Friday, October 31, 2008

And Speaking of Halloween...

Model, actress, singer and kookburger fashion afficionado Grace Jones paid Sarah Palin an extraordinary compliment the other day when she heaped disdain on the vice-presidential candidate in an interview with a German entertainment magazine.

"I can't stand Sarah Palin," declared Dennis Rodman's female counterpart. "I bet a woman like that has no sense of humour." Jones, who betrayed no signs of alarm at the prospect of hard-core government regulation of the free market and private property rights that have operated to her considerable benefit over the years, fears the phantom governmental restrictions on libertinism for which she views Palin as an icon.

And Jones doesn't want anybody raining on her parade. "I believe a woman can present herself as a sex object if she has fun doing it," said the sexagenarian, who has apparently even run afoul of feminists for her sexual stunts. We would sure hate to see the day when it's no longer safe for a woman old enough to be a grandmother to appear naked in a cage.

So Sarah, you're obviously on the right track. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More on the Fate of Aborted Babies

It has come to my attention that a miscarriage support group forum, Daily Strength, has latched onto my post from February of last year speculating about the fate of the souls of aborted babies. To a person, the correspondents on this thread have written me off as heartless, counter-Scriptural, and even anti-Catholic. I don't wish to intrude upon their forum, so I post my replies here, linked back from the original post, for anyone from Daily Strength who cares to read it.

1. I am sorry that you have missed what I actually said. I wish you would go back and read my post more carefully. I did not state that aborted babies go to Hell; nor did I state that the Church teaches that aborted babies go to Hell. In fact, when I wrote that post, I went to great pains to avoid being understood to say either of those things. The Church does not teach that unbaptized babies go to Hell. In fact, the passage I quoted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that we may hope for the salvation of unbaptized infants. Their fate, however, is uncertain in view of the necessity of Baptism (more on which later); and therefore, the Church commends them to the mercy of God, who loves these babies far, far more than any human or all humans put together could. It is worth noting that far greater minds than yours or mine in the history of Christianity (for example, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas) could not declare themselves certain of the salvation of unbaptized infants.

2. I am sorry that you did not notice that my own opinion -- uniformly vilified in your thread -- is actually inclined toward the view that unbaptized babies may go to heaven. I actually mustered several arguments in favor of that view, and against the proposition referred to at the beginning of the post that had originally prompted my thoughts on the subject. Please go back and read this. However, when all is said and done, however much I hope the souls of unbaptized babies enjoy the Beatific Vision, I cannot be absolutely certain that they do. The mercy of God may be trusted in, but not presumed upon. This is why the Church requires her children to baptize babies as soon as possible after birth; and I believe it is why God leaves us uncertain as to their fate if they die without Baptism.

3. If babies who die without Baptism do not go to heaven, it does not follow that they must go to Hell. In fact, the mercy of God runs counter to the idea of damnation for unbaptized infants. This is where the speculation regarding Limbo comes from -- a state in which the soul, though deprived of the supernatural happiness of Heaven, nevertheless enjoys perfect natural happiness. As I said in the original post, this is not a defined doctrine of the Church, but an attempt to reconcile the mercy of God with the necessity of Baptism. My own opinion (which I am accused of superimposing upon Catholic teaching) is that even if unbaptized babies are not in Heaven (though I sincerely hope they are), they are far happier where they are than anyone will ever be in this life.

4. Someone on your thread disputes the necessity of Baptism. Jesus Himself, who did nothing pointless, and everything with a view to teaching us and setting us an example, underwent Baptism. And in the Scriptures, we read:
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit....(Matthew 28:19)
As to infant Baptism, consider Acts 16:14-15, 27-33, where new disciples are described as being baptized with their entire households -- that would include men, women and infants. Infant Baptism -- which goes back to the beginning of the Church -- is not an addition to Scripture or an unlawful innovation.

5. One person in the thread who posted several entries professes to be a Catholic. I am very sorry to see that you do not assent to all of the Church's teachings, because there is no dichotomy between Christ and His Church ("He who hears you [said Jesus to His disciples and their successors] hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent me." -- Luke 10:16). I am also sorry that, for the sake of human respect, you feel the need to apologize for what you call the Church's "weird rules." "For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of Him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38.) Please understand that as Catholics, we are bound in conscience to believe all of the Church's doctrines, whether we understand them or not, whether we like them or not. You admit to not knowing all about your faith; but we all have a duty to inform ourselves about our faith, lest we run the risk of losing it. How can you be so sure I am misrepresenting the faith when you are uninformed about it yourself?

It appears that this post of mine about where aborted babies go has caused some pain and grief to some who have suffered the agony of miscarriage. I am sorry that this is so; however, it was not intended. I am especially sorry, because the pain was needless, as I did not say what I am taken to have said.

More Liberal Compassion, Part II: Compare and Contrast

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - University of Kentucky authorities were investigating Wednesday who hanged an effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama from a tree on campus.

College spokesman Carl Nathe said the effigy was found Wednesday morning. Police immediately took it down. A faculty member said he saw the effigy with a noose around its neck, hanging from a high tree branch.

University President Lee Todd said he planned to apologize to the Obama family on behalf of the school and that he is "personally offended and deeply embarrassed by this disgusting episode."

Federal authorities have been notified, Todd said. He said the effigy violates the university's code of ethics and won't be tolerated.

"I am outraged because we work very hard, every day, to build bridges across the divides," Todd said. "Diversity and inclusion are among our most precious core values. Episodes like this serve only to erode our confidence in and respect for one another."

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan declined to comment specifically on the situation, but said an effigy can suggest a threatening tone or be an attempt to intimidate. He said the agency is "very proactive about addressing these matters."

At the University of Kentucky, Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center interim director Chester Grundy said he was outraged by the incident. A rally was being planned for 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday, where staff and student leaders are expected to speak in response, he said.

Gov. Steve Beshear called the incident "embarrassing" and "deeply offensive."

"This was not political speech. It was simply hate," he said.

Raoul Cunningham, president of the Louisville chapter of the NAACP, said he is still trying to sort out his feelings "because there may be a double-meaning because Barack Obama is black, that he would be hung from a tree—that goes back to lynching."

John Johnson, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, called the action unacceptable even if it was a prank.

"It's astonishing that somebody would do that at this day and time," he said. "You would hope that our country has progressed further than that."

* * *

Despite cries from some community residents for a hate-crime probe, the FBI and local police say they will not investigate an effigy of Sarah Palin hanging from a noose in West Hollywood, Calif., because it's part of a Halloween display.

"It's clearly distasteful, but it doesn't appear to be a violation of federal civil rights statutes," Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman with the FBI in Los Angeles, told in an e-mail. "Currently, we do not have an investigation open."

Los Angeles sheriffs said they are not treating the exhibit as an act of discrimination.

"I'm not defending this; I'm not criticizing it. It doesn't rise to the level of hate crime," Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told The Los Angeles Times. "Now, if there was a crime against bad taste ..."

The U.S. Secret Service wouldn't comment on whether it was looking into this matter specifically, but it suggested it investigates all such incidents as potential threats.

"An exhibited or stated unusual direction of interest in a protectee could be indicative of threatening behavior," spokesman Ed Donovan told "We take threats against protectees very seriously."

Donovan said the Secret Service tries to determine the motive behind displays like the one in California.

"These effigies or other similar visual presentations could ... be an intent to intimidate people," he said. "Through interviews or further investigation, when they're brought to our attention, we're proactive in addressing these matters."

Whitmore said he visited the house where the effigy is displayed on Tuesday morning to get a look at it -- a mannequin wearing "Palin-style" glasses, a brown beehive wig and a red coat, dangling by a thick white rope coiled around its neck.

Sheriffs have gotten between five and 10 angry phone calls from residents who say they're offended by the Halloween lawn exhibit, Sgt. Kristin Aloma of the L.A. Sheriff's Department's West Hollywood unit told the Times.

Authorities are keeping an eye on the neighborhood and the house, she added.

The mayor of West Hollywood, meanwhile, wants the mannequin taken down.

"While these residents have the legal right to display Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin in effigy, I strongly oppose political speech that references violence -- real or perceived," Mayor Jeffrey Prang said in a prepared statement.

"I urge these residents to take down their display and find more constructive ways to express their opinion."


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Residency Requirements Abolished for Ohio Voters

When I first moved to Boise, I can remember having to make more than one trip to the voter registration table, because the first time around, I didn't bring enough evidence to prove that I lived where I said I lived. But I guess those hassles are gone, now that a federal judge in Ohio has ruled that a park bench can serve as an address for homeless voters.

So: once you've cast your sixty or seventy early votes in your home state, and drunk your complimentary case of beer from ACORN, you can cross over into Ohio, list a park bench as your address (lacking a home in Ohio, aren't you technically "homeless" within the state of Ohio?), and vote there too -- Democrat, of course, and as often as you can get away with. And with any luck, Ohio's 20 electoral votes will drag Obama over the finish line, and then we can get the New World Order up and running.

Now that we've done away with residency requirements in the state of Ohio, why stop there? Why not stop disenfranchising convicted felons? For that matter, why not broom the outdated custom of American citizenship? Maybe we could finally make the rest of the world love us if we gave other countries some say in who gets to be President.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time to Water the Garden with Champagne?

Remember this scene from Casablanca? Rick Blaine, Ilsa Lund and Sam the piano man are at La Belle Aurore, drinking champagne on the eve of the Nazi occupation of Paris. "Henri wants us to finish this bottle and then three more," says Rick, recharging their glasses. "Says he'll water his garden with champagne before he'll let the Germans drink it!"

Naturally, this was the first thing that sprang to mind when I read that Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga wants to time his sale to Stephen Ross of the majority share of the team in such a way as to avoid the capital gains tax increase that will certainly follow an Obama victory on Election Day. "He wants to double the capital gains tax, or almost double it," says Huizenga. "I'd rather give it to charity than to him."

The Obama campaign disagrees with Huizenga's allegation, countering that Obama only wants to increase the maximum capital gains rate 33%, not 50%. Rather like telling the traffic cop you were only doing 85, not 100. The salient point is: you were speeding.

And the salient point with Obama: any way you look at it, he's going to raise taxes. His campaign people say so. Shouldn't we believe them?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Democrats: Just What Are You Voting For?

I'm proud of the fact that I stood up early and unequivocally in opposition to Bush's foreign policy (and was the only U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois to do so). That opposition hasn't changed, and I continue to make it a central part of each and every one of my political speeches.

Barack Obama, The Black Commentator, Issue No. 47, June 19, 2003

For the record, I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.

Barack Obama, Windy City Times, February 11, 2004

"It's not 'faith' if you are absolutely certain," Obama said, noting that he didn't believe his lack of "faith" would hurt him a national election. "Evolution is more grounded in my experience than angels."

Interview by David Remnick at the American Magazine Conference, October 23, 2006

I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

Barack Obama, interview with Christianity Today, January 23, 2008

Well, I think that you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective. Answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade. But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something that obviously the country wrestles with.

Barack Obama, Saddleback Civil Forum with Pastor Rich Warren, 18 August 2008, in answer to the question, "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?"

I've got two daughters, nine years old and six years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.

Barack Obama, Town Hall Meeting in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, March 29, 2008

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, a lot like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Barack Obama, San Francisco fundraising function, April 6, 2008

I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

Barack Obama, interview with Charlie Gibson on ABC News, April 16, 2008

You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits, but I hope you don't. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, although I believe you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get here, although I do believe you have that debt. It's because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition.

Barack Obama, Wesleyan Graduation Ceremony, Middletown, Connecticut, May 25, 2008

At a time when our ice caps are melting and our oceans are rising, we need you to help lead a green revolution.


On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes, -- and I see many of them in the audience today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.

Barack Obama, Memorial Day remarks (May 27, 2008)

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.

Joe Biden about Barack Obama, quoted in the New York Observer, February 4, 2007

When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'

Joe Biden, interview with CBS Evening News, September 22, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 26th: St. Quodvultdeus

St. Quodvultdeus, who died around A.D. 450 in Naples, was a friend and correspondent of St. Augustine of Hippo. Invading Arian Vandals under Genseric ejected Quodvultdeus from his See and loaded him and his priests onto rickety ships. Instead of sinking, as his persecutors had hoped, they made it to Naples.

St. Quodvultdeus is well-known for his sermon on the Holy Innocents, which is included in the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Holy Innocents (December 28th).

A tiny Child is born, who is a great King. Wise men are led to Him from afar. They come to adore One who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of One who is born a King, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill Him, though if he would have faith in the Child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.

Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage. To destroy one Child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.

You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers and fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong you own life, though you are seeking to kill Life Himself.

Yet your throne is threatened by the Source of grace -- so small, yet so great -- Who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out His own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God's adopted children.

The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The Christ Child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to Himself. See the kind of kingdom that is His, coming as He did in order to be this kind of King. See how the Deliverer is already working deliverance, the Savior already working salvation.

But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the Child, you are already paying Him homage, and do not know it.

How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Citizenship Question

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
On August 21, 2008, attorney and self-professed Democrat Phillip Berg filed a federal suit in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, seeking the court's declaration that Obama is not eligible to run for President, and an injunction to prevent him from running. The (poorly drafted) complaint alleges that Obama is a citizen of Indonesia and therefore fails to meet the qualifications enumerated in Article II, Section 1 above. It also alleges that Obama committed fraud on the American people by deliberately and knowingly offering himself as a candidate for president despite being unqualified, and by promulgating falsified documents and information about himself. The named defendants -- the Democrat National Committee, B. Hussein Obama, and the Federal Election Commission -- responded by moving to dismiss the action; Obama and the DNC also moved for a protective order to stay discovery during thependency of their motions to dismiss.

Which motion to dismiss has apparently just been granted, on the basis that Phillip Berg lacks standing to challenge Obama's presidential qualifications.

On the question of whether Obama is disqualified from holding highest office in the land in virtue of his citizenship, I can't help wondering: if there really were anything to it, why didn't Hillary blast him out of the water with it?

And suppose Obama wins (which God forbid), and then it turns out that in fact he is not a natural born citizen. Will he be removed from office? or will Article II, Section 1 join the ranks of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and other parts of the Constitution that have become a dead letter?

October 25: St. Crispin's Day

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene 3

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trivial Pursuit

The French National Archive has released footage of an interview of John McCain when he was a prisoner of war by French reporter François Chalais in 1967. During the course of the interview, under the tender auspices of Jane Fonda's pals, the Viet Cong, a bedridden McCain describes how he was shot down, chokes back tears when talking about his family, and sends an emotional message to his wife.

In the midst of all of which, behold the thing that makes the deepest impression on Sky News:

The video portrays the Republican as a hero but the message may be tarnished as he is filmed smoking a cigarette.
You may have a hard time believing what you're seeing, so here it is again:

The video portrays the Republican as a hero but the message may be tarnished as he is filmed smoking a cigarette.
No, it still doesn't seem right. Can it really be? Did cigarettes detract from the heroism of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944? Yet here it is again -- it's inescapable.

The video portrays the Republican as a hero but the message may be tarnished as he is filmed smoking a cigarette.
Apparently, though -- if the Democrat Party is any indication -- this guy's message remains intact, even with the cigarette holder sticking jauntily out of his kisser:

Time to Get Down to Brass Tacks

This is the Battle of Lepanto of 1571, where the Ottoman Turks were decisively defeated by (a) the outnumbered Christian fleet, and (b) the Rosary, thereby saving Christian civilization.

437 years later, we face our own Battle of Lepanto. This time, we will need five things: (1) conservatives showing up to the polls; (2) prayer; (3) more prayer; (4) still more prayer; and (5) yet still more prayer. Time to wear out the rosaries.

Additional suggestion: a novena of the Dominican Litany of the Saints, starting October 27th and ending on Election Day. After all, it is said: "Beware the litanies of the Dominicans!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just How Easy Is the Easy Yoke?

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

What exactly do these verses mean? Did not Christ come to liberate His people from the burdensome ceremonial laws and traditions of men so beloved of the Pharisees? How, then, can the Church be justified in making laws? In Dialogue Concerning Heresies (New York, Scepter Publishers, Inc., 2006, excellent rendition into modern English by Mary Gottschalk), St. Thomas More tackles – and lays flat – these questions. In Sir Thomas’ dialogue with “the messenger” – a young university student sent to him to receive counsel regarding the new religious ideas gripping Europe – he argues as follows (formatting and paragraph breaks are mine, and Scripture citations are omitted):

The laws of Christ’s Church…are made by Him Himself and His Holy Spirit, for the good order of His people; and they are not, in hardness and difficulty of keeping, anything like the laws of Moses. And of that I dare, of necessity, make you yourself the judge. For if you really think about it, I believe that if you were, at this age that you are now, to choose, you would rather be bound to many of the laws of Christ’s Church than to the circumcision one alone.
And as much comfort as we may think Christ called us to, the laws that have been made by His Church are not half as much trouble or difficult to keep as are His own – the ones that He Himself imposes in the Gospel – even if we set aside the [evangelical] counsels. It is, I feel, harder not to swear at all than not to swear falsely; to forbear every angry word than not to kill; to watch and pray continually than to do so on a few designated days.

And then what an anxiety and solicitude there is with the forbearing of every idle word! What a severe threat, from an earthly point of view, for a small matter! Almost never was such a distressing thing said to the Jews by Moses as is said to us by Christ in that statement alone, where he says that on Judgment Day we shall give an account of every idle word. And then what do you say about the forbidding of divorce, and the revoking of liberty to have several wives, where they had the liberty to wed as they pleased if they took a fancy to any that they came across in the war?...
Also, what comfort do you call this, that we are obliged – under pain of perpetual damnation – to suffer whatever kind of affliction and shameful death, whatever kind of martyrdom, for the profession of our faith? Do you believe that these ease-giving words of His easy yoke and light burden were not spoken as much to His Apostles as to you? And yet what ease did He call them to? Did He not call them to watching, fasting, praying, preaching, traveling, hunger, thirst, cold and heat, beatings, scourgings, imprisonment, painful and shameful death?
The easiness of His yoke does not consist in bodily ease, nor does the lightness of His burden consist in the slackening of any bodily pain (unless we are so oblivious that whereas He Himself did not gain Heaven without pain, we expect to get there with play), but it consists in the sweetness of hope, whereby we experience in our pain a pleasant taste of Heaven. This is…not any delivering from the laws of the Church (or from any good civil laws, either) into a sorry liberty of slothful rest. For that would be not an easy yoke, but a pulling of the head out of the yoke. And it would be not a light burden, but all the burden removed, contrary to the words of both Saint Paul and Saint Peter…[who] do command of us obedience to our superiors and rulers, of the one kind and the other, in things not forbidden by God, even if the things are hard and distressing.
Something to think about!

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Beati: The Little Flower's Mother and Father

Louis Martin, a watchmaker, and Marie Zelie Guerin, a lacemaker, met, fell in love, and married in 1858. They had each desired to enter the religious life, but were rejected. Wherein we see the hand of Providence, since if they had succeeded in carrying out their plans, we would be minus one Doctor of the Church, namely, St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In recognition of their own heroic virtue, they were beatified at Lisieux Cathedral on October 19, 2008.

Here is a poem written by St. Thérèse in the summer of 1894, after the death of her father. (Note: on account of Blogger's formatting quirks, I am unable to reproduce the format under which the poem has been published.)

Prayer of a Child of a Saint

Remember that formerly on earth
Your only happiness used to be to love us dearly.
Grant your children’s prayer.
Protect us, deign to bless us still.
Up there you have again found our dear Mother,
Who had gone before you to our Holy Homeland.
Now in Heaven
You both reign.
Watch over us!.....

Remember your beloved Marie,
Your eldest daughter, the dearest to your heart.
Remember that she filled your life
With her love, charm, and happiness…
For God you gave up her sweet presence,
And you blessed the hand that offered suffering to you…
O! your Diamond
Always more sparkling

Remember your fine bright pearl,
Whom you knew as a weak and timid lamb.
See her filled with divine strength
And leading Carmel’s flock.
She has become the Mother of your other children.
O Papa! Come guide her who is so dear to you!...
And without leaving Heaven
Your little Carmel

Remember the ardent prayer
You made for your third child.
God granted it, for on earth she is
Like her sisters, a very brilliant beautiful Lily.
The Visitation hides her from the eyes of the world,
But she loves Jesus, she is flooded with His peace.
Her ardent desires
And all her sighs

Remember your dear Céline,
Who was like an angel from Heaven for you
When a glance from the Divine Face
Came to test you by a glorious choice…..
You reign in Heaven…..her task is complete.
Now she gives her life to Jesus…..
Protect your child
Who repeats so often

Remember your little queen,
The orphan of Bérésina.
Remember her uncertain steps.
It was always your hand that guided her.
O Papa! remember that in the days of her childhood
You wanted to keep her innocence for God alone!...
And her blonde hair
That delighted your eyes

Remember that in the belvedere
You always sat her on your lap,
And then whispering a prayer,
You rocked her with your sweet refrain.
She saw a reflection of Heaven on your face
When your profound look was immersed in space,
And you sang the beauty
Of Eternity

Remember the radiant Sunday
When you pressed her to your paternal heart.
You gave her a little white flower,
Allowing her to fly to Carmel.
O Papa! remember that in her great trials
You gave her proofs of the most sincere love.
In Rome and in Bayeux
You showed her Heaven

Remember that at the Vatican
The Holy Father’s hand rested on your brow,
But you could not understand the mystery
Of the Divine seal imprinted on you…..
Now your children pray to you.
They bless your Cross and your bitter suffering!...
On your glorious brow
Nine Lilies in bloom
Shine in Heaven!!!...

The Orphan of Bérésina

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October 19th: St. Philip Howard

Not a few of Good Queen Bess's favorites came to grievous ends, in one way or another, and for various reasons. Today is the memorial of one of these: St. Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel, who suffered martyrdom in the Tower of London late in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Philip was born in 1557 to Thomas, the 4th Duke of Norfolk and Lady Mary FitzAlan, daughter of the 19th Earl of Arundel. His parents were Protestants, but his mother made her peace with the Church and risked her life hiding priests. At the age of 14, he married Anne Dacre, from whom he was estranged for some years on account of his immorality and dissolution at the court of Queen Elizabeth, which he joined at the age of 18.

But the persecution of Catholic clergy in Elizabethan England had an effect on the young libertine. Present during the trials of priests, including St. Edmund Campion, their faith and perseverance got to the Earl, and worked on him until, in 1584, he reconciled with the Church.

From then on, the world turned against Howard. He planned, with his family, to quietly depart from England in order to be able to practice his faith -- a no-no in those days, especially for a second cousin of the Queen. A servant betrayed him, however, and in April of 1585, he was locked up in the Tower of London. In consequence of the high degree of due process which English Catholics of that time were sedulously afforded, Howard was locked up in the Tower of London, convicted by the Star Chamber of treason, fined £10,000, re-tried in 1488, found guilty of praying for the victory of the Spanish Armada, and sentenced to death.

Philip Howard would never lay his head on the chopping block, like St. Thomas More, or be hanged, drawn and quartered, like St. Edmund Campion. But he would spend a decade in the Tower, where mistreatment would break his health. Through it all, he became known for his courtesy to his cruel jailors, his patience under adversity -- he never knew from one day to the next whether he would be taken out and executed -- and his intense prayer life. He longed to see his wife and son one more time, and petitioned the Queen for permission; but when she offered to grant his request if he would return to Protestantism, he refused. He died October 19, 1495, and was buried in St. Peter ad Vincula, where St. Thomas More was interred.

St. Philip Howard was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI, and canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. He is a patron, among other things, of people in difficult marriages and victims of betrayal. For more about St. Philip Howard, read Cardinal Basil Hume's homily at Arundel Cathedral on the 25th anniversary of the canonization of the 40 Martyrs of England, and the 400th of St. Philip's death.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Host of Golden Daffodils

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

Friday, October 17, 2008

If Obama Wins in November...

...we'll all be reduced to fantasizing along these lines.

As I sat at the Cafe I said to myself,
They may talk as they please about what they call pelf,
They may sneer as they like about eating and drinking,
But help it I cannot, I cannot help thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

I sit at my table en grand seigneur,
And when I have done, throw a crust to the poor;
Not only the pleasure itself of good living,
But also the pleasure of now and then giving:
So pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So pleasant it is to have money.

They may talk as they please about what they call pelf,
And how one ought never to think of one's self,
How pleasures of thought surpass eating and drinking, -
My pleasure of thought is the pleasure of thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

-- Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Better Luck Next Time, Ernie

A little over a year ago, I commented in this space on a lawsuit filed by "the Omaha Maverick," that Mother Jones magazine idol Ernie Chambers, Nebraska state senator and and publicity seeker, against God Almighty. The basis for the lawsuit is all the bad things God purportedly causes to happen in the world, and the ostensible purpose is to point out that everyone should have access to the courts, no matter how frivolous the action.

Now, Douglas County district court judge Marlon Polk has filed Chambers' inane lawsuit in the circular cabinet, where it belongs. "Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant," said Judge Polk in his written opinion, "this action will be dismissed with prejudice [i.e., forever, never to be refiled]." Chambers, said to be an atheist, nevertheless falls back on God's omniscience. "Since God knows everything," says Chambers, "God has notice of this lawsuit." Chambers has 30 days to waste even more of the court's time by appealing.

Ernie Chambers, who was 71 last July, is nearing the end of the average life expectancy for men in the United States. Hopefully, he will straighten up before he is summoned before that Highest Tribunal of all -- from Whose judgment there is no appeal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15th: Global Handwashing Day

Today -- so help me -- is Global Handwashing Day.  Global Handwashing Day is another brain child (along with the Oil for Food Scandal) of the U.N., as part of its observance of the International Year of Sanitation. (Did you know this was the International Year of Sanitation? I didn't know it was the International Year of Sanitation.) It was established by the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (at a cocktail party: "Hey, baby, I'm the president of the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap. Your place or mine?"), and it is part of a campaign to make handwashing with soap not merely a good idea, but an ingrained habit. Says the Official Website of Global Handwashing Day: "The guiding vision of Global Handwashing Day is a local and global culture of handwashing with soap. Although people around the world wash their hands with water, very few wash their hands with soap at the critical occasions."

Is washing our hands with soap a good way to prevent the spread of disease? Sure. That's why mothers are always nagging their kids about washing up and wetting the soap. Should we wash our hands with soap before eating? You bet. Should we wash our hands with soap after going to the bathroom? No doubt about it. Do we like the idea of shaking hands with people who just came out of the can without washing their hands? Decidedly not. Would the world be a better, and perhaps healthier place if more people washed their hands with soap? Very likely it would.

But isn't something like Global Handwashing Day the kind of thing that happens when a gigantic, secular, quasi-governmental bureaucracy takes over functions that used to be performed by private philanthropic concerns, and especially the Church? (Does anybody seriously imagine that missionary nuns and priests running hospitals and orphanages didn't teach people to wash up? Is anybody not willing to bet they promoted washing up even before the connection was made between dirt and disease?) These secular holidays and quasi-religious observances are really poor and indeed laughable substitutes for the things that truly lift people's spirits (and, incidentally, improve their standard of living). And rendering laughable the remedy for a problem tends to have the effect of discrediting that remedy, however good it is. This is why people who don't have a sense of humor should never be in charge of anything that matters.

Quite honestly, whatever the noble intentions of the U.N.'s celebration of washing hands with soap, it is laughable. One of the great supporters of the U.N., Winston Churchill, unquestionably promoted a high degree of regulation of and government interference in private affairs, particularly in his early career. He even declared a War on Lice when he commanded a battallion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers during World War I. Nevertheless, he envisioned the United Nations as a bulwark against aggression and a means of avoiding war. Global Handwashing Day just doesn't call to mind the hopes Churchill invested in the U.N. amid the wreckage of an exhausted, battered and bloodied world in 1945.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So Much For "It's Just a Movie!"

In the age of Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, and an avalanche of preachy left-wing movies, Warner Brothers has suddenly decided it doesn't want to try to influence the outcome of a presidential election. The studio has put the kibosh on promotion of the first DVD release of the 1987 movie The Hanoi Hilton, which features an interview with John McCain about his experiences as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"It's just us trying to be cautious and not affect the election one way or the other," Warner Brothers home entertainment division spokes-person Ronnee Sass claimed laughably. Noting the prevalence and heavy promotion of left-wing movies, conservative filmmaker Lionel Chetwynd, who recorded the McCain interview for the DVD release, comments: "Finding someone in Hollywood who says they don't want to affect the election is like finding a virgin in a brothel."

So Hollywood is afraid a DVD will sway a presidential election toward the Republican candidate. Remember this the next time the purveyors of smut and sleaze tell you movies don't affect people's behavior.

Making the World Safe for Aggression against Women

Isn't it interesting how politicians who claim to oppose war nevertheless frequently support throwing as many people as possible into harm's way -- regardless of their chances for survival? B. Hussein Obama, for example, thinks opposition to the war trumps the national interest, and that we should force our troops to cut and run without having completed their mission. But, although he claims to oppose reinstating the draft, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Obama nevertheless supports (a) making women register for selective service, and (b) sending women into combat.

To deal with the second point first: whereas John McCain supports the Department of Defense's current combat restrictions on women, Obama's campaign has stated that he would consult with military officials in reviewing these restrictions. Read: under Obama's gentle tutelage, women will be swept into combat units.

As for requiring women to register for the draft, Obama bases his reasons for favoring this move upon his colossal ignorance. "There was a time," he claims falsely, "when African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat." [Wikipedia, article on "Military History of African Americans": "There has been no war fought by or within the United States in which African Americans did not participate, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the current wars Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other minor conflicts."] "And yet, when they did, not only did they perform brilliantly, but what also happened is they helped to change America, and they helped to underscore that we're equal. And I think that if women are registered for service -- not necessarily in combat roles [despite statements of his campaign to the contrary], and I don't agree with the draft -- I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they've got obligations to this great country as well as boys do."

Set aside the fact that at their parents' knees, the Obama girls have spent a lifetime being taught that it is the country that owes them, and not the other way around. Once again, genuine respect for women -- of the sort that protects women from mistreatment and harassment and being reduced to a mere statistic -- is to be sacrificed on the altar of "equality," as in numerical parity. Perhaps it would pay to think this thing out, and to ask ourselves some serious questions about the consequences of drafting women and sending them into combat:

-- Is the average woman as physically strong as the average man, and does she possess the same capacity for aggression as the average man?

-- What is to become of the minor children of female draftees?

-- Will it be possible, in combat, to suppress the average man's natural instinct to protect women? What consequences will flow from a man acting upon this instinct? What consequences will flow from the efforts to train this instinct out of men, particularly when they return to civilian life?

-- Will it be possible entirely to suppress sexual attraction between men and women in a confined and highly charged setting? What consequences will flow from introducing this element into combat? Is there a wide margin for error in combat?

-- In parts of the world where women are treated worse than cattle, what is likely to happen to female soldiers or pilots who fall into enemy hands?

All of which goes to show how necessary it is to look below the surface of high-sounding ideas, especially during an election year.

October 14, 1066: The Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings

I'll tell of the Battle of Hastings,
As happened in days long gone by,
When Duke William became King of England,
And 'Arold got shot in the eye.

It were this way - one day in October
The Duke, who were always a toff
Having no battles on at the moment,
Had given his lads a day off.

They'd all taken boats to go fishing,
When some chap in t' Conqueror's ear
Said 'Let's go and put breeze up the Saxons;'
Said Bill - 'By gum, that's an idea.'

Then turning around to his soldiers,
He lifted his big Nonnan voice,
Shouting - 'Hands up who's coming to England.'
That was swank 'cos they hadn't no choice.

They started away about tea-time -
The sea was so calm and so still,
And at quarter to ten the next morning
They arrived at a place called Bexhill.

King 'Arold came up as they landed -
His face full of venom and 'ate -
He said 'lf you've come for Regatta
You've got here just six weeks too late.'

At this William rose, cool but 'aughty,
And said 'Give us none of your cheek;
You'd best have your throne re-upholstered,
I'll be wanting to use it next week.'

When 'Arold heard this 'ere defiance,
With rage he turned purple and blue,
And shouted some rude words in Saxon,
To which William answered - 'And you.'

'Twere a beautiful day for a battle;
The Normans set off with a will,
And when both sides was duly assembled,
They tossed for the top of the hill.

King 'Arold he won the advantage,
On the hill-top he took up his stand,
With his knaves and his cads all around him,
On his 'orse with his 'awk in his 'and.

The Normans had nowt in their favour,
Their chance of a victory seemed small,
For the slope of the field were against them,
And the wind in their faces an' all.

The kick-off were sharp at two-thirty,
And soon as the whistle had went
Both sides started banging each other
'Til the swineherds could hear them in Kent.

The Saxons had best line of forwards,
Well armed both with buckler and sword -
But the Normans had best combination,
And when half-time came neither had scored.

So the Duke called his cohorts together
And said - 'Let's pretend that we're beat,
Once we get Saxons down on the level
We'll cut off their means of retreat.'

So they ran - and the Saxons ran after,
Just exactly as William had planned,
Leaving 'Arold alone on the hill-top
On his 'orse with his 'awk in his 'and.

When the Conqueror saw what had happened,
A bow and an arrow he drew;
He went right up to 'Arold and shot him.
He were off-side, but what could they do?

The Normans turned round in a fury,
And gave back both parry and thrust,
Till the fight were all over bar shouting,
And you couldn't see Saxons for dust.

And after the battle were over
They found 'Arold so stately and grand,
Sitting there with an eye-full of arrow
On his 'orse with his 'awk in his 'and.

Marriott Edgar (1880 - 1951)

Monday, October 13, 2008

No Fool Like an Old Fool

The Media Research Center, Brent Bozell III's media watchdog group, has picked up on a particularly disgraceful story that CBS is touting: a Catholic nun in Rome, age 106, is going to vote for Barack Obama.

In CBS's puff piece video of the interview with Sr. Cecilia Gaudette, the good sister stresses the importance of exercising one's right to vote, notwithstanding that the last ballot she cast was in 1952, when she voted for Dwight Eisenhower. A native of New Hampshire, Sr. Cecilia is voting for B. Hussein Obama on the grounds that he is "a good straight man; good private life, honest and politically able to govern, of course." Sr. Cecilia is said to keep up with events in the States via newspapers and television; perhaps that is how she has managed to overlook Obama's ardent support for infanticide, condemned by the Catholic Church to which she has dedicated her whole life.

So I guess this means that Catholics are now free to disregard the Democrat candidate's support for laws that clear the way for the unrestricted practice of abortion and the killing of babies who survive abortion procedures. After all, Sr. Cecilia, age 106, has done it.

In fact, this development is so convenient as to appear contrived. How well would this story withstand scrutiny, do you think?

H/T Norm De Plume, who brought the story to my attention.

Columbus -- Whoops, I Mean "Indigenous Peoples" -- Day

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus[, dead white Christian male,] sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain [with a mandate to exploit non-Caucasians];
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day[, in violation of OSHA regulations regarding working hours];
He used the stars to find his way.

A compass [an invention of the Sun People, stolen by the Ice People] also helped him know
How to find the way to go.

Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked [the oppressed proletariat] while others [the rich capitalists] snored.

Then the workers went to sleep [in unsanitary and exploitative living conditions];
And others watched the ocean deep.

Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand [and gold and jewels and spices and slaves and sacking and looting and pillaging].

October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew[, flushed with greed and avarice]!

"Indians! Indians!" Columbus cried [in his white male ignorance];
His heart was filled with joyful pride.

But "India" the land was not;
It was the Bahamas[, even though white people have persisted arrogantly in marginalizing the indigenous peoples by calling them "Indians"], and it was hot.

The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice. [And in return, they subjugated the indigenous peoples to the tyranny of Catholicism and infected them with Old World diseases.]

Columbus sailed on to find some gold [that he could steal from the natives]
To bring back home, as he'd been told.

He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain[, exploiting the indigenous peoples and making obscene profits on their backs].

The first American? No, not quite[, being an invader and a usurper].
But Columbus was brave [with all his guns and his ships against the poor defenseless natives], and he was bright [for a bitter Christian who clings to his guns and religion].

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another One in Obama's Camp

The Maximum Leader -- or whichever actor they have playing him these days -- obviously has no confidence in the drive-by media's ability to sway the election in favor of Obama. But he has, for their benefit, diagnosed America's ailment: in his words: "profound racism." A charter member of the Julianne Malveaux Fan Club, Castro -- or his Doppelgänger -- declares that millions of whites "cannot reconcile themselves to the idea that a black person ... could occupy the White House, which is called just that: white."

A distinguished expert in race relations in a country he has seldom visited -- except for purposes of denouncing and insulting her at the United Nations -- Castro solemnly pronounces: it is "a miracle that the Democratic candidate hasn't suffered the same luck as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others who harbored dreams of equality and justice." This from the founder of the Cuban Revolutionary Paradise, where it is a miracle when anyone having the temerity to disagree with El Supremo hasn't suffered the same (or worse) luck as the aforementioned assassinated leaders.

In the same story, AP reports that Castro describes John McCain as "bellicose." Based on this and on the description of Obama as being among those who "harbored dreams of equality and justice," we have the Communist regime of Cuba on record as opposing McCain and supporting Obama in the upcoming election. Shouldn't that tell us everything we need to know about whom to vote for this November?

October 12: Feast of Our Lady of Aparecida

In October of 1717, three Brazilian fishermen were out fishing, in order to supply a banquet the townspeople of Guaratinguetá were giving in honor of a visiting nobleman. Since it was outside the season for finding fish, they prayed to the Immaculate Conception for help.

After many hours of coming up empty, the fishermen were about to give up. They cast in their net one last time and brought up the body of a terra cotta statue. Casting their net again, they brought up the head. They cleaned the statue, which turned out to be an image of the Immaculate Conception. Naming the statue "Our Lady Aparecida" (Our Lady who appeared), the fisherman wrapped it in cloth and cast their nets again. This time, they caught so many fish their boat was in danger of sinking.

The statue came to be associated with many miracles brought about by the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and was an object of veneration. A prayer chapel was built; when that became too small, a church was built on the hill of the Coqueiros, around which a village sprang up. When the crowds outgrew that church, a new and bigger one was built; it was given the title of minor basilica in 1908. An even bigger basilica was begun in the 1950s; today, it is the second largest place of Catholic worship in the world, after St. Peter's, and the largest Marian shrine. Our Lady of Aparecida is the patroness of Brazil.

Pope John Paul II's Prayer to Our Lady of Aparecida

Lady Aparecida, a son of yours who belongs to you unreservedly "totus tuus" called by the mysterious plan of Providence to be the Vicar of your Son on earth, wishes to address you at this moment. He recalls with emotion, because of the brown color of this image of yours, another image of yours, the Black Virgin of Jasna Gora. Mother of God and our Mother, protect the Church, the Pope, the bishops, the priests and all the faithful people; welcome under your protecting mantle men and women religious, families, children, young people, and their educations. Health of the sick and Consoler of the afflicted, comfort those who are suffering in body and soul; be the light of those who are seeking Christ, the Redeemer of all; show all people that you are the Mother of our confidence. Queen of Peace and Mirror of Justice, obtain peace for the world, ensure that Brazil and all countries may have lasting peace, that we will always live together as brothers and sisters and as children of God. Our Lady Aparecida, bless all your sons and daughters who pray and sing to you here and elsewhere. Amen.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

No Business Like Snow Business

Yes, it looked like rain yesterday afternoon, but to my surprise, it was snowing when I left the office in the evening. I ran into somebody who was wearing sandals -- not the happiest footwear in freezing temperatures. At first the snow melted immediately it hit the ground; but after a while, it started to stick and -- as documented by The Redoubtable One -- weigh down tree limbs and other sorts of unprepared flora.

And it seems this is the earliest snowfall in Boise since they started keeping records in 1898. After 40 years, we've broken by two days the former earliest snowfall on record, which was October 12, 1969.

So winter first begins to bite early in the City of Trees.

When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp’d and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marion’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

William Shakespeare, from Love's Labors Lost

I believe Al Gore was just saying something funny about global warming...

Oncoming Election, Part II

Ha-haaaaaaaah, just cancelled out somebody's Obama vote!

Yes, although I love the civic ritual of traveling out to the polling place and punching the card (we have that, and not the lever-pull system in Idaho), this time I voted absentee, lest the pressures of work conspire against me on Election Day.

And hopefully, all you conservatives out there will also vote in this critical election. Just because we didn't get the pick of the litter as our nominee is no excuse for sitting this one out. We found out eight years ago the liberals are prepared to propel the country into a constitutional crisis just to get back into the White House; just because they didn't make it then, doesn't mean they won't try it again. We can expect to see convicted felons, non-citizens, dogs, children and dead people turning up at the polling places this November. That means every conservative vote counts. Staying home on Election Day is the same as voting for Obama.

The party that places its own interests above those of the nation must not be allowed to win. So go out there and vote!

(Unless you're a liberal, in which case, by all means, stay at home.)

UPDATE: Houston, Texas: 4,000 dead people are discovered on the voter rolls. Kansas City, Missouri: election officials receive a huge wodge of voter registration forms from ACORN, many of which are turning out to be fraudulent. Cleveland, Ohio: ACORN bribes 19-year-old Freddie Johnson into registering to vote 72 times.

Friday, October 10, 2008


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis Carroll (1871)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

October 9th: (Hopefully, Before Too Much Longer) The Future Feast of Pius XII

The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the very foundation of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world.

Rabbi Isaac Herzog, chief rabbi, British Mandate of Palestine, March 1945

Apparently, they have forgotten -- or at least some of them have -- and this within living memory of those times. Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, chief rabbi of Haifa, addressing Pope Benedict and the Vatican Synod of Bishops Monday, stated that the Jews "cannot forgive and forget" the silence of major religious leaders in the face of the slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust.

After learning that Pope Benedict XVI would celebrate a Mass today in honor of the 50th anniversary of Pius XII's death, the rabbi vouchsafed to reporters the news that he would probably not have accepted an invitation to address the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican if he had known Pius XII would be so honored. "He may have helped in secrecy many of the victims and many of the refugees," said Cohen, "but the question is could he have raised his voice and would it have helped or not? We, as the victims, feel yes. I am not empowered by the families of the millions of deceased to say 'we forget, we forgive.'" In a stunning act of disloyalty to the truth, Cohen went on to dismiss, on political grounds, mountains of historical evidence on Pope Pius' wartime activities: "I have to make it very clear that we, the rabbis, the leadership of the Jewish people, cannot as long as the survivors still feel painful agree that this leader of the Church in a time of crisis should be honored now. It is not our decision. It pains us. We are sorry it is being done." Then, having rendered judgment at length, Cohen went on to depart from logic, saying that only God knows if Pope Pius spoke out enough against the Holocaust: "God is the judge...He knows the truth" about Pope Pius XII.

The same Pius XII who, as Rabbi David Dalin demonstrates in his excellent book The Myth of Hitler's Pope, personally intervened to save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews, opening cloisters and the Vatican and even Castel Gandolfo to refugees; personally intervening to halt the deportation of Jews out of Hungary and Slovakia; and contributing unstintingly to relief efforts. The same Pius XII who calmly confronted Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop with a list of Nazi atrocities in Poland during a personal audience. The same Pius XII who, as Cardinal Pacelli, helped author the anti-Nazi encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge during the reign of his immediate predecessor, Pius XI. The same Pius XII whom Hitler plotted to kidnap in 1943. The same Pius XII who -- again as Cardinal Pacelli -- the Nazis mocked in the press (as witness the cartoon pictured above).

Fortunately, Pope Benedict responded strongly to this insulting and absurd attack on his wartime predecessor. In his homily today, Pope Benedict spoke of the love of Pope Pius, "a love made manifest in the intensity with which he promoted works of charity in defense of the persecuted, with no distinction of religion, ethnicity, nationality or political views. ... How can we forget his radio message of Christmas 1942? His voice breaking with emotion, he deplored the situation of 'the hundreds of thousands of people who, with no individual blame, are sometimes, because of their nationality or race, destined for death or progressive exploitation', a clear allusion to the deportations and extermination being perpetrated against the Jews." He also expressed support for the late Pope's journey to sainthood, praying that the cause for his beatification would proceed favorably.

Rabbi Cohen, who is eighty, is old enough both to remember the days of Pius XII and to know better than to place himself at odds with the truth, as witnessed by many of his most prominent co-religionists (source: Dr. Joseph L. Lichten, A Question of Judgment: Pius XII and the Jews, 1963, available online in its entirety):

-- Rabbi Elio Toaff, later Chief Rabbi of Rome, on the Pope's death:
More than anyone else, we have had the opportunity to appreciate the great kindness, filled with compassion and magnanimity, that the Pope displayed during the terrible years of persecution and terror, when it seemed that there was no hope left for us.
-- Golda Meir, on the Pope's death:
We share the grief of the world over the death of His Holiness Pius XII. During a generation of wars and dissensions, he affirmed the high ideals of peace and compassion. During the ten years of Nazi terror, when our people went through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and to commiserate with their victims. The life of our time has been enriched by a voice which expressed the great moral truths above the tumults of daily conflicts. We grieve over the loss of a great defender of peace.
--Nahum Goldmann, President, World Jewish Congress, on the Pope's death:
With special gratitude we remember all he has done for the persecuted Jews during one of the darkest periods in their entire history.
-- Rabbi Safran of Bucharest, in a letter to the Papal Nuncio in 1944:
In these harsh times our thoughts turn more than ever with respectful gratitude to what has been accomplished by the Sovereign Pontiff on behalf of Jews in general and by Your Excellency on behalf of the Jews of Romania and Transnistria. In the most difficult hours which we Jews of Romania have passed through, the generous assistance of the Holy See, carried out by the intermediary of your high person, was decisive and salutary. It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme Pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews, sufferings which had been pointed out to him by you after your visit to Transnistria. The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance.
It is quite unfortunate that these historic facts would be forgotten, and within the space of a generation. It is unfortunate that certain prominent men continue publicly to trumpet the lies, even after they have been blasted out of the water. But that Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen refuses to take his place among such illustrious witnesses as these is more of a loss to him than to them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oncoming Election

Ever have one of those dreams where you're in the path of an oncoming train, but you can't move?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

So There!

The Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) was born in France, and became a naturalized British citizen in 1902. He was known as a formidable debater and a staunch defender of the faith. He was also known for being uncompromising in his beliefs -- not to be confused with being pig-headed -- and for bluntness and straightforwardness of language that would, in our present sissified age, be referred to as "politically incorrect."

In 1906, he stood for election to the House of Commons as the Liberal candidate for Salford South. During a campaign speech, he responded to some anti-Catholic hecklers as follows:
Gentlemen, I am a Catholic. As far as possible I go to Mass every day. This [pulling out a rosary] is a rosary. As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads every day. If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative.
A hush fell over the crowd. Then thunderous applause. Belloc won the election, and served as a member of Parliament until 1910.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Rode Hard and Put Away Wet

Ronnie Wood, Rolling Stones guitarist: the unhappy effect of decades of rocking, rolling, partying and hard living. But 20-year-old cocktail waitress Katia Ivanova is as undeterred by this as she is by either his age -- three times hers -- or the fact that he is a married man. Ivanova is shacking up with the (not-so-gracefully) aging rock star, who just recently checked out of alcohol rehab, and has undoubtedly providing him with moral support during his divorce negotiations.
None of which pleases in the least degree her grandmother, Lyudmila Ivanova, 75, a retired chemical worker who lives in the former Soviet republic of Khazakhstan. The elder Ivanova does not appeal to the moral offensiveness of her granddaughter's actions, or the ultimate disaster the girl is courting. Still, in an age in which all kinds of sick and bizarre arrangements are not only tolerated but celebrated, her bluntness about both the present situation and the direction in which it appears to be headed is itself a news item.

"To me this is pure idiocy. She should get her head screwed on," says Mrs. Ivanova via London's Daily Mail. "Don't marry the old fool....[T]o me he's an ugly creature. He's simply disgusting." Assessing Wood's intentions toward her granddaughter, she states: "If Katia asked me for some advice, I'd tell her he's obviously using you to make himself believe he's still potent at his age. But looking at him, do you think he's got anything potent there? When I first saw him on TV, I was so horrified I nearly fell off my chair." Furthermore, Wood is old enough to know better. "She was only a teenager when they met. Ronnie should have been wise and understood she was far too young."

Indeed. Let's hope against hope that both parties listen to Mrs. Ivanova's wise counsel and put the kibosh on the stupidity before it's too late.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

October 5: Bl. Bartholomew Longo, OPL

Most people who keep track of these things know that today is the Feast of St. Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy through whom we have been given the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It is also the memorial of Bl. Raymond of Capua, Dominican priest, spiritual director of St. Catherine of Siena and Master-General of the Order of Preachers during the late 14th century.

But there is another and quite interesting personage whose memorial is also celebrated today. Venerated by Pope Paul VI in 1975 and beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II, Bartholomew Longo led a roller-coaster of a spiritual life. Having started as a devout, Rosary-praying child, he grew up to become a lawyer; in his life beyond his practice, he slid from general dissolution into the occult. From there, he sank into out-and-out Satanism, even becoming a Satanist priest. He eventually emerged from the abyss and attained to heights of sanctity as a Dominican Tertiary.

Read his fascinating story here and here.

Prayer for the Intercession of Bl. Bartholomew Longo
(Who, By the Way, Could Use a Miracle for Canonization)

All-powerful and merciful God, in Blessed Bartolo, a promoter of the rosary of the Blessed Virgin, you showed a wonderful example of holiness and of charity for needy children and orphans. Through his prayers may we learn to see Christ your Son in our neighbors and to love him through them. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, October 03, 2008

St. Thomas More Goes on Trial -- Again

I have just had brought to my attention the news of what sounds like a first-rate conference on that Roaring Lion of Two-Fisted Cool, St. Thomas More. On November 7-8, the University of Dallas will host "Thomas More on Trial: Law and Conscience in More's Last Letters and Trial Accounts," put on by the Center for Thomas More Studies. The conference will feature a number of distinguished jurists and scholars, who will give talks on the great saint's prison writings, review the legal and procedural issues in his trial, and discuss whether his judges did their duty by the law at the time or gave in to political pressures. There will also be a dramatic reading of his trial, based on newly-translated official texts.

If you can make it to Dallas on November 7-8, don't miss this event. The Center's assistant director also asks for a novena to St. Thomas More for the success of the conference.

(And you should pray to St. Thomas More anyway, just because.)

PODCAST ALERT: Plus: better get these while they're hot -- they're only going to be available for a month!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

October 2: Feast of the Guardian Angels

For those of you who are skeptical about guardian angels, I give you Psalm 91:11-12:
For He will give His angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
And then there is Matthew 18:10:
See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.
And if you have a problem with people addressing themselves to the angels, consider Psalm 103 in which, if you pray it, you do just that in verses 20-21:
Bless the LORD, O you His angels, you mighty ones who do His word, hearkening to the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all His hosts, His ministers that do His will!
If you object to the idea of taking counsel with the angels, then consider Exodus 23:20-22 -- which also tells us Whom it is we are really taking counsel with:
Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Give heed to him and hearken to his voice, do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him. But if you hearken attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
And so, herewith:

The Litany of the Guardian Angel

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us.
Holy Angel, my Guardian...
Holy Angel, my Protector in all dangers...
Holy Angel, my Defense in all afflictions...
Holy Angel, my most faithful Lover...
Holy Angel, my Preceptor...
Holy Angel, my Guide...
Holy Angel, Witness of all my actions...
Holy Angel, my Helper in all my difficulties...
Holy Angel, my Negotiator with God...
Holy Angel, my Advocate...
Holy Angel, lover of Chastity...
Holy Angel, lover of Innocence...
Holy Angel most obedient to God...
Holy Angel, Director of my soul...
Holy Angel, model of Purity...
Holy Angel, model of Docility...
Holy Angel, my Counselor in doubt...
Holy Angel, my Guardian through life...
Holy Angel, my shield at the hour of Death...

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Let Us Pray.

O God, Who with unspeakable providence vouchsafe to send Thy Angels to be our Guardians, mercifully grant, that we, Thy supplicants, may be always defended by their protection and enjoy their eternal society, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, world without end. Amen.

Angel of God, my Guardian Dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule, and to guide. Amen.