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:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[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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