Leaders of this Age: Where are your Successors? And Finally, who cares?

Christian Martyrs of Rome, pray for us.

Christian Martyrs of Rome, pray for us.

The Catholic Church is on the wrong side of History. Those who remain under her shelter are Obstinate Fools, who prefer their Hate to the promises of the Age.

This narrative — along with evermore strident charges of bigotry ennobled by the mantle of constitutionality — is widely expected to deliver the silence of remaining dissent, or at the very least a new calm to the “marketplace of ideas”.

The Crucifix, along with the triregnum and crossed keys, are nothing more than anachronistic flags of another (hateful, hypocritical) confederacy. It is promised that whatever follows is so that all this hate can be swallowed up by rainbows. Then (and only then) will true peace prevail.

St. Stephen, pray for us.

St. Stephen, pray for us.

It matters not, say the benevolent, that never before in the history of human civilization has there been a definition for marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Take note: it is entirely possible, simple fools, to recast objective and fundamental reality. In fact, this is required so that #LoveWins.

Can we be very surprised by any of this? After all, it was Pontius Pilate who asked Jesus, “What is Truth?” and by this expression he showed himself to be a partaker in the same invincible ignorance suffered today. It was Pilate who first personified the notion that Truth is fungible, unascertainable, or relative.

Aggravating such ignorance is that the Question is never in earnest, but rather (mostly) rhetorical, offered as terms of surrender to one’s fallen nature. It is almost as though the worst offenders know their own idiocy, but are already too burned (or burdened) by acedia to do anything other than submit to the demands of the crowd. We might even feel justified in righteous indignation — because it is all so dumb, but that too is part of the Mystery of the freedom God gives us.

Sts. Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Barbara and Cecilia, pray for us!

Sts. Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Barbara and Cecilia, pray for us!

Do not be tempted to forget that the Word is yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our Lord says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake” — He is, at this moment in history, speaking to us. Do not discount the supreme Gift of such a blessing! Rich is the reward for those blessed by the Lord!

In Fr. Robert Barron’s book Catholicism, he quotes the late Francis Cardinal George concerning the appearance of the cardinals on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica in April of 2005 following the announcement of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. According to Barron, “the news cameras caught the remarkably pensive expression on the face” of Cardinal George, and when reporters asked him later what he was thinking, George responded:

“I was gazing over toward the Circus Maximus, toward the Palatine Hill where the Roman Emperors once resided and reigned and looked down upon the persecution of Christians, and I thought, ‘Where are their successors? Where is the successor of Caesar Augustus? Where is the successor of Marcus Aurelius? And finally, who cares? But if you want to see the successor of Peter, he is right next to me, smiling and waving at the crowds.’ “

St. Sebastian, pray for us.

St. Sebastian, pray for us.

Joyfully walking with Jesus means that we can follow the Cardinal’s example and accept that many will call us bigots, and worse. They will tell us we hate whilst spewing their own invective. Spit on our priests. Troll our blogs. Vandalize our churches. Disrupt our liturgies. Remove us from secular public life. We can and must love those who do these things. We can and must forgive them as Jesus forgives us. Everything to follow has already happened countless times before — and He told us not to worry about it. 

Meanwhile, to the Leaders of this Age, where are your successors, and finally, who cares?

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Quartermaster of the Barque turned 2 Years Old Yesterday…..

14586634820_151eda79f3_oAnd I missed it! What was I doing, and how did I forget?

Thank you for your readership! In the past two years, there have been 688 posts (not including this one), nearly 300,000 individual visitors and we’re approaching a half million page views. By hits, the all-time most popular post remains this one.

Articles from Quartermaster of the Barque have appeared in National Catholic RegisterNewAdvent.org, BigPulpit.com, Pewsitter.com, CatholicCrossing.com, Aleteia.org, SpiritDaily.com, Spirit-Digest.com, and others. Thank you to the individuals who devote countless hours to maintaining those sites, which truly are a great gift to all of us.

Also a big thanks to Mark Shea (Catholic and Enjoying It!) for letting me shill for Quartermaster of the Barque, over and over and over and again and over and again and again and again. In the high-stakes dog-eat-dog world of Catholic blogging, he’s a generous guy to let others ride on his coattails, especially because writing, blogging and speaking is how he makes his living, meaning that when Mark is sharing his platform, he’s also sharing his daily bread.

To honor the “auspicious occasion”, I re-post the first blog on Quartermaster of the Barque, concerning the SCOTUS decision in United States v. Windsor, which overturned DOMA. It remains timely.


Regarding the SCOTUS Decisions on Gay Marriage (originally posted June 29, 2015)

Marriage has fallen, and with it, we see the near end of Christendom. Christians shouldn’t blame gay people for redefining marriage. The redefinition began long before the idea of “gay marriage” ever took hold. It didn’t happen just this week, or last month, or last year, or even a decade ago. It happened (inter alia):
  1. When Christians embraced no-fault divorce.
  2. At the seventh Lambeth Conference when artificial contraceptives were approved by the Anglican communion under certain circumstances.
  3. When Christians embraced Griswold v. Connecticut.
  4. When pro-life Christians fell into consequentialism and supported abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk.
  5. Whenever Christians made use of IVF, had a selective abortion, or supported embryonic stem cell research.
  6. Every time a Christian engaged in sexual activity outside marriage.
  7. Every time a Christian remarried after divorce.
  8. Every time a Christian used artificial contraception.

Christians who oppose the redefinition of marriage MUST stop with the focus on labels, and strategy, and “winning the war”. We’ve lost. It’s over.

What’s the difference between a contracepting, divorced and remarried straight couple and a SSA “married” couple? Almost nothing. [6/30/15 NOTE: By “almost nothing”, I mean that the principal difference is simply that same-sex activity is contrary to nature and the Natural Law. Therefore, qualitatively speaking, there is a difference. The “almost nothing” does matter, but it does not (IMO) justify discriminating in a particular way against SSA individuals]. The fact that one sin is more visible than another is not a valid basis for keeping the focus on the visible sin while ignoring the other less visible (and potentially personal) sins. Upping the harsh rhetoric makes ignoring this fact easier than admitting the actual reason for the failure. If we feel comfortable condemning same-sex marriage but we would not tell a friend or family member that it’s wrong to get married for a third time, then we need to shut up. It’s hypocrisy and it’s killing our “message”.

It’s time to save our souls by living as Christians, loving one another, caring for the least of these, speaking the truth in charity when prompted by the Holy Spirit. It’s time to actually live marriage so that our words match our examples. It’s time to stop expecting the civil law to privilege a concept that we fail to uphold in our own actions. The expectation that we should have it both ways is part of what has led to this failure.

My prayer is not to be the guy who tells people that gay marriage is wrong, but to be the father and husband who — by his hospitality and love — shows people what marriage actually is. If we can’t give them an example, we might as well describe color to the blind.

“The reign of God has really begun; but we know now who God is.”

“Mother,” said the girl, “let me tell you again. Do you not understand that all which Jesus Christ promised has come true, though in another way? The reign of God has really begun; but we know now who God is. You said just now you wanted the Forgiveness of Sins; well, you have that; we all have it, because there is no such thing as sin. There is only Crime. And, then Communion. You used to believe that that made you a partaker of God; well, we are all partakers of God, because we are human beings.” – Lord of the World, Benson, R.H. (1907).

It will be but a footnote that the Court which delivered today’s decision concerning marriage also, in previous generations, declared that no Black person, whether slave or free, could ever be a citizen of the United States (Dred Scott), or that “separate but equal” discrimination was constitutional (Plessy v. Ferguson). We Catholics know that Roe v. Wade and its progeny also belongs in this category, while others view the Right to Abortion as part of the New Enlightenment.

14765607092_f6e3d419d2_oInasmuch as prior times were capable of bringing about flawed determinations of law, the cultural and social apex from which we now perch has deigned in its benevolence to deliver the Infallible. Humanity, we are told, is finally in its Wisdom.

Today’s decision will be lauded by the mainstream and the fliers of flags of rainbow-colored irony. Brilliantly uncatechized turncoat “catholics,” inhaling the same vapors and bedazzled by their millstones, will blush with embarrassment over the welcome given them. Meanwhile, the Faithful will be treated like the must caught in the wine press.  The Church will speak of the rights and dignity of children, only to be pilloried with memes about pedophilia and hypocrisy.

Truly, as far as social secular order is concerned, there is no longer sin, only crime. And there is no longer morality, only legality. What follows is yet to be seen, although there is prophecy, and precedent. Rome fell when, for all its decadence and hedonism, it did not attempt to redefine the nature of marriage.

We have been outflanked. What could not be foreseen until a short while ago is demonstrable proof for the overwhelming Force at work. Benson saw only euthanasia but not abortion, and he left marriage and stable natural families intact at the End. Arguably it was assumed that these institutions were so sacrosanct that they required no active defense.

But now that such assumption is erased from the page, there is no need for further pretension. A crowd of voices demands a quickening of the movement to appease the craven. All need for patience is mooted. The careful gradualism that delivered us here has finally served its purpose:

These Justices [delivering the Majority Opinion of the Court] know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution. – Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Scalia, J., dissenting.

Benson puts the meaning of this in perspective:

“Therefore, this new decree was as logical as [the antichrist] Himself — it was a judicial act on the part of an united world against a tiny majority that threatened the principle of life and faith: and it was to be carried out with supreme mercy; there was no revenge or passion or partisan spirit in it from the beginning to end; no more than a man is revengeful or passionate when he amputates a diseased limb…”

God help us, and dear friends, He will. He is doing so at this very moment, but we are called to be Faithful even if our suffering is in sight. As Benson would say, the time for self-regarding is passed. What will come at last to each of us who hold sight of God and His Commandments is “…that superb tranquility, possible only when the senses are physically awake, with which God, perhaps once in a lifetime, rewards the aspiring trustful soul — that point of complete rest in the heart of the Fount of all existence with which one day He will reward eternally the spirits of His children.”

FullSizeRender 18As for intercession, let’s remember that St. Thomas More was martyred for his solidarity with us in this very same fight. It is our privilege to don this hair shirt with him. He continues to pray for us in Heaven and that God’s will be done. Let us follow his example, and pray as he did, pro rege, or rather pro res publica, even when king and country turn from the Truth. After all, we are all — in some fashion — converts, and no matter what “law” is enacted, Holy Church teaches that we are always free to choose the good.

Pray for Marriage

Today, April 28, our U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning the question of whether state laws that define marriage as between one man and one woman are constitutional. It seems, as expected, that Court-watchers believe that the swing vote will once again fall to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Justice Ginsburg had previously shown her hand in an interview earlier this year, essentially expressing a belief that America is “ready” for same-sex marriage. And Justices Sotomayor and Kagan appear in favor of it as well.

As you go about your day, and in the two months or so that it will take for the Court to issue its decision on this highly important case, please pray for the Justices, and Justice.

Same-sex marriage does considerable injustice: to the persons who enter into such relationships, to the people who “support” and “affirm” them, to surrounding families and relatives who experience its consequences, to the social fabric of our communities, and particularly to children who will suffer if such “rights” are recognized.

However, even if the Supreme Court determines that there are no compelling reasons for preserving the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, it does not mean that the battle is over, or that Truth has been defeated. The Supreme Court does not possess the authority to redefine marriage. That it would do so will have grave implications for the Rule of Law.

In Evangelium Vitae, St. Pope John Paul II cites to Aquinas on the question of the natural law and its relationship to the civil law: “human law is law inasmuch as it is in conformity with right reason and thus derives from the eternal law. But when a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; but in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes instead an act of violence”. And again: “Every law made by man can be called a law insofar as it derives from the natural law. But if it is somehow opposed to the natural law, then it is not really a law but rather a corruption of the law“. (para. 72).

As with abortion, civil law will again oppose natural law, leading to further corruption. We should be prepared for this, as we will remain subject to Caesar going forward.

Also recall that while this “culture war” has certainly spun into overdrive in the past decade, the efforts to redefine marriage are, in fact, centuries old. Nearly five hundred years ago, an English sovereign known as Henry VIII wished to establish a Tudor Dynasty that would outlive his reign, and to secure it he knew that he needed a male heir. Yet, his lawful wife, a princess of Spain, did not conceive and carry a male heir to term.

Thus, Henry decided that he would divorce his Queen and marry Anne Boleyn. To do this, the King tore Christendom asunder. The Pope, despite the efforts of Cardinal Wolsey, refused to grant an annulment. So Henry declared himself head of the Church of England, confiscated the Church’s property in his realm (making himself the richest King in the history of England, and perhaps all of Europe), and required every English subject to sign an oath affirming his headship of the Church in England and the queenship of Anne Boleyn.

14765606292_c54b6081d2_oScores of (Catholic) bishops, and hundreds, if not thousands of priests, all signed the oath and assented to the break with Rome. Their assent, however, was certainly under duress, since refusal to take the oath meant permanent residency in the Tower of London, the stripping of all titles, privileges and property, and ultimately, execution. They were cowards, but they kept their heads.

Only a handful of Catholic martyrs, including Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More, refused to assent to Henry’s break with Rome, and for their steadfast loyalty they earned a swift death.

Also recall that for nearly a century, our laws in this country have favored the option of “no-fault” divorce, which permits civil dissolution of marriage absent cause. Husband and wife have been citing “irreconcilable differences” for some time now, which has harshly abused God’s intention for marriage. We’ve grown rather ambivalent about the bonds that God has joined together, that no man should put asunder.

And finally, we’ve also observed cultural shifts within the same last century that have adopted favorable attitudes regarding the use of artificial contraception and abortion. Many of our own Catholic brothers and sisters, and a much wider array of Protestant Christians and secular folks, have in their own marriages willingly traded the procreative aspect of marriage, and the call from God to remain open to the gift of children, in exchange for sex as recreational activity.

This too, has compounded our divorce rates, reduced the numbers of individuals who consider sexual activity to be something that belongs within marriage, and led to the further objectification of women.

In all, even without a new pronouncement from the Supreme Court, marriage “isn’t what it used to be”, or rather, for much of the world it is not what God intends. Inasmuch as we Catholics would see God’s laws reflected in our civil codes, we cannot be especially surprised at the so-called (civil) institution of marriage devolving to the point that it is so dissolute that it is virtually unrecognizable.

What remains to be gained from civil marriage is a package of legal entitlements, to which gay couples believe they should also be permitted to access, and for many, it is hard to disagree.

We shouldn’t blame them. What occurred prior to same-sex marriage to undermine the institution of marriage may well have had diabolical origins, but it was hardly the suggestion that two people of the same sex should be able to “marry” — however diabolical such a suggestion may be — that brought us to this point.

Now, more than ever, faithful Catholics are presented an opportunity to truly live their faith, stick out their own necks, and witness to the reality that marriage (as God intends) is a lifelong sacramental union of one man and woman, consisting of unitive and procreative aspects.

Catholics everywhere must joyfully proclaim the reality that strong marriages are established by God not just for husband and wife and their children, but as the foundational building block of society, the strength of which brings us closer to establishing the Kingdom and promoting the dignity of every person. We must articulate the Truth of marriage with the example of our living, and along the way we will show the world what it has abandoned.

The Age of Euphemism: Claiming Religious Liberty as Latest Victim

Apparently Indiana broke the Interwebs by passing legislation which some are calling an “anti-gay law”. Opponents of the law have taken to Twitter, social media, and banner carried by blimp to declare that anyone who cares about religious liberty is, in fact, a “bigot” and “hater” who has no right drawing oxygen or consuming resources on our planet.

Apparently bigots are not worthy of toleration, but to the extent that bigotry is synonymous with Catholicism, we’ve known that for a while.

Individuals like the reigning CEO of Apple have lambasted the Indiana law, while various politicians and moguls have indicated that they (and the mammon they control) will “boycott” the state for having the temerity to pass a law that mirrors federal legislation and the laws of at least 17 other states.

Nevermind that Apple continues to do business with countries that will execute outed gay people (Nigeria, Uganda, Qatar, Saudi Arabia). No mention of those nations on Mr. Cook’s Twitter feed. So there’s a strong dose of political theater as an admixture to this whole thing, and it’s creating noxious odors.

Lest you think my position can be reduced to talking points, and before you object to my characterization that the Indiana law “mirrors” the federal and other states’ legislation, let me clarify that the big distinction claimed by opponents of the Indiana law is that the Indiana law provides a defense (not an automatic protection from prosecution) to instances where the government is not a party in the claimed violation of religious liberty.

That means that where, for example, the state is not involved in forcing a Christian florist to make floral arrangements for a gay wedding, the Indiana law would provide the business-owner with a defense against private civil liability for any “discrimination” claims brought by the aggrieved “victim”.

However, this argument entirely ignores the fact that the federal law does the very same thing as the Indiana law (provide a defense against private actions) in a number of federal appellate circuits where the issue has been decided by the federal appellate courts. The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to address the split in the appellate circuits on this issue, but it is simply untrue to say that the Indiana law does something novel that is unlike legislation elsewhere.

The more primary issue is that religious liberty (and conscience protections) are no longer closely held rights considered sacred by a majority of American voters, even though religious liberty is enshrined as one of our fundamental constitutional protections. Religious liberty is simply no longer relevant in today’s society.

Far more important — and relevant — to the average American “voter” (now “consumer”) is whether every claimed “public accommodation” must cater to every conceivable type of deviancy. One must not be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed when one tries to check into the Hilton Garden Inn with a bevy of goats for an evening that even satyrs would envy.

Because being precluded from spending money where I wish is the most gross and egregious violation of commercial liberty, and we all know that in today’s Western culture, commercial liberty trumps every other form of liberty, including free speech and religious liberty.

The only barrier to entry for commercial libertines is whether one has money or not. Having money means you play by the All-Important Rule Above All Other Rules: you cannot tell anyone else what to do with their money. Because that’s de facto bigotry.

Have a same-sex partner and want to manufacture a baby in a test tube implanted in the womb of your partner’s mother? If you can write the check it’s not a problem. Suffering from one of the “socially-conscious” diseases and need life-saving experimental treatment derived from stem cells lines from aborted fetuses? As soon as the credit transaction comes back “approved” we are good to go. Writing a “travel” book about the best places in southeast Asia to obtain the “services” of prostitutes (including underage victims of human trafficking)? Sure, here’s a list of interested publishers.

The poor, who lack money for things like “smart watches”, aren’t really people at all. If they were, they’d have commercial liberty. Since they don’t, they aren’t. So we can ignore them and continue as before.

After all, who I love is no one’s business, whereas who I engage in commerce with is everyone’s business, even if it offends the rational sensibility of social conscience held for the last 5,000 years, forces others to sanction the unsanctionable, or leads to offending the decency of the social order.

Anyone who disagrees will be destroyedi.e., separated from their moneyremoved from their property, position, and possessions, and sentenced to poverty, thus becoming non-human and entirely forgotten, where they can rot with the rest of the bigots while the Great Progression marches onward.

Huzzah for SF Abp. Cordileone!

A group of eight California legislators, Democrats, sent this absurdity to the Archbishop this week. It’s cloaked in euphemism and makes no logical sense. In response, His Excellency sent this, and says:

…would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect toward you and the Democratic Party in general? On the other hand, if you knew a brilliant campaign manager who, although a Republican, was willing to work for you and not speak or act in public contrary to you or your party – would you hire such a person? If your answer to the first question is “no,” and to the second question is “yes,” then we are actually in agreement on the principal point in debate here.
Now let’s say that this campaign manager you hired, despite promises to the contrary, starts speaking critically of your party and favorably of your running opponent, and so you decide to fire the person. Would you have done this because you hate all Republicans outright, or because this individual, who happens to be a Republican, violated the trust given to you and acted contrary to your mission? If the latter, then we are again in agreement on this principle.
My point is: I respect your right to employ or not employ whomever you wish to advance your mission. I simply ask the same respect from you.

Exactly. Courageous bishops. We need them, and they need our prayers. And the Archbishop deserves our support and three “Huzzahs” for defending Catholic identity in the most vitriolic and pagan region of the country. He’s holding the line against powerful forces that do not fight clean. They don’t just want to win; they want to destroy. Thanks be to God, for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (who appointed the Archbishop), and for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

Outcomes for Children Raised in Same-Sex Households

In short, this is an area for further study, but current findings suggest that claims regarding positive outcomes for children raised in same-sex households are misstated, overstated, or generally, not on par with outcomes for children raised in conventional families.

Children have a right to a father and a mother. When we intentionally deprive a person of his or her natural rights, this deprivation constitutes an inherent disruption in the person’s life. We can take steps to ameliorate, mitigate or minimize the damage, but there is no complete “fix” to supplanting a mother or a father, even with two, three, four, or five loving “parents”.

Intentionally depriving a child of a mother and father is selfish and evil. Misleading about the potential harm of such an act compounds and amplifies the selfishness and evil, because it beckons society further astray to satisfy one’s own desires.

Children aren’t chattel. No one has a right to a child.

Persecution and Consequences for a California Professor…..

Because he had the temerity to state his views and — as someone who was raised by a female same-sex couple — share his personal experiences on outcomes for children of same-sex households.

There is no tolerance. You must approve. By not complying, you deserve what you get.

City officials to Christian Pastors: Perform Same-Sex “Wedding” Ceremonies, or Go to Jail

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: a married couple of 47 years, both Christian ministers who since 1989 have operated the 95-year-old “Hitching Post Wedding Chapel”, are told by city officials “that their refusal to perform a same-sex ceremony at their chapel violates the city’s anti-discrimination policy. For each day they refuse to perform the ceremony, they face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

Because pro-SSM isn’t about tolerance or promoting equality; it’s about crushing dissent.