    I really am laughing out loud! : )

  • you are funny lol

  • Botolph wrote, “In the process the papacy went from rather mediocre successors of Peter to-beginning with Pius IX and on, some very great spiritual leaders, even saints.”

    The change has been truly remarkable. From Sixtus V, who died in 1590, to Leo XIII, who was elected in 1878, we had a virtually unbroken succession of popes, who had risen through the ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy and who were, by habit, taste and training, administrators.

    It is not unfair to describe the result as one of assiduous mediocrity. Even in Catholic countries, they had the same impact and the same popular appeal, as the average Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the World Bank. Pio Nono was popular because he was pitied.

    Thirty popes and not a Leo or a Gregory, a Hildebrand or an Innocent III amongst them; the very suggestion seems absurd. Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini) can fairly be ranked with Innocent IV as a canonist and with Leo X and Clement VII for his learning and he appears as a giant in that age of pygmies.

    Meanwhile, the Church was riven by the Thirty Years War, the Quietist controversy, the Jansenist heresy, the Gallican controversy, Josephism, the suppression of the Jesuits, the French Revolution and its aftermath, and the Risorgimento, in none of which can the Holy See be said to have distinguished itself.

At War With Religious Liberty

Wednesday, November 13, AD 2013





If we needed any further proof that the Obama Administration has nothing but contempt for religious liberty, Father Z provides this story.  His comments are in red:



Military Chaplains Sue Over Harassment, Attack on Christian Faith by Bethany Monk

Those who serve our country often greet reveilles before the sunrise. They don the uniform. They represent our country, and they continue to make sacrifice after sacrifice. With the onslaught of government intrusion on religious freedom, some of them are dealing with egregious attacks on their personal faith.

A legal group on Friday filed suit on behalf of two military chaplains. According to the suit, a supervisor with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mocked their Christian faith, repeatedly, during a chaplain training program.  [?!?]

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Steven Firtko and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Klender began the Clinical Pastoral Education Center program at a San Diego VA last year. Shortly after, they say the program’s supervisor, Nancy Dietsch, began harassing their beliefs.

According to the suit, she told them they could not pray in Jesus’s name, and she shouted: “Do not quote Scripture in this class!” while pounding her fists on her desk.

“Not only was the treatment these men received inappropriate, it was also a violation of federal law and the religious freedom guarantees of the First Amendment,” said retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. J.B. Wells, executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy (M-VA).

M-VA is representing the Conservative Baptist Association of America, the endorsing agent for the two chaplains.

According to court documents, Dietsch also insisted that God could be a man or a woman and stated that evolution is a fact. The suit says she stated three times that: “There is no room in this program for those who believe they are right and everybody else is wrong.

“This is what happens when your actions as Commander-in-Chief say that morals and values don’t matter anymore in the military,” [Ohhhh…. they do matter.  But they have to be twisted.] said retired Air Force Col. Bill Spencer, a national representative of family policy councils for Focus on the Family. “And then you have all of these other people out there who will interpret that commander’s intent in extreme ways.”  [Or exactly according to the intent of the CinC.]

Klender withdrew from the program in February because of the harassment, according to the lawsuit. Firtko, who was placed on probation by Dietsch, received a letter — dated Feb. 15 — from the VA notifying him that he would be dismissed from the program on March 1.

“No American choosing to serve in the armed forces should be openly ridiculed for his Christian faith,” Wells explained. “That is most obviously true for chaplains participating in a chaplain training program. [Indeed, no.  These are exactly the people you want to attack.  Drive chaplains out of the military and the battle is half won.]

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27 Responses to At War With Religious Liberty

  • Just an indication this country must have the worst civil service recruitment process in and among the affluent occident. What would you hire this woman to do?

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  • Isn’t the entire point of having chaplains around is that they specialize in a particular faith? I mean, surely historically we haven’t brought a Protestant minister in to give a Catholic serviceman last rites, or similar? If all prayers have to be nondescript and don’t require a particular background, why not just grab a random officer to lead them?

  • I still say it is not simply a matter of the right being religious and the left bein atheist. It is much more complex than that. Many rightists today stand for individul liberty and nothing else, and some leftists really want to help their neigbor and believe government is the best way to do it. What we find today is a definite divide in our society between people of religious and moral conviction and the rest of the population. But they do not correspond to political parties. It’s just not that black and white.

  • A case for Martyrdom
    Anyone who thinks we should set our faith aside in America in order to avoid stepping over the line in this current political battle for the soul of our country is courting disaster.
    One thing is abundantly clear to any Catholic who understands the faith as shepherded by our Holy Father in Rome and that is the current regime in Washington D.C. under Barack Obama is by far the most anti-Catholic administration in the history of our country. The really sad thing is that our bishops had too long avoided the fight for fear of being accused of mixing politics and religion, and in the case of Obama the dreadful racist label from the media, allowing those of weak faith within their flocks who entered the political arena selling their souls to party platforms in opposition to our faith and values to establish a pattern of Christian capitulation.
    We and our societal standards based on the founders reliance on Divine guidance are no longer recognized as a legitimate challenge to the status quo separation phrase used to deny them. Our elected officials who were put into office to protect our freedoms have chosen to be a ruling class unto themselves. Those like Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Dodd, Sebelius and many others show no remorse for pandering to the enemies of Holy Mother Church and by default are parts of the problem. The situation has become grave and we, with guidance from bishops who now realize just how serious the administration is in its effort to remove all obstacles to a full blown secularist society, have to get involved in the fight for the soul of America.
    It is time to stop pretending we are powerless to defend ourselves from those who have abandoned piety in favor of personal power and prestige. If we the laity, the Church Militant, are to be the martyrs for the faith standing together against the forces of evil which are consuming our nation as it progresses on the administrations path into oblivion then so it must be. It has and always must be for true followers of Christ a requirement to assist the Spirit of Pentecost within us in bringing forth upon our world the will of God to have life more abundant using the power of His Truth to make and keep men free. It is our duty, along with the message of hope and change within the church of Christ, to open the hearts of men to depend on the creators love to guide us to the place he is preparing for us not to succumb to the lure of an ever expanding totalitarian Marxist styled government promising to provide our every need in order to make us slaves to a godless political system.

  • Not entirely Jon, but as a general rule leftists are anti-religion except when it is politically useful. It was no accident that the proposal to put God into the Democrat platform, and to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, met with such vociferous opposition last year:

  • My sentiments exactly, Bill. May I quote you?

  • Secular humanists pride themselves into believing that it is they who ordain unalienable human rights to man as benevolent dictators. Benevolent dictatorship is an oxymoron and rather sophomoric. High school students imagine and regard themselves as benevolent dictators. There is no such thing.
    Religion is the love of God for the sake of God and love of neighbor as oneself for the love of God. Without God, people have many beliefs. I imagine that even God thought of creating the world flat, but God’s love for mankind and to prevent man from falling off at the perimeter, God decided to create a round swirling globe with gravity to maintain the presence and safety of mankind for the time when man could enter space prepared to survive.
    God is love and God loves. God is divine and God is human. God has free will and respects man’s free will. If man chooses to deny God, God will not stop him. God even created a place for souls who deny and hate Him. There with Satan and the other demons in hell are the souls who refuse God’s Divine Providence.
    Atheism is an abuse of religion, a denial of man’s human, rational, immortal soul, the imposition of death of body and soul upon man, the obliteration of man’s human rights to exercise his freedom of religion, speech, press and peaceable assembly to relate to God, “their Creator”, the attempted annihilation of the Divine Creator through annihilating belief in God, leaving only the believer in atheism as dictator supreme over the innocent, virgin souls of man.
    Atheists are intent to separate the church and state until the atheist has separated a man from his immortal soul. This is called death.
    Thomas Jefferson said: “The rights the (atheistic) state gives, the (atheistic) state can take away.” (emphasis mine). There have been too many proofs of this. Try Herod, Hitler, Stalin.
    The Right to Life is the free exercise of the will to live, created by God, enabled by the state; the state that is constituted by the sovereign personhood of the human being.

  • Bill Sr.
    Right On!

    Cristero America?

    “For Greater Glory.”

  • The United States of America has the only Constitution inscribed with freedom to follow one’s conscience, in acknowledgement by the state of the human being’s immortal soul and the rewards of eternal life in the hereafter, demanding the absolute Truth in a court of law, (so help me God), protecting the unalienable human rights of man endowed by “their Creator”. A finite state constituted by finite man cannot endow or bestow infinte, unalienable hman rights, because the state, itself, is not infinite or unalienable. Only an infinite God has the authentic power to create unalienable rights to be enjoyed and exercised by the free will and conscience of the human being and his soul. God gives us existence and human rights. The state gives us citizenship and a tax bill. God is existence and God exists. God is love and God loves.
    “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.” Francisco Suarez.

  • There is also, and I apologize for the length of this comment…there is also the matter of the Persons of God, the Supreme Sovereign Being. (Religion is the acknowledgement of the Supreme Sovereign Being). The Supreme Sovereign Being is three persons in one God, the Trinity.
    The Constitution for the United States of America is the Law of the Land for the person. Jesus Christ is a legal person Who has constitutional rights under the Law of the Land…in regard to His name being used in speech in a public place or square, Christ’s birthday being celebrated in public and His being honored in public as Christ justly deserves because of His innocence and sovereign person.

  • Patrick Henry spoke: “Give me Liberty of give me death.” “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    The statesman, Patrick Henry, defends to the death a person’s freedom to pray in public.
    Those in Washington who are not statesmen ought to be impeached for their lack of patriotism.

  • When He comes again in glory, Jesus will abandon to the fire of Hell all who brawl against His religion.

    I pray for the filthy animals.

  • I think many religious people have beeen tricked into thinking the republican party stands for them and will advance their agendas, so they hop on board. That is probably what accounts for the apparent relationship. Concerning Israel, I don’t know what other capital one could claim. Numerous evangelical churches have supported Israel not because they share our political ideals in a dangerous region of the world, but because they think they are the people of God: dispensationalism remains popular in many Christian circles. This has led to unfairness and injustice where Christians and government have colluded to advance Israeli agendas. Many Palestinians have suffered as a result, and some of these Palestinians are Christian, a fact that seems to go unnoticed. Very ironic! So Christians do not support their brethren on the other side of the world. They support political partners or people who they imagine have some role in an end-time scenario. I’m very tired of all this. It’s hypocrasy, and I wonder whether the church will be judged for it.

  • We have definitely entered into a new period of Church history in America (USA). Our Founders based our country on a particularly benign and conservative form of the Enlightenment (Locke, Burke, etc) While our government was indeed secular, the Founders recognized and did not seek to exclude or fight the fundamentally Judaeo-Christian culture and it’s “organized religion”

    From the beginning of our country and up until and through the Cold War, the American govt did not see religion as a threat but an ally and frequently used us as such against the horror of Naziism and Japanese imperialism, but especially against the religion/freedom hating forces of international terrorism.

    The American bishops from the 19th century up until recently have been able to boast of this ver different relationship between Churchvand State-most especially in Vatican II. Europe, and the Church in Europe, e xperienced the fruit of a more antagonistic secularism, one that has not disappeared but has increased. The problem is that this other form of the Enlightenment has been imported into America through our intellectual and ruling elites. For years Havard Law School has propagated an interpretation of the First Amendment holding that it protects freedom of worship rather than freedom of religion.

    Now our elites are attempting to transform American Culture from the broadly understood Judaeo-Christian society we have been into a secularist one. These elites want no form of “the Church” (organized Judaeo Christian religion) to have any influence on the culture, however they verbalized it in the form of the separation of Church and State. With the Catholic Church being the largest, most organized and influential in our ministries of education and health care for example, we have become the target for these elites. Until rather recently, American Govt has remained neutral to friendly to Judaeo-Christianity and the Church. However that has changed-not simply in the Whie House but much of Congress (although Catholics remain the largest group there).

    Our bishops remained overly optimistic concern earning this shift. At first I believe there was general denial, or thoughts that some issues were simply misunderstandings. Later some ( and even now some) think the change has to do with the ideology of one political party. While there is no question at this point of where the power brokers in that party stand, the bishops have now recognized that this societal-cultural shift, this change in the history of America and of the Church in America, is much larger and deeper than merely which party is in the ascendancy for a time in America. Thus the bishops issued their consensus statement yesterday concerning their continued opposition to the HHS mandate, to further educating etc. American Catholics and America in general on the issue of religious freedom, and to form relations with other religious groups which are likewise concerned about this radical change in our country.

  • “Many Palestinians have suffered as a result, and some of these Palestinians are Christian, ”

    The biggest threat to Palestinian Christians are their Muslim brothers and sisters. The best, and safest, place for an Arab Christian in regard to civil liberties and freedom of religion in the Middle East is to be a citizen of Israel.

    “I think many religious people have beeen tricked into thinking the republican party stands for them and will advance their agendas, so they hop on board.”

    Rubbish. It is a rational choice considering that the Democrat Party is the party of abortion, gay marriage, the contraceptive mandate and Christian bashing in general and Catholic bashing in particular.

  • Well, if there is no God, Who created the devil?
    The devil is a murderer. Abortion is a symptom. There is nothing “gay” about the devil. The devil is pure evil. The devil tries to set himself up as equal to God, but the devil cannot create God as God has, indeed, created him. God creates out of nothing. The Living God endows life.

  • Donald, I know that republicans are sometimes socially conservative, but others are mere economic conservatives. They don’t care about social issues. They are liberal individualists who simply wish to maximize pleasure and freedom — epicurians and hedonists. Concerning Israel, you may be right. I do know Israel isn’t exactly pro-Palestinian though, and I wonder about the rights of Palestinian Christians in that region. I hear they don’t really appreciate Christians in Israel.

    As far as the contraceptive issue, I can’t say i really agree with the Roman Catholic position. Our responsiblity is to be good stewards and to prudently decide on the number of children we bring into the world. Having said that, abortion is burder of the unborn, and that is what Christians ought to agree on.

  • “Our responsiblity is to be good stewards and to prudently decide on the number of children we bring into the world.”

    If that had been the case throughout human history Jon, most of us would not be here. My mom was illegitimate and I am very glad that “prudent” use of contraceptives did not prevent her from gracing this world. My paternal grandmother had seven kids, one of whom died in infancy. I think it was quite prudent of her and my grandfather to bring my Dad, my Aunt and my four Uncles into this Vale of Tears even though they were born during the Great Depression and the large family was supported on what a shoemaker and a cleaning lady could make.

  • Yes, that’s very true, Donald. I read something recently though about tradeoffs — we all make them in life. Some people choose to forgo marriage for the sake of the kingdom — Rome has orders — and others choose to marry but have less time to accomplish things. So I guess I think contraception fits in with that in terms of whether a person wants to have ten kids or one. It’s not about being better or worse but about choices and where they leave us. I know that abortion is murder, that it is the killing of the unborn, and that it is unacceptable from a Christian standpoint. I can never condone it. Christians of goodwill can and do differ, however, on the matter of contraception. Rome has issued official statements on it. I consider it a matter of Christian liberty. But each person must decide for themselves. Some people may be called to have large families, others to have small ones, and still others to not marry at all, or to marry but have no children. One thing i have learned in recent years is the inability to draw finalized conclusions about everything in life. As Christians, we know there are some things to whcih we can close the case. Then there are other questions for which we cannot reach answers eitehr because there are none or because they are out of reach, or perhaps because these questions were meant to be individually decided. St. Paul had a category for that. Churches should recognize and allow for that.

  • Jon, are you aware that Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, used the term “irresponsible fecundity” to criticize people who didn’t use birth control? She also thought that good stewardship required the use of contraception.

  • She saw it from a utilitarian perspective. She was a secular humanist and of course we can say all kinds of things about where that leads. We know what happened in Germany and we know it happened here to some extent, though better minds and policies prevailed. I am speaking from the standpoint of our cultural mandate: we are called to cultivate and govern the earth wisely. To practice good stewardship we must make wise choices informed by Scripture. I think it is irresponsible, for example, for someone to have fifteen kids when they don’t know where the next paycheck is coming from. We know of examples like that and we don’t appreciate when we see that sort of thing. So it’s a matter of balance. We have to be careful not to yield to what we think is traditional practice for the sake of morality while avoiding pragmatic lifestyles that disregard the Word. Hope that makes it clear. We must abide by Christian ethics.

  • Hmmnn….let’s see. The fact that I’m being place on moderation suggests to me at least that a certain amount of censorship takes place here. I’ve looked over my past comments and I don’t see anything anti-Christian or heterodox. My comments, as far as I can tell, result from reflection and research, and don’t conflict with basic Christianity. But I do think someone wishes to maintain a Roman Catholic slant to this. I feel much that Rome officially teaches is extra-Christian. I think I’ve expressed that before. I’m sorry we can’t see eye to eye.


  • Censorship is an act of government Jon. It does not apply to a privately run blog. I did not put you on moderation, so I assume that one of my co-bloggers did. I will honor their decision. Whoever put you on moderation can take you off moderation if they wish. I assume that whoever placed you on moderation probably wished me to see your posting in regard to contraception, which is erroneous from a Catholic standpoint, before it was cleared for appearance on the blog. We do not tolerate anti-Catholics here, but I do not place you in that category, and we are always willing to defend our Catholic beliefs in debate, unless the debate becomes a tiresome rehash of points already made.

  • Thanks, Donald, for making that clear. I hold to a very broad version of Christianity. I define the church as people at all times and places who worship God though the risen Lord and Savior and are in relationship to him as such. Contraception is a very grave matter for Roman Catholics and I respect their decision. There are other examples of differences among Christians and I think it’s in the nature of Christianity and creation that such diversity exists.

  • Jon, practicing contraception for “stewardship” purposes is utilitarian whether it is Margaret Sanger promoting it or a Protestant denomination. It decides that as a practical matter there might be too many people to maximize pleasure and minimize pain, and then posits that a means to correct that must therefore be ethical. But not every means is ethical. Prudence requires us to be good stewards, but virtue requires us to limit the means by which we behave as good stewards. I would suggest that you read Humanae Vitae, which discusses the fact that not every means is just. Also good is Evangelium Vitae. By contracepting, a couple does not perform a truly marital act. They divorce the act from both of its meanings. Christians should never be utilitarians. Contraception is inherently utilitarian because it posits that the end justifies the means of chemically altering the woman’s body, or preventing complete physical contact, or preventing implantation. Even Margaret Sanger understood that it is utilitarian, which is why she promoted it. Nothing about contraception increases virtue, and it more often than not promotes vice. Prudence is not virtue, rather it should be the servant of virtue. In fact, prudence can act in opposition to virtue if its end is not virtuous. The call to be good stewards is not absolute, rather it is subject to increasing virtue. This is easily proven. A person can have a low level of intelligence and consequently make poor decisions that waste resources. Is this person sinning by not being a good steward? Of course not. They are not acting against virtue, rather they are unable to act prudently because they don’t have the cognitive ability. Another person with higher intelligence can act more prudently, and conserve more resources than the first, yet be sinning because they are acting prudently but selfishly. And so good stewardship is directed towards increasing virtue for a Christian, not addressing the utilitarian principles of maximizing pleasure for all. Virtue is based on love. It is not loving to try to prevent other people from being born. It is rather selfish. Virtue tries to share with all. Utilitarianism tries to get rid of some for the benefit of the rest. I would note that no one who promotes contraception volunteers to live on bread and water and wear rags so that others might live better. Contraception is not self-sacrificing. It sacrifices the potential other, not the self.

  • Alphatron, I understand your line of reasoning. I would reiterate that we, as Christians, must make Scripturally-informed and Spirit-led decisions. I think we need to take into account our calling and our resources — even time is a resource and it is finite. Persons religious have made decisions to forego certain things in order to help others flourish and in so doing they will likewise flourish in the longterm. So they are thinking in rational terms for the sake of charity. As you say, prudence should serve virtue.

Fortnight For Freedom: We Need to Wake Up

Wednesday, June 26, AD 2013


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.




This column written on May 24 by Archbishop Chaput underlines the threat to American liberties that currently exists:


“IRS officials have, of course, confessed that they inappropriately targeted conservative groups — especially those with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names — for extra scrutiny when they sought non-profit status. Allegations of abuse or harassment have since broadened to include groups conducting grassroots projects to ‘make America a better place to live,’ to promote classes about the U.S. Constitution or to raise support for Israel.
“However, it now appears the IRS also challenged some individuals and religious groups that, while defending key elements of their faith traditions, have criticized projects dear to the current White House, such as health-care reform, abortion rights and same-sex marriage.” Terry Mattingly, director, Washington Journalism Center; weekly column, May 22

Let’s begin this week with a simple statement of fact.  America’s Catholic bishops started pressing for adequate health-care coverage for all of our nation’s people decades before the current administration took office.  In the Christian tradition, basic medical care is a matter of social justice and human dignity.  Even now, even with the financial and structural flaws that critics believe undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the bishops continue to share the goal of real health-care reform and affordable medical care for all Americans.
But health care has now morphed into a religious liberty issue provoked entirely – and needlessly — by the current White House.  Despite a few small concessions under pressure, the administration refuses to withdraw or reasonably modify a Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate that violates the moral and religious convictions of many individuals, private employers and religiously affiliated and inspired organizations. 
Coupled with the White House’s refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion.  Access to inexpensive contraception is a problem nowhere in the United States.  The mandate is thus an ideological statement; the imposition of a preferential option for infertility.  And if millions of Americans disagree with it on principle – too bad.

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9 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: We Need to Wake Up

  • And now, a Supreme Court that is majority Catholic, has gone against Church teaching and enshrined gay marriage into federal law.

    We aren’t welcome in America anymore.

  • The person who pays the piper calls the tune. If the Federal Government is going to pay for people’s health care, and if the majority of the tax payers who fund the Federal Government are just fine with contraception–most probably can’t imagine life without it–then contraception (and backup abortion) are going to be covered. What part of this do our bishops not understand?

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  • The part they don’t understand is the part where they have to let the goverment dictate the theology of the church, the part where we have to lose our First Amendment rights.

  • The bishops have been very supportive of all sorts of government (tax payer) funding for this thing and that thing. Health care especially. It should come as no surprise that the government would require contraception/abortion coverage. It has been shown time and again that with government money comes government strings…and yes, if you take it, you will eventually be required to leave your morality (among other things) at home. Sad fact, but true. If you want to do things your own way, then do not accept government/tax payer monies.

  • I am against dependence upon the State for many reasons DJ but the fact that the Bishops, mistakenly in my view, have looked for government intervention to aid the poor, does not negate their opposition to the infringement on liberty by the current administration. We have had a welfare state in this country since the New Deal without such infringement. The problem with the current administration is that the Democrat party plays identity politics by bashing the Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, other Christian groups.

  • I firmly disagree with both contraception and abortion and absolutely support the bishops opposition. We should all be opposing it. But that doesn’t change anything–with government money comes government strings, and the sad fact is most people in this country are okay with contraception/abortion, or at least are not sufficiently motivated to put an end to it. The fact that now it is government mandated as part of “medical cared” should be no surprise–we were in fact warned about this in Humanae Vitae back in the late 60’s, that government would eventually resort to such things.

  • “bishops’ opposition” and “medical care.” Not enough coffee yet this morning I guess.

New Blog, Ron Paul & Other Things

Tuesday, February 5, AD 2013

Hello TAC. I haven’t been posting here as often as I once was since a) I wanted to get a new blog up and running and b) I am also going to be writing for Catholic Stand, and my first piece is appearing tomorrow.

My new blog is called “Liberty & Dignity.” It is not an explicitly Catholic blog, but it is devoted to a natural law/rights version of libertarianism called “paleo-libertarianism.” I distinguish paleo-libertarianism from other kinds of libertarianism in the following way: the paleo brand explicitly recognizes that liberty is a historical and cultural product as much as it is an abstract ideal, that it requires certain institutional prerequisites and supports, and that taken out of its proper context – like anything else – it can self-destruct. It is close to but not identical with paleo-conservatism.

My first article for Catholic Stand will explain how I believe all of this as a Catholic.

Now, onto the Ron Paul business. Obviously I don’t agree with many of the comments left on Paul Zummo’s post about Ron Paul being an inherently malicious person. At the same time, I found his comments to be wildly inappropriate and politically destructive, much like Todd Akin’s rape comments. His subsequent statements on his Facebook page really didn’t improve the situation either.

I am not too happy with his son either, for much different reasons, but you can read my blog to learn more about that.

Here at TAC and Catholic Stand I am going to continue focusing on the two issues that pose the greatest threat to religious liberty in our time: the HHS mandate and the “marriage equality” movement. I expect it will also be necessary to continue defending free markets and private property as our social democratic government continues its assault on both. Many Catholics still believe that they have a religious obligation to support a welfare state and open borders. These beliefs are toxic even if well-intended.

Well, that’s all for now. Let the comments roll.

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38 Responses to New Blog, Ron Paul & Other Things

  • I preface my comment by noting that I am not an American (although I do live in the United States). That may matter, as I may lack some of the context that another might consider a prerequisite to having an opinion on this matter.

    I am one of those who does admire Ron Paul. In theory, I need not endorse everything a candidate does in order to admire him or her for it is the character of a person, to me, that is more important than the specific views he or she holds (although I don’t want to belittle the relation between the two). Persons may disagree, but I believe Ron Paul is a person of decency and courage.

    Having said this, it is hard not to join those citing the inappropriateness of his reaction. Integrity is not itself evidenced in having consistency, which people often credit to the former Congressman, but rather in having the courage, I think, to reverse oneself when brought before a wrong committed.

    I, for one, will be interested to see how this story develops.


  • Ron Paul was too clever by half. Being one of the few politicians left whose thinking is marked by logical clarity instead of bathos or chicanery, it is obvous that he thought he was making a brilliant point, by pointing out the analogy between the proverbial person, armed with a hammer who thinks that every problem is nail, and a soldier who thinks that every difficulty can be handled after a day of letting loose in the range. He was of course insensitive to the dead, but Twitter is a format that positively thrives on stupid thoughts and should therefore be avoided by everyone but twits.

  • Ron Paul’s latest outburst reaffirms what I have always believed about him: that he is a heartless, cruel, and mean spirited nut job, For you to liken his using the tragic murder of an American hero as a pretext to launch another crazy tirade to Todd Akin’s remarks, which were poorly stated at worst, is reprehensible, but not surprising.

  • Reprehensible?

    I find your use of the word reprehensible to be reprehensible, not to mention idiotic – but that isn’t surprising either.

    Todd Akin’s remarks were politically stupid. So were Ron Paul’s. Both were attempting to make a semi-valid point and failed miserably. The comments have that much in common. If you are so over-emotionally hysterical and sensitive that you can’t see that, well, you have my pity. I hope you find the help you need to deal with that.

  • I hope you find the help you need to deal with that.

    Take a chill pill, Bonchamps.

  • Ron Paul’s comments were merely politically stupid? You do a much better job making my case than I ever could.

  • Paleo-libertarian? As if we needed another flavor of libertarian? Good luck with that.

  • Ron Paul has a history of saying stupid things. Akin?

  • Ok.

    Paul Z: I’ll “chill out” (by which I presume you mean, act sufficiently docile) when I’m dead. Until then, I’ll stay warm.

    Greg: I never said the word “merely.” You dishonestly put that word in my mouth. This is a pattern with you. You should work on that.

    JL: lol

    J. Christian: Paleo-libertarianism already existed. It wasn’t widely known, and still isn’t. Maybe I can do something about that. One popular paleo-libertarian is Ilana Mercer:

    I’d argue that Ron Paul is more or less a paleo-libertarian, though he doesn’t use that label.

    Kyle: Sure, if you oppose his politics, I’m sure most things he says sound “stupid” to you. This comment, however, sounded stupid even to many of us who don’t typically and reflexively think the things he says are stupid.

    And yes… um… Akin. It was stupid on that level. It alienated potential supporters.

    Is it so hard to understand how these comments have similar consequences? Is this really a difficult concept?

  • Bonchamps:

    I didn’t quote you when I used the word “merely”. It was a characterization (and I think an accurate one) of your description of Ron Paul’s remarks. I thought the absence of quotation marks in conjunction with the context of your remarks made that sufficiently clear. But apparently not. In any event, no dishonesty on my part.

  • No dishonesty?

    You are imputing dishonorable motivations to me without sufficient evidence.

    Your characterization isn’t accurate.

    If you weren’t being dishonest, you were being thoughtless. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a retraction.

  • I mean, its not enough that I think the comments were ill-considered and insensitive. No. I have to hate Ron Paul as much as you do, or I am as hateful and demented as you wrongly assume Ron Paul to be.

    I think I’ll turn down the invitation to the warped and unjust reality you inhabit.

  • Bonchamps:

    Was Ron Paul’s statement regarding Chris Kyle’s murder worse than Todd Akin’s remarks or weren’t they?

  • What do you mean by “worse”, and why does it even matter? Why are you determined to quantify this?

    I’m not bringing them up to compare their content, but rather their effects. The effects are similar. I don’t know if they are quantitatively identical. I don’t think such a thing is even measurable. In both cases you have a political movement that will suffer to some unknowable but definite degree because of one man’s thoughtless remarks. That’s the point. Why in the heck you would attribute bad motives to me for making this point is beyond me. It strikes me as demented.

    You want to know what I think about the content? I think it was an extremely callous way to make a point, and I don’t even agree with the point he was making. I don’t believe Kyle “lived by the sword” like some kind of mercenary, the quotation was inapplicable. Was this “worse” than what Akin said? Objectively, maybe. Subjectively, I don’t think either man intended to harm or offend anyone. Both remarks were thoughtless.

    I’m not wound up about the content. And it doesn’t have a single thing to do with Ron Paul’s views nor does it tarnish the valuable service that he himself has provided this country. It was one stupid comment. To defend the comment or to savagely and eternally condemn the man who made it are equally stupid and risible extremes.

  • In an objective comparison, there is no maybe about the fact that Dr Paul’s callous remark (to use your own word) is far worse than Akin’s. Akin’s comments, while clumsily stated and partially correct in terms of the facts, were not callous. The idea that you are more concerned about the political effect than the content is disturbing. This has everything to do with what he thinks. This not just one stupid comment. This is the same Ron Paul who not only equated our going into Pakistan to kill bin Laden without notifying them to China killing a Chinese dissident on our soil. He also equated our invasion
    of Iraq with China invading us in the 2008 GOP debate. To say this has nothing to with his views is utter nonsense.

    Oh, I do not hate Ron Paul nor have I ever urged you to do so either. I stand by my characterization of him in my first comment on this thread. But I don’t hate him. I dislike him but I don’t hate him.

  • I’ll “chill out” (by which I presume you mean, act sufficiently docile)

    I mean not imputing mental illness to people who disagree with you.

  • Ron Paul was too clever by half. Being one of the few politicians left whose thinking is marked by logical clarity instead of bathos or chicanery, it is obvous that he thought he was making a brilliant point, by pointing out the analogy between the proverbial person, armed with a hammer who thinks that every problem is nail, and a soldier who thinks that every difficulty can be handled after a day of letting loose in the range. He was of course insensitive to the dead, but Twitter is a format that positively thrives on stupid thoughts and should therefore be avoided by everyone but twits.

    Educate me, Ivan. What indication is there that the deceased thought “every difficulty can be handled after a day of letting loose on the range”? How does Dr. Paul, who has a 35 year history of promoting crank monetary schemes and fancies that the dispositions and behavior of the government of Iran is perfectly reasonable because we pass (contextually modest, one might note) subsidies to Israel manifest ‘logical clarity’? Are you saying the logically clear Dr. Paul is a twit because he makes use of twitter?

  • Ron Paul’s latest outburst reaffirms what I have always believed about him: that he is a heartless, cruel, and mean spirited nut job

    How about “silly crank so consumed with his hobby horses that his assessment of just about everything is hopelessly reductionist”?

  • Paul Z,

    Are your blinders so thick that you really believe that Greg was merely “disagreeing” with me in some sort of gentleman’s dispute?

    I love disagreement. I crave it. I hunger for it.

    What I don’t love or tolerate is people questioning my motives and calling me “reprehensible” for not making the exact point they would have made or would like to see made and for assuming I wouldn’t make it. That IS demented.

  • Greg,

    You are way more invested in this than I am. I don’t crucify people over irresponsible public remarks. I look at their entire record. Even if you add in a few other questionable Ron Paul statements, there are still thousands of statements that are right on the money as far as I am concerned.

    And I happen to agree with some of those other comments. I DO believe that the government’s (not “our” – I had nothing to do with it) invasion of Iraq was an aggressive, immoral and possibly criminal enterprise. The only error in comparing it to China is that China hasn’t launched an aggressive invasion of another country, unless you count the thrashing it gave Vietnam in 1979 (and that was only in response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia, which at least happened on China’s borders and therefore posed a plausible national security threat).

  • What I don’t love or tolerate is people questioning my motives and calling me “reprehensible” for not making the exact point they would have made or would like to see made and for assuming I wouldn’t make it. That IS demented.

    It’s not demented. It’s a different tack than perhaps I would have taken, but it was an opinion.

    Look, I respect your opinions and I’m glad that you haven’t attempted to defend the indefensible. But you need to stop treating every comment criticizing you as a personal attack. So I repeat, chill.

  • I love disagreement. I crave it. I hunger for it.

    Is that why you stuck me on moderation?

    I DO believe that the government’s (not “our” – I had nothing to do with it) invasion of Iraq was an aggressive, immoral and possibly criminal enterprise. The only error in comparing it to China is that China hasn’t launched an aggressive invasion of another country, unless you count the thrashing it gave Vietnam in 1979 (and that was only in response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia, which at least happened on China’s borders and therefore posed a plausible national security threat).

    I think China sending hundreds of thousands of troops across the Yalu River in 1951 constitutes something in the category ‘aggressive’.

    As for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it is non-sequitur to refer to ‘criminal’ enterprises where there is no penal code. That aside, the President faced real decisions in a context of uncertainty of both situation and outcome. You can remove the sanctions (and allow Iraq to rebuild its WMD capacity), you can leave the sanctions on (which Big Consciences assured us were causing hundreds of thousands of excess deaths a year), or you can eject the government. Not too many pleasant options.

  • Paul,

    When someone says that something I did was “reprehensible”, I take it as a personal attack. I guess that’s just nuts.

  • As for this,

    “Is that why you stuck me on moderation?”

    You don’t want me to list the reasons why I stuck you on moderation.

  • Bonchamps:

    Once again you do exactly what you accusse me of doing. i never ever called you reprehensible. I called you likening Ron Paul’s despicable attack on the late Chris Kyle (and yes he was attacking Kyle not just the war fought in) with Todd Akin’s innocuouos by camparison remarks reprehensible. And it is. Sorry you don’t like it. But I guess ther truth hurts.

  • Oh, and by the way, I also find the fact the fact that you don’t seem to be too disturbed by Ron Paul’s remarks reprehensible. Here is a man you think highly of making a statement that is basically a verbal spit on the grave of a man who put his life on the line for this country, has not retracted such remarks. And it doesn’t disturb you? What else do you call that?

  • I call it a personal attack.

    I really couldn’t care less what you think of me or anything else. I just object to Paul Z’s strange idea that what you are doing isn’t a personal attack.

    I told you what I thought of Ron Paul’s comments. If that isn’t good enough, fine. I’ll be “reprehensible” in your eyes. See if I lose any sleep over it.

  • Oh, and…

    ” i never ever called you reprehensible. ”

    I never said you called me reprehensible. Well, at least not before. I said:

    “When someone says that something I did was “reprehensible”, I take it as a personal attack.”

    For the record, I see it as a distinction without a difference.

  • Ok, I srand corrected. But yes what you did in downplaying Ron Paul’s remarks with the Akin comparison is reprehensible!!

  • I shall probably regret this comment, nevertheless…

    First, most TAC contributors (not all) use their real names, thereby taking personal responsibility and accountability for what they write (whether here at TAC or over at the Catholic Stand or on their own personal blogs), and a fair number of commenters do as well. In fact, even in the case of those who may use pseudonyms, it is easy to find out who they really are. They have no need to keep their identities secret, except in this case. (NOTE: Because I don’t wish to debate an undebatable person, I am maintaining my anonymity in the same way as the author of this blog post maintains his – fair is fair.)

    Second, the type of personal animosity given against detractors in the com box for his own post by a TAC contributor is rare, and it denigrates the reputation of TAC as a blog with a higher standard or quality than that. Perhaps one does not crave debate or disagreement as one claims, except when one can demonstrate one’s victory against those whose manipulation of logic is not nearly as adept or deft as one’s own, thereby raising into public acclaim one’s own intellectual brilliance.

    Third, there are those who under the banner of libertarianism act as though they can reject authority, particularly when that authority does not agree with their preconceived notions to which they hold an almost infantile fist-grasp. They almost seem to feel as though their intellectual brilliance in one or two areas, or their ability to trip others up in logic-debates automatically carries over into other areas, entitling and authorizing them to determine what sources of knowledge are valid in fields where they have never worked nor possess any expertise, and to force that determination on others through ridicule and personal accusation.

    Fourth, I won’t respond to debating this comment. I know where the conversation will go. Personal liberty means accountability, responsibility and respect for authority. Frankly, I am disgusted with the arrogance and disdain for others that is so typical of many (not all) hard-core libertarians I meet.

  • Well, that’s quite an indictment, isn’t it? We could have had this discussion in private, but if you want to air it all out here, that’s fine with me. I know exactly who you are by your email address, by the way, a regular and frequent poster whom everyone will know when we get to the one and only topic you know anything about.

    First, I don’t use a pseudonym because I want to hide my real name from people like you. It is for professional reasons. You want to know my identity, I’ll be happy to tell you who I am and where I live, and where I go for walks, and where you can find me if you want to say things like this to my face.

    Secondly, TAC is free to give me the boot any time. I’m not going to retract my policy of reacting to personal, petty, childish nonsense directed against me in exactly the way it deserves to be reacted to. Perhaps “one” doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about when making assumptions about the personal motivations of “another.”

    Third, I know exactly who you are. I never made any claim to expertise about nuclear power. I mentioned something about nuclear reactors and something about depleted uranium once or twice in passing, providing links to people who ARE experts to support my brief comments – something every blogger does. This caused you to flip out and write a com-box treatise to cover-up your own intellectual insecurities, practically the equivalent of waving your arms and shouting “look at me, look at me, I know things too! I know things too!” You take every opportunity you can get to bring your professional knowledge of nuclear energy into a conversation, even when it has nothing to do with the conversation for the same pathetic reasons. You practically invented out of thin air – “lied” is usually the applicable word though I’m not sure when it is clearly the product of some kind of deep mental distress – the claim that Ron Paul has a problem with nuclear energy when the man has never said a word against it, or if he has, you certainly didn’t provide it. For what? So you could bring the only topic you have a passing knowledge of into a discussion?

    You admitted to me countless times that you don’t know much about political philosophy, that you admired what I had to say on several topics. Were you lying then too? Now I’m “infantile”? Moreover, you count your professional experience in the field of nuclear energy as the reason why you know so much about it. I teach political science for a living. And I DON’T go into “other areas.” I DO link to the claims of experts in their fields. Or are you the highest authority? I wasn’t aware everyone at Fukushima and everyone who studies DU reports directly to you. I’m so glad I know that now.

    Fourth, I’m not disgusted, but rather amused that you took the time to write all this.

  • Is it wrong that I feel sufficiently entertained by all of this?

  • Not at all. I’m entertained by it myself. It’s so absurd and ridiculous that it can only be entertaining.

  • Third, I know exactly who you are.

  • Well, I’m glad to see you branching out Art. For a while I thought the only movie you’d ever seen was Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

    Still, the only thing funny about your post is that you think it’s funny, when it is as bizarrely out of place as your Spicoli references.

  • I’m taking an editorial prerogative and closing this thread.

Why We’re Not Going Anywhere

Wednesday, November 14, AD 2012

Archdiocese launches Campaign for Religious Liberty

Let me explain, in as clear and precise terms as I can, why social conservatives are not going anywhere, nor should they go anywhere, but should remain right at the heart of the conservative movement and gain acceptance among libertarians as well, and should reject as the foolish garbage that it is all suggestions to the contrary.

First, our principles are not electoral losers. Leftists believe they are on “the right side of history”, comparing the campaign for “marriage equality” with every civil rights struggle of past eras. They believe that this fact is reflected in the way the youth vote splits and the purported reasons why. At the same time, they gloat and brag about the size of the Democratic share of the minority vote.

The merits of the “marriage equality” campaign don’t need to be discussed here. I’ve discussed them to death on this blog in previous posts. The fact remains that minorities are opposed to “marriage equality.” If Hispanics can be won over to the GOP on the immigration issue, it will put a stop to this “wrong side of history” nonsense for a generation. The uncomfortable alliance between racial minorities who hold socially conservative views and white liberals will finally be blown apart. Unlike them, when racial minorities finally do side with the GOP en masse, we won’t attribute white liberal hatred for them to “racism” (even though it sure looks like it sometimes). This is a battle of values, not skin colors, and a failure to see that is one of the reasons why the white liberal left will never win the future they mistakenly believe to be theirs.

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26 Responses to Why We’re Not Going Anywhere

  • This is a good post, Bonchamps. This is subject matter in which you are very knowledgeable and very articulate. Thank you.

  • I think this minorities are really social conservatives thing is bunk. When you have aroung 65 to 70% of black children in this country born to sinhle mothers, calling thme social conservatives is grossly ignorant at best. The situation with Hispanics is similar As Heather MacDonald points out:

    “I spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

    The idea of the “social issues” Hispanic voter is also a mirage. A majority of Hispanics now support gay marriage, a Pew Research Center poll from last month found. The Hispanic out-of-wedlock birth rate is 53 percent, about twice that of whites.”

    Now, this is not to say we should jettison social issues. Not at all. Anyone who even has a cursory knowledge of how economics and culture affect one another knows that it would drive the final nail in the GOP coffin if they further capitulated on this issue. After all, the left understands the connection very well, which is why their push for a nanny state has ahd a symbiotic connection with their push for “liberalization” of socila issues.

    As and far as the Akin and Murdoch situations are concerned, the biggest problems weren’t their gaffes but the way the republican party under the leadership of Mitt Romney this election cycle, threw them under the bus.

  • They still come out to vote against gay marriage and still oppose abortion. California Hispanics voted for Prop 8. I think the Church’s influence had a lot to do with this as well.

    Perhaps these positions alone are not sufficient to consider them reliable social conservatives, but it ought to be enough to consider them potential occasional allies. The point is simply that if the outstanding immigration issues are addressed (in a way that does not compromise border security), the real bunk will be found in the line that social issues are what harm the GOP. Hispanics may not be as solid on social conservatism as whites, but white social conservatism will not be a deal breaker for them as it is with white liberals – and really, white liberals alone. Black voters are even more socially conservative than Hispanics.

  • Oh, I do not think that social conservatism hurts the GOP either. In fact, as I said, to operate under that misconcption will be the death knell of the party. It’s just that this idea of minority social conservatism as a means to pander to them vis-avis social conservatism is non sense. What these pro-illegal immigration repulicans are trying to do, in effect, is sell them a knock off item when they can get the real thing at the same or even a cheaper price.

  • I think the Blacks and Hispanics who do vote Republican tend to do so mainly because of the social issues. I agree with Greg that this is overblown, but I do note that most elected officials who are Black or Hispanic and Republican tend to be quite solid on the social issues.

    If we can stop illegal immigration, a big if, I think the Hispanic population over time will trend Republican like most immigrant groups if they prosper. Blacks are a much greater problem for the Republicans making inroads but they are a shrinking section of the population, largely due to an atrociously high abortion rate, something that quite a few Black leaders used to be concerned with until quite recently in historical terms.

    One of the factors that may impact on Black allegiance to the Democrat party long term is the shrinking of Black urban centers in the North as Blacks move out to multi-racial suburbs and the South.

  • My point is simply that social issues aren’t a deal breaker for Hispanics. Neutralize the immigration issue and I guarantee you the Hispanic male vote and married vote will break for the GOP, and more women will come along as well. They don’t have to be hardcore social cons and we don’t have to pretend they will be.

    I’m not saying open the borders, either, by the way. But if we address the cartels as the national security menace they are, far beyond a normal criminal problem, we can come to some agreement on the situation within the US.

  • “I think the Blacks and Hispanics who do vote Republican tend to do so mainly because of the social issues.”

    I cdertainly blacks and Hispanics in the lower income brackets who vote republican do so mainly because of social issues. Whether or not this is true of blacks and Hipsanics in the upper income brackets do so I don’t know.

    Whether or not we can stop illegal immigration outright is, as Donald says, a big if. But we can secure the border to where we get it under control. Problem is, the federal government, regardless of party, lack the will to do so. To get a good insight into how bad the problem is, particularly in Arizona, I would urge readers to read Jan Brewer’s book, Scorpians for Breakfast. Then you will understand why I find Cardinal Dolan’s remarks so scandalous as well as the “orthodox” Catholic commentariat’s silence, let alone failure to denounce them.

  • Surely, a fundamental conservative ideal is free and consensual relations between individuals and groups, as expressed in the great Physiocrat principle, “trade knows no frontiers.”

    In other words, the free movement of labour and capital are the conservative default positions. Of course, restrictions can be justified in particular circumstances, but conservatives should never allow themselves to be misrepresented as the protectionist or anti-immigrant party.

  • In the words of the populist comic strip Pogo, “We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us.”

    “the problem is not with our values, but with their articulation.” That, right there, is the heart of the matter. Why was Reagan popular? He wasn’t nicknamed “The Great Communicator” for nothing!

    [Sidebar: I would ask Mr. Mockeridge to visit an urban church some Sunday morning if he believes that social conservatism is dead in that area. Would that some of the fervor found there could infuse our Catholic parishes!]

    It has to start in the primaries, where people will run who don’t give a rat’s patoot whether they win the nomination as long as they get the ideas out there, articulate, principled and clear.

    We must abandon the left’s “groupthink” politics (even as they are being used here) and formulate ideas and propositions, based on principle and character, that can be articulated in such a way as to appeal to individual people as individuals. The Left herds us into groups and then creates issues that put us into contention with each other: Classic “divide and conquer.” That tactic itself needs to be exposed and blared from the rooftops and when opposed, blared even louder. The evidence is damning and the counterpoint automatic.

    Just as a shift from peacetime to war can mean a wholesale change in leadership (remember Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short,) the key now is to identify and “hand out gold watches” to GOP establishment members who can’t get by their shopworn stereotypes and “Ken” doll notions. We did not ask for this war but it is here, “and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    All that need be done is what Bonchamps spells out in the last section. We need warriors who are fully aware of the enemy’s tactics and capabilities. The sine qua non of political candidacy should be an at-minimum-conversational familiarity with Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and Clausewitz as well as Scripture. Drop the silver-spoon whitebreads and get some honest to gosh scrappers in there. Stick to policy but pull no punches. Stir up passions! Speak to the people as people and not demographics.

    Like all bullies, the Left is confident only when it thinks its target is cowed and suppliant. It is time to dispel this illusion.

  • Of course, restrictions can be justified in particular circumstances, but conservatives should never allow themselves to be misrepresented as the protectionist or anti-immigrant party.

    A country is not a hotel. The social and political disruption which would attend open borders would be a nightmare. There are two sorts of countries which can tolerate free immigration:

    1. Societies of migrants with a great deal of unsettled lands (with the proviso that it helps if the migration streams are not from irreconcilable groups).

    2. Countries which are unattractive in which to settle.

  • Art Deco

    In a world in which economic growth increasingly depends on the cross-border movement of goods, services, technology and capital and where the old barriers to such movement have been reduced or eliminated, as obstacles to progress, it is difficult to see why flows of labour should not yield similar benefits.

  • In a world in which economic growth increasingly depends on the cross-border movement of goods, services, technology and capital and where the old barriers to such movement have been reduced or eliminated, as obstacles to progress, it is difficult to see why flows of labour should not yield similar benefits.

    The fundamental neoclassical theory predicts gains from trade in factors of production. Econometric analysis of the dimension of those gains reveals (with regard to trade in labor) the following:

    1. The gains are small
    2. They accrue predominantly to the immigrant populations themselves (the residual to the extant population amounting to around 0.1% of gross domestic product).
    3. The benefit to the extant population is crucially dependent on welfare policy.

    The main brain for this sort of empirical study in this country is George Borjas, who is not an advocate of unrestricted immigration.

    Also, the social and political challenges which derive from ‘diversity’ are not captured in economic statistics.

  • In discussing minorities and values voters, keep in mind that 73% of Catholic Latinos and 95% of black Protestants voted for Obama. They did this knowing, well some of them knew, Obama’s support of infanticide, abortion, gay marriage, anti-religious freedom and secular humanism. These groups may be values voters, but self-interests trump all other interests.

  • Kyle has a point, but it isn’t in self-interest to vote for a candidate who supports the murder of your unborn children. It isn’t in self-interest to vote for a candidate who supports curtailing your most cherished freedoms into the closet while parading filth out in public for your children to emulate. It isn’t in self-interest to vote for a candidate whose economic policies keep your people shackled to the public treasury instead of being able to stand up independently without government telling you what to do. Truthfully, I do not think that these people really know what their self-interests are. 🙁 I don’t mean to detract from Kyle’s point – they vote for what they think is in their self-interests, but not for what is really in their self-interests. And then we conservatives are called closed-minded, hateful, intolerant racists because we think its immoral to murder a black or Hispanic baby – or any baby for that matter.

  • “[Sidebar: I would ask Mr. Mockeridge to visit an urban church some Sunday morning if he believes that social conservatism is dead in that area. Would that some of the fervor found there could infuse our Catholic parishes!]”

    I’m not sure of what you mean by this question. But the fact of the matter is that Hispanics and blacks are not nearly as socially conservative as those who tell us we need to pander to them are. When you have up to 70% out of wedlock birthrate among blacks and 53% out of wedlock births among Hispanics, you cannot honestly claim that they are predominately socially conservative. Just because you attend Church doesn’t mean you are socially conservative. There are many regualarly mass attending Catholics are not social conservatives.

  • There’s a difference between being a social conservative and being a moral person. I wouldn’t use rates of sin to decide who is and isn’t a social con. If you read Charles Murray’s analysis of white America in “Coming Apart”, he reveals one of the paradoxes of our time: that the poor tend to claim social conservative values while not practicing them in real life, while the wealthy reject social conservative values while actually practicing them in life. He calls upon the new elite to preach what they practice for the benefit of society.

  • By “not practicing,” I would include voting as a practice that has not shown to follow social conservatism some are perceived to espouse. Voting and lifestyles are becoming bedmates. Voting is less driven by what we should do and more driven by what I want. It wasn’t always this way, but more of America is willing to go off the moral cliff. If America showed as much concern for the moral cliff as it does for a hyped up fiscal cliff, there would be no fiscal cliff. But worrying about social values is such a “what’s good for society, the country as a whole” issue. That can’t stand up to the self-interest draw of a fiscal cliff hot topic. That will affect my pocket book!

  • I’m sorry, Bonchamps, but this is not even remotely relavent to the issue at hand. If yu want to support this or that immigration policie, do it on the basis of its merits, not as a means to pander to a particular racial or ethnic group. To do so would kill the GOP.

  • “this is not even remotely relavent to the issue at hand. ”

    What are you talking about? This is my post. I made it the issue.

  • Blacks and Hispanics are much like the “Catholic” vote: an illusion.

    Some people are going to be socially biased against the GOP because they’ve been lied to, and some people just want handouts. It would be much more useful to start sorting people as “cultural democrats” vs “active democrats” and go after votes that way.

    We will not win over people who care more about sex and free money than principles; we already have the people who care more about not killing babies than free money and sex. We need to reach the people who voted for Obama because “that is what decent people do.”

  • Greg: “Then you will understand why I find Cardinal Dolan’s remarks so scandalous as well as the “orthodox” Catholic commentariat’s silence, let alone failure to denounce them.”

    100% with you there, bro. Dolan is, and has been, incompetent.

    Women on both sides detest him now. The left-leaning women despise him simply because he is a male, and see him as a male that wants to take away their freedom to choose. Faithful women on the right detest him because he has effectively (through is ineffectiveness) stripped us of our freedoms, soon right down to the freedom of a healthcare worker to not perform or assist in abortions and dispensing abortifacients.

    So yes, despise (God forgive me, but this man is not a good shepherd) is the proper word here. And I suspect Our Lady is not real happy with him either, and if Momma ain’t happy…

  • I am very disappointed in Cardinal Dolan and the majority of the USCCB. I had hoped. That his invitation of Obama to the Al Smith dinner was a backfire on Obama, but after seeing photos of him and Obama laughing it up, I was revolted.

  • Tonight’s reading assignment: Mt 9:10-13 or Mk 2:15-17

Election 2012: One Last Argument for Mitt

Thursday, November 1, AD 2012

The election is almost upon us, and many of us have made up our minds as to whom we are going to vote for, or whether we will even bother to vote at all. On the slight chance that someone from the ever-shrinking pool of undecided voters in a critical county in a vital swing state stumbles upon this blog post, the even less likely chance that they are Catholic, and the even less likely chance that their Catholic faith informs their political conscience, I’ll make one last appeal for a GOP vote.

I say a GOP vote, and not a Romney vote, because a) the most important issue at stake in this election really only depends upon which party, not individual man, is in power, and b) many people on the fence probably aren’t very enthused about Romney the man. I’ll admit that even as someone who has made up his mind, I am still not enthused. Granted, Romney isn’t as awful as many of us imagined him to be before he took Obama to the woodshed in the first presidential debate, it still isn’t easy to joyfully rally to his banner. He lacks the consistency and commitment to principle of the enigmatic Ron Paul, a pretty old guy who manages to get thousands of  modern American 20-somethings to care about things other than themselves, which is nothing short of miraculous in its own right. Still, he has emerged as a capable enough candidate for the highest office in the land. But let’s return to the issues.

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18 Responses to Election 2012: One Last Argument for Mitt

  • Permit me to say:

    Contrary to what Muslim apologist Obama, the progressive liberal agenda, and their adoring media want you to believe America is still a Christian nation in spite of all their ill begotten and somewhat successful efforts to lead us away from the God we proclaimed in our founding documents and in whom we have placed our trust for two hundred and fifty years making us the most generous defender of freedom and champion of peace in the history of the world.

    It has taken an electorate, deceived by media hype and the slick talk of a community organizer with a snake oil political platform built on the sand of Marxist social justice and constructed with inverted racism packaged as hope and change for a better future, four years to realize their tragic mistake but we are there now and the curtain of corruption has been lifted revealing the true and obvious nature of the beast of bureaucratic socialism set to use the next four years to finish the destruction of our country by virtual dictatorship of the most anti-Christian regime ever to occupy the White House. It must not happen.

    Over the years we have gone to every corner of the globe giving every ounce of blood sweat and tears it took to rid the world of tyrants in the name of freedom. Many of those were by all means monsters of madness which sprang up on distant shores but the one we face today has had the audacity to raise its ugly head from within our own house by cleverly deceiving the trust and compassion of, yes¸ the Christian majority of the nation wanting to show the world how tolerant and unbiased we had become. We were foolishly betrayed. That will not happen again this November, we have learned our lesson Christians.

    Bill Sr.

  • Watching the movie “The Hope and the Change” last night gives me some comfort in knowing that those who thought they were voting for a messiah have taken off their rose-colored glasses and faced reality. Let it be Lord, that with the wake up call of Sandy and Benghazi we may vote our consciences, informed and conformed, by the Truth.

  • Bill Sr.

    You Are Permitted!
    Awaken the sleepers.
    Blow a trumpet.
    Defend our freedoms.
    By God let the poles resound with a cry; “In this Nation we serve God by living the ten commandments and giving testimony that Jesus Christ is King!”
    It is and will always be…Our Father who art in Heaven / Not our father who art in Washington.
    We have reached the precipice.
    We will change direction and repent. Or we will fall.
    Lord have Mercy.

  • I disagree about the missile shield comment. We have a right to defend ourselves. That being said, I have no objection to sharing missile defense technology with the Russians. After all, it’s not an offensive weapon system. Why can’t we work together to defend our individual countries against rouge states like Iran? Hey, if we’re not supposed to engage in wars of adventurism in lands of Islamic fascism for access to mineral slime (otherwise known as oil), then why can’t we defend ourselves from the weapons that these mad men will eventually and inevitably get?

    BTW, want to stop wars in the Mid-East? Go nuclear and stop buying their accursed oil! Stop financing them! We can generate plenty of our own liquid fuels from our own American coal using the heat of nuclear energy from our own uranium and thorium, or alternatively switch over to cleaner hydrogen from nuclear energy. Stop the corporate socialism! Stop financing Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Gulf and all the rest! Treat all energy companies the same: just like nuclear, you don’t get to dump your trash into the environment, and just like nuclear, you get to finance your own self in the free market. This is simple: no more govt loans for anything. No more govt protection for anything. Just common sense regulation applied equally to everyone to protect the public. OK – enough of my diatribe. I am waaaayyyyy off track.

    Overall, good post, Bonchamps, even though I disagree about a few things.

  • “We have a right to defend ourselves”

    The missile shield doesn’t defend us. It eliminates Russia’s first strike capability, which puts it in a weaker geopolitical position and increases the potential for a conflict with NATO. Really it is time to dismantle NATO.

    Even with oil out of the equation, there are still self-righteous imperials who believe that the majority of Muslims harbor a secret wish to live in a Western-style democracy and eat at McDonalds, and that it is our duty to ensure that they are able to do so.

    “Go nuclear and stop buying their accursed oil!”

    After Fukushima, the after-effects of which still threaten all life on Earth, I’m a little less enthusiastic about the prospect of building more nuclear power plants. However, I think Palin had it right when she said “drill baby drill.” Drill it all up, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Fukushima happened because the plants were built next to the shore line without sea wall protection for the air intakes to the emergency diesel generators. So after the tsunami struck, the diesel intakes were flooded and AC electricity was lost. The plants were on the batteries that last only 8 hours. When the batteries died, the power to the governor controls for the steam inlet valves to the High Pressure Coolant Injection was lost. Those valves went shut. The HPCI steam turbines stopped, making their pumps stop. That resulted in a loss of core cooling. Eventually core heatup resulted in a zinc water reaction that produced the hydrogen gas which subsequently detonated. In spite of ALL of this, only SIX people died outright from Fukushima, and they were plant employee volunteers. NO MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC DIED FROM FUKUSHIMA. But a nearby town of 17000 people was completed flooded by a failure of the hydro-electric dam that cracked and crumbled from the Sendai Earthquake that caused the tsunami. And the natural gas and oil refinery tanks in the Chiba Prefecture burned for TEN DAYS, spewing their never ever to decay away toxic carcinogens into the environment. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of people died, but NOT from nuclear. Additionally, the NEW Westinghouse AP1000 and GE ESBWR passive safety designs obviate this ENTIRE failure scenario. These designs have 72 hour submarine type batteries and do NOT require electricity for emergency core cooling. Additionally, their spent fuel pools are located BELOW grade unlike the Mark 1 BWR containments at the Fukushima plants. I personally KNOW this because I worked on ESBWR and at a BWR and at a PWR for 30 plus years. One last thing: the safety upgrades that US plants did in the 1980s were offered to the Japanese, but they decided not to implement them. Now they got Fukushima, and your suggestion is no nukes, making them MORE reliable on dangerous fossil fuel failures like one that happened in the Chiba Prefecture. Kindly stick to Ron Paulism. it’s what you’re good at. I am a nuclear engineer and know what I am talking about. The Japenese screwed up – period. God help them. And donate to the nuclear workers at Fukushima instead of complaining.

  • Sorry for the spelling / grammar errors. Hate this I- Pad. Neverthless, I know what I am talking about. 30 years of training and experience. I am not lying. I am not misrepresenting the facts. I am a nuclear professional. AndI will defend the safest and cleanest form of energy God gave man with the same vigor that Inapply to other topics here at TAC or anywhere else for that matter.

  • Folks,

    Now that I have calmed down – there is very good information on the response of the US commercial nuclear industry to Fukushima here:

    Please click on the various daughter links to learn more.

    For the passive safety features of the new GE-Hitachi ESBWR design, please go here and use the media gallery to view an interactive video:

    For the passive safety features of the new Westinghouse AP-1000 design, please go here and use the on-screen instructions to view the various animations:

    A Fukushima event in the US is very, very, very unlikely, but failures from hydro-electric dams that can threaten millions are likely, as are explosions of natural gas pipelines. We should also note that 30,000 people die annually in the US from fossil fuel pollution due to particulate emissions from coal-fired power plant plants and other fossil fuel emitters.

    I can provide more information on spent fuel if need be, but the answer is the same: it’s safe – use spent fuel in fast neutron burner reactors like the GE-Hitachi PRISM or the Carlo Rubbia Energy Amplifier to consume the long lived actinides and leave only short lived ash residue. But waste from fossil fuel – including oil and natural gas – kills.

  • One last thing, Folks:

    Ash and other residue from coal fired power plants that supply 50% of US electricity releases more radioactivity into the environment in the form of naturally occurring uranium, thorium and radium than any US nuclear power plant does.

    But in spite of that, the amount of radiation released to the public does NOT constitute a danger. What does constitute a danger are the carginogens that burning coal, natural gas and oil release, but Bonchamps motto is, “Drill, baby, drill.” My motto is: “Recycle the spent nuclear fuel and stop dumping your fossil fuel excrement in the air that I breath.”

  • You don’t have the right to insult me on my own blog, so your offensive comment was deleted.

    Look, I’ve read what I’ve read about Fukushima. I’m sure your expertise is extensive and your opinions educated and valid. There are others who are equally if not more experienced and educated who disagree. My positions on energy aren’t set in stone and final – its not really a moral issue like abortion – and I am able and willing to change my views as new information comes to my attention.

    Now that you know this, kindly refrain from insults, hysterical CAPITAL LETTERS, and multiple postings on posts of mind that mention energy in passing.

  • Fine, Bonchamps, but when something is said wrong about Fukushima or the US nuclear industry, I will correct it. Kindly read the link to NEI that I provided. One goes to a brain surgeon for brain surgery and to a rocket scientist for a rocket. One should go to the nuclear engineers at NEI and the NRC for Fukushima and not the news media or the anti-nuke kooks (didn’t say you did). To get back to the topic of this post, Mitt Romney is a viable candidate in part because he does support a sane energy policy that includes nuclear as well as fossil energy. Nuclear is best. Fossil is better than no energy, but not nearly as good as nuclear. Mitt Romney is sane about these things. Obama and his support for useless wind and solar energy is not. And yes, energy policy can be a moral issue when tens of thousands die from fossil fuel pollution every year and those deaths can be prevented or minimized by increasing the percentage of nuclear used in the energy mix, which Romney will do. It is one of many reasons why I support Romney, which is the topic of this post. But wheverever nuclear is mentioned, people cite Fukushima, Chernobyl and TMI, and the explanations on these are complex and involved and difficult to understand to a person who knows nothing about radiation, nuclear engineering and related sciences. Too often the people making the initial comments don’t know anything about what they are commenting on – not their fault, they just haven’t been trained in science properly, thanks to our school system (a different topic for a different day). That said, Romney for President!

  • PS, I should not have used the word ignorant in a previous comment, Bonchamps. I apologize sincerely. It would have been better to have said misinformed instead of using emotionally charged terminology that is now regretted.

  • I’d say anything that can defensively eliminate Russia’s first strike capability, or any other nation’s with which we do not have aligned interests, is in the best interest of the US and its citizens.

    But as to the thrust of the post, Amen.

  • As a former nuclear submarine reactor operator, I agree with Paul D. Defense against aggression is always moral. I recommend Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s “The Strategy of Technology.” He was Ronald Reagan’s science advisor on the Strategic Defense Initiative. And Romney’s support for SDI is another reason to vote for Romney. He won’t sell out to the Russians.

  • One thing that can be said about Mitt Romney is that he will almost certainly and hopefully immediately eradicate these policies.

    Almost and hopefully. How reassuring. That said, I suppose it’s better than the persecution full steam ahead by the O.

    I am almost as PaulBot as one can be, but I agree w/ Paul on the nukes. France is what, 70-80% nuke, and I don’t recall hearing anything about them. Why look to Japan rather than France as the model, particularly given that the US has far more geographical choice about placing the plants than Japan does?

  • and by the second Paul, I meant Paul Primavera, obviously.

  • Thank you, C Matt. The new French socialist President is against nukes – no surprise there. He wants to de-nuke France to 50%. Foolish. I will write about this whole thing on my blog and post the link here to that discussion, but that’s not the topic of Bonchamps post and we should respect that. However, the statement Bonchamps made – “After Fukushima, the after-effects of which still threaten all life on Earth…” – is an example of anti-nuclear propaganda (no offense against Bonchamps intended) and unsubstantiated by web links to reputable nuclear engineering resources. As a nuclear engineerof 30+ years and a former submarine reactor operator, I know the statement to be demonstrably incorrect. I posted web links to reputable sources. Science is science and not open to public opinion. Not Bonchamps fault. He isn’t a nuclear engineer. We can’t expect an expert in one area to be an expert in all. And I should respect him and not use terms like “ignorant.” Confession time for me. But I can’t discuss more here since it’s not on topic. Romney for President and a sane energy policy that embraces nuclear power! OK, gotta go to Neutrons ‘R Us and keep your lights on and your refridgerators running!

Bishop Jenky: Obama’s Threat to Religious Liberty

Saturday, October 13, AD 2012

My Bishop, Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese, is a big, jovial bear-like guy.  It is hard not to like him, but I have never been prouder of him than I have been this year.  He has been one of the bishops standing up and constantly sounding the alarm posed to our religious liberty by the Obama administration.  Go here to read a speech he gave on the subject earlier this year.

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8 Responses to Bishop Jenky: Obama’s Threat to Religious Liberty

  • Give your Account in Public.
    Public Witness matters. Hold Fast!

    A few hours from now your fellow defenders of the Faith will be on street corners publicly beckoning Heaven for help. Over 9,000 cities are participating around the globe.

    MSM will ignore, however God will not. This is a battle. Please pick up your rosaries and join us at noon today. The 50 million fallen babies will now support you, encourage you and defend you as you step out into the public square to defend our Religious Freedoms.
    To defend the lives of our future generations.

    Fatima was real. 95 years ago a public miracle happened. Expect miracles. Be a witness.

    Dear AC contributors. Please allow this plea.
    I will not abuse your site. This is a war, and we need each others help.
    Thank you and my God bless you.

  • Great witness from our shepherd of Peoria. Here’s a Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of the Archdioces of San Antonio addressing the threats to religiouus liberty as a real and present dangeer.

  • May every American Catholic and all Americans of goodwill hear the Voice of Christ, loud and clear and respond appropriately. Our Prayers are with you at this critical time in the History of our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as She faces the toughest Persecution of this New Century. May God hear the cries of the massacred unborn babies of this beloved Country and avenge this genocide.

  • Would that all our Wisconsin bishops had the acourage to disect the religious and political spectrums and order the reading of a similar letter. Our Green Bay parish would not, even after specifically asked, create a petition requesting prayer for non-invasion of the freedom of religion portion of the First Amendment. It is apparent that social justice has overtaken common sense; it doesn’t recognize that unless there is freedom there will be no social justice.

  • And the LORD said to Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 1 Samuel 8:7
    Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. John 19:14 – 16

    Jesus Christ established the Catholic religion. The Church has condemned religious indifferentism. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereo.” The First Amendment is indifferent to religion. In other words, the Constitution rejects the true faith and Christ the King. The Constitution does not permit Congress to protect individuals from the errors of false religions.

    The bishops’ appeal to the first amendment is misplaced. The Church has an opportunity to explain why contraception is wrong.

  • “The Constitution does not permit Congress to protect individuals from the errors of false religions”

    Praise God it does not! (Can one just imagine Congress critters being relied upon to determine what is a false religion and what is a true religion?) The Church is now four square on the side of religious liberty and I am very happy for it. Coercion in matters of religion has been a flat failure throughout the history of the Church, and the reliance upon the State by the Church has been as misplaced as it has been disastrous. The Church can more than hold her own in the free market of religion that prevails in the United States, which compares quite favorably to the moribund state of the Faith in much of Europe.

  • Donald, AMEN to that. And unless Obama and his evil Government desist from trying to dismantle the Church of Jesus Christ, Ameica will go the way of all the historical world Powers and Empires which rose against the Church and perished into oblivion for ever; never, ever to rise again.

Dr. Stenger and the Folly of Free-Thinking

Tuesday, July 10, AD 2012

Are we to believe the New Atheist free-thinkers see themselves as reasonable as rocks?

I was hesitant to write this because I don’t like picking battles with atheists. At first I didn’t see how anyone would take this idea about free will and our judicial system seriously, but it seems some people are. So I offer the following with the hope that if more people know about this discussion, more people can see it for the nonsense that it is. 

Victor Stenger, Ph.D. particle physicist and best-selling author of God and the Folly of Faith has written an essay at Huffington Post “Free Will is an Illusion” and it took an unexpected turn. Certainly, the atheistic consideration of free will is nothing new, but Dr. Stenger also makes a connection between free will, or the lack thereof, and our judicial system in the United States. This position has disturbing societal implications.

Keep in mind, this is the man who popularized the phrase: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.” He has also published such titles as God: The Failed Hypothesis and The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason. Victor Stenger has made it known that he thinks science can prove there is no god, and that he considers religion dangerous to society.

In this Huffington Post essay he references a book by another physicist, Leonard Mlodinow, who says that the unconscious plays a dominant role in human behavior. As Dr. Stenger puts it, “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.” He goes on to say (read carefully), “This recognition challenges fundamental assumptions about free will and the associated religious teachings about sin and redemption, as well as our judicial concepts of responsibility and punishment. If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”

He also references the book Free Will by neuroscientist Sam Harris and title-quotes him in stating that “free will is an illusion.” Dr. Stenger writes, “We don’t exist as immaterial conscious controllers, but are instead entirely physical beings whose decisions and behaviors are the fully caused products of the brain and body.”

So, essentially having established that humans are determinant blobs of matter with no free will, he then makes the case to the Huffington Post readers that “our largely retributive moral and justice systems need to be re-evaluated, and maybe even drastically revamped” if the people in society are going to be able to protect themselves from “people who are dangerous to others because of whatever it is inside their brains and nervous systems that makes them dangerous.”

That is, he is calling for a new system of morality and justice based on the the presumption that no one is ultimately responsible for his actions, and remember, he’s made it clear who he thinks the “dangerous” people are. This is eerily like the argument used to justify abortion, only we’re all blobs of tissue now.

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28 Responses to Dr. Stenger and the Folly of Free-Thinking

  • What they are saying is “science proves there is no God and so your free will is an illusion; so do what I tell you to do”.

  • When a person believes that he is evolved from an ape and is therefore just an ape – an animal subject to the instinct of the wild – then that person debases himself to become an animal and nothing more, hence what Stacy has written above.

    Good post, Stacy!

  • Fascinating.
    Our lunch time conversation with our own family apostate was not too appetizing, and a bit similar to the thrust of this post, in that it denies real choice in behavior, albeit in rats.
    A virus that lives in a cat’s gut, when it gets into a rat, affects the rat’s brain, making the rat not only lose it’s fear of cats, thus more likely to be caught by a cat; but also makes rats more likely to have sex/propagate, providing more meals for cats.
    None of this is quite the same as your atheist’s idea, but it does lay the same groundwork for not being in control of what goes on in our brains or behavior. A virus can influence brain activity that makes the rats ( or the person?) hapless. Extended to humans it can make us not responsible; not really having an intellect to call our own, much less a free will.
    Dr. Stenger’s ideas are such a denial of Truth and Beauty and Freedom. I’m hoping it is heartbreaking enough to bring the atheists and heretics back to the table of Fides et Ratio.

  • If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”

    I am curious as to how a legal system (i.e., the individuals operating therein) punishing criminals is any more in control of the action of punishing and thus responsible for it.

    Of course, one shouldn’t be too hard on this sort of thinking, since it is subconsciously compelled. But then again, being too hard on this sort of thinking is likewise subconsciously compelled, and so on and so forth.

  • way to go jason

  • If atheists believe that they are just animals operating on hardwired instinct in their brains and all this stuff about free will and intellect is self-delusion, then why not treat them like wild animals and lock them up behind cages where they can’t do any harm? After all, that’s what is done with other dangerous animals and none is more dangerous than the human one.

    But who would be the zoo keepers?

  • Freethinking – you get what you pay for.

  • Good post, Stacy.

    No free will went into typing that compliment. It just happened.

  • “In this Huffington Post essay he references a book by another physicist, Leonard Mlodinow, who says that the unconscious plays a dominant role in human behavior. As Dr. Stenger puts it, “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.” He goes on to say (read carefully), “This recognition challenges fundamental assumptions about free will and the associated religious teachings about sin and redemption, as well as our judicial concepts of responsibility and punishment. If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”
    This is the heresy of predestination.
    God gives man sovereign personhood, the sovereignty with which to override our inclinations, also called concupiscence. God gives and creates man, the species Homo sapiens, man of wisdom, a rational, immortal soul, the virtues and grace and Wisdom. To repudiate God, the way the atheist repudiates God, leaves the atheist piecemeal, a consciousness here, a free will there, a subconscious anywhere. Religion is a relationship with almighty God, our Creator and Endower of unalienable rights, Who constantly, in Divine Providence, steers us clear of buildings and brings us success and safety. The atheist, servant to the devil, is jealous of God and the people of God, who enjoy the blessings of Liberty . Remember, the atheist is only one opinion, a badly formed and thoughtless opinion. Jesus Christ said: I testify to myself and my Father in heaven testifies to me.” (Two witnesses establish a judicial fact) The TRUTH of God stands up in a court of law. The atheist does not have any legal standing in a court of law as he has repudiated his unalienable rights.

  • Everybody here, I enjoyed your thinking. Does your subconscious brain know that you are thinking? Great shades of Dr. Strangelove, the real title for: The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason.

  • here’s an excerpt from a nifty article at National Affairs:

    “This concept of choice is articulated near the beginning of ‘The Long Winter’, when Pa gets his first sense that a difficult season is coming as he and Laura observe the thickness of the muskrats’ lodges. Laura wants to know how the muskrats anticipate a hard winter; Pa replies, “God tells them, somehow, I suppose.”

    “Then why doesn’t God tell us?” Laura wanted to know.

    “Because,” said Pa, “we’re not animals. We’re humans, and, like it says in the Declaration of Independence, God created us free. That means we got to take care of ourselves.”

    Laura said faintly, “I thought God takes care of us.”

    “He does,” Pa said, “so far as we do what’s right. And He gives us a conscience and brains to know what’s right. But He leaves us to do as we please. That’s the difference between us and everything else in creation.”

    “Can’t muskrats do what they please?” Laura asked, amazed.

    “No,” said Pa. “I don’t know why they can’t but you can see they can’t. Look at that muskrat house. Muskrats have to build that kind of house. They always have and they always will. It’s plain they can’t build any other kind. But folks build all kinds of houses. A man can build any kind of house he can think of. So if his house don’t keep out the weather, that’s his look-out; he’s free and independent.”

  • This guy would have failed a first year philosophy course. The theory self destructs. If there is no free will because our subconscious mind makes us do things, then there can be no real knowledge because it’s our subconscious mind framing the input of our senses and how we think about it. Because there’s no real knowledge, Stenger can’t know that there is no free will. So we have no need to listen to him. The theory is only an artifact of the complex interaction of particles, and so it itself is uninformative and we can disregard it in favor of the workings of our own subconscious minds.

    But in reality, the advocate for this sort of theory is unconcerned about its actual truth, falsehood, or incoherency. It’s only a rationalization for the use of power against Christians. Nothing more, nothing less. The true believer will be unconcerned about whether it is true or false, but how it can be used to bludgeon those he doesn’t like.

  • It never ceases to astonish me how atheists will trot out some remark that they expect to confound believers, blissfully unaware that it is a commonplace of theology.

    “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.”

    The eminently orthodox Dominican theologian, Michael Bañez (1528-1604) argued “Inasmuch as the Divine influence precedes all acts of the creature, not in the order of time, but in that of causality, the motion emanating from God and seconded by free intelligent agents takes on the character of a physical premotion (proemotio physica) of the free acts, which may also be called a physical predetermination (proedeterminatio physica), because the free determination of the will is accomplished only by virtue of the divine predetermination.”

    In Bañez’s view, since God is the primal cause (causa prima) and the prime mover (motor primus), it is concluded that every act and every movement of the thoroughly contingent secondary causes (causae secundae) or creatures must emanate from the first cause, and that by the application of their potentiality to the act.

    Neither Bañez nor anyone else thought that this undermined the doctrine of free will, or, more properly,“free choice,” [liberum arbitrium) as and his opinion (for it is a theological opinion, not dogma) was staunchly defended by the Dominicans against the Jesuits. It was thrashed out threadbare during the Jansenist controversies of the 17th century and was still being ably defended by Père Reginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange OP until the middle of the last century.

    If Dr Stenger is going to write about free will, is it too much to expect him to have a nodding acquaintance with the literature?

  • Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris all illustrate that the concepts “will”, “unconscious”, and “making a decision” are imperfectly understood. Like Zeno whose understanding of the concept “infinite” came up short, their misunderstandings lead them into constructing apparent paradoxes that they cannot solve except through a resort to the bizzare and obviously impossible. In Zeno’s case, he denied the possibility of motion despite all common sense and experience. Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris are also headed down the path of denying common sense and experience.

  • It’s only a rationalization for the use of power against Christians.

    Against anyone not part of the intellectual class, I think.

  • All of which reminds me of Mike Flynn’s line about the new atheists being essentially Calvinists. They end up by refuting themselves, but I guess a part of free-thinking means overlooking contradictions if they are your own.

  • I wonder if the article made anyone else think about Les Miserables. It’s ironic that atheists, who consider themselves to be “humanists,” would seriously revert to a deterministic model in which a person is a perceived threat because they are “defective,” rather than because of their actions. This also brings to mind CS Lewis’ That Hideous Strength – a police state that replaces retributive justice with “rehabilitation,” which, conveniently, is a standard determined not in proportion to the crime, but according to the whim of the State. Only those in power can determine “normal,” “healthy,” and “rehabilitated.” When we deny free will, we create a society based on the Will to Power.

  • Michael,

    Amazing quote – I’m always astounded at how thoroughly all this has, indeed, been thrashed out by great Christian thinkers many centuries ago. Aside from allowing one the fun of tweaking liberals by saying we intellectually peaked with Aquinas and its all been downhill since then, it shows that the pursuit of truth has been relentless among Christians and the half-baked philosophies of the critics are nothing more than a sophomoric attempt to confound the Teacher.

  • Mark

    I sometimes wonder if intense specialisation in one field unfits people for another. Descartes was one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, but a disaster as a philosopher. Then again, we have the pantheism of physicists like Einstein, Sir James Jeans and Schrödinger, who managed to combine Hindu mysticism with a form of Neo-Kantianism. A rather different example would be Freud’s venture into linguistics. Great composers have had a tin ear, when it comes to their librettos and, dare I say, theologians have not always distinguished themselves in their ventures into politics or economics.

  • “Sir, we know our will is free, and there’s an end on it.”
    Boswell: Life
    With greater elaboration:

    Boswell: “The argument for the moral necessity of human actions is always, I observe, fortified by supposing universal prescience to be one of the attributes of the Deity.” Johnson: “You are surer that you are free, than you are of prescience; you are surer that you can lift up your finger or not as you please, than you are of any conclusion from a deduction of reasoning. But let us consider a little the objection from prescience. It is certain I am either to go home tonight or not; that does not prevent my freedom.” Boswell: “That it is certain you are either to go home or not, does not prevent your freedom; because the liberty of choice between the two is compatible with that certainty. But if one of these events be certain now, you have no future power of volition. If it be certain you are to go home to-night, you must go home.” Johnson: “If I am well acquainted with a man, I can judge with great probability how he will act in any case, without his being restrained by my judging. God may have this probability increased to certainty.” Boswell: When it is increased to certainty, freedom ceases, because that cannot be certainly foreknown, which is not certain at the time; but if it be certain at the time, it is a contradiction in terms to maintain that there can be afterwards any contingency dependent on the exercise of will or anything else.” Johnson: “All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it.”
    Boswell: Life

  • Boswell falls into a fallacy long ago exposes by Aristotle. He is confusing a logical relationship with a causal one

    What is going to happen tomorrow will certainly happen and nothing I do today can possibly change that. But what I do today can certainly change what would have happened on Monday.

    “For although it be true that a man who is freely sitting cannot at the same time be standing (sensus compositus), nevertheless his freedom in sitting is maintained by the fact that he might be standing instead of sitting (sensus divisus)” as Laurentius Berti, (1696–1766) one of the “later Augustinians” points out. Of course, such arguments were central to the great question of grace and free will, which is why so much ink has been spilt over it. Pascal gives a satirical account of such debates in the first of his Provincial Letters; do not read it for the first time in a library, as I did and was turned out for laughing uncontrollably. Works of theology rarely have that effect, more’s the pity. But do read it in French, if you can.

  • Cmatt,

    “Freethinking – you get what you pay for.”


    “No free will went into typing that compliment. It just happened.”

    Funny! 😀

  • In case anyone is interested, there’s a discussion on my blog about this article too and it’s quite different because there are several atheists and agnostics who comment there. One atheist already admitted that there “is no freedom.” 🙁

    It’s fascinating to see their reasoning, but a lot of it is just sniping too. Some are asking questions though.

    The discussion here has gotten deeper.

    Michael, There is definitely something to that thought that people should know the limits of their knowledge of a field. Descartes was a disaster as a philosopher. I’ve read before that Newton dedicated more ink to theology than physics, but his theology was so messed up.

    It seems there is a general misunderstanding today for many people about what philosophy and theology even are, or science for that matter. And I think that’s where Dr. Stenger really goes awry. He’s jumping around from science to religion to philosophy to politics kind of like a kid with a new box of crayons who hasn’t learned to stay in the lines yet, scribbling all over the page and calling it a work of art.

    I would love for him to answer the question, “If there’s no free will, then how can there be free-thinking?” That kind of talk so reminds me of my toddler who wouldn’t confess to coloring on the wall. “My crayon did it, not me.” Um, no. Won’t work.

    Anyway…thanks all for the discussion. I am loving reading all the input and really benefit from it. THANK YOU!!!

  • Michael,

    Indeed – each must keep to his own. I don’t go to theologians to build a better power plant and I don’t go to scientists to explain the nature of God. The problem with a lot of our intellectuals over the past few centuries has been attempts to willy-nilly transfer a skill in one area to a totally different area. This is compounded by the fact that over the ages scientists have ceased to be educated sufficiently in non-scientific areas.

  • “Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris all illustrate that the concepts “will”, “unconscious”, and “making a decision” are imperfectly understood.”

    I feel I am going the way of Zeno and the others on this point. What is the proper understanding of these terms?

    Also, what is so bad about Descartes?

    Finally, if everything is determined, then nothing changes. People still believe in free will (and have to), and the same discussions go on. I do not see how, even if somehow there is no free will, anything will change, in terms of ethics or politics.


    Finally, a strange Pascal’s wager for determinism:

    If determinism is the case and I believe that determinism is the case, then what I believe is true, and I have a more realistic view of the world than I would otherwise have, if I denied determinism. My acceptance of determinism at this time could not have been otherwise.

    If determinism is the case, and I deny determinism, then what I believe is false, and my view of the world is less accurate than it would otherwise be. My refusing determinism at this time could not have been otherwise.

    If determinism is not the case, and I deny determinism, then what I believe is false, but I could chose to change my mind, and come to a deeper understanding of reality.

    It seems then that the default position most likely to align with reality is to accept determinism, because if you are right, it could not be otherwise, but if you are wrong, there is the hope of changing your mind.

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  • The truth is that the only real free-thinkers are Christians. When atheists claim to be free-thinkers, they’re speaking out of pride, not truth. In reality, they aren’t free-thinkers at all, but slaves to their passions and egos.

  • From a purely scientific point of view, atoms which make up molecules which make up our physical world, including our physical bodies, are not living things. So no matter how you arrange the molecules, they in and of themselves do not give life. This means God has to exist and we have to have souls given to us by God in order to have life.

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

Friday, July 6, AD 2012




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

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


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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fortnight For Freedom Fourth of July: Catholicism and the Declaration of Independence

Wednesday, July 4, AD 2012




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

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


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


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


We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the final of these blog posts and is written by commenter Greg Mockeridge.



John Adams foresaw the all pomp with which we celebrate the 4th of July, but the date he gave for that was not the 4th but the 2nd. The reason he gave the 2nd was that independence was voted on and decided by the Continental Congress on the 2nd. What took place on the 4th was that final draft of the Declaration of Independence, after about a hundred revisions to Thomas Jefferson’s original draft, was approved.


It is actually more fitting that we celebrate independence on 4th as opposed to the 2nd because it isn’t merely independence we celebrate, but the ideas, principles, and truths this country was founded on. Fidelity to these very ideas really enable Americans to be Patriots as opposed to merely Nationalists. Just as one cannot be a good Catholic without a concerted effort to know and understand what it is he gives his assent of faith to, one cannot be a true American Patriot unless he likewise makes an effort to understand our heritage as Americans. No other U.S. founding document expresses these truths better than the Declaration of Independence. If more Americans became better acquainted with the Declaration, there would not be so much confusion regarding the Constitution.


Our Catholic faith not only does not relieve us of this patriotic duty, it actually reinforces it. An 1884 statement of the American bishops said it this way:



Teach your children to take a special interest in the history of our country. We consider the and laws as a work of special Providence, its framers “building wiser than they knew,” the Almighty’s hand guiding them….As we establishment of our country’s independence, the shaping of its liberties desire therefore that the history of the United States should be carefully taught in all our Catholic schools, and have directed that it should be specially dwelt upon in the education of the young ecclesiastical students in our preparatory seminaries; so also we desire that it form a favorite part of the home library and home reading.

A document from the Second Vatican Council “Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World” better known by its Latin title Gaudium et Spes says: “Citizens should cultivate a generous and loyal spirit of patriotism… “(#75)

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6 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Fourth of July: Catholicism and the Declaration of Independence

  • “But they knew, as the testimony of human experience down through the ages gives witness to, that peace cannot be had at the price of acquiescence to tyranny.”

    Something the bishops are discovering today, but I doubt they even realize why. The “modern” bishops “acquiesced” to the Democrat Party – over abortion. The bishops of “old” taught it was a sin against the 5th commandment to deny a person their human rights, and “particularly so in joining an organization that promoted it.” That can be found stated in the 1958 version of Life In Christ – Instructions In The Catholic Faith – 15 years before Roe v Wade.

    The Democrat Party is an “organization” and they have as part of their stated platform, support for and promotion of Row v Wade, which denies a person their “right to life.” The Democrat Party is also the main reason, if not the sole reason, abortion on demand remains the law of the land. In the 1995 updated of Life In Christ, the bishops minced the Church teaching that denying a person their “human rights” is a sin against the 5th commandment by narrowing their focus to strictly “prejudice,” and illustrating that by using examples of only the “Nazi Party and the KKK.” No mention of the Democrat Party and their denial of human rights.

    The Democrat Party of the United States is responsible for the deaths of more innocent human beings than the Nazi Party of Germany, the KKK of the south, and for that matter the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, combined. And the bishops give the Democrat Party a pass about joining such an “organization” being a sin. Why?

  • It looks like at least part of this article was lifted from a chain email that contained some false information:

  • “It looks like at least part of this article was lifted from a chain email that contained some false information:”

    Actually, I got that part from a speech Rush Limbaugh’s father (Rush H. Limaugh Jr. Rush is actually Rush H. LImbaugh III) used to give in Limbaugh’s hometown Cape, Girardieu. MO. Rush printed the transcript in his letter years ago.

    “Something the bishops are discovering today, but I doubt they even realize why. The “modern” bishops “acquiesced” to the Democrat Party – over abortion.”

    The curve is till a bit too steep for most of our bishops at this point. I would go so far as to say that until they realize and are willing to own up for just what they have done to bring this about, all this “Fortnight for Freedom” business, as needed as it is, will amount to nothing more than a dog and pony show. When it comes to issues outside their competence where Catholic teaching allows a diversity of viewpoints like capital punishment, illegal immigration, they need to start acting like pastors and not like left-wing ideologues. Untill they do, their credibility to defend religious liberty will be zero minus ten.

    However, there is at least some hope. I was watching some of the USCCB General Assembly on EWTN a few weeks ago and after one of Bp Blaire’s presentations Bp Papracki of Springfield, ILL commented that “We [meaning the bishops] do not yet have the humlity to speak on matters outside our competence.” Understatement of the year that was cause for good cheer.

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Fortnight for Freedom Day Thirteen: Love of Liberty

Tuesday, July 3, AD 2012



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

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


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


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


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

The fight over the HHS Mandate essentially boils down to a fight to uphold religious liberty.  Such struggles for liberty in our nation’s history are very important because they go to the very core of our nation.  Abraham Lincoln understood this, and in a speech he gave in Edwardsville, Illinois on September 11, 1858, got to the heart of the matter:


What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.

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One Response to Fortnight for Freedom Day Thirteen: Love of Liberty

  • When the PERSON of God was banned from the public square by the Supreme Court, the atheist said: “Take your religion and yourself from the public square and pray in the privacy of your home”, codifying the words of Jesus: “Go into the privacy of your room, close the door and pray to our Father in heaven.” That “private room” that Jesus exhorts us to enter to pray, that “private room” that the state orders us to enter into to pray is our CONSCIENCE. That “private room”, that conscience, that God has created in man to know, to love, and to serve HIM is being violated, is being intruded upon by the HHS mandate. That “private room”, that conscience, that God has created in man to constitute the state for His greater glory is being violently besieged by the HHS mandate and other atheists around the world. Desecration of the soul of man and his conscience; deconstruction of our founding principles and introduction of atheism is establishment of religion by government; the boot on the neck of man’s rational, immortal soul and his sacred conscience by the state.
    First the state says: “Go into your room to pray.” Then, the state takes the privacy, the freedom of our room from us. The progressives’ move to annihilate FREEDOM. VIVA CRISTO REY

Fortnight For Freedom Day Twelve: We Have No King But Jesus

Monday, July 2, AD 2012


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

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


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


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


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

Prior to the American Revolution an English aristocrat related an incident in a letter.  He asked a servant who his master was, and the man responded unhesitatingly:  My Lord Jesus Christ!  The aristocrat found this hilarious, but the servant was reflecting a very old Christian view.

Christ Pantocrator is one of the more popular images by which Christians pictured, after the edict of Milan, Christ, the Lord of all.  This representation ties in nicely with the traditional American cry of “We have no King but Jesus!” which became popular during the American Revolution.  At the battle of Lexington the phrase “We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus!”, was flung back at Major Pitcairn after he had ordered the militia to disperse.

Christ the King and We have no King but Jesus remind Christians that the nations of the world and the manner in which they are ruled, and mis-ruled, while very important to us during our mortal lives, are of little importance in the next.   They also instruct us that the State can never be an ultimate end in itself, can never override the first allegiance of Christians and that the rulers of the Earth will be judged as we all will be.  Although my Irish Catholic ancestors will shudder, and my Protestant Irish and Scot ancestors may smile, there is much truth in the inscription supposedly written on the sarcophagus, destroyed or lost after the Restoration, of that “bold, bad man”, Oliver Cromwell, “Christ, not Man, is King.”

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Twelve: We Have No King But Jesus

  • WELL SAID, Donald. They changed Oliver Cromwell’s legacy after he died by removing “Christ, not Man, is King” from his sarcophagus and replaced it with atheism. The cross at the Veteran’s Memorial at Mount Soledad is at risk of being removed. The legacy of the fallen dead is being replaced by atheism. Worse still, is the fact that the last will and testament of the dead is being destroyed as a freedom, and violated. The fallen dead cannot rest in peace. They will rise up and demand their civil rights, that their will be respected, and government be placed at the service of its citizens, the government’s employers. “The king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
    Etc, etc: Drinking soda interchangeably with fruit juice is known to cause kidney stones in one so young as six years of age. God bless and keep you.

  • Cromwell certainly had a medal struck with the inscription “et nunc reges intelligite; erudimini qui judicatis terram” Ps 2:10 [And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.]

    The whole psalm is very à propos; a metrical version of it was a great favourite of the Scottish Covenanters.