Monday, June 18, 2018

Marriage as a Lifetime of Suffering

I would like to commend Fr. Stephen Freeman's latest reflection to readers of this blog. I am not going to excerpt it. Just go here and read it all.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Irish PM Says Catholic Hospitals Will Be Forced to Abort Children

Just weeks after a lopsided, groundbreaking vote struck down Ireland’s constitutional ban on legal abortion, the country’s Taoiseach signaled the broader moral and legal implications of this sea change in a once deeply Catholic nation.

“It will not … be possible for publicly funded hospitals, no matter who their patron or owner is,” Leo Varadkar told the Dáil, “to opt out of providing these necessary services which will be legal in this state once this legislation is passed by the Dáil [the lower house of the Irish legislature] and Seanad [senate].”

Britain’s Catholic Herald reported today that two large hospitals in Dublin are owned by religious orders: the Sisters of Charity’s St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the Sisters of Mary’s Mater Hospital. Both, along with other Catholic medical institutions, will soon confront the full reality of abortion on demand.

In a June 14 column for National Review entitled, “In Ireland, What’s Legal Is Now Mandatory,” Michael Brendan Doughterty noted that NRO had “predicted in its editorial on the referendum that victory for Repeal would be swiftly followed by attempts to coerce Catholic institutions to provide abortion. Now Varadkar has promised as much.”

At present, the Irish government is preparing legislation to allow abortion on demand for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy — and in special cases, for up to 24 weeks.

Read the rest here.

114 Years Ago Today

More than 1300 German Lutherans, mostly working class immigrants or first generation Americans boarded an excursion steamer in New York for a long planned church outing and picnic on Long Island. Most were women and children. The men had to work. Within an hour of sailing most, more than a thousand, were dead. They were the victims of the worst disaster in New York history until 9/11.

The PS General Slocum
The New York Tribune's coverage of the disaster

Memory eternal.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Much of bitcoin's 2017 boom was market manipulation

Bitcoin's epic rise last year may have been more than investor fervor. A study published Wednesday says at least half of the jump in bitcoin was due to coordinated price manipulation.

University of Texas finance professor John Griffin, who has a 10-year track record of spotting financial fraud, and graduate student Amin Shams examined millions of transactions on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. In a 66-page paper, the authors found that tether was used to buy bitcoin at key moments when it was declining, which helped "stabilize and manipulate" the cryptocurrency's price.

"Fraud and manipulation often leave footprints in the data and it's nice to have the blockchain to track things," Griffin told CNBC.

By tracking Bitfinex transactions, which are recorded on a public ledger, Griffin found that another cryptocurrency, tether. was used to buy bitcoin after large price falls. The authors tracked that pattern and found periods of suspicious bitcoin price activity tied to the issuance of tether, which is purportedly pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar.

"It was creating price support for bitcoin, and over the period that we examined, had huge price effects," Griffin said. "Our research would indicate that there are sophisticated people harnessing investor interest for their benefit."

Griffin found that about 87 hours, or about 1 percent, of heavy tether trading could explain 50 percent of the rise of bitcoin, and around 64 percent of the rise of other major cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin rose to almost $20,000 in December after starting last year below $1,000. This year, the world's first and most popular cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value, trading near $6,252 on Wednesday afternoon, according to CoinDesk.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Something a bit out of the ordinary...


The Salve Regina chanted according to the ancient Cistercian Rite by Dom Abbot Thomas and assisted by two subdeacons. From the Western Rite Mission of St. Athanasius in Munster Germany under the omiphorion of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Met. Kallistos Ware strays way off the reservation

The hitherto highly respected theologian has written the Forward for the new edition of "The Wheel," a pseudo-Orthodox publication that appears dedicated to challenging the traditional Christian understanding of gender and sexual morality. At least one Orthodox site claims, inaccurately, that Ware has endorsed unnatural marriage. He did not, as far as I can tell, cross that line.

But he came damn close.

From my perspective he seems to be spouting the same theological revisionism that has devastated what we once called the Mainline Protestant denominations and which, like a deadly cancer, has now infected and is spreading within the Roman Catholic Church.

This needs to be addressed quickly and decisively. The Holy Synod must demand a formal affirmation of his adherence to the Orthodox Christian Faith which I believe would necessitate recanting a great deal of what he wrote. This is not a time or place for "dialogue," one of the favorite words employed by modernists which can be generally understood to mean "let's talk until you realize how wrong Christianity has been for its first two thousand years." This is a time for a firm defense of Holy Orthodoxy in the face of liberal Protestant heresy.

HT: Bill Tighe

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ireland's Apostasy

In the space of a generation, Ireland has gone from one of Europe's most Catholic countries to essentially a pagan state that has replaced the Sacrifice of the Altar with the sacrifice of its children.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Traveling

Little or no blogging for the next couple of weeks.

Yer Out! 1924


A great image from the golden age of baseball, the "sultan of swat" knocked cold after crashing into a concrete wall chasing a foul ball. The original caption to the photo from the Washington Star...

"This shows how completely Ruth was knocked out when he crashed into the concrete barrier of the right field pavilion chasing Judge's foul in the fourth inning of the opening contest. After being revived by trainers Al Woods and Mike Martin of the Yanks and Nationals respectively, shown administering to him, the Babe hobbled back to his post and carried on."

The full sized image can be seen here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Goldman Sachs: The fiscal outlook for the US 'is not good'

The fiscal outlook for the United States "is not good," according to Goldman Sachs, and could pose a threat to the country's economic security during the next recession.

According to forecasts from bank's chief economist, the federal deficit will increase from $825 billion (or 4.1 percent of gross domestic product) to $1,250 (5.5 percent of GDP) by 2021. And by 2028, the bank expects the number to balloon to $2.05 trillion (7 percent of GDP).

"An expanding deficit and debt level is likely to put upward pressure on interest rates, expanding the deficit further," Jan Hatzius – Goldman's top economist – wrote Sunday. "While we do not believe that the U.S. faces a risk to its ability to borrow or repay, the rising debt level could nevertheless have three consequences long before debt sustainability becomes a major obstacle."

Legislators passed a package of corporate and individual tax cuts in December, a two-year budget deal in February and a massive spending bill in March that boosted government spending on both domestic and military programs.

In light of the big spending and easier tax burden, the Congressional Budget Office – Capitol Hill's nonpartisan financial scorekeeper – in April projected that debt could equal GDP within a decade if Congress extends the tax cuts, a level not seen since World War II.

Read the rest here.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Pit bull roulette


“Pit bull roulette” cost the lives of 38 humans,  plus nearly 13,000 dogs,  5,000 cats,  and more than 20,000 farmed animals in 2017––and,  only two weeks into 2018,  has already killed Happy Hound Hotel boarding kennel worker Laura Williams Ray,  of Ouachita Parish,  Louisiana,  and three-year-old Rylee Marie Dodge,  of Duncan,  Oklahoma,  along with many dozens of animals.

Ray and Dodge were respectively the 10th and 11th humans to die in dog attacks in the 51 days between November 24,  2017 and January 14,  2018,  and were the 9th and 10th humans to be killed by pit bulls.
Overall,  pit bulls accounted for 68% of the human dog attack deaths in 2017,  88% of the human disfigurements,  92% of the dogs killed by other dogs,  94% of the dogs seriously injured by other dogs,  96% of the cats killed by dogs,  and 74% of the farmed animals killed by dogs.

“Pit bull roulette” is the gamble that a pit bull can be safely introduced into proximity to other living beings.

Read the rest here.

One of my mom's standard poodles (she had two at the time) was mauled in an unprovoked attack by a pit bull in a dog park about six years ago. He survived but his injuries were pretty ugly and it took him a while to recover. One of the vets she used to employ when up north would not take pit bulls as regular patients and routinely warned people that they are high risk as pets because they have been bread for aggression and violence.


All of Chile's Catholic Bishops Resign (Updated)

All 34 bishops tendered letters of resignation in response to the ongoing sexual abuse scandal. Pope Francis will decide whether or not to accept some, all or none of the resignations.

Details

Update: Wow! According to the AP, this was basically a mass sacking. Pope Francis demanded, and got the resignations after accusing the bishops of collective culpability in the child sex abuse scandals that have roiled the Roman Church in Chile (and elsewhere). Purely on a side note this means the Pope can also appoint anyone he wants as replacements. I don't think it requires much imagination to figure out what ideological bent they are likely to demonstrate.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Quote of the day...

As an attorney for 35 years, some advice for young attorneys:

Watch how Mr. Giuliani represents his client and, under similar circumstances, do the opposite.

Do not try your case in the court of public opinion.

Do not reveal confidential discussions with your client.

Do not reveal confidential discussions with your adversary's lawyer.

Do not place your interests above your client's interests.

Do not speak publicly about your case unless necessary to correct a prejudicially false statement by your adversary.

Do not make any public statements unless and until you thoroughly understand all of the salient facts.

Do not make truthful statements that inculpate your client.

Do not make untruthful statements that exonerate your client and will undermine your credibility with your adversary and the tribunal.

Be modest, humble, and truthful, not brash, egotistical, and untruthful.

Limit your role to the legal issues and leave public relations and political implications to others.

Be someone of whom it is said, "There goes a fine lawyer whom I would trust with my life and livelihood."

In other words, young attorneys, emulate Mr. Mueller and his colleagues and reject those like Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Cohn, and most of the attorneys surrounding our President.

Your reputations will remain intact and, more importantly, your clients will be better served, and the public's confidence in our great system of justice will be strengthened and not diminished.
 - Mr. Didier of Charleston WV from here.

My highly negative opinions about Mr. Trump notwithstanding, I think it very important that he have good legal representation for the sake of our legal system and more broadly, the country. Unfortunately this has far too often not been the case. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this reality, his reputation as a difficult client who routinely ignores sound legal advice being high on that list. But the other big problem is that he tends to gravitate towards people with similar personality traits to his own. Which is to say that he likes blowhards and television talking heads. Especially those who appear on FOX News. Whether the individual actually has a clue, or is spouting silly conspiracy theories, or simply inventing facts are not terribly important to the Client in Chief. What matters to Trump are unwavering loyalty and a willingness to loudly defend him on television.

This is not to say that Mr. Giuliani is a clueless talking head. But his legal background has been on the other side of the aisle, i.e. as a prosecutor. The rules of the game are very different for criminal defense lawyers. And his behavior has been astonishing to say the least. Trump needs to shut up, and hire the best criminal defense lawyer that his substantial fortune can buy and then follow their advice, to the letter.

Since none of this is even remotely likely to happen, I will go out on a limb and predict that Mr. Trump's eventual collision with reality, when it happens, is going to be spectacularly ugly. But it will probably be must watch TV.

Bulgarian Church to LGBTBBQ 'instead of marching, repent and go to church'

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has expressed its attitude towards the upcoming LGBT parade in Sofia, calling on the members of the LGBT community to renounce their sins. 

The parade is scheduled for June 9.

In its statement, posted on the Bulgarian Church’s official site, the Synod declares that its position towards sin remains unchanged. 

Rather than engaging in pride parades, the hierarchs have called for piety and a renunciation of sin and its demonstrations. 

“Taking into account free will, the Holy Orthodox Church again appeals to its children, brothers, and sisters, and lovingly reminds them that freedom is responsibility, and that the truly free man, if he so desires, can free himself from sin with God’s help in the bosom of the Holy Orthodox Church,” the Synod’s statement reads. 

“Every human soul is more valuable than the entire world,” the Synod’s message concludes, “therefore, the Synod recalls that God does not desire the death of a sinner, but that the wicked turn from his way and live (Ezek. 33:11).” 

The entire Orthodox Church, and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has consistently stood against sexual deviancy manifested outside the bounds of the marriage between one man and one woman. In response to the 2016 LGBT parade, His Holiness Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria wrote that, while showing “a pastor's care, responsibility, and love” for homosexual people, the Church is determined to oppose “attempts to show a sinful tendency as a norm in our society, as an occasion for pride and an example to follow.” 

“Modern society, torn from its Christian roots, in its effort to be tolerant and humane, substitutes the understanding of core values like love and freedom and calls homosexuality by morally neutral expressions such as ‘sexual minority’ or ‘different sexual orientation,’” the patriarch wrote, “But to love a person, to appreciate and respect them, does not mean to be indifferent to what path they are treading: true or false, a path to salvation or destruction, to life or death.” 

The Georgian Patriarchate recently announced that it will hold a procession in honor of family purity and mass weddings throughout Tbilisi on May 17, the day named “The Day of Family Holiness and Honor for Parents” by His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II, as a counter to the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on the same day. 

The Moldovan Orthodox Church also recently called upon the government to ban an LGBT march in the capital city of Chișinău. 

From here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ecumenical Patriarchate postpones consideration of Ukrainian autocephaly

This could trigger something very serious. The EP needs to tread carefully here. Details.

Quote of the day...

(Paraphrasing from memory...)

If it's something you really enjoy, it's probably bad for you. All the good things in life... soda, fried chicken, steak and cigars... pretty much are designed to kill you. I think it's God's approach to population control.

-Dr. C (My dentist)

The far left is winning the Democratic civil war

THE BIG IDEA: Tuesday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for Democratic moderates.

The success of very liberal candidates in primaries across four states is causing a new bout of heartburn among party strategists in Washington, who worry about unelectable activists thwarting their drive for the House majority. But it also reflects a broader leftward lurch among Democrats across the country since President Trump took office.

-- In Nebraska, a liberal social worker and political neophyte who built her campaign around “Medicare for All” scored a shocking upset in a Democratic primary to take on Rep. Don Bacon (R). Kara Eastman, 45, beat former congressman Brad Ashford, 68, in an Omaha-area district that national Democrats believed they could pick up in November.

Eastman advocated for universal background checks to buy guns, raising taxes and decriminalizing marijuana. “I’m tired of hearing Democrats don’t have a backbone, that we don’t stand for anything,” she said in a commercial that touted her support for universal health care. “That changes now!”

Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Irish Catholic Priests Statement on the Forthcoming Referendum on Legalizing Abortion

Friday 4thMay 2018

In the midst of the debate and discussion in our country about the forthcoming referendum to repeal the 8thAmendment of the Constitution, we, the leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests, issue the following statement.

As an association representing Catholic priests we fully endorse the Catholic teaching that all human life, from beginning to end, is sacred, and that every human person shares in the fundamental right to life.

We are also aware, and are constantly reminded in our ministry, that human life is complex, throwing up situations that are more often grey than black and white and that demand from us a sensitive, non-judgemental, pastoral approach. Also, as leadership of an association made up of men who are unmarried and without children of our own, we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue.

We do not wish to tell anyone how they should vote. But we encourage both ourselves and any citizens who may be interested in our viewpoint, to do the best we can to acquaint ourselves with exactly what we are being asked to vote for, and what the possible consequences of our vote may be. Having done that to the best of our ability, and following it with the, often painful and difficult, task of consulting our conscience, let us cast our vote.

A vote cast in accordance with each person’s conscience, whatever the result, deserves the respect of all.

There is undoubtedly a moral content to this referendum, but as with many other issues, there are also social, political and pastoral dimensions. For that reason we are concerned that some Catholic parishes are allowing their pulpits to be used by campaigners during Mass. As there are, among faithful, Church-going Catholics, a great variety of opinions on this vote, we believe this is inappropriate and insensitive and will be regarded by some as an abuse of the Eucharist.

We believe it would be better if this practice ceased for the rest of the campaign.

We wish the Irish people well in this immensely important decision awaiting all of us. The leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests will have no further engagement in this debate.

From here.

"The fort is betrayed, even by those who should have defended it." -Bishop John Fisher (canonized martyr in the Roman Catholic Church)

Post Posting Note: It has been brought to my attention that the group that drafted this un-Christian drivel is decidedly left leaning (by which I suspect is meant "heretical"). In any case I think it irrelevant. These priests have disgraced themselves and their church. And their bishops are even worse because they don't have the stones to suppress this heretical organization and suspend every cleric who supports this abomination.