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Worth a weekend watch: Remnant Forum November 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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I am desperately late already.  So just a quick note: the portion of the video I think really bears watching starts around 6 minute mark and centers on what happened to the dossier of perverse priests in the Curia and Diocese of Rome that was such a hot item before Pope Benedict XVI tragically (from my point of view) abdicated.  That dossier has been completely forgotten since Pope Francis was elected, even though Pope Benedict thought it serious enough to famously hand it directly to Pope Francis after he was elected.  What happened to it?  Are we to believe there no longer exists a problem of gravely immoral priests and bishops running a sort of cabal inside the Church?  What of Fr. Darius Oko’s widely read commentary on the dossier?

There is much else besides in the video, not all of which I would say I endorse wholeheartedly but worth watching.  I am posting this because the seeming disappearance of that dossier has been much on my mind, off an on, for many months, I have written to that effect, and I have not seen the lack of attention paid to it mentioned elsewhere.

I’m out.  God bless you, have a wonderful and prayerful Thanksgiving. Think of all the incalculable benefits Our Blessed Lord showers on us through His Church!  It is still His Mystical Body and perfect in that sense!

I really don’t want this post to turn into a commentary or battle on the source. Take it for what it is, the portion I’m most interested in is an interesting and valid comment and worthy of consideration.  Comments will be monitored. I may close them for this post if I feel the need.

Bill Murray, serious Catholic? November 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, manhood, Saints, sanctity, Society, Tradition.
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I have read numerous stories on the internet attesting to actor-comedian Bill Murray’s extraordinary generosity.  While perhaps a bit mercurial, you can find literally hundreds of stories where Bill Murray did something unusually generous or gracious for some person he just stumbled upon.  I figured he was an Irish Catholic, but had no idea of his sincerity in the Faith. It appears he is quite knowledgeable.  He is so knowledgeable he misses the Traditional Latin Mass:

His parents were Irish Catholics; one of his sisters is a nun. This conspicuous religion adds to his broad church appeal (there’s a citation from the Christian Science Monitor on his golfing memoirs). You don’t need to ask if his faith is important to him. He talks about how 19th-century candidates risk not getting canonised because the church is keen to push ahead with the likes of John Paul II and Mother Teresa. “I think they’re just trying to get current and hot,” he smiles.

One new saint he does approve of is Pope John XXIII (who died in 1963). “I’ll buy that one, he’s my guy; an extraordinary joyous Florentine who changed the order. I’m not sure all those changes were right. I tend to disagree with what they call the new mass. I think we lost something by losing the Latin. Now if you go to a Catholic mass even just in Harlem it can be in Spanish, it can be in Ethiopian, it can be in any number of languages. The shape of it, the pictures, are the same but the words aren’t the same.” [Might disagree a fair amount with him here, both on the canonization of John XXIII and on whether it was just the words that changed. It was much more than that, but the general sense he has is right]

Isn’t it good for people to understand it? “I guess,” he says, shaking his head. “But there’s a vibration to those words. If you’ve been in the business long enough you know what they mean anyway. And I really miss the music – the power of it, y’know? Yikes! Sacred music has an affect on your brain.” Instead, he says, we get “folk songs … top 40 stuff … oh, brother….”

So, that’s it, we win, we have Bill Murray.  Heh.

Seriously, I pray he meets his Sunday obligation. Few in Hollywood do.  I did not read the whole piece, I am out of time, so who knows.  Probably one of my brilliant readers will point up the folly of this post very shortly.

It has always been difficult to practice the Catholic Faith November 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, catachesis, error, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, manhood, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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I was at Mass last night, and was struck by the Epistle from 1 Corinthians Chapter 4.  Saint Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians to correct certain problems in that community, but I found this lesson very comforting for the present situation in the Church today, when many do not know where to turn or feel that the walls are falling down around them. To some degree, it has ever been thus, although this is one of the worst periods of crisis the Church has ever experienced. Nevertheless, I pray you find this reading as consoling as I did, it really seems to speak to what many souls are feeling right now with all the radical changes that seem to be in the offing in certain dominant sectors of the Church:

Brethren: We have been made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are without honor! To this very hour we hunger and thirst, and we are naked and buffeted, and have no fixed abode. And we toil, working with our own hands. We are reviled and we bless, we are persecuted and we bear with it, we are maligned and we entreat, we have become as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all, even until now! I write these things not to put you to shame, but to admonish you as my dearest children, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And no, I am not disheartened or feeling hopeless at all. If I felt hopeless I would not blog.  The very fact that I continue my efforts is a demonstration of my hope in both natural and supernatural solutions to the ongoing crisis.

I write what I write because I find it interesting and edifying and I hope you will, too. Or, I point out some grave problem in the culture, in academia, or even in the Church that my sensus fidei (or my pride) tells me needs addressing.  I know there are at least a couple of readers who are not comfortable with my presentation of questions or even criticism of the Pope, or in pointing out statements from the great Tradition of the Church that are dramatically at odds with thoughts or approaches to the Faith that are being pushed today.  I don’t really see myself ceasing doing so, if I find some encyclical from the past that contains great gems of the Faith, and if that gem contains or illustrates Truth held universally in the Church until the present crisis, I am probably going to post it, even if that gem seems to stand in stark contrast to ideas or approaches to the Faith being pushed today.

To be honest, I don’t wring my hands a great deal over what I post. I certainly think about it, I do check my motivations frequently,  I seek spiritual direction and this blog is monitored by people who maintain oversight over my spiritual life, but this is just one blog among thousands and it’s just my little ‘ol opinions.  I really strive very hard not to take myself too seriously.  I’m just a dude with a computer, nothing more, I make no claim to authority and everyone is free to disagree (but this being my little place on the internet for my opinions, I generally won’t allow myself or those I respect to be just pilloried or trolled in the comments, but thoughtful comments are always welcome, and I try very hard to maintain this courtesy towards other bloggers/internet apostolates, as well).

So…….there you go.  Worth what it cost ya.

Flightline Friday: The Worst Planes Ever November 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society.
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I cannot stand aviation writer Bill Gunston.  He has a tendency to develop a fixation with certain topics and then just beat them to death, castigating aircraft and nations for failing to design aircraft according to his sacred shibboleths.  For a long time during the Cold War, Gunston was convinced that any aircraft that couldn’t take and land vertically – like the Harrier, the only product TSR2offered by his home nation of Britain during that time period – was just worth than useless and a damnable waste of taxpayer funds.  This despite the fact that STOVL – short takeoff vertical landing – imposes enormous range, performance, and payload penalties that made STOVL types so badly compromised they were really not fit for most missions.  But because Britain had a STOVL plane, STOVL was the be all and end all. Actually, Gunston’s argument went like this: any WWIII scenario in Europe is bound to be nuclear from the get-go, and planes tied to long runways would be vaporized in the opening moments of the war.  This posited a) a very unlikely bolt from the blue attack, and b), the idea that tactical aviation would matter a whit once ICBMs were flying was ridiculous from the get-go.  But since the Royal Air Force only had tactical aviation, Gunston had to trump it to the skies.

I mention Gunston, because he ties in with another aviation phenomenon I’ve witnessed for a long time: the greatest, bestest, most awesomest planes ever were the ones that never got built, or never entered service.  There is a profound tendency among aviation enthusiasts to latch onto “might have beens” and trumpet them to the skies.  Gunston did just that in an article he wrote on the British Aircraft Corporation TSR.2, a low-level tactical nuclear strike aircraft developed in the early 60s.  As Gunston always does, he draws very negative comparisons between an aircraft that actually did enter service, and performed brilliantly for decades, the American F-111, and the vaporware of the TSR.2.  That is to say, the TSR.2 would have been just infinitely superior to the F-111 and the British politicians that cancelled it were evil scoundrels only looking out for their own narrow interest.  And perhaps they were, but the point is this: the TSR.2, even had it continued, would BAC_TSR2_Cosford-01tsr2-web_1still have been in service test when the F-111 was flying combat missions over North Vietnam in 1968.

And a further point: the F-111 experienced more than its fair share of developmental problems. General Dynamics botched several aspects of the design, but, then again, they also introduced many radical new capabilities that advanced the state of the art a huge amount for the time period in which it was developed. Gunston pretends that the TSR.2 would have had none of these problems, even though it was trying to put in service even more advanced capabilities from a much less mature industrial base. Gunston even notes some severe difficulties with the TSR.2, minor things like exploding engines and landing gear that vibrated so violently on contact with the runway that it would literally blind the pilot by joggling his eyes so hard.  Even from a systemic design standpoint, Gunston noted that the British government, in a cost-saving measure, insisted that the TSR.2 not be equipped with any electronic countermeasures – even flying at Mach 0.9 at 200 ft, doing so would have been near suicidal, as US experience in Vietnam showed.

I don’t want folks to think I have some irrational hatred of the TSR.2. I don’t.  It could have turned out to be a very good aircraft, but only one ever flew, it had some serious problems, and the bgassumption Gunston and other fans of it make that all the extraordinarily advanced avionics (a big advance over the initial version of the F-111A, more akin to the incredibly capable F-111D) would have just been easily and seemlessly incorporated is ludicrous.  The flight envelope had barely even begun to be explored when the project was cancelled, so it’s impossible to say what further problems would have been found even in basic structure and performance. Even when it was cancelled, the RAF had to back off some performance figures like range.  And don’t get me started on British electronics…….by the late 80s, the Foxhunter radar for the Tornado F.2, in development for 15 years, still only had two reliable operating modes: off and standby.  It never worked right.  Assuming very advanced terrain following radar, air data computers, inertial navigation systems, side-looking radar, and other features coming from a very weak industrial base would have magically worked is a mighty grasp.

Another aircraft that was cancelled prematurely and has since become viewed as the GREATEST AIRCRAFT EVAH! (when we all know it’s the Crusader) is the Canadian Avro Arrow CF-105.  This was a late 50s project for what could have been a very nice, reasonably capable long range Mach 2+ interceptor.  It was designed to have long range and shoot down bombers over the barren Canadian arctic wastes.  What followed is quite typical: the Royal Canadian Air Force (then called) kept demanding more and more advanced features, costs began to go up, and eventually the government got cold feet and cancelled the type.  Some Canadians are absolutely deranged about this aircraft – there was a ludicrous movie made in the 90s and starring Dan Akyroyd that claimed

Arrow

Arrow

that the Arrow would have gotten Canada to the moon before the US!  Yes, a Mach 2, 60,000 ft ceiling aircraft is just exactly like a Saturn V!  What a dummy I am to think differently.

Seriously, once again, the Arrow could have been a quite competent aircraft – had its engines met specification (the intended engines hadn’t flown when the program was cancelled), had the fire control system worked, had there been no major problems found (development was, however, pretty smooth), etc.  It would have been one of the best interceptors around had it entered service as intended in the early 60s.  But that doesn’t make it a wunderkind that could outperform an F-15 or, as I have read in various places, still been the world’s greatest military aircraft in the 1990s, almost 40 years after design began.  Please.  Settle down.

As I wrap this point up, I will note this correlation between the odd cases of both the Avro Arrow and the BAC TSR.2 – both were developed by countries that had, a few years before, chosen to embrace very socialistic forms of government.  Both had socialized medicine.  And it was exactly the massive expenditure in those social welfare wealth transfer schemes that so bankrupted the Cf-105_Arrow002state that maintenance of a strong, internal defence production capability became all but impossible. Britain and Canada are today nearly defenseless.  Canada has all of about 40 combat-coded fighters to cover its vast territory, no bombers, no dedicated attack aircraft…….just 66 CF-18s total, only about 40 of which are coded for combat ops at any one time.  Britain once had the most powerful navy in the world, and today is smaller than the US Coast Guard.  Don’t laugh, we’re going to follow them inexorably into this kind of decline, if it is a decline.  The US military is experiencing exactly the same kind of endless budgetary pressures today, pressures that result in endless downsizing and loss of capability, that Britain and Canada experienced starting 50 years ago.

And I think that is why those two aircraft have such fervent partisans, and cause such feverish claims to be made about them. They were sort of the last gasp of a once proud nation turned inward and selfish, preferring comfort and ease over greatness and trial.  A harsh assessment to be sure, and I feel the US has made the same choice, just a bit later, but I think there is much psychology at work in the great partisans of these two aircraft types.  Which weren’t the worst planes ever, they were simply untimely victims of nations that turned their back on their duty towards self-preservation.  Both nations have been extremely dependent on the United States ever since to take up the slack from their own abandonment of their defense, but now that the US has chosen the same path, who is their left to turn to?