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.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Priests Urge Rupture: Strong Russian Movement to Break Relations With State

St. Petersburg April 1- The move to sever the traditional bonds between church and state and give to the Holy Orthodox Church independence and self rule, in order to increase its influence among the people of Russia, has found favor with an important group of clergy at the capital. A noteworthy document, setting forth these views, which was presented to Metropolitan Antonius of St. Petersburg, has been received with sufficient consideration to insure its publication in "The Church Messenger" the semi-official organ of the diocese of St. Petersburg, and one of the most important religious papers in the country.

The document, after arguing that the church should free itself from obligations to the state in order to lend all its energies to the prosecution of its own special work and eliminate the suspicion that its ministrations may be inclined to worldly ends and interests, demands the summoning of a general council of the church to consider means of attaining the greater freedom required...

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

California to require solar panels on all new dwellings

California has a major housing crisis and people at the lower end of the socio-economic scale are leaving in droves because of the high cost of living in the Golden State. A large part of that is the result of high taxes on just about everything and one of the most unfriendly environments for business in the Union. Adding around $10k to the price of a new house doesn't strike me as likely to help with that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Intellectual Dark Web: A home for heretics of all stripes

Here are some things that you will hear when you sit down to dinner with the vanguard of the Intellectual Dark Web: There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart. And we’re in a dangerous place if these ideas are considered “dark.”

I was meeting with Sam Harris, a neuroscientist; Eric Weinstein, a mathematician and managing director of Thiel Capital; the commentator and comedian Dave Rubin; and their spouses in a Los Angeles restaurant to talk about how they were turned into heretics. A decade ago, they argued, when Donald Trump was still hosting “The Apprentice,” none of these observations would have been considered taboo.

Today, people like them who dare venture into this “There Be Dragons” territory on the intellectual map have met with outrage and derision — even, or perhaps especially, from people who pride themselves on openness.

It’s a pattern that has become common in our new era of That Which Cannot Be Said. And it is the reason the Intellectual Dark Web, a term coined half-jokingly by Mr. Weinstein, came to exist.

...But as the members of the Intellectual Dark Web become genuinely popular, they are also coming under more scrutiny. On April 21, Kanye West crystallized this problem when he tweeted seven words that set Twitter on fire: “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”

Candace Owens, the communications director for Turning Point USA, is a sharp, young, black conservative — a telegenic speaker with killer instincts who makes videos with titles like “How to Escape the Democrat Plantation” and “The Left Thinks Black People Are Stupid.” Mr. West’s praise for her was sandwiched inside a longer thread that referenced many of the markers of the Intellectual Dark Web, like the tyranny of thought policing and the importance of independent thinking. He was photographed watching a Jordan Peterson video.

...A year ago, Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying were respected tenured professors at Evergreen State College, where their Occupy Wall Street-sympathetic politics were well in tune with the school’s progressive ethos. Today they have left their jobs, lost many of their friends and endangered their reputations.

All this because they opposed a “Day of Absence,” in which white students were asked to leave campus for the day. For questioning a day of racial segregation cloaked in progressivism, the pair was smeared as racist. Following threats, they left town for a time with their children and ultimately resigned their jobs.

“Nobody else reacted. That’s what shocked me,” Mr. Weinstein said. “It told me that a culture that told itself it was radically open-minded was actually a culture cowed by fear.”

Sam Harris says his moment came in 2006, at a conference at the Salk Institute with Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson and other prominent scientists. Mr. Harris said something that he thought was obvious on its face: Not all cultures are equally conducive to human flourishing. Some are superior to others.

“Until that time I had been criticizing religion, so the people who hated what I had to say were mostly on the right,” Mr. Harris said. “This was the first time I fully understood that I had an equivalent problem with the secular left.”

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Catholic Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi Calls on College of Cardinals to Depose Francis and Elect a New Pope

..."Even though Francis has made heretical statements, he has cleverly also made orthodox statements on the same subject thereby making it virtually impossible to define him as a heretic.  On the other hand, the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution ​UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS (edit: you can read it HERE) promulgated by Saint John Paul II are clear, and Francis and friends have confirmed their violations of those provisions in the conclave of 2013.   Saint John Paul II provided for the penalty of AUTOMATIC EXCOMMUNICATION for any cardinal violating those provisions.  Reasonable people should have no problem agreeing that an excommunicated person cannot be elected pope."

From here.

See also this

Thursday, May 03, 2018

It's Satire [but only barely]


How bankruptcy law could keep money — and the truth — from Weinstein’s victims

On Monday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote an open letter urging anyone who might bid on the Weinstein Co., the now-bankrupt studio founded by Harvey Weinstein, to include money to compensate the Hollywood mogul’s accusers. On Tuesday, a proposal surfaced that would do just that, from Broadway producer Howard Kagan.

But by Tuesday afternoon, the Weinstein Co. had rejected that proposal and announced that its preferred buyer, a Texas private-equity company with no experience in the entertainment industry, was the only entity it would allow to bid for its valuable film library and other assets.

Which means the 80-plus women (and at least one man) who say Weinstein assaulted or abused them are likely to find that there’s little or no money left on the company’s books to compensate them by the time the bankruptcy process is finished. I studied rapid bankruptcy sales, like the kind the Weinstein Co. is using, while on a fellowship at Harvard. They can be a taxpayer-supported path for companies to arrange insider sales while ditching corporate responsibilities — to workers, to the environment and, as in the Weinstein case, to alleged victims of corporate misbehavior and sexual abuse. The set-up also could make it harder for law enforcement to determine who facilitated Weinstein’s predations.

Until now, from the outside, the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy looked fair. On the same day the company filed for bankruptcy in March , it publicly released employees who say they were victims of or witnesses to Weinstein’s actions from nondisclosure agreements they’d been pressured to sign. And it gave two of the women who accused him of wrongdoing a seat at the table for the bankruptcy negotiations. At the time, Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother and the studio’s co-founder, said the company was pleased to have a plan for “pursuing justice for any victims.”

But in bankruptcy, as in the movies, appearances can be misleading.

Read the rest here.

Friday, April 27, 2018

NY farm submits to hosting same sex marriages with a big "But..."

SCHAGHTICOKE -- Even with a state ruling and a court decision against them, the operators of Liberty Ridge Farm may have found a way to avoid having same-sex weddings there after all.

The Schaghticoke tourist farm and wedding venue was in the headlines in 2014 when the state Division of Human Rights ruled that operators Robert and Cynthia Gifford couldn't discriminate against same-sex couples who wanted to get married there.

Now, though, the farm notes on its website that it donates a portion of its profits to the Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based group that opposes same-sex marriage and believes that homosexual conduct is wrong.

"At Liberty Ridge Farm, our deeply held religious belief is that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and the Farm is operated with the purpose of strengthening and promoting marriage. In furtherance of this purpose and to honor and promote our moral and religious beliefs, we donate a portion of our business proceeds to organizations that promote strong marriages such as the Family Research Council," its online statement reads.

"The patronage of all potential clients for all services offered is welcome regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability or marital status. ... All couples legally permitted to marry in the state of New York are welcome to hold their wedding at Liberty Ridge Farm. We serve everyone equally."

Liberty Ridge also has a number of agritourism attractions ranging from animals to corn mazes and pumpkin patches, and hosts field trips for local schools.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Abortion

So a video dealing with late term abortion has been brought to my attention. You may watch it here. Caution: I found it to be extremely disturbing.

Abortion is the great moral issue of our age, in the same way that slavery was in the 19th century. And the similarities are stark. In both instances you have one group of people trying to strip another group of people of their basic identity as human beings in order to reduce them to the status of property, that can then be disposed of in whatever manner is convenient to the owner. I believe that with the general acceptance of prenatal infanticide on an industrial scale, even to the point of elevating it to the status of a "human right," that we have crossed over into a new Dark Age. An era of barbarism that would make the ancient Roman's with their fondness for blood sports seem quite civilized by comparison. I know there are a lot of folks who don't believe in God. And at times I almost hope they are right. Because if there is a God, one has to wonder how much more of this He is going to put up with before dropping the hammer. I note that in Britain today there is a hospital that together with the courts are trying desperately to kill a small boy against the wishes of his parents. It's as if the entire world has gone mad, or alternatively been given over to demonic possession.

The world desperately needs a moral reawakening, and a revived abolitionist movement. I don't know how much time we have left.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Socialism is once again in vogue. Why?

Socialism is extremely in vogue. Opinion pieces which tell us to stop obsessing over socialism’s past failures, and start to get excited about its future potential, have almost become a genre in its own right.

For example, Bhaskhar Sunkara, the founder of Jacobin magazine, recently wrote a New York Times article, in which he claimed that the next attempt to build a socialist society will be completely different:
This time, people get to vote. Well, debate and deliberate and then vote—and have faith that people can organize together to chart new destinations for humanity. Stripped down to its essence, and returned to its roots, socialism is an ideology of radical democracy. […] [I]t seeks to empower civil society to allow participation in the decisions that affect our lives.
Nathan Robinson, the editor of Current Affairswrote in that magazine that socialism has not “failed." It has just never been done properly:
It’s incredibly easy to be both in favor of socialism and against the crimes committed by 20th-century communist regimes."
When anyone points me to the Soviet Union or Castro’s Cuba and says “Well, there’s your socialism,” my answer […] [is] that these regimes bear absolutely no relationship to the principle for which I am fighting. […] The history of the Soviet Union doesn’t really tell us much about “communism” […]
I can draw distinctions between the positive and negative aspects of a political program. I like the bit about allowing workers to reap greater benefits from their labor. I don’t like the bit about putting dissidents in front of firing squads.”
Closer to home, Owen Jones wrote that Cuba’s current version of socialism was not “real” socialism—but that it could yet become the real thing:
“Socialism without democracy […] isn’t socialism. […] Socialism means socializing wealth and power. […]
Cuba could democratize and grant political freedoms currently denied as well as defending […] the gains of the revolution. […] The only future for socialism […] is through democracy. That […] means organizing a movement rooted in people’s communities and workplaces. It means arguing for a system that extends democracy to the workplace and the economy.
And Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig wrote an article with the self-explanatory title It’s time to give socialism a try:
Not to be confused for a totalitarian nostalgist, I would support a kind of socialism that would be democratic and aimed primarily at decommodifying labor, reducing the vast inequality brought about by capitalism, and breaking capital’s stranglehold over politics and culture.
Despite differences in style and emphasis, articles in this genre share a number of common flaws.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

John Kasich is Testing the Waters for Possible 2020 run against Trump

John Kasich's political allies are reaching out to GOP mega donors, seeing if they’d back him in a run against Trump in 2020.

I haven't gotten any calls, but where do I send my non-mega check?

Cardinal Tobin: ‘The church is moving on the question of same-sex couples’ ​

VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania, April 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church is “moving” on the issue of couples living in homosexual relationships, a prominent Francis-appointed U.S. cardinal said.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin said that LGBT-identifying persons’ place in the Church is not an easy subject for some Church leaders, but they must contend with it.

“I think it’s a very difficult question,” Tobin said in response to a question on the firing of LGBT individuals from Catholic institutions while speaking at Villanova University last Thursday.

“The Church is moving on the question of same-sex couples,” Tobin said, although not as swiftly as some would like.

St. Peter Damian, an 11th century Italian Catholic reformer and Doctor of the Church, described homosexuality in his famous Book of Gomorrah as a “diabolical” corruption of God’s plan for sexuality between a man and a woman.​ Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, the Church teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and are “intrinsically disordered” since they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” “Under no circumstances can they be approved,” States the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The cardinal’s opening address of last week’s Villanova conference centered on the fifth anniversary of the Francis pontificate. It was covered in a report from Jesuit-run America Magazine.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

And now for something a little lighter

The Jack Benny Show from January 28, 1951. Old time radio show starring the cheapest man in the world as well as, Don Wilson, Mary Livingston (Benny), Phil Harris, Dennis Day and Rochester (Eddie Anderson).

Click here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fr. Peter Heers On the Essential Identity of Ecumenism and Phyletism

As Fr. Seraphim Rose once wrote, the difference between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy is most apparent in that the Orthodox Church (in Her Saints) is able to discern the spirits. Moreover, discernment of the methods of the fallen spirits is a requirement in the formation of Christology and Ecclesiology. As the Evangelist John writes, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Insomuch, therefore, as one is purified from the passions and illumined by the Spirit of God, so much is his spiritual vision open and discernment acquired. This gift of discernment, the greatest of the virtues, presupposes initiation into the death, resurrection and life in Christ which is lived within His Body, the Church. That few Orthodox Christians possess a good measure of this gift is a testament to the inroads of the spirit of anti-Christ, which, by another name, is secularism. The end of the worldly spirit is the denial of the theanthropic nature of the Christ and His Body, “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” before the ascent of the man of iniquity, the Antichrist. This temptation is coming upon the world primarily through the spread of the ecclesiological heresy known as ecumenism.

Ecumenism and Secularism

Ecumenism as an ecclesiological heresy and denial of the Truth of the Body of Christ, and as a methodological distortion of The Way of Christ, has been born and bred within a secularized “Christianity.” As we said, secularism is first and foremost the spirit of antichrist, which is “already in the world,” namely, “every spirit which confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This refers not only to that “Christianity” which expressly denies the divinity of our Lord, the various contemporary “Arianisms,” but every spirit which denies that the Jesus Christ is come – that is, has come and remains – in the flesh, in His Body, the One Church.
Ecumenism as a unification movement ironically seeks to overcome the scandal of division by denying the “scandal of the particular” – the Incarnation. Instead of crucifying their intellect on the cross of this scandal – that Christ entered and continues within history in a particular time and place, being mysteriologically-incarnationally ‘here’ and not ‘there’ – the uninitiated and rationalist followers of Jesus seek a theanthropic Body in their image: “divided in time,” in search of a fullness which they imply exists only on the heavenly plane. They see the Church as divided on the historical plane, as limited by the heavy hand of history. They see as Church identifiers not primarily the exclusive marks of oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity taken together, but rather the externals which “already unite,” such as the water of baptism (whether sprinkled, poured or immersed), the rites of the Liturgy, the belief in Christ’s divinity or the common text of Holy Scripture. It matters little that such externals, and indeed much more, were possessed by ancient heretics such as the Monophysites or Iconoclasts and were never seen as sufficient to produce any sort of “partial communion” or “already existing unity.” Neither does it seem to faze them that “the demons believe and tremble” and thus “unity in belief in Christ’s divinity” would necessarily include the demons.

Read the rest here.

See also this short video on The Meaning of Repentance and the Reign of God within us.

Roberto Pertici: THE END OF “ROMAN CATHOLICISM?”

1. At this point in the pontificate of Francis, I believe it can be reasonably maintained that this marks the twilight of that imposing historical reality which can be defined as “Roman Catholicism.”

This does not mean, properly understood, that the Catholic Church is coming to an end, but that what is fading is the way in which it has historically structured and represented itself in recent centuries.

It seems evident to me, in fact, that this is the plan being deliberately pursued by the “brain trust” that has clustered around Francis: a plan understood both as an extreme response to the crisis in relations between the Church and the modern world, and as a precondition for a renewed ecumenical course together with the other Christian confessions, especially the Protestant.

*

2. By “Roman Catholicism” I mean that grand historical, theological, and juridical construction which has its origin in the Hellenization (in terms of the philosophical aspect” and Romanization (in terms of the political-juridical aspect) of primitive Christianity and is based on the primacy of the successors of Peter, as emerges from the crisis of the late ancient world and from the theoretical systematization of the Gregorian age (“Dictatus Papae”).

Over the subsequent centuries, the Church also established its own internal legal system, canon law, looking to Roman law as its model. And this juridical element contributed to gradually shaping a complex hierarchical organization with precise internal norms that regulate the life both of the “bureaucracy of celibates” (an expression of Carl Schmitt) that manages it and of the laity who are part of it.

The other decisive moment of formation of “Roman Catholicism” is, finally, the ecclesiology elaborated by the council of Trent, which reiterates the centrality of ecclesiastical mediation in view of salvation, in contrast with the Lutheran theses of the “universal priesthood,” and therefore establishes the hierarchical, united, and centralized character of the Church; its right to supervise and, if need be, to condemn positions that are in contrast with the orthodox formulation of the truths of faith; its role in the administration of the sacraments.

This ecclesiology finds its seal in the dogma of pontifical infallibility proclaimed by Vatican Council I, put to the test eighty years later in the dogmatic affirmation of the Assumption of Mary into heaven (1950), which together with the previous dogmatic proclamation of her Immaculate Conception (1854) also reiterates the centrality of Marian devotion.

It would be reductive, however, if we were to limit ourselves to what has been said so far. Because there also exists - or better, existed - a widespread “Catholic mindset,” made up of the following:

- a cultural attitude based on a realism with regard to human nature that is sometimes disenchanted and willing to “understand all” as a precondition for “forgiving all”;
- a non-ascetic spirituality that is understanding toward certain material aspects of life, and not inclined to disdain them;
- engagement in everyday charity toward the humble and needy, without the need to idealize them or almost make new idols of them;
- a willingness also to represent itself in its own magnificence, and therefore not deaf to the evidence of beauty and of the arts, as testimony to a supreme Beauty toward which the Christian must tend;
- a subtle examination of the most inward movements of the heart, of the interior struggle between good and evil, of the dialectic between “temptations” and the response of conscience.

Read the rest here.
HT Dr. Tighe

Good News

Lung Cancer patients who are treated with a form of imunotherapy in conjunction with the standard chemotherapy are seeing drastically improved long term survival rates according to a recent study. This is extremely good news since Lung Cancer has historically been among the most lethal of the various common and semi-common carcinomas.

Sad news...

R Lee Ermy of Full Metal Jacket fame has reposed at 74. His was supposed to be a supporting role but his performance was so great that he ended up stealing the show. Many did not realize at the time that he had actually been a USMC DI at Paris Island back in the day.

Art Bell- Before Alex Jones, Bell was the king of late night radio specializing in the weird and fringe. My late Godfather was a big fan.  He recently passed at 72.

Former First (and Second) Lady Barbara Bush is reported to be in poor and declining health at 92. A family spokesman says she has decided to forgo further medical treatment.

I'm back...

Time for a little catching up.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Christ is risen!


Wishing everyone the joy of the Feast!

For those interested...

Great Saturday Service of the Annunciation (appx 4 hrs)
https://youtu.be/Xw9_2Y6TOro

Great Saturday Reading of the Acts (appx 2 hrs)
https://youtu.be/pSl88CMOUGM

Great Saturday. Midnight Office with the Canon of Great Saturday (appx ½ hr)
https://youtu.be/HinoiwJFGZk

THE GLORIOUS RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. PASCHA. Paschal Procession of the Cross, Matins, Hours and Liturgy (appx 3.5 hrs)
https://youtu.be/JZU50Rj_uE4

Paschal Vespers (appx 40 mins)
https://youtu.be/uFuv4J6elOM