Unelectable

Unelectable

I have been looking at this, trying to understand it, and collecting my thoughts on it for months. You probably have been too. I am speaking of “the election.” Even writing “the election” now brings me a sense of repulsion.

Unelectable Candidates

I remember a time when just a slight history of impropriety would torpedo a presidential candidate’s chances. In more recent decades we would lament how bad our choices were and resign ourselves to choosing the “lesser of 2 evils” while hoping and praying, in the future, it would get better. False hope that. It got worse, then worse again, and now…

Any objective observer would agree we have two of the worst candidates ever. The history of each and the numerous revelations which have come out about each should completely disqualify both of them. Not only do they both have a long string of serious issues, from all appearances they are also completely unrepentant.

Regardless, one will be our next president.

If you happen to think that one is morally superior to the other, you are woefully uninformed or highly misinformed. On that later point, the always biased news sources have pulled out “all the stops” to manipulate your vote.

Representative Democracy

Recalling our grade school civics classes, you and I do not get to directly make governmental decisions. We do that only indirectly through our elected officials. In effect, we give our proxy to someone else. Choosing where to invest our 1 vote is choosing the overall outcome we hope to attain with it.

Whoever the president is, they are themselves a proxy for the bundle of policies they represent. For the most part, we are not choosing a person of high moral caliber to make decisions for us as unforeseen events unfold. Rather, we are choosing a proxy to implement a vision. You can count on that regardless of who is elected. This is key.

Popularity Contest

I am AMAZED at how many people fall for this (although I understand it as an emotional reaction). People completely ignore issues as big as a mountain and focus on candidate personalities the size of a rock in long-term importance. How often have you heard “I would never vote for her…” or “I would never vote for him…”? They are rejecting her/his character and history, which they should — but that is not what our vote is about. We are not choosing a prom king or queen. Using our vote in that way is missing the forest for the trees.

Speaking for myself, I could not endorse either candidate as a good, moral person. All indications are they are both far, far from that. Despicable is a word that often occurs to me. I would not hold either as a role model. I would not like to personally meet either candidate. I could not be friends with either. I want nothing to do with either. Neither is worthy of my vote…   or yours.

Regardless, one will be our next president.

Elections have Consequences

I have heard all manner of tortured explanations why one or the other will be a better “leader.” Neither will ever be my leader. He or she will however greatly advance policies which at this point are very well known and will not significantly change. Each has a base they depend on for power and will not deviate much from those positions.

Our vote is a POLICY decision. It is not a personal endorsement. POLICY.

Long, long after the next president is gone, our country and society will be greatly impacted by their legacy. It is NOT reversible (except, maybe, over decades). It will outlive the candidates and very probably us.

Choosing a Policy Bundle

Which policy bundle should we choose? Of course, they will each have at least some pros and some cons. Do they balance out?

Unelectable Abortion

If you are a faithful Catholic, not even close.

We might be tired of hearing it, but the one issue that should not and can not go away is abortion. There are over 1 million surgical abortions PER YEAR in the US. Many more if you include abortifacients such as “Plan B” and various contraceptives (and you should count them, BTW). No political relabeling changes the fact that a created person, scientifically a human being, with their own unique DNA — and completely innocent is killed. A human heart is forever stilled when its human body is violently ripped apart. Our Church calls this an “intrinsic evil” because the taking of this life can not possibly be justified under any circumstance.

Some would like to balance that against a presumption that one party or the other is more war prone. That is an assumption completely contrary to historical facts. For the sake of argument, let’s pretend it is true. 1.3 million Americans have died TOTAL in all the wars we have ever been in. 1.1 million of those in the Civil War and WWII (so 200,000 outside of those sad periods). While this is terrible of itself, it pales compared to the ongoing abortion of the innocents just in the US.

One candidate is enthusiastically committed to abortion, to overturning all restrictions, to using your taxpayer money to fund it, to support it worldwide. They have a perfect NARAL rating (a bad thing), the highest honors from Emily’s List (another bad thing) and the unqualified support of Planned Parenthood (the abortion giant).

This candidate is also strongly opposed to religious freedom as we have historically enjoyed in America. They are committed to suppression of religious liberties of constitutional “freedom of religion” to a far lesser novelty they call “freedom of worship.” That is a huge difference. In essence, freedom of worship is the concept that you can worship in private as you wish but may not bring your beliefs into the public square. If you attempt to do that, you will be harshly persecuted. There are numerous examples demonstrating this erosion of our basic liberties already. It can and will get much worse under this candidate.

The other candidate, similarly deplorable in their acts as a person, has very opposite positions on these crucial matters. This is not only about the laws these candidates will propose, but the Supreme Court justices they will nominate. Like it or not, future Supreme Court decisions will be 100% different on matters the Church has the highest interest in based on the 3 people the next president will very likely choose. That is, you will choose via your proxy of that next president. To be clear, YOU are predestining now the outcome of those future Supreme Court decisions for or against life and for or against the Church.

Choosing Based on 1 or 2 Issues?

Issues are not of similar weight. Issues of life itself and religious freedom are non-negotiable. All faithful Catholics must hold this. Most other issues are ones of prudential judgment in which we can differ in good conscience. Those are issues of security, healthcare, immigration, economics, and so on. Life itself and the freedom to live that life in good conscience must first be secure.

Clear Catholic Teaching

I considered giving you a raft of links, quotes, videos, etc. but respect your limited time (and tolerance to read further). You are probably also repulsed by this overall topic as am I. So instead I offer you only this recent video from Fr. John Lankeit (Diocese of Phoenix). Please spend a few minutes to view and reflect on it.

Amoris Laetitia conclusions

Amoris Laetitia conclusions

It has now been 11 days since Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”) was released to the public. It is the Holy Father’s reflections and conclusions on the Synod of Bishops meetings on the family. Apostolic Exhortations in the hierarchy of document authority are below Papal Bulls, Apostolic Constitutions, Motu Proprios, and Encyclicals. They are not legislative documents nor do they contain dogmatic definitions or changes to discipline. Amoris Laetitia is unusually large, weighing in at over 250 pages.

Pope Francis has long been rightly concerned with Catholics who feel estranged from the Church. He knows, due to secular propaganda and poor catechesis, that fallen-away Catholics feel rejected and do not participate in the life of the Church. These include those in same sex relationships, those struggling with gender identity and – the largest group – those who are married but living in an attempted “remarriage” outside of the Church.

Amoris Laetitia in many ways is a beautiful presentation, and even defense, of the teaching of the Church. It is also an invitation to those who have separated themselves to return and join all of us in responding to the universal call to holiness. Additionally, it is a document for the faithful intended to strengthen marriages and families.

Much of Amoris Laetitia is very good. It could have been in the same league of Humanae Vitae, but it sadly falls short due to critically muddled messages. A small part of it (particularly in chapter 8 and footnote 351) addressing pastoral care are ambiguous and problematic to the point of overshadowing the rest of the document. The text in question leaves open, for those inclined to interpret it in a certain way (debatably including Pope Francis), “pastoral practices” which are contrary to the timeless teaching of the Church everywhere and in every place, the direct words of Christ Jesus and the explicit warnings of St. Paul on receiving (“taking” is a more appropriate word in this instance) communion unworthily.

That scandal has already begun. Scandal, BTW, means evil actions which occasion others to sin. “Liberal” minded bishops (particularly in Germany, but other places too such as Chicago) have already declared these ambiguous words to be a game changer. For their part in the scandal, the biased liberal media was quick to affirm the same. To wit:

Amoris Laetitia Headlines

While Amoris Laetitia officially changes nothing, certain priests and bishops through their own interpretations of the ambiguity, are quite likely to offer a path to receiving communion for the “divorced and remarried.” To be clear, these are people who are already married to others and either have not sought a declaration of nullity or whose previous marriages were found to be valid but are unwilling to live in continence (i.e. as “brother and sister”) with their new partners. This acceptance over true repentance may be devastating to their eternal souls. The scandal will be harmful not only to the partners, but their children, their parish and the entire Body of Christ.

Amoris Laetitia, for all of its true and beautiful text, fails to clearly identify such immoral unions as sinful. Quotes from prior documents seem to selectively exclude that too. Instead, the immoral unions are normalized as simply “irregular.” Yes, they are indeed irregular because of their mortally sinful nature. Calling them irregular is misleading.

Likewise, the clear teaching of Christ on marriage, while strongly affirmed, is referred to as the “ideal.” It is ideal only in that any lesser sexual union is mortally sinful. Then again, Jesus’ teaching is described as “proposed” which it is, in the sense of free will to accept or reject Christ.

It is understandable for a pastor to (initially perhaps) use gentle words like irregular, ideal and proposed to open a dialog with those who have strayed. When they appear in an official teaching document and facilitate an interpretation implying acceptance of sin, which some appear determined to do, then they lead to scandal.

Lastly, Amoris Laetitia gives prominence to the “internal forum” and the person’s conscience. A well-formed conscience (i.e. in concert with God’s will) is valid and ancient Church teaching, but internal forum is somewhat technical and readily abused by misunderstanding. Without giving clear direction, the text in Amoris Laetitia can easily lead to the heresy of relativism. Already, America Magazine has declared simply and without qualification “the role of [sic] conscience is paramount in moral decision making” as a key takeaway from the document. With all due respect, that is absurd.

FWIW, my predictions are:

  • Amoris Laetitia will fail in its goals, but will be seriously divisive for the Church.
  • Those who are “divorced and remarried” will increasingly receive communion (and thereby, as St. Paul warned, “eats and drinks judgment on himself”) — with and without pastoral guidance.
  • In areas where bishops tolerate (or worse, promote) this abuse, actual applications for annulments will decline in preference to this express approach.
  • Young people contemplating marriage, will have ever more reason to doubt the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. What they see in actions will speak much louder to them than the words to the contrary.
  • Likewise, struggling marriages will be weakened as a new acceptance for “remarriage” may appear to be normalized.
  • A future “pope of clarity” will have to unambiguously correct this and other official ambiguities which have appeared in recent years.

Amoris Laetitia has much to recommend it, particularly for those who will read it with faithful eyes. Many who have been closely following the shennigans surrounding the Synod on the Family have feared it would be worse. For that at least, they are relieved.

EWTN’s highly respected news program The World Over with host Raymond Arroyo had excellent coverage of the issues raised by Amoris Laetitia last Thursday evening:

I strongly recommend further reading:

Fr. Zuhlsdorf has insightful posts on the topic too:

RIP, Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica

Easter Sunday, late afternoon, God called Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation home. We lost a truly amazing woman on this side of eternity, but her work will live on for a very long time.

Mother Angelica was, of course, the foundress of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) and a whole lot more. Her calling was evangelization of the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith…   simply the truth of Christ. When modernism reared its ugly head to reinterpret that truth, she refused to remain silent. This got her in serious trouble with powerful bishops. Suffice to say, she was right and they were wrong. The Body of Christ has been strengthened through Mother’s steadfast faith and determination.

Mother Angelica was unique, but her life and work bring to mind several other people.

First, for the impact of God’s work through her in modern times, I would not hesitate to compare Mother Angelica to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Their charisms were very different, but their holiness, struggles, faith and impact are immeasurable.

Second, her work in television and her own Mother Angelica Live show draw obvious comparisons to the extraordinary work of Venerable Fulton Sheen. Both were incredible evangelists, creating powerful ministries from nothing, true servants of the Lord. Bishop Sheen too suffered through famous conflicts with powerful hierarchy, particularly Cardinal Francis Spellman. Similarly, (now disgraced and removed from all public duties) Cardinal Roger Mahoney viciously fought Mother Angelica.

Third, moving back in history a little (14th century) there is St. Catherine of Siena who effectively chided 2 popes (Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI) when necessary. It takes bravery to step outside your comfort zone, challenge rightful authority when they err, at the risk of serious consequences. The Holy Spirit worked abundantly through St. Catherine and worked similarly through Mother Angelica.

Much has been written about Mother and her life. I recommend Raymond Arroyo’s Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles. For some quick, online pieces see:

In your charity, please remember to pray for her soul.

Finally, my wife and I were fortunate to visit both EWTN and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception last month. Below are some of my pictures.

Response code is 400

Sacrilege in the Vatican

Sacrilege In The Vatican

This is monumentally bad. Heaven weeps.

According to many reliable reports (National Catholic Register, LifeSiteNews, Christian Today) visiting Lutheran dignitaries were purposely given the Most Holy Eucharist at a Vatican Mass following ecumenical talks. The Lutherans approached with their arm crossed — even THEY knew that they were not properly disposed to receive (see my piece: The Body of Christ).

Sacrilege is in general the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object. (The Catholic Encyclopedia calls this real sacrilege “the worst of all sacrileges”). IF priests knowingly gave the Eucharist to non-Catholics who could not possibly have been in a proper disposition to receive the Blessed Sacrament – then they profaned the Body of Christ, possibly incurred a latae sententiae excommunication and would be subject to possible dismissal:

A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; moreover, a cleric can be punished with another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state.

Canon 1367

This is more serious than attempting to “marry” gays or attempting to ordain a woman. This is hugely scandalous to the faithful, a threat to unity and worse of all – a direct crime against God Almighty. We must not sugar-coat this.

There are many sects of Lutherans (they call synods) who, like many other Protestant denominations, believe different things from each other. This was a Finnish synod with which I am not familiar. In the United States, most Lutherans are in the largest synod here which is the ELCA. Among other things, they:

  1. do NOT have apostolic succession and thus no valid holy orders
  2. their worship service, while superficially similar those times when communion is offered, is not sacrificial as is our Mass
  3. their understanding of the real presence is very different than ours
  4. regardless of their belief, lacking valid holy orders, their hosts are unchanged
  5. there is no tabernacle or reservation of consecrated hosts
  6. all baptized may receive (Lutheran or non-Lutheran; state of grace only loosely)
  7. they do not recognize sacraments as Catholics or Orthodox do
  8. they have many women pastors and “bishops”
  9. they embrace open homosexuality even among their clergy (who are free to marry)
  10. divorce and “re-marriage” is completely accepted
  11. they use the abridged Protestant Bible
  12. they believe in sola scriptura (rejecting both Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium)
  13. their clergy health care plans include full abortion coverage
  14. becoming a Lutheran (like most Protestant denominations) is a snap
  15. many other differences from Catholicism

I in no way hope to demean Lutherans. My family and many relatives are Lutherans, as was I for almost 60 years. They sincerely hold their beliefs and dearly love the Lord. I pray that they may one day be fully reunited with Christ’s Church. The point is that Lutheran beliefs have become significantly separated from Catholicism. There is no valid analogy between the Orthodox and Lutherans. The Orthodox are very close to Catholicism while Lutherans are far. In fact, Lutherans move further and further away from Catholicism every year (see my piece: Protestantism trainwreck).

So, in what ways were they not properly disposed to receive?

  • they are not Catholic or even claim to be

That should completely suffice, but to expand on the obvious:

  • they are not in communion with the Church and do not profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God (not even close)
  • in this incident, they acknowledged improper disposition by crossing their arm
  • they do not believe the communion species have transformed (only taken on, possibly temporarily, a dual nature)
  • not having confession (sacramental or otherwise), they easily may not be in a state of grace

Some have already suggested that this represents a first step in officially recognizing Lutherans as “close enough” for inter-communion. That thought leaves me (and probably all other Lutheran converts) dumbfounded and alarmed. It would herald a very dark time of many serious consequences including to our unity. As a thought experiment, imagine we were to officially welcome Lutherans to communion. Consider, besides the grave, on-going sacrilege:

  • there would be little incentive for converts to bother with the RCIA process if their goal is to join us fully at Mass – becoming Lutheran is quick and easy, then come and celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist with us
  • “married” gay Lutherans, no problem
  • Lutherans on their third or fourth spouse, no problem
  • Lutheran and an abortion provider? no problem
  • don’t like Sunday obligation? become Lutheran and come when you like
  • opposed to Catholic moral theology in other ways? keep your favorite sins and come as a Lutheran (what Lutherans consider sins and what Catholics consider sins are not the same)
  • presumably Sacraments of Penance and Anointing the Sick would also be opened too
  • such a new “tier 2” Catholicism might appeal to cafeteria Catholics and others with objections to Church teaching
  • would Catholics currently unable to receive communion be able to simply become Lutheran?
  • if Lutherans, why not Episcopalians and all other Anglicans who are at least as “close”?

Our fervent hopes and prayers are that Lutherans become truly reunited with us at the Eucharistic table of our Lord. That happens when they become Catholic. This is what converts do, what I did, what Anglicans do en masse via the ordinariate. The purpose of true ecumenical dialog is to lead others to the fullness of the Christian faith. Affirming them where they are, with no need to change accomplishes exactly the opposite and fulfills Satan’s desires not God’s.


Also reference this analysis on a previous sacrilege against the Eucharist.

Shame on you EWTN

Shame On You Ewtn

EWTN is the worldwide voice of true, orthodox Catholicism. It is a role it sought and a role it usually fulfills superbly. It operates at a high standard when it speaks, carefully presenting what the Magisterium has taught through the ages, no more and no less. Generally, its representatives model Christian behavior well. EWTN is a jewel of the Church.

It was sad then to see the on-air performance of newly hired EWTN “Chief White House Correspondent” Lauren Ashburn last Tuesday (December 22nd). She appeared on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor as a commentator on the question of Donald Trump’s treatment by the press.

Right out of the starting gate she equated Trump’s behavior to ISIS. Ashburn called him “a bully, a bombastic flame-thrower” which – ironically – is exactly what she herself was demonstrating.

She accused Trump of manipulating the media in a particularly condemning tone, as if manipulating the press isn’t the goal of every politician. The “Trump manipulates the media” attack seems to be a Democratic Party talking point (e.g. 2 days later: Bernie Sanders: ‘Trump is very smart’ for manipulating the media). Ashburn seems to be on board and her performance came-off as highly partisan.

This was followed by the views of another person representing the secular Media Research Center who was more charitable and balanced. It was a good contrast. Until Ashburn interrupted him and jumped back in so that she could use that tone again to call Trump a “MASTER MANIPULATOR !!!”

The moderator, apparently looking for some balance, asked where was the news media in not calling-out Hillary Clinton on her false claims and typically being overtly sympathetic to her. Ashburn defended them noting “that is how they make their money.” This was followed by that tone again saying (slowly) “Donald Trump is a bully.” Here is the clip:

To be rhetorical, is it just me or did other people see this too? Here are the headlines:

Naturally, Ashburn’s comments delighted liberal voices. Trump, or whoever the GOP selects, will look to spoil the coronation of Hillary and her unwavering support for abortion, gay “marriage,” all-powerful central government, diminished freedoms and other liberal priorities diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Church.

I can see how Ashburn’s comments help the Democratic party, but how in the world are they supposed to further our mission? EWTN, you are better than this. This embarrassing episode tarnishes your reputation and the high respect we hold for you. It must not be repeated. You need to fix this.

show