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Vatican preparing a betrayal of the Church in China? January 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, Holy suffering, horror, martyrdom, paganism, Papa, persecution, Revolution, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church.
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Vox Cantoris has a couple of posts on the renewal of the idol “dialogue” between the Vatican and the Chicom government.  The second of the two contains commentary from Cardinal Emeritus Zen of Hong Kong, seemingly the last of the old lions of the free, true Chinese Church.  Cardinal Zen is having nothing of the dialogue being pursued by arch-liberal Cardinal Parolin and the Vatican bureaucracy.  It seems our new progressive overlords have in mind a replay of the Ostpolitik that helped maintain the communists in power for years in Eastern Europe while throwing faithful, saintly souls like Cardinal Mindzenty under the bus.

I take excerpts from Cardinal Zen below.  Emphasis from Vox, my comments:

I remember that at the beginning of last year the newspaper Wen Wei Po announced jubilantly that “relations between China and the Vatican will soon have a good development.” Soon after, the Vatican Secretary of State said that “the prospects are promising, there is a desire for dialogue on both sides.” I had my doubts about this unexpected wave of optimism, I saw no basis for this optimism. More than a thousand crosses were removed from the top of the churches (in some cases the churches themselves have been destroyed). After so long, we can no longer delude ourselves that this was anything beyond an episode of some local official’s exaggerated zeal. Several seminaries have been closed. Students of the National Seminary in Beijing were forced to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Independent Church, promising also to concelebrate with illegitimate bishops (otherwise they would not receive a diploma at the end of their studies). The Government is continuously strengthening a church that now objectively is already separated from the universal Catholic Church; with enticements and threats they induce the clergy to perform acts contrary to the doctrine and discipline of the Church, denying their conscience and their dignity. [I agree the Chinese Patriotic church is already schismatic. It always has been.  As for whether prelates and priests who cooperate with the state-owned church are violating their conscience, that is known only to God]

………. Pressed by some journalists as to whether there was real progress, Cardinal Parolin responded: “The fact that we speak is already positive.” It seems that there is no agreement in sight as of yet……..[The holy grail of dialogue has been found!  God be praised!]

…….So what is the formula now under discussion for the appointment of bishops? As an old Cardinal out on the peripheries, I have no way of knowing, let alone guessing.

A recent article “A winter of darkness for religions in China” by Bernardo Cervellera on AsiaNews, says: “From information that has arrived from China it would seem that Beijing’s proposal is limited to complete recognition by the Holy See for all official bishops (even illegitimate and excommunicated bishops), without any mention of the unofficial bishops and those in prison; Vatican approval of the government recognized Council of Bishops, which excludes underground bishops; approval of the competency of this Council (and not the Pope) in the appointment of new candidates to the episcopacy who will be “democratically” elected (in short according to the suggestions of the Patriotic Association). The Holy See must approve the Council’s appointment and has a weak veto only in “severe” cases, which must be justified if used. If the Holy See’s justifications are considered “insufficient”, the Council of Bishops may decide to proceed anyway”. [Long story short, negotiating with communists, without a few hundred B-52s in your back pocket, is a complete waste of time unless one is prepared to completely, utterly capitulate.  That certainly appears to be the case with the Church’s “dialogue” with the evil, Christ-hating Chinese Communist junta]

If this information is accurate, can the Holy See accept the claims of the Chinese counterpart? [Nope]  Does this approach still respect the true authority of the Pope to appoint bishops? [Nope]  Can the Pope can sign such an agreement? [Sure, he can sign, but it would be a total betrayal of the faithful in China and around the world and the largest scandal of this papacy to date]   (Pope Benedict said: “The authority of the Pope to appoint bishops is given to the church by its founder Jesus Christ, it is not the property of the Pope, neither can the Pope give it to others”).

Do our officials in Rome know what an election is in China? Do they know that the so-called Episcopal Conference is not only illegitimate, but simply does not exist? What exists is an organism that is called “One Association and One Conference”, namely the Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference always work together as one body, which is alwayschaired by government officials (there are pictures to prove it, the Government does not even try more to keep up appearances, it starkly flaunts the fact that they now manage religion!). Signing such an agreement means the authority to appoint bishops delivering the Church into the hands of an atheist government. [That’s the whole point!  Why do you think the Chicoms are so eager to have this dialogue?!?  This is their first clear opportunity in 60 years to get the Church clearly and totally under their blood-stained thumbs!  They recognize a fellow-traveler when they see one]

This scheme is often compared to a (poorly defined) Model Vietnamese, but it is much worse. The Vietnamese model is based on an initiative that began with the Church in Vietnam, the true Catholic Church in Vietnam. In China on the other hand, the so-called Association and Conference hide the reality that it is the Government calling the shots. [And the Vietnamese situation is far from ideal]

Even in Eastern Europe of the past, such as in Poland and Czechoslovakia, it was the Church that took the initiative and then gave the Government veto power. In doing so, even if the government vetos a proposal for the hundredth time, it is still the Church that presents a candidate and makes the appointment. If the Government insists on a veto, it will only prolong the impasse, and it will still allow the Church time to look for a suitable candidate. But it is unthinkable to leave the initial proposal in the hands of an atheist Government who cannot possible judge the suitability of a candidate to be a bishop. Obviously, if the Church gives in to pressure from the government, the only result – despite proclamations to the contrary – is that it will have sold out the pontifical right to appoint bishops. Can this happen? According to an article written by a certain András Fejerdy: “For pastoral reasons – that is, because the full administration of the sacraments requires completely consecrated bishops – the Holy See believed that the completion of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference was so urgent that it accepted a solution that formally did not upset the canonical principle of free appointment, but that in practice gave the regime a decisive influence in choosing the candidates”. [Meaning, under the disastrous “Ostpolitik” of the former record-holder for most progressive Pope in modern history, Paul VI, the Church surrendered her liberty and her sacred rights in order to appease a murderous leftist authoritarian regime]

UCAN News reports recent news from Chengdu (Sichuan): “Shortly after the visit of the Vatican delegation to Beijing, the Holy See approved the episcopal candidate elected in May 2014”. Is this also a case of “not upsetting the canonical principle of free appointment, but …in practice giving the regime a decisive influence in choosing the candidates “? [Chicoms choose a figurehead bishop, likely more beholden to Beijing than to God, and the Church goes along.  Very not good, especially given the thousands of bishops, priests, and faithful killed or indefinitely imprisoned by this communist cabal for defending the True Faith!]

The aforementioned AsiaNews article stated, again based on information received from China: “Beijing (demands) the Holy See’s recognition of all the official bishops, even the illegitimate and excommunicated ones.” I wonder: is it only the government that makes these demands, without repentance of those concerned? Will the excommunicated only be released from excommunication or even recognized as bishops? Even without any act of repentance? Has the mercy of God come to this? Will the faithful be obliged to obey these bishops? [Great questions]

So much remains to be resolved.

Illegitimate bishops who have been excommunicated have abused the sacramental power (including ordination of deacons and priests) and judicial (assigning offices) and the Holy See seems to be without rebuke for them. [There hasn’t been much rebuke for decades, going back to JPII.  Pope Benedict was somewhat better, but only somewhat.  Fear of men, and all that. Church leaders tie themselves in not worrying over the “pastoral implications” of doctrinal matters that should be crystal clear.  It’s the worst of both worlds.] 

…….Shortly after the Vatican delegation’s journey to Beijing began, the government organized a large gathering of Church leaders, forcing on that occasion a celebration of all the bishops, legitimate, illegitimate and excommunicated. These are all objectively schismatic acts. [Think about that] The government now can string along a large number of bishops, resulting in an irrecoverable loss of dignity. If the Holy See signed some agreement with the Government without clarifying all these things, it will cause a severe wound to the conscience of the faithful……. [And given the overall poor health of the Church in China, and the enormous inroads protestants have made there, a potentially fatal one]

……….Obviously our underground communities are non-existent for the Government. But now is even the Vatican ignoring them in negotiations, to appease their Chinese counterparts?  [I have long sensed – going back to before Pope Francis  – that the underground Church is something of an embarrassment to many in the Curia.  The progressives there would really like them to go away, so they can have the “victory” of normalizing relations with a schismatic group of government-controlled dupes] To “save the day” will we abandon our brothers and sisters? But they are the healthy limbs of the Church! (Of course, they too have their problems, especially when dioceses remain without bishops, which can only lead to disorder). Is silencing the underground community to please the government not a form of suicide?

In the recent negotiations there has been no mention of the case of Msgr. James Su Zhimin in prison for 20 years. Nor of Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai under house arrest for more than three years because these issues have been deemed “too sensitive”!?

……..Beijing has no intention of negotiating, only making demands.

…….What makes me restless is the sight of our Eminent Secretary of State still intoxicated by themiracles of Ostpolitik. In a speech last year, at a Memorial for Card. Casaroli, he praised the success of its predecessor in having secured the existence of the Church hierarchy in the communist countries of Eastern Europe. He says: “In choosing candidates for the episcopate, we choose shepherds and not people who systematically oppose the regime, people who behave like gladiators, people who love to grandstand on the political stage.” I wonder: Who had he in mind while making this description? I fear that he was thinking of a Cardinal Wyszynski, a Cardinal Mindszenty, a Cardinal Beran. But these are the heroes who bravely defended the faith of their people! It terrifies me to think this way and I sincerely hope that I am wrong. [Ostpolitik was possibly the greatest diplomatic disaster of the Church in the past 200 years.  It was also a pastoral disaster.  Ostpolitik played a substantial role in helping the communist states of Eastern Europe survive a further 20 years.  It resulted in many great, holy, faithful men being thrown under the bus.  I wonder if their well-deserved reputations as opponents of leftism, within the Church and without, played a role in that process under the pontificate of Paul VI and the many progressives he appointed to the Curia?  I know one thing for certain – Paul VI, Cardinal Casaroli, and the other architects of Ostpolitik have blood on their hands.]

The innocent children were killed, the angel told Joseph to take Mary and the Child and flee to safety. But today would our diplomats advise Joseph to go and humbly beg for dialogue with Herod!?

Is that even a question at this point?  Is there anything more exalted, more precious, more holy to most of the institutional Church today than Saint Dialogue the Endless?

I don’t have any clear answers to Cardinal Zen’s many trenchant questions (and note, he also said he his many important concerns have been totally ignored by the Vatican), but I do know this: I get very nervous whenever a left-leaning (or falling) Vatican negotiates with an authoritarian, left-wing government.  The lure of a deal, any deal, regardless of the price, may simply be too great to resist, and progressives tend to be manifestly blind to the evils of governments they see as being on the side of goodness and light.

Long enough post. I actually worked on this on Monday but thought it was too long, then I see Life Site News ran it yesterday!  So I figured what the heck.

I don’t know if an adult male can be taught how to be a man…… January 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in catachesis, Domestic Church, episcopate, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, manhood, Papa, priests, scandals, Society, Tradition, true leadership.
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…..if he didn’t learn it as a child. That, and other considerations cause me to largely agree with Louie Verricchio’s assessment of the “Manly Men Movement” in the Church.  First, the video, then I add a few thoughts:

I agree very much with Louie in these respects:

  • rah-rah men’s groups often come off as artificial, a bit desperate, and sometimes quite weird
  • even when trying to carve out a masculine space/lifestyle, these efforts frequently use feminist techniques
  • Like so many areas of the Church today, whatever conservative reaction there tends to be seems to ape earlier protestant efforts.  I don’t want to hear “Can I get an Amen?” from some dude at a conference, I hated that crap as a protestant and I hate it more now.  It’s contrived.  And this is just one small area where the Church has surrendered not just the initiative, but almost the entire effort to protestant sources – “Vacation Bible School,” many adult catechetical programs, the Charismatic movement, Focolare……most conservative oriented initiatives seem to almost always ape protestantism. Is this because the one truly Catholic alternative -the traditional practice of the Faith – is forbidden?
  • I don’t think manhood can be taught to adult males.  You either get it as a kid, or you don’t at all.  That may be really a bummer for those who grew up with much of a male role model, but I’ve watched guys try to learn as adults how to be men or more manly and the results have not been good.

But the main point that I think is dead on is the reason there are so few spiritually committed, masculine men in the Church today, is because the Catholic Church is probably the very last place where (OK, I’ll say it, outside traditional parishes) you will find masculine spiritual fathers.  One of the least masculine cohorts I’ve ever encountered in my narrow existence is the Novus Ordo priesthood.

As Verrecchio adroitly observes, the behavior of the Church today is profoundly feminine.  The Church today seeks consensus, it seeks popularity, it seeks never to offend, all of which has caused the sense of Truth and the importance of it to salvation to be flushed down the proverbial toilet.

How many US bishops today would die to protect the sacred deposit of Faith?  Would any?  How many priests?  Perhaps a handful, overwhelmingly attached to the TLM? Far more damning……how many bishops and priests would even be slightly inconvenienced for the sake of Truth and the true good of souls?  You can’t be a man if you don’t protect your family, and these men, they do not protect their family.  In fact, they’ve pretended to redefine what their family is in order to avoid doing so.

I generally like Louie, but I do think he goes a bit too far at times.  I think he’s pretty much on target in this video, though.  The amazing thing is, Bishop Olmsted is probably one of the top 5 or 6 most orthodox bishops in the country, relatively speaking.  There was a lot of liberal angst when JPII first made him bishop and then assigned him to Phoenix. Shows just quite where we’re at in these days.

Having said all the above, I don’t mean to be relentlessly negative.  I was blessed.  I feel like – I hope, I pray – that my dad taught me how to be a man.  He didn’t have guns or hunt or shoot but he did a lot of other things and he remains a huge influence and a hero of mine to this day. When I said earlier today I don’t think the acorn falls very far from the tree, I was thinking of me and him. We’re a lot alike.  My dad is my best friend, and always has been.  I really mean that.

And I know some men, many men, don’t have that, because of divorce or accident or many other reasons.  And I try to have a great deal of compassion for such men, and I can very much see why they, and others who did have a father in their life growing up, would reach out to other men for inspiration and leadership. It’s a crying shame in the Church today that yet again laymen have to rely on themselves and each other to fill the roles that should rightly be filled by priests in better circumstances.

So, forgive me if it seems like I’m looking down on their efforts.  I’m sure some are better than others and some probably work pretty well. And there are priests out there trying to fill the role of spiritual fathers for men, men like Fr. Michael Rodriguez, Fr. Richard Hielmann, Fr. Romanowski, Fr. Phil Wolfe and the Gordon brothers and others.  If there are men who get some true spiritual benefit and growth in their Catholic faith from these men’s revival meetings, more power to them.  I just think the effort is necessarily limited by the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and may not always be ordered towards the Faith in the best way possible.

That concludes family day on the blog, I guess.

h/t the great Saint Anibale Bugnini

More people dying than being born in Europa January 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Abortion, contraception, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, Immigration, paganism, Revolution, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society.
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The lights are going out all over Europe, again, and this time not due to fascism or communism, but hedonistic sexular paganism that has so enervated hundreds of millions of souls they cannot even bother to reproduce.  Were the births to muslims excluded from the total fertility rate of most European countries, the numbers would look even worse:

More people in Europe are dying than are being born, according to a new report co-authored by a Texas A&M University demographer. In contrast, births exceed deaths, by significant margins, in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S., with few exceptions.

Texas A&M Professor of Sociology Dudley Poston, along with Professor Kenneth Johnson, University of New Hampshire, and Professor Layton Field, Mount St. Mary’s University, published their findings in Population and Development Review this month.

The researchers find that 17 European nations have more dying in them than are being born (natural decrease), including three of Europe’s more populous nations: Russia, Germany and Italy. In contrast, in the U.S. and in the state of Texas, births exceed deaths by a substantial margin.

“In 2013 in Texas, for example, there were over 387,000 births compared to just over 179,000 deaths,” says Poston. “The only two in the U.S. with more deaths than births are the coal mining state of West Virginia and the forest product state of Maine.” [Yeah but even here without the massive Hispanic population the fertility numbers would not look nearly so good]

………Findings reveal that 58 percent of the 1,391 counties of Europe had more deaths than births compared to just 28 percent of the 3,141 counties of the U.S……..

…….Natural decrease is much more common in Europe than in the U.S because its population is older, fertility rates are lower and there are fewer women of child-bearing age,” Poston and his colleagues explain. “Natural decrease is a major policy concern because it drains the demographic resilience from a region diminishing its economic viability and competitiveness.”

Save for an emptying out of the High Plains, northern Appalachia, and parts of the Midwest, most of the US experiences steady growth, as shown below.



In both Europe and the US, take abortion away and these numbers would look far better.  But that’s not gonna happen anytime soon, barring a miracle of biblical proportions.

Absent that, Europe is going to become increasingly muslim, with many regions becoming majority or near-majority within the next several decades.  At the very least, come 2050 or so, Europe is going to look very different, and probably a far more dangerous place.  I also expect to see mass migration of non-muslims to areas with little or no muslim presence.  Europe will be Balkanized, and in the worst possible way.

Europe’s had a holiday from history for about 70 years.  But history must be paid either now, or later, and by enjoying this phantasmal “holiday” the comeuppance is going to be hard and fast.  I pray that as a result of this very unhappy process, however, that Europe finds it’s faith again.  If it doesn’t, Europe as we have known it will cease to exist.

Common Core textbook salesperson – “I hate kids” January 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, Domestic Church, error, family, foolishness, horror, rank stupidity, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, unbelievable BS.
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This came out last week, so maybe it’s old news, but, a lead saleswoman at Houghton Mifflin got caught saying some highly inconvenient – if likely all too true – things regarding Common Core, the textbook racket, and her feelings regarding children.  She was fired the same day this came out, but DANG:

A new undercover video caught public school teachers and a textbook saleswoman saying some pretty disparaging things about the Common Core standards.

The video, which was produced by James O’Keefe’s media activist group Project Veritas, mixes undercover footage with an explanation of the criticisms against the federal standards.

“I hate kids,” said Diane Barrow, West Coast Accounts Manager for textbook publishing company, Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt. “I’m in it to sell books, don’t even kid yourself for a heartbeat.”

“You don’t think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education do you? No,” she said. “They’re in it for the money. The fact that they have to align the educational standards is what they have to do to sell the books.”

She went on to criticize homeschool parents later in the video.

“Homeschoolers, I’m sorry, did you go to school to become a teacher? Then don’t teach your kids you know?” she said. [I’ll put my engineering degree up against a teaching degree any day]

Since the video was published Tuesday morning, Barrow has been fired from her job, the Daily Mail reported.[I’ll say this for our media saturated, instant-communication world: you can get yourself fired in a heartbeat.]

But that’s not all.  Another video was released by James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas on Monday, and it is almost as inflammatory:

It’s never about the kids,” is how Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt Strategic Account Manager Amelia Petties reveals how the textbook industry prioritizes profits over students……..

After admitting that Common Core isn’t about the educational welfare of children, Petties explained how lucrative Common Core has been for the textbook publishing companies, saying, “There’s always money in it.”

Petties also suggested that changing the name of Common Core may be helpful in making textbook publishers more money by saying, “And slapping a new name on it, which in my case, I hope they do…Let’s do it…I can sell a shit ton of training around whatever you’re calling it.” [My how this country has coarsened over the past 50 years]

Look, it’s not like you or I need hidden cam expose’s that get people fired to know that Common Core is a disaster. But it sure is interesting that figures promoting it are so brazen in their acknowledgement that this is just another money-making racket for the publishing industry and a cheap way for politicians to try to score points, whether it helps the kids or not (it doesn’t). And don’t forget the dumbification of America is a vital part of the left wing project to gradually turn this country into another Sweden, if not another Soviet Union.

But if you want to know more in detail what is wrong with Common Core, you can go to this article.  I imagine as a result of Common Core, homeschooling will only continue to grow in popularity, something the big publishing companies cannot stand (until they figure out a way to penetrate that market, too).

A few thoughts on homeschooling, parishes, and family “failure” January 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, Revolution, sadness, secularism, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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I guess there was quite a bit of coverage I missed last week on a piece posted to Life Site News regarding children of homeschooling Catholic parents not turning out the way their parents intended.  A corollary piece appeared here at Liturgy Guy that argued that raising holy kids requires more than just a homeschooling family, it requires a holy, traditional parish.

Both are well-written and thoughtful pieces.  If you haven’t read them yet, they are well worth your time.  I am not going to excerpt either, but instead, simply add my own thoughts on the matter in a somewhat scattershot manner.

First, I agree that no matter how much one tries to be holy and faithful and turn out kids who are similar, having kids that fall away and embrace the world is always a possibility.  We exist in a culture today that is a veritable sewer, there are so many ways for kids to fail, and I think we all know certain “black sheep” who have always seemed hell bent to do just the opposite of everyone else in a family, and who seem to glory in infantile rebellion.

Having said that, I did notice several things from the list of ways in which kids might have a meltdown, and several things struck me.  All of them involved things that seem to be at least controllable, if not largely preventable.  Before I get into that, however, the questions below are not an attack on anyone’s parenting, we all do the best we can and we all have different circumstances.  You might consider them sanity checks stemming from the LSN post:

How can kids get into porn on the internet if you have a really strict blocker/reporting system like Covenant Eyes?

Why do your high school kids (or younger) “need” to be on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tinder, or any other social media?

Do your kids really need a smart phone with texting and all the rest?

Kids are not fully mature at 18. Does it make sense then to send them off to secular or even nominally Catholic colleges (or even really Catholic colleges) where they will be totally on their own for the first time?  Why not have them live at home for at least the first year or two and attend a local college, if that is an option?  Is college even necessary for most kinds who are not going into business, hard science, engineering, etc?  What about vocational programs?  Do you know how valuable a one year class in Pro/E, Solidworks (MCAD), or Allegro (ECAD) is?

Are you really monitoring your kid’s friends?  Do you know what they get up to?

Regarding the second link above, I strongly recommend finding a traditional parish if at all possible, and involving the family exclusively in that parish. There is a massive difference between a deliberately, specifically traditional parish, and one that offers the occasional TLM or a Novus Ordo parish.  It is literally night and day, especially in terms of the degree of devotion to the Faith, the virtue of the children to whom your children will be exposed, the general prevailing moral standard, the catechesis received, and perhaps most importantly, the synergistic effect that comes from all these things and more taken together in toto.  Surely kids do flake out from homeschool trad families, too, but the crashes tend to be much less severe, and occur less frequently.

But there are dangers even there.  I have observed that traditional Catholics tend to be very much Type A personalities.  There is more than a little “my way or the highway” going on.  Some of this is on matters of import, some of it is not.  So just as a sort of check your motives exercise, I think it important to consider from time to time whether one’s manner of homeschooling and child-rearing is really about turning out holy kids, or controlling your environment?  The latter is far more likely to foster rebellion than the former.  Kids do need to be able to express their own individuality.  Suppressing that in a heavily regimented home environment can create pressure that could lead to an explosion later.  I’ve seen that more than once.

Do some kids need to feel like they are rebelling? I say that in this sense……there are people who are simply contrarian.  For whatever reason, they feel a need to show they are somehow different, better, smarter, whatever, than the status quo around them.  Is it better to permit some contained rebellion than to risk a total meltdown later?

A kid going very far into rebellion does not mean failure.  Look, as far as my parents knew, I was purt’ near the “perfect child,” I made straight A’s, I never (substantially) got into trouble with the law, I did “date” probably a little more, ah….aggressively….than they would have preferred, but there were no accidents or crises.  I never got in trouble at school, I worked various jobs, etc.  But partly to blow off steam from much self-induced pressure, and partly simply because I really, really liked it, little did they know, but I got blitzed pretty much every Friday and Saturday night from age 14 on.  I was pretty wild, and had some wilder friends.  We “garage hopped,” stealing things from open garages at night (mostly beer), we drank, we drove like wild men, we fought, we had huge gatherings dang near every week in the most unlikely spot imaginable……our senior high parking lot. We got busted by cops many times who inexplicably never took us home or to jail. While I had the discipline to study and apply myself scholastically just about every moment I wasn’t drinking or working, my friends would crush two liters of Sun Country wine coolers (remember those?) at lunch, smoke out, and even got into much harder things as high school wound down.  But every single one of those guys are now happily married, responsible adults with families and professional jobs.  They aren’t practicing Catholics, to be sure, but they weren’t then, either.

The point is not to recount my “glory years.”  They weren’t glorious, they were stupid and I got lucky 1,000 times over, and not just with regard to my parent’s image of me.  I nearly died on several occasions, including a 110 mph wipeout on Plano Parkway just before starting college.  The point, however, is that what looks like failure at 16 or 19 or even 27 may not be look so bad a few years later. One of those friends who were most wild got his girlfriend pregnant at age 19.  They got married and he finished school.  They have five kids and are still together.  He is very successful, materially.  Conversely, what looks like success at 18 may not turn out that way in the long run.

Some people just have to learn the hard way.  Some people, like me, must endure much self-induced misery before coming to the conclusion that all that “fun” wasn’t so great.  So never give up, and never assume that just because you’ve “lost one” that all the others are going to turn out similarly, or that the lost sheep will never return.  The school of hard knocks is very painful, but also very effective.

I’ll say a bit more.  In my experience, the acorn don’t fall very far from the tree.  That is to say, I am generally amazed at how similarly many of my now adult friends from childhood resemble their parent’s behavior.  Now, in the cases I’m thinking of, that’s not always ideal, but it should give hope to homeschooling parents afflicted with a rebellious child.  They may be rebellious now, but odds are they’ll settle down and wind up being more like you than  you imagine possible right now when they hit their 30s or so.

Perhaps the above is obvious. I hope it is not offensive.  This is a subject I think about a lot.  And I worry that sometimes our balance isn’t quite right.  The thing is, what works beautifully for one or several kids may not work well for all.  They’re all different.  And when you have a bunch of kids it can be hard to tailor the environment exactly to maximize success (a holy soul) in each one.  So I pray a lot about that, and hope that any mistakes we make God will correct or overcome through Grace.

It’s not easy, and it’s only going to get harder.  There are so many temptations in the world, our kids will hear so many voices that tell them we are crazy, extreme, reactionary, etc., and many of those voices will come from within the Church (another huge reason to find a traditional parish!).  And souls simply sometimes fall into sin in spite of our every best effort. It does happen.

The key thing is to never, ever give up.  Never stop trying.  Always love and pray for your kids, even if they repudiate you in the most hurtful manner possible.  Some may never come back, but some will.  It may take a long time, but they will.

Don’t place too much hope in a constitutional/Article V convention January 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, Christendom, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, Revolution, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, suicide.
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A reader who shall remain nameless sent me this link, to an article discussing a growing movement among conservatives to call an Article V constitutional convention.  I am as skeptical of anything positive coming out of this as is my correspondent.  A brief excerpt from the link:

Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes two methods for amending the Constitution: (1) The congressional method, in which Congress proposes an amendment by a two-thirds vote of each house and sends it to the states for ratification (three-fourths of the states are required); and (2) the convention method, whereby, if two-thirds of the state legislatures (34 states) apply to Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments (commonly referred to as an Article V convention, a constitutional convention, a Con-Con, or a convention of states), Congress shall call such a convention. Congress would send any amendments proposed by the convention to the states for ratification (three-fourths of the states are required).

In either of the two methods for proposing amendments, Congress has the option of sending the proposed amendments to either the state legislatures or to special state conventions for ratification……..

………Since most of our nation’s problems stem from a lack of adherence to the Constitution, the best solution is to bring about a large-scale, grassroots constitutional education campaign to inform voters sufficiently so that they hold elected officials accountable to the Constitution. As Thomas Jefferson famously said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be.”

Solutions such as the Article V convention movement, which depend on changing the Constitution rather than on creating an informed electorate, cannot restore our constitutional republic. [And I would argue, even more important than an informed public, is one grounded in Christian morality and practice.  Do you believe the United States of 2016 is more moral, more Christian (and especially Catholic) than it was in 1789?]

Not only would changing the Constitution without informing the electorate not work, but subjecting the Constitution to revision in a convention of the sovereign people, such as an Article V convention, would be to expose the Constitution to revision by a body with the right to alter or abolish our form of government and to institute new government. During such a process the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights, as well as the ratification procedure, would be subject to revision. See “The Solution Is the Constitution, Not Article V” for more information.

Although a “convention for proposing amendments,” as provided for in Article V, is absolutely constitutionally sanctioned, and the right of the people to alter or abolish their government is sanctioned by the Declaration of Independence, it is unwise, given the current lack of understanding of and support for constitutional principles by our leaders and voters, to work toward holding such a convention. The solution is to create an informed electorate, not to change the Constitution.

Here is what my correspondent had to say:

Article V Constitutional Convention. Many neo-cons, like Mark Levin, are calling for one and putting a lot of effort into it.

I share the opinion that a Con-Con could well be a Trojan Horse. I do not believe there could be a sure guarantee that a Con-Con would not run away and leave us in an inferior position. Of course that is opinion.

But the part that is senseless is the following. Is there a problem with our current Constitution? Can we improve on it by committee? I rather doubt it. The real problem is that the government that is created under that Constitution finds it inconvenient, which is the whole purpose. So the government just wholesale ignores the Constitution. The problem is not coming up with a better Constitution, or a better amendment. The problem is in forcing the government to obey the Constitution.

And if we are unable to force the government to abide by the current Constitution, maybe Mark Levin and those of his stripe can explain to us how we will force the government to abide by a “new, improved” Constitution.

That pretty neatly sums up my own concern, as well.  I would say even more, that given the fact that conservatives are generally outnumbered in this country 2:1, that the left is better organized, funded, and has the total backing of the media, and the general ignorance and immorality that abound in our nation today, the likelihood that a constitutional convention would have a happy result, and would not turn into a runaway even resulting in ane ven more directly authoritarian government, is exceedingly slight.  In fact, I think it very near a pipe dream.

We should also bear in mind the experience of the first constitutional convention.  What started out as a convention to reform the Articles of Confederation quickly morphed into a small group of self-proclaimed enlightened men completely scrapping the existing national government and proposing a total replacement.  Now, it certainly had a lot of pluses and worked quite well for a long time (at least materially), but it also ushered in a far more powerful, centralized national government and ultimately laid the ground work – for all its brilliance – for the point we have arrived at today.  That is to say, as good as it was, and it was in many respects excellent (but did have the paramount failure to place Jesus Christ clearly as the ultimate Source from which governmental authority was derived, and point to Him as our perfect King), it has still failed to prevent a tyrannous government from arising.  The checks and balances were insufficient to prevent the document from simply being ignored, or distorted beyond the conception of its creators.

And we think we might do better, today, with this cast of characters running the show?  I’m sorry, that seems the height of hubris, and folly.

I don’t think this nation can be turned around, “saved,” if you will, by political means.  A country wherein the vast majority of the populace is rabidly amoral (and blindingly ignorant) is not the seed-bed from which liberty flows. We get the government we deserve, and all that. You may disagree, but I really don’t see, practically, how conservatives would have a prayer of dominating at any such convention, and that is what it would take.

No, I fear if a constitutional convention is called, we could kiss what religious liberty, what freedom of speech, what freedom of press and assembly, and what freedom to keep and bear arms we have today pretty much goodbye.  But we’d probably get constitutionally assured “free” contraception, sex changes bodily mutilation, STD testing, and abortions.

Only one person can save this nation now:

Our Lady of the Expectation


How to ruin a fair book in one brief statement January 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, horror, paganism, persecution, pr stunts, rank stupidity, reading, scandals, secularism, self-serving, silliness, Society.
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So I’ve always wanted to learn a bit more about the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire. I think the Byzantine Empire generally gets very short shrift in the West.  It’s just basically ignored, or at most a footnote. But the Byzantine Empire preserved very high standards of  the Greco-Roman civilization for centuries after the West had been reduced to bare barbarism, and, more importantly, largely kept Islam out of Eastern and Central Europe single-handedly.  They preserved a great deal of ancient knowledge that, when transferred back west during the course of the Crusades, greatly assisted in the great achievements of the High Middle Ages.

So I got a mass market book that provides a sparse but fairly useful broad overview of the thousand-year run of the Byzantine Empire from the collapse of Rome to its sad fall to the Turkish Mohammadans in the 1450s.  It’s called Byzantium by Giles Morgan.  It was a pretty fair book, though much of it read as if it had been cobbled together from Wikipedia and other online sources.  But it did about what it was sold to do in workmanlike, if far from inspired, fashion – give a very brief synopsis of the high points of Byzantine history.

But ate the very end the author made a statement that was so hair-pullingly inane that it really undermined whatever worth the rest of the work held.  In fact, the author made a similar statement early on that I let pass.  But once it was repeated I had to assume he really believed what he was saying.  Here it is:

Within the arena of modern popular culture, Byzantium continues to fascinate in ways that often deeply divide opinion.  The best-selling author of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, caused huge controversy with his questioning of the origins of Christianity, and, in particular, with his suggestion……..that Constantine the Great had invented the divinity of Jesus Christ, turning Him from a man into a God through the medium of the Council of Nicaea.  

Well……..that’s true.  It’s true in the sense that 2001: a space odyssey continues to polarize students of the history of the manned space race between the Americans and Soviets, what with its claims of manned missions to Jupiter in 1999 and the proof of intelligent life off the planet earth uncovered on the moon.

That is to say, it’s not true at all.  It’s completely, totally made up, and is “controversial” only in the sense that any outrageously stupid and obviously false claim is controversial.

Talk about obliterating the credibility of the author.  The history of Byzantium is inexorably bound up with the Christian Faith.  And to reveal such a shocking, mind-blowing ignorance of the subject matter at hand – there are literally thousands of references to the Divinity of Jesus Christ prior to the Council of Nicaea, including the entire Canon of the New Testament – reveals a level of ignorance of the subject matter under study that it simply beggars the imagination.  Sadly, but predictably, especially given the modern-day progressive milieu from which the Brit Giles Morgan hails, the author appears to feel that Dan Brown’s fabulist screed is as worthy of belief/debate as orthodox Christian belief, instead of simply completely dismissing them as ludicrous as any responsible historian would do.  That is the only conclusion I can reach from his twice mentioning Brown’s claims, in a book on a subject matter which really merited no such inclusion.

It is almost like he was trying, in a rather underhanded way, to cast doubt on Christian belief for his (presumed) reading audience. Obviously, knuckle-dragging faithful Christians haven’t the least interest in history, right?

So, can anyone make a recommendation for a decent one-volume history of the Byzantine Empire and its culture?