20 February 2017

For President's Day: H.L. Mencken on the Gettysburg Address

Since today is President's Day, which began as a celebration of King Lincoln's birthday, I submit this H.L. Mencken commentary on his most famous speech:

Like William Jennings Bryan, he was a dark horse made suddenly formidable by fortunate rhetoric.  The Douglas debate launched him, and the Cooper Union Speech got him the Presidency. His talent for emotional utterance was an accomplishment of late growth. His early speeches were mere empty fire-works—the hollow rhodomontades of the era. But in middle life he purged his style of ornament and it became almost baldly simple—and it is for that simplicity that he is remembered today. The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly.  It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost gem-like perfection—the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Nothing else precisely like it is to be found in the whole range of oratory. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous.


But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it.  Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination—"that government of the people, by the people, for the people," should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.

I Love Stuff Like This, and Hope It's True

Scoffers need not point out things like double hearsay and difficulty in defining fulfillment of the terms.  Got it. Watch anyway. There does seem to be something very interesting developing right in front of us.

Call to Action: State Legislature Considering Bill to Preempt the City's Abortion Sanctuary Law

N.B. Excellent article by Jennifer Brinker in the St. Louis Review on Missouri House Bill 174, which would pre-empt and invalidate the execrable St. Louis City Board Bill 203.

If passed and signed by the Governor, this bill would preempt the "abortion sanctuary" bill passed by the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen (voted for by every Democrat mayoral candidate on the Board) and signed by the anti-Catholic's favorite "Catholic" mayor, Francis "Gay Marriage" Slay.

The bill is sponsored by Tila Hubrecht, and co-sponsored by Bruce De Groot and Hannah Kelly.

We need to follow this bill, support this bill, publicize this bill, call Representatives, Senators and the Governor. This needs to get done.

Contact information can be found in the Review article linked above.

Cardinal Burke Defends Himself as Only a True Salesian Can

In response to the (to my mind, and to the minds of most who have paid attention to the tactics of Francis' cabal of anti-Natural Law clerics and advisors) laughable attempt by the acting FrancisHead of the Order of Condom Knights of Malta to accuse Cardinal Burke of being the one to ask the condom-distributing Grand Chancellor to resign, the good Cardinal called a spade a spade.

He stated that the accusation was flat-out CALUMNY.

But thetimman! Isn't that wrong of Cardinal Burke to say that? Shouldn't a truly holy man bear calumnies without complaint?! Where is the FrancisMercy?

Well, in response, let us consult the Doctor Caritatis, St. Francis de Sales, on this issue (from The Introduction to the Devout Life):


When any evil happens to you, apply whatever remedies you can and do this in a way agreeable to God, since to do otherwise is to tempt God. Having done this, wait with resignation for the results it may please God to send.  If He pleases to let the evil be remedied, thank Him humbly; but if it be His will that the evil grow greater than the remedies, patiently bless His Holy Name.

Follow Saint Gregory’s advice: When you are justly blamed for some fault you have committed, humble yourself deeply, and confess that you deserve the blame. If the accusation be false, defend yourself quietly, denying the fact; this is but due respect for truth and your neighbour’s edification. But if after you have made your true and legitimate defence you are still accused, do not be troubled, and do not try to press your defence—you have had due respect for truth, have the same now for humility. By acting thus you will not infringe either a due care for your good name, or the affection you are bound to entertain for peace, humility and gentleness of heart.

Although such judgment [detraction, rash judgment, calumny) are passed on to us by foolish and stupid people, we must not forsake the path of virtue even if we suffer loss of reputation.

If because of exercise of piety, advancement in devotion, or progress toward heaven men grunble, murmur, and speak ill of us, let us leave them to bay at the moon. If at times they can cast aspersions on our good name and thus cut and shave off the hair and beard of our reputation, it will quickly grow out again. The razor of detraction will be as useful toward our honor as the pruning knife is to the vine, which makes it abound and multiply in fruit.

Let us always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ crucified and go forward in his service with confidence and sincerity but with prudence and discretion. He will protect our reputation. If he permits it to be taken away from us, it will either be to give us a better one or to make us profit by holy humility, of which a single ounce is preferable to a thousand pounds of honor. If we are condemned unjustly, let us calmly oppose truth to calumny. If the calumny continues, let us continue to humble ourselves. By surrendering our reputation together with our soul into God’s hands, we safeguard it in the best way possible.

Nevertheless, I except from this certain crimes so horrid and infamous that no man should put up with being falsely charged with them if he can justly acquit himself of it.


I also except certain persons on whose reputation the edification of many others depends. According to the opinion of theologians, in such cases we must quietly seek reparation of the wrong received.

Certainly, His Eminence is acting justly-- and charitably-- to defend his reputation from the libels of others in this case. Thc crime of calumniating a Prince of the Church, whose character is so linked to the edification of others-- in fact, those many or few who are left to defend Christ's words on Matrimony and Holy Communion-- requires a defence.

Now you know. And of course, I think it is obvious whose word is more worthy of belief in this little stand-off.

And we now return you to patiently awaiting the parousia answering of the dubia.



17 February 2017

Prayer Request from Mother Miriam, O.S.B.

Dear Readers, it was my privilege today to speak with Mother Miriam, Foundress of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope. The interview will be published here by early next week. In our conversation, I learned that Mother's biological sister, Susan, is battling an extremely aggressive cancer. Your prayers for her would be most welcome. As an aside, through God's providence Susan was received into Holy Mother Church last Easter. 

May Our Lord and Lady aid her!

Even If You're 49...

Sometimes I read something so well written and insightful I just have to cut and paste it here. Hilary White posted the following paragraphs (and more), in a recent piece at Orwell's Picnic on her plans to return to Norica:


If you are over 50, you might have experienced this feeling of remoteness from your past. It seems as though we look back and down on a long road, as though we have spent many days climbing a mountain trail. And in some places the trail turns and you can sit down on a stone or a bit of grass and see the way you’ve come, with the place you started perhaps just visible, far off in the misty distance. Then you see this other person, a little dark figure toiling uncertainly up the long way and you can pity that person because you know what lies ahead. But it’s just a phantom, a distant memory.

Converts will recognise this strange feeling of detachment from our past. And the moreso if we are converts not only from secularist modernism to a serious-minded Catholicism, which is rare and alienating enough, but to the far less likely “second conversion” to a realm even further in and higher up, to Traditional Catholicism.

Many who read him wonder how C.S. Lewis could have been so insightful, to so accurately identify human failings. But he answered the question himself, saying that he was a Christian "not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else". In reality, to be a Traditional Catholic is to live every moment of every day in an entirely different country, a dazzlingly illuminated parallel world of meaning, of rationality and coherence that seems to exist slightly out of phase with the rest of the world and from which we watch the world moving farther away every day.

So we have become interior expatriates. And the longer we stay in this realm, the more distant and vague and shadowy the World Outside becomes; the less it has to do with us, the less we can even understand the old language, the old ways of our previous lives. We can remember them, but they are no longer ours.

We converts, we newcomers, stop now and then and wonder how we came into this brilliantly lit place whose walls are clear as windows, pouring light onto the shadowy World Outside. I know people who have lived their whole lives in that bright house and have never known the vast and terrifying gloom outside. But their native language is the one we have had to adopt. This is the value of converts to the Kingdom, since we can remember how we used to think and see and feel. We can, if we try, even still understand and speak the old Black Tongue, and know it when we hear it.

I am often asked, “How did you know so quickly that Bergoglio was going to be such a disaster?” I try not to say the first thought that comes to mind: “How is it that you didn’t?” The moment he walked out onto the loggia, he was sending the signals, his dress, his gestures, his words all speaking the language he intended us to understand; it was as though he was looking straight at us. Those first hours and days he was all but shouting his blasphemous intentions. I have not yet met a Traditionalist Catholic who did not understand him almost immediately. By its light we see everything else.



How did I get here? There is one constant impulse I’ve felt throughout life that I don’t know the origin of, this drive to know what’s really true. The need to know the truth has been a lash prompting this long chase half way around the world. Searching for the One True Thing has been Ariadne’s thread, unwound behind every step through the strange labyrinth of this life. But however strange it seems, here I am and I've had my answers and know what to do.

__________________

A few lines that particularly resonate with me and which I could adopt as my own were I bright enough to write them:

"In reality, to be a Traditional Catholic is to live every moment of every day in an entirely different country, a dazzlingly illuminated parallel world of meaning, of rationality and coherence that seems to exist slightly out of phase with the rest of the world and from which we watch the world moving farther away every day."

"So we have become interior expatriates."

"We [reverts] stop now and then and wonder how we came into this brilliantly lit place whose walls are clear as windows, pouring light onto the shadowy World Outside."

"I am often asked, 'How did you know so quickly that Bergoglio was going to be such a disaster?' I try not to say the first thought that comes to mind: 'How is it that you didn’t?'”

"Searching for the One True Thing has been Ariadne’s thread, unwound behind every step through the strange labyrinth of this life. But however strange it seems, here I am and I've had my answers and know what to do."

__________________

God has a plan for each of us. The Truth is a Person, a Person Who loves us. This Truth founded one Church, the True Church. We are His spouse. The undiscovered country has already been discovered. And when we realize we are strangers here, the impulse to go home can effect its desire.


Thank you, Miss White, for writing it down.

15 February 2017

Mail Bag: Sally Field Edition



One of the best things about blogging is the incredible support I get from all seven readers. And by support, I'm including the wonderful anonymous people who would rather that I die, or develop some dread disease, or shut up through means natural or unnatural.

Some kind readers really want to know if my parents were married when I was born. Others look forward to meeting me juuust at the time the Church, the Mass, and the remnants of Western Civilization are destroyed-- you know, so they can see my face.

If you have read my blog for some years, you know that ordinarily I am defenseless against reverse psychology: anyone who cleverly points out that I won't ever have the nerve to post their wonderful comment (wink, wink) is sure to have it posted.

Some declare delight just knowing that I. Will. Read. This., but never post.

Some are just d*******s. Can I say that on the air?

Far from discouraging me, they keep me going. As one of my many, many daughters might say, "Timmy's loving life!"

And since I'm loving life, I thought I would share just a few of the printable comments I would not normally post, and give their authors a long-sought-for reply. Why? Because everything else is so great these days, I thought I'd be good to these good souls. 

N.B. Spelling and grammar as in the orignal. Enjoy!
____________

"Many of us are gaining great pleasure in watching you, Burke, Trump, and your coterie of philistines twist in the wind." 

--Anonymous

Dear Jorge, 

As you know, I am quite rigid about the need to affix a name to your comment in order to see it posted. So bear that in mind. However, I like your use of the word coterie, and your concept of schadenfreude. Not sure you know what a philistine is, but hey, two out of three ain't bad.

--thetimman
____________

Oh, geez. What's next, are you going to put the back of your hand to your forehead, declare that's all just too much, and faint? Your poor dad. Probably thinking "should have named that boy Nancy."

--Jimmy

Dear Jimmy, 

That's all just too much. How did you know my birth name was Nancy?

-- thetimma.....(faints)
___________

And we should listen to a person who "Reader X could tell stories, no doubt, of the difficulties of getting me to even consider certain facts about the state of things"; So you are open to facts when giving opinions??? I think not, AND this comment will never pass moderation but YOU will see this. The height of ignorance is saying "here's the facts, but people will tell you it's hard to convince me of the facts... what a joke.

--Anonymous

Dear Reader X Anonymous,

I was torn in moderating this comment between enforcing the simple, longstanding rule against posting anonymous comments, and my powerlessness in the face of reverse psychology. As you can see, I really am powerless in the face of reverse psychology. It is nice to hear from about Reader X after his long absence from this space, and I would respond to your comment more fully if I understood it at all. Pax & all the best,

--thetimman
______________

(This last series of comments requires a brief intro.  "Mary", presumably not Our Blessed Mother, wrote several times taking me to task over President Donald J. Trump.)

It's time for you to just SHUT UP. Most of Congress thinks Obama did the right thing. Anything Obama did would be wrong in your mind. If he mandated Catholicism as the state religion and made the Latin Mass the only form of worship, he'd still be wrong. I know now why you hate Lincoln so much. You are a closet racist (perhaps not so closet). Don't even try to pretend otherwise. Don't try to claim that you support states' rights. I know you won't post this, and I don't care. You just need a mirror held up to your prejudiced face. You're only a step away from calling the Obamas gorillas. Also, since when do people like you admire Communists? Oh, of course, it's when the Communist is a white guy and the President is black. Also, it's Trump who's going to start a war with his ill-considered, self-loving tweet-storming. 

--Mary (12/30/16)

Dear Mary,

You make a lot of really great points. Thanks for writing. King Lincoln was white. Obama was born of one white and one black parent. If either of them mandated Catholicism as the state religion, that would be A-OK. It would be even better if either of them would #AnswerTheDubia.

Can't we all get along?

I think the problem might be one of projection-- you charge me with racism, but you are fixated on rejecting the lawfully elected president on the grounds that he's orange. Don't pretend otherwise. I, on the other hand, will continue to fight for the rights of my orange brothers and sisters in the face of your hostility. 

--thetimman
P.S. Still powerless in the face of reverse psychology.
_______________

It won't be long before Donny boy starts a war with Jina. No president has ever let his mouth run like he does.

--Mary (01/16/17)

Mary, 

Inauguration day was the 20th. You wrote this on the 16th. 

--thetimman
_____________

Oh, yes, let's keep out those scary Canadians. Also, Melania was sleeveless. I guess it's OK because she's not Michelle Obama. You disgust me.

--Mary (01/21/17)

Dear Mary, 

You, on the other hand, fascinate me. Peace and Love,

--thetimman


Oh, Boy. Here It Comes.

Steve Skojec asks, "Am I the only one who finds this incredibly suspicious?"

Answer: No.

Let's see. A thought experiment:

1. Send Cardinal Burke to the Knights with a mandate to stop the condom guy. 
2. Serve up Cardinal Burke as having acted without authority. 
3. Take over Knights.
4. Rehire condom guy.
5. Check press find out Cardinal Burke still has many supporters.
6. Send Burke to investigate a sexual abuse claim against the Bishop of Guam because, hey, why not send the Cardinal Patronus of the Knights of Malta to investigate a sexual abuse case against the Bishop? Everybody knows the Cardinal has the complete confidence of the Holy See, and everybody knows how much the Holy See is cracking down on sexual abusers that don't form part of the Pope's inner circle, right?
7. Serve up Cardinal Burke as having mishandled a sexual abuse claim.
8. Take over Malta (see what I did there)?
9. Affirm love for Bishop.
10. Check press to find out if we can finally can Burke for good.

Any questons?

Just one. When will the merciful God relent and have mercy on us? No, we don't deserve it, but please, God, we need it.

14 February 2017

Cardinal Burke at the Priory of Ephesus


From a reader of this blog:


On February 10, 2017, the Feast of Saint Scholastica, Cardinal Burke celebrated Holy Mass at the Priory of Ephesus, the home of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.  Below are some photographs of the visit. While in KC over the weekend, His Eminence also delivered a lecture on Friday to an overflow crowd at Saint James Academy.  On Saturday, the Cardinal celebrated Holy Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Leawood, KS, for the Catholic Medical Association, with Archbishop Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City (KS) and Bishop Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph (MO).

A good time, as ever, to pray for this holy and steadfast shepherd! (click on photos to enlarge):




I Don't Know Why I Don't Read This Every Day

Lenten resolution: return to the basics, courtesy of St. Francis de Sales.  The following excerpt comes from The Introduction to the Devout Life:

____________

Call often to mind that our Saviour redeemed us by bearing and suffering, and in like manner we must seek our own salvation amid sufferings and afflictions; bearing insults, contradictions and troubles with all the gentleness we can possibly command. Do not limit your patience to this or that kind of trial, but extend it universally to whatever God may send, or allow to befall you. Some people will only bear patiently with trials which carry their own salve of dignity,--such as being wounded in battle, becoming a prisoner of war, being ill-used for the sake of their religion, being impoverished by some strife out of which they came triumphant.

Now these persons do not love tribulation, but only the honour which attends it. A really patient servant of God is as ready to bear inglorious troubles as those which are honourable. A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander and false accusation from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience.

[…]

Be patient, not only with respect to the main trials which beset you, but also under the accidental and accessory annoyances which arise out of them. We often find people who imagine themselves ready to accept a trial in itself who are impatient of its consequences. We hear one man say, "I should not mind poverty, were it not that I am unable to bring up my children and receive my friends as handsomely as I desire." And another says, "I should not mind, were it not that the world will suppose it is my own fault;" while another would patiently bear to be the subject of slander provided nobody believed it.

[…]

If any trouble comes upon you, use the remedies with which God supplies you. Not to do this is to tempt Him; but having done so, wait whatever result He wills with perfect resignation. If He pleases to let the evil be remedied, thank Him humbly; but if it be His will that the evil grow greater than the remedies, patiently bless His Holy Name.
Follow Saint Gregory's advice: When you are justly blamed for some fault you have committed, humble yourself deeply, and confess that you deserve the blame.

If the accusation be false, defend yourself quietly, denying the fact; this is but due respect for truth and your neighbour's edification. But if after you have made your true and legitimate defence you are still accused, do not be troubled, and do not try to press your defence--you have had due respect for truth, have the same now for humility. By acting thus you will not infringe either a due care for your good name, or the affection you are bound to entertain for peace, humility and gentleness of heart.

Complain as little as possible of your wrongs, for as a general rule you may be sure that complaining is sin; (3) the rather that self-love always magnifies our injuries: above all, do not complain to people who are easily angered and excited. If it is needful to complain to some one, either as seeking a remedy for your injury, or in order to soothe your mind, let it be to some calm, gentle spirit, greatly filled with the Love of God; for otherwise, instead of relieving your heart, your confidants will only provoke it to still greater disturbance; instead of taking out the thorn which pricks you, they will drive it further into your foot.

[…]

As to the trials which you will encounter in devotion (and they are certain to arise), bear in mind our dear Lord's words: "A woman, when she is in travail, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world." (5) You, too, have conceived in your soul the most gracious of children, even Jesus Christ, and before He can be brought forth you must inevitably travail with pain; but be of good cheer, for when these pangs are over, you will possess an abiding joy, having brought such a man into the world. And He will be really born for you, when He is perfected in your heart by love, and in your actions by imitating His life.

[…]

Gaze often inwardly upon Jesus Christ crucified, naked, blasphemed, falsely accused, forsaken, overwhelmed with every possible grief and sorrow, and remember that none of your sufferings can ever be compared to His, either in kind or degree, and that you can never suffer anything for Him worthy to be weighed against what He has borne for you.

Consider the pains which martyrs have endured, and think how even now many people are bearing afflictions beyond all measure greater than yours, and say, "Of a truth my trouble is comfort, my torments are but roses as compared to those whose life is a continual death, without solace, or aid or consolation, borne down with a weight of grief tenfold greater than mine."