Monday, August 29, 2016

Congrats to the World Champs!

The kids from my home town became the first Little League team from New York since 1964 to win the National Championship on Saturday and yesterday they beat three time world champion South Korea to bring the title home to the US for the first time since 2011.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Good Luck to Maine Endwell Little League

The ME boys Little League team plays Tennessee at 3:30 PM (EST) for the US National Championship today. To say this is the biggest thing to hit my home town in... well forever, would be a gross understatement. If they win, they would become the first Little League US Champion team from New York since 1964. They would also go on to play for the LL World Series championship title.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Msgr Charles Pope: Comfort Catholicism Has to Go; It is Time to Prepare for Persecution

There is a growing consternation among some Catholics that the Church, at least in her leadership, is living in the past. It seems there is no awareness that we are at war and that Catholics need to be summoned to sobriety, increasing separation from the wider culture, courageous witness and increasing martyrdom.

It is long past dark in our culture, but in most parishes and dioceses it is business as usual and there is anything but the sober alarm that is really necessary in times like these.

Scripture says, Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle (Psalm 144:1). Preparing people for war — a moral and spiritual war, not a shooting war — should include a clear setting forth of the errors of our time, and a clear and loving application of the truth to error and light to darkness.

But there is little such training evident in Catholic circles today where, in the average parish, there exists a sort of shy and quiet atmosphere — a fear of addressing “controversial” issues lest someone be offended, or the parish be perceived as “unwelcoming.”

But, if there ever was a time to wear soft garments, it is not now.

The Church of the 1970s-1990s was surely well described as the era of “beige Catholicism” (a term coined by Bishop Robert Barron, and not by way of flattery either). Those of us who lived through that era, especially in the 1970s, remember it as a time when many parish signs beckoned people to “come and experience our welcoming and warm Catholic community.” Our most evident desire was to fit in and be thought of as “normal.” Yes, Catholics were just like everyone else; and we had been working very hard to do that, at least since the early 1960s when John F. Kennedy was elected. Catholics had finally “made it” into the mainstream; we had been accepted by the culture.

Church architecture and interiors became minimalist and non-descript. Music and language in the liturgy became folksy. Marian processions, Corpus Christi processions, many things of distinctive and colorful Catholicism all but disappeared. Even our crucifixes disappeared, to be replaced by floating “resurrection Jesus” images. The emphasis was on blending in, speaking to things that made people feel comfortable, and affirming rather than challenging. If there was to be any challenge at all it would be on “safe” exhortations such as not abusing the environment or polluting, not judging or being intolerant, and so forth.

Again, if there ever was a time to wear soft garments, it is not now. It is zero-dark-thirty in our post-Christian culture. And while we may wish to blame any number of factors for the collapse, we cannot exclude ourselves. We who are supposed to be the light of the world, with Christ shining in us, have preferred to hide our light under a basket and lay low. The ruins of our families and culture are testimony to the triumph of error and the suppression of the truth.

Read the rest here.

I think this is an excellent article with many points that can be applied by non-Catholics.

French support for the EU crumbles on the Left and Right

The drama of Brexit may soon be matched or eclipsed by crystallizing events in France, where the Long Slump is at last taking its political toll.

A democracy can endure deflation policies for only so long. The attrition has wasted the French centre-right and the centre-left by turns, and now threatens the Fifth Republic itself.

The maturing crisis has echoes of 1936, when the French people tired of 'deflation decrees' and turned to the once unthinkable Front Populaire, smashing what remained of the Gold Standard.
Former Gaulliste president Nicolas Sarkozy has caught the headlines this week, launching a come-back bid with a package of hard-Right policies unseen in a western European democracy in modern times.

But the uproar on the Left is just as revealing. Arnaud Montebourg, the enfant terrible of the Socialist movement, has launched his own bid for the Socialist Party with a critique of such ferocity that it bears examination.

Read the rest here.

University of Chicago Affirms Freedom of Speech and Thought

Incoming first-years received a letter from the College today making clear that the University of Chicago does not condone safe spaces or trigger warnings.

“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” reads the letter from Dean of Students Jay Ellison.

In May, Student Government (SG) passed on an opportunity to reaffirm the University’s commitment to free speech when members voted to indefinitely table a resolution that would have condemned any student who “obstructs or disrupts” free speech.

The resolution, which was presented to SG by the president of the College Republicans club, second-year Matthew Foldi, came in the wake of three high-profile incidents in which speakers invited to campus were shut down or interrupted by protesters.

Read the rest here.

A breath of fresh air from the ivory tower which has become little more than a network of left-wing re-education camps in recent years.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Gay Anglican clergy to defy church's official stance on same-sex marriage

A group of gay Church of England clergy are set to reveal that they have married their partners, defying the official line taken by church leaders on same-sex marriage.

A dozen gay ministers are to sign an open letter that also urges the church to allow clergy to carry out blessings for parishioners entering into same-sex marriages.

Half the signatories have already declared themselves to be in a gay marriage, including Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who was one of the first priests to openly defy the ruling.

The letter is likely to reignite the heated debate on the issue, which has divided the church since same-sex marriages were legalised in England and Wales in March 2014.

Following the change in the law, church leaders, headed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu respectively, decided that clergy must not enter into a same-sex marriage and that those in a gay marriage would not be ordained.

While canon Jeremy Pemberton had his permission to officiate revoked after marrying his partner in April 2014, Foreshew-Cain was not removed from his post as vicar of two churches in north London after openly marrying his partner, Stephen Foreshew in June 2014.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Germany to Revive Civil Defense

Germany will introduce its first civil defence strategy since the end of the Cold War, calling on the population to stockpile enough food and water for several days, according to a report Sunday.

The plan, which makes civilian backing of troops a priority while boosting the resilience of buildings and increasing capacity in the healthcare system, is due to be adopted by the government Wednesday, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) daily.

Contacted by AFP, an interior ministry spokesman confirmed that the cabinet was due to adopt a civil defence strategy but declined details about the concept or comment on the newspaper report.

The strategy noted that "an attack on German territory requiring conventional defence is unlikely," but said the country should be "sufficiently prepared in case of an existence-threatening development in the future that cannot be ruled out," according to the 69-page strategy quoted by the FAZ ..

"The population will be encouraged to stockpile food for ten days," it said, adding that five days' worth of water -- at an estimated two litres per person per day -- should also be set aside.

Read the rest here.

When is the last time this country paid even lip service to the idea of civil defense? The risk today is less global thermonuclear war, where civil defense would probably not help the vast majority of our population, but rather attack by terrorists or a rogue state that decides to set off a dirty bomb or figures out how to lob one or two missiles with an atom bomb onto our soil. The loss of life from fallout could easily equal or exceed that from the bomb(s). They used to designate certain buildings as emergency shelters and require food and water to be stockpiled in them. I am not sure that has been done since the 1980's. We are woefully unprepared for this kind of disaster.

Friday, August 19, 2016


I am still traveling so blog posts will continue to be sparse for another week or so. In the meantime I invite the reader to peruse the sidebar where you will find many blogs and websites that might be of interest.

Monday, August 15, 2016

ELCA approves Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical document

​NEW ORLEANS (Aug.10, 2016) – The 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly took several significant steps Wednesday moving forward the mission of this church as a church for the sake of the world.

By a vote of 931 to 9, the assembly overwhelmingly accepted the "Declaration on the Way," a unique ecumenical document that marks a path toward greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans. Following the vote, an emotional assembly stood to applaud the momentous decision.

At the heart of the document are 32 "Statements of Agreement" that state where Lutherans and Catholics do not have church-dividing differences on topics about church, ministry and the Eucharist. More tentatively, the document also explores differences that remain.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Michael Phelps Wins (another) Gold Medal

OK, excepting the great American pastime, I'm not the world's biggest sports fan. And to my mind swimming pools are for lounging around on a hot day with while sipping your favorite liquid refreshment. But come on! Twenty one gold medals? That's insane. This guy is to swimming what Babe Ruth was to baseball. Like Ruth, many of his records may fall over time, but not all at once and not to one swimmer. He is quite simply the best in his field.

Friday, August 05, 2016

On the road again

I will be traveling over the next few weeks. Blog posts may be somewhat sparse during this period.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Donald Trump asks foreign policy expert 'Why can't we use nukes?'


Obama is right. (That is the first and probably the last time you will see that sentence on this blog.) Donald Trump is both intellectually and temperamentally disqualified from the Presidency of the United States. I am starting to consider a a course of action that six months ago I would have dismissed as evidence of mental illness or moral bankruptcy.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

First Mass in the Krak des Chevaliers in 745 Years

Fr. Z has the story and some video. A truly remarkable event and it was gratifying to see that the Mass was celebrated using the Traditional Roman Rite.

The Scale of Turkey’s Purge Is Nearly Unprecedented

Only rarely in modern history has a leader detained and fired as many perceived adversaries as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has since a failed coup attempt last month. Here is how Mr. Erdogan’s vast purge would look if Americans were targeted at a similar scale.

Almost 9,000 police officers fired
Like firing every police officer
in Philadelphia, Dallas,
Detroit, Boston and Baltimore.
The Interior Ministry fired the police officers, some of whom government officials said had supported the coup attempt. Turkish officials have acknowledged that the number of people targeted in the purge is probably much greater than the number of conspirators.

21,000 private school teachers suspended
Like revoking the licenses of every
third teacher in private elementary and
high schools across the United States.
In addition to the teachers suspended, the government intends to close more than 1,000 private schools it linked to Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who the government said was the mastermind of the coup attempt. (Mr. Gulen has denied this, and his level of involvement remains unclear.) Followers of Mr. Gulen have sought to gain power within Turkey by infiltrating state institutions, often successfully.
Education officials said they planned to convert the schools into public schools and hire 40,000 new teachers.

10,012 soldiers detained
Like taking nearly every fourth
officer in the U.S. Army into custody.
The military, which has long been a unifying force for the country, is now deeply divided, diminished and discredited. A rebel faction of the military initiated the coup attempt.
Since then, nearly half of the top generals and admirals have been jailed or dismissed and more than 5,000 army officials have been sent to pretrial detention.

Read the rest here.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Memory Eternal

Queen Anne of Romania has reposed.

The Habsburgs, a Reconsideration

The Habsburg Monarchy has long been seen as an outdated empire doomed to fail. To the Central European societies it sheltered before 1914, it may have had a cosy charm, but as a dynastic empire among nation-states, critics and historians deemed Austria an anachronism. Nineteenth-century liberals judged the Habsburgs for ruling a prison of peoples and siding with fellow despots. William Gladstone, the British prime minister who epitomized liberal moralism, called Austria “the unflinching foe of freedom in every country of Europe.” Never and nowhere, he insisted, could it be said that “here Austria did good.” Those charges defined narrative even before the Habsburg Empire collapsed amidst the catastrophe of World War I.

Historical perspective and a wealth of detailed scholarship, along with intervening events over a brutal twentieth century, force a reassessment. The Habsburg Monarchy was more effective and popular than critics allowed. If doomed by internal contradictions, what made it last so long? How could a backward, repressive order have fostered the flourishing and diverse culture of Mitteleuropa? Why did it inspire such loyalty until the very end? Empire provided a unifying force as eighteenth-century Habsburgs sought to consolidate their disparate territories into a coherent state. Those top-down efforts created loyalties and institutions—including a conception of citizenship and state power limited by law—that made space for bottom-up responses within an emergent civil society. The world those interactions created requires a new approach to be understood on its own terms.

Read the rest here.

Memory Eternal

Please remember in your prayers the servant of God William, my Godfather, who reposed two years ago today. He is deeply missed.

May his memory be eternal.