Thursday, February 21, 2019

The folly of William Floyd Weld

If William Floyd Weld wins his primary challenge against President Trump, it will be the greatest political miracle since Jesus Christ intervened to advise Emperor Constantine before the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

Weld has no fan base, no name recognition, no political machine. His brand of let-them-eat-cake libertarianism has zero traction in either major party. His complaint to CNN that ‘the President does not exhibit curiosity about history’ probably won’t resonate with the party’s base, given how quickly they took to demanding Trump imprison his opponent once he was elected. 89 percent of Republicans approve of the President’s job performance, and the remaining 11 percent might be weary of voting for another Massachusetts governor.

[Read more at The Spectator USA]

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The comfortable demise of Theodore McCarrick

Mr Theodore McCarrick will spend his last days within the limestone walls of St Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas. He’ll be able to see the stunning St Fidelis Church, ‘the Basilica of the Plains’, from his window. His quarters in the monastery will be simple, clean, and pleasant. He’ll have all the time in the world to pray, read, write, think, or just putter, as old men like to do. His meals, laundry, heating, and other necessities will be taken care of for him. There will always be a tender Franciscan nearby if he needs to talk, or cry, or play checkers. He’ll die surrounded by holy men praying for the repose of his soul.

The ‘life of prayer and penance’ might not be everyone’s cup of tea; but, before he was laicized this week, Mr McCarrick was a member of the clergy of the Catholic Church. Six decades ago he was ordained in the Archdiocese of New York and went on to become Archbishop of Washington. He was a member of the College of Cardinals, the most honored and trusted men in the Church, from 2001 until July of last year. If his clerical career was anything other than a complete sham – if there’s any love or fear of God in his heart – the life of prayer and penance isn’t a punishment: it’s a tremendous grace. It’s a chance to make peace with his Creator before he dies, away from the anxieties and temptations of the world.

[Read more at The Spectator USA]

Friday, February 15, 2019

The pathetic drama of pushing in the press pen

Media types are getting all sniffy because some goober dealt a BBC cameraman one ‘very hard shove’ at Donald Trump’s El Paso rally on Monday. The BBC released a statement saying the cameraman, Ron Skeans, is ‘fine’ – which most people no doubt assumed he was, because Skeans is a grown man.

The ‘incredibly violent attack’ (as Britain’s state broadcaster is choosing to bill it) took place shortly after Trump pointed to the press pen and said: ‘Wow, look at all the press, can you believe that?’ and ‘They’ve gone down a long way since they started hitting us a little bit, right?’ Inflammatory stuff! The other reporters present were so intimidated, it was all they could do to follow the assailant out of the arena as he was dragged away by burly guards.

[Read more at The Spectator USA]

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Why leading a virtuous life is the key to happiness

Every theology enthusiast – I would never use the term dork – has, at some point, identified himself with one of two factions: the Thomistic Aristotelians or the Augustinian Platonists. Granted, the whole debate is kind of dumb. Reading Aquinas’s commentary on Boethius, one realizes pretty quickly that the Angelic Doctor himself is as much an Augustinian as the more “Platonic” theologians like Bonaventure. Still, there are worse things to argue about over scotch and pipes. Most of my friends back home are alumni of Thomas Aquinas College, so I’m usually the lone Augustinian. But that’s fine. If Pope Benedict is for us, who can be against us?

Of course, Tertullian wouldn’t be amused. The man widely credited as the founder of Western theology had no use for pre-Christian thinkers. “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” he famously sneered. Yet this contempt for classical philosophy has gained little traction except among some radical Calvinists. Most Christians (and all Catholics) have followed Augustine, who taught that “truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature.”

[Read more at the Catholic Herald.]

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard is the perfect Democratic nominee… for 2024

Let’s make it clear right off the bat that Tulsi Gabbard will not be the Democratic nominee in 2020. The party’s base is so consumed with hatred for the president that only one criterion matters: which candidate can cast embody the spirit of The Anti-Trump. Do you hate the Orange Menace for his divisiveness, his crudity, his total lack of chill? Then lose yourself in Obama nostalgia with Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, and Joe Biden. Or are you looking for an all-out brawl, fascists v. reds, Spanish Civil War-style? Well, Elizabeth Warren is sharpening her tomahawk, and Bernie Sanders has his game face on.

Gabbard is not the antithesis of Trump, in either temperament nor ideology. Quite the opposite: more than any of her colleagues, she resembles Trump circa 2016. And that’s what makes her the perfect Democratic candidate – for 2024. Allow me to explain.

[Read more at The Spectator USA]

Excommunication breakdown: Why Catholics can’t agree about Cuomo

Without a doubt, the most evocative moment in Catholic cinema is the excommunication scene from Becket. Richard Burton, playing Thomas Becket, pronounces the delinquent Bishop of London anathema, culminating in these horrible words: “We declare him excommunicate and anathema. We cast him into the outer darkness.” Admittedly, the film omits the full formula of excommunication, which holds out hope for the subject’s repentance. But it remains an unforgettable reminder of the real authority which Holy Mother Church has over her children.

Christ charged His Apostles: “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. Their successor, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, is now facing calls to “loose” Empire State governor Mario Cuomo. On January 22 (the 46th anniversary of Roe v Wade) Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act, which removed virtually all restrictions to abortion in that state. And not only did he offer his consent to the bill: he ordered the World Trade Center be lit up pink in celebration. Unsurprisingly, the hashtag #ExcommunicateCuomo erupted on Catholic Twitter.

[Read more at the Catholic Herald]