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How, precisely, is God’s mercy practiced…… January 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, SOD, the return.
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…….in abandoning one’s spouse and children and trading up for a younger model?

How is it practiced in serial fornication, in men and women using each other for hedonistic pleasure and dropping one or the other when they become even slightly inconvenient?

How is it practiced in the use of abortifacient contraception that results in millions of silent, unacknowledged and unknown abortions every year?

How is it practiced in glorifying and extolling behaviors considered for 2000 years to be very bad and destructive, and denigrating and demeaning the very best Catholic practices of those same 2000 years?

How is it practiced in perverse relationships where monogamy is almost always a joke and all manner of psychoses and destructive behaviors run rampant?  What gifts are to emanate from such a source (save for signaling to these people that the seminaries are now open to them, again)?

How is it practiced in scandalizing and confusing the most devoted souls while appealing to the least committed and even open opponents?

How is it practiced in the unbalanced, ideological encouragement to immigrants to expose themselves to death trains, coyotes, rape, and murder in their journey to the worldly “promised land?”  How many families are destroyed, how many women and children abandoned, by unconstrained immigration?

How is it practiced in besmirching and denigrating the perennial practice of the Faith that dates back 2000 years?  How is it practiced in saying that the traditional practice of the Faith, which sustained 49 generations of Catholics, is somehow “insufficient” for the 50th or 51st? What does it say to souls when you say “The Church has always been wrong with her “rules” and policies and pastoral applications, but NOW the Church finally has it right!?”  Is this why so many former Catholics are invincibly convinced that the Church has nothing to offer them, if she could be so wrong on so much for so long?

How is it practiced in pretending that only the corporal mercies have any relevance, while spiritual mercy is an outdated remnant of a bygone era?

How is it possible by putting God’s infinite Mercy in opposition to his equally infinite Justice?  This represents a seriously unbalanced view of the Faith, the same imbalance that has so distorted and damaged the Church in the past several decades.

How is it practiced in following the same failed policies of the past 50 years that have resulted in the exodus of hundreds of millions of souls from the Church and out into the exterior darkness, or at least erroneous and often dangerous sects?  How is it practiced, in particular, in naming the man who has presided over the country with the single largest exodus (in percentage terms) of souls from the Faith over the past 30 years to a position of the utmost influence and visibility?

How is it practiced, generally, in encouraging more sin by forgiving it in advance?

Should we just let Western culture go to hell at this point? January 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, paganism, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, Society.
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I found this very interesting discussion at Pertinacious Papist.  The pastor of Assumption Grotto in Detroit, considering the painfully slow progress of the pro-life movement, and the continual slide into utter moral debauchery in most other areas of the culture, asks, should we even bother trying to save what remains of Western culture at this point?  I was somewhat gladdened to see that my appraisal of the dire straights of of the culture is not just my own solitary ravings, but Fr. Perrone also indicates we must maintain hope and keep in the fight:

My estimate–not wanting to be disheartening–is that we will not soon be getting better, but continue to slide down the way of debauchery. We simply do not have the muscle to halt this moral regression. By this I mean that our faith is too weak, our confidence in the efficacy of prayer, our trust in God diluted. Part of the reason for this may be that too many “good” people are themselves complicit in some of the great evils du jour through a soft acceptance of immorality in our music, TV, internet, films, etc. [or in more substantial areas of their lives]  Another part of the reason is the decline in practicing what our Catholic faith demands in prayer, Mass attendance, Confession and self-imposed penance. [like not contracepting?] And so, while the National Day of prayer and (polite) protest is ever uplifting, I find it hard to believe that there will be success in overturning the allowance of abortion. If we believe that some politicians will do this for us we need only reflect on the fact that they too as individuals may be plagued by the same moral weaknesses as others. [I might say it a bit more strongly: politicians will never bring about the complete eradication of abortion in this country.  There may be huge improvements as we’ve seen in Texas with HB2 (should the courts allow it to stand in all parts), but we’ll never see abortion gone in all 50 states until far, far more people understand its evil and stop contracepting. Even if abortion is made illegal, it will continue in substantial numbers due to contraception’s failure rate.  We’re going to have to convince people of the evil of contraception in order to completely eradicate this grave moral evil, and that fight hasn’t even really begun] This is an admission, often not willingly made today, that the sins of one adversely affect the welfare of all. We are all worse off because of abortionists, pedophiles, pornographers, lewd entertainers, no-fault divorcers, etc. Sin is never a private affair, no matter how secretly it may be done. [Dang right. Great point]
 
I admit having a defeatist attitude at times. Why not just let the whole western world go to hell? (I speak here of literal, not rhetorical, hell). The answer has to do with our responsibility. No one can, before God, allow evil to triumph. There must be resistance. Moreover there are some things that can actually be done to save at least some people from moral death. The most important of these is to become saints ourselves–one by one–people who refuse to be mastered by their own tendencies to sin and who make up to God, by prayer and sacrifice, for the sins that are committed.
Pagan society was once converted to faith and to goodness by the Catholic faith. There is no reason why it can’t be done again, except for the fact that many in the Church are too weak, and the conviction of their faith has been compromised. [That’s a point I have on my mind frequently.  How few really faithful Catholics, really awesome Saints, does it take to change the world?  The Church started out with perhaps a few score of incredible Saints, and through their efforts and conversion managed to convert a great Empire to the Faith.  It took centuries and untold suffering, but it happened. Does the Church not have several score living Saints today?  Why do our efforts seem so much less effective?  It is much more difficult, for one, to revert a culture to something old than to convert it to something new, especially given how old and out of date many hip, elite type people tend to view Christianity as.  But still, one would think, out of a billion Catholics, there would be enough great Saints to be having a greater impact.  If they aren’t out there, it is up to us, I guess, to become them.]
God bless the efforts of those who go annually to Washington to pray and give witness to the truth about human life’s intrinsic goodness. (To quibble: I don’t think the expression “sanctity of life” is accurate, though it’s compelling). [Good point. I’ve never considered that before]  Unless each individual person makes up his mind and changes his heart to conform according God’s moral laws, our country will never awaken from the moral nightmare of abortion-on-demand and so many other attending evils.
For this reason we at the Grotto, doing our small part, continue to pray the holy rosary after every Mass. I hope you continue to do this together, recognizing the power of fervent, communal prayer with Holy Mary for the saving of many souls from eternal destruction.

———–End Quote———–

I’ll just close by repeating the very difficult difference between the culture today, and that of 2000 years ago.  The culture today thinks it knows Christianity and especially the Church, and has rejected both.  They are wrong, of course, but the fact that the Church can simply be dismissed as something old, a bit dangerous, and passe’, makes awaking souls to the beauty of Truth and the need for salvation infinitely more difficult. I believe that is why Pope Benedict, who was quite prescient in his analysis of the culture and the broad sweep of history, believed that Western culture would more or less have to collapse to a very low level before it could be re-Christianized and raised up again. Absolutely, were some great Saints to come forth, all could change (St. Vincent Ferrer re-evangelized Europe in the still very Catholic 14th century, when, according to the Saint’s biographies, God was ready to end the world over the degree of sinfulness in the Church and world).  That is what we must continue to pray for, and seek in ourselves. Nevertheless, it will be a hard row to hoe. Ho.

Welfare, aka wealth transfer schemes, breeding sloth and immorality in US January 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, demographics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, rank stupidity, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, Society.
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Conservative columnist George Will presents some disconcerting data on the immense rise in the “needy” in the United States with over 1/3 of Americans now receiving “need based” payments from the federal government, which means, from taxpayers.  There is much of interest below, including strong indications that extremely liberal wealth-transfer schemes are breeding sloth, indifference, and destroying this nation’s work ethic:

America’s welfare state transfers more than 14 percent of gross domestic product to recipients, with more than a third of Americans taking “need-based” payments. In our wealthy society, the government officially treats an unprecedented portion of the population as “needy.” [And thus we see the “poor” having flat screen TVs, air conditioning, refrigerators, such a surplus of food that obesity, rather than starvation, is their biggest problem, the latest and greatest electronic gizmos, frequently multiple automobiles, and all the rest.  These are not your father’s poor, in a historically sense, they are actually fantastically rich.  There is a very small number of truly poor people in this country, mostly those with severe mental illness and/or untreatable addictions that result in homelessness, but much of what is touted – politically – as “poverty” today is not what most would consider to be true poverty or neediness]

Transfers of benefits to individuals through social welfare programs have increased from less than 1 federal dollar in 4 (24 percent) in 1963 to almost 3 out of 5 (59 percent) in 2013. In that half-century, entitlement payments were, Eberstadt says, America’s “fastest growing source of personal income,” growing twice as fast as all other real per capita personal income. It is probable that this year a majority of Americans will seek and receive payments[Just wow.  Over half of Americans receiving “needs based” payments.  And what does that do to their soul?  How many develop a dependent mentality and cease having any thankfulness for the largess they receive from others and instead come to expect and demand it? If you’ve ever worked at a charitable organization that has direct contact with the public, you will know what I mean]

This is not primarily because of Social Security and Medicare transfers to an aging population. Rather, the growth is overwhelmingly in means-tested entitlements. More than twice as many households receive “anti-poverty” benefits than receive Social Security or Medicare. Between 1983 and 2012, the population increased by almost 83 million — and people accepting means-tested benefits increased by 67 million. So, for every 100-person increase in the population there was an 80-person increase in the recipients of means-tested payments. Food stamp recipients increased from 19 million to 51 million — more than the combined populations of 24 states[You can draw a lot out of that data.  First, the overwhelming increase in the population of this country has come from the lower classes.  Upper class types are sterilizing themselves out of existence.  Secondly, the rate of growth of “means-tested” benefits outstripped the rate of population growth by nearly a factor of 3.  Apparently, the welfare reform of 1996 is one dead duck, and has been since Bush ’43 was in office.  Finally, wait and see these numbers once Obamacare is factored in!]

What has changed? Not the portion of the estimated population below the poverty line (15.2 percent in 1983; 15 percent in 2012). Rather, poverty programs have become untethered from the official designation of poverty: In 2012, more than half the recipients were not classified as poor but accepted being treated as needy. Expanding dependency requires erasing Americans’ traditional distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor. This distinction was rooted in this nation’s exceptional sense that poverty is not the unalterable accident of birth……

……..In the past 50 years, the fraction of civilian men ages 25 to 34 who were neither working nor looking for work approximately quadrupled.  [And, if I remember correctly, is currently at historically high levels.  There are fewer men aged 18-60 who are presently employed than at any time since records have been kept, dating back over 50 years]

Eberstadt believes that the entitlement state poses “character challenges” because it powerfully promotes certain habits, including habits of mind. These include corruption. Since 1970, Americans have become healthier, work has become less physically stressful, the workplace has become safer — and claims from Social Security Disability Insurance have increased almost sixfold. Such claims (including fraudulent ones) are gateways to a plethora of other payments……. [Dang right. And that’s the moral cost.  These entitlement states breed laziness and corruption.  If everyone else is getting paid to stay home and watch TV all day (further inculcating the dominant cultural ethos), why not me?  Why be a sap who actually works, when you can be quite comfortable sleeping all day and partying all night?  The message conveyed to those without a solid moral framework – which the culture has insured includes the vast majority – is that work is for suckers.]

……As a growing portion of the population succumbs to the entitlement state’s ever-expanding menu of temptations, the costs, Eberstadt concludes, include a transformation of the nation’s “political culture, sensibilities, and tradition,” the weakening of America’s distinctive “conceptions of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and self-advancement,” and perhaps a “rending of the national fabric.” As a result, “America today does not look exceptional at all.”

———-End Quote———-

I’m afraid I must agree.  I think “American exceptionalism” was always oversold, but to the extent it existed at all, it is rapidly becoming a historical artifact.

Of course, there is a Christian duty to provide for the corporal and spiritual needs of the poor, but government programs are an inefficacious and destructive means to do so.  They are also a lazy means to do so.  Advocating for more federal wealth transfers involves very little virtue and often no personal cost, while actually giving of one’s time and treasure to aid the poor does.  I note that “conservatives” are far more generous in giving such charity than are leftists.

Obama has done a very great deal to advance this culture of dependence and lethargy.  But he did not start it, the recent explosion in these payments, and the undoing of the 1996 welfare reform which played a large role in the federal budget being briefly balanced around the year 2000, started under “compassionate” George W. Bush.  Since Reagan, there truly seems to be essentially no difference between the political parties in this country, at least at the federal level.  The distinctions are so slight, that even with a historic majority, the Republican-dominated House could not pass a law banning late-term abortions over the objections of two weak-willed women, even though such a law would enjoy overwhelming popular support.

I want out.

PS –  Archbishop Blaise Kupich of Chicago says that missing Mass is no problem, let’s all work together to promote even more of the kinds of out-of-control programs we see described above.  This is like the early 70s flick “Catholics” come to life.  Sheesh.  It’s friggin’ 1972 all over again.

The infamous anti-fracking photo-op was no casual event, it was a carefully orchestrated photo-op – UPDATED January 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, SOD.
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So says Maureen Malarkey, whose research seems solid to me.  The photo-op, of course, included this now famous photograph:

popetwitter_1-1

The author gives the background to this event, and it is quite eye-opening:

Effort was made by papal apologists to dismiss the image as nothing more than a visual equivalent to Francis’ off-the-cuff malapropisms—a genial Francis being courteous to some activists.

No, it was not. And these were not just any activists. The older of the two men in the photo is Fernando Solanas, an Argentine film director, avowed propagandist, and politician. A key player in Buenos Aires, he ran for president of Argentina on the Socialist ticket in 2007 and stood for the senate last year. In the 1960s, he co-founded the influential, radical film collective Grupo Cine Liberación (The Liberation Film Group) with Octavio Gettino, Both were Marxists and supporters of Juan Perón at the time. 

Together with Gettino, Solanas also founded Tercer Cine (Third Cinema), a title referencing the Third Word. Prominent in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a movement—a school—opposed to neocolonialism and capitalism……..

…..That meeting between Francis and Solanas on November 11, 2013, had been scheduled for months. It was the culmination of a Vatican conference on “environmental crimes” with Argentine activists. Federal prosecutor Gustavo Gomez participated. When discussions ended, Francis’ invited Solanas and Gomez into his apartment for a private audience and closing photo-op. A cameraman and sound technician accompanied. There was nothing casual about it.

Solanas and Gomez were eager for the pope to declare major environmental missteps “crimes against humanity.” No definition was given of what constituted a crime or distinguishes it from an accident. Instead, the men praised Francis’ slogan for his upcoming campaign: “We must pray for children who receive dirty bread their parents give them.”

The film ran while the pope sorted through the T-shirts and held them up to the camera: “Say No to Fracking” and “Water Is Worth More than Gold.” That done, image-conscious Francis selected the wall he wanted to pose against while he delivered a homilette. It is a disquieting, rambling bit of stagecraft.

In the course of it, Francis has condemned 46 percent youth unemployment in an unnamed European country but appears to have no grasp of the causes of such unemployment. He offers only distaste for the vague “unjust international system” we are living in. That, plus a wave of the hand encompassing Hiroshima, mining, and high-voltage cables is presented in evidence that “we are living the myth of Shiva.”

Despite the resurgence of a conquering Islam and the gruesome cleansing of Christians from the Middle East, Francis declares that “the greatest conflict that is rising is the struggle over water.” We must not waste or contaminate water. Toward the end of this strange performance, Francis quotes Zhou Enlai, Mao’s henchman. While an innocuous quotation in itself, Francis’ choice of it signals sympathy with Solanas’ ideological tastes. [I have to wonder why a pope would have quotes from Zhou En-Lai available for immediate mental recall.  Wow.  And that is such a shrewd thing to do, and we have seen it frequently.]

It bears mention that the photo-op provided invaluable publicity for Solanas’ La Guerra del Fracking (“The Fracking War”), banned in Argentina by the government. This was a backhanded but unsubtle papal intrusion into Argentine politics. [Which, given Francis’ very public closeness to the current Peronist president of Argentina, Nicole Kirchner (whose father was a Nazi general), this is one of the most direct and incredible involvements of the papacy in the political process of a nation in a century or so.  Kirchner and her party are on the ropes for many reasons, the prime one being that their socialist economic policies have once again bankrupted the nation and left the economy prostrate, but also because Kirchner is incredibly corrupt and looks to have had a prime opponent murdered.  Make of all that what you will, it is certainly a pretty significant departure from what we’ve seen from the past several popes]

———-End Quote——–

I think it should be obvious by now, this pope is a master of stagecraft and very little, if any, of the numerous photo-ops of this pontificate have truly been spontaneous.  This is just one particularly well-researched event, but there are similar explanations (or would be, if someone took the time) of the “set up” for many others.

I’m trying to find some balance. I am determined to be realistic.  I don’t agree with the title of the post at the link.  Even though the evidence looks bad, I keep praying and hoping beyond hope that it’s not true.  But I also won’t pretend things like this are not significant, and it’s also no accident we’re seeing more and more of this as we get closer to March’s first ever gerbal gorming encyclical.

 UPDATE: Uff da.  In another “off-the cuff”, spontaneous event, Pope Francis is planning to hold a photo-op at the US-Mexican border to show “brotherhood” with immigrants during his upcoming US visit.  This is not confirmed, yet, so who knows what will develop.