Thursday, September 3, 2015

Etiquette and "Mother's Secret"

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 10:47 PM PDT

He looks angelic, but were his manners as assured and correct as those of a grown man?
I once knew a lady whose son, a little lad of ten, was the admiration of everyone for his beautiful manners. While he was perfectly simple, frank and boyish, his manners were as assured and correct as those of a grown man. His mother could send him in a carriage alone to the station to bring a lady guest from the station, certain that he would give her every needful attention. He would take the checks, care for the baggage and bring her to the house with every courtesy. And always when visitors were at his home, he did his little share of entertaining them. He was quick to wait upon them and to show them every respect, and, though he was not forward, he was ready to converse with them if they seem so inclined.

"How do you manage it? What course of training do you pursue?" People used to inquire. "Well," I heard his mother answer, laughingly, at one time, "for one thing I never snubbed him. He has no idea that there are people in the world who do not like boys. He supposes that everybody is as friendly as himself. Then I have always brought them up to take care of me, and to be polite to me, and I am as careful to be considerate and courteous to him as I am to his father. So he never has to be put on his good manners; they are the habit of his life. I think that is all about there is to it." —From American Youth, 1893

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Statue of the Virgin Mary is Left Miraculously Intact After Fire


The events took place at the El Goloso military base, located near the Spanish capital, seat of the nation's armored infantry brigade "Guadarrama."

According to several Spanish news sites, including Infovaticana and Religión en Libertad, a fire broke out that was impossible to control, burning most of the surrounding vegetation. Once the flames were extinguished, to the soldiers’ surprise, in the middle of the charred area, stood a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes—totally undamaged!

What's more, the soldiers were shocked to see that the grass near the statue had not been touched by the flames and that it was even still surrounded by vases filled with flowers, also intact, as if the flames had respected the space around the statue.

 Read the rest of the story and see the amazing picture by clicking here

Friday, August 21, 2015

The “Communist Crucifix”: Are Socialism and Catholicism No Longer “Contradictory Terms”?

The “Communist Crucifix”: Are Socialism and Catholicism No Longer “Contradictory Terms”?
On analyzing current events, a Catholic journalist should follow the directive of Pope Leo XIII to scholars studying Church history: “Say nothing false, hold back nothing true[1] as “God has no need of our lies (Job 13.7) [our emphasis].”[2]

A “Communist Crucifix”
We should therefore bear in mind the words of the renowned Pontiff as we analyze the highly symbolic act by Pope Francis during his recent trip to Bolivia. He agreed to be “decorated” by socialist President Evo Morales with a medallion depicting Our Lord Crucified upon the communist symbol of the hammer and sickle. On the occasion, he also received the same depiction in the form of a sculpture (photos herehere, and here; video here).
 

Many people, such as for example Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., and media outlets have called it a “Communist Crucifix [our emphasis].”[3]

A “Marxist Decoration” Created for the Pope
It is well to note that the bestowal of the above-mentioned medallion was no surprise. Indeed, Bolivia’s newspapers reported in advance that the country’s Legislature had approved the creation of a decoration in memory of Fr. Luis Espinal Camps, S.J. — who had sculpted Christ upon a hammer and sickle — to be delivered to Pope Francis during his visit.

In the Pontiff’s surprised look and in the words he was said to have uttered on the occasion (“eso no esta bien”, “this is not okay”) some people wished to see a certain rejection of the socialist dictator’s offer. But that was denied by the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Lombardi, and also implicitly by Pope Francis when responding to journalists on his flight back to Rome.

The Pope Did Not Feel Offended
Journalist Aura Vistas Miguel asked: “Your Holiness, what did you think when you saw the hammer and sickle with the Christ on it?” The Pontiff answered he did not know that Fr. Luis Espinal had made that sculpture of the Crucified upon a hammer and sickle and he was surprised to learn about it. But he commented that he knew well that the priest was an adherent of Marxist liberation theology.
Leo XIII (1877-1903) communism, socialism, nihilism are hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin
Leo XIII (1877-1903): “...communism, socialism, nihilism” are “hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin.”

“Espinal,” the Pope said, “was an enthusiast of this Marxist analysis of the reality, but also of theology using Marxism [our emphasis]” and that is why “he came up with this art piece.” However, Francis believes that this priest “was a special person, with so much human geniality, who fought in good faith [our emphasis].” And he explained, “One could categorize it [the crucifix] as a kind of protest art” so that, he added, “for me it wasn’t an offense [our emphasis].”

A Peculiar Example of Protest Art
Francis explained that “protest art” “in some cases can be offensive” but went on to qualify it by repeating “in some cases [our emphasis].”[4] Nevertheless, he did not clarify if in this case the gift was offensive.

To better illustrate what “protest art” is, Pope Bergoglio mentioned a sculptor from Buenos Aires who was “a good sculptor, creative,” and whose art “was protest art.” He gave as an example of this “creativity”: “a crucified Christ on a bomber that was falling down.” With that work, he sought to criticize “Christianity allied with imperialism, represented by the bomber [our emphasis].”

The pro-communist artist he referred to is Léon Ferrari. A photo of the work to which the Pope alludes can be seen in Ferrari’s obituary published by the The New York Times in 2013. According to this paper, Ferrari employed his “art” “against war, government and religion [our emphasis].” The report also says that “Mr. Ferrari started a club for ‘the impious, heretics, apostates, blasphemous, atheists, pagans, agnostics and infidels’ [our emphasis].”
Pius XI (1922-1939): Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.
Pius XI (1922-1939): “Socialism...cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.” (Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931, n. 111)

Medallion Placed at the Feet of Our Lady 
The Pope placed the hammer and sickle medallion at the feet of a statue of Our Lady of Copacabana, patroness of Bolivia, and took the sculpted one with him to Rome.

Teaching Through Symbolic Gestures
Having summarily described the facts, and with due respect to the Pope, it is necessary to analyze them according to the advice of Pope Leo XIII, making use of the freedom of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).[5]

It is well to emphasize that Pope Francis exercises his Ordinary Magisterium above all through symbolic gestures.[6] Even Vaticanist John L. Allen, who is not a conservative, expressed his difficulty in attempting to analyze the teaching of the present Pontiff:
 
“Parsing the words of Pope Francis is a notoriously hazardous undertaking, as he tends sometimes to say things that seem almost deliberately open to multiple interpretations — remember “Who am I to judge?” — and then play his cards close to the vest in terms of what policy implications, if any, may ensue.

A Confused Explanation
Among Catholics, the disconcertment caused by the Pope’s symbolic gesture of accepting the communist crucifix medallion and sculpture was made even worse by the explanations he gave journalists implying that sacrilegious irreverence toward the Savior loses its seriousness when it is a case of protest art:
 
“Under this kind of hermeneutic, I understand this work. For me it wasn’t an offense, but I had to apply this hermeneutic, and I am telling you this so that there aren’t any misguided opinions [our emphasis].
God in Heaven as Judge: “Say nothing false, hold back nothing true”  as “God has no need of our lies”
“Say nothing false, hold back nothing true.” “God has no need of our lies (Job 13.7).”

Sacrilegious Irreverence
Catholics have always treated the adorable figure of Our Lord Jesus Christ with utmost respect.

The sensus fidei, the faithful’s sense of the faith — “a sort of spiritual instinct that enables the believer to judge spontaneously whether a particular teaching or practice is or is not in conformity with the Gospel and with apostolic faith [our emphasis]”[7] — was shocked by the Pope’s acceptance of irreverently sacrilegious depictions of the sacrosanct figure of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Could there be greater irreverence than associating the symbol of God’s infinite love — the immolation of his Incarnate Son — with the symbol of communist class hatred?

At the same time, the communist crucifix episode tends to weaken the constant and traditional teaching of the Popes that “...communism, socialism, nihilism” are “hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin”[8] and that Catholicism and socialism arecontradictory terms.[9]

The Pope’s inflammatory speech to socialist “social movements” added to the shock;[10] Fr. Schall called it “a very apocalyptic and utopian address [our emphasis].”

The Holy Ghost Is a “Spirit of Truth”
A well formed Catholic should not become scandalized when episodes such as the communist crucifix, involving a Pope, occur in the Church. Our Lord’s promises as to the indefectibility of the Church and the assistance of the Divine Paraclete do not preempt the existence of crises in the Church but mean that she will always overcome such crises, shining once again with full brilliance.

On the other hand, one cannot attribute to the help of the Holy Ghost (whose help man can reject) actions that our Catholic sense and our intelligence tell us are wrong, for the Holy Ghost is a “Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13).

Confidence in Divine Providence Through Mary Most Holy
It is in these hours of crisis that we must have the greatest confidence in Divine Providence and have recourse more than ever to the intercession of the Spouse of the Holy Ghost and Mother of the Church, Mary Most Holy. Let us hold fast, as Our Lord Jesus Christ will not abandon us: “Behold, I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Apoc. 3:11).
1.
Brief Saepe numero, Aug. 28, 1883. 
2.
Encyclical Depuis Le Jour, Sept. 8, 1899. 
3.
For example, CBSNEWS July 13, 2015, 11:16 AM has the title, “Pope weighs in on ‘Communist crucifix’ and U.S. critics” accessed 8/15/15 at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-talks-communist-crucifix-and-us-critics/; NPR July 10, 2015, 11:29 AM ET entitles, “Bemused Or Irritated? Pope Reacts To Gift Of ‘Communist Crucifix’” accessed 8/15/15 athttp://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/10/421747520/bemused-or-irritated-pope-reacts-to-gift-of-communist-crucifix (our emphasis). 
4.
The English translation of this interview on the Vatican web site leaves out the repetition of “in some cases,” which reinforces the idea that this “art” is offensive only in some cases. The Italian text reads: “... io lo qualifico come arte di protesta che in alcuni casi può essere offensiva, in alcuni casi.” 
5.
Incidentally, this freedom and even obligation of the baptized is dealt with in the Code of Canon Law, Can. 212, § 3; Can. 225 § 1; Can. 229 § 1. 
6.
Cf. Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, “The Ordinary Magisterium Can Teach Through Actions and Gestures,” http://www.arnaldoxavierdasilveira.com/2012/05/o-magisterio-ordinario-pode-ensinar-por.html. 
7.
“It is compared to an instinct because it is not primarily the result of rational deliberation, but is rather a form of spontaneous and natural knowledge, a sort of perception …. [it] arises, first and foremost, from the connaturality that the virtue of faith establishes between the believing subject and the authentic object of faith, namely the truth of God revealed in Christ Jesus.” International Theological Commission, “Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church” 2014, nos. 49-50, accessed Aug. 13, 2015,http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_20140610_sensus-fidei_en.html#1._The_sensus_fidei_as_an_instinct_of_faith. 
8.
Leo XIII, Encyclical Diuturnum, June 29, 1881; Cf. Gustavo Solimeo, “What the Popes Have to Say About Socialism” athttp://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/what-the-popes-have-to-say-about-socialism.html. 
9.
Pius XI, Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931. 
10.
Cf. “Quo Vadis, Domine? Reverent and Filial Message to His Holiness Pope Francis from Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza,” athttp://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/quo-vadis-domine-reverent-and-filial-message-to-his-holiness-pope-francis-from-prince-bertrand-of-orleans-braganza.html. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dodd-Frank: Another Name for Socialism

Written by John Horvat II

As we sail on the choppy seas of a questionable economic recovery, we can look back upon a storm of our own making that has wreaked havoc upon our financial system. That storm is the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Enacted five years ago, the mammoth law of all laws to fix our financial system has only succeeded in leading us down the road to socialism.

This can be seen by looking at what Dodd-Frank has “accomplished” to date. Since 2010, some 1,341 commercial (usually smaller) banks have simply disappeared. By contrast, only two new banks were chartered in the same period.

This is not normal. Even in the worst of times, like that of the Great Depression of the ’30s, there was an average of 19 new banks chartered every year. Prior to the financial crisis, the market gave rise to nearly 100 new banks annually.

Of course, while small banks are getting fewer, big banks are getting bigger. This is another “accomplishment” of Dodd-Frank. It has led to the establishment of a financial system dominated by a few big banks and increasingly controlled by regulators.

The Dodd-Frank law mandated the implementation of a massive body of new regulations that requires an army of compliance officers from banks. While big banks had the resources to absorb this great weight, compliance overwhelmed the ability of many small banks. The problem is confounded by the fact the regulations themselves are ill-defined and ambiguous; regulators make their own rules as time goes on.

Moreover, those surviving banks deemed systemically important are subject to even more stringent regulations and capital requirements. On top of massive compliance obligations, Dodd-Frank goes yet further by embedding regulators or commissars inside the highest levels of firms where they even advise and monitor executives.

In such an atmosphere of insecurity and ambiguity, the financial system and consequently the economy as a whole is deprived of legal and regulatory certainty that is needed to return the economy to prosperity. Banks cannot fulfill their functions of employing capital where needed in an economy. The recovery has thus been choppy and unsteady.

Some might think it strange that a government policy that favors giant “capitalistic” banking institutions might be termed socialistic. In this case, it would seem that big government is favoring big business and thus pushing the “capitalist” agenda ahead. Such was the rant of Occupy Wall Street activists against the 1 percent.

Yet the concentration of gigantic banking blocs into the hands of a privileged few only favors socialism. This is because the industry becomes much easier to target. A few giant surviving banks become vulnerable targets to be confiscated or controlled by intrusive governments.

By suppressing all intermediary leaders who might come to his defense, for example, the absolutist king prepares his own way to the guillotine. Likewise, when huge commercial banks devour smaller banks, they prepare their own way to socialist confiscation since it is much more difficult to confiscate a 1,000 medium-size banks than a single huge one.

Afterwards, when such blocs falter, as they often do, they are deemed “too big to fail,” and the government is already in position (indeed embedded in the CEO’s office) to be the only player big enough to bail out the ailing industry—and put it under its control. In this way, private property easily becomes collective property.

The evil genius of Dodd-Frank is that it did not directly destroy the smaller banks but rather created conditions whereby the bank establishment itself would have to destroy or absorb its own intermediary structures. The small banks themselves left the market to those better able to adjust to the government-created conditions.

Eerily similar is the way Obamacare is leading to the concentration of insurance and health care providers, or how Common Core seeks to override local and state intermediary educational institutions.

The strategy of Dodd-Frank and other schemes is not divide and conquer, but concentrate and conquer. The result is the terrible and looming threat of socialism.