Sandro Magister gives us the details as to why the Pontifical Academy for Life should be renamed:
At the Pontifical Academy for Life, the first big uproar was over the appointment of the Anglican moral theologian Nigel Biggar, a supporter of abortion until “18 weeks after conception.”
Asked to comment by Vatican Insider, Archbishop Paglia tried to justify the appointment by asserting that Biggar – apart from words he exchanged in 2011 with the staunchly pro-abortion philosopher Peter Singer – “has never written anything on the issue of abortion” and that on the end of life “he has a position absolutely in keeping with the Catholic one.”
But it didn’t take much to discover that neither statement corresponds to the truth, and that Biggar has expressed his liberal positions on abortion in a 2015 article for the “Journal of Medical Ethics,” and on euthanasia in his 2004 book “Aiming To Kill. The Ethics of Suicide and Euthanasia.”
Then it was noted that other new members of the academy are rather far from the Church’s positions:
– Katarina Le Blanc of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, who uses stem cells taken from human embryos fertilized in vitro; – Japanese Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, who in spite of his fame for producing pluripotent stem cells artificially has by no means rules out continued research on the use of embryonic stem cells, and explains why in an article in the scientific journal “Cell & Stem Cell.” – the Israeli Jew Avraham Steinberg, who admits in some cases abortion and the destruction of embryos for scientific use; – Maurizio Chiodi, a leading Italian moral theologian, who in his book “Ethics of life” makes allowances for artificial procreation, if it is supported by an “intention of fertility.”
Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.
This is a repeat from a post last year, but I think the logic behind the post still holds true. I think the Fourth of July is a good time to recall the price paid to establish our liberties. It is trite to say that freedom is not free, but it is also true. Winning the American Revolution took eight years and it was a definite David v. Goliath upset. A people who forget this eternal lesson will not remain free for long.
A number of feature films and miniseries have been made about the events of the American Revolution. Here are my top ten choices for Fourth of July viewing:
10. Ben and Me (1953)- Something for the younger patriots. Disney put to film the novel of Robert Lawson, Ben and Me, which related how many of Ben Franklin’s bright ideas came from his mouse Amos. Quite a bit of fun. Not a classic but certainly an overlooked gem.
9. The Crossing (2000)-A retelling of Washington’s brilliant crossing of the Delaware on Christmas 1776 and the battle of Trenton. This film would rank much higher on my list but for Jeff Daniels’ portrayal of Washington as sullen and out of sorts throughout the movie. Washington had a temper, and he could give vent to it if provoked, although he usually kept it under control, but the peevish Washington portrayed here is simply ahistoric and mars an otherwise good recreation of the turning point of the Revolution.
8. John Paul Jones (1959) Robert Stack, just before he rose to fame in the Untouchables, is grand in the role of the archetypal American sea hero. Bette Davis is absolutely unforgettable as Catherine the Great. The climactic sea battle with the Serapis is well done, especially for those pre-CGI days. The only problem with the film is that many of the details are wrong. This is forgivable to a certain extent since scholarship on Jones was badly skewed by Augustus Buell in a two-volume “scholarly biography” which appeared in 1900. Buell was a charlatan who made up many incidents about Jones and then invented sources to support his fabrications. Buell was not completely exposed until Samuel Eliot Morison, Harvard professor of history, and an Admiral in the Navy, wrote his definitive biography of Jones. Here is a list of the fabrications of Buell compiled by Morison. Morison’s book appeared after the movie, which is to be regretted.
7. The Patriot (2000) Finally, a film which depicts the unsung contribution of Australians to victory in the American Revolution! Actually not too bad of a film overall. Heath Ledger is quite good as Gibson’s oldest son who joins the Continentals at the beginning of the war against his father’s wishes. Jason Isaacs is snarlingly good as the evil Colonel Tavington, very loosely based on Banastre Tarleton, commander of Tarleton’s Raiders during the Southern Campaign. The film of course allows Gibson to carry on his over-the-top vendetta against all things English. No, the British did not lock up American civilians in churches and burn them alive. However, the ferocity of the partisan fighting in the South is well depicted, and Banastre Tarleton at the Waxhaw Massacre earned a reputation for slaughtering men attempting to surrender. The final battle of the film is based on the battle of Cowpens where General Daniel Morgan decisively defeated Tarleton.
6. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)-A John Ford classic starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert. Through the eyes of a young newlywed couple, Fonda and Colbert, the American Revolution on the frontier is depicted in the strategic Mohawk Valley. Full of the usual Ford touches of heroism, humor and ordinary life.
It should always be recalled that a large part of the impetus behind Pope Francis and his attempt to transform the Catholic Church into an Episcopal Church with worse music is the Lavender Mafia. One of the poster children for the Lavender Mafia is Father James Martin, SJ. Liturgy Guy connects the dots:
With each passing week the pace quickens. The revolutionaries continue to grow more emboldened. There is no time to lose. For those who wish to remake the Church in the image of fallen Man, instead of defending the immutable Truth of Our Risen Lord, the time is now.
With every new tweet to his 125,000 followers on Twitter, or every pro-LGBT article shared to his half a million Facebook followers, Fr. James Martin, S.J. ups the ante. The rogue Jesuit (which might be redundant), described by some as a wolf in sheeps clothing (or Roman collar), has apparently made it his personal mission to change the faith of our fathers.
As I’ve written about before, Fr. Martin’s latest effort is Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity (Harper Collins, 2017). The book is interesting enough for the simple fact that it largely comes from an address Fr. Martin gave to New Ways Ministry in October of last year.
What is different now from the past, however, is Rome itself. Leading the defense of orthodoxy and doctrinal clarity back then was Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. While Fr. Robert Nugent and Sr. Jeannine Gramick could spread their errors and ambiguities, they did so with the condemnation of the Holy See. That is not the case with Pope Francis.
To understand who is really responsible for today’s revolutionary spirit, one that seeks to make the LGBT’s agenda the Church’s own, go back to the back…of Fr. Martin’s book that is.
Who else do we find endorsing Fr. Martin’s 2017 repackaging of the New Ways message of the 1990’s? None other than three of Pope Francis’s most recent episcopal appointments: Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey; Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life; and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, California.
The Church is sometimes depicted as somehow an alien presence in this fair land of freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. Catholics, beginning with Christopher Columbus, have played a vital role in American history from the beginning. Such was the case with the nuns who attended wounded and sick soldiers during the national nightmare known as the Civil War.
Visitors to Washington DC might be surprised at first to encounter a monument to nuns and sisters entitled Nuns of the Battlefield. It was erected by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1924 to honor the some 600 Catholic nuns and sisters who during the Civil War nursed soldiers on both sides. It bears this inscription:
THEY COMFORTED THE DYING, NURSED THE WOUNDED, CARRIED HOPE TO THE IMPRISONED, GAVE IN HIS NAME A DRINK OF WATER TO THE THIRSTY
Anti-Catholic propaganda prior to the Civil War often focused on alleged lurid misdeeds involving nuns, the completely fictional account written by Maria Monk being a typical example, thus combining both bigotry and near pornography. A convent was burned by an anti-Catholic mob in 1834 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, their minds poisoned by just such allegations.
Nuns and sisters prior to the Civil War would not wear their habits outside of their convents for fear of insult or attack. Then, in the words of Lincoln, the war came.
Nuns on both sides swiftly volunteered to served as nurses, and they proved superb at this task. Mary Livermore, who served on the United States Sanitary Commission and who would later win fame as an early fighter for the rights of women, wrote this tribute after the War:
“I am neither a Catholic, nor an advocate of the monastic institutions of that church . . . But I can never forget my experience during the War of the Rebellion . . . Never did I meet these Catholic sisters in hospitals, on transports, or hospital steamers, without observing their devotion, faithfulness, and unobtrusiveness. They gave themselves no airs of superiority or holiness, shirked no duty, sought no easy place, bred no mischiefs. Sick and wounded men watched for their entrance into the wards at morning, and looked a regretful farewell when they departed at night.”
Soldiers were impressed both by the quality of the nursing they received from the nuns and their good cheer and kindness. Generations of bigotry melted away by the ministrations of these women of God. A Confederate chaplain recalled this incident between a soldier and a sister:
“Sister, is it true that you belong to the Catholic Church?”
“Yes, sir, it’s true. And that’s the source of the greatest happiness I have in this life.”
“Well, I declare. I’d never have suspected it. I’ve heard so many things . . . I thought Catholics were the worst people on earth.”
“I hope you don’t think so now.”
“Well, Sister . . . I’ll tell you. If you say you’re a Catholic, I’ll certainly have a better opinion of Catholics from now on.”
National treasure James O’Keefe of Project Veritas proves that CNN is the home of fake news:
In a video released overnight by ‘Project Veritas‘ founder James O’Keefe, CNN producer John Bonifield is caught on film admitting that the network’s constant coverage of the Trump-Russia narrative is “mostly bullshit” and “the president is probably right to say [CNN] is witch-hunting [him].”
He also noted the story is “good for business.”
“I haven’t seen any good enough evidence to show that the President committed a crime,” he said. “I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the President is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me. You have no smoking gun, you have no real proof.”
He also said: “It’s a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss…All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business.”
18. In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently – who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment – they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.
The former head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, lets Pope Francis have it in an essay in La Verita:
I see two implicit messages in the Pope’s failure to answer the dubia. The first implicit message is “I can contradict myself if I want to.” At the start of the Synod on the Family (October 2014), the Pope invited the cardinals to speak openly and frankly, without fear of embarrassing the Pope (the famous parresia). And yet for months the Pope has refused to respond privately or publicly to the dubia expressed by four cardinals who represent a large part of the faithful.
The second implicit message seems to be a declaration of the intent to impose a “New Catholic Morality.” This would be founded on the awkward circumstances of the new ethical demands (or requirements) of new situations created by the secularized world, not on the Commandments, the Catechism and the Magisterium invoked by the “obsolete” Veritatis Splendor.
In the past, the Church’s concern was to keep the faithful “strong in the Truth” in order to conserve the faith. She therefore discouraged a disposition to interpret doctrine and the magisterium in a subjective and dangerously misleading manner. Indeed, back then the task of pastors was to confirm the certainties of faith by “teaching,” not just by “listening.”
Today, it could be said that you should have subjective and unresolved doubts to demonstrate that you have an “authentic faith.” You must not try to resolve them or seek answers to questions on points of ambiguous interpretation because that would be insolent and arrogant. Doubts are necessary because it seems that we don’t want to affirm a single, absolute and objective truth. A pluralist and dialectical truth has taken its place because this latter truth, a truth based on the conclusions of a “self-taught” individual conscience, has replaced doctrine as the judge of actions (praxis).
One might say that traditional morality has been overridden by circumstances (and not the ideal), and since we should not longer judge (that is, objectively evaluate circumstances), the Church seems to want to renounce the possession of the truth and its teaching (unless it concerns the environment, poverty and immigration). Thus, a failure to respond to the dubia confirms that doctrine is abstract and that it is of no use to salvation because truth is transitory, subjective and open to differing interpretations. It is better to dialogue, then, than to teach something that is no longer eternal.
Why do we observe Independence Day on the Fourth of July each year? Is it merely a historical commemoration, or is it because the lightning words of the Declaration of Independence still have meaning and relevance today? This is not a new issue. In the debate over slavery which embroiled this nation a century and a half ago, the phrase “all men are created equal” from the Declaration was argued and fought over. On June 26, 1857, Abraham Lincoln, in response to the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, contended in a speech in Springfield, Illinois, that the phrase “all men are created equal” applied to blacks as well as whites:
Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, admits that the language of the Declaration is broad enough to include the whole human family, but he and Judge Douglas argue that the authors of that instrument did not intend to include negroes, by the fact that they did not at once, actually place them on an equality with the whites. Now this grave argument comes to just nothing at all, by the other fact, that they did not at once, or ever afterwards, actually place all white people on an equality with one or another. And this is the staple argument of both the Chief Justice and the Senator, for doing this obvious violence to the plain unmistakable language of the Declaration. I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal—equal in “certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This they said, and this meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere. The assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, nor for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.
I have now briefly expressed my view of the meaning and objects of that part of the Declaration of Independence which declares that “all men are created equal.”
Now let us hear Judge Douglas’ view of the same subject, as I find it in the printed report of his late speech. Here it is:
“No man can vindicate the character, motives and conduct of the signers of the Declaration of Independence except upon the hypothesis that they referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal—that they were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain—that they were entitled to the same inalienable rights, and among them were enumerated life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connection with the mother country.”
My good friends, read that carefully over some leisure hour, and ponder well upon it—see what a mere wreck—mangled ruin—it makes of our once glorious Declaration.
In an unsigned opinion today the Supreme Court lifted stays imposed by lower courts on President Trump’s travel ban on travel for 90 days from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, except for nationals of those countries who have a connection with the US, for example through relatives, etc. The ban itself will be argued before the Court in the fall, by which time the 90 days would have expired in any case. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito joined in a dissent written by Thomas which argued that the injunctions should have been lifted in toto. Go here to read the decision.
Pius XII was the first Pope to visit the United States, albeit as Papal Secretary of State. He visited Mount Vernon while in the country on October 22, 1936. On November 1, 1939 he issued the encyclical SERTUM LAETITIAE commemorating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the hierarchy. His comments on America are still of interest:
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII
ON THE HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HIERARCHY
IN THE UNITED STATES
To Our Beloved Sons: William O’Connell, Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop of Boston, Dennis Dougherty, Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and to all the Venerable Brethren, the Archbishops, Bishops and Ordinaries of the United States of America in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction:
1. In our desire to enrich the crown of your holy joy We cross in spirit the vast spaces of the seas and find Ourselves in your midst as you celebrate, in company with all your faithful people, the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in the United States of America. And this We do with great gladness, because an occasion is thus afforded Us, as gratifying as it is solemn, of giving public testimony of Our esteem and Our affection for the youthfully vigorous and illustrious American people.
2. To one who turns the pages of your history and reflects upon the causes of what has been accomplished it is apparent that the triumphal progress of Divine religion has contributed in no small degree to the glory and prosperity which your country now enjoys. It is indeed true that religion has its laws and institutions for eternal happiness but It is also undeniable that it dowers life here below with so many benefits that it could do no more even if the principal reason for its existence were to make men happy during the brief span of their earthly life.
3. It is a pleasure for Us to recall the well remembered story.
When Pope Pius VI gave you your first Bishop in the person of the American John Carroll and set him over the See of Baltimore, small and of slight importance was the Catholic population of your land. At that time, too, the condition of the United States was so perilous that its structure and its very political unity were threatened by grave crisis. Because of the long and exhausting war the public treasury was burdened with debt, industry languished and the citizenry wearied by misfortunes was split into contending parties. This ruinous and critical state of affairs was put aright by the celebrated George Washington, famed for his courage and keen intelligence. He was a close friend of the Bishop of Baltimore. Thus the Father of His Country and the pioneer pastor of the Church in that land so dear to Us, bound together by the ties of friendship and clasping, so to speak, each the other’s hand, form a picture for their descendants, a lesson to all future generations, and a proof that reverence for the Faith of Christ is a holy and established principle of the American people, seeing that it is the foundation of morality and decency, consequently the source of prosperity and progress.
Well, Ms. Williams, other than their Grandparents and their Aunt Cathy, my wife and I had someone else look after our three kids precisely once as they were growing up. I have the duty of scrubbing out the toilets at my home, my Air Force Sergeant Dad having made sure I learned to do that job properly as I grew up, and I have always driven myself, although I have never owned a limo. Go here to read other responses to Ms. Williams.
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
Sam Adams, August 1, 1776
(This is a repeat from last year. I can’t improve upon it, except for minor changes that I have made.)
The American Catholic is proud to participate in this year’s Fortnight For Freedom. The Fortnights were started in 2012 by the bishops of this country in response to the unprecedented assault on religious liberty posed by the Obama administration, to remind Catholics of the preciousness of their inheritance of freedom as Americans and Catholics and the necessity of standing up to threats to it. All well and good, and a very worthy cause indeed. However, the leadership of the Church appears to be schizophrenic on this subject. While Caesar seeks to limit the freedom of the Church, too many ecclesiastics respond by wanting to get into bed with Caesar.
The examples of this are legion.
It was the policy of the Church to aid the Obama administration in flouting the immigration laws of this country, acting as a virtual arm of the State in sheltering illegal aliens. Thank heavens that administration is now one with Nineveh and Tyre.
The Church was all in favor of Obamacare, until the Obama administration targeted the Church with the contraceptive mandate.
The Green Encyclical, Laudato Si, released in 2015, is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.
The Vatican is a cheerleader of UN activities that spell a mortal danger to economic freedom in the West.
The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.
Welfare States require huge amounts of tax money and huge amounts of government power. The default position of the Church today when confronting any need traditionally filled by private or Church charity, is to scream for Caesar to come fix things. This bastardized parody of the social teachings of the Church inevitably comes back to bite the Church as Caesar will always exact a price for his favors and under the Obama administration that price was for the Church to bend the knee to contraception, abortion and gay marriage. For all too many of our shepherds that was a small price to pay to keep the government largess flowing. There is a reason why Christ whipped the money changers from the Temple and why He uttered the phrase to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. These days the Church too often seems willing to bow the knee to Caesar, no matter what Caesar demands, so long as the funds from Caesar keep flowing.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Society of St. Pius X chess grandmaster Larcel Mafebvre has turned four of his pieces into bishops without approval from the World Chess Federation, officials have confirmed.
“Mr. Mafebvre has, without approval from the Federation, created bishops out of pawn pieces,” said World Chess Federation head Antonio Salamanca. “After speaking with Mr. Mafebvre regarding abiding by the new chess rules, wherein players are given the freedom to concelebrate the match, and to say the words of ‘checkmate’ in the vernacular, he has sadly decided to ignore our requests.”
Salamanca went on to tell reporters that Mafebvre had automatically incurred excheckommunication because of his disobedience.
“I must do what is in my conscience to preserve the dignity of the game,” Mafebvre told EOTT in an exclusive interview. “Therefore, I have decided to consecrate four of my pieces into bishops to help my depleted side, for, from some Fischer, the smoke of Satan has entered the chessboard of God.”
At press time, one time follower of Larcel Mafebvre’s, Bavid Dawden, told EOTT that he has decided to become head of the World Chess Federation, though he only has three pawns to play with.
Something for the weekend. George M. Cohan wrote Over There, the song which will always be associated with America in World War I. He was immortalized by James Cagney in the 1942 film biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy. Dying on November 5, 1942 of stomach cancer, Cohan saw the film shortly before its release in a private screening. I do not know if the ending of the film in the clip brought tears to his eyes, but it always does mine. Cohan wrote the song in under two hours on April 7, 1917, two days after the US declared war on Imperial Germany. Over There would be introduced to the public during a Red Cross benefit in New York City during the fall of 1917, and swiftly became the American anthem for the war effort. Son of Union veteran Jeremiah Cohan, who lied about his age to serve as a Union surgeon’s orderly during the Civil War, Cohan attempted to enlist during World War I in the Army but was rejected due to his age. I have always liked this song. It has a brash exuberance matched with a determination to accomplish a hard task, traits which have served the US well in dark times. We could use much more of that spirit today.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.