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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Discipline

Throughout the history of the Church, the greatest of saints have regularly undertaken personal and severe mortifications in order to join themselves to the sufferings of Christ, as He poured Himself out in the Passion - the expression of Divine Love.

Saints have been known to refuse all comfortable chairs and beds, throw themselves into thorn bushes, deliberately expose themselves to extremes of heat and cold, even whip themselves with a scourge, in order to accomplish this goal. In fact, this last practice, that is, self-flagellation, was so common among those pursuing sanctity that it was known simply as The Discipline.

Now, in a great sign of the possible sanctity of John Paul II, we have the testimony of his closest companions that he, too, mortified his own flesh through use of The Discipline:
Polish nun Tobiana Sobodka, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus order, who worked for Pope John Paul in his private Vatican apartments and at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome. 
Sister Sobodka said: 'Several times he (Pope John Paul) would put himself through bodily penance. 
'We would hear it - we were in the next room at Castel Gandolfo. You could hear the sound of the blows when he flagellated himself. He did it when he was still capable of moving on his own.' 

The flagellation is also confirmed by another bishop who has given testimony, Emery Kabongo, who for several years was a secretary for Pope John Paul. 
He said: 'He would punish himself and in particular just before he ordained bishops and priests. Before passing on the sacraments he wanted to prepare himself. 
'I never actually saw it myself but several people told me about it.'
Why is this important? Because Chris West has, on numerous occasions, publicly said that anyone who mortifies the flesh in this fashion does not really understand the Theology of the Body. He has mocked the saints who have undertaken physical mortifications, especially self-inflicted physical mortification, as not fully understanding the theology of the body. According to West, such individuals showed their spiritual immaturity, their failure to plumb the full richness of Christian teaching, when they did these things. As Chris himself said, "The Church is at about the level of a teenager in her understanding of human sexuality."

I have personal experience of the errors he has publicly taught in this area. Several years ago, I was present for a three-day weekend given by Christopher West on the theology of the body in a Midwestern diocese. Although it was sponsored by a private individual, the event was advertised throughout the diocese, resulting in numerous diocesan officials being present.

West spent the entirety of Friday evening mis-teaching on the place of suffering in the theology of the body, to such an extent that several diocesan officials took turns walking out of the room because they couldn't stand to listen to his errors. Although not a member of the diocesan staff, I had several friends on staff who were aghast at West's teachings. Because they were staff, they could not come forward easily to confront West on these errors.

So, I waited until all the other participants in the evening had conversed with him and departed. Then I personally entered into a conversation with him in order to privately correct him on his erroneous teaching concerning the place of human suffering in the pursuit of sanctity. Mr. West took enormous issue with my statements and responded in a decidedly unfriendly fashion, shouting at me and physically pushing me.

Others who were in the area but out of earshot, including the man who sponsored his talk, saw Mr. West's actions and personally apologized to me for his response, swearing that they would never bring the man into the area again.

Now it turns out that Christopher West, the self-anointed expert on the Theology of the Body, knows that theology so well that he was inadvertently but implicitly mocking Pope John Paul II's own understanding of TOB.

If we needed any further proof that Christopher West is a positive danger to the Church in his misrepresentation of Pope John Paul II's teaching, this personal testimony as to John Paul II's practice versus Christopher West's "interpretation" should put the final nail in the coffin.

Cardinal Rigali, Bishop Rhoades, I call upon you to discipline Christopher West.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Or maybe Palin-Bachman.

Who cares which it is?

But what a race it would be in 2012!

The GOP has the opportunity to put together the first female-female ticket for President and Vice President.

Both women are absolute dynamite, both would be wonderful in office.

Can you imagine the conniption fits the left would throw as it tried to slime two women?
What would N.O.W. do?

It would be glorious fun...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The King of Pizzazz

Most people know Tom Monaghan as the billionaire entrepreneur who invented Domino's Pizza, started the first Catholic law school and university in decades, then trashed both of them in order to move both of them to a Catholic town he was building in Florida.

Many Catholics also know that Tom famously fired Fr. Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press, not once, but twice, reportedly over disagreements about liturgy. Old Tom also had enormous trouble getting the local bishop to agree to consecrate the altar at his on-campus glass cathedral, in no small part because he never bothered to seek the local bishop's permission to build the altar in the first place, thus reportedly making it impossible for Ave Maria Town to ever build its own parish around the campus church.

Much more could be said about Tom's escapades, but the President and Publisher of Our Sunday Visitor probably put it best when he said,
“Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first introduce to Tom Monaghan.”
So, why are we dwelling on Tom Monaghan?
Well, watch how the New York Times connected some dots on Valentine's Day in 1999:

For Mr. Monaghan, the late 1980's were a time when his interest in managing Domino's day to day was waning, while his Catholic activism was rising. He underwrote construction of a mission in the Honduran mountain town of San Pedro Sula and paid $3.5 million of the $4.5 million cost of building a cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua, that was favored by the conservative Miguel Cardinal Obando y Bravo and opposed by liberal Catholics.

In 1988, he was made a Knight of Malta, thus joining an international charitable group with a conservative cast. He also hired several members of the Word of God, a charismatic Catholic group active in right-wing causes, though Mr. Monaghan says he was never a member himself.

Something in there rings a bell, doesn't it? Hmmm... charismatic Catholic group.... hmmm.... Word of God.... wait... where have we heard of THAT group before?

Oh, of course!

The Word of God community was inspired by the charismatic rock drummer and youth leader, Larry Tomczak, who eventually left the Catholic Faith for greener pastures after making millions promoting Protestant theology among Catholic parishes.

The Word of God community was founded by Ralph Martin, who recently joined Drs. Janet Smith and Mary Healy (also WoG) at the faculty of Sacred Heart seminary. Like Ave Maria University, which preferred to fire Fr. Fessio rather than install a communion rail, Sacred Heart Major Seminary adamantly opposes any implementation of Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum, even refusing to train seminarians in the extraordinary form of the rite.

The Word of God movement was precisely and exactly the cult movement that spiritually RAPED Christopher West, according to Christopher West's own testimony in the Washington Post series on the cult's activities. (Fortunately, his cult-enamored parents did allow Chris to play the sacred rock band drums, so important to Catholic liturgy).

The Word of God community was overseen and sanctioned by Bishop Lori. What? Oh, yes. That's right. The man who failed to notice the cult aspects of WoG is now a member of the board of advisors for Chris West's Theology of the Body Institute, so, nothing to worry about there.

Tom Monaghan actively supported THAT Word of God Community.

Throughout the 1980's and early 1990's Tom Monaghan poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Central and South American Catholic dioceses. He poured further millions into anything related to the Word of God movement. Many of his closest advisors were Word of God acolytes and hangers-on. All the South American bishops who received this money were undoubtedly very appreciative.

At the height of Tom's largess, in the spring of 1997, the Washington Post ran an article series exposing the Word of God movement as a cult. Imagine the sadness in Tom's heart. Worse, imagine the sadness in the hearts of Tom's WoG advisors.

But all is not lost! In the fall of 1997, Chris West - star WaPo stool pigeon in the very public Word of God meltdown - starts quietly working on his theology degree at the John Paul II Center Pontifical Institute.

And, by purest coincidence, within a couple of months of graduation, Chris West, the WoG poster boy for spiritual rape, suddenly finds himself invited to a major conference in Brazil... yes, Brazil, of all places... to deliver a talk on the Theology of the Body.

In an earlier essay, I asked how a no-name yokel with a lousy MA, not even ABD or a Ph.D, got invited to address an international theological conference in Brazil.

Obviously, I still have no idea how this possibly could have happened.
But the questions haunt me.

How does someone who, to this very day, cannot tell the difference between New Age spirituality and Catholic mysticism, how does someone who can't understand Aquinas and can't distinguish between a virtue and a vice, how does someone who can't pass the Sesame Street test on Hugh Hefner, Thomas Aquinas and John Paul II ("one of these things is not like the other"), how, I ask does someone like this get promoted as a good Catholic theologian by any Catholic, much less a bishop (or, God forbid, a cardinal)? Or, for the sake of wild speculation, even promoted by a Catholic billionaire?

Well, it's hard to say (although Al Gore could definitely sympathize).

It certainly can't be the case that the university which doesn't like communion rails, and the seminary that doesn't like the Extraordinary Form, would find anything in common with the theologically illiterate musing of a rock drummer as he meditates on the (New Age?) connection between wild sex and the Catholic liturgy.

No, it certainly is a puzzle.
All we know for certain is, things change.

Why, just yesterday Chris West's episcopal supporter, Bishop Rhoades, was excoriating Fr. Jenkins for inviting pro-abortion Barack Obama to receive an honorary law degree at Notre Dame:
"It is disheartening and distressing when an institution that is regarded as Catholic, such as Notre Dame, fails to follow the guidelines set forth by the Bishops of the Catholic Church, especially in these vital moral matters," read the statement. "It is Bishop Rhoades' hope and prayer that all the institutions that bear the name 'Catholic' will affirm the Church's teachings, expose the culture of death and build up the Culture of Life."
Today, that same bishop says, "I love Notre Dame... I want to have a close personal and pastoral relationship. It's such a strong place."

Yesterday, Tom Monaghan, WoG supporter and South American philanthropist, was pro-life. Today, Tom names a field house at Ave Maria University after a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia slimeball.

Yesterday, Bishop Lori was shocked, shocked to find a cult going on in a community under his watch. Today, he's on the board of advisors for the organization whose ex-cultist founder so deftly mis-quotes Catholic theology.

So, there you have it.
All the dots on how West got his start.
A bishop here, a billionaire there, obviously none of it connected in any way whatsoever, so there must be a supernatural force driving it all.

And I'm sure there is a supernatural force behind it.
There is precedent.

After all, consider the visionaries of Medjugorje, all millionaires now.

Just as Chris West has helped "countless" people, there have been "countless" conversions from Medjugorje. And there really have been conversions from both West's teaching and from Medjugorje. For that matter, innumerable people have come to know Jesus and have eventually entered the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostlic Church through their exposure to the heretical theology of Anabaptism, Lutheranism, Islam, Hinduism, even Buddhism, so why shouldn't Chris West and the visionaries of Medjugorje be able to point to their own happy Catholic converts? It would be absolutely shocking if they couldn't. Chris West, Tom Monaghan, Tessa Bielicki, the various visionaries... what's not to like?

Now, sure, there are the piffling little rumor-mongering stories of disobedience, abuse, etc., but it's pretty clear that God wants us all to be rich.

That's why Tom Monaghan is so pivotal to the success of the Church.

Tom has given us a gospel of monetary prosperity, Chris gives us a gospel of sexual prosperity, and the Medjugorje visionaries live out both to the full (none have taken religious vows).

God wants us to be happy.
What is happiness if it is not being wealthy while having holy sex?

Ultimately, isn't that the heart of the Gospel message?
Isn't it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholic Chutzpah

Is it just me, or are Catholics on the East Coast just really good at playing the victim?

Patrick Kennedy made some absolutely heinous public statements about the Catholic Faith.

His bishop publicly invites him to "come to Jesus" and have a private meeting.

Kennedy responds by saying more stupid things aloud to the press, including:
(a) Kennedy is a political victim of the bishop,
(b) why are we shooting one of our own?
(c) shouldn't this debate be undertaken privately?

The bishop responds to Kennedy's public whining in the press with his own public statement.

Kennedy goes into a pout about how this private dispute has suddenly become public and hides behind the media's skirts, refusing to discuss anything at all.

The Catholic press make fun of him.

Compare Pat Kennedy's situation to that of Chris West.

Christopher West made some absolutely heinous public statements about the Catholic Faith.

His instructors at John Paul II institute call him out on it, as do a veritable Who's Who of Catholic intelligentsia.

West goes into hiding while his supporters complain:
(a) West is a victim,
(b) why are we shooting one of our own?
(c) shouldn't this debate be undertaken privately, in journals that no one actually reads?

Numerous commentators ignore these questions and point out West is still a theological basket case.

West goes into a pout about how this private dispute has suddenly become public and hides behinds a cardinal's skirts, refusing to discuss any of the issues that have been raised at all.

Instead, his public reply is a compilation of MORE theologically stupid things.

Some of the Catholic press make fun of him.
Others start humming loudly and hope the whole thing goes away.

Chutzpah: Original Recipe
The definition of chutzpah is killing both of your parents and then throwing yourself on the mercy of the court because you're an orphan.

If the court doesn't know how you became an orphan, you'll be fine.

Catholic Chutzpah: Extra Crispy
In the Catholic version, it's publicly and repeatedly insisting on stupid, heretical things, then throwing yourself on the mercy of public opinion because people call you a heretic.

If the public doesn't know enough about the Faith to identify the errors, you'll be fine.

It worked for Teddy.
Will it work for Pat and Chris?

The Burning Question (tm): Are Chris West and Pat Kennedy cousins?
Has anyone checked the geneology here?
I'm just askin'...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why The Left Loves Islam

On the surface, it seems a great mystery. Why would the leftist liberals who embrace abortion, homosexual rights, pornography, free love, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll find Islam so endearing?

The Fort Hood massacre has made it abundantly clear. Liberals display a motherly, protective attitude towards a religion which:
  • flogs sodomites,
  • executes raped women for having had sex outside of marriage,
  • forbids females from showing their face, much less their fundamentals,
  • virtually enslaves women inside their own homes by forbidding them to walk in public without the accompaniment of a male relative,
  • displays the height of patriarchy in its polygamous culture,
  • essentially forbids musical instruments of any kind, much less Western rock-n-roll,
  • denounces not only hard drugs, but even the use of alcohol as a violation of morality.
  • permits, indeed, tacitly encourages, the removal of every young girl's clitoris by the age of seven without benefit of anesthesia.
Why would leftists who hold candle-lit vigils outside American penitentiaries constantly coddle men who publicly, and with great fanfare, chop hands, feet and heads from their own criminals?

Why allow the name of Allah and the practice of Ramadan into public schools while forbidding the name of Jesus and the practice of Christmas?

David Kupelian, of WorldNetDaily, argues that the left does this because they are spineless cowards, afraid of coming under the threat of deadly fatwah. But this cannot be the case.

After all, look at the leftist embrace of abortionists, men and women who wear body armor to their place of work. Even though you are much more likely to end up dead from being pro-life than you are from being pro-abort, the left constantly touts the dangers of being in favor of abortion. Liberals love to point to the possibilities of martyrdom inherent in promoting the "right to choose."

They can be brave when it comes to supporting their own principles. So why don't they bravely stand up to the Muslims who so clearly, so stridently, oppose so many of the things liberals claim to stand for?

The answer is simple.

Liberals and Muslims differ in their external expressions of how to live out their common fundamental value, but they do share a common, fundamental value.

Army Major Nidal Hakim Hasan was not the first to name the value, but he is certainly one of the more memorable: "We Love Death More Than You Love Life."

The liberals and the Muslims are both, at bottom, nihilists.
Like calls to Like across the deep.
They know each other, they have known each other since before either was born.

It has been said of the promoters of atheistic evolution, "They think nothing made everything." Stuck with the cosmological fact of the Big Bang, the universe-creating primordial explosion that recalls Scripture's "Let There Be Light", the atheist recoils.

The universe can't be from God.
God couldn't create out of Nothing because, while there certainly is Nothing, there certainly is not God.

"No, no, no... no... you see... listen to me.... listen.... if you fold, spindle, punch and mutilate that original Nothing enough, it will explode (enraged by its own victim status, probably) and produce everything. That's what happened. Not God. Just an explosion. That's all. Billions of years ago. Billions."

The "billions" is important. While even atheists agree a Studebaker could not assemble itself out of window dust over the course of a thousand years, when the numbers start to climb, things change. Perhaps it could in the course of a billion years... a billion years... maybe...

The numbers are the thing. Whether talking about billions of years or trillions of dollars, once the big numbers come into play, the liberal atheist gets that far-away glint in his eyes. He falls into a trance as the numbers increase beyond his comprehension. Atheists are worshipers in the cult of the number, followers of a strange new sort of kabalah in which incomprehensibly huge numbers arrange themselves to form a comprehensible, finite and controllable universe. They are slaves to the numbers just as certainly as Muslims are slaves to Allah.

And, from an atheist's point of view, Allah has a marvelous attribute: Allah can change his mind. Allah turns good into evil and evil into good by simply commanding it. And for the liberal atheist, this is very comforting. Sure, Allah doesn't like homosexuality or rape today, but He might change His mind tomorrow. My self-destructive behaviour today may turn out to be a wonderful moral good tomorrow.

If God exists, I want him to be Allah. I will follow only the God of Mohammed, for Mohammed has shown the way. Indeed, Mohammed discovered this marvelous quality: I don't need to change, Allah will change the universe for me, to suit me. And if Allah does not? It does not matter. There is no Allah. Allah changes, morality changes. The universe is what we make of it. This is the liberal atheist's hope.

With Judeo-Christianity, no such possibility exists. God will never change His mind because God does not change. But with Islam all bets are off. Allah may decide tomorrow that rape is perfectly fine, that homosexuality is the preferred form of sexual expression. All we liberal atheists need to do is convince the imams that this is so. And how tough can that be? We will speak honeyed words, show them that we share their understanding of the universe.

They love death more than Christians love life.
They are our co-travellers, for we love death and nothingness more than Christians love life.
We are the same, you and I, Muslim and liberal.
True, you flog and kill me today, and I sneer at your silly theistic beliefs today, but ultimately, we are fellow travelers, on a long desert trek to the same destination. Like the sadist and the masochist, we make a perfect couple.

Major Hasan has to be protected and excused because Major Hasan is a liberal at heart.

He did to the soldiers at Fort Hood what every good atheist liberal has always wanted to do to those Christian, God-fearing, courageous American soldiers - he shot them through the head. He shot them through the heart. He drove a stake into them, chased them down while they were wounded and pumped more bullets into them. He shot them and shot them and shot them until their blood flowed like water, until their blood clotted on the floor, and then he shot them again. He destroyed them, he vented his rage upon them, he annihilated them for daring to question the annihilation that is coming to us all. He ground them to dust, the dust of the universe.

Major Hasan is a comfort to the liberals, he is the teddy bear they haven't had since they were six.
They want him to win, because when he wins, everyone loses.
We lose hope, we lose our belief in the True, the Good and the Beautiful, we lose our contact with God, with Life Himself. And isn't that annihilation of the bond worth a little bloodshed?

No, the Left does not fear Islam.
It adores Islam.
Islam does what the Left wants to do but cannot yet accomplish - it destroys.
Islam is the hero, the superman.
One day, the Left in the United States will do what Islam does today.

One day.

For more information on Islam, the Fort Hood Massacre, current events and Faith in the news, read Culture War Notes, the Catholic news site.

Update: Following the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam to Detroit flight on Christmas Eve, National Review On-Line notes that the most serious and violent radical Muslims have backgrounds indistinguishable from our ultra-leftist colleagues.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Killing Us Softly With His Song

Deroy Murdock of the National Review is perplexed. He can't understand why Obamacrats would create a new tax on medical devices, a tax that will inevitably lead to lower medical device availability and higher death rates.

If such a tax goes through, the cost of things like implantable defibrillators and insulin pumps will skyrocket. It will become impossible for thousands of people to use these life-saving technologies. It will, in short, be a death sentence for thousands of older people, thousands of disabled people.

Why would anyone do that?
Why would anyone do that?

Barack Obama wants you dead.

Before you close the door and turn away from such a brutally cruel statement, think a moment.

Social security cannot survive the incoming wave of baby boomers. It is on the verge of bankruptcy There is no money for the boomers' old age. Either massive infusions of cash must be made or boomers must die early. We don't have massive piles of cash to infuse, so...

Both parties have known this for years, neither party wanted to touch it because baby boomers would vote them out of office. So, they fiddled, hemmed, hawed, and now the rubber is beginning to meet the road. Instead of privatizing a government program (i.e., removing some portion of a politician's powerbase), raising the minimum age or doing anything that might be seen as eliminating benefits, the politicians have chosen the only other logical alternative. They will eliminate you.

From a purely economic stand-point, it makes perfect sense.

Politicans exist to hold and grow their power. Reducing the power of the federal government weakens politicians. Christians may say "in my weakness, He displays His strength" but politicians do not say this. They never have. They cannot privatize, reduce or eliminate any government program for doing such a thing destroys a politician's reason to exist. In a fight for one's own life, in pure self-defense, it is legitimate to kill your opponent.

From the politician's point of view, we are the opponents.

But that isn't the only way this new approach is reasonable.

From an environmentalist's standpoint, it also makes perfect sense. The environmentalists have long held that the planet is past it's "carrying capacity," that is, they argue that there are too many people. We should have no more than one billion people (some say as low as one million people) living on this planet so that we don't burden it. Obviously, in order to reach this goal, most of us have to die. There's simply no way around it.

Barack Obama has surrounded himself with the most advanced pragmatists of our age, men and women who hold ideology as the highest pure good, something which the grubby existence of actual human beings must bow to and serve. Obama himself opined that his own beloved grandmother was not really worth the end-of-life care that she received. If his opinion of his own grandma rises to these heady heights, what will his opinion of you be?

For these people, God is not a supreme, omniscient Being Who loves us. No, they are the omniscient prognosticators, and they serve a Platonic ideal, an ideal that describes what the world would look like if not for all the stinking masses and their detestable refusal to do what is best for them. We, recalcitrant fools that we are, we are the heretics who spurn their gods. So, for this, too, we must die.

Savvy political commentators know this. But they cannot bring themselves to say these things aloud, although the more thoughtful ones are clearly thinking it.

Peggy Noonan's recent column decried the "callous... stupidity" of the current rulers. This was an unusually frank outburst from a writer normally renowned for incredible quiet reserve. From whence did it come? That, too, is simple.

She sees the hand-writing on the wall. She is horrified by it, but even now, her natural reserve prevents her from connecting the dots in public. To write about something is to give it reality. She is afraid that if she names it aloud, it will become real. So she names instead a hope, the hope that this is merely callous disregard, mere stupidity, a foible of human nature and not a dedicated ideological plan. She sounds cruel and callous in naming it because she hopes it is only cruel, stupid callousness that she names.

But it is already real. It has already been written. Whether in books or in opinion columns, spoken aloud before the people and in quiet conversation behind closed doors by hundreds of Obamacratic minions and followers, sycophants and fellow travellers, the truth has already been named and claimed.

You have to die.
All of us, we all have to die.
Not on our own time, but on his time, on his watch.

We have to die if only to show the Brights that their own predictions were right, if only to give them the sense that they are in the right. Our bumblings, our abortions, our sufferings, even our deaths are now all a necessary part of their self-image.

They are knowledgeable men and women, infallible prognosticators.
They will know their own brilliance, luxuriate in it even more deeply, when they read the soulful requiem over our graves, the graves they dug for us, the graves they buried us alive in.

Obama and his minions need to be brilliant, for if they aren't brilliant, they are nothing, and they don't want to be nothing.

They can't abide being nothing.

So we must die, to prove their brilliance.
And on the day we die, they will sing.
They will sing of this day, for it shows their enlightenment.