Friday, August 31, 2018

The Magic of Essential Oils

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
And here is a quote from another article about natural and healthy ways to care for aging skin, from Balance Me Beautiful:
 Essential oils are a must have for older skin because they can help  to counteract some of the main challenges facing mature skin. As skin ages after menopause, fewer blood vessels reach the skin’s surface,  and that’s a big problem because it’s the blood vessels that carry  nutrients to skin cells. Now, essential oils won’t create new  blood vessels, but the following oils can boost circulation, allowing  the remaining blood vessels to work more efficiently:
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
To counter dryness and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles try:
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • Neroli – also known as Orange Blossom (Citrus aurantium)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
(Read more.)
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Dead Americans

From Townhall:
I have to start by saying I hate it when tragedies are politicized, no matter who does it. With that being said, the two parties do use horrible events differently. Republicans use them to highlight issues of importance; Democrats use them to advance agenda items they’d been wanting to push for years, even when they admit their solutions would not have prevented the tragedy they’re exploiting. It may not seem like much, but it is, and it is an important difference.

After every mass shooting, for example, Democrats reach in their desk drawers and pull out their standard gun control wish list. Buzzwords like “background checks,” “gun show loopholes,” and all the words we’ve come to hear far too often hit the cable news airwaves along with the inevitable “we must do somethings” that accompany them. Yet after each of these horrible events this ballet plays out with the ultimate reality that none of these proposed “solutions” would have prevented what they are allegedly in reaction to admitted by its advocates.

So why propose a response to something that not only would not have prevented the tragedy, but would also do nothing to prevent a similar event in the future? Because Democrats want to, ultimately, repeal the Second Amendment. They know they can’t do it all at once; incrementalism has always been the left’s tactic. If they have to exploit a tragedy to move the ball in their direction, they are more than happy to do it. (Read more.)
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The Advantage of Keeping the Economy Human

From Return to Order:
The human ability to create and invent new things is one of these unique things. The fear of automation all too often corresponds to a lack of courage to find new and creative ways of doing things. Dr. Richards believes that Americans need to return to those skills of creativity, resilience, and empathy for the needs of others that they once practiced in the past. This return to creativity includes the courage to face failure and start over again.

Yet another human advantage over machines is the ability to pursue happiness. Dr. Richards makes the distinction between happiness and its pursuit. Happiness is readily reduced to easy pleasures, which ultimately frustrate. The pursuit of happiness necessarily involves the struggle and suffering that accompanies a life of virtue. Happiness often results from overcoming adversity and hardship. It is not surprising to see this professor of economics at Catholic University citing Saint Thomas Aquinas, who asserts that true “happiness is secured through virtue.”

Finally, humans have the unique ability to build relationships and institutions that support their pursuit of happiness. Dr. Richards calls upon readers to reject to cold bureaucratic (and mechanical) governmental programs or one-size-fits-all solutions that solve nothing. Natural human institutions like those of family, community and faith are needed. Ultimately, he claims that “to instill virtue, the virtue-forming institutions, not government must lead.” (Read more.)
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ghosts of the Orphanage

Please read the linked article with discernment and caution, keeping in mind that several of the testimonies are contradictory. It is about several Catholic orphanages in North America, and one in particular, where children were allegedly abused, and even murdered. In days when corporal punishment at home and at school was routine, what the children from the orphanage describe is torture. The young lady who wrote the article appears to have done some genuine investigative journalism. At one point in my life I might have dismissed it all as an evil fantasy. But now I know more and have read more. Throughout the history of the Church, particularly in times of prosperity, persons with serious emotional or mental problems have used the external structures and trappings of the Catholic religion to hide or shield criminal behaviors. Sadly, in some cases, persons of authority neglected their duty. Similarly, certain congregations for woman religious have, since the Middle Ages and even before, been used as places to dump women and girls who were unmarriageable or unmanageable, whether or not they had true vocations to be brides of Christ. Some women who became nuns in the past entered to escape abusive home lives, or potentially abusive marriages. But in various cases it seems they brought the dysfunction of their homes to the convent. It is the reason why orders such as the Carmelites have always been deliberately strict about who entered the cloister. It is also the reason the process for discerning genuine vocations was reformed and lengthened by the Second Vatican Council. And remember, the people who committed the alleged crimes in the article had access to the sublimity of the traditional Latin liturgy. Obviously, there was something seriously missing in their formation. But as we now know, neither the priestly life nor the religious life, nor even the married state, are meant to be remedies for intrinsically disordered tendencies, mental illnesses and emotional disturbances. Otherwise the results are disastrous for all. From BuzzFeed:
Sally figured the boy fell from the window in 1944 or so, because she was moving to the “big girls” dormitory that day. Girls usually moved when they were 6, though residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont, did not always have a clear sense of their age — birthdays, like siblings and even names, being one of the many human attributes that were stripped from them when they passed through its doors. She recounted his fall in a deposition on Nov. 6, 1996, as part of a remarkable group of lawsuits that 28 former residents brought against the nuns, the diocese, and the social agency that oversaw the orphanage.

I watched the deposition — all 19 hours of grainy, scratchy videotape — more than two decades later. By that time sexual abuse scandals had ripped through the Catholic Church, shattering the silence that had for so long protected its secrets. It was easier for accusers in general to come forward, and easier for people to believe their stories, even if the stories sounded too awful to be true. Even if they had happened decades ago, when the accusers were only children. Even if the people they were accusing were pillars of the community. (Read more.)
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Why the Pope Must Speak

From First Things:
The crux of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's indictment of Pope Francis comes toward the end of his Memorandum: “Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren. Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock.” 

The remedy he proposes for this intolerable situation is drastic, but logical if his claims are true: “In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.”

The fact that Pope Francis refused to answer questions about Viganò’s charges on the flight back from the World Meeting of Families in Ireland is telling. How likely is it that an innocent man would let these multiple serious charges of malfeasance remain unanswered? Certainly possible, but highly unlikely. (Read more.)
From The National Catholic Register:
Much is being made on social media today about Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s comments in which he said it is “fake news” to suggest that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI confirmed Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony on abuse cover up in the Vatican. What Archbishop Gänswein said is entirely accurate: Any assertion that the Pope Emeritus had seen the entire testimony, and confirmed it, is untrue. The Register also never reported this. What we did report, given by an inside source close to Benedict in July, was that Benedict had issued sanctions against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick but was unable to remember their precise nature.

That has not been denied.

In his comments published today in Die Tagespost, Archbishop Gänswein said he was referring to a report published yesterday in The New York Times. In that article, The New York Times interviewed and quoted Tim Busch, a board member of EWTN. And in comments attributed to him, but without quoting him directly, The Times reported that he told the newspaper that “leaders of the publication [the Register] had personally assured him that the former pope, Benedict XVI, had confirmed Archbishop Viganò’s account.” Archbishop Gänswein, who is also prefect of the Pontifical Household, denied as “fake news” this assertion as reported by The New York Times, alleging that Benedict had “confirmed Viganò’s account.”

He also said Benedict had “no opinion” on the memorandum of Archbishop Viganò. It is not clear what memorandum he is referring to, as a number of memoranda are mentioned in Archbishop Viganò's  testimony, and Archbishop Viganò never refers to Benedict’s penal measures on McCarrick as a “memorandum.” Archbishop Gänswein did not go into any more details, but he did not refute that Benedict issued sanctions. (Read more.)
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Systemic Discrimination in China

From The National Review:
Not long ago, North Korea, a police state, killed hundreds of thousands of its own people. But generations of people who were raised to believe that “never again” was the abiding lesson of the Holocaust in effect said, “Well, maybe one more time.” We didn’t have the appetite to fight a war. Or consider the fact that Jim Crow is alive and well — and living in China.

America’s Jim Crow system of second-class citizenship is rightly remembered as our version of apartheid: a racist raft of laws designed to dehumanize and marginalize African Americans in the name of white supremacy. But it was also a form of economic regulation designed to prevent blacks from participating fully in the labor market and to protect business from the supposedly dire threat of rising wages. Such statist crony capitalism doesn’t detract from the moral horror of Jim Crow, but it does help put it in context.


In China, there is systemic discrimination against non-Han Chinese. Ethnic minorities — about 10 percent of the Chinese population — are routinely denied access to elite universities and urban job markets in the name of Han supremacy. Under China’s internal-passport system, many non-Han aren’t permitted to even look for work outside of their rural provinces. Tibetan and Uighur citizens are often barred from using Chinese hotels.

Not only does China have its own version of Jim Crow, it still has its own version of slavery. Under its prison labor system, laogai (“reform through labor”), millions of slaves churn out all manner of “Made in China” wares and even provide many of the organs for transplant surgeries in China.


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The Family’s Role in the Miracle of Western Civilization

From Institute for Family Studies:
The “Miracle” in my telling is a historically unprecedented, sudden, and largely accidental explosion in prosperity and well-being that emerges once and only once in all of human history. Until roughly 300 years ago, the average human being, everywhere on earth, lived on no more than $3 per day. For 250,000 years, poverty, disease, authoritarianism, tribalism, violence, slavery and an early death were the hallmarks of human existence. Then it all began to change—and is still changing—for the better. That is what I mean by the Miracle.

However, to the consternation of some otherwise friendly reviewers on the Right, I do not use the word “Miracle” to suggest divine providence (though I have no objection to those who do credit the Almighty for our good fortune). Part of the aim of my book is to deal with the basic assumptions of secular people for whom the appeal to divine authority is a logical fallacy. Nor is the Miracle synonymous with the Enlightenment. Firstly, because there were many enlightenments and not all of them produced prosperity and liberal democracy. Socialism is every bit as much a product of the French Enlightenment as liberal democratic capitalism is a product of the Scottish and English enlightenments. Nationalism has its roots, at least somewhat, in the German enlightenment. Also, the Miracle is a better term because it allows for the fact that liberal democratic capitalism doesn’t merely rely on abstract ideas, but (disproportionately English) habits, customs, institutions that are vast storehouses of embedded knowledge that contribute not merely to a doctrine of liberty, but a culture of liberty.

Beyond simply being miraculous, I use the term, "the Miracle," to convey the fact that we really don’t have a firm grasp—never mind a consensus—of how we got it. When a great gift is given to you—and all of humanity—and you can’t reliably explain where it came from, the word Miracle seems fairly apt. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Not Made By Slaves

The British boycott of sugar made by slaves helped to bring an end to the slave trade in the British Empire. From Atlas Obscura:
By 1792, some 400,000 Britons were either abstaining from sugar or sourcing it from India. (Many consumers believed that East Indian sugar, while still produced in grim conditions, was preferable to sugar produced under slavery.) James Wright, a Quaker shopkeeper, advertised that he would no longer sell sugar, “till I can procure it through channels less contaminated, more unconnected with slavery, less polluted with human blood.” Pro-slavery politicians soon complained that the popular press was against them. (Read more.)
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False Comfort

As far as the abuse crisis goes, we need action. We are given lots of words but the People of God are tired of empty words! All that Church leaders need to do is make certain that those responsible for unspeakable crimes are handed over to the civil authorities. Is that asking too much? And then make sure that not a single incident of abuse ever happens again. The bishops then need to lead us in prayer and reparation for the diabolic outrages visited upon our Faith by our own shepherds.


From Joseph Sciambra at First Things:
For a while, I wrestled with the Catechism and with God. I came to realize that homosexual activity is wrong. I could see the destructive nature of gay sex in my own shattered body. But I couldn’t accept that, during all those years I had spent in a far country, my suffering had been in vain—that countless gay men had died for nothing, that we had all succumbed to a lie. Yet we had. In my era, some heard the lie through popular culture, in the strains of “Y.M.C.A.,” which promised male camaraderie for those brave enough to follow Madonna and “Express Yourself.”

The superficially caring and compassionate priests I had met in my youth in fact had done nothing to help me. Instead of telling me the truth—that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered—they patted me on the back and sent me on my way. Instead of calling me to celibacy and encouraging me to live a chaste life, they left me as they found me: confused. The words of these priests, spoken to a young man with very little faith, allowed that man to remain in mortal sin for years, unrepentant and separated from God. (Read more.)

From Maggie Gallagher at USA Today:
How does it feel to be Catholic this week?  Disgusted, ashamed, angry, betrayed and also dirty. Because as much as I would like to separate myself from the filth, to love the Catholic faith means I cannot. As repulsed as I am, these men are leaders of my church and we are united by baptism — one weak and wounded body.

So why am I still Catholic?

Here’s the most important reason: Because I think it’s true. 

It’s true that in a world that today as in the past is full of injustice, fear, pain, illness, betrayal and suffering and which ends everywhere inevitably in death, God sent his only Son to die for our sins. To show us that redemption is possible. To prove that evil does not rule. To show us that what we can see is not all that there is. And I believe it’s true that His Son Jesus left behind not a book but a church. He told us to eat his body and drink his blood, to baptize, and to marry one person and stay faithful to that person until death do us part. In doing so he told us that love is real, and it is the fundamental order of creation. Death where is thy sting? (Read more.)

Fr. Altier speaks. A must-listen. Judgment begins in the house of God. The Church is being purified for her Crucifixion.


And Fr. Anthony Amato speaks, HERE.


But the Bride of Christ will prevail. From Return to Order:
 "Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her” (Matt. 16:18). To this first promise, Our Lord added a second: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Thus did Jesus Christ establish the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, sealing Her immortality with His divine guarantee. The violence of the storm currently assailing the Church would likely bring down many a human institution, but not the institution supported by God’s own promises. The Church’s enemies try with all their might to defame and dishonor Her. They hurl mud and muck, but they fail to sully Her.

They declare that She cannot survive the scandals perpetrated within and against Her, but their words ring with the uncertainty that it will indeed be so. Confronted with the silent testimony of history, they know by experience that the Church is both holy and immortal. Nothing stains Her, not even infamy rising from Her ranks, for She is the spotless Bride of Christ. Even at the height of His passion—when the insults against His Divine Person, the wounds inflicted on His Sacred Body, and His public humiliation had reached their apex—the Word of God Incarnate lost none of the grandeur in His moral profile. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, some are calling for the Holy Father to resign.

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Down the Euthanasia Slippery Slope

From Through Catholic Lenses:
So often Euthanasia is presented as a way towards freedom of choice. However, the reality is that, once approved, assisted suicide and euthansia are used in ways far different than proposed. They are sued in ways that should be abhorrent even to proponents. People are killed off against their will or where there will is uncertain. People are killed off when disabled. Safeguards like offering help with depression are often ignored. Euthanasia becomes a cover for killing off those we don’t want. These are not isolated cases but I’ve written about this slippery slope before. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Portrait of Marie-Antoinette by Boze

The portrait of Queen Marie-Antoinette in court attire by Joseph Boze was commissioned by Louis XVI in 1784. Court gowns were low cut and worn with the tight grand corps corset, according to the dictates of etiquette. As with other portraits, it was copied by a variety of artists, especially as miniatures. Below is a miniature of the Queen which may be based upon the Boze portrait but it also may have been inspired by a portrait of Madame Lebrun. More HERE and HERE.


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Russia Conspiracies and Fracking Technologies

An interview with Carter Page. From American Consequences:
There’s the – what I call the “witch hunt” side of the question, and then there’s the civil side. I am suing the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is a federal agency. They were the ones that retransmitted the Yahoo News report, which was used as part of the illegitimate foreign intelligence surveillance court warrant that was placed on me in October 2016. And I’m also suing both Oath Inc., which is the owner of Yahoo News and Huffington Post, which put out over a dozen defamatory articles.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial approach throughout life. And big defamation cases – there’s this famous case against ABC News called the “Pink Slime case” – major cases like that sometimes run into tens of millions of dollars of legal fees. So I thought it was a great time to actually dig into the details myself. And you know, in any law case, it’s always a balance between facts and the law. And I think the facts, once they’re fully known, it should be a pretty easy case. But there’s a lot of major lies in Washington right now that need to be worked out that have really damaged President Trump’s administration.

That ties back into the sort of an investor focus of what Trump is dealing with in Europe right now, because I think there’s a dark cloud over his administration based on this completely fraudulent story. Regarding the special counsel investigation, there are a lot of leaks to the Washington Post and others regarding my spending over 10 hours with the FBI in March 2017. There’s been less news about my cooperation with the special counsel investigation, but it has been reported in the New York Times and Washington Post and others that yes, I spent time with them last year, and in that case I did have a great team of lawyers helping me, but nothing that was accused against myself or anyone I knew has any merit or basis to it whatsoever. (Read more.)
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The Countess Who Chastised a King

From
In 1249, the same year as her mother died, Isabel founded the only English convent that was part of the Cistercian order. Established at Marham, 2 Cistercian abbots had inspected it in its first year. Isabel’s brother, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, the Bishop of Norwich and Henry III himself all issued charters confirming the abbeys foundation. Along with other endowments, Isabel herself made 11 grants to the abbey in its early years, giving it a strong economic foundation. In 1252 Isabel was granted papal permission to visit the Cistercian house at Waverley to consult with him about her convent; Waverley’s annals record that she granted 4 marks and a cask of wine to the monks there.

Isabel was very protective of her property rights and went on the offensive when they were threatened, even if that meant going against the king. In 1252 Isabel did just that. One of her tenants, Thomas of Ingoldisthorpe, held a ¼ knight’s fee from Isabel at Fring and Snettisham; he also had property in the honour of Haughley, as an escheat from the crown. On his death in 1252 Henry III took all of Thomas’s lands in wardship until Thomas’s heir was of age, including Isabel’s ¼ knight’s fee. In March of 1252 Henry granted the wardship of the lands and marriage of the heir to his former treasurer and keeper of the king’s wardrobe, Peter Chaceporc. Had Thomas held his lands in chief from the king, Henry would have been within his rights to take prerogative wardship, however his land at Haughley was  held from the honour of Haughley, which only in the king’s hands as an escheat and Isabel had therefore been treated unjustly in being denied the wardship of his heirs.
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Archduchess in Mourning

A picture said to be of Marie-Antoinette from 1768 by a German artist, now found in Slovakia. Via Autour de Marie-Antoinette. Share

Being Catholic

A well-written article which makes some salient points. I remember reading Malachi Martin long ago. Now we know that what he wrote was true. From The Week:
The report released earlier this month by a grand jury in Pennsylvania detailing alleged sexual abuse — the vast majority of the more than 1,000 victims teenaged boys abused by some 300 priests over 70 years — defies description. For someone who has long regarded himself as a traditional-minded but sane Catholic, tales of satanic sex cults to which the clergy belonged with other unspeakable blasphemies long peddled by Fr. Malachi Martin have seemed like the products of lurid, diseased imaginations.

But having spent nearly a week reading slowly through all 1,400 pages of the report, I can say I was wrong. All of these things exist. When Blessed Pope Paul VI said that the "smoke of Satan had entered the Church" half a century ago, he meant it quite literally. On Sunday, virtually every American Catholic who attended Mass heard a letter from his or her bishop read aloud. Some of these letters, including the one written by my own ordinary Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo, Michigan, contained some lucid and even admirable sentences. Most did not. A typical example of such a letter was the one attributed to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the former bishop of Pittsburgh. This missive, which was rightly mocked from at least one pulpit in his own diocese (why not all of them?), did not contain a single reference to sin or God but was full of corporate buzzwords and self-serving lawyerese.

Wuerl is only one disgraceful prelate. To rehearse all the evasions, elisions, prevarications, and other species of stupidity in the various clergy letters and the multitude of crimes for which they are meant to cover would exhaust the space of a short column. It is simpler to make a handful of straightforward observations.

One is that as a class the American episcopate is made of the pompous, the contemptuous, the worldly, and the faithless. They are, with a few honorable and pious exceptions, worthless company men who have disgraced their office. If they are proven complicit in the cover-up of abuse — by, for example, deliberately attempting to conceal evidence until the statue of limitations for a given jurisdiction was reached — they should be laicized and handed over to the secular authorities to be punished. Others whose crimes are of the order of gross negligence or incompetence should resign and live out the remainder of their days in monasteries performing works of charity. They should be replaced by younger, abler men with clean consciences, sons of the dioceses over which they will govern rather than glad-handers from certain trendy Roman seminaries. All of them in the meantime should undergo lengthy and rigorous public penances for their sins and those of their brother priests. I do not mean selling their mansions or the faux humility of dressing themselves in black instead of purple or red; I mean wearing hair-shirts underneath their cassocks and dining on ashes every Friday night and even flagellating themselves in public.

[...]

 There are other practical lessons for the laity here. Stop answering blanket appeals from your bishops asking for money. Propping up the diocesan bureaucracy and Division I NCAA prep academies disguised as "Catholic" schools is not the business of the faith. Stop writing "open letters," as if you seriously expect men who are incapable of even feigning remorse over the rape of children to be moved by your futile words and read the Open Letter to Confused Catholics. Say the rosary, the most powerful weapon against evil the world has ever seen, and fast. Become dedicated clients of St. Michael the Archangel and St. Barbara and St. Athanasisus. Sleep on the floor. Learn to despise the things of this fleeting earthly life, especially when there is nothing in them of beauty, and delight in contemplating all that is heavenly. (Read more.)

And this is a must-listen:

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In Search of the Stairs

From Fine Books Magazine:
A walk along the famous Cobb, the wall that protects the harbor, must be high on the list of anyone visiting Lyme Regis. The town is known for the fossils found in the cliffs and beaches, which are part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. I was one of the many whose main purpose of visiting was not to search for fossils, but to see the stairs from where Louisa Musgrove fell in Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion. But there were others before me, most notably, Lord Tennyson, who walked nine miles from Bridport to Lyme in 1867, and when he called upon his friend, fellow poet Francis Palgrave, he refused all refreshment, demanded to be taken to the Cobb, and commanded, “show me the steps from which Louisa Musgrove fell.” Up until that time, the historic seaside town of Lyme Regis, cited by Austen as “Lyme” in the book, was mostly only known as the landing site of the Duke of Monmouth’s failed rebellion of 1685. How generations of readers can turn a minor character and a dramatic scene into a literary destination is always fascinating. (Read more.)
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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Saint Mary of Paris

The Russian Orthodox nun who was killed by the Nazis for hiding French Jews. To quote:
Born to a well to do, upper-class family in 1891 in Latvia, she was given the name Elizaveta Pilenko. Her father died when she was a teenager, and she embraced atheism. In 1906 her mother took the family to St. Petersburg, where she became involved in radical intellectual circles. In 1910 she married a Bolshevik by the name of Dimitri Kuzmin-Karaviev. During this period of her life she was actively involved in literary circles and wrote much poetry. Her first book, Scythian Shards, was a collection of poetry from this period. By 1913 her marriage to Dimitri had ended.

Through a look at the humanity of Jesus—"He also died. He sweated blood. They struck his face"—she began to be drawn back into Christianity. She moved—now with her daughter, Gaiana—to the south of Russia where her religious devotion increased.

In 1918, after the Bolshevik Revolution, she was elected deputy mayor of the town of Anapa in Southern Russia. When the White Army took control of Anapa, the mayor fled and she became mayor of the town. The White Army put her on trial for being a Bolshevik. However, the judge was a former teacher of hers, Daniel Skobtsov, and she was acquitted. Soon the two fell in love and were married.

Soon, the political tide was turning again. In order to avoid danger, Elizaveta, Daniel, Gaiana, and Elizaveta's mother Sophia fled the country. Elizaveta was pregnant with her second child. They traveled first to Georgia (where her son Yuri was born) and then to Yugoslavia (where her daughter Anastasia was born). Finally they arrived in Paris in 1923. Soon Elizaveta was dedicating herself to theological studies and social work.

In 1926, Anastasia died of influenza—a heartbreaking event for the family. Gaiana was sent away to Belgium to boarding school. Soon, Daniel and Elizaveta's marriage was falling apart. Yuri ended up living with Daniel, and Elizaveta moved into central Paris to work more directly with those who were most in need.

Her bishop encouraged her to take vows as a nun, something she did only with the assurance that she would not have to live in a monastery, secluded from the world. In 1932, with Daniel Skobtov's permission, an ecclesiastical divorce was granted and she took monastic vows. In religion she took the name Maria. Her confessor was Father Sergius Bulgakov. Later, Fr. Dmitri Klepinin would be sent to be the chaplain of the house.

Mother Maria made a rented house in Paris her "convent." It was a place with an open door for refugees, the needy and the lonely. It also soon became a center for intellectual and theological discussion. In Mother Maria these two elements—service to the poor and theology—went hand-in-hand. (Read more.)
 Here is a quote from her spiritual writings:
 This necessity of choice always stands before each man: the warmth and coziness of this earthly home, well-protected from wind and storms, or the endless space of eternity, in which there is only one firm and unquestionable thing, and this firm and unquestionable thing is the cross.

And I think that anyone who has at least once felt himself in this eternity, has at least once realized what path he is following, has seen at least once the One who walks ahead of him, will find it hard to turn from this path; to him all coziness will seem flimsy, all riches without value, all companions unnecessary, if he does not see among them the one Companion bearing the cross. To put it more simply: a man’s whole life will seem dull, worthless, meaningless to him, if it is not pierced through with eternity. (Read more.)
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Disappearing into the Shadows

From The Washington Times:
On any given day, nearly 20 illegal immigrant children skip their deportation hearings and disappear into the shadows, the Trump administration said Thursday, putting contours on the difficulty the government faces in trying to stop the flow and protect the children. More than 200,000 of the juveniles — known in government speak as Unaccompanied Alien Children, or UAC — have been released into communities in recent years and remain there, many of them ignoring deportation orders and others awaiting a judge’s ruling. Yet top senators say many of them are “lost,” with the federal government having no clue where they are, how to deport them, or even whether they’re being abused.

“Shocking,” said Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican and chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is probing the matter. Government officials insisted the children aren’t lost — as least as long as they’re in federal custody, meaning in one of the dozens of dorms taxpayers fund to hold the children across the country. But that’s usually just an intermediary step. The goal, written into the law, is to release the children quickly to sponsors, who then are supposed to take care of them. (Read more.)

On the diversity of illegal immigration. From The Hoover Institute:
I used to ride a bicycle in our environs. I quit for a variety of reasons. If one is bit by unlicensed and unvaccinated roaming dogs— and there are many out here— and if their masters do not speak English or do not have legal status, then a nightmare follows of trying to get authorities to find the dogs and impound them before the owners or the dogs disappear. It is up to the bitten whether the decision to play the odds and not get painful, and sometimes dangerous, rabies shots is prudent or suicidal. As a doctor put it to me when I was bitten: “Rabid dogs are almost unheard of in the United States, but I have no idea of what is true of Mexico. Your call.”

Less dramatically, I got tired of watching local canteen trucks drive out on our rural roads, pull their drainage plugs, and dump cooking waste or toss leftovers on the road.

Sometimes there is more comedy than melodrama out in rural Fresno County. About two months I noticed that a number of my roadside cypress trees seemed ailing. I tried gopher bait, given what I thought were strange burrows near the trunks.

Then one evening I heard voices near the trees. Two immigrants, neither speaking English, were digging with hand-held hoes for what they said were hongos. They produced a large clear plastic bag that instead seemed full, of all things, harvested truffles—which I had never seen or heard of in the area.

I couldn’t figure out whether the forest humus ground up from fallen Sierra trees I had purchased, or the roots of the cypresses themselves, had spawned truffles— or whether they were even truffles or perhaps some sort of strange looking subterranean tree growths or mushrooms. In broken Spanish, I politely asked that they not periodically dig up my tree cypress-tree roots but could sell their already collected hongos in their bags at the local swap meet as they said they had intended. We left amicably enough.

On lots of occasions, drivers (almost always on Sunday afternoons) have veered off the road, torn out vines or trees, left their wrecked vehicles, and run away. Authorities belatedly arrive and explain there is no valid registration, insurance, or known licensed driver to be found—but that the damage in the thousands of dollars cannot be mitigated by selling the abandoned car, which must be impounded.
Identity theft is a problem. The IRS has reported over one million cases of likely illegal immigrants using false or multiple identities. Once I went online and discovered my checking account was suddenly in arrears by several thousand dollars. When I pulled up the cancelled checks, I saw perfect replicas of my own, with the proper bank and router numbers in the lower left corner of the checks—but at top with the name and address of a different person and with the reverse of the check stamped with his ID at a local Spanish-language market. The bank said I could call police investigators or simply file a claim that it would quickly cover. And it did. I have not written a local check to any person or business since.

Hot pursuit by local authorities that blast into private driveways is scary. On one occasion the sheriffs and police lost their fleeing target (who later turned out to be a felon with arrest warrants) and gave up the chase. An hour later in the dead of night I heard the accomplice near our patio. He had apparently jumped out the passenger door of the car and hid under our pecan tree. I held him at gunpoint until the flummoxed authorities returned.

When my daughter was thirteen, she and I were broadsided in our pickup by a driver who ran a stop sign. I called the local police. We were bruised but not hurt; the truck dented but drivable. She waited behind the pickup as I chased the driver who had fled on foot from his overturned car. I caught him just when the police arrived.

Rural Central California is sort of ground zero for illegal immigration and its auxiliary effects. From experience, I can attest that the vast majority of illegal aliens are fine people, hard-working, and whose first and second offenses of entering and residing illegally in the United States were not followed by third and fourth acts of criminality.

Certainly after twenty-one years of teaching Latin, Greek, and humanities to immigrants at CSU Fresno, both legal and illegal, I believed that the melting pot can still work and most Hispanic arrivals integrate, assimilate, and intermarry with increasingly frequency despite the often-shrill protestations of campus identity politics advocates.

But the numbers of illegal immigrants have become so large—ranging from an estimated 11–20 million now residing in the United States—that both pessimism and optimism are now warranted. If only ten percent have criminal records or inordinately break laws, then the good news is that many millions more are likely working and crime free. The bad news is that somewhere between one and two million have entered our country illegally and repaid that generosity with criminality or ID theft or fraud. (Read more.)
A mother whose son was murdered by an illegal speaks out. From David Harris, Jr:
Angel mom Mary Ann Mendoza lost her son, Brandon, who was a police officer. He was hit by a drunk driver who is an illegal alien. Needless to say, she is no fan of Elizabeth Warren and the Democratic party, who represent illegal aliens over American citizens. Her son was a police officer, and she became an activist after her son’s death, fighting against illegal immigration. She read what Warren had to say about the Mollie Tibbetts murder, and it set her off.

Warren said “I’m so sorry for the family here. One of the things we have to remember is that we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.” From The Conservative Tribune

Mendoza appeared on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show and laid into Warren and her comments. “I was disgusted by Senator Elizabeth Warren, hearing her speak today. And what I want to say to her is, ‘Stop lying to the American people, because you don’t care what is happening to the victims of illegal alien crime.’”

“Because if you did, you would be standing up for us and you would be doing something about it.” But the Angel Mom was far from finished with the Democrat senator: “We have pleaded with these politicians to do something to protect American citizens, and they are ramping up their protection of illegal alien criminals.” Mendoza then went on to name some of the victims of illegal aliens and the appalling sentences given to them for their crimes. The Daily Mail wrote that in the case of her own son’s death, the drunk driver, Silva-Coronoa, died in the crash. (Read more.)
UPDATE:  The point is not that illegal immigrants commit more crimes than American citizens; they do not; there are not enough of them. The point is that illegals add to the burden of crime that we already have. The fact that they are here illegally makes them felons for disregarding federal law. And some are involved in the drug and human trafficking on both sides of the border which has a high cost in human suffering. From the Texas Department of Public Safety:
 These figures do not attempt to allege that foreign nationals in the country illegally commit more crimes than other groups. It simply identifies thousands of crimes that should not have occurred and thousands of victims that should not have been victimized because the perpetrator should not be here. (Read more.)
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The Source of the Scandals

From First Things:
What unites all of these scandals is homosexuality in our seminaries and the priesthood: the result of the Church ignoring its own clear directives. If it is serious about ending the sex scandals, the Church needs to admit it has a homosexual priest problem and stop ordaining men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies. The first “Uncle Ted” scandal was “Uncle Ted” becoming a priest.

I broach the subject with trepidation. I am convinced that most homosexual priests are good and holy men. One example of many I know is a priest who serves as a hospital chaplain. He regularly accompanies families through the pain of physical trauma, illness, and the death of loved ones. He has a special charism for men dying with AIDS, which I’m certain comes from his love for others with deep-seated homosexual tendencies like him. He has helped many of them reconcile with Christ before death.

So I agree with Bishop Barron’s warning about the dangers of scapegoating people who share my attraction to men. But recognizing the overwhelming role that homosexuality has played in so many of our past and present scandals is not scapegoating. It’s the Church confronting the truth.

Archbishop Charles Chaput, commenting on the 2005 document, wrote, “While persistent homosexual tendencies never preclude personal holiness—homosexuals and heterosexuals have the same Christian call to chastity, according to their state of life—they do make the vocation of effective priestly service that much more difficult.” From my personal experience, I believe there are many reasons why this is the case, but here I will focus only on two, directly connected with unchastity.
The first reason is that men with homosexual tendencies find it particularly difficult to live out the demands of chastity. The vast majority of scandals in the Church since 2002 involve homosexual priests profoundly failing in chastity. This is no surprise to me. Chastity, I’m convinced (and the evidence bears this out), is much harder for men with a homosexual inclination than for others.

Fr. James Lloyd, C.S.P., a priest with a PhD in psychology from NYU, has worked with homosexual men (including priests) for more than 30 years as a clinical psychologist. On the subject of chastity and homosexual priests, he says, “It is clear enough from clinical evidence that the psychic energy needed to contain homosexual drives is far greater than that needed by the straying heterosexual.” (Read more.)
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Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Holy Week Breviary Used by Marie-Antoinette in Prison

Even as people continue to scrutinize old letters under a microscope, searching for the least word or phrase that would indicate a love affair between Marie-Antoinette and Count von Fersen, evidence of the Queen's fervent Catholic faith continues to surface. Recently auctioned in Paris was the Office de la Semaine Sainte en Latin et en François à l'usage de Rome et de Paris. Dédié à la Reine pour l'usage de sa Maison. Paris, Veuve Mazières et J. B. Garnier, 1728. In English, it is translated as follows: Office of Holy Week in Latin and French According to the Usage of Rome and Paris. Dedicated to the Queen for Use in Her Household. La Reine mentioned in the title was Marie Leszczynska, the grandmother of Louis XVI and Madame Elisabeth; the volume bears her coat-of-arms. The book was bequeathed to Madame Elisabeth, whose cause for beatification has been introduced, when the old Queen died. The princess brought it with her to the Tuileries when the Royal Family were taken to Paris by force in October of 1789. Madame Elisabeth left it behind when fleeing from the palace in August of 1792 but later sent a secret communication to her lady-in-waiting, Madame de Sérent, to smuggle books to her in the Temple prison, including the Holy Week Office. The Royal Family made use of the book not only during Holy Week but throughout the year, reading aloud the words of the Mass every day. According to Beauchesne's biography of Madame Elisabeth, the Queen and Madame Elisabeth were sewing and listening to the fifteen-year-old Madame Royale read to them from the Office of Holy Week, when the guards came to take away the eight year-old Louis XVII. Later, when the Queen was taken to the Conciergerie for her final ordeals, the prayer book went with her. To this day the book opens easily to certain pages, including p. 310, which has the passage:
Scarcely is he [Jesus] raised to the sight of all these people, that he is insulted, and charged on all sides with curses and reproaches. In the end, he makes one last effort to raise his eyes to Heaven: My Father, he exclaims, forgive them, I pray you, because they know not what they do.
A guard at the Temple gained possession of the book after the Queen's death, and it later came to the great nephew of Louis XVI, Henri d'Artois, the Comte de Chambord. Read more, HERE.

Louis XVII removed from his mother


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Left to Die

From Life News:
According to new data, livebirth late-term abortions are still happening in Canada. And the numbers are way too high. According to CIHI, There were 766 late-term livebirth abortions in a five year period from 2013/2014 to 2017/2018. These numbers are even higher since they exclude Quebec. There has been much speculation about the reasons for these late-term livebirth abortions but we have no hard data on why they happen since the reasons or circumstances aren’t published with the data. A study was done in Quebec in 2016. That study:
“found the number of infants who were born alive and died after an abortion jumped from one per 100,000 in 1986-1999, to 19.4 per 100,000 between 2000 and 2012. Those accidental live births totalled 218 babies.”
The study’s author asked these sobering questions: “How are such infants cared for?” they ask in the journal Neonatology. “If not resuscitated, is palliative care provided? Are the infants admitted to neonatal units or do they die in the delivery room?” All information regarding the reasons they happen, and what happens to the child after they are born alive, is anecdotal. But they do happen. This we know for a fact and we know the numbers: 766 late-term livebirth abortions in a five years period. (Read more.)
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The Duties of a Georgian Footman

From All Things Georgian:
She firstly explains that the role of the footman varies greatly dependant upon the size of the household and its position within society. In a small household employing only one footman his typical morning would commence with the rougher part of the work of his department such as cleaning cutlery. Next, he would clean the household shoes and brush clothes.
He would also be required to assist the housemaid with cleaning the polished furniture in the library, dining and drawing room. He would then prepare to serve breakfast by first making himself ready, then by setting the breakfast table, making sure that everything was ready on the table; seeing that the water was on the fire at the proper time so that no delay would arise when the family gathered in the breakfast room.  He would also be responsible for ensuring that crockery was clean by washing the china and ensuring that glassware was as bright as possible. After the family had eaten it was his role to clear everything away and ensure that the breakfast room was tidy. That would largely take up most of his morning, but he also had to be ready to answer the bells in the house and to open the hall door.
(Read more.)
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Friday, August 24, 2018

A Reception at the Tuileries

Louis XVIII receives petitioners with the daughter of Louis XVI sitting close by. (Via Vive la Reine.)


The vestibule staircase of the Tuileries Palace.

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Nothing to Do with Russia

From The Federalist:
The special counsel was ostensibly appointed and given unlimited funds and wide-reaching powers to investigate allegations of treasonous collusion with Russia by President Trump to steal the 2016 election. It was the continuation of an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign that used human informants, wiretaps, national security letters, and other surveillance.

While no treasonous collusion between Russia and Trump has been unveiled despite two years of thorough investigation, the special counsel has rung up Trump associates for lying to the FBI, as well as various crimes unrelated to Trump or Russia. Mueller also indicted some Russian corporations for crimes related to low-level election meddling and Russian military intelligence officials for hacks of Democratic officials’ emails. (Read more.)

From The American Spectator:
Mueller is expert at finding flaky witnesses. Cohen is his latest. His memories of conversations and meetings with Trump are no more reliable than Jim Comey’s. Cohen has given baldly contradictory accounts of his payments to Stormy Daniels. The notion that Trump could lose the presidency owing to the testimony of a sleazy casino lawyer strains all plausibility.

Mueller’s report will culminate in nothing more than an epic political food fight — a mode of combat Trump has perfected. Through his relentless tweeting, Trump has thoroughly educated the American people on the raw politics of Mueller’s probe — that he inherited a hopelessly tainted investigation from Trump haters ensconced in the Obama administration, that Mueller assembled a team of Hillary supporters to continue the probe, and that he has abandoned his DOJ mandate for a partisan fishing expedition of staggering proportions. The unfairness of it all has not been lost on the American people.

The media routinely calls Trump a “bully” even as it forms a mob encircling him, bellowing about this or that utterly trivial offense. None of it adds up to anything even close to impeachable material. From the fulminating, one would think that foreign occupier had invaded Washington. Trump’s great crime was colluding not with Russians but with neglected American voters, with whom he ended the Clinton dynasty. While Hillary was waiting with bated breath for dirt from Russians conveyed to her British spy, Trump plunged into the American heartland, winning the election the old-fashioned way, by simply outhustling Hillary in places like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 

I just got back from the latter state. Not a single mechanic, trucker, or waitress I met in Pennsylvania ever showed the slightest bit of interest in Mueller’s probe. Most of them probably don’t even know who Mueller is. That the media is staking its demolition of Trump on this gray, little-known ruling-class darling is a measure of its alienation from the American people. They simply don’t care about Trump’s pre-presidential sins, political screw-ups, and minor law-bending, if that even occurred. (Read more.)

A juror speaks out. From Sara Carter:
Duncan–who is a Trump supporter–said that while the charges were legitimate, “the prosecution tried to make the case about the Russian collusion right from the beginning and of course the judge shut them down on that. We did waste a bit of time with that….,” she said.

When asked what she thought of the Mueller prosecution team, Duncan replied, “At times I thought the prosecution was a little bored,” she said. “I saw them napping during the trial. (Greg) Andres and (Brandon) Van Grack especially, so it kind of sent a message of ‘we’re bored with this,’ and I’m thinking ‘well if you’re bored then why are we here?'”
Duncan said Judge Ellis was “spot on” when he told the prosecution prior to the trial,

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. You really care about what information he might give you about Mr. Trump and what might lead to his impeachment or prosecution.” (Read more.)

Also from Sara: is it time for Sessions to leave?
As President Donald Trump’s relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to deteriorate, several key Republican Senators announced Thursday that they would support the president if he chooses to replace Sessions. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), both long-time colleagues of Sessions, told reporters Thursday that although Sessions has served the Justice Department with distinction, his lack of faith in the president and vice versa, has now become a distraction to the administration.

Graham, who spoke to SaraACarter.com on Thursday afternoon, noted that Sessions has served with distinction but Trump has the right to replace him as the relationship between the two is in disrepair. (Read more.)

And here is a clever analysis by Michael Knowles:

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Fear and Loathing of Jordan Peterson

From Townhall:
Professor Peterson is tarred for his ideas with inflammatory distortion. He is accused of sexism, racism and fascism, and it's clear from the slurs that the left fears those ideas, beginning with an acknowledgement of the crucial and obvious biological differences between men and women, his respect for scientific evidence, the free speech that enables debate and his appreciation for the great books, ranging from Socrates and Solzhenitsyn to the Bible. In The Atlantic magazine, Caitlin Flanagan argues that the left is trying to "unperson" him because he is influencing young people with intellectual "kryptonite" against identity politics and his emphasis on how to think rather than what to think. (Read more.)
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Thursday, August 23, 2018

"Jeweled" Sèvres Vases

During a recent visit to the Walter's Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland I saw the vases above, part of the famous "jeweled" Sèvres collection ordered by Louis XVI.  According to the Walter's website:
Between 1778 and 1782, Sèvres manufactured for Louis XVI a series of vases with handles shaped as busts of infants, young women, and old men, hence the name "vases des âges." The Walters' examples, with the infants and a "bleu nouveau" ground color, bear classical scenes and an additional decoration of "jewels" composed of enamel drops over gold foil.

The classical scenes are derived from an illustrated edition of Télémaque, a romance set in antiquity written by Fénélon in 1699. These vases show Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, winning a chariot race and Minerva, disguised as an old man, persuading Telemachus to participate in a war against the Dauniens. These vases were designed by Jacques-François Deparis. The painting was by Antoine Caton, the gilding by Etienne-Henry Le Guay, and the jewels by Philippe Parpette.
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In the Clear

Very informative, as always. From Mark Levin at the Conservative Review:
Tuesday night on Fox News, LevinTV host Mark Levin appeared on “Hannity” to discuss the guilty plea of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Cohen pled guilty Tuesday to charges of campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and false statements to a financial institution. He alleges that candidate Trump directed him to make hush payments to women whom Trump had affairs with to buy their silence during the presidential election. Levin argued that these payments don’t qualify as campaign finance violations and that Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, convinced his client to plead guilty to criminal offenses that aren’t criminal.

“I wanna help the law professors, the constitutional experts, the criminal defense lawyers, the former prosecutors, and of course the professors, I wanna help them understand what the law is,” Levin said. “The general counsel for the Clinton mob family, Lanny Davis, he had his client plead to two counts of criminality that don’t exist.”

“Just because a prosecutor says that somebody violated a campaign law doesn’t make it so. He’s not the judge; he’s not the jury,” Levin said. “We didn’t adjudicate anything. It never went to court.”

Levin explained that a campaign expenditure under U.S. campaign finance law is an expenditure “solely for campaign activity.” He argued that any supposed reimbursement Trump paid to Cohen with his own money after Cohen paid off Stormy Daniels or any other woman who slept with the president is “perfectly legal.”

“A candidate who spends his own money, or even corporate money, for an event that occurred not as a result of the campaign — it is not a campaign expenditure,” he said. (Read more.)
From The Spectator:
For all of the media’s oohing and ahhing over Robert Mueller’s legal victories on Tuesday, his impeachment case remains hopelessly threadbare. In terms of his Department of Justice mandate, he has made no progress whatsoever. He is presiding over a “collusion” probe that has absolutely nothing to do with collusion. 

Let him keep indicting and convicting ham sandwiches. Most Americans won’t care. It just underscores the superfluous and abusive character of his probe. He is not compiling an air-tight legal case for impeachment; he is simply using abusive prosecutorial tactics to foment an anti-Trump political firestorm.

Rod Rosenstein is the Dr. Frankenstein in this political horror show. He birthed a monster in Mueller, who is now rampaging through the streets of Manhattan in search of pre-presidential dirt. Let’s, for the sake of argument, say that all of his claims about Trump-Cohen corruption are true. Is that impeachable material? No, it is not. The American people voted for Trump knowing full well that his pre-presidential record was checkered. Does anybody really think the American people are going to rise up and demand that not only the House but most of the Senate expel Trump from the presidency over an alleged campaign finance violation that doesn’t bear in the slightest upon the collusion question?

Mueller is expert at finding flaky witnesses. Cohen is his latest. His memories of conversations and meetings with Trump are no more reliable than Jim Comey’s. Cohen has given baldly contradictory accounts of his payments to Stormy Daniels. The notion that Trump could lose the presidency owing to the testimony of a sleazy casino lawyer strains all plausibility. (Read more.)
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"It Goes Straight to Your Heart"

From BBC News:
A Yazidi teenager sold into slavery by Islamic State has told the BBC of her horror after she escaped to Germany, only to come face-to-face with her captor in the street. Ashwaq was only 14 when Islamic State fighters stormed into northern Iraq, including the heartland of the Yazidi people. They took thousands of women as sex slaves, including Ashwaq - sold for $100 to a man named Abu Humam. Raped and beaten, she managed to escape three months later and then went to Germany with her mother and one brother. A few months ago, on the street outside a supermarket, she heard someone call out her name. Ashwaq told the BBC: "On the way back to school a car pulled up next to me. He was sitting in the front seat. He talked to me in German and asked: 'Are you Ashwaq?' I was so scared I was shaking. I said: 'No, who are you?'" She said he then replied: "I know you are Ashwaq, and I am Abu Humam." Ashwaq said he then started to talk to her in Arabic and told her not to lie to him. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Marie-Antoinette and Her First Born

The Queen sits close by as her baby daughter is nursed. Although Marie-Antoinette had hoped to break with convention and nurse her child herself (and did so some of the time), Empress Maria Theresa talked her into hiring a wet nurse. (From Vive la Reine.) Share

Abortion Hurts The Economy

From The Federalist:
Chelsea Clinton claimed that legalizing abortion has helped add an additional $3.5 trillion to the American economy on Saturday. At a #RiseUpforRoe event in New York, Clinton and other pro-choice women rallied against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. The #RiseUpforRoe movement, which is sponsored by NARAL and Planned Parenthood’s PAC, started promptly after President Trump announced his decision to nominate Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Their Twitter bio reads, “It’s time to get maximum hysterical,” and they claim that “The right to a safe, accessible and legal abortion has never been at greater risk since Roe was decided.”

Although abortion will not become illegal if Roe v. Wade is overturned, #RiseUpforRoe has been touring throughout America, fighting back and “going maximum hysterical.” At the New York leg of the tour, Clinton told the audience that citing the economic benefit of abortion could help persuade pro-lifers to rethink their stance. (Read more.)
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The Darkening Age

From The National Review:
One of Nixey’s attempts to blame Christians for death and mayhem is simply dishonest. In Antioch in the early 370s, Roman imperial agents arrested and tortured prominent citizens and burned their libraries. This episode is recorded by the late Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who also states that several pagan philosophers were executed. Nixey pulls a fast one when she presents this incident as an example of Christian repression.

A check of the relevant sections of Ammianus (29.1–2) reveals it to be nothing of the sort. An informant told the authorities about some nefarious “magical” goings-on. Certain prominent citizens had suspended a pendulum from a tripod and swung it so that it pointed to a series of Greek letters on a circular metal plate; the result was thought to be the name of the successor to the the current emperor, Valens. When Valens arrived in Antioch after overseeing a campaign against the Persians and learned of the report, he flew into a rage and ordered a crackdown. (None of these details are recounted in The Darkening Age.) When questioned under torture, the participants in the ritual were quick to implicate others. As usually happens in such cases, many innocent people were caught up in the hysteria and punished.

The only link between these events and Christianity is that Valens was a Christian (albeit of the heretical Arian variety). But any Roman emperor, always on the lookout for conspiracies, would have objected violently to an attempt to conjure up his successor (regardless of the means employed to do so). Hence pagan emperors had also tried to ban magical and divinatory practices, seeing in them a prelude to treason.

There was one notorious case of a murder committed by Christians in late antiquity, and Nixey milks it for all she thinks it’s worth. In Alexandria in 415, the mathematician and Neoplatonist philosopher Hypatia was brutally lynched by a mob of Christians — slashed to death with potsherds and her body burned. The relevant chapter in The Darkening Age presents Hypatia’s murder as the culmination of a straightforward Christian-vs.-pagan conflict, when it was something more complex. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Nine Nineteenth-century Women Painters

A Mother by Elizabeth Nourse
Echo by Ellen Thesleff
From Art Net:
France’s capital city called to artists throughout the 1800s, a beacon of light and culture that drew in  painters and sculptors from around the world its salons and academies. Among them were many women—some familiar names, such as Mary Cassatt (1844–1926), Berthe Morisot (1841–95), and Rosa Bonheur (1822–99), but many others you might not know, their names lost in obscurity.

Esther Bell, who coordinated the exhibition’s presentation at the Clark, told artnet News that “Women Artists in Paris” included “paintings that I had not seen before and that really surprised me in their quality and in their power.” She stressed that: “In many ways this exhibition is about rewriting the history of art to include those names that have fallen away over time… it’s important that our visitors are meeting artists who they have not met before.” (Read more.)
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The Elephant in the Sacristy

The following article was originally published in 2002. The fact that such crimes kept happening for decades is infuriating beyond words. After the first incident it should have been nipped in the bud. But I have been hearing and reading about such abominations my entire adult life. From The Weekly Standard:
What even this brief recitation makes clear is a cluster of facts too enormous to ignore, though many labor mightily to avert their eyes. Call it the elephant in the sacristy. One fact is that the offender was himself molested as a child or adolescent. Another is that some seminaries seem to have had more future molesters among their students than others. A third fact is that this crisis involving minors--this ongoing institutionalized horror--is almost entirely about man-boy sex. There is no outbreak of heterosexual child molestation in the American church. In the words of the late Rev. Michael Peterson, who co-founded the well-known clergy-treating St. Luke Institute, "We don't see heterosexual pedophiles at all." Put differently, it would be profoundly misleading to tell the tale of Rudolph Kos--what he was and what he did--without reference to the words "homosexual" and "gay."

Of course, as the bishops and many other savvy observers of the debate will also know, just such distortion has become commonplace--indeed, is the literary norm--in the daily renditions of what the tragedies in the Church are actually "about." The dominant view in the press right now--what might be called the "anything-but-the-elephant" theory--reads like this. Whatever the scandals may appear to be about--as it happens, man-boy sex--they are actually about something else. "It should be clear by now," as the New York Times put it in a classic formulation, "that this scandal is only incidentally about forcing sex on minors." Similarly, the New Republic: "We all know that the sexual abuse of minors is horrific; but somehow the bishops did not react with horror. That is what truly shocks." And the New Yorker: "The big shocker has been not so much the abuse itself--awful and heartbreaking though it is--as the coldly bureaucratic 'handling' of it by hierarchs like [Boston's Bernard] Law and the current archbishop of New York, Edward Cardinal Egan." And, for good measure, the New York Review of Books: "The current scandal is not a sex scandal." (Read more.)

Confusion on the parish level has not helped matters. From The Stream:
 As has been obvious to many Catholics for many years, broad swathes of the American Church have been very cavalier and accepting of homosexual behavior, despite the fact that the Church is crystal clear that such behavior is gravely sinful. So, I wanted to share a brief story. When I decided I had to become Catholic, I went to a local RCIA Program. RCIA stands for “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.” It is the program most converts go through in order to become Catholic. So, I went to my first class. The instructor was a nice lady. But she had one major flaw: She took it upon herself to tell the students that she disagreed with the Church’s teaching. On what you may ask? You guessed it: homosexuality. Up until she said that (and no student even brought it up) I had been very engaged in the discussion. But when she said it, I went dead silent. I didn’t know how to respond. I was so disappointed that an instructor in the Catholic faith wasn’t even standing by it that I determined the most prudent course of action, for a first class, would be to simply be silent — and if God intended me to speak, He would open the door. (Read more.)

If the bishops had followed Church law to begin with in dealing with such horrendous crimes, the infamy would have been ended at once. From Cardinal Burke:
There is no need to develop new procedures. All of the procedures exist in the Church’s discipline, and they have existed throughout the centuries. What is needed is an honest investigation into the alleged situations of grave immorality followed by effective action to sanction those responsible and to be vigilant to prevent that similar situations arise again. This idea that the conference of bishops should be responsible for addressing this is misguided because the bishops’ conference does not have surveillance over the bishops within the conference. It is the Roman Pontiff, the Holy Father, who has the responsibility to discipline these situations, and it is he who needs to take action following the procedures that are given in the Church’s discipline. This is what will address the situation effectively. (Read more.)

From Church Militant:
The numbers themselves, from multiple annual reports, prove that the vast majority of clerical sex abuse is, in fact, homosexual nature. In 2004, the numbers showed 80 percent of abuse was homosexual in nature and 90 percent involved post-pubescent teens, proving this is not about pedophilia, but homosexual pederasty, a common dimension of homosexuality, where older men seek out younger males.

In 2011, the numbers are nearly identical, with 81 percent being homosexual in nature. And as in 2004, most of the abuse was committed on post-pubescent males. Unsurprisingly, those numbers were again confirmed in the 2016 John Jay Report, showing 78 percent of priestly sex abuse is homosexual in nature, again the majority of the abuse committed against post-pubescent teens.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report published last week also confirmed those numbers, showing that 74 percent of the abuse in six dioceses was homosexual predation on males, and the majority of the abuse — 60 percent — was committed against post-pubescent teens. Again, homosexual pederasty, not pedophilia, which pertains only to young pre-pubescent children of either sex. The homosexual predation exposed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report and before that, Cdl. Theodore McCarrick, has sparked new debate over the presence of gay priests in the Church. (Read more.)

The Pope responds to the scandal. From Zenit:
Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.’ Pope Francis stressed this in a letter he sent to the People of God today, August 20, 2018, in the wake of the findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. In his message, published in seven languages, the Holy Father decried that the Church has ‘abandoned’ its children and vowed accountability.

In recent days, the Pope acknowledged: “a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims.”

These wounds “which never go away,” the Pope stressed, never disappear and require the Church to forcefully condemn these “atrocities” and “join forces in uprooting this culture of death.”

“The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity.” (Read more.)

 Andrew Klavan, a Protestant, responds.

The Agony in the Garden

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