Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

And While Archbishop Hellin Plans Civil Disobedience

Nancy Pelosi accepts awards from an organization founded upon the principle of genocide:

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a self-professed devout Catholic, will receive an award from abortion giant Planned Parenthood at a reception Thursday evening. The award will be given in recognition of her efforts in passing the federal health care legislation, and in particular for her help in ensuring that the Stupak abortion funding ban was not inserted in the bill.

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood confirmed with that Pelosi would be receiving the Champion for Women's Health award, which recognizes "efforts to support women and their reproductive health."

And why was Nancy chosen for this award?

In a statement, PP lauds Pelosi for having been “instrumental” in the passage of the federal health care bill, which was strenuously opposed by every major pro-life organization in the U.S., as well as the U.S. Catholic bishops, because of its abortion mandate. The statment also praises Pelosi for having "led her female colleagues in Congress as they stood strong against attempts to insert the Stupak abortion ban into the bill."

Precisely because she fought to promote abortion access. A self-proclaimed Catholic. Helping to increase abortions. And being praised for it.

Sometimes you wonder if there's anything that can stop this madness.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

If You Posted Comments In The Last 24 Hrs

You might want to try again. Because of my unfortunate stupidity, I accidentally rejected the whole list.

Abortion And Civil Disobedience In Spain

That's the talk from Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos, per CNA.

“Let’s be clear: this law is not a law, although it is presented as such by some politicians and lawmakers. It is no law because nobody has the right to take the life of an innocent human being. For this reason it is not obligatory. Moreover, it demands direct opposition without distinction,” the archbishop said in a letter.

He underscored that reason cannot recognize abortion as a right because it constitutes the killing “of a person who is not guilty.” “The right of a person to exist who has already been conceived, although not yet born, is not a belief stemming from any religion. One does not need to be a believer to hold that an innocent person has the right to be defended and respected in his or her integrity. Common sense dictates that one cannot take a human life in order to solve another problem or to “get money or votes,” he said.

This all leads back to our frequent point here that nobody seems to know what the hell a right actually is anymore. You can't have a right to do something that is evil. It's a weird development that the law proclaims a right to say whatever one wants, despite its vulgarity, yet blesses the murder of innocents.

Moreover, such rights can't be invented or fabricated by acts of legislative authority.

“The fallacy consists in giving politicians, judges or citizens a right they do not have. And nobody has the right to legislate the killing of an innocent person,” Archbishop Gil Hellin said. He urged Spaniards to help all mothers who are in difficult situations and to support motherhood “with all the means at our disposal” in order to “halt this plague of abortion that, in Spain alone has already destroyed more people than all those who live in the cities of Zaragoza, Cordoba and Burgos.”

If someone wants to claim to the contrary, let me just go ahead and zap straight through to Godwin's Law. If legislation and/or the popular will is the determinative factor for rights, then what obstructs the gassing of Jews or the extermination of Tutsis?

I wonder what the repercussions will be for His Excellency in making such statements. We've already seen what happened with Cardinal Ouellet. If this was the US, I'm sure he would be denounced on the floor of House and Senate, condemned by the President, blasted by the news media, and probably arrested if he followed through with his comments.

Bishop Kevin Boland Of Savannah, Georgia

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Bishop Kevin Boland of Savannah, Georgia doesn't seem to understand that there simply is no such thing as Episcopal "priests". That's not just my opinion, but the opinion of the Catholic Church.

Photos of Bp. Boland attending the heretical "consecration" of Scott Benhase of Georgia can be found here. And if being a heretic weren't enough, Benhase has also presided at same-sex "blessings". He also participated in a procession with the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual-friendly so-called "Presiding Bishop of Los Angeles" Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Basically, the real bishop is being accused of attending the consecration of the fake Episcopalian bishop. Even if they were buddies somehow, wouldn't this constitute big honking scandal? Not to mention the throwaway stuff there at the end.

Per wikipedia, he's already submitted his resignation, so maybe it doesn't really matter. I don't see anything about a possible successor, though. Anyways, if anybody has any info on this, please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Newest Dominican Sister

She was also a Harvard commencement speaker. The Hermeneutic of Continuity tells the tale. The follow-up with quotes from The Harvard Gazette is here.

Queens, N.Y., native Mary Anne Marks is a classics and English joint concentrator who fell in love with the Latin language by studying Cicero’s Catilinarian Orations. “The links between Latin and Romance languages are fascinating, and, at the same time, Latin has the ability to say things in ways that are not available to Romance languages or to English,” said Marks. “I mused about ideas for the speech for weeks before setting pen to paper, and, once I’d picked a topic, I consulted with friends and acquaintances from various departments to make sure it spoke to their experiences at Harvard.” In the fall, Marks is headed to Ann Arbor, Mich., to enter a community of Catholic teaching nuns called the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, where after three years of classes in the convent on theological and ecclesiastical topics, she’ll attain a teaching certificate at a local university and teach in Catholic schools. “I’ve always thought about being a nun but came to Harvard planning to go to graduate school and perhaps also do some other things before entering,” she recalled. “I decided in January of last year to enter right after college, but a master’s or Ph.D. is still a possibility. One of the exciting things about being a nun is that one never knows what the future holds!”

These Sisters of Mary are known here previously for being Dominicans, who rule, and the same bunch who appeared on Oprah.

This is also sort of promising, I think, if a girl can go to Harvard, survive, then come out with her faith not only intact, but strong enough to pursue a vocation as well. Let me just say that my contacts with Ivy League grads have been universally bad and that every one of its institutions should be torched and the ground sown with salt.

Perhaps I will soften that stance now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Theology Of Toy Story

I saw Toy Story 3. Let me go ahead and answer the obvious question. No, it wasn't as good as the first 2.

As for the movie itself, I was struck several times with the prominence of underlying Catholic themes all throughout the show.

Spoilers do follow and you have only yourself to blame if you keep reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For example, you've got LotsOHuggin Bear who is clearly Satan disguising himself as an angel of light. I first noted this parallel when the toys arrived at the day care center and were getting the tour. Lotso was not very complimentary regarding the kids, instead trumpeting the independence of the toys.

"We own ourselves." Those were his exact words and are standard Satanic propaganda, whether it takes the atheist form of believing oneself to be sovereign over one's life or the Pelagian nonsense of salvation being a product of self rather than grace.

Contrast this with the perspective of Andy's toys. They do not pretend any equality with Andy. They accept his will, whether it's playtime or the attic. They might not like it, but they were willing to go to the attic for perhaps forever. When did they get in trouble? When they stopped trusting Andy and believed he no longer loved them. They sought their own way out of trouble. That was bad.

I could also go into parallels between their long drought of playtime and the dark night of the soul, but I'd probably have to re-read parts of St. John's work, and that would take a while. Needless to say, it's there.

Going back to Lotso, consider his ravings on top of the dumpster. He says that Daisy didn't love them and thought they were all trash and so forth. I initially took this as an accusation against God for leaving man to total depravity even after redemption, but I admit that it could also be the standard atheist tack of reducing man to just another animal. Generally speaking, these are both huge problems. Folks see man as God's work, but consider him so foul and wretched that only a few elect can have any claim to goodness at all. Or folks see man as not God's creation and just a destructive blight.

Man is made in the image and likeness of his maker. That's a big deal.

Andy's toys have always portrayed themselves as something more than mere objects. This is almost the central theme of the whole series. Being "just a toy" is a great honor and privilege. So is being "just a person."

Lotso shouts, "Where's your kid now?" Come on, folks. That's almost too blatant.

Finally, you have the scene where Andy parts with his toys. He clearly loves them all, but in a sort of reversal of the above metaphors, he speaks of Woody as always having been there for him. And that's true too. There's definitely something of the guardian angel relationship when Andy is shown as the kid rather than the sovereign. His toys are protective of him and ultimately concerned only with his happiness, often to the point of risking their own destruction. Consider all those chase scenes in the series.

"I've got to get back to Andy/Andy's House!"


"Andy needs me!"

And so forth.

Anyways, just a few thoughts. What did I miss?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bishop Slattery Of Tulsa On Immigration Reform

This is a balanced, common-sense statement from His Excellency, something sorely lacking in this whole debate. Instead of calling folks Nazis, as Cardinal Mahony did, Bishop Slattery has actually put forth a reasoned shpiel.

Illegal immigration is an issue which concerns every American; but the issues are complex and unless we are willing to recognize the fundamental human rights with which the Creator endows each individual - and enact laws which respect those human rights - our legislative response to the problem of uncontrolled illegal immigration will be the creation of an underclass of hunted, marginalized families, whose children belong neither to this country nor to the land of their parents.

That last point is ignored by just about everyone. Illegal immigration or amnesty or whatever smells a whole lot like slavery. Folks talking about "jobs Americans won't do" is really just another way of saying that we need some variety of rabble who will get their hands dirty, so we won't have to. Whether or not Americans won't do these jobs is irrelevant. The underlying assumption that we need someone else to stoop down to do them is the problem.

However in recent years, the federal government has neither protected the sovereignty of our borders, nor has it provided a realistic means for workers to enter the country legally. Instead it has allowed millions of immigrants to enter the country illegally for the sake of our economy; while leaving it to state and local governments to deal with the resultant chaos of millions of valuable workers who have no legal identity, no automobile insurance (and are unable to obtain it), no health coverage (with no funds to pay for it) and no means of acquiring legal residency...

These men and women broke the law by entering the country illegally; but they did this with the tacit permission of the federal government and most have since become part of the fabric of everyday life in America.

No big news there in the first section, but that last part should be re-read over and over. I'm not a legal positivist or anything, but on a practical level, there is something about that absence of a sanction from the sovereign as an indication of no law stuff. If the government is letting all these people in, then not doing anything about it once they get here, it's accepting what the immigrants are doing on at least some level.

Bishop Slattery then proposes 5 bedrock points for the immigration debate. Given that they are the products of rational thought, we can be assured that, while some will be trumpeted, most will be ignored.

• First the Federal government must find a way to protect its borders;
• Some way must be found to give the 11-12 million undocumented workers presently in the country some form of legal status. This need not include citizenship and should exclude anyone convicted of a felony;
• The creation of various avenues for migrants to enter the country legally based on a formalized agreement between employers and the immigration office.
• The restoration of due process protections for immigrants; and
• A bi-partisan, non-political approach to the problem which avoids the political temptation of promoting immigration reform in such a way as to gain political advantage over one’s political opponents.

Good stuff that will unfortunately be lost in the abyss of polemic.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Wife's Grandfather Died This Week

If you have some spare praying to do, please remember him.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Porn-Mongers Are Getting Clever

Just dropping a heads-up for folks here to report stuff to me in case I miss something.

The enemies are trying to submit real messages with porn links embedded, rather than just the porn links.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You've Got To Be Freaking Kidding Me

Church of England bishops 'will be allowed to become nuns', according to Synod source

I reproduced that directly from Damian Thompson just in case folks might think I was misquoting or exaggerating.

And yes, the report is about exactly that:

I thought this was a spoof at first, but it seems not: a General Synod working party is exploring whether the Church of England’s male bishops can join religious orders previously reserved for women. In other words, become Anglican nuns.

As usual, the Synod’s topsy-turvy ecclesiology is a mystery to me, but I gather that the idea is that bishops would be entitled to take vows in orders of nuns so that they can provide special episcopal oversight to the sisters. It’s a typically ingenious Anglican response to the forthcoming ordination of women bishops. “There will be jokes about bishops in wimples, but having bishop-nuns would introduce a degree of mutual cooperation that could make the introduction of women bishops much smoother,” says my Synod source.

Does Rowan even know about this? Talk about kicking a guy when he's down. He's had a whole shovelful of poop fed to him over this women bishop nonsense. Now, he's going to be looking at bishops becoming nuns. Just when you think things couldn't get any wackier for the Anglicans, they push the envelope just a little bit farther into the realm of utter ecclesiastical insanity.

Holy smokes. What would Henry VIII think?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mel Gibson

Because a couple of folks have asked, I'll give my very brief 2 cents on the recent revelations about Mel Gibson.

In my opinion, I think this is a man being sifted like wheat. Yes, I think that Mel Gibson's unraveling over the last couple of years is very possibly (maybe even likely) the result of demonic oppression. No, the devil didn't MAKE him do anything, but the attacks of the Father of Lies can be pretty bad stuff.

The man made something beautiful for God. I don't think The Adversary was very pleased by such a thing. The best way to discredit such a wonderful work is to discredit its maker.

That's my take.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tax Dollars Going For Abortions

From LifeNews:

The Obama administration has officially approved the first instance of taxpayer funded abortions under the new national government-run health care program. This is the kind of abortion funding the pro-life movement warned about when Congress considered the bill.

The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new "high-risk" insurance program under a provision of the federal health care legislation enacted in March.

It has quietly approved a plan submitted by an appointee of pro-abortion Governor Edward Rendell under which the new program will cover any abortion that is legal in Pennsylvania.

But how can this be? We were promised. Obama said so. Kmiec took time off from counting his 30 pieces of silver in Malta to back him up. Stupak said it would be ok.

Yet it seems to be true.

"The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million in federal tax funds, which we've discovered will pay for insurance plans that cover any legal abortion," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee.

Johnson says that on June 28, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario (a member of the appointed cabinet of Governor Edward Rendell, a Democrat) issued a press release announcing that the federal Department of Health and Human Services had approved his agency's proposal for implementing the new program in Pennsylvania.

"The state will receive $160 million to set up the program, which will provide coverage to as many as 5,600 people between now and 2014," according to the release. "The plan's benefit package will include preventive care, physician services, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, mental health services, prescription medications and much more, with subsidized premiums of $283 a month."

The proposal specifies coverage "includes only abortions and contraceptives that satisfy the requirements of" several specific statutes, the most pertinent of which is 18 Pa. C.S. § 3204, which says abortion is legal in Pennsylvania. The statute essentially says all abortions except those to determine the sex of the baby are legal.

"Under the Rendell-Sebelius plan, federal funds will subsidize coverage of abortion performed for any reason, except sex selection," said NRLC's Johnson. "The Pennsylvania proposal conspicuously lacks language that would prevent funding of abortions performed as a method of birth control or for any other reason, except sex selection -- and the Obama Administration has now approved this."

Stupak, Kmiec, and their ilk have been shown to be traitors. As for Obama, all this demonstrates is that he is exactly what we thought he was.

Farrakhan Demands Reparations From Foxman

Seriously. He did.

This is sort of like when Michigan would play Miami. Farrakhan vs. Foxman is the situation where you hope for a meteor strike of some kind.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Is Archbishop Burke Not Doing?

We know he's the head of the Apostolic Signatura. He was appointed to the Congregation for Bishops not long ago. On top of all that, he's assuming a post with the Congregation of Divine Worship.

Te Deum laudamus has the story here.

All he needs now is a red hat.

Remember when folks were claiming that His Excellency was brought to Rome as some sort of punishment or effort to marginalize/diminish him? I wonder what they are thinking now.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Sell Scripture Short

I know it can be annoying when folks try to treat Scripture as so allegorical as to rob it of its meaning. That shouldn't turn us off of allegory altogether, though. Consider the following as an alternate take on the parable of the Good Samaritan that was in yesterday's Gospel reading.

This is from Origen's 34th homily on Luke:

One of the elders wanted to interpret the parable as follows. The man who was going down is Adam. Jerusalem is paradise, and Jericho is the world. The robbers are hostile powers. The priest is the Law, the Levite is the prophets, and the Samaritan is Christ. The wounds are disobedience, the beast is the Lord's body, the pandochium (that is, the stable), which accepts all who wish to enter, is the Church. And further, the two denarii mean the Father and the Son. The manager of the stable is the head of the Church, to whom its care has been entrusted. And the fact that the Samaritan promises he will return represents the Savior's second coming. All of this has been said reasonably and beautifully.

Pretty good, huh? I had thought Augustine went on to say the same thing, but I couldn't recall the citation. Origen goes on to give it his own spin.

But we should not think that it applies to every man. For, not every man "goes down from Jerusalem into Jericho," nor do all dwell in this present world for that reason, even if he who "was sent on account of the lost sheep of the house of Israel" went down. Hence, the man who "went down from Jerusalem into Jericho" "fell among robbers" because he himself wished to go down. But the robbers are none other than they of whom the Savior says, "All who came before me were thieves and robbers.'' But still, he does not fall among thieves, but among robbers, who are far worse than thieves. He fell among them when he was going down from Jerusalem. "They robbed him and inflicted blows on him." What are the blows? What are the wounds that have wounded a man? They are vices and sins. Then the robbers, who had stripped and wounded him, do not help the naked man, but they strike him again with blows and leave him. Hence, Scripture says, "They robbed him and inflicted wounds on him; and they went away and left him"--not dead, but "half-dead."

But it happened that first a priest, and then a Levite, were going down on the same road. Perhaps they had done some good to other men, but not to this man, who had gone down "from Jerusalem to Jericho." For, the priest saw him--I think this means the Law. And the Levite saw him--that is, in my view, the prophetic word. When they had seen him, they passed by and left him. Providence was saving the half-dead man for him who was stronger than the Law and the prophets, namely for the Samaritan. The name means "guardian.'' He is the one who "neither grows drowsy nor sleeps as he guards Israel.''

On account of the half-dead man, this Samaritan set out not "from Jerusalem into Jericho," like the priest and the Levite who went down. Or, if he did go down, he went down to rescue and care for the dying man. The Jews had said to him, "You are a Samaritan and you have a demon." Though he denied having a demon, he was unwilling to deny that he was a Samaritan, for he knew that he was a guardian. So, when he had come to the half-dead man and seen him rolling about in his own blood, he had pity on him. He drew near to him, in order to become his neighbor. "He bound his wounds, poured in oil mixed with wine,'' and did not say what the prophet records: "There is no poultice to put on, neither oil nor bandages." The Samaritan is that man whose care and help all who are badly off need.

The man who was going down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves, who was wounded and left by them half-alive, needed the help of this Samaritan most of all. You should know that, according to God's providence, this Samaritan was going down to care for the man who had fallen among thieves. You learn that clearly from the fact that he had bandages, oil, and wine with him. I do not think that the Samaritan carried these things with him only on behalf of that one, half-dead man, but also on behalf of others who, for various reasons, had been wounded and needed bandages, oil, and wine. He had oil. Scripture says of it, "to gladden one's face with oil" --without doubt, it means the face of him who was healed. He cleans the wounds with oil, to reduce the swelling of the wounds, but also with wine, adding in something that stings. And the man who had been wounded "he placed on his own beast," that is, on his own body, since he deigned to assume a man. This Samaritan "bears our sins" and grieves for us. He carries the half-dead man, and brings him to the pandochium-that is, the Church, which accepts everyone and denies its help to no one. Jesus calls everyone to the Church when he says, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I shall refresh you.''

After he has brought him in, he does not depart immediately. He remains for a day at the inn with the half-dead man. He cares for his wounds not only during the day, but also at night. He devotes all his attention and activity to him. And, when he wants to set out in the morning, "he takes two denarii" from his tested silver, from his tested money, and pays the innkeeper. Without a doubt the inn-keeper was the angel of the Church, whom the Samaritan bade to care for the man diligently and bring him back to health. For a short time he himself cared for the man. "Two denarii" appear to me to be knowledge of the Father and the Son, and understanding of how the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father. An angel is given this knowledge as if it were a payment. He is to care diligently for the man entrusted to him. The promise is made to him that whatever of his own money he spends on healing the half-dead man will be repaid directly to him.

The Samaritan, "who took pity on the man who had fallen among thieves," is truly a "guardian," and a closer neighbor than the Law and the prophets. He showed that he was the man's neighbor more by deed than by word. According to the passage that says, "Be imitators of me, as I too am of Christ," it is possible for us to imitate Christ and to pity those who "have fallen among thieves." We can go to them, bind their wounds, pour in oil and wine, put them on our own beasts, and bear their burdens. The Son of God encourages us to do things like this. He is speaking not so much to the teacher of the Law as to us and to all men when he says, "Go and do likewise." If we do, we shall obtain eternal life in Christ Jesus, to whom is glory and power for ages of ages. Amen.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Humiliation For Rowan

Again. Why would anybody even want this job? Is pretending to be a bishop that important?

The Archbishop of Canterbury suffered a humiliating blow yesterday after his efforts to force through a last ditch compromise on women bishops was rejected.

Under the proposals, woman bishops would have retained their authority in principle, but in practice would allow traditionalists to serve under acceptable male bishops.

We went over this recently, pointing out that the whole proposition was absurd and bound to be rejected by anyone with an iota of common sense. Naturally, Rowan forced the issue anyway.

Dr Rowan Williams risked his moral authority by attempting to persuade the Church of England's ' Parliament' to accept proposals aimed at preventing thousands of opponents of women bishops quitting the Church.

The Synod's decision to throw out his compromise means that thousands of traditionalists opposed to female clergy are likely to quit the Church when women are finally allowed to become bishops in 2014.

Moral authority? Really? Shouldn't you have to have authority first before we can even begin to consider its moral aspects?

As to the whole quitting the church business, you'd think they would have come to grips with the fact that someone will be quitting the church, whether it's these women or the traditionalists.

But liberals said any such concessions are unacceptable because they would mean women bishops would not be equal to their male counterparts.

And that's exactly right. Either they are real bishops or they aren't.

One senior opponent of women bishops said last night: 'This is a disaster. Many of us will now join the Roman Catholic Church. The Church of England will never be the same again.'

Of course, this is good news as long as they are willing to junk the rest of their Anglican nonsense at the door. Most do. I've had some correspondence with them. We just don't need folks with partial buy-in.

So what's left? I have no idea. I maintain that "not with a bang, but a whimper" is still the path being chosen. The next question, I suppose, is what will the next firestorm issue be. A woman picked as Archlayman of Canterbury? Probably the most likely scenario, though at this right, an outright denial of God's existence wouldn't surprise me either.

Keep praying for the people caught up in all this.

Professor Fired For Expressing Catholic Views

Excellent timing given our recent posting of Leo XIII's discussion of liberty.

Per FoxNews:

The University of Illinois has fired an adjunct professor who taught courses on Catholicism after a student accused the instructor of engaging in hate speech by saying he agrees with the church's teaching that homosexual sex is immoral.

The professor, Ken Howell of Champaign, said his firing violates his academic freedom. He also lost his job at an on-campus Catholic center.

Howell, who taught Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought, says he was fired at the end of the spring semester after sending an e-mail explaining some Catholic beliefs to his students preparing for an exam.

"Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY," he wrote in the e-mail. "In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same."

An unidentified student sent an e-mail to religion department head Robert McKim on May 13, calling Howell's e-mail "hate speech." The student claimed to be a friend of the offended student. The writer said in the e-mail that his friend wanted to remain anonymous.

So a guy teaching a course about Catholicism can't teach what Catholicism believes on a certain subject? That makes all sorts of sense.

And hate speech? All he did was reproduce the Church's view on homosexuality. We now seem to have entered the realm where Catholicism is its own genre of hate speech. Who would have ever thought that could happen?

Out of curiosity, when was the last time someone blasting the Church was chastised for their promotion of hate speech?

Just to turn this on its head for a bit, I wonder what would have happened if a Catholic school had fired a professor for attacking Catholicism. I imagine that the outrage would be flung across every news outlet on the planet, with global calls for the destruction of the oppressive, freedom-hating Catholic Church. Considering that it happened every day at ND during my own time there, I'm betting nobody there really cares, but there are probably some Catholic schools left that would.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Deo Gratias! Bishop Jia Released By The Chinese!

And nary a bit of compromise in sight!

My eldest son is charged with the task of praying for His Excellency every night, so this is very exciting news for us.

From Zenit:

Chinese Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding, who was arrested and imprisoned in March 2009, was released by the authorities Wednesday.

The prelate was arrested on the first day of a three-day meeting in the Vatican of a commission established by Benedict XVI in 2007 to study the most important issues of the life of the Church in China. The abduction was seen as an affront to the efforts of that commission.

Bishop Jia, 75, is a member of the "underground" Church but has worked for reconciliation of the Church in China, where the government permits religious practice only with recognized personnel and in places registered with the Religious Affairs Office and under the control of the Patriotic Association.

This explains the difference between the "national" or "official" Church, and the faithful who oppose such control and who wish to obey the Pope directly. The latter constitute the non-official, or underground, Church.

Bishop Jia has been repeatedly refusing to become part of the Patriotic Association.

Instead, he has been attempting to collaborate with Bishop Jang Taoran of Shijiazhuang, a member of the national Church recently reconciled with Rome, on a joint pastoral plan for the Hebei region where they are both stationed. Yet the authorities attempted to end this collaboration, and this latest arrest was Bishop Jia's 13th since 2004.

And most importantly:

He made a point of declaring that he did not join the Patriotic Association during his imprisonment, nor did he accept the authority of the government-approved bishops' conference, AsiaNews reported.

The slow martyrdom of the Chinese Church continues. Please continue to pray for these brave people, especially Bishops Shi Enxiang and Su Zhimin, who are mentioned at the end of the article as still missing.

Support The Cardinal Kung Foundation as well. They need all the help they can get.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

On Liberty

Lest we allow the fervor of a national holiday to cloud the true meaning of liberty. Read the rest here.

Liberty, the highest of natural endowments, being the portion only of intellectual or rational natures, confers on man this dignity - that he is "in the hand of his counsel"(1) and has power over his actions. But the manner in which such dignity is exercised is of the greatest moment, inasmuch as on the use that is made of liberty the highest good and the greatest evil alike depend. Man, indeed, is free to obey his reason, to seek moral good, and to strive unswervingly after his last end. Yet he is free also to turn aside to all other things; and, in pursuing the empty semblance of good, to disturb rightful order and to fall headlong into the destruction which he has voluntarily chosen. The Redeemer of mankind, Jesus Christ, having restored and exalted the original dignity of nature, vouchsafed special assistance to the will of man; and by the gifts of His grace here, and the promise of heavenly bliss hereafter, He raised it to a nobler state. In like manner, this great gift of nature has ever been, and always will be, deservingly cherished by the Catholic Church, for to her alone has been committed the charge of handing down to all ages the benefits purchased for us by Jesus Christ. Yet there are many who imagine that the Church is hostile to human liberty. Having a false and absurd notion as to what liberty is, either they pervert the very idea of freedom, or they extend it at their pleasure to many things in respect of which man cannot rightly be regarded as free.

2. We have on other occasions, and especially in Our encyclical letter Immortale Dei,(2) in treating of the so-called modern liberties, distinguished between their good and evil elements; and We have shown that whatsoever is good in those liberties is as ancient as truth itself, and that the Church has always most willingly approved and practiced that good: but whatsoever has been added as new is, to tell the plain truth, of a vitiated kind, the fruit of the disorders of the age, and of an insatiate longing after novelties. Seeing, however, that many cling so obstinately to their own opinion in this matter as to imagine these modern liberties, cankered as they are, to be the greatest glory of our age, and the very basis of civil life, without which no perfect government can be conceived, We feel it a pressing duty, for the sake of the common good, to treat separately of this subject.

3. It is with moral liberty, whether in individuals or in communities, that We proceed at once to deal. But, first of all, it will be well to speak briefly of natural liberty; for, though it is distinct and separate from moral liberty, natural freedom is the fountainhead from which liberty of whatsoever kind flows, sua vi suaque sponte. The unanimous consent and judgment of men, which is the trusty voice of nature, recognizes this natural liberty in those only who are endowed with intelligence or reason; and it is by his use of this that man is rightly regarded as responsible for his actions. For, while other animate creatures follow their senses, seeking good and avoiding evil only by instinct, man has reason to guide him in each and every act of his life. Reason sees that whatever things that are held to be good upon earth may exist or may not, and discerning that none of them are of necessity for us, it leaves the will free to choose what it pleases. But man can judge of this contingency, as We say, only because he has a soul that is simple, spiritual, and intellectual - a soul, therefore, which is not produced by matter, and does not depend on matter for its existence; but which is created immediately by God, and, far surpassing the condition of things material, has a life and action of its own so that, knowing the unchangeable and necessary reasons of what is true and good, it sees that no particular kind of good is necessary to us. When, therefore, it is established that man's soul is immortal and endowed with reason and not bound up with things material, the foundation of natural liberty is at once most firmly laid.

4. As the Catholic Church declares in the strongest terms the simplicity, spirituality, and immortality of the soul, so with unequalled constancy and publicity she ever also asserts its freedom. These truths she has always taught, and has sustained them as a dogma of faith, and whensoever heretics or innovators have attacked the liberty of man, the Church has defended it and protected this noble possession from destruction. History bears witness to the energy with which she met the fury of the Manichaeans and others like them; and the earnestness with which in later years she defended human liberty at the Council of Trent, and against the followers of Jansenius, is known to all. At no time, and in no place, has she held truce with fatalism.

5. Liberty, then, as We have said, belongs only to those who have the gift of reason or intelligence. Considered as to its nature, it is the faculty of choosing means fitted for the end proposed, for he is master of his actions who can choose one thing out of many. Now, since everything chosen as a means is viewed as good or useful, and since good, as such, is the proper object of our desire, it follows that freedom of choice is a property of the will, or, rather, is identical with the will in so far as it has in its action the faculty of choice. But the will cannot proceed to act until it is enlightened by the knowledge possessed by the intellect. In other words, the good wished by the will is necessarily good in so far as it is known by the intellect; and this the more, because in all voluntary acts choice is subsequent to a judgment upon the truth of the good presented, declaring to which good preference should be given. No sensible man can doubt that judgment is an act of reason, not of the will. The end, or object, both of the rational will and of its liberty is that good only which is in conformity with reason.

6. Since, however, both these faculties are imperfect, it is possible, as is often seen, that the reason should propose something which is not really good, but which has the appearance of good, and that the will should choose accordingly. For, as the possibility of error, and actual error, are defects of the mind and attest its imperfection, so the pursuit of what has a false appearance of good, though a proof of our freedom, just as a disease is a proof of our vitality, implies defect in human liberty. The will also, simply because of its dependence on the reason, no sooner desires anything contrary thereto than it abuses its freedom of choice and corrupts its very essence. Thus it is that the infinitely perfect God, although supremely free, because of the supremacy of His intellect and of His essential goodness, nevertheless cannot choose evil; neither can the angels and saints, who enjoy the beatific vision. St. Augustine and others urged most admirably against the Pelagians that, if the possibility of deflection from good belonged to the essence or perfection of liberty, then God, Jesus Christ, and the angels and saints, who have not this power, would have no liberty at all, or would have less liberty than man has in his state of pilgrimage and imperfection. This subject is often discussed by the Angelic Doctor in his demonstration that the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery. It will suffice to quote his subtle commentary on the words of our Lord: "Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin."(3) "Everything," he says, "is that which belongs to it a naturally. When, therefore, it acts through a power outside itself, it does not act of itself, but through another, that is, as a slave. But man is by nature rational. When, therefore, he acts according to reason, he acts of himself and according to his free will; and this is liberty. Whereas, when he sins, he acts in opposition to reason, is moved by another, and is the victim of foreign misapprehensions. Therefore, `Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin.' "(4) Even the heathen philosophers clearly recognized this truth, especially they who held that the wise man alone is free; and by the term "wise man" was meant, as is well known, the man trained to live in accordance with his nature, that is, in justice and virtue.

Pope Leo XIII, Libertas

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our Favorite Bishop -ino

It wasn't long ago that our favorite Bishop -ino was Bishop Martino of Scranton. Unfortunately, he stepped down, leaving us with nobody with that nominal suffix to discuss. Then, out of the blue, Bishop Morlino of Madison steps into the spotlight to not only fill the void as our favorite -ino but as one of our favorite bishops in the whole country.

His latest exploits come from his desire to be Catholic and run a diocese of Catholics. To do this, he's decided to bring Catholic priests there. Shocking stuff, yes? There has been some backlash over this from folks who apparently would rather remake Catholicism in their own image. The Wisconsin State-Journal reports:

The effort by Madison Bishop Robert Morlino to staff several Catholic churches in the diocese with priests from a conservative Spanish society has met resistance in another community.

About 200 members of St. Mary’s Parish in Platteville met with Morlino at the church Monday night to question his decision to bring in three priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to lead the church.

A diocesan official and parishioners who attended the 90-minute meeting described it as largely civil but occasionally heated, with Morlino apologizing toward the end for having raised his voice earlier in the meeting.

“It was a tough evening for everyone,” said diocesan spokesman Brent King.

And who are these priests from this society who are the cause of such friction?

The society, based in Murcia, Spain, is known for a staunch, traditional approach to Catholic practice. There are now eight society priests at seven parishes in the diocese.

Here are some other notes. Their main goal seems to be getting folks to love God and His Church. OUTRAGE!!!! And why so outrageous?

At other churches where they serve, the priests have prohibited girls from being altar servers, dispensed with the common Catholic practice of using trained lay people to assist with Communion and added Masses celebrated only in Latin.

Only in our modern, completely screwed-up society could a position known as an EXTRAORDINARY minister of Holy Communion be considered a "common Catholic practice."

Oh, and girls have no right to be altar servers. And Vatican II said the Mass should be in Latin. I wonder if this latter bombshell has been dropped on the dissenters yet.

Some parishioners praise the priests for deepening their faith and bringing discipline to wayward Catholics; others have left the church, saying the priests’ approach is regressive and too rigid.

“To me, it seems like a step backward,” said Fay Stone, a St. Mary’s member. The priests’ approach is “quite different than we have become accustomed to,” she said.

A step backward from what? This is a real question that I don't think anyone making such comments is ever forced to answer. What is it that the Church is "stepping back" from or "stepping towards"?

And enough of such a "step" for people to leave? These are the folks who strike me as hypocrites. I wonder if they would have thought the imposition of the Pauline Missal was “quite different than we have become accustomed to." Would they have left the Church over those changes? What are their opinions of those who did? Do they judge them or pity them?

What do they think of those happy with the new priests? Let's ask LifeSite about that part of it:

Supporters note that, contrary to the picture painted by dissenting voices in the media, Morlino's focus on orthodoxy is increasingly popular with Catholic youth - even in the liberal stronghold of the University of Wisconsin-Madison...

"(University of Wisconsin Madison's St. Paul University Catholic Center) has probably become the epitome of what a good Catholic parish would now look like," he said, with hundreds of students attending daily Mass, and maintaining Eucharistic adoration, Bible studies, and regular attendance at the sacrament of reconciliation - all on what is considered one of the most heavily liberal public research universities in the country...

Yeah, we can't have any of that. Too much of a step backward. Or maybe Bishop Morlino has stumbled across the main reason young people can't respect Church authority anymore.

Scott Hackl, director of development at the St. Paul Catholic Student Center at the University of Wisconsin Madison said "What we've found is students respond very well to the teachings of the Magisterium. And whether they personally agree with them or not, they still respond very strongly to that versus having more watered-down type of approach that just fuels an atmosphere of ... apathy," he said.

Yep. Looks like he's got it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Life Imitating Comics

If I start talking about Bruno Mannheim and the Religion of Crime, you probably won't have any clue as to what I mean. That's a shame because it means you don't read comic books, but I'll let that go. Just check this out for a quick primer.

Apparently, this particular aspect of my four-color escapism has gone real on us. From Time:

The chilling call appears to be the latest attempt to take the moral high ground by a quasi-religious drug cartel that has become one of the most dangerous threats to Mexican security forces. The caller identified himself as Servando Gomez, head of a narcotics mafia that has baptized itself La Familia Michoacana. The gangsters, who had bought ads in newspapers and given an interview to a leading Mexican magazine, claim that although they traffic drugs, they protect their local community and purport to be devout Evangelical Christians. All members are disciplined to abstain from narcotics themselves and care for their homes and children, La Familia says. They are also made to study a special Bible authored by the gang's spiritual leader, Nazario Moreno, alias El Mas Loco, or "the Maddest One."

The Maddest/Craziest One strikes me as an apt name. It, too, would go well in a comic book. The article goes on to provide an excerpt from The Craziest's Bible:

Federal agents seized one copy of La Familia's Bible in a raid last year. Quoted in local newspapers, the scripture paints an ideology that mixes Evangelical-style self-help with insurgent peasant slogans reminiscent of the Mexican Revolution. "I ask God for strength and he gives me challenges that make me strong; I ask him for wisdom and he gives me problems to resolve; I ask him for prosperity and he gives me brain and muscles to work," Moreno writes, using terms that could be found in many Christian sermons preached from Mississippi to Brazil. But on the next page, there's a switch to phrases strikingly similar to those coined by revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. "It is better to be a master of one peso than a slave of two; it is better to die fighting head on than on your knees and humiliated; it is better to be a living dog than a dead lion."

"Evangelical self-help." Does this mean we can shut down Joel Osteen for promoting these kinds of ideas since they are spurring Mexican drug violence?

Sorry, I'm laughing now because I just got an image of Osteen or Rick Warren as Bruno Mannheim and Darkseid.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shuffling The Curial Deck

Lots of major moves going on right now.

First, I was reminded never to get excited over rumored Vatican appointments. Allegedly, Cardinal Pell of Sydney was supposed to be the guy tapped to head the Congregation of Bishops. This is a big deal because this is where the Pope gets his recs for episcopal appointments. What seems to have been a concerted smear campaign torpedoed Cardinal Pell's candidacy. The guy actually getting the job is Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was the subject of some of our recent commentary.

Second, the Pope invented a whole new commission for "new evangelization" that will be targeted places where the Faith has already been preached but has since grown cold. I'm assuming this means the entire Western world. Archbishop Rino Fisichella will be its president.

Third, Bishop Kurt Koch will be replacing Cardinal Kasper as our chief ecumenist.

Other than what I've already posted about Cardinal Ouellet, I know nothing about these people. What I do know comes from this John Allen report, and it is somewhat encouraging. Consider this comment by Bishop Koch:

“Instead of accusing others, and even the pope, of wishing to go back to before the council, everyone would be well advised to look over their own books and reassess their own personal position on the council,” he wrote. “Not everything that was said and done after the council, was therefore done in accordance with the council.”

Some might look at this and say, "Geez, Your Excellency. Tell us something we don't know." The fact is, though, that this kind of talk is regarded by many as some kind of blasphemy. Bishop Koch is asking folks to check themselves before they wreck themselves on this issue. That can't be said enough, in my opinion.

Allen also commented that:

In sound-bite fashion, one might say that today’s appointments complete the triumph of theologians over diplomats under Benedict XVI.

Not a bad thing, I think. Cardinal Kasper passed himself off as a theologian but chose instead to be a diplomat. The result was dismal failure.