Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"She is losing Bernie people but picking up neocon tastemakers"

George Neumayr, Oxford-educated former senior editor of the Catholic World Report with a NNDB (Notable Names Data Base) 'risk factor' of 'homophobia,' is clearly in overdrive, now suggesting that Donald Trumps Clinton morally .... But then, you may say, that may not be asking very much.

Here's his article: "She is losing Bernie people but picking up neocon tastemakers" (American Spectator, June 1, 2016).

After chronicling the utter disdain for the unwashed masses, the common folk, the working men and women, the voting American electorate in the recent articles by Anthony Lewis and David Brooks (New York Times) and Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal), Neumayr suggests that Hillary is picking up a new variety of supporter:
The neocon tastemakers gunning for Trump’s defeat view her as a fellow member of the ruling class, confused at times but at least comprehensible. Around the time of her appointment to the State Department, this crowd, conveniently forgetting the radicalism of her Yale days and work for the Children’s Defense Fund, propped her up as a safe member of the establishment. They have returned to this stance. Even if she is wrong on some issues, they figure, her dues fees have been paid. Trump’s haven’t.

Implicit in the intemperate outbursts of the neocon tastemakers is that the people should have consulted with them first. Part of the “lesson” the people need to learn is that they should take their opinions from intellectual betters. Never mind that those intellectual betters long ago lost their intellects in the pursuit of sophistication in a PC age. They quote the classics and fix their bow ties before making the “conservative case for gay marriage” and the wisdom of open borders.

Notice that the neocons so appalled by Trump’s vulgarity defend the much deeper vulgarity of the elite’s social revolution. Trump is not to their taste. But gay marriage is. That in part explains why a Supreme Court stacked by Hillary doesn’t terrify them very much. They wouldn’t want gay marriage rulings overturned, they feel largely comfortable with the feminist world Roe v. Wade created, and they find the religious-freedom pleas of the Kim Davises tiresome. On many of the hot-button social issues before the court, they agree with Hillary. And on matters of trade, immigration, and war, they feel more kinship with her than with Trump....

.... “Trump has taught me to fear my fellow Americans,” says Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. He too is looking for a new people [electorate], docile to the direction of the ruling class. Amidst lectures on masculinity from the New York Times, dreams of vicious lesson-learning dancing in the heads of tony pundits, federal fiats for the “transgendered,” and future pink slips down at the coal mine from Hillary Clinton, the masses can be excused for their aversion to the establishment’s “sophisticated” direction. The George Wills may call them vulgar, but they would prefer to live in a country where common sense isn’t in bad taste.

[Hat tip to JM]

For the record: SSPX Communiqué on relations with the Holy See

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"A deep dread" - Brexit and Pope Francis's Synod

The underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, just sent me an email, of all things, rather than a message by carrier pigeon. The subject line carried the words: "Crowns, halos, and 'convergence[s] around a new consensus.'" Hmmmmm ... Okay ....

Then the dreadful words: "A deep dread." What could he mean?

Farther down in his email was a link to an article about which he offered the following prefatory remarks:
This amazes me, for it seems a perfectly materialized example of the liberal reluctance/inability to grasp non-liberal thinking. And of these CRUX-type Catholics' breezy unawareness of the conflation of religion and politics.

For the liberal perspective, lack of compromise or convergence is always bad -- unless, of course, the compromise involves a cause close to the liberal heart. "You won't even discuss it!" is seen as a damning indictment, whereas it is actually an insistence that things will be put on the table, whether the other side wants to compromise or not. It is the same old, "It's the journey, not the destination' thing writ large. "Questions, not answers," versus, "The Way, the Truth, The Life." And depending on which orientation you chose, the Gospels themselves provide material for two rather different religious approaches. Which is evident listening to the homilies of the Pope.
The article Mr. Noir was referencing was a new piece by Austen Ivereigh entitled, "What Brexit Britain could have learned from Pope Francis's synod" (CRUX, June 23, 2016). Lord, have mercy; here's what he wrote (emphasis Noir's):
Now I know why I felt a deep dread when the British prime minister, David Cameron, announced an in-out European Union referendum. Britain, the third most powerful country in Europe and the fifth largest economy in the world, has voted by a thin majority to leave, dealing the EU a massive blow....

This Referendum should never have been called. Rather than enabling a solution to real problems, it has divided our nation, forcing an artificial polarization that has ended in a disastrous outcome.

Imagine if, rather than call a two-year synod to deliberate on the issue, Pope Francis back in October 2014 had simply asked the Catholic bishops to vote on Cardinal Walter Kasper’s Orthodox-inspired proposal for a pathway back to the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried.

And imagine if, after a couple of weeks of debate, they were given a ballot paper that asked for a straight “yes” or “no”.

Here’s what would have happened. Rather than leading to a majority consensus reflected in a new, more pastoral approach to marriage and family, the church hierarchy would have descended into an ugly tribal shouting-match ending in bitter division and frustration....

Fortunately for the Church, that’s not what happened. However tense the process, the synod never polarized, and a third possibility emerged that produced a new, pastoral flexibility without eroding doctrine. [Noir: But of course it did trigger erosion of doctrine, every bit as much as Vatican II. In fact, the word choice alone gives away the game. Erosion is gradual and does not happen during an event. It is not 'produced' but 'caused.' The distinction is one a liberal mind is liable to pass over.]

... Francis, the master of Ignatian spiritual discernment [Noir: LOL! Yes, and St. John Paul II "the Great," and whatever superlative admirers are currently assigned to Ronald Reagan], knew that if the synod split and both sides grew further apart, it was a sign that the Devil had the ball; but that if convergence around a new consensus were built, the Good Spirit was in play....

The Big Lie: Protestant & Secular Texbook Traditions About The Irish Rebellion of 1641

Anne Barbeau Gardiner, "The Big Lie: Ireland, 1641" (New Oxford Review, May 2016) - a book review of The Shadow of a Year: The 1641 Rebellion in Irish History and Memory, by John Gibney (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013): 
If to rob a man of his good name for a lifetime is to rob him of his most precious possession, what is it then to rob an entire people of their good name for centuries? The Big Lie about the 1641 rebellion was just such a robbery of the Irish people. It stands at the root of Irish suffering for centuries, even casting a shadow across the Irish Famine of the 1840s. John Gibney’s scholarly book The Shadow of a Year offers an illuminating account of this grave injustice.

Gibney begins by giving the Protestant version of the rebellion. In Ulster, the Irish had recently been dispossessed of their land by English and Scottish settlers, and on October 23, 1641, a mob broke out against these settlers. In the official Protestant account, religion was the reason for the uprising, and it was immediately depicted as a sectarian genocide organized by Irish Catholics. Henry Jones, Anglican dean of Kilmore, said the rebellion had been caused by the “innate bigotry and brutality” of the Irish and ordered by the Pope and Jesuits. Jones headed a commission that collected thousands of depositions about what happened — but these depositions were only from Protestants. In March 1642 he presented lurid extracts from these depositions to the English Parliament, published as A Remonstrance. Thus, says Gibney, the “atrocity propaganda” was first printed in England “for an English audience.”

The Protestant account was used to justify the Cromwellian confiscations of Irish lands from 1649 to 1653, which amounted, Gibney says, to “perhaps half of the available land in Ireland.” In 1649 Cromwell justified the atrocities his New Model Army committed against Catholics in Drogheda and Wexford as a “righteous judgment” for the rebellion of 1641. When the Catholic bishops of Ireland protested that the army seemed bent on “exterminating” the Irish, Cromwell replied that “the massacres of 1641 had yet to be avenged.”

Thus, much depended on the truth of what had taken place. Despite Catholic denials, the Protestant version of 1641 would henceforth be used to deprive Catholics of their lands and also — for the next 150 years — of religious liberty. The 1652 Act for the Settling of Ireland exempted from pardon all Catholic priests on the ground that they had abetted the “murders or massacres” of Protestants in 1641.

Only a tiny fraction of the depositions taken by Henry Jones were about atrocities, yet Sir John Temple, in his book The Irish Rebellion (1646), presented these tales as representative of the whole. Temple’s account was still being described in 1887 as “an almost infallible witness against Catholicism,” even though it was composed, Gibney says, chiefly “to bolster the case for a prospective reconquest of Ireland under the auspices of the English parliament.”

From the first, Protestant historians gave a wildly implausible death toll of those murdered by Catholics in 1641. In March 1643 the Irish Lord Justices put it at 154,000, a figure taken from the “unsubstantiated assertion of Robert Maxwell, an Armagh clergyman of Scottish extraction.” They used this number to block Parliament from coming to terms with Irish Catholics, since that might have saved their lands. Many gave a death toll of 300,000 based on Temple’s Irish Rebellion, but what Temple wrote was that 300,000 English Protestants had been murdered, died of other causes, or been “expelled out of their habitations.” There is a big difference between being forced out of your home and being murdered. Catholics denied that there had even been 100,000 Protestants in Ireland at the time. Meanwhile, in 1649 the Puritan poet John Milton — a rabid enemy of Catholics — put the number of those massacred in 1641 at 600,000.

This Big Lie became the foundational myth of colonial Ireland: It was on the basis of the 1641 rebellion that the 1662 Act of Settlement upheld the Cromwellian confiscations. Also in 1662 the Irish Parliament passed an act ordering the Anglican Church of Ireland to commemorate 1641 with an annual sermon on October 23. The state church added new prayers about 1641, incorporating them into the Irish Book of Common Prayer in 1666, where they remained until 1859, giving religious sanction to an egregious slander against the Irish people.

What can be said of a Christian worship turned into a self-righteous justification for oppression? Where was the Christian charity? In addition to a church service, the annual commemoration included public drinking, bell ringing, a gun salute, a bonfire, and a parade. By the end of the 17th century, a new colonial order prevailed in Ireland, with 800,000 Irish Catholics dispossessed and disenfranchised by 200,000 English and 100,000 Scottish Protestants — and government troops to enforce it.

Rationalists embraced the Big Lie: David Hume harped on the atrocities of 1641, and Voltaire wouldn’t listen to any arguments against the “reality” of the 1641 massacres, linking them to the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. For Hume and Voltaire, Gibney says, 1641 was a “genocidal sadism prompted by little more than hatred based on superstition.” When religious liberty for Catholics was debated in Ireland’s House of Lords in 1793, the Anglican bishop of Cashel rose up to defend the persecution of Catholics by reading aloud a “lurid extract about 1641 from David Hume.”

On the other side, the Catholic version of 1641 remained virtually the same from the 17th to the 19th century. Catholics said that the atrocities attributed to them were “inventions” used to justify their dispossession, that the death toll for Protestants was wildly exaggerated, and that in 1641 Protestants had been the first to inflict terrible brutalities on Irish Catholics across the land.

In 1662 a certain “R.S.” published a Collection of Some of the Murthers and Massacres Committed on the Irish in Ireland Since the 23rd of October 1641. Since Catholics had no freedom of the press, this tract was quickly suppressed and publicly burned in Ireland. Yet it gives, Gibney says, “a reasonably sober account of various brutalities visited on Catholics by Protestants and, later, by parliamentary forces.” R.S. ridicules the inflated death toll given for Protestants “on the reasonable grounds that the figures commonly given far exceeded the Protestant population in Ireland.” Moreover, he recounts how in one night English and Scottish soldiers massacred all the residents of Islandmagee — 3,000 men, women, and children — though no one in County Antrim was in rebellion. R.S. follows this with reports of similar massacres conducted by government troops, county by county.

In 1668 Catholic Bishop Nicholas French said that in 1641 “four hundred English could not be found murdered in Ireland.” In 1684 the Earl of Castlehaven wrote that the rebellion of 1641 arose from legitimate grievances and that the Lord Justices were the ones intent on “exterminating” all the Irish “who would not conform to the established church.” In Ireland’s Case Briefly Stated (1695), Hugh Reily argues that the Lord Justices needed a pretext to confiscate Irish land, so they authorized the massacres at Santry, Contarf, Bullock, Islandmagee, and Carrickfergus to provoke a rebellion. While the death toll given for Protestants was “absolutely impossible,” Catholics died in “much greater numbers.”

The major spokesman for the Irish in the 18th century was John Curry, who asked in his Brief Account (1746) why 1641 was “trumped up” with so many “unjust” exaggerations against his people. He declares that they had not committed a murder in 1641 that had not been “returned upon them at least four fold,” and that the official version was a slander “deliberately and cynically adopted to blacken the name of the Catholic Irish amid the formulation of the land settlement of the 1660s, and thereby used to dispossess them.” Edmund Burke sympathized with Curry, but to save his career in England he left his most important work on the topic unpublished: His “Tracts Relating to the Popery Law” (1765) declares that the Catholic rebellions in Ireland were not “produced by toleration but by persecution” and “arose not from just and mild government but from the most unparalleled oppression.”

In 1819 Matthew Carey published Vindiciae Hibernicae in America, with later editions carrying the commendations of Presidents John Adams and James Madison. By then the Big Lie about 1641 had been spread in this country by John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments. Carey laments that the slander is, in his day, “almost as thoroughly believed as the best established fact in the annals of the world.” He asserts that there was no massacre in 1641 except for what the Dublin administration “perpetrated against the Irish” to confiscate their land, and he rightly calls the “penal laws” that deprived the Irish of religious freedom for 150 years “tyranny…covered by as base a cloak of hypocrisy as the annals of the world can produce.” He also neatly dissects the various death tolls given for Protestants and shows them to be based, Gibney says, on “forgery and perjury.”

A Catholic account of 1641 was produced by Daniel O’Connell in Memoir on Ireland Native and Saxon (1843), in which he argues that all the suffering of the Irish after 1641 stemmed “largely from calculated and gross Protestant misrepresentations of Catholic conduct during the rebellion.” He sees the lies surrounding 1641 as “the demoniacal means by which Protestantism and English power achieved their ascendancy in Ireland.”

Toward the end of The Shadow of a Year, Gibney discusses the late-19th-century debate between historians James Anthony Froude and W.E.H. Lecky. In The English in Ireland (1872-1874) Froude characterizes the Irish as “a savage, turbulent, and violent people” who needed civilizing by the English. Predictably, he takes the depositions compiled by Jones at face value, gives “uncritical acceptance” to the official version of 1641, and points to the “solemn annual commemoration” in the state church. Lecky responds in his History of Ireland (1892) by saying that the fantastic stories about Catholic atrocities were due to “Protestant designs on Catholic estates” and to the fear that the Irish might otherwise save their lands by “coming to terms” with the English government. He concedes that a rebellious mob in Ulster had committed awful crimes, but these had been “grossly, absurdly, and mendaciously exaggerated…almost beyond any other tragedy on record.” He discredits Sir John Temple as the one who “bore more responsibility than any other for propagating the notion of a massacre” and calls the depositions collected by Jones “untrustworthy.”

The Big Lie continued to propagate in the 20th century. Ernest Hamilton, in Soul of Ulster (1917), a work Gibney describes as “racist and sectarian,” suggests that the death toll for Protestants in 1641 could have been over a million and that “the soul of the native Irish has not at the present day changed by the width of a hair” from that time. Maude Glasgow, in The Scotch-Irish in North America (1936), repeats Milton’s assertion “without qualification” that 600,000 Protestants had been massacred.

At a 1998 conference at the University of Notre Dame commemorating the Tyrone Rebellion of 1798, I happened to see a new book by Ian McBride among the many on display. I skimmed it and discovered that he too reasserted the Big Lie about 1641. When I pointed this out to several people who were attending the conference, I was met with weary shrugs and the response, “What else is to be expected from McBride?”

Recently, the one-sided and mendacious depositions compiled by Henry Jones have been digitized. Gibney (and Ian Paisley) thinks this is a great idea, but I’m not convinced. In Alice Curtayne’s The Trial of Oliver Plunkett (1953), we read that the same Jones, who joined Cromwell’s army in 1649 and was promoted to Anglican bishop of Meath in 1661, was busy collecting new perjurers in 1680 to testify against St. Oliver Plunkett (who was found guilty of high treason for a fictitious plot to bring in the French army and restore the Catholic Church by force of arms). The Protestant duke of Ormonde, viceroy of Ireland, referred to Jones in a letter to his son as “not only a spiteful but a false informer.” Yes, Ormonde called him a liar. It seems that Jones’s Big Lie about 1641 is like a vampire that keeps resuscitating itself every century. We can hope and pray that Gibney’s book has thrust a stake through its beastly heart.
Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the seventeenth century.
The foregoing article, "The Big Lie: Ireland, 1641," was originally published in the May 2016 issue of the New Oxford Review and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706. 

The Bloody Hands of Islamic Terror and Orwellian Newspeak

“Islam needs to clarify two questions ... that is, the questions concerning its relation to violence and its relation to reason.”
— Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

"Giving an Appearance of Solidity to Pure Wind" (New Oxford Review, January-February 2016): 
Back in 1948 British novelist George Orwell penned his seminal work Nineteen Eighty-Four. Even those who haven’t read the novel will recognize Big Brother, the heavily mustachioed, Stalin-like icon who represents the ubiquitous surveillance state. But to say that the central purpose of Orwell’s work was to warn against National Security Agency-style tactics or an oppressive society under a totalitarian government is to fail to fully convey Orwell’s message. Yes, Orwell opposed all forms of tyranny, but he was more concerned with how ideologies proliferate. One of his most important insights was the role language plays in shaping our thoughts and opinions. The term Orwellian does not mean anti-authoritarian. Neither does it refer to mass surveillance by an intrusive government. Properly used, Orwellian means the deceptive and manipulative use of language.

In his essay “Politics and the English Language” (1946) Orwell observed that “political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” In other words, certain political language (propaganda) uses words and phrases to hide ugly truths. He foresaw how politicians would misstate and mislead in order to stay in power, using words to distort more than to inform, not to convey meaning but to undermine it.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell called this newspeak. And because words have the power to shape thought, newspeak is a powerful tool in the hands of a propagandist. Big Brother’s newspeak narrows citizens’ range of thought, making it difficult for them to express, or even to consider, unorthodox ideas that do not align with the state’s goals — in effect, preventing any kind of logical thinking. Taken to an extreme, the language of newspeak encourages something called doublethink, a hypnotic state of cognitive dissonance in which one is compelled to disregard one’s own perception in favor of the officially dictated narrative. In other words, people accept a distorted reality rather than reality itself and swallow the state’s distorted propositions and claims instead of considering the “ugly truths” of reality.

One ugly truth important to everyone today can be stated quite simply: Some Muslims, inspired by Islam and in the name of their religion and the prophet Muhammad, are orchestrating and executing acts of terrorism that seek to wreak devastation on those who do not submit to Islamic values. During the Obama administration, Americans have been deluged with Orwellian newspeak through the use of euphemisms that serve to sanitize ugly truths related to Islamic terrorism. In classic newspeak fashion, even the word terrorism seems to have been eliminated from official language. Janet Napolitano, Obama’s former chief of Homeland Security, preferred the term man-caused disasters because, she said, “it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear.” So, terrorism is no longer a problem; violent extremism is. And the global war on terror, after first morphing into overseas contingency operations, is now simply referred to as CVE, short for countering violent extremism. The purpose of this Orwellian newspeak is to eschew all references to Islamic extremism, jihad, Islamic radicalism, and other such overt terms that make it difficult to deny that there’s a link between Islam and terrorism.

The White House refuses to acknowledge the religious/ideological threat posed by Islam. It does not want any reference to the true motivation of these attacks: terror against the “infidel” (non-Muslims and Muslim-born unbelievers) carried out in the name of Islam as part of a global jihadi movement. In fact, shootings by radical Muslims are sometimes dismissed as “workplace violence.” President Obama, for example, failed to mention that Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who slaughtered thirteen of his fellow soldiers at the Fort Hood military base in Texas in 2009, had been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based imam and senior recruiter for al-Qaeda. And when the first reports emerged of a terrorist attack carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, this December, President Obama, backed by a mainstream media adhering to Muslim-related newspeak, attempted to dismiss the shootings that killed fourteen and wounded two dozen others at a Christmas party as another instance of “workplace violence.”

Using the technique of distraction and denial, Obama ignored the obvious connection to radical Islam in the latter case. Instead, he renewed his call for gun control, treating the terrorist attack as if it were another gangland drive-by. Americans were supposed to believe that it was not a carefully planned terrorist attack, that because a co-worker allegedly made fun of Farook’s Islamic-style beard and challenged him on his theology, Farook stormed out of the party, went home, picked up his wife, and returned dressed in full-body tactical gear and armed with automatic weapons to shoot up the place before speeding away in a black SUV the couple rented. Fortunately, in this case, as more and more details became available — for example, the discovery in the couple’s home of ISIS and al-Qaeda videos, homemade pipe bombs, and enough explosive material to blow up a small town — it became more difficult for the country to practice mass doublethink. That, however, did not stop the ongoing Muslim-related newspeak campaign. Despite the fact that this attack (as well as many others) was carried out by Muslims, in the name of Islam, some still refuse to link it to Islam.

Does every Muslim commit acts of terror? Of course not. And as far as we know, no one is alleging that. To be clear, we aren’t alleging that either! But there are those Muslims who believe they are carrying out the Qur’anic command to “strike terror into the hearts of infidels” (3:151; 8:12) when they commit such acts. But without overtly recognizing the obvious link between Islam and terrorism, it becomes very difficult to combat the problem. One of today’s most prolific Orwellian sayings that we’re supposed to accept uncritically is that terrorist attacks have nothing to do with Islam. “Let’s be clear,” Hillary Clinton tweeted on November 19, “Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” But it is instructive to note that, while Islam may not be our adversary, jihadists say they are motivated by Islam. They have declared us their adversaries. They shout Allahu akbar! when they kill people. On November 20, for example, terrorists in Mali released hostages who could quote the Qur’an. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, has a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad and openly talks about restoring the caliphate, a distinctly Islamic tenet. And many of sound mind have pointed out the obvious: The Islamic State is called the Islamic State.

Those not lured into the doublethink state of cognitive dissonance can reasonably understand that some Muslims have quite a lot to do with terrorism, and that Islam has more than a little something to do with those Muslims and their barbaric actions. Like those who were led by their hardcore theology to kill three thousand people on 9/11. Or blow up trains in Spain. Or target London’s public transit system with bombs. Or slaughter students at a Kenyan university. Or devastate a nightclub in Indonesia. Or shoot up a shopping mall in Nairobi. Or lay siege to a hotel in Mumbai. Or terrorize Nigerian schoolgirls. Or, you know, take hostages in a Parisian concert hall before slaughtering one hundred and thirty of them.

We are also, in our state of doublethink, expected to accept the corollary that Muslims are peaceful and tolerant. Of course, it’s easy to prove that some — indeed, many — Muslims are peaceful, if that means they do not advocate acts of terrorism or take part in them. That’s nice. But peacefulness and tolerance are not the same concept, nor do they necessarily go hand in hand. When considering Muslim tolerance, one might inquire: Are Muslim attitudes toward drinking alcohol tolerant? (A restaurant that serves wine is said to be the embodiment of evil.) Are Muslims tolerant when it comes to homosexuality and same-sex marriage? (According to Sharia law, homosexuals are to be stoned and thrown off a cliff.) Free speech? (Consider the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office in Paris, the assassination of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, or the fatwas against novelist Salman Rushdie and former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali.) Women’s rights? (Consider honor killings, female genital mutilation, or that in Saudi Arabia women may not drive and wife-beating is culturally acceptable.) Freedom of religion? (Converts from Islam to Christianity are to receive the death penalty.) Music? (London’s Royal College of Music has been called “Satanic,” and imams have claimed that music is the way in which Jews spread “the Satanic web” to corrupt young Muslims.) Art? (Painted images are considered an insult.) Sports? (Playing chess has been compared to dipping one’s hands in the blood of pigs, and some Muslim clerics have condemned soccer as a Jewish and Christian tool to undermine Islamic culture.) It would take a great deal of denial in order to assert that Islam is a tolerant religion.

The same difficulty arises when trying to understand how Islam qualifies as a “religion of peace,” as both President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have repeatedly maintained. Never mind that the belief system of radical Islam is based on violent passages from the Qur’an and Hadith, and modeled on the jihadist actions of generations of Muslims — beginning with Muhammad himself, who beheaded captives, enslaved children, and raped women captured in battle, encouraging other Muslims to act likewise. (No, Muhammad is not similar to Jesus Christ in any way, as some Western apologists maintain.) Furthermore, Muhammad directed Muslims to wage war on the members of other religions and bring them under submission to Islam. According to most estimates, approximately eighteen thousand acts of terrorism have been carried out in the name of Islam during the past decade. And there’s little that has changed in this regard through the centuries, going back to the decades immediately following the death of Muhammad when Muslims had captured land and people within the borders of over twenty-eight modern countries outside of Saudi Arabia. To this day, not a week goes by that Muslims do not attempt to kill Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists explicitly in the name of Allah. Statistics speak the truth: Pick any thirty-day period during the previous year and note the number of acts of terrorism throughout the world. Two important points come to the fore: First, nearly one hundred percent of the terrorist acts have been committed by Muslims overtly in the name of Islam. From mid-March to mid-April 2015, for example, Muslim terrorism occurred in twenty-five countries and amassed more than twenty-eight hundred fatalities. The vast majority of these jihadi acts of radical Islamic terror go unreported in the American media. On top of that, a Pew Research report reveals that ninety-nine percent of Afghan Muslims, ninety-one percent of Iraqi Muslims, and eighty-four percent of Pakistani Muslims identify themselves as “fundamentalists” who favor Sharia law. Thirty-nine percent of Afghanistan’s Muslims say they consider violent acts such as suicide bombings as always or sometimes justified “in defense of Islam.”

Another recent repeated affirmation of newspeak comes by way of the claim — made by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and a host of primetime pundits — that jihadi attacks are inspired by the rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates who dare to speak the words radical Islamic terrorism. As such, it stands to reason that if those pesky Republican candidates would just shut their traps when it comes to jihadi terrorism and all things Muslim, the world would be a peaceful place where ISIS terrorists would lay down their scimitars and Kalashnikovs and stop talking about subjugating infidels and establishing the caliphate at the expense of non-Muslims.

The only way one could stoop to such illogic would be to exercise the principle of doublethink.

It gets worse. Not only are we expected to disregard the facts of history, both recent and ancient, in order to buy into the doublethink regarding Islam, we are expected to accept the idea that we, the American (or British or French or German) people, are responsible for acts of terror and violence committed by Muslims. We are expected to accept the idea that we are the problem, not the radical Muslim jihadists. We are expected to accuse ourselves of being hateful Islamophobes for simply pointing out the reality that terrorism is connected to Islam, that Islam inspires terrorists, and that significant chunks of Muslims hate their adopted Western nations (Sweden, Britain, France, Germany, the U.S., etc.) with their democratic laws, privileges, and recognition of human rights for all people.

As one paradoxical Orwellian aphorism states, “War is peace.” So yes, in the Orwellian sense, Islam is a religion of peace. But just as in Big Brother’s Oceania, the only way to peace is to wage war constantly on others. And woe betide those who are unwilling to play along. Woe betide those who suggest that this doublethink is a sham. They will be singled out as “racist” bigots and — egad — “Islamophobes” because, according to doublethink standards, it is a thoughtcrime even to suggest anything negative about Islam.

But aren’t those who believe that we ought not criticize any aspect of Islam or its adherents the ones who rightly ought to hold the distinction of being Islamophobes? They are the ones who truly fear Islam. They know that radical Islamic terror is a reality. But because they are under the hypnotic political spell of doublethink, they are unable to reconcile that with the liberal narrative that tells them terrorism is unrelated to Islam, that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the ultimate perpetrators of terrorism are those voices critical of Islam. They are too busy giving an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

The foregoing article, "Giving an Appearance of Solidity to Pure Wind," was originally published in the January-February 2016 issue of the New Oxford Review and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The sad and abominable case of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the Most Reverend Paul Stephen Loverde

Adfero, "Justice Anthony Kennedy: 'full communion'" (Rorate Caeli, June 27, 2016):
This was his third sodomy case at the Supreme Court where [Justice Anthony Kennedy] authored the pro-sodomy opinion....

Justice Kennedy, who has also voted to uphold a constitutional right to abortion, resides in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, along with many other pro-sodomy and pro-abortion politicians. He has been seen at Mass often, including at parishes run by conservative priests.

The bishop, the Most Reverend Paul Stephen Loverde, has stood firm in a position of Communion-on-Demand, no matter who presents himself at the altar rail (or missing rail, as the bishop has also banned the construction of altar rails).

Fr. Perrone: how to deal with seemingly ineradicable, habitual sins

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, June 26, 2016):
This past week the Church celebrated the feast of Saint Aloysius, that paragon of virtue and high sanctity. He was known to have so trained his will and so disciplined his mind that, after his death, his priest confessor could testify that the saint had probably never committed a mortal sin all his (rather brief) life.

Reading his biography in the breviary each year I feel a holy envy for this most remarkable young man who managed to preserve his innocence -- not in a social vacuum but surrounded by the many enticing evils proposed to him by the noble class into which he was born. With his eyes ever downcast (he never looked into a woman's eyes), with long hours of prayer and many bodily penances, Aloysius always carefully guarded and conserved the treasure of sanctifying grace in his soul. Yet these impressive means, assiduously practiced, could not of themselves account entirely for his unsullied life. There's no possible way for anyone to merit (in the literal sense) the grace of sinlessness. As a grace properly so called, it is a God-given gift which our Lord freely (and rarely, it seems) grants. That said, however, one may surmise that God grants this special preservative grace only to certain souls in view of the fact that they pursue with unrelenting persistence the path of sanctity. I mention this being both a sinner myself and a confessor who knows the great desire to cease committing sin and to be perpetually pleasing to God in every aspect of life. And yet, sin appears to have a kind of inevitability about it. Try as one may, sin happens as sure as metal tarnishes, weeds sprout, and dust settles. Yet this dim view of the inevitability of moral failings -- a form of determinism -- is false. Man always retains internal moral freedom such that no one ever must succumb to sin. This is the point of doctrine. And yet, there is the near universally experienced feeling that sin cannot be entirely avoided, which is true only in the cas of venial sin unless God were to confer that special preventive grace mentioned above.

No one then can "buy" the grace of perseverance. There is no "insurance policy" such that one can pray hard or pledge many good deeds so as to ward off the possibility of succumbing to future sin. All one can do is to pray regularly and undertake appropriate penitential disciplines in the hope that by these means one would have the strength always to resist sin -- with the help of divine grace. If there is a relapse into sin, the sincere Christian understandably become distraught. Recidivism is a cause of anguish for many penitents. How, one asks himself, is it possible to have failed God yet once again? Despondancy, despair, however is never the right response to the feeling of helplessness that can grip the sinner who relapses into sin. As an attempt at offering consolation to the recurring sinner, I offer a few thoughts.

The first is that God has a reason for permitting all things that happen, sin included. That may sound slightly blasphemous since God abhors sin, yet there's a distinction between His willing sin (an impossibility) and His permitting it to happen. In this latter sense God may allow acquiescence to sin as a means of humbling the proud sinner, of making him pray more fervently, of moving him to admit his sins to the priest, of leading him to acquire a deep contrition, of learning compassion for the failings of others, or of demonstrating and proving His mercy and compassion. Another thing to consider is that sin easily becomes accustomed, ingrained behavior, embedded into the emotional system as a kind of reflexive response. Hence sincere attempts to eradicate sin must contend with a powerful, compelling force.

These attempted rationales for the ongoing commission of sin should not be taken as dismissive of its true malice and its consequences, nor should they slight the requirement for the repentant sinner to make a decisive, firm intention to sin no more. Sin truly is evil, and the result of unpardoned mortal sin is eternal hell after death. The reform of one's life must be the unrelenting duty of everyone, and no one may excuse himself from frequenting the confessional. God who permits sin has also provided its remedy in the sacrament of Confession. My purpose in writing you on this subject is to give you encouragement. You are not alone in being a sinner. Sin is one of the (unfortunate) unifying things about the human reace for nearly everybody (Our Lady and John the Baptist for sure, Saints Aloysius and Therese probably). Come then to confess your sins with childlike simplicity and with a straightforward honesty which recognizes that God's compassionating goodness and forgiveness is far greater than the regrettably wretched commission of your sins.

Fr. Perrone

Pope Francis: "Church Should Apologize To Gays And Other Marginalized Groups"

Cindy Wooden, "Christians should apologize for helping to marginalize gays, pope says" (Catholic News Service, June 26, 2016):
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM ARMENIA (CNS) -- Catholics and other Christians not only must apologize to the gay community, they must ask forgiveness of God for ways they have discriminated against homosexual persons or fostered hostility toward them, Pope Francis said.

"I think the church not only must say it is sorry to the gay person it has offended, but also to the poor, to exploited women" and anyone whom the church did not defend when it could, he told reporters June 26.
As a reader wrote to me today: "There has never been one time- NOT ONE- that the Catholic Church has been mean to sodomites." (Unless calling heterosexually-challenged individuals 'sodomites' or 'homosexuals' is considered mean. The term 'sodomy' is even used as a legal term on the law books, like 'sodomize'. Sheesh!)


Pope Francis: "Church Should Apologize To Gays And Other Marginalized Groups"

Cindy Wooden, "Christians should apologize for helping to marginalize gays, pope says" (Catholic News Service, June 26, 2016):
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM ARMENIA (CNS) -- Catholics and other Christians not only must apologize to the gay community, they must ask forgiveness of God for ways they have discriminated against homosexual persons or fostered hostility toward them, Pope Francis said.

"I think the church not only must say it is sorry to the gay person it has offended, but also to the poor, to exploited women" and anyone whom the church did not defend when it could, he told reporters June 26.
As a reader wrote to me today: "There has never been one time- NOT ONE- that the Catholic Church has been mean to sodomites." (Unless calling heterosexually-challenged individuals 'sodomites' or 'homosexuals' is considered mean. The term 'sodomy' is even used as a legal term on the law books, like 'sodomize'. Sheesh!)


Absolutely HILARIOUS!

Watch the video, "That's Very Nice," about Fr. Nice in the Diocese of Nice and all his Nice parishioners. Michael Voris actually loses it and they have to do several re-takes, all shown in the video.

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Sunday Monday
  • Mon. 06/27 7:30 AM: High or Low Mass (varies) at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Feria - 4th class, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help - 4th class)
  • Mon. 06/27 8:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Feria - 4th class, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help - 4th class)
  • Mon. 06/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat, Detroit (Feria - 4th class, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help - 4th class)
  • Mon. 06/27 7:00 PM: Distribution of Holy Communion with lectionary readings of the day at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Feria - 4th class, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help - 4th class)
  • Mon. 06/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph's Church, Detroit (Feria - 4th class, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help - 4th class)
  • Tue. 06/28 7:00 AM High or Low Mass (varies) at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Vigil of Sts. Peter & Paul - 2nd class)
  • Tue. 06/28 8:00 AM: Low Mass (call for Confession schedule) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Vigil of Sts. Peter & Paul - 2nd class)
  • Tue. 06/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Canada (Vigil of Sts. Peter & Paul - 2nd class)
  • Tue. 06/28 7:00 PM: Distribution of Holy Communion with lectionary readings of the day at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Vigil of Sts. Peter & Paul - 2nd class)
  • Wed. 06/29 7:30 AM: High or Low Mass (varies) at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Sts. Peter & Paul - 1st class)
  • Wed.06/29 8:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Sts. Peter & Paul - 1st class)
  • Wed. 06/29 7:00 PM: Distribution of Holy Communion with lectionary readings of the day at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Sts. Peter & Paul - 1st class)
  • Thu. 06/30 7:30 AM: High or Low Mass (varies) at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Commemoration of St. Paul - 3rd class)
  • Thu. 06/30 8:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Commemoration of St. Paul - 3rd class)
  • Thu. 06/30 7:00 PM: Distribution of Holy Communion with lectionary readings of the day at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Commemoration of St. Paul - 3rd class)
  • Fri. 07/01 7:30 AM: High or Low Mass (varies) at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 1st class) [First Friday]
  • Fri. 07/01 8:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 1st class) [First Friday]
  • Fri. 07/01 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat, Detroit (The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 1st class) [First Friday]
  • Fri. 07/01 7:00 PM: Distribution of Holy Communion with lectionary readings of the day at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 1st class) [First Friday]
  • Fri. 07/01 7:00 PM: High Mass at Old Saint Mary's, Greektown, Detroit (The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 1st class) [First Friday]
  • Fri. 07/01 7:00 PM: High Mass (periodically) at St. Joseph's Church, Detroit (The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 1st class) [First Friday]
  • Sat. 07/02 7:30 AM: High or Low Mass (varies) at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 2nd class) [First Saturday]
  • Sat. 07/02 8:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 1/2 hour before Mass: call beforehand) at St. Ann's Church, Livonia [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 2nd class) [First Saturday]
  • Sat. 07/02 8:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 2nd class) [First Saturday]
  • Sat. 07/02 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi, South Lyon, MI (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 2nd class) [First Saturday]
  • Sat. 07/02 6:00 PM Tridentine Mass at SS. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Catholic Church, Sterling Heights (Pentecost Saturday (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 2nd class) [First Saturday]
  • Sun. 07/03 7:30 AM and 10:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 45 minutes before and after Masses) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
  • Sun. 07/03 8:00 and 10:30AM Low Mass (Confessions 1/2 hour before Mass: call beforehand) at St. Ann's Church, Livonia [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
  • Sun. 07/03 9:30 AM: High Mass at St. Josaphat, Detroit (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
  • Sun. 07/03 9:30 AM: Distribution of Holy Communion with lectionary readings of the day at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
  • Sun. 07/03 8:00 AM: High Mass at St. Joseph's Church, Detroit (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
  • Sun. 07/03 9:45 AM: High Mass at OCLMA/Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
  • Sun. 07/03 2:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Canada (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
  • Sun. 07/03 3:00 PM High Mass St. Matthew Catholic Church, Flint (7th Sunday after Pentecost - 2nd class, [USA] External Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul)
* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins." These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites. Also please note that St. Joseph's SSPX Chapel in Richmond has moved to Ray Township, at 57575 Romeo Plank Rd., Ray Twp., MI 48096.

BlackLivesMatter makes Donald Trump sound positively sane

Again, Rod Dreher cuts to the quick in "#BlackLivesMatter's Cry For Help" (American Conservative, June 22, 2016):
It is with pain and heartache that the Black Lives Matter Network extends love, light, protection, and abundance to our family in Orlando, Florida. We love you. Black people are a diverse community, and though the hate-filled rhetoric of the conservative right is currently trying to pit us against our kin — we will always stand with all the parts of ourselves. Today, Queer, Latinx, and Muslim family, we lift you up.
Despite the media’s framing of this as a terrorist attack, we are very clear that this terror is completely homegrown, born from the anti-Black white supremacy, patriarchy and homophobia of the conservative right and of those who would use religious extremism as a weapon to gain power for the few and take power from the rest. Those who seek to profit from our deaths hope we will forget who our real enemy is, and blame Muslim communities instead.
But we will never forget.
In case you didn’t notice, Omar Mateen, an Afghani-American radical gay Muslim registered as a Democrat, was really a right-wing, gay-hating, white conservative. No, Black Lives Matter isn’t crazy at all. Why would you say so? More:
Until these systems are defeated, until anti-Blackness no longer fuels anti-Muslim and anti-queer and trans bigotry, exploitation, and exclusion — we can never be truly free.
Nope, perfectly sane. By no means is this a foaming expectoration from a bunch of racist far-left crackpots.
Seriously, though. Seriously. How is it that people so given over to ideological derangement command such admiration from the media and others on the cultural heights? Who decided that to prove you really cared about black lives, you had to embrace this movement? I’m not asking rhetorically; I would love to know. You can’t just overlook these malicious Jacobin lies. To my knowledge, this is crazier than anything Donald Trump has ever said — and that takes some doing, for sure.
[Hat tip to JM]

Why 'progressive' and 'traditional' religion will never agree on some things

Rod Dreher again, in an excellent little article, "Progressive Religion, Orthodox Religion" (American Conservative, June 20, 2016), writes:
Richard Rodriguez is a gay California Catholic, and a very fine writer, even when I disagree with him (such as in this entry). His reaction to the Orlando massacrecaptures the core difference between left and right among the religious, and why we will never be able to agree on some things:
Here is the plain and dangerous truth facing the cosmopolitan world: In the opinion of many millions of Jews and Christians and Muslims, the Abrahamic God of the desert is a homophobe.
The desert religions of Abraham — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — were shaped by an encounter with a God who revealed himself within an ecology of almost lunar desolation. In such a place, the call to belief was tribal, not individualistic. Sexuality was an expression of faith to increase the tribe. Allegiance to God and to one’s ancestors was fulfilled by giving birth.
You see the logic: According to the holy writ of Abrahamic religion, God says gay sex is wrong. But we believe, in God, and we believe gay sex is not morally wrong. Therefore, God believes gay sex is not wrong. 
And he explains away a very deeply ingrained teaching of Abrahamic religion — one that, at least in Judaism and Christianity (I don’t know Islam well enough to say) by asserting that we’re more advanced than those desert savages.
This is not reasoning. This is rationalization.
There's a lot more to the article, but as the antithetical positions come down, according to Dreher, to this:
The orthodox says: “We can’t diverge too far from this map, or we’ll get lost.” 
The progressive says: “What? That map is way out of date. We’ll redraw it. It was just somebody’s opinion. We know better now.” 
The orthodox says: “What’s ‘better’? You have no way of knowing if your new coordinates are accurate. How do you know if they correspond to reality?” 
The progressive says: “Huh?” 
This is why we cannot resolve things between us.
[Hat tip to JM]

Sunday, June 26, 2016

For the record: Msgr. Gherardini: "Vatican II must be debated"

Via Fr. Z on FB I learned of this book, a sequel to Gherardini's earlier The Ecumenical Council Vatican II: A Debate to be Opened (2009, Italian). The new book is called Vatican Council II: A Debate That Has Not Taken Place.

Fr. Z. shared the following article: "Vatican II must be debated: Gherardini" [Advisory: Rules ##7-9]. It's hardly news, given the date, but another significant voice in an ongoing discussion highly pertinent to current developments.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hmm ... most marriages today are 'null,' but cohabitors are essentially 'married'; and pederast priests are damned but man-boy love is peachy. Is that about right?

There is so much of what sounds like double-speak these days, it's enough to spin your head. I was just listening to the news and imagining how Joe Six Pack might understand what he heard. The Pope reportedly said that "The great majority of our sacramental marriages are null." But he followed that up by declaring: "I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in [unmarried] cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity ..." Ummm. Okay. How would Archie Bunker understand that? For that matter, how would nearly anyone understand it?

Then there's the cognitive dissonance produced by the just condemnation of priestly pedophilia and pederasty (which actually turns out according to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to be ephebophilia, or homosexual relations with adolescent young men), on the one hand, and then the existence of such respected national organizations as NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) in the wake of the gay juggernaut that brought about the Obergefalling of the Supreme Court. How would Archie understand that? Emmm ... Any heads ready to explode?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Huzzah!!! The sun has risen on an independent United Kingdom!

Three issues pushed Brexit over the top: sovereignty, immigration, and jobs. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Harm and confusion coming out of Amoris Laetitia

Evidence of how Amoris Laetitia is being used to aid and abet dissent is crystal clear in an article published by Maike Hickson, "Theologians Propose to Re-Write Catechism & Canon Law in Light of Amoris Laetitia" (1P5, June 17, 2016), coming, as one might expect, from the Rhineland divisions of postmodern dissent.

Can we anticipate that Pope Francis will say "No" to these proposals? Highly improbable. The more conservative bishops can be expected at present to still continue following Familiaris Consortio in their dioceses on the pretext that Amoris Laetitia should be interpreted in harmony with earlier Church teaching. But once the Catechism and Code are 'modernized' in conformity with the revisionist direction taken by Amoris Laetitia, this pretext will be removed. "Obedience to Peter" will then mean capitulating to revisionism, and the alternative of keeping faith with the magisterial tradition will mean standing against Francis.

It has been said by many that no doctrine or law of the Church is changed by Amoris Laetitia. Now we see that things are quite otherwise. The changes are not introduced, initially, as overt revisions of doctrine, but only as a seemingly-innocuous shift in emphasis and a stress on pastoral provisions of mercy. Then come the German-speaking cohort with recommended changes to the Catechism and Code of Canon Law, and muffled laughter about their strategy of "Confuse and conquer!" This is war.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Veteran pro-life activist: Baby body parts video are a 'glimpse of hell,' they 'shattred' me"

Meet Monica Miller, a local (and international) pro-life activist and hero, as well as theology professor: See the article at LifeSiteNews (June 22, 2016) and the video below:

American Me

From Guy Noir- Private Eye:
An unstable nutcase is untouchable by the FBI: "For The Record: Omar Mateen, G4S Armed Security Guard" (June 12, 20106). [You gotta be freakin' kiddin me!!!]

But a good, Scripture-spouting, soldier is problematic according to the Marines. "A danger at her desk job, your honor, sir." - "Highest military court considers limits of religious liberty in uniform" (World, April 29, 2016).

Are you kidding me?

Meanwhile, we focus on the really important questions, like...
  • Can Caitlyn Jenner use the guys' bathroom?
  • Can Hillary have her own private server?
  • Is Trump truly racist?
  • Will Beyonce release another unreleased song?
  • Can we maybe outlaw guns and also legalize drugs?
    or, most emotionally,
  • How many people will attend the next candlelight vigil?
Who cares and Whatever.

Gotta go now, and download the latest single from Kanye West.

Edward Peters: "What Francis Forgets About Marriage" - Tolle, lege!

Our good friend and colleague, canonist Edward Peters, has just published an article, "What Francis Forgets About Marriage" (June 22, 2016), in which he writes: 
How can one square the beautiful ideal of marriage set out by Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia with his bleak assessment of marriage in real life, which slipped out during a clergy conference last week? Only by avoiding one crucial point about marriage, namely, that it is fundamentally a contract.

Most contracts deal, of course, with narrowly defined activities, such as “fix my car” or “rent me this apartment.” In contrast, the marriage contract, upon the reciprocal expression of consent to its terms by a qualified man and woman, results in a complex and perduring state between those two persons (what modern canon law calls a “consortium of the whole of life”) and, if both spouses are baptized, in a sacrament that reflects the union of Christ with his Church. But whatever else marriage might be socially or spiritually, it is first a contract between two people.

Marriage has been described and defined in contract terms for thousands of years. The Church affirms that human beings are by nature suited to contract marriage, and she teaches that Christian couples can call upon the graces of the sacrament of Matrimony in living out the marriages they contract. Against such an ancient and affirming tradition, Francis’s assertion that “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null” shocked both common sense and Catholic sensibility. It implied that the great majority of the world’s one billion Catholics (to say nothing of other Christians) failed to achieve the state of life that is most naturally suited to adults and failed to receive the sacrament that Christ established to assist them.

If one ignores, however, the contract-character of marriage and approaches it as a beautiful ideal, the pope’s assertion of rampant matrimonial nullity begins to make sense. How many marriages, Christian or otherwise, will ever achieve the goals described in Amoris? Surely not “the great majority.” Francis’s use of the canonical term “null” to describe millions of supposed pseudo-marriages implied a technical legal expertise that he does not possess—but his basic point was clear: The great majority of Christian marriages aren’t really marriages.

That this assertion was not a verbal slip, and that it likely grew out of an avoidance of the contract foundation of marriage, seems verified by another papal comment not yet expunged from the Vatican’s version of his remarks, namely, that many merely “cohabiting couples are in real marriages and have the graces of marriage.” And why not? If marriage is not a contract and requires no external inaugurating act (e.g., the wedding that marks the beginning of most marriages) why cannot marriage-ish qualities emerge between two cohabiting, so disposed, people over time? Are cohabiting people not capable of love and self-sacrifice? Do married couples have a monopoly on grace?

But however damaging it was to the urgent cause of clarity concerning marriage, the pope’s dark depiction of the state of Christian marriage seems to have resonated with not a few apparently sensible and seemingly informed people who, in face of falling wedding and climbing divorce figures, understandably worry about the future of marriage, both natural and sacramental.

Thinking that the pope has (or had before he changed the record of his remarks) given voice to their concerns—instead of, as I would argue, having aggravated the marriage crisis by confusing common marital problems with massive marital nullity—some folks (I limit my observations to the American Catholic scene) are chiming in with comments along the lines of “Hold on! Francis might be on to something. Many young people don’t understand that marriage is supposed to be for life” or “I have worked in marriage prep programs for several years and I’d say most people do not understand the permanence of marriage.” To these kinds of well-intentioned views let me offer two responses.

First, recall that the pope’s harsh evaluation of most Christian marriages was offered without restriction as to nationality or ethnicity, circumstances of the wedding, age of spouses, duration of relationship, and so on. His was as close to a “universal assertion” about Christian marriage as could be offered. Nevertheless universal assertions are not provable by appeal to particular examples and so one cannot verify Francis’s claim of a global marriage nullity crisis based on what one might have observed among a tiny portion of the world’s married or engaged couples in one part of one country. Not in a Church consisting of a billion-plus people living around the world, one can’t.

With unconscious self-centeredness, some who have observed troublesome attitudes toward marriage around them (i.e., among mostly middle-class, generally white, largely mal-catechized, media-saturated Americans) have extrapolated from those observations to conclude that the great majority of Christians in, say, France, Costa Rica, the Baltic States, and Nigeria, to name just four demographically distinguishable Christianized locales out of thousands, must be approaching marriage in the same way. That, to put it mildly, is one giant leap.

Second, and more importantly, assuming for the sake of argument, against a boatload of counter examples, that one has accurately observed (or correctly guessed) that fewer people marrying or married today “understand the permanence of marriage,” may I ask, so what, exactly?

The canonical norms on marriage (norms encapsulating two millennia of deep reflection on human nature and the doctrines of Christ) do not, repeat, not hold that “ignorance” about permanence in marriage, or a diminished appreciation of permanence therein, or some imperfection in one’s grasp of the concept of permanence itself, renders one’s marriage null. This must be clearly understood: In regard to permanence in marriage, there is no simple ignorance-equals-nullity line in canon law. To be sure, a link exists between ignorance about permanence of marriage and the nullity of marriage, but that link is not immediate; to result in nullity, this ignorance must “determine the will” (Canon 1099, etc.). This middle term in the nullity argument, omitted by Francis and overlooked by those who at first blush are taken with his comments, is absolutely vital for the cogency of the argument. It is not enough to show that one was “ignorant” about permanence in order to prove nullity. One must also show that said ignorance vitiated the will with which a marriage was attempted in order for that marriage to be declared null.

Only a careful assessment of the will at the time of the wedding might disclose a causal link between one’s ignorance about permanence in marriage and the nullity of one’s marrying under such ignorance. And if “consent” cases are generally more difficult to try than are “capacity” or “form” cases (and they are more difficult), “ignorance cases” are among the most difficult of consent cases. It is much easier to suggest “ignorance” than it is to prove canonically significant ignorance. Good canonists know this, even if too many influencers of Catholic opinion do not.

What can be said is this: It is pastorally reckless to suggest that ignorance about permanence in marriage is pandemic among the world’s Christians, and it is canonically impossible to argue that mere ignorance on this point renders any, let alone the great majority of, sacramental marriages invalid; it is logically wrong-headed to parlay one’s personal observations of certain marriage problems into verification of a global marriage crisis centered on those problems; and it is spiritually dangerous to take to heart such theories, especially if it leads to despair about marriage in general or sudden worries about the validity of one’s own marriage.

In short, human nature is not so easily frustrated and the Church’s sacraments are not so frequently null.

Edward Peters has doctoral degrees in canon and civil law. He served for more than ten years in American tribunals at first and second instance and now teaches canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

For the record, Sandro Magister: Alice in Wonder Land

Another missive came a few days ago from our mysterious correspondent, Guy Noir - Private Eye, apparently sent before his vacation in Martha's Vineyard. He writes: 
  • File A[moris] L[aetitia] under "Serendipity," "Marriage Encounters," "Values Clarification" 
  • File what follows under "The Faith Once & For All Delivered to The Saints"
Sandro Magister, "Alice in 'Amoris Laetitia' Land" (www.chiesa, June 7, 2016):
Graven upon tablets of stone by the finger of the living God (Ex 31:18, 32:1 5), the ten "words" proclaimed to mankind for all ages: "You shall not commit adultery" (Ex 20:14), and: "You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife" (Ex 20:17).

Our Lord himself declared: "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her (Mk 10:11).

And the apostle Paul repeated the language: "She will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive" ( Rom 7:3 ).

Like a deafening absence, the term "adultery" is entirely absent from the lexicon of "Amoris Laetitia". Instead we have something called "'irregular' unions", or "irregular situations”, with the "irregular" in double quotation marks as if to distance the author even from this usage.

"If you love me", says our Lord, keep my commandments (Jn 14:15), and the Gospel and Letters of John repeats this admonition of our Lord in various ways. It means, not that our conduct is justified by our subjective feelings, but rather, our subjective disposition is verified in our conduct, i.e., in the obediential act. Alas, as we look into AL, we find that "commandments" too are entirely absent from its lexicon, as is also obedience. Instead we have something called "ideals", appearing repeatedly throughout the document.

Other key words I miss too from the language of this document: the fear of the Lord. You know, that awe of the sovereign reality of God that is the beginning of wisdom, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in confirmation. But indeed this holy fear has long vanished from a vast sweep of modern catholic discourse. It is a semitic idiom for "eulabeia" and "eusebia" in Greek, or in Latin, "pietas" and "religio", the core of a Godward disposition, the very spirit of religion.

Another register of language is also missing in "Amoris Laetitia" is that of eternal salvation. There are no immortal souls in need of eternal salvation to be found in this document! True, we do have "eternal life" and "eternity" nominated in nn. 166 and 168 as the seemingly inevitable "fulfillment" of a child’s destiny, but with no hint that any of the imperatives of grace and struggle, in short, of eternal salvation, are involved in getting t here.

It is as if one’s faith-filled intellectual culture is formed to certain echoes of words that one listens for, and their absence is dinning in my ears.

"Anti-Christian California"

Rod Dreher again with a refreshing blast of depressing realism (American Conservative, June 10, 2016):
Two troubling episodes from California about the state of Christian higher education and religious liberty in the LoveWins™ era.

First, Robert Oscar Lopez, a Cal State Northridge English professor who is gay but chaste Christian, resigned his tenured position after years of harassment by gay colleagues and their allies. Excerpt:
I didn’t want leave without pay. I didn’t want leave with pay. I just wanted to leave. The liberal academy is a place full of secular activists channeling their own unhappiness into interminable hostilities against whichever conservative Christian they can find within a three-mile radius. I had served for eight years under a dean trained in Women’s Studies, surrounded in her executive suite by lesbians and feminists, who hated me for celebrating the beauty and glory of chastity and Biblical love. I could not have my relationship with Jesus Christ and this job simultaneously. The choice was not that difficult. [emphasis mine]
And there's much, much more ...

[Hat tip to JM]

Boniface: "Never has a papacy been so irrelevant to my faith as this one"

I am sorry to say that parts of this post resonate with me. In fact, I sometimes wonder why so many continue to obsess over this papacy. I love the Church and the office of the papacy, but I've lost nearly all interest in following the most recent statements by this particular pontiff. I don't consider them in any way essential to my spiritual life as a Catholic. But see for yourself what you think of Boniface's post:

Boniface, "I Give Up" (Unam Sanctam Catholicam, April 22, 2016):
No, I'm not giving up blogging. But I am giving up making any effort to comment or follow the developments of the current pontificate. Not that I had really been keeping up that much anyway; I reject - at least personally - the identity of a quasi-professional commentator who basically ties himself to current events and feeds his readership a never-ending digest of his "take" on what's going on. Honestly, reading about Iron Age ruins in Palestine or 6th century Irish saints is much more interesting and edifying to me than dwelling on what could possibly be going on in the mind of our current Roman Pontiff.

I had offered some commentary though - and I am still sludging through working an eBook on Laudato Si. But, man, I give up. Amoris Laetitia? Haven't read it. Not planning on it. Maybe someday when I'm like, extra bored or feel like punishing myself. Latest papal interviews? Haven't followed them. Probably won't. Speculating about papabile or the "next moves" of Francis or whatever...I don't care.

Well, I mean, I do care in the objective sense - but its too much, I'm too busy, and honestly, none of this stuff concerns my faith in any substantial manner. Some people are terribly scandalized by all of it; some I know have gone over to Sedevacantism or converted to Orthodoxy. I don't doesn't really bother me in a sense that touches on my faith. Perhaps I am too much a student of Church history to be deceived into thinking any higher of the Church's human element than it merits. How would you feel if you were alive in the 10th century and witnessed Pope John XII offering a toast to the devil? Or witnessed the Cadaver Synod? Yeah, it sucks. I know. But my faith was never in the human perfection of the Roman Pontiff anyway.

And - as I have continued to study the obscure saints of the Church, like when I was working on the book about St. Columba - it amazed me the degree to which what went on in Rome was completely, absolutely irrelevant to the lives of these holy men and women. Indeed, many saints in the most distant regions of Christendom were not even aware of who the pontiff is. I have read many stories of travelers from Rome coming to far-off places and the bishops there saying, "You're from Rome? Tell me, who is pope now?" and then finding out that two or three popes have come and gone without their knowledge.

One final thing -it is ironic to me that it was easier being a Traditional blogger when we had a quasi-traditional pope (I say quasi-traditional because Benedict XVI was never a Traditionalist in any meaningful sense - he is a Teilhardian who has a sentimental, nostalgic affection for the Latin Mass). Why would it be easier to complain under a tradition-friendly pope? Not that the essence of Traditionalism is complaining, of course, but the fact is to the degree that we do "complain", it is easier to do when you perceive that the man in power is amenable to your critiques; you feel like there is a chance that someone may listen, and ultimately you have the consolation of knowing that he, to some degree, has got your back, at least in theory.

But when the guy in charge has absolutely zero interest in your concerns - and indeed, when it is questionable whether he even shares the most basic theological and philosophical assumptions as historic Catholicism - there is a strong sense of "Why bother?"

So, no I am not giving up blogging. But I'm giving up trying to keep up with this pontificate. I am a Catholic; I love the papacy. In fact, it was the study of the Petrine Primacy that led me back to the Church fourteen years ago. But never has a papacy been so irrelevant to my spiritual life as this one. I have enough to worry about in my own spiritual life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Afraid of being called 'homophobes' - Catholic establishment in full retreat

I just received the following via an exhausted courier pigeon from the mysterious Guy Noir, apparently vacationing somewhere on Martha's Vineyard. Take his sardonic language however you wish [Advisory: Rules ##7-9]. The articles to which he refers are worth reading:
Let's be frank:

There is NO meaningful Catholic conversation -- outside of rather shrill Trad circles -- on the faithful response to homosexuality. Nada. None.

There is only liberal-leaning rhetoric and dodging and parsing. Bishop Barron, Fr. Martin, Pope Francis ... wow, what nonsensical comments that attempt a smokescreen. And comments about marriage being between a man and a woman from the chorus of post-metrosexual bishops. Comments which will have had nothing to do with Pulse! Night Club, I imagine.

One more reason Rod Dreher is a lifesaver, and also an understandable "apostate."

Of course, Francis is not an apostate. Heavens no! He could ordain a lesbian and we'd have explanations from Fr. Dwight and Lizzie Scalia.

I think I will read Dreher and ignore the Pope. And Pathos. Etc. While conservative Catholics disparage him for defaulting to Orthodoxy. (Hey, I imagine Francis would approve!)

We continue to be our own worst enemy. For the Church, an ideological "worst of times." I'd actually prefer Paul VI.

Ugh. Tough times evoke tough words, I guess. But the articles to which Noir refers are these:
  • Rod Dreher, "Queers vs. Conservative Christians" (american Conservative, June 16, 2016):
    "I have discovered that there is no way to defend the orthodox Christian teaching in a way that most gay folks find acceptable, even if they disagree. In other words, simply holding the orthodox Christian teaching about homosexuality (and sexuality in general, from which it cannot be separated) is evidence of bigotry, in their eyes."
  • Rod Dreher, "Debating Orlando's Meaning" (American Conservative, June 16, 2016):
    Whatever made the radical Muslim Omar Mateen murder 49 innocents, connecting that atrocity to Christians (and Republicans) is shameless opportunism. It renders reasoned debate impossible, and turns cultural politics into a crusade against infidels.

    Waving a blood-soaked rainbow flag to rally anti-Christian scapegoating for political advantage is repulsive and dangerous. But to holy warriors, restraint looks like cowardice and acknowledging moral complexity denies the narcotic pleasures of ardent purity.

    This won’t end well. Wars of religion never do.

Contra Fr. James Martin on Orlando massacre

Elliot Milco in First Things (June 15, 2016) responds to Fr. James Martin's video expressing dismay over the responses of the US bishops, not because they failed to express sorrow, outrage, and soidarity with those suffering, but because (except for Chicago's Blaise Cupich, go figure) they didn't direct their condolences explicitly to the LGBTQ community.

[Hat tip to JM]