Jul 192016

When it comes to Donald Trumps presidential campaign there are all kinds of theories involving it. One common one is that he was setting this up for Hillary as he previously supported her. Considering his ego, I don’t find that compelling.

What can explain such a badly run campaign on every level? It’s like he is doing everything he can to loose.

Some have conjectured that Trump was never really in it to win, but as a vanity run for self-promotion.

“good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.”
― Donald J. Trump, Trump: The Art of the Deal

I find this theory to fit the facts better, but doesn’t fully account for his ego.

If this explanation has any merit it dawned on me a movie plot that explained everything.

In the plot of Mel Brooks’s The Producers (1967) they hit upon a plot for creating a play sure to fail, while getting seed money from rich old ladies with each promised a substantial take of the profits. So they proceed to write a musical about Hitler while hiring the worst actors possible. Of course it becomes a big hit and their scheme fails in the worst way possible.

So if you wanted to run a failed GOP presidential campaign:

  • Write crazy stream-of-consciousness Twitter feed.
  • Make outrageous remarks during debates and speeches.
  • Praise Planned Parenthood.
  • Appeal to our worst nature and say things that would make Know-Nothings proud.
  • Offer to pay legal bills if fans beat up protesters.
  • Say that the father of a rival candidate helped killed Kennedy.
  • Make policy positions all over the map, that change constantly.
  • No understanding of foreign policy while not doing basic homework.
  • Spending little or no money for political advertisements.
  • This list can go on and on.

Guaranteed to ensure a failed run, except like in The Producers where “Springtime for Hitler” became a hit – so does The Donald. Writing a play so outrageous and in such bad taste was hilarious in The Producers. Not so funny when a equally deplorable script has become the election season.

You can’t make this stuff up.

What scares me is not that he can’t win against Hillary, but that he could. Pundits have been wrong pretty much about every projection regarding his run.

So those in the GOP who were screaming for a “Big Tent”, well we got one full of clowns. A convention turned into a circus. We have gone from “Character counts” to “Character Assassination Counts”. Great way to defeat the despicable morally corrupt Hillary Clinton, by countering at the same level.

Reality was better when you could discern it from satire.

Jul 182016

In my little over a decade and a half as a Catholic I have seen steady improvement regarding the liturgy within my diocese. Attending Mass at multiple parishes all over town I have watched this unfold.

I have definite Liturgy Police tendencies. Part of this is as a convert I became familiar with the GIRM and what the rubrics were. Plus having listened to so much Catholic radio I have heard a lot of questions and answers regarding the liturgy. So knowing what is suppose to happen reminds me of the verse in Ecclesiastes he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. So I have struggled with these Liturgy Police tendencies which could really take away from worshiping God at Mass. Rantings of angry traditionalists on this though has provided a warning sign to me to not go down this route. A route I could easily fall in to.

When I was a brand new Catholic I often found liturgical abuses across the range. At the time there was pretty much only one parish I could go to where I would not come across these abuses. Looking back I think I transferred most of my anger concerning this into various parodies on this blog over the years. Although my wife had to suffer through many of my rants about liturgical abuses. Thankfully I did not descend into constant angry letter writing. The only case where I did write a letter involved a very serious abuse and the parish pretty much ignored it.

So mostly I am coming to grips with now mostly minor liturgical abuses and of course banal music. I no longer come out of Mass angry. The fact that I less likely to experience serious liturgical abuses has been a good thing for me. I don’t want to turn into the Liturgical Hulk “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

There are some parishes now that have been transformed and mostly the reason for this is that the previous pastor retired. Reform of the reform via attrition has made a serious effect. Parishes that caused me to cringe now offer beautiful masses said reverently. A return of the Pipe Organ and some of the richness from the Church’s treasure of hymns. A return of a little bit of Latin. I’ve also seen a increased return to using a Paten. In these parishes the quality of homilies is also on the increase.

I was reminded of all of this at Mass yesterday at a parish where the music was once dreadful and the homilies contained information that was simply false. Instead now they seemed to have discovered that they had a Pipe Organ and that they could use it. The homily from a young priest was lyrical and moving. At times when he mentioned Jesus he would point to the Tabernacle. It instantly reminded me of the Pastor of the Church I came into, the late and beloved Fr. Leon, who had the same habit.

Sure some parishes time seems to have stood still trapped in the sixties, but even these parishes with so-called “vibrant” music are mostly free of liturgical abuses, with no serious abuses. Since I fortify myself with several homily podcasts, the totally forgettable homilies delivered in these parishes doesn’t bother me as much. Not that I don’t wish the homilies were better for everyone.

So while I am still hypercritical attending Mass, it is mostly as an observer and does not destroy my interior life (what there is of it). Knowing that I can easily turn to the dark side of angry liturgical traditionalism, it gives me some peace to turn away from it.

Jul 132016

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 25 May 2016 to 10 July 2016.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.


General Audiences



Papal Tweets

  • “This Jubilee of mercy is a time of reconciliation for everyone.” @Pontifex 30 June 2016
  • “In the world of work today it is essential to educate and follow the luminous and demanding path of honesty.” @Pontifex 1 July 2016
  • “True joy which is experienced in the family is not something random and fortuitous, but normal and ongoing.” @Pontifex 2 July 2016
  • “Loving and forgiving as God loves and forgives. This is a programme of life that can know no interruptions or exceptions.” @Pontifex 3 July 2016
  • “The summertime offers many people an occasion for rest. It’s also a favorable time to take care of our human relationships.” @Pontifex 4 July 2016
  • “Let’s join forces, at all levels, to ensure that peace in beloved Syria is possible! #peacepossible4Syria” @Pontifex 5 July 2016
  • “During this month my audiences are suspended, but I do not stop praying for you, while I ask that you please pray for me!” @Pontifex 7 July 2016
  • “Vacations offer a time to rest and to restore the spirit, especially through a more quiet reading of the Gospels.” @Pontifex 10 July 2016

Papal Instagram

Jul 052016

Deep Adventure

Listening to EWTN I have heard conversations with Bear Woznick a couple of times and found what he had to say interesting. At the time I knew nothing about him, but found that he is a two-time Masters World Champion Surfer. He mixes his experience in this and other sports with wisdom from the Greek philosophers and the treasury of the Church.

I found his new book Deep Adventure: The Way of Heroic Virtue to be fairly worthwhile and a good read. As you would expect there are a lot of sport metaphors in regard to living the spiritual life as a Catholic. St. Paul started this trend so this is something new. Sport metaphors work quite well when done right. I once remember a book that used Hockey to good ends in this regard.

Surfing is a sport I know next to nothing about, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying what he had to say. He takes you into this world in such a way that you can really see the attraction of it. He writes about his own spiritual struggles and coming to grips with truly living his faith in contrast to the lessons he learned from trying to master sports. This all works rather well and doesn’t feel contrived at all or attempting to illustrate to much out of his surfing examples.

In addition in between chapters is a story of a rescue he performed and this makes a nice narrative thread throughout. At times I was waiting between chapters to find out what happened next.

So if extended sports metaphors don’t put you off, this is some solid spiritual reading.

The Soul’s Upward Yearning

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. is such a geek and I mean this is the best way possible. He has currently finished the third book of a four book set. I previously reviewed the first book in the series Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence). This time I have gotten around to The Soul’s Upward Yearning: Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason: 2 (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence).

It is just astounding the various areas he covers in this book. Various studies on the history of religion and what this can teach us regarding the numinous experience. Epistemology and what we can learn from how we learn and how this points to God. Our desire for truth and how we naturally expect that there are answers and that the world is intelligible. Proofs for the transphysical and a look at what is called the “hard problem of self-conciousness”. Along the way there is plenty of philosophy and physics. Some of this is summarized from his book New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy.

This is not exactly light reading. Fr. Spitzer though is good at explaining his material and provides the right amount of repetitiveness to help you to remember and to grasp the content. Still you certainly have to put some effort into reading this book to get the most out of it. I was able to grasp most of it so that pretty much means most people will also be able to do so. This series of books is quite geeky and covers a large range of human knowledge. I just loved how this particular book swamps you with lots of things to consider regarding our transcendent nature.

Jun 292016

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 10 June 2016 to 29 June 2016.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.


Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences




Papal Tweets

  • “Please accompany me with your prayers during my apostolic journey to Armenia.” @Pontifex 23 June 2016
  • “The commitment to full unity and cooperation among all the Lord’s disciples is like a radiant light in a dark night. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 24 June 2016
  • “The sufferings of the Armenians are our own, they are the sufferings of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 25 June 2016
  • “May the Armenian Church walk in peace and may the communion between us be complete. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 26 June 2016
  • “I am happy to have visited Armenia, the first nation to accept Christianity as its religion, and I thank all for the welcome. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 26 June 2016
  • “Jesus looks for us and invites us to make room in the inner reaches of our heart. Do we realize it?” @Pontifex 27 June 2016
  • “If God is present in our life, the joy of bringing the Gospel will be our strength and our happiness.” @Pontifex 28 June 2016
  • “Today the Lord repeats to all pastors: follow me despite the difficulties, follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all.” @Pontifex 29 June 2016

Papal Instagram

Jun 272016

WASHINGTON—On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-3 ruling in the abortion facility medical standards case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, reacted to the loss.

“The Court has rejected a common-sense law protecting women from abortion facilities that put profits above patient safety,” McQuade said. “The law simply required abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers – standards like adequate staffing, soap dispensers, and basic sanitary conditions. It required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that hallways be wide enough to allow emergency personnel through with stretchers, should a life-threatening emergency arise.” USCCB

Because abortion must be protected at all costs, regardless of the cost to women. Because access to unsanitary, unsafe, clinics staffed by “doctors” with insufficient credentials is a “right” don’t-you-know.

Modern progressivism will regulate everything from toilets to lightbulbs and constantly demand more regulation. But in this case “Keep your hands off our dirty clinics!”.

If abortuaries have to shut down because they can’t keep the same standards of ambulatory surgical centers, the problem is not with the law. Remember when Democrats wanted abortion to be safe, legal, and rare? Well “legal, legal, and legal” is good enough.

The Washington Post weighs in with Supreme Court rules against Texas and for science in abortion case. Wow science!

Wow I wish I could be as pro-women as The Daily Show.

As Mary Eberstadt notes:

In the new dispensation, traditional restrictions and attitudes are viewed as judgmental, moralistic forms of socially sanctioned aggression, especially against women and sexual minorities. These victims of sexuality have become the new secular saints. Their virtue becomes their rejection and flouting of traditional sexual morality, and their acts are effectively transvalued as positive expressions of freedom.

The first commandment of this new secularist writ is that no sexual act between consenting adults is wrong. Two corollary imperatives are that whatever contributes to consenting sexual acts is an absolute good, and that anything interfering, or threatening to interfere, with consenting sexual acts is ipso facto wrong.

Note the absolutist character of these beliefs as they play out in practice. For example, it is precisely the sacrosanct, nonnegotiable status assigned to contraception and abortion that explains why — despite historical protestations of wanting abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare” — in practice, secularist progressivism defends each and every act of abortion tenaciously, each and every time.

On a side note, who is writing headlines for the USCCB “Bishops’ Pro-Life Spokeswoman Laments High Court Decision Rejecting Abortion Clinic Safety Law”.

Jun 222016

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 22 May 2016 to 22 June 2016.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.


Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences



Motu Proprio


Papal Tweets

  • “The tenderness of God is present in the lives of all those who attend the sick and understand their needs, with eyes full of love.” @Pontifex 10 June 2016
  • “Do not tire of asking in prayer for the Lord’s help especially in difficulty.” @Pontifex 11 June 2016
  • “Dear sick people, entrust yourselves to the Spirit who will not fail you with the consoling light of his presence.” @Pontifex 12 June 2016
  • “I invite all of the institutions of the world to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger. #ZeroHunger” @Pontifex 13 June 2016
  • “The future of society requires the fruitful encounter between young and old.” @Pontifex 14 June 2016
  • “Dear elderly friends, God does not abandon you; he is with you! With his help you are and you continue to be the memory for your people.” @Pontifex 15 June 2016
  • “Even in the worst situation of life, God waits for me, God wants to embrace me, God expects me.” @Pontifex 16 June 2016
  • “In prayer let us experience the compassion of God, full of merciful love.” @Pontifex 17 June 2016
  • “More than a scientific question, the universe is a joyful mystery that speaks of God’s boundless love for us.” @Pontifex 18 June 2016
  • “Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opening today in Crete.” @Pontifex 19 June 2016
  • “We are all on a journey to the common house of heaven, where we will be able to admire with joyful wonder the mystery of the universe.” @Pontifex 20 June 2016
  • “People are the primary artisans of their own development, the first in charge!” @Pontifex 21 June 2016
  • “Being Christian involves joining one’s own life, in all its aspects, to the person of Jesus and, through Him, to the Father.” @Pontifex 22 June 2016

Papal Instagram

Jun 212016

I am pretty sure there is a canonical penalty attached to licking these “Lolipopes.”



Lolipope JP2

Credit to term “Lolipopes” to @RicahrdPicardo

Jun 142016

Pints with Aquinas – Matt Fradd

This podcast by Australian Catholic apologist and speaker Matt Fradd is informative and fun.

If you could sit down with St. Thomas Aquinas over a pint of beer and ask him any one question, what would it be? Every episode of Pints With Aquinas revolves around a question, a question that St. Thomas addresses in his most famous work, The Summa Theologica. So get your geek on, pull up a bar stool, and grab a cold one. Here we go!

This is a very professional sounding podcast and Matt Fradd’s enthusiasm for the faith in infectious. He does not shy away from hot or sensitive topics and sticks to what the Church teaches through the lens of the Angelic Doctor. When I recently became aware of this podcast I went back and listened to the archives. There are currently 12 shows roughly half an hour long.

Fides et Ratio – Fr. Chris Pietraszko

I was introduced to this podcast via Matt Fradd’s podcast. Fr. Chris Pietraszko is a newly ordained priest in the Diocese of London.

This podcast is a series of recorded lectures and homilies. So the audio quality is not the best, but the content is excellent. Very solid theologically and goes deep.

Called to Communion – Dr. David Anders

Dr. Anders use to hold the EWTN Open Line slot on Thursday and I grew to totally enjoy his show. He is a convert from Presbyterianism. I just love the way he articulates the faith and a joyful manner in which he does. I was delighted when they started to podcast his daily Monday – Friday show “Call to Communion”. While mostly this is a Protestant call in show, I still enjoy his insights and how he answers questions. I must admit to being envious of how he rapidly summarizes in a complete but concise way.

Previous Recommendations

Jun 142016

An already tense relationship between the world’s two most powerful Argentines became more so recently when the pope rejected a sizable charitable donation to an organization he backs from Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri. The reason? In addition to possible concerns over the donation’s political overtones, a communication from the pope to the office of the nonprofit, according to the Vatican Insider, had a postscript: “I don’t like the 666.”

The proposed amount of the donation was 16,666,000 Argentine pesos, or about $1.2 million to Scholas Occurentes. The strange specificity of the sum, which contains the number many superstitiously believe can invoke the Antichrist, left some wondering whether the donation was really a troll of presidential proportions.

Macri and the pope, who used to be the archbishop of Buenos Aires, hold differing views on matters of policy, especially the austerity measures that center-right Macri has introduced to stave off critical levels of inflation. An article recounting Macri’s trip to the Vatican in February was headlined “Pope gives Macri a frosty 22 minutes.”

In the world of Vatican reporting you never quite know the truth. But this is what Vatican Insider at lastampa.it is reporting. It certainly seems it is possible that this is epic trolling by Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri.

Now since it is the Washington Post covering the story you can expect some ignorance.

The strange specificity of the sum, which contains the number many superstitiously believe can invoke the Antichrist,…

Yes most Christians believe saying the number might accidentally invoke the Antichrist, just like saying Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror. Doh!

Pope rejects Argentine president’s donation of 16,666,000 pesos because of the ‘666’ part