Daily Archives: January 22, 2009

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Obama is shutting down Bush’s torture business pronto.
Also, reports are circulating in a few sites that he may *not* overturn the Mexico City Policy–at least not yet.

Looking for Allocution "Acerbissimum," by Bl. Pope Pius IX, dated Sept. 27, 1852.

When I found this page of Pio Nono’s Encyclicals, I got excited, but it’s not in there.

The Syllabus of Errors, as I’ve mentioned before, is essentially a summary of various errors Pius IX condemned in his long pontificate. It is a list of statements that he condemns, so they’re double negatives (i.e., each item listed is wrong). Each item includes a citation of the document it comes from. Liberal Catholics like to say that “Vatican II got rid of that.” RadTrads use the “Syllabus” to claim that certain teachings of Vatican II are, in their view, heretical.

One particular statement for Catholics in America is this one:
“55. The Church ought to be separated from the .State, and the State from the Church. — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852. “

Now, as a traditional-leaning Catholic, I am more than happy to accept that “separation of Church and State” is a heresy, period. However, I don’t think that’s what His Holiness is saying here.

In official Catholic documents, each word is to be considered in its precise meaning. In this case, he says “ought”. It is *possible* that this statement could be interpreted as condemning a the philosophical principle that Church and State *ought* to be separated, although they can be separated in some instances. It is also important to know what he means here by “separated.” Obviously, the Church maintains to herself the right to advise the State, particularly in matters of Natural Law.

So, the interpretation faithful Catholics have traditionally used to justify our citizenship in America is that the US government cannot, constitutionally, endorse any particular religion. That doesn’t mean that the Church cannot be one of the many voices which influences public policy. However, I want to see the original source material before I make any definitive interpretation of this passage.

Why Freemasonry is wrong


“In Eminenti”

His Holiness begins by explaining that

certain Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations or Conventicles called in the popular tongue Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons or by other names according to the various languages, are spreading far and wide and daily growing in strength; and men of any Religion or sect, satisfied with the appearance of natural probity, are joined together, according to their laws and the statutes laid down for them, by a strict and unbreakable bond which obliges them, both by an oath upon the Holy Bible and by a host of grievous punishment, to an inviolable silence about all that they do in secret together.

Traditionally, the secrecy itself is the danger, as the Holy Father continues:

these aforesaid Societies or Conventicles have caused in the minds of the faithful the greatest suspicion, and all prudent and upright men have passed the same judgment on them as being depraved and perverted. For if they were not doing evil they would not have so great a hatred of the light.

In the next paragraph, the Holy Father expresses his duty–a duty which the Popes of late have been de-emphasizing–to protect the faithful from deceitful men and movements which might lead them astray:

Therefore, bearing in mind the great harm which is often caused by such Societies or Conventicles not only to the peace of the temporal state but also to the well-being of souls, and realizing that they do not hold by either civil or canonical sanctions; and since We are taught by the divine word that it is the part of faithful servant and of the master of the Lord’s household to watch day and night lest such men as these break into the household like thieves, and like foxes seek to destroy the vineyard; in fact, to prevent the hearts of the simple being perverted, and the innocent secretly wounded by their arrows, and to block that broad road which could be opened to the uncorrected commission of sin and for the other just and reasonable motives known to Us; We therefore, having taken counsel of some of Our Venerable Brothers among the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and also of Our own accord and with certain knowledge and mature deliberations, with the plenitude of the Apostolic power do hereby determine and have decreed that these same Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations, or Conventicles of Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons, or whatever other name they may go by, are to be condemned and prohibited, and by Our present Constitution, valid for ever, We do condemn and prohibit them.

Note the part about “valid for ever”: contrary to the opinions of some Catholics who act like Papal Bulls and Encyclicals are like the executive orders of US Presidents and come up for renewal when a new Pope is elected, this bull, at least, declares itself to be “valid for ever.”

This isn’t the Bull i was thinking of, though, and I need to do some more research. I know I read excerpts from a Bull on freemasonry that emphasized its emphasis on charitable giving without Christ.

EWTN’s New Pro-Life Page

John Allen’s Double Standard

Dear Mr. Allen,

I find your writing highly disingenuous. For years, we’ve heard from you how disappointed the Holy Father allegedly is with Pres. Bush and our current War in Iraq (a war which I, personally, do *not* support as a Buchananite conservative). The only statement I have heard Pope Benedict make on this war—and I have looked—is his statement on the White House lawn praising our troops for promoting the cause of freedom.

You seem awfully happy about the death of Fr. Neuhaus. I admit I don’t know much about Fr. Neuhaus other than by reputation or his appearances on EWTN. I have not read much of _First Things_.

You make blanket statements about “conservative American Catholics” as well as Pope Benedict’s administration. Yes, many people were bothered by the appointment of Archbishop Levada as Prefect of the CDF. Yet I notice that we have heard more from the exiled Cardinal Law in the past couple years than we’ve actually heard from Archbishop Levada. Nevertheless, I personally was quite happy with the appointment: Archbishop Levada actually had the courage to sue the City of San Francisco for its policies on both contraception and giving special rights to those who commit the Sin Against Nature.

Almost every bishop that Pope Benedict has appointed in the US has been a “slam dunk” for pro-life, traditional Catholics. We have several dynamic young bishops who are actively pro-life, including participating in Planned Parenthood prayer vigils, and who support and even participate in the traditional Latin Mass.

I can see nothing in Benedict’s pontificate that should disappoint any faithful “conservative” or “traditional” Catholic. Yes, he acts slowly and cautiously, but he has been far more a “disappointment” to Catholics like your readers—and to lukewarm “conservatives” who claim to be “pro-life” but support artificial contraception and oppose traditional liturgies–than he has to those of us on the so-called “Far Right.”

I am no fan of former President George W. Bush. He has done several things wrong, including allowing federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. His policies have been only nominally pro-life, and he has done little service to our country. Yet Pope Benedict, in their various communications, treated him very graciously. That is to Pope Benedict’s credit. Meanwhile, we have heard from your publication and other media outlets how allegedly disappointed Pope Benedict has been with Bush. Maybe he is, but he hasn’t said it.

Now, the tables are turned. Now, you have the pro-abortion, contraception-using, Marxist rhetoric-spouting president you want. Pope Benedict is treating him graciously, a sign to Pope Benedict’s own stated desire to work closely with the American government. Yet you are taking that politic graciousness as a sign of endorsement.

Meanwhile, the promotion of Archbishop Burke to one of the highest disciplinary offices in the Church—obviously a testimony to Archbishop Burke’s outspokenly strong positions on Canon Law issues—is taken as an attempt to “get him out of the limelight,” and the public statements Archbishop Burke has made since moving to Rome are dismissed, as are the statements of Cardinal Stafford.

I detect a double standard.

Pax et bonum,
John C. Hathaway

If St. John is not a liar, then Obama is an Anti-Christ

From Cal Thomas, quoting a 2004 interview with Obama by Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Here’s Obama telling Falsani, “The difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they’re going to hell.” Falsani adds, “Obama doesn’t believe he, or anyone else, will go to hell. But he’s not sure he’ll be going to heaven, either.”
So, Obama does not accept the call to evangelize. He denies the reality of Hell. He denies the necessity of belief in Christ for salvation:

Falsani correctly brings up John 14:6 (and how many journalists would know such a verse, much less ask a question based on it?) in which Jesus says of Himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That sounds pretty exclusive, but Obama says it depends on how this verse is heard. According to Falsani, Obama thinks that “all people of faith — Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone — know the same God.” (her words)

Those statements alone should be reason enough that no Christian could have voted for him in good conscience. I’ve quoted it many times over the past year, but here it is again:

1 John 4:2-3
This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh be longs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. (NAB)

1 John 2:18-22:
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you all have knowledge. I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth. Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.

“The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.578 ” (Catechism 676).

Let’s hear it for Jim DeMint!!

Last year, there were people saying, ‘If your representative’s name isn’t Ron Paul, vote him out of office!”

Well, yesterday, at the nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State:

“The Senate voted 94-2, with Republican Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and Jim DeMint of South Carolina opposing”.