Joseph: I forgot what I was supposed to tell him.
Jules:Oh, well tell him he should on no account try to open that cage. Tell him because if he does try to and puts his hand inside of the cage to find out what’s there, he’s liable to be disagreeably surprised.[laughs] Tell him, well that there’s a deadly poisonous snake inside, of the cage. Tell him. [Joseph leaves the room & Re-enters a few seconds later] You didn’t tell him!
Joseph: He knows already.

We’re No Angels 1955

The great Synod Debate continues and my Friend Elizabeth Scalia has reached a point of frustration:

My dear synod fathers, my dear co-religionists, I am a nobody and am the first to admit it—I am shocked to hear myself ask this question. But what if Christ Jesus is rolling his eyes at us because we are still wondering whether people should disperse and go find bread elsewhere, when the True Bread is before us and abundant? What if, as the debate rages over whose hands are clean enough to eat the Food that cannot defile, he is sighing and asking us, “Do you still not understand?”

As have her critics:

That the long-settled question regarding the presentation of Holy Communion to notorious, unrepentant sinners is even up for discussion at this Synod is a tragic scandal. But for this consideration to be promoted by a prominent Catholic writer who has a reputation for orthodoxy? Ms. Scalia … please retract your article.

I very much understand both of their frustrations because the sin they are warning against is spiritual pride, It a sin that terrifies me because it’s an easy sin to fall into and feels so warm on the skin until like Adolph the poisonous snake in the movie it bites you.

Cousin Paul: Still in all I’d feel better if I had a doctor look at it.

Joseph: He Says he’d feel better if a doctor looked at it.

Jules: Oh, He wants to send for a doctor

Albert: Tell him to save his money.

Joseph: He says to save your money that’s good advice take my word for it.

Cousin Paul: I guess you’re right, it stung at first but now I don’t feel a thing 

That’s the nature of spiritual pride, it bites for a second but before you know it you don’t feel a thing. And spiritual pride comes in multiple flavors both being too rigid to see the possibilities and being too willing to bend the rules are two sides of the same coin, but I think the best answer to both comes from the Gospel of Luke:

At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!  Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. (So) cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’  He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'”

Luke 13:1-9

This passage is telling. The first paragraph reminds everyone that salvation isn’t like running away from a bear where you just have to be faster than the guy behind you.  Being right on the issue of the Eucharist or having mercy in the heart isn’t going to be enough to get it done.  It’s about finishing the race with Christ at the finish line.

The second paragraph parable reminds us that those who are stuck in mortal sin are worth the extra effort to help them out but it also says something more.

Note what the gardener does in trying to save the fig tree,  He cultivates the ground around it, he fertilizes it.  He doesn’t do anything extraordinary, anything miraculous, he uses the regular methods of any gardener he just gives this tree a little more extra personal attention because that’s what it needs.

Michael Hickborn is correct about not being too keen play fast and loose with the rules. This is well founded remember what a tiny exception did to the protestants at Lambeth in 1930 and we have all seen results of the spin of Vatican II for those whose goals were to change the faith.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Scalia is correct that the call of God to an individual is subtle and we MUST be willing to cultivate and fertilize the ground around them so the call can bear fruit because that is the bottom line of Christianity, the salvation of individual souls. I suspect each of us can tell a story like Elizabeth’s of a person finding the faith and as the Holy Spirit told Peter.  “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.

However the difference between cultivating and coddling is the difference between a person hearing God calling despite their sins, and a person calling God out demanding what he considers his due. It’s the difference between the synod looking for a way to enable those who seek God’s mercy and enabling those who seeking the world’s agenda.

Closing thought, one of my favorite movies is the 1955 classic We’re no Angels.  Starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov as three escaped Devil’s island convicts who come to a house and shop to rob it to aid their escape but find themselves instead coming to the aid of the honest husband his devoted wife and their Daughter accidentally causing the end of their tormentors leaving the parents rich and the daughter with a fine young doctor as a suitor and in the end rather than board the boat and escape decide to turn themselves in. The final scene show them walking away back to the camera with halos appearing over their heads.

It’s how God sometimes works, slowly and subtly until in the end they do the right thing.

People who want to find God, who are seeking mercy will find it, it might take a lifetime but they’ll get there.  Those who are looking to justify themselves for their own power, their own glory or to bring down the church will fail in all those counts because that’s how the Holy Spirit works and as Christ said when it comes to his church the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

I’m a big fan in the truths of the church, we should have faith in this one.

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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

I have to admit when I saw this piece at the Anchoress’ site

Let’s do this! If you’re Catholic and have access to a web-page, a radio program, a Facebook page, whatever, take a few minutes, and tell the world why you are remaining a Catholic in an era where doing so seems not only counter-cultural, but also counter-intuitive and even, perhaps, a bit risky?

my thought was, Really?  

Now in fairness to a person who is not Catholic or Christian,  to a person who has not read history and a person who has been immersed in popular culture this might seem a legitimate question.

They might ask:  What are the advantages of being Catholic?  And one could give a long list of good answers.

You could point historical facts, that it was the Catholic Faith and scripture that elevated and established the principle of the dignity of all human beings.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:28-29

Even those you hate:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,

Matt 5:43-44

You have the development of education and the university system that educated those who did not have power and might, the hospital systems that cared for the sick and poor (do you think all of those hospitals called St. So & So were a coincidence?)

Or you could look at what the church does.  The Catholic church feeds more people, clothes more people, visits more people in jail, educated more people, treats more people who are sick than any institution in the world.  Go to any Catholic Parish and you will see people involved in programs for the poor, for the needy, for people around the world.  After any disaster go to any church and see the collections for those struck by disaster.

Not only do lay Catholics do this (mostly without pay) but they teach their children that such service is a virtue and encourage them in these things.

Or maybe you might consider the intellectual, artistic and  philosophical thought and you might decide that all of these expand the mind, maybe you might look at the cultural part of the church and find those appealing.

Or perhaps you like the idea that in the parish priest you have a marriage counselor, psychologist and ethics coach all rolled up into one.  Even better they will provide said services & advice without cost but who, if you are feeling guilty about something will not only hear you out, forgive you (even if the offense is directly against them) but will go to jail rather than disclose the secret you confess to them.

All of these things are appealing and might attract people to the church but none of them are, in my opinion a reason to be Catholic or stay Catholic.

Let’s be clear, yes I was brought up Catholic, but that means nothing.  Most of my extended family don’t attend mass or practice the faith.  Furthermore most of my friends aren’t Catholic or even Christians.  In many ways my Catholicism isolates me in my social circle.

And even at my own parish there is trouble.  As I write this there is a clash over our new Pastor.  Some people at my church have written to the Bishop asking for him to be removed over hiring and spending decisions (not for any misconduct) others (myself included) have written to the Bishop urging him to be retained.  The end result of this will, at best, be a division at our parish or  at worst, be a soiled reputation for us among priests and in our diocese.  It’s something that will cost us dearly, particularly if there is a second batch of church closings in Fitchburg.

And I haven’t even gotten into all of the social pressure in media and culture against Catholic belief and teaching particularly in a state like Massachusetts.  In fact I’ve been writing for a while that it’s going to be a very hard time for Christians in general and Catholics in particular

So given all that the question remains, why would you or anyone remain a catholic under these circumstance? 

The answer is so obvious that I’m almost ashamed to have to write it:

Because it’s true!

That’s what it comes down to, that’s what it’s all about.  It is my conclusion based on my study of history, my view of events and my personal experience that what the Catholic Church teaches is the truth.

If for one second I thought that Jesus was just some guy who lived a couple of thousand years ago then then the Catholic church is just another business/NGO.  It’s an Elks club that does some good thing and has some odd customers rules and creeds that people recite.  If that was the case there is no way I’d allocate either my limited financial resources or my even more limited time to the church.  I’d sleep in on Sunday, skip daily mass or novenas for game nights and I’d dive into the lucrative pot business that has the potential to bail me out of serious financial straits.

But if Christ is the son of God, if he was born of the Virgin Mary, Crucified died and rose again, if he did made Peter the head of his church and if that authority was handed down from Peter to Linus to Cletus to Clement all the way down to Benedict XVI and Francis, if the Eucharist is the real body and blood of Christ.  If heaven, hell and purgatory are real and this brief life we have is only a brief pit stop to eternity,  then not only does logic demand that I be a member of the Church and follow its directives but I’d be a damned fool (literally) if I was willing to change my belief based on either cultural, financial or social pressure.

You shall know the truth and it will set you free

John 8:32

That’s why I don’t understand this paragraph:

How about it, folks? This is a call-out to CatholicMom.com, and New Advent andEd Morrissey and Our Sunday Visitor, and Crux, and dotCommonweal, and Brandon Vogt, and dear, brilliant Heather King, and Jennifer Fulwiler, and Big Pulpit andCatholic Digest, and DaTechGuy and Hallie Lord and In the Arena, and Relevant Radio!

I could go on and on but you get the idea, and I must dash out to noon mass, but what do you think? Ready to share your reasons why you will remain with the church as the world increasingly bares its teeth against it?

I presume that all of these people and the long list of those who have answered Elizabeth’s question believe the church is true.  That being the case the question isn’t:  Why one would remain Catholic, the question is:  Why would any of them, no matter what the cost, consider leaving?

Update:  If you want to see the answers given by others:

Marge Fenelon: Forever Catholic: Why the Pew study doesn’t matterMax Lindenman Why I’m still CatholicTom Zampino: Upon This Rock: Why I RemainKate O’Hare: Why I Stay in the Catholic ChurchKathy Schiffer: 8 Bad Reasons to Leave the Catholic Church, and 1 Good Reason to Stay, Swimming the Depths Why I Remain Catholic, Julie Davis: Why Do I Stay Catholic?Tom McDonald Why I Am Catholic, John Stegeman at Catholic Telegraph: Four reasons I’m not leaving the Catholic Church,Sarah Reinhard Why I Stay Catholic, Leroy Huizenga : Why I Stay, Notre Dame’s Tim O’Malley: WHY I’M STILL CATHOLIC, Artur Sebastian Rosman: Takes Why am I Still a Catholic? What Else is There?,Sherry Antonnetti: Why I Am NOT Leaving the Catholic Church, Leticia Adams Why I Stay Catholic, Gregory Hillis: Gregory Hillis | For the Catholic Church, an abiding vision (this piece is an old one), Mudblood Catholic: Raw Tact, Part X: Agony, Ecstasy (this one is  an old piece too), Katrina Fernandez: Will Remain Catholic For Beer…, Maria Morera Johnson Why I Remain a Catholic, Deidre Mundy: Take Up and Read: Why I Remain a Catholic, Erin Martin: Why be Catholic? (another old piece) , Catholic Drinkie: Why I Remain a Catholic When my Peers Don’t, Michelle Arnold: God Only Knows If I Stay CatholicDiane Korzeniewski: Why I remain Catholic: I need the Sacraments, Caitlin Marchand: Why I’m Still Catholic: Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you., Sister Theresa: Warning! Atheist in the Church: How the Eucharist Saved My Life, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: Why I Remain Catholic, Rebecca Hamilton: I Chose Christ, and He is There on All the Altars of All the Catholic Churches in the World., Erin McCole Cupp: “WHY I STAY CATHOLIC,” WITH THE AID OF THE INTERNETMatt Nelson: The Catholic Church: Why I’m Staying

And lasty Elizabeth Scalia’s own piece:  Pew Studies be damned

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Robert Stacy McCain:

Coverage of the Baltimore riots over a man who died in custody has created the false impression that police brutality is routine. However, in a nation of 300 million people, it is a simple trick to pick some phenomenon you want to criticize and then say, “Look, here is a Example A, and there is Example B and, oh, look! Now we have Example C — it’s an epidemic!”

The phenomenon in question (for example, lesbian school teachers molesting teenage girls) may actually be quite rare, but in a nation of 300 million people, you can find a dozen examples of relatively rare phenomena every year.

The Anchoress:

This comes right on the heels of headlines announcing that confirmed abuse allegations against Catholic priests were in the single digits for 2014. One allegation is too many, but clearly the zero-tolerance measures put into place over the last ten-or-so years, and the laicization of hundreds of bad priests under Pope Benedict XVI is having the desired effect.

The exact number is in fact 8.  That just so happens to be the number of mug shots on Robert Stacy McCain’s list from this post.

Alas neither story satisfies the media narrative thus you’ll have to settle for hearing this from me.

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Elizabeth Scalia is one of the most loving and prayerful people I know.

But like Jesus moved to zeal in the temple there are some levels of foolishness that simply cross the line:

 here we are seeing laws put into place that are not even being discussed by the congress; there is no advise and consent, no debate, no alternative proposals amassed because no one actually knows what this proposal is, and we will not know until it is put in place, a done deal.

Now, I know, you’re saying:

“well, Elizabeth, how can you rant about this when you don’t know what exactly is being put into place? Maybe Obama’s Net Neutrality is perfectly benign and helpful to all of us, and he just doesn’t want to be bothered having to explain it to reactionaries and people who wear their pajamas to work.”

To which I respond: are you stupid? If the thing were benign, there would be no reason to prevent us from knowing what it is. If the thing was “helpful to all of us” the administration wouldn’t be shielding it, and its minions in the press wouldn’t be obsessing about Jon Stewart resigning from comedy news show — they’d all be cooing about this great gift being bestowed upon us by the beneficent Obama Administration.

 

The only thing more frustrating that the government acting this way is that the public’s ignorance level has reached such heights that this has to be explained.

Read the whole thing but beware this is only one of several things that have finally set her off in that piece.

 

 

I’m holier than thou
I’ve got the spirit now
I thank God almighty I’m holier than thou

Nunsense Holier Than Thou 1085

There are a lot of people who avoid Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular suggesting that people who follow the faith are “Holier than thou”.

what is not realized by many is that for the faithful the resolution to devote oneself to God is less Holier than thou and more like the Anchoress saying “i’m not worthy” 

To make an oblation — and to become an Oblate — means to make an offering of one’s whole self. My oblation, made before the altar of the Lord, was a “Yes” that I had looked forward to with gladness, but which suddenly became terrifying in the distinct moment that I pronounced the words:

I offer myself to Almighty God
through the Blessed Virgin Mary
and our Holy Father Benedict
as an Oblate. . .
and promise to dedicate myself
to the service of God and humanity
according to the
Rule of Saint Benedict
in so far as my state in life permits

I had been practicing prayer and service for years in preparation for the moment, and yet when it came, that was suddenly a very scary “Yes” for many reasons, mostly because within that promise I suddenly felt very small; very unable; very unworthy.

And it’s not just a fear of being unworthy, there are two sides in this fight and the enemy doesn’t take kindly such actions as A reading of the diary of St. Faustina notes the sufferings and temptations that she endured on her journey to promote Divine Mercy tells us.

After the adoration, however, when she was halfway to her cell, Sister Faustina found herself surrounded by what she thought to be a pack of huge black dogs who were jumping and howling and trying to tear her to pieces. Instantly she realized they were not dogs but demons. One of them spoke up in a rage, “Because you have snatched so many souls away from us this night, we will tear you to pieces.”

But back to the Anchoress, yeah maybe she felt unworthy the day she made those vows, but now that she’s one for the leading national Catholic bloggers, a published author and a person whose opinion on the faith is followed by thousands how does she feel now?

And I am unworthy, everyday.

Which ironically was the same reaction of St. Faustina when confronted by the situation I quoted above.

Sister Faustina answered, “If that is the will of the most merciful God, tear me to pieces, for I have justly deserved it, because I am the most miserable of all sinners, and God is ever holy, just and infinitely merciful.”

It’s not being holier than thou that is the most frightening part of Christianity, it’s becoming aware of just how unworthy of the mercy of God that we are.

There have been several posts talking about this piece in the NY Times about the malaise of the Obama Years. without of course mentioning Obama  or noting their own sins as Ed Driscoll notes

Fair enough, but consider the source — over the past 12 years, the New York Times, when not going on benders on the evils of golf courses and air conditioning, and publishing outright fabulism, has, more recently, published pieces calling for the end of the US Constitution, and mocking the “fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity” of its presidential candidates — only, upon further review, to discover that these extreme worldviews are Catholicism, Lutheranism and Mormonism, bedrock religions of America’s history.  Its leading journalists have publicly called the citizens of the American midwest “The dance of the low-sloping foreheads” and filed William S. Burroughs-style stories of openly experimenting with drugs. And of course, in 2008, it went all-in to champion a man who was clearly not ready to be president, to the point of actively burying potentially damaging stories about him and refusing to run op-eds from his opponent.

But the Anchoress deemed it required reading:

Sadly, this is essential reading; this is essential thinking. The long sleep induced by prosperity and power must now be broken. The choice to remain unengaged, fully tricked out with technology, is coming to an end

And further complements him for warning us

With this column, Mr. Cohen has done us the remarkable service of showing us the ugly landscape all around us; the one we have not wanted to pretend was neither so vast nor so damaged and fragile. Without taking it in, we cannot possibly begin to address the least-precarious bit of it.

But when and if we do, we will have to be very careful; because it is in the face of so much weakness that the most malevolent opportunists, seen and unseen, make their move.


Unfortunately she and to some degree Ed are missing the point.  This IS in fact a malevolent opportunist making their move.

The errors of the Obama years have reached the point where even the most partisan press like the NYT can not convince people who have water up to their necks that there is no leak in the boat.

It is therefore necessary to acknowledge what exists without, as Ed notes, pointing to its source or their complicity in what has taken place, that it is being done at this point is not a coincidence.

Because once the full congress is controlled by the GOP the paper will not be so hesitant to place blame explicitly.

Over the next year you will see the New York Times decide that there is a solution to all the  problem that will be blamed on the GOP congress.  That solution will be a leader that they will spend the next two years building up, either Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren as that leader.

Alas this isn’t about reflection it’s the first step of battlefield preparation to convince a gullible base that the solution to the malaise brought on by a liberal leader is another liberal leader.

God willing what the public was unable  to learn in four years they will be able to grasp in eight

I’ve had a brief but friendly exchange with a commentator named Pam concerning my piece on spiritual malpractice both inside the Catholic church (I heard an excellent example of this recently in a sermon that suggesting lesson of the loaves & fishes was sharing as if the significance of the loaves & fishes was a multitude sharing their afternoon rations rather than Christ miraculously feeding the five thousand).

My point was that the fruit of the reformation or anyone that preaches to please is basically serving themselves rather than Christ or the Church.

Yesterday the Anchoress elaborated on the subject in a post about a young girl who foolishly decided to follow a fad:

When people ask me what I think is “the biggest idol we face”, meaning what is the most challenging Strange God that needs to be swept away from us, I tell them “the zeitgeist; the need to be part of every trend. It is a most insidious idol, because it seems so innocuous; we’re just doing what everyone is doing, wearing what everyone is wearing, driving what everyone is driving, right?”

In truth the idol of the zeitgeist, of being hip, is one we bow down to daily and we train our children to prostrate themselves to it, from a very early age, when we communicate to them that yes, they need the lastest game; they must wear the latest styles; they should certainly have the trendy gear. And this is an idol that blocks us from faith-practices, from reality and eventually from ourselves:.

She also includes a quote from her book where she really nails down the reality that I’ve mentioned of playing with doctrine to woo the masses:

If Christ and his Church are to be a “sign that will be contradicted” (Lk 2:34), the Church of What’s Happening Now is the vehicle of worldly affirmation; its only membership requirement is that one be immediately and unquestioningly in tune with the conventional wisdom of the day

And if we don’t move the world will try to move us.

You should read the Anchoress’ entire piece, in fact you should read her book as well.

I guarantee you that before another generation is born we will see churches redefine sin even farther with the media celebrating them when they do and when they can’t get a church to move they’ll spin what is taught falsely to achieve the same end.

And I further guarantee that if you choose to redefine sin the forces of the Zeitgeist will celebrate you and you’ll be complemented for it publicly for the rest of your days…

…after that you’re on your own.

4th Yorkshireman: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

1st Yorkshireman:And you try and tell the young people of today that ….. they won’t believe you.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus

At yesterday’s Mass my pastor Fr. Robert Bruso in one of his last sermons before his transfer gave a short to the point sermon on yesterday’s  Gospel reading (Matthew 7:1-5) where Christ tells us not to judge. He said it’s one of the hardest passages in scripture.

The Anchoress was not there  for that sermon but discovered just how hard that passage was as she read Chelsea Clinton talking about how she doesn’t care about money:

Sometimes you read a piece like this and you want to be nice, but it takes all you got. All you got. Then you say, “Lord, save me from myself…”

And sometimes, the Lord says, “got my hands full over here in the Third World with real issues, so just be a dude and abide! In me.”

And you really try, but then you read another version of the piece, and realize that no, you cannot abide.

I cannot abide this nonsense a moment longer.

And with that Elizabeth Scalia vented for 16 more paragraphs.

What nonsense elicited this reaction?  this nonsense:

“I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t,” she told Fast Company in an interview that ran in the magazine’s May edition, explaining why she gave up lucrative gigs to join her family’s philanthropic foundation.

As a person who in a successful year will not take home as much as Chelsea Clinton did in one minute at NBC I certainly understand the Anchoress’ frustration, but I think the best way, besides humor (that comes tomorrow) to vent while still following the very hard words of Christ is to introduce the sheltered young Ms Chelsea Clinton to a lady about her age who by an odd coincidence made a career decision decreasing her income

Meet Olalla Oliveros Model and actress:

As a famous model, Olalla Oliveros took part in glamorous photo shoots, starred in movies, and saw her face on billboards across Spain.

As a model she had it all, wealth, fame, notoriety, admirers, a comfortable life.  What could compare to the call of a life that women dream of?  A different kind of call the call of Christ

Eventually, she realized that the image in her mind was a calling. “The Lord is never wrong. He asked if I will follow him, and I could not refuse,” Oliveros said.

The contrast is stark.  Young Ms. Clinton dubious $600K job was abandoned to work for her parents foundation where she will receive the movers and shakers of the world anxious to be associated with the Ex President’s causes and a possible future president’s cause.  She will lose none of the luxuries of life from the finest foods to the most exclusive company to the best wardrobes that she may want.

As for Ms Oliverous…

Oliveros had just won a movie role, reports El Diaro. Though Oliveros entered into the order four years ago, she only recently decided to open up about her decision. Formerly represented by Agencia Plan B in Spain, she is now known as Sister Olalla del Sí de María:

This is her wardrobe now:

sister

Decades from now most of us will forget Sister Olalla del Sí de María as she prays for our souls.  Meanwhile Chelsea Clinton will not lack attention, founds or opportunities if she decides to leave the Clinton foundation.  Mike Barnicle put it best when Mother Teresa died a few days after the Princess Diana (no link available)

That gets us to the end game: If Diana’s life, causes, and commitments did indeed come up in conversation only one time prior to being snuffed out in a Paris traffic accident, it was probably one more mention than Mother Teresa got.

 

If someone want to do a real service for young Ms. Clinton they’ll send her this link and the rest and let her ponder them before she speaks.

 

Update:  Fixed the Fr. Bob Paragraph

9th Doctor: (Sobbing)   They’re all gone Rose, All of them

The Ten Doctors Page 239 Rich’s Comic’s Blog

One of the things that cemented my Doctor Who fandom as a kid was the boundless optimism of Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor.  Every new experience was treated with a cheer and an optimism.  Even as he lay dying at the end of Logopolis his last words were preceded by a grin.

When the new series came back there was an edge that wasn’t there before.  It came from the story of the Doctor’s decision to destroy his own people along with the Daleks in order to end the Time War and save the universe. While you had many upbeat stories the weight of that decision was constantly there and would be the subject of incredible melancholy from episodes from all three doctors modern Doctors.

The 9th in Father’s Day: “My entire planet died! My whole family! Do you think it never occurred to me to go back and save them?

The 10th in Gridlock: “We lost. Everyone lost. They’re all gone now. My family. My friends. Even that sky.”

The 11th in The Doctor’s Wife: You gave me hope, and then you took it away. That’s enough to make anyone dangerous. God knows what it will do to me.”

One of the most important things the 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor,  did was change that dynamic of melancholy as the War Doctor (John Hurt) when about to use the sentient ultimate weapon “the moment” to kill them all is offered the chance to see the consequences of that decision:

The Moment: How many children on Gallifrey right now?
The War (8 1/2) Doctor: I don’t know.
The Moment: One day you will count them. One terrible night. Do you want to see what that will turn you into? Come on, aren’t you curious?

She sends him in search of his future selves the 10th (David Tennant) & 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) who have suppressed their memory of this previous self and are horrified by his presence.

War Doctor:  Oh, the way you both look at me. What is that? I’m trying to think of a better word than dread. 
10th Doctor: It must be really recent for you. 
War Doctor: Recent? 
11th Doctor:  The Time War. The last day. The day you killed them all. 
10th Doctor: The day we killed them all. 
11th Doctor: Same thing. 

This leads to an adventure  where they confront a friend dealing with an alien invasion put in a similar situation:

10th Doctor :  You tell yourself it’s justified, but it’s a lie. Because what I did that day was wrong. Just wrong. 
11th Doctor:   And, because I got it wrong, I’m going to make you get it right. 

The climax of the episode comes shortly afterwards when the two younger Doctors find themselves with their older self at the very moment he is about to push the button to destroy them all.  That history changing moment is set up when the 11th Doctor’s companion Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman) informs Doctors 10 & 11 that their earlier self they have been with comes from a time before he did it.

How did she know?  From this conversation:

Clara:  I’m Clara. We haven’t really met yet.
War Doctor:  I look forward to it. Is there a problem?
Clara:  The Doctor, my, my Doctor, he’s always talking about the day he did it. The day he wiped out the Time Lords to stop the war.
War Doctor:  One would.
Clara: You wouldn’t. Because you haven’t done it yet. It’s still in your future.
War Doctor: You’re very sure of yourself.
Clara: He regrets it. I see it in his eyes every day. He’d do anything to change it.
War Doctor: Including saving all these people. How many worlds has his regret saved, do you think? Look over there. Humans and Zygons working together in peace. How did you know?
Clara: Your eyes. You’re so much younger.

It’s no surprise that killing  2.47 Billion children would change a person, but killing even one, no matter how small changes you forever.

And that brings me to a shorter film with a much less happy ending and Emily Letts

Her film was the winning entry in an “Abortion Stigma-Busting Video Competition” she filmed her abortion treating it as a positive good.  Since then abortion advocates have been holding her up as their poster child.

But Elizabeth Scalia took a closer look at the video and saw what those some anxious to paint a pretty picture wished to ignore.

If you let yourself become distracted by what is coming from her mouth, you miss all that is revealed in her face, which tells the whole, and very different story. A month after the abortion — with the dramatic change in hairstyle that so many women effect when emotions are high and they need to feel in control of something — watch Emily, then. The light is gone from her eyes. The seeming disconnect between pc-fed head and instinctive heart is laid out in breathtaking and stark incongruity, even down to the shadows, the blue note, the lack of energy. Devastating. Cognizant of it or not, she is a mother in grief.

That grief is why you will see many women who have had abortions like Patricia Pullman telling stories like this:

I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard post abortion healing retreat in Corpus Christi, Texas. A loving and compassionate team of women led me and several other women on an incredible 3-day journey of healing and reconciliation. Together we shared our stories and claimed our babies. We grieved together, some for the first time, for our lost children. We named them and we symbolically held them for a night.

and attending pro-life rallies holding signs like this:

Silent no more

The irony of course is like the Soviets who thought our pro-abortion friends this think video will win converts to their cause, Elizabeth thinks otherwise

Frankly, if I were a young woman watching this and pondering abortion, one glance at those haunted eyes, that beautiful, woebegone countenance and benumbed, vacant tone, and I would be running to my nearest Birthright, or to the Good Counsel network, or to the Sisters of Life, whose founder, the mighty John Cardinal O’ Connor of the Archdiocese of New York, once pledged to help any needy pregnant woman seeking assistance instead of abortion, and whose successor, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has maintained that position.

As I recall the soviets thought that CBS special on poverty in America would serve their cause too but if the image doesn’t give away the future this quote from Letts does:

“I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be. It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I’d grab.”

That she saved that sonogram speaks volumes. I suspect the time will come when those cheerful words will be replaced by something like this:

Guilt still accuses me, and at times I fall prey to it even at the happiest moments in my life, such as viewing the ultrasound of my third child at fourteen weeks. I was jolted again by the stark reality of my sanctioned choice. I cried as I watched the tiny arms flail and the spindly legs kick. At the births of my children, I was overcome by ‘what if’s?’ What if my first child had lived? What if I had never had an abortion? What color eyes, hair, sex?

With God all things are possible yet as it is highly unlikely that a pair of her future selves will arrive to talk her out of this decision, I suggest we pray for Emily as the Anchoress recommends:

John Joseph Cardinal O’ Connor, Pray for Emily and for us.
Servant of God Dorothy Day, Pray for us Emily and for us.
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Pray for Emily and for us.
Saint Gianna Molla, Pray for Emily and for us.
Pope Saint John Paul, Pray for Emily and for us.

Perhaps with prayer, time and the wisdom that comes with age Emily will recognize what has been done and like the Doctor her regret will save many others.

It’s Christmas Day I wish all of my readers and their families a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

In the spirit of the Season if you didn’t hear this week’s DaTechguy on DaRadio with Daniel Reilly Bishop Emeritus of Worcester you can hear it here.

And of course if you want even more Christmas Religious stuff you can hear DaMagnificent Panel with Rosemary Reynolds, Little Miss Attila, The Anchoress and Dominic Nanni and of course Joe Mangiacotti & Me, here.