VIDEO: The Sermon on the Mount

A friend sent me the below video of Jesus’ sermon on the mount followed by the Lord’s Prayer. During my trip to Israel one of the places we stopped was at the mount where Jesus spoke to the people about God and them.

Roman Catholic chapel at the Mount of Beatitudes.

I recall visiting the Roman Catholic chapel at the Mount of Beatitudes. It is a beautiful chapel. It is a small chapel. It moved me when I entered the chapel and knelled at one of the stations within the chapel. I began to recite the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary. It was at that point that I felt closer to God than anywhere else that we visited on our 10-day visit to the Holy Land protected by the state of Israel.

It was there that God touched my soul as I reflected on the importance of what Jesus said in so few words.

Many read or listen to and are moved by speeches given by other noteworthy men such as Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” or Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech given ironically at the Lincoln Memorial.

Many forget the greatest speech, or sermon, of all, which was given by Jesus the Son of God.

The Beatitudes are nine blessings recounted in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew was written in 63 AD. Each is a proverb-like proclamation, without narrative, “cryptic, precise, and full of meaning. Each one includes a topic that forms a major biblical theme”.

The Beatitudes are presented below for all to read and reflect upon.

Matthew 5-7

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Adultery

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e]
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Divorce

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f]
32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’
34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.[g]

Eye for Eye

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h]
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Giving to the Needy

6-1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[j]
but deliver us from the evil one.[k]’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[l] your whole body will be full of light.
23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[m] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[n]?28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Judging Others

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Ask, Seek, Knock

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?
17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

True and False Disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 5:21 Exodus 20:13
  2. Matthew 5:22 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman; also in verse 23.
  3. Matthew 5:22 Some manuscripts brother or sister without cause
  4. Matthew 5:22 An Aramaic term of contempt
  5. Matthew 5:27 Exodus 20:14
  6. Matthew 5:31 Deut. 24:1
  7. Matthew 5:37 Or from evil
  8. Matthew 5:38 Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21
  9. Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18
  10. Matthew 6:13 The Greek for temptation can also mean testing.
  11. Matthew 6:13 Or from evil; some late manuscripts one, / for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
  12. Matthew 6:22 The Greek for healthy here implies generous.
  13. Matthew 6:23 The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy.
  14. Matthew 6:27 Or single cubit to your height

On Eliminating High School Football

James V. Schall, S.J. on football: if we eliminate it, as some say we should, we’ll lose a natural experience that leads us to appreciate what it means to speak of “higher things.”

A recent column by Anne Killion, “More Ominous Signs for Football,” in the San Francisco Chronicle, ended this way: “One reader was much more succinct: ‘Outlaw that disgusting sport.’ This debate isn’t going away. But, little by little, high school football might be.” Baseball is probably faring even worse than football. Lacrosse is on the rise. If football is abolished, we may see the return of its ancestor, rugby, a game that still flourishes in many former British colonies.

The logic seems clear. With no high school football, we get no college football. With no college football, no professional football can continue. The link between generations will have been broken. Fathers will not have taught their sons how to play.

For a number of reasons, largely due to injuries and subsequent insurance costs, with some ideology mixed in, I suspect that most high schools will not field football teams in a decade or so. Is that a good thing? I doubt it. But good things now have no preferential claims on existence.

On a fall Friday evening, when I was in high school (Knoxville, Iowa), the biggest town event was the football game. On Saturday morning, the local merchants around the town square would go over the game of the previous evening. We all awaited the report in the local weekly paper. If one of our players was recruited by the Iowa Hawkeyes or the Iowa State Cyclones, or even by Central College in nearby Pella, it was the local talk.

With some pride, old codgers talk about their past football glories and injuries. Serious injuries, even deaths, do, no doubt, occur on the fields of play, not just in football. The prospect of a risk-free sport or a risk-free life is not always a happy one. The only way not to be injured in some way is not to do anything, and that may not work either.

Brad Miner, Worthington [OH] High School, 1964

Football is a sport for boys and young men. Many things are learned in athletics that can only with difficulty be learned elsewhere. The world’s most widely played and watched sport is soccer (futbol, in Spanish). The possibility of concussions is the main sticking point of the opponents of football at any level. I could never see why soccer’s helmet-less “headers” were not more dangerous. But statistics seem to show that soccer impacts are not as forceful as in football.

I remain one of those men who are glad to see fall season roll around. Still when Nile Kinnick’s Iowa Hawkeyes defeated Notre Dame by a score of 7-0, in 1939, it was a crushing blow to us few Catholics in Knoxville.

Some folks like to think that football and sports in general are a quasi-religion. But I side with Brad Miner. Sports are, or should be, the one place where a man can escape the politicization of everything else, including religion.

Click here to read the rest of Father Schall’s column . . .

James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J., who served as a professor at Georgetown University for thirty-five years, is one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. Among his recent books are The Mind That Is Catholic, The Modern Age, Political Philosophy and Revelation: A Catholic Reading, Reasonable Pleasures, and, new from St. Augustine’s Press, Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught.

Goodbye Columbus

Robert Royal on the political manipulation of history. People suffering from cultural amnesia and self-deceived about their own moral purity cannot be allowed to set the terms of debate.

Almost exactly a quarter-century ago, James A. Clifton, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, called me after seeing an article I had written in First Things, entitled “1492 and All That” (which later became a full-length-book). We were then in a swirl of anti-Western and anti-Christian public emotion over the 500th anniversary (1492-1992) of Columbus’ voyages to the New World, and his alleged role in later mistreatment of Native Americans, slavery, and Christian imperialism.

I expected venom; he offered support. He had written a still fascinating book, The Invented Indian, that sought to distinguish the real achievements of Native Americans from guilt-driven idealizations. For his pains in service to truth, he reaped resentment and threats. In fact, one day someone dressed as an Indian – well, wearing a ridiculous jumble of articles of clothing from very different tribes – came to his front door with a gun. Professor Clifton laughed and turned away, saying: come back when you know something about Indians.

Some things never change. Especially the largely ignorant, suicidal rage that is now a regular recurrence in American culture, and which is spreading to other Western countries. Quite apart from the vile clash the other day between alt-right and alt-left in Charlottesville (which, as usual, also brought injury to innocents), we seem to have lost the Christian – and human – truth that we’re all imperfect beings. And that without a capacity for tolerating one another’s foibles and ultimately a chance at forgiveness, it’s simply impossible for us to live together.

Puritanical absolutism used to be the hallmark of extremist religious and political groups; now it’s come to infest the very places that should be most aware of differences and contexts, namely our universities and the media.

I learned my lesson about this back when I was trying to form a clear picture of the Age of Discovery. There were and are good historians, amateur and academic, of such matters. Broad-brush condemnations, however, which blur essential moral distinctions, get the airtime.

The great Dominican “defender of the Indians,” Bartolomé de las Casas – for example – described the “sweetness and benignity” of Columbus – in contrast to other Spanish explorers. Cortez could be brutal, though he ended in a monastery doing penance for his sins. Pizzaro was a psychopath. Period. Columbus was something else; despite the unprecedented difficulties he faced in the new cultures he encountered, there were few instances of his mistreating anyone. He was more typically uncertain about how to proceed, as we ourselves often are. Las Casas said of him, “Truly. I would not dare blame the admiral’s intentions for I knew him well and I knew his intentions were good.” Yet he became a cultural whipping boy.

Click here to read the rest of Dr. Royal’s column . . .

Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

Callused Consciences: Accepting Barbarism as the New Normal

James Toner contends that our response to the barbarity around us is often one of moral stupefaction.

A callus, the dictionary informs us, is “a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction.” There we have a description of our contemporary moral condition. We have been subjected for so long to the “friction” of so much moral mayhem that we have been stupefied by it.

A few years ago, I gave a homily about abortion. After Mass, the visiting priest chastised me, “Jim, you seemed downright angry during that homily.  You can’t preach if you’re angry!”  I was compelled to disagree, “Father, we’ve had many millions of abortions in our country.  Isn’t that something to be righteously angry about?” (See Eph 4:26.)

We are no longer righteously angry at the evil swirling about us. One is reminded of Bishop Fulton Sheen’s admonition: “A mind that is never stern or indignant is either without love, or else is dead to the distinction between right and wrong.”

Why should we be indignant when society permits, indeed applauds, the killing of babies inside and, even after birth, outside the womb; the growing acceptance of legalized “mercy killing”; the presence of a homosexual lifestyle that is cheered even on Catholic campuses; the accompanying desecration of marriage; and the ubiquitous use of contraception – despite Pope Paul’s dark prophecies (Cf. Humanae Vitae, #17), which were altogether tragically fulfilled this last half century?

Transgendered people; work in progress toward blending humans with animals, machines, or plants; three-parent embryos; development of servant-class apes; cloning and cryogenics – we live in a veritable playground for Dr. Frankenstein. Small wonder that Father Schall has written: “Human nature itself lies on the operating table, ready for alteration, for eugenic and psychic ‘enhancement,’ for wholesale redesign.”

There’s a new Grand Inquisitor, but he has a scalpel in his hand, and he looks just like Kermit Gosnell. We grow ever closer to our own Island of Dr. Moreau, where chimeras and cyborgs beckon. The New Tower of Babel is a research hospital. Coming soon: human bodies without brains, our own human body-parts stores. The supposed fruits of genetic manipulation are the new Holy Grail.

Click here to read the rest of Deacon Toner’s column . . .

James H. Toner

James H. Toner

Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary.

You Can’t Fight Religion without Religion

Matthew Hanley argues that tolerance of Islam can only go so far, and the limit must be Islam’s active anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism. Cold War anti-communist measures may guide us.

Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto by Paolo Veronese, 1572 [Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice]

What is to be done about the influx of Islam into the West – besides accepting carnage (most recently in Barcelona) as the “new normal”? Some prominent voices pin their hopes on “reform” of one stripe or another. For them, some aspects of Islam should be embraced with the proviso that certain others are to be excluded. Make it a matter of emphasis rather than a wholesale evaluation regarding the question of compatibility between Islam and the West.

I understand the appeal, but am not alone in thinking that this is too rosy a view. And unrealistic. Reform doesn’t seem a high priority within the Muslim world, nor where Muslims have taken up residence en masse in the West. In the final analysis, to “reform” Islam on Western principles is to sound its death knell; if you take away the rice, try making a reformed risotto.

St. Paul knew that a professing Christian would be pitiable if the Resurrection had not actually happened. For Muslims, everything hinges on the belief that Mohammed is the ultimate model for human conduct. You can’t disentangle that from the outbursts of malevolence that conform to his example.

A more prudent approach, it seems, would be to heed the rule of numbers. Violence, agitation, and demands for sharia compliance are quite rare at first, but steadily increase as the concentration of Muslims expands. Where enclaves are vanishingly scarce, so too are incidents; that’s why residents of Poland and Hungary can rest much easier than those of France, the U.K., and Sweden. This – astonishingly – seems lost on those who imagine the solution lies simply with heightened magnanimity, understood as boundless accommodation.

Once the scales tip too far, you wind up with fewer, and much less pleasant options. Majorities disinclined to violence may well populate certain enclaves, but they function nonetheless as harbors for the jihadi armada.

Click here to read the rest of Dr. Hanley’s column . . .

Matthew Hanley

Matthew Hanley

Matthew Hanley is senior fellow with the National Catholic Bioethics Center. With Jokin de Irala, M.D., he is the author of Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West, which recently won a best-book award from the Catholic Press Association. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Hanley’s and not those of the NCBC.

 

De Senectute [Age]: You’re not getting older; you’re getting better.

Michael Apichella writes about his great, great, great uncle, Leo XIII, a great pope who quite literally confirmed the often patronizing quip: You’re not getting older; you’re getting better.

It’s cliché (and a distinctly patronising one), to say: You aren’t getting older; you’re getting better. But there’s more than a little truth about it. As the writer of the book of Job asks: “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” (Job: 12:12)

Growing old is difficult, and it’s misguided to idealize it by assuming old age always yields wisdom. But by the same token, old age mustn’t be seen intrinsically as a period of barrenness and decline.

After all, like some wines that improve with age, not only do God’s servants gain wisdom over time, but often it isn’t until they’re downright elderly that they may reach their greatest achievements – think of Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Elizabeth, Zechariah, and others – including Cardinal Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci.

Pecci was 68 years old when he became Pope Leo XIII in 1878. Given his advanced age and frail health, many assumed he would be a stopgap pope until a younger man could be put in place. Instead, he became the oldest pope in Church history and enjoyed the third-longest period in office. During those years, he established himself as a tireless reformer up to his death at age 93.

In Protestant England, Leo XIII is best remembered for astutely appointing the 78-year-old priest-theologian-poet, John Henry Newman, as a cardinal in 1878. Newman’s Cardinalate won wide approval in Britain and helped to lessen lingering anti-Catholic feelings.

London’s strongly establishment Financial Times has suggested that Newman was Britain’s leading religious thinker and writer of the last two centuries. No small praise, considering that Britain has produced numerous intellectual giants in modern times. But also to the point, putting Newman forward was a neat piece of international diplomacy on the part of sage old Leo XIII.

Click here tor read the rest of Dr. Apichella’s column . . .

Michael Apichella

Michael Apichella

Michael Apichella, PhD, is professor emeritus (English) with the University of Maryland, University College, Europe. He has written many books and articles, and is a great, great, great nephew of Leo XIII.

The Humanum Video Series: Presenting the traditional Christian vision of sex, gender, marriage & family

“The destiny of humanity passes through the family.” – Humanum

Rod Dreher in his book The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation warns:

Post-Obergefell, Christians who hold to the biblical teaching about sex and marriage have the same status in culture, and increasingly in law, as racists. The culture war that began with the Sexual Revolution in the 1960s has now ended in defeat for Christian conservatives.

The cultural left-which is to say, increasingly the American mainstream, has no intention of living in postwar peace. It is pressing forward with a harsh, relentless occupation, one that is aided by the ceaselessness of Christians who don’t understand what’s happening.

[ … ]

Christian parents must never assume that their children understand that the natural family is God’s plan for humanity. We have to make this explicit in our teaching. We have to make it implicit too by modeling mutual respect, sacrifice, affection, and all the good things that come from a spiritually fruitful marriage.

For parents concerned that their children are not receiving a biblical perspective of sex, gender, marriage and family there is hope. Humanum has produced a series of six videos on these topics and they are now available on Vimeo. Episode 1 is free, the other five are available for rent or to buy for a minimal amount.

Episode 1: The Destiny of Humanity from Humanum on Vimeo.

Available on DVD and with the companion book at HumanumDVD.org.

EDITORS NOTE: The Humanum Series is now available on Vimeo on Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/humanum. For further information, please contact Humanum at info@humanum.it.

How Two Men Fundamentally Transformed the Catholic Church

Pope Francis

Shortly after a papal conclave elected Pope Francis as the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, the ex officio Bishop of Rome and sovereign of Vatican City, a Rabbi asked me what I thought about Pope Francis. I said to him, “As a Catholic I want a Church that changes the world, not one that changes with the world.”

I did not realize, until now, how prophetic that statement has become. It is also prophetic that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit priest from Argentina, took the name of Francis replacing Pope Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned.

Why prophetic? Let me count the ways.

A cross, Christ’s arm and Saint Francis’ arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans.

Pope Francis named himself after Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis of Assisi created the Franciscan Order. Why is this important? Because it was William of Ockham, a 14th Century Franciscan, who fundamentally transformed the Catholic Church by replacing “scholasticism” with “nominalism.” William of Ockham is best known today for his espousal of metaphysical nominalism known as “Ockham’s Razor,” which is named after him.

In his book “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation”, Rod Dreher wrote:

 In his final book The Discarded Image, C.S. Lewis, who was a professional medievalist, explained that Plato believed that two things could relate to each other only through a third thing. In what Lewis called the medieval “Model,” everything that existed was related to every other thing that existed, through their shared relationship to God. Our relationship to the world is mediated through God, and our relationship to God is mediated through the world.

This medieval “Model” is known as “scholasticism.” Dreher goes on to state:

The core teachings of Scholasticism include the principle that all things exist and have a God-given essential nature independent of human thought. This position is called “metaphysical realism.” From this principle comes what Charles Taylor identifies as the three basic bulwarks upholding the medieval Christian “imaginary” – that is, the vision of reality accepted by all orthodox Christians from the early church through the High Middle Ages:

  • The world and everything in it is part of a harmonious whole ordered by God and filled with meaning – and all things are signs pointing to God.
  • Society is grounded in that higher reality.
  • The world is charged with spiritual force.

These three pillars had to crumble before the modern world, today’s secular world, could arise.

William of Ockham

And crumble they did starting with Ockham’s Razor. As Dreher noted:

The theologian who did the most to topple the might oak of the medieval model – that is, Christian metaphysical realism – was a Franciscan from the British Isles, William of Ockham (1285-1347). The ax he and his theological allies created to do the job was a big idea that came to be called nominalism.

Realism holds that the essence of a thing is built into its existence by God, and its ultimate meaning is guaranteed by this connection to the transcendent order. This implies that Creation is comprehensible because it is rationally ordered by God and a revelation of Him.

[ … ]

Medieval metaphysicians believed nature pointed to God. Nominalists did not. They believed that there is no inner meaning existing objectively within nature and discoverable by reason. Meaning is extrinsic – that is, imposed from the outside, by God – and accessible to humans by faith in Him and His revelation alone.

If this sounds like plain good sense to you, then you begin to grasp how revolutionary nominalism was. What was once a radical theory would, in time, become the basis for the way most people understood the relationship between God and Creation. It made the modern world possible – but as we will see, it also set the stage for man enthroning himself in the place of God. [Emphasis added]

Ockham’s Razor set the stage for the ideal of “individualism,” government as God and relativism in Western culture. It lead inextricably to what we are seeing in the Catholic Church and Western culture with the election of Pope Francis.

The Catholic church has embraced the modern world and wants to attract those who believe in it to the Church. This is a fools errand and will only lead to the second fundamental transformation of the Catholic Church. A church addicted to Ockham’s opioid named nominalism. You can get your fix the next time you attend mass.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned the words, “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Today we are reaping what these two men have sown – cheap grace.

The Benedict Option: Relative versus Revelatory Truth

“God moves in a mysterious way.” – Isaiah 55:8-9.

I am a member of a weekly men’s prayer fellowship. Each member is required to give a Biblical lesson for a month. It turns out that I will be giving the lesson next month.

I began thinking what should I speak about that hasn’t already been covered? I thought about discussing the Book of Revelations because many Christians are seeing signs of the end of times and the second coming of Jesus. While thinking about my topic God revealed to me a book titled “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rod Dreher.” After reading Dreher’s book I asked members of the prayer fellowship to read the book and discuss the ideas contained in it during our weekly Friday meetings during the month of September.

Why did God, who moves in a mysterious way, reveal this book to me?

Because I and many others, Christian and non-Christian alike, feel something is wrong, very wrong, in America and it’s getting worse.

Dreher in his book bears his soul and his concerns for the future of his family, community and the nation. Dreher writes in the preface to his book:

In my 2006 book Crunchy Cons, which explored a countercultural, traditionalist conservative sensibility, I brought up the work of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, who declared that Western civilization has lost its moorings. The time was coming, said MacIntyre, when men and women of virtue would understand that continued full participation in mainstream society was not possible for those who wanted to live a life of traditional virtue. These people would find new ways to live in community, he said, just as Saint Benedict, the sixth-century father of Western monasticism, responded to the collapse of Roman civilization by founding a monastic order.

Dreher explains how, over the past 7 centuries, Western civilization has come to embrace relative truth and abandon revelatory truth.

Relative truth is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths. Revelatory truth is the knowledge that there are absolute truths. Truths that transcend culture, civilization and mankind itself. These absolute truths have been revealed to us thus the term I use in the title “Revelatory Truth.”

William “Bill” Hild, Pastor of First Sarasota Baptist Church, gave a sermon on “Revelatory Truth.” You may wish to listen to what Pastor Bill has to say by clicking here.

Lindy Keffer in her column “Absolute Truth” wrote:

In a society where ultimate truth is treated like a fairy tale, an outdated idea or even an insult to human intelligence, the motto of the day becomes, “WHATEVER!” Believe whatever you want. Do whatever seems best to you. Live for whatever brings you pleasure, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. And of course, be tolerant. Don’t try to tell anyone that their whatever is wrong.

But where does that leave us? If we have ultimate truth, it gives us both a way to explain the world around us and a basis for making decisions. Without it, we’re alone.

Dreher notes:

Unprecedented numbers of young adult Americans say they have no religious affiliation at all. According to the Pew Research Center, one in three 18-to-29-year-olds have put religion aside, if they ever picked it up in the first place.

[ … ]

In 2005, sociologist Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton examined a wide variety of backgrounds. What they found was that in most cases, teenagers adhered to a mush pseudoreligion the researchers deemed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD).

MTD has five basic tenets:

  • A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.
  • God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible, and by most world religions.
  • The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  • God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem.
  • Good people go to heaven when they die.

This creed, they found, is especially prominent among Catholic and Mainline Protestant teenagers.

MTD reeks of relative truth, not Revelatory or Absolute Truth.

Dreher writes:

MTD, in both its progressive and its conservative versions, is that it’s mostly about improving one’s self-esteem and subjective happiness and getting along well with others. It has little to do with the Christianity of Scripture and tradition, which teaches repentance, self-sacrificial love, and purity of heart, and commends suffering-the Way of the Cross- as the pathway to God. Though superficially Christian, MTD is the natural religion of a culture that worships the Self and material comfort.

Dreher warns, “Nobody but the most deluded of the old-school Religious Right believes that this cultural revolution can be turned back. The wave cannot be stopped, only ridden.”

What Dreher presents is another way forward for those who embrace revelatory/absolute truth.

He asks,

“Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to . . . stop fighting the flood?”

That is to quit piling up sandbags [to fight the flood] and to build an ark in which to shelter until the water recedes and we can put our feet on dry land again? Rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, we should instead work of building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.

Dreher unequivocally states, “We have been in a place like this before. In the first centuries of Christianity, the early church survived and grew under Roman persecution and later after the collapse of the empire in the West. We latter-day Christians must learn from their example-and particularly from the example of Saint Benedict.”

Dreher is on to something. Christians must go back in time, and back to the basics, in order to regain a virtuous Christian future.

RELATED ARTICLE: Dearborn Police Chief: Talking to people about Jesus “appears to be legal” under 1st Amendment

The Four Corners of Life

Anthony Esolen reflects on what happens when we tear down the solid foundations of Christian life. We need builders now. We must have slow, patient building, the building up of human souls.

One day when I was a boy I was riding in the car with my father, in the countryside north of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, when we came to an open crossroads at the top of a high hill.

They call this intersection The Four Corners of Life,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. “Can you guess why?”

I looked out of the windows left and right and back, and saw a church and a cemetery on two of the corners, and a couple of buildings which I couldn’t identify on the others.

Well, I can guess, but you’d better tell me.”

That building over here,” he said, “used to be a small hospital, and this over here is a beer garden.” That’s what we called bars in that part of the world. “So you’re born in the hospital, you get married in church, and you get buried in the cemetery.”

What about the beer garden?”

That,” said my father, with his humorous understatement, “is where some guys go after they get married and before they get put in the ground. The Four Corners of Life!”

Eclipse in America, 08/21/17

My father was a good man and a devout Catholic, not above visiting the Pine Cafe on a Sunday afternoon, owned and operated by his old friend Joe with the Italian accent. He took me with him sometimes, as you could do then without fear of anything indecent, and I’d play shuffleboard or skee-ball, snacking on red-dyed pistachio nuts which Joe provided free of charge.

My father has been gone these twenty-six years, the Pine Cafe is no more, and the Four Corners of Life might be remembered by a few old-timers; I think I can still find the intersection. But that place came to my mind this evening when I went to Mass in a rural village in Nova Scotia.

I like the people in that old place of fishing boats and lobster traps; they’re a lot like the coal miners of my youth. They bear no resentment against the Church, and have little use for modern ideologies.

But they have been ravaged by modernity all the same. The church was filled with people who really wanted to be there; almost all of them older than I am, and I’m not young. The priest is newly ordained: his hair is white and he breathes heavily and he clearly has seen the other side of seventy.

He preached a fine sermon, and before Mass he addressed the people directly, telling them that the diocese of Antigonish has no ordinands this year, and not one young man in the seminary. It will be at least seven years before a man from the diocese will minister as priest to his people.

No children, no priests. No healthy habits of manhood, no priests; no vocations to the married life, no priests. But my mind returned to the jest my father told.

Click here to read the rest of Tony Esolen’s column . . .

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. His latest books are Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child and Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture. He directs the Center for the Restoration of Catholic Culture at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts.

Moroccan Muslim asylum seeker was targeting women, slashing their throats

“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.

Much, much more here.

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.

See my Finland files here. Invasion of Europe archive is here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Syrians struggling with basic needs in Edmonton, Canada

VIDEO: Students call for an ‘End to Prayer Shaming’

East Catholic High School produced a short video calling for an end to “prayer shaming.” The description of the video featuring students from East Catholic High School states:

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.

EDITORS NOTE: For more information lease visit us: http://www.echs.com/

The Anti-Catholic History of the KKK: Church members persecuted alongside African-Americans, Jews

DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Ku Klux Klan hates Catholics.

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.”

Using the ‘Benedict Option’ to fight Relativism and Secularism

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.

Click here to read the rest of Professor Kainz’ column . . .

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz is emeritus professor of philosophy at Marquette University. His most recent publications include Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), Five Metaphysical Paradoxes (The 2006 Marquette Aquinas Lecture), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010).

Lawsuit Ends in Free Speech/Religious Freedom Victory for the Catholic League

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.

You can read the 8th Circuit Court opinion here.

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.