Saturday, September 28, 2013

This Is What Real Sisters Do

They don't roll around on buses to support the agendas of infanticidal politicians or blaspheming Christ and insulting the Church.

This is what they do.

Sadly, the nuns on the buses are very likely happy with the government's decision to punish these faithful sisters.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The "Greatness" Of Luther

In a month, it will be the anniversary of the horror wrought by Martin Luther upon the world. As a warm-up, I'd like everyone to read this article over at the Unam Sanctam main site. It gives a good description of how far Luther departed from the Faith of our Fathers.

Despite what you might hear from guys like Cardinal Kaspar, Luther wasn't a great theologian. He was barely a theologian. It would be awful nice if people would be honest about these qualities instead of making excuses for him or trying to dress up his insane writings as profound in the interest of faux dialogue. If we really wanted to get somewhere on the dialogue front, we should be asking how Luther's writings conform not only with Christian charity but with basic internal consistency. Or just how he had the right to declare a schism in the first place.

Maybe we could suggest this work for future Luther scholars:

(Note: For those who don't get it, just google "luther" and "poop.")

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heretic Excommed. Hilarity Ensues.

I'm going to link to Fr. Zuhlsdorf's account of this in order to keep from linking to whack job publications. Basically, this ex-priest (note: we're using common lingo here; please no emails about indelible marks, etc.), Greg Reynolds, was big into promoting homosexual couples and women priests. This was pretty much a no-brainer since he had resigned from the priesthood a couple of years ago and set up a schismatic congregation on his own in order to draw more souls into the maw of hell.

Now he's been excommed. His response:

“I am very surprised that this order has come under his watch; it seems so inconsistent with everything else he has said and done,” he said.

You can almost hear the Claude Rains in his voice. Mr. Reynolds is shocked (shocked!) that there is Catholicism going on in this establishment.

To show you how senseless this guy is, check out this comment:

Reynolds told (whack job publication) that while he knew the pope had reiterated that the door to women’s ordination was closed, he said his hope was that it didn’t mean the door was locked, “or maybe there is a way in through an open window.” 

So he admits that the Pope said the door was closed, yet he finds this action inconsistent with everything else the Pope has done. Herein lies a wonderful capsule of why the Church is in crisis and how the crisis relates to authority. Why would this man, other than his own delusions, think that there were windows, unlocked doors, chimneys or whatever to sneak his heretical ideas into the Church? Why would he think that this is inconsistent with other stuff Pope Francis has done?

The answer is that the last several decades have seen so little enforcement of the Church's teachings. The "charitable anathema" as Dietrich von Hildebrand called it has fallen by the wayside. And if the Church isn't going to enforce the things that it's saying, it comes off as a tacit admission that there are ways around it. In defense of Pope Francis, he hasn't been in office all that long, so chances are Mr. Reynolds has just been reading the press clippings and not paying attention to much else. However, I don't think there's any doubt that he's been conditioned to doctrinal laxity thanks to the last forty years of unchecked doctrinal havoc.

All that said, we should pray for this guy and all those who have had their ears tickled to buy into his lies. Pray that they have a softening of heart and a penitent soul so that they will return to the Father's House.

Pope Francis Asks A Great Question

As reproduced by Rorate:

When I hear that so many Christians in the world are suffering, am I indifferent or is it like one of my family is suffering? When I think or hear that so many Christians are persecuted and even give their lives for their faith, does it touch my heart or not at all? ... I will ask you a question, but do not answer in a loud voice, but in your hearts: how many of you pray for the Christians who are being persecuted? How many of you? Each one of you answer in your heart. 'Am I praying for that brother, for that sister, who is facing hardship for professing and defending his faith?'

I'm guessing the answer is generally no, considering that most people in this country, Christians included, don't know or don't give a crap.

I recall when ND decided that it wasn't going to sell goods made in China in the university book store. The reason? China doesn't have independent labor unions. All those decades of kidnapping, torturing, and murdering faithful priests, bishops, and laity weren't a big enough deal. Setting up a fake church to delegitimize the True Church wasn't a good enough reason. Nope. They have a messed up labor system. That was the problem.

At least we have our priorities straight.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Will Abe Foxman Denounce Yad Vashem As Anti-Semitic?

Here's some progress on a different front. Thanks to Catholic Culture for reporting on stuff that will never see the light of the mainstream media day:

Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial to Holocaust victims, has acknowledged that some Catholic convents and monasteries opened their doors to shelter Jews from the Nazi genocide, “sometimes with the knowledge of the Vatican.”

In a display dedicated to the “Righteous Among the Nations”—the honest people who sought to protect Jews from the Holocaust—Yad Vashem now pays homage to those Catholic institutions that provided safe havens for Jews. The display still criticizes Church leaders for failing to speak out forcefully, complaining of a “lack of overt and unequivocal guidance by the Vatican,” but recognizes that some Church leaders openly encouraged help for the Jews.

Last year, after a sometimes contentious debate, Yad Vashem changed its description of Pope Pius XII, noting that recent historical work has shown his efforts to save Jews. The memorial replaced a panel criticizing the wartime Pontiff with one that said research shows “a more complex picture than previously presented.”

Sure, they are hedging a lot of bets here. "Sometimes" with Vatican knowledge. "Lack of overt...guidance." Of course, there's still going to be criticism. It's tough to back down from stuff like outright condemnations of Venerable Pius XII to something lighter, no matter how much historical evidence there is demonstrating the stupidity of the former claims. Stuff will probably be "complex" for some time to come.

It is better, though. And maybe, just maybe, the controversy will abate to the point where we can say "St. Pius XII" and have formal backing for doing so.

Pray for us!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Curial Moves

As reported by Rorate, there have been a couple of moves on the front of possible reform in the Curia. Here are the ones that we see as being the bigger items:

-Apostolic Penitentiary: Card. Piacenza (up to now Prefect of Clergy), in the place of Card. Monteiro de Castro, now retired.

This is pretty huge. Cardinal Piacenza was instrumental in the visitations and Benedictine clean-up of the seminaries.

-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Abp. Müller confirmed as Prefect, and Abp. Ladaria Ferrer confirmed as Secretary; Abp. Di Noia, who had been up to now Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has been named Adjunct Secretary. Bp. Giuseppe Sciacca has been named as a consultant of the Congregation.

Seeing +Muller back in the saddle probably doesn't bode too well. Bishop Sciacca is an unknown to me, and I also know nothing of +Ferrer except that he was involved in the doctrinal discussions with the SSPX. Well, there is one thing. Cardinal Bertone served as a consecrator of both as bishops.

-Clergy: Abp. Beniamino Stella, up to now president of the Academia Ecclesiastica, named in the place of Card. Piacenza; Abp. Iruzubieta confirmed as Secretary; Mexican Abp. Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong named for a new position, Secretary for the Seminaries.

The guy replacing Cardinal Piacenza is another diplomat, which is interesting. I don't know anything about Archbishop Wong. Archbishop Iruzubieta I've seen pop up a few times, as I'm somewhat certain he's been in the Congregation for Clergy for a while. The most significant thing here might be this new position of Secretary for the Seminaries and how it functions.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hey, You Remember When The Pope Said We Shouldn't Get Bogged Down In Minutiae Of Hot Button Issues?

The words of St Ignatius spring to mind: "The Christian is not the result of persuasion, but of power (Epistula ad Romanos 3, 3). We should not allow our faith to be drained by too many discussions of multiple, minor details, but rather, should always keep our eyes in the first place on the greatness of Christianity. 

I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and '90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems. 

If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith - a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.

You remember that? Good times, good times.

You remember when it was Pope Benedict that said it?

The media sure as hell doesn't.

Friday, September 20, 2013

We Don't Need To Talk About Abortion/Contraception/Euthanasia All The Time

But the Pope wants to talk about them anyway. We're posting this here because you can be guaran-diddly-doo-teed that you aren't going to here about this in the mainstream media.

Pope Francis condemns abortion! Shocking! I thought we'd moved beyond such petty concerns as dead babies, hormonal sterilization, and knocking off old people.

Per Zenit:

The first reflection I’d like to share with you is this: we witness today a paradoxical situation, regarding the medical profession. On one hand we see – and we thank God – for the advances in medicine, thanks to the work of scientists who, with passion and without sparing themselves, are dedicated to research of new cures. On the other, however, we also verify the danger that the doctor loses his identity of servant of life. The cultural disorientation has affected an ambit that seemed unassailable: yours, medicine! Although being by their nature at the service of life, the health professions are induced sometimes not to respect life itself. Instead, as the encyclical Caritas in Veritate reminds us, “openness to life is at the center of true development. […] If personal and social sensibility is lost to welcoming a new life, other forms of reception useful to social life are hardened. The reception of life tempers moral energies and makes possible mutual help” (n. 28). The paradoxical situation is seen in the fact that, while new rights are attributed to the person, sometimes even presumed, life is not always protected as primary value and primordial right of every man. The ultimate end of medical action always remains the defense and promotion of life.

Openness to life? And quoting Pope Benedict? Doesn't he know that the Church's policies on this stuff have changed? The New York Times said that he said so!

A widespread mentality of the useful, the “throw away culture” which today enslaves the hearts and intelligences of so many, has a very high cost: it requires eliminating human beings, especially if physically or socially weaker. Our answer to this mentality is a decisive and unhesitant “yes” to life. “The first right of a human person is his/her life. He/she has other goods and some of them are more precious; but life is the fundamental good, condition for all the others” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, November 18, 1974, 11). Things have a price and are saleable, but persons have a dignity, they are worth more than things and they have no price. Because of this, attention to human life in its totality has become in recent times a real and proper priority of the Magisterium of the Church, particularly for life which is largely defenseless, namely, that of the disabled, the sick, the unborn, children, the elderly.

Each one of us is called to recognize in the fragile human being the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experienced indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, be it in developing countries, be it in well-off societies. Every unborn child, condemned unjustly to being aborted, has the face of the Lord, who before being born, and then when he was just born, experienced the rejection of the world. And every elderly person, even if he/she is sick or at the end of his/her days, bears in him/herself the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded!

Amazingly, I haven't seen one shred of reporting on this from the mainstreamers. In fact, they are still talking about the "earthquake" his prior interview set off in the Church.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Papal Interviews = Media Fodder

I wonder if the Holy Father reads his press clippings. The guy can't say anything anymore without a firestorm of idiocy erupting in his wake. 

We aren't even going to waste time with this latest deal. I'm just going to drop a few links here as resources for those who are having to deal with the latest outbreak of stupid from the press.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Call

Thanks to Haskovec for this article. It's from Jeffrey Tucker and, though lengthy, is worth your time.

Read this and then think about how people, even the devout, talk about their priests these days. Then consider how athletes and politicians are readily referred to as heroes, while the standard qualifier for the modern priest is "he's just a man like me."

The Priesthood and The Choice by Jeffrey Tucker

A Thought On Judgment

Reflecting on the prevalence of "soft universalism" in every level of the Church, something occurred to me. Why is it so popular? Thinking back to a few personal conversations I've had, I came up with a couple of reasons.

1. "I just can't conceive of how an all-loving, all-merciful God could allow someone to go to hell/send someone to hell."

Initially, the problem here is obvious. The person doesn't agree with the proposition of people going to hell because they can't conceive of it or reconcile it with their personal view of God. Of course, just because a person can't figure it out, this doesn't make it not the case. One would expect God's take on things to be a bit difficult for humans to grasp.

Then you've got a couple of other issues. If it's stated in the former ("allow someone") way, it seems that what the person is asking is for an overriding of free will. If we envision heaven as union with God along the lines of the Bridegroom/Bride, for God not to allow the opportunity to say "no" would pretty much make Him a rapist in the nuptial analogy.

If it's stated in the latter fashion ("send someone"), it ignores the reality that the "sending" is really being done by the sinner. God predestines no one to hell, and anybody who winds up there goes because of their own sins.

2. "Hell is only for really bad people and, seriously, how many of those are there really?"

This usually comes up in one of two ways. First, as a way of saying that sin in general really isn't that bad. It's often prefaced with "Do you think God really cares if I _________________?"

Notice again how the speaker's subjective ideas are what is behind the question(s). The speaker really knows what God thinks about sin and whether it's something bad enough to condemn a person. The speaker really knows what God cares about. Somehow, all this gets dropped into the mental blender, they push puree, and what comes out is certitude that the sin isn't all that bad, and God has better things to do.

Second, sometimes the speaker looks past the concept of sin totally and focuses on other characteristics of the sinner. In this case, it's not about how what they did isn't all that serious. It's more about emphasizing how nice people are and that nice people shouldn't be condemned. Why? Because they are so nice.

Yet again, we see a bit of hubris as the speaker essentially puts themselves in the place of God and determining, per their own subjective criteria, what the nice guy's eternal fate should be.

The best part about both of these "arguments" is that, when countered with something like, say, things Jesus said:

And a certain man said to him: Lord, are they few that are saved? 

But he said to them: Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able. But when the master of the house shall be gone in, and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And he answering, shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are. 

Then you shall begin to say: We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. And he shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are: depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And there shall come from the east and the west, and the north and the south; and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

Luke 13:23-29

the speaker will immediately determine such a grave perspective as uncharitable.

This doesn't mean that everyone is going to hell either, regardless of how much we all deserve it. It means that presumption of salvation is a convenient path to hell.

(Here we plug again Ralph Martin's book on the topic.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

That Was Weird

Something happened to delete all of our followers (yes, we do have a few).

If it was something I did, I apologize. I'm vastly tech illiterate, so I very well could have booted them all and not realized what I was doing.


Answer Provided

It's been a month since we posted the following queries:

Consider the following statements:

1. Outside of the Church, there is no salvation. 
2. All the gods of the Gentiles are devils. 
3. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. 
4. Homosexual activity is an abomination before God. 
5. God punishes sin in both the temporal and spiritual arenas. 
6. The death penalty is an illicit form of punishment and should be abolished. 
7. Union between Church and State is the most ideal form of government. 
8. Missing Mass is a mortal sin and renders a soul worthy of hell. 
9. The Bible is inerrant. 
10. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most important event on the planet.

Which of these items has the least amount of support from the Magisterium?

Which of these items would most Catholics most readily agree with?

While we got a couple of comments on this, the email responses have been most interesting.

It's quite clear that #6 has the least amount of support from the Magisterium. All the other statements are either direct quotes from Scripture or dogmatic teachings. The anti-death penalty movement is of very recent vintage and its licity is attested to by Scripture and Tradition. That some popes, in response to the culture of death, have called for restrictions on its use is not even close to the weight of the other propositions.

However, it seems that #6 is also the proposition that has the most agreement among the layfolk. For commenters only, when was the last time you heard a homily based on the other 9 statements? How does that compare with the number of times you've heard about #6?

Comments for posting only this time, please.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Is Triumphalism?

I'm not sure I even know what the word means anymore. For example, in my opinion, Gaudium Et Spes is the most triumphalistic document in Church history. When Cardinal Ratzinger referred to some of its content as "downright Pelagian," I think he had something of the same thing in mind. Likewise when he called it a "counter-Syllabus."

For a more recent example, consider Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz's recent statements about current world affairs. Per Zenit:

“We believe that God is a God of peace” and that “although humanity has had a history of many wars, perhaps it’s arriving at a point of maturity especially with globalization in which the consciousness of peace is far more profound.”

He also pointed out that it is necessary to ask God for peace because men and women cannot bring it about.

Knowing the result of wars, the grief that comes from them, and the fact they never bring anything good, “perhaps this is asking for a new moment of balance in the world also for decision-making.”

In this connection the cardinal stressed that perhaps “the old UN system that came after the War is too small and that it’s necessary to enlarge it,” and he specified that, for instance, “these decisions should be made not with the prevalence of the vote of one that has more power than another, but a decision that is made by all the nations that represent the world’s balance.”

I have difficulty reading that without wondering if His Eminence has been on retreat in a monastery for the last couple of decades. A cursory look at any continent demonstrates that the world is unquestionably nowhere near this "maturity" that he's talking about. And enlarging the UN? How many UN stories from the last ten years hasn't been some sort of expose on its corruption? Would this kind of blind optimism qualify as triumphalist?

Pope Francis has talked about triumphalism before and how it's a bad thing. I agree and prefer the realism that Pope Francis mentions in those prior comments. Trying to ditch the more painful aspects of Catholicism (eg- the Cross, martyrdom, Man's propensity to failure, etc.) in exchange for a whitewashed vision of things is a recipe for disaster.

He's now used the term again. While the full commentary isn't available, let's check what context there is from Rorate:

Finally, said Pope Francis there is the group of Christians who "in their hearts do not believe in the Risen Lord and want to make theirs a more majestic resurrection than that of the real one. These, he said are the “triumphalist” Christians.

"They do not know the meaning of the word ' triumph ' the Pope continued, so they just say “triumphalism”, because they have such an inferiority complex and want to do this ...

When we look at these Christians, with their many triumphalist attitudes , in their lives, in their speeches and in their pastoral theology, liturgy, so many things, it is because they do not believe deep down in the Risen One. He is the Winner, the Risen One. He won."

I have no idea who he is talking about in these paragraphs. It doesn't seem to jive with the characterizations from his prior comments. Unlike many, I don't see these as directed at folks who attend TLMs or anything like that. That would be the opposite what he said before. What would a "more majestic resurrection" be? Part of me wonders if this isn't a reference to prosperity Gospel types. It would fit with what he said earlier, and it has a cultural significance to the Pope given the fact that the prosperity Gospel movements have done enormous damage to the laity in Latin America.

Maybe I'm missing something, but that's the best I can come up with.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Rec: Redeeming Economics by John Mueller

I was an economics major in college. Not that I actually enjoyed it or anything, but I was good at it, so it helped my GPA, and it was a degree that was desirable from the perspective of the industry which held most of my interest for post-graduate employment.

In the years since my graduation, I've become more and more interested in the subject, mostly due to the ability of current events to resurrect questions I always had about economic theory that were never answered. John Mueller's book, Redeeming Economics, went a long way in helping to answer some, though admittedly not all, of those questions.

Mueller is a fellow in Economics and Director of the Economics and Ethics Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He also worked as an economist for Jack Kemp for several years. This gives him at least as much credibility as a lot of the other folks trying to write books about what is right/wrong with our current economic policies and way more credibility than any politician, I think.

His basic point in Redeeming Economics is that the historical evolution of economic theory resulted in a key element (final distribution, or where do things wind up) being ditched as part of economic analysis. He then provides examples of why this has been so catastrophic and how the thinking would change if this element was re-introduced into the thinking on such matters.

This is not for the easily bored or the speed reader. The book is written in as mild a tone as the science will allow. The problem is that the meat and potatoes description of economic interactions really isn't that exciting. You will have to work to get through this book, but you'll be glad you did.

In laying out his argument, Mueller gives a nice overview of the history of economic thought from Aristotle pretty much up to Friedman. This is valuable stuff for no other reason than you don't really hear about it. All you get in economic history is that there was Adam Smith, then Marx, then Keynes. If you make it to someone like Hayek, it's a rare thing. The stroll through history is critical to what Mueller is saying, though, because he has to show the existence of the missing element at some point in time and then demonstrate how it fell by the wayside.

Much of the following chapters are illustrations based on how mainstream economic theories would try to deal with things like gifts or crimes using each theory's own internal logic and then what it looks like when final distribution is injected into the discussion. This includes looking at macroeconomic phenomena like unemployment and growth.

If I may provide an example of my own from real life, consider the amount of health care services in the USA that are provided for free by family members or friends. You might not think it's a lot, but take a look at this:

Baby boomers caring for friends and family have been “the cement” of long-term care in recent years, Feinberg said, adding that their unpaid care was estimated to have been worth the equivalent of $450 billion in 2009, more than the cost of Medicaid and approaching the cost of Medicare.

Pretty big deal. Of course, this looming shortfall of caregivers is a direct result of people having fewer children (if any). Mueller makes this point many times over. Much of our economic decline is connected to the declining birth rate and the rising abortion rate. These factors are, incidentally, dictated in part by the nation's level of religiosity. Mueller's examination of these items is backed up by what looks to be pretty solid evidence in his favor. And I say that as a guy who tends to hate statistics.

If nothing else, the book gives a view of economic matters that is a way different angle than what you are used to hearing. That is valuable by itself. It's not perfect, but any means. He glosses over a couple of things and wraps the book up with a critique of the modern monetary system. There's nothing wrong with that, I guess. There's plenty of room for criticism. I just couldn't see how it fit with his overall theme of how final distribution affects stuff, as it wasn't really mentioned in that whole section.

Even with the minor bumps along the way, I would still recommend it for anyone with an interest in economics or for a historical schooling on why economists think the things they do.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Why Things Could Be Worse

You could be in Iraq:

Iraq’s troubles preceded those of the rest, but they are important because they eerily prefigure them. ‘Democracy’, imposed at gunpoint, has meant in Iraq, among other horrors, the mass persecution of the country’s Christian minority. Murders, kidnappings, intimidation and expulsions, impelled by a mixture of greed and fanaticism, have reduced that ancient, venerable community to total ruin. Of some 1.4 million Christians living in Iraq before the war, perhaps 400,000 — mostly the poor and the old — remain.

Or Syria (from the same article):

Many Iraqi refugees left to join the two million indigenous Christians of Syria. They now share their hosts’ lot — persecution by the western-supported, Saudi-financed, Islamist-dominated Syrian rebels. Large areas of opposition-held Syria are now under sharia law. Saudi judges have appeared to administer it. Non-Muslims are only tolerated if they pay the jizya, the tax imposed on infidels. Priests are special targets. This is where a Syrian Catholic priest, Father François Murad, was murdered last month. He was not the first to die. A Syrian Orthodox priest, Father Fadi Haddad, was grabbed last December as he left his church to negotiate the release of a kidnapped parishioner. His body was found by the roadside, the eyes gouged out. Two higher-profile recent cases — if not high enough for the government or most of our press to notice — are those of the Greek Orthodox archbishop Paul Yazigi and the Syriac Orthodox archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim. They were seized near Aleppo in April, when trying to negotiate the release of kidnapped priests. Both archbishops are now presumed dead.

Or Egypt (from the same article):

By his action he rejected the traditional Muslim assumption that Egypt’s Copts — 10 per cent of the population — enjoyed second-class status. That was a direct challenge. The Islamists have reacted wherever they are in control. Since Morsi’s removal, 58 Christian churches, as well as several convents, monasteries and schools and dozens of homes and businesses have been looted, burned and in many cases destroyed. Tawadros himself has gone into hiding. In Cairo, Franciscan nuns watched as the cross over their school was torn down and replaced by an al-Qa’eda flag; the school remains were burnt; and then three of the sisters were marched through the streets, while a mob hurled abuse at them. The reaction of the US State Department’s official spokesman to these outrages was: ‘Clearly, any reports of violence we’re concerned about, and when it involves a religious institutions [sic], are concerned about that as well.’ The words ‘church’, ‘Christian’ or ‘persecution’ could not cross that eloquent spokesman’s lips. Nor, it is safe to say, will they figure in one of William Hague’s innumerable tweets.

Thanks to Robin Harris for pointing these out.

Or you could be in Viet Nam (thank you Tancred for the post):

The Vietnamese police attacked a peaceful rally of Catholics in the parish of My yen. With batons, electric pulse weapons, tear gas and shots in the air with live ammunition, the Vietnamese police took action against several hundred Catholics who were demonstrating for the release of two parishioners. The two Catholics are in prison without charge since June. According to witnesses, it was one of the bloodiest and most brutal of anti-Christian police actions in recent years. Several dozen Catholics were arrested. The number of injured is much higher. The seriously injured were taken to Hanoi. Several of them are in serious condition. My Yen is in the province of Nghe An, a coastal area in the central north of the country.

Or India (per AsiaNews):

The latest occurred on 18 August in Chikkamalaguru District when Hindu radicals stormed the home of Ms Doddamma, a member of the Rehebothe Prarthana Mandir Pentecostal Church. The group of men asked her why she visited Hindu families and who gave her permission to preach Christianity. Faced with her silence, the men dragged her and her daughter to a nearby Hindu temple, where they ordered some holy men to reconvert them to Hinduism. Faced with their refusal, the Hindus brutally beat the two women, as others destroyed their home...

On 11 August, in Chitadurga District, Rev Paramajyothi, the pastor at an independent Pentecostal Church, was attacked by Hindu ultra-nationalists. Dragged out of his church, he was stripped him and beaten mercilessly under the eyes of his congregation and family. The religious leader suffered several injuries, including three broken teeth...

On 3 August, 50 Hindu extremists violently attacked Somashekarwas, an Evangelical Christian in Bijapur District. Pulling his hair and ripping his clothes, they ordered him to reconvert to Hinduism. They also swore at his wife Kusumabhai and ordered the couple to leave the village if they were not willing to renounce Christianity. Because of their refusal, the attackers reported them to the police in Nedugundhi, accusing them of practicing forced conversions.

Or, of course, China:

Per ChinaAid- recently reported that the Rev. Song Wanjun, priest of the underground Catholic Church in Xiwanzi, Qiaodong District, Hebei province was detained by 10 law enforcement officials at 4 a.m., Aug. 7 while he was driving. The news of Rev. Song’s arrest has been confirmed by the U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Per UCA-
Three other priests – Frs Shi Weiqiang, Tian Jianmin and Yang Gang, all from Hebei, were also arrested last month, the JPC report noted. The current whereabouts of all four priests remains unknown.

So we got that going for us.

Fortunately, of the hundreds of thousands just that we've mentioned in this post, none were killed by chemical weapons. Otherwise, somebody might actually care.

When you heard today's Gospel and Christ spoke about guys building towers or kings going to war who made sure that they determined what the cost of their venture would be prior to taking any action, did it bring to mind how high the cost of Christianity might be? Or how heavy the cross could get?

Something to think about.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Follow-Up To The Prior Post

One more item that went unmentioned and deserves a space of its own. From what I've been getting in response to this issue, it's also a popular position among Catholics that all the businesses in question had to do to stay out of trouble was lie about their status. 

In other words, instead of telling the couples that they couldn't serve them because of their homosexuality, the proprietors should have made up some other excuse. 

News flash: Lying is a sin. I guess in some circumstances that they might have been able to use some sort of wacky mental reservation, but most of the recommendations I've been getting suggest a flat-out lie.

I repeat. Lying is a sin. So basically we're supposed to do evil so that we don't get sued. What a pathetic state we've been reduced to if those are our only options.

Be Calm. All Is Well.

If you've ever seen Animal House, you're familiar with the above refrain. It's come to mind a couple of times over the last week, not so much due to current events, but in observing various Catholic (and other Christian) reactions to events.

The main item that has drawn commentary isn't even the stuff going on in Syria. It's the recent case of a Christian-owned bakery in Oregon that was forced to close following an official complaint of discrimination to the state government and the subsequent boycott of the bakery and its suppliers, customers, etc. by homosexual activists.

While this has been the story that has gotten the most national news, it seems perhaps to be part of a trend. Consider a couple of other instances:

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photographer must provide services to faux same-sex weddings on the same basis as real weddings.

In Washington State, the attorney general filed suit against a florist who declined to sell flowers for a same-sex ceremony.

In Iowa, a bed and breakfast has been targeted for not submitting to be a venue for a ceremony. Likewise for a party venue in Fort Worth.

A Vermont inn paid $30,000 to settle a case filed against it for allegedly refusing to host a a homosexual reception.

A complaint was filed with the New York State Human Rights Division against a farm that refused to host a homosexual ceremony.

A Hawaiian court ruled that a bed and breakfast unlawfully discriminated against a lesbian couple for not giving them a room.

There are other examples, but you get the point. None of these are particularly shocking. We're used to seeing this in other countries. It was only a matter of time before it happened here. As mentioned above, the reactions of other Catholics and Christians has been what is disconcerting.

First, many seem almost gleeful in seeing these event unfold. They are quick to label the proprietors in question as bigots (or worse) and see the above as just desserts. I've heard many suggest punishments that go way beyond fines or shutting down the person's business via boycott or regulation.

Second, there is almost no empathy whatsoever. Some of the individuals above, including the bakers in the Oregon case, were subjected to threats of violence and/or wishes for their deaths (or worse).

Third, so many of these Christians think that it's fine to invoke the magic of "conscience" to excuse everything from contraception to fornication to abortion, yet the business owners in these cases apparently have no right to follow their own consciences in doing business in accordance with their sense of morality.

Fourth, this is all ok from a legal perspective because the laws being used against these businesses are state laws rather than federal laws. So there you go. As long as it's an individual state that's doing it, rather than the feds, things are fine.

Fifth, the concerns of where all this is going are utterly non-existent. If it comes down to, say, forcing Catholic churches to provide venues for homosexual events or even perform faux marriages, things will be fine. The courts will save us. They've done such a bang-up job of that so far, what could there possibly be to worry about?

Sixth, as a sort of corollary to the preceding point, many activists on this issue are pretty blunt about where all this is going. And it isn't a good place.

It's an odd thing to see so many Christians pleased with these developments. As more and more laws and ordinances are passed that further push the homosexual agenda, that so many Christians consider worries over slippery slopes and such to be nonsense, absurd, or simply closet bigotry is a terrible sign for the future. Nothing to do but remain calm, I suppose.

All is well.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Help Me Out Here

Pope Francis has recently praised a foundation that is dedicated to the work of deceased Cardinal Carlo Martini, former Archbishop of Milan.

Cardinal Martini's work included pushing for women in Holy Orders, okaying euthanasia, opening the gates for contraceptive and abortion practices, a complete ignoring of Pastor Aeternus, and other items that have left me very confused with the Pope's actions. And that's ignoring the scandalous comments released after his death. If you want an example of some of Cardinal's Martini's commentary, here's an old post by Fr. Zuhlsdorf that gives a good description.

So why should we be happy that anyone is promoting this guy's work?