In the closing days of December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree of “heroic virtues” of Pope Pius XII, which places him on the path to sainthood. This decision has caused a worldwide uproar among Jews, dissident Catholics, and others who believe that Pius was silent, or worse yet, complicit, in the Holocaust.
In the first two decades following World War II, there was certainly no public perception, among Jews, Catholics, or anyone else that Pius had been silent to a fault during the Holocaust, much less that he was “Hitler’s Pope.” Prominent Jewish leaders such as the first Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, as well as Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog of Palestine praised Pius. TIME Magazine reported in 1953 that Pius was “to Romans and to much of the world, something of a living and familiar saint.” It was widely known that Pius XII, to a greater extent than many secular heads of state, opposed the designs of the Third Reich. When Pius was able to speak to the world, as he did on Christmas in 1942, there was no question as to where he stood on the tragedies unfolding worldwide.
[Updates at the bottom of this post.]
In what is a common occurrence that happens more than you think, the media again has done a poor job of reporting the news that emanates from the Vatican. If it came from the Vatican at all. The new one today is that the Catholic Church condemns Halloween, or some variation there of.
Various news outlets have reported that the Pope, the Catholic Church, or the Vatican have condemned, blasted, slammed, or as the Times of London said, “reserved their venom for the millions of parents who allowed their children to celebrate this “pagan” festival.”
The Anglican Bishop of Chichester John Hind has announced that he is considering converting to Catholicism based on the Anglican initiative of Pope Benedict. This is a shocker. He is one of the senior bishops of the Anglican Church and not previously identified with Anglicans who wished to break away from the Anglican Church.
Comedienne Sarah Silverman is known for her profane and vulgar humor in the Hollywood scene. Miss Silverman, in an attempt at satire, presents a sketch on the HBO program “Real Time with Bill Maher” on how to solve world hunger. On the surface the sketch she offers is almost harmless, but her degrading attack on our Pope is insulting to him and all Catholics.
Here is a partial transcript:
Think about it, we need a hero, and who is more primed to be our hero than the Pope? He’s literally a caped crusader. What is the Vatican worth, like 500 billion dollars? This is great, sell the Vatican, take a big chunk of that money, build a gorgeous condominium for you and all your friends to live in, all the amenities, swimming pool, tennis court, waterslide, and with the money left over, feed the whole (expletive removed) world.
You preach to live humbly, and I totally agree. So, now maybe it’s time for you to move out of your house that is a city.
On an ego level alone, you will be the biggest hero in the history of ever. And by the way, any involvement in the Holocaust, bygones.(sic) [...]
Why bother with something like this?
We need to be aware that we are in this world, not of it. We need to be a witness to Christ for others. Sometimes in our endeavors to evangelize the world we can get caught up in all its trappings and are more vulnerable to fall into sin. One can laugh at oneself without being mean-spirited or degrading.
Miss Silverman may be funny to her fans, friends, and colleagues, but that doesn’t mean she is right or that her attempt at humor on our pope is ok. Yes we can laugh at ourselves and even our beautiful German shepherd, but there are limits and Miss Silverman has more than exceeded these limits.
So the next time you laugh at what you think may be an inconspicuous jab at our Catholic faith, remember, does it denigrate the person it is aimed at in a mean-spirited manner? Does it cheapen your faith in mockery? Especially if profane language is used, it’s a good indication that the person delivering it is doing it out of hate and spite.
I will not post the video because of the vulgarity she exhibits which is her modus operandi, but you can view at your own discretion on NewsBusters here.
Adolph Hitler’s evil twin in terror, Joseph Stalin, once remarked “How many divisions has the Pope?”. This was done in response to the future saint Pope Pius XII’s disapproval of his policies.
Well it wasn’t a mocking tone nor was it a sarcastic remark in reference to the Vatican. It was a serious concern to the ‘meddling’ of the Catholic Church in thwarting Communism’s attempt at world domination. Stalin was well aware of the tremendous moral power that the Vatican wielded and Vladimir Lenin implemented the full power of the KGB and the eastern bloc spy agencies to monitor and undermine the mission of the Catholic Church.
A new non-fiction book by John Koehler titled, Spies in the Vatican, has recently come out that documents the final twenty years of the Cold War and how it played out as the Soviet Union and their allies infiltrated the Vatican.
In news reports released today from the Vatican, it has been confirmed that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will welcome President Barack Obama for an audience scheduled to begin at 4 p.m on July 10. As expected, speculation has began about what the Roman Pontiff and the American president will discuss behind closed doors. The most obvious expectation is for the Holy Father to raise concern about the state of life issues in the United States, as well as address economic concerns and challenges facing the international community.
This is certainly something to pray for, even if any changes are not immediate; I believe profoundly in God planting seeds and I will pray for both my Pope and my President.
Another segment in my series on the follies of modern Jesuits, with no slight intended to the orthodox Jesuits who soldier on under often grim circumstances. America, the Jesuit publication, has an article by Thomas G. Casey, SJ, an associate professor at the Gregorian University in Rome in which he suggests dumping Latin as the official language of the Church for English. Rather convenient for English speaking Jesuits, and also rather convenient for people who would like to ram down the memory hole the history of the Church up to Vatican II. Father Z does an effective fisking of the article here. The only addition I have is that Father Z is correct as to the Roman soldiers in Palestine speaking Latin at the time of Christ. Wherever recruited, Latin was the language of command in the Roman Legions and auxilliary units. The recruits, if they did not speak Latin, quickly picked up what was often referred to as soldier Latin. That was the language they spoke while on duty. It was a rather meaningless aside in Casey’s article, but he was wrong on that point.
A good friend and long time reader sent along a link to this information several months ago, and I’ve been incredibly remiss in not doing the research to put up this post sooner. However, as I did the research over the last few weeks, I found it very much worth the time. I hope you will too.
It was through a friend in the Catholic blogsphere that I was introduced to the pleasures of studying, collecting and shooting military rifles. The most common and available military rifles are the bolt action rifles carried by the major powers (other than the US, which fielded the semi-automatic M1 Garand) during World War II, in most cases little modified from the versions carried thirty years before in the Great War. This was the last great age of battle rifles with wooden stocks and large cartridges, before the high tech “ugly guns” of the modern world took over.
There are, however, significantly more rare rifles to be found of an earlier vintage, the early cartridge rifles used form the 1860s through 1900, and of these one of the rarest is the M1868 Pontificio, the only modern rifle ever manufactured specifically for the Vatican.
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Miguel H. Diaz has been chosen by President Obama, peace be upon him, as the new ambassador to the Holy See. The secular media and Catholic Left has been hailing Mr. Diaz as a Rahner scholar and “pro-life” Democrat. Jesuit Father James Martin of America magazine, who recently claimed that Obama is not pro-abortion, has praised Mr. Diaz for being a Latino, in addition to being a “faithful” Catholic and for receiving a degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Abbot John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey had this to say about Mr. Diaz’s Latino and theological credentials [emphasis mine]:
“He is a strong proponent of the necessity of the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural [I guess we need priestesses to be more multi-cultural], to recognize and appreciate the role that culture plays in a living faith [sounds too much like a living, breathing constitution]. Born in Havana, Cuba [Being born in Havana, Cuba is a good start in creating his Latino credentials.], he is a leading Hispanic theologian in United States.”
In the same week of his nomination of a Hispanic Catholic for the Supreme Court of the United States, President Obama has finally named Havana-born 45 year old Miguel H. Diaz, an associate professor of theology at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. Eric Gorski (Associated Press) reports:
A couple weeks ago, Tito posted on the Washington Times report claiming the Vatican has rejected several candidates for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. It appeared the report had been satisfactorily debunked by the Catholic News Service, which quoted a statement by Father Federico Lombardi to the effect that the rumors were unreliable. Now, however, the Times Online has received confirmation of the story from “Vatican insiders”. This confirmation reconciles the two statements to a certain extent: no candidates have been officially rejected, but apparently informal rejections have taken place. Ultimately, this type of story is of little significance, but it’s always interesting to watch the interaction of the Vatican and the media. Here are some excerpts from the Times Online story:
Caroline Kennedy, the Roman Catholic daughter of the assassinated President, has been rejected by the Vatican as the next US ambassador to the Holy See because of her liberal views on abortion, stem-cell research and same-sex marriage, according to Vatican insiders.
Andrea Tornielli, the biographer of Pope Benedict XVI, said that at least two other potential ambassadors put forward by President Obama have also been blocked because they did not share the Vatican’s views on “pro-life” issues. A Vatican spokesman said that no candidates had been formally submitted “and therefore it is not true that they have been rejected”.
Today the Washington Times is reporting that the Vatican has rejected at least three candidates for ambassador. Could one of those candidates been Doug Kmiec? Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago? Caroline Kennedy?
The Headline Bistro is reporting that Senator John Kerry is pushing for Caroline Kennedy for the position. A left-leaning Italian daily, Panorama, is speculating of the ‘glamorous’ benefits of having Miss Kennedy as the Holy See’s ambassador.
Caroline Kennedy? You’ve got to be kidding me! What is interesting to note is the sheer lack of understanding on behalf President Obama of what the Catholic Church stands for. It is not a political entity, but Christ’s church on earth. Abortion is not one of a myriad of policy differences that can be pushed under the rug when it comes to appointing a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.
The U.S. has a right to appoint whomever they want, but the Pope has the right to reject any ambassador that will not “improve relations” with the Vatican. If President Obama appoints a pro-choice (pro-abortion) candidate, one who promotes the death of innocent children, how can this candidate improve relations with the Holy See that defends the rights the most vulnerable among us? Logic and reasoning seem to be lacking in finding a candidate from the Obama administration.
According to Massimo Franco, author of “Parallel Empires,” a recently published book on U.S.-Vatican relations, the Obama administration has put forward three candidates for consideration but each of them have been deemed insufficiently pro-life by the Vatican.
Today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a new Instruction entitled Dignitas Personae, On Certain Bioethical Questions. You can find it along with a Vatican summary as well as a Q&A and press release from the USCCB here.
There has been some talk in Catholic circles recently of Douglas Kmiec being appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. Many American Catholic contributors have expressed their opinions of Mr. Kmiec during the recent election. To be clear, the problem with Kmiec was not that he supported Obama, it was that he consistently advanced disingenuous or highly questionable arguments, arguably distorting Catholic teaching, to make the case. Apparently, rumors have surfaced that many in the Vatican are similarly displeased with Mr. Kmiec, and that the Vatican might take the unusual step of vetoing Mr. Kmiec’s nomination should he be appointed.
John Allen, one of the best reporters on Church matters, argues here both that vetoing the appointment of Mr. Kmiec would be unwise, and that President-elect Obama would be unwise to appoint Kmiec:
His Eminence the polite and soft-spoken James Francis Cardinal Stafford head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary gave a lecture on November 13 at the Keane Auditorium at Catholic University of America last week titled, “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul“. In it Cardinal Stafford critiqued President-elect Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and he further added that Obama ran an “extremist anti-life platform”.
Here are some highlights of his lecture:
“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”
“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”
Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”
The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.
Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.
“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.”