Happy New Year 2018

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Monday, January 15, 2018

What’s the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say


Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, at a parade in London in 2016 for the monarch’s 90th birthday. Credit Richard Heathcote/Getty Images for The Patron’s Lunch

OXFORD, England — From the comfort of his country estate in Oxford, a distant relative of the Russian literary giant Tolstoy says he has the perfect solution for what ails the United States.

America, he declares, needs a monarchy.

In fact, Count Nikolai Tolstoy says, more kings, queens and all the frippery that royalty brings would be not just a salve for a superpower in political turmoil, but also a stabilizing force for the world at large.

“I love the monarchy,” Count Tolstoy, 82, said as he sat in his lush garden behind an expansive stone house. “Most people think the monarchy is just decorative and filled with splendor and personalities. They do not appreciate the important ideological reasons for a monarchy.”

The count is not the only voice advocating rule by royalty. An author and a conservative politician who holds dual British and Russian citizenship, he leads the International Monarchist League and is part of a loose confederation of monarchists scattered across the globe, including in the United States.

Their core arguments: Countries with monarchies are better off because royal families act as a unifying force and a powerful symbol; monarchies rise above politics; and nations with royalty are generally richer and more stable.

Read more at The New York Times >>

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Father Rutler: Shattered Illusions and a Lesson in Persistence


Fr. George W. Rutler
The romantic soul of William Wordsworth thrilled over the French Revolution: “Oh! Pleasant exercise of hope and joy!  . . . Bliss was it in the dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven!” He crossed the Channel to see it in action, but when the Terror began he fled in horror. Then there is the story of Beethoven tearing up the first page of his Sinfonia Eroica, originally dedicated to Napoleon, upon news that his hero had succumbed to the vanity of a crown. The anarchist Emma Goldman hailed the Russian Revolution, but when fact obliterated her fantasy, she acidly described the Bolshevik State “crushing every constructive revolutionary effort, suppressing, debasing, and disintegrating everything.” The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact shattered the illusions of many armchair Communists.

Disillusionment can decay into cynicism, but it can also be a salvific dose of reality.  Eugenicists in the last century envisioned a demographic utopia, only to find that illusion cruelly mocked by the Nazi death camps and made macabre by abortion mills today. Arthur and Elizabeth Rathburn of Grosse Point, Michigan are just the latest of people on trial for trafficking in the body parts of unborn babies. In 2013 the FBI discovered in their warehouse over one thousand heads, limbs and organs of infants. Their indictment seems to have been delayed because of what was previously a political reluctance to implicate Planned Parenthood. Increasing numbers of our population are recognizing unpleasant truths.

Recent changes by our Executive Branch mark a shift in policy—reinstating the pro-life Mexico City Policy, moving to defund the United Nations Population Fund, expanding the religious exemption to the Health and Human Services Department’s contraception mandate, and favoring a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—as well as encouraging the annual March for Life this January 19, marking the 45th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision. One does not want to be overly optimistic, but illusions are being shattered and, save for stone hearts, the consciences of many may be recognizing the consequences of na├»vely underestimating the forces of evil cloaked as social progress.

The Scottish king Robert the Bruce provided a lesson in persistence. Defeated in battle, he was tempted to give up, but for three months he took refuge in a cave where he watched a spider persevere in building a web, after failing numerous times. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” The line has edified schoolchildren, but it also helped the Bruce secure his kingdom after victory at Bannockburn. Various places claim the site of the cave—Dumfriesshire, Arran Island, Craigie, Taitlin Island—but that cave is wherever people learn from their mistakes and do not succumb to cynicism. “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

 

Four South Carolina Congressmen Vote to Restrict Your Constitutional Rights and Freedoms


Why have four South Carolina Congressmen voted against the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, to extend NSA spying on American citizens, and to invade your privacy? That's a question South Carolinians may wish to ask James Clyburn, Trey Gowdy, Tom Rice, and Joe Wilson  before reelecting them to erode even more of your Constitutional rights and freedoms.  

These are the House members who voted to extend NSA spying and reject privacy reforms

 

 





Safe-Abortion Fund Architect Receives Pontifical Honor


Hat-tip to Canon212: “Francis makes pro-death, pro-LGBT Dutch minister a Commander in The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great; TO SAY THAT LILIANNE PLOUMEN IS “PRO-ABORTION” IS AN EXTREME UNDERSTATEMENT AND DOESN’T EVEN COME CLOSE TO THE SCANDALOUS REALITY OF HER ACTIVISM”
On January 12, reports began surfacing on Twitter that Lilianne Ploumen, former minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands, was honored by Pope Francis with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.

The Lepanto Institute was able to confirm from a December 22, 2017, Dutch radio broadcast that Ploumen indeed received the honor. In a brief video clip promoting the broadcast, Ploumen displays the medal while saying that she received it from the Pope.

Here is a crude translation of the exchange:
BNR: And this is the umpteenth prize that Lilianne Ploumen observes, won in 2017 and from whom they came.
Ploumen: Yes, it is a high distinction from the Vatican; from the pope.
BNR: From the pope.
Ploumen: Beautiful.
BNR: Yes.
Ploumen: It is Commander in the order of St. Gregory.
BNR: And that despite that you are pro-abortion.
Ploumen: Yes, you can check.
To say that Lilianne Ploumen is “pro-abortion” is an extreme understatement and doesn’t even come close to the scandalous reality of her activism.

In January 2017, after U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, Ploumen launched a new NGO called She Decides to provide mass amounts of funds to organizations that would no longer receive funds from the U.S. government. The Mexico City Policy automatically denies U.S. funding for international organizations that perform or promote abortion.

Referring to the Mexico City Policy as a “Global Gag Rule,” Ploumen stated that the intention of She Decides was to continue support for existing programs being run by organizations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. She said, “These are successful and effective programs: direct support, distributing condoms, making sure women are accompanied at the birth, and making sure abortion is safe if they have no other choice.”

By July 2017, Ploumen’s program had raised more than $300 million.

In October 2017, Ploumen wrote an article for the Financial Times, in which she emphatically stated, “America’s regressive policies on abortion are a calamity for girls’ and women’s rights that the rest of the world must counter.”

Ironically, just a few days ago, Ploumen was awarded the Machiavelli Prize “for her campaign for the safe abortion fund SheDecides.” The article on the award indicates that “The Machiavelli prize is awarded to a person or organization which the jury considers has excelled in public communication. In particular, the jury praised the speed at which SheDecides was set up and went global.”

It is worth noting that from 2004 to 2007 Ploumen was the director of programs and on the board of directors for CORDAID, the Dutch Catholic aid relief agency that was caught funding Planned Parenthood and dispensing contraception.

But Ploumen’s anti-Catholic activity isn’t restricted to abortion. In September 2017, Ploumen participated in the United Nations LGBTI Core Group.  As the first speaker at the event, Ploumen noted that LGBTI rights are human rights.  In her opening remarks, she said, “We cannot be complacent. (Today) in more than 70 countries homosexuality is still criminalized … stigma against LGBT people continue all over the world.”

In 2014, Ploumen ended foreign aid to the country of Uganda for passing a bill banning sodomy and same-sex “marriage.”

In February 2010, Ploumen called on LGBT activists to descend upon and disrupt Mass at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, wearing pink triangles with the words “Jesus excludes no one.” The reason?  She and other pro-LGBT activists were protesting the Church’s moral teaching regarding homosexuality.

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great was established in September 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI. The honor of membership in the Order is conferred on individuals for their “personal service to the Holy See and to the Roman Catholic Church, through their unusual labors, their support of the Holy See, and their excellent examples set forth in their communities and their countries.”

It remains to be seen what service Lilianne Ploumen has provided for the Catholic Church or the Holy See, given her staunch support for homosexuality, abortion and contraception. Given that the one thing that Lilianne Ploumen is known for in the past year is the establishment of a fund that provides hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that commit abortion and dispense contraception, it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate her recent Pontifical honor from this grievous and scandalous act.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Father Rutler: Epiphany and Contemplating the Stars

Fr. George W. Rutler
When The New Yorker magazine was peerless for its combination of erudition and wit, it ran a cartoon of Lilliputians contemplating Gulliver, whom they had fastened to the ground with ropes: “Either he’s very big or we are very small.”
 
That is what we might say of the Creator when Epiphany directs our eyes to the stars. But while man must be humbled by the size beyond measure of the galaxies, the Creator does not humiliate us. In an interview in 1930, Einstein said: “We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how.” With the humility of a scientist who knows that there is much he does not know, that same professor wryly remarked to R. A. Thornton that he did not want to be like someone, including so many physicists, “who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest.”
 
Well-meaning scientists have tried to calculate a physical explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. In 1604, Johannes Kepler proposed that at the time of Christ’s birth there was a supernova simultaneous with the conjunction of the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. This often is a feature of Christmas programs in astronomical observatories. There may be something to that, but saints like Chrysostom were of the opinion that this was no ordinary phenomenon, given the way it moved and came close to earth, but was “of some power endowed with reason.” For Aquinas, it is “probable that it was a newly created star, not in the heavens, but in the air near the earth, and that its movement varied according to God’s will.”
 
Little is known of the Magi, and for that reason they are a mine easily plundered by romantics who make them so exotic that they seem too good to be true.  We do not even know their homeland; perhaps it was Persia or, according to one recent theory, what is now Yemen. We do know that God, unlike Gulliver, is beyond measure, and his grace has made us more than Lilliputians. Saint Hippolytus, before dying a hard death for Christ, said of him:

He wanted us to consider him as no different from ourselves, and so he worked, he was hungry and thirsty, he slept. . . . When we have come to know the true God, both our bodies and our souls will be immortal and incorruptible. We shall enter the kingdom of heaven, because while we lived on earth we acknowledged heaven’s King. Friends of God and co-heirs with Christ, we shall be subject to no evil desires or inclinations, or to any affliction of body or soul, for we shall have become divine.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Donald Trump Shows Grousing Democrats the Art of the Deal

Michael Cook, a friend of this blog and resident of Pittsburgh and Aiken, South Carolina, recently published a letter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which explains how President Trump has given Democrats a brilliant lesson on the art of the deal.
The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has provided Democrats with plenty of reasons to grouse. Take, for example, our soaring economy. Increased employment levels and rising asset prices have left Mr. Trump’s detractors crestfallen. Fortunately, 2017 ended with one development that will surely lift the spirits of despondent Democrats.

Consider, for instance, the curious spectacle observed recently in high-tax jurisdictions around the country. Homeowners swarmed the offices of bemused tax collectors, pleading (and in some cases begging) for the opportunity to pre-pay next year’s property taxes. Before the taxes had been levied. Before the tax bills had even been printed.

Think about this for a moment. For decades Democrats have sought in vain for ways to make paying taxes as attractive a proposition as lining up around the block to attend the opening of the latest installment of the “Star Wars” franchise. Well, Mr. Trump, ever the consummate showman, has quietly provided the recipe.

Democrats will publicly decry the new tax legislation. But privately they are jubilant, especially with the new cap on deductions for state and local taxes. With this single provision, Mr. Trump’s tax bill manages to do what Democrats have long dreamed of doing: make the “rich” pay more in federal income taxes. Do you live in a big house with a big assessment? You’ll pay more. Do you make a big salary in a jurisdiction that imposes state and/​or local income taxes? You’ll pay more.

And here’s the best part: It is the denizens of Democrat-dominated districts — such as Pittsburgh and New York and Chicago and San Francisco — who shall have the high honor of paying higher taxes.

Democrats may never get over the shock of Donald Trump’s election. But, upon reflection, they’ll have to concede that Mr. Trump has given them an invaluable lesson on the art of the deal.
 MICHAEL COOK

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Zmirak: Pope Francis Should Repent or Else Resign


Of all the regime change that is needed in the world, it is the anti-Church heretic who currently leads Christ's Church that we would most like to see deposed in the new year.  This muddle-minded, left-wing, Peronist political hack is subverting and attempting to change doctrine handed down from Christ and the Apostles.  We believe he is a willing tool of the devil who must be resisted by every faithful Catholic.

In his 2018 wish list, John Zmirak, Senior Editor of The Stream and author of the new Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, says that he hopes "Pope" Francis “repents or else resigns” this year.  We pray that the Lord, in His mercy, will send His Church a conclave.

From The Stream:
Pope Francis has done more to divide Catholics than any pope in 150 years. He has clouded the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. Francis has thrown out the clear, recent teaching of two of his immediate predecessors — which echoed Church practice and preaching for 2000 years. He has politicized the papacy, using its bully pulpit to further crudely crafted left-wing talking points on everything from the economy to immigration to climate science. He has marginalized and punished his critics, to the point that a new book calls him the “Dictator Pope.” Now he’s defending his handpicked lieutenant, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga. That Honduran leftist (and anti-Semite) is accused of massive corruption that benefited him personally, to the tune of $40,000 per month. Other favorites of Pope Francis include the disgraced Belgian Cardinal Wilfrid Daneels — who was caught on tape trying to silence a sex abuse victim — and LGBT advocate Fr. James Martin, SJ.
In the best case scenario, Pope Francis will see the error of his ways, and spend the rest of his pontificate undoing the damage he’s wrought. Failing that, he should imitate the example of Pope Benedict XVI and admit that he can no longer lead the Church. He should resign, and open a political institute based in Buenos Aires. Something tells me George Soros would fund it.