Saturday, September 22, 2018

More on Third Party Fantasies:
(From Facebook)

This sorta follows another recent thread on the subject of third parties and is from a comments thread discussion the other day. My words will be in regular coloured font with the words that prompted the original response italicized. Without further ado...

At some point, Libertarians need to realize that 45 years of never getting above 1.5% means they are NEVER going to win federal or state elections.

Gary Johnson won 3.27% of the popular vote in 2016.

I double checked and you were right on this.

Three times the previous record by a Libertarian candidate.

You have inadvertently made my point. That in a year like 2016 where both of the dominant parties truly scraped through the bottom of the barrel to nominate ghastly candidates, the Libertarians STILL could not compete. (And they got voters they are not ordinarily gonna get that year such as myself, my spouse, and a few others I managed to persuade not cause I was a huge Gary fan but mainly because the other choices were so damn awful he stood out by default.) The odds are as high as they are that in 2020 Libertarians are back below 1% again as usual no matter whom they nominate. At what point do they conclude that their party is an abysmal failure?

Ross Perot as an independent took 19% in 1992.

I remember that well as I was among the 19%.

There is room for third parties if the media portrays them as viable contenders

Here is the problem: they are not viable contenders. You have to be viable before you can be treated as such. Even the low threshold of 5% to qualify for federal election matching funds: they cannot even clear that. If you cannot even get 5% of the vote, how can anyone seriously consider you a viable candidate?

The only third party in the past 100 years to be viable was the Reform Party in 1992 which at that time consisted of Ross Perot. Because he vaulted above 5%, the Reform Party got federal matching funds to compete in 1996. Running when the economy was good and with a candidate with national recognition heading the ticket, they still could not get traction and slipped to about 8.6% of the vote. They however still cleared 5% so more federal matching funds. They then really got stupid and nominated Pat Buchanan and were destroyed. They still limp on life support to this day but they are functionally dead and irrelevant as a viable third party. No other party of the past hundred years even comes close to the viability that the Reform Party had between 1992 and 1999 and the Libertarians are not based on their history going to buck that trend anytime soon.

and if they are given the opportunity to debate.

Well, if you are not viable, you are not going to be given the opportunity to debate nor should you be. See what I said above about viability.

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The weather cools down
Pumpkins, leaves turn, football games 
Fall is finally here 
[Written just now]


Vatican Signs Potential Historic Deal With China on Bishops

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Monday, September 17, 2018

The one thing Trump can’t sell: A booming economy

For those of the #Trumpidian persuasion who wonder why many others are not so enthusiastic about this president, here is a key example of why: the economy is doing great but the president is ruining a fantastic election message for fall with his usual Twitter bullshit distractions with about seven weeks to go until Election Day 2018.

When you have the law, pound the law and when you have the facts, pound the facts. Its only when you have nothing that you pound the table which is why seeing the president squander a great midterm message to throw red meat at his rubes with his Twitter table pounding is so damn annoying!


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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"There's something about smoking a cigar that feels like a celebration. It's like a fine wine. There's a quality, a workmanship, a passion that goes into the smoking of a fine cigar." [Demi Moore]


Demonization of Nunes Is a Window Into Our Times

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"A good smoker, like a good lover, always takes his time with a cigar." [Guillermo Cabrera Infante]


Pope Francis convokes world-wide meeting of bishops on abuse crisis

Well, something needs to be done. I am admittedly jaded that much will come out of this (as I seriously trust no one on any side of this issue!) but nonetheless I will at least strive to keep an open mind about it.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"Cigar smoking by it's very nature is much more reflective than interactive." [Michael Douglas]


For Preserving the Historical Record:

[Disclaimer: Five weeks ago today, I publicly announced my resignation from the project WherePeterIs in a detailed expository musing. I am with the present posting republishing at this humble weblog that debut column because it was expunged from the website it was originally published on. I am also republishing it because the principles I outlined in it are ones I will expect any future projects I undertake of an ecclesial nature to embody. -SM]

Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness…

“The world is full of people who are bridge destroyers. They want to destroy the bridges that already exist. That’s not me.” [Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Robert F. Taft, SJ]
As an invitation was extended to me to contribute to this project, it seems appropriate to say a bit about myself for those who may not know or who perhaps have forgotten. Along with Pete Vere, I was also once affiliated with the SSPX and we became familiar with one another collaborating on projects in that area as well as a few others. I am almost certain that in discussing my background straddling the eastern and western ecclesial traditions with him that I am at least partially responsible for Pete venturing east in his spiritual journey. (So if for some reason that bothers you, go ahead and blame me!)
Many years ago, I was involved in apologetics but I have been distancing myself from that for about fifteen years now. Fundamentally this was due to the limitations involved in mere apologetics. However, there was also the  factor of too many involved in that endeavour revealing a disturbing degree of intellectual dependence on the Church’s magisterium to try and navigate complex subject matter. There is also an equally disturbing tendency of not a few folks to try and dogmatically impose an artificial uniformity onto others which creates unnecessary divisions. This is hardly in line with “the common saying, expressed in various ways and attributed to various authors…recalled with approval: in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity” (Pope St. John XXIII: Encyclical Letter Ad Petri Cathedram); ergo, I want nothing to do with that crowd.
Among the ecclesial areas I have done a fair amount of study in are the areas not often familiar to apologists or indeed many theologians. For example, what is involved in the principles of authentic dialogue? (It is one thing to throw the term around and another to actually understand what it involves!) What is and is not involved in a magisterial intervention and what is and is not considered (properly speaking) “magisterial”? What are the general norms of theological interpretation involved in properly understanding the theological qualifications of magisterial interventions? What are the situations where someone can take issue with magisterial interventions and the recognized methodology thereof? And furthermore, what sort of spiritual dispositions should be involved in all such endeavours? These are areas worth delving into and are among those I intend to address from time to time here at Where Peter Is.
I have observed over the years that there is a greater frequency of coarseness in discourse in society generally speaking. What is even more disappointing is that I see it just as prominent among Catholics who should know better. To quote the words of a soon-to-be canonized saint, “[i]t would indeed be a disgrace if our dialogue were marked by arrogance, the use of bared words or offensive bitterness” (Bl. Pope Paul VI: Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam). While I will at times bluntly call out such things when I see them, that is as a rule not how I have preferred over the years to go about these or other matters.
I have also seen a growing coarseness in discourse among Catholics with the proliferation of labels intended to stigmatize others. It is my hope that all contributors to Where Peter Is reflect not only on the words I referenced from Pope John XXIII above but also these from Pope Benedict XV and Pope John Paul II:
“[It is] Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as ‘profane novelties of words,’ out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics.” [Pope Benedict XV: Encyclical Letter Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum]
“There must be charity towards one’s partner in dialogue, and humility with regard to the truth which comes to light and which might require a review of assertions and attitudes.” [Pope St. John Paul II: Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint]
To be blunt, most of what passes these days for commentary in virtually any sphere be it political, social, ecclesiastical, or other such areas often does not interest me as I have no patience for the gimmicks of pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists of various stripes. As long as I feel that can be avoided here at Where Peter Is, I will from time to time make contributions to this website. The goal: to help light some candles of greater understanding amongst those of good will who participate on this page or who read the articles posted here by either myself or by others.

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Briefly Addressing the "Republicans Were a Third Party" Nonsense:

Lets deal with this nonsense once and for all as I hear this a lot from Libertarian or other third party pushing sorts.{1} Without further ado...

lincoln was a 3rd party... little tiny rag tag group no one had heard of called the republicans

Actually that's not completely true. Most of the new Republican Party of 1854 was members of the old Whig Party which though they continued until 1860 officially had nonetheless fizzled as a political force by 1852. The rise of the Republican Party from the ashes of the old Whig Party in 1854 was a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act submitted by Stephen Douglass in January of 1854 and being debated in Congress at the time. The 1856 election consisted of the Democrats and two new parties, the Republican Party{2} and the Know Nothing Party.{3} The party you call a "tiny ragtag group no one had heard of" ran their first presidential candidate in 1856{4} and dominated the northern states by 1858. When they won the presidency and the congress in 1860, they were far from a "tiny rag tag group no one had heard of" as you claim. They were also not a 3rd party by any stretch of the imagination at that point -however much that tag may have applied when they were founded.

The 3rd party in 1860 was the Constitutional Union Party. By 1860, the Know Nothing Party had been in decline for five years{5} and had dissolved into a coalition of various factions as one part of the Constitutional Union Party. The Republican Party had become the second party in the United States by 1860 and were not a third party at all.{6}

In short, your attempted example to prove a third party is possible fizzles and fizzles badly. Unless they are replacing a sinking second party, third parties never succeed in American politics.{7} Period.


{1}And yes as I have admitted to in the past, I have on occasion voted third for third party candidates.

{2}Founded in 1854.

{3} Founded in the 1840's but only ran a presidential candidate for the first time in 1852 and performed in the pathetic way third parties tend to.

{4} Tallying 114 out of 296 electoral votes and winning 11 of 30 states.

{5} They were divided sharply over the issue of slavery.

{6} The Constitutional Union Party only got 8 electoral votes and won 1 state dying out in 1861 and was absorbed back into the Democratic Party.

{7} I wish it was otherwise and even at times have been seduced by the idea myself; however, reality is reality on this matter however much one wishes otherwise.

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The Senate Election Map Right Now Courtesy of Real Clear Politics:

37 Safe Democrat Seats, 46 Safe Republican Seats

Likely Dem
MI: Stabenow (D)
PA: Casey (D)
OH: Brown (D)
Safe Dem Seats

Leans Dem
MN2: Smith (D)
NJ: Menendez (D)
WI: Baldwin (D)
WV: Manchin (D)

Toss Up
AZ: Open (R)
FL: Nelson (D)
IN: Donnelly (D)
MO: McCaskill (D)
MT: Tester (D)
NV: Heller (R)
ND: Heitkamp (D)
TN: Open (R)
TX: Cruz (R)

Likely GOP
MS2: Hyde-Smith (R)

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"A good cigar is as great a comfort to a man as a good cry to a woman." [E.G. Bulwer-Lytton Darnley]


A Brief Civics Lesson For #Resistbots...

If by some miracle you were able to see your dream of President Trump both impeached as well as removed from office (or if he were to resign), the succession of the presidency would be as follows:

Vice President Mike Pence
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
Senate Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch

Just so you know...

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Monday, August 27, 2018

To Clarify a Previous Posting:
(On the Death Penalty)

I stated in a recent expository musing on the death penalty and Pope Francis' changes to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) the following words:

As far as capital punishment goes, there have been some developments sure but there has also been agenda driven attempts to force the issue in ways that are both historically untenable as well as theologically problematical. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 21, 2018)]

What I had in mind there was many things but in the back of my mind was something that may be more evident when one looks at the sorts of rare exceptions I have in mind for recourse to the death penalty. To wit:

I can think of a few categories of people who could legitimately circumvent the rubric of mandatory non-bloodless means. Those people are (i) convicted multiple or serial murders, (ii) drug dealers convicted on multiple charges who targeted children, (iii) sexual pedophiles convicted of multiple crimes of pedophilia, (iv) pornographers convicted on multiple charges who targeted children, (v) anyone who engages in or directs violations in the aforementioned areas who is already in prison...

Those who are convicted of drug dealing who have multiple charges of targeting children and convicted sexual pedophiles of multiple crimes of pedophilia are along the lines of my overriding principle of protecting the innocent. Children are the most innocent among us and those who would do this sort of damage to them in their most formative and vulnerable of years deserve the harshest punishment possible for their crimes as Our Lord made clear (Matt 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2). [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa October 27, 2017)]

In short, I find in certain cases very much reason for admissibility of the death penalty and it just so happens to correspond in one area to recent news on the sex abuse front. I have to say that it is impossible for me to not view this latest CCC change as an attempt to cover the asses of prelates who deserve the worst possible punishments for what they did and/or allowed to be done and I am sure life imprisonment will soon be the next "affront to human dignity" coming from these folks as they attempt once again to skirt accountability. But I digress.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"A good smoker, like a good lover, always takes his time with a cigar." [Mark Twain]


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Ocasio-Cortez Mourns Restaurant Driven Out Of Business By Minimum Wage Law She Backs

She is a complete and utter cretin ignorant of the most basic tenets of economics and an embarrassment to sound rational thought!

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Mexican cardinal says abuse victims should think about skeletons in their own closet

Mexican cardinal should be flogged with 50 lashes in the public square!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"A cigar ought not to be smoked solely with the mouth, but with the hand, the eyes, and with the spirit." [Zino Davidoff]


Points to Ponder:

"A cigar numbs sorrow and fills the solitary hours with a million gracious images." [George Sand]



Something is not constitutional or unconstitutional, biblical or unbiblical, orthodox or heretical, impeachable offense or non-impeachable, real news or fake news, etc., based on the personal whims of you people.

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Seahawks defense clearly shifting it’s focus from back to front

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Those who make the PA situation about politics or ideology or use it to try and score cheap apologetics points are themselves part of the problem.

This is a churchwide issue and ALL sectors have their offenders and enablers. Cleaning this up and placing safeguards in place to make future incidents much rarer (if not nonexistent) should be everyone's goal. That means slaying some sacred cows on ALL sides where applicable  and everyone facing the reality that some of their heralded "good guys" will be in the mix as well.

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On Pope Francis, the Catechism, and the Death Penalty:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

I made a point last year to revisit last October in a lengthy expository musing the subject of the death penalty for a couple of reasons. First of all, I had last done so more than a decade prior at that point and considering the long period of time this weblog was mothballed, it seemed appropriate to do so because it was again in the news. The second reason was the talk by Pope Francis of possibly revising the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to take an even more stringent position than the one outlined in the original text of the CCC back in 1992.

Pope John Paul II made the aforementioned change in 1997 when he revised the CCC with the aid of then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) Prefect Cardinal Ratzinger to take a position that presumably was also held by Cardinal Ratzinger when the latter became Pope Benedict XVI. That is where things stood for a good twenty plus years until just a few days ago over a couple of weeks ago. And it would not be an exaggeration to say that my position on the death penalty has evolved a lot from the time when I thought if anything we did not use it nearly enough: a position that I have not held for probably close to twenty years as of this writing. Certainly the archives of this weblog attest to a fairly consistent overall position of mine with regards to this subject much as with virtually all others that I can think of{1} and on the subject of the death penalty, if I was to condense my view of it to a single sentence it would read as follows:

The death penalty should be safe, legal, and rare.{2}

Obviously however one fit that under the rubric of the prior formulation in the CCC, that changed on August 2, 2018 when Pope Francis had his CDF Prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria present a new formulation to replace #2267 in the CCC on the issue of the death penalty. What brought about this writing was a discussion on a Facebook thread of a friend of mine where someone tried to compare what Pope Francis just did to the church's supposed "changed position" on slavery. Or to quote their precise words with the balance of this note comprising my response to them coupled with further points of consideration. To wit:

If the Catholic world and the integrity of doctrine didn’t implode over the evolution of teaching on slavery, then I don’t think it will over the death penalty.

The church's position on slavery is often misunderstood. The prohibition was on chattel slavery, not all forms of slavery indiscriminately. This is why the Holy Office in 1866 proclaimed the following:

"Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons. It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given. The purchaser should carefully examine whether the slave who is put up for sale has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty, and that the vendor should do nothing which might endanger the life, virtue, or Catholic faith of the slave." [Holy Office: Instruction (circa June 20, 1866)]

The condemnations of Vatican II of slavery do not contradict this at all but is nothing more than a reaffirmation of the papal condemnations of chattel slavery issued by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839, Pope Pius VII in 1815, Pope Benedict XIV in 1741, Pope Innocent XI in 1686, Pope Urban VIII in 1639, Pope Gregory XIV in 1591, Pope Paul III in 1537, and Pope Eugene IV in 1435. Vatican II did not proclaim any dogmas{3} or give any indication of condemning slavery except in passing so we cannot under general norms of theological interpretation take such a condemnation any further than was previously the case.

As far as capital punishment goes, there have been some developments sure but there has also been agenda driven attempts to force the issue in ways that are both historically untenable as well as theologically problematical and that does not even get beyond a couple of weak and unsupported claims made by Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae on the matter.{4} But Pope Francis has gone further and his CDF's arguments are even more forced and weak{5} than those from his predecessor because at least Pope John Paul II recognized the long-established principle of recourse to the death penalty even if he argued{6} for minimizing its use dramatically.

But the latest ploy is setting a very bad precedent and makes a mockery of the notion of development of doctrine. In fact, I predict that the same folks who have long argued for life imprisonment of the most serious of offenders (like serial killers) will next #MoveTheGoalposts to claim that life imprisonment is also "contrary to human dignity" and claim this too is because of "development of doctrine" on "human dignity."

To put it bluntly and I take no joy in saying this: I cannot remember ever being profoundly disappointed in Pope Francis before as I am right now. I suppose there is a first for everything.{7}

I do not see at this point what more I can say than what I concluded last year's note with so I will reiterate here in concluding the present posting:

I have some serious questions on whether or not Pope Francis or any of his recent predecessors has/had "taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of [this] question" (cf. Donum Veritatis 24) and with all due respect, until that is squarely faced and dealt with, their absolutist position on the matter is internally contradictory and I cannot pretend it is otherwise.

In accordance with magisterial teaching[...], I do not present my own "opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions" (cf. Donum Veritatis 27). Nor do I go about "giving untimely public expression to them" (cf. Donum Veritatis 27). I strive indeed to be both respectful as well as discreet when publicly saying anything about these matters at all -that is part of the reason why I waited a few weeks for this issue to move out of the headlines before posting this material.

I cannot speak for others but I can say that the tensions between my view and that of Pope Francis "do not spring from hostile and contrary feelings" (cf. Donum Veritatis 27) and I am conscious of a right "to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented" (Donum Veritatis 30). As my prior writings on this matter spanning fifteen odd years should more than adequately demonstrate, I have sought on these as with all pertinent matters "serious study, undertaken with the desire to heed the Magisterium's teaching without hesitation" (Donum Veritatis 31). However, for reasons outlined above, on the issue of the practical stance of recent popes on the death penalty, "[my] difficulty remains because the arguments to the contrary seem more persuasive" (cf. Donum Veritatis 31).

I await such time as Pope Francis or anyone else in the church hierarchy, church theologians, church apologists, etc are willing to deal with the actual sociological and scientific realities on this subject and take them seriously. Until they do, their absolutist position is one which I cannot in conscience give my intellectual assent. I recognize however "the duty to remain open to a deeper examination of the question" (cf. Donum Veritatis 31) and ask of those who espouse the more absolutist position to likewise engage in an "intense and patient reflection on [their] part and a readiness, if need be, to revise [their] own opinions and examine the objections which [their] colleagues might offer [them]" (cf. Donum Veritatis 29). [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 27, 2017)]

Considering what happened the other day a few weeks back, the above material is particularly relevant now.


{1} The number of exceptions to this general rule is very small. I can however offhand think of one such example which I will post here as an exception to the rule:

On the Changing of One's Positions (circa January 31, 2018)

{2} To appropriate the phrase used by not a few pro-abortion advocates.

{3} Though truthfully, the way some folks treat the Second Vatican Council on some matters where it barely said anything at all, you would not know this.

{4} To put it quite bluntly.

{5} They are heavily conjecturally based and therein lies the rub. And before anyone takes issue with my claim, they would do well to consider what the Vatican itself has said about these sorts of interventions:

[I]n order to serve the People of God as well as possible, in particular, by warning them of dangerous opinions which could lead to error, the Magisterium can intervene in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements. It often only becomes possible with the passage of time to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Instruction Donum Veritatis on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, Section 24 (circa May 24, 1990)]

The degree of conjecture on this matter is quite high and therefore of dubious objective validity. Furthermore:

When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question...

Even when collaboration takes place under the best conditions, the possibility cannot be excluded that tensions may arise between the theologian and the Magisterium. The meaning attributed to such tensions and the spirit with which they are faced are not matters of indifference. If tensions do not spring from hostile and contrary feelings, they can become a dynamic factor, a stimulus to both the Magisterium and theologians to fulfill their respective roles while practicing dialogue.

In the dialogue, a two-fold rule should prevail. When there is a question of the communion of faith, the principle of the "unity of truth" (unitas veritatis) applies. When it is a question of differences which do not jeopardize this communion, the "unity of charity" (unitas caritatis) should be safeguarded.

Even if the doctrine of the faith is not in question, the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33 ) . For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them. [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Instruction Donum Veritatis on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, Sections 24-27 (circa May 24, 1990)]

{6} See footnote five.

{7} The material in this note with the exception of the seventh footnote was written and otherwise assembled in the days following the new of the change in the CCC and shortly before the post outlining my public resignation from WherePeterIs. It therefore did not take into account the news involving former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick or the just-released grand jury report from Pennsylvania outlining in lurid detail the pedophilia and systematic coverups that occurred in that dioceses over a seventy-odd year period. Suffice to say, I am even madder at Pope Francis and all church leaders who either engaged in or facilitated by their silence or downright systematical coverups right now than I was when the rest of this note was written.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Miscellaneous Dyspeptic Mutterings:

For those who think the Pennsylvania revelations are somehow curable with a "return to the old ways", restoring the so-called TLM, or other such inanities, etc., explain to me the following please:

--The Holy Office Instruction Crimen Sollicitationis issued in 1962 by Cardinal Ottaviani and approved by Pope John XXIII. (Subtitled On the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of the Crime of Solicitation.)

--The Holy Office Instruction Crimen Sollicitationis issued in 1922 by Cardinal Merry Del Val and approved by Pope Pius XI. (Subtitled On the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of the Crime of Solicitation and more or less identical to the 1962 Instruction.)

--The Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Poenitentiae of Pope Benedict XIV treating on matters of confessional solicitation "lest that which has been given by divine beneficence as a means of rescue of shipwrecked and wretched sinners after the innocence of baptism is lost, results [instead] in woeful destruction through the deceit of demons or the malice of men who use the privileges of God perversely; and so that which has been established by Our Lord, who is rich in compassion, for the salvation and healing of souls not be turned by the execrable improbity of wicked priests toward the ruin and damnation of these souls" (Pope Benedict XIV circa 1741).

--The Brief of Pope Gregory XV issued in 1622 extending a prior Bull of Pope Pius IV (issued prior to 1565 to the Spanish Catholic Church) to the entire church and dealt with "any priests delegated to hear confessions who solicited shameful and dishonourable conduct" (Pope Benedict XIV circa 1741).

We have texts spanning 340 years prior to the Second Vatican Council (where I might add, a planned distribution to the bishops of the 1962 version of Crimen Sollicitationis for some reason never occurred). So kindly explain to me again how returning to "ye good old days" pre-Vatican II is supposed to magically fix things when these texts and their prescriptions were ALL issued back in the "TLM days" and (in the cases of the 1922 and 1962 Instructions) kept ultra secret, not published in the Acta, and were never to be written of or spoken of publicly whatsoever.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Over 300 priests in PA accused of sexual abuse in grand jury report

I am still feeling the effect of yesterday's gut punch on this stuff (to put it mildly).


Politico: There Are No Bombshells About Trump Or His Family On The Tapes Omarosa Has

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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

A Few Points to Note On Elections Special and Otherwise...

I am seeing the usual sorts try to put on the election results whatever spin they feel helps their agenda so lets clear a few things up right now:

1) There is no such thing as a moral victory in elections, only winning and losing. So those who love, hate, or fall somewhere in between on the Trump scale, trying to spin a given election to fit the #narrative you want is what hacks do. A win is a win whether its by 50 votes or 50,000 votes. PERIOD.

2) #Trumpbots, when you crow about a win in a district that favours the party in question, that shows insecurity on your part. Stop it.

3) The party out of power usually wins more seats than not. For that reason, #Resistbots and #NeverTrumpbots need to stop acting as if a win of any given seat or two is necessarily indicative of anything larger on the horizon. Again, the party out of power usually wins more seats than not in midterm environs.

4) Special elections are always unique animals, particularly congressional races. I have seen folks who hate Trump spinning OH-12 as if its a disaster because the GOP candidate did not win by a requisite margin. Likewise, I have seen Trump supporters acting as if winning OH-12 means there is no so-called "Blue Wave" coming and its all #MAGA as far as the eye can see. Its all about feeding a chosen narrative and not seeking to approach these things objectively. I understand there is some elation to get from a win or frustration from a loss but again, special elections are rarely if ever indicative of how the bigger fall elections will go so stop pretending they are on all sides.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Points to Ponder:

Where is it written that one cannot criticize others (even seriously at times) without detesting them as people??? [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 21, 2006)]

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Monday, August 06, 2018

On My Resignation From Where Peter Is, General Concerns For The State Of Public Discourse There and Elsewhere, Etc.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

To begin with, this situation has been on my mind since nearly the very beginning of my involvement at Where Peter Is. And as I sketched some of this out in my introduction column at Where Peter Is (WPI), I will use what I said there to explain why I have decided to with this posting formalize my decision concretely at the present time. To wit:

Many years ago, I was involved in apologetics but I have been distancing myself from that for about fifteen years now. Fundamentally this was due to the limitations involved in mere apologetics. However, there was also the factor of too many involved in that endeavour revealing a disturbing degree of intellectual dependence on the Church’s magisterium to try and navigate complex subject matter. There is also an equally disturbing tendency of not a few folks to try and dogmatically impose an artificial uniformity onto others which creates unnecessary divisions. This is hardly in line with “the common saying, expressed in various ways and attributed to various authors…recalled with approval: in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity” (Pope St. John XXIII: Encyclical Letter Ad Petri Cathedram); ergo, I want nothing to do with that crowd.{1}

What I outlined above are areas that I believe should be well understood by all but indeed they are not. Even among those who can cite the relevant texts, understanding is usually lacking because merely citing a text does not mean its actually understood very well. Much as the Bible is used as a prooftext-fest for not a few of our brethren (separated and otherwise) against one another, the same is the case with magisterial interventions by Catholics. I begin seeing very early on these same problems in the manner whereby WPI was operating. But in keeping with the title of the column{2}, I sought to explain the alternative which is what I intended to focus on after getting my feet wet with a few columns first. I made reference in the inaugural column to both general areas of interest{3} as well as problems I had seen over the years{4} both methodological{5} as well as attitudinal{6} in the various Catholic spheres I had inhabited over the past twenty years. It was hoped that touching on these matters at the get-go could help alert site participants to look for them in their own writings and attitudes but this does not appear to be the case. Therefore, my involvement even as a silent lurker would appear to give a tacit approval to the very same problems I had outlined in the inaugural column.

There is also the issue of the general thrust of the way the site had been operating. Even apart from some of the specific columns that I found profoundly problematical{7} is the general atmosphere as presented on the site and on the message thread. I made my good friend Pete Vere aware of some of these matters very early on in an email communication:

I have been doing a lot of pondering on this writing relationship with the group page Where Peter Is (WPI). When I came aboard, it looked very promising. Since that time, I have only seen things that lessen my motivation for being involved there. I do not like the idea of having to wait for many days for simple columns to post. When I joined that was not an issue but over the past week it has become one. I also do not like basically being told what to write about or when to publish something.
I support Pope Francis but that does not mean I support every sentence that comes unformed from his mouth -particularly when it is in areas that fall outside of his divinely vested competence. However, I also have serious problems with the attitude of so many who take issue in the latter areas in the manner they far too frequently do so. And the free passes folks on all sides give to their chosen comrades to engage in detraction, calumny, and general belittling of chosen "outcasts" while excoriating "the other side" for the same offenses: this too does not meet with my favour.
Also, I am not even remotely interested in the political-themed stuff I am seeing with greater frequency on the group messenger. It is too similar to what I see in virtually every other sphere and as I am reducing significantly my involvement in that stuff in other places, I am hardly going to take on more of it [here]...
It appears that the aim of WPI is to act as a general apologetics site for all things Pope Francis. However, I have no interest in general apologetics whatsoever. It is too simplistic and too divisive. I went over this in the inaugural column so my stance on this should not be surprising. I was also told in a more veiled way that material needs to be shaped for a pro-Francis audience or something like that. I operate under the assumption that the dialogue that Pope Francis and his predecessors have spoke of going back explicitly to the pontificate of Pope Paul VI is one they take seriously and furthermore, that they want Catholics to take part in. I do not see how that can be the case if the goal is just to create an echo chamber of nodding yesfolk who take turns complaining about what the yesfolk of other echo chambers say and vice versa.
This is a serious problem today: too many echo chambers and far too few who try to bridge these chasms in a productive fashion. That is what I saw myself doing as a member of WPI. I am interested in helping build bridges, not helping destroy them. There is a reason I started the inaugural column with that passage from Fr. Taft. I am not interested in creating unnecessary conflict but instead to help find ways to resolve it. It does not seem to me that WPI and I in that respect are on the same page and the goal of members of the former seem to be the antithesis of what I aim to do.{8}

For his own reasons, Pete has decided to part ways with WPI as well as the rest of public social media. Apart from what I thought WPI could be as enunciated in my inaugural column, I got involved in the project to collaborate with an old friend as we used to in the old days when we wrote web content as well as columns for periodical publications. We may be able to resume collaboration in the coming year but obviously that will not be happening at WPI. I therefore for the reasons specified above formally resign from Where Peter Is as of this column's publication and its notation on the messenger thread of its site participants. I thank them for the original opportunity but in the end, it simply is not the right fit for me; therefore, I wish them well and bid them adieu.

“The world is full of people who are bridge destroyers. They want to destroy the bridges that already exist. That’s not me.” [Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Robert F. Taft, SJ]


{1} Excerpt from Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness (circa June 16, 2018)

{2} Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness

{3} Among the ecclesial areas I have done a fair amount of study in are the areas not often familiar to apologists or indeed many theologians. For example, what is involved in the principles of authentic dialogue? (It is one thing to throw the term around and another to actually understand what it involves!) What is and is not involved in a magisterial intervention and what is and is not considered (properly speaking) “magisterial”? What are the general norms of theological interpretation involved in properly understanding the theological qualifications of magisterial interventions? What are the situations where someone can take issue with magisterial interventions and the recognized methodology thereof? And furthermore, what sort of spiritual dispositions should be involved in all such endeavours? These are areas worth delving into... [Excerpt from Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness (circa June 16, 2018)]

{4} I have observed over the years that there is a greater frequency of coarseness in discourse in society generally speaking. What is even more disappointing is that I see it just as prominent among Catholics who should know better. To quote the words of a soon-to-be canonized saint, “[i]t would indeed be a disgrace if our dialogue were marked by arrogance, the use of bared words or offensive bitterness” (Bl. Pope Paul VI: Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam). While I will at times bluntly call out such things when I see them, that is as a rule not how I have preferred over the years to go about these or other matters. [Excerpt from Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness (circa June 16, 2018)]

{5} See the material from footnote one.

{6} I have also seen a growing coarseness in discourse among Catholics with the proliferation of labels intended to stigmatize others. [Excerpt from Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness (circa June 16, 2018)]

I unfortunately in following the private messaging thread of WPI seen this sort of thing proliferate there as well as some of it creep onto the site itself.

{7} It is not my interest to go into this matter in any depth. Suffice to say, I hope bringing this matter to the attention of others on the site will make them more attuned to what they write and the manner in which it is presented in the future.

{8} Excerpts from an Email Correspondence (circa June 24, 2018)

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Points to Ponder:
(This is the conclusion of the series started HERE. Without further ado...)

Love your dad because he’s your father, because he made you, because he thinks for himself, and most of all because he is a person. Have the strength to doubt and question what you believe as easily as you’re so quick to doubt his beliefs. Live with a truly open mind — the kind of open mind that even questions the idea of an open mind. Don’t feel the need to always pick a side. And if you do pick a side, pick the side of love. It remains our only real hope for survival and has more power to save us than any other belief we could ever cling to. [Andrew W.K. (circa August 6, 2014)]

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Sunday, August 05, 2018

Points to Ponder:

I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value. [Alexander Hamilton]


Saturday, August 04, 2018


Though this weblog resumed activity last year, nothing was done about the state of the weblog template in a significant manner.{1} As a result, there was a lot of fat in the side margins from years past of projects previously involved in, old webrolls which were no longer active, duplicate prior post postings, and more or less other general and assorted stuff that was expired or otherwise simply not germane anymore. I have now trimmed things down a lot so the side margin is far less encumbering and much easier to read.


{1} I did make some changes to the template last year but nothing that affected the side margin and addressed the lingering issues there.


Points to Ponder:
(This is a continuation of the series started HERE. Without further ado...)

But the truth is, the world has always been and always will be on the brink of destruction. And what keeps it from actually imploding is our love for life and our deep-seeded desire not to die. Our love for our own life is inextricably connected to our love of all life and the miracle of this phenomenon we call “the world.” We must give all of ourselves credit every day for keeping things going. It’s an incredible achievement to exist at all.

So we must protect and respect each other, no matter how hard it feels. No matter how wrong someone else may seem to us, they are still human. No matter how bad someone may appear, they are truly no worse than us. Our beliefs and behavior don’t make us fundamentally better than others, no matter how satisfying it is to believe otherwise. We must be tireless in our efforts to see things from the point of view we most disagree with. We must make endless efforts to try and understand the people we least relate to. And we must at all times force ourselves to love the people we dislike the most. Not because it’s nice or because they deserve it, but because our own sanity and survival depends on it. And if we do find ourselves pushed into a corner where we must kill others in order to survive, we must fully accept that we are killing people just as fully human as ourselves, and not some evil abstract creatures. [Andrew W.K. (circa August 6, 2014)]

To be continued...

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Thursday, August 02, 2018


Today concluded the fiftieth anniversary of a trilogy of cartoons that involved Franklin's first appearances in the comic strip Peanuts. That this sort of thing would have ever been controversial shows us how far we have come. A Twitter comment on the third strip saying "this wounds my heart with its care, its love, its gentle sadness, and the fact that it feels just as important today as it did fifty years ago" tells us how far we still have to go...

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Tomorrow starts August and the time of year where not a few Catholic sorts who live in a fantasyland rather than reality will publicly engage in a masturbatory ritual of anachronistically virtue signalling their ignorance about certain long ago war events as a way of trying to appear More Virtuous Than Thou.

Hopefully we see less of it this year for a change...

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Points to Ponder:
(This is a continuation of the series started HERE. Without further ado...)

At its best, politics is able to organize extremely complex world views into manageable and communicable systems so they can be grappled with and studied abstractly. But even the most noble efforts to organize the world are essentially futile. The best we can usually achieve is a crude and messy map of life from one particular vantage point, featuring a few grids, bullet points, and sketches of its various aspects and landmarks. Anything as infinitely complex as life, reality, and the human experience can never be summed up or organized in a definitive system, especially one based on “left or right,” “A or B,” “us or them.” This is the fatal flaw of binary thinking in general. However, this flaw isn’t just ignored, it’s also embraced, amplified, and deliberately used as a weapon on the very people who think it’s benefiting their way of thinking.

Human beings crave order and simplicity. We cling to the hope that some day, if we really refine our world view and beliefs, we can actually find the fully correct way to think — the absolute truth and final side to stand on. People and systems craving power take advantage of this desire and pit us against each other using a “this or that” mentality. The point is to create unrest, disagreement, resentment, and anger — a population constantly at war with itself, each side deeply believing that the other is not just wrong, but also a sincere threat to their very way of life and survival. This creates constant anxiety and distraction — the perfect conditions for oppression. The goal of this sort of politics is to keep people held down and mesmerized by a persistent parade of seemingly life-or-death debates, each one worth all of our emotional energy and primal passion...[Andrew W.K. (circa August 6, 2014)]

To be continued...

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Protip: Anyone arguing in support of "Medicare for All" is telling you, in no uncertain terms, that they have no idea how the real world works.
9:42 AM · Jul 30, 2018

Some take issue with the claim that no one who thinks there is universal health care anywhere knows how the real world works so to clarify...

Where America is not subsidizing the defense of other nations, the answer is no.

There are some nations which who are skimping on their nations defense budgets as well as their NATO obligations who do but even in those glorified welfare cases, their systems are either in financial dire straits or are going bankrupt.

Hopefully this clarification helps...

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Points to Ponder:
(This is a continuation of the series started HERE. Without further ado...)

When we lump people into groups, quickly label them, and assume we know everything about them and their life based on a perceived world view, how they look, where they come from, etc., we are not behaving as full human beings. When we truly believe that some people are monsters, that they fundamentally are less human than we are, and that they deserve to have less than we do, we ourselves become the monsters. When we allow our emotions to be hypnotized by the excitement of petty bickering about seemingly important topics, we drift further and further away from the fragile and crucial human bond holding everything together. When we anticipate with ferocious glee the next chance we have to prove someone “wrong” and ourselves “right,” all the while disregarding the vast complexity of almost every subject — not to mention the universe as a whole — we are reducing the beauty and magic of life to a “side” or a “type,” or worst of all, an “answer.” This is the power of politics at it’s most sinister... [Andrew W.K. (circa August 6, 2014)]

To be continued...

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EDITORIAL: Oh, the irony: Democrats in deep blue states sue to protect the rich

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

In defense of Trump’s foreign policy

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I am starting to think that between #AlwaysTrump and #NeverTrump that I am becoming more annoyed with the latter than the former these days.

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Trump's Art Of The (Trade) Deal: U.S.-EU Trade War Averted — For Now

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I discovered last night that an old friend had passed away a few years back and I was unaware of it. Rest in Peace F. John Loughnan and thank you for your help with project editing and other matters in years gone by.

You will be remembered often in prayer.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Points to Ponder:
(This is a continuation of the series started HERE. Without further ado...)

Go back and read the opening sentences of your letter. Read them again. Then read the rest of your letter. Then read it again. Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn’t one. You’ve reduced your father — the person who created you — to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don’t consider your dad a person of his own standing — he’s just “your dad.” You’ve also reduced yourself to a set of opposing views, and reduced your relationship with him to a fight between the two. The humanity has been reduced to nothingness and all that’s left in its place is an argument that can never really be won. And even if one side did win, it probably wouldn’t satisfy the deeper desire to be in a state of inflamed passionate conflict.

The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen... [Andrew W.K. (circa August 6, 2014)]

To be continued...

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I await the usual "its not real socialism/communism" claims from the usual gang of idiots on this kind of stuff...

Ortega’s Reign of Terror

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'Welcome to hell.' Former Venezuelan political prisoner says he was tortured in jail

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Just as Finkle is Einhorn (and Einhorn is Finkle), Podesta is Manafort. Ergo, the idea of giving immunity to Tony Podesta of all people fundamentally undermines the idea that the Muller investigation is anything resembling an honest and impartial investigation as opposed to a partisan fishing expedition and witch hunt.

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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 both 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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