“Then a person ran towards us shouting ‘He has a knife’, and everybody from the terrace ran inside. Next, a woman came in to the cafe. She was crying hysterically, down on her knees, saying someone’s neck has been slashed open.”– A witness
Surely you know what happened in Finland on the heals of Barcelona, but here from Reuters we get more facts on the killer and the poor innocent women who were sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Over the years we have written a few posts on Finland, but it isn’t as easily accessible (or slovenly welcoming) as other Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway.
This Reuters story is surprisingly unrestrained and relatively free of whitewash (or is that because those quoted weren’t pulling punches and speaking in politically correct terms?):
HELSINKI/TURKU, Finland (Reuters) – Finnish police said on Saturday that an 18-year-old Moroccan man, arrested after a knife rampage that killed two people and wounded eight, appeared to have targeted women and that the spree was being treated as the country’s first terrorism-related attack.
Finland’s loss of innocence. Photo: Inquirer.
The suspect arrested following the attack on Friday after being shot in the leg by police in the city of Turku had arrived in Finland last year, police said. They said they later arrested four other Moroccan men over possible links to him and had issued an international arrest warrant for a sixth Moroccan national.
Finnish broadcaster MTV, citing an unnamed source, said the main suspect had been denied asylum in Finland. The police said only that he had been “part of the asylum process”.
The case marks the first suspected terror attack in Finland, where violent crime is relatively rare.
“The suspect’s profile is similar to that of several other recent radical Islamist terror attacks that have taken place in Europe,” Director Antti Pelttari from the Finnish Security Intelligence Service told a news conference.
Both of those killed in the Turku attack, and six of the eight who were wounded, were women, the police said. The two who died were Finns, and an Italian and two Swedish citizens were among the injured.
Ville Tavio (Finns party): Asylum system is primary means of entry for terrorists.
“It seems that the suspect chose women as his targets, because the men who were wounded were injured when they tried to help, or prevent the attacks,” said Crista Granroth from the National Bureau of Investigation.
“The act was cowardly … we have been afraid of this and we have prepared for this. We are not an island anymore, the whole of Europe is affected,” Prime Minister Juha Sipila said. [Well, maybe not Poland and Hungary that have closed their borders to Muslim migration!—ed]
Some members of the nationalist Finns party, which was kicked out of the government in June for their new hard-line anti-immigration leadership, blamed the government for what they said was too loose an immigration policy.
“The asylum system is the primary road for illegal immigration, used also by the terrorists. Harmful immigration can be controlled only by reducing Finland’s attractiveness, or by border controls,” said Finns party lawmaker Ville Tavio.
What is asylum? (As opposed to refugee resettlement)
In the refugee resettlement process, wannabe refugees must prove they are persecuted, the UN screens them (supposedly!) and a country accepts them and flies them in.
For asylum, the wannabe refugee makes his or her way to a ‘safe’ country and then applies for asylum (or often called political asylum). They are supposed to make a case that they would be persecuted if returned home. Europe is dealing with mostly asylum seekers (many are phony and are really economic migrants) who are basically loose in the country until their cases can be processed.
And, are often loose because they have been rejected and no one has made them leave!
So, it is a misnomer when you hear the Left and political leaders refer to asylum seekers as refugees. They are not legitimate refugees until their cases have been processed and the governmental body responsible has granted them asylum.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/finland-knife-attack-e1503317956886.jpg384640Ann Corcoranhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngAnn Corcoran2017-08-21 08:19:332017-08-21 08:22:04Moroccan Muslim asylum seeker was targeting women, slashing their throats
Enough is enough. It’s time to take a stand. Today, students at East Catholic High School rise up and declare that we’re more concerned with God than we are with being politically correct.
We encourage you to do the same. Please watch our video…then SHARE it with your friends and encourage THEM to SHARE it as well. TAG a friend, a community leader, or even the media. Let’s get this powerful message out there.
No more prayer shaming. Let’s bring God and prayer back into our lives.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/prayer-1-e1503232727892.jpg368640Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2017-08-20 08:39:142017-08-20 08:39:14VIDEO: Students call for an 'End to Prayer Shaming'
Founded by disbanded Confederate soldiers on Christmas Eve, 1865, the secret fraternal society quickly transformed into a paramilitary group bent on fighting Reconstruction and the advancement of African-American, Jews and Catholics.
The KKK’s decidedly anti-Catholic bent appealed broadly to Protestant America. Philip Jenkins, Baylor University professor of history, writes, “The Klan was above all a Protestant movement, whose events were accompanied by beloved hymns like ‘Onward Christian Soldiers,’ but its trademark anthem was ‘The Old Rugged Cross.'”
Protestant leadership, in fact, were prominent figures within the Klan. “Protestant clergy were prominent in the leadership of this ‘crusade,'” he observes, “‘consecrated beneath the fiery cross of militant Protestant Christianity.’ Every lodge had its kleagle or chaplain who was always a Protestant minister.”
The KKK’s anti-Catholic bigotry sprang from a broader antipathy toward the Church. Historian Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. describes U.S. anti-Catholicism as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people.”
Again, Jenkins explains:
Partly, the Klan inherited the very powerful nineteenth century tradition of militant anti-Catholic bigotry, which presented the Church as a vehicle for tyranny, paganism, immorality, persecution and every anti-Christian force. The Klan rehearsed the ancient charges of American nativism about Catholic evils, including the Inquisition, the seditious secret oaths taken by the Knights of Columbus and the conspiratorial nature of the Jesuit order. So much was familiar — but from the 1890s the U.S. experienced a mass immigration largely derived from Eastern and Central Europe, and newer groups were heavily Catholic and Jewish in character.
The KKK underwent rapid growth during the 1910s. By the early 1920s, its membership had swollen to more than 5 million, and its journal, The Fiery Cross, had a readership of 400,000.
Contrary to common perceptions, at that time the Klan was not primarily a Southern phenomenon — its greatest support was rooted in the North and Midwest. Pennsylvania alone counted more than 423 Klan lodges.
At the 1924 Democratic National Convention in New York, Catholic Al Smith became a leading contender for the party’s presidential nominee. Hundreds of Klansmen delegates responded by disrupting proceedings, shouting calls for violence against African-American and Catholics and defiling effigies of Smith. Democrats came within one vote of adopting a Klan platform plank voting against it 543 to 542.
Wayfinding sign omitting St. Boniface Catholic Church.
In one notorious case in Birmingham, Alabama, Fr. James Coyle was murdered by a Klansman, shot in the head on the porch of his rectory by E.R. Stephenson — a Southern Methodist Episcopal clergyman. Months before Stephenson murdered Fr. James Coyle, his daughter Ruth had converted to Catholicism. Catholics were, in fact, subjected to acts of violence during this period.
The Ku Klux Klan paid for Stephenson’s defense, and four of his five attorneys were Klansmen. Not surprisingly, Stephenson was acquitted.
Alabama, for instance, is home to half a dozen KKK affiliates and several other white supremacist organizations. In fact, the state has been bucking a national trend with a recent rise in such groups. In recent decades, overt Klan activity has become less visible, owing to overwhelming rejection of its bigotry. But the organization is still very much alive. Though fewer in number and comparatively more covert, its members remain active across the South. In the 1950s, the KKK experienced another revival in response to the Civil Rights Movement.
Well into the 1960s, the group was burning crosses in front of Catholic churches across the South.
Cullman County is the site of the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, established by EWTN’s Mother Angelica in the late 1990s. Reportedly, it also nurtures persistent, anti-Catholic sentiment.
After Mother Angelica began her activities in Hanceville, Alabama, the KKK sought to intimidate her by lighting bonfires and holding meetings along the Mulberry River, opposite the nuns’ enclosure.
Even today, anti-Catholicism manifests subtly but surely. Last year in Cullman County — on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday — the Klan distributed fliers recruiting new members.
In Hanceville this spring, the mayor and city council erected directional signage, pointing the way to almost a dozen different Protestant houses of worship. The one church omitted: St. Boniface Catholic Church — a 100-year-old mission located less than three blocks away.
In the town of Cullman, reportedly there is even a clogging group proudly calling itself “The KKK.”
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/kkk-burning-crosses-e1503162795216.jpg356640Church Militanthttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngChurch Militant2017-08-19 13:14:112017-08-20 06:03:37The Anti-Catholic History of the KKK: Church members persecuted alongside African-Americans, Jews
Howard Kainz: By establishing preconditions for dealing with value disagreements, we will arrive at the vestibule of Aquinas’ classical precepts.
We hear much these days about the “Benedict Option,” inspired by Rod Dreher’s book by that name. Some Catholics surrounded by “nones” and liberals – and confronting public schools sexualizing students, local parishes preaching a watered-down hand-holding Catholicism, etc. – are seeking various forms of community as a defense against anti-Christian currents.
Some have changed parishes or neighborhoods, or even moved their families to locations bordering Benedictine monasteries! Some may find TheCatholicThing.org and similar Catholic Internet sites to be their “cyberspace” Benedict Option.
The general idea is to take steps of self-preservation in a world imbued with relativism and secularism, get support from like-minded persons, and keep ourselves and our children from succumbing to a social environment gone berserk.
Rod Dreher got the inspiration for his book from a short final paragraph of Alasdair Macintyre’s 1981 book, After Virtue, where Macintyre concludes, comparing our age with the late Roman Empire of the original Benedict, “this time . . . the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another – doubtless very different – St. Benedict.”
In a later interview, Macintyre confided that he regretted writing that paragraph, thus giving rise to the impression that he was advocating a strategy of withdrawal.
Macintyre’s book received – and deserved – a lot of attention. I came across it at a time when I was doing research for my book Ethics in Context, and was impressed by his brilliant critique of attempts to formulate viable ethical theories in the aftermath of the Enlightenment – especially two theories that still appear in college classrooms in various revisions and reincarnations: utilitarianism and Kant’scategorical imperative.
One thing, however, that Macintyre does not go into: both of these influential theories were Enlightenment attempts to replace natural-law theory, which had previously enjoyed pride of place among Catholic philosophers and also some Protestant philosophers.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/benedict_option-e1503137882634.jpg369640The Catholic Thinghttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Catholic Thing2017-08-19 06:18:242017-08-19 06:42:19Using the 'Benedict Option' to fight Relativism and Secularism
ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announces that the closing chapter in a lawsuit has ended with a victory for Bill Donohue and free speech, as the time for appealing TMLC’s win in the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court has passed.
Bill Donohue, President and CEO of the Catholic League, is considered by most Americans as the fiercest defender of the Catholic Church in the world. He is often called to appear on national TV to respond to controversial attacks made against the Church. So, when he asked the Thomas More Law Center to defend him and the Catholic League in a defamation lawsuit filed because of comments in a press release, without hesitation we agreed.
Beginning in 2014, the case wound its way through both the state and federal courts. On April 18, 2017, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued its opinion affirming a lower court decision which ruled in favor of Bill Donohue and the Catholic League by dismissing all claims in the lawsuit, including the defamation claim. The 90-day window for asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision has now lapsed.
Erin Mersino, who handled the case on behalf of the Thomas More Law Center always contended that lawsuit filed by Jon David Couzens, Jr. lacked legal merit and required dismissal. Although she no longer works for TMLC, Erin recently commented on the final end of case:
“The plaintiff’s decision not to appeal the case further vindicates this important victory for free speech. The Thomas More Law Center and the Catholic League are two heroic organizations that vigorously fight for religious freedom in our culture today. It has been a true honor representing Bill Donohue, the President and tenacious captain of the Catholic League.”
What is the Catholic League?
The Catholic League is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. Founded in 1973 by the late Father Virgil C. Blum, S.J., the Catholic League defends the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.
Motivated by the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment, the Catholic League works to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics whenever and wherever they are threatened.
The Catholic League is listed in the Official Catholic Directory and has won the plaudits of many bishops.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/catholic-league-logo.jpg363640Thomas More Law Centerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThomas More Law Center2017-08-17 18:26:552017-08-17 18:26:55Lawsuit Ends in Free Speech/Religious Freedom Victory for the Catholic League
Once again, Christians are fleeing Iraq. But this time, it’s not because they are under attack from the jihadi extremists who have terrorized their communities for the past fourteen years. It’s not even because of ISIS, which physically occupied the Nineveh Plain until just recently.
It’s because they have lost hope that they can ever trust their neighbors again.
“The situation for Christians is catastrophic,” the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Babylon, Archbishop Louis Sako, told me during a recent trip to northern Iraq.
According to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organizations, nearly half of the 120,000 Christian refugees who fled the Nineveh Plain to the camps controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government when ISIS attacked in June 2014 have now left the country for good.
“Emigration actually increased after the liberation,” said Louis Markos, a town councilman from Baghdeda (also known as Qaraqosh), the regional capitol of the Assyrian homeland in the Nineveh Plain, about 20 miles southeast of Mosul. “When people went back and saw their houses ransacked, burned, or destroyed, they lost heart. They had waited for three years for their nightmare to end. It never did.”
While the U.S. government has earmarked more than $100 million in reconstruction funds to help restore vital infrastructure to the Christian and Yezidi areas in northern Iraq, so far local residents see only devastation.
“We haven’t seen a dollar of U.S. reconstruction funds,” the Patriarch told me. “Nothing has come.”
A U.S. official involved in the funding, which Vice President Mike Pence pledged personally to the Patriarch when he visited the White House in May, told me the money has been sent to U.S. AID in Erbil and to the United Nations. “It’s to be spent on restoring water and electricity in the Nineveh Plain,” he said. “But if there are no people, they can’t spend it.
“It’s a chicken and egg problem, I admit,” he added. “No people, no power. No power and water, no people.”
The Patriarch insisted that Christians return home, despite the devastation. “If we don’t rebuild, others will come to occupy our villages and towns,” he said. “Already, they are putting pressure on Christians to prevent them from returning home.”
Checkpoints manned separately by Kurdish Democratic Party peshmerga fighters and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) militias make it difficult for families to return. “At each of these checkpoints, we often wait up to two hours,” Markos told me. “Two weeks ago, I was turned back.”
The KDP and the PMF have established a military Line of Control, effectively dividing the Assyrian Christian and Yazidi Nineveh Plain into two separate zones.
Towns that used to be just a ten minute drive from each other are now walled off from one another, requiring hours to reach crossing points manned by the warring militias.
The Kurds have been hardening their side of the border, to the north, by erecting concrete barriers and blockhouses, U.S. officials told me. While Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish Regional Government, both insist that the military line is just a temporary separation, Assyrian Christian leaders fear it will become permanent, leaving them hopelessly divided.
Making matters worse, the Kurdish Democratic Party of KRG president Massoud Barzani has deposed prominent Assyrian Christian mayors in the Nineveh Plain in recent weeks, first in al Qosh and more recently in Tel Kaif, replacing them with Christian members of the KDP.
The move was so unpopular that protestors rattled the normally congenial KRG envoy to Washington, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, at a recent event at the U.S. Institute for Peace, calling on the KDP to “get out” of the Nineveh Plain.
“The Nineveh Plain is not a “disputed area,” as some are claiming,” the Patriarch reminded me. “The Kurds and the Shia want to occupy the areas they liberated. They have no right to this.”
Restoring trust among the many ethnic and religious communities of Northern Iraq will not be a simple task. The U.S. Institute of Peace has been holding workshops in the Nineveh Plain for many years in an effort to build bridges between mutually suspicious communities, some of them shut down by the KDP.
“We Christians are the meat in the sandwich between the Arabs and the Kurds,” the recently deposed Mayor of Tel Keif, Bassam Bello, told me six years ago during an earlier trip to the region.
When ISIS seized control of the area in June 2014, it was Sunni Arabs who ate the sandwich. Today, the Christians are being nibbled at both ends by Kurdish and Shiite Arab militias.
“Our goal is to make the Nineveh Plain a magnet for Reconstruction,” Yohanna Yousef Towaya, a local businessman who works with the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, told me. “We are looking for private partners and NGOs to help us rebuild houses so émigrés will return.”
A big task, but an imperative one. Without reconstruction in the Nineveh Plain, there will be no more Christians in Iraq in a few years.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/bloody-cross-e1457095633356.png418639Kenneth R. Timmermanhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngKenneth R. Timmerman2017-08-16 18:36:312017-08-16 18:36:31Christian Genocide In Iraq: The Patriarch’s Plea
In the twentieth century, the U.S. government used anti-trust laws to dismantle U.S. corporations with far less money and infinitely far less power. Never in the history of mankind has such absolute power in the information battle-space been in the hands of so few. If the body politic understood this and the ramifications of inaction, they would be terrified. And rightly so.
Our events, social media pages, are scrubbed, censored and blacklisted. Shouting into the wilderness is not the freedom of speech. Talking to yourself is not freedom of speech.
The Sherman Antitrust Act ought to be used to break the monopoly Facebook wields over free speech in social networking sector. Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker sees the problem as I do and supports “legislation that requires social media to censor only direct threats, making it illegal to delete content on any other basis. Social media platforms must be viewpoint neutral. That threat is necessary to counter the pressure Facebook obviously faces from Muslim governments like Pakistan’s. Losing a billion-plus-strong market like the 57 Muslim countries is obviously undesirable for Facebook, so its management is responding to pressure.”
The value of that market would have to be balanced against the value of markets like the United States that could stand up for free speech. By seeming to cave in to the demand that Islam be the only subject that cannot be discussed openly and honestly, anywhere in the world, Facebook is in the process of handing the first global triumph of sharia, enforcing its ban on blasphemy.
Two of the most powerful companies in the world are co-sponsoring a protest against a pro-life women’s health care clinic that provides free medical services and counseling to pregnant women — just not abortions. Facebook and Google are co-sponsoring Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of progressive activists and political leaders that is targeting a pro-life organization, Human Coalition, and the health care clinics they operate under the name Cura, which provide free medical services and counseling for women with unplanned pregnancies…
Two of the most powerful companies in the world are co-sponsoring a protest against a pro-life women’s health care clinic that provides free medical services and counseling to pregnant women — just not abortions. Facebook and Google are co-sponsoring Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of progressive activists and political leaders that is targeting a pro-life organization, Human Coalition, and the health care clinics they operate under the name Cura, which provide free medical services and counseling for women with unplanned pregnancies…
ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced that Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is viewed as a leading traditionalist and conservative within the Catholic Church, endorsed the Thomas More Law Center, for its “most important service for the restoration of Christian culture.” The extraordinary endorsement was transmitted in a letter, dated July 26, 2017, to Richard Thompson, the President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.
Text of Cardinal Burke’s Endorsement
“During these difficult times in which we are living, in which secularization has ravaged the culture of our homeland, alienating culture from its only true source in God and His plan for the world, theThomas More Law Center provides a most important service for the restoration of Christian culture by promoting the sanctity of human life, defending religious liberty, and protecting the good of the family. Through the intercession of its holy patron, may the Thomas More Law Center courageously continue to serve the true good of our beloved homeland of the United States of America.”
Thompson commented, “We are deeply honored and profoundly grateful to Cardinal Burke for his uncompromising defense of America’s traditional Judeo-Christian culture and moral values, and for his unprecedented endorsement of the Thomas More Law Center.”
In June 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Burke as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Holy See’s highest court. He was the first American named to head the Tribunal and became the second highest ranking prelate at the Vatican. However, in 2014 he was removed from that position by Pope Francis.
Regarded as a leading traditionalist within the Church, Cardinal Burke is a courageous and outspoken defender of the Catholic Faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Cardinal Burke’s views on key issues facing American culture and Western Civilization, are shared by the Thomas More Law Center and traditional Christians of all denominations.
On Islam . . .
In a 2016 interview with Italian newspaper, II Gioranle, Cardinal Burke stated:
“It is clear that Muslims have as their ultimate goal conquest and power over the world.”
“Islam, through sharia, their law, will rule the world and permit violence against infidels, such as Christians. But we find it hard to recognize this reality and to respond by defending the Christian faith.”
“Many people do not understand what Islam really is. They created these slogans: we all believe in the same God, we are all united by love and so on. It’s not true.
On Same-sex marriage . . .
In a November 10, 2013 interview with The Wanderer, Cardinal Burke said that same-sex marriage . . .
“. . . is a work of deceit, a lie about the most fundamental aspect of our human nature, our human sexuality, which, after life itself, defines us. There is only one place these types of lies come from, namely Satan. It is a diabolical situation which is aimed at destroying individuals, families, and eventually our nation.”
On Abortion . . .
In a March 2, 2009 Interview with the founder of ‘Operation Rescue’, Cardinal Burke stated:
“The service of the Church in the world of today has to begin first and foremost with the protection of the life of those who are the most defenseless and the most innocent, namely the unborn.”
In his January 22, 2017, sermon on the Roe v. Wade Anniversary Mass, Cardinal Burke stated:
“We recognize in that decision of the highest court of our nation a rebellion against God and His Law written upon every human heart in its first and most fundamental tenet: to safeguard and to foster human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
In March 2009, Burke called on American bishops to withhold the Eucharist from Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion. The bishop’s failure to do so, Burke said, “is weakening the faith of everyone. It’s giving the impression that it must be morally correct to support procured abortion.”
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America. The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at(734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/Cardinal-Raymond-Burke.jpg366650Thomas More Law Centerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThomas More Law Center2017-08-11 17:15:592017-08-11 17:15:59Cardinal Burke Endorses Thomas More Law Center for 'Restoring Christian Culture'
David Carlin writes that post-Vatican II, we’ve lost a sense of the sacredness of things: We need again altar rails, nuns wearing habits, rosary beads, holy water, Latin, etc.
The best definition of religion I have ever come across is that given by the great French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) in his book The Elementary Forms of Religious Life: “A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and surrounded by prohibitions – beliefs and practices that unite its adherents in a single moral community called a church.”
“Sacred things” (or “holy things”) is the key here. In the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church, there were lots and lots of sacred things. There was a great pyramid of sacred things. Way up at the top of the pyramid, of course, was God, the most holy of all holy things and the source of the sacredness that trickled down to all lesser sacred things. Of these lesser sacred things, the most holy was the Virgin Mary, the mother of God. Below her were angels and saints, some of them more sacred than others. There were nine orders of angels. Dante has many ranks of saints in his Paradiso.
On Earth there were sacred persons, they too in descending ranks of sacredness. The pope was very holy indeed; thus he was spoken of as “His Holiness.” Cardinals were somewhat less sacred; ordinary bishops less sacred still; parish priests were at the bottom rank of clerical holiness, but they too should be treated with a reverence due to sacred persons. Religious sisters were sacred, both the kind and gentle nuns and the mean nuns who hit your hand with a ruler. The habits nuns wore were also sacred.
Buildings were sacred. St. Peter’s in Rome was the most sacred of all, even though to some Catholics (me among them) it resembled a magnificent train station more than a great church. Medieval Gothic cathedrals were also sacred, especially those of Paris and Chartres. Ordinary parish churches were also sacred, even the hideous churches built in the 1950s in a “modern” style.
Inside, the church overflowed with sacred things: statues and pictures of saints, Stations of the Cross, candles, baptismal fonts, holy water. The altar was holy, made even more holy by the altar rail that set it apart from the rest of the church. The Eucharist was the holiest of all things on Earth, so holy that it mustn’t be touched by the hands of laypersons.
There were sacred ceremonies, the Mass above all. But also lesser ceremonies: Confession, burial of the dead, fasting in Lent, meatless Fridays, fasting from midnightbefore receiving Communion, reciting the rosary (whether with a group or alone), genuflecting when entering a church pew, making the sign of the cross prior to batting in a baseball game.
David Carlin is professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is titled Mass by José Gallegos Y Arnosa, c. 1900 [private collection].
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/mass-e1502451855295.jpg387640The Catholic Thinghttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Catholic Thing2017-08-11 07:44:242017-08-11 07:44:41Why We Need Sacred Things [Plural]
As it stands now, more than 50% of Americans have rejected the Founding Fathers worldview and therefore cannot understand their political philosophy let alone make dispassionate decisions on complex cultural issues.
There is no guarantee that a historic Republic built on our founding principles will forever remain in that belief structure, in fact history indicates just the opposite. This analysis attributed to several historians of the 18th century seems to portray an accurate reflection of what has occurred during our 241 years of existence as a democracy.
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
bondage to spiritual faith
spiritual faith to great courage
courage to liberty
liberty to abundance
abundance to complacency
complacency to apathy
apathy to dependence
dependence back into bondage
WHERE IS AMERICA?
IS IT TIME FOR SPIRITUAL FAITH?
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/good-without-god-e1502410726819.jpg360640Tom Trentohttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngTom Trento2017-08-10 20:19:052017-08-10 20:26:06Philosophers, Theologians & Talk Show Hosts Have Been Debating This For Years
AnneHendershott looks at the decline in male fertility, due partly to the Pill. Clearly, it’s time to consider the sociology and science surrounding the culture of “reproductive rights.”
The recent research revelation that sperm counts for men living in the West have plunged by 60 percent since 1971 provides readers of P. D. James’s great dystopian novel, The Children of Men, with a prediction of an unsettling future for a society that can no longer reproduce. Set in Britain in 2021, James’s frightening fiction described a world of mass infertility among males – a world in which no children have been born in more than twenty-five years. In the novel, the last baby to be born is now an adult, and the population is growing steadily older. And, like today’s reality, James’s scientists have failed to find a cure – or even a cause – for the sterility.
Publishing their most recent findings in the journal Human Reproduction Update, the researchers – from Israel, the United States, Denmark, Brazil, and Spain – concluded that the total sperm count had fallen by 59.3 percent between 1971 and 2011 in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
Some scientists are claiming that “modern living” has caused serious damage to men’s health. Pesticides, pollution, diet, stress, smoking, and obesity have all been plausibly associated with the problem. But far fewer men smoke cigarettes than ever before, and the pollution and pesticide controls that the government has implemented in the past forty years have alleviated many of these risks.
Besides, during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, men faced much greater health risks from factory work during a time when there were no OSHA regulations on air quality. There were few fertility problems at that time as families were large – and no one worried about sperm counts.
Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books).
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/baby-newborn.jpg381639The Catholic Thinghttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Catholic Thing2017-08-10 06:27:322017-08-10 06:33:27Reaping What We’ve Sown: Reproductive Rights versus Male Fertility
Robert Royal writes of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) on her feast day: a Jewish philosopher, who became a Carmelite nun and, ten years later, was murdered at Auschwitz.
Every generation thinks it’s living in unusual times. Ours really is. We are witnessing the passing of our civilization and – like someone having brain surgery while wide-awake – are conscious of what’s happening. Or at least a few of us are. We’re suffering – among other things – massive amnesia. Juvenile rebellion, too, by people of all ages, against what’s taken to be “our civilization.” But the greater problem, by far, is that for most people our basic traditions have just dropped below the horizon. They don’t see that anything else than what they’re familiar with ever existed. And we have fewer and fewer witnesses to the truth.
Today is the 75th anniversary of the death of a woman whom St. John Paul II called “a martyr to truth,” Edith Stein, a brilliant philosopher, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, who got caught up in the Nazi persecutions of Jews and the Church, and died at Auschwitz.
It’s just one reflection of the malice of those days that she and her sister Rosa were picked up by the Gestapo at their Carmelite convent in Holland, where they’d fled for safety, because the Dutch bishops had twelve days earlier issued a pastoral letter denouncing Nazi “racism.” In retaliation, Nazi authorities arrested Jewish converts to Catholicism and shipped them to the gas chambers.
I first got interested in Stein when I wrote The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century. She was canonized in 1998; controversy erupted over whether she should even be called a martyr since she was killed not in odium fidei, some argued, but because she was Jewish. It also seemed to some critics that JPII was trying to appropriate the Holocaust partly for Catholics.
In Poland, where the Nazis killed several million non-Jews, this is still a sore controversy. But the official Vatican explanation – one typical of what JPII called the “new martyrs” – was that several factors intermingled to make “martyr” the right term for Edith.
Besides the Dutch bishops’ statement of Catholic teaching about “race,” there were at least three features of Stein’s life that could be read as a willingness to accept martyrdom . . .
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/edith-web.jpg360640The Catholic Thinghttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Catholic Thing2017-08-09 06:14:302017-08-10 06:22:02Edith Stein: Jewish philosopher, Carmelite nun, murdered at Auschwitz -- A Witness to Truth at 75
Wimpy churches have contributed heavily to the moral decay of the USA. The Outlaws Chapel is calling men and women of faith who are ready to dump “girly man church” to become churches that challenge the evil agendas.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/sword-of-god.jpg360640Bill Finlayhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngBill Finlay2017-08-07 05:36:552017-08-07 05:36:55Dump the Girly Man Church and Girly Man Christianity
“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Matthew 4:7
The sinner who abandons himself to sin without striving to resist temptations, or without at least asking God’s help to conquer them, and hopes that the Lord will one day draw him from the precipice, tempts God to work miracles, or rather to show to him an extraordinary mercy not extended to the generality of Christians. God, as the Apostle says, “will have all men to be saved” (1 Tim. ii. 4); but He also wishes us all to labor for our own salvation, at least by adopting the means of overcoming our enemies, and of obeying Him when he calls us to repentance. Sinners hear the calls of God, but they forget them, and continue to offend him. But God does not forget them. He numbers the graces which He dispenses, as well as the sins which we commit. Hence, when the time which He has fixed arrives, God deprives us of His graces, and begins to inflict chastisement.
I intend to show, in this discourse, that, when sins reach a certain number, God pardons no more. Be attentive.
1. Saint Basil, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and other Fathers teach that, as God (according to the words of Scripture, “Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight” (Wis. xi. 21), has fixed for each person the number of the days of his life, and the degrees of health and talent which He will give him, so He has also determined for each the number of sins which He will pardon; and when this number is completed, He will pardon no more. …
2. “The Lord hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart” (Isa. Ixi. 1.) God is ready to heal those who sincerely wish to amend their lives, but cannot take pity on the obstinate sinner. The Lord pardons sins, but He cannot pardon those who are determined to offend Him. Nor can we demand from God a reason why He pardons one a hundred sins, and takes others out of life, and sends them to Hell, after three or four sins. By His Prophet Amos, God has said: “For three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I will not convert it” (i. 3). In this we must adore the judgments of God, and say with the Apostle: “[T]he depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments” (Rom. xi. 33). He who receives pardon, says St. Augustine, is pardoned through the pure mercy of God; and they who are chastised are justly punished. …
How many has God sent to Hell for the first offense? Saint Gregory relates that a child of five years, who had arrived at the use of reason, for having uttered a blasphemy, was seized by the devil and carried to Hell. The Divine Mother revealed to that great servant of God, Benedicta of Florence, that a boy of 12 years was damned after the first sin. Another boy of eight years died after his first sin and was lost. You say: I am young: there are many who have committed more sins than I have. But is God on that account obliged to wait for your repentance if you offend Him? In the gospel of St. Matthew (xxi. 19) we read that the Savior cursed a fig tree the first time He saw it without fruit. “May no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And immediately the fig tree withered away.” You must, then, tremble at the thought of committing a single mortal sin, particularly if you have already been guilty of mortal sins.
3. “Be not without fear about sins forgiven, and add not sin to sin” (Eccl. v. 5). Say not then, O sinner: As God has forgiven me other sins, so He will pardon me this one if I commit it. Say not this; for if to the sin which has been forgiven you add another, you have reason to fear that this new sin shall be united to your former guilt, and that thus the number will be completed, and that you shall be abandoned. Behold how the Scripture unfolds this truth more clearly in another place. “The Lord patiently expecteth that when the day of judgment shall come, he may punish them in the fullness of sins” (2 Mac. vi. 14). God waits with patience until a certain number of sins is committed, but when the measure of guilt is filled up, He waits no longer, but chastises the sinner. “Thou hast sealed up my offenses as it were in a bag.” (Job xiv. 17). Sinners multiply their sins without keeping any account of them; but God numbers them that, when the harvest is ripe, that is, when the number of sins is completed, He may take vengeance on them. “Put ye in the sickles, for the harvest is ripe” (Joel iii. 13).
4. Of this there are many examples in the Scriptures. Speaking of the Hebrews, the Lord in one place says: “All the men that have tempted me now 10 times … shall not see the land” (Num. xiv. 22, 23). In another place he says, that he restrained his vengeance against the Amorrhites, because the number of their sins was not completed. “For as yet the iniquities of the Amorrhites are not at the full” (Gen. xv. 16). We have again the example of Saul, who, after having disobeyed God a second time, was abandoned. He entreated Samuel to interpose before the Lord in his behalf. “Bear, I beseech thee, my sin, and return with me, that I may adore the Lord” (1 Kings xv. 25). But, knowing that God had abandoned Saul, Samuel answered: “I will not return with thee; because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee,” etc. (v. 26). Saul, you have abandoned God, and he has abandoned you. We have another example in Balthassar, who, after having profaned the vessels of the temple, saw a hand writing on the wall: “Mane, Thecel, Phares.” Daniel was requested to expound the meaning of these words. In explaining the word Thecel, he said to the king: “Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting” (Dan. v. 27). By this explanation he gave the king to understand that the weight of his sins in the balance of divine justice had made the scale descend. “The same night, Balthassar, the Chaldean king, was killed” (Dan. v. 30). Oh! how many sinners have met with a similar fate! Continuing to offend God till their sins amounted to a certain number they have been struck dead and sent to Hell. “They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment they go down to hell” (Job xxi. 13). Tremble, brethren, lest, if you commit another mortal sin, God should cast you into Hell.
5. If God chastised sinners the moment they insult him, we should not see him so much despised. But, because He does not instantly punish their transgressions, and because, through mercy, He restrains His anger and waits for their return, they are encouraged to continue to offend Him. “For, because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evil without any fear” (Eccles. viii. 11). But it is necessary to be persuaded that, though God bears with us, He does not wait, nor bear with us for ever. Expecting, as on former occasions, to escape from the snares of the Philistines, Samson continued to allow himself to be deluded by Dalila. “I will go out as I did before, and shake myself” (Judges xvi. 20). But “the Lord was departed from him.” Samson was at length taken by his enemies, and lost his life. The Lord warns you not to say: I have committed so many sins, and God has not chastised me. Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? “For the Most High is a patient rewarder.” (Eccl. v. 4). God has patience for a certain term, after which He punishes the first and last sins. And the greater has been His patience, the more severe His vengeance.
6. Hence, according to St. Chrysostom, God is more to be feared when He bears with sinners than when He instantly punishes their sins. Plus timendum est, cum tolerat quam cum festinanter punit. And why? Because, says St. Gregory, they to whom God has shown most mercy, shall, if they do not cease to offend Him, be chastised with the greatest rigor. “Quos diutius expectat durius damnat.” The saint adds that God often punishes such sinners with a sudden death, and does not allow them time for repentance. “Sæpe qui diu tolerati sunt subita morte rapiuntur, ut nec flere ante mortem liceat.” And the greater the light which God gives to certain sinners for their correction, the greater is their blindness and obstinacy in sin. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than, after they had known it, to turn back” (2 Pet. ii. 21). Miserable the sinners who, after having been enlightened, return to the vomit. Saint Paul says that it is morally impossible for them to be again converted. “For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated and have tasted also the heavenly gifts … and are fallen away, to be renewed again to penance” (Heb. vi. 4, 6).
7. Listen, then, sinner, to the admonition of the Lord: “My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no more, but for thy former sins pray that they may be forgiven thee” (Eccl. xxi. 1). Son, add not sins to those which you have already committed, but be careful to pray for the pardon of your past transgressions; otherwise, if you commit another mortal sin, the gates of the divine mercy may be closed against you, and your soul may be lost forever. When, then, beloved brethren, the devil tempts you again to yield to sin, say to yourself: If God pardons me no more, what shall become of me for all eternity? Should the Devil, in reply, say: “Fear not, God is merciful”; answer him by saying: What certainty or what probability have I, that, if I return again to sin, God will show me mercy or grant me pardon? Because the threat of the Lord against all who despise His calls: “Behold I have called and you refused. … I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared” (Prov. i. 24, 26). Mark the words “I also”; they mean that, as you have mocked the Lord by betraying Him again after your confession and promises of amendment, so He will mock you at the hour of death. “I will laugh and will mock” But “God is not mocked” (Gal. vi. 7). “As a dog,” says the Wise Man, “that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly” (Prov. xxvi. 11). Denis the Carthusian gives an excellent exposition of this text. He says that, as a dog that eats what he has just vomited is an object of disgust and abomination, so the sinner who returns to the sins which he has detested and confessed becomes hateful in the sight of God. “Sicut id quod per vomitum est rejectum, resumere est valide abominabile ac turpe sic peccata deleta reiterari.”
8. O folly of sinners! If you purchase a house, you spare no pains to get all the securities necessary to guard against the loss of your money; if you take medicine, you are careful to assure yourself that it cannot injure you; if you pass over a river, you cautiously avoid all danger of falling into it; and for a transitory enjoyment, for the gratification of revenge, for a beastly pleasure, which lasts but a moment, you risk your eternal salvation, saying: “I will go to confession after I commit this sin.” And when, I ask, are you to go to confession? You say: “On tomorrow.” But who promises you tomorrow? Who assures you that you shall have time for confession, and that God will not deprive you of life, as He has deprived so manyothers, in the act of sin? “Diem tenes,” says St. Augustine, “qui horam non tenes.” You cannot be certain of living for another hour, and you say: “I will go to confession tomorrow.” Listen to the words of St. Gregory: “He who has promised pardon to penitents has not promised tomorrow to sinners” (Hom. xii. in Evan). God has promised pardon to all who repent; but he has not promised to wait till tomorrow for those who insult him. Perhaps God will give you time for repentance, perhaps He will not. But, should He not give it, what shall become of your soul? In the meantime, for the sake of a miserable pleasure, you lose the grace of God, and expose yourself to the danger of being lost for ever.
9. Would you, for such transient enjoyments, risk your money, your honor, your possessions, your liberty, and your life? No, you would not. How then does it happen that, for a miserable gratification, you lose your soul, Heaven and God? Tell me: Do you believe that Heaven, Hell, eternity, are truths of faith? Do you believe that if you die in sin, you are lost for ever? Oh! What temerity, what folly is it, to condemn yourself voluntarily to an eternity of torments with the hope of afterwards reversing the sentence of your condemnation! “Nemo,” says St. Augustine, “sub spe salutis vult ægrotare.” No one can be found so foolish as to take poison with the hope of preventing its deadly effects by adopting the ordinary remedies. And you will condemn yourself to Hell, saying that you expect to be afterwards preserved from it. Folly — which, in conformity with the divine threats, has brought, and brings every day so many to Hell. “Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness, and evil shall come upon thee, and thou shalt not know the rising thereof” (Isa. xlvii. 10, 11). You have sinned, trusting rashly in the divine mercy: The punishment of your guilt shall fall suddenly upon you, and you shall not know from whence it comes. What do you say? What resolution do you make? If, after this sermon, you do not firmly resolve to give yourself to God, I weep over you, and regard you as lost.
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Battle of Ostia by Raphael (workshop), c. 1514 [Apostolic Palace, Rome]
William Kilpatrick urges Catholic colleges and Catholic bishops to be cautious in promoting dialogue with Muslims that refuses to acknowledge the violent side of Islam.
Marquette University will pay for its faculty to attend an “Overcoming Islamophobia” workshop in August. The Catholic university will also offer a graduate credit for attendees who submit a written assignment.
Fighting “Islamophobia” seems to be all the rage at Catholic colleges these days and also among Catholic bishops. At Georgetown University’s Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, “Islamophobia” is the main focus. “Islamophobia” is also a top priority for the USCCB’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. Anthony Cirelli, the associate director of the secretariat, told Catholic News Service that U.S. bishops “are coming to stand with our Muslim colleagues…in trying to change the negative narrative surrounding Muslims in our popular media.” Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego put the matter more pointedly by saying that Catholics must fight “the scourge of anti-Islamic prejudice.”
Whether such a “scourge” actually exists is debatable. As I have pointed out elsewhere, a very high percentage of hate crimes against Muslims have been faked or falsely reported. Nevertheless, Muslim political action groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations still insist that “Islamophobia” is rampant in this country, and the Catholic bishops have been eager to enlist in the campaign against it.
The bishops, no doubt, hope to make America safer for minorities by signing on to the war against “Islamophobia,” but a case can be made that they are actually making it a more dangerous place for minorities and for everyone else.
How so? As Islam scholar Robert Spencer points out, the “Islamophobia industry” misleads “by deliberately conflating two quite distinct phenomena: vigilante attacks against innocent Muslims, which are rare but never justified…and honest examination of the motivating ideology of jihad terrorists.”