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Cardinal Nichols attempts to silence faithful English priests March 26, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, disaster, episcopate, error, family, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, priests, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, sickness, SOD, the return, the struggle for the Church.
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What happened to all that talk of free discussion and debate?  What about making messes and getting the smell of the sheep?  Aren’t parish priests probably the closest of all to the rank odors of the rank and file?

I wrote yesterday of 500 priests – including some surprisingly liberal names – of England and Wales begging the Synod on the Family not to implement any disastrous novelties regarding marriage, divorce, the Blessed Sacrament, etc. They thus contributed to the ongoing debate exactly as the Holy Father has repeatedly indicated. Unfortunately for them, old liberal Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who has supported the Kasperite gambit nearly from the beginning, doesn’t think much of debate and seems to prefer closed door decisions handed down as directive to be obeyed unconditionally.  Yes, I exaggerate, but only a little, Nichols is widely known as one of the most authoritarian clericalists in the entire English-speaking Church, an insider’s insider who loves to wield power. He basically directed the English priests to butt out, which is odd, concerning the lengths to which the episcopal conference of England and Wales went to seek out lay input they thought would be friendly to the Kasperite approach:

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has slapped down nearly 500 priests who signed a letter to the Catholic Herald expressing concern about the Synod on the Family this October, which is to debate sensitive questions of sexual morality. This is a significant blunder by the Cardinal that exposes both the inflexibility of his leadership style and – certainly in the case of some of the priests – lack of confidence in his stewardship of the Catholic Church in England Wales. Here’s today’s Catholic Herald report:

Priests should not conduct a debate about the October Family Synod through the press, Cardinal Nichols has said, following the publication of a letter signed by hundreds of priests, urging the synod to issue a ‘clear and firm proclamation’ upholding Church teaching on marriage….

…..In a statement, a spokesman for Cardinal Nichols said that the press was not the medium for conducting dialogue of this sort.

‘Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to reflect on the Synod discussion. It is my understanding that this has been taken up in every diocese, and that channels of communication have been established,’ the statement said. [Perhaps the priests found those lines of communication unsatisfactory.  Perhaps they did not want their views condensed, massaged, and even controverted by bureaucrats working in the various episcopal conferences and dicasteries.  But their action was quite fitting with the rhetoric – the catechesis – the priests have been given by the highest source, was it not?]

Damian Thompson, who makes some valuable contributions but with whom I disagree strongly on occasion, has some explosive analysis.  I would not dismiss his views, he knows the inner workings of the Church in Britain better than any other popular writer I know:

This is an unwise – but entirely characteristic – move by Cardinal Nichols. Here are some thoughts that spring to mind:

1. The Cardinal refers to ‘channels of communication’ that, in reality, are either blocked or permit only one-way traffic. I wouldn’t dream of calling a Prince of the Church a control freak, but if Nichols were a politician – a painfully on-message Labour junior minister from Merseyside, say – the cap would fit. The idea that the Bishops of England and Wales ‘welcome’ any views that don’t coincide with theirs is laughable. On this issue they’ve decided to align themselves with Pope Francis’s opinions on Communion for the divorced and homosexuality. The fact that these opinions are inchoate and elusive doesn’t trouble them because the same could be said of their own jargon-rich waffle. Cardinal Nichols is impressively fluent in ‘bishopese’; what distinguishes him from his colleagues is his quietly effective suppression of dissent. On this occasion, however, it hasn’t been so effective. Priests who normally play by the rules were so worried by the Anglican-style chaos of last October’s Synod on the Family (the first of two) that they felt they had no alternative but to speak openly.

2. What Cardinal Nichols did not say, though I suspect he’s aware of it, is that many priests were told by those ‘welcoming’ channels of communication not to sign the letter. As one signatory told the Herald, ‘there has been a certain amount of pressure not to sign the letter and indeed a degree of intimidation from some senior Churchmen’. Without this arm-twisting there would have been many more signatories. So the problem is bigger than it appears.

3. The Cardinal’s anger is directed not just at the priests but also at the press for publishing their letter. Obviously he doesn’t like me, and you wouldn’t expect him to, but he shows little interest in Catholic newspapers that, as it happens, bite their tongues and resist opportunities to criticise him out of loyalty to the Church. He is not rude to journalists but he can be aggressively patronising and it never occurs to him that devout Catholic writers might help him to spread his message. Whatever that is. The situation is doubly frustrating for the media because His Eminence appears to have taken a solemn vow not to say anything remotely memorable in public. At least you can’t accuse Pope Francis of that. To make matters even worse, Nichols employs an infuriatingly inept and ill-informed press office.

4. Finally, I have a nasty suspicion that any priest who was brave enough to sign that letter will find his card marked.

I am not surprised in the least that there was great pressure on priests not to sign the petition. I thank God for the strength of faith of those who did.

I may not agree with Thompson on some points (he makes no bones of his dislike for Michael Voris, for instance), but Damian Thompson is not just a media hound looking for a big story that will injure the Church.  He is actually a pretty faithful Catholic, I would say, far more so than John Allen.  So with his deep inside connections, and his relative faithfulness, when he says Pope Francis has been the driving source behind the attempts to radically alter the Church’s belief and practice regarding marriage, reception of the Blessed Sacrament, grave sin, and the rest, again, I don’t believe his comments can simply be dismissed out of hand.

To me, Thompson’s analysis makes far more sense, and has far more evidence in support, than do analyses that say that Pope Francis is really orthodox, he’s just badly misunderstood.  I had a long addendum here, but I’ll leave it at that.  I have found that this is a matter where souls either get it, or simply don’t, or won’t.  And really, I pray I am wrong in my grave doubts regarding the direction of this pontificate – in fact, I pray every day that I am wrong. But the overwhelming weight of evidence – not episcopal appointments, not frequent orthodox statements (what else would we expect, a raving Marxist?) – but the Pope’s efforts at the Extraordinary Synod, in the pre-prepared midterm Relatio, in the inclusion of the rejected, incredibly problematic statements from that Relatio into the Synod’s final report, even though those statements failed to gain the approval even of the really picked audience that made up the Extraordinary Synod…….I simply cannot dismiss that.

Having said that, I never rule out the possibility of a great change in direction, and occasionally I see some hopeful signs.  But the decisive point will be the second and final session of the Synod, and the encyclical that will surely follow.  Those events will define this pontificate, for good or ill.

 

Another way to fight back against the amoral culture – boycotts March 26, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Abortion, Basics, contraception, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, paganism, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
5 comments

I agree with a commenter’s idea that on the specific matter of helping end division among faithful Catholics, coordination with like-minded individuals is one of the first steps to take.  Consider it done.

But on the broader matter of opposing the ongoing decline in the culture, boycotting corporations and especially charities that support egregiously amoral activities like anything related to Planned Barrenhood, sodo-marriage, and the like, is another relatively easy step to take.  No, you don’t have to send a letter, and you certainly don’t have to avoid every company and charity on the list (available here, from Life Decisions International), but you could choose to stop shopping at this place or that to make a statement.  For instance, even though I find Home Depot generally has superior product selection, because of their ardent support for sodo-marriage, I no longer shop there, but at Lowe’s.  The point is not to make your life a nightmare of narrow choices and constant moral conundrums, the point is to to what you can.

As a way of helping, find below some of the major corporations and charities that are tied to grave immorality.  First, the corporations:

JPMorgan Chase
Cigna
Chanel
Chevron
Adobe
Bank of America
Bayer
GlaxoSmithKline
Gannett
Estee’ Lauder
Johnson and Johnson
Hearst
Hilton
Home Depot
Levis (one of the worst. I used to love Levi jeans but won’t have anything to do with them anymore)
Marriot
Microsoft
Starbuck’s
Nike (another bad one)
Polo Ralph Lauren
Southwest Airlines (gives lots to Komen and Planned Barrenhood)
Time Warner
United Health
Walt Disney
Wells Fargo
Whole Foods
AOL
Symantec

Now some of the charities:

ALS
AARP
Alzheimer’s Association
American Automobile Association
American Association of University Women (particularly egregious)
American Cancer Society
Amnesty International
Boys and Girls Clubs
Camp Fire
Council of Churches
Easter Seals
Girl Scouts/Guides
Glaucoma Research Foundation
Human Rights Watch
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Kiwanis
League of Women Voters
Lions Clubs
March of Dimes
Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Childhood Cancer Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Osteoporosis Foundation
National Parkinson’s Disease Foundation
Red Cross
Ronald McDonald House
Rotary Club
Salvation Army
Save the Children
Sierra Club
Susan G. Komen
UNICEF
UNITED WAY
YMCA
YWCA (neither are remotely Christian anymore)

More and more, as we also see in the Church, corporations and charities form a densely tangled web in which charities donate to each other, and corporations cross-pollinate their “charity” as well, and the whole thing becomes an impenetrable fog.  It’s gotten to the point that the vast majority of charities wind up giving some money to Planned Barrenhood, either directly or through another agency like Komen.  Other evil charities like the Human Rights Campaign similarly receive funds from a wide variety of other charities.

The above is not meant to beat you down. Take it for  what you will.  If it’s helpful to you, please, by all means, use the info above.  There are many more less well known companies and charities also on the banned list at FightPlannedParenthood, but bear in mind, that’s only a partial list, because it only addresses those entities that fund PP.  Others not on the list above fund many other evils (which is why I added Home Depot, they do not fund Planned Parenthood, directly, but they are big fans of sodomy, especially in San Fran and their Atlanta HQ).  To me, it’s important to try to limit my business with the especially bad actors as much as possible, but I’m probably not going to change banks over the matter.  But I won’t drink Starbucks, for about 200 reasons.  As I said, whatever works best for you.

Hope the above helps!

A beautiful if bitter lament on the Church that was and is no more March 26, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disconcerting, episcopate, General Catholic, history, Holy suffering, paganism, Papa, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
4 comments

So many people who come into the Church, or even those who have been raised in it but develop a particular fire of devotion, often feel that there is A1zOCiGdxYL._SX425_something missing.  Something big, but undefinable.  They often find that the Church whose beliefs they read about in a good catechism or that they see in old pictures is not the Church they experience on a daily basis.  Something very significant has changed.

I think that sense of absence, of loss, is conveyed very well in a recent post at the Ignatius Press website, as relayed by Pertinacious Papist.  It’s a lament for a Church that no longer seems to quite exist, and for a past, we are told over and over again, we can never return to. I found it quite moving.  Perhaps you will, as well:

Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars forced professional historians and casual readers alike to revise assessments of the Catholic religion in England in the years immediately preceding the Reformation:

If medieval religion was decadent, unpopular, or exhausted, the success of the Reformation hardly requires explanation. If, on the contrary, it was vigorous, adaptable, widely understood, and popular, then we have much yet to discover about the processes and the pace of reform.

downloadIn the almost six hundred pages following this observation, Duffy develops support for this thesis: that the Reformation in England was more of a revolution against a popular, widely-revered institution than an effort to reform something rife with problems and corruption. He can only build his case by reference to contemporary written accounts and a study of Church artistic works that somehow managed to survive state-sponsored efforts to obliterate the past. [And many of us feel that what happened in the mid-20th century was another revolution against the Church, from within]

The Tudor and Puritan road he guides his readers down is littered with burnt books, defaced statues, destroyed altar screens, and melted down church vessels. Destroy the artistic creations and traditions of an age, and when the last person who remembers it dies, a world dies also. This is where the road ends.

In our own time, those of us old enough to remember the Catholic Church as it was prior to Vatican II are also living with an obliterated past on a road marked ‘Dead End’. Inevitably, as the days move along, we are a vanishing breed on an all but forgotten journey. [Not forgotten.  Some of us who were not even alive then are striving to remember and keep that Church alive]OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These days much is made of the Catholicity of celebrated writers Chesterton, Tolkien, and Waugh. The latter two lived long enough to experience firsthand changes wrought by Vatican II, and both railed against them. (Details are at hand in the Ignatius Press edition of A Bitter Trial.) Tolkien and Waugh would never again feel at home in the Church. G. K.’s childhood memory of successful businessmen, bankers, and shop clerks falling to their knees as Cardinal Manning passed by along Kensington High Street seems to come from a world other than this one. G. K.’s old nemesis, George Bernard Shaw, might think the Church has become a bit more palatable, but what would G. K. himself think? Given his sense of humor, he might have somehow managed whereas Belloc—had he lived to see the day—would have blown a fuse.

Tolkien is said to have been dismayed by the exiling of Latin to what would become in our time a liturgical antique shop. Pope Francis the other day spoke approvingly of the vernacular replacing it. Pope Francis knows more languages than I do, but Tolkien, who understood 800px-Whitby_Abbey_ruins_18Old English well enough to translate Beowulf, was irate. At times I myself am not even sure what to make of the English version, let alone the German or the Polish, which I do not grasp at all. From the current Psalm translations, O Lord, deliver us!

Complaints in this vein are now seen as coming from the make-believe world of annoying and tiresome fuddy-duddies. It has not taken long to obliterate a world where liturgical Latin could flourish. And there is no going back, except in memory. Eamon Duffy understands this. The last sentence of The Stripping of the Altars sounds a mournful note. [See my final comments below. I am not quite as hopeless as this, but I do fear the Church cannot go home again, and even a “restored” Faith of the future will be in many significant ways different from that of the past.]

Along the way he has argued that sixteenth century English Catholics—peasant farmer and local aristocrat alike—had a Iconoclasm_Clocher_Saint_Barthelemy_south_side_La_Rochellegeneral grasp of the Latin used in liturgical celebrations of their day.

I would argue that much the same was true of the farmer, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker of my time. You did not have to be a Jesuit to know what was going on in an age when—by the way—not everyone at Sunday Mass trooped forward to receive communion. (Barely a majority did.) Share that fact with someone today, and mention fasting from midnight; the smell of tuna fish sandwiches for breakfast in your classroom after ‘First Friday’ Masses, etc.

BeeldenstormWith respect to the past, we are all ‘cafeteria Catholics’.
 
[Interesting, and disturbing point. I fear he is right. Even as Catholics striving to be faithful, it is very difficult to reformulate the Catholic existence of the past into our own lives in this present time, so cut off, even if only by 50 years!, from a Church that no longer exists]]

Tell someone you fondly remember Pope Pius XII from an age when pontiffs were not expected to smile like beauty queens. Attempt to explain why he is your favorite pope. Mention the Marian Year while you are at it. Describe his serious, ascetic demeanor. As likely as not, your listener will bring up the Nazis.  

To adapt a line from the novelist L. P. Hartley, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

————-End Quote————-

 

 

The one thing I will add, the one bit of disagreement I have with the notion of irreparable loss, is the fact that that past is still available in little pockets, Mary Queen Of Peace Catholic Church Ulysseshere and there.  I feel the author must not have access to the TLM, or even more, a traditional community.  But I do recognize that even these pockets are unable to recreate in full that glorious past.  People try, we hopefully all try, but we have to recognize that we are isolated geographically, historically, and culturally from the full vibrancy of the Church that was.  Experiences vary from location to location and community to community, but being as isolated as we are, there are surely gaps.  For one thing, we are at best islands in a hostile culture and, even more, a frequently hostile Church.  We no longer have the whole Catholic culture surrounding us, as it used to be, though never very fully in this country.  Unable to draw on past experience, what we are able to create is necessarily limited, though I pray not stunted and deformed.  That is the greatest tragedy of the collapse of Christendom and the Church’s voluntary retreat from her historic role……something that was centuries in the making can be lost literally overnight, and it will take literally centuries to build it back up again……..if it can be.  I fear you cannot go home again, and even if the Church does regain some semblance of her historic and God-given role, it will be necessarily be quite different from the Church that was.  That may not necessarily be a bad thing, but, then again, it could.  It all depends on who ultimately wins the struggle for the Church, and how complete their victory is.

dsc06577

Another controversy flairs up over Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson March 26, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Christendom, contraception, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, paganism, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society.
6 comments

Phil Robertson of the Duck Dynasty TV series has landed in hot water again after making comments offensive to the dominant leftist orthodoxy.  I’m not particular fan of Robertson’s and I’ve never seen the show he’s on, but I do think the media’s reaction is very telling.  While I find Robertson’s comments rather crude (but, hey, look at the dude), I think they are actually a cogent criticism of the moral relativism inherent in today’s atheist sexular pagan orthodoxy.  See if you agree, below are Robinson’s comments:

I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’

Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’

If it happened to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right.’

Now many in the media, including a right-wing secular atheist blogger I like somewhat, Ace of Spades, are portraying this as a hideous revenge fantasy, wherein all of Robertson’s anti-Christian boogeymen get their comeuppance. I don’t think that’s it at all.  I think Robertson is arguing, in a ghastly way (possibly intended to make a point), that when a culture abandons any external moral reference in the form of an absolute source of truth (in the case of Christendom, the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Faith that created Christendom/Western culture in the first place), there are no limits to the depravity to which it will sink.  Robertson is saying the atheist really has no morality left to appeal to in the horrifying hypothetical he posited, since they have very successfully destroyed the Christian God as the source of morality for our culture, at least insofar as the elites are concerned.  In fact, Robertson makes the evil that inevitably results when a culture detaches itself from a transcendent source of Truth very clear in a follow-up comment:

I gave you four ideologies in the last one hundred years, I see a pattern. You say, ‘why do they do what they do, why is there always murder?’ You know what the scary thing is? The fifth ideology right in behind all of this bunch of stuff we’re dealing with now, has its roots in the United States of America? You know how many they’ve killed? You say, ‘who are they?’ People call them left-wing loons, Bill O’Reilly calls them, political correct crowd, orthodox liberal opinion. You say, ‘what are they famous for?’ They’ve killed 63 million of their own children. 63 million. More than Hitler, more than Stalin. We’re slaughtering ourselves. You say, ‘who is behind it?’ Their father is, he was a murderer, from the beginning, they are slaves to sin, they are controlled by the Evil One. Duh.

This is really a deep and stinging criticism.  I am impressed with Robertson’s depth – he has correctly diagnosed that the cultural detachment from Christian truth has led, inexorably, to the deaths of 63 million babies in this country alone, and a billion and a half across the world.  Abortion only became legal in countries as they abandoned Christianity.  Thus, it first became legal in the Soviet Union, then in northern Europe, then most of western Europe, then North America, and today the front is Central and South America.  In every case, abortion did not become legalized until the governing elites had deliberately abandoned their Christian heritage, and also, decisively veered toward the left of the political-cultural spectrum.  I think Robertson has elicited such a vehement reaction, because he has drawn back the veil that shows the secret, hidden evils leftism must not just permit, but encourage, in order to satisfy its ever increasing appetite for power and control.

The great bargain leftism demands of its subjects is this: you give us total control over every other aspect of life, and we’ll give you totally unchecked sexual hedonism.  But since such hedonism invariably results in a number of evils: abortion, destruction of the family, children tortured by divorce, etc….all those things have to be kept carefully swept under the rug.  Leftism cannot stand to have the veil lifted.  And thus, the reaction, which has been even more ferocious than in his comments from last year.

I’ve got to say, having read a number of comments from Mr. Robertson, while he’s rough as a cobb, his beliefs are probably more Catholic than a great majority of those who bear that sacred name today.  He does spout some evangelical nonsense, it is true, but on the moral issues, he is practically Catholic.  And, as I said before, I am impressed with his depth.  He may look like a backwoods cracker hick, but he’s actually a deep-thinking and quite  intelligent man.

The interesting thing to me, is that our media has grown so shallow and insular they are incapable of seeing the broader moral argument being made here.  Not a single mainstream secular media source covering this story has managed to escape their leftist bubble and give these statements even a reasonable hearing.  Now, of course, they have a powerful motivation (their own commitment to the leftist cause) to do just that, but I think even more, they are so cut off from Christianity, it is so alien and hostile to them, they are not even capable of imagining these comments in a positive light.  And that likelihood should give us pause as Catholics, and move us to recognize that we are truly strangers in a strange land, visitors in our own homes.  There can be no reconciliation with elements both so hostile towards, and uncomprehending of, everything we hold dear.

Which only points up what an utter fallacy the entire notion of aggiornamento has always been.  But that’s probably meat for another post.

Claims that the US suffers from a terrible shortage of scientists and engineers are utter garbage March 25, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, disaster, disconcerting, non squitur, rank stupidity, scandals, self-serving, silliness, Society, technology.
6 comments

I have worked in telecommunications for almost 19 years.  Where I work is still kind of sorta called “the telecom corridor.”  15 years ago, that moniker made sense, as over 80,000 jobs directly or indirectly related to telecom existed in the Richardson/Plano area at that time.  But today, that number is down to about 7,000 – that’s right, over 90% of the telecommunications jobs have been lost in the past 15 years.  I know many, many former engineers who are now working jobs that pay pennies on the dollar compared to their former salaries.  Tens of thousands either moved away or simply never worked in engineering again.

Where did all these jobs go?  Some simply disappeared forever, when giants like Nortel and MCI simply ceased to exist.  But many others were transferred overseas, where replacements are paid 25-35% of their American counterparts, and with no expensive benefits. The fact that many companies have had very unhappy experiences, including poor design, bad quality, lack of communication, corporate theft on a massive scale (esp. in China), and higher than expected expenses has not prevented many from continuing in their commitment to off-shoring jobs. Even more, many other positions have been given to foreigners living in the United States under the H-1B visa program, making similarly low salaries.

Telecom is hardly alone.  Other towns and other industries have seen similar implosions.  The US continues to hemorrhage manufacturing and the associated engineering positions.  Long-term, this is gravely wounding the US economy, as “services” only go so far, and true wealth is really generated by manufacturing and trade (one reason why the US has run such long term deficits).

When I saw that high-tech industry leaders were once again, then, pushing for more H-1B visas, I was rather nonplussed.  But what really gets my gourd is the lie routinely told by these executives, who were once engineers themselves before they became such high flyers.  The lie is a lie of omission.  You’ve heard the phrase, but you rarely hear it finished.  The lie is this: “the US has a great shortage of scientists and engineers.”  The real statement is: “the US has a great shortage of scientists and engineers willing to work at the wages we would like to pay them, 18-45k per year.

Anyway, here’s the latest corporate propaganda from hyper-rich billionaires, who just totes swearz they can’t make a dime without bringing in more cheap foreign labor, who will then take the talents and skills (and perhaps corporate IP or even classified materials) back to their home country:

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, believes passionately that the United States needs more skilled foreign workers. He has long advocated increasing the number of so-called H-1B visas, which allow those workers to come to the U.S. for several years and, in many cases, work for lower wages than current employees. Schmidt is frustrated that Congress hasn’t done as he and other tech moguls want.

“In the long list of stupid policies of the U.S. government, I think our attitude toward immigration has got to be near the top,” Schmidt said during an appearance this week at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “Everyone actually agrees that there should be more H-1B visas in order to create more tech, more science, more analytical jobs. Everyone agrees, in both parties.” [You mean, everyone agrees, among the hyper-rich corporate titans. I doubt even many of your own employees agree, Mr. Schmidt.]

The Eric Schmidt pleading for more foreign workers is the same Eric Schmidt who boasts of turning away thousands upon thousands of job seekers who apply for a few prized positions at Google. For example, at an appearance in Cleveland last October to promote his book, How Google Works, Schmidt explained that his company receives at least 1,000 applications for every job opening. “The good news is that we have computers to do the initial vetting,” Schmidt explained, according to an account in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Other tech leaders join Schmidt in calling for more foreign workers. Some companies are actually lobbying for more H-1Bs and laying off American staff at the same time. For example, last year Microsoft announced the layoff of 18,000 people at the very moment it was pushing Congress for more guest worker visas.

Given all that, there’s not quite the unanimous agreement on the need for more foreign workers that Schmidt claims. At a hearing this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a number of experts testified that the H-1B program, so sought-after by CEOs, is being abused to harm American workers. [Duh]

Ron Hira, a Howard University professor and author of the book Outsourcing America, told the story of Southern California Edison, which recently got rid of 500 IT employees and replaced them with a smaller force of lower-paid workers brought in from overseas through the H-1B program. The original employees were making an average of about $110,000 a year, Hira testified; the replacements were brought to Southern California Edison by outsourcing firms that pay an average of between $65,000 and $75,000.

“To add insult to injury,” Hira said, “SCE forced its American workers to train their H-1B replacements as a condition of receiving their severance packages.” [That’s very common.  It did not apply to me as a mechanical engineer, but most of the hardware and software engineers at Cisco had to train their Indian replacements when we got laid off at the end of 2005.  Cisco is now of course basically a footnote in the telecom industry, after spending over $10 billion trying to buy their way to a position of dominance.  CEO John Chambers has, of course, kept his job throughout.]

Hira testified that such situations are not unusual. And on the larger issue of whether there is, as many tech executives claim, a critical shortage of labor in what are called the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — another professor, Hal Salzman of Rutgers, testified that the shortage simply does not exist.

“The U.S. supply of top-performing graduates is large and far exceeds the hiring needs of the STEM industries, with only one of every two STEM graduates finding a STEM job,” Salzman testified. “The guest worker supply is very large [and] it is highly concentrated in the IT industry, leading to both stagnant wages and job insecurity.” [Yep. I saved this for now.  I personally know a good number of young engineering and science graduates who have either not been able to find a job in their field at all, have had to take lower-paid positions they are overqualified for, or have to work as contract and not direct-hire, that is, with no benefits.  Heck, 21  years ago I had a heckuva time finding a job out of college and it took two and half years of working really crappy, low-paid jobs before I finally built up enough experience to land a good one.]

The hearing also featured Jay Palmer, a former Infosys project manager who blew the whistle on a case in which the big outsourcing firm paid $34 million in fines for worker visa violations. “I watched this on a daily basis,” Palmer told the Judiciary Committee. “I sat in the offices in meetings with companies that displaced American workers only because the Americans who had been there 15 or 20 years were being paid too much money.”

That’s the main thing.  CEOs getting paid $50 million per year really object to workers vital to the corporation’s success making $120k a year.  All those darn “high priced” employees keep them from getting their next $20 million bonus.  Can’t have that.  So out they go.

Yes I’m being surprisingly populist, but I’ve also been one of a tiny handful able to remain in telecom lo these many years, but only by remaining at a company where the threat (and enactment of) layoffs has been constant for the past 7 years.  We’re about to have another one.  Meanwhile, we staff up in India, even though we often have to completely redo Indian projects, so problematic are they.

Look, I get that corporations have to make a profit and sometimes times are rough.  But I also know that my own $1 billion a year company is being bled white by AT&T and Verizon, and each of those companies, supposedly so broke they cannot possibly pay us even what our equipment costs, somehow managed to find enough dimes and nickels in their corporate couch cushions to make $14 and $20 billion, respectively, in profit last year.  That was 10% and 15%, respectively, on overall sales.  Not too bad.  And I am not exaggerating that they have worked such a duopoly that they are refusing to pay even cost for most equipment, and not just from us, but from all major equipment providers, including Alcatel Lucent and Ciena.  Almost all major telecom equipment providers are in a state of decline if not collapse, and that will only leave the door open, eventually, to a critical national security-related industry to be dominated by foreign concerns.  Yet, AT&T and Verizon just keep maintaining they simply don’t have enough money to pay any more than they do for the equipment vital to their industrial infrastructure.

I really do not advise young people to get into design engineering today.  Some kinds of engineering are likely to have a bright future: civil, environmental, for two, along with anything government related.  Heck, working for the government is probably the best thing a young person looking for a well-paid career with fringe benefits and long term stability can do. But most disciplines, and especially design, are going to be in continual decline. I think I will be very lucky to continue full time employment into my mid-50s.  I can see the handwriting on the wall, and the steadily diminishing opportunities.

Sorry for the segue into non sequitur personal matters.

What are you willing to do? March 25, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, persecution, scandals, secularism, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
18 comments

My dear departed friend Vicki Middleton, God rest her soul, was quite a hoot.  She was a woman of conviction, and much more.  She was willing to put herself on the line on things that she felt important.  When her husband Jim was still President of ARCO Oil and Gas Vicki started protesting outside the office in Plano regarding ARCO’s investments in Myanmar/Burma.  Since Burma had a very repressive government and was jailing dissidents, Vicki thought ARCO should not be doing business there, so she protested outside.  If I remember right, her actions eventually led the board of directors to divest of their operations there.

Years later, Vicki converted to Catholicism.  She was the same rabble-rouser she always was.  Longtime readers may remember the radio show Vicki invited me on a number of times.  Vicki and Jim spent a pretty penny buying air time on 660 AM KSKY to bring an authentic Catholic voice to the area. You may ask, “what about the local EWTN radio station, isn’t that authentically Catholic?”  Well, Vicki was on the local EWTN station for a while but was removed for being too critical of the leadership of the Church both locally and globally, although she only asked things like “when are our priests going to really stand up and oppose abortion, or porn, etc”.

But Vicki did more than that.  She and Jim were well off, and had been very generous with the Diocese.  But when they found out about many scandalous activities ongoing, such as support for Alinskyite organizations at many parishes and lack of preaching the Faith whole and entire, she went so far as to demand her donations be returned and protested outside the cathedral, sandwich-board and all, calling out the ongoing scandals.

The point is, Vicki was willing to do anything, say almost anything, to do what she felt was the best for souls – both her own, and those of others.  She loved people tremendously and wanted what was best for them.  She was willing to risk being attacked and vilified to make her stand – and she was, often quite vociferously.

I bring this up, because in light of recent posts regarding division among orthodox (or faithful or traditional or conservative – all of which simply serve to distinguish from the great Mass of self-styled Catholics who reject core aspects of the Faith or hold heretical views), some commenters have brought up a point that has been on my mind for quite some time, as well: what are we willing to do to respond to the crisis and effect change in the Church?

I can think of a number of responses, and have suggested some on this blog.  One is to really carefully consider the degree to which we support the entire parish-diocese-national conference monetarily, if at all.  And, there are examples from Catholics in other areas. Catholics in El Paso conducted prayer vigils outside the chancery for months in the wake of the dismissal of the former priest of San Juan Bautista parish, and with regard to the long interregnum between Bishop Ochoa’s departure and Bishop Seitz’ consecration.

I’ve spoken with Catholics near and abroad about this matter many times.  There always seems to be a consensus that something should be done, but no one seems to be ready and willing to take the lead on some concrete action.  For the most part, efforts seem to fall apart over disagreement on which issue is paramount to address, what action should be taken, and, even more, who should lead it.

But, just to throw out some ideas, I could see a series of efforts calling attention to the “ghettoization” of the TLM in Dallas.  Or, regarding the lack of preaching on the evil of contraception.  Or on the abysmal standard of catechesis in parish formation programs.  Or on the continuing support of left-wing “social justice” groups.  Take your pick.  There are dozens if not hundreds of such issues to choose from.

As for me, I am going to commit to finally kicking off an effort I proposed some months back – to start praying outside some of the  many falsely named gentleman’s clubs in this area.  So here is the plan: I will pray across the street from The Men’s Club, 2340 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, on April 8, Easter Wednesday, at 8 pm.  There is a post office directly across the street.  I will park there and stand near the road and just pray.  No confrontation or picketing with signs at this point, just prayer.  I’ll stay for about an hour.  Any local Catholic men are welcome to join me.  

No, that won’t do much for the crisis in the Faith, and I don’t expect any miraculous reaction on the strip joint front, either, but it’s a start.  We’ll see how the first attempt goes and proceed from there.

Look, I’m just one guy, and I don’t know that I’m a natural born leader.  The broader point of this post is, what are we willing to do as faithful Catholics to really start opposing the crisis in the Church and the general decline and advancing perversion in the culture?  Are we just going to continue to complain on blogs (which have their place, obviously!), or do we start to take concrete action?  If so, what action could you take, either here in Dallas, or wherever you live?  What are you willing to do?

I think it would be fantastic if readers could make their own suggestions and efforts.  The militant left in this country makes up a tiny percentage of the population, but because they are motivated and willing to spend much of their time in support of their diabolical cause, they have managed to radically re-shape all of the former Christendom over the past 150 years or so.  They have bullied people into accepting all kinds of evil because their commitment and tirelessness gradually wore down opposition – including us. Goodness, they have even managed to get a rough majority of people to accept a definition of marriage both completely unnatural and utterly hostile to its many-thousand year history!

Are we just going to let them continue to steamroll us?  Yes, prayer is the foundation of everything, but if now is not the time to make a stand (it may already be far too late), then no time will ever be.  I pray my good readers consider how they can respond, individually and collectively. I pray we start to see a lot more Vicki Middleton’s out there obeying the Pope’s command to mix things up and make a mess.  The modernists count on us doing nothing.  In fact, it is precisely the fact that good men have done nothing that has allowed the modernist/progressive revolution in the Church to advance as far as it has.

I ask again……what are you willing to do?

Dallas theologian examines latest Scalfari “interview” scandal March 25, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, Four Last Things, General Catholic, paganism, Papa, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, SOD, the struggle for the Church.
27 comments

I’m certain virtually every reader has by now heard about or read the latest claims of the geriatric Italian militant atheist Eugenio Scalfari, reporting in the Italian daily La Repubblica ~10 days ago the results of a recent interview he conducted with the Pope.  As per his normal habit, Scalfari took no notes and used no recording device, so his reconstruction of events is based totally on memory.  Bear in mind, this man is 90 years old, and he has a severe ax to grind as a militant atheist.

Having said that, his reported comments have not been rebutted or rationalized in any way by the Vatican.  They have been allowed to stand as is, causing untold scandal and confusion.  As reported by Rorate and other sites, Scalfari reports the Pope as saying this:

What about those with no faith? The answer is that if one has loved others at least as much as himself, (possibly a little more than self) the Father will welcome him. Faith is of help but that is not the element of the one who judges – it’s life itself. Sin and repentance are part of life [and include]: remorse, a sense of guilt, a desire for redemption and the abandonment of egoism.

Those who have had the fortune of meeting Pope Francis, know that egoism is the most dangerous enemy of our species. Animals are egoistic because they are prey to their own instincts, the main one being their own survival. On the other hand, man is moved also by conviviality and so feels love for others, and for the survival of the species to which he belongs. If egoism overpowers and suffocates his love for others, it darkens the divine spark within him and he is self-condemned.

What happens to that lifeless soul? Will it be punished? How?

Francis’ answer is very clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul. All the others will participate in the bliss of living in the presence of the Father. The annihilated souls will not be part of that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is ended and this is the basis for the missionary work in the Church: to save the lost souls. And this is also the reason why Francis is a Jesuit to the core.

What to make of this?  That Scalfari is communicating the grossest errors and condemned heresies should be obvious.  What to make of the fact that the Vatican has, to date, made no correction or explanation?

As for the errors, Dallas-based theology Professor Christopher Malloy shares the following (Malloy is what you could call a Thomist):

First, “If one has loved others at least as much as himself… the Father will welcome him.” Well the statement is totally ambiguous. The condition of salvation is to die in grace. No one who dies without sanctifying grace in his soul is saved. Period. This grace entails, as its proper effect, a habitual orientation to love God out of charity for his own sake, and in consequence to love the self and the neighbor in God. Now, love is always oriented to a good……. In short, loving my neighbor “more” than myself or “at least as much” does not identify the proper condition of salvation. In fact, outstanding doctors of theology state that I have a duty to love myself more than my neighbor. That is right, more. They say the order of love is as follows: Love God first of all, your own soul next, your neighbor’s soul next, your neighbor’s body next, and your own body last. That would be the proper order of a loving mother for her children. And why self love in terms of spiritual goods first? Because I do not will my neighbor to have a good unless I appreciate, love, that good too. Moreover, unless I love God and love my loving God, I would not consider it a value to will for my neighbor. Hence, good love of neighbor requires good love of self. In sum, Unless I love my neighbor in God, and because of God, I cannot get into heaven.

Second, charity cannot exist without faith. So, if I am  not a believer, I cannot have the charity I need to have be saved. I must be converted to the one true God in faith in order to have charity so as to please him. Heb 11. [I would describe this, in my clumsy, amateur way, as the difference between natural love and supernatural love flowing from Grace.  Sure those with no faith in Jesus Christ can love, but their love is a natural love and not connected to sanctifying Grace.    Their love also has the propensity to be highly disordered and prurient, because it does not flow from a love of God]

……Fourth, “There is no punishment but only annihilation”. This is heresy. Everyone who dies without sanctifying grace goes straight to hell. And the soul cannot be punished in hell if it doesn’t exist. Whoever says the opposite states heresy. [Dang skippy.  I pray Scalfari completely butchered what the Pope said in that regard.  Otherwise, it would make the Pope’s many references to satan and demons farcical.]

Scalfari is leading people away from the truth of Catholic faith. It is lamentable that he carries on like this without being rebuked.

——–End Quote——–

I saved a bit there at the link.  Go check it out.

I, for one, am thrilled to find a blog from a traditional Thomist and co-parishioner who is a formally trained theologian.  That’ll be going in the blogroll.

If you want still another take, check out Pat Archbold’s column here.

Scandal in Chile? Mass protests against episcopal appointment March 24, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, priests, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society.
7 comments

Pope Francis named Juan Barros as Bishop of the Diocese of Osorno in Chile earlier this year.  Just this past weekend was the consecration Mass.  There has been scandal attached to this man for  years, with repeated and well-documented claims he covered up years of sexual abuse of three men, one of whom currently resides in the United States.  At the consecration Mass, it is reported that hundreds of protesters disrupted the proceedings:

Despite protests that ended with three people arrested, as well as a campaign asking the Vatican to revisit the decision, a Chilean bishop mentored by the country’s most notorious sex abuser priest took possession of his new diocese on Saturday.

The appointment by Pope Francis has led many observers to question the pontiff’s commitment to tackling the scandals of clerical sex abuse and hold those who stood by accountable for their inaction.

An estimated 4,000 people dressed in black as a sign of mourning gathered in front of the cathedral of the diocese of Osorno, Chile, to demand that Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, former military chaplain, not take possession.

A video of the event posted online shows the crowd throwing objects at the prelate, pushing him, and trying to stop him from entering St. Mathew’s Cathedral, despite strong security measures……

…….Requesting to remain unnamed because he has ties with the diocese, the person said that while Barros was celebrating the Mass, many kept screaming “Pedophile!” and “Get out!” The situation escalated to the point that the celebration had to be cut short, skipping the homily, Communion, and other parts of the liturgy.[Wow.  So was it valid?  That’s so totally unfortunate]

[The root of the protests]……Since Barros’s appointment was announced last January, it has been criticized by elements of the local community because of ties Barros had with the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a priest the Vatican condemned in 2011 to a life of “solitude and prayer” after being found guilty of sexually abusing several devoted followers during the 1980s and the 1990s.

Three of Karadima’s victims, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton, and José Andrés Murillo, have accused four Chilean prelates, including Barros, of covering up for Karadima and of being present while he abused them.

I am far from clear that the protesters are necessarily faithful Catholics.  They may be, in part, but they may also be secular opponents of the Church seeking to stir up mess.

Having said that, Vox Cantoris has followed the reports more than I have and he is clear that this episcopal appointment is disgraceful, and quite contrary to the rhetoric we hear about being close to the sheep and all that:

Only days after stripping the disgraced pervert Cardinal, Keith O’Brien of his title and power and sending him to retire quietly in a £200,000 cottage, Pope Francis; amidst the outrage of the people of the Diocese of Osorno in Chile has permitted another bishop to take his Cathedra – a man implicated in the scandal of sodomy and perversion and the abuse of three men from the time they were boys. Is this to be considered another “who am I to judge” episode as with Msgr. Ricca appointed to a high position within the Vatican Bank? If so, then the definition of scandal has been forgotten along with a real understanding of mercy for those victimized by the evil and perverted pederasts who performed abominable acts upon young boys of teenaged years…….

…….Since this appointment was announced in January, Chileans have been outraged. Crux further reports that “The Archbishop of Concepción, Fernando Chomalí, met with the Pope a few weeks ago and warned him that the Barros appointment was causing consternation in Chile, not only in the community of Osorno, but throughout the country. Pope Francis admitted to knowing the suffering of the victims of Karadima and the damage to the Chilean church. However — despite everything — the Pope, through the Nuncio in Chile, Ivo Scapolo, reconfirmed Barros without considering the facts and warnings of so many people, including priests and bishops. With pain we see that the faithful will have to accept and deal with Pope Francis’ decision. A pain and fear we know too well.”

Yet, Pope Francis still proceeded in spite of the warning. This is a scandal to the people of Osorno; it is a scandal and an insult to the three victims assaulted by a homosexual pederast priest whilst the then Fr. Juan Barros, watched. [And, it is claimed, did nothing to stop it]

……The Pope must be accountable for this; not just to Almighty God, but to the smelly sheep in the periphery.

As I stated in an interview with “From Rome” – Let us not, as Catholics, give an exaggerated status to any pope along the lines of what our protestant friends think – an infallibility without respect for the Gospel, which he does not possess. The First Vatican Council defined it very clearly.

All the talk of mercy, thumbs up photographs and the washing of feet and the daily media spin from the manipulators in the Vatican Press Office won’t fix this. The Pope himself is responsible for this and there is no spinning out of it.

It is a disgrace to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

In their dictatorship of mercy and condemnation of the Law and those who try to live by it some appear to have forgotten who is in charge.

Sheesh, truly a mess. At the very least, the pronouncement sounds quite tone deaf.  Surely there were other candidates for the position?  Reading between the lines a bit, it seems the papal nuncio to Chile made this a hill he was willing to die on.  He really insisted upon this appointment.  I really have no idea why.

This Diocese, by the way, is tiny.  It has 35 priests!  Shoot, Clear Creek may have that many in a few years.  I have seen some contradictory reports that the bishop was either opposed by over half the priests in the Diocese, or supported by them, but it seems clear there is division among the priests there, too.

I guess the broader question is……given the scandals that have so afflicted the Church with regard to perverse, abusive priests, and given that we know there are still many of these priests (perverse, possibly not abusers of children) in circulation……..should not the Vatican err decisively on the side of caution and insure that no priest with even a hint of this kind of scandal is ever promoted to the episcopate?

Do you think this appointment represents a backing away from Pope Benedict’s very strong, unyielding stand against priest sex abusers?  It’s hard for me to discern at this point, it could be a one off anomaly, or I suppose this Barros could be innocent, but is not discretion the better part of valor?  Was this really a necessary appointment to make, given the wound and scandal it is causing?  Should we see more mass action of this kind by faithful Catholics to scandal in the Church?

I pray this is not a return to the really bad old days of episcopal appointments.

Yeah, what they said – Matt and Ferrara on the crisis and faithful response March 24, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Latin Mass, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, SOD, the return, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership.
12 comments

I’ve got to agree with most everything said in the video below.  The only question it left me with was whether asking for our Church back is the right response, or is it simply to take it back, without “asking?”  No, I’m not entirely sure what that means, either.

The video below came out on Saturday, but I didn’t get around to watching it until last night.  So, to some it may have seemed that posts yesterday were just singing this same tune, but I was ignorant of the similarities in argument.  Having said that, I’m very glad to see the similarity in opinion displayed below. I also feel the bit of exasperation with trying to appease all the different factions among faithful/orthodox/traditional Catholics, an impossible and frustrating task.  You can’t do it, the only approach to take is a big tent, inviting in all people of good will who are willing to take part in the fight to restore the Faith.  Excluding this group because they are not of my tribe or that person because, well, they aren’t on board with all my dogmatic prudential judgments…….as has been passionately argued in the comments of recent posts, good luck with that.  I guess some folks would prefer their doctrinal purity to an improved shot at really aiding in the restoration of the Church:

You know, one thought that crosses my mind from time to time – I try to keep it out, but it likes to return – is whether some of these folks who seem to have a bit of addiction to rageohol and the excoriation of foreign tribes don’t really rather prefer the Remnant, whatever that means to them, to be small, and for there to be essentially no earthly chance to restore the Faith.  I pray that’s never the case with anyone, but sometimes I see such closed mindedness it really seems hard to just explain as adherence to some ideological position.  Then again, ideology is an incredibly powerful thing, as Pope Francis frequently reminds us.

Video is probably old for most folks so I won’t load it up with a bunch of commentary, other than to say it’s very, very good and I am gratified that there are very good, dedicated souls out there who seem to agree with my overarching point of view.

Yes, in other words, it’s all about yay me!  But that’s what you come here for, no?

Hi there, Persecution! Woman throws Molotov cocktail at Austin pro-lifers March 24, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, contraception, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, paganism, persecution, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
2 comments

Yes, Austin has much more than its share of crazies.  It is a quite liberal town, and not just by Texas standards.  There are a lot of good conservatives there, too, of course, but they are outnumbered by the leftists.  We saw that a year and a half ago in the diabolical displays surrounding the passage of House Bill 2, which imposed many sensical (if far from sufficient) limitations on baby murder.

I guess that diabolical spirit is still in the air, as a crazed individual threw a Molotov cocktail gasoline bomb at some souls praying outside the local Planned Barrenhood mill.  No one was hurt, thankfully, and the perpetrator has been taken into custody:

Last night at an Austin Planned Parenthood abortion facility, a woman threw a Molotov cocktail (a type of homemade bomb) at a group of Central Texas Coalition for Life prayer volunteers. One of the volunteers was able to quickly stomp out the flame and save the group from any danger. The group was able to record the woman’s license plate number and turn that information over to the police. Police did arrest the woman who threw the bomb directly at the prayer volunteers.

Central Texas Coalition for Life Executive Director Heather Gardner responded last night. “We are so thankful that none of our courageous volunteers were injured during the incident. Because of their quick actions, the woman responsible was apprehended and will be held accountable.”

So here’s the photo of the bomb:

molotov_cocktail_thrown_at_prayer_volunteer_645_363_55 (1)

Pro-tip for use of Molotov cocktails: use a glass, not plastic, bottle.  Poor execution helped insure no one was injured.

But wait!  We all KNOW, because the media always tells US, that it is only pro-lifers who are crazed, violent terrorists, whereas abortionists and their acolytes in darkness are only peaceful, loving people……..who happen to commit and support murder all day long.

What is really surprising is that things like this don’t occur much more frequently.  But a culture increasingly hostile towards Christianity may provide a fertile ground for a great increase in attacks like these in the future.

And then there are probably a good number that go unreported, such as the frequent incidents of near vehicular manslaughter committed on a daily basis by one of the former “nurses” at the Routh Street mill.  She used to take great pleasure in tearing down the alley that serves as the main entrance to that mill at 40 mph, swerving side to side and frequently forcing opponents of abortion, including children, to scramble out of the way.

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