Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.

The following is a flashback to the archives of this weblog from 2004...

Most who call themselves "traditionalists" make the mistake of not handling problematical issues with a proper Catholic way. Hence, they gripe about Assisi and incidents like that forgetting that it is contrary to the dogma of the papal supremacy to refuse assent to the Apostolic See not only in matters of faith and morals but also in matters which concern the Church's general good as well as her rights and discipline.

Catholic dogma is clear that the pope has full authority in the areas of "feeding" (teaching), ruling (directives or disciplines), but also in "guiding" the Church. These distinctions were spelled out by Pope Pius IX in Quanta Cura: an encyclical that "trads" like to prooftext but obviously have not read very carefully...

That same pope condemned those who would appeal to the press or media outlets against a judgment or directive of the Holy See...

Returning to the subject of Quanta Cura and the threefold division it makes (feeding, ruling, and guiding), the trads usually toe the line with the first one and sometimes with the second one. But even people...appear to me to be falling short of the third one which deals with the Pope's ability to set the agenda for how the Church is to handle issues in a given epoch of time...

In closing, I agree with you that the concern that animates their positions is important. However, a lot of it is simply a lack of spiritual maturity on their side -something I made note of in many of my writings... [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa May 7, 2004)]

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Friday, July 13, 2018


I pointed out to some folks on Twitter that if the standard is no president can appoint a SCOTUS nominee when under federal investigation that Stephen Breyer (appointed after Attorney General Janet Reno opened an investigation into Whitewater in 1994) needs to resign.

Somehow I doubt these "principled" folks are going to demand that now which tells us all we need to know about them!

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Briefly on an Upcoming Points to Ponder Series:

I came across a Q and A from The Village Voice that I contemplated posting in its entirety as a Points to Ponder installment but then realized if I did that, so much of what it would contain would be lost due to the volume of the text. For that reason, I will over the next month or so at various intervals post a small part of the piece for reflection by both you the reader as well as for your humble servant at Rerum Novarum for we can all use some material for pondering from time to time to either stimulate the mind's activation as well as exhort us to be better people. I will start the process in this posting by quoting in full the letter that served as the impetus for the response to follow in the series. Without further ado...

Hi Andrew,

I’m writing because I just can’t deal with my father anymore. He’s a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics. I’m more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values and I know that people like my dad are going to destroy us all. I don’t have any good times with him anymore. All we do is argue. When I try to spend time with him without talking politics or discussing any current events, there’s still an underlying tension that makes it really uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I love him no matter what, but how do I explain to him that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the environment, and pushing away the people who care about him?

Thanks for your help,
Son of A Right-Winger

Stay tuned for more as the answer to the above letter is unfolded piece by piece in the upcoming Points to Ponder series.

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Senate Resistance To Judge Kavanaugh Is Collapsing

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

If you are a socialist at 20, you are still a clueless ahistorical dumbass.

Michelle Ray

Replying to @instapundit

"If you're not a socialist at 20... "

3:32 PM · Jul 3, 2018

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How Do You Spell “Hypocrite?:” O-C-A-S-I-O-C-O-R-T-E-Z

Baasically, there is no socialist out there who is not a hypocrite but some (like Cortez) are worse than others.

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SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh used credit cards to buy baseball tickets and Shannon Watts is suspicious

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.

This is a flashback to the archives of this weblog {1} from 2007...

The fact that your host does not plan to discuss this issue again until it is relevant aside for a moment[...], [Name Omitted] makes the same presumptions that theologically radical so-called "traditionalist Catholics" do on their pet issues. Much as they take an elastic application of Pope Pius X's encyclical Pascendi and try to apply its condemnations wholesale to the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent popes, [Name Omitted] does the same here with [their] own pet subjects.

Anyone even remotely familiar with general norms of theological interpretation[...] knows that condemnations are by their very nature very precise and are intended only in the sense intended, not every sense that a casual reader of a text applies to them. This is why none of the condemnations in Pascendi apply to Vatican II or to the popes since Pope Pius XII. A casual and careless reading of Pascendi or Pius XII's Humani Generis presents no small degree of problems. Those texts as indeed any text have to be read carefully and in accordance with general norms of theological interpretation if the reader is to avoid the kinds of misinterpretations which are sadly not uncommon...

Furthermore, your host has never said that anything short of a dogmatic definition is up for grabs -indeed in years past he wrote more on the authority of the ordinary magisterium and the proper sense of magisterial infallibility than any Catholic in cyberspace. But he is not now nor will he ever ascribe more to a statement of the pope or a council authority-wise than it actually contains. That is not 'minimalist' however much [Name Omitted] may want to misrepresent it but instead is a proper recognition of where the Church has spoken and where she has not...

[D]efinitions are essential for rational discourse. They are the tools of thought and those who refuse to provide them should never be taken seriously when they deign to pontificate on issues where there is a greater complexity than the conventional wisdom Readers Digest Condensed Books accounts often convey. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 27, 2007)]

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Sunday, July 01, 2018

Haunted By Waters: A River Runs Through It 25 Years Later


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Charles Krauthammer, conservative commentator and Pulitzer Prize winner, dead at 68

Charles Krauthammer was a huge influence on me in a number of ways. I pray he enjoys eternal rest now!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Points to Ponder:
(On Legitimate Differences of Opinion)

The Catholic Church, of course, leaves many questions open to the discussion of theologians. She does this to the extent that matters are not absolutely certain. Far from jeopardizing the Church's unity, controversies, as a noted English author, John Henry Cardinal Newman, has remarked, can actually pave the way for its attainment. For discussion can lead to fuller and deeper understanding of religious truths; when one idea strikes against another, there may be a spark. [Pope John XXIII: Ad Petri Cathedram §71 (circa 1959)]

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Briefly on Lay Ecclesial Hypocrisy

My second column for Where Peter Is was posted earlier today and consists of material previously posted to Rerum Novarum. I am also taking this moment to create a new subtag for Where Peter Is which will be retroactively added to my debut column posting to this humble weblog from Saturday.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Points to Ponder:
(On War, God's Judgments, and Lasting Peace)

It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right--as God gives us to see the right--let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. [President Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address (circa March 4, 1865)]

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Sunday, June 17, 2018


I have accepted the invitation of Pete Vere and others at the group weblog Where Peter Is to be a contributor there. With that noted, my debut column there can be read in its entirety here:

Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Points to Ponder:
(On Grieving)

When it comes to grieving, it is difficult no matter which side you are on. When you are the one who has gone through loss, oftentimes those who reach out are very awkward in how they do it and can at times unintentionally offend in how they do it. It helps those who are hurting to remember that.

For those on the other side of the fence who are reaching out to someone grieving, remember that no two people grieve in the same way. As much as possible do not take rebuffs personally (if they happen) and patiently try to find different ways to reach out until something works.

Greater patience and love on all sides is something we all should strive for. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 30, 2017)]


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

In Remembrance...
(A Vault Flashback)

Despite it being a longstanding tradition of this weblog in years past, I somehow forgot last year to resume the practice when I begin blogging again. While I did not exactly fail to make reference on the day in question, I was nonetheless very indirect about it -blogging instead the lyrics to a song I had heard on the radio that day which is very hard for me to listen to.

I customarily have asked readers to remember my father in prayer on special days such as his birthday, the day he passed on, my parents' wedding anniversary, etc. But last year as well as earlier this year, I had forgotten to do this. I do not want to forget anymore so with this weblog posting, I combine two features in one with an archive flashback to 2009...

There have been a number of deaths in the family and among friends in this millennium. But out of all of them, there is one which stands out from the pack as being the most difficult for me to deal with. Today is the eighth anniversary of the passing of my late father Richard Dunn McElhinney. All I will say about it at the present time is what I say every year at this time; namely, that prayers for the eternal repose of his soul would be most appreciated.

Eternal rest grant unto his soul oh Lord and may thy perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace with all the souls of the faithfully departed. Amen. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa June 12, 2009)]

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Charles Krauthammer Goes Out Like Gehrig

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Points to Ponder:

"In American religious culture - very much including Catholic culture - we are accustomed to gravitating to actual consolations or the merely inverted consolation of melodramatized, egoistic desolations; what we strain to avoid is dryness, not realizing that the dryness of the desert is quite normal experience of the maturing soul on its journey. We crave Heroes (or, failing that, Antagonists; in any event, a melodramatized agonism). Dryness - like the desert - scares us. Dryness can come in the form of detachment from our liturgical desiderata. Really hard for people who *do* liturgical professionally, to avoid turning that into the inverted consolation mentioned above." ["Liam"]

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.
(On Mike Mentzer)

As today is the seventeenth anniversary of his passing, I will post at this time a link to a lengthier thread written in years past on this subject. Without further ado...

On Mike Mentzer's Passing and His Influence (circa June 12, 2008)

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Friday, June 08, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.

The following is a flashback to the archives this weblog from 2008...

"...To really take this to brass tacks, faith is something that we give assent to that we cannot prove. I am referring in those words to how we have no way to verify emperically that the rules required to utilize reason and logic actually exist but we must presuppose them in order to reason at all. And even that statement itself embodies an often unrealized element so I will briefly note it at this time.

All presuppositions to some extent require a degree of faith when they are not grounded on proven or otherwise provable tenets. And those who lionize empiricism as the be-all and end-all of verification are involving themselves in a double standard on the laws of utilizing logic and reason that they would never accept in other contexts. Ergo, they inexorably deny the law of non-contradiction by failing to require empirical evidences for the laws of logic and reason the way they would other empirically unverifiable presuppositions. (Such as the existence of God.)

So at bottom, as the existence of the rules required to utilize logic cannot be proven in a fashion that does not presuppose them, they cannot be proven logically. They have to be taken as presuppositions and thus they are taken on a kind of faith. And for this reason, the atheists who mock religious people for believing in something they cannot empirically verify are hypocritical for doing the exact same thing themselves..." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 23, 2008)]

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"Washington [DC] is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable." [Horace Greeley (circa 1865)]

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How to spin an NFL offseason “grade” into anything you want it to be

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Points to Ponder:

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. [Abraham Lincoln]

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What are your memories of the 2008 Seahawks season?

I remember the 2008 and 2009 seasons as being downright awful. 2008 was the last year of the Holmgren regime and much as I loved the way Mike Holmgren brought the Seahawks back to respectability again for the first time since the Chuck Knox days; at the same time, there was a need for massive sweeping change and 2009 continued the same rot under Jim Mora before the Seahawks ownership cleaned house and hired Pete Carroll who along with John Schneider ushered in the third and greatest period of Seahawks football history.

We are now in a similar state as we were in 2007 except I do not foresee any more fall. Pete and John are reloading now and the Seahawks should be primed for another playoffs trip and a return to respectability next year after a disappointing injury plagued 2017 season.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Seahawks offensive line will instantly improve under Mike Solari

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The news of Kate Spade's suicide is so sad.

For people feeling like they have no one, remember you're not alone. People do care. And people will listen.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255.


Parkland Students To Announce Nationwide Gun Control Tour

Perhaps they can title said tour the "Ensuring Republicans Keep the House in 2018 Tour" because this little stunt has backfire written all over it.

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Monday, June 04, 2018

OPCW: Call Us Crazy, But Maybe Syria Didn’t Give Up Their Chemical Weapons After All

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On the Popes, Heresy, Etc:

This material was occasioned on another media source from my words as quoted in purple font below. My interlocuters words will be in dark green font. Without further ado...

If we go by the long established understanding of the term heresy, neither Honorius nor John XXII were heretics.

The Holy Spirit prevents popes from being heretics, schismatics, or apostates and to claim otherwise is to deny the doctrine of indefectibility of the Church of which the pope is the visible head as well as the guarantor of ecclesial communion.


Actually, everything I said above is true.

There is a difference between objective material heresy... And the sin of formal heresy. of which we've had several popes

We are talking about the promulgation of heresy. While there are a lot of material heretics about (and I can guarantee that you are a material heretic!), the Holy Spirit even protects the pope from promulgating material heresy. Its part of the whole "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" prayer of Jesus to Peter. Or at least that is how the Popes themselves have seen it:

"Peter, and like him all his successors and heads of the Church, has the mission of encouraging the faithful to put all their trust in Christ and the power of his grace, which Peter personally experienced. This is what Innocent III wrote in the Letter Apostolicae Sedis Primatus (November 12, 1199), citing the text of Luke 22:32 and commenting on it as follows: ‘The Lord clearly intimates that Peter’s successors will never at any time deviate from the Catholic faith, but will instead recall the others and strengthen the hesitant’ (DS 775). That medieval Pope felt that Jesus’ statement to Simon Peter was confirmed by the experience of 1,000 years." [Pope John Paul II] 

But hey, what do they know right?

The inability to distinguish this difference is the error common to both papolitors and sedevacantists.

And now we have the smart aleck so-called "traditionalist" engaging in calumny. To take the position that the pope cannot be a heretic, schismatic, or apostate is to take seriously the doctrines of Church indefectibility, the promise of Jesus Christ, the belief that his prayer for Peter's unfailing faith would be granted, etc. But why listen to me when Vatican I is so clear on this:

“Indeed, their Apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers, and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: ‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren’ [Lk 22:32].

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. [First Vatican Council: Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus]

You either believe this or you do not. And how the gift of truth and never-failing faith could possibly be conferred on Peter and his successors where they either apostasize{1}, are a schismatic{2}, or are heretical{3} is something you will twist yourself into pretzels trying to excuse it away in the sort of disingenuous fashion not uncommon to many who call themselves "traditionalists."

There is a reason why you will not find any Saints or Doctors who have publicly proclaimed any popes were heretics with even eminent Doctors like Francisco Suarez who though they argued hypotheses of popes possibly being heretical, personally believed that God's "sweet providence" would not allow the pope to either teach or fall into error. (Based again on Luke 22:32.) The same position was espoused by St. Alphonsus Ligouri who said "We ought rightly to presume as Cardinal Bellarmine declares, that God will never let it happen that a Roman Pontiff, even as a private person, becomes a public heretic or an occult heretic.’ ” 

Now we cannot read souls so whether there is private material heresy in anyone is not something we can determine. However, public actions and statements are another matter. If at any point in history a pope was a public heretic in any manner whatsoever (formal or material), a schismatic, or an apostate then they have deviated from the faith and there is no coherent way around this.

What would such an event mean? Simply, this would mean that the prayer of Jesus failed, the promise of Matthew 16:18 was false, the 519 Formula of Hormisdas{4} was a lie, St. Agatho I, Innocent III, St. John Paul II and other popes who spoke of the See of Peter being always preserved from blemish were all to a man delusional liars. This does not mean the popes are impeccable of course or that they cannot make limited errors.{5} However, it does mean that they cannot in any respect deny the faith (heresy), deviate from ecclesial communion (schism), or renounce the faith (apostasy). If they could do any of these things then this whole notion of the Holy Spirit protecting Peter and his successors is a giant farce. And that is the bottom line really.


{1} Read: renounce the faith.

{2} Read: are separated from the communion of the Church.

{3} Read: denying dogmas of the faith or doctrines proximate to them.

{4} Required for reunion in the sixth century and promulgated to the whole church by the Fourth General Council of Contantinople IV in 869 and the First General Council of the Vatican in 1870.

{5} Or that they will always make the best decisions in a given situation involving matters of discipline, church government, etc.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018


As this is the 3100th posting to Rerum Novarum since its inception, I thought at least a brief mention of it in passing was in order. There is a lot in the archives and I inaugurated the vault flashback feature last year as a vehicle to re-present some of it for those who missed it the first time around.

In the process of tying up some loose ends format-wise, I finally tended to a post tag revision process that was more than a decade overdue. The results of that endeavour can be viewed HERE.

I will also take this moment to publicly note that I have a fairly detailed three part series that will be posted starting about five weeks from now on matters of a theological nature. The latter along with apologetics themed stuff was a far more prevalent feature of this humble weblog in its earliest years than it either was later on{1} or in the period since I revoked the previous indefinite suspension of this weblog{2} last year.{3} While hardly the first time I have delved into controversial material, I suspect that this may be the most controversial subject matter in some circles{4} that I have undertaken in over a decade. Anyway, that is all I will say as any kind of telegraphing of what is to come on that front at this time.


{1} That is why I as a rule am tired of the apologetical dance and have been for quite a while. That is not to say that I do not do it still on occasion of course but I get tired of seeing people talk past one another and generally evincing no interest in actually listening to what their perceived "adversaries" actually say. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 9, 2005)]

{2} Notification of An Intended Return to Blogging (circa April 4, 2017)

{3} Of the 272 posts of an apologetics nature, 172 of them predate September 15, 2003 and there are there are only 22 from the period spanning April 30, 2007 through the December 19, 2009 weblog suspension with only 5 published since this weblog's relaunch on April 4, 2017. (One of which addressed a controversy and has been consigned to draft status as long as it is viewed as prudent for me to do so.) Suffice to say, I have had minimal interest in apologetics for more than fourteen years to put it mildly. The theological postings have seen a similar decrease in frequency; however, I still maintain some interest in this area having published eighteen such threads since the resumption of this weblog last year. I will also be releasing a good half dozen additional theological themed threads within the coming month or so.

{4} Commemorating A Controversial Anniversary (circa August 17. 2017)


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

On Weblog Spring Cleaning For 2018...
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

I have in recent days undertaken a long-needed spring cleaning of this weblog's archives. The delineation of different postings by primary category tags is one that was quite a chore to do initially but once it was completed in initial form, it eliminated the old weblog update format once and for all. However, there were sometimes duplicate primary tags used and some postings were miscategorized. There is also the problem of some of the posts where there were multiple fonts used to differentiate different people's words becoming skewed when blogger did some of its own software updates. And the old audiopostings back in the days of audblog no longer work and have not for a long time so I needed to tend to that as well.

After some thought on these things and because I knew it would not be possible to tend to these matters again for the indefinite future beyond this time, I went through and reclassified primary tags on many postings. The main tags are now as follows -new additions marked with an astrisk:

Expository Musings
Miscellaneous Threads/Brief Musings
Interesting Links
Points to Ponder
Guest Editorials
Excerpts From Literature/Writings
Humour/Parody/Satire/Plus Musings
Vault Flashback
Audio Musings*
Spiritual Instruction
Archivally Obsolete/Duplicate Post/Minutiae

The most regular tag of the primary ones is the Miscellaneous Threads/Brief Musings one. If I do not know how else to categorize something, it will go there. The Expository Musings tag originally had far too many posts in it that did not fit or because of changes no longer did. As I plan to try audio blogging again if I find the right format, that called for a primary tag for that endeavour but then pondering thae subject of audioblogging made me wonder what I would do with prior audio posts that no longer work. I started deleting them but then realized after I scrapped a half dozen of them that it would be more work than I wanted to undertake and besides, if somehow I figure out how to use them again, then I am purging my own archives in ways I have resolutely criticized others for doing. So to stay true to my nature of not throwing anything out{1}, I decided to create a separate primary tag titled Audio Musings and all remaining audio blogs were reclassified there.

I also found Dialogues which had been misclassifed as Expository Musings, Points to Ponder threads that had more than one primary tag on them, etc. After making these adjustments, basically nearly 200 postings previously tagged as expository musings were reclassified.{2} The original descriptions for the pertinent primary tags were covered in a 2007 expository musing and were explained as follows:

[Y]our host informed the readers of the arduous task of tagging the posts in our massive archive late last month.[...] The good news is that we figured out a couple more short cuts since writing on that matter last -mainly through finding some natural categorizations in the archives in the process. So while the weblog probably will not be close to fully and thoroughly archived until summertime but as it is, the entire weblog has been given a preliminary go-through. While still far from complete, it can now be said that nearly 100% of the posts to this weblog can be broken down into eighteen non-overlapping primary categories. These categories are as follows -with a brief explanation of each:

--Points to Ponder: Posted tidbits from various sources (including sometimes tidbits written by your host) intended to cultivate the reader's pondering capacities...

--Expository Musings: These are threads which are as a rule of a longer and/or more detailed nature generally. However, sometimes there are threads so categorized which are not per se that long but may have taken more time to refine into the shape in which they were blogged than other postings of a similar length or for some other reason were categorized in this format...Among the audio posts, the longer and/or more detailed of them are tagged with this label though some of the others will have to be listened to as time allows for it to see if they should be classified here or not.

--Dialogues/Mailbag Discussions: These are threads posted in a dialogual format which could be derived from various sources...

--Miscellaneous Threads/Briefer Musings: These are generally threads which contain various forms of briefer musings. Among the posts so labeled are various "miscellaneous threads" postings, the shorter or briefer audio posts[...], etc. This is basically the defacto primary category for any posting...

--Stray Links of Interest: Exactly what it says...

--Guest Editorials: These are editorials submitted by others which were posted to this weblog...

--Spiritual Instruction: These are postings dealing with facets of spirituality...

Taken together, one of the above seven categories is tagged on almost 90% of all postings to this weblog. But those are not the only primary categories we have utilized -indeed the next nine comprise roughly the remaining 10% of the weblog's postings:

--Lyrics/Poetry/Haikus: These are postings which chiefly involve one or more of the subjects in the tagline...

--Lyrics/Poetry/Haikus/Plus Musings: These are postings which involve either lyrics, poetry, or haikus but also have some brief musings by your weblog host...

--Humour/Parody/Satire: Self explanatory...

--Humour/Parody/Satire/Plus Musings: Also self-explanatory as these contain the same as the previous category but also some brief musings by your weblog host...

-- Excerpts from Literature/Writings: These are postings which contain excerpts from either literature or from various writings...

--Quizzes: Basically as a temporary diversion the occasional online "quiz" has been taken...

--Archivally Obsolete/Duplicate Post/Minutiae: Basically postings which fit one or more of the criteria noted in the tagline for some reason or another. As of today, there are 32 of them though in a testament to this weblog's focus on perennial relevance as well as quality over time, 26 of those postings were in 2002 and 5 were in the first couple months of 2003. As this latter category may appear to be an odd one to include, your host wants to explain briefly the reasons why before wrapping up this posting.

Essentially, we would be less than fully honest if we did not admit that there are some postings in the archive which we do not find to be of value anymore for a variety of reasons which we are not going to delve into at the moment[...] except to note one significant reason which went into this determination.

For you see, your host has refused to purge his archives of stuff which in retrospect he regrets posting. Part of the reason for this is principles as we have been critical of others for trying to airbrush the historical record at their own sites to avoid telling the truth about their past actions or statements in a given point of time. But another reason is that life itself is a process of growth and development across a broad continuum. This includes weblog writing and interests.

We have no problem admitting that it took a bit of time before this weblog really started to take a discernible shape and some of the features and/or principles which have become standard or typical over time were in the "finding their feet" stage early on. The posts noted in the "archivally obsolete/duplicate posting/minutiae" category may also have been a localized kind of project which either was left incomplete due to time or interest factors or which was of a limited applicability back before your host sought to as much as possible make this weblog's contents have both a timeless and general applicability and also a particular circumstantial one.[...] But that is all that this writer intends to say on the matter at the present time except to say that yes, we have even categorized the obsolete or otherwise no-longer-of-any-real-value chaff from the archives.

Taken together, the eighteen categories above comprise by our count 100% of all posts to this weblog as primary categorizations. [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa May 15, 2007)]

I was originally going to post an excerpt in full which contained material later changed but decided to just omit the former and only use the pertinent excerpts above. Because of tag character limits, some of those original tags had to be shortened a bit and others were changed or merged into other primary categories over time. (After experience showed that the schema I first went with was too complicated.) As of this moment, there are 3099 postings to this weblog since its inception which can be broken down after some recent reclassifyings as follows:

Expository Musings: 300
Dialogues: 365
Miscellaneous Threads/Brief Musings: 1355
Points to Ponder: 486
Interesting Links: 235
Excerpts from Literature/Writings: 19
Guest Editorials: 28
Humour/Parody/Satire: 22
Humour/Parody/Satire/Plus Musings: 19
Lyrics/Poetry: 62
Lyrics/Poetry/Musings: 30
Quizzes: 11
Quizzes/Musings: 35
Spiritual Instruction: 39
Vault Flashback: 10
Audio Musings: 61
Archivally Obsolete/Duplicate Post/Minutiae: 31

It is possible the above totals may tally a bit higher than 3098 because some are postings that are completed and tagged already but have not yet been published. In giving the primary tags a thorough go-through, I also in delineating with greater precision which postings were properly classified as Expository Musings took the nearly unprecedented{3} step of revising archive postings by appending nearly all of those classified as Expository Musings with the subtitle Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum.{4} In situations where those postings had other subtitles, I retitled them incorporating the prior subtitles into a new descriptive title. On others where I used either no title or some variation of Miscellaneous Musings, I retitled them On Miscellaneous Matters. That is the extent to which anything in those postings was revised except in a few cases where there were spelling, grammer, or colour formatting issues. And while I may make colour formatting adjustments on additional postings under the Dialogues category where warranted in the coming weeks{5}, what is noted here is the extent to which I foresee anything being further revised in the archives of this humble weblog in perpetuity.

All things to the contary notwithstanding.


{1} And with the exception of seven posts (six of which were currently defunct audio postings), I have stayed true to this principle. (The seventh posting was a two sentence gibberish post from early 2005 that was in the archivally obsolete category. It was originally slated as a placeholder to highlight a planned series I never remotely got around to working on and now never will so it got the axe when the aforementioned six audios were similarly deleted.) I have no plans to deviate from this longstanding principle anymore -indeed I do not even like to make changes to past postings apart from fixing spelling, grammar, or colour formatting schemes when warranted: a far cry from how not a few folks handle these matters.

{2} Including 88 as Miscellaneous Threads/Brief Musings and 61 as Audio Musings. I also reclassified prior quizzes which were under the miscellaneous threads/brief musings tag with a new category titled Quizzes/Musings. There were also 7 or 8 Interesting Links entries that contained musings in them beyond an ultra brief description and they were reclassified as Miscellaneous Threads/Brief Musings. I also in nearly all cases with postings that involved weblog updates in the old format classified them either as Miscellaneous Threads/Brief Musings or Expository Musings where applicable and abrogated the prior weblog tags used for that material.

{3} I say "nearly unprecedented" because back in 2013 when this weblog was still suspended took the opportunity in an attempt to both let bygones be bygones as well as heal a long simmering rift which had perpetuated at that point for more than eight years. See last year's posting titled Commemorating a Controversial Anniversary for more details on this if interested.

{4} This tagline serves as a kind of marker to indicate the character of the post in question. Most expository musings had been adorned with that subtitle since roughly May of 2003 but the uniformity on this matter was one that took time to develop to the way things are currently.

{5} I realized when perusing the archives for prior dialogue material for use in other publishing mediums that software formatting changes to blogger has messed up the formatting of some of those postings from their original colour schemes. As a result, they will have to be fixed. I will however only correct these issues in peacemeal fashion as I have the time or inclination to do so.


Monday, May 28, 2018

On this Memorial Day I do not have the time to post anything new so I will re-post at this time as a vault flashback the link to an expository musing I wrote on the subject ten years ago. Without further ado...

On Memorial Day (circa May 28, 2008)


Senators To Trump: It’s Do-Or-Die Time On DACA

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Seahawks mailbag: Germain Ifedi’s future, the offensive line, and more!

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Springtime having come
A season with promises
Of old lives reborn
[Written 6/3/17]


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.

As today would have been Chris DiSomma's 46th birthday, it seems appropriate to mark it with the following flashback to the archives of this weblog from 2008...

Chris was a special case for me though due to a variety of reasons -the closeness of our tie for one and the way in which our lives played out for another. I could say more but will instead note the previous threads below for your perusal if interested. And while each has some different material in it than the others, the thread from 2005 is the most complete of the threads -encapsulating some of my remembrances of him when he was alive and also though the passing of time has helped somewhat with regrets that in some form or another I will probably always have. Without further ado...

Let these threads serve as a cautionary tale for those who put off tomorrow what they could do today so far as reconciliations go with others. Oh and rest in peace amigo until we (hopefully) meet again in a much better place!!! [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa May 25, 2008)]

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"Seattle is losing its reputation as a progressive city with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Instead, we are increasingly being viewed as a city with a heavy regulatory hand that is run by narrow-minded activists and a hypocritical and out of touch ruling bureaucratic city government." [Former Starbucks Executive Howard Behar (circa June 12, 2016)]

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Starbucks Is About To Woke Their Way Out Of Business

Its time for me to set up a craps table at my local Starbucks!

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Instead of a jobs tax, credit business for helping the homeless

This is an Op-Ed written by three Seattle area business owners/operators. What do they know about job creation? :::rolls eyes:::

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Friday, May 18, 2018

On Twitter, Weblog Formatting, and A New Subtag:

Twitter first launched to the public if my sources are right in the summer of 2006. I became aware of the phenomenon in 2007 but only launched my own twitter account in December of 2009 roughly around the time that this weblog was suspended in perpetuity.{1}Upon my return to blogging last year{2}, I on occasion made use of material from Twitter{3}or referenced the latter in postings but have never specified any weblog tags for such occasions be they primary{4} or secondary{5} in nature.

For better or worse, Twitter has become a pervasive force for communication and with a president who makes particular use of it{6}, it seems appropriate to me to subtag Twitter themed threads. So with my prior posting, I created just such a subtag for that posting as well as for use on any material posted subsequent{7}to it where applicable.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.


{1} Notification of Suspension (circa December 19, 2009)

{2} Notification of An Intended Return to Blogging (circa April 4, 2017)

{3} The only examples I am offhand aware of besides the present thread are the ones located HERE, HERE, and most recently HERE. Thus far, I have not blogged any Twitter material from my own account.

{4} Basically, every posting has some kind of primary post tag on it and the purpose of this is to insure that posts can be categorized without overlapping when it comes to primary descriptive tags. The secondary tags are simply a further notation of particular features to the post itself and in this area, overlap is basically a given. This format makes it so I do not have to do the sorts of arduous weblog updates anymore that were standard on this weblog from its founding through the last day of 2006: both lack of time as well as a desire to not do that anymore contributed to the post tagging approach we undertook last year even if it has been tweaked in minor ways since then. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 4, 2008)]

{5} I remember when the tagging feature was first made available on this platform roughly ten years ago and I set out in piecemeal fashion creating various tags for this weblog to better categorize posts for easier access and perusal by pertinent subject matter. As is my wont with rough drafts be they in writing or otherwise, the tags initially were longer and I ran into space limits. I noted this not long after posting the first thread on these matters with an expository musing detailing an even further expansion on the tagging method including the distinction between major[...] and minor tags. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 21, 2017)]

{6} This factor as well as the thought that I may use more Twitter material here over time are two notable factors that drove the present formatting decision. Even though I used the Facebook medium far more between the suspension of this weblog to the present day than I have Twitter, I have no intentions of making a similar subtag for Facebook material. This is in part because material here has often been duplicated there or material there near-duplicated here. I also simply have no interest in doing so at this time.

{7} I then did a few searches and retroactively sub-tagged the applicable postings I could find going back to April of 2017.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Area Man‏ 

Q: What do you think of MS-13 [gang with the motto "Kill, Rape, Control]?
Trump: They aren't people. They are animals!
Journolisters: Trump says immigrants aren't people!
So Journolisters think all immigrants are here to kill, rape, and control. Got it.

3:52 AM - 17 May 2018

Trump says enough batcrap on his own, go there if you want something rather than this kind of flat out lie.
Mark my words: this sort of msm blatant misrepresentation will get Trump re-elected if they keep it up.

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Hillary Clinton takes bitterness on world tour

I was going to comment on this article myself but this paragraph from the article says it all really...

Like a boxer who doesn’t know when to leave the ring, Hillary Clinton is a two-time political loser who hasn’t gotten the message she is unlikeable and unelectable. She would do herself and the country (not to mention the Democratic Party) a favor by retiring and leaving the scene of her political accident.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Seattle’s Mayor And City Council May Have Reached An Agreement On A Slightly Lower ‘Head Tax’

"I will take 'things to drive more businesses out of Seattle' for $1000, Alex!"

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ISIS terror chief who burned Jordanian pilot to death in chilling 2015 execution video is captured in Iraq

Hope he has plenty of sunblock.

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North Korea expands threat to cancel Trump-Kim summit, saying it won’t be pushed to abandon its nukes

This is why its never wise to spike the ball when you are nowhere near the endzone.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

On Good Apologists:
(Aka "Rare As Hen's Teeth" Dept.)

[Prefatory Note: I was cleaning out the draft folder a bit at this humble weblog and ran across this material which was prepared as a post back in December of 2007 but from what I can discern was never actually blogged. I am not sure why that is offhand but as the person I was corresponding with at the time was both my favourite Catholic apologist and has since passed on from this earth, posting it at this time gives me the opportunity to remember an old friend. The material here is posted substantially as prepared more than a decade ago except for the final words in purple font below. -SM 5/14/18]

The following was taken from a discussion list thread.

Someone asked me if Bob Klaus left Catholic Legate and I said I didn't know. Bob? Bueller?

I hope not. Much as apologists in general have ticked me off as of late, Bueller...I mean Bob is one of those I believe does it right and the Legate would be dimished if he left it.

That is kind of you to say, Shawn. I appreciate it.

No problemo amigo.

Unfortunately, unless I won the Powerball tonight I still need to earn a living -- which means I have a limited amount of time to work "my hobby" -- and hence I cannot work the Legate and Christian Forums at the same time.

Frankly Bob, that is probably a good thing that it is not your job the way it is with not a few whom I shall not mention. But for those who do make $$$ off of it, there is the at least implicit need to stir the pot and create controversy because that is what people react to. Well, that and the "if you do not send what you can, my kids and wife will starve" kind of letters. When there is no financial concern, the problem of being compromised is a lot less as is the temptation to put oneself in that position.

At Christian Forums I can directly and indirectly impact thousands of people at any given moment...and I enjoy the personal give and take with the people I deal with daily.

Give and take is fine. The problem I have with a lot of the apologists is that they are illogical. They base the veracity of a particular argument or position not on its intrinsic merits or lack thereof but instead on who says it as if that is the determining factor.

I see real-live conversions on a regular basis...this ministry is totally unlike any other I have experienced. We actually have a large area set aside for Catholics and Prots allowed. And they have their set-aside areas havens for all people of good will. It is "message boards" done right...and it's about time. As of today the board has had over 30 million posts since its inception a few years ago.

Sounds like the kind of message board I could actually participate in perhaps -at least on occasion. What is the address of the place out of curiosity?


Frankly Bob, that is probably a good thing that it is not your job the way it is with not a few whom I shall not mention. But for those who do make $$$ off of it, there is the at least implicit need to stir the pot and create controversy because that is what people react to. Well, that and the "if you do not send what you can, my kids and wife will starve" kind of letters. When there is no financial concern, the problem of being compromised is a lot less as is the temptation to put oneself in that position.

That is why I said "win the powerball" - if I was independently wealthy and didn't depend on speaking fees and selling books (and gaining donations) for a living...then I could devote myself to my hobby full time instead of only part-time.

I have ZERO interest in becoming a "professional" apologist...for all the reasons you and I have discussed many times.

Give and take is fine. The problem I have with a lot of the apologists is that they are illogical. They base the veracity of a particular argument or position not on its intrinsic merits or lack thereof but instead on who says it as if that is the determining factor.

That's very true...and it is no different on our board in the apologetical forums. The thing about our board is that there are a few hundred individual forums (like rooms) each with its own purposes. And some of them are apologetical in nature -- most of them are not. Some are for Christians only - others are for anyone to post in.

There are plenty of bad apologists in the apologetical forums. However, there are many rooms within the website that allows for Christian and/or Catholic fellowship and catechesis, etc...

What I like is the large number of seekers who come into our area (called OBOB - which means One Bread One Body). There are several RCIA candidates and catechumens who participate and ask questions...which can be scary once you learn some of the poor catechesis many of them are receiving in their parishes.

Sounds like the kind of message board I could actually participate in perhaps. What is the address of the place out of curiosity?

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Met What?

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Points to Ponder:

"The Pope is the guardian of dogma and of morals; he is the custodian of the principles that make families sound, nations great, souls holy; he is the counsellor of princes and of peoples; he is the head under whom no one feels tyrannized because he represents God Himself; he is the supreme father who unites in himself all that may exist that is loving, tender, divine...

When one loves a person, one tries to adhere in everything to his thoughts, to fulfill his will, to perform his wishes. And if Our Lord Jesus Christ said of Himself, 'si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit,' [if any one love me, he will keep my word - Jn xiv, 23] therefore, in order to demonstrate our love for the Pope, it is necessary to obey him.

Therefore, when we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed; when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents; we do not place his orders in doubt...

[I] deplore...the conduct of so many...who not only allow themselves to debate and criticize the wishes of the Pope, but are not embarrassed to reach shameless and blatant disobedience, with so much scandal for the good and with so great damage to souls." [Pope Saint Pius X: Allocution (circa November 18, 1912)]


To Protect Free Speech We Must Demand This Professor Be Fired

To quote the most salient passages from this article:

"...I believe in free speech. I also believe in reciprocity. If conservatives are being shut down by de facto university actions–when the Federalist Society’s Josh Blackman lecture on, oddly enough, free speech was shut down, the dean of the CUNY law school said that demonstrations to stop a lecture were protected speech–then it is suicidal to go along with this lemming-like devotion to free speech. If free speech is transactional, I don’t have a problem playing that game...

We are not engaged in a war of ideas where we debate over a glass of chilled pinot grigio. We are engaged in a fight for freedom of speech and freedom of conscience with people who openly admit they are trying to deprive us of those rights. How is me supporting the right of this bloated bolshevik to say whatever she wants going to help guys like Josh Blackman, and Ben Shapiro, talk about conservative ideas? It won’t. In fact, it will just make the job harder as we’re fighting for get-out-of-jail-free cards for these 'people' while they are classifying us as Nazis. Why in the name of heaven would I line up to march silently into the gas chambers based on some abstract principle that, apparently, only my side is bound by? Not. Going. To. Happen.

No. I want this noxious troll fired. No. I will not support her right to say whatever she wants to. And no, none of this means that I don’t support free speech, it just means that I believe in social compacts and my support of your rights is directly linked to your support of mine." 

If you had asked me back during this weblog's original run, I would have taken the classic stance of conservatives to stand up for free speech even if I do not like said speech. I still in principle have that view but the political and social realities have changed so dramatically the last decade or so{1} that I have come to the same view as the above writer at least in a macro sense.  I can no longer however stand for the right of those who quite evidently would try and take the same rights from me. While not a complete left field development insofar as I have long recognized this principle in other areas{2}, it is the first to my knowledge explicit application of it to the principle of free speech in general.

And while I may write more on this in the future, at the moment, that is all I plan to say on the present issue in question.


{1} And while the degree of concurrence of my current views with past views across the general spectrum of outlooks has remained remarkably consistent; I would be remiss in not noting there have been a few changes: the most significant of which can be read here in a recent posting on the subject of immigration.

{2} For example, my stance on the Israeli-Palestinian discussion. I am no huge booster of Israel but I have long said I do not accept the validity of dialogue on their part with Palestinians because you cannot dialogue legitimately with those who operate from the presupposition that you should not exist and they would exterminate you if given the opportunity. In essence, I have expanded my principled  stance on this matter to the subject of free speech in general out of logistical survival one might say. Now, I will  it only not support the right of such persons to speak but I will actively advocate for their silencing until such time as they can reciprocate in the area of free speech where I am concerned. Bottom line: if you stand for free speech, do not think

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Obama Killed His Own Iran Deal

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Friday, May 04, 2018

On Cobra Kai -My Thoughts Through Seven Episodes...

Cobra Kai is a homage in part to the original movies but the characters themselves are grown up and facing new challenges. Johnny's life has spiraled down since the pivotal crane kick while Daniel's has dramatically improved. There are all kinds of callbacks to the series either directly or in a sense of irony. At times I have seen through the first seven episodes thus far Daniel reflecting various characters of the first movies perhaps unconsciously (i.e. Kreese and Johnny from the first movie, Myagi's rival Sato from the second movie, etc) albeit in ways not perceivable to him. (He also comes off like Myagi in other contexts.) Meanwhile, Johnny is in the role of the underdog in this one and you see sides to him that you did not see previously including some back story that rounds out the character in ways you did not realize previously. Someone once did a video series on how Daniel was the real bully of the original movie and while I think that hypothesis is a stretch, its not entirely without merit and it seems the writers of this series went into this with that series hypothesis in mind at least in part.

Cobra Kai is not one of those later series specials they do of so many hit shows or movies which absolutely misses the point or does not have the magic of the original. This series echoes the magic of the original in spots, has flashbacks at key points, new character information one was not aware of which fleshes things out a bit. There are also new characters who have prominent roles in the series such as the bullied kid Johnny mentors, Daniel's family, Johnny's estranged son, etc. And of course the return of Cobra Kai and there is karate but like the Rocky films and boxing, the karate in the Karate Kid series has always been in a certain sense a secondary vehicle of sorts that teaches more valuable lessons than it would appear on the surface. I look forward to watching the last three episodes of the season tonight and hope they film a season two.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

While waiting for the Jaded Politics publication of my latest article on the Alfie Evans situation, he tragically died due to the NHS starving him to death. I went back and made revisions to the piece slated for publication to reflect that and also made the same changes to the duplicate text already at the Musings From Exile weblog. The revised version can be read HERE.

Rest in Peace Alfie!

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Friday, April 27, 2018

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.


{1} "I link to the Musings From Exile weblog version so I do not trigger a trackback to it on the main page; thereby ensuring that I keep Rerum Novarum separate from that project." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 8, 2017)]

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Monday, April 23, 2018

CNN Reporter in North Korea Left ‘Speechless’ By Nuclear Announcement: ‘Huge Win For President Trump’

It has to be said in the interest of fairness: from all appearances thus far, this is a significant foreign policy triumph for President Donald Trump!

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE. Its substantially the same as an earlier posting to this humble weblog{2}, just fleshed out a tad more and with some pictures.


{1} "I link to the Musings From Exile weblog version so I do not trigger a trackback to it on the main page; thereby ensuring that I keep Rerum Novarum separate from that project." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 8, 2017)]

{2} A Dialogue on Conservative Republican Hypocrisy (circa April 3, 2018)

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Six days to go… Seahawks predictions & thoughts

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Bruno Sammartino documentary will air on WWE Network after Monday Night Raw next week

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"Often times, when we feel like we can't do something that we want or need to do, all the factors are in place, but we come across a roadblock. The roadblock is telling us that we can't, shouldn't, or will not. The roadblock is our mind and our mind is establishing our limits. It's up to us where we set it. Next time you listen to your mind telling you that you can't or don't have the skills, talent, or will to make it happen, it's up to you to set your limit to be greater than or less than what your mind is telling you." [Bronson Nair]


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"Subsidies & price fixing are natural follow-ups to a tariff war. Soon Trump will announce a five-year grain plan and pose for posters with patriotic farmers." [Garry Kasparov]

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In Response To Growing Number Of Fistfights, London Mayor Bans Hands


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.
(Revisiting An Old False Dichotomy)

[Prefatory Disclaimer: The material below was first published over fifteen years ago in a third revision to a longer piece I wrote a few years previously. As I have again seen the false dichotomy presented as of late, it seems appropriate to revisit the material below excerpted from its original source and tweak it a bit to be republished independently on this humble weblog at the present time. -SM]

The "Dogmatic/Pastoral" Artificial Dichotomy:

There is some truth to the assertion that the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council was "predominantly pastoral in character" but the dichotomy made between "dogmatic" and "pastoral" - as if something "pastoral" is automatically not "dogmatic" in any sense whatsoever -  is frankly a facile one. It has no support whatsoever from the Magisterium of the Church and therefore it should not be handled with the kind of smug certainty that many so-called 'traditionalists' like to utilize it. At the very least, it seems to this writer that "pastoral" and "dogmatic" as concepts should not be interpreted in a vacuum. Instead, the meaning of the expressions should be sought in light of the way pastoral theology and dogmatic theology respectively are viewed. The following quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia article Pastoral Theology defines this concept as it applies to theology in general:
Pastoral theology is a branch of practical theology; it is essentially a practical science. All branches of theology, whether theoretical or practical, purpose in one way or another to make priests "the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God" (I Cor., iv, 1). Pastoral theology presupposes other various branches; accepts the apologetic, dogmatic, exegetic, moral, juridical, ascetical, liturgical, and other conclusions reached by the ecclesiastical student, and scientifically applies these various conclusions to the priestly ministry. [1]
Before delving into all that pastoral theology entails, a look at how it differs from dogmatic and other fields of theology would be in order as well:
Dogmatic theology establishes the Church as the depository of revealed truth and systematizes the deposit of faith which Christ entrusted to His Church to hand down to all generations; pastoral theology teaches the priest his part in this work of Catholic and Christian tradition of revealed truth. Moral theology explains the laws of God and of the Church, the means of grace and hindrances thereto; pastoral theology teaches the practical bearing of these laws, means, and hindrances upon the daily life of the priest, alone and in touch with his people. Canon law collects, correlates, and co-ordinates the laws of the Church; pastoral theology applies those laws to the care of souls. In brief, pastoral theology begins, where the other theological sciences leave off; takes the results of them all and makes these results effective for the salvation of souls through the ministry of the priesthood established by Christ. [2]
In "presuppos[ing] the fields of apologetic, dogmatic, moral, juridical, and other fields of study in its applications to the care of souls", pastoral theology would not be divorced from the other sciences. (Indeed to some extent it would rely on them.) Hence one could accurately say that pastoral theology is indirectly concerned with dogmatic theology as well as moral theology and juridical theology (canon law). Transposing these distinctions onto the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council by corollary extension, it could be logically asserted that a Council that was "predominantly pastoral in character" would nonetheless have an indirect foundation in dogmatics; consequently a "pastoral council" would be "indirectly dogmatic" and presupposing the foundation of dogmatic theology in its pronouncements. (Which by asserting that the Council unlike previous Councils was not "directly dogmatic" is precisely what Pope Paul noted in several general audience speeches in the final thirteen years of his reign.)

By contrast, most of the earlier ecumenical councils were "predominantly dogmatic" but that did not detract from the fact that most of them also issued canons of disciplinary import as well. The distinction would be that most of the earlier councils were called to resolve a doctrinal crisis and disciplinary issues were an addendum issue if they were treated on at all. (Councils such as Constantinople II and III did not treat on disciplinary matters at all whereas by contrast of the five Lateran councils only the fourth was not predominantly concerned with matters of discipline.)

With the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, it was called not to address any one point of doctrine but instead to address the application of all Church doctrine to more effectively meet the conditions of the modern age. In the process, (i) previous dogmas of the faith would be reaffirmed, (ii) previously declared doctrines reasserted and perhaps developed a bit further, and (iii) theological controversies which touched on matters closely joined to dogma would be settled. Further still, (iv) doctrine would be developed to meet the needs of the age in certain parameters, (v) the disciplinary code would be revised, and (vi) the overarching approach in all areas would lean more to doctrinal exposition and its application then to dogmatic formulations. The tools used for this process would mirror those used in pastoral theology and include the following:
Tradition and the Holy Bible...are the first sources of pastoral theology. As evidence of Tradition the decrees of general councils are of the highest moment. Next come pontifical [documents]; decrees of Roman Congregations...the various sources of dogmatic and moral theology and of canon law, in so far as they bear directly or indirectly upon the care of souls. Decrees of various provincial councils and diocesan synods together with pastoral letters of archbishops and bishops are also among the sources whence pastoral theology draws. [3]
If one reads the index of every document from the Second Vatican Council, they will see copious references to Sacred Scripture. There are also numerous references to the documents of the General Councils. (Particularly Vatican I and Trent but there is also more than thirty references to other ecumenical councils - particularly the councils of Florence, Nicaea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Lateran IV, Constantinople IV, and Nicaea II.) There are also numerous references to documents from the papal magisterium - particularly Pius XII, Pius XI, John XXIII, and Leo XIII - along with various other papal pronouncements. (Such as Allocutions and Radio/General Addresses.) Included in this mosaic are references to the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church among other sources. Finally, the use was also made of documents from plenary councils which had received papal approbation, decrees from the Roman Congregations, etc.
Consistent with the understanding of "pastoral" in theology, the Second Vatican Council certainly meets the criteria in its usage of sources spanning the dogmatic, moral, and other fields of study. As far as the dependence of pastoral theology on dogmatic theology, the Catholic Encyclopedia article Dogmatic Theology had this to say about the correlation:
Pastoral theology, which embraces liturgy, homiletics, and catechetics, proceeded from, and bears close relationship to, moral theology; its dependence on dogmatic theology needs, therefore, no further proof. [4]
And just as "no further proof" is needed to demonstrate the dependence of pastoral theology on dogmatic theology, there is no further proof needed to refute the facile dichotomy of "pastoral" and "dogmatic" when it comes to Vatican II when compared with most of the previous ecumenical councils. It suffices to say that most previous councils were directly dogmatic and indirectly pastoral whereas with Vatican II the converse was the case. But it does not suffice to say that the predominantly pastoral character of the Second Vatican Council precluded any active dogmatic elements at all and (as a consequence) any formal infallibility.


[1] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article Pastoral Theology (c. 1913)

[2] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article Pastoral Theology (c. 1913)

[3] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article Pastoral Theology (c. 1913)

[4] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article Dogmatic Theology (c. 1913)

Additional Notes:

The citations from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) article Pastoral Theology were obtained at the following link:

The citation from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) article Dogmatic Theology was obtained at the following link:

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“Local Control” Must Not Be a Weapon Against Individual Rights

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My only criticism of the Scooter Libby pardon is timing and the sense that its being done now as a distraction from something else.

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Trump To Larry Kudlow: Go Take A Look At The U.S. Maybe Rejoining TPP

President Trump called TPP a "rape of America." I guess by his lights he buys into Todd Akin's concept of "legitimate rape."

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Not an apologetic for Pope Francis or Gaudete et Exsultate.

I find it amusing that the Apostle Paul and church fathers like Jerome hurled more invective than Pope Francis does but those who whine about the latter do not seem to have a problem with the former.

Is it perhaps because as much as these folks love papal condemnations of things they do not like and papal condemnations aimed at other folks, they have a problem when they are the target or something they like is on the receiving end of a chastisement?

I am reminded of what St John of the Cross said once about these sorts of spiritual gluttons:

"You will find that many of these persons are very insistent with their spiritual masters to be granted that which they desire, extracting it from them almost by force; if they be refused it they become as peevish as children and go about in great displeasure, thinking that they are not serving God when they are not allowed to do that which they would. For they go about clinging to their own will and pleasure, which they treat as though it came from God; and immediately their directors take it from them, and try to subject them to the will of God, they become peevish, faint-hearted, and fall away. These persons think that their own satisfaction and pleasure are the satisfaction and service of God."

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“Local Control” Must Not Be a Weapon Against Individual Rights

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018


A tip for #AlwaysTrump folks: if the president does or says something that you whined and complained about when Mr. Obama did or said it, have the guts to condemn the same stuff now unless you want to be viewed as a unprincipled hypocrite...

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A tip for #NeverTrump folks: if you support a position or policy but cannot give President Trump credit if he supports and/or seeks to implement *the same position or policy you support*, then you damage your own credibility.

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Monday, April 09, 2018

Pope Francis' new Apostolic Exhortation In Gaudette ex Exultate

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I am amused in equal measure by those from #TeamRed who insist the president is innocent and there's nothing to the special prosecutor stuff and those from #TeamBlue who think every story that comes out on that stuff means "Muller is closer to arresting Trump."

Anything to sustain the particular gimmick desired it seems!

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

On the One Year Anniversary of My Return to Blogging:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

It may have seemed counter-intuitive to have returned to blogging after this medium more or less faded from general importance with the rise of more interactive social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But as helpful as those features can be; at the same time, a growing concern for censorship and other factors led me to consider taking this weblog out of mothballs and using it again. Or as I said a year ago today:

Though it has been pondered a bit in sundry times and in divers occasions to return to blogging, I could not find the motivation to do so apart from one specific circumstance a few years ago.[...] However, the motivation previously lacking has been found now with my planned involvement in an extensive writing project that I may touch on a bit here and there if I feel so inclined to.

While I will mainly be blogging on a new weblog that I have set up for that purpose[...], it is also likely that I will resume blogging here as well on subjects that will not be germane to the subjects to be written on there. However, upon resuming blogging at this humble weblog, I will not have any set schedule for it as I did in years past where I sought to blog on this humble weblog at certain self-prescribed intervals of output.

Anyway, that is all for now until further notice. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 4, 2017)]

As for the project I have been involved in intermittently, it is one where I write pieces here and there with no set schedule. While it is in some form of existence at least, I will continue to dabble from time to time on this humble weblog.

Coming up in the following month are a few pieces which I finished last year and which will treat on an issue of controversy. As those who followed this weblog in years past know, I am no stranger to wading into controversial matters and I am sure as with some issues in the past, this one will sever more ties as some prior ones have.{1} But as with everything, if I think something has to be said, it will be said and there are unfortunately not a few folks who cannot deal with anything that disrupts their chosen narratives in various and sundry areas of study or thought. But that is neither here nor there.

In short, this weblog will remain in somewhat regular use more along the lines of how it has been over the past year with fewer long drawn out pieces compared to the way things were in their heyday here. Some of those longer threads from years past will be revisited either in abridged or other forms where warranted or if I feel inclined to as the lions share of what I have written on here in years past was intentionally done with both contemporary as well as more timeless threads to it.

On and before concluding the thread you are reading, it seems appropriate to remind people of what my combox thread policy is here and why I have it so this reminder thread from roughly a year ago suffices to do that. So with that reminder in conclusion, onward and upward we go here at Rerum Novarum{2} in some form or another!


{1} To list one such prominent matter from years past:

Commemorating A Controversial Anniversary (circa August 17, 2017)

{2} I am considering the possibility of retaining a long term interest in blogging again of perhaps changing formats and even weblog names. Only time will tell if those ideas come to fruition or not however.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

A Dialogue on Conservative Republican Hypocrisy:

My words will be in regular font.

Eugene Craig 

2014-2017 Black Lives Matter: Law enforcement is tainted and biased

GOP: No it's not and Blue lives matter

GOP: Release the memo. Law enforcement is tainted. Protect POTUS

BLM: Oh now that you are the victim its tainted. * inserts side-eye*

One small difference, those clamoring to release the memos aren’t calling for and perpetuating violence. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the release of the memos, any suggestion that is even remotely equal to the racist thugs of BLM is beyond disgusting! 

Wanna talk about what is truly beyond disgusting? 

[H]ow do we know that is even true? 

Practice some due diligence.

Who’s even heard of The Root? 

Just because you have not heard of a source does not ipso facto make said source an erroneous one.

For all we know, it could be a Fake News site. 

Merely dismissing a source without reading it is as a rule{1} not a very responsible thing to do. If you check closely, among the sources cited is the Baltimore Sun:

I suppose they are Fake News too?

Also cited are the New York Daily News, the Times Union, and NBC News. More Fake News I suppose because they do not fit the squawk radio narrative on these things? 

those cops in the Freddie Gray case, who were rightly acquitted, under the bus

Yes I know, #CopsDoNoWrong as far as some conservatives are concerned. When someone dies in police custody, someone should be held responsible but police rarely are. And of course most conservatives are due to their ideological blinders unwilling or unable to admit that maybe, just maybe a movement like BLM may have within its ranks folks who have legitimate grievances. Nah, they gotta focus on the cranks and kooks and paint them as the entirety of the movement because that fits the narrative they want to believe. Strangely, I seem to recall many of the same folks who do that were livid when more liberal elements of the media did the exact same thing to the Tea Party. Oh but that's different I suppose because that was *patriots* being targeted rather than various and sundry "urban scum", right?

I have to say this anti-cop posture you have taken recently is seriously troubling.

There is nothing recent about it. I have long been ambivalent at best about law enforcement{2} with very good reasons. Beyond what I have actually seen as well as in my youth dealt with, there is also the fact that there are a LOT more dirtbags in uniform than head-in-the-sand conservative "law and order" sorts care to admit to. But when they are not on the receiving end of the corruption, conservatives do not give a shit about this stuff generally speaking. But if they are the ones in the crosshairs? Well then they squawk like stuck pigs and will not stfu about it. And truthfully, I do not have sympathy anymore for those sorts of conservatives who only make a fuss when it involves them and otherwise make excuses or shoot the messengers when it involves bad news which does not.

Not only are there more dirtbag cops than conservatives as a rule care to admit to but even cops who are not dirtbags far too often succumb to pressure not to rat out one of their brother or sister fellows in blue. As a result, things like what happened to Freddie Gray so often result in acquittals, not because the cops are innocent per se but instead because too many supposedly "good cops" refuse to cooperate or otherwise obstruct prosecution attempts of fellow officers. 

The bottom line: we need serious criminal justice, sentencing, and police reform in this country. But as long as the myth of "cops do no wrong" is perpetrated (coupled with the "well, maybe some do but its only 1% of them" nonsense), its not going to happen. But I digress.


{1} I say “as a rule” because every rule admits of exceptions. But they are reserved for sites with a demonstrated history of frequent false news reporting. Also, something is not false simply because it does not fit a person’s particular ideological template be they right or left.

{2} “When I was younger, my first car was a 1975 Dodge Dart. Mechanically it was sound but electrically not as much. One of the problems it had was lights would go out in the running boards, license plate area, tail lights (particularly on the right side as I recall), etc far more frequently than would be the norm. And I lived in near a small town where the cops basically funded the town with tickets -I think you may see where this is going. In that area and a number of other places, I was pulled over at times so frequently that even many years later and to this very day, I am at times highly uncomfortable when I see a police car behind me or alongside me in traffic.[...] I have to constantly fight the temptation to change lanes, pull into a parking lot of a place I am not going to, etc and let the cop car pass before I get back on the road. And while I do not do the latter nearly as often as I used to, I still from time to time out of long ingrained habit do it. While not the only personal experiences I have had with law enforcement officials, I posit the above to point out a psychological phenomenon that is hardly unique to myself. And I am as white as white can be!” [Excerpt from the Jaded Politics Article On Anthems, Protests, Free Speech, Hard Truths, Etc. (published December 3, 2017)]

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Prayer For Good Friday:

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