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Thursday, July 28, 2016

On the Rosary

The Rosary is a great private devotion that has received praise from many Popes. It is a prayer currently enriched with an indulgence, and historically has had many indulgences attached to it.

However, all that being said and acknowledged, the Rosary is not a necessary prayer.
Liturgy is a necessary prayer - every sacrament is wrapped up in liturgy, and we cannot attain heaven without the grace of the sacraments. But the Rosary is not liturgy, nor is the Rosary a sacrament. The Rosary is not necessary to attain heaven.

Not one of the Fathers of the Church prayed the Rosary.
Very few of the Doctors of the Church prayed the Rosary.

In fact, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church who was dubbed the “greatest saint of modern times” by St. Pius X, had this to say about the Rosary:
“I feel then that the fervor of my Sisters makes up for my lack of fervor; but when alone (I am ashamed to admit it) the recitation of the rosary is more difficult for me than the wearing of an instrument of penance. I feel I have said this so poorly! I force myself in vain to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary; I don’t succeed in fixing my mind on them.
For a long time I was desolate about this lack of devotion which astonished me, for I love the Blessed Virgin so much that it should be easy for me to recite in her honor prayers which are so pleasing to her. Now I am less desolate; I think that the Queen of heaven, since she is my mother, must see my good will and she is satisfied with it. Sometimes when my mind is in such aridity that it is impossible to draw forth one single thought to unite me with God, I very slowly recite an “Our Father” and then the “Hail Mary”; then these prayers give me great delight; they nourish my soul much more than if I had recited them precipitately a hundred times.”
Eastern Catholics use the Akathist Hymn, not the Rosary. They get to heaven just fine. The Church got along just fine for over a thousand years without the Rosary. The Rosary is a good personal devotion, but it is not necessary for salvation.

The Liturgy of the Hours, precisely because it is liturgy, is infinitely more valuable than the Rosary. The Liturgy of the Hours actually extends the grace of the Mass through the day. The Rosary, because it is not liturgy, does not do this. It does not matter what any private revelation, such as Fatima, Lourdes, etc., has to say on this point. Private revelations might recommend private devotions to private individuals. Private devotions are never, under any circumstances, greater than the liturgy, even if the recommendation to use that private devotion comes from a private revelation. Liturgy is always greater than private devotion. Period. The Rosary is a private devotion.

"Catholic" means "universal." Catholics can have different personal devotional practices. That's why we have different religious orders: Jesuits practice different personal devotions than Franciscans who practice different personal devotions than Carmelites. There is nothing wrong with deciding that a specific personal devotion is not for you. The Rosary is a specific personal devotion. It is quite possible to be a faithful Catholic with a deeply Marian bent and yet not pray the Rosary. Despite what many Catholics will tell you, there is nothing wrong with this.

As a Catholic, I can recommend my spiritual devotions to another Catholic. However, as a Catholic, I cannot deprecate other Catholics who decide my personal spiritual devotions are not helpful to them. My personal devotions are for me, their personal devotions are for them. Perhaps they find the Rosary helpful, perhaps they don't. Either way is fine. Either way is fully Catholic. That's between them and God. I have no business in that conversation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Separation of Church and State

Pope Pius X: "That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error... Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State." (Vehementer Nos #3, Feb. 11, 1906)

Separation of Church and state is a heresy.
The two can be distinguished, but never separated.

Man is made in the image and likeness of God. For this reason, man will always try to replicate his relationship to God in his dealings with other men. Thus, no man can actually succeed in separating his theology from his politics. It isn't possible.

In a democracy, where politicians are selected and elected, politics is necessarily a reflection of the theology that dominates the electorate. When a Protestant Congress outlawed contraceptives, that political body was merely reflecting 2000 years of Christian tradition. From the 1930s onward, when judges began to overturn the Comstock laws, we saw the United States move away from its Christian roots towards a eugenically-minded agnosticism.

Today, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the representatives of our major political parties, we see an inchoate paganism. It is not the paganism of the Norse, the ancient Greeks or the ancient Romans, all societies which celebrated martial values and delighted in constant war. Rather, it is a paganism that denigrates warfare but delights in sensuality.

Our desires have become our god, and now that god drives our politics.
Our theology will always be reflected in our politics - it cannot be avoided.

With this election, many of us are shocked to discover that Obama is correct - we are no longer a Christian nation.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Why Ted Cruz Supported Trump

Cruz supported Trump. He didn't formally endorse Trump, but then, he never promised to formally endorse Trump.

But Cruz's support for Trump was a lot greater than anyone could have expected.
Ted Cruz told everyone to vote for the principled conservative who supports the constitution.
We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Unite us all behind shared values. Cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody.
And to those listening, please, don't stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.
That perfectly describes Trump, right?

Wait... what?!?!

Trumpkins argue it does NOT describe Trump?


Oh... Wow.....

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Madame President

Before Trump ran for President, he pulled a Loretta Lynch and asked Bill Clinton's permission to run against Hillary. His own staffers admit Trump never intended to be President, he just wanted free publicity. During the campaign itself, Trump reneged on his promise to support the eventual GOP nominee. Last month, June 2016, Trump hinted that he had no intention of being President. As for electoral support, Trump has no coat-tails  and provides no support for down-ticket candidates - the only candidate he has endorsed has been a pro-abort who lost by 30 points.

And then there are the polls. Notice how George W. Bush beat Kerry? George was frequently in the lead, in the run-up to July, and dominated the election from September onward.

McCain was ahead of Obama at least a few times prior to July, but was not able to beat Obama at all in the polls between April and July. He got a short-lived bounce only because of his Palin pick for VP, but predictably ended up losing.

Romney didn't even do as well as McCain. Apart from a couple of very short-lived blips immediately prior to the election, Romney NEVER beat Obama in the year of polling leading up to the conventions. Not once.

Like Romney, Trump has NEVER beaten Clinton in the polling. Not once. Not ever. Trump is doing worse against Clinton than McCain did against Obama. Trump is arguably doing at least as badly or worse against Clinton than Romney did against Obama.

From the beginning, all the evidence tells us Trump intended to at least use the presidential run as a personal publicity campaign and at best divide the field by destroying the Republican's best candidate(s) while handing the election to his friends, the Clintons. Trump crowned his achievements by deliberately destroying Ted Cruz' convention speech, permanently undermining the natural Republican leader and thereby assuring downstream chaos among Republicans for years to come. In fact, Trump arguably and deliberately sabotaged the entire Republican convention.

Those who believe any of Donald Trump's lies, or who still believe Donald can win, have been Trumpwinked. A person is Trumpwinked when they believe a con man/politician, e.g., Donald Trump.

The facts are quite clear.
A vote for Trump has always been a vote for Hillary.
The destruction is complete.
Hillary Clinton is our next president.

I finally found Nate Silver's forecasts for the Romney-Obama matchup:

Here's the current graph for Trump-Clinton

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Modesty and Scandal, Part 2

There is a lot of evidence that women engage in "slut-shaming" much more than men. It isn't that women are concerned about modesty, rather, women don't like the competition. Women form groups to ostracize and bully "outsider" women, and "modesty shaming" is one way to accomplish that goal.

If traditionalist women were really interested in following ancient norms, then traditionalist women would encourage men to wrap their hands in clothes to avoid touching female skin. In fact, this was arguably one of the reasons both sexes wore gloves whenever they appeared in public.

Despite the fact that gloves were, for centuries, considered an essential part of a public wardrobe, I have never heard a "modesty" warrior argue that glove-less women are dressed immodestly. Which makes me think this isn't about "modesty", it is actually about females using "virtue-signalling" to crush the female opponents in the competition for snagging and holding onto a mate. That is, the women are not actually interested in modesty, rather, they are interested in signalling how good they are, and how trashy their opponents are.

Do I need to point out that this is not  a Christian motivation?
Yes, I probably do.
Which is why this follow-up to my earlier post on the correct Christian attitude is necesssary.

On Modesty and Scandal

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Truth in Religion

Fr. Michael Muller is quite, quite, quite wrong.

People only believe in other religions because every religion, to be believed, must contain some seed of truth. Insofar as any religion contains any truth, that truth is Christ.

So, to say "I respect every religion" is another way to say, "I see the kernel of truth that is Christ which shines forth in that religion."

True, every non-Catholic Faith has much which is not Christ, much of every religion is falsehood. Where there is falsehood, we see Truth twisted, Christ whipped, crucified and crowned with thorns within, and yet that seed of Christ's blood is what attracts them. And that much we not only CAN respect, but we MUST respect, for Christ is there, calling out through the blood and suffering which wraps every other religion like a shroud, His life lies within or no man would follow.

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Why The 2nd Amendment is Dead

This is where advocating for a citizen's right to own guns falls apart.

We have the right to bear arms - that is clear, it is in the Constitution, not just the 2nd Amendment, but also in Article 1, Section 8.

BUT, if we really have the right to bear weapons, if that right is truly given to us so, then we must have the right to overthrow the government. As the Declaration of Independence insists "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it," That means we will be shooting people and blowing up things.

But if the citizens have the right to overthrow the government, then the citizens at some point have the right to shoot cops and other government employees.

And therein lies the rub.

I am neither willing to personally shoot cops and other government employees, nor to have other people do it in my name. I've never met a gun's rights advocate who actually wanted to do it either. The NRA members always emphasize how law-abiding they are. That's good. But you can't say "I am law-abiding and I support our troops" while simultaneously saying "I own a gun in case I need to overthrow the government."

So, the 2nd Amendment is functionally a dead letter.

As long as guns' rights advocates hold the sentiment expressed in the meme above, buying a gun is like buying a Lotto ticket - it gives you the chance to dream that you are your own man, while you pretend to ignore the reality that you are really just still a cubicle worker for the Man.

What's Wrong With Panhandling?

So, I'm still not clear on where the problem lies.
What, exactly, is wrong with panhandling?  It's a sales job with constant exposure to the weather, pure commissions, no benefits. It's a tough job. Why do people look down on it?

 People get upset because a panhandler gets into his truck at the end of the day and drives home to a quarter million dollar house. So what? So, I am supposed to be upset about successful panhandlers? It's street theater. Actors get paid millions for pretending to be murderers, psychopaths, etc. They sell us on the idea that they actually ARE these things and we pay them handsomely.

Why can't street actors turn a few bucks? Some of these guys are better than Keanu Reeves... alright, ALL of them are better than Keanu Reeves. So, if I can live with Reeves having a million dollar house, why should I be upset if a panhandler has a quarter-million dollar house?

Like any good movie, pan-handlers sell emotions. They sell us feelings, about themselves and us. We get to feel superior to someone today. We get to have pity on someone today. We get to give them a five-dollar bill or a pizza and feel like we are good people. No matter what our boss says, our spouse says, that girl that dumped us says, we get a chance to feel better about ourselves. That's what they are selling, and they stand out in all kinds of weather to give us that chance.

 Panhandling takes hard work, skill, perseverance. They get rejected more in an hour than an office worker does in a week. So, again I ask: what's wrong with panhandling?

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

How Comey Saved the Oligarchy

Everyone is on about how Comey saved Hillary from prosecution, but everyone is missing the larger picture: by acting in this purely political fashion, Comey saved the entire entrenched oligarchy from prosecution.

Remember how the Trump University trial was originally scheduled to begin July 7, the same day the Republican convention was to start? Well, that changed in May. Trump used the existing rigged judicial system to get the trial date moved to November 28. Trump can't have an embarrassing trial take place at an economically or politically embarrassing time, now can he?  Trump is too big, too important, to be troubled by picayune little fraud trials. Better for all concerned if no little people stood in the way of his ambitions. So, in May, even as the trial judge is moving the trial date, Trump deflected attention to the way the system is rigged in his favor by ... wait for it... complaining that the system is rigged against him.

Now that Comey has declared Clinton off-limits to the law, now that the rigging of the system is on display for all to see, Trump has the complete deniability he has always claimed. By declaring Clinton off limits, Comey has declared every last one of the oligarchs safe.

You see, no matter who tries to bring Trump to trial, Trump can now say "It's all political! It's a rigged system! That's why they are after me! I'm pure as the New York slush!" By clearly showing the world exactly how rigged the system is, Comey has effectively denied the validity of every trial motion that could ever be brought against any of the oligarchs. Oligarchs can never again be convicted of anything.

Every powerful person can use the Trump-Clinton-Comey defense ("The system is rigged against me!") no matter what the situation may be. The oligarch's sycophants will then take up the chant and shout down whoever points out that the evidence of guilt is actually quite clear. Every trial can now be reduced to a political witch-hunt, every shred of evidence is just an irrelevant fact blown out of proportion by people out to get the oligarch, no reasonable prosecutor would ever use such tainted material, and if any prosecutor ever did, that person is, by definition, on a McCarthyite witch hunt.

By illuminating how rigged the system is, Comey has declared every oligarch with sycophants and a power base (which is all of them) off-limits.

What we saw done successfully as a one-off tactic with Ken Starr and Bill Clinton has now been turned into federal policy. We are officially a banana republic. Trump and Clinton couldn't be happier with how this has turned out. It's a win-win for the nation! We should be thanking Comey: he has finally made America safe for oligarchs.