I’ll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging to celebrate, returning Tuesday December 1st, and wish you and your family the most wonderful Thanksgiving!
I’ll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging to celebrate, returning Tuesday December 1st, and wish you and your family the most wonderful Thanksgiving!
It is always good news when another Catholic Church becomes devoted to the Latin Mass as this one in England—great photos—as reported by The Latin Mass Society Chairman’s blog.
On Saturday I was present at a High Mass inaugurating the ministry of the Fraternity of St Peter, FSSP, in St Mary’s, Warrington. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, the Ordinary, presided at Mass. Abbot Cuthbert Madden of Ampleforth (who of course I know), whose community had looked after the parish since 1770 and had built the present church, was in choir.
The church was packed to the doors. The Mayor of Warrington and his wife were present, and a good number of local clergy, including Canon Scott Tanner of the Institutes of Christ the King.
It should be noted that there is nothing experimental about this arrangement. Ampleforth Abbey have given the church to the FSSP, and on this great occasion Fr de Malleray was formally installed as Rector of the newly established shrine by the Archbishop. This is a huge step forward for the FSSP and for the cause of Tradition in England.
There has been a lot of talk about early release of “non-violent offenders” but this example of one state’s (California) early releases, calls that definition into serious question, as reported by the Arden Advocate.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office will begin posting on its website information about “nonviolent second-strike offenders” who have been granted early release from prison.
After a federal court ordered California to reduce prison overcrowding, a number of measures were put into place that result in early prison releases, including early parole consideration for individuals characterized as “nonviolent second-strikers.” In order to qualify, inmates must not currently be serving a sentence for a crime that is legally categorized as a “violent felony” and must not be required to register as sex offenders.
Starting January 1st, 2015, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) began a new early parole determination process, evaluating “nonviolent second-strikers” for parole once they have served only 50 percent of their sentence or are within 12 months of having served 50 percent of their actual sentence. Upon receipt of inmate names from CDCR with a recommendation for release, the Board of Prison Hearings conducts an administrative review to determine if the inmate should be released from prison or retained for the term otherwise prescribed by law. The Board determines whether an offender would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety based on criminal history, behavior in prison, rehabilitation efforts, and written statements.
The Sacramento District Attorney’s Office takes an active role in evaluating these cases and writes letters to the Board with an overview of the inmate’s criminal history, an opinion regarding the public safety risk posed by the inmate, and the appropriateness of an offender’s early release.
As of November 13th, 2015, 72 inmates sentenced from Sacramento County have been granted early prison releases. Many of these offenders have violent and lengthy criminal histories. Examples of these early releases include:
Victor “Chunky” Montez – A known gang member with a violent criminal history including voluntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, and resisting arrest as well as drug transportation/possession and ammunition possession convictions. He was also found to be in possession of a large cache of firearms. Montez has been in and out of prison since the 1980s, violating parole seven times.
Deshawn Fisher – Prior convictions include voluntary manslaughter. In the prior offense, Fisher and his co-defendant tried to rob a group of men at gunpoint as they played cards in front of a house. Two men were shot, one died. In prison, Fisher committed battery on inmates, participated in riots, engaged in mutual combat, and threatened an officer’s life among other violent behavior. He violated parole twice by being in possession of firearms, ammunition, and drugs.
James Allen West – Committing offense is assault with a deadly weapon by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury. West beat the victim unconscious, punching and kicking him in the head wearing steel-toed boots. Past convictions include violent assaults and battery with serious bodily injury. One victim was a 75-year-old woman. West beat the other victims until they were unconscious.
Willie C. Harris – Multiple felony convictions, including a 1985 first-degree burglary strike offense. Since 1999, Harris has had seven DUI and driving with a suspended license convictions and a reckless DUI conviction. His committing offense was felony DUI where his blood alcohol level was .17, more than twice the legal limit. At the time of that offense, he was on parole for a 2008 DUI conviction where he had a .19 blood alcohol level.
An excellent article in Crisis Magazine about a new book examining the work Pope Pius XII—one of the greatest popes in Catholic history—was involved with to get rid of Hitler.
Much of what I presented in Principalities and Powers is more than amply corroborated by a new book by an authority on espionage, Mark Riebling, called Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler. In compelling detail, Riebling looks not only at the strategies that various anti-Nazi officers and other co-conspirators pursued to kill Hitler, but the kind of government structures that would need to be imposed on shattered Germany if the conspiratorial plots succeeded. Pope Pius XII was a central figure in the planning of these scenarios, as were the Dominicans and Jesuits in his network, precisely because of their ability to act independently of the bishops, some of whom were suspect or timid. In his 1988 book, Britain and the Vatican During the Second World War, Owen Chadwick cited testimony from the British representative to the Holy See, D’Arcy Osborne, who confirmed the Pope’s involvement in the June 20 plot, “Operation Valkyrie.”
Riebling’s book fleshes out more evidence showing how Pius XII worked secretly with his close confidant, Father Robert Leiber, SJ, who was in regular communication with Dr. Josef Müller, a German Catholic lawyer whose brazenness intimidated even Himmler. To collude with the pope, Müller took advantage of the cover given him by the Nazis to spy on Italians through Vatican officials. Leiber also conspired with a counter-spy, the chief of Abwehr, German military intelligence, Admiral William Canaris.
The pope, operating under the code name “The Chief,” actually pioneered wiretapping, by having rooms in the Apostolic Palace bugged with a prototype of a tape machine (a wire was used) engineered by Marconi. Here he received Nazi officials and other unsuspecting diplomats. One of the earliest espionage successes was the pope’s warning of the invasion of Belgium. While Britain and the United
States might have kept their distance from any involvement in any explicit assassination plot, Pope Pius was in correspondence with Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax before Churchill came on the scene, and Chamberlain indicated that Britain “would be willing to discuss any conditions asked for if convinced that business is meant.”
Hitler had an uncanny ability to survive assassination attempts: those who saw in him an incarnation of evil might call it a diabolic gift. Müller was another lucky survivor, even after the Nazis discovered some of his assassination plans in a letter with a Vatican letterhead. After the war, he was one of the founders of the Christian Democratic Union. Meanwhile, the pope also conspired against Mussolini, whose arrest so infuriated Hitler that he threatened to kidnap the pope and possibly take him to Lichtenstein: “I’ll go right into the Vatican… For one thing, the entire diplomatic corps are in there… We’ll get that bunch of swine out of there… Later we can make apologies.” According to the SS commander in Germany, Karl Wolff, the plan was thwarted only by the Allied liberation of Italy.
Two issues emerge here. First, Riebling’s compelling new evidence should put to rest the propaganda charging that Pius XII was at best a weak reed and at worst a Nazi sympathizer, or “Hitler’s Pope,” as he was dubbed by the revisionist historian John Cornwell, who made this Soviet propaganda the basis for his best-selling attack on Pius XII. Cornwell and other polemicists might find it hard to surrender ideology to fact in this as in so many other instances, but Riebling, following other historians who have exposed the falsehoods of this propaganda, including David Dalin and Rudolph Morsey, mounts a fairly irrefutable case in defense of Pius XII.
Secondly, there is the ethical question of tyrannicide, since the pope wanted Hitler killed. It cannot be said that Hitler was tyrannus in titular, which means a usurper, since he was elected to office, albeit by questionable means and intimidation. In the light of Thomism, usurpation would justify execution by a legitimate authority (In II Sent. D. XLIV, Q.ii,a.2). However, even in such a case, the right of an individual to take on the role of assassin is controverted, even though it is possible to argue that there could be a moral mandate for an individual to act thus when there is no possibility of public action, provided that he is a belligerent opposing an aggressor.
Based on this article from Religion News, there is hope yet within the American Bishopric that changing popes doesn’t necessarily change Church Doctrine.
BALTIMORE (RNS) The nation’s Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 17) passed an updated guide for Catholic voters ahead of next year’s elections, but only after airing unusually sharp disagreements on how much they can, and should, adjust their priorities to match those of Pope Francis.
More than any other item on the agenda of the bishops’ annual meeting here, the debate over the lengthy voter guide, called “Faithful Citizenship,” revealed deep divides among the bishops and provided a snapshot of the extent of the “Francis effect” on the U.S. hierarchy.
In the most impassioned objection to the voter guide, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy took the floor to argue that the document — which was a reworking of an 84-page treatise first written in 2007 — should be scrapped because it did not reflect the way that Francis has elevated the battle against poverty and for the environment as central concerns for the Catholic Church since his election in 2013.
“I believe that this document is gravely hobbled,” said McElroy, who was an outspoken advocate for the church’s social justice teachings even before Francis named him to the large and growing Southern California diocese earlier this year.
“Specifically, I think the pope is telling us that alongside the issues of abortion and euthanasia — which are central aspects of our commitment to transform this world — poverty and the degradation of the Earth are also central,” McElroy said. “But this document keeps to the structure of the worldview of 2007. It does not put those there.”
Instead, he said, the voter guide “tilts in favor of abortion and euthanasia and excludes poverty and the environment.”
Apparently referring to political conservatives who argue that Catholics cannot vote for candidates who support abortion rights or gay marriage, McElroy said the new draft still “provides a warrant for those who will misuse this document outside this room to exclude poverty and exclude the environment as key issues and say they are secondary, and cite this document as they have done for the last two election cycles.”
McElroy’s position was supported by a number of other bishops, some of whom were also dismayed by the number of times the draft mentioned same-sex marriage, even though the U.S. Supreme Court effectively settled the issue by legalizing gay marriage last June.
“I think we need a new document,” said Tuscon Bishop Gerald Kicanas. “I think it was a mistake to try to revise a document from 2007 when so much has happened since then.” He called Faithful Citizenship “very complex and not helpful.”
Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockon, Calif., agreed that “the times have dramatically changed” and said the “cumbersome” new draft needed to be scrapped.
But members of the committee that spent nearly a year-and-a-half reworking the voter guide rejected the pushback.
“We still think it’s effective,” a clearly irritated Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo — chairman of the drafting committee and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — told Blaire and the other critics.
DiNardo also told the 240 bishops that the committee was only fulfilling the mandate it was given by the USCCB and said the panel had done its best to update the guide with references from Francis — although, he added in a spiky rejoinder to McElroy, “perhaps not to your satisfaction, and to the rhetorical flourishes which you bring.”
Another member of the drafting committee, Hartford Archbishop Leonard Blair, also rejected the critiques, and he echoed comments by other conservatives who were disturbed by the idea that Francis has ushered in a “revolution” in Catholicism that their documents needed to reflect.
An interesting and insightful article from Chiesa.
The Real Francis Revolution Marches to the Beat of Appointments
In the United States and in Italy the changes are most spectacular. With new “Bergoglio-style” bishops and cardinals. In Belgium, Danneels’s revenge against Ratzinger. The triumph of the St. Gallen club
ROME, November 14, 2015 – Much more than reforming the Vatican curia and finances (to which he is applying himself more out of obligation than out of passion, with no comprehensive plan and too often relying on the wrong men and women), it is clear by now that Pope Francis wants to revolutionize the college of bishops. And he is doing so in a systematic way.
The two talks that he gave this autumn to the bishops of the United States and of Italy will certainly be numbered among those that most distinguish his pontificate from those of his predecessors.
If there were in fact two national episcopates, each more than two hundred men strong, that were putting the guidelines of Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger into practice, these were precisely the American and the Italian.
Both have had noteworthy leaders: Cardinal Francis George in the United States and Cardinal Camlllo Ruini in Italy. But while in the first case a tough team of cardinals and bishops united in vision and action had formed around George, in the second case none did.
And in fact, with Ruini already gone from the stage, it has taken very little for Francis to annihilate the Italian episcopal conference, in order to begin to remake it “ex novo.” While the same thing has not happened in the United States, as was seen in the synod last October, where none other than the American delegates were the backbone of the resistance against the innovators, together with the Africans and East Europeans.
THE TWO TALKS IN WASHINGTON AND FLORENCE
“It is not my intention to offer a plan or to devise a strategy,” Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio told the bishops of the United States gathered in the cathedral of Washington last September 23:
Nor did he want to dictate a precise agenda for the Italian bishops listening to him in Florence, where the leadership of the Italian Church had gathered last November 10:
But there is no doubt that in both cases Pope Francis has ordered the episcopates to make an about-face.
The address in Washington is in a more elaborate literary style. The one in Florence is more conversational. But both are unequivocal in demanding from the bishops a transformation in language, style, and pastoral action.
Francis said to the bishops of the United States:
“Woe to us, however, if we make of the cross a banner of worldly struggles and fail to realize that the price of lasting victory is allowing ourselves to be wounded and consumed.”
“We cannot let ourselves be paralyzed by fear., thinking back on bygone times and devising harsh responses to fierce opposition.”
“Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.”
Retrieved November 17, 2015 from http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1351176?eng=y
This is great news, as reported by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in their Press Release today:
Release Date: November 12, 2015 Contact: Michael Rushford (916) 446-0345
U.S. COURT OF APPEALS REINSTATES CALIFORNIA DEATH PENALTY
Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a decision issued last year that had declared California’s death penalty unconstitutional due to excessive delay.
Ernest Jones raped and murdered his girlfriend’s mother, and in 1995 a jury unanimously decided that death was the appropriate punishment. That judgment was affirmed by the California Supreme Court in 2003, but the case has dragged on for another 12 years in secondary reviews, called habeas corpus.
Advocates for crime victims and law enforcement groups have for many years decried the excessive delay. However, a key congressional reform remains mired in litigation, and the California Legislature has killed needed reforms in committee repeatedly over the years.
In July of last year, Federal District Judge Cormac Carney decided that the excessive delays violate the rights of the defendant, despite the fact that defendants are the ones filing the actions and law enforcement regularly opposes the delay. Similar arguments have been made from time to time over the years, but courts have uniformly rejected them.
In 1989, the United States Supreme Court decided that federal courts sitting in habeas corpus could not make up new rules of constitutional law and impose them retroactively on the states. This decision in the case of Teague v. Lane was made at the suggestion of the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a victims’ rights advocacy group.
In today’s decision in Jones v. Davis, the majority of the three-judge panel decided that Judge Carney’s decision violated the Teague rule. Judge Susan Graber wrote for the majority, “Because we conclude that Petitioner’s claim asks us to apply a novel constitutional rule, we must deny the claim as barred by Teague. Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s judgment granting relief.” Judge Johnnie Rawlinson joined this opinion.
Judge Paul Watford concurred separately on the ground that Judge Carney’s ruling violated a different rule, that state prisoners must take their claims to the state courts first before turning to the federal courts.
“This is a major victory for justice in California,” said CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger, who filed a “friend of the court” brief for the foundation in the case. “The lower court’s decision was wrong in every aspect. With this barrier out of the way we can continue with the work of reinstating justice in our state.”
CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger is available for further comment at (916) 446-0345. CJLF’s brief in the case is available at: http://www.cjlf.org/briefs/JonesE.pdf
The Ninth Circuit’s decision is available at: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/11/12/14-56373.pdf
Retrieved November 12, 2015 from http://www.cjlf.org/releases/15-15.htm
After spending years studying Vatican II, and the works of both liberal and conservative Catholics about its impact, it is clear the liberals have triumphed temporarily—yet the Church always triumphs eventually—as this superb article from the Remnant Newspaper notes.
In analyzing the outcome of that massive fraud called the Synod on the Family, it will not do to look at the Synod in isolation as a battle between opposing forces, applying a victory-defeat binary to each side’s position. The context of the synodal battle is the war on Tradition over the past fifty years, waged by a neo-Modernist army whose conquering march through the open gates of Vatican II has laid waste to vast stretches of the landscape of the Faith, forcing traditional Catholics to fall back into fortified defensive enclaves or to act as resistance fighters at the risk of detection, capture and execution—the fate of many tradition-minded priests and even bishops in occupied territory. Therefore, before we ask how the Synod went, we must ask how the war is going.
Humanly speaking, it would seem the war is over. Christ will have the final victory, of course, as His Mother crushes the serpent’s head. But at this moment in Church history—subject as always to the possibility of miraculous reversals by divine intervention—the traditional forces have been overpowered in the overall theatre of operations, just as the faithful were during the Arian crisis, when they were literally driven into the deserts. While we know this state of affairs is only temporary and that the Church will inevitably be restored, today we face much the same situation described by Saint Athanasius: “May God console you! … It is a fact that they have the premises—but you have the Apostolic Faith.” In fact, the very creation of a universal Synod of Bishops (as opposed to the local gatherings seen from time to time in Church history) was already a sign of the enemy’s triumph. Launched by Paul VI in 1965 with his apostolic letter Apostolica Sollicitudo, , “establishing the Synod of Bishops for the universal Church,” the Synod was designed to be “a continuance after the Council of the great abundance of benefits that We have been so happy to see flow to the Christian people during the time of the Council.” That is, the Synod would make the conciliar turmoil a permanent feature of the life of the Church. Accordingly, among the stated purposes of the Synod at its creation was “to facilitate agreement… on essential matters of doctrine and on the course of action to be taken in the life of the Church.” In other words, the establishment of a universal Synod introduced into the Catholic Church an equivalent to the Protestant practice of subjecting doctrine to perpetual debate and voting at periodic assemblies, with the inevitable result being doctrinal erosion. In the Catholic Church, as we have seen, this erosion takes the form of maintaining doctrine as a set of official propositions while practically undermining it in any conceivable way short of outright formal contradiction. The Synod is precisely the “permanent council” advocated by that icon of neo-Modernism, the late Cardinal Carlo Mario (“Jesus would never have written Humanae Vitae”) Martini. None other than Cardinal Bergoglio was Martini’s personal choice for the papacy—the next best thing to Martini himself, who saw his days drawing to an end on account of age and illness. It was Martini who organized the St. Gallen’s group that plotted in secret for Bergoglio’s elevation to the papacy, as the infamous pedophile-protector Cardinal Danneels, a key member of the group along with Cardinal Kasper, now freely admits. Our modernist pope, who hails his patron Martini as “a father for the whole Church”, has just written a fawning preface for a newly published multi-volume collection of the heretic’s writings. In that preface Francis praises his patron for “having promoted and accompanied the style of synodality,” declaring: “the inheritance which Cardinal Martini left to us is indeed a precious gift.
While Apostolica Sollicitudo states that the Catholic version of synodality is “directly and immediately subject to the authority of the Roman Pontiff,” what happens when the Pope himself is bent on revolutionizing the Church by employing the Synod as his mechanism? By a remarkably convenient coincidence, it was in the very midst of Synod 2015 that Francis discovered, for the first time in 2,000 years, that the Catholic Church is a “synodal Church.” In his speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul’s creation of the Synod, Francis revealed what he would have us believe is a gnosis hidden from all his predecessors: “it is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.”
Retrieved November 10, 2015 from http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/2150-the-synod-on-the-family-business-model-for-the-spirit-of-vatican-ii
The Catholic Church should be more involved in this, through the ancient methods used by Church contemplatives, as meditation works, as this article from Governing Magazine reports.
Back in the 1970s, thousands of inmates in such forbidding maximum security prisons as California’s San Quentin and Folsom were introduced to meditation. The positive psychological impact on those prisoners was documented in a number of studies. But enthusiasm for prison meditation programs eventually died down as private funding faltered and a more punitive approach to prison management took hold.
Now there’s a resurgence of interest in meditation programs for both adult and juvenile offenders. It can be chalked up, in part, to the rebirth of New Age thinking. In mainstream culture, all the meditative disciplines, from “mindfulness” to Transcendental Meditation, or TM, to the ancient Buddhist technique of Vipassana, are being inundated with new disciples. But a larger part of the push to reintroduce meditation to the incarcerated can be traced to results.
A recent study at two prisons in Oregon spells it out. The study, financed by the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes TM, and with the cooperation of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC), looked at 180 inmates at two prisons in Salem — one a maximum security facility and the other minimum security. The inmates, who volunteered to participate, were randomly divided into two groups and given a battery of psychological tests. One group learned TM, meditating twice a day for 20 minutes. The other group was given standard mental health care. The inmates were tested again four months later. The results were significant: Among the meditating inmates, there was a marked reduction in psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and anger and hostility. The tests also revealed improved vigor and an increase in inmates’ sense of spiritual well-being. For the inmates who had received standard care, there was little change. “If we could create an environment of healing,” says Tom O’Connor, director of research for ODOC and a co-author of the study, “the public could save a great deal of money and we could create a better society, a more humane prison and a much more effective prison.”
Retrieved November 10, 2015 from http://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-meditation-prisoners-mental-health.html
Several viewpoints are presented in this good discussion from the New York Times about whether increased imprisonment rates drive down crime rates; which answer is so obviously yes, that it boggles the mind that otherwise intelligent people can still say no, but they do, and you can read their reasoning in this series of answers.
Even many of the nation’s police chiefs have called for reducing the number of people, particularly minorities, sent to prison. But the news that a man suspected of murdering a New York City police officer had been given break after break, and was free because he had been allowed to enter a diversion program rather than be jailed on drug charges, have led even supporters of such programs to raise questions about them.
With some already saying that crime may be rising, are we moving too fast to embrace limits on incarceration, such as diversion programs and drug courts? Could such measures actually increase the risk of crime?
Retrieved October 29, 2015 from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/10/29/will-crime-rise-if-more-people-are-kept-out-of-prison