Does anyone for one moment believe that the same Fr. John Jenkins, who had no problem with Barack Obama, Joe Biden or Wenday Davis despite their direct opposition and active efforts against the teaching of the Catholic church, would have shown the slightest hesitation to invite Hillary Clinton her to speak at the 2017 commencement if she had been elected?

I’m old enough to remember when Notre Dame was a Catholic College.

There is a lot to be said for this piece by Stacy McCain titled #LashEquality: @CoverGirl Promotes Transgender Agenda in Commercials. Its discussion of history, references to scripture, celebration of his ancient ancestors (Being of Sicilian ancestry from a family that lived next to a volcano (Mt. Etna) I can go back to the mid 1800’s but before that is a mystery, particularly since everyone from the vikings to the Spanish to the arabs conquered Sicily during the course of history) and his defense of normalcy which everyone seems to be terrified to articulating.

But there are two things in this piece that need highlighting and a clarification added to complete the picture being offered by him.

The first the opinion of the greatest generation of the rebellion of their children most of whom still foolishly think they were and are smarter then their parents who conquered two of the finest militaries in history yet had the Christian character, to with the entire world at their feet, not to enslave it

the “Greatest Generation” knew what price had been paid for our freedom. The troops who came home from that war then fathered the “Baby Boom.” When their children reached adolescence, however, many rebelled against America’s patriotic and religious heritage, and by the time I started high school in 1973, the so-called “Sexual Revolution” had been raging for nearly a decade. Grown-ups strongly disapproved of the whole “hippie” youth culture. Our parents and teachers, our coaches and preachers were in unanimous agreement about the need to suppress this social upheaval that had erupted, the cause of which they believed to be either (a) Communism or (b) Satan, insofar as Communism and Satan weren’t the same thing.

It is my opinion that my generation, the baby boomers are the worst generation in the history of this country and possibly the world and that we as a generation for the good of humanity can’t die off fast enough and take our self centered narcissism, self defined virtue and complete ignorance of the wisdom and experience of our parents and the giants who came before them with us.

Secondly it’s worth highlighting Stacy’s statement concerning his own youthful rebellion (emphasis mine)

In high school, I was just a teenager who wanted to be a cool dude, and among my hoodlum buddies, being a cool dude meant getting high and growing your hair long, because that’s what all the cool chicks were into. So I was as far-out as I could possibly get away with, and I got away with a lot more than I ever got caught with. Could I blame all this on “peer pressure”? Maybe, except that I was an active agent of evil, rather than a passive participant. My extensive adolescent experience in the ways of sin — and all the consequences of evil that I witnessed with my own eyes in the ensuing years — left me quite cynical toward the kind of enthusiasm James Charles expresses about the “amazing progressions with gay rights, gender inclusivity and self-expression.”

I can not emphasize the importance of this paragraph because it does two critical things.

  • It acknowledges acts of evil done and witnessed by him
  • Rather than making an excuse for said evil, he takes responsibility for it.

One could call it a great example of the Penitential Rite of the Catholic church

I confess to almighty God
And to you, my brothers and sisters,
That I have greatly sinned
In my thoughts and in my words,
In what I have done and in what I have
Failed to do,
Through my fault, through my fault,
Through my most grievous fault;
Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
All the Angels and Saints,
And you, my brothers and sisters,
To pray for me to the Lord our God.

That self awareness is a gift from God that should be treasured by him and mimicked by others whenever possible.

Now having highlighted these two bits let’s turn to the part that needs clarification.

Stacy quotes one of his favorite passages from Deuteronomy 30.  As I am quoting Stacy’s piece I’ll stick with his protestant translation here rather than the one on the Vatican site I would normally use

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live . .

He follows up with these two paragraphs near the end of his piece:

There are still quite a few Americans who believe in the Lord whose anger is kindled against those who turn away from him, and we have already tolerated enough “gender inclusivity and self-expression” that it’s a wonder God has not already destroyed us for this “amazing progression.”

America has had enough. Our ancestors did not establish this nation with the expectation that their descendants would squander their precious inheritance of God’s blessing. The men who died fighting to gain a foothold on that beach at Normandy did not give their lives so that America could sink into decadence, insanity and perversion.

And here lies the part that needs clarification here.  Stacy gives a lot of quotes from that good Old Testament but is missing some key ones from a slightly newer one.  Like Matthew

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house,  many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Matthew 9:9-13

And Mark

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through (the) eye of (a) needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.

Mark 10:23-27

And Luke

“Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”  But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Luke 19:2-10

And John

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.”

John 8:3-11

Christianity is a religion of forgiveness and redemption and every single soul from James Charles to Bob Iger to  Stacy to mine and yours is of value to God.  That same merciful God who sacrificed his son for the forgiveness of sins will give each soul a lifetime to repent of their sins and be forgiven.  As Christ said to St Faustina:

Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. 

Diary of St. Faustina

Stacy expresses surprise that God has not already destroyed us, But did not the Knights of Columbus offer a novena before the election for the country asking for God’s blessing and mercy that was prayed in churches all over the country?  Do not contemplative sisters and brothers pray unceasingly for the country the world and for the intentions of individuals?  Do not individuals like myself offer daily rosaries for the country asking since February for Justice Scalia and since April for Mother Angelica to join in these prayers for our land?  And do not relatives friends of those who have been deceived by the world and the culture pray continually for their salvation?  After all do you think it was just blind luck that Stacy himself, turned away from the admittedly evil path he once pursued?  And are not others even now evangelizing those who have fallen away?

The bottom line is there have been many times when the power of evil, and error and sin have seemed insurmountable, yet the faithful still exist, and thrive and the Holy Spirit still calls those who have rejected him.

“If you’re there, you have to help me.”

Those are the words that poet Sally Read said to an icon of Jesus in 2010. Read, a British poet and atheist, had stopped into a church in Santa Marinella, Italy. She felt burdened. Her young daughter was having health issues. Her husband Fabio was enduring some stress at work.

“There was this incredible experience where this presence almost came down, and my tears just stopped, just dried,” Read tells CNSNews.com. “I felt almost physically carried up. It was as if someone walked into the room. I knew this person. I knew that I was a Christian.”

Up to that point Read, now 46, had been an atheist. “I was brought up an atheist,” Read notes in her just-published memoir, “Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story.” “At ten I could tell you that religion was the opiate of the masses; it was [driven] into me to never kneel before anyone or anything…As a young woman I could quote Christopher Hitchens and enough of the Bible to scoff at.”

As Pope Francis has said God never tires of forgiving us and as long as that potential is there the work of salvation will continue and we can and must aid it by our prayers.

Because even with this clarification Stacy point stands as evidenced by Christ words to Sister Faustina that followed his remark about the door of mercy.

He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…

I pray to God that I and others will acquire and retain the wisdom to choose the door of mercy in our lifetimes.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-8-29-55-am

Amid talk of vouchers and charter schools, the Trump administration should consider significant tax breaks for homeschoolers.

The reasons for homeschooling vary. Some parents want to emphasize a religious education for their children. Others want to avoid the left-leaning indoctrination of public schools. Still others face inadequate or unsafe schools.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, more than two million students in K-12 are schooled at home. One study found that more than 30 percent of these students are Black, Hispanic or Asian. Moreover, the students and their parents save taxpayers more than $20 billion a year based on an estimated cost of more than $11,000 a year per child for a public school education.

But homeschoolers receive no significant tax breaks for teaching their children.

Homeschools in most states cannot be run as a business or even as a non-profit as parents cannot charge their children for their education. Moreover, homeschoolers cannot deduct donations to their own school. Also, the IRS usually does not allow homeschooling to be considered a hobby, which could reap some limited tax benefits.

Here are some possibilities to make homeschooling more affordable:

–Allow tax breaks for tuition and books purchased from homeschooling businesses.

–Provide deductions for individuals who are the primary teacher.

–Give tax incentives for tutoring in specific subjects, such as math, science and technology.

–Provide a mechanism to receive a reduction in local property taxes, which often are paid to local schools, for individuals who homeschool.

“Open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children,” Donald Trump says. “Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition-the American way.”

That competition should include incentives and benefits for homeschoolers and their children to allow them to choose an option other than charters and vouchers.


Christopher Harper is a recovering journalist who worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times and teaches media law.

As you likely know today is the First Sunday of Advent and the first Sunday of the liturgical year for Catholics which officially began yesterday with the Advent vigil mass.

But I suspect some of you might not know that the previous liturgical year didn’t end Friday, but on Saturday morning. The Daily mass celebrated Saturday Morning was the final mass of the Church’s year. It’s also the liturgical anniversary (vs the actual anniversary) of the death of my devout Aunt Lucy who died between the masses so I do my best to make sure I don’t miss it.

So yesterday after work I headed to my church and immediately noticed five unfamiliar faces. A group of nuns in white habits with black veils were at my church, first crowded into our divine mercy chapel and then sitting together at mass.

I didn’t recognize any of the nuns so when mass was over and one finished her prayers I greeted her and asked what order they were from. She told me they were Dominican Nuns of Saint Cecilia from Nashville Tennessee who teach school in Providence Rhode Island.  They were in the area for a hiking trip.

That they were devout was obvious but what jumped out at me the most, every single one of them looked young enough to be my daughter (I’m 53).

This was quite ironic because just a few months ago our parish celebrated the anniversary of the founding of our elementary school by the Sisters of the Presentation. About a dozen of those sisters turned up for the mass as invited guests and there were two things about them that were in stark contrast to the Dominican Sisters at the Saturday Mass.

  • Not a single one of them was in a nun’s habit.
  • Every single one of them was old enough to be my mother

Now I don’t question for one moment the devotion of those older nuns who did yeoman service for the school before they were replaced by lay teachers as they retired but I have yet to see a group of nuns that have abandoned the habit who are not dying out.  As they abandoned the habit, vocations abandoned them.

Meanwhile the sisters in Nashville which did not go down that path apparently has so many vocations that they can be spared to go all the way to New England to teach.  From their website:

The community has continued to experience God’s blessing of new vocations. This past summer, five young sisters professed perpetual vows, with 13 others making first profession. Twelve received the Dominican habit. With the entrance of 15 postulants in August, approximately 50 sisters are presently in the initial four years of formation. The Congregation now totals nearly 300 sisters, the largest number in its history. With this gift also comes the challenge of providing for the needs of a growing community.

It seems at least in the church the orthodox are winning the culture war.

Closing thought.  There is a very devout woman at our parish named Joan.  She has been active in the parish for decades (In fact she was my wife CCD teacher 35 years ago).  Joan is in her mid 80’s and not only makes mass daily but is involved in multiple parish activities on a regular basis.  I remember her being at that Anniversary Sunday mass months ago and mentioned at the time that she was indistinguishable from any of the nuns in attendance.

Yesterday I noticed Joan was in attendance at the mass with the Dominican Sisters.  Devout though she is nobody in attendance would have mistaken her for one of those nuns.

Update: Welcome readers of the Canon 212 blog. Have a peek around. My first short book on the faith. The Hail Mary as Explained to Protestants, is awaiting the Imprimatur from my local Bishop before I go to publish. If you would like to be notified when it is available fill out the form below and I’ll let you know when I have a release date. I am always accepting prayer requests as well, feel free to leave one even if you don’t want the book


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As the year of Mercy Closes Pope Francis has made some significant moves in the context of mercy in an Apostolic Letter:  Mercy and Peace

16. The Jubilee now ends and the Holy Door is closed. But the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open. We have learned that God bends down to us (cf. Hos 11:4) so that we may imitate him in bending down to our brothers and sisters. The yearning of so many people to turn back to the house of the Father, who awaits their return, has also been awakened by heartfelt and generous testimonies to God’s love. The Holy Door that we have crossed in this Jubilee Year has set us on the path of charity, which we are called to travel daily with fidelity and joy. It is the road of mercy, on which we meet so many of our brothers and sisters who reach out for someone to take their hand and become a companion on the way. The Jubilee now ends and the Holy Door is closed. But the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open. We have learned that God bends down to us (cf. Hos 11:4) so that we may imitate him in bending down to our brothers and sisters. The yearning of so many people to turn back to the house of the Father, who awaits their return, has also been awakened by heartfelt and generous testimonies to God’s love. The Holy Door that we have crossed in this Jubilee Year has set us on the path of charity, which we are called to travel daily with fidelity and joy. It is the road of mercy, on which we meet so many of our brothers and sisters who reach out for someone to take their hand and become a companion on the way.

Ironically while the Pope is pronouncing truths of the faith Ed Morrissey is also pronouncing a basic truth when he says:

I’ve often joked that the four words in the media that most fill Catholics with dread are, “Today, Pope Francis said…” That’s not because the pontiff says things that are dreadful; it’s because we know that we’ll have to spend most of the day explaining what the media got wrong, and what Pope Frances actually meant.I’ve often joked that the four words in the media that most fill Catholics with dread are, “Today, Pope Francis said…” That’s not because the pontiff says things that are dreadful; it’s because we know that we’ll have to spend most of the day explaining what the media got wrong, and what Pope Frances actually meant.

Ed is very right and I would recommend everyone read what the Pope actually wrote vs what others (particularly in the MSM) claim he is stating.

I’d particularly like to bring to your attention this paragraph on the sacrament of Confession addressed to priests: (emphasis in original)

10. I invite priests once more to prepare carefully for the ministry of confession, which is a true priestly mission. I thank all of you from the heart for your ministry, and I ask you to be welcoming to all, witnesses of fatherly love whatever the gravity of the sin involved, attentive in helping penitents to reflect on the evil they have done, clear in presenting moral principles, willing to walk patiently beside the faithful on their penitential journey, far-sighted in discerning individual cases and generous in dispensing God’s forgiveness. Just as Jesus chose to remain silent in order to save the woman caught in adultery from the sentence of death, so every priest in the confessional should be open-hearted, since every penitent is a reminder that he himself is a sinner, but also a minister of mercy.

Note the following lines:

attentive in helping penitents to reflect on the evil they have done,

clear in presenting moral principles

willing to walk patiently beside the faithful on their penitential journey

All of these statements involve an important principle that our friends in the media like to obscure:

The clear acknowledgement that a person has committed an evil act which separates them from God and the understanding that said person needs to know why said act was wrong and be penitential concerning it.

Now that fact doesn’t change the fact that regardless of the evil involved God’s mercy trumps it as the pope also says: (emphasis mine)

Let us recall with renewed pastoral zeal another saying of the Apostle: “God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18). We were the first to be forgiven in view of this ministry, made witnesses at first hand of the universality of God’s forgiveness. No law or precept can prevent God from once more embracing the son who returns to him, admitting that he has done wrong but intending to start his life anew.

Note the end of that sentence, it notes that there is a condition for the mercy of God, that being one admits he has done wrong and intends to start his life anew.  This is reflected in the act of Contrition that a pennant says before being absolved.

O, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because of your just punishment, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

The wording varies but the intent is the same, I did wrong, I’m sorry and I intend to not do wrong again.

Humans being weak, that intention will often not be enough to overcome temptation in the short run, if it was then there would be no need for weekly confessions in church, but that intent and acknowledgement is the key here, and without that acknowledgement & intent to repent the search for Mercy will be in vain.

I have greatly enjoyed over the years Andrew Klavan’s columns and videos, first at PJMedia and now at the Daily Wire. He podcasts Monday-through-Thursday at the Daily Wire, leaving us with “Klavanless weekends,” as he calls them.

Klavan is witty, smart, quick and funny, and great to listen to. I knew he also wrote books, but never got around to reading one.

It is a distinct pleasure, then, to discover Andrew Klavan’s excellent memoir, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ, which I decided to read after watching his interview with Ben Shapiro during one of their podcasts.

The book blurb tells you,

Edgar Award-winner and internationally bestselling novelist tells of his improbable conversion from agnostic Jewish-intellectual to baptized Christian and of the books that led him there.

“Had I stumbled on the hallelujah truth, or just gone mad—or, that is, had I gone mad again?”

No one was more surprised than Andrew Klavan when, at the age of fifty, he found himself about to be baptized. Best known for his hard-boiled, white-knuckle thrillers and for the movies made from them—among them True Crime (directed by Clint Eastwood) and Don’t Say a Word (starring Michael Douglas)—Klavan was born in a suburban Jewish enclave outside New York City. He left the faith of his childhood behind to live most of his life as an agnostic in the secular, sophisticated atmosphere of New York, London, and Los Angeles. But his lifelong quest for truth—in his life and in his work—was leading him to a place he never expected.Edgar Award-winner and internationally bestselling novelist tells of his improbable conversion from agnostic Jewish-intellectual to baptized Christian and of the books that led him there. “Had I stumbled on the hallelujah truth, or just gone mad—or, that is, had I gone mad again?” No one was more surprised than Andrew Klavan when, at the age of fifty, he found himself about to be baptized. Best known for his hard-boiled, white-knuckle thrillers and for the movies made from them—among them True Crime (directed by Clint Eastwood) and Don’t Say a Word (starring Michael Douglas)—Klavan was born in a suburban Jewish enclave outside New York City. He left the faith of his childhood behind to live most of his life as an agnostic in the secular, sophisticated atmosphere of New York, London, and Los Angeles. But his lifelong quest for truth—in his life and in his work—was leading him to a place he never expected.

That’s well and good, and interesting, of course, but what it doesn’t tell you is how good a writer Klavan is. Compulsive readers like myself come across dozens of blurbs about well-known good authors every day, only to be disappointed when we pick up the latest book from a writer we have enjoyed before, or a writer who is new to us but highly touted.

This is one of the best written books I have read in years.

The second chapter, Addicted to Dreams, especially stands out. It is insightful, stirring, and every sentence is perfect, conveying a time and a state of mind from the past while making both immediate and present. It achieves that effect as beautifully as John Galsworthy’s masterful Indian Summer of a Forsyte. (The highest praise I can make, since I have re-read the entire Forsyte Saga once every ten years for the last four decades.)

This is one of the few books, out of the thousands I have read in my entire life, that I recommend for the quality of the writing. The fact that his writing evolved along with the spiritual journey makes the book even more fascinating.

A few years ago David Eggers’s immodestly-titled A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius came out, and yes, it is a fine book. But Klavan’s Great Good Thing is not only great and good, it is heartbreaking, and truly a work of staggering genius.

Read it, and your weekend will not be Klavanless.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

At Don Surber’s site he notes that my fellow catholics had a lot to do with Donald Trump winning the presidency

Catholics got the last laugh as they swung nine points moving from Democrats (Obama won Catholics by two) to Trump (he won Catholics by seven).

as did Crux:

But out of sight of most media reports, religious concerns also seem to have played an important role in Trump’s win. Whether religious voters were embracing Trump or blocking Clinton, there seems to be a clear political message in the result, which is that people of faith cannot be ignored, disparaged or taken for granted.

Coming on the heels of an administration known for court battles with faith-based businesses, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders over policies such as the HHS contraception mandate, which includes sterilization procedures and drugs critics regard as abortion-inducing, revelations seen as indicative of team Clinton’s hostility to aspects of evangelical Protestantism and the Catholic faith certainly didn’t help.

Nor did a Catholic on the bottom half of her ticket who took public policy positions at odds with the teaching of his Church on issues including abortion, the death penalty and marriage.
Nor, of course, did leaked emails from her campaign manager discussing using political operatives to change Catholic doctrine from within the Church.

But for my money the thing that made the difference for the non cafeteria Catholic was the third debate and this question

One of the things I’ve seen over the last 30 years are a group of elderly catholics Democrats who cut their teeth on JFK who seemed totally oblivious to the party rejecting faithful Catholics.

Even as the party became more and more hostile to the faith they remained in blissful ignorance, never getting the image out of their head of Democrats as the party of JFK and confident that all the talk by people like me who had left the party over their hostility to my faith were mistaken or misguided.

Then they saw, for the very first time ever in a presidential debate, a question on abortion that actually illustrated the extreme position of the Democrats. When they saw Chris Wallace question Hillary Clinton on late term abortion (2:20), heard Hillary defend it, and then listened as Donald Trump said:

Well I think it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the 9th month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother, just prior to the birth of the baby. Now you can say that that’s Ok and Hillary can say that’s ok but it’s not OK with me.

At that moment the mask was torn off and while that kind of thing wasn’t going to move “cultural” catholic whose faith is a coat that is put on or off depending on their comfort level I suspect that many of those older faithful Catholics, the type of folks that “Catholic” colleges which have no trace of faith on campus but send letters quoting scripture soliciting funds to, finally saw the Democrat party in general and Hillary Clinton in particular, for what they are.

And when they did I suspect many of them in rush belt states decided that a vote for Hillary was a bridge too far.

forwardBy John Ruberry

There are thousands–maybe hundreds of thousands–of explanations about why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton last week that you can find online and in print, as well as why the Republicans maintained control of Congress and gained governorships.

Here’s another one, although this discussion confronts one angle, what I call “inevitable leftism.” Barack Obama was the “Hope and Change” candidate for president in 2008; four years later, “Forward” was his rallying cry. Some conservative pundits noticed that “Forward” has a long history as a communist and socialist slogan.

Leftists, Obama is one, firmly believe that their cause is one of inevitable success, that humanity is headed towards–choose your term–a collectivist, socialist, or communist utopia. They view popular leaders such as Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan, as atavistic aberrations, mere potholes that can be paved over when the time is right, sooner, as opposed to later.

Except when they are wrong.

The French Revolution, still idealized by the Left, deposed a king and disestablished the Roman Catholic church, and replaced the Ancien Régime with an atheist republic that executed thousands, which was quickly transformed into a dictatorship led by an Italian. Along the way the days and months were renamed in a new decimal calendar–hours and minutes were divided by ten too, as were weights and measures. A couple of decades later there was a king again in France, the Catholic church was the state religion–but the metric system survived, yet strangely enough, it still hasn’t completely caught on in the United States.

Maximilien Robespierre, the guiding force of the French Revolution, and his inner circle were certain they were guiding the world on the right path. He may have even held on to that belief as he walked up to the guillotine, two years after Louis XVI after made the same, final stroll.

The Russian Revolution’s state, the Soviet Union, was similarly hailed by the Left as a societal inevitably, it also led to regicide, and tens of millions were killed. Because the USSR survived much longer than the French Republic, it succeeded in shattering Russian culture. But the surviving Russian nation is a South American-style sham democracy run by a thug, not a nation consisting of a populace that lives “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

Barack Obama is not a psychopath or a murderer. But he’s a leftist, albeit one along the lines of French President François Hollande. Obama decided that America needs government-run health care in 2009 but he knew that what the Democrats euphemistically call single-payer would be unpopular, so a hybrid program, quickly dubbed ObamaCare, was developed as a bridge to that health care utopia. ObamaCare is deeply unpopular, and it was one reason for Trump’s win. The president-elect says he will repeal most of ObamaCare. The Democrats’ push for gay marriage is another page from the book of Dem inevitability, but only 21 nations allow same-sex marriages, none of them are in Asia, and South Africa is the only country in Africa that allows it.

It was the Democrats who, through their many friends in the judiciary, that created the so-called crisis surrounding the minuscule segment of the population who feel compelled to use the washrooms and the locker rooms–even in high school–of the opposite gender. They view choose-your-own-bathroom as their next social inevitability. The Democrats are the party of the confused horny teenage boy who wants to shower with girls.

Next year France will hold a presidential election. Marine Le Pen, a far-right politician with a fierce anti-immigrant stance, whose election as president last year ago seemed as likely as Trump moving in to the White House was, is confident of her chances. Hollande hasn’t declared himself as a candidate. Is Le Pen, another atavistic aberration, the inevitability of France?

France is ten percent Muslim. With the higher birth rates of its Muslim citizens a majority Muslim France could be possible by the end of the century. Gay marriage has been legal in France since 2013. Will it be in 2113?

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

The policy of open borders is also viewed as the next level of human achievement by the Left. It has worked well for the European Union, but there’s a big difference between thousands Germans buying homes in Italy and thousands of Middle Eastern migrants arriving in ramshackle boats there. Democrats, and even some Republicans, have been ignoring calls from ordinary citizens, now dubbed “the Forgotten Man,” to secure the southern border for decades. Opposition to open borders was the main reason why British voters voted to leave the EU.

Of course no one can predict the future. Not even leftists, even though they never tire in telling you how smart they are.

In the United States the hubris of inevitability led to the defeat of the Left last week.

Forward was the wrong way.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Wow. Just, Wow.

I have to admit that I was much more anti-Hillary than pro-Trump in this election, but as a Catholic and a Constitutionalist, I was pleased with Donald Trump’s victory on several levels. As a Catholic, this was an election about Life. There was simply no way I could support a radically pro-abortion candidate like Clinton. Abortion is one of the non-negotiable issues that Catholics can never support for any reason. To listen to Hillary in the debate suggest that a woman has the right to kill a child in the womb just before birth made my stomach churn. I am still not completely confident that Trump is a pro-life as he tried to portray himself during the campaign, but I am sure about Mike Pence and I am confident that, with a Republican in the White House, Congress will finally have the backbone to defund Planned Parenthood, and I fully expect them to hold Trump to his promise of appointing pro-life Constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court.

As a Constitutionalist, I agree wholeheartedly with Charles C. W. Cooke that we finally have a chance to get back to our constitutional system of separation of powers and checks-and-balances. I think that Trump’s campaign was sufficiently independent – and adversarial – that the Republican Congress will have the unique opportunity to oppose him if he “goes rogue.” We know the Democrats will oppose him out of habit or spite, the same way the reflexively supported Obama in whatever he wanted to do, so Congress finally has a chance to reassert itself in our Constitutional system. It’s been a long time coming.

So suppose President Trump decides to nominate his sister or some other liberal judge not on his announced list of Supreme Court candidates. I fully expect, and would demand, that the Senate would reject the candidate both because he/she is unqualified but also to show the president that he doesn’t have carte blanche as Obama did. Also, once again, I expect the vice president to have some say in the process as well. Seeing the list of qualified people that the president-elect has chosen (Rudy for AG!), I’m less worried than I was a few months ago that he’ll do anything stupid.

And finally, I choose to believe that someone who would go through the last 18 months as Mr. Trump has, must have some idea of the magnitude of what he’s gotten himself into. I may be giving him more credit than he deserves, but I think he’s finally run into something bigger than he is. I’m sure he’s confident to believe he can handle it, and I hope he can, but I hope that the first time he steps into the Oval Office, he experiences a sense of humility befitting the job. And I’ll continue to pray for him and for our country. I ask you to do the same.

Tuesday Pope Francis very decisively reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s teaching on an all male priesthood emphatically citing St. Pope John Paul II in an interview:

The pontiff made the declaration in response to a female reporter asking whether he thought women would one day serve as Catholic priests and bishops, noting the head of Sweden’s Lutheran Church whom Francis met on his trip there is a woman.

“St. Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands,” Francis said during a news conference aboard the papal plane on the flight back to Rome, according to Reuters.

The reporter then asked “Forever, forever? Never, never?”

“If we read carefully the declaration by St. John Paul II, it is going in that direction,” the pope responded.

Given the direction that so many protestant denominations have gone and Francis’ willingness to engage them one might have thought he would have been more flexible to the argument of those churches and various dissenting groups who claim that Jesus was just following the cultural norms of the time, however this overlooks the fact that Jesus constantly challenged the cultural norms from healing on the sabbath, to associating with sinners, from challenging the chief priests and even refusing to condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery.

Now there are those who might say: Well DaTechguy that’s all well and good but a woman priesthood would have been a bridge too far for him, and that argument might wash if it wasn’t for one fact that I think is constantly ignored by those who dissent from the church in general and this issue in particular:

Jesus is God!

Jesus is not only the son of God he is in fact God as well.  That being the case the idea that he would not be capable or willing to challenge a social norm is ridiculous on its face.

At least it is if you believe Jesus is who he said he was, if you don’t then perhaps you have no business saying who should be a Catholic priest and who should not.

Exit Question: How many of the liberal Catholics who have celebrated this Pope over the last few years, particularly Democrat elected officials, will rush to do a volte face now over this?

On Friday I attended the Carenet Dinner in Hollis NH.

For those not familiar with it, Carenet is a protestant ministry for pregnant woman, women removing from abortion and men and women learning how to be parents.

I spoke to Linda Barrie one of the officials about their work

And to their keynote speaker Pastor Keith Ferrin from Seattle

I shared a table with Mike Rogers and Steve MacDonald of Granite Grok who spoke to me after the event about both Carenet and the Election:

As Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for life said there is plenty of room for all of us in the pro-life movement, I’m pleased to see Carenet do their part.

Moira Noonan & Fr Denis interviewed by WQPH
Moira Noonan & Fr Denis interviewed by WQPH
On Sunday at the former Madonna of the Holy Rosary Church in Fitchburg WQPH sponsored Holy Mass and healing service with Catholic Evangelist, Author and international speaker Moira Newman and Fr. Denis Phaneuf of the Diocese of saskatoon Saskatchewan and an advisor on the Vatican consultation on Exorcism and Deliverance Ministry.

A fair sized crowd came and heard this gospel and sermon at the mass

And stayed for the healing service, heard them speak and bought the various books available.

When all was said and done I interviewed both Moira:

and Fr. Denis

By John Ruberry

A couple of headlines caught my attention this afternoon. Here’s one: “WikiLeaks Releases More Purported Emails, Bringing Total To More Than 11,000,” comes from NPR. Wow. This federally funded news outlet I guess “forgot” that the victim of the hack, Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, admitted that his private emails were illegally breached. But he added, without evidence, that some of that correspondence may have been altered. Bloomberg writes, “WikiLeaks Releases More Alleged E-Mails From Top Clinton Aide.” Bloomberg: Are you paying attention?

So yes, Podesta’s emails were hacked. By whom? The Clinton campaign is blaming the Russian government, offering little in proof, although this morning on Fox News Sunday, Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence says “the evidence continues to point in that direction.” The Clinton campaign, outside of Podesta, refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of these emails, claiming that the Russians are trying to sway the results of this autumn’s election, while deflecting findings from those emails, which include Bill Clinton receiving a $1 million birthday check for the Clinton Foundation–the charity is really a slush fund, by the way–from the government of Qatar, which we learn from another email, is funding ISIS, or at least Hillary Clinton believes so.

Did Russia write that $1 million check?

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Also learned from those purported emails was that there was an anti-Catholic email exchange between Podesta, Jennifer Palmieri, communications director of the campaign, and John Halpin of the leftist Center for American Progress. If the trio had discussing Islam in the same manner, they’d almost certainly be looking for new jobs now.

And those revelations are just the ones on the top of the Podesta email pile.

But a couple of media outlets, probably more, apparently believe that by questioning the legitimacy of these alleged emails, people may doubt their veracity.

I don’t think it’s going to work. Not this time. We’re not as dumb as the media elites believe.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word.

You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.

But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me.

John:8:43-45

 

There has been an avalanche of talk (but almost none by the MSM) on the Wikileaks revelations concerning the Democrats/Clinton campaign and the attempt to co-op, infiltrate and take out the Catholic Church for it to be remade in it’s own image, if you listen to EWTN radio you simply can’t miss it.

But all these revelations brought me back to the days when the Satanic Temple was planning their black mass at Harvard, In one of the many updates to my primary post I liked to Mark Shea who absolutely nailed it:

Demonstrating once again the back-handed compliment that the devil always pays to Jesus Christ, the blasphemy is directed, not toward Zeus, Quetzelcoatl or Mars, but toward the one true God.

But I’d go one step farther.  The Satanic Temple wasn’t organizing a black Seder or a black Billy Graham Rally or a Black Baptist, Lutheran or even Anglican service they attacked the Catholic mass and the Eucharist because they understood and still understand that the Catholic Church is truly the actual church of Jesus Christ, founded by him, with St. Peter at its head with an unbroken line of succession, tradition teaching and authority granted by Christ and protected by the Holy Spirit and that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Remember there are plenty of Catholic supply stores where you can buy unconsecrated hosts indistinguishable from the real thing to the naked eye but it was the fact our satanic enemies (I’m sorry but it a Catholic can’t refer to a Satanist as an enemy then he isn’t allowed any) claimed to have a consecrated host that got the story rolling.

When I read the words of Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri (who defends herself by saying “I am a Catholic” forgetting that Judas could rightly claim he was an Apostle Chosen by Christ) I hear the same thing.

When they target the Catholic Church specifically, when they found their front organizations claiming to be catholic when they conspire to bring down the church even as the Obama administration conspires to bring down the little sisters of the poor, they are telling the entire world that the Catholic Church, for all it’s imperfections because it is administrated by humans, is the real thing.

That’s why it must be destroyed and that’s why they are doing their best to do so.

Just like the Satanic Temple.

Closing thought #1:  Elizabeth Scalia suggested something similar this week:

Catholics who are fretsome about Podesta’s words, and the words of others in the trail of emails exposing our “public servants” as seriously short-sighted and dubiously motivated, really should not be. “If the world hates you, it hated me first,” said our Christ, (John 15:18). While the Podesta emails tell us who is firmly of the world, they pay us an unintended compliment, here, by recognizing us as part of something that cannot be tamed, or distracted from the call of the One who makes us free.

Closing thought 2:  At my very first CPAC back in 2010 I interviewed some DC transit workers on the subject:  Why they are democrats, they turned it around and asked me why I am a republican (I’m not anymore FYI) my answer was as a faithful believing Catholic I was no longer welcome in the party.

It’s a high complement from Podesta and company that I could see in the 90’s what John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Tim Kaine still can’t, won’t or pretend not to see today.


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We have repeatedly heard from professed Catholic pols like Tim Kaine that they are “personally opposed” to abortion yet vote for it on a regular basis.

There is an obvious question that this brings up that I really haven’t heard anyone ask people like Kaine and as I, due to my job, could not see or hear the entire debate, figured I’d ask it here.

“You say you are ‘personally opposed’ to abortion, can you explain your reason for personally opposing abortion?”

The answer to this question should be telling, particularly if the objection is a moral one, because if the objection is a moral one, why is that moral issue not important enough for one to oppose it politically.

“I only know this is wrong.”

– Guinan
Star Trek: The Next Generation
“Yesterday’s Enterprise”

I’m a sucker for time-travel stories. Whether it’s Harry Potter, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Back to the Future, Stephen King’s 11/22/63 or anything else, a good story about the hero traveling back in time and affecting (or restoring) “the timeline” is one of my favorite diversions. If the plot is clever and resolves itself well, I’m even willing to put up with hokey dialog and two-dimensional characters. I just love it when a story, which can easily open itself to paradox, cliché and deus ex machina anti-climax, manages to apply self-consistent logic and arrive at an exciting, thought-provoking and satisfying ending.

Of course, we know that time travel is impossible. You can’t go back in time and murder your grandfather, there are no alternate universes and there is no grand government conspiracy hiding an actual time travel device so we just think it’s impossible. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to change the past, at least not if you’re a progressive, or whatever term the left chooses to apply to itself. The only hard part is getting yourself into a position to do it, such as becoming a Supreme Court Justice.

If you’re like me, and believe that words have meanings and expect that logical self-consistency is essential for any set of laws to make sense, then you would agree that once a law is passed it’s meaning should remain constant until such time as the legislature chooses to amend or repeal the law. That’s a pretty basic feature of any “government of laws, not of men.” The problem, as the left sees it, is that our Constitution was set up to make it hard to change the law, but we conservatives see this as a feature, not a bug.

The way the Constitution says you change a law is to advocate for the change and convince the legislature to pass the amendment, get it approved by the other house and have the president sign it into law. But that can be difficult since (ideally) each legislator is beholden to a constituency (those pesky “we the people” again), so they have to convince them that it’s a good idea too. If they can’t, then they may get voted out in the next election. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. What if there were an easier way?

Let’s suppose that time travel were actually possible. Our legislative crusader could go back in time, maybe to the Constitutional Convention, and actually advocate to change the Constitution. Maybe convince James Madison that the first amendment should include that phrase “Congress shall make no law limiting the ability of a mother to kill her unborn child at any time during her pregnancy.” Then the Supreme Court never would have had to wrestle with the abortion question in Roe v. Wade.

Instead, the left has discovered that Legislative Time Travel is much easier. All they have to do is decide what policy they want to enact and then declare that the meaning of the appropriate legislation is actually different from what everyone thought it was originally, and – surprise! – it actually means just what it needs to mean to enact whatever policy they want. They did it with abortion, they did it with gay “marriage” and now they’re doing it with “transgenderism.” Instead of going back in time and convincing Madison, all they have to say is “Madison really meant whatever I wish he’d meant.”

And the Obama administration doesn’t even have to go back that far. By reinterpreting Title IX to include the nebulous term “gender identity” they have the chutzpah to tell legislators, many of whom are still around, that the law they passed to prohibit discrimination based on sex now means something completely different.

So now we find ourselves in an alternate reality where laws are no longer logically self-consistent, since “gender identity” is completely subjective and this made-up interpretation of plainly written law is now in direct contradiction of the First Amendment in forcing churches and religious organizations and employers to go against the practice of their faith (i.e. the free exercise of their religion) to accommodate what the American College of Pediatricians has classified as a psychological disorder.

Since we don’t believe in Legislative Time Travel, we need representatives who will follow the Constitution and not just make things up as they go along. Since Clinton has pledged to be Obama’s third term, we can expect more of the same if she is elected. It says a lot about how far left Clinton and the democrats have become that Donald Trump is actually the candidate who is more likely to restore our timeline to one that make sense.

Yesterday I spent the day in Leominster Massachusetts birthplace of Johnny Appleseed for their annual Johnny Appleseed fair manning the WQPH 89.3 FM Queen of Perpetual Help Shirley Fitchburg booth promoting Catholic radio for people and praying decades of the rosary on the spot for people’s intentions both online and in person.

At the festival I did a few interviews for WQPH. We talked to Adam Webber of the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network which provides help for homeless families.

If you want to donate to MIHN their website is here.

I also spoke to Brother Alexis who while from Fitchburg has spent the last 2 1/2 decades in Italy.

I’d also like to thank him for joining me in many of the rosary decades that I prayed for others.

ewtn-interviews-025Our next day started with breakfast at St Bernard’s monastery where Brother Christopher made our crew acquainted with the Benedictine Brew the Monastery’s coffee blend and then we were off to pick up our other pilgrims and run a few errands with our new Bus driver and headed for the EWTN studios in Irondale for our day there.

Benedictine Brew
Benedictine Brew
Benedictine Brew[/caption]

The Site of EWTN was the original location of Mother Angelica’s monastery before she built and moved to the Shrine of the most blessed sacrament in Hanceville. When we arrived Our day began with the Noon mass at the chapel (which is not televised) That is where I met Lucy who you might recognize if you watch the daily mass the short oriental lady who goes every day. It turned out her daughter lives in Fitchburg which was quite a coincidence. Several pilgrims from other groups were just as excited to meet her as the various EWTN celebs and priests and posed for a picture with her that I took for them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We had a late lunch in the small cafeteria area for pilgrims where we met Brother Leo of the “Hey Brother Leo” book series who sat for a brief interview

also on site was Jack Williams from EWTN Radio’s morning glory and open line who would be joining us on Fr. Pacwa’s show later that evening.

this was immediately followed by an hour long talk from Fr. Miguel on God’s calling. Here is a brief excerpt:

After our talk our group was divided into two groups, one went with Fr. Leo and the other with a woman named porta who sat for an interview later on Friday:

sets on wheels
sets on wheels
I was in Porta’s group and she led us thorough the EWTN studio’s where we would be going later in the evening for Fr. Pacwa’s show. A few of us took pictures on the set while it was empty.

She also showed up Mother Angelica’s office which had become a green room for guests.

Most of the various set backgrounds were on wheels so they could be quickly switched for one show to the other. Various other set backgrounds from shows no longer on the air were stored on site.

After that section we were taken to the technical area where the various technicians were located. I asked about hackers and they said while there were occasional attacks they had no luck getting in, of course being EWTN being a religious network the wasn’t a lot of incentive for the various financial hackers to target them.

the Caption Lady
the Caption Lady

As the tour continued I fell behind to talk to various workers who had been there or decades. Many had been surprised to find themselves at EWTN but it had really been a home to them.

When the tour was over we had dinner at EWTN again in the cafeteria area. While there I spoke to the oldest pilgrim in our group.

As well as Fr. Leonard Mary who had been in Fitchburg for a pilgrimage last year who remembered me (I told you the scarf comes in handy)

after dinner we had some free time to pray the liturgy of the hours, visit the blessed sacrament or get confession before the evening’s show.

Our group was the largest of those at EWTN but there were others from Texas and a few individuals who had also come to join us in the audience live.

Two Camera men were on opposite sides to take shots one focused on Fr. Pacwa and one to focus on his guest. Additionally there was one stationary camera set to catch the pair of them. A monitor on the side wall showed us which camera was feeding live at any given time.

The audience for the show
The audience for the show
Before the Show Fr. Pacwa came out in a cowboy hat and gave us some brief instructions or the live show remind us that if we were looking at the monitor rather than the show when the engineer turned to the audience we would be looking away. He joked once the video was available on DVD or online could watch the broadcast freeze the broadcast and look at ourselves on TV to our hearts content.

The show ran an hour, the first guest was Jack Williams who I had interviewed earlier who briefly talked about EWTN radio and plugged our station.

The Primary guest was Peter Williamson who has written a series of biblical commentaries

During the first break they asked who wanted to ask questions. We raised our hands they asked us what the questions were and then had us line up to the side. When our turn would come they signaled go to the mike and Fr would call on us when he was ready.

When he called on me they he asked jokingly if I had been told the EWTN studios were in Alaska rather than alabama because of the scarf.

When the show was over it turned out there was an issue with the initial into of Jack Williams so we watched as they re-recorded Fr. Mitch’s brief into of Jack for the broadcast, made slightly more complicated by him not being there so Fr. had to make sure that he faced toward where Jack was supposed to be.

When that was done Fr. Pacwa started taking pictures with people. that went on for long while. I took advantage of that time to interview his guest Peter Williamson

When I was done the pictures continued unabated. It was as if every single person there wanted a shot but despite the long day Fr. Pacwa did have a few minutes for me.

By this time it was really late so we piled on the bus and said our goodbyes and we headed back for the night, where we at the monastery packed as Wednesday would be our last night there and the next day would start early.

inline1The heart of Saint Padre Pio

Two days ago I happened across an article saying that the relics of Saint Padre Pio would be on display at the Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Since I’m only 2 hours south of Boston, it seemed like a golden opportunity, so I packed my oldest kids in the car after school on Friday and made the drive to Boston.

I had never seen Saint relics before in person, so I had no idea what to expect. I actually didn’t even know anything about Padre Pio, so I had to Google him the night before.

abouttoenterAre we REALLY seeing a Saint’s heart?

Despite nasty traffic, we got to the Cathedral around 6 pm. I expected security or some sort of general craziness, as I heard that thousands had come before in previous days. Instead, I found a relatively orderly line forming from the back of the church. So we got in line and walked inside.

openning1I gotta say, Skyrim has nothing on this real life marvel

The cathedral is nothing short of impressive. As our line progressed forward, I calmed myself and said a short prayer for my youngest daughter. She has multiple heart defects, and I asked Padre Pio for an intervention. Since his heart was on display, it seemed like a good time to do so.

suspicious1He’s keeping an eye on you…

As we got close to the front, I put the camera away and picked up my son. As much as I wanted a close up picture, it just didn’t feel right to stand in front and snap away, plus it would have slowed the now-really-long line down. So we all came forward, I kissed the enclosure, my kids did as well, and we stepped to the side.

The “guardian” of the relic seemed really suspicious of anyone with a camera, including an outstanding gentleman like myself.

eyeonyou1Nothing gets past this guy. Not even me.

I mean, really? I’m not Indiana Jones. I don’t even know what you would do with a stolen relic. Is there a black market for these things?

With two little kids and a 2 hour+ drive back, we didn’t stay for Mass, but we did get one last picture.

outside1

Probably the coolest part of this experience was realizing that there are modern Saints and modern miracles. Sadly, the media doesn’t care to focus on these miracles and instead would have us wallow in political discussions. Luckily for us, we have a Church we can go to that can bring these modern miracles to life.


This post solely represents the view of the author and does not represent the official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other branch of the US government. All of the people in it are real, including the really cute kids pictured above.


If you liked this, you might like reading my blog, and maybe even buy my Kids Book on the Navy.

p12079367_b_v9_acBy John Ruberry

Without the phenomenal box office success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, HBO’s Game of Thrones series may not have ever launched. And without GoT’s ongoing critical and audience raves, The Last Kingdom would almost certainly never have been giving the green light by the BBC.

I just finished binge-watching the first season of The Last Kingdom, which like Game of Thrones is a television version of a series of books, in this case Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories. I might not have ever heard of the BBC series had not the ninth season of the Doctor Who reboot had been bombarded with Last Kingdom trailers. I guess that’s the point of promos.

Season two of The Last Kingdom is currently in production.

So how is it? Well, in a few words, LK is pretty good. After all, I kept watching, didn’t I?

Here’s how the series is set up–with spoilers for the most part that cover only the first half of the first episode:

The action begins in the late ninth century as Danish invaders–the word “vikings” is never used–have transformed themselves from coastal raiders into a disciplined army who have conquered each English kingdom save Wessex. The lead character is Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), the son of a Northumberland noblemen who as a child witnesses his father fall in a battle against the invaders. After he humorously attacks a Dane, Uhtred is taken as a slave. Losing his Christian faith, Uhtred the Godless, much in the matter of white characters captured by Indians in Old West movies, seems unsure of his loyalties, but he’s determined to reclaim his family castle from his duplicitous uncle.

An adult Uhtred, after his Danish family is killed by other Danes, makes his way to Wessex where he pledges loyalty to King Alfred and joins the Saxon cause.

Attractive in a Jon Snow sort of way, Uhtred doesn’t have a vow of chastity to hamper his romantic pursuits.

Religion greatly drives the plot, The priest who baptizes the young Uhtred–twice–has also made his way to Wessex, where he serves as a counselor to Alfred. Refreshingly, the Christians in The Last Kingdom are pious, but not portrayed as foolishly pious. The only religious character treated with disdain is a Danish sorcerer.

Alfred (David Dawson), the devout king, doesn’t let his sickliness damper his resolve to save his realm and drive the Danes out of England.

Besides Alfred, other historical characters who appear in The Last Kingdom are the Danish chieftains Ubba and Guthrum, Saxons Odda the Elder, King Edmund of East Anglia, Alfred’s nephew Aethelwold, and Welsh monk Asser, the biographer of the Wessex ruler. A glaring oversight is the omission of Ivor the Boneless, the Dane whose name still perplexes historians. Ivor was the half-brother of Ubba.

The show plays homage to the legend that Alfred, asked by a woman to keep an eye on loaves of bread being baked, allows them to burn as his mind wanders to pressing matters of kingship.

The cinematography is superb although the filming of the series in Hungary, rather than England, might be the catalyst of one of LK’s noticeable shortcomings, cheap-looking wardrobes and crowns that appear to be plastic. If the series was shot in Britain, or even Northern Ireland where some of Game of Thrones is filmed, I’m sure the costume department of The Last Kingdom could have scrounged up more convincing crowns some better period clothes from a regional Shakespeare company.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

If you are looking for one more Game of Thrones comparison, then I won’t let you down. While gratuitous nudity is absent from The Last Kingdom, the brief glimpses of bare flesh amid the armor and swords appear forced as if someone is screaming at the directors, “We need naked bums for better ratings!”

I’ll be back for season two, hoping for more. (More meaning better shows, not bare buttocks.) After all, the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood didn’t hit its stride until season two and it didn’t achieve consistent greatness until The Children of Earth in season three.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit
.

Castle San Miguel
Castle San Miguel
We left the abbey heading for Shirine of the most blessed sacrament, picking up our guest house people on the way.

There is a single entrance to the site down a country road filled with farmland horses and cattle grazing calmly nearby giving no clue as to what is to be found at the end of the road.

There were very few members of the group who had been to the shrine and the Castle that sits upon it but even so it remained an imposing sight as you approach it.

When you walk into the medieval style keep this is what you see

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Conference Room
this is the area used for conferences dining (items are catered and brought in). It also contains the rather large and very catholic gift shop full of coins, prayer cards and medals. As our catholic supply store in the Fitchburg area closed I loaded up on small bottles for holy water to be given out a few of which I filled from the taps connected to huge tanks of holy water kept in the nativity area next to the castle

For those who are not catholic be aware that all such items are just that items that can be bought and sold until blessed by a priest or deacon, once blessed they can NOT be sold either by a gift shop or by the person who had them blessed. No legit catholic gift shop will sell a blessed item.

The Courtyard
The Courtyard

We then filled into the conference room for a talk on the origins of Mother Angelica, her vocation and the Shrine of the most blessed sacrament. I set up a mic for the talk next to her podium so I caught all of her speech but in the Q & A you’ll only hear the “A” not the “Q”

When the talk was over we headed for mass at the lower chapel where Mother Angelica is buried. No photography is allowed there so naturally I have no images to show you. I was struck that not only was the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated Ad Orientem but communion was received kneeling at the altar rail with an altar boy holding a salver under a chin, both of which I found very appealing.

Touring the Eucharistic Center
Touring the Eucharistic Center
After mass we had some time before our tour of the John Paul II Eucharistic Center we spent some time at the grave of Mother Angelica. We pressed rosaries against her grave that the station planned to give away and prayed a rosary for the person who would be receiving it.

A bit later we visited the Eucharistic Center. The last time I was there the young knights of the Holy Eucharist were the tour guides, but they had been transferred to Nebraska so a gentleman name Micah gave the tour.

When the Tour was over he took a few minutes to speak to me about his job.

The Vast Collection of Relics of Saints
The Vast Collection of Relics of Saints

When the tour was over and after a quick sandwich we had free time. I spent mine at Mother’s grave with several hundred rosaries saying a Hail Mary over each as I touched them to her grave.

Soon it was time to head back to St. Benedict Abbey where I visited and filmed the famous Grotto.

And interviewed Brother Christopher who gave us the history of brother Joseph

From there we were back to the cafeteria at St. Bernard Abbey where I interviewed one of the students who attended the school.

At St. Bernard Abbey
At St. Bernard Abbey
However at this point things took a turn for the worse. Our bus driver had been a tad under the weather on day one, by that evening he was in horrible pain. we had a pair of nurses on the trip who took a look at him and it was decided he needed to get to the local hospital. We had no way of getting him there. The Taxi services stopped running early, there was no Uber or Lyft and we failed to get ahold of the local parish or Knight of Columbus that we hoped to get a hand from. Eventually our driver drove to the hospital in his bus with our nurses with him while the rest of us took up a Rosary Circle. One of the Nurses takes up the story.

In the end our driver got the treatment he needed while a substitute driver arrived from Atlanta while he waited to be treated. Ironically our substitute had driven for our tour leader Maryann before and while our primary driver would have a day of rest we would be getting ready for our trip to the EWTN studio the next day.


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There’s a new campaign, Abortion in Good Faith, promoting the killing of unborn children for the sake of “justice,”

“The ban on public funding is the single most detrimental policy to women’s access to abortion in the US,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “We are tired of this grave injustice and our campaign lifts up the voices of Catholics who want this policy to change.”

The Catholics For Choice campaign calls for the end of restrictions on public funding of abortion, since those restrictions are “unjust,” and for ending the Hyde Amendment prohibiting federal funding for Medicaid coverage of abortion services.

Ed Morrissey does an excellent job of destroying each of the Abortion in Good Faith arguments, and includes the following,

The teachings on abortion within the universal Christian church go all the way back to its very first years. The Didache dates back to 70 AD, and is considered the first catechism or instruction on the faith. It’s the starting point for what Catholics call the magisterium after the canonical New Testament letters, from the Apostles themselves, and its position on abortion could not have been more clear:

And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.

St. Basil of Caesarea addressed the issue a little over a century later:

Women also who administer drugs to cause abortion, as well as those who take poisons to destroy unborn children, are murderesses. So much on this subject.

Ed also points the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 2270-75, which start with (emphasis added),

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.(71)

It is spelled out clearly and unambiguously, again,

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

Pro-abortion Democrats like the Catholics for Choice, Nancy Pelosi ,and Tim Kaine call themselves Catholic but ignore the Church’s doctrine on abortion, a doctrine dating back to the origins of the Church, either out of convenience, political expedience, willful ignorance, or moral obfuscation (or a combination of all) to promote the Hillary agenda and their party’s culture of death.

Naming their latest propaganda “Abortion in Good Faith” is a slap on the face, as the campaign aims for nothing “good” and certainly lacks “faith.”

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

 

I spoke to Fr. Mitch Pacwa after sitting in on his live show during my Trip to EWTN with the WQPH pilgrimage group.

The most important line? “If you don’t have time to pray they’ll be nothing” Now that’s a priest

I also interviewed his guest that day Author Peter Williamson who is writing commentaries of scripture:

The Show is here you might recognize the fellow in the scarf asking a question on air in at 35:50

Incidentally you also might recognize the room where I interviewed Fr Pacwa as Mother Angelica’s old office at EWTN where she was miraculously a couple of decades ago

If Mother Angelica is ever canonized that room would be full of 1st class relics (Things that were in physical contact with a saint). If that happens I guess I would technically become a 3rd class relic (Something that has been in contact with a 1st class relic).

I interviewed Brother Leo of the “Hey Brother Leo” series of Children’s books at EWTN

It’s important to remember that the Catholic faith is built on reason.

NOTE: You might have wondered what happened to this post. Due to a critical database error this post (originally posted Monday night) my scheduled lead post for Tuesday were both totally destoryed, not even a trace and my 2nd alabama trip post nearly so. That might sound bad but 2 hours earlies I had lost EVERY post from 2016 after Jan 16th so I’m going to count my blessings.

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Matthew 10:32-33

You know there are very few things more depressing when on a pilgrimage to the grave of a nun who built an organization proclaiming the truth of catholic faith to the world to read about this:

Sr Jane Marie Klein, told AP the name changes are in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of St Francis of Perpetual Adoration, which founded the hospital system.

What name change is Sr. Jane Marie Klein saying is in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual adoration? Why removing the “saint” out of hospital names that she runs.

The health care system that oversees the Illinois and Indiana hospitals has determined that dropping the saint names will strengthen the brand identity of the system as a whole, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

“Unsainted” hospitals include those that had incorporated the names of St James, St Anthony, St Elizabeth, St Margaret, and St Francis.

Because nothing better illustrates the mission of Catholic nuns like ditch the saints and the Catholic identity they allude to.

It seems she followed the exact path that Screwtape suggested.

quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”… Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.

This entire story might seem confusing. While the Hospitals will discover that like God, the saints will not force themselves on those who don’t want them and will, however reluctantly agree to stay away, you would think that given the purpose of a hospital is to treat the sick, the aid of the Hospital’s patron would be very valuable. Of course that presumes actual belief and unfortunately I’ve discovered belief is not longer a given among the professed religious.

Exit question, who wants to bet that the Hospitals don’t remove the “St.” when trying to fundraise from faithful Catholics?


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on the set ewtn
on the set ewtn
My Trip to Alabama came about not so much as planned as requested. WQPH panned a pilgrimage to Mother Angelica’s grave to commemorate the nativity of the blessed mother.

With money tight my plans were to give it a miss but Mary Ann Harold of WQPH needed someone to shoot audio and interviews and if you know MaryAnn you will know it’s impossible to say no to her when he is trying to win souls for the Lord. So through a combination of permission to get a week off from work a ride from my brother and an increase in credit card debt not normally encouraged in conservatives I found myself at Logan Airport at 2:45 AM on Monday morning.

airport decour
airport decour

Our group of 30 boarded our flight with Southwest on time (for the first time ever I was in the “A” group so I planted myself at the back of the plane meaning to get 45 minutes of sleep on the flight to Baltimore when the pilot announced that the plane had a fuel leak and we would be delayed as it was repaired and the required paperwork filled out. While this offered excellent opportunities for sleep it meant we might not make our connecting flight in Baltimore to Birmingham which would disrupt our entire schedule. This type of thing seems to happen a lot on our pilgrimages almost as if something objected to it.

Da pilgrimage bus
Da pilgrimage bus

Eventually while I slept the plane was repaired and all the paperwork filled out and when I woke up we were in the air preparing to land in Baltimore. We were very behind and I saw a lot of trouble getting our people and luggage to the next plane but Southwest gave us a hand, deciding to use our current plane for the flight to Birmingham which quite erased the time we lost for the repairs.

After a short wait we were greeted by the large bus to for the 28 of us toward our destinations. We were in two groups. One opted to get more private accommodations at guest houses rentable near Mother Angelica’s monistary

Of of several guest houses near the shrine of the most blessed sacrament.
One of several guest houses near the shrine of the most blessed sacrament.
where over the course of the year pilgrims who want a bit more privacy but quick access to the shrine stay. We also dropped off a pair of priests at a special retreat center for priests at the shrine. Clergy are allowed to stay there free of charge on retreat to help them recharge for their 24/7 vocation.
The retreat center
The retreat center

The rest of us continued to Cullman Alabama to St. Bernard Monastery and school were we had accommodates for three of the four nights of our stay. We were lucky to get that time as a group of deacons were coming to the St. Bernards for retreat that week but there were willing to shoehorn us in to help us out. Yet another of the little things that went right when things seemed ready to go wrong.

Brother Christopher
Brother Christopher
. The plan was for mass at the Monastery followed by dinner but even with the nap on the plane I needed to get a little shut eye but by the time I woke up mass was long over and I just made dinner at the cafeteria where the resident students (who had not arrived yet as it was labor day) normally eat
the chapel at St Bernard Abbey
the chapel at St Bernard Abbey

After dinner we all prepared to crash. In the retreat building there was plenty of religious art and old books. I found a 115 year old volume of Catholic classics and read some Aquinas as I went to bed. It was going to be a very full next couple of days.

The next morning I walked to the Abbey church figuring to catch morning mass, but it turned out the monks had their mass at 5 PM so instead I prayed my morning prayers before the blessed sacrament. Many of the monks were on retreat but I was able to get an interview with Fr Kevin McGrath who had been at the Abbey for almost my entire life and later with our bus driver who owned the company

Little did we know that the curves on the road would not be the only ones facing us and him.


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As election day comes closer I find myself thinking of a sermon my pastor gave on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

For those not familiar with it, here is the passage in Luke Chapter 10 Verses 25 to 37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’

Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.

When my pastor talked about this story he noted that there was more than meets the eye.

Priests in the time of Christ were born not made.  A priest might have only a couple of chances to serve in the temple in his lifetime.  So the priest seeing the injured man might have said to himself.  “Boy I’d really like to help out but if I do and become ritually unclean I can’t server in the temple and that’s more important.

Likewise the Levite had religious duties and might have said to himself.  Well my first duty is to God so while I’d really like to help I can’t make myself unclean and unable to serve him.

Put simply they (like the doctor of the law asking “who is my neighbor) found a plausible reason to not do what they knew they should and as our pastor explained, while both of them might have thought they were serving God better by doing what they did Jesus teaches them:  No you’ve got it wrong, to serve God you have to love your neighbor even if it carries risk.

And those days are coming soon to Christianity in the US, in fact they’ve already arrived.

Even before the election of Hillary we are seeing laws being passed that put Christian organizations in a horrible dilemma, either enable and/or justify sin or find yourself unable to act out your calling either due to financial penalties or legal prohibitions.

I’m sure there will be plenty of christians organizations whose lawyers, whose contributors and even some clergy will tell them:

Look think of all the good you are doing, or, listen you can’t risk the liability here if something goes wrong, or you can’t give your foes an opening by opposing them because they want to destroy you and anyways if you get the state upset you might lose  donors and then where will you be?

The problem is that Christ didn’t tell us to go out and be social workers (although we as Christians do many works for the social good) He didn’t preach be friends with the state (although Christian organizations invariably are not only good citizens but teach virtues that make their children good citizens as well)  And he didn’t tell us to worry about wealth (although he did say to use it for good).

What he DID say is go out and preach the good news to all the world, to do so with courage and be ready to be persecuted for doing so as he was.

 

A Christian who actually believes knows that there are worse things awaiting man than death and that to justify and/or encourage sin, in the hopes of doing good, only leads to death.

CS Lewis Screwtape warned us about this:

 The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. 

If the post Vatican II world taught us anything it’s this:  One we decide we can ditch bits of the faith to keep the turnstiles turning we’ll find out really quickly that there’s no longer any demand to turn them at all.

Or put simply the first virtue is courage without that virtue no other can survive.  I fear we will find out in the near future what Christians have courage and the fear of God and which ones don’t.

Or put simply, don’t be the priest or the Levite in the story.

Baldilocks is tied up and her piece will go up thursday so to tide you over here are a pair of videos from the St. John Paul II Eucharistic Center at Mother angelica’s Monastery:

The role of Saint Juliana and Thomas Aquinas on the feast of Corpus Christi

and an interview with the gentleman who presented the tour

And lets throw in a few photos too

Meet one of the monks/priests at St Bernard Abbey in Cullman Alabama Fr. Ken McGrath

It’s really something to think of a man being a monk since I was five years old but what’s really something is to check out this page and see how many of the monks here are young enough to be my kids.

Orthodoxy creates vocations

liberal-tebow-800Yup, sharing this on Facebook totally made you a hero!

Were you angry about Colin Kaepernick not standing for the pledge of allegiance? Plenty of people on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit were.

Guess what? Colin doesn’t care, because he thinks you’re a sucker.

Sadly, he’s probably right. Kaepernick makes his money playing football. Plenty of you reading this will continue to buy NFL tickets, watch NFL on TV, and buy NFL merchandise. But you’ll put your little Facebook rant and say “See, I got him good!”, while Mr. Kaepernick laughs his way to the bank.

Addicts also rationalize this sort of behavior. I’ve watched many Sailors throw away a perfectly good career because they couldn’t stop snorting cocaine or drinking excessively. Every one of them had a “rational” explanation in their head that eventually collided with life’s hard reality.

SJWYeah, I’m like this most days…

So yes, I’m accusing you of addiction. You don’t really care about what Kaepernick says (or doesn’t say), because you’ll continue to fuel his expensive lifestyle. It’s not just the NFL though. How many of you “conservatives” still drink your 75 adjective coffee drinks from Starbucks, despite their support for Planned Parenthood’s continued genocide of innocent children? Is it because you just can’t find another caffeine fix, or do unborn lives not matter?

plannedparenthoodmeme
That caramel macchiato hates unborn and black lives

The truth is that unless you actually stand up for what you believe and change your behavior in real life (and Facebook isn’t real life), every Kaepernick and Starbucks will continue to trample on your beliefs, because your cowardly addiction gives them an unlimited license to do so.

This is the last week for Da Magnifient Prospects if you like RH NG36B share his work and hit DaTipjar and mention him




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As a Knight of Columbus [that’s where my nom de plume comes from], I was particularly pleased to see the recent op-ed column by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet) in which he called for Catholic politicians either to stop supporting abortion “rights” or to resign their office. I could not agree with him more.  As Pope Benedict XVI said in Sacramentum Caritatis, the question of Catholic politicans supporting abortion is “not negotiable.” So a pro-abortion Catholic politician can only be one of two things:

  1. Misinformed on the Catholic teaching on abortion, such that he thinks his pro-abortion stance is somehow consistent with his Catholicism and thus with his conscience, or
  2. So craven in his desire for political power that he is willing to violate his conscience to acquire it.

Option 1 is addressable by knowledgeable Catholics engaging the candidate. Option 2 can only be addressed by the candidate himself, and I would argue that any politician who can be shown to be in this category should be automatically disqualified from receiving your vote (or anyone’s for that matter). [Note that I am not calling for a “religious test” for the candidate, but rather that voters disqualify him by not supporting the candidate. There’s a huge difference.] Moreover, if a sincere effort has been taken to inform the candidate to address the first problem and the candidate persists in his support for abortion, then the only conclusion to be drawn is that he is now in the second category and undeserving of your support. As a Knight, I find particularly galling the attitude of pro-abortion politicians who not only make an issue of their Catholicism, but also publicize their membership in the Knights of Columbus to enhance their credentials.

Indeed, I was involved a few years ago in an effort to have the Knights adopt a policy whereby they would kick out any member who, as a politician, could be shown to support legislation or policy that contradicted Catholic teaching on abortion, marriage or the family. We made considerable progress, but ultimately the motion was defeated at the Knights’ convention. The reasoning was that it was not the Knights’ job to determine who was a Catholic in good standing, which is the only qualification for becoming a Knight of Columbus in the first place. They felt that that decision lay with the bishops. I can’t help but feel that a certain amount of political reticense (dare I say “cowardice”) also played a part in the decision because the Knights are – quite rightly – protective of their tax-exempt status as a world-wide philanthopic and insurance agency.

Unfortunately, while the Knights could enforce such a policy in a non-partisan manner (Lord knows there are many Catholic Republicans who support abortion), it is undeniable that it would have a disparate impact on Democrat politicians due to that party’s extreme pro-abortion platform. And given Democrats’ penchant for forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups and individuals to violate their consciences to support abortion, it is a safe bet that such a policy would put the Knights firmly in the Democrats’ cross-hairs to remove the tax exemption that enables the Knights to do so much good work throughout the world.

But if our Supreme Knight recognizes that pro-abortion Catholic politicians are in serious-enough error to call for their resignation, surely if they persist in their error, Mr. Anderson should call for their resignation from the Knights. Allowing them to continue as Knights brings scandal and undermines the Knights’ position as the pre-eminent private Catholic charitable institution in the world. While I applaud his call that Catholics must not vote for such politicians (including Tim Kaine), I challenge him to extend this policy to its logical conclusion.

A note to readers: It’s getting down to “crunch time” for Da Magnificent Prospects, so I’d really appreciate it if you could share this article and my others with your social media friends. My other articles are:

Hamilton and Marriage
Trump, the Church and Immigration
The “Final Five” Show Us How It’s Done
The Left is Wrong About Rights
Ends, Means and Democrats
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A local cultural observation, just to break up the campaign coverage for a minute…

The Latin Mass can pack a room, and it ain’t all about nostalgia. (Or, as friend used to spell it, “naustalgia,” which I always took to mean the past making you sick.) One of the old ethnic churches in my New England city has just been re-opened after being shuttered for 15 years. Our bishop asked an order of priests dedicated to the Tridentine Mass to set up shop, and the order obliged. The first Sunday Mass was held recently, and it was an eye-opener.

First of all, the number of young families was staggering. They’re looking to the future. Talking with them after Mass was like a tonic.

The church was packed, people standing in the back, even 40 or so standing on the steps outside when the church filled up. It’s possible some were there for the novelty, or to see what a Latin Mass was like. There were a few folks who had been parishioners back in the days when it was “the Polish parish.” There were certainly some pre-Vatican II Catholics who wanted the liturgy of their youth. Most of the attendees, though, looked like they’d been born well after the mid-1960s.

Second, the bumper stickers out in the parking lot indicated a lot of politically-engaged people in attendance. There were humorous (not to say barbed) slogans and serious ones, many explicitly pro-life, few explicitly partisan, yet all designed to give a Democratic nominee the vapors.

So what?

I’ll tell you what this looks like to me: these people praying together are not cultural refugees. They’re not wringing their hands. They’re looking past the next election. They’re steeped less in tradition per se than in faith in God. And they’re bringing that faith with them as they raise their kids, go about their daily business, and prepare to vote.

If the Republican nominee prevails, these are people who will keep him on his toes. If the Democratic nominee prevails – and she won’t, if these folks have their way – these are people who have the makings of resistance, if not outright defiance. People who take their religious faith and their American citizenship seriously are a force to reckoned with, with or without a “win” in November. Let others talk (without a constitutional basis) about separation of church and state – just don’t expect separation of faith and daily life.

Am I giving too much credit to one event in one small city? Maybe. Still, there’s something about that church full of savvy young families that shook up my pessimism about the upcoming election. I needed the reality check.

As for the Mass itself, it was a revelation to me. I’m a post-Vatican II cradle Catholic. Let’s just say there seem to be riches I’ve yet to discover.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at LeavenForTheLoaf.com. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire. See her earlier posts for DaTechGuyBlog: Ethics and PP’s Campaign Cash, Putting a Know-Nothing in His Place, Ads Say the Darnedest Things, and Worried About the Court? Then Worry About the Senate. 

A note to readers: I’m still one of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Prospects, striving to earn your thumbs-up. DTG will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent Tryouts by hits-per-post and hits to DaTipJar. If you hit DaTipJar after reading one of my posts, please mention my name so Da Boss knows I’m earning my keep – and thank you! (Look for a tip jar link at the right side of the page if it’s not visible below.)




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Reg:  All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Monty Python  Life of Brian 1979

Helen Ramirez: You want to know why I’m leaving?  Then listen.   Kane will be dead in half an hour.   And nobody’s going to do anything about it. And when he dies, this town dies too.   I can feel it.

High Noon 1952

Wednesday I wrote about how the situation in Louisiana doesn’t help the MSM’s cause and how it’s affects their coverage but there is another aspect that I’ve talked about before in these web pages that Rod Dreher mentioned in the piece I quoted that, that is worthy of its own post:

you would be hard-pressed to find a single church or Christian organization (like the school community of which I’m a part) that isn’t in some way helping flood victims. I’m not talking about simply giving money. I’m talking about doing sacrificial work to help those who are helpless.

This of course is no surprise to any Christian of any denomination as it echoes the words of St. James in his letter:

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

James 2:15-16

Christians are not just called to be believers, we are called to be doers.  If you look at the Ten Commandments they are divided between the things we do based on our duty to God as his children and our duties to each other as brothers and sisters or as Christ put it.  

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”

Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

This is the reason why as Matthew Kelly said:

Every single day the Catholic Church feeds more people, houses more people , clothes more people, visits more imprisoned people and educates more people than any other institution on the planet earth can ever hope to.

Worcester Mass. March 20th 2010

And you will find that if you go to your local church of any denomination, Catholic or Protestant you will find people either quietly or loudly doing all the good works that a lot of you.

The media has not talked about this, any more than they bothered to talk about Miravia or the Kolping Society or visitation house or the open arms society.

Why do I bring all this up, because Rod mentions something of interest concerning the upcoming election and the election of Hillary:

Some people say that loss of tax-exempt status, which is what many progressives would like to see happen to dissident churches, will be no big deal. Why should their tax dollars go to subsidize bigotry? they reason.

It will be a very big deal. All contributions to churches and Christian organizations doing relief work are tax-deductible at the present time. This will likely go away, dramatically hampering the resources available to conservative churches like Istrouma to help the suffering in instances like this. Far as I know, nobody has seen crews from the Human Rights Campaign mucking out houses or feeding refugees.

Of course if they lose their tax exemption, churches will still do these things. But they will have many fewer resources with which to do so. Progressives either have not thought about this, or, as I suspect, they just don’t care.

I guarantee you won’t see Jim Carville saying “this is saving people lives” in arguing against this.  Our liberal “friends” have embraced a different faith and that faith’s primary enemy is Christianity.

One of the worst things about all this, is many Christians don’t see it coming

I find that even at this late date, it is difficult to get ordinary Christians, including pastors, to understand the reality of what’s coming. You should believe David Gushee. He has done us all a favor here. He and his allies — that is, the entire American establishment — are going to do everything they possibly can to eliminate any place of retreat. When people say that if the Left has its way, there will be no Benedict Option places left to retreat to, I agree. That does not mean they will succeed, at least not at first, but it’s just a matter of time. This means that we will need the Benedict Option more than ever. The Ben Op is not about escapism; it’s about building the institutions and adopting the practices required for the church to be resilient, and even to thrive, under harsh conditions. The church will be under unprecedented pressure, legally and socially, to capitulate. But it will be possible to resist, though not without paying a high cost.

But the people who won’t see it coming are the poor, the indigent the destitute and those caught in disaster who will discover very quickly the difference between the church coming to help without question or condition in your time of trouble and relying on the state.

That’s how a culture dies and when it does it will be through our own actions and inactions.


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trump_pointing
This guy wants you to stop whining

I have a concealed carry permit.  I don’t brag about it or bring it up in conversation.  I don’t tell people when I’m carrying a weapon.  I just follow the laws and blend in, and I find most permit holders do the same.

In Texas, that apparently isn’t good enough, as hundreds of people found it appropriate to wear dildos to class.  Concealed carry folks wanted to carry in the classroom to protect students and faculty from mass shooters.  I’m not entirely certain the purpose behind open carrying dildos.

PM9This will protect you from a mass shooter. A dildo…not so much.

But it’s not just gun rights.  Heaven help you if you express conservative views.  At my college, I spoke out against affirmative action, something that the Supreme Court eventually decided was wrong.  No matter.  Rather than a civil discussion, I was harassed.  At the same college, it was OK to openly harass members showing pictures of aborted babies, but harassing someone defending abortion was an attack on women’s rights (despite statistics that many women don’t support abortion).

gallupabortion
Looks like a heck of an even split, although you wouldn’t guess that from news coverage

After enduring that harassment, I’m perfectly OK with liberal heads exploding over Donald Trump.  I don’t agree with all his policies, but he brings a smile to my face when liberals gasp over how crass and rude he can be.  Newsflash: it’s the same rude and crass behavior that you dished out to me and others over the last 15 years that we quietly absorbed.  Stop whining when the quiet kid you picked on suddenly finds a bigger bully.


The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.


NG36B is a military blogger who regularly blogs at The Navy’s Grade 36 Bureaucrat. If you love your kids and America, you should buy his Kindle book about the Navy and read it to them every night.

And hit Da Tip Jar and mention him so that he can win Da Tech Guys competition!


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My teenage daughter is obsessed with Hamilton, the musical that has taken Broadway by storm. Not being a fan of rap music, I was not particularly interested in listening to the soundtrack, but seeing my daughter’s reaction to it made me more than a little curious. We recently had occasion to spend quite a bit of commuting time in the car together and, since she had the music on her phone, the show’s soundtrack became the soundtrack of our drives. It’s easy to see why the show has become so popular, and a show that can save Alexander Hamilton’s place on the $10 bill and increase the appreciation people have for our Founding Fathers can’t be a bad thing, no matter how much rap it contains (and fortunately there is plenty of other styles of music that I found quite compelling). I was equally impressed with my daughter’s ability to sing along with the cast (sometimes mixing multiple parts, which was amazing) with her inserted commentary about the political and military background of the events depicted, even pointing out the historical inaccuracies in the script! Clearly she’s been learning more than just the lyrics. But there was one lesson in particular I wanted her to learn from the show, and it is one that Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, learned the hard way. CAUTION: Mild Spoilers ahead.

When my wife and I were engaged, we went through a multi-week Marriage Preparation program with our pastor, whom I’ll call “Father N.” One part of the program called for us each to fill out a questionnaire to determine if we had similar attitudes about different aspecs of marriage, from Faith to finances, family and even fidelity. One question in particular stood out: “Are there any circumstances under which you might choose to get a divorce?”

My bride and I had actually spoken about this in advance and both made it clear that infidelity would be a dealbreaker, so we both answered “yes” to the question. When evaluating our results, Father N pointed to that as the only problem with our answers. He said that in answering “yes” to that question, we were giving ourselves an “out,” which contradicts the Catholic view of marriage. Even though we had only one serious condition in mind, the idea that there could be one thing that would end our marriage could lead us to consider other lesser offenses to somehow rise to that level. In giving ourselves an out, we would have been entering our marriage without understanding what we were really doing. Unfortunately, too many couples in our society today lack that understanding and think that it’s OK to abandon their marriage for far more trivial reasons.

That was not true in Hamilton’s time, and the musical shows us this. Whether through faith or through fear of scandal, even when Hamilton’s infidelity comes to light, he and Eliza stay married, as difficult as that is. In “Burn,” Eliza makes her feelings clear:

You forfeit all rights to my heart
You forfeit the place in our bed
You sleep in your office instead

Recognizing that he is at fault, Hamilton refuses to give up. In “It’s Quiet Uptown,” he rekindles his Faith and does his best to win Eliza’s heart again:

I take the children to church on Sunday
A sign of the cross at the door
And I pray
That never used to happen before

It is his steadfastness, especially in facing the death of their son Philip, that they eventually experience “a grace too powerful to name” and she eventually forgives him:

Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand

After his untimely death, Eliza rededicates her life to continuing his legacy as best she can:

The Lord, in his kindness
He gives me what you always wanted
He gives me more / Time

She raises money for the Washington Monument, speaks out against slavery and, most telling, establishes the first private orphanage in New York City and helps raise hundreds of children, saying “In their eyes, I see you, Alexander.” Finally, she expresses her belief that she will see him again, in time.

Maybe in addition to learning about our nation’s founding, fans of Hamilton will also learn the true spirit of commitment, love and forgiveness inherent in marriage. Wouldn’t that be something?

A note to readers: It’s getting down to “crunch time” for Da Magnificent Prospects, so I’d really appreciate it if you could share this article and my others with your social media friends. My other articles are:
Trump, the Church and Immigration
The “Final Five” Show Us How It’s Done
The Left is Wrong About Rights
Ends, Means and Democrats
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christrio

Even with the iconic statue of Jesus Christ watching over the Rio Olympics, NBC and mainstream media outlets have chosen to ignore the importance of religion among athletes.

For example, swimmer Michael Phelps, one of the greatest Olympians ever, lost his way until he found God a few years ago.

“I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth. There were times where I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost,” Phelps said.

After his second DUI, Phelps got a call from former NFL star Ray Lewis, who helped the swimmer onto the road of religious recovery.

Simone Biles, the gymnast who won four gold medals, carries a rosary in her warmup bag and lights a candle in church before an event. Instead of emphasizing her religious beliefs, NBC and others talk about her mother, a former drug addict.

Katie Ledecky, a Catholic like Biles, says a Hail Mary before each swimming event and proudly makes her religious views known. Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman to earn a gold medal in swimming, praised God after winning the 100-meter freestyle. Her reference to God got edited out when NBC put up the video on YouTube.

After Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the fastest man in the world, won his third gold medal in the 100-meter sprint, he fell to his knees to pray. The NBC commentators apparently couldn’t bring themselves to utter the word “prayer.”

Many other examples exist, but NBC and other mainstream media have focused on less significant details of athletes’ lives rather than their trust in God. Fortunately, faith-based news organizations have chronicled what the athletes themselves consider their most important characteristic: their belief in God.

The Christian Post wrote about U.S. athletes and their faith at http://www.christianpost.com/news/10-christian-team-usa-athletes-at-rio-olympics-2016-who-put-god-first-167556/

Eric Metaxas interviewed religion writer Terry Mattingly about God and the Olympics at https://soundcloud.com/the-eric-metaxas-show/terry-mattingly-5


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

*****************************************
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Budding reporters and politics
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The ‘BS’ factor

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Donald Trump delivered a rather compelling speech on Monday about terrorism and protecting our country from those who would do us harm. As usual, the media, who praised Trump during the primary as an iconoclast who refused to play by the traditional rules, are now casting him as a lunatic who refuses to play by the traditional rules. So, typically, they have ignored the substance of the speech, which is that Hillary Clinton and President Obama have objectively made our country less safe by their mishandling of international relations, especially in the Middle East, and tried to make Trump sound at the very least unhinged when he spoke about establishing criteria to decide who gets to immigrate here.
Here’s what he said:

We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people. Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas. (via politico)

In other words, the government’s purpose for “establish[ing] a uniform Rule of Naturalization” (the Constitution, Article I, Section 8) is to improve the safety, security and general welfare of its citizens. Let’s be clear: non-citizens do not have a right to become U.S. citizens, nor do they even have a right to enter our country unless we decide to let them.
As I mentioned in my first article, I am a Catholic and a Constitutionalist. I try my best to be a good Catholic and try to make sure that my Constitutionalist instincts fit within that framework. Fortunately, in the case of immigration, this is not that difficult. The Catholic position is described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (clause 2241):

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Thus, according to the Church, the government has the right to establish conditions “for the sake of the common good” under which someone may immigrate. Of course, the immigrant also has the duty to “respect the heritage” of the U.S. when they come here. (One could argue that the reason we now have to press 1 for English is that immigrants since the passing of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act have failed to live up to this obligation, but that’s a separate discussion.) In short, they should be coming here to become American. So what’s the problem with vetting people who want to come here from regions of the world where Islamic terrorism is rampant and excluding those found unacceptable?
Putting aside for the moment the practicality and logistics of such an effort, is there really a problem with establishing an immigration policy like what Trump described? It is certainly Constitutional, and it appears to be Catholic as well. There’s just one little wrinkle. The first part of the clause I quoted from the Catechism states:

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.

Thus, the Catholic position would be that a blanket ban on immigration from certain countries or regions would be unacceptable because we must allow the truly persecuted refugee to come to our shores out of compassion. So where do we draw the line? All I can say is that by calling for “extreme vetting” – which would allow for admitting the truly persecuted – and temporary holds, Trump appears to be closer to the Catholic position than Clinton who seems to be ignoring her Catholic responsibility of focusing on the common good of American citizens, by whom she is hoping to be elected.

A note to readers: It’s getting down to “crunch time” for Da Magnificent Prospects, so I’d really appreciate it if you could share this article and my others with your social media friends. My other articles are:
The “Final Five” Show Us How It’s Done
The Left is Wrong About Rights
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After mass today the celebrant Fr. Scott sat for a quick interview

A Catholic priest never knows what kind of parish or situation he will end up with.

Here is the Stained Glass window I mentioned in the interview

Genesis 14:18-20
Genesis 14:18-20

Here is the passage it refers to in Genesis Chapter 14 verses 14-20:

When Abram heard that his nephew had been captured, he mustered three hundred and eighteen of his retainers, born in his house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He and his party deployed against them at night, defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He recovered all the possessions, besides bringing back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, along with the women and the other captives. When Abram returned from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the kings who were allied with him, the king of Sodom went out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words:

Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth;

And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

and if you’re interested (and even if you’re not) here are some photos from the Sacristy of the cathedral