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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pope Francis' Easter 2013 Urbi et Orbi Message

Here's Pope Francis' complete Urbi et Orbi message.

Notice who he specifically names in his plea for peace.
Apart from Korea, every named conflict in the Pope's message involves Muslims.

And remember, these are Urbi et Orbi remarks.
These remarks are so important for Catholics, the the Church attaches a special indulgence to any Christian who listens to them and receives the papal blessing at the end, even if that blessing is only received via radio or television (or Internet, I assume, although Internet is not explicitly mentioned).

These are not random, minor remarks in a random, minor address.
These remarks are made to the whole world. Everyone.

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter!
What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons…

Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious!

We too, like the women who were Jesus’ disciples, who went to the tomb and found it empty, may wonder what this event means (cf. Lk 24:4). What does it mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom.

This same love for which the Son of God became man and followed the way of humility and self-giving to the very end, down to hell - to the abyss of separation from God - this same merciful love has flooded with light the dead body of Jesus and transfigured it, has made it pass into eternal life. Jesus did not return to his former life, to earthly life, but entered into the glorious life of God and he entered there with our humanity, opening us to a future of hope.
This is what Easter is: it is the exodus, the passage of human beings from slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness. Because God is life, life alone, and his glory is the living man (cf. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, 4,20,5-7).

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ died and rose once for all, and for everyone, but the power of the Resurrection, this passover from slavery to evil to the freedom of goodness, must be accomplished in every age, in our concrete existence, in our everyday lives. How many deserts, even today, do human beings need to cross! Above all, the desert within, when we have no love for God or neighbour, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us and continues to give us. God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14).

So this is the invitation which I address to everyone: Let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

And so we ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace. Yes, Christ is our peace, and through him we implore peace for all the world.

Peace for the Middle East, and particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, who struggle to find the road of agreement, that they may willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted all too long. Peace in Iraq, that every act of violence may end, and above all for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort. How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found?
Peace for Africa, still the scene of violent conflicts. In Mali, may unity and stability be restored; in Nigeria, where attacks sadly continue, gravely threatening the lives of many innocent people, and where great numbers of persons, including children, are held hostage by terrorist groups. Peace in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in the Central African Republic, where many have been forced to leave their homes and continue to live in fear.

Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow.

Peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century. Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! Made the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation.

Dear brothers and sisters, to all of you who are listening to me, from Rome and from all over of the world, I address the invitation of the Psalm: "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever. Let Israel say: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever’" (Ps 117:1-2).

[Unscripted remarks] Dear brothers and sisters who have come from all over the world to this Square, the heart of Christianity and to all of you joining us via the media, I repeat my wishes for a happy Easter! Bring to your families and your nations the message of joy, of hope, and of peace that every year, on this day, is powerfully renewed. May the Risen Lord, who defeated sin and death, sustain us all especially the weakest and those most in need. Thank you for your presence and the witness of your faith. A thought and special thanks for the gift of these beautiful flowers that come from the Netherlands. I affectionately repeat to all of you: May the Risen Christ guide all of you and all of humanity on the paths of justice, love, and peace!
[Pope Francis then imparted the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.]

Washing Muslim Feet

I was interviewed on Fox News on Good Friday, asked to comment on several things, including the washing of a Muslim woman's feet.

The obvious question, "Will this lead to women's ordination?
It's interesting that even the unbaptized recognize a link between the washing of feet on Holy Thursday and the ordination of priests. Hmm...

But, enough of that.

Here's my answer to the newscaster's question.

Now, you'll notice that I actually skirted around the issue without addressing it head-on.
That's mostly because:
  1. there's never enough time in television interviews, 
  2. any mention of Islam makes news reporters uncomfortable. In this case, although you can't see it on the tape, the reporter physically blenched when I said "Islam", and immediately looked down at her notes, instead of looking me in the eye as she did for the rest of the interview. The physical recoil was so great that I nearly lost my train of thought. Quite humorous, actually.
  3. I don't want to publicly trash something the Pope's done on the air, nor do I wish to do so here.
So, let's analyze what the papal washing of a Muslim woman's feet might mean.

First, the act itself strikes a blow against the idea that he is a humble man. A humble man bows before the laws of the Church. If it is within his power to change the law, he changes the law first, then follows it. As a friend of mine pointed out, this is what Benedict did to hasten the meeting of the conclave - he took the trouble of issuing a motu proprio that changed the law so that the early conclave meeting could happen.

Pope Francis did none of this.
He just refused to follow the law.
We can call this many things: wise, insightful, pastoral, strange, inscrutable, etc.
We cannot call this humble.

The Pope certainly realizes this. But he is willing to put his entire reputation on the line in order to accomplish something. What?

Second, as I guessed, Pope Francis' Way of the Cross Good Friday address provides further evidence that this Holy Thursday event was really meant to reach out to Islam. That interpretation explains quite a lot. If Pope Francis is looking to use Holy Week as outreach to evangelize Muslims, that would explain why he chose to celebrate this as a private Mass in a prison, instead of at St. Peter's.

After all, if he just wanted to wash women's feet, that would be easy. There are any number of women that could have been brought into St. Peter's, the deed would be accomplished, and let the brouhaha begin! But he didn't bring women into St. Peter's. He went to a prison instead.

This is critically important to understanding what happened.

The Holy Thursday Mass begins Triduum, the most important three days in the liturgical calendar. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday - these days are so closely united they are considered one day: Triduum. These liturgical celebrations are the hub around which the wheeled Church revolves, they are the common patrimony of the Church. Indeed, the climax of the period, Holy Saturday Vigil, is considered the "mother of all feasts", the summit of the Church's life, the source from which every Sunday Mass throughout the year draws its power. And Holy Thursday Mass uniquely commemorates the institution of not one, but TWO of the seven sacraments: both the sacrament of Holy Orders, necessary for the conferral of most other sacraments, and the sacrament of the Eucharist itself, the source and summit of Christian life.

But Pope Francis celebrated the beginning of this centrally important liturgical period as if it were a small, family Mass. Celebrating this extremely important liturgy in private instead of in public is much, much more unprecedented than the washing of even a Muslim woman's feet in the optional rite which is the Mandatum. If Pope Francis meant his Holy Thursday celebration to be a model, that is, if priests and bishops around the world were to model THIS aspect of the Pope's Holy Thursday example, no parish would see another Holy Thursday celebration. The idea that the Pope intended to model this kind of small, private Holy Thursday liturgy is a thought so crazy, I'm the only one I know who has bothered to point it out.

So, why do this?

Well, Holy Thursday's Mass only makes sense in light of Good Friday's remarks. At the end of the Way of the Cross, the Pope took time out to recall the wonderful welcome extended to Pope Benedict in Lebanon by "our Muslim brothers and sisters." Which is just a weird remark to throw into a Good Friday liturgy. Why devote roughly one-third to one-half your total remarks to the Muslims? And his Urbi et Orbi remarks are no less Islam-filled. Virtually every country he name in that indulgenced address involves Muslim violence.

The Good Friday remarks are especially interesting given that Muslims are biological brothers and sisters, but are NOT considered the spiritual brothers and sisters of Christians because they have not yet been baptized.  We call Protestants "separated brethren" because they are brothers by baptism, if not by belief. Jews are "our elders brothers in the Faith" because the vine of Christianity grows from the root of Judaism. But Muslims... Muslims aren't brothers in the Faith. We have no spiritual communion with them, no spiritual heritage from them. So, during the commemoration of the Passion of the Christ, why make such a remark about Muslims?

Because, like the Urbi et Orbi remark, the Good Friday remark makes the thread of events clear. The Pope didn't intend to wash a woman's feet - he intended to wash a MUSLIM woman's feet, the feet of a woman who could not possibly be ordained, because she wasn't even baptized. Pope Francis is as hostile towards the concept of women's ordination as an orthodox rabbi is to the concept of a kosher bacon sandwich. He cared not a whit about the ordination aspect, he was looking at the Muslim message.

He wanted to send a signal to the Muslims, a powerful signal. But the Vatican couldn't very well bring a Muslim woman into St. Peter's for Holy Thursday to participate in a Catholic liturgy. He had to go to her, and in such a way that she could not be held responsible. So, if the mountain would not come carrying Mohammed, then the Pope would travel to the mountain. And, before anyone complain about how this is out of step with Pope Benedict's example, we should keep in mind that "on Thursday, Francis had a "long and intense" telephone conversation with Benedict."

I suspect Pope-Emeritus Benedict is fine with this.
He might even have suggested it to Pope Francis.

But it is precisely in the signal itself that I lose confidence. If this action really is supposed to encourage dialogue with Islam, the action is likely to be much less effective than any Christian observer might suppose.

You see, anyone who has studied Islam and Islamic sharia law at any great length knows that Muslims consider women barely human. Her testimony is worth only half that of a man, sometimes it is worth nothing at all. She gets half the inheritance of a man. She is the source of sin in the Muslim community. Most Muslim jails are filled with women, not men. But if Muslim women are low value, non-Muslims are even lower. No matter how low Muslim women are valued, a Muslim woman is worth more than anyone who isn't Muslim.

So, as I thought about this on the drive home from the studio, I realized that having a Christian kiss a Muslim woman's foot and act like a slave towards her, yeah, that's not really not going to be a problem for anyone in the Muslim world. Christians are SUPPOSED to kiss the feet of every Muslim they meet, and they should thank Allah for the opportunity to do so. They are SUPPOSED to be slaves of the Muslims.

While the Christians will look on Pope Francis' act as attractive humility, the Muslims will see it as the natural state of things and not unusual in the least. If anything, Islam will see this as attractive servility.

Now, given the attitudes Christians are called to have towards others, and given Pope Francis' obvious intent, I'm hard-pressed to see how he could have acted differently. Service, love, humility and charity certainly are the messages of Christ. But, given how Muslims are commanded to behave towards others, I fail to see how they could take it otherwise either. Mohammed taught Muslims that they are naturally superior to all other peoples, all others are natural slaves to the Muslim. That makes Christian-Muslim dialogue very difficult.

Indeed, even St. Francis ultimately saw only one way to square this circle.

So, it was a huge gamble, but a gamble that - in a very real sense - had to be made. I assume Pope Francis understands just how little positive impact - from the evangelization point of view - his action is likely to have on Christian-Muslim dialogue. But as a Christian, was it not a gamble worth taking?

Certainly some Muslim women may see this as something that will attract them to Christianity, because no Muslim man would do what Pope Francis has done. But given how little freedom Muslim women have, right down to the fact that Sunni sharia law gives a woman's guardian has every right to kill her without repercussion (o1.2), (and that goes double for an apostate (o8.1, 8.4)), it's really not clear what positive evangelical consequences can be expected from the Pope's action.

South America is not a hotbed of Islamic activity. But, given the events of Holy Week, it's fairly clear that Pope Francis sees Islamic dialogue as critically important to his pontificate. Which makes his pontificate a rather terrifying thing to observe. Watching this unfold will be like watching a man walk through a minefield. That is, it will be desperately interesting.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

On Natural Law

Most people don't understand natural law.
They think it has something to do with Mother Nature.
It doesn't.

Natural law is based on the idea that everything has its own nature.
And when I use the word "nature", I'm referring to Aristotle's definition of "nature" - the range of actions available to a creature.

The Divine Nature is Love. God is Love, precisely because each Person of the Trinity pours Himself out into the other Two Persons of the Trinity. God's personhood is totally defined by the relationships between Father, Son and Spirit. The Divine Nature is about making a total gift of self.

We are made in the image and likeness of God.
Thus, human nature is about the total gift of self as well: gift of self to God, and gift of self to the other images of God around us, other human beings.

We are said to abide by natural law only insofar as we image the nature of God, the life of God, in our own nature, in our own lives. That is abiding by natural law - living out the life of God in my own life.

It has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Consider, for example, the infant in the neonatal intensive care unit. Nothing in that room is natural except for the baby itself. The tubes, the monitors, the saline drips, the needles, the oxygen tank, the temperature regulators - all of it is artificial, made by the artifice of man. Yet the parents who put the child into that neonatal intensive care unit are acting according to the principles of natural law. God is the Life-Giver, the one who preserves and protects the weak. Whatever we do that imitates God's life-giving preservation and protection is in accord with our nature because it mirrors the divine nature.

Now, what if the parents were to take that same child and place it on the forest floor and walk away? There is nothing more natural than the forest, with the bees, and ants, the birds sweetly warbling in the trees, the sun streaming down through the leafy branches as they are gently stirred by the wind! Yet abandoning that child into that purely bucolic setting is an unnatural act, it is a violation of the principles of natural law, because it is not in accord with the divine nature. It doesn't mirror God's love, care, and concern for human life.

When someone commits a sin, they become more "natural" in the sense that they become more like an animal. Do we not say of a convicted serial rapist/ax murderer, "He's an animal! Lock him up and throw away the key!"

There are many ways to define sin. One definition is very appropriate to this discussion. Sin is following our natural impulses, instead of our supernatural impulses.

Natural law concerns itself with how we as human beings live out the life of Christ, of God, in our own bodies. The natural law cannot be followed without supernatural grace because we are, ultimately, called to be not just natural creatures, but supernatural creatures, sharers in the divine nature.

If that point is not understood, if the reason for natural law is not grasped, then whatever is written about natural law is utter nonsense.

Nanny State vs. Mother Church

A lot of conservatives, specifically, a lot of economic libertarians are very interested in moving moral questions off the table. The debate over whether or not to preserve marriage, abolish abortion, approve of contraception - these things, they say, are not important fights. What matters is the economy.

Are they right?

Obviously, if I thought they were, I wouldn't be writing this essay. Let us examine why they are wrong.

Begin with a simple question: why does atheism always lead to an out-of-control government?

For a Catholic, the answer is simple: If you don't acknowledge Jesus Christ as God, you don't acknowledge the Church as your mother. People need mothers. So atheists necessarily turn the government into a parody of Mother Church. We call this kind of government the "Nanny State."

The real Mother recognizes subsidiarity, the need for the children to be responsible at some level for their own actions, the need for the children to grow up. The Nanny State, on the other hand, views adulthood as a kind of adultery, a refusal to acknowledge the state's real authority as surrogate mother. So, she ensnares her children, the citizens, with an ever-increasing set of laws to "protect them from themselves." She ensnares them with more and more rules to force them to be true to her, to keep them from growing up.

As psychologist Roy Baumeister points out, a patriarchal society is a risk-taking society.
A matriarchal society is a rule-making, legalistic society.

As more and more women get college degrees and exhibit hypergamy in their relationships, they will fail to marry. But, with their fresh, new degrees, they will take positions of power in the government.

As a result, the government will become increasingly matriarchal. It will suffocate risk-taking as unhealthy and unnecessary. It will destroy the current form of government as it engages in hypergamy. The existing matriarchal government will try to "trade up" to a form of government that is better, stronger, faster, a form of government that - incidentally - doesn't exist.

We've already seen this kind of rule-making play out on college campuses, where the title "professor" has long since stopped referring to the requirement that the instructor profess the Catholic Faith. Atheism has ruled the college campus, and it has turned the college campus into an anti-male Nanny State.

As atheism, or the disregard for Christianity, spreads, the government will follow suit.

A legalistic society destroys the economy because male-oriented risk-taking is medicated by legislation into the same zombie-state we impose on "ADHD" boys.  We will get homosexuals aping marriage because we already have government aping Mother Church.

A moribund economy is the result of the immorality of atheism.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ObamaCare Through the Ages

U.S. military authorities prepare to hang Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling, 74, at Landsberg, Germany, on May 28, 1946. In a Dachau war crimes trial he was convicted of using 1,200 concentration camp prisoners for malaria experimentation. Thirty died directly from the inoculations and 300 to 400 died later from complications of the disease. His experiments, all with unwilling subjects, began in 1942. 




In 1932, American doctors allow 399 poor black sharecroppers to die of untreated syphilis because they wanted to see how the disease would progress. The impoverished men had no idea they were being used as human guinea pigs. The study was conducted under numerous US Public Health Supervisors. Everyone involved, both those who directed the studies, who actively prevented the sharecroppers from receiving treatment  and who published their findings in respected medical journals, died tranquilly in their beds. The study ended in 1972.

Problems With Fatima

Now that Pope Francis is in office, traditionalists are convinced the end-times are upon us. "It is the time of Fatima! Prepare for the end!". Etc.

Now, let me once again make clear that I believe the sun danced, that Mary appeared May 1917 to October 1917 during World War I at Fatima, that the three children are rightly held up as examples by the Church, etc. But visionaries sometimes get messages wrong, and Fatima is no exception.

Remember also that when the church approved Fatima in 1930, it only gave approval to the events that happened initially. The Church has technically never given formal approval to the subsequent statements and revelations from Sr. Lucia. This is problematic since all three secrets - the vision of hell, the set of prophecies we will examine here, and the notorious "third secret" - were only revealed by Lucia on August 1941 and October 1943. These "secrets" were thus never formally approved by the Church.

So, with all that in mind, let's take a look at the unapproved "prophecies", which were supposed to have been given to Lucia on 13 July 1917, but which she didn't bother to reveal for thirty-five years:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.
(1) The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, (a) a worse one will break out (b) during the Pontificate of Pius XI.
(2) When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.
(3) To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace;
(4) if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.
(5) In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”
This is the Second Prophecy, and it has a lot of problems. Some of them have already been discussed in other venues, others, not so much.

Prophecy Failure #1: Which Pope?
The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI.
The problem is obvious. This prophecy did not occur.
Pope Pius XI reigned 6 Feb 1922 to 10 Feb 1939.
Pope Pius XII began his reign on 2 March 1939.
World War II didn't start until 1 Sept 1939, 6 months after Pope Pius XII was elected.

Now, you can try arguing that the historians are all wrong, and some aspect of the conflict leading up to World War II was actually the beginning of World War II.
The Second Sino-Japanese War in 1931 was followed by a rising crescendo of treaty violations and acts of aggression. Adolf Hitler, when he rose to power (1933) in Germany, recreated the German army and prepared it for a war of conquest; in 1936 he remilitarized the Rhineland. Benito Mussolini conquered (1935–36) Ethiopia for Italy; and from 1936 to 1939 the Spanish civil war raged, with Germany and Italy helping the fascist forces of Francisco Franco to victory. In March, 1938, Germany annexed Austria, and in Sept., 1938, the British and French policy of appeasement toward the Axis reached its height with the sacrifice of much of Czechoslovakia to Germany in the Munich Pact.  (Read more here).
In fact, this is precisely the argument that Sister Lucia makes - the war began with the annexation of Austria:
World War II, in truth, began during the reign of Pius XI. "The annexation of Austria was the occasion for it," she explained. The invasion of Austria (in March 1938), the annexation of Czechoslovakia, the formation of military alliances and the decision to invade Poland were the beginnings of the war, though war had not yet been officially declared. 
Well.... ok... But notice that the very last element prior to Pius XI's death is a peace treaty (the Munich Pact) that gives the Germans Czechoslovakia. Great Britain and France don't abandon appeasement until the Italians seize Albania in April 1939, well into the reign of Pius XII. If a war began under Pius XI, wouldn't a peace treaty under that same Pope end it?

Now, there are some who will argue that World War II actually began with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and that DID happen during the reign of Pius XI. Fine and dandy. But according to the second part of the prophecy, the war doesn't break out until we see a "night illumined by an unknown light", and according to Sister Lucia, the surviving Fatima visionary, that light doesn't happen until January 25, 1938 (see below). So, the Japan-Manchuria argument isn't in line with the prophecy either.

Sister Lucia's argument at least puts the heavenly light, the annexation of Austria and the beginning of war in the proper order, but the surrounding explanation is... weak. Hitler's demands on Polish territory did not begin until March 1939. Hitler's specific plans to invade Poland weren't drawn up until April, 1939. If we say he had plans prior to that, well, sure. As any historian is happy to point out, Germany had been making military plans to destroy Poland since it came back into existence following WW I. So, if Sister Lucia meant to say that the formation of military alliances is the beginning of the war, that's wonderful, but the secret Soviet-German non-aggression pact that allowed Germany to invade Poland without fear of a two-front war was not concluded until August, 1939 - well into the reign of Pius XII. Sigh. No matter how you try, it's just hard to shoehorn her prophecies into the actual history of the war.

Worse, Sister Lucia doesn't bother to reveal any of of these prophecies until 1941, years after the events already take place. Were her memories of a decades-old vision muddled by intervening events? We really don't know.

In any case, the various European states don't declare war until 1 September, 1939, which is why that date is generally considered the beginning of World War II. Given that Catholics are always very precise in their dates ("X happened on the Feast of the Assumption" or "Y happened on the Feast of the Annunciation"), it seems most odd that the Blessed Virgin would shoot six months wide of the mark, and get the Pope's name wrong to boot, in her description of exactly when a "worse" war than World War I will break out.

It's much easier to assume that the visionaries simply mis-heard, mis-understood or mis-remembered the Blessed Virgin on this point. Now, that would be bad enough, but the failures just get worse.

Prophecy Failure #2: The "Worse" War
Here's a question whose answer is not as obvious as it appears. Which was worse, World War I or World War II? You might say World War II based purely on the number of body bags produced: 60-70 million vs. 15-20 million. But is that the only way to look at it?

Well, no. Instead of looking at pure body count, we could look at percent of the world's population killed. And when we compare numbers, should we or should we not include the Spanish flu epidemic (1918-1919), the third worst pandemic in human history, a pandemic that killed off 1-3% of the world's population all by itself? In absolute numbers, it killed off more people than any plague in human history. And it happened before the reign of Pope Pius XI.

But, we digress. The Austria-Hungarian Empire had a 90% casualty rate among its military in World War I, Russia suffered a 75% military casualty rate prior to her civil war and withdrawal. No one in World War 2 had a comparable military loss rate. Similarly, judging by overall death rates, World War 1 was a much worse experience than World War 2, for at least several major countries around the world.

Total
Casualty Rates
WW1 WW2
Australia 1.38% 0.57%
Romania 9% 4%
Canada 0.92% 0.4%
Belgium 1.62% 1.05%
New Zealand 1.64% 0.73%
United Kingdom 2.19% 0.94%
France 4.29% 1.35%
Italy 3.48% 1.03%
Bulgaria 3.41% 0.38%

Prophecy Failure #3:
"When you see a night illumined by an unknown light..."
The night of January 25, 1938 saw a tremendous aurora borealis, visible throughout all of Europe. This light DID happen during the reign of Pius XI. Sister Lucia said this aurora was the sign. But the problem is, again, obvious. It wasn't an unknown light. It was a known light - the aurora borealis. There were similar auroras throughout the 1870s and a similar storm was seen on Feb 11, 1958. Consequently, some have argued the unknown light was actually the Trinity nuclear bomb test. Of course, there was no great war that followed that event, so that doesn't seem to work either.

Prophecy Failure #4: Famine
Famine is mentioned as a punishment on the world. But this one is very, very hard to entertain. Now, sure, since Fatima, there have been a lot of terrible famines in various countries. For instance, Stalin's Ukraine saw massive famine. Communists China's "Great Leap Forward" produced a man-made famine that killed tens of millions and drove the countryside to cannibalism. North Korea is under perpetual famine and cannibalism for decades. Communism produces famine - everyone knows that now in a way that no one did in 1917.

So, in that narrow sense, the children's vision was VERY prophetic. They correctly predicted that anyone living under communism would suffer great physical want. In 1917, before anyone had actually attempted to implement communism or socialism, it was not at all obvious that this would be the case.

But if you want to use Fatima to argue that the world was going to undergo or has already undergone some kind of unusual famine, it's an impossible argument to support. After all, famine is not exactly unusual in human history, and it is demonstrably less likely today. Don't believe me? Look at the numbers.

We have not yet hit the century mark on the Fatima prophecies, but the world has gone from roughly 1.6 billion in 1900 to a bit over 7 billion today. That is, the world has over 4 times as many people today as it did at the time of the prophecy. If famine were really hitting us hard, how did we get four additional planets' worth of people in the intervening century?

The consensus is clear: famine has become less common over the previous century, it is not increasing. And it looks likely that this trend will continue. As Norman Borlaug points out, 17% of the world's cultivated land produces 90% of its food. If we can get the other 83% to adopt Borlaug's techniques, we can increase food production 5-fold. That means we can support 35 billion people on the planet before we have to till any new ground. Sadly, we'll probably never accomplish that population level. But that isn't due to lack of food. It's due to lack of interest in having children among populations that have low infant mortality rates.

There is, of course, one more aspect that should be considered. Perhaps God had promised the world famines, but unknown to three children, God had already delivered the solution to world-wide famine three years earlier. On the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1914, Norman Borlaug was born. Sister Lucia had no way of knowing this, but Borlaug's research would feed over 1 billion people in the decades following World War II - he quite literally fed the world. His work stopped the very famines that Sister Lucia thought she heard Mary warn about.

Prophecy Failure #5: Russia and her errors
This is a nasty one, and a lot of it hinges on how free you wish to get with definitions. Technically, monarchical Russia fell out of existence after the Russian Revolution. It was replaced by the United Soviet Socialist Republic. So, prior to the reign of Pope Pius XI, the first nation which is annihilated is Russia, replaced by the USSR in 1922. But if Russia no longer exists, it can't very well spread it's errors throughout the world, can it?

Sigh. Of course, we can argue that it was really just a name change, and insist it is still Russia in all but name. In fact, we have to make this argument for the Fatima prophecies to work. But, in order to make this argument, we must ignore that Russia had been ruled by monarchy for over 1000 years (the Ruriks, 862-1598, and the Romanovs, 1613-February Revolution of 1917). We know the Romanovs and the Czarists who supported them won't take issue with our argument, because they caught nine grams of lead in the back of the head on 17 July 1918. The prophecies are given six months after the Romanovs had abdicated, and almost exactly one year before the Romanovs are executed, although the world won't find out about the executions for decades.

At the time the Fatima prophecies were made, the only error Russia had made was to allow her Tsar to abdicate. It was operating under a Provisional Government which had amnestied all political and religious prisoners, guaranteed free speech, and promised free elections, among other things. Specifically, ten days before the Fatima prophecies, the Russian Provisional Government was putting down the "July Days" protests (July 16-20, 1917 of Gregorian calendar). Specifically, the first Provisional Government (run by Georgy Lvov, a noted Russian statesman who was NOT a socialist) had arrested many socialists for insurrection. Though Lenin and many of his Bolsheviks escaped the July Days crackdown, they were forced into hiding.

So, on the very day, at the very hour, the prophecies were being given to the three visionaries, the Russian government was actively suppressing socialism. Was that Russia's error? Because if it is, that's the exact reverse of every interpretation I've ever heard.

So, here's the problem: which part of Russian practice was error?

  1. Was it the Tsar's resignation six months before the prophecies? Was that the error?
  2. Or was it Lvov's Provisional government, the one in power when the prophecies were made? Because two weeks after the prophecies, it collapsed and was replaced by Kerensky's Provisional government. Was Lvov' overthrown by the Queen of Heaven?
  3. If so, he was replaced by Kerensky. Kerensky was a Menshevik (socialist). Clearly, Mary would never put a socialist in charge, would she? So, was his government the error? 
  4. Or was it the Russian Republican that came into existence September 14? Were the visionaries warned against republics? America is a republic...
  5. Or was it the Russian Revolution about a month later? 
There's at least five political systems here to choose from, and the prophecy doesn't say which one was the error which gets "spread throughout the world." A GREAT argument can be made that the error wasn't socialism or communism at all, but rather the loss of European monarchies.

But, as I said, let's ignore every bit of this inconvenient history and cut straight to the chase by assuming:
  • a Georgian (Stalin) = a Russian
  • the USSR = Russia
  • a General Secretary = the president of a republic or a monarch
  • democracy = socialism
  • and socialism is the problem.
OK. If we assume there is no substantial difference between all those things, then we're good to go.

Prophecy Failure #6: Nations Annihilated
Then, let's look at the next part of the prophecy:
[Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.
Various nations will be annihilated due to the errors of Russia, that is, presumably due to the Communists. Hmmmm. Really? Here's a list of nations that were annihilated in the 20th century. Let's take a look at which ones can be chalked up to Communist influence.

Name changes: Since we have already discounted the idea that name changes count, we can toss out the following as not really being annihilated, but merely undergoing a name change:
  • 1939: Siam changed its name to Thailand.
  • 1946: Transjordan: Became the independent kingdom of Jordan.
  • 1958-1961: United Arab Republic. Non-neighbors Syria and Egypt merged to become a unified country. In 1961 Syria abandoned the alliance but Egypt kept the name United Arab Republic itself for another decade.
  • 1966: Basutoland changes its name to Lesotho. 
  • 1971: Taiwan: stopped representing China in the United Nations but is still an independent country.
  • 1972: Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka.
  • 1980: Rhodesia changed its name to Zimbabwe.
  • 1990: Southwest Africa: Gained independence and became Namibia.
  • 1997: Zaire changed its name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • 1998: Western Samoa changed its name to Samoa 
Weren't There: Since these countries didn't exist at the time of the prophecy, it seems unfair to count them as being annihilated when they again disappear:
  • 1918: Czechoslovakia didn't exist until 14 Nov 1918. It doesn't exist now, having split in 1993 into the Czech and Slovak Republics, respectively. The largest religious group within the Czech Republic is Catholicism (10%). The largest religious group in the Slovak Republic is Catholicism (62%). So, how do you count this? 
  • 1939: Catalonia: Autonomous region of Spain independent from 1932-1934 and 1936-1939. 
  • 1954-1976: South Vietnam: Now part of a unified Vietnam, South Vietnam existed from 1954 to 1976 as the anti-communist portion of Vietnam. While it was wiped out by communists, it didn't exist in 1917, so it's hardly fair to count it. 
  • 1964: Neither Tanganyika nor Zanzibar existed as independent countries in 1917, so when they united to form Tanzania, that can hardly count as annihilation can it?
  • 1967: Yemen splits into North Yemen and South Yemen but in 1990 the two rejoin into a unified Yemen.
  • 1971: East Pakistan: A province of Pakistan from 1947-1971 when it became Bangladesh. It became a country, it didn't stop being a country. 
  • 1990s: Yugoslavia: First created 1 December 1918 as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, it was officially recognized in 1922. The Axis invaded in 1941, which led to its re-creation as Democratic Federal Yugoslavia in 1943 when the Partisans took over, then renamed again to the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946 when the communists took over. In 1963 it became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then in 1991 it began the breakup up into what is now Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovenia. This essay originally incorrectly categorized Yugoslavia as having fulfilled the prophecy. But, since the country didn't exist at the time of the prophecy, it really falls into this category. 
  • 1991: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR): Technically, it doesn't come into existence until 1922. When the Tsar abdicated in February 1917 (March 1917 in the Orthodox calendar), the Russian Provisional Government was established. In September 1917, this was reformed as the Russian Republic. The Republic was overthrown by the Russian Revolution of 1917, establishing the Soviet Russian Republic. In 1922, this became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. By 1936, this was renamed the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, but most people continued to call it the USSR. By 1991, the whole scheme collapsed and it broke into fifteen new countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldovia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Again, this essay originall mis-categorized the USSR as having fulfilled the prophecy. Technically, the "Russia" which existed at the time of the July 1917 prophecy had already disappeared by either August or October/November of the same year (depending on your definition). Now Russia exists again, so does it count as being annihilated or not?
Tricky: These countries are trickier. They existed when the prophecy was made, they fell out of existence for a time, then they came back into existence, albeit with somewhat changed boundaries. Poland is the weirdest exception:
  • 1917: Poland had actually been completely annihilated in 1795. It only came back into existence in November 1918, after Germany surrendered. It technically didn't exist at the time of the prophecy. But, does the reconstitution of a fully Catholic country count as a kind of anti-annihilation? Does it count against the prophecy instead of for it?
  • 1980s: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were invaded and annexed by the USSR during WW 2, but most Western countries refused to recognize the annexation, and they all came back into existence during the 1980s. So do they count as having been annihilated or not?
  • 1989: Germany existed in 1917, but it was divided into East and West Germany by WW 2. Today, of course, they have again merged together to form a unified Germany. Does that count?
  • 2011: Same problem with South Sudan. Sudan technically was an independent nation at the time of the prophecy, but Britain ruled is as she did all of her other colonies. Worse, she ruled the north and south halves independently, since the differences between the regions were well-known. Sudan gained independence from the British in 1956. South Sudan began in July 2011. Does the new-found independence of Christian South Sudan from Muslim North Sudan count as the annihilation of Sudan?
Annihilated the Wrong Way: These countries really did fall out of existence and have not come back. But not only do they have to be annihilated, their annihilation should be the result of Russia's errors. These clearly don't qualify: 
  • Oct 1918: Austria-Hungary: Established in 1867 and included not just Austria and Hungary, but also parts of the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Romania, and the Balkans. But it didn't disappear as a result of Russia's errors. It disappeared as a result of the Allied victory in WW1
  • 1923: Ottoman Empire disappears, replaced by bits of contemporary Russia, Turkey, Hungary, the Balkans, northern Africa, and the Middle East. It disappeared as a result of the Allied victory in WW1
  • 1932: Prussia: effectively abolished in 1932, officially abolished in 1947. It disappeared as a result of the Allied victory in WW1
  • 1975: Sikkim was an independent monarchy from the 17th century until 1975, when it joined India. This was an internal Indian political affair and had nothing to do with communism.
Now, you can make the argument that these four countries should be counted, but it's hard to see how. The Russians were on the side of England and France in WW 1, they were fighting WITH the Allies, not against them. Her withdrawal from the war made Allied victory LESS likely, not more likely. And the Allies still won, even without Russia.

So, how exactly would Russia's withdrawal spread Russia's (unspecified) errors through the world given that she was on the side of the winners up until she withdrew and the winners still won? Should the Axis powers have won? If so, America is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Perhaps you want to argue that those empires should NOT have been broken up? That all the monarchies and czardoms were supposed to stay in place? That the breaking up of monarchy and the institution of democracies in all those countries is a consequence of Russia's error? Ok, you can make that argument, but again, it's different from any argument I've ever heard laid out about the proper interpretation of Fatima prophecies. I have a hard time constructing an argument that would make these four countries fit popular Fatima interpretations.

The Winners!: These countries not only existed at the time of the prophecy, they fell out of existence directly as a result of the errors of Russia, that is her communism, and to this day, do not exist: 
  • 1950: Tibet was invaded by Communist China (which got its communism from the USSR) and is now known as the Xizang Autonomous Region of China. Alright, this one counts. But Tibet was no Shangri-La. In fact, some Tibetans argue they are better off under the communists than they ever were under the Dalai Lama. 
And.... that's all.

Hmmm... That's rather... uh... well... that's rather disappointing. We don't actually have nations annihilated. We actually have just "nation."

So the second "prophecy" clearly has its problems. Which calls into question the first prophecy and the third.

The Other Prophecies
Now, I'm sure that hell exists. What am I not sure of? I'm not sure that the visionaries correctly understood the Blessed Virgin there either. A lot of people have used the first prophecy to preach fire and brimstone concerning all kinds of things, and they may well be right. But you can see why using prophecy, especially the Fatima prophecies, to preach doctrine can quickly become a problem. If these three little kids got some of the essentials on the second prophecy a little (cough, cough) messed up, then what about the other two?

And as for the third prophecy, no Fatima endorser can even agree on what it really is. It's something horrible, they are all sure about that. But the details.... well... that's murky. Just be assured that the third prophecy is really horrible. Really.

So, if the message of Fatima is to pray, that's a great message and I'm all for it.
However, if the message of Fatima is to obsess over the prophecies, I think, from a spiritual perspective, I'd be better off playing a video game. Really.


UPDATE:
Hey, I just noticed this. According to the first vision, "more souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason."

Hmmmm.... Now, the traditionalists who push Fatima often like to say that you have to be baptized with water to be saved. If you aren't, according to them, you just go to Limbo. Limbo is supposedly the first circle of hell. Limbo is just a theological opinion, but traditionalists often pretend that it is doctrine of the Church which every Catholic must accept, even though that's impossible to prove. But let's go with their opinion on this.

Given that most of the people who have ever lived have lacked baptism, and would therefore go to hell for original sin even if they never committed any sin of the flesh, you would think that more souls go to hell because of lack of baptism than for any other reason.

But according to Fatima, lack of water baptism isn't the reason most people are in hell, it's sins of the flesh. So could the first vision be used as a bit of evidence AGAINST the idea of Limbo?
It certainly seems possible.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Traditionalists: Eat Your Heart Out

Traditionalists claim to be fascinated with preserving the Great Tradition of the Church.
They alone understand what this constitutes.
Even the Popes don't understand it as fully as they do.

Anyone who is *REALLY* a traditionalist should be shouting for joy that the Ecumenical Patriarch will be attending this papal inauguration for the first time in nearly a thousand years. This is HUGE, this is ENORMOUS, this is an UNPRECEDENTED victory for traditionalists everywhere! They should be dancing in the streets and hugging each other over the incredible success that Pope Francis has achieved even with his inauguration! The East and the West breathing together in the same liturgy for the first time in a thousand years! Oh, my heavens, how loudly the bells should ring and the Te Deum sung!

Instead, what do we hear from "traditionalists"?

Crickets.

Or, worse, this constant carping whine, "He has to grow into the job, you know. He doesn't understand Tradition the way we do, therefore he's wrong. Pray for the Pope, that he can become more like us. We already know how he should handle the job, and look how badly he's muffing it out of the blocks! Why, oh WHY didn't the conclave choose me instead of him?"

Yes, the Church needs immense reform.
No, it ain't just the liberals that need reforming.



Friday, March 15, 2013

How Vatican I Destroyed the Church

I've been hearing a lot of caterwauling from "traditionalists" who claim that Pope Francis, and indeed all the Popes since Vatican II, were really sub-par, assuming they were even valid Popes. At the very least, the last three Popes have not been "friends of Tradition."

Well, if the last three Popes are not friends of Tradition, then neither were any of the bishops who voted in favor of the documents of Vatican II, because - in nearly every case - those documents were voted on favorably by nearly all the bishops present.

So, if essentially none of the bishops who attended VC II were in favor of Tradition, then the seminaries which formed those bishops are at least partially at fault. That means most of the seminaries in the world from about 1910 onward were opposed to Tradition. 

And if those seminaries were opposed to Tradition, that means the men who ran those seminaries between 1910 and 1960 were also, and almost everywhere, opposed to Tradition.

So, if Vatican II is at fault, we must conclude that Vatican I was the cause. 

And it makes sense, right?

I mean, we didn't NEED another council after the Council of Trent.
We hadn't had one for 300 years, and we had gotten on just fine.

You could even argue that God Himself stopped Vatican I because He sent in the Italian army to shut it down - the only ecumenical council that ever had such a thing happen. Clearly, God didn't like Vatican I. Note the angry thunder at the definition of papal infallibility: obviously, God was ticked off by that.

And we know that Vatican II saw itself as a continuation of Vatican I.

So, we can clearly conclude that Vatican I was a Freemason's dream, and Vatican II was the fruit of Vatican I, the Freemason's council. Pope St. Pius X was therefore not a valid Pope, being elected by a bunch of stinking Freemasons, and the SSPX is a heretical schismatic branch that pretends to hold to the teachings of the Council of Trent while actually insinuating their Masonic heresies into the minds of people who would otherwise be faithful Catholics.

We need to return to the last Pope who really embraced Tradition, Pope Pius IV (1559-1565). The innovations to the Roman Missal of 1570, introduced only a few short years after this Pope of happy memory had passed, were clearly a violation of the Tradition that Pius IV had tried so hard to preserve, and a violation of the teachings of the Council of Trent, which had just ended in 1563.

Clearly, the innovations of Pius V were merely a Masonic attempt to undermine the foundations of Catholic Faith by introducing a false Mass whose sacraments were, under even the most charitable interpretations, barely valid. As we can now see, the papal see can really be considered vacant since that unhappy time, etc., etc., etc.


You know that when Pope Pius V CHANGED the Roman Missal in 1570, just five years after the death of the previous pope and just seven years after the close of Trent, you can see the rot had already set in! Yes, it's true! If you study it, you can clearly see that the changes introduced by Pope Pius V were catastrophic to the Church. It's obvious. After all, following those changes, Protestantism wasn't destroyed, it FLOURISHED.

And flourishing Protestantism was clearly nourished by the enervating changes this obviously Masonic Pope, Pope Pius V, made to the hallowed Missal of 1570! The succeeding Popes were no friends to Tradition, since they never changed the Missal BACK to what it had been prior to 1570!

Oh, be still my heart!
Now it is all clear to me!

EVERY POPE since Pius IV has been a dirty Masonic Protestant, allowing the tentacles of the New Mass of 1570 to spread its slimy hooks into the minds of good Christians everywhere!

Oh, the humanity!

But we, we faithful few, we maintain the flame of Catholic Faith by adhering to the Missal of 1570, and rejecting this Novus Ordo Mass that followed the Council of Trent!


So, we can blame Pope Pius V for why we now are forced to labor under the "reign" of Pope Francis.

For those of you who are upset about Vatican II, I hope this little slice of history has been edifying.
I could use future postss to delve into the exact details of how the Masons and the Protestants insinuated their slimy tentacles into the barely valid Missal of 1570, how this Protestantized Mass undermined the Catholicity of the Faith, etc., but I have to stop now, as "My Favorite Martian" reruns are playing, and I don't want to miss decoding any of the secret messages that are embedded in the dialogue.

Pope Francis and Divine Love


Some people are complaining that Pope Francis is not showing the high culture, pomp and ceremony we have come to associate with the office of the Pope. They argue that he should celebrate Mass using Method B instead of Method A, that he doesn't have the right to use B instead of A. A is objectively better, you see, and he is depriving the whole of the Church by using B. It shows his immaturity, his lack of understanding of the gravity of his office, yada, yada, yada.

Now, wait just one freakin' minute.

The purpose of the Mass is to fill us with the sanctifying grace that will lead to our salvation. Through the Mass, and the reception of the Eucharist it swaddles, we are supposed to be so filled with the love of God and the love of God's image in man that this divine love cannot but overflow into the people around us.

Clearly, this man knows how to use the graces of the Ordinary Form of the Mass in *EXACTLY* that way. He has so tuned himself to the outflowing of grace from this liturgical form that it spills out into his life of poverty, his care for the poor, his humility. He is living EXACTLY what Pope Benedict described in his encyclicals. He allows the liturgy and the sacraments to change him, then he lives the change in his life.

What he is doing is THE POINT of the liturgy and the sacraments.

Now, some of us are complaining that the Mass he celebrates isn't sufficiently "sacred" for us. There's no Gregorian chant, not enough incense, he isn't facing the right way, ad nauseum.

But isn't this man limited to teaching what he knows? He clearly knows and makes use of the graces of the Ordinary Form of the Mass to a much greater extent than any of us make use of the graces of ANY Mass, either Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form.

Yet we're all going to chastise him because his competence at using the grace of the liturgy is clearly better than ours, and he dares to exhibit this extraordinary competence by using a liturgical form at which he is expert, but that we don't happen to like?

That's called "making an idol of the Mass".
We're doing it.
And we damn well better stop.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grace and Works

One of the reasons I write is to help me think through things.
I often write out ideas in order to get them in order, then throw away the writing and speak extemporaneously. I can speak well because I have written first.

In that spirit, I offer you this, which I just wrote and don't wish to lose quite yet.
At least, not until I have it more firmly in my thick skull.

Saving grace is a free gift from God which we can do nothing to merit, and which God gives freely to us. But, once we receive it, our whole being must necessarily respond to it. So, our mind responds to grace with faith, our body responds with works.

In liturgical theology, both faith and works are responses to grace.

Non-liturgical theology (such as Reformation theology) would say that the mind responds to grace with faith, and then the body responds to faith by exhibiting the fruits, which are works.

The difference is subtle, but profound. Liturgical Christians see human beings as having a two-fold direct response to grace, a mind-body response that is simultaneous. Non-liturgical Christians say there is only a one-fold response to grace: mind alone. Works are a response to faith, not grace.

Thus, in liturgical theology, man's works can actually participate in the life of grace directly, our whole being can participate in the very great promise of God, our whole being can be sharers in the divine nature.

In non-liturgical theology, only your mind can share in the divine nature; the works of the body, being a secondary response and not a primary response, do not share in the divine nature.

Heaven is living a total response to the divine nature.

So, Catholics believe we can live heaven on earth (thus, the Catholic saints), while non-Catholics don't believe that. Our understanding of what the resurrection of the dead means is much more profound as a result.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis

As archbishop of Argentina:


Some quotes:
On abortion: “Abortion is the death penalty for the unborn”
On homosexual marriage: “Let's not be na├»ve, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
In 2010: "Homosexual adoption is discrimination against children."
"We should commit ourselves to 'eucharistic coherence', that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals."
In 2005: "Defend the unborn against abortion even if they persecute you, calumniate you, set traps for you, take you to court or kill you. No child should be deprived of the right to be born, the right to be fed, the right to go to school. No elderly person should be left alone, abandoned." 

St. Francis of Assisi is commonly acknowledged to have cleansed and saved a corrupt, wastrel Church bureaucracy by living a holy, simple life that caused everyone to flock to live his example. His simple life embarrassed the rich and pompous priests and bishops. Many began to imitate him, and so the Church was transformed.

Sandro Magister believes that Pope Francis is in the line of Benedict, trying to cleanse the Church of the influences of secular humanism.  This is the greatest struggle in the Church today.

We may have just seen the election of a saint.




Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Big Lie

One should not as a rule reveal one's secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.
                     ~ Die Zeit ohne Beispiel, Joseph Goebbels, 12 Jan 1941
But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success
            ~"War Propaganda", volume 1, chapter 6, Mein Kampf (1925), Adolf Hitler
I recently discovered the consequences of this in the classroom. I was teaching an ethics class comprised entirely of military veterans. During the course of the conversation, I asked them "What percentage of the population do you think is homosexual?" 

In every case, each student put the percentage at above 30%. A few put it as high as 45%. I pointed out that the actual percentage was between 1% and 3%.

And that's when I got my surprise.

They uniformly (no pun intended) refused to believe me. They simply rejected the facts out-of-hand. "I know a lot more homosexuals than that," was the common response. 

I tried to reason with them, brought forward scientific, peer-reviewed studies, pointed out that the International Lesbian and Gay Association testified to this number themselves in their amicus curie brief to SCOTUS in Lawrence v. Texas just a couple of years ago. I spent 20 minutes trying to convince them that their estimates were off by a factor of at least ten. They were having none of it. 

"That percentage is too low," they replied, "People lie on questionnaires. They won't reveal their real sexuality."

"Oh," I replied, "so YOU know the truth, but none of the people who ran any of these surveys do?"

The answer, boiled down, was, "That's right. We know the truth. They don't."

So, why would a bunch of military vets refuse the facts of the matter? I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect it has something to do with a decade of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". From the soldiers point of view, the military emphasizes only what is necessary to survive in combat. That includes handling personal relationships so they don't interfere with combat duties. If the brass were so insistent on blowing up DADT into a big deal, then it MUST be the case that homosexuality was far more prevalent than just 1-3% of the population. DADT was nearly as big a deal as welcoming women into para-combat situations, and women make up 50% of the population, so...

Now we see the same thing happening in regards to guns in the hands of American citizens. Consider the response to this young man's pastry incident. A 7-year old took bites out of his poptart until it was in the shape of a gun, then pointed the pastry at his schoolmates and said "Pow." That was so serious that it merited a three-day suspension for the boy and, as icing on the cake, an offer of professional psychological counseling to any child who might have been traumatized by the event.

Make no mistake, because our opponents have not.

We are at war.



Saturday, March 02, 2013

Splinters, Logs and Papal Fantasies

For reasons which are not entirely clear, some Catholics have chosen to make Mahatma Ghandi a surrogate for the new Pope, on the off-chance that said Pope is from the third world. The argument is both simple and simplistic: everyone likes the idea of Gandhi, but no one actually listens to what he said. Specifically, those darned liberals never actually listen to what Gandhi said about contraception. He was against it, you see, and those shameless Gandhi-promoters are for it, which demonstrates their shameless philosophical eclecticism.

Eclecticism is bad because it means you take just the pieces of a philosophy that you like and you leave behind the nasty bits that you don't like. Eclecticism, or "cafeteria philosophy" describes a large range of logical incoherence, including cafeteria Catholicism. And you know how logically solid the latter is.

Now, from what I can tell, we are supposed to get up in arms about this ignorance concerning Gandhi's anti-contraception attitudes. Why? Well, because his attack on contraception proves Gandhi was the Great Non-Christian Pro-Lifer, the man we Christians point to when we want to show off natural law. Gandhi, you see, is the Christian poster boy for how everyone who is open to natural law rejects contraception.

The message seems to be, "How dare those nasty MSM-types try to steal our poster boy!"

Yes.
Well.

Before we jump up and down, trying to extract the splinter from the eye of the MSM, let's take a look at the log in our own eye, shall we?

To put it bluntly, both liberals and Christians should avoid Mahatma Gandhi like the plague he is. Gandhi was a war-mongering ignoramus, and anyone who knows his story can tear apart the "Gandhi was right on contraception!" parade as easily as Joe Biden's wife takes out little fishies with her shotgun.

You see, Gandhi didn't just oppose contraception. He also opposed the use of penicillin. Yes, you read that correctly. When his own wife lay dying of an eminently treatable pneumonia, he refused to allow her to receive penicillin, despite the pleadings of his own son:
In August 1942, Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba, among others, were imprisoned by the British in Aga Khan Palace, near Poona. Kasturba had poor circulation and she’d weathered several heart attacks. While detained in the palace, she developed bronchial pneumonia. One of her four sons, Devadas, wanted her to take penicillin. Gandhi refused. He was okay with her receiving traditional remedies, such as water from the Ganges, but he refused her any medicines, including this newfangled antibiotic, saying that the Almighty would have to heal her.
“The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi” quotes him on February 19, 1944; “If God wills it, He will pull her through.” “Gandhi: A Life” adds this wisdom from the Mahatma: “You cannot cure your mother now, no matter what wonder drugs you may muster. She is in God’s hands now.” Three days later, Devadas was still pushing for the penicillin, but Gandhi shot back: “Why don’t you trust God?” Kasturba died that day. 
The next night, Gandhi cried out: “But how God tested my faith!” He told one of Kasturba’s doctors that the antibiotic wouldn’t have saved her and that allowing her to have it “would have meant the bankruptcy of my faith.”
But Gandhi’s faith wasn’t much of an obstacle a short time later when it was his ass on the line. A mere six weeks after Kasturba died, Gandhi was flattened by malaria. He stuck to an all-liquid diet as his doctors tried to convince him to take quinine. But Gandhi completely refused and died of the disease, right? No, actually, after three weeks of deterioration, he took the diabolical drug and quickly recovered. The stuff about trusting God’s will and testing faith only applied when his wife’s life hung in the balance.
Elsewhere he wrote, "the will to live proved stronger than the devotion to truth." He was fine with the Nazis killing Jews in the ghettoes. He hated blacks, supported apartheid, went on a hunger strike to prevent the British from treating the Untouchables as human beings with equal human rights, and encouraged Hindus to kill Muslims after the British left India.
It has been reported that Gandhi “half-welcomed” the civil war that broke out in the last days. Even a fratricidal “bloodbath” (Gandhi’s word) would be preferable to the British.
And suddenly Gandhi began endorsing violence left, right, and center. During the fearsome rioting in Calcutta he gave his approval to men “using violence in a moral cause.” How could he tell them that violence was wrong, he asked, “unless I demonstrate that nonviolence is more effective?” He blessed the Nawab of Maler Kotla when he gave orders to shoot ten Muslims for every Hindu killed in his state...it is not widely realized (nor will this film tell you) how much violence was associated with Gandhi’s so-called “nonviolent” movement from the very beginning. 
He adored the British soldier, was a sergeant-major in the British army, led troops into combat, won a military combat medal from the British for his valor in the Boer wars, and petitioned the Queen of England to be allowed to raise regiments of all-volunteer Indian soldiers to fight alongside the British in WW I.

We won't discuss at length his predilection for both giving and receiving enemas, the delight he took in sleeping with young, naked Indian girls or his encouragement of young boys and girls to bathe and sleep together, but even in mentioning these things, I hope you begin to see the problems inherent for any Westerner who wants to use Gandhi for any kind of moral model.

Yet when it comes to the teaching on contraception, Christians, especially Catholics, love to trot this man out as some kind of non-Christian guru, deeply in touch with the natural law.

Now I've taken hundreds of words to explain something that could have been summarized very easily. Both liberals and conservatives, Christians and atheists, like to name-drop people who will support their points. We leave out the unhappy facts that swirl around and obscure the blessed narrative we try to construct.

The liberal MSM has their Gandhi fantasies, we Christians have our Gandhi fantasies, and both sides will use their own fantasies to "illuminate" the deep-seated fantasy we each carry about the future pope. But none of it - none of it - is real.

I am no fan of the liberal establishment media. But it isn't entirely fair to beat the press up for doing exactly what we do. So let us all simply allow Gandhi to molder in his grave and get on with the business of life without him, shall we?