Dissembling About Crime

Which liberals have been doing for some time, as this article from City Journal explains.

An excerpt.

New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik purports to care about black lives—except when doing so would violate liberal nostrums. In an essay on the nation’s 20-year crime drop, inspired by New York University sociologist Patrick Sharkey’s new book, Uneasy Peace, Gopnik declares that the “urban crime wave is over.” Anyone who has recently raised an alarum about crime—that would be Donald Trump, of course—is appealing to “preexisting bigotry.” Trump campaigned “against crime and carnage where it scarcely exists,” Gopnik writes, in order to exploit the “fetishistic role” of crime in the racist American imagination.

Let’s look at what Gopnik calls crime that “scarcely exists.” In 2016, candidate Trump spoke repeatedly about the rising bloodshed in inner cities. That year was the second in a two-year, 20-percent increase in the nation’s homicide rate, the largest in nearly half a century. Violent crime overall rose nearly 7 percent in 2015 and 2016—the largest consecutive one-year increases in a quarter-century. Up until 2015, crime had been steadily dropping across the country, thanks to the spread of data-driven, proactive policing and the use of determinate sentencing to lock away violent criminals. But as 2014 drew to a close, that 20-year crime drop stalled and then reversed itself.

The victims of the 2015 and 2016 homicide increase were overwhelmingly black. In 2014, there were 6,095 black homicide victims, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. In 2015, there were 7,039 black homicide victims; in 2016, there were 7,881 black homicide victims. Those 7,881 dead black bodies in 2016 comprised more than half the total homicide victims that year, though blacks are only 13 percent of the population. An additional 2,731 blacks were killed over the course of 2015 and 2016 compared with 2014. To Gopnik, that loss of an additional 2,731 black lives is not worth paying attention to—it “scarcely exists.”

Trump regularly referred to Chicago’s crime increase during the presidential campaign. In 2016, 4,300 people were shot in Chicago—one person every two hours. The victims were overwhelmingly black. Two dozen children under the age of 12 were shot in Chicago in 2016, among them a three-year-old boy mowed down on Father’s Day 2016 who is now paralyzed for life, and a ten-year-old boy shot in August whose pancreas, intestines, kidney, and spleen were torn apart. Those child victims were also overwhelmingly black. Trump called those Chicago shootings and others like them in Baltimore and St. Louis “carnage.” What does Gopnik call them? A mere “bump or burp in the numbers.” If 4,300 white people had been shot in any city of the country, there would be a revolution. But because the victims were black, it would be dog-whistle racism to call attention to them. Racism once consisted of ignoring black-on-black violence as a fact of nature that was beneath concern. It is a bizarre twist in contemporary liberalism that drawing attention to the black victims of street crime is now the racist position. This deflection has come about in order to avoid acknowledging that the perpetrators of this crime are black, too. So it is better to look away entirely.

Retrieved February 15, 2018 from https://www.city-journal.org/html/looking-away-urban-crime-15722.html

Teilhard, Doctor of the Church?

Yes, it is time and I have believed, ever since deeply studying his ideas, that he should be made a Doctor of the Church.

This article from NCR is excellent, and makes the case.

Philadelphia — Naming Jesuit Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a doctor of the church — or at least removing the “warning” from his writings — would give the Jesuit scientist and philosopher more legitimacy in the church, his supporters say. And two separate petitions to the Vatican aim to do just that.

At a meeting of scientists and church leaders from around the world in November, members of the Pontifical Council for Culture unanimously approved a petition asking Pope Francis to waive the “monitum” against Teilhard de Chardin’s writings that has been in effect since 1962.

Teilhard’s work was only published after his death in 1955, because of disciplinary measures from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Holy Office) during his life. The popularity of his books Human Phenomenon and The Divine Milieu led to the monitum, or warning, in 1962 for “ambiguities and indeed even serious errors.”

However, scholars from the Pontifical Council for Culture said this past fall that while some of his writings may be open to constructive criticism, his “seminal thoughts” and “prophetic vision” have been “inspiring theologians and scientists,” America magazine reported.

They also noted that four popes — Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Francis — had made explicit references to his work, including a mention in a footnote in Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”

Meanwhile, a Sister of St. Joseph in Philadelphia has been gathering signatures — more than 1,200 so far — for a petition asking Teilhard to be named a doctor of the church.

“I think he deserves it,” said Sr. Kathleen Duffy, professor of physics at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and director of its Institute for Religion and Science.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about the petition to make Teilhard a doctor of the church.

The designation “doctor of the church” honors individuals, usually theologians or scholars, whose teaching or thought has greatly benefited the church. The title has been bestowed on 36 people so far.

Duffy believes Teilhard’s attempts to bring together theology and science have a particular relevance for the church and the world today and that his ideas about “evolutionary Christianity” can provide hope in what many see as a chaotic time.

 “There is a scientific theory of chaos that says you can’t have any new creation without disequilibrium,” said Duffy. “But we can’t just sit back and say, ‘God will take care of it.’ There has to be some motivation on our part.”

Teilhard, who read the Christian Scriptures through the lens of the evolutionary story, took the process of how the universe came about (“cosmogenesis”) and projected it into the future, where increasing complexity would call for increasing unity (“Christogenesis”), Duffy explained.

“He had the big picture and could see eons ahead where everything was converging,” she said, adding that this convergence would require people to come together with an increased love of God and neighbor. “So even when we’re discouraged, Teilhard de Chardin can give us hope in chaos.”

Retrieved February 14, 2018 from https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/time-rehabilitate-teilhard-de-chardin



Seamless Garment Narrative was a Scam

As well explained in this article from Crisis Magazine.

An excerpt.

Back in my New York days, when I was the greenest of greenhorns, I used to watch the three card monte players around Times Square. These are the guys who flip three playing cards around on an upturned box and goad the audience to “pick the red, pick the red, pick the red.” And they would make it look very easy. You could always see the red. Always. They’d also have a colleague in the crowd who would lay down his money and pick the red and he would win a wad of cash.

And then a greenhorn would step forward, slap down a twenty, and pick the red. Only the greenhorn never could pick the red. The red—that was RIGHT THERE—was no longer there. It was palmed by the con man running the game who would then pocket your twenty and goad you into going again.

The Seamless Garment is a little like that.

The political left in the Church says let’s include all these other issues in with abortion. Let’s include the minimum wage, and the environment, and disarmament, and gun control, open borders, and whatever other liberal shibboleth they are peddling this year. This will mean we are consistent because all of these are life issues. Pick the red. Pick the red.

The funny thing you end up seeing is that the political left never really gets around to abortion. Or they won’t get to the heart of the matter—that is, stopping abortion—but would rather talk about other issues they say reduce the need for abortion. But when it comes to straight up votes to stop abortion, well, that’s divisive and partisan and we can’t have that.

The U.S. Senate just failed to close debate about a law that their colleagues in the House already passed, and the president would have signed, that would have banned abortion after the time the unborn child feels pain, about twenty weeks. Now certainly there would have been constitutional issues. Certainly, it would have gone to the Supreme Court. But, there are more pro-life votes there than there used to be. What’s more, Emperor Kennedy has signaled that he might be open to new information on abortion, like fetal pain.

But it won’t get there, not this time anyway, because Seamless Garment Catholics, overwhelmingly Democrat, in the U.S. Senate voted against it. Had they voted the Seamless Garment, it would have passed. But they didn’t vote the Seamless Garment because they don’t really mean it.

The best example of the Seamless Garment scam in the Senate is Tim Kaine of Virginia, who was touted during the last campaign as a faithful Catholic, the Seamless Garmento par excellence. He was educated by Jesuits! He took mission trips to Latin America to build houses or something! He’s the real Catholic deal! Kaine voted in favor of 20-week fetuses being torn apart in utero. He wasn’t the only Seamless Garment Catholic who did this; there were 13 others, two of them Republicans, all the rest Democrats.

So, what about the Seamless Garment amen corner? What about the so-called “New Pro-Life Movement,” America Magazine, Commonweal, Crux? Did any of them editorialize in support of this commonsense measure prior to the vote? Of course not. Did any of them condemn the vote of the Seamless Garment Catholics? Did they even mention it?

Rebecca Bratten Weiss and Matthew Tyson started the “New Pro-Life Movement” precisely for Seamless Garment purposes. You’d think they would opine. Nope. Crickets. Nothing on the New Pro-Life Movement website and nothing in the blogs of Weiss and Tyson. Oh, you will find things there about the death penalty and posts condemning the actual pro-life movement, but nothing about the shame of these Seamless Garment quislings in the U.S. Senate.

America Magazine published a decent editorial condemning the practice of abortion past the 20th week but the article goes on to condemn the GOP for bringing up the vote at all because it had no chance of passing. They say it was a wedge issue. But the reason the vote went down is precisely because of the 14 Seamless Garment Catholics who voted against it. Had they voted right, it would have passed with 65 votes. Instead of criticizing them, America condemns the pro-life party for partisanship.

Crux, the reliably Seamless Garment site run by John Allen, didn’t publish even a single article or column about the issue. Allen did mention the vote in passing in an article on another topic.

Lefty Commonweal was also silent.

Retrieved February 10, 2018 from https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/seamless-garment-always-scam

Andy Warhol, Devout Catholic

Wow, who knew, great story from the Catholic Herald.

An excerpt.

On April 1, 1987, the most popular artists, actors, fashion designers, writers and musicians in America converged on St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Liza Minnelli showed up, along with Calvin Klein, Tom Wolfe and George Plimpton. Yoko Ono arrived a bit early; she was giving a speech.

One could have easily mistaken Andy Warhol’s memorial service for a society event rather than a religious one, were it not for the eulogy given by the artist’s friend John Richardson. He spoke of Warhol’s “secret piety”, which “inevitably changes our perception of an artist who fooled the world into believing his only obsessions were money, fame and glamour, and that he was cool to the point of callousness. Never take Andy at face value.”

It is this secret piety that the Vatican Museums hope to uncover in their major exhibition of his work next year. Indeed, the Catholic faith is the only constant theme in his strange life.

Warhol’s parents were born in a village on the northern border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They were Ruthenians: members of a small Byzantine Catholic Church that grew out of Cyril and Methodius’s mission to the Carpathian Mountains. In 1909, his father moved to Pittsburgh, home of the largest Ruthenian community outside Europe. His mother followed in 1921, and their son Andrew was born seven years later. His father worked as a coal miner until he died when Warhol was 13.

In 1955, the shoe brand I. Miller hired Warhol to illustrate its advertisements in the New York Times. Critics compared the results to Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters. This drawing upon commercial themes in the pursuit of high culture came to define the Pop Art movement. It also placed Warhol at the centre of the New York avant garde, and his studio (nicknamed “the Factory”) became its headquarters.

The contrast with his working-class, immigrant Catholic boyhood could not be starker. All the hallmarks of the Sixties were there: drugs, sex, radical politics, more drugs. Several of the Warhol Superstars – minor artists whose work he promoted – overdosed or committed suicide in their twenties or thirties.

Religion kept Warhol from going over the brink. He attended Mass almost daily. Other days he would just slip into St Vincent Ferrer on Lexington Avenue, drop into the back pew and pray. He spent his Thanksgivings, Christmases and Easters volunteering at a soup kitchen, and befriended the homeless and poor whom he served. He put his nephew through seminary. Though openly gay, he endeavoured to remain celibate throughout his life. When he refused to support the gay rights movement, many of his friends blamed his faith.

He lived with his mother until she died, and every morning they would pray together in Old Slavonic before he left for the Factory. He always carried a rosary and a small missal in his pocket.

Retrieved February 8, 2018 from http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/february-9th-2018/andy-warhols-devotion-was-almost-surreal/

Stand-up Leaders will fill Sit-down Pews

Which is the theme of this article by George Weigel from Catholic World Report.

An excerpt.

If ministers of the Gospel cannot challenge the world’s distortions of the Gospel with the truth of the Gospel, but fall back instead on penny-ante pseudo-Marxist clichés, is it any wonder that their church pews are empty?

Europe’s wholesale abandonment of its Christian faith is often explained as the inevitable by-product of modern social, economic, and political life. But there is far more to the story of Euro-secularization than that, as three ecclesiastics, a Presbyterian minister and two Italian priests, demonstrated this past Christmas.

The minister in question was the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Derek Browning. In his Yuletide message to his disappearing flock, Dr. Browning confessed that in his “darker moments,” he sometimes wondered whether “…the world have been a better place without [Jesus]. If there was no Jesus, and therefore no Christianity, would there have been no Crusades? Would there have been no Spanish Inquisition?” (Dr. Browning didn’t contemplate the possibility that, without Jesus, there would have been no iconoclastic destruction of Scotland’s ancient and beautiful Catholic churches, or no mass burnings of “witches” by his forebears in the kirk; but that, perhaps, would have been cutting a bit too close to the bone.)

Then there was Father Fredo Olivero of the Church of San Rocco di Torino in the Archdiocese of Turin. At Christmas midnight Mass, Don Fredo substituted the syrupy Italian pop-religious tune, Dolce sentire, for the Creed, explaining, “Do you know why I do not say the Creed? Because I do not believe it….after many years I understood that it was something I did not understand and that I could not accept. So let’s sing something else that says the essential things of life…”

Which, evidently, do not include the confession of faith that Jesus is Lord and Savior.

Not to be outdone by those uppity Piedmontese in Turin, a priest of Genoa, Father Paolo Farinella, announced in the leftist Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, that he had canceled his parish Masses for January 1 (the Octave of Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God) and January 6 (the Epiphany). Why? Because, according to Don Paolo, Christmas is now “a fairy tale from the nativity scene with lullabies and bagpipes, the exclusive support of a capitalist and consumerist economy, transforming the whole of Christianity into civil religion.”

So there. No Mass.

These three episodes illustrate a larger point: “secularization” is not something that just happened to western Europe, like the Black Death. The radical secularization that has transformed Christianity’s heartland into the most religiously arid half-continent on the planet has at least as much to do with the craven surrender of ministers of the Gospel to theological and political fads, and their consequent loss of faith, as it does with the impact of urbanization, mass education, and the industrial revolution on Europeans’ understanding of themselves.

If the Gospel is not preached with conviction – the convictions that humanity is in need of salvation and that Jesus is the Savior who liberates us into the fullness of our humanity and gives us eternal life – then the Gospel will not be believed.

Retrieved February 8, 2018 from http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/02/07/men-without-conviction-churches-without-people/

Liberal & Conservative Discussion on Crime

As usual, the conservative wins again, as this article in Claremont Magazine reports.

An excerpt from conservative Joseph—after the introductory paragraph—being the more accurate.

In the Summer 2017 CRB, Joseph M. Bessette reviewed Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform, by John Pfaff. We’re glad they have agreed to persue questions about the effectiveness of U.S. incarceration policy in reducing crime. John Pfaff is a Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. Joseph Bessette, a long-time CRB contributor, is the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College.

Joesph: Let me begin by returning the compliment to John Pfaff for his reasoned response to my somewhat critical review of his work Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform. He makes a variety of interesting points, drawing on issues debated within the criminal justice literature. Unfortunately, he attributes to me positions regarding clearance rates and recidivism that I did not take in my review and he then devotes much of his response to attempting to refute these positions. More significantly, he avoids the central element of my critique by failing to detail the kinds of large-scale reductions in punishment that he calls for in his book for both nonviolent and violent offenders.

Pfaff describes my position as follows: “Summarizing quickly, Bessette’s pragmatic argument for prisons rests on a few, straight-forward points: (1) we have a lot of crime, violent crime in particular; (2) our clearance rates—the rates at which people are arrested for crimes—are low, requiring us to be harsh to those we do punish; and (3) the recidivism rates of those we release from prison are high, demonstrating the need to keep them locked up for longer periods.” While Pfaff is correct on point (1), I did not take the positions he attributes to me in points (2) and (3).

Let’s start with his second point on “clearance rates.” Clearance rates refer to the percentage of crimes that result in an arrest or are “cleared” in some other way, such the death of the offender in a gunfight with the police. If the police have “solved” the crime—even if they arrested someone who is later acquitted—the crime is considered “cleared” in the FBI statistics. Here is what I said about arrest rates, or clearance rates, in my review: “Of course, not all criminals are arrested. For some of these serious crimes arrest rates are shockingly low: just 29% for robbery and 13% for burglary.” That’s it. But for this brief mention, my entire argument focused not on those who get away with their crimes, but on those whom the police arrest and courts convict. Indeed, my very next sentence was “Yet, altogether, police made over 10 million arrests in 2015, 1.5 million for violent crimes (including misdemeanor assaults).”

Nowhere in the review did I argue that low clearance rates call for “harsh” punishment. (Indeed, I did not advocate “harsh” punishment on any grounds.) I do not believe that the burglars we catch should be punished more harshly because so many others get away with the same crime. (Note that although no one is arrested in 87% of the burglaries in the United States, it does not follow that 87% of burglars are never arrested for burglary. Burglary is a classic recidivist crime, and the more burglaries a criminal commits the more likely he is eventually to be arrested.) The burglars we do arrest and convict should be punished as much as they deserve for the crime(s) for which they were convicted adjusted by considerations of prior record.

It is, rather, the pure deterrence theorist who might argue that low clearance rates should be counteracted by longer sentences. After all, a rational burglar will compare the likely take from a burglary against the average “cost” he might pay for his crime, such as days incarcerated in jail or prison. Pfaff’s book dismisses the deterrent effect of longer sentences, but surely at some point sentence length matters if criminal punishment is to deter at all. If, say, a state reduced the maximum sentence for burglary from several years in state prison to a few weekends in local jail, is it plausible that burglaries would not increase? Prosecutors like Mike Hestrin in California’s Riverside County have been arguing that this is precisely the effect that new laws in California have had in sending convicted offenders, who used to go to state prison for at least a year, to local jails instead, where overcrowding results in just weeks or even days behind bars. He tells the story of “a known thief who had been stealing from the merchant’s store was caught stealing again and working a calculator on his phone. The arresting officers found out the thief had been adding up what he was stealing to make sure he was not taking more than $900 in merchandise so, if caught, he would only be charged with a misdemeanor, no matter how [many] times he was caught.” The result: a few days in jail and virtual impunity to steal again. As we will see, Pfaff’s proposal to bring U.S. incarceration rates more in line with those in Europe will effectively sweep all non-violent offenders from our prisons and jails, as well as many violent offenders.

What, then, of Pfaff’s third point on recidivism? Once again, my discussion was very brief and did not draw the conclusion that high recidivism rates “demonstrat[e] . . . the need to keep [prisoners] locked up for longer periods.” I introduced recidivism rates to raise a caution about a key argument in Pfaff’s book: “For almost all people who commit violent crimes, . . . violence is not a defining trait but a transitory state that they age out of. They are not violent people; they are simply going through a violent phase.” Now, since the context of the discussion is all about incarceration, Pfaff seems here clearly to be discussing violent offenders in prison – that is, the one-half of all state prisoners who were convicted of murder, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. Unfortunately, Pfaff does not tell us what he means by “defining trait,” what period of time constitutes a “transitory state” (5 years, 10, 15, 20?), nor at what age “almost all people who commit violent crimes” cease to become dangerous. It is no surprise to anyone that criminals with a history of violence are less dangerous in their 60s and 70s than they were in their 20s. But this is not Pfaff’s point; for he gives us some indication of when the aging effect kicks in: “someone who acts violently when he’s eighteen years old may very well be substantially calmer by the time he’s thirty-five.”

Using this as a guide, I presented in my review the best recidivism data we have for inmates released from state prisons. And what I reported was that “fully 69% of those at least 40 years old at the time of release were arrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within five years—not much lower than the 77% for all offenders. The aging effect, apparently, does not turn most hardened criminals into law-abiding citizens, though it may slow them down a bit.” In his response to my review Pfaff rightly notes that I overlooked a table early in the detailed recidivism report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (tracking state inmates released in 2005) that presents age-related data on rearrests for a violent crime. I thank Pfaff for correcting my oversight since the data I did not report strengthen my case. Here are the 3-year arrest rates for a violent crime by age of the inmate when released:…

Retrieved February 7, 2018 from https://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/crb-digital-discussion/


Catholic Women & Priesthood

This recent article in America: Discovering my priesthood as a Catholic woman in Protestant seminary, is excellent except for the reality that the Church forbids women from becoming ordained priests.

An excerpt.

“What are you, a deacon?” the man asks from his bed. We are about 20 minutes into a pastoral visit. His parish deacon has been visiting regularly since he got sick. Now I have entered this man’s life as a hospice chaplain, and he does not quite know what to make of me.

It is not the first time I have been asked the question. Sometimes they ask if I am a priest or a sister or if they should call me “Reverend.” Their questions bring a smile to my face, but they also take me back to a time when I did not know what I wanted the answer to be.

In those days, I was a lifelong Catholic studying at a Protestant seminary. My choice to attend Union Theological Seminary in New York was deliberate. I wanted my tuition dollars to support a school that prepared women for ordination. Plus, I am a daughter of a Lutheran mother and Catholic father who promised to raise their children Catholic. Studying at a Protestant seminary would give me a chance to step outside my Catholic comfort zone and learn about the other half of my spiritual heritage.

My fellow students included a number of formerly Catholic women seeking ordination in other faith traditions. When they found out I was Catholic, one after another began asking me a rather pointed question: “How can you stay in a church that refuses to ordain women?”

Their question left me speechless. Like them, I entered seminary because I felt called to ministry. But I planned to live out my calling as a Catholic lay minister. Was it not enough that I chose a seminary where other women were preparing for ordination? Why were they challenging me to go further?

I plunged myself into seminary life, hoping these questions would resolve themselves.

I quickly came to love weekday worship services at the seminary chapel. I felt a special thrill each time women stepped into roles I had never seen them in before. One day two women took on the roles of Martha and Mary in a joint homily, offering a feminist interpretation of each woman’s posture before Christ. Another day African women swung colorful banners, beat drums, chanted in their native tongue and danced God’s delight into the hearts of all gathered.

There were moments that took my breath away, like the first time I witnessed an ordained female minister consecrating the bread and wine, and she happened to be visibly pregnant. Women preached, presided and prayed in a place that welcomed the fullness of their spiritual gifts and in ways that made my spirit soar.

On Sundays I set aside all this newness and stepped back into my Catholic world at the Jesuit parish where I was active. There lay leadership was vibrant, the community spirit was contagious and women’s gifts were honored. The prayers and rituals of this community, which had long been my spiritual sustenance, were growing more important to me.

At the same time, however, I was becoming more aware of the limited roles women could fill in the Catholic Church. I found I could no longer put off the question of ordination.

Was I really called to a life of lay ministry as a Catholic? Or was the true nature of my call to ordination? The door to ordination in a Protestant church was open, and a number of people were encouraging me to walk through it. They noticed spiritual gifts in me that were well suited to ordained ministry. What a shame it would be to let those gifts go to waste, they said.

Their voices were strong and compelling. I knew the ordination process for Protestant women was not easy. But I could not deny that God was molding the clay of my being into a shape I was not sure could fit within the confines of the Catholic tradition.

I stopped running from the ordination question and started wrestling with it.

Shortly after I did, a new question arose in me. Some of the formerly Catholic women called to ordination had not decided which Protestant denomination to pursue. Some were thinking about becoming Congregational, others Episcopal or Lutheran. This struck me as odd. Wouldn’t the call to ordination grow out of a faith that you knew and loved in a church where you felt at home? Would not the first step be to find your spiritual home and only then to pursue ordination within that tradition?

At that time in my studies I was researching the documents of the Second Vatican Council. One day I read something that caught me by surprise: “The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood” (“Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” No. 10).

Retrieved February 6 2018 from https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/01/03/discovering-my-priesthood-catholic-woman-protestant-seminary

Say What!

That’s about all you can say in response to this from a senior Vatican Official, reported by the Catholic Herald.

An excerpt.

“Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese,” a senior Vatican official has said.

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, praised the Communist state as “extraordinary”, saying: “You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs”. Instead, there is a “positive national conscience”.

The bishop told the Spanish-language edition of Vatican Insider that in China “the economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States, something Americans themselves would say.”

Bishop Sánchez Sorondo said that China was implementing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ better than many other countries and praised it for defending Paris Climate Accord. “In that, it is assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned”, he added.

He accused US president Donald Trump of being “manipulated” by global oil firms, and said that, as opposed to those who follow “liberal thought”, the Chinese are working for the greater good of the planet.

The Vatican and China have been holding talks in recent years over the status of the ‘underground’ Church and the appointment of bishops. In November, the Vatican Museums also organised joint exhibitions with China in what was called “diplomacy of art”.

As part of the diplomacy efforts, Bishop Sánchez Sorondo visited the country. “What I found was an extraordinary China,” he said. “What people don’t realise is that the central value in China is work, work, work. There’s no other way, fundamentally it is like St Paul said: he who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat.”

Retrieved February 6, 2018 from http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2018/02/06/china-is-the-best-implementer-of-catholic-social-doctrine-says-vatican-bishop/

Skull and Bones & Carceral World Culture

There is very little accurate information about carceral world culture out there, for good reason; but one important fact is to know that the elite criminal/carceral world cultural members are the Skull and Bones Society—in its traditional sense—of the criminal/carceral world, and in the process of providing an effective criminal reformation ministry, not understanding this makes your work much more difficult.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Skull and Bones.

Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior secret society at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. It is the oldest senior class landed society. … The society is known informally as “Bones”, and members are known as “Bonesmen”.

Skull and Bones was founded in 1832…. William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft co-founded …. The first senior members included Russell, Taft, and twelve other members.

Retrieved January 22, 2018 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skull_and_Bones

An excellent movie with Skull and Bones playing center stage is The Good Shepherd and one of my favorite lines in there is when the protagonist—a CIA counter-intelligence executive and a Bonesman—is speaking with a Mafia Don who tells him that all of the nationalities that have come to the United States have something they call their own, but you have nothing; to which the protagonist responds: (paraphrasing) “We have the country, the rest of you are just tourists.”; a sentiment concerning the carceral world that could be made by the elite prison gangs.

Of course, the major difference between the secret society of the carceral and that of the free, is that the criminal/carceral world elite, has nothing to lose and will accept death to pursue their aims; whereas the free elite secret societies have everything to lose and will risk death more haltingly.

Within ministry, a couple things related in this way are important to remember.

One is comparing the existential power of the acceptance of death with the spiritual power of saints and martyrs who accept death can be a powerful argument.

Two, as can the world of absolutes each lives in, for it is absolutes that can convert criminals, not maybes.


Passion of Christ Sequel

This is very good news from Life Site News.

An excerpt.

January 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  Actor Jim Caviezel, world-famous for his portrayal of Jesus in the blockbuster 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ, has confirmed that he is joining forces with director Mel Gibson to reprise his role in a sequel about the Resurrection, now on the drawing board.

“There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” said the actor in a USA Today interview.  “It’s great. Stay tuned.”

“The Resurrection. Big subject. Oh, my God,” said Director Mel Gibson in a 2016 interview.  “We’re trying to craft this in a way that’s cinematically compelling and enlightening so that it shines new light, if possible, without creating some weird thing.”

The Academy Award-winning director who also co-wrote and produced The Passion of the Christ is still conceptualizing how the story will be told on the big screen.

“I won’t tell you how he’s going to go about it,” Caviezel told USA Today. “But I’ll tell you this much, the film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”

The Passion of the Christ brought to life the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ in a powerful, graphic way that had never before been achieved.  Despite Hollywood’s disdain for movies about Christianity, audiences flocked to theatres to see it, making it one of the most successful, highest grossing films in history.

Caviezel, who besides being an acclaimed actor, is a man of faith who publicly challenges his fellow Catholics to live their faith out loud in this darkening world.

Earlier this month, the actor spoke before a huge crowd of college students in Chicago at the SLS18 (Student Leadership Summit 2018) conference sponsored by The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).

“Set yourselves apart from this corrupt generation,” the actor challenged those in attendance. “Be saints. You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.”

“We must shake off this indifference, this destructive tolerance of evil. But only our faith and the wisdom of Christ can save us,” he said. “But it requires warriors, ready to risk their reputations, their names, even our very lives, to stand for the truth.”

Retrieved January 31, 2018 from https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/new-passion-of-the-christ-sequel-will-be-biggest-film-in-history-jim-caviez