Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Passing Scene: 2017

1: Terrorist attack at a nightclub in Istanbul leaves 39 people shot dead and 69 wounded.
3: Ford announces it will cancel its plan to build a factory in Mexico and instead will invest in expanding and developing an already-existing factory in Flat Rock, Michigan.
4: A commuter train derails in Brooklyn, New York, injuring 103 people.  Also: Chicago police arrest on hate crime charges four black thugs who tortured a mentally-disabled white man live on Facebook.
6: Shooter opens fire at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida, killing five and wounding six before being taken into custody.
8: A terrorist deliberately runs a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers in East Jerusalem, killing four and wounding 15.
10: Dylann Roof is sentenced to death for the murders of nine people at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015.
11: Donald Trump holds his famous press conference wherein he declines to take questions from a CNN reporter, calling CNN "fake news."
12: Soon-to-be-outgoing President Obama abolishes the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that fast-tracked Cuban refugees for permanent residency.
14: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announces it is shutting down after 146 years.
17: Soon-to-be-outgoing President Obama commutes the 35-year sentence of convicted spy Bradley Edward "Chelsea" Manning to 7 years.  Also: British Prime Minister Theresa May announces the U.K.'s departure from the European Single Market.
20: Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.
23: President Trump withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and reinstates the Mexico City Policy.
24: President Trump approves construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
25: President Trump signs executive orders to build the wall along the U.S. southern border and to defund sanctuary cities.
27: Vice-President Mike Pence addresses the Washington, D.C. March for Life.
28: Pope Francis assumes control over the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which is a sovereign nation.  Also: a federal district judge stays President Trump's Executive Order No. 13769, limiting immigration from seven countries.  Several more district judges in various parts of the country will also stay the order.
30: Sally Yates, acting Attorney General and Obama holdover, is fired for refusing to enforce Executive Order No. 13769.

Deaths: Nat Hentoff; Roy Innis; Steven McDonald (quadriplegic NYPD detective, famous for forgiving the man who shot and wounded him); Dick Gautier; Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka; Eugene Cernan (last man to walk on the moon); Miguel Ferrer; Charles Liteky (one of five priests who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor); John Hurt; Mary Tyler Moore; Mike Connors; Barbara Hale.


3: The U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran in response to the latter's missile tests.  Also: a federal district judge in Seattle blocks enforcement of Executive Order No. 13769.
6: Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to celebrate a sapphire jubilee (65 years).
9: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the district court in re Executive Order No. 13769.
13: Nearly 190,000 people are evacuated due to the threatened failure of the Oroville Dam near Yuba City, California.  Also: Kim Jong-Nam, half-brother of North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-Un, is assassinated in Malaysia by two women using a chemical weapon of mass destruction.
20: Gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos becomes a pariah in the wake of revelations of his thoughts on adult men having sex with adolescent boys.
22: The Trump administration revokes Obama regulations on transgender students in schools.
23: In preparation for building the Dakota Access pipeline, authorities evict protesters from the site, where they have generated tons of garbage and literally turned the area into a toxic waste dump.
24: A white Navy veteran shoots two Indian nationals in Kansas, killing one and wounding the other.  Liberals blame Trump.  Also: Trump bans several main-stream news agencies from a Friday press gaggle at the White House.
25: President Trump announces he will not attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Deaths: George "The Animal" Steele; Al Jarreau; Alan Colmes; Brenda Buttner; Norma McCorvey; Judge Joseph Wapner; Bill Paxton.


1: The Dow-Jones Industrial Average hits an all-time high at more than 21,000 points.
4: President Trump accuses Barack Obama of having wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign.  Amid a blizzard of leaked phone conversations and allegations that Trump is being investigated for ties to Russia, media outlets reporting the story nevertheless hasten to add that he provides "no evidence" to support his claims, and ridicule the notion that he is under scrutiny.
8: Malta's Azure Window collapses in a storm.  Also: Congress mandates that NASA send humans to Mars by 2033.  I have a long list of people who need to go there.
10: Attorney General Jeff Sessions requires the resignations of 46 chief federal prosecutors.  Only liberals are stunned by this.
16: The Brexit Act receives royal assent.
17: Donna Brazile fesses up to helping Hillary Clinton cheat on presidential debates by forwarding her questions in advance.
18: A man who tries to take an assault rifle from a soldier at Orly Airport in Paris is shot dead.
22: A Muslim extremist rams multiple people with a car, killing five -- including an American celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary -- then stabs a police officer to death before being taken out by police.  
23: A Muslim extremist uses a car to try to ram pedestrians in Antwerp before being taken into custody. 
24: Liberals leap for joy as the bill to replace Obamacare is withdrawn before the House vote.  Also: President Trump approves the Keystone XL pipeline.
28: President Trump signs an executive order setting aside Obama-era climate-change regulations.
29: The United Kingdom formally notifies the European Council of her intent to withdraw from the European Union.
30: Donald Harvey, former hospital worker and serial killer known as the "Angel of Death," is found beaten to death in his prison cell in Ohio.
31: The mayor of New York City announces a plan to close the prison at Rikers Island within 10 years.

Deaths: Joni Sledge (founding member, Sister Sledge); Robert James Waller (author, The Bridges of Madison County); Lynn Stewart; Robert Osborne (Turner Classic Movies); Tommy Page; John van de Kamp (fabled L.A. district attorney and California attorney general of yore); Colin Dexter (author, Inspector Morse series); David Rockefeller; Jimmy Breslin; Chuck Berry; Chuck Barris; Lawrence Montaigne; Darlene Cates.


1: Flash flooding and landslides in Mocoa, Putumayo, Colombia, kill hundreds and leave hundreds more injured.

3: A terrorist bombing on a St. Petersburg Metro train in Russia kills 14 and injures 45 others.  A second bomb was found and defused.  Also: former national security adviser Susan Rice is identified as the person responsible for the "unmasking" of Americans, including Trump campaign staffers, whose communications were intercepted incidental to surveillance on foreign nationals.
5: North Korea fires a medium-range ballistic missile in the direction of Japan, landing the missile in the sea 37 miles away.
7: President Trump orders a missile strike against an airbase in Syria in response to an April 4th chemical weapons attack on civilians.  Also: terrorist attack in Stockholm, Sweden, as a hijacked delivery truck is deliberately rammed into civilians in front of a department store, killing 4 and wounding 15.
9: ISIS claims responsibility for two Palm Sunday suicide bombing attacks against Egyptian Coptic churches -- St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria and St. George's in Tanta, resulting in 44 deaths.  Also: in response to North Korean missile testing, the U.S. deploys a navy strike group to the Korean peninsula.  Also: a United Airlines passenger is roughed up and dragged off a plane for refusing to be kicked off to make room for United employees on an overbooked flight.
10: An elementary school teacher's husband shoots her and an eight-year-old student to death, and wounds a nine-year-old, in their classroom; after which the shooter turns the gun on himself.  Also: Judge Neil Gorsuch is sworn in as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
13: The U.S. Air Force uses the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast -- the world's most powerful conventional bomb -- on an ISIS cave complex in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.
16: 74-year-old Robert Godwin of Cleveland, Ohio, was shot to death by a monster who broadcast the murder live on Facebook.  Two days later, the shooter turned the gun on himself while being pursued by police.  Also: Turkey votes to turn itself into a dictatorship.
18: Terrorist attack in Fresno, California, wherein three are shot to death by a man yelling "Allahu akbar!", before being captured by police.  Also: In a surprise announcement, and contrary to earlier statements, Prime Minister Theresa May of the U.K. calls a general election for June 8th.  The House of Commons will overwhelmingly approve the snap election the next day.
19: Bill O'Reilly is fired from Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations.  Also: Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots player and convicted murderer, is found hanged in his prison cell.
20: A Muslim terrorist opens fire on three policeman on the Champs Elysees in Paris, killing one, before being taken out himself.
21: Researchers discover a parchment manuscript of the Declaration of Independence in a record office in Chichester, England.
25: A U.S. federal district court judge rules that President Trump's executive order withholding federal funding from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional, despite the illegality of sanctuary cities
27: President Trump announces his intent to renegotiate NAFTA.
29: Another failed Nork missile launch.  Also: President Trump holds a rally in Pennsylvania instead of attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Deaths: Tim Pigott-Smith; Don Rickles; Emma Morano (oldest living person and last living person born before 1900); Clifton James; J. Geils; Dorothy Mengering (David Letterman's mother, often appeared on his show); Cuba Gooding, Sr.; Erin Moran; Kate O'Beirne.


3: Puerto Rico files for "local government bankruptcy.
4: Announcement of Prince Phillip's forthcoming retirement from public duties.
6: 82 out of 220 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok, Nigeria in 2014 are released.
7: Emmanuel Macron is elected President of France.
9: President Trump finally fires James Comey as head of the FBI.
13: Pope Francis canonizes Bl. Jacinta and Francisco Marto of Fatima, making them the youngest non-martyred saints in history.
17: Convicted spy Bradley Edward Manning, who now calls himself Chelsea Manning, is released from prison pursuant to outgoing President Obama's commutation of his sentence.
18: A car crashes into pedestrians in Times Square, killing one and wounding 20 others.  This time it does not appear to be an act of jihad.
19: Anthony "Carlos Danger" Wiener pleads guilty to sexting with a minor.
20: President Trump lands in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of his first foreign trip as president.
21: The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to an end after 146 years.
22: A jihadist suicide bomber sets himself off at a concert in Manchester, England, killing 22, mostly women and girls.
23: President Duterte of the Philippines declares martial law on the island of Mindanao in response to Islamist clashes with the army in Marawi.
24: An apparent jihadist bombing attack takes place in a bus terminal in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing three policemen.
25: Republican Greg Gianforte handily wins a special congressional election in Montana, despite an incident that led to his being charged with assault against a reporter for the Guardian.
26: Islamist gunmen shoot to death 28 Coptic Christians on a bus in Minya, Egypt.  Also: a white supremacist shouting racial slurs at a Muslim girl on a train in Portland, Oregon, stabs three people who intervened, killing two.
28: Murder spree, Lincoln County, Mississippi: shooter, who wanted to commit "suicide by cop," kills eight, including a sheriff's deputy, at three houses, before being apprehended.
29: Tiger Woods is arrested for DUI.
30: An ISIS suicide bomber kills 13 outside an ice cream parlor in Baghdad, Iraq.

Deaths: Manuel Noriega; Gregg Allman; Zbigniew Brzezinski; Jared Martin; Peter Lawler; Roger Moore; Dina Merrill; Roger Ailes; Chris Cornell (Soundgarden); Powers Boothe; Clive Brooks (Pink Floyd); Tony Alamo; Archbishop George Niederauer.


1:Donald Trump withdraws the United States from the Paris Accords.  Liberals predict the immanent demise of the planet.
3: Muslim terrorists plow vans into pedestrians on London Bridge, then get out and go on a stabbing spree, killing eight and injuring dozens before armed police take them out.
5: A Muslim terrorist who had been abroad training with terror groups murders a hotel clerk and holds a prostitute hostage in Melbourne, Australia, before being taken out by police.  Also: several Middle Eastern countries cut diplomatic relations with Qatar based on the latter's support for terrorism.
6: A Muslim terrorist launches a hammer attack at Notre Dame in Paris before being shot and wounded by police.
7: ISIS gunmen attack the Iranian parliament and the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum in Teheran, killing 18.
8: Snap election in the United Kingdom results in a hung parliament, with the Tories 12 seats shy of a majority in the House of Commons.  Also: Fired FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate and totally blows to hell the whole Russia collusion meme, confirming that Trump was never under investigation for such collusion.
10: Act! for America stages a March Against Sharia in various cities around the country.
11: Puerto Rico statehood referendum: 23% of eligible voters turned out to vote for statehood.
13: North Korea releases Otto Warmbier, an American prisoner whom they tortured into a year-long coma, shortly before his death.
14: A deranged Bernie Sanders supporter opens fire on Republicans at a congressional baseball practice, injuring four, one critically, before being taken out by the Capitol Police.  Also: the Grenfell Tower apartment complex in West London is destroyed in a fire that killed at least 80 people.  Also: a disgruntled UPS employee in San Francisco murders three co-workers before turning the gun on himself.
16: President Trump reinstates restrictions on travel and trade restrictions with Cuba, reversing Obama's policies.  Also: Amazon buys Whole Foods.
17: The U.S.S. Fitzgerald collides with an alleged merchant ship off the coast of Japan, resulting in the deaths of 7 American sailors.  Also: Bill Cosby's sex abuse trial ends in a hung jury.
19: A van runs over pedestrians outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, killing one and injuring ten.  Also: a car carrying firearms and incendiary devices rams into a police car on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, whereupon the driver -- who was on a security watch list -- is shot dead.
20: A terrorist bomb goes off in Brussels Central Station, resulting in zero casualties, after which police shoot the bomber.
21: A policeman at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan is stabbed in the neck, not fatally, by a suspect yelling "Allahu akbar!"

Deaths: Adam West; Peter Sallis; Bishop David Choby of Nashville; Roger Smith; Rosalie Sorrells; Bill Dana; Stephen Furst; Helmut Kohl; Michael Bond (creator of Paddington Bear); Gary DeCarlo.


3: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is caught appropriating for his own use and that of his family a beach that he had closed to the public.
4: CNN bullies into silence a private citizen who made a video of President Trump throwing to the ground a man with the CNN logo superimposed on his face, after the President posted it on his own Twitter feed.
5: A Vatican priest is arrested in connection with a gay orgy in his apartment.
6: President Trump visits Poland, where the crowds cheer him wildly.
15: 40-year-old Justine Damond of Australia is shot to death by a Somali-born Minneapolis police officer from the passenger seat of his patrol car after she had called 911 to report an assault in the alley behind her house.  The officer had three prior complaints against him within the previous 2 years, and the chief of police afterward resigned at the request of the mayor.
16: Gender ideology strikes Dr. Who as the first female persona is announced.
19: Sen. John McCain of Arizona announces he has brain cancer.
20: O.J. Simpson is granted parole.
21: Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary.
23: Nine illegal immigrants are found dead, with 30 more suffering heat stroke and exhaustion, inside a tractor-trailer parked at a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas.
26: President Trump bans transgenders from the military, across the board.
28: A jihadist knife attack in a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany, leaves one dead and four injured. Also: North Korea launches more missiles that land in the Sea of Japan.  Also: Death of Charlie Gard, a British infant with a rare genetic condition whose parents the British government forbade to take him out of the country for treatment or even home to die.

Deaths: Joachim Cardinal Meisner; Joaquin Navarro-Valls; Martin Landau; Harvey Atkin; Chester Bennington (Stone Temple Pilots); John Heard; June Foray; Sam Shepard.


2: Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, retires from public life at the age of 96.
18: Steve Bannon resigns as White House Chief Strategist.
19: Discovery of the wreck of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, sunk in the Pacific by Japanese submarines in 1945.
21: Total solar eclipse sweeps across the continental United States, the first in nearly 100 years.  Also: Big Ben's four-year silence begins while necessary repairs are carried out.
25: Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Texas.  Also: President Trump pardons Arizona Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio.
30: Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Louisiana.  Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma forms and begins its destructive path across the Caribbean.
31: Video footage is release of the arrest of a nurse in Utah who refused to conduct a warrantless blood draw on an unconscious suspect.

Deaths: Goldy McJohn (Steppenwolf); Ara Parseghian; Glen Campbell; Dick Gregory; Jerry Lewis; Cecil Andrus; Jay Thomas; Richard Anderson.


3:  North Korea tests a hydrogen bomb at its Punggye-Ri Nuclear Test Site.
7: Chiapas, Mexico suffers a magnitude 8.1 earthquake.  Also: Announcement of Equifax data breach.
10: Murder spree, Plano, Texas: shooter kills seven at a house party before being killed himself in a shootout with police.
12: The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the president's right to deny entry of refugees into the United States.  Also: Ed Murray, the mayor of Seattle, resigns amid allegations of sexual abuse of teenagers from the '70s and '80s.
15: North Korea launches a missile over Hokkaido, Japan.  South Korea launches a missile of its own six minutes later.  Also: the space probe Cassini deliberately crashes into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 20-year mission.

Deaths: Shelley Berman; Pete Domenici; Harry Dean Stanton; Bobby "The Brain" Heenan; Jake LaMotta; Liliane Bettancourt; Hugh Heffner; Benjamin Whitrow; Monty Hall.


1: A gunman opens fire on a country music concert from an upper floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, killing 59 and wounding 527.  Also: Knife-wielding jihadist at a train station in Marseilles, France, murders two women.  Also: Catalonia votes to declare itself independent from Spain, despite having been declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court.
6: Governor Moonbeam signs legislation to make California a sanctuary state.  Also: movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's career begins to unravel over sex abuse allegations.  Also: President Trump rescinds by executive order the Obamacare birth control mandate.
10: President Trump declares the northern California wildfires a major disaster.  Also: Governor Moonbeam signs into law a bill that reduces the crime of exposing people to the HIV virus from a felony to a misdemeanor.
26: Thousands of previously secret files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are made public.
31: Terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan as an Uzbek in a rented pickup mows down people on a bike path, killing eight and wounding 11, before he himself is shot and taken into custody.

Deaths: Tom Petty; Trevor Martin; Fats Domino; Bishop Emeritus Michael Driscoll of Boise; Robert Guillaume.


5: A gunman murders 26 in a shooting spree at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
8: Kevin Spacey's career begins to unravel in the wake of sex abuse allegations.
21: Robert Mugabe resigns as President of Zimbabwe.
26: John Conyers becomes the latest to fall amid sex abuse allegations.
30: Man charged with the murder of Kate Steinle is acquitted of murder, although he is convicted of felon in possession of a firearm.  Conservatives do not riot.

Deaths: John Hillerman; Liz Smith; Ann Wedgeworth; Earle Hyman; Charles Manson; Della Reese; Mel Tillis; David Cassidy; Jim Nabors.


1: Emperor Akihito of Japan announces that he will abdicate the throne in April of 2019.
2: Brian Ross of ABC News is suspended for four weeks for an erroneous story on Michael Flynn.  Also: President Trump withdraws the United States from the United Nation's Global Compact on Migration.  Also: NASA successfully fire ups Voyager I's backup maneuvering thrusters for the first time in 37 years, to keep the probe's antenna pointed toward Earth.
4: The U.S. Supreme Court gives the green light to full effect for the Trump "travel ban."  Also: President Trump signs an executive order returning large portions of land designated as federal national monuments back to the state of Utah.
5: Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich.) steps down amid sexual misconduct allegations.  Also: Austria's Constitutional Court legalizes same-sex "marriage."
6: President Trump announces the United States' official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
7: A shooter kills two students at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, before turning the gun on himself.  Also: "comedian" Al Franken announces he will resign from the U.S. Senate "in the coming weeks" amid sexual misconduct allegations.
8: Rep. Trent Franks (R.-Ariz.) announces his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations.
11: Failed terrorist pipe bombing at New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal wounds two plus the bomber.  Also: Democrat Doug Jones beats Republican Roy Moore in Alabama race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.
18: An Amtrak train derails on a freeway overpass near Seattle, Washington, resulting in three deaths and over 100 injuries.  Also: the United States defeats a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a withdrawal of U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
20: President Trump's tax reform bill passes both houses of Congress.
28: 12 die in an apartment building fire in the Bronx. 
29: 9 die in an attack on Coptic Christians in Cairo, Egypt.

Deaths: Bernard Cardinal Law; Christine Keeler; John B. Anderson; Rose Marie; Heather Menzies; March Fong Eu; Sue Grafton.

As the roller coaster ride continues into 2018, let us pray to a merciful God for the undeserved blessings of peace and freedom in our troubled world.

Friday, December 08, 2017

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