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Once again on how Fr. Barron is wrong November 4, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, Bible, catachesis, disconcerting, error, foolishness, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Saints, secularism, self-serving, shocking, Tradition.
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I posted last week on Fr. Barron’s continual perpetuation of the von-Baltasarian “hope” that all are saved.  This is a “hope” (but not really, it’s actually a defining and incredibly damaging intellectual proposition) that is refuted by the vast majority of the great Tradition of the Church.

I stumbled across yet another source of this refutation over the weekend, in perusing Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors.  I had intended to do a post today or tomorrow highlighting how the Barron-Baltasarian “hope” is rather obviously condemned by the Syllabus, but the awesome Boniface at Unam Sanctam Catholicam beat me to the punch, so I’ll incorporate his use of the same point into this post, plus some of other of Boniface’s excellent analysis (a bit of context – Boniface’s post is actually directed at Mark Shea’s, once again, vociferous criticism of Michael Voris. Shea claims that belief in no souls or many souls in hell are just part of the wonderful tapestry of Catholic belief, to which all can subscribe to the extent they wish.  Boniface then lumps in Shea with Barron and von Baltasar in terms of defenders of the empty hell.  I add emphasis and comments):

I am more interested in Shea’s comments about “two schools of opinion-both of which are allowed by the Church.” This is what I object to. Balthasar’s “Empty Hell” theory is absolutely not a legitimate position on the Catholic spectrum, nor is the belief that some people actually go to Hell just one of various “schools of opinion.” [I can say this, the vast, vast majority of the Saints I’ve read – and that’s not a few – knew hell was a place many souls wound up. Someone commented that Padre Pio said hell was basically empty, but I’ve read a number of books on Pio and never read that.]   According to Fr. Barron, Shea, and Balthasar, even though it is heresy to say that we know that Hell is empty, it is not heresy to suggest that we can have a good hope that Hell is empty. How Fr. Barron and others can assert this is beyond me, since even this proposition is condemned as a heresy by Bl. Pius IX. Let us recall the Syllabus of Errors, number 17, in which the following proposition is condemned:

Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ.” — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

This is precisely what Fr. Barron and Balthasar assert, and what Mark Shea says is “perfectly within the pale of orthodox speculation.” Fr. Barron says we can at least have a good hope that everyone makes it to heaven, and yet Pius IX specifically condemns this opinion. Not only proclaiming knowledge of universal salvation, but even allowing “good hope” to so much as be “entertained” is condemned. Period. [And it was condemend, I think, because the good pope understood where such “hope” would lead: indifference, uncaring, lack of adherence to even the most minimal standards of Catholic life, etc.  That is the fruit widespread acceptance of universal salvation has born the Church in the past 5 decades]

Our Lord teaches as much when He says, “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in through it.” (Matt. 7:13). He does not suggest that there are many for whom it is possible that they go to destruction but do not actually go; He says “many there are who go through it.” Many means many. Many does not mean “nobody.”

In discussions about this topic by apologists pushing the Balthasarian opinion, I seldom see any reference to Luke 13, when Jesus is asked the question point blank, “Lord, are only few people going to be saved?” to which Christ responds, “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.” (v.23-24). You see that? Many shall seek to enter, and shall not be able. This is not the realm of the hypothetical……….

…….The “Empty Hell” theory is not one of many legitimate “schools of thought.” It is a novelty, toyed with early on by Origen [a condemned heretic, condemned at least in part for the same speculations that led him to allege hell is empty!] and then virtually abandoned until the modern era. [True again, as Boniface eloquenty establishes in another post on the subject regarding Catholic belief about hell through the centuries. This is important, as it shows how universal acceptance of hell as a real destination for many souls has been throughout the history of the Church, at least until the modernist revolution of the last century]The amount of legerdemain and re interpretive manipulation one has to do to Scripture, Magisterial teaching, history and tradition in order to breathe life into the theories of Fr. Barron and Balthasar on this question is appalling.  The evidence in favor of the traditional teaching that there are people in Hell outweighs Balthasar and Fr. Barron’s positions as a tidal wave overwhelms a sand castle.[I agree. Even if Padre Pio and St. Faustina felt hell was empty or nearly so, there are literally hundreds of other Saints that counseled otherwise, including most Doctors of the Church.  The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor, from Scripture and Tradition, of a rather highly populated hell.  This hope of an empty hell is a complete novelty, and novelties are not good thingsin the Church.]  That this novelty is being defended by some as a legitimate position within the pale of orthodoxy is sad, especially in light of Syllabus of Errors number 17 which explicitly condemns it. It should also be noted, in case one wants to write off Voris, that very respected mainstream priests and theologians also consider Fr. Barron’s opinions very troubling, such as Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington (see here) as well as Dr. Scott Hahn, who once stated that Balthasar’s theory was absolutely without merit.

Great post by Boniface. In my experience, it seems there are some folks out there who just have a real hard time dealing with the idea of hell as a potential reality for them or their loved ones.  I think there is a fear factor at work – who wants to contemplate eternal damnation? Who wants to think we could fall into an endless nightmare?  But I think we are fools, if we DON’T countenance this reality. As the above and other posts should hopefully show, the evidence for a populated hell – likely even very populated – from Scripture and Tradition are just too great to ignore.

More terrifying statements from Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga November 4, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, the return.
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Via Louis Verrechio again, but in this case, I will not post his commentary, simply the excerpts from Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga speech in Dallas from a week or so ago.  I’ve amped up the rhetoric a bit in the post title, but I’m really unsure what else to say – this is incredibly disturbing and frightening coming from not only a prince of the Church, but the chief of the Pope’s advisory body of cardinals:

The Church could not continue posing as a reality facing the world, as a parallel “perfect society,” which pursued her own autonomous course, strengthening her walls against the errors and the influence of the world. This antithesis of centuries needed to be overcome.  [Why on earth is that?  Because modernists didn’t like it? Because it kept modernist Catholic academics from being invited to all the really great conferences?]

The Church did not have a monopoly on truth anymore, [a very dangerous statement.  Truth in what area?  In Faith and Morals, She has all the Truth that is needed for salvation and is really the only valid repository of that Truth necessary for salvation.  But, no, the Church never had a monopoly on all “truth,” such as the truth about asphault mixing, or corn raising, or oil drilling, or car manufacturing.  But this is vague and imprudent]  nor could she pontificate on a thousand human matters, [this is just a bald assertion.  Why can’t She?  Because modernists don’t want Her to?]  or hold stances denoting arrogance or superiority. [that is the ancient shibolleth.  The pre-conciliar Church was arrogant and proud.  Please.  It is not pride to be Divinely-instituted as Christ’ Body on earth and the means of salvation, outside of which there is none.  This is not “arrogance.” This is REVELATION.]  Instead, she should go out into the common arena, plainly and humbly, and share in the common search for truth.  [Full stop.  This is the assumption undergirding all the rest. The Church, apparently to this cardinal, is just one among many, basically equal.  She has some truthiness, but not enough.  She needs to get more from others.  Those others are at least as valid and salvific as the Church.  This is one of the major conclusions of modernist and neo-modernist thought.  I don’t know if Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga is a modernist, but he certainly says some things that are very modernist sounding.]

Dialogue should precede the mission, as a simple attitude of listening, to build on what is common, rather that to insist in what divides, [I have come not to bring peace, but the sword.  I will divide father from son……..] and to count on the contribution of humanisms and of non-Christian religions, which will take us back to the foundation of any creed, any ideology. What is Christian has its substrata, first and foremost, in what is human. 

Wrong.  Just wrong.  What is Christian, is “first and foremost human.” Really?  What about Jesus Christ, and Him crucified?  I thought He was first and foremost what Christianity is about?  “Dialogue should precede mission”……why?  If you want to know what’s happened to the Church’s evangelization efforts, which are essentially neutered in much of the world, all one has to do is see a comment like this.  The cardinal is saying that endless ecumenical dialogue, which can and has gone on for decades with essentially no progress, should precede efforts at conversion.  I think it safe to assume from that statement (and those  already covered) that Cardinal Rodriguez Mariadiaga assumes essentially all people are saved, and thus proselytism must simply be solemn nonsense.

Even knowing what I do of modernist, these statments just flatten me. They remind me of what I read recently of then Bishop Ratzinger, when he stated that Vatican II was en effort by the Church to “catch up with 200 years of liberalism.”  But Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga appears to go well, well beyond that.  He seems to be in favor of overturning the entire Barque of Peter in favor of some humanist hootenany.

Rocco Palmo seemed to think that Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga was in the States to show his (and, Palmo stated, Pope Francis’) new vision for the Church.  I really pray the latter is not the case, and so far, we do not know if it is.  But if it is, is it new, or a return to a period of doctrinal uncertainty and catechetical collapse that marked one of the darkest periods in the entire history of the Church?  Not that we’re even out of that period, by a long shot, but these statements imply, to me, a strong turning away from a hermeneutic of continuity and back to a hermeneutic of profound rupture.  But wasn’t that rupture extraordinarily destructive to the Church in every measurable way?  Why would we revisit what has already proven so poisonous, especially when there is great evidence that even a few short years of at least less hostility towards Tradition has already netted some small but important improvements in key areas, like vocations?

One little addendum to the above: modernists claim that one of the biggest “scientific” refutations of Catholic orthodoxy was the “fact” that the Gospels were “obviously” created decades after Christ’s death (if He even existed).  They were surely no more than the mythologies spun by lying, overzealous early Christians.  They “knew” the Gospels had to date from at least AD 80-90, as the Gospels speak of the destruction of Jerusalem, something the Christians could not have known of before the fact (the destruction occurring in AD 70, and modernists being u unalterably convinced that miracles are all just figments of overly pious minds).  However, some decades ago, a fragment of St. Mark was found in a cave that dated, conclusively, to AD 50.  But even with this evidence, the modernists still pretend the Gospels have to date from later!  Thus, they aren’t the rational, scientific minds they claim to be, they are just as if not more dogmatic than the most stalwart of traddies.  They simply adhere to a different religion.

It’s Gnosticism. These are the new gnostics, as a very wise priest used to reiterate.

It’s not all beer and skittles in Texas – appeals court upholds adult-minor sexting November 4, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, asshatery, Basics, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Just to show that it’s not all beer and skittles in Texas, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest state appelate court for criminal matters, has determined that adults engaging in smutty talk with kids via texting or other means is perfectly legal, as “constitutionally protected” free speech.  So, adult pervs can now sext with your 10 year old, which is a powerful argument for not allowing kids to have their own phones, in my opinion, especially not smart phones or plans with texting:

Talking dirty to minors, just like Miley Cyrus “twerking” on MTV or Janet Jackson having a “wardrobe malfunction” during prime time, is constitutionally protected free speech, the highest criminal court in Texas ruled Wednesday.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down a section of a 2005 law that banned adults from sexually explicit online communication with children.
That means soliciting a person under the age of 17 for sex remains illegal, but talking dirty with a child is protected by the U.S. Constitution.  [good grief, the difference between seductive or pornographic talk, and “solicitation”………..can a distinction really be drawn?  Is this a tautology?]

Judge Cathy Cochran, who penned the ruling, said the law “may protect children from suspected sexual predators before they ever express any intent to commit illegal sexual acts, but it prohibits the dissemination of a vast array of constitutionally protected speech and materials.”
The opinion centered on a Harris County case in which a 53-year-old man was accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a teenager with an intent to arouse or gratify his sexual desire…….

……The court’s ruling said the 2005 law makes illegal a “whole cornucopia of titillating talk or dirty talk” but would also outlaw online discussions of other sexually explicit content including famous works like “Lolita” “50 Shades of Grey” “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” and Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida.”  [Ummm…..are those discussions so vital, so “protected,” that we now need to leave kids utterly at the mercy of online predators?  Well, in reality, their parents should be closely monitoring all their online activity, but the vast majority do not.  The state has had to step in and do parents’ jobs for them in far too many areas.  As an aside, do children really need to be exposed to immoral works like Lolita or 50 shades of Gray.  Lady Chatterly’s Lover is just Victorian porn.  Sheesh.  I’ve never read the Shakespeare play in question, so I can’t comment, but this seem a dumb stupid justification.]

This is a ludicrous, offensive judgment. Local law enforcement generally has some sense, outside Austin, and they can discern between a discussion of the merits of DH Lawrence and child sex soliciitation and/or engagement in immoral behavior with a child.  This is just more evidence of the growing dearth of reason in our society – we are literally unable to think rationally anymore.  And the courts are some of the worst examples of this, as we have seen with recent judgments involving homosexual simulation of marriage and Obamacare, at the very highest levels.  This is a ruling against not only common sense, but the natural law and right reason.

It’s also totally devoid of Christian morality, but the courts have been oriented in that direction since the founding of this nation, for the most part.

No, I didn’t put this video in the wrong post!

50 years ago last Saturday, the US lost the war in Vietnam November 4, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, non squitur, sadness, Society.
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On November 2 1963, South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem was assassinated on the direct orders of the US government in a comically inept review procedure that wound up having a mid-level State Department functionary making the fatal decision.  On that day, any hope of preventing the North Vietnamese takeover of the country, and subsequent installation of a brutal communist dictatorship, was lost.  50 years later, that communist government remains in power. It is still persecuting the Church, sometimes moderately, sometimes savagely.  This decision to murder Diem and his family was one of many radically immoral, destructive, amateurish and inept actions taken by the Kennedy Administration with at least tacit approval of the president himself.Ngo_Dinh_Diem_at_Washington_-_ARC_542189

Ngo Dinh Diem has been the subject of a 50 year campaign of villification by academics and journalists.  In executing this campaign, many of these opinion-makers have been openly seeking to make an indefensible act – the cold blooded murder of the leader of one nation state by another (one that was supposedly “there to help!”) – seem defensible. They have also been acting as part of that huge body of elite opinion which has sought to radically redefine and lionize the Kennedy Administration, which an accident of history turned from inexperienced and bumbling incompetence into one of heroic “martyrdom” (Kennedy took the trip to Dallas, after all, even with the hostile security environment, because his prospects for re-election in 1964 were not looking at all assured, and he needed to try to keep Texas in his camp).  I am still amazed by how much liberals today seek to radically redefine who Kennedy was, what he stood for, what his campaign and administration imperatives were, etc.  In fact, Kennedy, far from the scion of “peace” who “might” have extracted the US from the Vietnam War, was in fact the very man who ran as a right-of-Eisenhower Cold War defense hawk and who took actions – including the assassination of Diem – that made massive US involvement in the Vietnam War inevitable.

Lbj_diem_noltingNgo Dinh Diem was the Catholic President of the Republic of South Vietnam from ~1955-1963.  He had ousted a weak and vacillating government left by the French as part of their evacuation from Vietnam.  He was a virulent, ardent anti-communist as well as a Vietnamese patriot.  He was by far the only leader S. Vietnam ever had that was effective at fighting the communists and bringing some semblance of unity to the country.  All other S. Vietnamese leaders were, to a much greater degree, mere puppets of the US.  But Ngo did have a power base, although a smallish one, and did have the wherewithal to bring South Vietnam together enough to weather the coming storm of North Vietnamese sponsored insurrection and out and out invasion.

Prior to the major commitment of North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam in 1961, Diem had eliminated major threats to S. Vietnamese security in the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao religious sects, both of which maintained private armies and were deeply involved in the heroin trade.  He had pretty much contained the native communist insurgency – which is why North Vietnam chose to basically invade South Vietnam with their own conventional forces through the Ho Chi Minh trail.  He had instituted somewhat painful but very necessary economic and social reforms to better orient the country to deal with the external threat.  Outside massive outside pressure (which, indeed, did come), South Vietnam was actually fairly well placed to fend for itself.LBJ_nhu

He was, however, far from perfect.  His reaction to the communist infiltration of the Buddhist monks was one of his biggest blunders.  Most readers have probably seen pictures of Vietnamese buddhist monks burning to death after being doused by gasoline.  These supposed “devout buddhists” were more often than not (and perhaps almost exclusively) either communist agents who volunteered for a suicide mission, or they were heavily drugged and and often forcibly burned to death on the streets.  A close friend of mine, whose father was in the police in S. Vietnam at that time, personally saw one of these “spontaneous demonstrations” in action.  First, foreign media started to show up at a certain street-corner, having been tipped to the event, then a car came speeding to the intersection, with the victim drug out, obviously resisting but also obviously drugged, and then the “assistants” poured gasoline all over him and set him alight. Another victory for the proletariat!

Diem, through his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu, had generally excellent intelligence on the situation involving buddhist “discontent,” and knew that the vast majority of it was being instigated by communist infiltrators. Unfortunately for Diem (and US policy in Indochina), the Dinh brothers chose to react to this communist instigation rather ruthlessly, executing a series of raids on buddhist temples that caused substantial loss of life.  This helped spur the subsequent immolations, and then hugely negative world opinion ginned up by a hostile press.

Chopper_wreck_at_Ap_Bac-LF Another major aspect of Diem’s policy was land reform, seeking to even out the distribution of land to Vietnamese peasants from large, absentee landlords. While his program did meet with some success, it was not well enforced because some of Diem’s most powerful backers were these same landlords.

But the aspect of Diem’s regime that the Kennedy Administration found completely unacceptable is the one that blows away the liberal fantasies about their “dashing young ‘peace’ president cut down in his prime.”  Over and above the largely manufactured “buddhist crisis,” the biggest bone of contention between Diem and the Kennedy Administration was Diem’s refusal to countenance major US conventional forces operating in his country.  In fact, he really desired the number of advisers to be cut down, but had to accept that massively increased number of advisers and special forces operators Kennedy insisted on as a condition of receving continued US monetary aid, which Diem desperately needed.

There has been a myth perpetuated, generally by the far left who have somehow, contrary to all evidence, tried to turn Kennedy into their anti-war hero, that Kennedy would have pulled the US out of the Vietnam War. There is absolutely NO historical evidence to support this claim.  As I said, Kennedy ran a campaign pointed almost exclusively at the claim that the Eisenhower Administration had dangerously neglected national defense, since Eisenhower had cut defense budgets somewhat from the amazingly high levels of the last years of the Truman Administration (in reality, US defense under Eisenhower was the best it ever was, or ever would be).  When Ike left office, there were 900 US advisers in Vietnam – when Kennedy was assassinated, there were 16300.  He had already funded a planned increase for 1964, bringing the number to 23,300.  This does not include thousands more troops and CIA operators in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.  Kennedy had committed the US to a “secret war” (it wasn’t) in Laos in 1961.  Long-range_patrolling

But many leading Kennedy advisers from Henry Cabot Lodge to Gen. Maxwell Taylor were calling for much heavier US involvement.  Diem resisted those calls.  He knew that if the South Vietnamese people saw mass numbers of American troops fighting in their country, it would look like a colonial takeover all over again, and support for the communists (who were, still in all, also nationalists) would soar.  He also knew having a vast, technologically advanced US force operating in Vietnam would tend to have an inervating effect on the fighting spirit of his people, which inervation certainly occurred in the late 60s.

But more than anything, Diem knew that insurgencies are not defeated with mass military power, but with good security and even better police work.  Now, the commitment of North Vietnamese conventional forces complicated matters, turning a local insurgency with external support into an out and out invasion of a sovereign nation, but Diem still held fast to his belief that South Vietnamese would have to fight this war primarily on their own, but with extensive US monetary and industrial assistance (there not being a single arms factory in South Vietnam).

Diem_deadIt was this resistance to Americanization that ultimately turned the Kennedy Administration sour on Diem.  The Americans saw the South Vietnamese as “losing,” or at least not doing enough to stop communist infiltration (and there were some disastrous military reverses for the South Vietnamese in 1963, especially at the battle of Ap Bac, where a hugely superior ARVN force folded and ran before a small group of VC), so opinion built in the Kennedy Administration that Diem had to go.  The buddhist self-immolations were just the excuse given for a strategic reason to oust Diem, the strategic vision being that the US had to get involved – massively – in Vietnam.  Johnson only continued Kennedy’s already extant policy of Americanization of the war.

Ultimately, it was this policy of Americanization that inevitably resulted in the US losing the Vietnam war.  Counter-insurgencies are extremely difficult to fight (as we have found in Iraq and Afghanistan), especially when those insurgencies receive enormous outside support, which of course occurred in the Vietnamese war.  The British successfully fought a counter-insurgency in Malaya, but that took almost 15 years.  It was done not with ginormous conventional forces, but with primarily local forces and with extremely good police work, rounding up suspects, knowing the local communities, being aware when strangers came into villages, etc.  The Thais did the same thing, with no external help, in the 70s and 80s.  Same process.

Large conventional forces, and the fighting that ensues, tend to be so damaging and disruptive that support for the existing government 800px-B-52D(061127-F-1234S-017)rapidly erodes.  That was certainly the experience of the US in Vietnam, where no government had truly popular support after Diem.  But Kennedy and Johnson wanted a quick win for domestic political purposes, and allowed themselves to be convinced that once the US got involved massively, we’d roll over the backwards, ignorant little Vietnamese in no time.  Neither Kennedy or Johnson ever had an inkling what they were really up against, not least until it was far too late and US prestige was on the line.  And once the US got involved, it made strategic sense for the Soviets to supply their North Vietnamese satellites massively, as well, to keep the US bogged down in a fruitless, unwinnable war.  Unwinnable, that is, after the US took out the one man who had a chance – even if only a chance – to build up South Vietnam enough to withstand both the insurgency and the invasion.

And that is why the US lost the war before it ever really even began.  You can thank Kennedy, the man of “faith, hope, and peace” for that.

A far smarter approach would have been to continue seeking to stabilize the South Vietnamese government with aid, munitions, and limited numbers of advisors (and possibly airpower), while diplomatically seeking to isolate the increasingly hostile Chicoms and Soviets from each other.  Some really smart diplomacy could have gotten China to state that any Soviet support for North Vietnam was a violation of its sphere of influence, which claim China did make in the late 1970s. This move cut off most Soviet aid to the then unified Vietnam – but 10 years too late.  Nixon did achieve something of this diplomatic success, but in late 1972, when we had already pretty much admitted defeat.  Today, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is almost totally dominated by their Chicom neighbors.

A few other factoids about Kennedy’s hawkishness:

Operational US ICBMs in Dec 1960 – roughly 30  Operational US ICBMs in Nov. 1963 – roughly 300.  Kennedy program for ICBM installations – over 1000 between 1963 and 1967, which program was carried out

Operational US SLBMs in Dec. 1960 – roughly 50.  Kennedy program for 41 fleet ballistic missile subs with 656 missiles completed in 1967

Number of active, deployable US Army divisions in 1960 – 5.  Number of active divisions in 1964 after Kennedy expansion – 15.  When you have a large, conventional, standing army, it will be used.  That is why Eisenhower deliberatly cut the Army to the bone.  He did not want to see it used in endless brushfire wars.  How many wars has the US been involved in since it has kept, post-Kennedy, a large standing army?

I shall stop there.  Kennedy was a Cold War hawk who greatly expanded the US military and had plans to do still more, all baby-boomer hagiography to the contrary aside.

LGM-25C "Titan II" ICBM, one of 1054 ICBMs of the Kennedy missile program

LGM-25C “Titan II” ICBM, one of 1054 ICBMs of the Kennedy missile program