The next time I hear someone say "science rules" or "science wins" I'm going to barf.



Our hope has received a necessary pruning. It is being cut back to what makes it authentically Christian and not worldly. The difficulties afflicting the Church challenge us to hope differently, not on worldly considerations but on the Lord.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
These are words of true hope. Not of the fleeting, worldly hope that we Americans like – the hope that promises a quick fix. Not that false hope but the hope that sees difficulties and cutbacks as within God’s Providence and therefore ordered to our good. In short, we hope not because of a rosy outlook, because we are popular or accepted, or at ease, but because of Him.
Hope is found in a pruned branch, in what is negligible and seemingly lifeless. This is our Lord’s preferred way of doing things. Next Sunday we will hear that a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse. (Is 11:1) Note that: not from Jesse’s tree in full bloom, but from the stump, from what looks like it cannot grow at all, never mind bear fruit.


What to do?

Not sure, but to start...

Pray for the victims of these horrific crimes,  pray for justice, pray for good will, pray for civility.  Pray for our country.


Another great one leaves us

Rest in Peace, Father Schall

You will be missed.

In perhaps a strange way, the loss of a great person can cause one's soul to overflow with gratitude.


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