Saturday, August 29, 2015

Catholicism, Clarity, and the Gay Problem

Joseph Sciambra: How Our Lord Jesus Christ Saved Me From Homosexuality, Pornography, and the Occult: Catholicism, Clarity, and the Gay Problem: An Answ...:
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Catholicism, Clarity, and the Gay Problem: An Answer to Dr. Janet Smith and the Current Courage Confusion

“We must search for the laws of its simplicity and clarity, for its power and authority, so as to overcome our natural lack of skill in the use of the great and mysterious spiritual instrument of speech and to enable us worthily to compete with those who today exert so much influence through their word by having access to the organs of public opinion.” ~ Encyclical Letter on the Ways in which the Church Must Carry Out its Mission in the Contemporary World, His Holiness Pope Paul VI (Promulgated on August 6, 1964)

Along with most of my friends, I grew up a lost and confused little boy in the 1970s; nothing seemed certain back then, not even my tenuous ideas about God. Just this year, Cardinal Wuerl of Washington DC had this to say about that indecisive time: “When I was a young priest in the 1960s and 1970s, there was much experimentation and confusion in the Church. Teachers and clergy were encouraged by some to communicate an experience of God’s love, but to do it without reference to the Creed, the sacraments, or Church tradition. It did not work very well. Catholics grew up with the impression that their heritage was little more than warm, vaguely positive feelings about God.”During the same period, I distinctly recall a priest at school saying that “good” Catholics questioned everything about the Church; a catechism teacher taught that God never judged us; another said that matters of right and wrong were exclusively determined by our personal conscious. Yet, inside, I always felt that there was something distinctly amiss, because – I was attracted to other boys. This was a rather universal phase of suffering and denial that I found widely experienced by the majority of those I later got to know as a gay man. As I subsequently learned, most of us grew up seriously lacking: a secure male figure in our lives, a feeling of masculine assurance, or even the basic sense of personal safety. Therefore, with the Church offering nothing of substance – most of us looked for answers elsewhere. Then, the only confident solidity seemed to emanate from pop-culture and the burgeoning gay rights movement. To a lonely kid confused about his emotions, the masculine solidarity displayed by The Village People broached the senses as a near heavenly vision rivaling an angelic choir. Suddenly though, disco was dead as AIDS seemed to destroy that near nirvana of gay liberation. Yet, in the midst of it all, a new Madonna signaled a return to confidence through the ritual of “safe sex.” Yet, it all came crashing down – and hundreds of thousands would die. But, what went so horribly wrong? 

Interestingly enough, during my entire stay in the gay lifestyle, my closest friends were all men who had been raised Catholic. Even though there was a nearby “gay-affirming” Catholic parish, to varying degrees, we had all pretty much left behind that part of ourselves. The one hold-out, an always serious guy who became obsessed with John Boswell’s book about early-Christian same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. As for the rest of us, our lack of interest had less to do with any conscious decision to leave the religion of our youth, but in a growing awareness of its own ineffectuality. Even John Paul II admitted that many were led astray: “One must be realistic and acknowledge with a deep and pained sentiment that a great part of today’s Christians feel lost, confused, perplexed, and even disillusioned: ideas contradicting the revealed and unchanging Truth have been spread far and wide; outright heresies in the dogmatic and moral fields have been disseminated, creating doubt, confusion, and rebellion…”* With regards to homosexuality itself, the Church acknowledged that: “an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good.” And, though we rarely discussed it, each of us could vividly recall experiences with priests that ranged from dead silence at the mere mention of our orientation to something resembling envious admiration. I will never forgot how, during a failed dinner party intervention organized by my parents, the slightly tipsy priest they invited to set their wayward son on the right path – patted me on the back and said I was doing just fine; in reality, things had gotten pretty dark for me and I wasn’t doing fine at all, but, at that time, being gay was the only life I knew. As a result, overall, the Church seemed indecisive and confused. Therefore, we took none of them seriously. To us, the inevitability of another Madonna pop hit, the feeling of euphoria experienced on the dance floor when surrounded by a hundred near naked sweating guys, and the caress of another man – those things were real, they were tangible; the Church was a meaningless bloated entity filled with bickering eunuchs. Protected within their convoluted bubble of endless insular “dialogue;” why should we pay them any attention? Looking back, even twenty years later, it’s still difficult to recall what happened to those lost Catholic boys I once knew: by 1998, they were all dead. The hardest one to understand – the death of my bookish friend who always seemed to reach for the highest moral plane then available to a gay man: he eventually settled down with a life-partner, only to become HIV+.

Somehow, I barely survived and after a decade of living as an unapologetic gay man, the bottom (literally) feel out of my world. Too sick to even crawl, I was carried away to a place of safety; at the time, I was anemic from years of continuous rectal bleeding, my anus had recently prolapsed, my immune system was shot from too many antibiotic cycles that were becoming increasingly ineffective against a repeated string of STD infections, at 29, I had lost my looks and no longer existed at the center of attention in the bars and discos, but found myself relegated to the periphery – haunting the darkened and seedy halls and lavatories of the sex-clubs and bathhouses. Most of my friends had since died of AIDS – so, I had little left to live for. Only, for some reason I couldn’t even begin to comprehend, the Lord took pity on me; and, as he did with the woman caught in adultery, not to mention the countless other social rejects, lepers and hopeless demoniacs – He said little, but He saved my life with a simple gesture of kindness: sending away those who sought my destruction and forgiving me of my sins; instantly dispelling confusion with the promise of healing.

Later, during those first initial months after my rescue, I was immensely curious about everything related to Christ. All I knew was that somehow this strange man cared about me; but He remained completely mysterious. But, I didn’t know what to do next; as for the Catholic Church – I was rather terrified, would another priest patronize me and send me back to the Castro. Then, rather miraculously, I spotted the heavily sun-bleached spin of a book hidden amongst the numerous editions scattered casually on my mother’s bookshelf: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church.” A substantial volume, it felt sold and real in my hand. That first time I picked it up, I swiftly turned to those pages having to do with homosexuality; initially, seeing the rather short paragraphs, my first thought was: “Out of this thick book – That’s it!” But then I read through them: “grave depravity,” “objectively disordered,” “intrinsically disordered;” I said to myself – “Okay…Maybe a little difficult to comprehend at first, but it felt genuine and strong.” It was clear, simple, and the Truth. I took the book back to bed and slept with it for weeks on end. And, here I was lying upon my often blood-stained sheets, awaiting to go through a series of painful surgeries that would hopefully repair my damaged lower digestive tract, and the more I thought about it, I became convinced and I understood just how “disordered” I once was; part of the confusion that permanently marked so much of my past began to dissipate. Because, from that point onward, in my own ravaged body - I could plainly see in the mirror where confusion had brought me. What I found vastly more difficult to recognize and understand was how and why I became so open to disorder. For those physical wounds seeped and constantly drained blood, but the mental ones – though just as serious and painful, were buried within me. As a result, I grew conflicted. Almost on a daily basis, I wavered in between the worlds of solidity, represented by “The Catechism” and the more shadowy realm of conflict ruled by my still unresolved emotions. At an impasse, I self-resolved the problem: I could be chaste, but I was still gay; I may have been hurt, but I wasn’t broken.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, there appeared a newly ordained priest. I inadvertently met him while apparently happy and content with being Catholic, gay, and chaste. Only, he could see through all that. By then, the physical wounds were healing. But to those with a unique perception, a “discernment of spirits,” I still looked battered and bruised; I looked confused. When I introduced myself to him, he said only a few words, but was so kind and unassuming that I immediately wanted to trust him. However, I got sort of worried when he asked if he could pray over me. The years of confusion and uncertainty about the Church had built up a wall of suspicion around me, but, for some unknown reason – I calmly said: “Okay.” Part of my acceptance was that he also reminded me somewhat of Pope John Paul II; again, through “The Catechism,” my one lifeline to the Faith, and then George Weigel’s book, I began to appreciate this solidly built and immovably steadfast man; reading the immense biography – I cheered inside when the supremely masculine John Paul shut down “dialogue” amongst those constantly pushing for the ordination of women; it was a consummate triumph of order over confusion. In a strange way, this priest did the same – making me feel at ease while calmly turning off my relentlessly distracting inner-chatter. Away from everyone else, in a small room, only assisted by his biological father, the priest I had known for barely five minutes, put a stole over his head and began to pray. Next, for some reason, which I did not understand, he placed the end of the stole on my shoulder and I immediately fell to the floor; all at once, some unseen force was pulling my head from side to side and in between the weird grunts and barks that emanated from my mouth – I begged Father to help me; without hesitating, he kept praying. This went on for a while, but Father didn’t stop praying for a single moment. Slowly, whatever entity that still resided within me, the clinging spirit of my persistent confused gay self, was pulled out and finally expelled. It was over. 

At one time, confusion sent me to the gay lifestyle; now, it was the simple strength of clarity, represented in this humble and faithful priest, which decisively brought me out once and for all. And, this is always what the Church has done best, as Christ Himself did, taking in the diseased, the unwanted, and the disregarded of the world – healing them, casting out demons, and imparting the simple message of Faithfulness and Love; bringing peace to lives of the confounded; most famously, even widely known among those without a Christian mindset, this idea is found in the axiom attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel - use words only if necessary;” what he more accurately said was this: “I also admonish and exhort these brothers that, in their preaching, their words be well chosen and chaste... in a discourse that is brief, because it was in few words that the Lord preached while on earth.” Nevertheless, the message is clear, truly exemplified in a once disoriented libertine who dared to comfort and tend the wounds of the broken, the poor, and the outcast. This exact sentiment was picked up hundreds of years later by Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “Spread the love of God through your life but only use words when necessary.” As Pope Paul VI stated, it’s this “search…for simplicity and clarity” in both words, and in actions, that Saved me; in opposition – the lack or absence of clarity breeds confusion, and, in the case of those I knew – death. 

Sadly, many have gotten away from the simple message of healing and the simplicity of Christ’s Love for each of us; at a recent event: the conference “Accompanying and Welcoming Our Brothers and Sisters with Same-Sex Attraction,” jointly sponsored by the Archdiocese of Detroit and Courage International, a message of confusion has overshadowed the Truth and the fate of souls hangs in the balance. In fact, one of the organizers, Dr. Janet E. Smith, stated: “We knew there was a risk of some confusion arising, but we thought the risk worth it.” First of all, as someone who was once extremely confused about what the Church taught with regards to homosexuality, an especially heady problem in the days before the publication of “The Catechism,” I find her willingness to admit the reality of “confusion arising” and her complicity to just letting it happen, extremely alarming. Because, we must never lose sight of the fact that precious lives are always at stake: what we say, how we openly dialogue, or what we publicly discuss, does not remain in some academic vacuum far removed from the everyday struggles of gay men and women; someone is listening, and someone is being affected. For instance, the priest who essentially told me to go back to the gay lifestyle, in essence – he could have been telling me to jump into the grave, in retrospect, used a rhetoric highly influenced by the teachings of dissident former pro-gay priest Fr. John McNeill; through the years, no matter what else may have transpired with McNeill or the Church, those words survived. As will the current batch of misunderstandings and out-right departures represented by Eve Tushnet and Joseph Prever who inexplicably claim that being gay and Catholic is not an oxymoron; to help in their dispersion while acknowledging that they may cause “confusion,” is reckless at best, and, at its worst, sacrifices a few lives in the interest of intellectual curiosity. Secondly, Dr. Smith also feels that in her estimation, the risk of causing such confusion is “worth it.” Dear Dr. Smith, is it worth sacrificing one human life? And, who are you to make that determination? Because this isn’t just about simply: “listening carefully and charitably to those with whom we dialogue,” and it’s not about some theoretical exercise by which: “we wanted to establish the nonnegotiable foundational principles of Christian anthropology,” it’s about gay men becoming infected with a non-curable disease and dying as a result. What you are doing isn’t benefiting anyone, and words and ideas have consequences; my generation and I had to find that out the hard way. 

Since this nightmare began, in the US alone: over 300,000 gay men have died from AIDS. Isn’t that enough? Or do we need to slaughter more upon the altar of confusion? Shame on you Janet Smith, because you should know better. This argument is over, the “dialogue” is over, and, the confusion is over. It’s not worth it. One memory, I will always take with me – a dear friend dying of AIDS who looked up at me and said: “It wasn’t worth it.” “It wasn’t worth it.” As for the rest of my poor dead friends, and all those who lost their lives because of confusion, I think God will look kindly and mercifully upon them, because they “were but a few of the beaten and butchered and betrayed.” 

I have addressed this problem twice before, read:

* (L’Osservatore Romano, February 7, 1981).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Does the Bible Tolerate Hateful Words?

August 26, 2015 - By Community in Mission:

Was Jesus Intolerant? “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil?” Matthew 12:34
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord warns of using uncivil and/or hateful words such as “Raqa” and “fool.” And yet the same Lord Jesus often used very strong language toward some of His opponents, sometimes calling them names such as vipers and hypocrites.
We live in a world that often insists on the use of gentle language and euphemisms. While doing so is not a bad thing, we also tend to manifest a kind of thin-skinned quality and a political correctness that is too fussy about many things, often taking personally what is not meant personally.
What is the overall teaching of Scripture when it comes to this sort of colorful language? Are there some limits and ground rules? Let’s take a look.
The word “civility” dates back to the mid-16th century and has an older meaning that referred to one who possessed the quality of having been schooled in the humanities. In academic settings, debate (at least historically) was governed by a tendency to be nuanced, careful, cautious, formal, and trained in rhetoric. Its rules often included referring to one’s opponents with honorary titles (Doctor, Professor, etc.) and euphemisms such as “my worthy opponent.” Hence as the word has entered into common usage, it has come to mean speech or behavior that is polite, courteous, gentle, and measured.
As one might guess, there are a lot of cultural variances in what is considered to be civil. And this insight is very important when we look at the biblical data on what constituted civil discourse. Frankly, the biblical world was far less dainty about discourse than we have become in 21st-century America. The Scriptures, including the New Testament, are filled with vigorous discourse. Jesus, for example, really mixes it up with His opponents—even calling them names. We shall see more of this in a moment. But the Scriptures also counsel charity and warn of unnecessarily angry speech. In the end, a balance of the scriptural witness to civility must be sought along with an appreciation of the cultural variables at work.
Let’s examine a few of the texts that counsel charity as well as a modern and American notion of civility:
Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips (Eccl 10:12).
The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools (Eccles 9:17).
Anyone who says to his brother, “Raqa” is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell (Matt 5:22).
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Eph 4:29).
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged (Col 3:21).
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be (James 3:9-10).
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt (Col 4:6).
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thess 5:11).
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Col 3:8).
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Rom 14:19).
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother (Gal 6:1). .
Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort [the repentant sinner], so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow (2 Cor 2:7).
All these texts counsel a measured, charitable, and edifying discourse. Name-calling and hateful or unnecessary expressions of anger are out of place. And this is a strong biblical tradition, especially in the New Testament.
But there are also strong contrasts to this instruction evident in the Bible. And a lot of it comes from an unlikely source: Jesus. Paul too, who wrote many of the counsels above, often engages in strident denunciations of his opponents and even members of the early Church. Consider some of the passages below, first by Jesus, then by Paul and other Apostles:
Jesus said, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?” (Matthew 12:34)
And Jesus turned on them and said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. “Woe to you, blind guides! … You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. … You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. … And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matt 23 varia)
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. … You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. … He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8:42-47).
Jesus said, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6).
And Jesus answered them, O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long must I tolerate you? (Mark 9:19)
Jesus said to the disciples, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:11)
Jesus said to the crowd, “I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts” (Jn 5:41-42).
So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables (John 2:15).
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70)
Paul: O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth … As for those circumcisers, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! (Galatians 3, 5)
Paul against the false apostles: And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Cor 11:11-14).
Paul on the Cretans: Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith (Titus 1:12-13).
Peter against dissenters: Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings…these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. … They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. … They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! … Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud” (2 Peter 2, varia).
Jude against dissenters: These dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings….these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; … These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. … These men are grumblers and fault finders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage (Jude 1:varia).
Now most of the passages above would violate modern norms about civil discourse.Are they sinful? They are God’s word! And yet they seem rather shocking to modern ears. Imagine getting into your time machine and going to hear Jesus denounce the crowds and calling them children of the devil. It really blows a 21st-century mind!
I want to suggest to you that these sorts of quotes go a long way toward illustrating the cultural dimension of what it means to be civil. The bottom line is that there is a great deal of variability in what people consider civil discourse. In some cultures there is a greater tolerance for anger. In New York and Boston, edgy comments and passionate interruptive debate are common. But in the upper-Midwest and parts of the Deep South, conversation is more gentle and reserved.
At the time of Jesus, angry discourse was apparently more “normal,” for as we see, Jesus Himself engages in a lot of it, even calling people names like “hypocrites,” “brood of vipers,” “liars,” and “wicked.” Yet the same Scriptures that record these facts about Jesus also teach that He never sinned. Hence at that time, the utterance of such terms was not considered sinful.
Careful, now—be careful here. I am not saying it is OK for us to talk like this because Jesus did. We do not live then; we live now; and in our culture such dialogue is almost never acceptable. There ARE cultural norms we have to respect to remain in the realm of Charity. Exactly how to define civility in every instance is not always clear. An old answer to these hard-to-define things is “I know it when I see it.” So perhaps it is more art than science to define civility. But clearly we tend to prefer gentler discourse in this day and age.
On the other hand, as already observed, we also tend to be a little thin-skinned and hyper-sensitive. And the paradoxical result of insisting on greater civility is that we are too easily “outraged” (one of the more overused words in English today). We take offense where none is intended and we presume that the mere act of disagreeing is somehow arrogant, intentionally hurtful, or even hateful. We seem so easily provoked and so quick to be offended. All of this escalates anger further, and charges of hate and intolerance are launched back and forth when there is merely sincere disagreement.
Balance – The Scriptures give us two balanced reminders. First, that we should speak the truth in love, and with compassion and understanding. But it also portrays to us a time when people had thicker skin and were less sensitive and anxious in the presence of disagreement. We can learn from both biblical traditions. The biblical formula seems to be “clarity” with “charity,” the truth with a balance of toughness and tenderness. An old saying comes to mind: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.”

Black Lives Don't Matter: No Lives Matter When Life Is Not Sacred

Black Lives Don't Matter: No Lives Matter When Life Is Not Sacred

Star Parker8/26/2015 12:01:00 AM - Star Parker

Video number eight from the Center for Medical Progress has been released, containing segments of material from its previous seven videos, depicting Planned Parenthood's gruesome commerce in infant body parts.
This includes commerce in intact cadavers. One segment shows an executive of one of its client firms laughing about it.

This latest video has provoked a new round of demonstrations by thousands across the nation to continue to raise awareness about the sickening, inhumane, and yes, uncivilized behavior that is tolerated in our nation. And even more unbelievably, that taxpayer funds (more than $500 million dollars annually) are funneled to Planned Parenthood, which conducts this activity.

How do we, with any seriousness, have discussions in America about fairness, about decency, as our tax dollars go to the nation's largest abortion provider -- 327,653 done in its fiscal year 2014 -- which then engages in trade in the remains of these infants?
By what standard can Americans speak about social justice? What is right? What is wrong?
It seems to have evaded many American minds that we have two choices about where to turn to get our standards for truth: either traditional Biblical sources or popular culture and politicians.

No people in America have suffered more as result of turning moral standards over to the nation's political class than blacks. Yet blacks, despite on average having the highest church attendance in the country, continue to allow politicians to define morality.

The Black Lives Matter movement is supposedly about social justice. Their supporters express outrage at the sentiment that "all lives matter," claiming this denigrates and trivializes the unfair treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system.

But how do you define fair or unfair behavior toward particular lives in a society that politicizes the most serious questions concerning life itself?

Let's wind back the clock a few years to August 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama, Democrat candidate for president of the United States, sat in Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, and was asked by Pastor Warren, "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?"
Obama's reply: "Well, you know, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective, or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."

A man who has no absolute standard for defining the onset of life has been elected twice as America's president, with 95 percent of blacks voting for him.
And we wonder why the country is confused? Blacks wonder why justice is politicized and unfair? Fair based on what? What a politician decides?

According to the Center for Disease Control, 36.2 percent of abortions in 2011 were performed on black women, about 3 times the percentage of black women in the female population. estimates that there have been 16 million black abortions since 1973. It seems blacks themselves have decided that black life is cheap.

In 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, around 55 percent of black adults were married. By 2010, this was down to 32 percent. In 1970, around 30 percent of black women who gave birth did so out of wedlock. By 2010, this was up to 72.5 percent.
The politicization of truth, of absolutes about right and wrong, has taken a toll on all of America. But like all problems in the country, blacks are hit the hardest.

Want to make America great again? Restore our culture as one of personal responsibility. All lives will matter when we restore our national respect for the mystery and sanctity of life.
Begin by ending the outrage of U.S. taxpayer funds going to Planned Parenthood, supporting the most degrading, dehumanizing, uncivilized activities that the human mind can imagine. Doing so will demonstrate that Americans can once again respect themselves and as a result, respect each other.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ashley Madison and the Sin Trap - Aleteia

Ashley Madison and the Sin Trap - Aleteia

Oh, how their hearts must have raced when they looked over their shoulders, called up the Ashley Madison website, and began their adventures in adultery.
“Thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands signup everyday looking for an affair,” said the site. “With our affair guarantee package we guarantee you will find the perfect affair partner.”
My, how their blood must have run cold in their veins when they read the announcement hackers made after infiltrating the site:
“We will release all customer records,” said the warning, “including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies.”
Thus has it ever been with sin: It begins with a tantalizing promise of secrecy and excitement. It ends helpless in the icy grip of unforgiving reality.
But before we feel too proud that we are not on the Ashley Madison’s servers, here are lessons we can all learn from the incident.

1. There is no such thing as a private sin.
Subway pitchman Jared Fogle experienced the same thing Ashley Madison clients did. He started out by secretly seeking out ways to prey on underage girls; he ended disgraced in headlines and stuck in prison.
Think of all the damage private sins have done: Gary Hart lost his career; Tiger Woods lost his family; and lest we forget it, the Catholic hierarchy lost the respect of many because of the not-so-secret sins of priests.
They all learned that their sins are never truly private.

No man is an island; our behavior affects others whether we like it or not. It affects them directly, when they are our victims or collaborators — or indirectly, because sin changes our behavior and changes how we interact with others.

2. Sin is a trap with irresistible bait.
The devil’s second biggest lie — after the lie that he doesn’t exist — is that sin is freeing. In fact, choosing to sin diminishes or stops our freedom altogether.
Josh Duggar, one of the Ashley Madison clients outed by hackers, shared an important spiritual lesson he learned from the experience: “We have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences.”
Sin not only puts us at the mercy of our consequences; “Sin creates a proclivity to sin,” as the Catechism  puts it (No. 1865).
Committing a sin doesn’t get sin “out of our system.” It puts sin “into our system.”
It pulls us forward from one sin to the next by a logic that is no longer our own but belongs, according to St. Ambrose, to “the wiles of your adversary the devil … who is accustomed to leading into sin.”
He still favors the tactic he used in the Garden of Eden: He offers us something that is a “delight to the eyes” and “desirable for wisdom,” and then grabs us and won’t let go, once we reach for it.
In fact, this is so common that it can be used to sum up the human condition …
3. Sin is our default position; we have to battle to be good.
We often make the great error of thinking we are basically good guys who occasionally surprise God and ourselves by sinning. Religious people are especially prone to this error. We think serious sin is something that other people fall prey to. We are the holy ones. We know better than them.
Not so.

Adam and Eve brought “triple concupiscence” into the world with their sin. For the first time, after the apple, Adam stopped looking at Eve as a helpmate and started plotting how he might use her for pleasure, how he might control her, and how to make sure she didn’t take his stuff.
Ever since then we have been fascinated by pleasure, money and power—and by playing on this weakness, “the devil has acquired a certain domination over man” says the Catechism (No. 407). 
Vatican II’s Gaudiem et Spes uses intense—and intensely depressing—language to talk about sin in our lives:   “The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day.    Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.”    We are, in fact, helpless in the face of sin.  The only way to keep clear of it is by attaching ourselves to Jesus Christ, who conquered it, and his mother, who kept it at bay her whole life.       In fact, the Church has made the Lord’s prayer and the Hail Mary the most common prayers in our lives for a reason:    They are sinners’ prayers for freedom in duress.    So before we take too much pride in the fact that we, at least, have escaped the headline-grabbing sins of the day, we should realize that it is only a few short steps—a couple of clicks of the mouse—from where we are now to where Ashley Madison’s customers are today.     Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Catholic Church Condemns Socialism

The Vatican ^ | 5/15/1891 | The Vatican 
Posted on October 24, 2008 12:20:42 PM 
And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. 
Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonwealth. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...
2. It’s not just abortion that should drive Catholics away from Obama.
Many people are not aware that the Catholic Church also opposes socialism and mandated wealth redistribution for 3 main reasons:
1. It robs the lawful posessor of the wealth (stealing) 
2. It hurts the recipient in the end (they should be entitled to hope for and to keep whatever wealth they acquire too) 
3. It distorts the role of the state
On the last point, the Church teaches the principle of subsidiarity, which is that higher levels of community, such as the state, should only perform functions not better performed by lower levels of community, such as families and charities.
The church teaches that the wealthy have an obligation to the poor, but that this is a PERSONAL DUTY, not something the state should mandate or control. Furthermore, the oblication should be personal in nature (ie, get involved), whereas state programs separate the giver from the receiver.
The church discourages class welfare and contends that envy of the rich is a violation of the 9th commandment.
Furthermore, the poor are told “to have nothing to do with men of evil principles, who work upon the people with artful promises of great results, and excite foolish hopes which usually end in useless regrets and grievous loss.”
Don’t beleive me, read “Rerum Novarum”, which is the papal encyclical that lays these positions out. Think it is irrelevant to today, know that John Paul II wrote an encyclical in 1991 affirming Rerum Novarum and went on to explicitly condemn the “Social Assistance State”. 

3. More on Catholic teachings against socialism.
“Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected….By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood
and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need.”
John Paul II, From Centesimus Annus, Encyclical on 100th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, 1991
4. that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation.
Well said. Communism is nothing more than equality at the lowest common denominator. 

4.The church discourages class welfare and contends that envy of the rich is a violation of the 9th commandment.
Covetousness is the basis for class envy and coerced wealth redistribution. Socialism/marxism is founded in sin.
The teaching has been around for 117 years. I posted it in news partly out of humor and partly to underscore the fact that most people are truly unaware of Catholic Church fundamental teachings (including many Catholics.)
I got tired of hearing the “I’m voting for Obama because he wants to help people” argument from Catholics, as if abortion was the only, albeit extremely important, difference.
I agree the lines have been blurred from the pulpit; however, I think that is relatively exclusive to America, especially in reponse to some of the times where we’ve lost our Christian restraint on Capitalism. In countries where socialism has flourished, I believe you’ll find the Church on the side of human freedom.
Be sure to read the whole “article”, written by Pope Leo XIII in the 1890s. It’s several pages of Victorian Vaticanese translated to English from the original Latin, but well worth the effort. Very little of it is in any way peculiarly Catholic; any Christian of good will can and should feel free to make use of it.
6.The following is reprinted, with permission, from the volume, "Our Ageless Constitution," 1987 Bicentennial Edition, and summarizes America's founding principle which formed the basis for our constitutional protections. Perhaps, without knowing it, "Joe . . ." has opened up a dialogue on a subject that is overdue for public discussion, inasmuch as textbooks and discussions in the public square have not contrasted the real difference between American liberty and the tyranny of other ideas.

Private Property Rights

- A basic Premise Of America's Constitution
Tired of having the fruits of their labors confiscated by an overpowering British government, America's Founders declared themselves free and independent.
Most American schoolchildren can recite their claim that ". all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ... to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Less familiar, however, are these lines from their Declaration of Independence:
"He ( King George III ) has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance .... He has combined with others to subject us, ... imposing taxes on us without our consent."
What, then, did the Founders consider to be the real cornerstone of man's liberty and happiness? On what basic premise did they devise their Constitution? Let them speak for themselves:
 Their guiding principle was that people come together to form governments in order to SECURE their rights to property - not to create an entity which wilt, itself, "take from the mouths of labor the bread it has earned." What was wrong for individual citizens to do to one another, they believed, was equally wrong for government to do to them.
The right to own property and to keep the rewards of individual labor opened the floodgates of progress for the benefit of the entire human race. Millions have fled other countries to participate in the Miracle of America.


Blessed Pius IX: Death and Miracles--A FOE OF LIBERALISM

Blessed Pius IX----Death and Miracles

Compiled by Catholic Family News
Editor's note: December 8, 2014 marked the 100th Anniversary of Blessed Pius IX's magnificent Syllabus of Errors. Catholic Family News is marking this entire year with articles on the Syllabus, Pius IX, Quanta Cura and related topics (see reference to our special edition of CFN, December, 2014). 

“They write that I am tired,” said Pius IX fives weeks before his death. “They are right. I am tired of so much iniquity and discord.” 
The date was December 29, 1877. In what would be his final Consistory, the 85-year-old Pius IX continued, “I am tired of seeing religion attacked every day. I am above all tired of seeing young people perverted at school without God. But if I am tired, I am not yet ready to lay down my arms, to compromise, or to stop doing my duty. No, thank God, I am not so tired to do any of these things, and I hope I never shall be.”

Pius, the uncompromising foe of liberalism, knew his health was failing and prepared for his final end.In the last week of Pius’s life, he was consoled by the presence by his bedside of England’s Cardinal Manning, the staunch defender of the rights of the Papacy. Manning arrived in Rome on December 2, 1877, and remained constantly with the Pope until the day of his death. 

“More than once in those weeks,” said Manning, “I was able, as I hope, to bring before him some momentary solace; and I thank God that my lot was so ordered that I stood beside the Pontiff, whom we have so revered and loved, in the last days and in the last moments of his great and glorious life.”

Pius’ health continually deteriorated. On February 7, 1878, he grew significantly worse. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed in all churches, prelates, diplomats and other personalities from the Papal Court and Roman aristocracy filled the Pontifical antechamber. The Cardinal Camelengo Pecci approached the Pope saying, “Holy Father, bless us all in the sacred College, bless the whole Church.” 

In a weak but clear voice, Pius replied, “May the whole Sacred College be blessed. I pray to God that He will enlighten you to make a good choice.” Pius was here referring to the Papal Conclave that would come to elect this same Cardinal Pecci as the magnificent Pope Leo XIII, indeed a “good choice.” Pius also blessed the whole Catholic world.

“Toward five o’clock in the afternoon,” writes Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei, “Cardinal Bilio intoned the Proficiscere [“Go forth from this world Christian soul ...”] The Pope expired after pronouncing the word Proficiscar, ‘as if he were looking at an invisible object which gave him great consolation and sweetness. Those present conjectured that he could see the Most Blessed Virgin’.” It was 5:40 p.m., February 7, 1878, and the bells were ringing the Ave Maria.

Saint John Bosco, who was in Rome at the time, noted on the day of the Pope’s death, “Today was extinguished the supreme and incomparable star of the Church, the Pontiff Pius IX. Within a very short time, he will most certainly be on our altars.”
After Pius’ death, many prayed to him for special favors. Among these was St. John Bosco. He had long revered the profound spirituality, sanctity and heroic charity of Pius IX. In his school paper he published a number of articles and bulletins describing the inner beauty of the Pope’s last years and the many favors obtained through his intercession.
From all over the world, particularly from France and Italy, came innumerable testimonies that spoke of the celestial power of Pius IX. Some examples from this remarkable record are as follows:

At the time of the Pope’s death in Rome, a Belgian child, dying from an undiagnosed illness, told his mother he had a vision of Pius IX being crowned by the Virgin in Heaven. The child was instantly cured. Since news of the Pope’s death had not yet reached Belgium, the mother sent a telegram to Rome. The answer indicated the child had been cured at the very moment of the Pope’s death.
In September 1878, Sister Agnes Serafina of Jesus, aged twenty-five, was ill with typhus. Doctor Monti, her physician, said there was no possible chance of recovery. The nuns started a novena to Pius IX. On the last day of the novena Sister Agnes felt a tingling sensation all over her body. She was cured immediately, and Doctor Monti issued a statement that the cure could only have been supernatural.

During the same month, Salvatore de Angelis, a layman, was suffering terrible agony from a tumor on the liver. Doctors Topai and Scalzi said an immediate operation was the only possible way of saving the young man’s life. A friend of the family, Carlo Insegna, urged the family to pray to Pius IX. Insegna brought a relic of the dead Pope, which was applied to the afflicted spot. Within two hours the tumor had disappeared, the young man’s temperature was normal. The doctors were amazed and quite willingly gave their testimony to a cure beyond nature.

De Angelis would go on to become a priest and spent most of his clerical life as pastor of Sassia. Father de Angelis was noted for his lifelong devotion to Pius IX.

Achille Beccalori, a poor farmer, aged sixty-four, of Borgo San Donnino, was skinning a calf that had died of a malignant disease. In the hasty process of skinning the animal, Beccalori cut his arm with the knife. Within twenty-four hours the man became desperately ill; his arm was swollen to an enormous size. At the hospital to which he was moved, Doctor Cenci, the resident physician, and Professor Ingami of Parma, said there was no hope for Beccalori’s recovery. Sister Anna Maria Valentina, a nurse, urged Beccalori to pray to Pius IX. She applied a relic to the swollen arm. Beccalori at once went to sleep, and by morning he was cured.

In the same town, in March of 1878, a young man named Giuseppe Flori was dying from cancer of the liver. The doctor said he could not possibly live. A neighbor, Mrs. Elena Papini, begged the family to pray to the Pope who had recently died. Mrs. Papini applied a picture of Pius IX to the diseased spot, Flori was cured within a few hours.

The wonders, carefully documented, and many others too numerous to mention, impelled thousands to pay private honor to Pius IX. The miracles listed above are found in the out-of-print book 
Cross Upon Cross that bears the 1955 Imprimatur of Archbishop Murray from St. Paul, MN.

A Soldier of Our Lady
Pius IX’s Pontificate was the longest in Church history, thirty-two years. There had been a belief that no pope would reign longer than St. Peter’s 30 years. Pius surpassed it.

He suffered the malice and persecution of liberals and “liberal Catholics,” which exposes the true anti-Catholic nature of these counter-syllabus forces.
Pius was the great Pope of Quanta Cura and the Syllabus, he defined the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and convoked the First Vatican Council that included that dogmatic definition of Papal Infallibility.

His strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother is manifest in these great magisterial documents. All of these acts were accomplished on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
December 8, 1854 was the date of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

December 8, 1864 was the date of the promulgation of 
Quanta Cura and the Syllabus.

December 8, 1869 was the date of the opening of the First Vatican Council.

As noted elsewhere in this issue, all of Pius’ magisterial doctrine defending Catholic truth against modern error was accomplished with the indirect acknowledgment of Our Blessed Virgin under the title, “Conqueror of All Heresies”.

Pius’ Body Attacked: “Throw the old pig into the Tiber!”
A special note of glory for Pius IX is the hatred he inspired among liberals. Pius was not a sentimental clergyman of dialogue, of seeking “common ground,” with anti-Christian forces. He was a fighting General of the Church Militant. The liberals hated him for it.
Pius IX’s will requested that he be buried in the Church of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, about nine kilometers from the Vatican. The church had always been dear to him because of the martyr’s memory. Three years after the Pope’s death, July 13, 1881, Pius’ desire was fulfilled and his remains were transferred from the Basilica of St. Peter to Mura. During the translation of the body, Masonic and anti-clerical agents of the counter-syllabus attacked the cortege.

In the book 
Cross Upon Cross, Francis Beauchesne Thornton describes the outrage:

“July 13, 1881 was the appointed day. The Vatican [anticipating the violent reaction of the liberals] had agreed that the funeral should be kept very quiet. To insure this result the hour was set for midnight.
“The night of July 13
 was heavy and still. The jets of the tinkling fountains before St. Peter’s were woven with starlight. From the bell-cote of the basilica the ancient bells chimed out the hour of twelve. On the echo of the last note a simple cortege formed in the wide piazza. There were two closed carriages following the hearse. After these walked a small number of Saint Peter’s clergy, the diplomats accredited to the Holy See, and a considerable group of Roman citizens who loved Pius IX and had somehow got wind of his funeral. The mourners carried massive, lighted candles.

“The slow procession went down the Borgo di Santo Spirito (now the Via della Conciliazione). A menacing crowd suddenly materialized along the narrow sidewalks. They shouted ugly words and made obscene gestures of derision.

“In the wider space before the Castle of Sant’ Angelo a larger crowd waited, ugly in temper and armed with knives, stones and clubs. There was a rush toward the hearse and carriages, there were organized blasphemies, and torrents of horrible invective swept from the sewers of the mind. Above all this foul background rose a concerted scream.
“’Throw the old pig into the Tiber! Throw the old pig into the Tiber!’ Knives flashed, clubs rose and fell. The screams of the injured pierced through the shouting.

“The attending prelates, ambassadors, and groups of the faithful formed a thick cordon about the hearse. They used their massive wax candles to good advantage in defense of their lives and the Pope’s body.

“At last they were across the bridge. The most serious rioting was over. No more than a token police effort had been made in attempting to control the passions of the organized mob.

“The remaining distance across the city was dogged with shouted insults and blasphemies. An occasional stick or stone fell with a thud on the simple hearse.

“By the time the filth-spattered profession had reached the Piazza Verano, wiser heads in government had decided to stage a face-saving incident. Files of soldiers were in waiting. The mob leaders faded away in the crowd.

“The mortal remains of Pius IX were entombed in eloquent silence … The next day, July 14, Mancini, the Foreign Minister, [in another face-saving attempt] imposed a rigid censorship on all telegrams describing the disgraceful episode. Meanwhile Mancini, by note, instructed his ambassadors abroad, indicating the false light in which they were to represent the sordid affair.”

As an act of reparation of the ferocious outrages against Pius IX’s body and memory, Count Giovanni Acquaderni proposed the idea of erecting a great monument in the modest place where he was buried, in the crypt of the Basilica. It was done. This noble and secluded mausoleum houses Pius’s remains to this day.

The great life of Pius IX gives us pause. The Pope of the Syllabus is blessed by Our Lady and is the worker of miracles. The forces of the counter-syllabus are intellectually aligned with the same radicals who sacrilegiously attacked Pius’ holy remains to heave his body into the Tiber.

Blessed Pius IX, scourge of liberal Catholics, pray for us.

Unreal Nation - Crisis Magazine

Unreal Nation - Crisis Magazine

Unreal Nation

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

I live in a country that gave birth to an organization conceived in lies and dedicated for the purpose of murder. It is called, with a wry irony that escapes us, “Planned Parenthood.” If you are a young woman and you go to “Planned Parenthood” and say, “I am with child, and I need help to bear it and to care for it, because its father and I are not married, and I am poor,” the people at “Planned Parenthood” will not assist you one bit. They will not give you food or clothing for the baby. They will not put you in touch with people who open their homes to unwed mothers. They at “Planned Parenthood” will do nothing for your parenthood at all.

They will kill the baby in your womb, that they will, and make a nifty living from it. We now learn that they have studied at the Josef Mengele Institute of Medicine, with internship at the local junkyard. They dismember babies with especial care, so as to trade in their brains, transmissions, livers, pistons, hearts, pumps, flesh, upholstery, kidneys, and catalytic converters. “It’s a blob,” they say, when they are before the cameras, or when they are persuading the nervous mother to go ahead with what everybody knows is a lie. “It’s a boy!” they say, as they see his cute little boy-parts in cute little isolation on a glass dish.

Most of the media, that vast windowless Ministry of Truth, ignore the lies. Why not? The man who runs the news agency rocks the bedsprings with the woman at the foundation that funnels a half a million dollars to the liars. They funnel that money because they are concerned about the poor, in the way that their pricy lawn specialists are concerned about weeds.
And man, though he was set in honor, would not understand: he was likened to the witless beasts, and has become like them…. They have been herded like sheep into hell, and Death feeds upon them. (Ps. 48:13, 15; Vulgate, my translation.)

I live in a nation conceived in liberty, raised high in empire, and fallen into moral lassitude, impotence, and automatism. God help me, but I still believe that my countrymen are better than the follies they believe. But no puddle in the alley behind the fire escapes is so muddy, so rank, and so shallow as are their souls of my countrymen, if I am to judge by their own unwitting testimony.
Let me give an example. A young man at Yale is engaging in a protest against pornography. Porn, as you may know, is a kind of wire service whereby people pay for regular and meaningless electric jolts to the more reptilian centers of their constitutions. The consumers, an apt noun if ever there was one, then try to flog their dead souls into some caricature of a genuine human feeling. So one of the future leaders of my nation enters into a conversation with the protestor.

“You mean that you actually are opposed to pornography?” asks the beardless Cicero-to-be.
“Yes, we are. It reduces human beings to commodities. It’s a sacrilege against the holiness and the beauty of the human body. It destroys many a marriage. It’s essentially loveless and heartless.”
“That’s interesting,” replies young Abe Lincoln with a leer, and then he plays his ace of trumps. “But what do you use when you [vulgar term for self-abuse], huh?”
The young man shakes his head. “I don’t do that.”
Incredulity. What, is not everyone a slave to the automatic—the jiggered robo-lusts of the sexual revolution? “You lost me there!” laughs Danny Webster.
It has come to this. Someone’s kid has to simulate sexual intercourse in order to help work off the sweaty ennui of a student at Yale, who has not the courage nor the honor nor the inner spiritual liberty to hold the hand of a real woman, and to sing in his heart for the gift of her hand.
And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed. And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. (Isaiah 29:11-12)

I live in a nation whose form of government is predicated upon a trust in the intelligence and the good sense of ordinary people, to accomplish the ordinary ends of life for themselves, their children, and their neighbors.
Therefore all oversight of local schools has been snatched from them; sweet and community-building customs have been discarded or suppressed; and children are taught to despise what their forefathers believed and said and did, or rather they never really learn what they believed, they never hear what they said, the worst construction is placed upon what they did, and sins they never committed at all are attributed to them, so as to clear the way for the new and improved—toothpaste, elections, deodorant, marriage.

More than a hundred years ago, in my nation, teachers who breathed the true air of democracy wished to bring to ordinary people the best of a classical education. Why should a carpenter or a mason or a housewife not also thrill to hear the words of Mark Antony, demagogue extraordinaire, on the steps of the senate house: “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept; / Ambition should be made of stronger stuff.” The men and women of Chautauqua wished to raise themselves and their fellows to those heights; nowadays professors at Princeton and Yale scoff at the very idea of greatness. You are far more likely at Princeton to take a course in tawdry novels for teens than in Shakespeare.
There is nothing so stupid (a woman walking around with a mattress on her head, to protest rape), so fatuous (“poetry” found by rearranging words on the cover of a pack of matches), so nasty (a portrait of the pope, made of rubbers), and so perverse (any current television show), that cannot find its way into the august halls of education, that fraud of the age, that mechanism for making the wealthy as ambitious and soulless as possible, and keeping the poor as dependent and ignorant as possible.
When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error. (Romans 1:21-27)

In my nation we deny truths that lie in front of our eyes. Any fool can figure out that a man is not a woman, a cesspool is not a womb, a drug that thwarts the natural action of an organ is not medicine, an orphan is not a privileged member of an alternative family, pictures of people doing vile things are not the same as speech, and a law whose substance no one can know (because it is too vast, or vague, or incomprehensible) or rely upon (because it is subject to the caprice of inventive judges) is not a law at all. Any fool; but we are not any fool, just as Michelangelo was not any artist. We have judges who legislate, legislators who defer to bureaucrats and judges, and executives who do what they will. We call it “democracy” because the technology of elections is still in place, a monstrous Rube Goldberg array of machines, fed by thousands of polls and billions of dollars, cranked and kicked and oiled and fueled by a swarm of parasites, all to spit out a president whose platitudes are as flat as Kansas, with never a tornado-tossed house to fall upon the Great Leader’s head and set the Munchkins free.

We have “Boy” Scout leaders who don’t know the meaning of the word “boy,” we have physicians helping people kill themselves, we have priests turned atheists as did Eli’s sons, we have a Common Core of emptiness; even our madness has gone mad, so that the man who has accepted the madness of Monday finds himself unforgivably sinning against the madness of Tuesday, as varieties of madness increase and multiply beyond the enumerative powers of the alphabet.
All to be expected. Lies disintegrate. Shall we believe the lies? I can call poison sweet, but it will still kill me. I can call sand bedrock, but it will not stand:
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which build his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)