Deaths: Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers); Tanya Roberts; Gregory Sierra; Tommy Lasorda; Phil Spector; Don Sutton; Hank Aaron; Hal Holbrook; Larry King; Bruce Kirby; Cloris Leachman.
Friday, December 31, 2021
Deaths: Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers); Tanya Roberts; Gregory Sierra; Tommy Lasorda; Phil Spector; Don Sutton; Hank Aaron; Hal Holbrook; Larry King; Bruce Kirby; Cloris Leachman.
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Friday, December 17, 2021
Would we even be talking about this if the 2013 papal conclave had given us another Gregory the Great? Somehow I doubt it. But the 2013 conclave did not give us another Gregory the Great, and so here we are, talking about this.
There is no specific required form for a papal abdication. It should therefore be sufficient for the Pope to make clear his intention. Did Pope Benedict sufficiently express the intent to abdicate?
From the Declaratio of Pope Benedict addressed to the consistory of February 11, 2013:
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
The intent to abdicate the throne of Peter, such that a conclave must be convened to elect a new Pope, seems pretty clearly stated.
From the last General Audience of Pope Benedict, St. Peter's Square, February 27, 2013:
I ask you to remember me in prayer before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so weighty a task, and for the new Successor of the Apostle Peter: may the Lord accompany him with the light and strength of his Spirit....
...I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope....
Yes, elsewhere in this General Audience he talks about sorta kinda not completely divorcing himself from the papacy, possibly pursuant to some modernism-tainted notions about the papacy; but he pretty clearly refers here to a conclave to choose a new Pope, and he refers also to the new Pope, who obviously will not be himself. There is really no other way to interpret this.
And, the killa dilla, from the Farewell Address of Pope Benedict to the Cardinals, February 28, 2013:
Before I say goodbye to each one of you personally, I would like to tell you that I shall continue to be close to you with my prayers, especially in these coming days, that you may be completely docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new pope. May the Lord show you the one whom he wants. And among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is also the future pope to whom today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For this reason, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart to you the Apostolic Blessing.
So here, Pope Benedict refers to:
- The upcoming conclave;
- The election of a new Pope, not himself;
- The future Pope, not himself;
- The reverence and obedience that he promises to the future new Pope -- obedience that Benedict would not owe to any man if he were to continue as Pope.
By this series of outward signs, spread out over a period of weeks, the reasonable conclusion would seem to be that Pope Benedict XVI validly abdicated. At that point, a conclave was convoked, which conclave elected Jorge Bergoglio, whom the Church peacefully, if apprehensively, accepted as the new Pontiff, and there have been no other serious claimants to the Throne of Peter since then.
Could I be wrong about this? Of course. I can even sympathize with the desire to look upon Pope Francis as an antipope, because that would certainly make him a lot easier to cope with. But (a) I am going by the evidence as it stands right now, guided by common sense, and (b) I do not have the ability to pass a final judgment on this issue anyway, so (c) God is not going to send me to hell for being wrong on this if I am wrong, which means (d) nobody has the right to tell me I am blaspheming for refusing to accept the contrary.
There is another possibility, namely, that Pope Francis was validly elected but forfeited his office due to heresy and schism. A number of theologians, including saints, have speculated about this possibility, but the Church has never defined what is to be done in this situation. All we can say for certain is that, beyond doubling down on prayer and penance, this problem lies far beyond the competency of Joe Pewsitter to deal with. A future Pope will have to tackle this.
So yes, I am afraid things really have gotten that bad in the Church, that such a man as we now have on the Throne of Peter could actually be the true Pope. The reality is that he is a typical cleric of his generation; and once we raised up such a generation, it was only ever a question of time before we got one like him as Pope. So we have to hold fast to the promises of our Lord, and remember that, however close to the abyss the Holy Ghost may allow the Church to teeter, He will never let her fall in.
Wednesday, December 08, 2021
A self-professed ex-Catholic turned non-denominational once commented on this blog:
Mary had to have sinned. She called Jesus "my Savior" and what is Jesus the Savior for? Sinners. She had sinned. And there is no biblical evidence for her having no sin.
God can do the impossible (as distinct from the absurd) more rapidly and easily than we can blink our eyes or draw a breath. It was perfectly within His power to preserve Mary free from the taint of sin from the instant of her Conception. This singular privilege of His grace was purchased for her by the limitless merits of Christ's suffering and death on the Cross. God, not bound by the constraints of time or space, was perfectly capable of applying these merits beforehand and granting this privilege in advance of the Crucifixion. Thus God really was Mary's Savior, and did not need her to sin in order to be her Savior: His intervention to prevent her from receiving the taint of sin that she would otherwise have contracted as a descendant of Adam was also a salvific act. Have you never been prevented from committing sins, by being deprived of means or opportunity, or because you have never experienced the temptation to commit particular sins? These are also interventions of God's grace. So you should know from experience that God saves us, not only by forgiving sins we have actually committed, but also by preventing us from committing sins we would otherwise have committed, perhaps to our eternal ruin. Why, then, should it be so hard to accept that God, out of the abyss of His goodness and mercy, could exercise His infinite power to prevent the Mother of His Son from being tainted by the least stain of iniquity from the very instant she began to exist?
It is altogether fitting that God should preserve Mary inviolate and immaculate from the first instant of her life. God always gives us the grace we need to do the work He gives us: the greater the work, the greater the grace given to carry it out. Was ever a more important mission given to a mere human being than that entrusted to Mary? To fulfill it, she had to be able to give herself completely and unreservedly to God at every instant of her life, which she could not do if she were hobbled by sin. It was her task to supply the matter out of which the all-holy Son of God would take flesh, to bear Him in her womb, to nurse Him and to rear Him to manhood, and to share in her soul in the agonies of His Passion. This touches on a point raised by my correspondent in a follow-up comment:
Here my correspondent, though off the rails in the implications for the importance of Jesus, hits on an important truth. Mary did in fact suffer with her divine Son in her soul, more than any other human being could have. The saints (e.g., St. Alphonsus Liguori) are of the opinion that her sufferings were greater than that of all other men who have ever lived or will ever live put together, and that only a miracle kept her from dying of grief. This is why Catholics honor her under the titles of Mother of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs: only her Son's sufferings exceeded hers. When she presented her Son in the Temple, holy Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her soul, that out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed (Luke 2:35). It makes sense that she should bear so great a share in her Son's Passion: not only was she his loving mother; she was also fully aware that He was God, and therefore of the horrible outrage that He should be murdered by His own creatures. Moreover, would it have been possible for her to suffer entirely for his sake and not at all for her own if she herself had had a share in the sins that caused Him to be nailed to the Cross? Still, this share of hers in Christ's suffering does not in any way diminish Him. Jesus was the perfect Sacrifice not only because He was without blemish, but because He was God. Mankind had outraged the infinite God, and therefore it would take infinite merits to repair the outrage; these could only be offered by the Son of God.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.
If you do not accept the Immaculate Conception, then I am bound to ask you why you would want the Mother of God to have been a sinner. Is this not tantamount to wanting an unworthy vessel for the Incarnate God? Is it also not tantamount to hoping that there is no creature capable, within the limits of creatures, of giving God a worthy return of gratitude for mankind's redemption? How can you say you love God if you want His Mother to have been at any time under the dominion of satan? Does it make sense for the woman entrusted with bearing and caring for and suffering alongside the Son of God to have spent even a single instant under the dominion of hell? No: especially when you consider that the Woman of Genesis 3:15, between whom and the serpent God put enmity is none other than the Mother of God, and her Seed is none other than Jesus Christ:
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.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.
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!
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.
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.
Tuesday, December 07, 2021
Friday, November 19, 2021
It is joy to the just to do judgment: and dread to them that work iniquity. Proverbs. 21:15
Thank God Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted. I was getting worried there for a while as the jury's deliberations dragged on. Lengthy deliberations are not necessarily a good sign. Lengthy deliberations can mean the jury is talking itself out of reasonable doubt. But, in this case, it all worked out. The jury reached exactly the right result, even in the face of political pressure and apparent intimidation tactics. Not only Kyle Rittenhouse, but the entire right of self-defense, and the right to keep and bear arms, is vindicated. This is critical in a world where government entities are increasingly turning against their own citizens, both by interfering directly with their lives and their rights, and by allowing others to do so with impunity, like what happened last year in Kenosha.
As a criminal defense attorney, I can honestly say that a case of self-defense doesn't get any cleaner than this one. Rittenhouse pretty obviously used only that force that was absolutely necessary, only when it became absolutely necessary, and only against those who actually threatened him with deadly force. In short, he did everything right all the way down the line. In fact, he went above and beyond by trying to retreat, in a state where he had no legal duty to retreat. I would love for a case of mine to have facts like Rittenhouse had in his -- except, of course, that, as long as there are honest prosecutors, I will never have such a case, because honest prosecutors would not move on it.
Even for those who attempt to shift the focus onto issues not relevant to self-defense, there is no peg in this case on which to hang their hats. The "white supremacist" angle is a non-starter: all the people Rittenhouse shot in self-defense were white, and there is no evidence that he is a "white supremacist." The suggestion that Rittenhouse traveled "across state lines" for the purpose of insinuating himself into something that didn't concern him is a non-starter: Rittenhouse had substantial and significant ties to Kenosha and only lived about 20 miles away. The suggestion that Rittenhouse was a hot-dog gun-slinger looking to mix it up with political opponents and make himself feel important is unsupported by the facts, especially his obvious and video-taped self-restraint; in fact, his repeated attempts to flee to the police proves that he made every effort not to shoot people. Not one of these issues has anything to do with whether or not Rittenhouse was threatened with death or great bodily harm, and if so, whether his response was proportionate to the threat.
As far as the preposterous gun charge goes -- the one the judge threw out before the case went to the jury -- the legality of Rittenhouse's rifle is a matter of simple mathematics. The Wisconsin statute that makes it a misdemeanor for a minor to carry a deadly weapon applies in the case of short-barreled rifles, defined as having a barrel less than 16 inches long or an overall length of less than 26 inches (Wisc. Stat. §§ 941.28, 948.60). The prosecution had to admit to the court that Rittenhouse's rifle did not meet the definition of a short-barreled rifle. Why, then, was this obviously inapplicable charge thrown into the mix? I cannot read the minds of the prosecutors. But such a charge makes sense as a rallying point for yet another irrelevant controversy, namely, the question of what a seventeen-year-old kid was doing on the scene in the first place -- a question that never got asked about the people burning down Kenosha, some of whom apparently had farther to travel to get there than Rittenhouse did.
The state's whole case against Kyle Rittenhouse seems to be based on the premise that a claim of self-defense is legitimate only in a situation where you wait until it is too late to actually defend yourself, or where you are not defending yourself against woke criminals. It illustrates the perversity of a system that (a) allows rioters to destroy a city with impunity; and then, having created this deadly state of affairs, (b) sets its sights on a person who clearly exercises his legitimate right of self-defense against these rioters, and (c) and props the rest of us up to sympathize with the rioters who unjustly attacked him. Justice prevailed today for Kyle Rittenhouse.
But there is still more that needs to be done. The surviving attackers of Rittenhouse, as well as all the other arsonists and looters that took away the peace of Kenosha and the livelihoods of innocent people, ought to stand trial, as Rittenhouse should not have had to do. All the government officials who let all this happen should be out of a job and never allowed to hold public office again. And all the media types and liberal politicians who spent the last year defaming Kyle Rittenhouse should be sued into bankruptcy.
In short, it is the destroyers of society who should be made to live in fear, not the honest citizens like Kyle Rittenhouse.
Thursday, November 11, 2021
This remarkable recording is not an actual sound recording of the end of World War I, but a modern interpretation of actual data collected during the last minutes of the war using a technique called "sound ranging." Sound ranging was a crude sort of direction-finding technology used to triangulate the location of enemy artillery by producing a visual record of sound intensity on photographic film. Someone operating one of these sound ranging systems thought to make a record of the cease-fire and preserve it for posterity. Today this piece of film is in the custody of the British Imperial War Museum. In 2018, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice, the Museum commissioned a sound production company to make a recording based on the data on the film.
Between the crosses row on row,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Saturday, November 06, 2021
Ann Barnhardt, whom I have criticized in this space for her crusade against Pope Francis as the true Pope, has made a really good point about masking: if masking really protects people from disease, why no masks around AIDS patients? Today we are being told that we must mask up to protect Grandma and her compromised immune system (by the same liberals who think that same Grandma should have a "right" to be euthanized). Yet during the height of the AIDS crisis, we were never taught to mask up to protect AIDS patients who, as Ann points out, basically had no immune system at all and were apt to die of infections from microbes that people carry around on themselves harmlessly as a matter of course. It pays to reflect on these two crises, AIDS and the coronavirus, and how their different tactics reveal the same underlying long-term objectives.
I was in early adolescence about the time AIDS first appeared on the scene forty years ago, and it was much on everyone's minds during my high school and college years. Seeing the pictures of Princess Diana holding hands with emaciated AIDS patients brings back memories of the fact that at that time, not only were there no face muzzles around these patients, but we were all encouraged to touch them, shake their hands, get into close physical proximity, so that they wouldn't feel like lepers (and also, incidentally, to signal our own high virtue). I don't remember ever hearing a syllable about transmitting diseases to people suffering from the lack of an immune system; back then, if anybody had suggested masking, it probably would have been laughed off by Anthony Fauci -- who was around at the time, pushing AZT -- just as he laughed it off at the beginning of the present crisis before deciding we need to wear TWO masks. Looking back, protecting the well-being of AIDS patients or potential AIDS patients cannot have really been the point anyway. The soothing reassurances came alongside threats, particularly in the attempt to convince the public that persons not engaged in particular risky behaviors were just as likely to catch it as those who were. There was never any talk about discouraging the risky behaviors, as there should have been if there was really a serious desire to save lives; instead, the focus was on making the risky behaviors somehow less risky so that people could go on engaging in them without fear, and on discrediting those who believed AIDS was a divine retribution for the risky behaviors. Both the bromides and the fear-mongering were aimed at the same objective: not the promotion of health, but to fend off the stigmas that would otherwise attach to either the risky behaviors or their practitioners. For people who like to run other people's lives, there is no benefit to having the Great Unwashed be freed from slavery to sin.
The tactics of today's crisis propagandists have changed, but, like the propagandists of yesteryear, their strategic objective also has nothing to do with promoting health. Now the idea is precisely to stigmatize both the risky behavior and those who practice it, with "risky behavior" being re-defined to mean living your life, going about your daily business and being sociable. Now we need to treat each other as plague carriers, stay home, avoid human contact, live in fear, dry up the milk of human kindness, submit to an experimental vaccine on pain of losing our jobs, crash the economy, jump through all sorts of illegitimate hoops to manage our private affairs, and even stifle our oxygen intake and surrender our unique identities and personalities in the name of "saving lives" against a disease with a survival rate of nearly 100%. Today's intended leper class is not AIDS patients, but people who won't take the shots whose inefficacy is at once publicly admitted and downplayed. As depression, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse, addiction and financial ruin mount, together with the erosion of our traditional rights and freedoms, it becomes clearer and clearer that the "solutions" to the corona problem are worse than the problem itself. For people who like to run other people's lives, there is no benefit to having the Great Unwashed be free to live their lives and fulfill the purposes for which they were made without interference. If it is not the goal of our ruling classes to destroy society in the name of "building back better," it is hard to imagine what they would do differently if it were.
Underneath both the AIDS crisis and the coronapanic is a sinister agenda, on the altar of which the real lives of flesh-and-blood human beings must be sacrificed, whether by keeping them enslaved to their vices or by choking off their ability to engage in their legitimate and lawful pursuits. Ultimately the agenda is pure destruction and ruination. The people who serve this agenda are, at best, either grossly incompetent or completely deluded as to the abyss from whence this agenda came.
Monday, October 11, 2021
I really do sympathize with the sentiment behind the outpouring of a particular anti-Joe-Biden expletive slogan at rallies and sporting events. And I cannot truthfully declare myself innocent of having ever uttered that particular expletive myself.
But: this is one time I am really glad we have come up with a euphemism for an expression of strongly-felt indignation. Nearly 11 years ago, I gave my opinion in this space about the advisability of drafting vulgarity as a servant of the common good, and I haven't changed my thinking on this. It is the liberals who set out to destroy manners and decorum, and we shouldn't be helping them with that. I understand how the people feel who fly "F*** Joe Biden" flags from their houses or their pickups, but I really don't think we make the world a better place by making public obscenity ever more acceptable. It's precisely in this way that we coarsen our sensibilities even more, until, before we know it, we won't be able to pick up on even the grossest evils.
"Let's Go Brandon," on the other hand, not only captures the sentiment behind the nasty flags and T-shirts without actually being nasty; it also has the secondary advantage of accurately targeting the media types who are trying to cover up the very real and mounting ire in the country over what Biden and his handlers are doing to us. It is therefore even better than the original.
And it's a chorus I can join. Let's go Brandon!
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Saturday, October 09, 2021
As the preposterously-named "Synod on Synodality" opens, and our shepherds embark on an orgy of intellectual onanism while the Church burns, let us commemorate the one bright spot in another idiotic Synod that took place two years ago this month: