31 January 2013

Great Read at Crisis Magazine: The Long War against the Family

In three parts, Ryan Topping analyzes the three modern waves of attacks on the family, and how to respond.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3



France Rediscovers Human Nature




Well, we can only hope so. But the title of this post is the same as this post from Taki's Magazine, and refers to the unlikely coalition of forces in France who are rallying to oppose the abomination of "gay marriage" and its related crime of "gay adoption". The article is long, so read it in full there, but I wanted to excerpt it here because of one astounding truth noted by the author. In France, the opposition is intellectual, philosophical, and religious. Not merely religious-- or even political.

In the US, we have ceased being able, if indeed we ever were able, to discuss political questions with reference to moral theology or the natural law.

Enjoy. The links embedded in the original article are not included here, but follow them if you like at the site itself.

_______________

France Rediscovers Human Nature
By Joseph McKenzie

Edward Feser, one of my favorite American philosophers, asks:

Why the constant harping about the separation of church and state, but not, say, the separation of naturalistic metaphysics and the state, the separation of feminist theory and the state, or the separation of Rawlsian liberalism and the state?

My answer might disappoint Mr. Feser: Because the founders of this nation denied the very object of metaphysics (reality), hated women as much as today’s feminists hate themselves, and were just as ignorant and confused about justice as John Rawls.

And yet Feser’s question hovers over Moloch’s second term like a threatening cloud about to waterlog the ship of fools the White House has become. If the federal government can replace irrevocable definitions of moral philosophy, then why not those of mathematics, physics, or logic?

“Human nature exists and follows laws in its very constitution.”
But why would our government presume to create new laws of nature? Answer: The handiwork of a ferociously anti-intellectual sect of Germanic pietists with only makeshift educations, America has always denigrated philosophy, the science of reality. With few exceptions (Thomas Sowell springs to mind), today’s “philosophers” are academic state hirelings, ideological apologists for any progressive government in power, hence irrelevant to the larger society such governments seek to crush.

With 376 years of institutionalized pseudo-philosophy behind them (counting from the publication of Descartes’s error-ridden Discourse on Method) and 496 years of rebellion against apostolic authority, revelation, and reason (starting from the posting of 95 blunders by a feces-eating alcoholic from Eisleben), today’s Puritan-liberal establishment has gone from fundamentally transforming America in 2008 to fundamentally transforming the laws of nature in 2013.

For just as one who attempts to redefine the circle as a four-sided polygon shows complete ignorance of geometry, one who attempts to redefine marriage as a union of two persons of the same sex shows ignorance of moral philosophy, which I believe is a true science just as rigorous, exact, and objective as mathematics.

A people with 1,296 years of Christendom in their cultural makeup, the French have recently shown themselves capable of uniting around human nature’s laws. The million-person anti-gay “marriage” and adoption protests in Paris on January 13 included some of the most disparate elements. Leprous immoralists, socialist harpies, and liberal quadrupeds marched alongside Catholics, Jews, and Muslims.

These surprising coalitions were united by a common understanding of a foundational principle of moral philosophy, namely that human nature exists and follows laws in its very constitution.

Read More





30 January 2013

Happy Anniversary, Maestro!




A kind reader reminded me that January 31 marks five years since Mr. Nick Botkins was named Dirctor of Sacred Music at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

The Mass is the Mass, of course, and the TLM is said in a greater number of places all the time. But I can say that the sacred music at the Oratory is something special. Mr. Botkins took a music program that was good and made it sublime, maximizing the skills of his scholae, choristers, and musicians.

As anyone who has attended the Oratory or the Gaudete Gala can attest, we are very blessed to have him.

Congratulations! Don't go anywhere, especially to Texas. That gets old.

29 January 2013

200 Years of Pride and Prejudice




Because Reader X just can't get enough Jane Austen, this story at STLToday marks the 200th Anniversary of the publication of one of the greatest novels in history, and discusses Austen's impact:

Jane Austen: literature's 'Eve'?

By Jane Henderson

Today [SLC Note: Monday, Jan. 28] marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." It's considered by many the first romantic comedy, and many modern novels from "Bridget Jones' Diary" to "Twilight" still blatantly grab at its coattails (or petticoats).

But Austen's influence may be even more important than the 1990s' chick lit explosion. A researcher says Austen and Sir Walter Scott had the greatest effect on 19th-century English language writers. Their influence in terms of writing style and themes was greater than that of Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne or Mark Twain, according to Matthew L. Jockers.

A story in the New York Times over the weekend quoted Jockers as calling Austen and Scott “the literary equivalent of Homo erectus, or, if you prefer, Adam and Eve.”

[...]



28 January 2013

St. Francis de Sales and the Church's Authority to Make Laws




This first sermon in the annual Lenten Sermon Series at St. Francis de Sales Oratory was delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda:

St. Francis de Sales was born on August 21, 1567, in the Duchy of Savoy, then independent of France and bordered by Calvinist Germany. The Dukedom of Savoy was torn by war between the Calvinists and Catholics. The region was divided by a continuous religious war, but the breach was felt especially within families more than on the field. St. Francis de Sales, as soon as he became conscious of the things which were happening around him, had to breathe this atmosphere of war.

In his youth he was occupied with the question of predestination. He asked himself this question. Shall I be among the elect or shall I be among the damned?

An uncertainty of his spirit and an agony of his heart ruined his health to the point of throwing St. Francis to the edge of complete despair.

One day he was in the church of St. Etienne in Paris, and he prayed the prayer of St. Bernard to the Virgin of Good Deliverance– “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection was left unaided.” After saying this prayer, he was cured in an instant, so in the end he was released from this long endured suffering.

Then he made a vow of chastity and consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. And this devout servant of Our Blessed Mother left us a list of imperishable works among which we find “Introduction to the Devout Life” and “Treatise on the Love of God”. He was proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1877.

St. Francis de Sales has received this title of the Doctor of the Church on account of the great advantage the whole Church has derived from his teaching.

In the West four eminent Fathers of the Church attained this honor in the early Middle Ages: St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome.

In the East three Doctors were pre-eminent: St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, and St. Gregory Nazianzen.

To these great names others have subsequently been added. And St. Francis de Sales is one of them.

The title of Doctor is used for an authorized teacher. In this general sense the term occurs in the Old Testament; in Second Chronicles Azarias prophesies that "many days shall pass in Israel, without the true God, and without a priest, a doctor, and without the law”. It was the duty of these doctors to expound the law, and this they performed at the time of Christ, who was found in the Temple "in the midst of the doctors" (Luke 2:46). In the New Testament, the doctors are those who have received a special gift or charisma of whom St. Paul says that "God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). The Doctors of the Church are those who have expounded the law of faith and morals eminently, and have lived what they taught to a high degree of sanctity and thus are proclaimed as the Doctors by the Catholic Church.

Law in the widest sense is understood to be that exact guide, rule, or authoritative standard by which a being is moved to action or held back from it. And in a more exact sense, law is spoken of only in reference to free beings endowed with reason.

In the proper and strict sense laws are the moral norms of action, binding in conscience, set up for a public, self-governing community. This is probably the original meaning of the word law, whence it was gradually transferred to the other kinds of laws (natural laws, laws of art). In this sense law can be defined by St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica I-II:90:4) as: A regulation in accordance with reason promulgated by the head of a community for the sake of the common welfare.

To obtain in any community a unified and systematized co-operation of all there must be an authority that has the right to issue binding rules as to the manner in which the members of the community are to act. The law is this binding rule and draws its constraining or obligatory force from the will of the superior. Both because the superior wills and so far as he wills, is law binding. Law is the criterion of reasonable action and must, therefore, itself be reasonable.

Law (in the strict sense) and command are preeminently distinguished from other authoritative standards of action, inasmuch as they imply obligation.

In what then do our obligations toward law consist? Modern ethical systems which seek to construct a morality independent of God and religion, are here confronted by an inexplicable riddle.

They say “We are obliged to fulfill the law only on account of itself or because it is the law of our reason”.

But in truth we do not owe obedience to the laws of Church and State because we bind ourselves thereto, but because their superior authority obliges us.

Whoever asserts that man can bind only himself, strikes at the root of all authority and asserts the principle of anarchism.

Whoever maintains that none can put more than himself under obligation denies, thereby, all authority.

St. Francis de Sales gives us the reason for the authentic Authority which the Catholic Church received from God in “The Catholic Controversy”.

How then shall those, who, in our age, would use an extraordinary mission excuse and relieve themselves of this proof of their mission? What privileges have they greater than an Apostolic Mission?

Our Lord very often used His mission to give credit to His words. “As my father hath sent Me, I also send you. My doctrine is not mine, but of Him that sent me. You both know Me, and you know whence I am. I am not come of Myself."

He also gave authority to His mission by bringing forth miracles.

So Jesus says, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? Otherwise believe for the works themselves.”
Indeed the Catholic Church confirms the works of St. Francis de Sales as saying that “The works of Francis de Sales, filled with celestial doctrine are bright light in the Church, pointing out an easy and safe way to arrive at the perfection of a Christian life.”

The spirituality which he initiated has never died. This spirituality of faith, equilibrium, optimism and dynamic charity has given to the Church a number of servants. The most prominent and the most marvelous servant among them is St. John Bosco, the founder of the Congregation of Salesians.

So, dear faithful, with full confidence let us pray to St. Francis de Sales so that he will continue to guide us on the way to Eternal Salvation.




Vigil of the Feast of St. Francis de Sales






OK, technically, it is not an official "vigil". But for anybody out there attached to this great saint, treat it like one!

Masses for the feast at St. Francis de Sales Oratory tomorrow, Tuesday, at 8 am (low) and 6:30 pm (solemn high). Veneration of a relic of St. Francis after the Solemn High Mass.

Faithful who assist at either Mass at the Oratory (or any Institute apostolate) may gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.

Here isthe Litany of St. Francis de Sales, courtesy of the ICRSP:


Litany of St. Francis de Sales

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father in Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Saint Francis, admirable bishop, pray for us.
Saint Francis, beloved of God, pray for us.
Saint Francis, imitator of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Saint Francis, filled with the gifts of the Lord, pray for us.
Saint Francis, favorite of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Saint Francis, most devout of the saints, pray for us.
Saint Francis, burning with love for the Cross of Christ, pray for us.
Saint Francis, most closely united to the divine will, pray for us.
Saint Francis, vessel of election, pray for us.
Saint Francis, light of the Church, pray for us.
Saint Francis, perfect model of religious, pray for us.
Saint Francis, source of wisdom, pray for us.
Saint Francis, defender of the Catholic Faith, pray for us.
Saint Francis, good shepherd of thy people, pray for us.
Saint Francis, incomparable preacher, pray for us.
Saint Francis, scourge of heresy, pray for us.
Saint Francis, salt of the earth, pray for us.
Saint Francis, model of justice, pray for us.
Saint Francis, mirror of humility, pray for us.
Saint Francis, despiser of the world, pray for us.
Saint Francis, lover of poverty, pray for us.
Saint Francis, type of sweetness, pray for us.
Saint Francis, conqueror of carnal passions, pray for us.
Saint Francis, terror of devils, pray for us.
Saint Francis, merciful support of penitents, pray for us.
Saint Francis, refuge of sinners, pray for us.
Saint Francis, providence of the poor, pray for us.
Saint Francis, consoler of the afflicted, pray for us.
Saint Francis, example of perfection, pray for us.
Saint Francis, ark of holiness, pray for us.
Saint Francis, imitator of the purity of the angels, pray for us.
Saint Francis, cherub of wisdom, pray for us.
Saint Francis, seraph of love, pray for us.
Saint Francis, our holy patriarch, pray for us.
Saint Francis, our sweet light, pray for us.
Saint Francis, our mighty protector, pray for us.
Saint Francis, our guide in the ways of God, pray for us.
Saint Francis, our refuge, pray for us.
Saint Francis, emulator of the angels, pray for us.
Saint Francis, imitator of the Apostles, pray for us.
Saint Francis, sharer in the glory of the martyrs, pray for us.
Saint Francis, glory of holy confessors, pray for us.
Saint Francis, teacher and director of virgins, pray for us.
Saint Francis, glorious fellow citizen of all the saints, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O blessed Francis de Sales, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: O God, by Whose gracious will the blessed Francis, Thy confessor and bishop, became all things unto all men for the salvation of their souls, mercifully grant that being filled with the sweetness of Thy love, we may, through the guidance of his counsels and the aid of his merits, attain unto the joys of life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be...


27 January 2013

Septuagesima Sunday, the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, and the Lenten Sermon Series at the Oratory

Today is Septuagesima Sunday, which marks the beginning of the preparation for Easter, and continues for three Sundays prior to Ash Wednesday. As it sometimes happens, this Sunday occurs during the Christmas Season, muting the joyous mood today. Finally, due to its proximity to the feast on the 29th, the Oratory will celebrate the external solemnity of the Feast of St. Francis de Sales today. On Tuesday there are Masses at 8am and 6:30 pm.

The Oratory's Lenten Sermon Series also begins today.


LENTEN SERMON SERIES 2013—SIX PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

Sunday, January 27th - Septuagesima Sunday/External Solemnity of Saint Francis de Sales:
St. Francis de Sales & Church Authority to make laws.

Sunday, February 3rd - Sexagesima Sunday:
To contribute to the support of the Church

Sunday, February 10th - Quinquagesima /40 Hours:
To hear Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and to refrain from servile work.

Sunday, February 17th - 1st Sunday of Lent:
To fast and abstain on the days appointed

Sunday, February 24th - 2nd Sunday of Lent:
To confess one’s sins at least once a year

Sunday, March 3rd – 3rd Sunday of Lent:
To obey the marriage laws of the Church

Sunday, March 10th - 4th Sunday of Lent “Laetare”:
To receive the Holy Communion at least during the Easter Season




25 January 2013

David Mamet's Timely Warning against the Gun Confiscation Push




First thing-- David Mamet, in case you didn't know, is an artistic genius, brilliant playwright, writer, and director. If you haven't seen any of his plays or films, you should.

Second thing-- big deal. Lots of entertainers have opinions, and the mere fact that they are famous doesn't make their opinions correct or even cogent.

Third thing-- so what? This article is good, written by a person who cannot be smeared with the label, right-wing Christian, nut-job extremist:

Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death.

For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called “The State,” and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read “The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs.” “Needs and abilities” are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to “the State shall take, the State shall give.”


Read the whole article here.


Post-Dispatch Hits a New Low: Aids and Abets a Fake "Catholic" Priest in Misleading the Faithful






Phillip Lichtenwalter, a former colleague of the flamboyant Mr. Marek Bozek at formerly Catholic St. Stanislaus Kostka, pretends to be a Roman Catholic priest. He claims to be "pastor" of St. Catherine of Siena "Catholic" Church. The problem is, of course, that his priesthood does not come from the Catholic Church, and no Catholic bishop ordained him. Even if some rogue prelate in the past started a valid chain down to him (which I doubt greatly) it is definitely illicit, and he has no faculties to administer the sacraments. And St. Catherine of Siena is not a Catholic Parish-- not to mention that it displeases its would-be patroness.

So far, no big deal. Lots of people who reject the Catholic Church and her claims sure seem desperate to call themselves Catholic.

What makes this case different is that the Post-Dispatch makes no effort to properly identify Lichtenwalter as non-Catholic, nor even to issue a minimal note that the Catholic Church doesn't consider him Catholic.

Now, to be fair, Lichtenwalter may have properly identified his religion to the Post (the so-called American National "Catholic" "Church"), and the Post did not draw the distinction. Mr. Lichtenwalter in the past has rebuked Mr. Bozek for his canonical crimes at St. Stan's; maybe there is some mistake. Also, it is possible that the Post might be guilty of merely very lax proofreading. Either way, one or both parties to this charade should issue a correction and clarification.

I won't post the letter, but you can read it here. I would say, "Shame on the P-D," but they have no sense of the term.


40 Years against Death




Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

24 January 2013

"As we are rational beings, as are we moral beings."-- In the Defense of Marriage

This sermon on the sacrament of marriage-- a stirring defense of this Divine institution-- was delivered by Canon William Avis of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest on the Second Sunday after Epiphany:


“And Jesus was also invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.”


+

In this time after Epiphany, the Church, in her liturgy, extends the Manifestation of Christ by recounting his miracles.  The first public appearance and the first miracle of the Son of God occurred at a marriage-feast.  God had instituted marriage at the origin of the human race as the exclusive and life-long association of husband and wife for the reception and rearing of children; for the preservation and moral order of society, and for the ultimate eternal happiness of countless generations of mankind.  Hence from the beginning marriage possessed a sacredness, a unity and a binding force unlike and superior to all other relationships; and the family, based on marriage, was the indestructible basis and indivisible unit of human society.


In the beginning God created them, male and female He created them.  And so God created marriage as the life-long commitment between one man and one woman for the purpose of having a family and also for their mutual love and support.  Being an institution for the safeguarding of the human race and the sanctity of its members, it is continually assailed by the evil one and our own depravity.  Owing to human perversity, marriage was, at the advent of Christ, universally desecrated by the prevalence of divorce; and the consequent moral condition of the age merited from the Savior the title “an adulterous generation.”  Therefore the first social work of Jesus, was the restoration of marriage to its original unity and indissolubility and its elevation to the holiness of a Sacrament of the New Law, and He said, “What therefore God has joined together let no man put asunder.” 


To the scribes and pharisees who sought to justify divorce by the authority of Moses, Jesus explained, “Moses by reason of the hardness of your hearts’—to put a stop to wife-murdering—“permitted you to put away your wives; but in the beginning it was not so.  And I say to you, whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery.  And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”


On this law of the Son of God the Catholic Church stands today, as in the past, when she withstood the rage of the popular passions and the tyrannical power of the crowned heads and mailed fists of history.  With Saint Paul she says, “to them that are married, not I, but the Lord commandeth that the wife depart not from her husband; and, if she depart, that she remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband….The woman that hath a husband is bound to the law while her husband liveth.  Therefore while her husband liveth she shall be called an adulteress if she be with another man.  Let wives therefore be subject to their husbands as the Church is subject to Christ; and let husbands love their wives as Christ loved the Church and delivered Himself up for it.”


Marriage is therefore something highly exalted and should not be entered into lightly or from low motives of sensuality, ambition or greed.  It has, like anything of great importance, its rigorous divine laws, its serious responsibilities and its challenging difficulties, which only the grace and blessing of God and a high-minded devotion to duty, honor and love can enable men to fulfill and sustain.


The general unspiritual concept of marriage and the low motives from which it is entered upon; the immoral and criminal practices against its essential laws such as contraception, with consequent mutual disrespect and the loss of domestic love; the reliance on the easiness of divorce, which induces hasty and ill-sorted marriages and as hasty separations, --these are the unfortunate conditions which makes our country the divorce-ridden nation that it is.


And while there is some hope for the future from the stand of the Catholic Church against the many evils afflicting marriage, and from the noble obedience of many good souls to the divine laws of marriage, yet so very often our fellow Catholic is found transgressing the laws of the Church, and the natural moral order, relating to matrimony,--particularly the use of contraceptives, shacking up, or getting married outside the Church.  On this last transgression, the Church since the council of Trent requires that all Catholics be married in the presence of an authorized priest (that is, the pastor of the parish or the rector of the church where the wedding takes place) and two witnesses and this for good reasons, first to safeguard the matrimonial union by the public knowledge thereof and second to impart to the newly wedded the blessing of almighty God on their new state in life, something that a judge, a mayor or a protestant minister can never give.


Until society returns to the Christian ideal of marriage as a holy and indissoluble contract, sacramentally binding husband and wife to life-long commitment to each other under the sanction of God, it will be impossible to turn back the adulterous flood that is sapping the moral character and the physical energy of the nation.  


Let us beware of the moral pestilence in the standards and the behavior of an apostate society amid which our lot is cast.  The media frequently reeks with it.  In stories which go unchallenged the foulest attacks are made upon the divine constitution and laws of marriage; the tearing apart of families is applauded, and the sensual escapades of celebrities are excused under the notion that animal passions cannot be tamed.  In the media’s imaginary world, even unions which could never be marriages are portrayed as equaling, or even surpassing the real thing.


As we are rational beings, as are we moral beings; and it is our Christian duty to watch over and control the emotions of our hearts as well as the movements of our minds.  We are responsible before God for the character and course of our affections as we are for the trend and extent of our judgments; and we can control and overcome our evil-inclined passions by the faith and the grace of our Divine religion and the prudent flight of the occasions of sin.


If we do not see any problems with the many attacks on marriage, then we need to reconsider our view of the value and sacredness of this Divine institution.  Our Lord chose it as the occasion for his first public miracle to show the importance of marriage and his own solicitude for its well-being.  It is also the first time recorded that Our Lady intercedes on the behalf of another, which shows her great concern for interests of the married couple.  The example of both of them reveals to us the profound meaning of marriage and we should therefore discover more its significance for our lives and for the good of society and defend it against all that wars against it.  Amen.

The Ghastly Idea of 'Equality for All'

That is the title of this post at Lew Rockwell critiquing the omnipresent mantra of the modern politician, our leader included. From the full article, this reflection:

But whatever one means by "equality," this surely is a most dangerous and improper goal for a government to seek – for not only can it not be achieved in human society, it would not be desirous for it to be achieved and certainly not for a government to try to work for. It is one thing to be born equal, as the Declaration said, but quite another to be made equal. A government with that as its purpose would be an Orwellian nightmare and of course still leave some "more equal" than others.

The business of making a society equal is one of those terrible ideas inherited from the French Revolution, and has no more chance of coming about than liberty and fraternity. It hardly matters that no French government, then or now, has come anywhere near providing these, nor has any spent much time in trying to achieve such impossible goals. It was, however, and continues to be for some, a useful banner under which to build and solidify a centralized "modern" state aligning powerful centralizing government with large capitalist institutions, as France went on to do in the 19th century, as Lincoln would do as well, as most 20th century American Presidents have done down to this one. (We seem to have scrapped liberty and fraternity along the way, and Obama is doing a good deal to see that they do not try to surface on his watch, but equality still works sufficiently as a supposed cause for government.)

It is possible, true, to think of "equality before the law," at least as an ideal in our kind of "democratic " society, though no one doubts that no such thing actually exists, as the testimony of the overwhelming disparity of blacks in our prisons amply attests. And in recent years we have tried to believe in "equality of opportunity," with a set of laws to attempt to create it, though inadequate education for the great majority of people in this country... assures that no such thing could ever be.

But "equality for all"? What could that be? And would you want to live in such a place?



23 January 2013

Elena Vidal Takes Down The NYT on Courtship




And gives young ladies some good advice-- in this post at the Tea at Trianon blog:

I don't know who is more confused: the person writing the article or the people whom the article is about. I see nothing wrong with a group of young people going out together. What is sad is that young men feel they don't have to exert any effort to win a young lady's affection. This does not mean a boy has to buy jewelry for a girl. According to tradition, a lady should not accept gifts of jewelry from a man until they are engaged. What it does mean is that a gentleman who wishes to court a lady should have good grooming, good manners, and the ability to pay for the dinner or entertainment. If a man cannot pay for small diversions when enjoying the company of a young lady then he is not ready for serious courtship, which might lead to the greater responsibilities and expenses of marriage. In that case, it is better to go out with a group of friends.

Ladies, you need to have respect for yourselves. You need to see that if a man wishes to keep company with you, he has to deserve your regard. And when keeping company with a young man, please do not think you owe him anything other than a pleasant manner. Your kisses are not for sale; your body is not for sale. Do not settle for less than the best and do not compromise your values for any reason. It seems that now boys expect girls to "hook up" with them just because they're male and breathing. From the
New York Times:

___________

Traditional courtship — picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date — required courage, strategic planning and a considerable investment of ego (by telephone, rejection stings). Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter or other forms of “asynchronous communication,” as techies call it. In the context of dating, it removes much of the need for charm; it’s more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble.
“I’ve seen men put more effort into finding a movie to watch on Netflix Instant than composing a coherent message to ask a woman out,” said Anna Goldfarb, 34, an author and blogger in Moorestown, N.J. A typical, annoying query is the last-minute: “Is anything fun going on tonight?” More annoying still are the men who simply ping, “Hey” or “ ’sup.” (Read entire article.)



Appeasement: The Never-Ending Surrender




The infamous photo of the head of the USCCB having a pleasant dinner with our persecutor, after having been complicit in helping him foist nationalized and mandatory "healthcare" on the nation-- including the nation's Catholics-- that requires abortion/contraception coverage, continues to be the best critique of the absolute failure of episcopal leadership in our country. And it will continue to be so, as long as Cardinal Dolan and the modernist bureaucracy at the Conference continue to carry the water for our own persecution by the agents of Moloch.

Trust the administration! The President would never force Catholics to pay for abortifacients, contraception, or sterilization! Right.

And now? Trust the administration! The President would never deny anyone the freedom to practice his religion!

And yet...

Cardinal Dolan told Catholic News Service in an email reply to questions that among other topics covered with Biden, the USCCB would be available to assist in "the fight for greater gun control in the country."

He added that the U.S. and global church's long-held advocacy for gun control is "really a pro-life position."

"The unfettered access to assault weapons and handguns, along with the glorification of violence in our 'entertainment' industry -- whether in movies, on television, or in video games -- is really all part of a culture of death, as Blessed John Paul II called it."


That's right, Your Eminence, because Obama would never attempt to infringe on the rights of innocent human life. My apologies for being so cynical.

Justice Antonin Scalia stood more strongly for the faith in anticipation of martyrdom simply by wearing a nifty hat.



St. Thomas More, pray for us!

22 January 2013

Meatless Friday Tuesday, Back Bacon Edition




I know it is a bit early for real comparisons, but is it just a coincidence that Vladimir Tarasenko's sweater number (91), when view upside down, becomes Brett Hull's 16?



Since I Forewent My Usual St. Martin Luther King Post

Here is an homage to the slain activist by comparing him to Il Duce:





21 January 2013

Let's Check That Fatima Tape Again

This piece of news is very interesting indeed...

Russia moves to enact anti-gay law nationwide

MOSCOW (AP) - Kissing his boyfriend during a protest in front of Russia's parliament earned Pavel Samburov 30 hours of detention and the equivalent of a $16 fine on a charge of "hooliganism." But if a bill that comes up for a first vote later this month becomes law, such a public kiss could be defined as illegal "homosexual propaganda" and bring a fine of up to $16,000.

The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism." It includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights. St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities already have similar laws on their books.

The bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and church see as corrupting Russian youth and by extension contributing to a wave of protest against President Vladimir Putin's rule.


Read more


17 January 2013

From One Choked by Small Joys and Small Sorrows






It is impossible to be with him an hour without breathing a new wholesome air, charged with beauty. It is impossible to be with him and not catch the spectacular glory of the present moment. At the power of his presence, before the eloquence of his eyes, poverty, neglect, and such trifles become as nothing. One feels bathed in a brilliant and even tangible light, for it is the light he sees, and which, he would have us believe, is about us on our gallant journey toward death. All the scales of pettiness fall off the soul. The spirit stands up, clean, shining, valiant, in a unconscious effort to match his. But then he is gone, with his tears and laughter and his dazzling glory. "Come, come," his eyes say. "Behold the perilous road!" No one follows, I believe. And sometimes I wonder if he cares. "You will die, stifled with comfortability and normality, choked by small joys and small sorrows." Such is his warning as he goes. What can a man do with a fellow like that?
-- from Mr. Blue, by Myles Connolly


Lessons from History Concerning the Current Gun Grab




Are we slaves already? If not quite yet, there is one way to ensure it, and history offers the lesson. From Takimag:

Disarming the Slaves
by Brian LaSorsa

[...]

On Friday, CNN aired what came to be my favorite interview of all. “Gun Appreciation Day” chairman Larry Ward used the race card against its own fanatics. Co-panelist Maria Roach, a black woman, gave a sigh of contempt when Ward dared to speak of Martin Luther King, Jr., as an ally of the Second Amendment. She seemed unaware that King personally applied for a concealed-carry permit after his house was bombed in 1956. The government denied his application, so he hired armed guards for protection instead.

Ward explained:

I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would agree with me if he were alive today that if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.

The New York Times published an op-ed lambasting Ward’s assertion without saying why. The Daily Beast also tried to critique the interview but ended up admitting that rebellions often failed because slaves were up against “their far better-armed masters.” In other words, the slaves’ guns were controlled. The sole objective of early gun prohibition was to ensure the slaves couldn’t fight back.

In 1644, more than a century before the Constitution’s ratification, Virginia introduced a law forbidding freed blacks from owning firearms. Throughout the next decade, uprisings weren’t commonplace—it’s difficult to revolt without guns—but they occasionally happened. So Virginian plantation owners lobbied the government to enact further restrictions on the slaves’ right to self-defense. In 1680, the state issued a new piece of legislation, “An act for preventing Negroes Insurrections,” to restrain blacks from purchasing any weapons that may have loosened their shackles:

Whereas the frequent meeting of considerable numbers of negroe slaves under pretence of feasts and burialls is judged of dangerous consequence, it shall not be lawfull for any negroe or other slave to carry or arme himselfe with any club, staffe, gunn, sword or any other weapon of defence or offence.

This must be news to gun-control advocates. ThinkProgress, much like The Daily Beast, also cites the failure of slave uprisings as evidence against the power of guns. One reporter wondered why Nat Turner’s “armed revolt” still resulted in the execution of 56 blacks and the murder of 200 or so others. It’s because slaves were legally prohibited from owning guns in Virginia. The rebellion failed because the rebels were only “armed” so far as makeshift knives and dull axes constitute weapons.


I challenge anyone to find me a single illustration that depicts Nat Turner wielding a gun.

Neighboring states were so nervous about local slaves mimicking Turner’s example that they, too, started regulating the acquisition of firearms. Delaware soon required free blacks to obtain gun licenses, which they never received. Maryland banned gun ownership by blacks outright. Georgia didn’t even let them carry guns. Finally, Florida authorized white citizens to confiscate blacks’ guns and carry out disciplinary whippings without due process.

In light of all this, why do modern liberals continue to balk at claims such as Ward’s? Could it be that for the past many decades, the left has held such a dominating influence over minorities that it’s refusing to concede responsibility for gun control’s historical role as a tool of black oppression?

Claiming stake in a minority voter base is no reason to ignore original documents. Absolute freedom is the underdog’s only companion, no matter how often his or her enemies try to paint it as racist. Gun control has always been a slave owner’s favorite defense against rebellion.

And there is more than one kind of slavery.

I Am Speechless




And a little scared. When I first read this story about a group of strange college students who have an unbelievably strong love for the cartoon, My Little Pony, I threw up a little in my mouth. The Cromwell in me wants to call for a complete ban on public funding of universities. The law and order in me wants stronger drug laws. The Catholic restorationist in me is glad these guys aren't in the seminaries.

But who am I kidding? All I really want is a bourbon on the rocks. Read and marvel.

From the Truman State Index:


'My Little Pony' Draws Male Fans

By Emily Wichmer

Since it first aired during the mid-1980s, the animated television show “My Little Pony” has seen several changes, and not just in its animation, characters and storylines. The audience demographic has changed as well.

The show has given rise to a new type of viewer — college-aged men. Freshman Zach Wallis said the show originally was aimed at young girls, but has sparked a fandom predominantly composed of 18 to 25 year old males, who watch the show for its entertainment value and good morals. Wallis said members of this group call themselves “Bronies,” a name mixing the slang term “bro” with the show’s characters, ponies. Wallis said the fandom also includes “Pegasisters,” the Bronies’ female counterparts.

The Brony community began about two years ago when the new version of the show, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” first aired. While he has met a few Bronies at Truman State, Wallis said the community mainly exists online in the forum “Equestria Daily.”

Wallis said the show’s creators are aware of the Brony community and they appreciate the community’s support.

“There’s a mutual relationship between the creators and fans,” Wallis said. “If the Brony community likes something, the creators will put it in the show. For example, they’ve added and developed characters the Bronies liked. That kind of relationship is something you don’t see very often.”

He said the main characters of the show represent different values and characteristics, such as kindness, charity and a strong work ethic. The setting is idealistic, Wallis said, and the premise of the show is based on love and tolerance. He said he enjoys the show because everyone can take something away from it. Like fairy tales, the show introduces a moral, but does so in a way that is relatable, insightful and funny, Wallis said.

Wallis said the Brony community has taken the messages of love and tolerance to heart. He said the community is a welcoming and open place to be, and the friendly atmosphere has inspired members to express their creativity.

Freshman Brony Devan Baetz said the creative output of Bronies is wide-ranging.

“Bronies have produced original writings, artwork, games and music,” Baetz said. “The artists are very passionate about the show, and their passion shines through in their work.”

Baetz said he enjoys writing, and the Brony community has inspired him to pursue writing a few pieces of Brony-inspired fan fiction.

Although he has had positive experiences with the community, Baetz said individuals outside the Brony community associate negative attributes with the Bronies, such as being “creepy” or “pedophiles.”

[...]

Wallis said he encourages skeptics to watch the show, because its message supports the Brony community.

“The show’s primary point is that it doesn’t matter who you are,” Wallis said. “You can be very different and still find your place and make friends. The show teaches you to accept people regardless of your differences, which is something we are sadly lacking in our world. People are treated badly or made fun of for silly things, like enjoying children’s shows. It’s something people think diminish you, but shouldn’t.”





16 January 2013

1,000 Words

h/t LRC blog

"Johnny, Does Your Daddy Have a Gun?"

Does that make you feel scared?

Does your Daddy drink alcohol at home?

Does he ever yell at you?

Don't worry, just go with this nice police lady who will take you to a safe place with lots of video games and free pizza. No, don't worry, I'll talk to your parents.

Meatless Friday Wednesday: Art and Royalty Edition




Off the beaten path, blog-wise, but this interesting piece on the ham-fisted portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge by Joseph McKenzie at Takimag caught my attention with this little excerpt of truthiness:

...Good taste retired from Albion’s shores at the marriage of Charles Windsor and Diana Spencer—some would say well before then, as far back as the 1950s when Elizabeth II transformed the monarchy into a TV reality show. The English ceased to cultivate the arts when Henry VIII delegitimized his throne by placing it above the one Jesus had given to Peter.

Consider that the black-garbed, grim-faced, and serially divorced Puritans are doctrinally iconoclastic. Art, especially good art, has always been their enemy—witness the desecration of statues at Utrecht during the Beeldenstorm of 1566, the work of hardcore Calvinists who would later spread their proto-communist rot to America’s eastern shores...


I have to agree with McKenzie that "instead of a portrait, Emsley has produced an overblown mug shot."

15 January 2013

That God's Will Be Done




Alma Redemptóris Mater, quæ pervía cæli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succúrre cadénti,
Súrgere qui curat, pópulo: tu quæ genuísti,
Natúra miránte, tuum sanctum Genitórem,
Virgo prius ac postérius, Gabriélis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave, peccatórum miserére.

V. Post partum, Virgo, invioláta permansísti.
R. Dei Génitrix, intercéde pro nobis.

Orémus.

Deus, qui salútis æternæ, beátæ Maríæ virginitáte fœcúnda, humáno géneri præmia præstitísti: tríbue, quæsumus; ut ipsam pro nobis intercédere sentiámus, per quam merúimus auctórem vitæ suscípere Dóminum nóstrum Iesum Christum Fílium tuum.

Amen

Where Are the Children?




I had the mis, good OK, misfortune to see an interview of Mayor Francis Slay on the Charles Jaco Show the other day. Slay was putting forth his case to win reelection, and Jaco stood in front of a green screen and pretended to be in Qatar asked him about the decrease in St. Louis city population of 29,000 since the last census.

Mayor Slay noted the poor quality of public education, stating that in the last ten years the city has lost 22,000 children.

And that, good people, was a vast improvement on the last several censuses.

We are down 22,000 children in ten years. Extrapolate the number just a bit into the future...

Now the news of the closure of St. Elizabeth Academy and the imminent closure of St. John the Baptist make even more sense.

And so of course the news that the city CYC district will be no more is also a yawn.

Have you read Children of Men, by P.D. James? You might want to soon.

While there are people to print it, and people to read it.

Ban assault weapons? How about banning contraceptives?

12 January 2013

Whatever You're Doing This Weekend, Change Your Plans




That's right, because otherwise you'll miss the geatest young actors since Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall put on the single greatest play of our times:


FOOTBALL ROMEO

In this age old tale of the haves versus the have-nots, the students at Verona Beach High learn the lesson that life doesn't always go as you may plan. Our high school co-op students will perform the comedy “Football Romeo” Saturday, January 12th at 7:00pm and Sunday, January 13th at 3:00pm in the church hall.

Both hilarious and touching, this show will appeal to those who love Shakespeare, those who fear Shakespeare, and those who've never even heard of Shakespeare.

Admission is $2.00 per person or $10.00 per family. All admission fees help to offset production costs with all remaining funds donated to St. Francis de Sales Oratory.







11 January 2013

Really Want to End the Bulk of Gun Violence? Think This One Over

Reprinted in full from LewRockwell.com:
  
A 5 Step Plan To Significantly Reduce Gun Violence in the US

by Robert Wenzel
Economic Policy Journal
 


1. Abolish the DEA and end the war on drugs. A large part of gun violence comes as a result of the drug market being forced underground. Drug dealers have to shoot to stay alive, just like Al Capone had to during Prohibition. 
 
End the drug war and drugs would be sold at drugstores by little old lady cashiers – -and at a fraction of the price – thus reducing all kinds of drug related crime.

2. Abolish the FDA and government involvement in drugs. Big pharma, which owns the FDA and the White House, is behind the mind altering drugs that have been taken by many of the crazed shooters. Drugs paid for and promoted by the government. Let's end the government promotion of these drugs, which can turn young men mad.

3. End minimum wage laws. Urban youth, in particular, with few skills, are the victims of the minimum wage laws. Their marginal revenue productivity is not high enough to warrant businesses hiring them. Thus, they roam, looking for targets to rob.

4. Abolish the Department of Education. Government education is a myth. It's an open air prison. The only thing learned at public schools is how to become a thug.

5. End gun control. Guns are the great equalizer. Robberies will really go down when criminals know that the potential victims could be carrying.
Bonus idea: End gun registration and destroy all records of who owns guns.

Gun registration is only one step away from gun confiscation. The most important reason to own a gun is so that individuals can protect themselves should a government get oppressively totalitarian. The last thing that an individuals should want is the government having a list of who owns guns.

10 January 2013

Three Entries on "Gay Marriage"




Over at Crisis Magazine.

The Soul-Crushing Scorched-Earth Battle for Gay Marriage
by Robert Oscar Lopez

How much is victory worth? And after you win, if you win, what do you have to show for it?

As these principles go with warfare, so they go with propaganda. The Greek word polemos, “war,” led not to the English word “war,” but rather to the English word “polemics.”

The gay movement is not a random assortment of motley rebels. It is highly organized, with major nerve centers in places like the Human Rights Coalition. The movement has its prominent generals, such as Dan Savage and Wayne Besen.

In other words, this is a movement equipped to pick its battles.

Read more


“Same-Sex” Marriage Legislation: What’s at Stake?
by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I

At the beginning of the New Year, 2013, a law is being proposed in the General Assembly to change the legal definition of marriage in Illinois to accommodate those of the same sex who wish to “marry” one another. In this discussion, the Church will be portrayed as “anti-gay,” which is a difficult position to be in, particularly when families and the Church herself love those of their members who are same-sex oriented. What’s at stake in this legislative proposal and in the Church’s teaching on marriage?

Basically, the nature of marriage is not a religious question. Marriage comes to us from nature. Christ sanctifies marriage as a sacrament for the baptized, giving it significance beyond its natural reality; the State protects marriage because it is essential to family and to the common good of society. But neither Church nor State invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Read more

So-Called Gay Marriage: A Dialogue
by J. Budziszewski

I’d been tied up with students all morning. No sooner did student number ten leave than student number eleven appeared. It was Theresa. “Hi, Professor Theophilus. This isn’t about your course. Have you got a few minutes anyway?”

“Fewer and fewer, it seems. Are there still a lot of students out there waiting?”

“The hallway’s empty.”

“I must have scared the rest away. Come on in.”

She plopped down, but instead of speaking, she grinned at me.

“What’s funny?”

“I read in the Pill about those students chanting slogans outside your classroom.” The Pill is the student newspaper. I’d given an interview the day before, opposing so-called gay marriage. You can guess the rest.

“Have you come to afflict me too, O my tormentor?”

“No, I’m on your side. In my nine o’clock class, half the students tried to shout me down for agreeing with you.”

“Your instructor didn’t keep order?”

“Are you kidding? Professor Thanatos says ‘I have one rule for class discussion: Survival of the fittest.’” She shrugged. “Mom and Dad taught me to be thick-skinned. When someone tries to keep me from being heard, I just stand up and talk a little louder.”

“How can I help you this morning?”

Read more




"Life is a series of meetings and partings. That is the way of it."




A faithful friend is a strong defence: and he that hath found him, hath found a treasure. Nothing can be compared to a faithful friend, and no weight of gold and silver is able to countervail the goodness of his fidelity. A faithful friend is the medicine of life and immortality: and they that fear the Lord, shall find him. He that feareth God, shall likewise have good friendship: because according to him shall his friend be.

~Ecclesiasticus 6:14-17

09 January 2013

Endgame: St. Elizabeth Academy to Close, and It's Not the Last

The Primary Cause: Contraception--  its use by Catholics, its acceptance and/or tolerance by the Church's pastors, and the total retreat from Catholic doctrine by the Church's hierarchy after Vatican II. 

One Effect: Catholic Institutions Die Out--  St. Elizabeth Academy, a Catholic girls high school with a 130-year history, will close at the end of the year.  St. John the Baptist is also in imminent danger of closing.

There are fewer Catholics, having fewer Catholic babies, whom are raised Catholic in ever fewer numbers.  There are fewer priests and sisters to teach them, and fewer intact Catholic families to form them.  The schools and parishes that used to work with parents to impart the faith have stopped doing so.  Parents who used to impart the faith no longer do.

When will the Church own the fact that its actions in the wake of the Second Vatican Council have nearly destroyed us?  When will the Church rouse herself to actually apply the solutionThe faith is informed by, and protected by, the Liturgy.  As long as our liturgy is anemic, so will be our faith.  Restore the Liturgy, restore the faith.

When will things get better?

07 January 2013

FY 2011-12: A Good Year for Moloch, Thanks to Planned Parenthood

According to this story in the Washington Examiner, Planned Parenthood received record amounts of public funding last year, and killed more babies than ever.

Oh, yes, and the public relations "services" cited by these murderers when begging for taxpayer dollars-- selling contraceptives and conducting cancer screenings-- are way down.

How long, O Lord?

"The fear of God frees us from the fear of men."

Rorate Caeli has run the following translation of an excerpt from the Holy Father's sermon on the Feast of the Epiphany.  The subject is the role of the Bishop in today's times.  The words are powerful and prescient, but apply to all Catholics who would stand firm in the faith, so I will take the liberty of reproducing them here, with the emphases given these words by Rorate:
 
How can we not think, in this context, of the task of a Bishop in our own time? The humility of faith, of sharing the faith of the Church of every age, will constantly be in conflict with the prevailing wisdom of those who cling to what seems certain. Anyone who lives and proclaims the faith of the Church is on many points out of step with the prevalent way of thinking, even in our own day. Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs. Therefore the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset is particularly urgent for a Bishop today. He must be courageous. And this courage or forcefulness does not consist in striking out or in acting aggressively, but rather in allowing oneself to be struck and to be steadfast before the principles of the prevalent way of thinking. The courage to stand firm in the truth is unavoidably demanded of those whom the Lord sends like sheep among wolves. “Those who fear the Lord will not be timid”, says the Book of Sirach (34:16). The fear of God frees us from the fear of men.  It liberates.

Here I am reminded of an episode at the very beginning of Christianity which Saint Luke recounts in the Acts of the Apostles. After the speech of Gamaliel, who advised against violence in dealing with the earliest community of believers in Jesus, the Sanhedrin summoned the Apostles and had them flogged. It then forbade them from preaching in the name of Jesus and set them free. Saint Luke continues: “As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the name of Jesus. And every day… they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah” (Acts 5:40ff.).  The successors of the Apostles must also expect to be repeatedly beaten, by contemporary methods, if they continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that can be heard and understood. Then they can rejoice that they have been considered worthy of suffering for him. Like the Apostles, we naturally want to convince people and in this sense to obtain their approval. Naturally, we are not provocative; on the contrary we invite all to enter into the joy of that truth which shows us the way. The approval of the prevailing wisdom, however, is not the criterion to which we submit. Our criterion is the Lord himself. If we defend his cause, we will constantly gain others to the way of the Gospel. But, inevitably, we will also be beaten by those who live lives opposed to the Gospel, and then we can be grateful for having been judged worthy to share in the passion of Christ.

We are "out of step" with the prevalent way of thinking.  Yes, if there remains any thinking at all, that is.

"The regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant."  Yes, the chief dogma is that there is no God that matters.  One might say the word, God, but it either means "just what I want" or else that His name is used to support positions that He clearly does not.  Tolerance means that only Catholics may be humiliated, scorned, beaten or killed.  True, in a neutral situation Catholics are not yet always singled out, but if the subject matter comes up that involves the Church, the hatred is palpable.  If a moral issue of the Natural or Divine Law is at stake, an issue that only the Church remains to defend, the hatred is palpable.

Soon, the hatred will spill over into action. So, how do we handle it?  The Holy Father says we must be courageous, as is demanded of the disciple.  "And this courage or forcefulness does not consist in striking out or in acting aggressively, but rather in allowing oneself to be struck and to be steadfast" before the prevailing "dogmatic" heterodoxy.  And the Holy Father points out that the Successors of the Apostles (and by extension all of us) must expect to be beaten, by contemporary methods, by those who are the rulers of-- or the unreflecting adherents to-- the culture of death that envelops us.

That is the phrase that jumped out at me in reading the Pope's remarks:  by contemporary methods.  Modern man has an aversion to the appearance of violence in the punishment of society's enemies.  Don't get me wrong-- modern man is as violent as ever, or more so.  The secular power raises armies and uses them.  The police are increasingly militarized.  Violence in our streets, our schools, our homes, our entertainment, and our minds is rampant.  But like so many other areas, we have the lie of tolerance in this as well.  We just want tolerance.  Let's leave everyone alone, let's celebrate our diversity, let's get rid of the means of violence (except for the ruling class).  But violence towards the inconvenient Church is the end.

It starts with disapproving language, exclusion from polite society, and being thought stupid.  Then the stupidity of the believer and his beliefs are labelled "dangerous" or "insane".  Once that happens, there is a basis for state action.  Oh, you're a Catholic bishop who won't "marry" homosexuals?  You're a Catholic employer who won't provide access for women's "healthcare"?  You are a perpetrator of hate crimes, you're dangerous, you're a threat to women and children.  Your children aren't safe with you-- we'll take them and reeducate them.  You're trying to influence the political process-- we'll take that tax exemption.  You're in our way-- goodbye.

By contemporary means indicates that the means, which are always contemporary, will change and evolve.  Get ready.  The tree will be shaken.

But don't despair says Our Lord, and the Holy Father echoes it in his remarks:

"The fear of God frees us from the fear of men."  May it be so.