Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Passing Scene: 2016

6: My friend Gary Reedy loses his battle with cancer.
7: A gunman claiming allegiance to ISIS shoots and wounds a Philadelphia police officer.
15: My mother, Judi Moore, dies.
22-24: A Category 5 blizzard pounds the mid-Atlantic and northeast states, killing 55 people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, and doing as much as $3 billion in damage.
28: The World Health Organization announces the zika outbreak.

Deaths: David Bowie; Alan Rickman; Rene Angelil; Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane); Glenn Frey; Abe Vigoda; Florence King; Dan Haggerty; Pat Harrington (One Day at a Time).


6: A 6.5 earthquake strikes Taiwan, killing 117 people.
23: Plans are announced to close Guantanamo Bay's detention center in Cuba.
29: A 14-year-old opens fire in a school cafeteria in Madison Township, Ohio, wounding four students.

Deaths: Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire); Antonin Scalia; George Gaynes; Boutros Boutros-Ghali; Umberto Eco; Harper Lee; George Kennedy; Charlie Tuna; Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14 astronaut); Vanity; George Gaynes; Sonny James.


1: The first case of zika in the United States is confirmed.
22: ISIS claims responsibility for a series of explosions that kill 34 and wound another 170 at Brussells Airport in Belgium.
23: Denver receives 19.5 inches of snow in a blizzard that leaves 100,000 people without power and forces the closure of the Denver International Airport.

Deaths: Nancy Reagan; Larry Drake; Garry Shandling; Patty Duke; Frank Sinatra, Jr.; Steve Young; Joe Santos; Lester Thurow; Mother Angelica; Toni Grant; Ronnie Corbett; Joey Feek; Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer); Joe Garagiola; Erik Bauersfeld (Star Wars, Admiral Ackbar).


1: Beginning of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
3: An Amtrak train derails in Chester, Pennsylvania, killing two track workers and injuring 35.
8: The disastrous Amoris Laetitia is published.
14: The first of two major earthquakes strikes Kumamoto City, Japan, killing 50 and doing up to $7.5 billion in damage.
16: A magnitude 7.8 earthquake strikes Ecuador, killing 673.
20: It is announced that Harriet Tubman will occupy the place on the American $20 bill formerly held by Andrew Jackson.
21: Queen Elizabeth II turns 90.

Deaths: Merle Haggard; Doris Roberts; Prince.


3: Donald Trump is projected the winner of the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
9: Mercury transits the sun; the phenomenon is visible from the Americas.
11: Same-sex "marriage" becomes legal in Italy.
13: The U.S. Department of Education tells school districts to let transgenders use opposite-sex bathrooms.
24: A Pennsylvania court finds probable cause on felony indecent assault charges against Bill Cosby.
26: Archaeologists announce the discovery of a tomb at Stagira, Greece, believed to be that of Aristotle.
28: Cinncinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe is shot to save the life of a little boy who had found his way inside the gorilla's enclosure and was under attack.

Deaths: Madeleine Lebeau ("Yvonne" in Casablanca, last surviving credited cast member); Bob Bennett; John Bradshaw (the "inner child" guy); Morley Safer; Burt Kwouk; Nancy Dow; Jan Crouch (heavily-made-up televangelist); Alan Young (Mr. Ed).


6: Hillary Clinton is projected the winner of the Democrat nomination for President of the United States.
9: California's "right to die" law takes effect.
12: Terrorist attack at the Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, claims the lives of 49 and wounds 53; the shooter, who claimed allegiance to ISIS, was shot dead by police.
23: Brexit: the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.

Deaths: Theresa Saldana; Ronnie Claire Edwards; Anton Yelchin; Ralph Stanley (the Stanley Brothers); Barbara Goldsmith; Muhammad Ali.


5: The FBI "clears" Hillary Clinton regarding Emailgate.
7: Shooter ambushes nine Dallas, Texas police officers, killing five; the shooter himself is killed by an explosive deployed by a police robot.
14: A terrorist deliberately plows a cargo truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing 86 and injuring hundreds more.  The perp was killed by police.  ISIL claimed responsibility days later.
15: Donald Trump names Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate on the Republican ticket.
17: Six Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers are shot, three fatally, by a gunman who is himself killed by SWAT team officers.
22: Hillary Clinton names Tim Kaine as her running mate on the Democrat ticket.
26: Fr. Jacques Hamel, aged 85, is murdered by two Islamist terrorists while celebrating Mass at his parish in Normandy.

Deaths: Elie Wiesel; Noel Neill; Garry Marshall; "Miss Cleo" (fake Jamaican phone psychic).


5-21: The Summer Olympics in Rio.  Simone Biles leaves the Games as America's most decorated gymnast, with four gold medals and one bronze medal.
24: A magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes central Italy, killing hundreds.

Deaths: David Huddleston; Barry Jenner (Admiral Ross on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine); Glenn Yarbrough; Kenny Baker (R2D2); Fyvush Finkel; John McLaughlin; Jack Riley; Steven Hill; Gene Wilder.


3: Oklahoma's strongest recorded earthquake strikes the city of Pawnee at a magnitude of 5.8. 
4: Mother Teresa of Calcutta is raised to sainthood.
10: John Hinckley, Jr., who tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981, is released from a psychiatric hospital.
17-19: Three terrorist bombings rock Seaside Park, New Jersey, Manhattan and Elizabeth, New Jersey.  No one is killed, but 35 are injured.
30: Alabama chief justice Roy Moore is suspended for judicial ethics violations for telling other judges to ignore the Obergefehl ruling.

Deaths: Phyllis Schlafly; Arnold Palmer; Shimon Peres; John Hostetter; Hugh O'Brian; Fr. Gabriel Amorth; Edward Albee; Charmian Carr.


2: Vin Scully closes out a 66-year career as the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
8: Three Palm Springs, California police officers are shot, two fatally, by a gunman who is later apprehended with body armor and heavy weaponry.
10: Deadly Hurricane Matthew finally dissipates.
13: Bob Dylan is awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.  Also: King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, dies after reigning for 70 years and 126 days.
14: The United States embargo on Cuba is partly lifted.

Deaths: Jacob Neusner; Jack Chick; Tom Hayden; Bobby Vee; Tammy Grimes.


2: Police officers in Urbandale and Des Moines, Iowa are ambushed and killed.
8: 2016 election: Donald Trump beats Hillary Clinton.  The GOP takes the House, the Senate, the majority of state governorships and many local offices.
21: A school bus carrying 37 children in Chattanooga, Tennessee, overturned and wrapped around a tree, killing six children and injuring 11 more.
22: Terrorists ignite wildfires in Israel, resulting in the evacuation of tens of thousands, especially in the city of Haifa.
24: Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, fronts a recount effort in several states where Hillary Clinton lost.
28: A Muslim Somali refugee launches a car-ramming and stabbing attack at Ohio State University, wounding 13 before being taken out by police.  Also: Out-of-control wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park cause the evacuation of downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and result in 14 deaths; two juveniles will be arrested and charged with aggravated arson.
30: Donald Trump enters into a deal with Carrier Corporation to keep in Indiana more than a thousand jobs that were slated to be moved to Mexico.

Deaths: Holly Dunn; Gwen Ifill; Leon Russell; Robert Vaughn; Leonard Cohen; Janet Reno; Florence Henderson; Ron Glass; Fidel Castro; Grant Tinker; Fritz Weaver; Alice Drummond.


2: Fire breaks out at a rave party in a converted warehouse in Oakland, California, killing 36.
9: Kirk Douglas celebrates his 100th birthday.
11: St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is bombed, killing 25 and wounding dozens more.
12: President-elect Donald Trump suggests that the "One China" policy will become a bargaining chip in trade relations with China, causing a bad case of the vapors in liberals.  Also: the EU normalizes relations with Cuba.
19: A Turkish policeman assassinates the Russian ambassador to Turkey during an event at an art gallery.  Also: despite a leftist campaign of harassment, threats and intimidation, the Electoral College votes in Donald Trump per the November 8th election results.  Also: a Muslim terrorist drives a hijacked truck through a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12, including the murdered driver of the truck.  The terrorist is later shot by police in Milan, Italy.
21: In an ominous harbinger of global warming, the Sahara Desert gets its first snowfall in 37 years.
23: The United States abstains in a vote which passed U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning Israel's settlement activities in territories claimed by the Palestinians.
29: In retaliation for the Russians having allegedly hacked the election, Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats.  Putin laughs.

Deaths: Don Calfa; John Glenn; Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer); Zsa Zsa Gabor; Henry Heimlich (inventor of the Heimlich maneuver); Bernard Fox; Alan Thicke; George Michael; Carrie Fisher; Debbie Reynolds; Richard Adams (author, Watership Down); Joseph Mascolo; William Christopher.

Except for the Brexit vote, signaling a thaw in the West's collectivist deep freeze, and the wholesale rejection of the Marxist ideologues that have run the United States for the past eight years, 2016 was a very, very rough year.  May 2017 contain fewer tragedies and more Brexit moments.

Friday, December 09, 2016

REPOST: December 9th: St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

In 1474, Cuauhtlatoatzin ("Talking Eagle") was born a member of the Chichimeca people and a subject of the Aztecs in what is now part of Mexico City, during an epoch that was destined very soon to end. When he was 18, Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. By the time he was 47, Spain had conquered the advanced yet blood-soaked Aztec Empire. However, within a decade, the Indians were laboring under crushing oppression at the hands of corrupt Spanish officials. The first Bishop of Mexico, the Franciscan Juan de Zumárraga, struggled vainly to defend his new spiritual charges, who were close to rebellion. The harried bishop begged the Blessed Mother for her aid.

It was in this turbulent time, less than five years after the conquest of the Aztecs, that the Talking Eagle encountered the religion of the Spaniards. Even as a pagan, he appears to have led a life of penance and contemplation that no doubt laid the groundwork for what was to come to him in later life. The Talking Eagle became one of the earliest indigenous converts to the Catholic faith, accepting Baptism together with his wife and taking the name of Juan Diego in about 1524. Every Saturday and Sunday, a barefoot Juan Diego walked 14 miles to Tenochtitlan to attend Mass and receive religious instruction. After the death of his wife in 1529, Juan Diego moved in with an uncle, Juan Bernardino, which left him with only nine miles to travel to pursue his faith.

It was during one of these journeys in 1531 that the veil between heaven and earth was drawn aside for the humble farmer and mat-weaver. The 16th-century native scholar Antonio Valeriano describes what happened on that day in the Nahuatl-language Nican Mopohua (1556), the oldest and most authoritative account of the Guadalupe apparitions:
On a Saturday just before dawn, he was on his way to pursue divine worship and to engage in his own errands. As he reached the base of the hill known as Tepeyac, came the break of day, and he heard singing atop the hill, resembling singing of varied beautiful birds.

Occasionally the voices of the songsters would cease, and it appeared as if the mount responded. The song, very mellow and delightful, excelled that of the coyoltototl and the tzinizcan and of other pretty singing birds. Juan Diego stopped to look and said to himself: “By fortune, am I worthy of what I hear? Maybe I dream? Am I awakening? Where am I? Perhaps I am now in the terrestrial paradise which our elders had told us about? Perhaps I am now in heaven?” He was looking toward the east, on top of the mound, from whence came the precious celestial chant; and then it suddenly ceased and there was silence. He then heard a voice from above the mount saying to him: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” Then he ventured and went to where he was called. He was not frightened in the least; on the contrary, overjoyed.

Then he climbed the hill, to see from were he was being called. When he reached the summit, he saw a Lady, who was standing there and told him to come hither. Approaching her presence, he marveled greatly at her superhuman grandeur; her garments were shining like the sun; the cliff where she rested her feet, pierced with glitter, resembling an anklet of precious stones, and the earth sparkled like the rainbow. The mezquites, nopales, and other different weeds, which grow there, appeared like emeralds, their foliage like turquoise, and their branches and thorns glistened like gold. He bowed before her and herd her word, tender and courteous, like someone who charms and steems you highly.

She said: “Juanito, the most humble of my sons, where are you going?” He replied: “My Lady and Child, I have to reach your church in Mexico, Tlatilolco, to pursue things divine, taught and given to us by our priests, delegates of Our Lord.” She then spoke to him: “Know and understand well, you the most humble of my sons, that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.”

At this point he bowed before her and said: “My Lady, I am going to comply with your mandate; now I must part from you, I, your humble servant.” Then he descended to go to comply with the errand, and went by the avenue which runs directly into Mexico City.
To Juan Diego's great disappointment, Bishop Zumárraga, who had kept him waiting a very long time before granting him an audience, would not believe him. Dejected, he went back to the Lady on Tepeyac Hill and told her how he had been rebuffed. "For which I exceedingly beg, Lady and my Child," he said,
that you entrust the delivery of your message to someone of importance, well known, respected, and esteemed, so that they may believe in him; because I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf, and you, my Child, the least of my children, my Lady, you send me to a place where I never visit nor repose. Please excuse the great unpleasantness and let not fretfulness befall, my Lady and my All.
However, the Lady insisted that this important mission was for Juan Diego alone, and ordered him to go back and try again. He obeyed, and this time the bishop questioned him closely regarding what he had seen and heard, and told him to ask the Lady for a sign. When he returned to Tepeyac Hill after this second interview, the Lady told him to come back the next day, and then he would receive the sign that would convince the bishop to comply with her request.

But in the meantime, Juan Diego's uncle, Bernardino, became so ill that his life was despaired of, and Bernardino sent his nephew to fetch a priest. Knowing that the Lady would be waiting for him on Tepeyac Hill, Juan Diego avoided the place so that he would not be diverted from his urgent errand. But the Lady accosted him and asked him where he was going. When he told her, she said:
Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my embrace? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. Be assured that he is now cured.
She then told Juan Diego to climb to the top of the hill, where he found a variety of choice Castillian roses growing out of season and on a barren patch of land. He gathered them and brought them back to the Lady, who arranged them herself in his frail cactus-fiber tilma and told him to present them to the bishop. When, after yet another long wait, he finally saw the bishop, he unfolded the tilma, and the roses fell out; and as the roses scattered on the floor, the image of Our Lady as Juan Diego had seen her on Tepeyac Hill appeared on the tilma. This put an end to Bishop Zumárraga's doubts and convinced him that this was Our Lady's answer to his prayers.

In obedience to the Blessed Mother's request, a shrine was built at the foot of Tepeyac Hill, and the miraculous tilma was housed in the chapel. Juan Diego gave everything he owned to his uncle -- who had indeed been cured and had also seen the Lady at the very moment she told his nephew about his cure -- and moved into a small dwelling at the shrine, devoting himself to prayer, virtue, and the care of the shrine and the pilgrims who came to visit it. He received the then-extraordinary privilege of receiving Holy Communion three times a week, and died in the odor of sanctity on May 30, 1548 at the age of 74. Meanwhile, by means of the miraculous image -- not to mention the humility and obedience of her servant, Juan Diego -- the Blessed Mother won millions of souls for the Church, and averted the bloody rebellion that had loomed on the horizon in Mexico.

A footnote. Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen was a great devotee of the Blessed Mother, and remarked that he prayed for the following intentions regarding his death: (1) that he "drop dead" at the age of 80; (2) that he die on a Saturday in honor of Our Lady, or (3) that he die on one of her feast days. In fact, he died in 1979 at the age of 84; on a Sunday; and not on a feast of Our Lady. He was disappointed on every count.

Or was he? The date of Fulton Sheen's death -- December 9th -- was the anniversary of the first apparition on Tepeyac Hill, and is now the feast of St. Juan Diego, whom Pope John Paul II canonized at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2002.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

REPOST: Mary, Conceived Without Sin, You DID Know

Raise your hand if you have ever heard the song "Mary, Did You Know?" within the precincts of a Catholic church.  I can't see you, but I know you're out there.  My hand is also up.  Somehow, because this song mentions the Mother of God, it has become a Christmas tradition in some parishes.  But although the gentleman who wrote "Mary, Did You Know?" clearly means well, this song is both musically inappropriate for Mass and subversive of the Catholic faith.

From a musical standpoint, "Mary, Did You Know?" is basically a pop song, and although the Mass has been saturated with such for a couple of generations now, the fact remains that it is not sacred music suited for use at Mass.  But even more objectionable, from the Catholic point of view, is the lyrical content.  

"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.  But even without such an understanding, 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.  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.  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 see that "Mary, Did You Know?" remains unheard in our parishes during this and every Christmas season.

REPOST: Potuit, Decuit, ergo Fecit: Why the Immaculate Conception Must Be True

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

Once in a while, a comment comes along that deserves a post-length response.  Here, from a self-professed ex-Catholic turned non-denominational, is one that just came in on my post about the appalling song "Mary, Did You Know?":
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.

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 whatever is fitting, we may be sure that He will do.

God can do the impossible 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?  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, 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?   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!

H/T Canterbury Tales

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

75 December 7ths Ago: Pearl Harbor

Franklin Roosevelt's address to Congress on December 8, 1941, asking for a declaration of war against Japan in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.