Supreme Supreme

"Kavanaugh would be less receptive to abortion and gay rights than Kennedy was."

- The Associated Press

This literally has nothing to do with the function of the supreme court.  The court is not a legislative body.  Justices aren't supposed to discover rights in the constitution that aren't explicitly enumerated there.


"Not all possess the radical readiness to change"

Now this radical readiness to change, the necessary condition for a transformation in Christ, is not actually possessed by all Catholic believers.  It is, rather, a distinctive trait of those who have grasped the full import of the Call, and without reserve have decided upon an imitation of Christ.  
There are many religious Catholics whose readiness to change is merely a conditional one.  They exert themselves to keep the commandments and to get rid of such qualities as they have recognized as sinful.  But they lack the will and the readiness to become new men all in all, to break with all purely natural standards, to view all things in a supernatural light.  They prefer to evade the act of metanoia: a true conversion of the heart.  Hence with undisturbed consciences they cling to all that appears to them legitimate by natural standards.
Their conscience permits them to remain entrenched in their self-assertion.  For example, they do not feel the obligation of loving their enemies; they let their pride have its way within certain limits; they insist on the right of giving play to their natural reactions in answer to any humiliation.  They maintain as self-evident their claim to the world's respect, they dread being looked upon as fools of Christ; they accord a certain role to human respect, and area anxious to stand justified in the eyes of the world also.  
They are not ready for a total breach with the world and its standards; they are swayed by certain conventional considerations; nor do they refrain from letting themselves go within reasonable limits.  There are various types and degrees of this reserved form of the readiness to change; but common to them all is the characteristic of a merely conditional obedience to the Call and an ultimate abiding by one's natural self.  However great the differences of degree may be, the decisive cleavage is that which separates the unreserved, radical readiness to change from the somehow limited and partial.
Dietrech Von Hildebrand
Transformation in Christ, Chapter 1, pp.8


Disney's only story

My son is watching Lilo and Stitch 2 so I figured I'd take a look at what FOCUS ON THE FAMILY says about the movie.  They make an interesting point here:

conclusion: Last summer I spoke with Disney producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Beauty and the Beast) about his studio’s habit of turning its main characters into orphans. He said, "By not having a complete family, it represents a catalyst or a dramatic turning point that forces the character to grow up. . . . It’s that crossroads where we all have to decide if we’re going to mature or remain a kid forever. And the thing that gets that going in many of our stories is the absence of a parent or the death of a parent." He’s right, but it’s an overused device. Once again, audiences’ heartstrings are yanked with gusto when they learn that this poor little Hawaiian girl just recently lost her parents in a fatal car accident. It may serve the story. It may even lift the spirits of a child who has faced similar tragedy and realizes that they, too, can overcome desperate sadness and loss. But I’ve often wondered about the cumulative effect of these films on non-orphaned Disney fans, and whether they fear for Mom and Dad’s safety. Over time, they’re exposed to an inflated mortality rate that could create anxiety in some 5-year-olds, leading the most pragmatic tots to quote AFLAC commercials at the dinner table.


RIP Walter Becker (1/2 of Steely Dan)

A retrospective here

I love Steely Dan.  Sad to hear he is gone.


St. John of The Cross

"Silence is God's first language"

- Looking for the source

Bishop Barron applies to the liturgy in a recent article:
Silence, accordingly, tended to be construed as the enemy, for it would lull the people into inattention and boredom. Hardly anyone in the post-conciliar liturgical establishment appreciated that silence could be a sign of heightened, even enraptured, attention on the part of the congregation, a deeply contemplative entry into the mystery of the Mass. And what several decades of this in turn has produced, especially among the young today, is the impression that the Mass is a sort of religiously-themed jamboree, during which our fellowship is celebrated and at which lots and lots of sound is indispensable. I will confess that during many years as a priest, and now as a bishop, I have often wondered whether our hyper-stimulated congregations know exactly what they are participating in. They know that they are active, but active precisely in what?




 Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”


Why does Congress accept perpetual wars?

Read Andrew Bacevich to understand the depth of the disservice our national press/media does to our country. 
This congressional irresponsibility was on display earlier this month, when Gen. John W. Nicholson, U.S. Army, traveled from his headquarters in Kabul to provide senators with a progress report on the Afghanistan War. Such briefings have become a fixture on Washington’s official calendar. By my count, Nicholson is the 12th American officer to be charged with running that war since it began in 2001. He will not be the last. 
In his appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Nicholson came across as brisk and no-nonsense, if also stiff and humorless. Yet the proceedings in which he played a central role had the feel of a ritual that continues to be performed long after participants had lost sight of its original purpose or rationale. Like Labor Day honoring laborers. Or Christmas commemorating the birth of Christ. 
General Nicholson’s role was to serve as congressional enabler, allowing members of the committee to sustain the pretense that they were doing their duty. He did this by rendering a report that permitted senators to avert their eyes from anything that might require them to critically assess the war’s conduct and prospects.
Words were exchanged, some few actually conveying information. But all participants agreed to steer clear of anything approximating a conclusion. 
As if adhering to a script that had circulated in advance, senators did go through the motions of posing questions. Each in turn thanked Nicholson for his many years of service—to include four tours in Afghanistan—and asked him to pass along their warm regards to the troops. Yet each devoted his or her allotted time to sidestepping core issues.  
No one pressed Nicholson as the responsible commander to say when the Afghanistan War might actually end and on what terms. No one dared to suggest that there might be something fundamentally amiss with an armed conflict that drags on inconclusively from one decade to the next. All took care to tiptoe around anything that might imply dissatisfaction with the performance of the U.S. military. On both sides of the witness table, politeness prevailed.


This Environment

If you were in charge of a nature preserve and you noticed that the pregnant female mammals were trying to miscarry their pregnancies, eating poisonous plants or injuring themselves, what would you do? Would you think of it as a battle between the pregnant female and her unborn and find ways to help those pregnant animals miscarry? No, of course not. You would immediately think, “Something must be really wrong in this environment.” Something is creating intolerable stress, so much so that animals would rather destroy their own offspring than bring them into the world. You would strive to identify and correct whatever factors were causing this stress in the animals.


On Marriage

"What adventure can there be if you must always have all the odds reckoned up?  Who wishes to sail to an unknown island with a calculator?"

- Anthony Esolen


some latin

 “nemo dat quod non habet” (no one gives what he doesn’t have).



Thoughtful explanation of the utility of the Electoral College here.

Read Rod Dreher on "what to make of Steve Bannon".

Learn about how the media influences us at the Federalist.

Or, check out these folks.


Questions for the Pope

These are good yes/no questions for our Pope:
1.    It is asked whether, following the affirmations of "Amoris Laetitia" (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person "more uxorio" (in a marital way) without fulfilling the conditions provided for by "Familiaris Consortio" n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by "Reconciliatio et Paenitentia" n. 34 and "Sacramentum Caritatis" n. 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live "more uxorio"?

2.    After the publication of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

3.    After "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?

4.    After the affirmations of "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

5.    After "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?


The 2016 Presidential Election

On the presidential ballet this November, there is no morally acceptable candidate.  A vote for Hillary or Trump is a vote for a morally unacceptable leader, an assent to the decision of a nation whose capacity for moral (good) decision making is broken.  There is a point, and we have reached it here, when participating in a “lesser of two evils” political calculation is unacceptable.  Good people must unite, and must unite in saying that this is wrong, that this is not good enough.  A vote is always a compromise, but there is a point when the compromises required to vote cause us to abandon fundamental moral commitments.  And abandoning our basic commitments, for whatever perceived political calculus, is anathema to any person of sound conscience, and perhaps more significantly, our democracy.

There is present in the arguments for Trump a fatalism, an assent to the liberal view of government:  a belief that this election and retention of the office of the presidency is all that matters, that it is our best hope for salvaging what is left of Christian culture and law.  But this is untrue.  The presidency is but one office in our republican government.  The president is not yet our King. There are other avenues for enacting good law.  There will be other elections, there will be other presidents.  By abstaining from voting for the office of the president, I will be able to stand before my fellow countrymen and say with total honesty that I rejected the evil choice with which I was presented in the year 2016. 

I encourage all fellow Christians, and men and women of good will, to do the same. 


Trump needs to step down.

Trump needs to step down.  Get out of the race.  Get out of politics, get out of the American public's eye, go away.  Shame on the Republican party and shame on all Trump's supporters.  This man is a national disgrace. 


what this election is about

Over the past half century, the Reagan years notwithstanding, our ruling class’s changing preferences and habits have transformed public and private life in America. As John Marini shows in his essay, “Donald Trump and the American Crisis,” this has resulted in citizens morphing into either this class’s “stakeholders” or its subjects. And, as Publius Decius Mus argues, “America and the West” now are so firmly “on a trajectory toward something very bad” that it is no longer reasonable to hope that “all human outcomes are still possible,” by which he means restoration of the public and private practices that made the American republic. In fact, the 2016 election is sealing the United States’s transition from that republic to some kind of empire.
Electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump cannot change that trajectory. Because each candidate represents constituencies hostile to republicanism, each in its own way, these individuals are not what this election is about. This election is about whether the Democratic Party, the ruling class’s enforcer, will impose its tastes more strongly and arbitrarily than ever, or whether constituencies opposed to that rule will get some ill-defined chance to strike back. Regardless of the election’s outcome, the republic established by America’s Founders is probably gone. But since the Democratic Party’s constituencies differ radically from their opponents’, and since the character of imperial governance depends inherently on the emperor, the election’s result will make a big difference in our lives.
Angelo Codevilla at Claremont


The media is still controlled by progressives

Everyone rightly catalogues Donald Trump’s fibs, distortions, and exaggerations: his assertions about his net worth, his charitable contributions, his initial supposed opposition to the Iraq War, or his “flexible” positions on illegal immigration. After all, he is flamboyant, right-wing in his present incarnation, and supposedly bends the truth either out of crass narcissism or for petty profiteering. So the watchdog media and popular culture have no problem with ridiculing Trump as a fabricator.
But not so with Hillary Clinton, whose untruths far overshadow Trump’s in both import and frequency, but are so often contextualized, excused, and forgotten because of who she is and the purpose her outright lying supposedly serves.  
Lying in America has become not lying when “good” liars advance alternative narratives for noble purposes — part of our long slide into situational ethics and moral relativism.
- Victor Davis Hanson at NRO


Eyes to See

Monsignor Robert Sokolowski, who taught me many years ago at Catholic University, shared an image that has long stayed in my mind. The integrated icon of Christian doctrine, he said, exploided at the time of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, and its charred and distorted fragments have landed here and there, littering the contemporary cultural environment. Accordingly, we are not going to find, at least very often, the whole Catholic thing on beautiful display, but we are indeed going to find bits and pieces of it practically everywhere, provided we have the eyes to see.
- Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture


The Rule of Law is Dead in America

Carly Fiorina describes the situation clearly:
Today, the FBI admitted that Hillary Clinton endangered the American people—and confirmed that the worst things any of us imagined about Hillary’s email server were true.  FBI Director James Comey concluded that Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling our nation’s secrets.
He admitted that no reasonable person could have believed putting these emails on a private server was at all appropriate or acceptable.  He admitted that 110 emails on the server were classified at the time they were sent—showing that Hillary not only lied, but knowingly endangered national security as Secretary of State. He admitted that Hillary deleted work-related emails before turning them over to the State Department, despite her claims otherwise.  And most shocking, Mr. Comey even admitted that it’s likely foreign governments hacked her emails--and that our adversaries could know critical secrets about the U.S. government because of Hillary’s actions.

But when you’re a Clinton, none of this matters. Not when you have the ear of the President, or you can call a secret airport meeting with the Attorney General. Not when you behave as if you’re above the law, and will never be held responsible for your actions.

Mr. Comey admitted that someone caught in a similar situation would “often” be punished. And yet, he announced the FBI would not recommend criminal charges for Hillary Clinton.

It’s not just a miscarriage of justice, but a blow to the very heart of our democracy. This is a shameful day for the rule of law and the security of our nation, no matter what your political beliefs may be. 
The Obama Administration might be circling the wagons, and doing all they can to prop up their corrupt, incompetent, untrustworthy Democratic nominee—but the American people know better.

And if our government won’t make her face consequences, voters will.
Via Facebook


Pray for the victims in Orlando

If you believe prayer is useless, you likely believe statements like the one above are useless as well.

However, if you believe prayer to God is one of the only things that can actually make a difference in the face of such great evil, you'd probably think otherwise.