Monday, June 30, 2014

So I've Looked Through The Hobby Lobby Opinion

It gives protection to for-profit Catholic businesses. The non-profit issue remains open, and it's difficult to discern what this opinion means for Catholic religious orders, hospitals, etc. Unfortunately, it is probably going to come down to what Justice Kennedy thinks. His concurrence is weird on a couple of levels. Or maybe not and I am just reading it wrong. 

I often think of His Honor as being in the "Threat or Menace?" category. Who knows what he is likely to do when this issue next comes before the Court?

Right now, it is amusing to hear the shrieks of ungodly rage that suggest that this decision is a crime against humanity since it doesn't force employers to subsidize sterilization and abortion. All the hysteria would make Justice Blackmun proud.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Evangelii Gaudium, Part Eight

164. In catechesis too, we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the centre of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal. 

We “rediscovered” it? Was it lost? If so, how and why and by whom?

165. We must not think that in catechesis the kerygma gives way to a supposedly more “solid” formation. Nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation. All Christian formation consists of entering more deeply into the kerygma, which is reflected in and constantly illumines, the work of catechesis, thereby enabling us to understand more fully the significance of every subject which the latter treats. It is the message capable of responding to the desire for the infinite which abides in every human heart. The centrality of the kerygma calls for stressing those elements which are most needed today: it has to express God’s saving love which precedes any moral and religious obligation on our part; it should not impose the truth but appeal to freedom; it should be marked by joy, encouragement, liveliness and a harmonious balance which will not reduce preaching to a few doctrines which are at times more philosophical than evangelical. All this demands on the part of the evangelizer certain attitudes which foster openness to the message: approachability, readiness for dialogue, patience, a warmth and welcome which is non-judgmental.

These paragraphs seem to have, at their core, a concern that those currently charged with teaching the Faith are overly focused to doctrinal minutiae and theological nitpickery. Where is this a problem? Does this actually happen? 

Catechesis is a proclamation of the word and is always centred on that word, yet it also demands a suitable environment and an attractive presentation, the use of eloquent symbols, insertion into a broader growth process and the integration of every dimension of the person within a communal journey of hearing and response.

This will be the new excuse for disco liturgy. 

167. Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty” (via pulchritudinis).[129] Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. This has nothing to do with fostering an aesthetic relativism [130] which would downplay the inseparable bond between truth, goodness and beauty, but rather a renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it. If, as Saint Augustine says, we love only that which is beautiful,[131] the incarnate Son, as the revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable and draws us to himself with bonds of love. So a formation in the via pulchritudinis ought to be part of our effort to pass on the faith. Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new “language of parables”.[132]

Now this part, I definitely get, and anyone who has been in a wreckovated parish or seen some of the monstrous structures that pass for churches these days knows what His Holiness is talking about. If you somehow don’t know, read Michael Rose’s book Ugly As Sin for a few concrete (literally) examples.

We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others.

Unfortunately, these lines will be used to justify the destruction of beautiful churches in order to sate the banal cultural whims of the masses. After all, if a stripped down, minimalist barren building "speaks to" a group, shouldn't we accommodate that? Or a goth parish, where everything is draped in black. It's unconventional, but maybe it will attract goth parishioners. 

170. Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. Some people think they are free if they can avoid God; they fail to see that they remain existentially orphaned, helpless, homeless. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters, flitting around themselves and never getting anywhere. To accompany them would be counterproductive if it became a sort of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father.

I immediately thought of Walker Percy in reading this section. This is something like what the riposte to Lancelot must have sounded like.

172. One who accompanies others has to realize that each person’s situation before God and their life in grace are mysteries which no one can fully know from without. The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions (cf. Mt 18:15), but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). 

This is excellent for rebutting some of the “Who am I to judge?” and “The Pope has abolished sin” insanity that has swept over so many. Being able to point out a person’s evil actions naturally means being able to categorize such actions as evil. This doesn’t mean offering an opinion on the person’s final destination. 

At this point, the Pope begins a new chapter meant to focus on his “concerns about the social dimension of evangelization.”

To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds: “The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable”.[143] 

The Holy Spirit is at work in everyone? Is this true? I get it in the context of, say, Divine Providence. That doesn’t sound like what the Holy Father is talking about though.

Evangelization is meant to cooperate with this liberating work of the Spirit. The very mystery of the Trinity reminds us that we have been created in the image of that divine communion, and so we cannot achieve fulfilment or salvation purely by our own efforts. 

Heh. The Pope makes this observation a lot. We can’t save ourselves. Which makes me wonder how people would answer the question “How am I to be saved?” Being nice? God just does it for me? But again, the critical question is still hanging out there. Salvation from what? Saved from what?

180. Reading the Scriptures also makes it clear that the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. 

What? You mean it’s not just “Jesus and me”?

Nor should our loving response to God be seen simply as an accumulation of small personal gestures to individuals in need, a kind of “charity à la carte”, or a series of acts aimed solely at easing our conscience. The Gospel is about the kingdom of God (cf. Lk 4:43); it is about loving God who reigns in our world. 

Which people will not recognize without doctrinal formation.

181. The kingdom, already present and growing in our midst, engages us at every level of our being and reminds us of the principle of discernment which Pope Paul VI applied to true development: it must be directed to “all men and the whole man”.[145] We know that “evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social”.[146] This is the principle of universality intrinsic to the Gospel, for the Father desires the salvation of every man and woman, and his saving plan consists in “gathering up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph 1:10). Our mandate is to “go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15), for “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19). Here, “the creation” refers to every aspect of human life; consequently, “the mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ has a universal destination. Its mandate of charity encompasses all dimensions of existence, all individuals, all areas of community life, and all peoples. Nothing human can be alien to it”.[147] True Christian hope, which seeks the eschatological kingdom, always generates history.

I’m not sure at all what this section means. It seems to be all over the place.

It is no longer possible to claim that religion should be restricted to the private sphere and that it exists only to prepare souls for heaven.

This is an admirable statement, which cannot be repeated enough. Although, I’m not sure if anyone is saying that the Church only exists to prepare souls for heaven. Is someone making that claim?

We know that God wants his children to be happy in this world too, even though they are called to fulfilment in eternity, for he has created all things “for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17), the enjoyment of everyone. It follows that Christian conversion demands reviewing especially those areas and aspects of life “related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good”.[149]

This is unfortunately ambiguous, and you can bet will be used as fodder by prosperity gospel types. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Behold This Heart

Which has loved men so much, that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify to them Its love; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude by reason of their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt which they show Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to Me, that treat Me thus...

Freemasons Gone Wild!

The Grand Orient Lodge of Italy has decided to go on record with its own take regarding Vatican II. Rorate has the story.

We didn't comment on it at the time because we had sincerely hoped that there would be some comment or statement from the Vatican on the issue, even if it was something weak just re-affirming that Catholics can't be Masons and that it's inappropriate for Freemasons to take it upon themselves to interpret the events or the mind of the Church.

No statement was forthcoming. We bring it up now because we've had at least one email, and there was a need to reiterate unless anyone else was wondering.

No, Catholics can't be Masons. Pope Leo XIII gave the most comprehensive treatment of the subject in Humanum Genus. Cardinal Ratzinger re-affirmed this in 1983.

Stay away from the Lodge. Period.

Our Lord And King

It Is The Feast Of The Sacred Heart

Take the time to perform some small (or large) act of reparation today out of love for our Blessed Lord. Do not listen to those who would say that this devotion is outmoded or simple-minded. Listen instead to the words of the Vicar of Christ.

The Church, the teacher of men, has therefore always been convinced from the time she first published official documents concerning the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that its essential elements, namely, acts of love and reparation by which God's infinite love for the human race is honored, are in no sense tinged with so-called "materialism" or tainted with the poison of superstition. Rather, this devotion is a form of piety that fully corresponds to the true spiritual worship which the Savior Himself foretold when speaking to the woman of Samaria: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore Him. God is a spirit; and they that adore Him must adore Him in spirit and in truth."

Venerable Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved, and preserved throughout the world, now and forever.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Evangelii Gaudium, Part Seven

135. Let us now look at preaching within the liturgy, which calls for serious consideration by pastors. I will dwell in particular, and even somewhat meticulously, on the homily and its preparation, since so many concerns have been expressed about this important ministry, and we cannot simply ignore them. The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastor’s closeness and ability to communicate to his people. We know that the faithful attach great importance to it, and that both they and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them and the clergy from having to preach them! It is sad that this is the case. The homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth.

Well, it’s true. And a lot of the major reform movements in Church history, including the Counter-Reformation, had an emphasis on preaching. 

138. The homily cannot be a form of entertainment like those presented by the media, yet it does need to give life and meaning to the celebration. 

So we can dispense with the clown Mass, the Halloween Mass, the disco Mass, etc now!


It is a distinctive genre, since it is preaching situated within the framework of a liturgical celebration; hence it should be brief and avoid taking on the semblance of a speech or a lecture. A preacher may be able to hold the attention of his listeners for a whole hour, but in this case his words become more important than the celebration of faith. If the homily goes on too long, it will affect two characteristic elements of the liturgical celebration: its balance and its rhythm. When preaching takes place within the context of the liturgy, it is part of the offering made to the Father and a mediation of the grace which Christ pours out during the celebration. This context demands that preaching should guide the assembly, and the preacher, to a life-changing communion with Christ in the Eucharist. This means that the words of the preacher must be measured, so that the Lord, more than his minister, will be the centre of attention.

Offering the Mass ad orientem would fix a lot of this. But heck yes, anything that reminds the priest that the Mass isn’t about him and his ability to entertain the public is a welcome thing. 

142. Dialogue is much more than the communication of a truth. It arises from the enjoyment of speaking and it enriches those who express their love for one another through the medium of words. This is an enrichment which does not consist in objects but in persons who share themselves in dialogue. A preaching which would be purely moralistic or doctrinaire, or one which turns into a lecture on biblical exegesis, detracts from this heart-to-heart communication which takes place in the homily and possesses a quasi-sacramental character: “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Rom 10:17). In the homily, truth goes hand in hand with beauty and goodness. Far from dealing with abstract truths or cold syllogisms, it communicates the beauty of the images used by the Lord to encourage the practise of good. The memory of the faithful, like that of Mary, should overflow with the wondrous things done by God. Their hearts, growing in hope from the joyful and practical exercise of the love which they have received, will sense that each word of Scripture is a gift before it is a demand.

I don’t pretend to understand a lot of the Pope’s comments on this subject. The homily isn’t a dialogue by definition. The homilist might get some feedback later that is valuable and the people might offer up their prayers and sacrifices in the Mass in response to what is preached, but that doesn’t seem to be what is envisioned here. Moreover, I simply have no idea as to what His Holiness is looking for in terms of content here. 

143. The challenge of an inculturated preaching consists in proclaiming a synthesis, not ideas or detached values. Where your synthesis is, there lies your heart. 

No clue.

In the course of the homily, the hearts of believers keep silence and allow God to speak. The Lord and his people speak to one another in a thousand ways directly, without intermediaries. But in the homily they want someone to serve as an instrument and to express their feelings in such a way that afterwards, each one may chose how he or she will continue the conversation. The word is essentially a mediator and requires not just the two who dialogue but also an intermediary who presents it for what it is, out of the conviction that “what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5).

This mix of people keeping silent vs. people in dialogue is just confusing. 

What follows is a very lengthy section on the preparation and delivery of a good homily. Most of this is very practical and good stuff for a priest or deacon to consider (eg- recommending lectio divina). However, there are a couple of things to mention.

There was no suggestion about consulting the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. People today have very little concept of their Faith’s lineage and the great minds who helped nourish the Church’s survival throughout the centuries. 

On a separate issue, it is remarkable that Pope Francis will ask for brief, clear-speaking, simple homilies when it seems that neither he, nor his immediate predecessors, nor many other bishops, refuse to do so in the most basic of circumstances. We’ve discussed many times how the Pope’s words have been twisted lately. Some of that is inevitable. Taking care to minimize it should be a priority. Moreover, how many people are actually going to read documents that are 50,000 words long and full of convoluted language? I’m guessing not that many.

160. The Lord’s missionary mandate includes a call to growth in faith: “Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). Hence it is clear that that the first proclamation also calls for ongoing formation and maturation. Evangelization aims at a process of growth which entails taking seriously each person and God’s plan for his or her life. All of us need to grow in Christ. Evangelization should stimulate a desire for this growth, so that each of us can say wholeheartedly: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

161. It would not be right to see this call to growth exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation. It has to do with “observing” all that the Lord has shown us as the way of responding to his love. 

I don’t know if this is the case anymore. You have to give people a reason for why they should believe anything about God, including whether or not He loves them. Going further, you have to convince people why they should love other people at all, including and especially bad people. You should do this because God wants you to, but it’s tough to get that across when you don’t have proper doctrinal formation. 

To put it another way, even the LCWR might try to feed poor people in between events promoting abortion.

The AP Admits Falsehoods Re: Irish "Infant Mass Grave" Story

Weird. I got this emailed to me, but I haven't heard it from any of the major outlets that were trumpeting the initial horror story. Basically, the story about all the babies being starved to death and dumped into a septic tank for burial was a huge load of crap. The AP has now issued a correction.

Isn't that nice of them?

Too bad few, if any, of the slanderers who followed suit seem to be bothering to do so.

You can read about the correction here. A few highlights:

Revelations this month that nuns had buried nearly 800 infants and young children in unmarked graves at an Irish orphanage during the last century caused stark headlines and stirred strong emotions and calls for investigation. Since then, however, a more sober picture has emerged that exposes how many of those headlines were wrong...

The religious orders' use of unmarked graves reflected the crippling poverty of the time, the infancy of most of the victims, and the lack of plots in cemeteries corresponding to the children's fractured families...

Her list of the dead shows that nearly 80 percent were younger than 1; two died within 10 minutes of birth and never received first names. Ninety-one died in the 1920s, 247 in the 1930s, 388 in the 1940s, 70 in the 1950s, and one more child in 1960. The most common causes were flu, measles, pneumonia, tuberculosis and whooping cough. Contrary to the allegations of widespread starvation highlighted in some reports, only 18 children were recorded as suffering from severe malnutrition...

When Corless published her findings on a Facebook campaign page, and Irish media noticed, she speculated to reporters that the resting place of most, if not all, could be inside a disused septic tank on the site. By the time Irish and British tabloids went to print in early June, that speculation had become a certainty, the word "disused" had disappeared, and U.S. newspapers picked up the report, inserting more errors, including one that claimed the researcher had found all 796 remains in a septic tank.

The Associated Press was among the media organizations that covered Corless and her findings, repeating incorrect Irish news reports that suggested the babies who died had never been baptized and that Catholic Church teaching guided priests not to baptize the babies of unwed mothers or give to them Christian burials.

The reports of denial of baptism later were contradicted by the Tuam Archdiocese, which found a registry showing that the home had baptized more than 2,000 babies. The AP issued a corrective story on Friday after discovering its errors...

But the newspaper spotted discrepancies in Corless' maps, and found records showing that the actual septic tank remained in use until the late 1930s, which meant it could not have been used as a burial spot. Other analysts pointed out that the decommissioned septic tank would be too small to hold many bodies. And the two men who had reported seeing skeletons in 1975 said, on reflection, that they doubted more than 20 were inside the concreted hole.

Remember this story, everyone. In twenty years, you'll be talking about the Faith with someone or refuting some other Black Legend-ish garbage, and someone will bring up all the babies that were murdered and dumped in the septic tank. Such is the nature of the world and its relationship to the Church.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Weirdness Of Reform

It was pretty much universally agreed that the most recent conclave was about reform of the Curia and other administrative organs of the Church. To date, we've seen nothing of substance in this direction, just a few moves that actually seem at odds with reform. For example.

We've made prior comparisons between the ongoing situations with the Legionaries of Christ and the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate. The situations continue to get weirder and more divergent.

For the FFI, they get a meeting with the Pope wherein the censures against them are basically confirmed but with still no explanations as to why. Recall that things were so bad that the FFI founder (Fr. Manelli) wasn't allowed to go pray at his parents' grave. With the LOC, we get yet another person appointed to help and oversee their "reforms."

Which party is the bigger problem? Which party is the more immediate concern?

Items like this really call into question who is advising the Pope on such matters.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

FIFA Vs. Salvation

I don't get the World Cup, so don't take this as some kind of anti-soccer prejudice. I've made the point elsewhere regarding other sports. But here's the thing.

Imagine if the population of the world was even half as concerned with the fate of our souls and our relationship with God Almighty as said population is with a bunch of guys kicking a ball around a field.

What a sad world we have when the latter is our priority and the former is largely considered inconsequential.

Iraqi Christians In Need Of A "Rescue Plan"

Per Zenit:

Catholic bishops from Iraq are meeting this week to come up with a “rescue plan” amid growing fears that the ISIS Islamist attacks have put Christianity at increased risk of being extinguished from the country.

The meeting of the Chaldean hierarchy, which starts Tuesday, comes after the military success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) prompted yet another wave of displacement within a country that has already seen a dramatic decline in the Christian population over the past decade...

[Auxiliary Bishop Saad Sirop of Baghdad] stressed that the decline of Christian presence is not just restricted to Baghdad. His comments come as recent reports cast increasing doubt on some figures given for the Christian population in Iraq, which some claim to be as high as 300,000 – down from 1.4 million at the time of the last census in 1987.

How odd that, in all the comments I've heard from John Kerry and others about the need to reform and stabilize the Iraqi government, I have yet to see a single word about the ongoing genocide and extermination of Christianity in the nation. Sort of like when Christians were getting massacred in Syria. And Egypt. And so on.

When we finally reach the endgame in all this, I wonder if we will have a recognized historical tragedy like we see with the Holocaust. Sure, it will have been slow motion for a while, with a period of acceleration towards the end, unlike the frenzy of murder the Nazis accomplished. I'm not sure how that makes it any less tragic, but I doubt we'll see much sympathy.

As I've said before, the secular world is enjoying this. They think our poor brethren deserve what they are getting. When the Islamists come for them, the outcry will be most interesting.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ok, I'll Admit It

I don't get the World Cup thing. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pope Excommunicates Mafia!

Not really, but it makes a good headline. Here's what the Pope said, per Rocco Palma:

Closing out the daylong trek with a Mass – in a rarity for pontifical liturgies, a Sunday vigil – along the shore of the Ionian Sea, the Pope tackled the area's tormented legacy of organized crime, declaring that 'ndrangheta, the locally-based syndicate widely thought to be Italy's most feared Mafia branch, "is this: the adoration of evil and contempt of the common good."

Going further, and lifting his head from his prepared text, Papa Bergoglio said that "those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mafiosi, they are not in communion with God – they are excommunicated!"

As Rocco himself points out, though:

Back to today, while canonists will take pains to emphasize that the "excommunicated" statement is by no means a formal decree with legal effect, in terms of the symbolics and public perception, its potency would be difficult to overestimate.

This is significant and must be emphasized. Not because mafiosi aren't bad people or somehow undeserving of whatever penalty the Church might dole out, but because people are always asking the question of why prelates complicit in the abuse scandal were not excommed. Again, not to say the Pope couldn't/shouldn't do that or make permanent provisions in canon law for doing so. But because he hasn't and people will want to know why.

The fact is that this statement doesn't add up to such a thing for mobsters either and we should remember that.

But hey, while we're excomming the Mafia, how about going after the Lavender Mafia next? They're way worse than the Cosa Nostra folks just by their desecration of their priestly and episcopal office.

A Request

To all those who propose that homosexuals have a "right" to be married. If you are going to propose such a thing, at least be able to provide a coherent explanation of what rights are and where they come from.

What is a right? A legal fiction? A natural faculty?

The definition will inevitably lead to a discussion of the origin.

If rights come "from the people," then no such right exists currently because "the people" have by and large, albeit not unanimously, seen fit to deny such a right to homosexuals. Therefore, there is no right.

Moreover, if rights come "from the people," what are the limits on how far these rights go? And please spare the amorphous comeback of "as long as they don't infringe/restrict/harm others" because then you are left defining each of those terms, which means coming back to defining what a right is and where it comes from.

Let's skip straight to Godwin's Law and just ask that, if the people agree that there is a right to gas Jews, what is to stop them? Judges who happen to agree that this would be a bad thing?

If rights don't come from the people, do they come from lawmakers in general? That simply changes the definition of "people" to a more restrictive one that previously mentioned.

I bring this up because so many proponents of homosexual marriage seem essentially to rely on ad hominem yelling in addressing these topics without actually trying to come up with reasons or explanations. Perhaps that is intentional. Really, though, I think it is a perfect example of how reason has largely been abandoned in modern culture, especially by those who claim they are the most enlightened and reasonable of us all.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Joey Lomangino Has Died

If you aren't familiar with that name, you probably aren't a proponent of the Garabandal apparitions. Basically, Joey was blind. Per the seers of Garanbandal, he would receive his sight back in miraculous fashion before he died, and, if I remember correctly, this would be connected with The Warning and The Miracle. That doesn't seem to have happened, which means that all the doubts about these alleged appearances by the Blessed Mother seem to have been well-placed.

I know, I know. Mystical experiences and apparitions are hard to account for and confusing even to the recipient sometimes. Sure, they can get things wrong in trying to explain their visions to the world. I get that. I'm pretty sure this makes for the final word on this particular issue, though.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So I Finally Caved To The Peer Pressure

As can be seen from the item to the right, we are now on Twitter. I figure the NSA already knows what I'm doing anyway, so why bother limiting the outreach at this point. Besides, given my ramblings' main function as a venting mechanism, I will at least try to limit myself to 140 characters now.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Forcing Doctors To Perform Abortions

It could happen in Poland. Of all places. Poland.

Per Zenit:

Poland’s prime minister has ordered a Catholic doctor to violate his conscience and perform an abortion. 

Dr. Bogdan Chazan, a Warsaw-based obstetrician, has denied a request to abort an unborn child who had been diagnosed with serious brain defects. 

On Tuesday, Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in a statement: "Regardless of what his conscience is telling him [the doctor] must carry out the law.” 

“"Every patient must be sure that … the doctor will perform all procedures in accordance with the law and in accordance with his duties," Tusk said. 

The mother of the child had filed a complaint against the doctor, claiming that she was being forced to bear a deformed child. 

Dr. Chazan is one of 3,000 physicians who had signed a “Declaration of Faith,” calling for the recognition of physicians’ rights to perform their duties in line with their religious convictions with regard to certain medical practices, such as abortion, contraception, euthanasia.

That's Poland, though. It could never happen in a nation with such a deep and abiding respect for religion and life like the United States, right? It could never happen here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Trinity Sunday!

A modest proposal. How about celebrating fathers on St. Joseph's feast day and leaving Trinity Sunday for the Trinity?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A New Blog For Your Enjoyment

Cogitans Clare (Thinking Out Loud), written by a good and holy priest. We need more like him.

Praising St. Pius X (Sort Of)

Zenit recently did an interview with Fr. Bernard Ardura, President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. Since we are facing the centennial of Pope St. Pius X, of happy memory, there is a day being organized for "study" of his pontificate.

When one reads the interview, though, there is the distinct impression that one of the most (if not THE most) significant part of St. Pius X's reign is somehow embarrassing, namely, his condemnation of modernism. Consider the following comments:

Fr. Ardura: During his pontificate he was a very important reformer, but between his reformative activities, he also had to intervene on doctrine-related issues, as he was facing a difficult movement, called modernism. And his condemnation of modernism obscured the positive parts of his ministry. He was remembered as a Pope of condemnation, but, instead was truly a great reformer, a great innovator. Yes, he condemned modernism, but he, in fact, was very modern, which is obvious through his reforms.

It's almost like Fr. Ardura is apologetic about St. Pius's decision to defend the Catholic faith against blasphemous heretics.

Fr. Ardura: He is a Pope who was not well-known, and was somewhat badly known. And, therefore, we want to give a contribution to make him better known and understood.

ZENIT: Why do you believe he was misunderstood?

Fr. Ardura: He became misunderstood, and almost all of his good, reformative works were not given credit, because of the issue of modernism. Therefore, with his condemnation of modernism, he became to be understood by many as a Pope who didn’t understand anything, but it was not true.

ZENIT: For those who don’t know, what is modernism?

Fr. Ardura: It is an error, a philosophical error, that relativizes a bit of everything, and from a doctrinal point of view, is something delicate. For example, different ideas were promulgated in the particular, cultural context of the time. But today, we don't have to relativize these different views on the doctrine. Pius X, we can say, was working in a particular context.

The Church in which we believe, is inspired by the Holy Spirit in a context that is not by some accidental cause, but contains the substance of teachings inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, we don’t have to relativize these realities, which are fundamental, because otherwise, we would have to put into discussion all we believe.

First off, if you want the Pope's most thorough treatment of modernism, read Pascendi Dominici Gregis. For a list of condemned modernist errors, try Lamentabili Sane.

Anyways, when I read the interview comments above it seems like the message is "See, modernism isn't so bad. It just relativizes a little of everything. That's all. But it's a delicate thing because what was bad then isn't so bad now."

Holy smokes. St. Pius called modernism everything from "poison" to "the synthesis of all heresies." I doubt very much that it was all about context. Indeed, look around, readers. We are drowning in modernism today. I don't throw the word around lightly. Read St. Pius's own writings and the decree of the Holy Office that he approved at the provided links. Modernism is the theological norm for most Catholics these days, and it's more deadly to the soul now than when it was first condemned.

Consider some of the propositions from Lamentabili, recalling that the items listed are to be considered as false and condemned:

6. The "Church learning" and the "Church teaching" collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the "Church teaching" to sanction the opinions of the "Church learning."

7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced.

9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures.

11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.

23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church's dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain.

35. Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.

58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.

63. The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modern progress.

65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.

This, and the remainder of the document, could pretty much be used as the syllabus for my wife's RCIA program. It absolutely was the course outline for my Theology 180 class at an allegedly Catholic university which, by the way, promoted the professor to the position of Dean of First Year Studies.

And yet, this is the part of St. Pius's reign that is to be minimized? His battle against what would grow to be the most destructive theological force in our time, or any other time for that matter?


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Speaking Of Cardinal Sandri

Remember that thing that was the dumbest thing that we'd heard come out of the Curia in a long, long time? There's some news on the topic, namely, married clergy for our Eastern Catholic priests.

Per Zenit:

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation voted in early June to encourage the “lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America.”

“This action would affirm the ancient and legitimate Eastern Christian tradition, and would assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two Churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned,” the consultation said in a statement released Friday.

“We are convinced that this action would enhance the spiritual lives of Eastern Catholics and would encourage the restoration of unity between Catholic and Orthodox Christians,” the statement said.

So we got that going for us. Why this has taken such a long time is shameful. It's silly and more ethan a little disgusting that nobody questions when an Anglican guy converts and receives orders but is allowed to be married, while faithful Eastern Catholics have their tradition called into question.

On a side note, way more Orthodox that I know are worried about pressures to mutilate their liturgy than issues with married men being ordained.

Evangelii Gaudium, Part Six


106. Even if it is not always easy to approach young people, progress has been made in two areas: the awareness that the entire community is called to evangelize and educate the young, and the urgent need for the young to exercise greater leadership. We should recognize that despite the present crisis of commitment and communal relationships, many young people are making common cause before the problems of our world and are taking up various forms of activism and volunteer work. Some take part in the life of the Church as members of service groups and various missionary initiatives in their own dioceses and in other places. How beautiful it is to see that young people are “street preachers” (callejeros de la fe), joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth!

That’s pretty beautiful. Where is this going on? Or does he just mean March for Life type deals?

107. Many places are experiencing a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. This is often due to a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness. Wherever there is life, fervour and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations will arise. Even in parishes where priests are not particularly committed or joyful, the fraternal life and fervour of the community can awaken in the young a desire to consecrate themselves completely to God and to the preaching of the Gospel. This is particularly true if such a living community prays insistently for vocations and courageously proposes to its young people the path of special consecration. On the other hand, despite the scarcity of vocations, today we are increasingly aware of the need for a better process of selecting candidates to the priesthood. Seminaries cannot accept candidates on the basis of any motivation whatsoever, especially if those motivations have to do with affective insecurity or the pursuit of power, human glory or economic well-being.

Again, a pastoral challenge with doctrinal roots. In my admittedly limited experience, I see two kinds of people going to the seminary. One type does so in order to change the Church because the Church needs to get with the modern times. The other goes in because he is drawn to serve others in spiritual combat. It all comes down to what you believe the Church is and is supposed to be doing. Which is doctrinal.

Remember, Cardinal Mahony believes that theshortage of vocations is a great fruit from Vatican II. Wouldn’t that mean it should be encouraged then? Where do you think he lies on this spectrum of thought?

110. After having considered some of the challenges of the present, I would now like to speak of the task which bears upon us in every age and place, for “there can be no true evangelization without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord”, and without “the primacy of the proclamation of Jesus Christ in all evangelizing work”.[77] Acknowledging the concerns of the Asian bishops, John Paul II told them that if the Church “is to fulfil its providential destiny, evangelization as the joyful, patient and progressive preaching of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be your absolute priority.”[78] These words hold true for all of us.

So we can at least dispense with any ideas of being satisfied with folks not converting, right? Or that other religions that draw people away from this proclamation of Jesus as Lord are somehow good of themselves? Right?

112. The salvation which God offers us is the work of his mercy. No human efforts, however good they may be, can enable us to merit so great a gift. God, by his sheer grace, draws us to himself and makes us one with him.[79] He sends his Spirit into our hearts to make us his children, transforming us and enabling us to respond to his love by our lives. The Church is sent by Jesus Christ as the sacrament of the salvation offered by God.[80] Through her evangelizing activity, she cooperates as an instrument of that divine grace which works unceasingly and inscrutably. Benedict XVI put it nicely at the beginning of the Synod’s reflections: “It is important always to know that the first word, the true initiative, the true activity comes from God and only by inserting ourselves into the divine initiative, only begging for this divine initiative, shall we too be able to become – with him and in him – evangelizers”.[81] This principle of the primacy of grace must be a beacon which constantly illuminates our reflections on evangelization.

The social justice Pelagians should cringe at this part. If they knew it existed. Or thought that salvation was somehow not a guaranteed proposition. If we take what the Pope says here and in Lumen Fidei seriously, we could finally begin to re-ignite the discussion of Catholic soteriology.

115. The People of God is incarnate in the peoples of the earth, each of which has its own culture. The concept of culture is valuable for grasping the various expressions of the Christian life present in God’s people. It has to do with the lifestyle of a given society, the specific way in which its members relate to one another, to other creatures and to God. Understood in this way, culture embraces the totality of a people’s life.[84] Each people in the course of its history develops its culture with legitimate autonomy.[85] This is due to the fact that the human person, “by nature stands completely in need of life in society”[86] and always exists in reference to society, finding there a concrete way of relating to reality. The human person is always situated in a culture: “nature and culture are intimately linked”.[87]Grace supposes culture, and God’s gift becomes flesh in the culture of those who receive it.

I’m not sure what it means that “grace supposes culture.” Given that we live in a culture that increasingly promotes moral deviancy in just about every aspect of life, though, the Holy Father is absolutely right in focusing on it so much in so many of the ensuing sections (many of which we are omitting because they seem fairly redundant).

Hence in the evangelization of new cultures, or cultures which have not received the Christian message, it is not essential to impose a specific cultural form, no matter how beautiful or ancient it may be, together with the Gospel. The message that we proclaim always has a certain cultural dress, but we in the Church can sometimes fall into a needless hallowing of our own culture, and thus show more fanaticism than true evangelizing zeal.

True, while it is not essential per se, it is often desirable (ie- the evangelization of the New World). I can even see it as necessary in some cases. Like, for example, the Aztecs. Or the United States.

The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples”.

In all this, I feel that the only thing lacking is a concrete definition of “evangelization” that makes explicit a conversion to the True Faith. I might be overly simplistic in saying so, but I can see people trying to use the lack of such a definition as wiggle room, despite the Holy Father’s other comments on the subject here and in other places.

123. Popular piety enables us to see how the faith, once received, becomes embodied in a culture and is constantly passed on. Once looked down upon, popular piety came to be appreciated once more in the decades following the Council.

Is this correct? What is the popular piety that is flourishing so much? In the US and Europe, the death of popular piety has been one of the main drivers of the satanization of our culture. Processions, feast days, private and family devotion, etc. all seem to have faded away.

124. The Aparecida Document describes the riches which the Holy Spirit pours forth in popular piety by his gratuitous initiative. On that beloved continent, where many Christians express their faith through popular piety, the bishops also refer to it as “popular spirituality” or “the people’s mysticism”.[103] 

Have I mentioned that I am beginning to sense that Pope Francis writes a lot of stuff with Latin America in mind?

126. Underlying popular piety, as a fruit of the inculturated Gospel, is an active evangelizing power which we must not underestimate: to do so would be to fail to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit. Instead, we are called to promote and strengthen it, in order to deepen the never-ending process of inculturation. Expressions of popular piety have much to teach us; for those who are capable of reading them, they are a locus theologicus which demands our attention, especially at a time when we are looking to the new evangelization.

One thing that is a concern in all the talk of culture. Pope Francis makes it a point to link inculturation to the Truth several times. The issue is that lots of damage has been done over the years in trying to “adapt” the Gospel to variant cultures, often because specific items in those cultures themselves are abhorrent to God. I can easily see things like the matter of communion for remarried Catholics being shoehorned into the conversation in the name of inculturation.

127. Today, as the Church seeks to experience a profound missionary renewal, there is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they be our neighbours or complete strangers. This is the informal preaching which takes place in the middle of a conversation, something along the lines of what a missionary does when visiting a home. Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey.

None of us do this enough.

131. Differences between persons and communities can sometimes prove uncomfortable, but the Holy Spirit, who is the source of that diversity, can bring forth something good from all things and turn it into an attractive means of evangelization. Diversity must always be reconciled by the help of the Holy Spirit; he alone can raise up diversity, plurality and multiplicity while at the same time bringing about unity. When we, for our part, aspire to diversity, we become self-enclosed, exclusive and divisive; similarly, whenever we attempt to create unity on the basis of our human calculations, we end up imposing a monolithic uniformity. This is not helpful for the Church’s mission.

Another point that made me think of Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox as well. Could we revisit Cardinal Sandri’s comments about the married priesthood now?

On Our Previous Point

Per Zenit:

Archbishop: Probably There Is Not One Christian Now Left in Mosul

A graphic account of the Islamist take-over of Mosul and the people’s desperate struggle to flee to safety has come from the city’s Chaldean bishop.

Speaking today to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Amel Nona said he thought Mosul’s last remaining Christians had left now a city which until 2003 was home to 35,000 faithful.

The Christians are among 500,000 thought to have fled Mosul, which was overthrown Tuesday. That event is now followed by news today of militant attacks on the Iraqi city of Tikrit, 95 miles north of the capital Baghdad.

Describing reports of attacks to four churches and a monastery in Mosul, the archbishop, 46, said: “We received threats… [and] now all the faithful have fled the city. I wonder if they will ever return there.”

Not one Christian left. Let that sink in for a moment and then please spare some prayers for our persecuted brethren.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Middle East

So now we've got a whole new resurgence of Islamic warriors in Mosul. The annihilation of Christianity will no doubt accelerate as the situations in Iraq and Syria continue to break down. Not so much ethnic cleansing, but a form of genocide nonetheless.

The apathy of the "civilized" world is quite stirring. Perhaps we will just opt to encourage the massacre as was done in Syria. 

Could we at least throw the remaining victims a bone and offer blanket amnesty?

Sensible Health Care Policy

When you read this article, keep in mind that it's increasingly difficult to admit any Medicare patient into a hospital for real diseases like, say, the flu.

Medicare can no longer automatically deny coverage requests for sex reassignment surgeries, a federal board ruled Friday in a groundbreaking decision that recognizes the procedures are medically necessary for some people who don't identify with their biological sex.

Ruling in favor of a 74-year-old transgender Army veteran whose request to have Medicare pay for her genital reconstruction was denied two years ago, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board said there was no justification for a three-decade-old agency rule excluding such surgeries from treatments covered by the national health program for the elderly and disabled.

In other words, if someone (typically) older than 65 years old wants to have a sex change operation, our tax dollars will first be funneled to pay for a review of whether or not such a procedure is medically necessary. Then, they very well could be used to pay for said procedure.

This is while we as a society routinely deny elderly people hospital admission for a potentially fatal disease, calling such treatment "medically unnecessary." This is the insanity that currently governs our nation.

I am reminded of William Butler Yeats's words:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre 
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 
The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, 
while the worst Are full of passionate intensity

Surely some revelation is at hand; 
Surely the Second Coming is at hand. 
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out 
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi 
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert 
A shape with lion body and the head of a man, 
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, 
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it 
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. 
The darkness drops again; but now I know 
That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, 
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, 
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cardinal Brandmueller On A Few Topics

Cardinal Brandmueller is coming out with a new book on Church history. In this interview with Zenit, he had several interesting comments that deserve circulation:

ZENIT: Of what use today is this trip, through the centuries of the Church’s history?

Cardinal Brandmuller: I think that, in our times, this book might have little success. The interest of the majority today, also in directive environments of the Church, is orientated to the present, or better, to the future. “Yes – it is said – we must study ecclesiastical history,” but there aren’t many who consider the urgency of this discipline. Instead, there are so many who hold that it is “a dealer in antiquity,” that keeps curiosity, recounts edifying episodes, sometimes also scandalous and amusing ones but, all together, of little use to resolve the problems of today. Isn’t it true that many say this? This thought is symptomatic of those widely spread philosophical heresies, such as utilitarianism and pragmatism, which are truly destructive intellectual currents, especially when they invade theological thought and the pastoral approach.

We live in a bizarre world where people will attempt to paint history as God, while all the time loathing the events, contexts, and tradition of history.

ZENIT: Taking a step back and concentrating on the last 50 years since Vatican Council II, how can this crucial half century be described for the life of the Church? 

Cardinal Brandmuller: (Laughs) There are so many things to say … In the book there is a study of mine which focuses in particular on the post-conciliar conflicts of interpretation. Decades, certainly many [years] – too many – moved by problems that to a great extent still await a resolution.

ZENIT: Is it also the fault of the “Council of the Media,” of which Benedict XVI spoke?

Cardinal Brandmuller: Yes, also, but it isn’t a distinctive trait of the Vatican. During Vatican Council I the newspapers of the time also reported inexact news and played an important role.

While there is a similarity, I think the access of media and the phenomenon of higher speed transmission of disinformation makes Vatican II's events a whole new ball of wax. There can be no doubt that the press was a far greater factor in the 60s than in the 19th century. Moreover, I don't think it can be argued that the media continues to be heavily invested in keeping alive its version of Vatican II. When was the last time you heard a story on Vatican I?

ZENIT: What, then, is the cause of these distortions of the conciliar teachings? 

Cardinal Brandmuller: They are due, perhaps, to a false concept of what the Church is. If the Church defines herself as the mystical Christ present in history, a human-divine reality, a Council is certainly interpreted differently. An Ecumenical Council, such as Vatican II, is the implementation of the supreme Magisterium of the Church, whose documents are of decisive value for the Church. Many, instead, have always considered it, recounted it and interpreted it only as an historical, human, sociological, political reality and so on. 

Which Pope Francis has denounced with little publicity.

ZENIT: Are fifty years, therefore, not yet enough to understand and implement the conciliar teachings?  

Cardinal Brandmuller: No. Vatican Council II is still far from being realized in the life of the Church. It is still necessary to study the documents in a more profound way and then implement them.

This is so obvious that it shouldn't even need to be said. It is staggering that anyone can read the documents of Vatican II and their stated goals, along with the goals of the conciliar and post-conciliar popes, and actually believe that it has been "implemented." Or that if it has been "implemented" that it could be regarded as a success.

What is wrong with simply admitting that the Council was a failure? There's plenty of precedent for failed councils. Lateran V? Failure. Lyons II? Failure. Florence? Mostly a failure.

Vatican II? Failure? Why not?

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Church Murdered 800 Babies And Dumped Them In A Septic Tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who email me every now and then wondering why we haven't talked about some "major" story about Catholicism, odds are that the story is of a sort that we feel pretty confident that the media presentation is utter crap and that the facts need to be allowed to come out.

Such is the case with the recent story about Irish nuns stealing/murdering/neglecting unto death 800 babies and dumping the bodies into a septic tank. I've been emailed multiple versions of this story. At this point, I'm waiting for a BatBoy connection to show up.

Anyways, it looks like the popular account is, in fact, crap. Tancred is on the case.

What has upset, confused and dismayed her in recent days is the speculative nature of much of the reporting around the story, particularly about what happened to the children after they died. “I never used that word ‘dumped’,” she says again, with distress. “I just wanted those children to be remembered and for their names to go up on a plaque. That was why I did this project, and now it has taken [on] a life of its own.” - Catherine Corless 

Edit: the news is awash with the completely mendacious story of a Magdalen home in Tuam Ireland where fallen women and their illegitimate children were housed, and given a chance on life, as opposed to being preyed upon by pimps. The story claims that 800 children were "dumped" in a "mass grave" in a "septic tank". The story was an emotional one and conjured up the usual misogynistic images of cruel faces of doughty sadistic nuns in medieval cowls overseeing a mass murder. 

The story was based on the work of an independent researcher, Catherine Corless who is horrified that her story has taken on such macabre dimensions and is being used to unfairly malign the Church, which is covered by the Catechesis of Caroline Blog. We came by this at the comments at Father Ray's blog. 

In fact, we find out that the image of the mass grave was false. The septic tank contained not 800 but 20 infants. 

When considering this story about the number of poor babies dying from malnutrition and "neglect". We don't know the budget the nuns had to work with, but we are sure it wasn't unlimited. It's also important to remember that during the time period covered from 1925-1961, that the world was undergoing an agricultural revolution where crop yields quintupled and food prices dropped. Not surprisingly, many of the deaths from malnutrition occurred in 1944 when a world conflagration and German U-Boots made commerce risky and rationing was strictly enforced. People were hungry during the war!

I'm sure a comparable body count story could probably be generated from Mother Teresa's work in India.

When you see people relish stories like this and flaunt such horrific accounts for the purpose of justifying their position contra the Church or their hubris in not believing in God, have pity on them. Pray for them. Such miserable people deserve all the spiritual charity we can afford them. Remember the words of The Master:

If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

John 15: 18-20

PS- While we're at it, Debunking Philomena.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Despite modern pretensions to the contrary, always remember that the Church came forth not in an unintelligible babble, gibberish, and thrashing about on the floor. It came forth in the fusion of diversity into a single unity. One language, yet understood by all.


If people treated the liturgy and Eucharist with 1/10 the devotion that they give to their regular seating spot at Mass, the world would be converted.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fighting To The Last

Our brethren in Syria are still dying, and the world still seems ok with it.

Per Zenit, though, some are holding on to give the Faith a presence there:

Although the Pope’s visit and words were fruitful, the bishop (Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo) stressed that Christians, men of good will, and the international community must do their part.

"We Christians must do everything we can in order to survive and stay alive asked to give testimony," he said.

"We must not leave," he stressed, because "this Christianity of Arab culture that has lived for centuries among Muslims is an inculturation truly unique in the history of the Church and you must do everything to preserve it."

As we've stated before, though, this will all be over in a few years, and the world will be able to celebrate peace in our time for the Middle East. And isn't a little genocide worth that?

A Legal Question

Albeit, a rhetorical one.

Here is the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note the first five words specifically.

Here is the most recent story regarding outrage over an alleged violation of the First Amendment. This particular example is a high school principal mentioning God in some comments at a graduation in Missouri.

“So while it would not be politically correct for us to have an official prayer this evening, I would like for us to have a moment of silence in honor of tonight’s graduates,” Lowery told students. “Thank you. And just in case you’re interested, during my moment of silence, I gave thanks to God for these great students, their parents, their teachers and for this community.”

"If you were "offended" by this..I'd have to ask you HOW you could be offended by someone praying for nothing but wonderful things for this student!" wrote one commenter. "He wasn't asking anyone to join a church, a religion or to leave one...he simply asked that they would be protected and blessed."

Here is one such offended reaction:

But dozens of others commenting on the video blasted Lowery, as did Dave Muscato, a spokesman for American Atheists. “I find this extremely objectionable,” Muscato said. “I think it’s clear that Kevin Lowery violated the spirit of the First Amendment separations of religion and government. This was an underhanded and dishonorable way for him to forcibly inject his personal religious views onto his students and the others present and into his role as a government official.”

Returning to what the actual amendment says, can anyone find anywhere in this process where CONGRESS MADE A LAW? For those who don't recall, this is how Congress makes a law:

Not sure about you, but I didn't see anything in the graduation ceremony that included the passage of bicameral legislation, much less signature by the president.

This is illustrative for anyone who wonders how stuff at the judiciary really works. It's political just like everything else. You can web search your way into seeing how the First Amendment has evolved over the years, but the one thing that is consistent is that those first critical five words are utterly ignored.

So if Mr. Moscato wants to talk about violating the spirit of the amendment, maybe he should take a step back and reflect on how his (and the Supreme Court's) entire perspective relies on violating the actual text.

And for those wondering, I'm a recovering attorney, and yes, I did handle a couple of establishment and free exercise cases.