This week is the 65th Anniversary of the ordination of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and somehow that made three Catholic stories jumped out a me.

A very interesting interview with Archbishop Gänswein on Pope Benedict:

Later on, he also says he would sum up Benedict’s papacy with the word Veritas. He says: “It is about the fact that truth became man in Christ, that is for him [Benedict] the great theme of his life which reappeared again and again throughout his life in different variations and in different forms.” Gänswein adds that Benedict’s pontificate had “strengthened the Church in her foundations,” concluding with the words: “That will remain.”

A lot of times in the back and forth about the world we forget that in the end this fact is all that matters.

Yesterday Pope Francis & Pope Emeritus appeared together and I think the most significant part of the story was this:

Francis has recently dismissed new questions about the implications of Benedict’s resignation by insisting that there is only one pope — himself — and that Benedict had pledged his obedience to him on the day he resigned.

He told reporters this weekend he felt that Benedict “had my back” and was continuing to help the church through his prayers. He added he had heard that Benedict had even chastised some nostalgic faithful who were complaining about the “new pope.”

I may not know what the Holy Spirit is doing but I have faith that he does.

Finally here is a story about Francis that the MSM has left alone

The Vatican is summoning the heads of two more female religious orders so they can explain their “public dissent” from Church teaching.

The most recent communities to be summoned are the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ) and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). The Vatican’s concern in both communities involves their dissent from Church teaching.

When Benedict did this the MSM was up in arms, I guess this one is just too hard for the media to spin Francis on this so they just let it be.

Ok this is going to cause a lot talk:

There is no doubt that we are faced with a profound evolution of dogma. The Fathers and theologians of the Middle Ages could believe that the whole human race had, in substance, become Catholic and that paganism existed only on the margins, but the discovery of the New World…has radically changed prospects. The second half of the last century has fully affirmed the understanding that God does not let all of the unbaptized go to hell…The great missionaries of the 16th Century believed that the unbaptized were forever lost, and this explains their fervor. After Vatican II that conviction was finally abandoned, which precipitated a kind of deep double-crisis: on the one hand, it affected the missionary’s motivations — why you should try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved, even without it? But another issue also emerged: faith becomes problematic when it is compulsory, in how it is lived in a life. …the Christian himself it is linked to the demands of the Christian faith and its morals. But if faith and salvation are not interdependent, even faith becomes unmotivated.

Benedict’s words are all over the net today and I suspect Catholic blogs and twitter will be going on and on about it for weeks.

After Brazil offered the worst showing against a German side since the French in 1941 an interesting possibility has come up.

If Argentina manages to beat the Dutch (no easy feat) tomorrow could be treated to a World Cup final were both nations are the home of a living Pope.

Of course Pope Francis’ soccer fandom is well-known as his pledge to not pray for team Argentina to win.

Francis recalled during an interview published Friday with the Barcelona newspaper “La Vanguardia,” that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had asked him during a February visit to the Vatican to at least be neutral during the competition.

While less known Pope Benedict is also a big soccer fan but more importantly to him is credited by Franz Beckenbauer with drawing him back to the faith.

While I doubt that the two popes will be in front of a TV threatening bulls of excommunication on the refs over yellow card calls I think this would be an interesting opportunity for not only political cartoonists but for evangelization.

I think it would be a great idea for the pair to say a mass together for both teams and or pose for a picture wearing the other team’s colors and illustrate the importance of sportsmanship as a Christian virtue.

Of course the Dutch might have something to say about those plans

A series of short thoughts to start this day.

Because I’ve been attending Morning Mass I’ve been missing Morning Joe lately turned it on this morning and immediately the story of Pope Francis meeting with abuse “survivors”. The table commented on him being the first Pope do to so and critiqued Pope Benedict for his “inaction”.

The second statement on Benedict a canard as anyone who has followed the scandals would know if they used any other source than the MSM. However as the show quotes the NYT often there is no excuse for not knowing the former:

Pope Benedict XVI came face to face Thursday with a scandal that has left lasting wounds on the American church, holding an unannounced meeting with several victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Boston area.

Listening to the Francis Good Benedict Bad refrain is like reading Animal Farm’s “four legs good, two legs bad”. Both are good VERY good.

FYI the word “survivors” is odd word here, it implies a person would normally die from an activity. Words mean things, victim would be a much better English.

Speaking of language according to the stats according to 3 out of the 4 victims of Catholic clerical abuse were boys, yet nobody talks about it as a “gay” scandal. Doesn’t fit the narrative.

FYI a lot of people keep insisting that if ONLY priest didn’t have the celibacy requirement this scandal might not have happened. One must assume those making that argument will be shocked ShOCKED by this scandal:

Mr McKelvie, a former child protection worker, prompted police to launch Operation Fernbridge to investigate allegations of sex abuse Elm Guest House in Barnes, south London, after providing information to MP Tom Watson. In 2012 Mr Watson spoke in the Commons of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10”.

If ONLY members of Parliament were allowed to marry and were not required to be celibate, I’m sure this would have never happened.

Oh, there are two interesting coincidences concerning this scandal in England, one will seem very familiar:

The UK Home Office has admitted that it can’t find 114 “potentially relevant files” relating to the pedophile scandal engulfing Westminster, in which there are allegations that senior political figures were involved in, or covered up, child sex abuse.

I’ve heard this somewhere before

Loughton also said that to lose so many files “smacks of incompetence or, I fear, some degree of cover-up.”

Some degree of cover up? Who other than Democrats on Elijah Cummings committee and the Democrats in the White House would buy the “incompetence” line?

By an odd coincidence Instapundit notes the release of this study out of England:

The statement that paedophilia is “natural and normal” was made not three decades ago but last July. It was made not in private but as one of the central claims of an academic presentation delivered, at the invitation of the organisers, to many of the key experts in the field at a conference held by the University of Cambridge.
Other presentations included “Liberating the paedophile: a discursive analysis,” and “Danger and difference: the stakes of hebephilia.”

I’ve been writing about this trend for a while as has Stacy McCain and has been for a decade. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better because it’s always easier to redefine sin than to change behavior.

The city with the strongest gun laws has once again showed the effective of gun laws:

Extra police officers on Chicago’s streets were not enough to quell a long weekend of violence that ended with 14 people shot to death and dozens more injured.

During a Monday news conference, just hours after two more people were shot to death earlier in the day, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said his department’s best efforts could not prevent the bloodshed that spiked dramatically on Sunday. Chicago’s total of 53 shooting incidents for the holiday weekend easily eclipsed Detroit and New York combined, which had a total of 46 shooting incidents, 10 of which were fatal.

As long as the gangs are politically valuable to the pols in the city they will not be cracked down on and until that is done this will not change.


Fighting back tends to work as the Ukrainian government is discovering. in the Ukraine. A few months ago taking back cities:

It was one strike in a scrappy war of raid and counter-raid at which the highly motivated pro-Russian fighters excelled – and which appeared to be locked in a bloody stalemate.

That resistance crumbled suddenly and in the early hours of Saturday morning, following several days of artillery bombardment to which the rebels had no answer.

Gathering their remaining tanks and fighting vehicles, Igor Strelkov, the rebel commander, and his men made a desperate dash for Donetsk, the regional capital 60 miles to the south where the self-declared People’s Republic had established its government.

Just a few months ago the conventional wisdom was Eastern Ukraine would fall. With the west unwilling to help the Ukrainians have decided that they would have to settle things themselves and now it’s Russia who has to decide if it’s worth fighting a way for eastern Ukraine.

Somewhere Ron Paul is smiling.


Some Doctor Who? The newest season of Doctor who premieres in a month featuring the first full episode of Peter Capaldi as the 13th Doctor picking up from where this scene left off

Unfortunately for the BBC some of the scripts for the new season have leaked to the internet

Five scripts from the upcoming season of Doctor Who have made their way to the Internet following a security breach at BBC and now the network is asking fans of the show to look away from spoilers.

The BBC is asking people not to share those scripts and it seems the fans have agreed. My oldest son, who is if you can believe it a bigger doctor who fan than I am, recieved those scripts them in an e-mail. He deleted them.

Personally if I was a virus writer this would be a golden opportunity as I suspect that most US fans will not be as circumspect in refusing to open or download such an attachment.

Let’s close with some fun I noticed the stories about the Hawkins Index to see how far people have actually read in books.

It brought to mind a story from my high school days. I was in an honors English class and was assigned a long paper on the Brothers Karamazov. I put off reading the book and put it off until the night before the paper was due I realized I hadn’t even started the book let alone the paper.

So I read the first 20 pages and between midnight and 6 AM managed to crank out a paper based on that. I even took the typewriter to school (yes this was in the pre-pc age) and kept typing right up until my first period english class where only my teachers polio induced confinement to a wheelchair prevented her from seeing me bring the typewriter into the room.

I got an “A” I still don’t know how I did it.

At the end of the first run EWTN coverage of the Papal canonization mass Raymond Arroyo made a point to thank Mother Angelica the 91-year-old for founding the network and allowing the coverage of the historic ceremony and Mass.

Most of the time that is exactly right. As a general rule if you wanted to see a canonization mass in full EWTN is the only place to go.

Not today.

When I turned on the TV at the tail end of the mass Fox News & MSNBC were carrying the mass, and while CNN was not at this point I’m informed by Sissy Willis that they too carried the mass live, albeit not without a hiccup or two.

Not having seen the CNN coverage I can’t comment on any spin Delia Gallagher might have been employing but in one sense that is correct. This event had a culture wars component and was in fact a significant victory for the Church.

A vital component in demonizing an organization or group of people is ignorance. There are plenty of preachers who’ve spent a lifetime painting the picture of an idol worshiping bunch of heretics. Likewise there are a bunch of people in the media and on the left who have spent decades painting the church as a bunch of woman hating bigoted pederasts.

For them this has been an unmitigated disaster in a year of disaster.

First you have the election of the first Latin American pope. It forced them to narrow their attacks to avoid any appearance of hitting Francis for fear of a backlash. Francis’ humble ways haven’t made it easy.

Then you have a Pope who using social media effectively. Millions of people follow his tweets in seven languages without a filter.

Next you have the canonization of Pope John Paul II, A man not only in the living memory of anyone 20 years old or over but who tens or even hundreds of millions of people alive have seen or met in person. In a celebrity obsessed culture A week’s worth of critical media stories on him can’t counter a someone able to say about an actual saint: “I saw him” “I met him” effect.

Pope John Paul II canonization might still have been an opening for division until Francis decided to schedule it together with John XXIII. Suddenly it became harder to split the various camps within the church for the ceremony of the Pope who started Vatican II.

Finally you have the first canonization ceremony of Pope Francis AND the presence of a Pope emeritus making it a four pope event something unheard of in history making it a story that the cable networks practically had to cover live.

Of all the things that have gone wrong for the Catholic haters since Francis’ election this is the worst. If you want to portray the Catholic Church as a bunch of stuck up bigots who hate woman or heralds of the anti-christ the last thing you want is people seeing a live mass filled with millions of the joyful faithful in worshiping in a setting and ceremony filled with the Holy Spirit.

Try explaining that away.

After today things will settle back to normal, the media will do their best to spin the church and the faithful will have to go to EWTN to avoid that spin.

But for today that filter was largely gone, that’s going to leave a cultural mark that will take a lot of effort to erase.

Which I suspect is just how the Holy Spirit planned it.

Update:  Ed Morrissey links:

I wonder if Fern and Rosemary made the trip this time. Around three million of us crowded into and around the Vatican in 2011, and while we haven’t yet heard the final estimates of the crowd size, I’m betting this was larger. I would have loved to have returned for this event, but it wasn’t in the cards. My friends Kathryn Jean Lopez and Charmaine Yoest have kept me and other Twitter followers up to date on their experiences, so this time I’m experiencing it vicariously.


Olimometer 2.52

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A lot of fuss is being made about a new worldwide survey being sent out to Catholics to find out the challenges for the faith and the family. in preparation for an extraordinary Synod on the subject.

This survey has not gotten a lot of traction in the US

it’s Pope Francis’s latest initiative that has the greatest potential to shake up one of the world’s oldest institutions. Within the past few weeks the Vatican has begun dispatching a questionnaire to parishes around the world to ask Catholics about their views on family life and sexuality in preparation for a landmark synod (a church-wide conference) on those issues next year. It’s the first time that any Pope has done such a thing.

It’s certainly not a move that’s calculated to soothe traditionalists. (The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for one, doesn’t seem especially keen on distributing the survey to parishioners, and hasn’t moved to post the document to its website — in notable contrast to their British counterparts.)

However those people quoting the NY Times, Hans Küng and referring to Pope Benedict as Francis’ “hapless predecessor” apparently didn’t take much of a look at the survey consisting of a bunch of essay questions specifically designed for those who teach the faith to others.  It’s not for the faint of heart. Here is question #1

1. The Diffusion of the Teachings on the Family in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Magisterium

a) Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s teaching on family life?

b) In those cases where the Church’s teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice? If so, what are they?

c) How widespread is the Church’s teaching in pastoral programmes at the national, diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?

d ) To what extent — and what aspects in particular — is this teaching actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?

I think the US Bishops took one look at his survey and correctly realized that the doers in the church are too busy actually ministering the faith for essay questions while the non doers are even less likely to take the time to fill it out.

We can be sure that the dissenters who wish to see sin redefined will certainly dive in ready to blame church doctrine for all life’s ills.  We can already see it is generating a lot of talk and excitement among left types such as in the Guardian where they have abandoned Barack Obama for a new idol:

That Obama poster on the wall, promising hope and change, is looking a little faded now. The disappointments, whether over drone warfare or a botched rollout of healthcare reform, have left the world’s liberals and progressives searching for a new pin-up to take the US president’s place. As it happens, there’s an obvious candidate: the head of an organisation those same liberals and progressives have long regarded as sexist, homophobic and, thanks to a series of child abuse scandals, chillingly cruel. The obvious new hero of the left is the pope.

Readers at the BBC are simply beside themselves:

As an out gay Catholic I have been surprised but really very satisfied with the new Pope’s slow but discernible movement away from the orthodoxy on homosexuality. This survey is warmly welcomed and I hope that by listening the Church will learn to accept diversity in sexuality. Darryl Telles, Brighton

The dirty little secret, the media may portray this as a new and exciting change in the church, but it’s a message the faithful have heard before on God’s unconditional love here

God’s passionate love for his people—for humanity—is at the same time a forgiving love. It is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice.

particularly for sinners

When Jesus speaks in his parables of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, of the woman who looks for the lost coin, of the father who goes to meet and embrace his prodigal son, these are no mere words: they constitute an explanation of his very being and activity. His death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form.

avoiding ideologies:

Christian charitable activity must be independent of parties and ideologies. It is not a means of changing the world ideologically, and it is not at the service of worldly stratagems, but it is a way of making present here and now the love which man always needs.

or even on the limits of proselytism & charity here:

Charity, furthermore, cannot be used as a means of engaging in what is nowadays considered proselytism. Love is free; it is not practiced as a way of achieving other ends

Every single one of those statements come not from Francis but  from Pope Benedict XVI in his Encyclical DEUS CARITAS EST but unless you read the National Catholic Register you likely never saw it.  After all Benedict as a boogeyman was too valuable an image with which to attack the church for such words to get any press.

Interestingly enough our friends on the left who ignored Benedict but are ready to pull down their Obama posters and replace them with ones of Francis (a bit of idolatry that he would not approve) over similar words might be a tad less anxious to redecorate if they went online and read some of the things online that Pope Francis said that didn’t make the news like his Angelus message of November 10th.

Before us stands the final defeat of sin and death, the beginning of a new time of joy and of endless light. But already on this earth, in prayer, in the Sacraments, in fraternity, we encounter Jesus and his love, and thus we may already taste something of the risen life.

or this sermon from November 13th on the Creed

 This saving intervention does not take away our human nature and its weakness — we are all weak and we are all sinners — and it does not take from us our responsibility to ask for forgiveness every time we err! I cannot be baptized many times, but I can go to Confession and by doing so renew the grace of Baptism. It is as though I were being baptized for a second time. The Lord Jesus is very very good and never tires of forgiving us. Even when the door that Baptism opens to us in order to enter the Church is a little closed, due to our weaknesses and our sins. Confession reopens it, precisely because it is a second Baptism that forgives us of everything and illuminates us to go forward with the light of the Lord.  (emphasis mine)

And you don’t have to go back into the archives at the Vatican Website to find this stuff.  Here is a tweet is from Yesterday:

Confessing our sins may be difficult for us, but it brings us peace. We are sinners, and we need God’s forgiveness.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 18, 2013

Take a close look at what he says, it’s inviting, it’s warm, it’s welcoming, it offers peace in a hard moment but it requires a proactive acknowledgement of one’s own sinfulness.

What he says isn’t even odd for a pope after all the infinite measure of forgiveness Christ offers i  intrinsic to the very concept of Christianity, but note what does he says about sin or rather doesn’t say…

Francis doesn’t claim sin isn’t sin.

Francis doesn’t redefine it.

Francis says when it comes to sin it is our responsibility to ask for forgiveness, not once not twice but,  every time we sin.

But the media isn’t interested, you would never know Francis ever said these things.  No wonder Sarah Palin wasn’t sure about what the Pope actually believed.

For similar words Pope Benedict, the holy Grandfather would be excoriated.  Francis is a very different story.

The left doesn’t DARE critique the first Latin American Pope both because of their own political correctness and their fear of alienating the millions of color who love him and are proud of him.

Thus an awful lot of pixels are spent by an awful lot of leftists trying to convince their followers and perhaps themselves that this survey is another sign that Pope Francis is on the verge of going to full Andrew Sullivan, instead of accepting the sinner and calling for repentance (which the Church as always done), accepting and re-defining Sin (which the Church has not and will not). They will use his style and humble nature to push this narrative for all it’s worth for as long as they can get away with it.

And when this doesn’t happen, when this bill of goods is not delivered after years of anticipation those same leftists will use Francis not as a boogeyman, like Benedict but as a victim. They will claim that Francis waned to make all the changes that the left promised but it was the entrenched Church that they have always despised that he simply couldn’t defeat…

…but it won’t matter.  While there have been some on the right who have been fooled by the left’s portrait Francis has drawn millions through the doors of the church with this effect:

POPE FRANCIS has inspired a surge in attendances and confessions in the Roman Catholic Church, reversing decades of decline.

some will eventually fall away as is the nature of man but many will grow and slowly find themselves on the way toward salvation.

Never doubt for on second the Holy Spirit knows what he’s doing.

HUGE UPDATE from the Curt Jester

I just love the story about Pope Francis calling up a Traditional Catholic writer who had criticized him.

“Pope Francis told me that he was very close to me, having learned of my health condition, of my grave illness, and I clearly noticed his deep empathy, the attention for a person as such, beyond ideas and opinions, while I live through a time of trial and suffering.”

“I was astonished, amazed, above all moved: for me, as a Catholic, that which I was experiencing was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. But I felt the duty to remind the Pope that I, together wih Gnocchi, had expressed specific criticisms regarding his work, while I renewed my total fidelity [to him] as a son of the Church. The Pope almost did not let me finish the sentence, saying that he had understood that those criticisms had been made with love, and how important it had been for him to receive them.” [These words] “comforted me greatly.”

I can see heads exploding all over the left, it’s one thing to reach out and speak to atheists, dissenters and the poor, it’s quite another to reach out to conservative critics.

Update 2: Heard from the Anchoress via e-mail who doesn’t excuse Palin:

If people are ignorant about the reality of the pope, it’s really not the press’ fault. Every word he speaks is out there on Catholic sites, either from the Vatican or else, you know…at places like Patheos. If people want to understand the pope, the way to do that — for any pope — was never through the msm. Palin of all ppl should know that.

She should know she wrote the book on the subject

She followed up with a second e-mail but that’s another post.


Olimometer 2.52

It’s Tuesday and as I’ve said you never know from one week to another how the weekly paycheck is going to go. Week one and two were dismal failures yet this week’s paycheck is already full and with a little luck we might even make up some of the last two weeks’ shortfalls or even pay some old bills in the house that are waiting.

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Sgt Schultz:I see nothing, I was not here, I did not even get up this morning!

Hogan’s Heroes Hold that Tiger, 1965

Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes Sliverblaze

A rather extraordinary event took place this Friday.

The first Encyclical from the Papacy of Francis I was released titled LUMEN FIDEI (the light of faith).

Under ordinary circumstances the first Encyclical of a new pope is significant, this one even more so as it an Encyclical that, while signed by one Pope is authored by two:

As Francis himself told a group of cardinals and bishops in May, the encyclical was written “with four hands” together with retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Benedict had almost finished the text when he resigned on Feb. 28. Francis took up the unfinished work, adding a “few contributions” to Benedict’s “fine work” and publishing it under his own name.Francis himself has

It was also released the same day as another joint appearance by Francis & Benedict XVI. While this is not as unique as it once was it is still an amazing sight and an excellent hook for a TV report on the subject.

And if this was not enough reason to make this story newsworthy, the section on faith and family,  given the recent rulings on Gay Marriage from the Supreme Court would surely draw media attention (all emphasis mine):

In Abraham’s journey towards the future city, the Letter to the Hebrews mentions the blessing which was passed on from fathers to sons (cf. Heb 11:20-21). The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love. Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person. So it was that Sarah, by faith, became a mother, for she trusted in God’s fidelity to his promise (cf. Heb 11:11).

The family: “A stable union of man and woman“, “a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan.“, “a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings“!

Such a statement would be considered “Fighting words” if uttered by a Bishop on TV.  There would be no shortage of journalists challenging him with hard-hitting questions or side guests raining critique on such a clergyman in the most vehement of terms.

On Memeorandum there would be link after link from Media Matters and Think Progress decrying it as “homophobic”, as contrary to “marriage equality” (a phrase that means absolutely nothing) and leftist bloggers would amplify the attack in an unending stream of paragraphs filled with vitriol.

Yet how does the media react when the Supreme Pontiff, the head of the Worldwide Roman Catholic Church the single most important religious figure in the world releases, in writing a statement that challenges the MSM most cherished belief (next to the sanctity of abortion) and does it in his very first public Encyclical?  What do we hear from the media who has never found a traditional value it wasn’t willing to attack?


All that could be mustered was one post on FiredogLake so weak that in its title it actually states the Pope has excluded adopters from the definition of family (as apparently a homo-centric argument was not strong enough).

Why? Why this conspicuous silence, why does the MSM, when this pope challenges them,  see nothing and know nothing?

Because they are still afraid of a direct confrontation.

They understand that unlike the Gabriel Gomez campaign or the Amnesty Bill an attack on the beloved first Pope from Latin America can be considered by many an attack on Latin Americans in general.  It can actually create a united “Hispanica“.  United against them.

So they will see nothing as they did on the LCWR and they did on lukewarm Catholics (Hi Mrs. Pelosi) in the hope that nobody will notice until one day his “My Chcemy Boga” moment comes and it’s too late.

All is proceeding as the Holy Spirit has planned.

Update:  Added the Sherlock Holmes quote

Update 2: Instalanches are no less welcome a day after the post. If you don’t know what I mean about the whole “Hispanica” bit I plan on posting my entire radio speech about “Hispanica” on Youtube as an audio with illustrations when (and if) time permits

Update 3: Stacy McCain notes a pronouncement of the pope that is likely going to get much more press than the one I noted.


Olimometer 2.52

Unfortunately all is not proceeding as planned for me as for the 5th straight week I failed to achieve a full paycheck.

Summer is normally a time of the doldrums for bloggers five weeks of not making the weekly mortgage payment is pretty bad.

As always it will be up to you to decide if it becomes six

Update: I have spent the last two hours sending thank you notes for all those who decided to not only end my streak of short payweek’s but kicked in enough to cover last months shortfall.

Thank you so much


Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire.

After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

1 Kings 19:11-13b

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.

Luke 1:38a

There has been a lot said about Pope’s lately because of the news. The Resignation of Benedict XVI, The month-long period of his Papacy winding down. The media speculation on the upcoming Pope. The New Pope Francis I and the Latino and media going gaga over Francis’ simple moves of humility like this one:

While popes have for centuries washed the feet of the faithful on the day before Good Friday, never before had a pontiff washed the feet of a woman. That one of the female inmates at the prison in Rome was also a Serbian Muslim was also a break with tradition.

But the more I think about all that has happened in the last 60 days my thoughts turn to Pope John Paul…the first.

John Paul I was elected in August of 1978 and served only 33 days as pope before his unexpected death on September 28th 1978. There has been a lot of speculation concerning his short papacy but if you want to understand why his papacy was so short all one has to do is look at two things his selection of a name and who followed him.

Albino Luciani picked the name John Paul in honor of this two predecessors Pope John XXIII who consecrated him as a bishop and Pope Paul VI who made him a Cardinal. While that might be a nice sentimental touch it certainly didn’t symbolize the direction that the Church was destined to go.

Just a month later he would be dead and with a leading liberal a few votes away from election, a young compromise candidate from Poland would take the papacy and everything changed.

John Paul II would transform the church, and the world. He came into the papacy at a time when the secular word was doubting the church and God and predicting its downfall or transformation. He would steer in a direction different than groups like the National Council of churches who decided to bend to the culture. As they faded into irrelevance. He would lay the cornerstone of the modern papacy, help bring down communism and inspire a generation of faithful Catholics and make the Catholic Church the voice of Christianity and Christ throughout the world.

This is the Holy Spirit in action.


Fast forward to 2013, the successor to both Peter and John Paul II whose Papacy while successful has been under constant attack by secular forces, gave an interesting speech and unexpected speech: (all emphasis mine)

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

And here we see the deep connection with the Spirit in Benedict XVI. He can discern the message requiring a new voice is needed in the Chair of Peter to dynamically lead, but that he still has a task to perform.

And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer

And now when everyone was speculating over various candidates the man on nobody’s lips Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be elected Francis I who has through his acts already been committing what Elizabeth Scalia calls “Deep Evangelization“.

Imagine the impact on the heart and mind of a reporter who doesn’t believe in much of anything hearing the pope say he loves him; that he expresses respect for her person! Over time, it might bear enormous fruit that would never even bud, by intellectual engagement, alone. Spengler once said “Benedict has a mustard seed, and he’s not afraid to use it.” I think Pope Francis, via the Holy Spirit, may be Benedict’s Mustard Seed.

Considering the timing it’s rather amazing or rather it isn’t if you believe. The Spirit knows the needs of the church all it needs is the faithful to hear and say “Yes.”

Like Benedict XVI.


Olimometer 2.52

This post wasn’t supposed to exist. I went to bed expecting to write my Easter one when I woke up with the idea for this post.

When it was finished I followed up with the post I meant to write that is scheduled for Easter.

Fortunately for me while I was writing this post and the other DaTipJar got one hit moving myself a little bit closer to this week’s $300 paycheck.

Thanks to that hit only six more Tip Jar hitter kicking in $20 are needed to make this week’s paycheck a reality. Care to be one?

Not much you can add to something like this if you’re Catholic

I think Fr. Z nails it

Oh to be a fly on the wall!

That’s pretty much it.

Olimometer 2.52

Still holding at $27 for the week’s pay. Can we do better by the end of the day? Hey if you can have two popes praying together anything is possible

News Broke this morning that Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien has resigned:

Cardinal O’Brien said in a statement he had already tendered his resignation, due to take effect when he turned 75 next month, but that Pope Benedict “has now decided that my resignation will take effect today”.

As the Observer reported:

Three priests and a former priest in Scotland have reported the most senior Catholic clergyman in Britain, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, to the Vatican over allegations of inappropriate behaviour stretching back 30 years.

The four, from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, have complained to nuncio Antonio Mennini, the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain, and demanded O’Brien’s immediate resignation. A spokesman for the cardinal said that the claims were contested.

This story has to be a double-edged sword for the MSM. They are of course pleased to see a Cardinal go down if they think it will harm the church.

But the truth is that if these charges are the least bit true the accelerated resignation of this Cardinal (which will be one of the last official acts of Pope Benedict) is not only very good for the Church but highlights a fact of the late Church scandals that the left would like to ignore.

That fact? The vast majority of the church scandals involving minors involved Homosexual acts and Homosexual priests.

Now as I’ve said many times before, a lot Christians fall into the trap of using the sin of Homosexual acts as a club rather than looking at their own sin but for the left this problem is different.

In the current culture any critique of any aspect of Homosexuality is VERBOTEN. As far as some Washington Post reporters are concerned, if you hold the Opinion on Gay Marriage that practically the entire world held 20 years ago you are Bull Connor with the fire hose

The reporter: “As for accuracy, should the media make room for racists, i.e. those people who believe that black people shouldn’t marry white people? Any story on African-Americans wouldn’t be wholly accurate without the opinion of a racist, right?

“Of course I have a bias. I have a bias toward fairness,” the reporter continued. “The true conservative would have the same bias. The true conservative would want the government out of people’s bedrooms, and religion out of government.”

And while John Nolte (a supporter of Civil Unions) notes this is all about weaponizing the issue for the left. This Cardinal is different; how do you weaponize acts that you support?

As Catholics who, you know actually believe, the point is to what is right period, our path is clear:

1. We should encourage and in fact demand the removal of any Such Bishop Cardinal or Priest who does anything this Bishop has done.

2. The moment the left brings up this case we should immediately counter with: “Yes this kind of Sin it totally incompatible with service in the church, particularly the hierarchy.”

3.  When this is used as a club against the Pope, Note that the resignation was already in the works due to his age, it was THIS Pope who proactively took the resignation early.

4. (and most important) Pray for all involved.

BTW if you aren’t doing 3 #4 because you don’t like the people involved you are failing a basic duty of Christianity.

For those of you who missed Bishop Reilly & Dave Carter Author of Che the Lost Diaries (along with his editor Richard McEnroe) on this weeks show. I have a way to wipe of the shame of that oversight.

Simply click here and all two hours of DaTechGuy on DaRadio this week is yours carrying DaTechGuy seal of approval.

And don’t miss us this week when Robert Stacy McCain the first hour and Iman Bashir Mehmud of Fitchburg’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

It all starts at High Noon Eastern on the Money Matters Radio Network in Massachusetts and on FTR Radio nationally.

Make Saturday your DaTechGuy Day!

Ok that sounds a little wrong. If you tune into DaTechGuy on DaRadio at Noon EST on the Money Matters Radio Network or FTR Radio you won’t hear Bishop Reilly talking about Che Guevara at all, he will be joining us in the first hour to talk about Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, what it means to the Church, to individual Catholics, particularly in this Lenten season, and if this means the Vatican will soon need to open the St. Celestine home for retired Popes.

In our second hour author Dave Carter will be talking about his just released work Che: the Lost Diaries

So no matter if you are interested in a gentle man of peace abandoning power or a murderous ideologue seeking it. DaTechGuy on DaRadio is the place to be.

To hear us tune into AM 1390 Plymouth, WBNW 1120 Concord or 970 WESO in Southbridge to find me on your dial, or simply pick up the feed from here the Money Matter Radio Network.

And remember you can find us on TuneIn as well as FTR radio online, additionally FTR will be replaying the show Tuesday Mornings at 8 AM.

See you then.

I was talking to Roxeanne DeLuca yesterday about the Pope’s resignation and the discussion turned to what the ex-pope’s title would be.

on ETWN it was suggested he might be called Bishop Emeritus of Rome as he would be the retired Bishop of Rome but it occurs to me there is a better title that should be used” the Holy Grandfather.

It sounds like something silly but when you think about it that’s the perfect title for the retired Pope.

First of all he was still the Pope so Holiness would be a proper honorarium.

Plus consider what a grandfather is.

A Grandfather supplements a father. He is a figure of kindness wisdom and authority, a retired person of age with the knowledge and experience that comes with it. A person who loves both the father and the child with all his heart who both the child and the father will occasionally go to for advice and wise counsel.

But while the Grandfather has status he doesn’t have authority over the father who still makes the decisions. He doesn’t usurp the father, he knows that’s not his place, but he complements the father and aids him when it’s needed.

Consider what I’ve just said and look at Pope Benedict again. He’s simply radiates that Grandfather meme.

I’m sure the church will come up with something official when the time comes, but for my money they can’t do better than Holy Grandfather.

It’s a tad late due to the storm but this week’s DaTechGuy on DaRadio is now availble!

Listen to Hour one with Lee Stranahan talking about the Steubenville Rape case here

Listen to Hour two with Michael Graham here.

And this week join us at Noon Saturday EST as we welcome Bishop Daniel Reilly in hour one to talk the Pope’s resignation and Author David Carter who will talk about book to be released Friday Che: the Lost Diaries

So be there 12:2 PM EST for DaTechGuy on DaRadio a Cameo Production on FTR Radio and the Money Matters Radio Network.

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”  Matthew 7:13-14

During her initial post on the subject of the Pope’s upcoming resignation Elizabeth Scalia put up an update saying the following:

I’m kind of appalled at how some members of the press are reacting to this. The announcement wasn’t two hours old when the cable news gasbags started in with their “wish list” and expressing hopes that the next pope “gets it right” on the “important issues.” A few sound like they’re all but crossing a line through this pontificate with zero understanding or appreciation of what it has actually been.

That evening was even worse, All the MSM networks focused on dissidents and CNN gave dissidents center stage although they have as much credibility and influence as the Lyndon LaRouche campaign has on American elections. Unlike the LaRouchites the Catholic dissidents’ agenda is the MSM agenda, therefore whenever the opportunity arises they’ll give them a push so they can pay for the fax machine and letterhead

Note she says she’s appalled, not surprised. Neither am I.

At noon on Monday I watched Alex Wagner, EJ Dionne and Jonathan Capehart fantasize about the church going liberal but there was one single voice of pseudo reality in the mix, Chris Matthews.

While Matthews was just as desiring the church to abandon Catholic belief he was realistic enough to throw water on the idea there is:   “any big liberal out there” who can get win the vote, but he is still talking about this entire process as if it’s a precinct election in Brooklyn.

The truth is to many on the left and a few on the right Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular is a problem to be solved, not a faith to be understood or explained and certainly not to be embraced as it.

Let me take a moment to educate a media ignorant of the Church’s mission and those who depend on this uninformed group for their info on the Catholic Church.

The Church has a single purpose, a single mission a single task that is the source for all it does: It exists to bring souls to Christ and save them from Damnation. This is the task of every person in the church from the lowest novice to the Pope. The Holy Father’s task moreover as leader of the Catholic Church is to facilitate this task on a worldwide scale.

It’s that simple.

As Christ himself has told us, this task is difficult, like hitting a baseball the best will fail far more times than they succeed. In fact not only does the job description say the world will resist you, friends will become foes. It will make you hated as Christ himself said:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.   Matt 10:34-36

What’s more that task trumps all other deeds, and works. If you are a religious and the focus of what you are doing is not to bring someone to Christ, you’re doing it wrong. Once your ministry no matter what it is becomes about you and YOUR cause and not about Christ’s cause, you not only fail to save others but you put yourself at risk.

If you want to understand the Church, its magisterium, the scriptures, or why the Pope does what he does, understand that message first.

Anything else is just noise.

Update: Ed Morrissey expands on the subject:

Much of the reporting, however, is as nonsensical as Hugh describes, either out of ignorance or something worse. Part of it, though, comes from the narrow contexts in which work and analyze the news, especially through the prism of American politics. That produces “analysis” which in this case would have readers and viewers believe that the Church changes doctrine with each Pope, an absurdity that will end up backfiring when the next Pope is just as Catholic as Benedict XVI and every one of his predecessors.

As every single Cardinal who is voting for the next Pope was appointed by either John Paul II or Benedict XVI the folks like the nude protesters who think the Church is going to suddenly decide to throw out that whole Bible have the same odds of being right as I do of getting a sudden invitation to sit next to the First Lady at the SOTU speech tonight.

Update 2: The Telegraph gets it:

Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent for The Tablet, said: “These are uncharted waters, we have never had an election in which a former pope was still alive.

“By resigning he has assured that he can have an influence on who becomes his successor. One of his guys is probably going to be elected Pope.

“It will be psychologically difficult for the cardinals to vote for someone who wants to take the Church in a very different direction than Benedict.

That’s a very good point.

Yesterday Afternoon my oldest asked me why the Pope resigned. As I started giving my answer concerning his ability to do the job it occurred to me that if the year was 1513, 1913 or even 1963 this might not be happening.

Historically unless the an invading army drove him out, or if he was imprisoned by somebody the duties of the Pope were a tad different.

Yeah he still had to manage the Catholic Church worldwide, yes he had to celebrate Key large scale masses. Yes he had to receive distinguished visitors and yes he had to also govern a country that at once time was larger than it is now.

But all of that could be done easily from the Vatican, not a lot of travel required and in terms of the public only a miniscule number of people would have ever seen him.

Then came Blessed John Paul II

For over a quarter of a century the Pope was everywhere, constantly on TV, constantly traveling the world bringing the word of God everywhere he went.

More than that he understood modern media and used the power of his trips and television to make the most of every single one of his appearances, even in his infirmary to spread the world.

If you were born in say 1970 or after you never heard of a Pope who never left Italy, who stayed within the Vatican, who was not seen all over the world and all over your TV set. For you that is what being Pope is all about. That is simply what a pope does.

The message of Christ and the Gospel is unchanging but thanks to the example of John Paul II the way to deliver it in the modern world has.

People are saying that John Paul II’s infirmary influenced the current Pope’s resignation but I submit and suggest that is was not his infirmary but his vigorous papacy that is the more likely culprit.

Now in truth we don’t know the details of Pope Benedict XVI’s physical or mental condition so perhaps even a 15th century papacy might have been more than he can handle, but with the new Papal normal established by his illustrious predecessor the standards are different and Pope Benedict XVI has decided he just can’t be the pope the Church in this modern world needs.

That shows an understanding of the chair of Peter that the media lacks, but that a post for later.


[thermometer raised=0 target=300 height =200 ]

A lot of visits yesterday but no tip jar hits. That will make you humble in a hurry but $60 a day for the rest of the week will get me to that $300 dollar paycheck.

Just woke up and turned on the TV but couldn’t find the controller so only saw the pictures of the pope and talk of an election, it wasn’t until about 4 minutes later that I found out that Benedict XVI will resign effective Feb 28th.
I was rather surprised it was a contrast to Pope John Paul II who stayed on as an example of perseverance but of course it is up to the pope who decide if he is physically capable of ding the job.

Apparently he has been told he can’t take trips and in the modern Era that has become an intrinsic part of the job. In an internet age I’m not so sure.

It also hits me as Pope emeritus he can have a much more intimate connection to the faithful via twitter. He can continue to write and directly communicate to the faithful using social media. I think this would be an excellent use of his time.

It also occurs to me that as a living pope rather than a dead one it will be interesting to see what effect his presence will be on who is elected to replace him.

Expect MANY updates

Update: I predict this tweet will prove absolutely correct:

But I reiterate his primary ministry should now be on twitter Here is the full statement from the Vatican Site:

Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Update 2: That didn’t take long:


Almost 1000 retweets too, on the bright side Frankie Boyle believes in Hell, that means he might just figure it out during his lifetime. I’m with Elizabeth Scalia, all this will do is cause the Holy Father to pray for him, and as he’ll be in retirement he will have much more time for prayer.

Update 3: Damien Thompson:

there has always been a suspicion that Joseph Ratzinger would step down from office if he became incapacitated: he has a radical and stubborn streak in him that means he would take advantage of the facility to resign the throne of Peter if he felt it necessary for the good of the Church.

But still: Catholics will be deeply shocked and, in most cases, dismayed by this decision, which I see above all as an act of self-sacrifice by a man not prepared to see the Church suffer as a result of his increasing frailty.

He also makes a very important point that may have driven this decision:

my own feeling is that he has had to shoulder the burden of scandals that should have broken many years before he became pope, and also that his personal culpability as the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog during that period should not be exaggerated. John Paul II rather than Benedict XVI can be accused of turning a blind eye to certain abominations, not least to the Mexican child abuser the late Fr Marcel Maciel, whom Benedict sent into disgraced exile as soon as he became Pope. One reason Maciel was not dealt with in time was that John Paul II was too ill and, let us be honest, mentally enfeebled to confront Maciel’s crimes. Ratzinger has been determined from the beginning not to allow the same situation to overtake him.

ABC is running a loop of pope news from his election to his resignation. Cool idea.

Update 4: Ed Morrissey

Again, just to give some historical perspective, the last time this happened, Gutenberg hadn’t yet invented the printing press. What does it mean for the Catholic Church today, with 1.2 billion faithful and the state of the Vatican in the balance? Administratively, not much. The Vatican and the Church operate without a Pope when one dies, and the same mechanisms will carry out the day-to-day functions of both the Church and the state until a successor is chosen by the College of Cardinals. If anything, that will proceed in a more orderly fashion, with the head start provided by Benedict XVI’s notice.

Spiritually, of course, it’s another matter entirely. Benedict XVI is one of the Church’s greatest living theologians, and has been a highly-respected leader of faith in his pontificate. It’s impossible not to compare him to his predecessor Blessed John Paul, whose pontificate lasted for decades and who had a tremendous impact on the world and governed the Church through a renewal of faith, but that comparison will probably be a little unfair to Benedict XVI. The manner of his leaving, though, begs for that kind of comparison. Blessed John Paul took the traditional route of holding the office to his death despite suffering from Parkinson’s, a disease that ravaged his body but left his mind clear. Benedict XVI makes explicit mention of concerns over the state of his “mind and body” and a deterioration in one or both that has created an “incapacity,” which leaves the impression that one of the most brilliant minds in the Church may be dimming, and that Benedict XVI has decided to forego the difficulties this would cause the Church and allow another to take his place. That itself is a significant sacrifice, and perhaps an important act of humility.

On Morning Joe it seems all about race and politics and little about the faith. Why am I not surprised?

Update 5: Twitchy remains busy finding both respectful prayer and hate and the Guardian breaks some news:

Pope Benedict’s resignation has been planned for some time – Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, knew about it before Christmas – but it is still a stunning shock to the outside world. No pope has willingly resigned since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

Meanwhile a piece of twitter snark that speaks volumes:

That’s gonna leave a mark.

Update 6: the Deacon’s bench has a roundup including a brief history of popes who have resigned.

In Light of the World, Pope Benedict responded unambiguously to a question about whether a pope could resign: “Yes. If a Pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”

Bloomberg tells where he is heading:

Pope Benedict will have no role in choosing his successor, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at a press conference in Rome. The pope will initially retire to his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo before transferring to live in a convent, Lombardi said.

CBS quotes the pope’s brother on his health:

Talking from his home in Regensburg to the news agency dpa, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a “natural process.” “His age is weighing on him,” the 89-year-old said of his 85-year-old brother. “At this age my brother wants more rest.”

Washington Post pushes an out of Europe pope:

At a time when the church is declining in its former stronghold of Europe, but gaining strength its in Africa, Asia and Latin America, pressure is growing on the college of cardinals – the global princes of the church – to break with tradition by electing a non-European pope.

CNN notes the evolution of this pope came during the 60’s:

As a young priest, Ratzinger was on the progressive side of theological debates, but began to shift right after the student revolutions of 1968, CNN Vatican analyst John Allen Jr. said.

Update 7: Film Ladd Tweets:


Given what is happening in the US and the persecution of the Church both in the flesh and in the media this sounds less crazy than it might have a week ago.

While the NYT plays finds an interesting piece to remember:

In 2006, less than two years into his papacy, Benedict stirred ire across the Muslim world, referring in a long, scholarly address to a conversation on the truths of Christianity and Islam that took place between a 14th-century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, and a Persian scholar.

“The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said. “He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

While making clear that he was quoting someone else, Benedict did not say whether he agreed or not. He also briefly discussed the Islamic concept of jihad, which he defined as “holy war,” and said that violence in the name of religion is contrary to God’s nature and to reason.

Update 8
: Whispers in the Loggia comments:

The lone item of canon law to even mention a pontiff’s resignation is Canon 332, paragraph 2, which states that “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.”

Along the same lines, there is no protocol whatsoever for the titles or status of a retired Pope.

and he notes a clue that everyone missed this weekend

On Friday, Benedict raised some eyebrows by having a rare private audience with the Dean of the College of Cardinals, the 85 year-old Italian Angelo Sodano, the figure who would be responsible for the convoking of a papal election. The departing pontiff ostensibly communicated his plan to the Cardinal-Dean at that point.

Update 9: Think Progress lists “progressive” steps by the outgoing Pope:

– A fair and equitable economy. “[T]he economy cannot be measured only by maximization of profit but rather according to the common good,” he said in 2011 during a visit to Spain. In a 2009 treatise, the pontiff called for protections for “labour unions — which have always been encouraged and supported by the Church,” the elimination of world hunger through “wealth redistribution,” the protection of the “natural environment” — “God’s gift to everyone” — from unchecked economic expansion, and a strengthened “family of nations,” like the U.N. with “real teeth.”

Update 10:
Linked by Lonely Conservative & Stacy McCain

Every MSM news outlet seems to be talking about a possible Latin American or African Pope, I think the MSM is automatically assuming such a pope would be “progressive” the reality is such a pope is likely to be more conservative.

Update 11: Larry O’Connor raises a concern

At a time when the culture of death champions the despicable ideas of euthanasia and abortion, it was inspirational to see the Pope continuing his critically important work through his affliction. Pope Benedict said in his statement (emphasis mine), “Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” Frankly, I hope that this resignation is motivated by the Holy Father’s concern over his mental capacity versus his physical capacity otherwise he risks undermining the final, powerful statement about the dignity of life demonstrated by his remarkable predecesor.

It’s a fair point, but one of the most important aspects of the church is its dichotomy. The kingship of Christ and the humility of Christ. Loving the sinner and hating the sin. The last being first and the first last. Helping the poor while encouraging work and effort, faith vs works.

Benedict by his resignation is not making any less of the heroic example of his predecessor, it instead completes the lesson by stressing the delicate balance the Christian has to walk, as Christ put it himself:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17

This is just a different lesson, no less important.

Update 12: Kathryn Jean Lopez answers Larry O’Connor without meaning to.

Update 13:Lots of jokes going around twitter, some are taking offense, I don’t after all God proved he had a sense of humor by creating man, but it takes real skill to make a joke about this subject without being disrespectful. Will be interesting to see how the late night comics do it.

Speculation continues about who will replace Benedict XVI. In my mind other than the obvious qualification of faith and love of Christ the most important qualification for the position of Pope is not wanting the job but being willing to say “Here I am Lord” if called.

And here’s a thought, will he be still referred to as Pope Benedict XVI or Joseph Ratzinger (I’m betting the former. What is the protocol?

Update 14: Fr. Robert Sirico at the corner on handicapping the “race”

Anyone who tells you there is a “front-runner” simply does not know what he is talking about. The ripening period for “papabili” to emerge has just begun, though were I forced to identify one or two possibilities, I would look at the Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet (head of the Congregation of Bishops), or Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan (the Italians very much want the papacy back), or even Cardinal George Pell from Australia. If we are hoping for an American, of course, the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan would be great.

Remember one does not have to be a Cardinal to be a pope. Meanwhile Brad Dayspring manages to thread the needle between funny and respectful:


Meanwhile Senator John Barassao (R-WY) on MSNBC calls it a precedent setting decision. Interesting conjecture.

Update 15: And on the 15th update we hear from the Anchoress:

John Paul II’s deterioration was hard to watch, but one of the lessons it taught us was that age and illness does not diminish the worth of a person; that was an important, nay, urgent message that had to be delivered to this increasingly utilitarian age.

Perhaps Benedict’s retirement is meant to remind this exceedingly busy world — the non-stop, twenty-four-hour-live and very self-important world — that we are none of us indispensable; that there comes a time to step back, throw oneself into the arms of the Lord and trust that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

and Fr Dwight Longenecker:

When Benedict XVI created the Anglican Ordinariate he made history. Never before had a new structure been established to allow Protestants to have their own “church within the Church”. Benedict used the new media as no other Pope had done, churned out brilliant Biblical studies making clear that he was writing as a theologian and not the successor of Peter. Building on the legacy of Bl. John Paul, he embraced the reforms of the Second Vatican Council at the same time showing us how tradition can continue without turning back the clock. All of these, in one way or another, are great surprises.

Now he surprises us again.

Meanwhile the left as always, contemplates a church made it its own image.

Update 16: Two interesting Muslim perspectives at Pathos

I can’t get over the idea that this very, very rare thing came from a place of reflection – a reflection, as Elizabeth writes, that none of us are indispensable. And as immensely difficult as it must be, sometimes we must acknowledge that we must step back and trust that all will be well, all will move forward and God will provide.

and facebook from Sheikh Yasir Qadhi

one must admit that it does take courage for a man to publicly admit that he is not qualified for a job (especially his!). Jokes about his resignation are going viral, but if he resigned because he felt too old to do justice to his position, then I for one have respect for that honesty.

and I really liked the comment from one Abu Adman in comments:

That he resigned is probably clear evidence that he IS the right man for the job.

Update 17: National Catholic Reporter:

Today, the pope indicated that the Petrine ministry is a ministry, a very specific ministry to be sure, but more of a job than a vow.

The second immediate take-away is that Pope Benedict needs to take every step very carefully in the next few days and weeks. Each step will be a precedent.

I agree with the 2nd but not the first but the whole article seems hint at a desire for a pope acceptable to MSNBC.

Update 18: Father Z is all over this but the most interesting post is this one:

I have written again and again that the SSPX was going to wake up one day and experience the bad end of the stick. That day is coming, probably with the election of the next Pope which is now a lot closer than I thought it would be.

The membership of the SSPX should converge on Rome this week. They should, all together, crawl on hands and knees across St. Peter’s Square and stay there until the Pope will admit them. They should beg the Pope to let them kiss his shoe, accept their promises of obedience, and the regularize them before he resigns.

A lot of consequences to this act that has not occurred to people yet.

[thermometer raised=0 target=300 height =200 ]

It’s a new week and my goal each week is a $300 dollar paycheck. The question if I get one or not? That’s up to you.

Today is our annual all Catholic Christmas show on DaTechGuy on DaRadio.

In the first hour we talk to Linda Binggelli, she was one of three people whose questions the Pope answered in his initial tweets.

In our second hour we have our taped interview with Bishop Reilly on the Church, the Year of faith and his memories of Vatican 2.

It all starts at 10 a.m. EST till noon on WCRN.

If you are outside our 50,000 Watt Range you have a lot of streaming options.

You can listen live using the three different links for the WCRN live stream

If you are using Windows media player click here
If you are using Winamp clip here
If you are using real player click here

If you are using something else, then go to Tune-inhere

To all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thanks.

Update: Dropped a “G” in Linda’s name, fixed

In my post on the subject yesterday I talked about the purpose the Pope on Twitter

Most twitter accounts are about the people or organization who have them, the purpose of my account is to promote me, keep me in touch and aid me in making my living. That’s not what the Pope is shooting for. His purpose is not for his own aggrandizement but to spread the good news of Christ for the salvation of any who hear it.

And it’s not just the spreading of the world but as the Anchoress notes, what matters is how he communicated to the faithful

I love this piece by Cathy Grossman in USA Today, in which she makes not of the real people behind the questions that Benedict answered, today:

At noon, he addressed a mom who asked: “Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?”

Benedict replied: “Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you.”

Let me introduce you to the lady in question:

Meet Linda Binggeli:

If you do a search of “Linda Binggeli” on the internet for the period of Jan 1, 2008 to Dec 1st of this year you will find 37 results the most interesting one being a story of an app for Eucharist Adoration for the iPhone. The woman in the picture resembles the photo above and the location is right so I assume the developer is her husband.

So Linda this ordinary wife and mother posed this question on twitter on December 6th:


and I’m sure to her surprise the Pope answered it directly:

Now that tweet got the attention of not just the news but people all over the world. The English Language version of it has been re-tweeted over 16,500 times.

That however isn’t the story. The story is a member of the faithful, an ordinary person, asked a question to the Pope and he answered.

This answer was not delivered by the Vatican, not by a Cardinal, an Archbishop, Bishop, Monseigneur, Priest or Deacon. It was delivered directly from the Pope.

It was not filtered by any media service, not the Vatican News Agency, CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, The New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, or even her local paper before the Pope stated it.

It was not dissected by Morning Joe, Made fun of by Maureen Dowd, scoffed at by Fr. Richard McBrein or Denounced by Richard Dawkins before the Pope expressed it.

This was the Holy Father, the Supreme Pontiff, the direct Successor to St. Peter, the holder of the Keys who can bind and loose on earth and in heaven, speaking directly to the faithful and interested in general and to Linda Binggeli in particular.

It’s been my experience that the many of the objections to the church (particularly among Christians) are objections the a Church not as it is or as it teaches but what they think it is and teaches based on what they’ve been told it, perhaps from a minister, a secularist or perhaps even from a priest who has given poor catechesis.

In other words they object to or attack a Catholic Church that doesn’t actually exist.

But with the Pope now able to tweet directly to the masses, that is eliminated. There is absolutely no question that the message given is consistent with the authentic teaching of the Church.

That power and ability to bypass the media filter will only grow over time and that effect will be profound, The Anchoress again at the Washington Post:

I’m tempted to say there is a danger that the pope can be misconstrued, but it’s difficult to imagine how Benedict can be any MORE misconstrued than he usually is in most media stories about him — witness the silly headlines following the release of his latest book, suggesting that Benedict was naysaying the Christmas narratives. On the other hand, if His Holiness is misconstrued, setting the record straight is much faster and more efficient online. He won’t have to wait four days for a “clarification” (in section C, page 36) of the screaming headlines that had appeared front page, above the fold. In that sense, I guess you could say Rome has a shot at grabbing the wheel of the Barque of St. Peter from the hands of the media and being its own helmsman-of-perception.

And it is this fact more than anything else, the potential to do this and actually save souls that causes that anger and venom spewed in his direction. The Anchoress however notes this will backfire in a special way:

It’s interesting to see folks indulge themselves like that; lashing out at an 85 year old man — or tweeting risque pictures to try to shock him — reveals a great deal about the people who do it, but if folks think they’re hurting the pope, they should think again. All they’re doing, when they try to shock, or vent, is opening the door to their own salvation. They’re only prompting Benedict to pray directly for the healing of their souls, as the Vicar of Christ encounters their need.

Seen in that way, it’s impossible to take offense at these tweets; easier to see them for what they are: cries from the shadows, by sheep in search of their shepherd but wounded, and cold — and so very afraid — that they do not know how to trust.

as Thomas McDonald put it:

When you tell the world to hope, pray, and look for Jesus in the faces of the needy, and they respond with “f*ck you you child molesting old queen,” that doesn’t say a thing about the pope or his message. It says volumes about the demonic forces unleashed in our world. It’s nice for Catholics to see a tweet from the pope, but it’s important for the haters to see one. emphasis mine

No matter if it’s a cry for help, demonic forces unleashed or a little of both, they will get the word of Christ and his Church directly from the Chair of Peter.

And that reality will not change no matter how they protest, but it might in the end change the world.

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking,

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.

The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:34-40

There was quite a bit of fuss when the Pope Benedict XVI got an actual twitter account where he would tweet directly to the faithful. Actually 7 accounts in languages from German to Arabic) with a low of 8070 followers in Arabic to 728083 in English, a combined on 1m124301 followers as of 7:41 AM EST on Wednesday.

Today the Holy Father sent out his first highly anticipated tweets in fact he sent three, here they are:

OK starting with a basic greeting to all, makes sense, but now here comes…the MESSAGE:

This being the newly declared liturgical year of faith…here it comes….

A simple clear and succinct way of describing what to do as a Christian.

The message (in English) received over 5000 re-tweets in the first hour and good responses from the faithful, there are some who were not impressed.

Meet Stephan Faris

Here is his twitter profile

My first introduction to Mr. Faris was this tweet in response to the Pope today that was re-tweeted by someone I follow:

Anti-Climax? It seemed to me as the vicar of Christ the Pope was delivering the basic message that he is charged with delivering: How to follow Christ. So I asked Mr. Faris what he expected and he answered:

And THAT tweet says an awful lot.

Forgetting for a moment the confines of 140 characters per tweet. Mr. Faris objects to the simple message that “he could have written himself”. I ask: how often have you written it? How often have you thought about that simple message in terms of your own life?

There are a lot of people today who don’t understand faith, who don’t understand the Church and only see Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular through the secular progressive lens. Their only exposure to the Church is the NYT editorial page or from those who dissent from outside or from within.

To such people the concept that people might actually follow the Church and be Christian because they believe it to be true (which is the only reason to be a Christian in general and a Catholic in particular) is totally foreign to them. To them Christianity and the divinity of Christ is just a con, believers are rubes and the purpose of the Christianity is to keep them that way.

So to these enlightened elites, the concept of using a platform reaching over a million people instantly to reinforce the consistent message of Christ and the Gospel, love of God and love of your fellow man, is totally beyond their ken.

In reality helping people find Christ IS the primary job of the Pope and all Priests from the humblest friar to the most celebrated Cardinal. This is the message and purpose of the Church for 20 centuries.

The message of Christ, like the ten commandments, is simple, but because it is simple it’s very hard to follow, and needs to be reinforced whenever possible.

Most twitter accounts are about the people or organization who have them, the purpose of my account is to promote me, keep me in touch and aid me in making my living. That’s not what the Pope is shooting for. His purpose is not for his own aggrandizement but to spread the good news of Christ for the salvation of any who hear it.

I expect most of the Pope’s tweets to be along similar lines, and I also suspect they will produce the same confusion and disappointment among our secular media friends as this message did, I’d be surprised if it generates much else.

But I’m sure the Holy Father thinks and prays otherwise. His faith is much stronger than mine.

Update: And here is why it matters so much

Via Babalu Blog some inside baseball concerning the Pope’s trip that should surprise nobody who actually pays attention.

• Third. They ascertained — painfully — that the plea made by the Pope John Paul II during his visit 14 years ago, to the effect that the Cubans lose their fear, had been for naught. Except for a few hundred opposition democrats who are permanently harassed and beaten, sometimes jailed, Cuba’s is a society rotted by fear.

But the manifestation of fear that intrigued them the most was not that of the oppositionists but that of the apparent supporters. They heard their double-talk up close and were terrified.

In private, the functionaries appeared open, tolerant and desirous of deep reforms that would include the political arena. One of them even admitted that a multiparty system and free elections were essential for society to truly advance toward modernity — even if the communists lost power.

But as soon as someone else joined the conversation or the journalists appeared, the officials reprised the most inflexible and Stalinist orthodox discourse, parroting the official script without leaving out a single comma. It was a painful spectacle.

This is the most telling thing of all, that the people are repressed is not news, but that the government functionaries live in fear says everything. They know where they will end up if they seem to be deviating, even slightly from the Communist line.

C. S. Forester had this type of person pegged in one of his Hornblower books Flying Colours

Hornblower bowed, but as the Colonel remained unbending he stiffened to attention. He could recognize that type of man at once—the servant of a tyrant, and in close personal association with him, modeling his conduct not on the tyrant’s but on what he fancied should be the correct behaviour of a tyrant, far out-Heroding Herod

I’d rather be judged by Castro himself than someone like this, a person so terrified for his position will be the most ruthless in order to protect their own hide.

I would not want to be these people when the end finally comes.

In this morning’s post I mentioned the great article at USA today about the rise of traditional religious practice among youth. A measure of this can be World Catholic Youth Day in Madrid last weekend. What were the actual numbers:

Pope Benedict urged 1.5 million young Catholics at a Sunday mass in an aerodrome to spread the gospel to others on the last day of a four-day visit to the Spanish capital marked by violent protests.

Hundreds of Spaniards, including priests, took to the streets earlier in the week to object to the cost of hosting a private religious event at a time of spending cuts. A march ended in clashes with police on Wednesday night.

Note the contrast “hundreds of protestors” vs 1.5 million young Catholics. Fr. Tim at The Hermeneutic of Continuity comments:

I would add that this demonstrates the values of the mainstream media which focusses on a protest by 150 people (a generous estimate) as opposed to the faith of the million or so who are gathering for the Pope’s visit.

I think he might be wrong on the “generous estimate” bit but no amount of media spin can alter those relative numbers. Their respective actions are even more telling:

Photo via Fr. Z's Blog
One guy who stopped us said there was an anti-Catholic protest in Sol so we went to check it out There was this HUGE crowd of people so Seamus & Louise didn´t want to come check it out with us, they sat at a corner We went in and people were shouting filthy slurs and cursing the Pope and it was awful So we knelt down and prayed a Rosary for them in the crowd and got surrounded by angry protesters, shouting and threatening and spitting and filming us and mocking us and trying to burn our flags.

Hey I thought it was the Christians who were supposed to be intolerant?, but hey that doesn’t mean their argument about the costs of the visit, oh wait:

“The lie is that Spain which is in the throes of an economic meltdown, that’s the worst economy of the industrialized word, 21% unemployment for starters; they say that Spain can’t afford this Papist extravaganza, fair enough, but Spain isn’t paying for it. All the costs is being met by the registration fees paid by all the pilgrims, private donors and corporate sponsors like Coca-Cola for example. The government is paying for absolutely nothing.”

Oh and it also injected tens of millions of Euros injected in the economy…

“I guess that’s why we didn’t see any shop owners out at the anti-Catholic rally last night, they were too busy counting their Euros in the back room that’s to World Youth Day.”

Mr Voors rather blunt video is here:

As you can see he doesn’t go for the whole “honey vs vinegar” bit.

Bottom line as Mark Steyn has said, the future belongs to those who show up. If World Youth day is a measure, it looks like there will be a lot of faithful Catholics with children in attendance.

By an odd coincidence just as my hits are way up the Pope warns me all that glitters are not hits:

Pope Benedict XVI told Catholic bloggers and Facebook and YouTube users Monday to be respectful of others when spreading the Gospel online and not to see their ultimate goal as getting as many online hits as possible.

Echoing concerns in the U.S. about the need to root out online vitriol, Benedict called for the faithful to adopt a “Christian style presence” online that is responsible, honest and discreet

When you are a public Catholic it is important to act like one, particularly if you call out other public Catholics who don’t.

In addition he warns of making a virtual reality for oneself:

“It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives,” Benedict said in the message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications.

He urged users of social networks to ask themselves “Who is my ‘neighbor’ in this new world?” and avoid the danger of always being available online but being “less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life.”

It reminds me of Screwtape #6 to wit:

Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbors whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.and the theory where to put things

The Pope’s full message is here.

I attended the event at St. Paul’s Cathedral of St Paul last night and the Vigil was incredible.

Three bishops, dozens of priests over 450 people from all over the Diocese and a first rate choir and spectacular music election accompanied a night of solemn prayer and adoration not only for unborn life but for the souls of those who have acted against innocent life, to wit:

Lord, you are love and mercy itself.

Draw all who have acted against innocent human life to repentance and forgiveness and heal them through an outpouring of grace

We often forget it is those who offend life and aid Abortion who are in fact in the most danger. Their actions end the lives of others but they also harm souls most notably their own. We should never neglect to pray for all those involved from Planned Parenthood and naral et/all for their souls are at risk and it a terrible thing to fall under the judgment of a just God.

I must admit I was shocked and disappointed that the Cathedral was not full. It’s not every day the Pope asks you do something. Would it have been that hard for Catholics in the diocese to show? My friend, poet and theologian Jim Marley (Who will be one of my Christmas Guests on DaTechGuy on DaRadio) has had cancer twice, is walking on crutches and is constantly in incredible pain yet he was there struggling to stand when possible and forced to sit when he could not. Where were the students of Holy Cross in Worcester? Where were the student and faculty from Anna Maria College whose president assured me two years ago that my comments suggesting they have forgotten their Catholic identity were incorrect? Apparently it is only remembered when raising money from the faithful.

Secondly I was surprised when I looked at the back of the Bulletin of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester. There are 15 advertising spots. 3 are blank. How is it that the Cathedral in the 2nd largest city in New England can’t manage 15 ads in their bulletin?

I’m sure the media will give this story of people praying worldwide for life all the attention it gives the count for the annual right to life march, which is almost none.





…he just doesn’t know it yet:

I am not Catholic – my ancestors were Ulster Scots, and I remain proudly Protestant – but over the years many Catholic readers have been attracted to this blog by my advocacy of a pro-family, pro-life philosophy which owes much to the doctrine expounded in Humanae Vitae. If you have never read it, you certainly should and please note that Humanae Vitae is addressed not merely to Catholics, nor even exclusively to Christians, but “to all men of good will.”

He writes about Pope Paul Vi (the pope of my youth) and Benedict XVI, read this post, it is a very Catholic one

Recall that Paul VI wrote this in 1968, eight years after the first oral contraceptive was made commercially available in the U.S., at the height of the ridiculous hysteria over “The Population Bomb,” and five years before Roe v. Wade.

As Benedict XVI says, Humanae Vitae was “prophetically right,” because Paul VI clearly warned that the embrace of artificial contraception would “open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.”

Since most protestant denominations gave in on Birth Control more than half a century ago reading this from Stacy brings a grin to my face. It’s like reading an essay from my friend Jim Marley poet and student of Theology (and one of the guest for my Christmas show). Stacy sounds more Catholic than most Catholics, but then again he is starting by linking to the Anchoress which is the best way to find the way to the charity of truth.

The Anchoress tends to hit basic truths well, to wit:

Did Pope Benedict know he was sparking a debate with his responses in Light of the World?

I suspect he did. Benedict is not stupid, and he’s not unsavvy about media; he knows the press is reactionary and slavish to the sensational – that they would grab his answers to Peter Seewald and run with them, and that after their first noise, some of them would actually settle down and seek to understand, while others never would.

Meanwhile, the faithful would be jarred from their torpor, and others–who had been dismissive of all-positions-Catholic–would again be engaged.

Active engagement is always better than passive dismissal.

And the discussion continues:

Paul VI, he said, “was convinced that society robs itself of its greatest hopes when it kills human beings through abortion”.

Benedict XVI said: “How many children are killed who might one day have been geniuses, who could have given humanity something new, who could have given us a new Mozart or some new technical discovery?

“We need to stop and think about the great human capacity that is being destroyed here – even quite apart from the fact that unborn children are human persons whose dignity and right to life we have to respect.”

Humanae Vitae’s main argument, that sexuality separated from fecundity in principle through the contraceptive pill would lead to sexuality becoming arbitrary, remains correct, Pope Benedict said.

I’ve made that argument over and over and was answered with: “How many would have been crack heads?” To which I say this. Who makes more difference 1 great teacher or 30 crack heads? 50 crack heads? 100 crack heads?

The potential of life is limitless, all it takes is faith and effort.

Oh and another of my Christmas Show guests notes something else the rest of the media has missed:

One aspect about this story that is getting no coverage is that we are getting a book like this in the first place. A sitting Pope sitting down with a journalist and not limiting any questions asked. Sure he is comfortable in his long relationship with Peter Seewald, but Seewald is willing to ask the questions other people would be interested in having asked. The Pope being the brilliant theologian that he is does not give pat answers. The Pope is not concerned with public relations and acting as a spin doctors on his answers to reduce any possible misinterpretations. The Pope thinks deeply on subjects and then gives us his answer where he would trust us with the truth. The Pope could have easily answered the questions on condoms by outlining the Church’s teaching on contraception, but instead spoke honestly in addressing possible situations. Some might call this a PR disaster and certainly it is annoying when the press distorts what the Pope says, but they would find something to distort regardless.

Remember the first thanksgiving proclamation was to give thanks to God.

Via Damian Thompsom who will be on our Christmas show.

“I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine,” Lombardi said. “He told me no. The problem is this … It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship.”

“This is if you’re a woman, a man, or a transsexual. We’re at the same point,” Lombardi said.

Sensible, compassionate, logical – and a badly needed clarification of Catholic teaching rather a U-turn. But some commentators, who attached such weight to the Pope’s reference to a male prostitute, are going to have a really hard time talking themselves out of this one

I’m thinking screwtape:

the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

The pope is making the same argument in reverse, if the person uses the condom to prevent the spread of a deadly disease, he or she by showing that concerning is taking a small step toward the light. It doesn’t make the sins of Adultery or Fornication any less a sin, but you can’t walk away from the darkness without that first step toward the light.

And again the function here is intent. Using a condom to prevent pregnancy while trying to argue that you are just trying to prevent disease might allow you to convince yourself, but it doesn’t mean a thing, you can fool yourself, but at the gate your won’t fool St. Peter.

A couple of days ago my son came to me saying its on the news that the Pope is now allowing condom use. As I was busy with show prep etc I didn’t have any time to check on it and I hadn’t seen it myself, so I told him to ignore the media and read the actual statement that the Benedict XVI made to see if that is what it actually says.

Later that day he came to me saying. “You’re right it not what the media is saying at all”

It hasn’t taken long for activists to try to spin what has been said:

British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell did just that in his reaction to the book, saying: “If the pope can change his stance on condoms, why can’t he also modify the Vatican’s harsh intolerant opposition to women’s rights, gay equality, fertility treatment and embryonic stem cell research?”

Forgetting the hateful and false hyperbole Mr. Tatchell manages to miss that the Holy Father has not changed a thing at all, as the Anchoress points out first quoting deacon Greg who directly quotes the Pope:

“The Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from–provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.”

Big change isn’t it? Not quite, the pope he is quoting is Paul VI in 1968.

She then quotes the best post I’ve seen on the subject:

To the son who is a male prostitute, she advises, again, the Catholic teaching on human sexuality. She tries to explain it, but he cannot understand it and completely rejects it. He simply cannot get his mind around it. He is adamant that he is going to continue in his lifestyle, no matter what. When she realizes that she is never going to get anywhere with him on this issue, she advises him that if he absolutely insists that it must be this way, then he should use a condom. He agrees that he should think enough of the other person’s value as a human person not to intentionally risk AIDS infection, and she rejoices that he, at least, understands this much about human dignity. It’s enough for her to hope that it is spark enough for him to, as the Pope said, “re-develop his understanding” and come eventually to the fullness of the Faith. Again, as assuredly as she was with her other son, she is being a good Catholic mother.

It is contraception not condoms that have and always have been forbidden. As the Anchoress put it herself this time:

I think it is a very good thing that Pope Benedict has spoken about this issue via the book – it takes the whole matter out of the world of encyclicals and exhortations (which are often either unread or mischaracterized) and brings it into the light of the public square and open discussion. If it gets a few people to pay attention, smack their foreheads and say, “wait…you mean the church was never as unreasonable and inhumane as we’d been told?” That will be something, won’t it?

The Holy Spirit uses what is at its disposal for its own purposes, and moves as it will. This pope has been all about giving the Holy Spirit room to move and work.

This is all true but it doesn’t matter we will still see more HuffPo headlines not withstanding the actual truth.
I think the problem is the media isn’t actually interested in what the Pope is saying, they have an agenda and we WILL talk about this on Saturday and on our Christmas show. That being said Willie Geist dealt with it fairly on Way Too Early. I’ll see what Morning Joe has to say.

Update: Wow! very wow!

It looks like the prez is going to have to wait for some of his appointments a bit longer:

By scheduling pro-forma sessions on Mondays and Fridays, lawmakers can take away Obama’s ability to make recess appointments.

Obama had 115 executive- and judicial-branch nominees pending on the Senate’s executive calendar as of Wednesday afternoon.

Bad sign for the president considering the incredible majorities he has in both houses. But as Father Z reports the Washington is not the only place where there are a lot of open seats waiting to be filled:

There are at present quite a few important curial positions and sees around the world which usually have cardinals… but don’t.

At the time of this writing, I believe there are 103 voting cardinals (men who have not turned 80 years old). By the end of November two more cardinals will hit 80 (Tumi, Pujats), bringing the number of voting cardinals down to 101. By the end of next February, four more (Panafieu, Vidal, García-Gasco, Ruini – sadly) – 97. By the end of April two more (Keeler, Sebastiani) – 95. So, an American and two Italians will have dropped from the list, leaving 10 Americans and 15 Italians as electors.

I won’t even pretend to know the inside baseball of the Vatican but with an elderly pope, the men who are elevated to cardinal now will have a lot to do with the direction of the church for decades.

The Flemish menace strikes again!

Police have arrested five suspected Islamist terrorists, working as street cleaners in London, over an alleged plan assassinate the Pope.

I have seen plenty of action on twitter going after the pope, yet I don’t see those same people talking about stuff like this.

It’s really easy to critique people who you know won’t harm you.

memeorandum thread here

Update: Weasel Zippers via Michelle: “Quick somebody organize an interfaith conference!

The Title of this post says it all

Pope meets the Queen – who, unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a real Protestant

Gotta love that. Interesting take in the article too:

Today’s meeting undoubtedly reflects a clash of historical traditions and formal theology. But it is also an encounter between two devout, old-fashioned, conservative Christians – and, in that respect, a meeting of minds.

Just go to his site and keep reading.

…is encapsulated in this quote from the Anchoress:

Papal Mass Ends in Scotland: First leg of the trip is over, tomorrow the real drama, the passionate engagement begins. I loved the Scots singing Auld Lang Syne and Loch Lomand at the end of Papal Mass; great joy amid crowd. Christ, blest and broken, for the life and light of the world. No wonder the secularists hate it all so much! A pal in UK tells me some in punditry are aghast at the enthusiastic attendance of the youth; doesn’t fit the “Benedict is evil, and you must hate him” narrative. Just now, as he appeared on the jumbotron, almost ready to take his leave, the young people cried out for him.

They cry out for Christ, for the constant reality of the love of Christ. — 2:11 PM emphasis mine

The Pope will always be hated by the world, because he is an ambassador for the cause of Christ and that is as opposed to the world as you can get.

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. John 15:18-23

This is the message of absolute truth you can embrace it for your salvation or you can combat it, but you can’t ignore it.

…still no comment on that NY law nor the state trying to duck and dodge their own issues in that regard.

Mika Mika Mika I expect better from you. Perhaps she needs this quote from Katherine Lopez via Fr. Z

While MSNBC waits for the pope’s resignation, he, every day, leads a renewal. In our hearts and in the structure of the Church. I think even the New York Times realizes it. It’s why they grasp at old stories, trying to obscure what’s happening now. And even as they do that, they have to admit, as they recently did, that “there are indications that Benedict had a lower tolerance for sexual misconduct by elite clergy members than other top Vatican officials.”

Reading the statement on the Legion out of the Vatican, I’d conclude no tolerance. If it hadn’t been firm and had teeth, frankly, it would have been a bigger news story. The fact is that Benedict is a leader of renewal, a solution to the problem. He has been and continues to be. And that’s why, while trying to do the opposite, the “Paper of Record” couldn’t help but admit it. At a paper that has a libertine interest in the collapse of the institution that offers something radically countercultural, that has to be bad news. But it’s the news all the same, thanks be to God, working, in part, through our Holy Father today.

If she won’t listen to KJL maybe she will listen to that Catholic Fanatic Ed Koch.

As for the Pope is a big man he likely agrees with Dorothy Day that he can endure anything between two (receptions) of the Eucharist.

the NYT, concerning John Paul II that deserves some elaboration.

When I was reading the book Saved by my enemy I was struck by a particular story. The young lady couldn’t get over the idea that George Bush wasn’t jailing or executing people for disagreeing with him. Since all she knew was how “the rules” worked in Iraq the concept that they worked differently just didn’t register to her.

In one sense that was a huge disadvantage for John Paul II. He had lived through communism and the police state, he knew their tactic and their methods it was his reality for him for decades.

One of the normal tactics of Communism was to spread rumors and calumny of people they wanted to destroy. It was a very common tactic and helped justify not only state actions but was useful in discrediting those who opposed them.

Unfortunately when the scandals broke and were promoted by those who were never friendly to the church I strongly suspect John Paul thought he recognized a tactic that he had seen countless times before.

This was played on by those who wanted to keep things quiet, those afraid of scandal or with something to hide. I believe they used John Paul’s own familiarity with one evil to to deceive him about another.

Fortunately others (such as the then Cardinal Ratzinger) thought otherwise and acted.

…to a fair story on the pope that they will likely ever produce:

This isn’t an isolated case. In the 1990s, it was Ratzinger who pushed for a full investigation of Hans Hermann Groer, the Vienna cardinal accused of pedophilia, only to have his efforts blocked in the Vatican. It was Ratzinger who persuaded John Paul, in 2001, to centralize the church’s haphazard system for handling sex abuse allegations in his office. It was Ratzinger who re-opened the long-dormant investigation into Maciel’s conduct in 2004, just days after John Paul II had honored the Legionaries in a Vatican ceremony. It was Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict, who banished Maciel to a monastery and ordered a comprehensive inquiry into his order.

So the high-flying John Paul let scandals spread beneath his feet, and the uncharismatic Ratzinger was left to clean them up. This pattern extends to other fraught issues that the last pope tended to avoid — the debasement of the Catholic liturgy, or the rise of Islam in once-Christian Europe. And it extends to the caliber of the church’s bishops, where Benedict’s appointments are widely viewed as an improvement over the choices John Paul made. It isn’t a coincidence that some of the most forthright ecclesiastical responses to the abuse scandal have come from friends and protégés of the current pope.

I haven’t seen Morning Joe use any of the links I suggested, however this comes from the preferred source, the New York Times. Let’s see if it gets any play.

…they had a shot.

Then they went after the pope and lost me at once. This pope already stepped up to the plate on this and anyone who has followed the scandals for years would know this. I suspect they still haven’t read the links I provided yet.

The MSM has to remember they are not the only source of information anymore and anyone who is you know actually informed isn’t going to fall for this crap.

Update: Of course they aren’t questioning the NYT because unlike bloggers they have layers of fact checkers.

Update 2: The gullibility of the NYT makes Hot air’s headlines. Will it make the MSM’s anytime soon?

Update 3: And here are some interesting numbers care of POWIP

Funny you should ask via Fr. Z links to an article at the LOGIA that describes themselves as a quarterly journal of Lutheran theology in it John Stephenson looks at the attacks on the Pope and has this to say:

The secular press has had it in for Joseph Ratzinger for going on three decades. Before his election as Pope in the spring of 2005, he was routinely derided in his homeland as the Panzerkardinal (“tank cardinal”) and caricatured in North America as the “Enforcer” or even the “Rottweiler.” The roots of this negative reputation stretch back at least as far as the book-length interview he granted to the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori that catapulted him to global fame when published as The Ratzinger Report in 1985. Prior to that juncture, as a heavyweight German academic who had leapfrogged over a major episcopal see (Munich-Freising) to become a leading official in the Roman curia (as cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) under the still new John Paul II, Ratzinger’s was hardly a household name.

But shrewd observers must wonder about the startling disproportion between the enormous hue and cry artificially whipped up by the media and the softly spoken real life figure who seems always to have avoided hyperbole like the plague.

Let me reiterate that this is from a Lutheran journal. A denomination that refers to the Roman Catholic Church as, in the words of one Lutheran priest: “that institution that is rightly labeled as Antichrist in our Lutheran Confessions”. How bad must things be if the media has these guys defending the Pope? They have their own issues, big ones, yet they have at least eyes enough to see this for what it is. Here is the big finish:

As Easter of 2010 approaches, though, if for no other reason than that we remember Martin Niemöller’s post-war regret at not having spoken up for the Jews in due season, we might fitly major in sympathy, understanding, and prayer for the courteous and learned aged prelate who is right now a walking target for innumerable hellish darts launched by theological Modernists and by the unbelieving world that have between them zero tolerance for any crisp, clear, and confident confession of Christ Jesus our Incarnate God.

If any protestant church proclaiming Christ thinks that the media is their friend their errors are more than simply theological.

Exit question for professed Christians: Do you think it is an accident that the Roman Catholic Church is primary target of the secular media? And if it is not what does that say about the Church as opposed to other denominations that do not seem so worthy of their scorn?

Although I have and will continue to hit back at those maliciously attacking the Church in General and the Pope in particular, none of this changes our obligation to pray for these people and to keep them in our prayers.

If we fail to do so, we fail as Christians in general and Catholics in particular

…to my knowledge they still haven’t read the links I suggested. Pat again hit them on the Milwaukee Case, but thanks to The Hermemeutic of Continuity we have yet another good link to offer them.

It is too good to simply quote, they and you should read the whole thing.

It’s as if his pastoral letter when he said this:

6. To the victims of abuse and their families:
You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings. It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope. It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering.

and this:

7. To priests and religious who have abused children

You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.

I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment.

and this:

11. To my brother bishops

It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse. Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations. I recognize how difficult it was to grasp the extent and complexity of the problem, to obtain reliable information and to make the right decisions in the light of conflicting expert advice. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgement were made and failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness.

This is all from his pastoral letter from two weeks ago that apparently the Morning Joe crowd managed to miss.

Until they bother to try to get, you know facts, rather than the gospel according the the NYT they will be worthy of scorn. As they hit him with Eugene Robinson’s “me too” column (you can find it on the Washington post site, I’m not linking him on this) they display their astounding willful and deliberate ignorance. As for John Heilemann on the “crisis of credibility” I suspect there will never be a time when the Catholic Church does not have a crisis of credibility for him.

If these guys aren’t embarrassed then it’s only because they have lost the capability to do so on this subject.

Why do I get the feeling that if the subject of this headline was President Obama that someone would have been given his walking papers?

Go to the home page of MSNBC and click on “World News.” From there click on “Americas.” Next click on the article, “Losing Their Religion? Catholicism in Turmoil.” Scroll down and in the “Click for Related Content” section there is an article entitled, “Pope Describes Touching Boys: I Went Too Far.” Clicking on this piece takes the reader to an article about a homosexual German priest who had sex with males in the 1980s. It says absolutely nothing about the pope. Yet MSNBC paints Pope Benedict XVI as a child molester in the tease to the article.

Of course it is pure coincidence that MSNBC runs with this headline after pounding on the Pope for days. We should accept MSNBC apology.

I’m sure the explanation is simple and innocent, the person at MSNBC likely is Hungarian and was using Alexander Yalt’s phrasebook to translate

After all we have no reason to believe that MSNBC dislikes the Pope do we?