30 June 2009

Franken's Theft Confirmed by the Courts

Say goodbye to the last pretense of democracy in this formerly great nation.

The Communists now have a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Politburo.

Happy Anniversary

To the Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, Canon Michael K. Wiener, pictured above in a pontifical high Mass with then-Cardinal Ratzinger, and also Canon Karl W. Lenhardt, former Rector of the Oratory (Canon Wiener is at right).

Ten years ago today, he was ordained at the hands of the great Archbishop Burke (then- Bishop of La Crosse).

Ad multos annos! We are grateful for your priestly service.

Where Will the Local Leftists Buy the Pastries to Eat at their Orlando Gardens Banquets?

Look for some ironically-named libertine pressure group to start a boycott of McArthur's Bakery for calling it like it is.

Hey, Carnahan, look into the camera and swear you actually read that c_ap and trade bill before you voted for it!

A Reminder from the Holy Father

Thanks to Rorate Caeli for posting these oh-so-timely words of the Holy Father at First Vespers on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul:

"In the last few decades, the expression ‘adult faith’ [fede adulta, 'grown up faith'] has become a widespread slogan. It is often used in relation to the attitudes of those who no longer pay attention to what the Church and her Pastors say — which is to say, those who choose on their own what to believe or not to believe in a sort of ‘do-it-yourself’ faith. Expressing oneself against the Magisterium of the Church is presented as a sort of ‘courage’, whereas in fact not much courage is needed because one can be certain of receiving public praise.

Instead, courage is needed to adhere to the Church’s faith, even if it contradicts the 'order' of today’s world. Paul calls this non-conformism an ‘adult faith’. For him,
following the prevailing winds and currents of the time is childish.

For this reason, it is part of an adult faith to dedicate oneself to the inviolability of life from its beginning, thus radically opposing the principle of violence, in defense precisely of the most defenseless. It is part of an adult faith to recognize the lifelong marriage between one man and one woman in accordance with the Creator’s order, re-established again by Christ. An adult faith does not follow any current here and there. It stands against the winds of fashion."


I would like to see the response of Bozek and friends to this address. Of course this would probably fall on deaf ears. As I heard Mother Angelica say on an archived EWTN program the other day:

"You cannot reason with someone who has chosen not to believe."

and this gem:

"Liberals have no doctrine. Just name one; I'd like to know what it is..."

29 June 2009

Unintentional Hilarity from the Earth-Worshipers

There is a blog calling itself the Local Catholic Reporter, which states its intent to be a resource for progressive Catholics in the St. Louis area. No, not 'progressive' in the sense of progress toward Heaven, but 'progressive', I guess, in the political sense. Progress toward anarchy, in other words.

Well, I visit this site from time to time in the interests of information gathering, but today I pulled it up and found the following gem. The title of the post itself piqued my interest. In the words of Renee Zellweger's character in Jerry McGuire, "You had me at hello."

The article is by the notorious
Leonardo Boff-- "theologian". Yes, that's him, above. If you guessed Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, pay up. No, really. It's not Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, either. At least, I don't think it is.

Anyway, brother Boff reminds us that all that stuff we learned about Man being the summit of the created world is just so much, well, boff. Gaia is mad because we have waged war on her, man! Repent and believe in the carbon credit!

Excerpts from the full post--read as much as you can take

Love everybody... (and everything)
Reciprocity or Death
Leonardo Boff
Earthcharter Commission

When human beings decided to live together, they established an unwritten social contract, setting up norms, prohibitions and common purposes that allowed them to coexist with a modicum of peace. Later on, thinkers appeared, like Locke, Kant and Rousseau, giving the contract a formal status.

Those historic contracts have a common defect: they imply naked and acosmic individuals, who lack even a minimal link with nature or the Earth. The social contracts ignore and totally suppress the natural contract.


Previously, wars were waged to conquer regions and peoples. All Earth's territory has been conquered, and what is going on now is a total war, one without mercy, against the Earth, her goods and services, exploiting them to the point of exhaustion. The Earth can no longer rest: she has no refuge nor space into which to withdraw.

This aggression is worldwide, and the reaction of the Earth - Gaia - is also worldwide. Her reply is a collection of various crises, together forming a devastating planetary warming. It is Gaia's revenge.

There is no way out but to consciously and quickly reintroduce that which we had forgotten: a natural contract articulated with the social contract. We must overcome our arrogant anthropocentrism and put everything in its place, and ourselves as well, as a part of a whole.

What is a natural contract? It is the acknowledgement on the part of the human being that he is integrated into nature, from which he receives all, and the recognition that he must behave as a child of Mother Earth, giving her caring and protection in return, so that she may continue doing what she has always done: give us life and the means to live.


Either we reestablish the reciprocity between nature and human beings, and rearticulate the social contract with the natural contract, or we must accept the risk of being expelled and eliminated by Gaia. I trust that we will learn from our suffering and that we will use the good sense that we will still have.

Leonardo Boff

Thanks, Leo!

Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Reminder: Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory tonight at 6:30 pm.

A reflection from The Liturgical Year, about today's epistle from Chapter 12 of the Acts of the Apostles, and which documents Peter's arrest and miraculous deliverance from prison:

It would be difficult to insist more than does to-day's liturgy on the episode of Peter's captivity in Jerusalem. Several antiphons and all the capitula of this Office are drawn from thence; the Introit has just sung the same; and the Epistle gives in full the history of the event in which the Church is particularly interested on this feast. The secret of her preference can easily be divined. This festival celebrates the fact that Peter's death confirms the queen of the Gentile world in her august prerogatives of sovereign lady, mother and bride; but the starting-point of all this greatness was the solemn moment in which the Vicar of the Man-God, shaking the dust from his feet over Jerusalem, turned his face westwards, and transferred to Rome those rights which the Synagogue had repudiated. It was on quitting Herod's prison that all this happened. "And going out of the city," says the Acts, "he went into another place." This other place, according to the testimony of history and tradition, is no other than Rome, then about to become the new Sion, where Simon Peter arrived some weeks afterwards. Thus, catching up the angel's word, the Gentile Church sings this night in one of her responsories at Matins: "Peter, arise, and put on thy garments: gird thee with strength to save the nations; for the chains have fallen from off thy hands."

Archbishop Carlson Receives the Pallium from Benedict XVI

The Review has continuing coverage. Photo from NLM.

Keep the Archbishop in your prayers.

28 June 2009

Not the Kind of Item One Likes to Post on a Sunday, But...

This is the latest Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream ad, kindly sent in by a reader. It has all the subtlety of safe dropped from the tenth floor.

26 June 2009

Good Thing I'm Not Irish

Too much time online strains Irish marriages: counsellors

OK, That Last Post? I Take It All Back

Vatican paper hails Jackson

Perhaps More Dialogue Would Have Made Everything All Better

From Robert Hugh Benson's excellent historical novel, By What Authority?, comes this passage related to events in the aftermath of Pope St. Pius V's Bull, Regnans in Excelsis, that deposed Elizabeth I of England and released her subjects from their allegiance. The persecution of the Church, her priests, religious, and faithful-- already underway-- grew more vehement. Yet could the Pope have done otherwise?

This, of course, can be debated as a historical fact, but the following passage ought to be read in the light of with what Archbishop Burke had to deal in the Bozek, Lears, pretend priestess and other local dissenters situations. Also, the brooding conflict between the Church and state in this country also comes to mind. Dialogue has its limits when one party to the dialogue has no interest in understanding or conforming to the Church-- it becomes a mockery, and a danger to the faithful:

From every point of view the Bull was unfortunate, though it may have been a necessity; for it marked the declaration of war between England and the Catholic Church. A gentle appeal had been tried before; Elizabeth, who, it must be remembered had been crowned during a Catholic mass with Catholic ceremonial, and had received the Blessed Sacrament, had been entreated by the Pope as his "dear daughter in Christ" to return to the fold; and now there seemed to him no possibility left but this ultimatum.

It is indeed difficult to see what else, from his point of view, he could have done. To continue to pretend that Elizabeth was his "dear daughter" would have discredited his fatherly authority in the eyes of the whole Christian world. He had patiently made an advance towards his wayward child; and she had repudiated and scorned him. Nothing was left but to recognise and treat her as an enemy of the Faith, an usurper of spiritual prerogatives, and an apostate spoiler of churches; to do this might certainly bring trouble upon others of his less distinguished but more obedient children, who were in her power; but to pretend that the suffering thus brought down upon Catholics was unnecessary, and that the Pope alone was responsible for their persecution, is to be blind to the fact that Elizabeth had already openly defied and repudiated his authority and had begun to do her utmost to coax and compel his children to be disobedient to their father.

In the end, acting for the rights of the Church in the face of heresy and in the face of the threat of retribution by the tyranny of the state may produce martyrs. Yet Christ calls us to steadfastness just the same; He Himself led the way.

Take a moment and read the text of this brief Bull of St. Pius V:

He that reigneth on high, to whom is given all power in heaven and earth, has committed one holy Catholic and apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, to one alone upon earth, namely to Peter, the first of the apostles, and to Peter's successor, the pope of Rome, to be by him governed in fullness of power. Him alone He has made ruler over all peoples and kingdoms, to pull up, destroy, scatter, disperse, plant and build, so that he may preserve His faithful people (knit together with the girdle of charity) in the unity of the Spirit and present them safe and spotless to their Saviour.

1. In obedience to which duty, we (who by God's goodness are called to the aforesaid government of the Church) spare no pains and labour with all our might that unity and the Catholic religion (which their Author, for the trial of His children's faith and our correction, has suffered to be afflicted with such great troubles) may be preserved entire. But the number of the ungodly has so much grown in power that there is no place left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines; and among others, Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England and the servant of crime, has assisted in this, with whom as in a sanctuary the most pernicious of all have found refuge. This very woman, having seized the crown and monstrously usurped the place of supreme head of the Church in all England to gather with the chief authority and jurisdiction belonging to it, has once again reduced this same kingdom- which had already been restored to the Catholic faith and to good fruits- to a miserable ruin.

2. Prohibiting with a strong hand the use of the true religion, which after its earlier overthrow by Henry VIII (a deserter therefrom) Mary, the lawful queen of famous memory, had with the help of this See restored, she has followed and embraced the errors of the heretics. She has removed the royal Council, composed of the nobility of England, and has filled it with obscure men, being heretics; oppressed the followers of the Catholic faith; instituted false preachers and ministers of impiety; abolished the sacrifice of the mass, prayers, fasts, choice of meats, celibacy, and Catholic ceremonies; and has ordered that books of manifestly heretical content be propounded to the whole realm and that impious rites and institutions after the rule of Calvin, entertained and observed by herself, be also observed by her subjects. She has dared to eject bishops, rectors of churches and other Catholic priests from their churches and benefices, to bestow these and other things ecclesiastical upon heretics, and to determine spiritual causes; has forbidden the prelates, clergy and people to acknowledge the Church of Rome or obey its precepts and canonical sanctions; has forced most of them to come to terms with her wicked laws, to abjure the authority and obedience of the pope of Rome, and to accept her, on oath, as their only lady in matters temporal and spiritual; has imposed penalties and punishments on those who would not agree to this and has exacted then of those who persevered in the unity of the faith and the aforesaid obedience; has thrown the Catholic prelates and parsons into prison where many, worn out by long languishing and sorrow, have miserably ended their lives. All these matter and manifest and notorious among all the nations; they are so well proven by the weighty witness of many men that there remains no place for excuse, defense or evasion.

3. We, seeing impieties and crimes multiplied one upon another the persecution of the faithful and afflictions of religion daily growing more severe under the guidance and by the activity of the said Elizabeth -and recognizing that her mind is so fixed and set that she has not only despised the pious prayers and admonitions with which Catholic princes have tried to cure and convert her but has not even permitted the nuncios sent to her in this matter by this See to cross into England, are compelled by necessity to take up against her the weapons of justice, though we cannot forbear to regret that we should be forced to turn, upon one whose ancestors have so well deserved of the Christian community. Therefore, resting upon the authority of Him whose pleasure it was to place us (though unequal to such a burden) upon this supreme justice-seat, we do out of the fullness of our apostolic power declare the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic and favourer of heretics, and her adherents in the matters aforesaid to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ.

4. And moreover (we declare) her to be deprived of her pretended title to the aforesaid crown and of all lordship, dignity and privilege whatsoever.

5. And also (declare) the nobles, subjects and people of the said realm and all others who have in any way sworn oaths to her, to be forever absolved from such an oath and from any duty arising from lordship. fealty and obedience; and we do, by authority of these presents , so absolve them and so deprive the same Elizabeth of her pretended title to the crown and all other the above said matters. We charge and command all and singular the nobles, subjects, peoples and others afore said that they do not dare obey her orders, mandates and laws. Those who shall act to the contrary we include in the like sentence of excommunication.

6. Because in truth it may prove too difficult to take these presents wheresoever it shall be necessary, we will that copies made under the hand of a notary public and sealed with the seal of a prelate of the Church or of his court shall have such force and trust in and out of judicial proceedings, in all places among the nations, as these presents would themselves have if they were exhibited or shown.

Given at St. Peter's at Rome, on 27 April 1570 of the Incarnation; in the fifth year of our pontificate.

Pius PP.

House Passes Largest Tax Increase in US History to Solve Phony Crisis That Doesn't Exist


Those who voted for this should be voted out in 2010. In this area, that means Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay.

What a complete scam. The march to Communism must be stopped in the Senate. Hey, social justicers, how about the harm that the doubling of monthly utility bills will inflict on the poor?

Quien es Este?

Do you know?

No? Because he is posting as anonymous? Por su puesto!

Perhaps he will sign his posts?

Tal vez.

25 June 2009

Archbishop Carlson to Receive Pallium Monday

His Grace Archbishop Carlson will receive the pallium from the hands of the Holy Father in Rome on Monday, June 29, the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul. The St. Louis Review has a webpage dedicated to this important event, and EWTN will provide live TV coverage.

The pallium, made of lamb's wool, is given as a sign of pastoral authority to Metropolitan Archbishops.

From the Review's pallium page:

Reception of the Pallium - Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

On Monday, June 29 (the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul), Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will receive the pallium (a circular stole made of lamb's wool, symbolizing his role as a true 'shepherd' of the Archdiocese) from Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

Many other new Archbishops will be receiving the pallium along with Archbishop Carlson, including St. Louis natives Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Archbishop George Lucas.


Live Television Coverage

EWTN will show the Pallium Mass at 3:00 a.m. CDT. on-air and online, and will rebroadcast the Pallium Mass at 10:00 a.m. CDT. (All on Monday the 29th).

A Holy Shepherd

This picture comes from Principium Unitatis, the blog of a sometime commenter on this site. It absolutely captures the soul of Archbishop Burke. Click on the photo to greatly enlarge it.

He is slandered by those who really know nothing about him. He is a pastor of souls.

And by the way, if you would like to post a comment with anything negative about His Grace, rest assured you are wasting your time.

Catholic Key vs. America Magazine

In terms of orthodoxy and intellect, this match resembles the Dream Team vs. Angola in 1992.

At the
Catholic Key Blog.

Let the Rumors Begin! Motu Proprio for SSPX ReintegrationThis Summer?

Via Catholic Church Conservation:

New Motu Proprio on the SSPX this summer?

From the paleo-left-liberal, more Tablet than the Tablet, French magazine Golias

According to our information, and on the eve of the SSPX ordinations on 27 June in Germany, the Pope wishes to write a second motu proprio in the coming months. The document to be issued this time is not only about the liturgy in Latin, but a more comprehensive reintegration of the SSPX into the Church. This will mean demanding, of course, conditions, but also by engaging the whole Church in this process. Serious!

In other words, the bishops will no longer be entitled to express in a too overt manner open reluctantance and even less to slow the return of the traditionalists. One should understand that representatives of these currents regularly complain to the Pope posed about the obstacles placed to their reinstatement by the bishops and their entourage. Until now, Rome and the Ecclesia Dei commission have been bypassing bishops without, however, in general, openly disavow their views.

Thus, in 1988, the Commission regularised very quickly and in a very caring manner the Benedictine abbey of Barroux, without informing or consulting the Archbishop of Avignon at the time, Archbishop Raymond Bouchex. More recently, Rome proceeded in the same way with respect to the Institut du Bon Pasteur, without informing the Archbishop of Bordeaux, in which it was located. Recently, another signal was given by the Vatican when restoring a traditional parish priest in dissent with his bishop in Calvados, just so as to remind the bishops. Following this Motu proprio, a bishop considered too reluctant to welcome the fundamentalists will certainly have his knuckles rapped.
I can see why liberal Bishops would be concerned. The practice of ladies sashaying around the sanctuary with steaming bowls of incense may be jeopardized!

The Iran Situation

By now, if you spend any time watching State-run media outlets or surfing the web, you are aware of the unrest in Iran following their recent election. We are certainly used to being dismayed by the outcome of elections here, and even the odd, stolen election (Sen. Franken?).

If events are as they seem, the people of Iran are suffering at the hands of the mullahs, as they have for decades. And the brutality of the regime is not to be condoned.

But before we get too excited by the lack of response by the U.S., keep in mind that we really shouldn't be getting involved in that situation. We have no national interest there, we have no resources to apply to make the situation any better, and we create no confidence that we will stay the course. I don't think these reasons are the motivation for the current administration's inaction; in fact, I think it has great sympathy for militant Mohammedan regimes. However, not acting is the right outcome in this situation.

In the Taki's Magazine blog today is a post by Jack Hunter titled, "Stay Out of Iran", that includes a video of his reasons why he thinks the U.S. should refrain from acting in Iran. The video mentions the exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani during an early Republican presidential debate on the subject of Iran, where Paul was laughed at for his views. I have embedded that video above. It is a good reminder of the ridicule one faces when going against the entrenched interventionist foreign policy favored by both parties. The parties only differ as to where to intervene, not whether to intervene.

I think the author is too naive when he cites Ronald Reagan as a proponent of diplomacy with the Soviets, "just like" Obama is with the Iranian regime. Unlike Obama, Reagan first backed the Soviets into a corner where they were forced to negotiate, through the deployment of intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe, the research and development of anti-missile defenses, and through strategic support of anti-communist forces and governments throughout the world. He negotiated from strength, not weakness.

Therefore, I don't endorse everything in this video, but I post it as a means to encourage thought and discussion.

As luck would have it, the army is probably stretched too thin for the government to fall prey to anyone's inclination to actually send troops there anyway. And unlike money, they can't yet print more soldiers.

Good Post on Private Recitation of the Divine Office by the Laity

At New Liturgical Movement.

An excerpt:

...over the years I have heard it said on a few occasions that the breviary is simply too time-consuming for non-clergy and non-religious to possibly take on. I find this to be something of a myth; popular to say, but not generally true.

One must note, first of all, that praying the Office needn't mean praying all of the hours. It would be ideal if one could at least pray Lauds (Morning Prayer), Vespers (Evening Prayer) and Compline (Night Prayer) it is true, but if one cannot, even doing one or two of these would be of great merit, helping to sanctify our day, tying us to the Church's liturgical year and embedding the Psalms of David and elements of Sacred Scripture and Christian poetry into our day to day prayer life.

As regards the issue of time, a single hour of the Office can be prayed, prayerfully I might add, within 10 minutes or so -- hardly an impossible or unreasonable time investment. If one considers that a devotional praying of a set of mysteries of the Holy Rosary takes about a similar period of time, I think this alone is demonstrative of the problem with the objection that the laity, especially those in family situations, cannot possibly pray the Divine Office. (Now, evidently, there may be some instances where the Divine Office may simply not be feasible, for reason of some particular and unique set of circumstances, but I would suggest that this is by no means the majority of cases.) It is worth remembering as well that the Church herself has encouraged the laity in the praying of the Divine Office:
"...the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually."(Sacrosanctum Concilum, para. 100) Evidently then, the Church does not see this as an impossible task, but actually encourages it.

24 June 2009

In the Year 2000 (Redux)

Blame my brother, who suggested that I consider permalinking some of the more interesting posts on this site over the last 2+ years. Of course, I realize that this assumes that any of them are interesting. Here is a post written about the time of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007, wherein I fake a mainstream media article some time in the future where some fringe group wants to bring back the long discarded "vernacular Mass". Enjoy.


For those who don't watch Late Night with Conan O'Brien, he does this skit where he tries to predict the future in the retro-nebulous "year 2000", where he and his guest (that's Jack Black over there) shine a flashlight up their faces.

You know. Highbrow stuff.

And, for those of you who don't waste their lives on Catholic blogs all day, the Curt Jester posts some pretty humorous articles on matters relating to the Church and its members.

You know. Catholic stuff.

At the link above, he posted a template for mainstream media types who wanted to publish their own hatchet-job news stories on the Traditional Mass and the Motu Proprio, but who didn't want to work to find the usual lies and half-truths about these subjects on their own. Quite funny, and true.

That got me thinking, what could it be like in 50-100 years from now, when some fringe group of Catholics get "nostalgic" for the novus ordo and clamor for an indult for its use? Thus, without further ado, this story from the Year 2000-- Motu Proprio edition:

Pope Set to Approve Wider Use of Forgotten "Vernacular" Mass

Boston (AP)-- Don't look now, but the Pope is set to ignore the advice of his Bishops and grant permission for the long-discarded novus ordo missae of 1969. The Vatican states that some people are nostalgic for this form of Mass, which was briefly in use in the late twentieth century prior to the restoration of the Church begun in the reign of Benedict XVI.

In the vernacular Mass the priest faces away from God and faces the congregation, reciting the prayers of Mass in a very loud voice, requiring almost continual verbal responses from the faithful, who are not allowed to enter into contemplative prayer and experience the deep inner participation of the Mass of the Ages.

"Because two to three generations of Catholics are accustomed to assisting at the Mass celebrated in the Church's official and unifying language of Latin, it is unlikely most will want to switch to a liturgy that is less formal and conducted in the language they use at the flea market," opined Fr. Jones of Catholic University.

The Holy Father is taking the Church back to before the restoration of Mass and removing the revitalizing norms set by Benedict XVI and subsequent Popes-- a revitalization that most scholars agree brought about the reunification with the former Orthodox churches and increased the number of Catholics by 30 percent. Faithful Catholics are concerned.

The vernacular Mass dilutes the role of the priest by making everyone liable to be up at the altar, walking around the sanctuary like a used car showroom.
The vernacular Mass encourages each priest and congregation to make up their own rubrics to suit their particular mood of the day. In its most advanced stage, it takes the form of the "Clown Mass".

The Pope has received considerable advice not to allow this use from most of the world's bishops, excepting those in France and those in the U.S. northeast and California--long considered the hotbeds of heretical, "progressive" Catholicism in the past.

Catholics are wary because the vernacular Mass is associated with the schismatic groups Call to Action and Voice of the Faithful (sic), whose tiny numbers are offset by their incessant clamor for change. Many believe this move is designed to try to foist a reconciliation with these groups upon the world's bishops.

The proponents of the vernacular Mass are said to number no more than 2 percent of Catholics, and polls show the majority of Catholics embrace the traditional restoration of decades ago. "There seems to be no demand for it," said Fr. Jones.

"I totally dig the old guitar Masses, man," said Moonbeam Johnson, age 87, of Orange County. "Holding hands at the Our Creator prayer, and helping break the bread and pass around the wine make me feel really good."

Chick Can Write

Delena, that is. At her blog. The only thing that could improve that blog is if she abdicated her motherly/wifely duties to blog every day. You know, like I abandoned my real job.

Her entry on "
The Unpublished Letters" is a classic. Some excerpts:

Dear Inventor of the Crying-it-out Method,
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you were either deaf or wore earphones.



Dear Midwest Summers,
It's fine if you want to be all, "Hey, I'm going to be 98 degrees today!" but this whole heat index of 110 thing has GOT to go. Outdoor time is being cut short which results in unhappy toddlers everywhere. Moms are about ready to revolt. Just thought I'd warn you.


Dear Infant Motrin,
Have I told you lately how much better you are for teething babies than Infant Tylenol? Well, you are. Thanks.


Dear Alfalfa Herb Supplement,
I decided to take you because you're supposed to be good for lactating moms. I did NOT expect, however, to lose weight due to not wanting to eat inbetween meals. You are my new favorite! Thanks!


Dear Sleep,
It's good to have you back, old friend. I've missed you.


Dear Hardwood Floors,
I'm absolutely floored (pun absolutely intended). How is it that after I finish sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping you, you STILL manage to have little particles of dust, food, and who knows what else on you? Seriously. What's goin' on with that? Are you TRYING to make me angry? Get your act together, and clean yourself up!



Dear Brussel Sprouts,
I still don't like you.

P.S.----> Please tell your cousins Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lima Beans, and Asparagus that I feel the same way about them, too. Thanks.

Dear Mosquitoes,
It's come to my attention that you've noticed that my family has a blow-up pool in the backyard that comfortably fits our entire family. We enjoy this pool. When your friend, Midwest Summers, decides to pump up his heat index, we like to sit in the cool water and just relax. This, though, is NOT our super secret signal to you that you should come feast on us. You actually kind of kill the vibe for us. There are a TON of stray cats in our neighborhood. I'm sure you can find some quality feeding grounds in them. Thanks.


Dear Blogging,
I've missed you. I'll try to write you more often.


Pray for Priests

The Catholic blog world has covered the Year of the Priest story well enough, and you probably don't need my reminder to pray for our priests.

However, I would like to submit for specific remembrance our beloved ICRSP priests, and all of the priests in our Archdiocese who are working hard to re-introduce the traditional Mass and sacramental forms. These men are of all ages, and they know who they are. I won't call them out without their permission, so they won't get unnecessary flak from certain quarters.

My uncle is also a priest, and we don't really see eye-to-eye on the liturgical question. We pray for each other.

Fr. Andrew at Catholic Vision is known to some here in St. Louis, and is embarking on a retreat as he has also entered a new assignment.

And, of course, the Holy Father, Archbishop Carlson, Bishop Hermann and Archbishop Burke need our prayers.
Audiens sapiens sapientior erit et intellegens gubernacula possidebit.

23 June 2009

Calling Out UCLX-- Friday Abstinence or Other Penance Still Required for Catholics

While waiting for Unknown Canon Lawyer X to post that promised follow-up on the veiling article, I thought I would again delve into the wonders of Canon Law and yet another disregarded but still obligatory traditional Catholic practice--

--abstaining from meat on Friday.

Like with the head covering law, this disciplinary practice has fallen into disuse, and the great majority of Catholics (at least in the US) believe it is no longer required. Jimmy Akin also
takes the position (like on the head covering issue) that no abstinence or other penance is strictly required on non-Lenten Fridays. I respectfully submit that as on the other issue, he is wrong on this one. Due to changes in the law, the Bishops' Conferences can allow some other penance instead, but some penance is still obligatory.

Now, UCLX would undoubtedly have something to say on this issue, and UCLX has expressed to me a certain amusement at my attempts to construct a syllogism, but let UCLX speak for UCLX's self. I'd like to plunge ahead.

So, let's take this one step at a time. First, what do the relevant Canons in the Code have to say? Remember that the first codified Code of Canon Law dates from 1917, and the current Code was published in 1983. So,
from the 1983 Code:

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays
, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed.
In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

This seems very straightforward. The 1983 Code continues the law that Friday penance is required of the faithful. Canon 1251 does list abstinence from meat as the penance to be observed OR some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference. Canon 1253 goes still further to allow the Episcopal Conference to substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance.

Now, of course, dating from the end of the Second Vatican Council there have been some events that have caused confusion to the faithful, and which beg for clarification. The 1917 Code, as usual, is wonderfully clear on the subject:

Canon 1252 (CIC 1917). 1. The law of abstinence... must be observed every Friday.

Why cite the 1917 Code at all? Because the 1917 Code was in force when the National Conference of Catholic Bishops came out with norms "On Fast and Abstinence", which contains the following paragraph:

3. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence as binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. (emphasis added).

Now, Jimmy Akin points to this document, and primarily to the paragraph immediately above, to support his contention that although the USCCB continues to urge abstinence and other penance on Fridays, it has lawfully dispensed with any obligatory prescription of abstinence or other penance, pursuant to its lawful authority under Canon 1253.

This position is erroneous for several reasons:

1. The US Bishops' document was published in 1966, seventeen years before Canon Law gave the Conferences the right to change the fast and abstinence rules in their territories. Such a document was not legally sufficient to alter the abstinence requirements of the 1917 Code, and if read to amend the canonical prescriptions was ultra vires-- in other words, beyond the power of the Conference. Even if the document is viewed as a dispensation, the language of the Code was unchanged and the law was in force, whether or not it was applied by the Conference.

2. Akin argues that the 1983 Code's permission for Conferences to specify the abstinence regulations stands as a recognition, tacit or otherwise, of the USCCB's decision. This is a not highly likely reading of the act of the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law. However, even if Akin's premise were correct, the very terms of the new Canon 1253 disallow the type of alteration made in the "On Fasting and Abstinence" document.

Canon 1251 states the Episcopal Conference can name some other food instead of meat for the abstinence requirement. Canon 1253 allows the Episcopal Conference to substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance for the abstinence requirement. Nothing in either Canon allows the Episcopal Conference to substitute nothing in place of abstinence from meat on Fridays. Therefore, even if we adopt the Sherman-and-Peabody Way Back Machine approach to canon law, the 1966 NCCB document is not effective to alter the canonical obligation for Friday abstinence.

3. Now, the USCCB
promulgated a memorandum in 1983 to all Diocesan Bishops reaffirming the 1966 document. This document claims that the 1966 norms "continue in force since they are law and are not contrary to the code (canon 6)." However, with all due respect, this is demonstrably incorrect. To the extent that the 1966 norms make the requirement of Friday penance completely voluntary, it is certainly contrary to the 1983 Code, which we have already established only allows the Episcopal Conferences to substitute other forms of penance for abstinence. It does not give the power to nullify the requirement.

In order to give the 1966 norms any weight, we would have to take the position that the 1983 memorandum was in and of itself a further specification of the penitential requirements of Canon 1251 pursuant to Canon 1253. But even assuming it is, what could this 1983 memorandum lawfully prescribe but some form of penance at the very least, as Canon 1253 clearly specifies?

Giving the 1983 Code and the USCCB 1966 and 1983 documents their most liberal joint reading in favor of relaxation of the traditional abstinence rule, one can only conclude that at least some form of penance must be substituted for abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year except those upon which a Solemnity falls. If the USCCB documents cannot sustain this reading, then they are ultra vires and leave Canon 1251's prescriptions unaltered. Take your pick.

4. The final argument against the abrogation of the abstinence or other penance requirement comes from immemorial custom. As you may recall from the veiling article, this is a complicated area to explain. Because the first three reasons above are sufficient for purposes of my position, I won't delve into all the details here, but rather cite the general rule that an immemorial custom obtains the force of law and cannot be abrogated by a generic revocation.

And, there you have it in a nutshell. UCLX can correct me as UCLX likes. In the meantime, feel free to discuss. My goal in posting on this is not to place a burden on other people's shoulders, nor to judge the piety or practice of other Catholics. Certainly since 1966 there is enough confusion out there to cause most of us to sincerely believe there is no penitential practice of any kind required on Fridays.

My goal is simply to try to ascertain whether abstinence (or some other penance) is still required for Catholics on Fridays of the year. Canon Law certainly seems to indicate that it is.

The Playbook

If you are Catholic but don't particularly like the more inconvenient Catholic teachings, just post a comment where you accuse me of some "Rovian" plot or of being a Republican. This will spare you any real debate or pangs of conscience and save everyone a lot of time.

Oh wait... you're already doing that.

Never mind.

22 June 2009

Post Hoc Evidence That Sitting Out the Last Election was Morally Justifiable

I didn't sit the last one out, but if you did-- God bless you. From Yahoo.com comes this gem of a story:

McCain: Obama has 'done well' as president so far

Outstanding PBS Video Story on the Chartres Pilgrimage

This is a beautiful piece-- I can't believe public television would broadcast this, but miracles happen. If you want a little glimpse into what Catholic tradition is all about, watch this video. As St. Pio said, the world can exist without the sun easier than without the Mass. Catholicism is the answer to the woes of the world. These brave souls bear witness to the Truth of Christ.

Talk about Catholic action.

Three young women from St. Francis de Sales Oratory participated in the pilgrimage this year. Perhaps one of them can post a story on it here-- maybe I will browbeat one into doing so.

Nice to see the ICRSP Coat of Arms on one of the banners (early in the video).

Watch this video. It isn't too long, and is an uplifting experience. I cannot embed the video here, so watch it at the PBS site. Tip to The Remnant, where I found the link.

USCCB Acknowledges Flaws in "Reflections on Covenant and Mission"

Important and long-overdue statement from the USCCB finally acknowledging that no one is exempt from the call to conversion and belief in Jesus Christ. This "clarifies" (read "corrects") a document that produced a lot of mischief and confusion. Excerpt published at Rorate Caeli:

USCCB clarifies ambiguities of "Reflections on Covenant and Mission"

2. Since Reflections on Covenant and Mission is not an official statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it was not subject to the same review process that official documents undergo. In the years since its publication, however, some theologians, including Catholics, have treated the document as authoritative. This has proven problematic because the section representing Catholic thought contains some statements that are insufficiently precise and potentially misleading. Reflections on Covenant and Mission should not be taken as an authoritative presentation of the teaching of the Catholic Church. In order to avoid any confusion, the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs have decided to point out some of these ambiguities and to offer corresponding clarifications.
8. Reflections on Covenant and Mission correctly asserts that the Church "must always evangelize and will always witness to its faith in the presence of God's kingdom in Jesus Christ to Jews and to all other people."10 It also rightly affirms that the Church respects religious freedom as well as freedom of conscience and that, while the Church does not have a policy that singles out the Jews as a people for conversion, she will always welcome "sincere individual converts from any tradition or people, including the Jewish people."11 This focus on the individual, however, fails to account for St. Paul's complete teaching about the inclusion of the Jewish people as whole in Christ's salvation. In Romans 11:25-26, he explained that when "the full number of the Gentiles comes in . . . all Israel will be saved." He did not specify when that would take place or how it would come about.12 This is a mystery that awaits its fulfillment. Nevertheless, St. Paul told us to look forward to the inclusion of the whole people of Israel, which will be a great blessing for the world (Rom 11:12).
9. Reflections on Covenant and Mission, however, renders even the possibility of individual conversion doubtful by a further statement that implies it is generally not good for Jews toconvert, nor for Catholics to do anything that might lead Jews to conversion because it threatens to eliminate "the distinctive Jewish witness": "Their [the Jewish people's] witness to the kingdom, which did not originate with the Church's experience of Christ crucified and raised, must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity."13 Some caution should be introduced here, since this line of reasoning could lead some to conclude mistakenlythat Jews have an obligation not to become Christian and that the Church has a corresponding obligation not to baptize Jews.
10. With St. Paul, we acknowledge that God does not regret, repent of, or change his mind about the "gifts and the call" that he has given to the Jewish people (Rom 11:29). At the same time, we also believe that the fulfillment of the covenants, indeed, of all God's promises to Israel, is found only in Jesus Christ. By God's grace, the right to hear this Good News belongs to every generation. Fulfilling the mandate given her by the Lord, the Church, respecting human freedom, proclaims the truths of the Gospel in love.
Committee on Doctrine and Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
June 18, 2009

21 June 2009

Panic Button #1 for Cash-Strapped Governments-- "We will have to decimate public education!"

The budget "crisis" in California has politicians playing the same old game-- not many can bear to cut any of the perks of office, or the patronage pork for their friends and constituencies. So, to cover their cry for more of our money, they lament that any cuts would kill public schools and leave our poor children in the lurch.

Of course, this begs the question of just why more money equals a better education. If statistics prove anything in this area, it is that there has been no benefit to our educational system by the ever-increasing funding taken from taxpayers and thrown down the hole of the education establishment.

William Bennett, former Secretary of Education, coordinated a study of "educational cultural indicators" in 2001. Though the study is eight years old, it is instructive, to say the least, and no development since then has provided any significant improvement. From the report, taken from the HSLDA site:

Education Cultural Indicators

The following facts and figures put into perspective the current status of the American Education system. They are exerted from the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators for 2001 produced by William J. Bennett of Empower America.

School Enrollment

  • In 2000, enrollment in America's elementary and secondary schools was about 53.5 million. Of that total, private school enrollment was about 6.0 million. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • There are an estimated 1.7 million home school students in kindergarten through 12th grade during the 2000-2001 school year. This is about 3% of all K-12 students in the U.S. National Center for Home Education, Purcellville, VA: 2001.

  • Public school enrollment at the elementary level in 2000 was 33.9 million, while enrollment at the high school level was 13.7 million. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • In 1999, 421 new charter schools were opened across the U.S., increasing the total to 1,184 charter schools educating more than 250,000 students. U.S. Dept. of Ed., "The State of Charter Schools 2000: 4th Year Report" (January 2000).

  • The percentage of three to five-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary school programs rose from 27.1 in 1965 to 64.5 in 1998. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • The percentage of high school dropouts among persons 16 to 24 decreased by almost 60% between 1960 and 1999. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000 and U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Dropout Rates in the United States: 1999, Washington, DC: 2000.

Expenditures in Education

  • Between 1990 and 1999, per pupil public school expenditures increased (in constant dollars) almost 10%. Between 1960 and 1999, per pupil expenditures almost tripled (in constant dollars). U.S. Dept. of Ed.

  • According to preliminary estimates by the Department of Education, public elementary and secondary education expenditures rose to an estimated high of $344.2 billion in 1998-99. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • The total amount spent on public elementary and secondary education in 1996-97 was $313.1 billion. Of the total revenues collected for education, 6.6% came from the federal government, 48% from the states and 45.4% from local governments. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • Spending on elementary and secondary schools as a percentage of the gross domestic product increased from 3.6% in 1961 to 4.4% in 1998-an increase of about one-fifth. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1998, Washington, D.C.: GPO 2000.

Connection between Per-Pupil Expenditures and Their Level of Achievement

  • While the level of spending per pupil has increased 82% (in constant dollars) since 1971, student achievement, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, has stayed relatively level. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000, and U.S. Dept. of Ed., Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999, Trends in Academic Progress: Three Decades of Student Performance, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • Of the five states that had the highest increase in per pupil expenditures between 1977 and 1997, four were below the national average increase on SAT scores and none was in the top ten. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Report Card on American Education: A State by State Analysis," March, 2000.

  • Of the five states that had the highest increase in SAT scores between 1979 and 1999, only one was in the top 10 states measured by per-pupil expenditures. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Report Card on American Education: A State by State Analysis," March 2000.

  • In 1997, New Jersey had the highest level of per-pupil expenditures; however, it did not participate in the NAEP tests. New York had the second highest level of per pupil expenditures and ranked seventh in NAEP's eighth-grade reading test. On the other hand, Maine, Connecticut, Montana and Massachusetts had the highest NAEP scores, but ranked 15th, 5th, 26th, and 7th, respectively in terms of per-pupil expenditures. (Note: Only 36 states participated in the test.) American Legislative Exchange Council, "Report Card on American Education: A State by State Analysis," March, 2000, and U.S. Dept. of Ed., Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, The NAEP 1998 Reading Report Card for the Nation and the States, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.

Student Test Scores

  • In a 1999 follow up to the 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the ranking of U.S. eighth graders fell to 19th in mathematics and 18th in science out of 38 nations. When compared only to the other nations, who took both sets of tests, U.S. eighth graders were significantly below the international average in mathematics and were slightly below average in science. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Pursuing Excellence: Comparisons of International Eighth-Grade Mathematics and Science Achievement from a U.S. Perspective, 1995 and 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • A 1997 in-depth nationwide study of 5,402 children and youth in 1,657 home school families revealed that the students were scoring at about the 80th percentile on average in all subject areas on standardized tests-30 percentile points above the national public school average. In addition, the 2000 Peabody Journal of Education review of dozens of studies on home schooling confirmed that home schooled students are typically 15 to 30 percentile points above average in terms of academic achievement. Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, Home Education Across the United States, pgs. 8-10, 1997; Ray, Brian D. (2000). "Home schooling: The ameliorator of negative influences on learning?" Peabody Journal of Education, v. 75, nos. 1 & 2, pp. 71-106.

  • Between 1990 and 2000 the average SAT scores increased 19 points. But between 1960 and 2000 it decreased by 56-points. College Board, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1996.

  • Average verbal scores on the SAT decreased 49 points between 1960 and 2000, while math scores decreased 7 points. College Board, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1996.

  • Average SAT scores were at their highest level (1980) in 1963-64. Between 1964 and 1980, when they were at their lowest level, scores dropped 90 points. Diane Ravitch, "Defining Literacy Downward," The New York Times, August 28, 1996.


  • In the most recent (1995) international comparison of mathematics achievement, American fourth graders ranked 12th out of 26 nations; eighth graders ranked 28th out of 41 nations; and twelfth graders ranked 19th out of 21 nations. U.S. Dept. of Ed.

  • In the most recent (1995) international comparison in advanced mathematics, U.S. students ranked 15th out of 16 nations taking the test. U.S. Dept. of Ed.

    Science & Physics

  • In the most recent (1995) international comparison in science achievement, American fourth graders ranked 3rd out of 26 nations; eighth graders ranked 17th out of 41 nations; and twelfth graders ranked 16th out of 21 nations. U.S. Dept. of Ed.

  • In the most recent (1995) international comparison in advanced physics, the U.S. ranked last among all nations taking the test. U.S. Dept. of Ed.


  • Between 1990 and 1999, student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress increased very slightly (although 17-year-old reading and eleventh grade writing actually decreased slightly). Between 1970 and 1999, scores increased slightly on nine tests but decreased slightly on three (17-year-old science and eighth and eleventh-grade writing). U.S. Dept. of Ed.

  • In 1998, Maine had the highest average reading score for students in the eighth grade. (Fourteen states did not participate: AK, ID, IL, IN, IA, MI, NE, NH, NJ, ND, OH, PA, SD, VT.) U.S. Dept. of Ed, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, The NAEP 1998 reading Report Card for the Nation and the States, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999

  • In 1998, 38% of fourth graders, 26% of eighth graders, and 23% of twelfth graders scored below basic levels in reading (that is, they lack even partial mastery of the knowledge and skills appropriate to their grade). For fourth graders, this means that they cannot "demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read." For eighth graders, this means they cannot "demonstrate a literal understanding of what they read and be able to make some interpretations." For twelfth graders, this means they cannot "demonstrate an overall understanding and make some interpretations of the test... They [cannot] identify elements of an author's style." U.S. Dept. of Ed., Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for Education Statistics, The NAEP 1998 Reading Report Card for the Nation and the States, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.

  • Since 1983, more than 10 million Americans have reached the twelfth grade without having learned to read at a basic level. More than 20 million have reached their senior year unable to do basic math. Almost 25 million have reached the twelfth grade without knowing the essentials of U.S. history. A Nation Still at Risk: An Education Manifesto, April 1998.

  • In 1998 77% of fourth graders in urban, high-poverty areas were reading below the basic level on the NAEP tests. Quality Counts '98: The Urban Challenge, Washington, DC: Editorial Projects in Education, January 8, 1998.


  • Four out of five seniors from the top 55 colleges and universities in the United States received a D or F on a recent standardized American history test. Only 34% of the students surveyed could identify George Washington as an American general at the battle of Yorktown, the culminating battle of the American Revolution. More than one-third were unable to identify the U.S. Constitution as establishing the division of power in American government. Less than one-quarter (23%) correctly identified James Madison as the "father of the Constitution." On the other hand, 99% knew whom the cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead are, and 98% could identify the rap singer Snoop Doggy Dogg. American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Losing America's Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century, Washington, D.C., Feb. 21, 2000.

Internet Access

  • The percentage of public schools with Internet access has increased dramatically since 1994. In February 2000 94% of elementary schools were connected to the Internet (an increase of more than 310%) and 98% of secondary schools (an increase of 100%). U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Statistics in Brief: Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms, 1994-99, February 2000.

Education Polling

  • Only 33% of college and university professors and 39% of employers believe that a high school diploma means that a student has "learned the basics," but 66% of parents, 74% of elementary and secondary school teachers and 77% of students believe it does. The Public Agenda "Reality Check 2000."

  • More than 70% of public high school students admitted on a recent survey to cheating on an exam at least once in the past 12 months (45% said they did so two or more times). Nearly one in six (16%) say they have been drunk in school during the past year (9% said they were drunk two or more times). The Joseph Institute of Ethics and the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, Washington, D.C., 2000.

Income and Graduation

  • Between 1986-87 and 1996-97, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to men increased 8% (from 480,782 to 520,515), while those awarded to women increased 28% (from 510,482 to 652,364). U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • In high-technology fields, one-third of master's degrees and 45% of Ph.D.'s were awarded to foreign nationals in 1996-97. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Degrees and Other Awards Conferred by Title IV Eligible, Degree-granting Institutions: 1996-97, November 1999.

  • In 1996, the median income of men 25 years old and older with only a high school diploma or an equivalency degree was $31,477, while the median income for those with some high school education but without a high school diploma was $23,958. The numbers for women were $22,780 and $16,482 respectively. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: 2000.

  • In 1998, 82.8% of Americans age 25 and over had completed high school. This includes 83.7% of whites, 76.0% of blacks, and 55.5% of Hispanics. U.S. Depart. Of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.

  • In 1998, Washington had the highest percentage of Americans over age 25 who had graduated from high school or earned an equivalency degree (92%). West Virginia had the lowest percentage (76.3%). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.

Private School Tuition

  • The average full tuition charged by elementary and secondary private schools in 1993-94 (the most recent year for which data are available) was $3,116. Catholic school students paid an average of $2,178, and students at nonsectarian private schools paid $6,631.U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1998, Washington, D.C.: GPO, 2000.

  • The median amount of money spent in 1997 on educational materials for home school students was $400. When this relatively small expenditure is considered in light of the high scholastic achievement of most home school students, it can reasonably be concluded that it does not require a great deal of money to home school successfully. Home Schooling Works, The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998; Lawrence M. Rudner, Ph.D., Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation. 1999.

Teacher Quality and Cost

  • Measured in constant 1997-98 dollars, the average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has increased from $27,496 in 1960 to $39,385 in 1998-an increase of 43%. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics1998, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.

  • The average teaching work year lasts 180 days, three-quarters of the 240-day year worked by the typical American with a full-time job. Compensated at the same daily rate for a 48 week year, the average public school teacher would have earned $52,513 in 1998.U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics1998, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.

  • Between 1990 and 1997, the percentage of full-time school staff who are teachers decreased 2.3%. Between 1960-1997, the percentage decreased almost 20%. U.S. Dept. of Ed.

  • Between 1990 and 1998, the number of students per teacher stayed about the same. But that ratio had already declined by one-third. U.S. Dept. of Ed, National Center for Ed. Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999. Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • The number of guidance counselors in public elementary and secondary schools increased more than 500% between 1960 and 1997. There was an almost tenfold increase in teacher's aides. The number of support staff increased more than 170%. Over the same time span, the number of teachers increased only 103%. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999. Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

  • In 1999 the student-teacher ratio in private elementary and secondary schools was fifteen to one; in public schools, it was seventeen to one. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.

Perhaps it is time to call the bluff of the teachers' unions and their politician sponsors. Cut funding all you want. If Sister Mary Margaret could produce well-formed children in 1935 with a blackboard, a book and piece of chalk, maybe it could work again.