Crux has announced a new “prime directive” regarding their editorial policy, which they have seemingly established in light of the Austen Ivereigh commentary piece I blogged about the other day. Here’s Crux explaining:
“While Crux will always foster vigorous discussion, we will not tolerate attacks on persons. If the nature of a piece requires that specific individuals be named in a critical light, it must always be for their ideas or policy positions, never for their backgrounds, personalities, private lives, supposed dysfunctions or failures, etc.”
Which proves Crux doesn’t quite get the anger over the Ivereigh piece. In other words, they seem to be under the impression that it had more to do with “name-calling” than the actual substance. As further proof that they just don’t get it, they allowed another stinker of a “converts, oh what you please shut up” piece, this time by a convert himself: David Mills. In fairness, Mills doesn’t say that converts should keep silence, at least not forever. As he explains:
For a long time, and perhaps a very long time, the convert will see the Catholic Thing as you see a garden through a bay window, not as you see it when you’re standing amidst the flowers. He sees its design and beauty, but doesn’t feel the sun or smell the flowers or enjoy walking barefoot on the grass. Nor does he know what it is like to get caught in the rain or stung by a bee, or to spend hours weeding. He has to spend many years outside to know what life in the garden is really like.
Jay Anderson takes Mills to task. Jay concedes that Mills has a point when he suggests converts should take their time and “get their feet wet” before speaking out on matters of the faith. But:
This is fetishizing the cradle Catholic experience as being the *REAL* Catholic experience, and holding up any alternative to that as somehow less than. I used to do this exact same thing that Mills is doing when I was a new Catholic. I used to lament that I would never be able to experience the Faith with the instinct and the ethos of a cradle Catholic. That I would somehow always be an “incomplete” or not “REAL” Catholic like all my brethren born into the Faith and that I had somehow been “deprived” of my “birthright” as a “true” Catholic.
Now I recognize that for the utter horse
Well, I won’t spoil the rest, so as Don would say, read the rest here. Needless to say I agree with Jay.
The above video says yes, and attributes the bad policy to Herbert Hoover. Considering the cycle of boom and bust that America had long seen, the Great Depression stands out for both its length and severity. Perhaps this is not the answer, but it it is certainly more accurate than the historical myth that says that Hoover did nothing in the face of the Great Depression.
It has been a splendid little war, begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that Fortune that loves the brave. It is now to be concluded, I hope, with that fine good nature, which is, after all, the distinguishing trait of the American character.
John Hay, US Ambassador to Great Britain, letter to Theodore Roosevelt, July 1898
In many ways, Theodore Roosevelt’s future Secretary of State was correct. The War was short and victorious for the US, with the divisions of the Civil War largely forgotten by white Americans, North and South, unified in the fight against Spain. This was symbolized by the rapturous reception the 6th Massachusetts received from the citizens of Baltimore as it passed through on its way to ship out, box lunches were given to the men in a huge celebration, a stark departure from the bloody greeting received by the regiment from the citizens of Baltimore on its way to Washington in 1861 at the onset of the Civil War.
However, in the aftermath of the War journalists and returning veterans told tales of rampant mismanagement, of appalling rations, inadequate uniforms and chaotic transport. A political storm arose and President McKinley appointed a commission to investigate the conduct of the War. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, who had been unsparing in his private comments about the mismanagement of the Cuban campaign, appeared before the Committee on November 22, 1898, a few weeks after his election as Governor of New York. Go here to read his testimony. Roosevelt was restrained in his testimony, noting that the rapid expansion of the Army was bound to encounter problems, and that these problems could be partially alleviated by large scale maneuvers in peace time.
Like some ghoul in a late night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Paul Zummo stalks The American Catholic once again, frightening the heterodox Catholics and leftist agitators of the Catholic blogopshere. -Antonin Scalia, horribly paraphrased.
So what could have awoken me from a nearly year-long stupor to return to these pages? If you guessed interminable, poorly reasoned, strawmen-laden, intellectually dishonest, bilge spewed by certain Catholic bloggers furious about any criticism leveled against the precious Pope Francis, you are not only right, you are eerily specifically right.
In light of continued concerns expressed by certain Catholics about the current pontificate, his most fervent defenders have fought back with well-reasoned, well-articulated, substantive rebuttals calmly and meticulously pointing out flaws in those concerns.
Wait, my bad. In fact they’ve engaged in baseless character destruction. The latest group to come under attack are those dastardly converts – you know, the people who have bravely answered Christ’s call to conversion, in many cases forsaking the religious faith of their childhood and of their families because they have discovered and embraced the truth. Well, it seems they are a bit of a problem.
Austen Ivereigh is the latest, spewing forth 1,200 words of bile against converts, who, because they bring with them the baggage of their previous faith (or lack thereof), have come to become foolishly critical of Pope Francis. Ivereigh takes his cue from the “sage,” Michael Sean Winters. Winters, model of Catholic living for all, had whined: “I am so tired of converts telling us that the pope is not Catholic.”
Ivereigh, though, assures us: “I don’t want to be seen to be sniffy and condescending towards people who become Catholic.” Naturally, he proceeds to be sniffy and condescending towards people who became Catholic for the remainder of his article. Here’s a sampling of his writing:
“But still, I hesitate even now to write about convert neurosis, and how it conditions critiques of Pope Francis.” – Convert neurosis is certainly a great way to show that one is not being demeaning in the slightest
“Now, Schmitz never actually said the pope wasn’t Catholic, but his narrative and that of many of Francis’s angry, vociferous critics adds up to something rather like it.” – Ah, the angry young Catholic convert, a touching image.
“The Church is missionary, and exists to spread the Gospel, and some of those it touches will want to become Catholic, and that’s wonderful. People who have thought and prayed their way to faith are special, and bring great gifts with which they have been showered. We love converts.” – Yeah, I don’t know how anyone could interpret that as condescending at all.
“But it is a lot more likely that their baggage has distorted their hermeneutic, and they are suffering from convert neurosis.” – There’s that term again: convert neurosis, with some additional baggage thrown in.
“A friend in Ireland writes: “I keep seeing people who seem to have converted mainly because the Church teaches things that match their ideological outlook, whereas when I came back it was a case of doing so because I thought the Church had historical authority to teach things even if they sounded mad or were inconvenient.” – Again, what is sniffy and condescending about alleging that many who convert do so for ideological reasons?
Of course not only is Ivereigh sniffy and condescending, he fails to adequately address what precisely is wrong with the criticism coming from converts and cradle Catholics. Oh, you didn’t know cradle Catholics could also be critics? Well, let’s not worry about our concerns because that would get in the way of this narrative. Ivereigh is also profoundly ignorant about papal elections:
And if the many retweets of my retweet of Winters’s complaint is anything to go by, many share his view not just that this stance is not just incongruous, but annoying, because rather than consider the possibility that there may be something deficient in their own view of the Church and its tradition, they prefer to assume that it is the successor of St. Peter – chosen by the Holy Spirit in a conclave free from outside interference – who is lacking. (Emphasis mine)
This is pure theological error, and it being spread in the pages of an ostensibly Catholic publication. (I guess new regalia is not the first poor decision made by the Knights). The Holy Spirit does not choose the pope. The Holy Spirit guides the Cardinal electors, but that does not mean they are incapable of error in their selection.
Unfortunately Ivereigh bases most of his attack on converts on the proposition that the Holy Spirit knows better than those ignorant converts. Indeed, his basic attitude is one of dismissiveness:
Conversion is an act of humility. It involves a renunciation of sovereignty, the idea that I know best. It involves trust – in Jesus Christ, and in His Church, and in the successor of St. Peter – even when they challenge my preconceptions.
Certainly all good Catholics should prayerfully reflect on all matters, and should not spout off angrily against the pope or against any prelate without carefully considering all arguments. Yet is similarly insufficient to reply to these criticisms with rhetorical hand waving. Pretending that converts were wrongfully being neurotic about the papal enclave, and using Amoris Laetitia as a cudgel to prove that neurosis is, well, rather odd considering the many problems with the document.
Ivereigh later posted an apology, but this is pathetically weak. Essentially he’s apologizing for using poorly chosen terminology. He doesn’t, however, recant of the substance of his remarks, rendering his apology meaningless.
Ivereigh and Winters are hardly alone in being suspect of converts. Mark Silk also offers up a bit of dismissive snark:
“Here we are getting really close to what really bothers Matthew,” scoffed Ivereigh. “He wants the red shoes. He wants the popes to be carried on a sedia gestatoria [the ceremonial throne on which popes were carried until 1978]. He wants a church which no longer exists.”
What’s new, this time around, is the readiness of conservative converts to come right out and criticize what principally distinguishes Roman Catholicism from the rest of Christianity — the pope. You’d almost think they were still Protestants.
Silk approvingly quotes Iverigh’s contention that what motivates certain converts is their desire for appropriate regalia, then misrepresents the position of Francis critics. Convert (and cradle Catholic) critics do not dispute the authority or legitimacy of the pope or his office. What distinguishes us from the ultramontanists is recognizing that the pope is not an infallible human being, and is thus capable – GASP! – of being less than perfect, and capable being wrong when he is not speaking ex cathedra. In other words, we are not Rex Mottram Catholics.
And where did I even find this Silk article? Why from none other than our good pal Anthony Annett, the artist formerly known as Morning’s Minion, who linked to Silk via his twitter page. I deleted my twitter account (again) in part because of the nastiness of, well, pretty much everyone (including myself). Twitter is just not a place for rational discourse. Yet Tony’s twitter page is especially full of nasty invective. A quick perusal of his twitter page that evidently detraction and calmuny are not sins, at least according to Tony, but failure to hue 100% to his environmental policies and/or working for Heritage are.
It’s odd that the biggest fans of Pope Francis – the pope who is supposedly bringing in all these converts due to his willingness to open dialogue – are so hostile to converts and their ability to engage in theological dialogue. It’s almost as if they have another agenda.
It also suggests that if anyone is demonstrating signs of neurosis, it is them.
1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.(1)
2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.
3. Actually God, who from all eternity regards Mary with a most favorable and unique affection, has “when the fullness of time came”(2) put the plan of his providence into effect in such a way that all the privileges and prerogatives he had granted to her in his sovereign generosity were to shine forth in her in a kind of perfect harmony. And, although the Church has always recognized this supreme generosity and the perfect harmony of graces and has daily studied them more and more throughout the course of the centuries, still it is in our own age that the privilege of the bodily Assumption into heaven of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, has certainly shone forth more clearly.
4. That privilege has shone forth in new radiance since our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the loving Mother of God’s Immaculate Conception. These two privileges are most closely bound to one another. Christ overcame sin and death by his own death, and one who through Baptism has been born again in a supernatural way has conquered sin and death through the same Christ. Yet, according to the general rule, God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come. And so it is that the bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul.
Since the time of the Reformation, the lack of devotion to the Mother of God has been a sign of the dying of Christendom. Saint Maximilian Kolbe had been dedicated to the Virgin Mother since he had a vision of her when he was a boy. She offered him the red crown of martyrdom or the white crown of purity, and he chose to take both. By his founding of the Immaculata Militia and his devotion to the Immaculata, our Blessed Mother found a knight and champion in Kolbe willing to proclaim her message in the teeth of the indifference and hostility of a world that so desperately needs precisely the love and compassion of the Queen of Heaven.
After the Nazi invasion of Poland, Saint Maximilian Kolbe threw open the doors of the monastery at a Niepokalanów and gave assistance to thousands of refugees, including 2000 Jews. Even the wife of a Nazi Gauleiter was moved by the endless compassion that Kolbe had for all who sought his assistance. Facing a seemingly hopeless situation he gave hope and love to all he encountered. Hope and love have always been in short supply on this planet and perhaps never more so than today.
A man carrying out the precepts of the Gospels under Nazi rule was a marked man, and so I am sure it came as no surprise to Father Kolbe when he was arrested by the Gestapo on February 17, 1941. After a short stay at Pawiak prison, on May 28, 1941 he was sent to the extermination camp of Auschwitz to die. Adolph Hitler was not the Anti-Christ, but it is hard in light of the death camps not to see him, along with his colleague in mass murder Joseph Stalin, as a developer of methods that might be utilized by the Anti-Christ. Auschwitz is as close as humanity has come to creating a literal Hell on Earth, and into this industrial slaughter camp strode Father Kolbe, Prisoner 16670. Whatever terrors await us in this century it is hard to believe we will manage to surpass the nihilistic worship of mass death that went on at Auschwitz. The reaction of Father Kolbe? Subject to the same beatings, starvation and brutality as his fellow prisoners, Kolbe moved among them at night, telling them that he was a Catholic priest. He prayed with them and heard their confessions. A constant theme for him was that the prisoners must pray for their persecutors and return evil with good. When he was beaten, Father Kolbe would not cry out but would pray for the man beating him. I confess that I could not do that, but I recognize the perfection of Christian love that Saint Maximilian achieved by doing so. In the midst of his sufferings he was able to send a last letter to his dear mother.
“Dear Mama, At the end of the month of May I was transferred to the camp of Auschwitz. Everything is well in my regard. Be tranquil about me and about my health, because the good God is everywhere and provides for everything with love. It would be well that you do not write to me until you will have received other news from me, because I do not know how long I will stay here. Cordial greetings and kisses, affectionately. Raymond.”
I think that when he wrote that letter he already suspected that the ultimate sacrifice might soon be required of him.
Allied bombers had been used on August 13, 1945 dropping leaflets over Japan which described, in Japanese, the surrender offer and the Allied response. On August 14, 1945 Hirohito met with his military leaders, several of whom spoke in favor of continuing the War. Hirohito urged them to help him bring the War to an end. Meeting then with the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War and heard out those who recommended a rejection of the Allied offer unless there was a guarantee that the Emperor would continue to reign. Hirohito then spoke:
I have listened carefully to each of the arguments presented in opposition to the view that Japan should accept the Allied reply as it stands and without further clarification or modification, but my own thoughts have not undergone any change. … In order that the people may know my decision, I request you to prepare at once an imperial rescript so that I may broadcast to the nation. Finally, I call upon each and every one of you to exert himself to the utmost so that we may meet the trying days which lie ahead.
In normal times in Japan that would have been that. It was quite rare for the Emperor to so overtly intervene in a decision of the government, indeed it was forbidden under the then current Japanese constitution, but when he did, it would have literally been unthinkable for any Japanese not to instantly obey. However, these were far from normal times.
The rest of the day was taken up with Hirohito preparing an address to his people and having a recording played to be broadcast on August 15, 1945. Washington was advised that Japan had surrendered via the Japanese embassies in Switzerland and Sweden and the Allied world went wild with joy.
Rather cute little story– a group of priests went to the bar to lift a pint or two in honor of a newly ordained member…and were mistaken for a bachelor party, because they were dressed “formally.”
You know, in cassocks.
Thankfully a manager overheard them praying before they left and figured out what was up, and then to make up for it they renamed a beer.
One of the frequently overlooked aspects of American involvement in World War I, is the massive shipments of food from the United States to the Allies that kept them from experiencing the type of dearth of food that afflicted Germany in the latter years of the War. Behind the success of this effort was one of the greatest geniuses of organization in American history, future president Herbert Hoover. Since the onset of the War he had organized food relief for occupied Belgium, and is still honored there, for his central role in preventing mass famine in that war devastated country, where the German conquerors had little concern of whether the Belgian civilians had food to eat. Hoover performed similar miracles of humanitarian relief in occupied France.
I his Executive Order of August 14, 1917 President Wilson established the Food Administration Grain Corporation with Herbert Hoover on the Board. This was part of the United States Food Admninistration which Wilson appointed Hoover to lead. Future posts will explore Hoover’s actions in charge of this organization. Here is the text of the Executive Order of August 14, 1917:
At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.
Then the LORD said to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
Of all the figures of the Old Testament, Elijah has always stood out for me. The most powerful of the prophets sent by God, he lived at a time of mass apostasy in the Kingdom of Israel. Under King Ahab and his Queen Jezebel, a daughter of the King of Sidon and a priestess of Baal, a great spirit of what many today would call ecumenicalism went forth, as Israel turned away from the stern God Yahweh, to the pleasure seeking ways of Baal. Elijah, his name means “Yahweh is my God”, would have none of it, and led the Traditionalists among the Yahweh worshipers who opposed the new spirit abroad in the land. The deeds of Elijah are well known, from the battle of the gods on Mount Carmel, to his being taken up to Heaven by a chariot of fire, but the most striking passage in his career is the incident of the still, small voice, set forth in today’s reading at Mass.
From the only source of reliable Catholic news on net, Eye of the Tiber:
The largest cross-boarder Lefeverist smuggling tunnel to date was discovered in a midnight raid earlier today by Swiss Guards. The smugglers fled, abandoning contraband with a street value of over 3 million euros.
Smuggled goods found included pirated copies of “Teach Yourself Latin” software, DVD’s of “The Cardinal,” as well as thousands of copies of Familiaris Consortio and the Decrees of the Council of Trent.
Lead detective on the case Giovanni Verde told EOTT this morning that all of the items seized were street ready.
“From here they would have gone out and been available in the Vatican colleges and back rooms by sunrise,” noting that the tunnel terminated in a small subterranean chapel under one of the Vatican buildings. “See how the chapel is set up ad orientem? This is a site of a clandestine Tridentine Mass.”
Rumors have been circulating for years that undocumented Lefeverists were responsible for the countless tunnels undermining the Vatican since the early 1970’s. According to Verde, his goal is not simply taking down the powerful Lefeverist “cartel,” but also “the numerous groups inside the Vatican supporting them.”
Verde told reporters that he has been tracking a “shadowy figure” who is considered the true leader of the cartel.
“We only know him as “Denzinger,” but he is highly respected in some circles, and his writings are quoted like the Bible. It’s not a secret in the Vatican that the recently terminated the head of the CDF, Gerhard Cardinal Muller, was an admirer of Dezinger.
“It was clear for a number of years that the Cardinal had been Denzinger’s man inside the halls of the Vatican, and now we finally have hard evidence of a conspiracy. Denzinger’s influence over the CDF and the Church will finally be broken.”
Something for the weekend. Since your humble scribe is on vacation with his family, the song Vacation sung by Connie Francis seemed appropriate. Written by Francis, Gary Weston and Hank Hunter, the song made it to number nine of the top 100 in 1962.
During the current Pontificate, PopeWatch has found comfort in this passage on the entry under Alexander VI at New Advent:
An impartial appreciation of the career of this extraordinary person must at once distinguish between the man and the office. “An imperfect setting”, says Dr. Pastor (op. cit., III, 475), “does not affect the intrinsic worth of the jewel, nor does the golden coin lose its value when it passes through impure hands. In so far as the priest is a public officer of a holy Church, a blameless life is expected from him, both because he is by his office the model of virtue to whom the laity look up, and because his life, when virtuous, inspires in onlookers respect for the society of which he is an ornament. But the treasures of the Church, her Divine character, her holiness, Divine revelation, the grace of God, spiritual authority, it is well known, are not dependent on the moral character of the agents and officers of the Church. The foremost of her priests cannot diminish by an iota the intrinsic value of the spiritual treasures confided to him.” There have been at all times wicked men in the ecclesiastical ranks. Our Lord foretold, as one of its severest trials, the presence in His Church not only of false brethren, but of rulers who would offend, by various forms of selfishness, both the children of the household and “those who are without”. Similarly, He compared His beloved spouse, the Church, to a threshing floor, on which fall both chaff and grain until the time of separation.
I am on vacation with my family until August 21. My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent. That is now by choice. In the past it was not, but now with ubiquitous wi-fi, portable ipads and kindles, that is no longer the case, and truth to tell, it hasn’t been for the last several years. I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example: Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, Trump admits that some orange furred critter has died on his head or Robert Mueller admitting that he is a Russian spy, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.
We will begin at the library school that my daughter is attending, the baby of the family having decided to follow my bride’s footsteps. She was too bright to follow in mine!
Then on to Kenosha, Wisconsin with a visit to my bride’s mother. We have been doing this since the birth of the twins and it has always been a fun family gathering. I heartily recommend both the Kenosha Civil War Museum and the Milwaukee Zoo Then it is back home for some Illinois activities including next Wednesday hosting the local Rotary District Governor, since, for my sins no doubt, I am serving as President of the local Rotary Club in Dwight for the eighth occasion.