Thursday, January 13, 2022

Some Life Lessons over Half a Century

 A few things I have learned over the course of 51 years:

- We do not know nearly as much as we think we know about anything, especially in the area of what we are pleased to call "science."

- Our trust in worldly institutions is usually misplaced.

- In our day, much of what we are taught to do or avoid doing in order to lead a fulfilling life goes against our nature as God designed it.  This is at the heart of why so many people are so miserable.

- We cannot change our nature.

- We, who are imperfect, cannot by our own efforts perfect ourselves or society.  Nemo dat qui non habet (one cannot give what one does not have).

- Legal positivism, excessive risk aversion, monumental egoism and leftist politics are real plagues in the legal profession.  Put lawyers and judges in charge of anything and they quickly turn tyrannical.

- Anything prefaced with "In an abundance of caution..." is automatically suspect.

- A criminal justice system that is both focused on rehabilitation and divorced from the Social Kingship of Christ is an exercise in futility.  It tries to convert people without Jesus Christ, which is impossible.  Because it undertakes to do that which is impossible, it ends up relying more and more on intrusion, coercion and brute force over long periods of time.  As C.S. Lewis observed in That Hideous Strength, simple punishment for crime must be finite, but there is no limit to what you can put people through, and for how long, in the name of "rehabilitation."

- God didn't make us for impertinence, but He also didn't make us for blind obedience.  He gave us our five senses to receive information with, He gave us brains to think with, and He gave us true doctrine against which to measure the justice of our rulers' commands.  Having given us all these, He expects us to use them.

- It is imperative that we recapture our good, pre-modern customs and traditions of Church and State.  There was never a good reason for getting rid of them, as we are now learning, to our cost.

- Getting rid of kings has not redounded to our freedom.  Instead of being ruled by one Christian man who fears going to hell for misruling his people, we are ruled by a cadre of godless oligarchs who do not even believe there is a hell, much less fear going there.

- Getting rid of religion has not redounded to our freedom.  To be free from moral restraints is to be enslaved to our passions and appetites.  When our neighbors are also free from moral restraints, then we need to be afraid of what they might do to us, since there is no reason for them not to do whatever they want.

- The destroyers of law, custom and tradition are the ones responsible for divisions in our society, not those who resist the destroyers.  The destroyers always blame their opponents for what they themselves are doing.

- Every good thing, every rightly-ordered pleasure, every bit of innocent fun, everything warm and cozy and beautiful, is a foretaste of heaven.  This includes the pleasure of our senses: delicious foods well-prepared and lovingly garnished; good drink (including spirits); the warmth of a fire; lovely decorations; good music; the enjoyment of good company; holidays and holy days.  God gave us all these things, not for us to abuse and not as ends in themselves, but to cheer us up and to spur us on to stay on course for that which they represent.  Those who seek to deprive us of these things hate the joys in which they do not share because they do not love and are slaves to vice.  They hate the hope of heaven, of which they despair because they think there is no heaven.  They hate the people who possess the hope of heaven, and, most of all, they hate God.  These are the people now ruling us in Church and State, and their evil must be resisted.    

- The authentic Catholic faith is the one thing that works every time it is tried, and also the one thing people will go out of their way to avoid trying.

- Fears are very often a symptom of and a distraction from something more important that we need to be dealing with.  Very often, the important thing we are distracting ourselves from is a bad conscience.

- Many of our fears are not as rational as we think they are.  Acting on them could bring about a worse result than the one we fear.

- There must be some kind of pleasure or security in being afraid, since many of us guard our fears jealously and even angrily, and won't hear a word said against them.

- If you are mortally afraid of something that is going on in the world, it is necessary to take a deep breath, step back and look at the big picture.  Questions you should ask yourself include: what do you know and not know about the thing you fear?  Are you getting your information about it from personally witnessing it, or do you know only what others tell you about it?  Is the information you are getting about it calculated to drive your behavior and your emotions in a particular direction?  Who would benefit from your going in that particular direction, and who would be hurt?  Is this direction moral or immoral?  Are you getting contradictory information?  What objective markers of credibility does each piece of information have that you are getting about this thing that you fear?  Is there any objective reason to disbelieve the information?  Are you being asked to compromise your beliefs or principles?

- What is unclear must be evaluated in the light of what is clear -- not the other way around.

- There are a lot of people who cannot distinguish between what is relevant in any given situation, and what is not relevant.

- Substituting one negative emotion for another is a defense against vulnerability.  I have noticed, for example, that I substitute anger for sorrow.  This is really not a healthy way to deal with sorrow.

- There really are people in the world who live to create chaos and give others pain, purely for the fun of it. The more godless our society is, the more of this kind of people there are.

- Fr. Chad Ripperger says that when someone tries to manipulate you by heaping abusive criticism on you, you should never engage him in an argument on the merits of the criticism, because then that just validates it as a subject of discussion.  Instead, you should tell him that if he has a problem with your appearance, or your weight, or whatever, then that is his problem and not yours.  Another method for dealing with manipulators that I have found effective is to call them on the precise manipulation technique they are trying to deploy, and flatly refuse to play their game.  Both of these methods have the effect of refusing the load of garbage the abuser is trying to burden you with and putting it back on him, where it belongs.

- Some classic techniques manipulators use: gaslighting; accusing you of what they themselves are doing; deliberately doing things they know hurt or annoy you, then accusing you of not being able to take a joke; blaming you for their problems and making you the issue; stampeding you by creating an "emergency" for you to have to deal with; raging at you for no discernible reason; cutting you off from family and friends; deliberately wasting your time on pointless tasks; questioning you minutely in order to catch you out in inconsistencies, then attacking you on them; giving you inconsistent statements to create confusion, and then denying the inconsistency and blaming you for the confusion; sending mixed messages; sucking you into a vortex of imponderables and then attacking you for your inability to resolve them; threatening you with some adverse consequence if you don't do what they want.  Manipulation techniques have the net effect of creating confusion, sapping your time and energy, and bringing you under their control.  It does zero good to argue with these people.  The thing to do when someone treats you this way is to refuse to play their game and then have as little to do with them as possible.  No one who really loves you will ever treat you in these ways.  The ultimate manipulators are of course the devils.

- Bullies need to be faced down and resisted until they back down.  Bullies don't expect pushback, or at least don't expect it past a certain point, so when they get it, they don't know what to do.  Bullies are basically cowards who target those they perceive to be weaker than they are.  By fearing bullies, we give them power over us.

- Evils frequently come in pairs, ostensibly opposed to each other, so that, in our excessive zeal to stamp out one, we will be driven to embrace the other.

- The notion of principled atheism is a myth.  The idea is clean contrary to Scripture, specifically, St. Paul, who, in the first chapter of Romans, says that God's justice, power and divinity are made manifest in the created order, so that those who claim not to know him are without excuse; and Psalms 13 and 52, where King David says that the fool says in his heart there is no God, and they are become corrupt and abominable in their ways.  At the root of atheism is not reason, but trauma, or an attachment to some vice, or both.

- If you won't have Jesus Christ as your Lord, and His Blessed Mother as your Lady who intercedes for you with Him, there is no limit to the inferiority of the substitutes you will accept instead.  You will even consent to have every facet of your life governed by the dictates of people who not only should not be listened to, but should be tried for crimes against humanity.  

- It is critically important to pray every single day, especially first thing in the morning.  The daily Rosary is a necessity.  We cannot have light to see where we are going if we do not pray.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Over and Done: 2021

Last year's year-end roundup featured what we could call the "passim" list: a list of events that repeated themselves so frequently throughout the year that it would have been impossible to list every occurrence separately.  2021 features a particular kind of event that recurred very frequently throughout the year, but which, due to its failure to fit into The Narrative, one has to do a certain amount of digging to find.  This is the various forms of pushback against the "build-back-better" tyranny sought to be imposed from on high.  Even more difficult to find are stories about successful pushback, where government entities and their crony capitalist toadies back down in the face of opposition, or are smacked down in the courts.  When such stories are not spiked, they are given sneering coverage by the oligarch's media division, held up as examples of gross irresponsibility in the face of a deadly disease, or of why we can't get back to normal, or watered down for the demoralization of the ordinary citizenry, lest they get the idea that they are not alone in thinking what they think, and that they can make a difference.  These events I have sought to find and list here, albeit not exhaustively, for the edification of those who do not like where things are headed.  The reality is that we are not alone, even humanly speaking.  (And, by the way, all of this illustrates that isolation is a big strategy of our enemies, and that is why the freedom of peaceable assembly, which our owners have shamelessly infringed over the last two years, is a constitutionally-guaranteed right.)

As always, I have used Wikipedia as a starting point for the refreshment of my recollection (excluding covid pushback stories, which are scarcely to be found in Wikipedia's current events roundup), and focused those items which were of particular note to me.  

January

1: More rioting breaks out in Portland.  Also: Large demonstrations take place in London to protest coronavirus lockdowns and shutdowns.
3: An anti-mask protest is held in a major shopping center in New South Wales, Australia.
6: The so-called “storming” of the Capitol building in Washington, in which Capitol police can be seen on video admitting protesters into the building.  The net effect is the prevention of evidence of election fraud being put before Congress, which is opposite to the interests of Donald Trump and his supporters. Also: by shutting down a sitting President’s account, Twitter proves the need for social media platforms to be treated and regulated like utilities. Widespread censorship of conservative voices on social media follows.
7: The Electoral College certifies Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.  
9: Parler, an alternative social media platform, is taken offline based on alleged incitement to violence.
11: Beginning of second set of sham impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.
13: Pope Francis admits women to the ministries of lector and acolyte.
15: Tens of thousands of restaurant owners in Italy coordinate to open up shop, in defiance of draconian lockdown measures.  Police who come to shut the restaurants down are driven out by customers refusing to leave and shouting, "Get out! Get out! Our taxes pay your salaries! You work for us!"
18: Germany announces the repurposing of refugee camps to serve as concentration camps for violators of quarantine rules, proving that none of the lessons of World War II took.
22: Legal recreational weed goes on sale in Arizona.
25: The U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari on a case out of Nevada about religious freedom versus coronavirus restrictions.  Also: protests break out in ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods across Israel over that country's coronavirus restrictions, with police trying to break up religious and educational gatherings being held in violation of lockdown rules.  Also: demonstrations against mandatory vaccinations take place in Kokshetau, Kazakhstan.
29: The parliament of Catholic Portugal votes to legalize euthanasia.

Deaths: Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers); Tanya Roberts; Gregory Sierra; Tommy Lasorda; Phil Spector; Don Sutton; Hank Aaron; Hal Holbrook; Larry King; Bruce Kirby; Cloris Leachman.

February

9: Farcical second impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins, even though he has left office.
10: Statues are vandalized at St. Pius X Catholic Church in El Paso, Texas.  Also: Protests break out all over Greece over legislation allowing a police presence on Greek university campuses, which has been illegal since the 1980s.  Protesters allege that the government is using the coronavirus as an excuse to implement authoritarianism.  Also: Ultra-orthodox Jewish protesters clash with police in Jerusalem over lockdowns.
12: Anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Australia.
13: Beginning of winter storm that causes 23 deaths and power outages for millions across the U.S.
18: Perseverance lands on Mars.
19: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stripped of their patronages and honorable military titles on account of their being a couple of pills.
22: Australia Open fans in Melbourne boo a tennis official who took the occasion of an awards ceremony to praise the coronavirus vaccine as a "sign of optimism."  Fans also booed an official who praised Victoria state government authorities.
27: Anti-lockdown protests in Dublin, Ireland, during which police clash with demonstrators, leading to three injured police and 23 arrests.
28: Several thousands of Hungarians gather in Budapest to protest coronavirus lockdowns.

Deaths: Rush Limbaugh; Christopher Plummer; George Schulz; Larry Flynt; Ion Pacepa.

March

2: Eruption of Mount Sinabung in Sumatra, Indonesia.
3: Greece is struck by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Thessaly.
6: Several hundreds protest coronavirus lockdowns in Cork, Ireland.
13: George Floyd's family settles with the City of Minneapolis for $27 million.  Also: Thousands demonstrate in several cities in Germany against coronavirus restrictions.
15: The Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rules that priests cannot bless same-sex "marriages."  Also: Portugal's Constitutional Court rejects as unconstitutional the bill purporting to legalize euthanasia.
16: Utah bars state agencies from mandating vaccination as a condition of employment, with certain exceptions.
19: Volcanic eruption in southwestern Iceland.
20: A magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes Japan off the coast of Miyagi prefecture, setting off a three-foot tsunami wave.  Also: More than 20,000 protesters demonstrate against coronavirus restrictions in Kassel, Germany.  Also: About 30,000 people march through London to protest coronavirus restrictions.
22: Nine civilians and one police officer are killed in a mass shooting at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.
23: The Panamanian-flagged container ship Ever Given runs aground north of the Suez Port, blocking the Suez Canal at both ends for the next six days.
24: The commonwealth of Virginia abolishes capital punishment.  Also: About 10,000 demonstrators march through London to protest coronavirus restrictions.
28: 20 are wounded in a double suicide bombing outside the Sacred Heart Catholic cathedral in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Deaths: Vernon Jordan; Roger Mudd; Marvelous Marvin Hagler; May Wynn; George Segal; Jessica Walter; Beverly Cleary; G. Gordon Liddy.

April

2: Florida bars businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination or natural immunity and imposes fines on businesses and government entities that do.
3:  More than 20,000 protesters rally in Stuttgart, Germany against coronavirus restrictions.  Also: Protestant pastor Artur Kawlowski of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, throws the police out of his church, calling them Nazis, Gestapo and communists, when they came to do a "covid check" of his congregation during Easter services.
9: Eruption of La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, necessitating the evacuation of 16,000 people.
10: A magnitude 6.0-6.1 earthquake strikes Java, Indonesia.
11: Several hundred protesters demonstrate against coronavirus restrictions in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
12: Riots begin over the killing of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, when Wright resisted police and was fatally shot by an officer who had intended to tase him.
13: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is suspended due to concerns over blood clots.
15: Mass murder of seven and wounding of eight at a Fedex facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, by a shooter who then turned the gun on himself.
17: Demonstrators protest coronavirus lockdowns in Hamilton and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
19: Arizona bans, by executive order, inquiries into vaccine status as a condition of admission, except in health care facilities.  Also: The NASA helicopter Ingenuity successfully flies over the surface of Mars.
20: A jury convicts former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of all counts in the death of George Floyd.
21: Thousands of coronavirus-restriction protesters rally in Berlin, defying government efforts to stop the demonstration.
28: Arkansas passes a law barring state and local governments from requiring employees to get vaccinated as a condition of employment or career advancement.
29: Indiana passes a law prohibiting state or local government to demand proof of vaccination from anyone, including employees.

Deaths: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Lee Aaker; April the Giraffe; Gloria Henry; Hans Küng; Ramsey Clark; Judith Reisman; Bernie Madoff; Walter Mondale; Michael Collins (Apollo 11 astronaut); Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman).

May

1: Thousands of demonstrators march in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to protest coronavirus restrictions, specifically an 8 p.m. curfew that they argued bears no rational relationship to the prevention of disease. 
7: The state of Montana prohibits discrimination based on vaccination status, and bars mandates of vaccines being administered under emergency use authorizations or that are in safety trials.  Also: North Dakota prohibits state government from requiring private businesses to procure documentation to verify vaccine status.
9: 6 are killed at a birthday party in Colorado Springs, Colorado, by a gunman who then kills himself.
19: Five eastern Oregon counties pass measures to promote the movement to secede from Oregon and join Idaho.
20: Alleged President Joe Biden signs the "Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act."
25: The state of Georgia bans proof of vaccination as a condition of employment with the state, doing business with the state or otherwise enjoying any rights provided in the state.  Also: Tennessee prohibits state and local government from imposing vaccine mandates.
28: Anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Australia.  Also: Oklahoma prohibits state agencies from implementing vaccine passports for entry into public buildings, except for employees in patient-facing settings.
29: Gigantic march through London, from Parliament Square to Acton, apparently involving hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, to protest coronavirus restrictions.

Deaths: Olympia Dukakis; Bobby Unser; Pete du Pont; Charles Grodin; Sr. Margherita Marchione; Gavin McLeod; Gwen Shamblin Lara; B.J. Thomas.

June

9: Hungarian soccer fans roundly and loudly boo the Irish team for taking a knee before the start of a warm-up game in Budapest.
15: Hungary passes a law banning the dissemination to minors of content depicting homosexuality or transgenderism.
17: Juneteenth becomes a national holiday -- too late, however, for the holiday to be taken this year.  Also: Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who brandished guns to defend their home against a mob in St. Louis, sign off on a misdemeanor deal that involves them forfeiting their guns.
20: Tropical Storm Claudette claims 13 lives in Alabama.
24: Collapse of a 12-story condominium complex in Surfside, Florida, resulting in 5 deaths and 159 missing.
25: Derek Chauvin is sentenced to 22 1/2 years in the death of George Floyd.
26: Thousands of demonstrators march through London to 10 Downing Street to protest coronavirus restrictions.
28: Police in Hong Kong ban a vigil to mark the anniversary of Britain turning the territory over to the Chicoms.
30: Bill Cosby gets sprung from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his conviction.

Deaths: F. Lee Bailey; Clarence Williams III (The Mod Squad); Larry Gelman; Ned Beatty; Donald Rumsfeld.

July

1: The discovery of mass graves of Indian children in Canada becomes the excuse to tear down statutes of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth and burn down Catholic Churches.  Also: Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer tries to bribe people into taking vaccines by raffling off millions in cash and college scholarships.
3: Giovanni Cardinal Becciu is indicted on various financial corruption charges out of the Vatican, along with 9 others.
6: Demonstrations against vaccine mandates take place in Kazakhstan.
8: Announcement of what will turn out to be the disastrous, precipitous and humiliating withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan that will leave many Americans stranded.  Also: A magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes south of Lake Tahoe.
10: A magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes Rasht, Tajikistan.
12: French President Emannuel Macron announces vaccine passports as a requirement to participate in French society, touching off months of nationwide protests.
13: Beginning of the California Dixie Fire.
16: Pope Francis promulgates the brutal, nasty, ultra vires and entirely vain motu proprio Traditiones custodes, which purports to suppress the Mass of tradition.
17: More demonstrations in Kazakhstan against coronavirus regulations.
19: Large demonstration in London against vaccines and lockdowns.
22: Prime Minister Mario Draghi announces vaccine passports in Italy, touching off large protests in Rome, Naples, Milan, Turin and Genoa.  
23: Protesters gather around the home of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Ra'anana after Bennett lashes out against the unvaccinated.
24: More than 10,000 protesters demonstrate in Dublin, Ireland against vaccine passports.  Also: large demonstrations in cities across England, including London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, to protest vaccine mandates and passports.
31: Malaysians take to the streets in Kuala Lumpur, in defiance of bans on public gatherings, to protest the government's coronavirus policies.

Deaths: Charlie Robinson ("Mac" on Night Court); Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff; Jackie Mason; Ron Popiel; Paul Cotton (guitarist, Poco).

August

1: Thousands of anti-coronavirus restriction protesters take to the streets in Berlin.
3: Bill DeBlasio announces vaccination requirements for indoor dining, public performances and gyms in New York City.
5: Anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Australia.
9: Announcement of vaccination requirement for members of the U.S. armed forces.  Also: France requires a health pass to participate in society.  Also: hundreds of protesters storm Television Centre in London to protest BBC's pro-vaccine coverage of the pandemic.  Much is made of the fact that the protesters were in the wrong place as the BBC's headquarters moved out of the building in 2013.
10: Andrew Cuomo announces his resignation as Governor of New York amid an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations.
12: The mayor of San Francisco announces a vaccine requirement to be present in all indoor public spaces.
13: The U.S. Secretary of Education tries to undermine the state government of Texas by offering financial assistance to Texas schools that defy the governor's ban on mask mandates.
15: Kabul falls to the Taliban.
18: Anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Australia.
23: Large covid restriction protests take place in major cities across Australia.
24: Kathy Hochul is sworn in as the new Governor of New York and turns out to be even a bigger nut job than Andrew Cuomo.
28-29: Several thousands march in Berlin and clash with police to protest coronavirus measures.
30: Truck drivers in Queensland, Australia stage a protest against vaccine mandates and lockdowns.
31: 79 anti-lockdown protests take place across New South Wales, Australia.

Deaths: Markie Post; Jane Withers; Una Stubbs (Mrs. Hudson in Sherlock); Don Everly (the Everly Brothers); Charlie Watts; Ed Asner; Michael Constantine.

September

1: Demonstrators gather to protest in various cities in Ontario, Canada, after that province announces a vaccine certification system to take effect later in the month.
3: Theodore McCarrick pleads not guilty to charges connected with the sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy in 1974.
9: Ten months after having promised that there would be no vaccine mandates, Joe Biden announces sweeping, draconian and unconstitutional vaccine mandates.
13: President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany is heckled at a school in Berlin over the government's campaign to vaccinate children against the coronavirus.
14: The nephew of Nancy Pelosi beats the California gubernatorial recall.
19: Beginning of the catastrophic eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, La Palma, Canary Islands.  Also: the remains of Gabby Petito are found in Wyoming.
20: Vatican City announces health pass mandates within its borders.  Also: Beginning of several days of anti-corona-measures protests in Melbourne, Australia.
21: San Francisco International Airport becomes the first airport in the nation to mandate vaccinations.
22: A magnitude 5.8 earthquake strikes Alpine National Park in Victoria, Australia.  Also: a magnitude 6.5 earthquake strikes off the coast of Nicaragua.

Deaths: Adlai Stevenson III; Fran Bennett; John Shelby Spong; Norm MacDonald; Shaaron Claridge (voice of dispatcher on Adam-12 and real LAPD dispatcher); Robert Fyfe (Last of the Summer Wine); Jane Powell; Tim Donnelly (Chet Kelly on Emergency!); David de Patie; Tommy Kirk.

October

1: The governor of California announces vaccine mandates for all school students in the state.
9-10: Southwest Airlines pilot sick-out over vaccine mandates.  The airline ludicrously claims the cancellations are due to weather conditions that somehow did not affect other airlines.  Also: The opening of the preposterously-named "Synod on Synodality."  Also: About 10,000 people gather in Rome to protest vaccine mandates.
11: Governor Abbott of Texas signs an executive order prohibiting both public and private vaccine mandates within the state of Texas.
12: A federal district court imposes a temporary restraining order on United Airlines' vaccine mandate.
13: Reuters reports that 415 Japanese schoolchildren committed suicide during school lockdowns in that country last year.  Also: William Shatner becomes the oldest person in space at the age of 90.
14: Health officials for the city of San Francisco, where the homeless use public sidewalks as outdoor toilets with impunity, shut down an In-N-Out Burger restaurant for refusing to enforce the city's vaccine requirements.
15: David Amess, a member of England's parliament, is stabbed to death during a meeting with constituents.  Police deliberately prevent a Catholic priest from administering Extreme Unction to Mr. Amess.
16: Thousands gather to protest mandatory vaccinations in Perth, Australia.
18: Italian police in Trieste violently break a dockworker strike over vaccine mandates.  Green-pass protesters gathered in the city's Piazza Unita d'Italia expose the fake government webcam live-stream of the piazza, which shows the piazza as being nearly empty, whereas in fact hundreds are gathered there.
19: Southwest Airlines scraps its plan to put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave.
20: The remains of Brian Laundrie, suspected in the murder of Gabby Petito, are found in Florida.
21: Alec Baldwin fires a loaded gun on a movie set, killing a cinematographer and wounding the director.
26: Mass shooting at the Boise Towne Square Mall in Boise, Idaho: two are killed, three others, including a police officer, are wounded; the shooter is shot and later dies of his wounds.  Also: New York City's police union sues to halt a proposed vaccine mandate.
28: New York City firefighters rally outside Gracie Mansion to protest vaccine mandates.
30-31: American Airlines vaccine-mandate sickout leads to the cancellation of about 2,000 flights, which is again ludicrously blamed on weather.  Also: Fr. James Jackson, FSSP is arrested on child porn charges.  Also: A huge deal is made out of the fact that White House Press Secretary Jen "Circle-Back" Psaki has tested positive for the 'rona.

Deaths: Mort Sahl; Peter Scolari; Val Bisoglio; Colin Powell; Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show); Joanna Cameron; Madame Nguyen Van Thieu.

November

1: A judge blocks Chicago's police department vaccine mandate.
2: Glenn Youngkin beats Terry McAuliffe in Virginia's bellwether gubernatorial election.  Also: Edward Durr, a furniture-company truck driver who spent only $153.00 on his campaign, unseats New Jersey's entrenched Democrat state senate president.
5: The Astroworld Festival crowd crush in Houston, Texas results in the deaths of 10 people.
8: Thousands of Los Angelinos gather outside City Hall to protest the city's tyrannical vaccine mandates.
14: Formerly Catholic Austria goes full-tilt-communist with its nationwide lockdown of the unvaccinated.
15: Biden signs a $1.2 trillion "infrastructure" bill into law.
16: The Biden Administration announces the suspension of its wildly unconstitutional vaccine mandate after the Fifth Circuit strikes it down; however, it advises employers to enforce the mandate anyway.  Also: The discovery is announced of a new moon of Saturn, which is given the unromantic designation of S/2019 S 1.
19: The Chancellor of Austria rewards the people who gave in to pressure to get vaccinated by announcing a lockdown of everybody anyway, to begin on November 22.  Also: several days of protests break out in the Netherlands over coronavirus measures.  Also: Kyle Rittenhouse, who manifestly acted in self-defense, is acquitted by a jury on all counts.
20: Protests of Australia's proposed pandemic bill take place in major cities all over the country, drawing tens of thousands of demonstrators. Also: Tens of thousands take to the streets in Vienna, to protest the latest Austrian lockdowns.
21: A leftist terrorist in an SUV deliberately plows through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six and injuring 62.  Also: Tens of thousands of Belgians take to the streets in Brussels to protest coronavirus restrictions aimed at the unvaxxed.
24: The defendants on trial for the killing in February of 2020 of Ahmaud Arbery are convicted.
25: A fire in a coal mine in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia, traps 285 miners, killing 46 miners and five rescuers.
26: The World Health Organization officially kicks off the panic over the alleged "Omicron Variant."  Also: France suspends its proposed vaccine mandate for health care workers in Martinique and Guadeloupe in response to protests in those Caribbean territories.  
30: Mass school shooting in Oxford Township, Michigan, killing four students and injuring eight, including one teacher.  The shooter, Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore, is taken into custody.

Deaths: Robert Bly; Art La Fleur; Graeme Edge (the Moody Blues); F.W. de Klerk; Dean Stockwell; Peter Aykroyd; Ronnie Wilson (the Gap Band); Stephen Sondheim; Arlene Dahl.

December

1: Dobbs v. Jackson, a case out of Mississippi that challenges Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, comes on for oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.
3: The parents of Ethan Crumbley are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter on the theory that they bear part of the responsibility for their son's mass shooting of schoolmates in Oxford Township, Michigan on November 30th.
4: Beginning of a weekend of major uprisings throughout Europe and elsewhere, particularly Argentina and Australia, to protest vaccine mandates and other covid measures.  Also: Beginning of an eruption of Mount Semeru, East Java, Indonesia, resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries.
6: Outgoing New York City mayor Bill De Blasio announces a citywide vaccine mandate for all private-sector employees, to take effect on December 27th.
9: The government of Austria mandates vaccinations for the entire population ages 14 and up, starting in February, with quarterly fines of 3,600 Euros for those who do not comply.  Also: the government of New Zealand announces that, starting in 2025, it will increase by one year every year the legal age at which tobacco can be purchased.  Also: Jussie Smollett is convicted of five felony counts for his ludicrously fraudulent 2019 hate crime hoax in Chicago that involved multiple law enforcement agencies and risked stoking the fires of civil unrest.
10: An outbreak of multiple tornadoes strikes the central United States overnight, leaving devastation over a 200-mile line through five states, with dozens of fatalities, mostly in Kentucky.
11: An estimated 44,000 Viennese take to the streets to protest Austria's draconian lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
14: Amtrak suspends its employee vaccine mandate, which was to have taken effect in January. 
16: Thousands march in Wellington New Zealand to protest coronavirus lockdowns and vaxx mandates that persist despite 90% of the population being vaxxed..
17: Boeing suspends its vaccine mandate for all U.S. employees, citing the successful challenges in the courts to the Biden vaccine mandates for all federal contractors.
18: Pope Francis lands another 16-ton weight on traditional Catholics via a document "clarifying" Traditiones custodes and imposing further restrictions on the traditional Mass and Sacraments.  Also: Londoners stage a gigantic covid protest amid government suggestions that more lockdowns are in the offing.  Also: citizens of Barcelona, Spain, take to the streets to protest vaccine passports.
19: Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher, a medical doctor, is caught having vastly inflating the percentage of unvaccinated persons with covid by including among the "unvaccinated" persons whose vaxx status is unknown; these lies were used to justify draconian restrictions. Tens of thousands of Germans take to the streets in Hamburg for a day and a night to protest these restrictions.  Also: Thousands march in Brussels to protest vaccine mandates.  
27: Blase Cardinal Cupich comes out with even more draconian and tyrannical restrictions on the traditional Mass in the Archdiocese of Chicago.  Also: Britain's health secretary announces there will be no new virus restrictions in England before the first of the year.
28: Joe Biden admits that there is no federal solution to the coronavirus.
29: Ghislaine Maxwell, girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, is convicted on five out of six counts of sex trafficking.
30: Grass fires break out in Boulder County, Colorado, destroying hundreds of homes and prompting the evacuation of several towns.

Deaths: Bob Dole; Michael Nesmith (The Monkees); Al Unser; Anne Rice; Bridget Hanley; Joan Didion; Desmond Tutu; Sarah Weddington (argued Roe v. Wade in front of the Supreme Court in favor of legalizing abortion); John Madden; "Dingy" Harry Reid, Betty White.

I hope and pray 2022 turns out to be a better year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Random Observations at Year's End


- OK, I'll come right out and ask the question, even though some who read it will completely gloss over the fact that I am talking explicitly about the founders and leading lights of the groups in question.  In the early '70s, Our Lady of Akita warned of the Church being full of men who would accept compromise.  Does this include the founders and leading lights of the former Ecclesia Dei communities, which, in exchange for having given up their right to question the liturgical revolution and the novelties of Vatican II, are now firmly ensconced in a position to be ruthlessly suppressed?

- The 20th and 21st centuries will surely go down in history as the Age of the Pseudo-Law.  For a long time now, we in Church and State have been governed by things that look like laws but really aren't.  Laws that are unjust, as Aquinas says, quoting Augustine, are no laws; and any law that deflects from the natural law is only a perversion of the law.  So we have been plagued for decades by laws that are inherently unjust and deflect from the natural law, such as laws legalizing abortion, or the repeal of usury laws, or vaccine mandates. Then we have "laws" imposed by other than properly governing bodies, like mask mandates and lockdown orders, or, again, the court decision in the United States that legalized abortion as a usurpation of legislative authority, or, in the Church, the forced imposition of the new Order of Mass in 1970.  These are just raw exercises of coercive power that seem to be legal but really aren't.  Have we ever really looked at how many of these "laws" that we live (and die) by are pseudo-laws?  Bypassing the normal lawmaking process allows tyrants, counting on the apathy and ignorance of most people, to simultaneously impose their will and avoid accountability.

- We must not let our shock and hurt over Pope Francis' war on Catholic tradition cause us to overlook the invaluable service he thereby performs, apparently without intending to.  In seeking to eradicate tradition, Pope Francis brings stark clarity to the terms of the struggle between tradition and novelty, sweeping away the efforts toward détente that have drained and crippled traditionalists for decades.  He has set aside the whole idea that the squishy, oozy, unwieldy mess of Vatican II novelties can be reconciled to the Catholic faith: by his words and conduct he pretty clearly shows he doesn't think they can be.  He has also decisively ruled out the peaceful co-existence of the Novus Ordo and the Mass of Tradition, and the idea that they are both legitimate expressions of the Roman Rite.  In these two areas, he actually aligns himself with those whom the liberals sneeringly call "Lefebvrists," disagreeing only on whether it is tradition or the Vatican II stuff that truly expresses the Catholic faith.  This is a net benefit to traditional Catholics, because the more clearly we see what we are really up against, the more apparent become the means by which we must deal with it, and the less time and energy we will waste on futile endeavors.

- Gibraltar, which has administered enough vaxx doses to inoculate over 160% of its population -- including people from outside the country who have daily business there -- is having a huge outbreak of the disease.  Israel, most of whose population is vaccinated, is looking at requiring a fourth shot.  New York City, known for its aggressive vaxx policies, says that it is experiencing an increase in people positive for covid, despite having over 70% of its population vaccinated.  Last, but not least, the warship U.S.S. Milwaukee, whose crew is 100% vaccinated, is stuck at Guantanamo Bay with a quarter of her crew positive for The Bug.  These facts ought to raise questions about this pandemic and what we are doing about it.

- Look at what is going on in Australia.  Why is this not happening here?  Because we all have guns.  Behold the real agenda behind gun control.  Attacks on our freedoms in the name of "safety" are never legit.

- If you watch mainstream media news programs, which are constantly pushing the vaxx message, have you ever noticed how many of them are sponsored by Pfizer?

- Feminists came up with the word "mansplaining" ostensibly to describe men explaining the ways of the world condescendingly to women -- although what they really mean by it is men arguing traditional values to feminists.  But apparently, it is okay and even laudable for men condescendingly to explain certain things to women.  For example, I for one am getting tired of having men solemnly instructing me, a woman of 51 years, on who is and who is not a female, and on why I need to go around with my face covered up so that I am an anonymous cipher in public in my own country.  This is real "mansplaining," and the feminists are silent about it.

- When are we going to figure out that bad faith is, in our time, the real coin of the realm in both Church and State?

- I don't really want to end this post on a bad note.  Therefore, I will share a video I watched last night of the casting in Annecy, France of the Maria Immaculata bell for the new SSPX church being built in St. Mary's, Kansas.  This is an extremely cool video that shows how the molten bronze was processed, purified, analyzed, and then poured into the mold, which was live-streamed on December 16th.  It then takes you through the whole process of how, over about a six-week period, they created the mold for the bell, and outlines the process of polishing and tuning the bell once it is liberated from its mold.

 
If you ask me, this video is about hope.  It shows that, like blades of grass shooting up through cracks in the asphalt, love and beauty are irrepressible.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

To Excommunicate the Whole Church

The theologian Francisco Suarez is often quoted (for example, here) as saying that a Pope would fall into schism if he were to change all the liturgical rites that have been upheld by apostolic tradition, or if he were to excommunicate the whole Church.  Paul VI changed all the liturgical rites of the Church -- or at least purported to: a favorite tactic of the conciliar hierarchy seems to be to impose its will, and bully the faithful into compliance, by using measures that look like laws but really aren't.  The current Pontiff, who himself has said that he is not afraid of schisms, and who is currently employing the favored conciliar hierarchy tactic against traditionalists, with his "responsa," appears to be trying to excommunicate the whole Church.  

But, you will say, the traditionalists are just a tiny, albeit vocal, minority in the Church.  Well, no: that is only the present generation.  Our unity is with all generations of Catholics.  The Mass as celebrated in traditional parishes and chapels (and basements and motel rooms and Mass rocks and parking lots) is the one that all these prior generations of Latin Rite Catholics would know and recognize as the Mass; what has been going on in most mainstream parishes for the last half-century, they would not recognize as the Mass.  Only the generations that have lived during the last half-century -- the blink of an eye in the life of the Church -- would accept it as the Mass.  It is they, then, that are the tiny minority in the Church.  

That means the attempt to disown traditionalists and quash the traditional Mass and Sacraments is not an attempt to cut off a small cadre of intractables, or suppress a fad, but a repudiation of the perennial worship of the Church and almost the entire communion of saints.  How is this war on tradition and its adherents not effectively an attempt to excommunicate the entire Church?  How is it not objectively a schism?  How can we not tremble at the spectacle of an eighty-five-year-old successor of Peter with health problems pretty evidently and objectively working for the other side?  When and how is this all going to end?

The only thing we can say for certain is that the affair will not end in victory for the enemies of the Church.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Yes, Pope Benedict Did Abdicate

Would we even be talking about this if the 2013 papal conclave had given us another Gregory the Great?  Somehow I doubt it.  But the 2013 conclave did not give us another Gregory the Great, and so here we are, talking about this.  

There is no specific required form for a papal abdication.  It should therefore be sufficient for the Pope to make clear his intention.  Did Pope Benedict sufficiently express the intent to abdicate?

From the Declaratio of Pope Benedict addressed to the consistory of February 11, 2013:

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

The intent to abdicate the throne of Peter, such that a conclave must be convened to elect a new Pope, seems pretty clearly stated.

From the last General Audience of Pope Benedict, St. Peter's Square, February 27, 2013:

I ask you to remember me in prayer before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so weighty a task, and for the new Successor of the Apostle Peter: may the Lord accompany him with the light and strength of his Spirit....

...I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope....

Yes, elsewhere in this General Audience he talks about sorta kinda not completely divorcing himself from the papacy, possibly pursuant to some modernism-tainted notions about the papacy; but he pretty clearly refers here to a conclave to choose a new Pope, and he refers also to the new Pope, who obviously will not be himself.  There is really no other way to interpret this.

And, the killa dilla, from the Farewell Address of Pope Benedict to the Cardinals, February 28, 2013:  

Before I say goodbye to each one of you personally, I would like to tell you that I shall continue to be close to you with my prayers, especially in these coming days, that you may be completely docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new pope. May the Lord show you the one whom he wants. And among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is also the future pope to whom today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For this reason, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart to you the Apostolic Blessing.

So here, Pope Benedict refers to:

- The upcoming conclave;

- The election of a new Pope, not himself;

- The future Pope, not himself;

- The reverence and obedience that he promises to the future new Pope -- obedience that Benedict would not owe to any man if he were to continue as Pope.

By this series of outward signs, spread out over a period of weeks, the reasonable conclusion would seem to be that Pope Benedict XVI validly abdicated.  At that point, a conclave was convoked, which conclave elected Jorge Bergoglio, whom the Church peacefully, if apprehensively, accepted as the new Pontiff, and there have been no other serious claimants to the Throne of Peter since then.  

Could I be wrong about this?  Of course.  I can even sympathize with the desire to look upon Pope Francis as an antipope, because that would certainly make him a lot easier to cope with.  But (a) I am going by the evidence as it stands right now, guided by common sense, and (b) I do not have the ability to pass a final judgment on this issue anyway, so (c) God is not going to send me to hell for being wrong on this if I am wrong, which means (d) nobody has the right to tell me I am blaspheming for refusing to accept the contrary.

There is another possibility, namely, that Pope Francis was validly elected but forfeited his office due to heresy and schism.  A number of theologians, including saints, have speculated about this possibility, but the Church has never defined what is to be done in this situation.  All we can say for certain is that, beyond doubling down on prayer and penance, this problem lies far beyond the competency of Joe Pewsitter to deal with.  A future Pope will have to tackle this.

So yes, I am afraid things really have gotten that bad in the Church, that such a man as we now have on the Throne of Peter could actually be the true Pope.  The reality is that he is a typical cleric of his generation; and once we raised up such a generation, it was only ever a question of time before we got one like him as Pope.  So we have to hold fast to the promises of our Lord, and remember that, however close to the abyss the Holy Ghost may allow the Church to teeter, He will never let her fall in.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Potuit, Decuit, Ergo Fecit

I will shew thee all good, and I will proclaim in the name of the Lord before thee: and I will have mercy on whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please me.  
Exodus 33:19

A self-professed ex-Catholic turned non-denominational once commented on this blog:
Mary had to have sinned. She called Jesus "my Savior" and what is Jesus the Savior for? Sinners. She had sinned. And there is no biblical evidence for her having no sin.
Sigh.

Those of you with a kick against the Immaculate Conception always want to set limitations on God.  You generally have no problem acknowledging in theory that God is infinitely good, infinitely holy, infinitely perfect, infinitely merciful and infinitely powerful; but in practice, what you really want is a sort of bite-sized God, One that we can wrap our woefully inadequate brains around and Who does not confound our puny capabilities.  So when God actually goes and does something that only an infinitely good, holy, perfect, merciful and powerful Being could do, you protest.  The fact, however, is that God can do whatever He wants (and He can never want anything wrong or evil); and whatever is fitting, we may be sure that He will do.

God can do the impossible (as distinct from the absurd) more rapidly and easily than we can blink our eyes or draw a breath.  It was perfectly within His power to preserve Mary free from the taint of sin from the instant of her Conception.  This singular privilege of His grace was purchased for her by the limitless merits of Christ's suffering and death on the Cross.  God, not bound by the constraints of time or space, was perfectly capable of applying these merits beforehand and granting this privilege in advance of the Crucifixion.  Thus God really was Mary's Savior, and did not need her to sin in order to be her Savior: His intervention to prevent her from receiving the taint of sin that she would otherwise have contracted as a descendant of Adam was also a salvific act.  Have you never been prevented from committing sins, by being deprived of means or opportunity, or because you have never experienced the temptation to commit particular sins?  These are also interventions of God's grace.  So you should know from experience that God saves us, not only by forgiving sins we have actually committed, but also by preventing us from committing sins we would otherwise have committed, perhaps to our eternal ruin.   Why, then, should it be so hard to accept that God, out of the abyss of His goodness and mercy, could exercise His infinite power to prevent the Mother of His Son from being tainted by the least stain of iniquity from the very instant she began to exist?

It is altogether fitting that God should preserve Mary inviolate and immaculate from the first instant of her life.  God always gives us the grace we need to do the work He gives us: the greater the work, the greater the grace given to carry it out.  Was ever a more important mission given to a mere human being than that entrusted to Mary?  To fulfill it, she had to be able to give herself completely and unreservedly to God at every instant of her life, which she could not do if she were hobbled by sin.  It was her task to supply the matter out of which the all-holy Son of God would take flesh, to bear Him in her womb, to nurse Him and to rear Him to manhood, and to share in her soul in the agonies of His Passion.  This touches on a point raised by my correspondent in a follow-up comment:
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for dying for our sins because He was without blemish. If Mary had no blemish either, that would pretty much validate her for crucifixion too. Which would make Jesus less important.
Here my correspondent, though off the rails in the implications for the importance of Jesus, hits on an important truth.  Mary did in fact suffer with her divine Son in her soul, more than any other human being could have.  The saints (e.g., St. Alphonsus Liguori) are of the opinion that her sufferings were greater than that of all other men who have ever lived or will ever live put together, and that only a miracle kept her from dying of grief.  This is why Catholics honor her under the titles of Mother of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs: only her Son's sufferings exceeded hers.  When she presented her Son in the Temple, holy Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her soul, that out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed (Luke 2:35).  It makes sense that she should bear so great a share in her Son's Passion: not only was she his loving mother; she was also fully aware that He was God, and therefore of the horrible outrage that He should be murdered by His own creatures.  Moreover, would it have been possible for her to suffer entirely for his sake and not at all for her own if she herself had had a share in the sins that caused Him to be nailed to the Cross?  Still, this share of hers in Christ's suffering does not in any way diminish Him.  Jesus was the perfect Sacrifice not only because He was without blemish, but because He was God.  Mankind had outraged the infinite God, and therefore it would take infinite merits to repair the outrage; these could only be offered by the Son of God. 

If you do not accept the Immaculate Conception, then I am bound to ask you why you would want the Mother of God to have been a sinner.  Is this not tantamount to wanting an unworthy vessel for the Incarnate God?   Is it also not tantamount to hoping that there is no creature capable, within the limits of creatures, of giving God a worthy return of gratitude for mankind's redemption?  How can you say you love God if you want His Mother to have been at any time under the dominion of satan?  Does it make sense for the woman entrusted with bearing and caring for and suffering alongside the Son of God to have spent even a single instant under the dominion of hell?  No: especially when you consider that the Woman of Genesis 3:15, between whom and the serpent God put enmity is none other than the Mother of God, and her Seed is none other than Jesus Christ:
I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
Here is scriptural proof of the Immaculate Conception.  If God creates perfect and implacable enmity between the Woman and the serpent -- and surely it is unthinkable that if God creates enmity between the Mother of God and evil, this enmity will be imperfect and half-hearted -- then it follows that she could never be under the serpent's sway, or in allegiance with him, as she must be if she had sinned.  Thus it was fitting for God to preserve her without sin from the very beginning.

Since it was perfectly possible for God to preserve Mary free from sin from the moment of her conception, and it was fitting that He should do so, it follows that He in fact did do so.  It would be a gross omission on God's part, and incompatible with His infinite perfection, if He should leave undone that which was fitting.  Therefore, we may safely take it that He did not leave it undone.  

Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit! He could; it was fitting; therefore, He did it!

Mary, Queen Conceived without Original Sin, You DID Know.

The pop song, "Mary, Did You Know?" has become a Christmas tradition among Catholics.  I suspect this is because it mentions Mary, and because Catholics are not paying a lot of attention to the lyrics; besides which, most of us have become inured over the last half-century to half-baked theology and are no longer sensitive to what an awful thing error really is.

"Mary, Did You Know?" is based on some abysmally erroneous assumptions.  To begin with, it is supposed that Mary does not know that her holy Infant is the Son of God.  Some saints -- for instance, St. Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and Doctor of the Church -- are of the opinion that even before the Annunciation, Mary had a profound understanding of prophecies and Scriptures concerning the promised Messiah.  Because she was free from the taint of original sin from the moment of her Conception, Mary's intellect and understanding were not crippled by concupiscence, like ours are.  But even without such an understanding of Scripture, it would have taken a high degree of inattention on Mary's part to the message of Gabriel and the inspired greeting of her cousin Elizabeth for her to labor under ignorance of her Son's divinity.  It is further supposed that Mary does not know that her Son will suffer for the redemption of mankind.  This would have required her to utterly gloss over the prophecies of holy Simeon concerning her Son as God's salvation, a sign of contradiction, and concerning the sword of sorrow that would pierce her own soul.  The idea of the Mother of God not being in possession of the most critical facts about her divine Son, particularly in view of explicit revelations received by her, is absurd on its face.

But there is an even more blatant error in the lyrics of "Mary, Did You Know?" that ought to induce in every Catholic a sharp intake of breath, and that is the attack on the fact of Our Lady's life that we celebrate as a first-class feast today.  It is a defined dogma of the Catholic faith that the Mother of God was conceived without original sin.  On December 8, 1854, in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception:
We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. 
Contrast this with the following lyrics from "Mary, Did You Know?":
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.
Whereas Catholics accept as revealed truth that Mary was free from sin from the instant of her conception by virtue of the anticipated merits of Jesus' suffering and death on the Cross, the foregoing is based on the assumption that Mary was under the sway of sin at the time she gave birth to the Christ Child, and that she would remain so until His Sacrifice of redemption.  In short, it is a flat denial of the Immaculate Conception.  It is, objectively, a horrible blasphemy.  As such -- and for this reason alone -- it should never be sung in a Catholic church, or find any place in any Catholic liturgy, and Catholics should not embrace it.

Perhaps a fitting way to honor today's feast of the Immaculate Conception -- in addition to fulfilling our obligation to attend Mass -- would be to defend the dogma which this feast celebrates by doing what we can to banish from our midst this execrable song during this and every Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Eighty December 7ths Ago

 

Eighty December 7ths ago, war came to the United States.  The surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor left 2,403 dead, including 68 civilians.  Nearly half of the dead (1,177) perished aboard the U.S.S Arizona, which sank after a bomb struck her forward magazine, setting off a catastrophic explosion.  The next most ill-fated ship was the U.S.S. Oklahoma, where 429 died.  Among the Oklahoma's losses was Fr. Aloysius Schmitt, Lieutenant Junior Grade, who had just celebrated Mass on board ship that morning, and who died helping others escape a compartment that was swiftly filling with water.  Of the other battleships, the West Virginia lost 106; the California 100; the Nevada 60; the Pennsylvania nine; the Tennessee five; and the Maryland four.  Other vessels besides battleships suffered human losses: 64 died in the demilitarized former battleship Utah; 20 died aboard the cruiser Helena; and 19 died aboard the seaplane tender Curtiss.  Amazingly, all the battleships except the Arizona and the Oklahoma were returned to service, even the West Virginia and the California, which had been sunk.

Today the remaining survivors of Pearl Harbor are few.  The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association commemorated its last anniversary ten years ago before officially disbanding, due to the advanced age and infirmity of its remaining members.  Many of them were teenagers when war came -- boys in the morning, men before the day was out.  Now they are centenarians, or nearly so, and soon the date which will live in infamy will pass out of living memory.