14 September 2016

Lamenting Petrine Legerdemain and Traditional Marriage

Robert Royal on Pope Francis Bizarre Papal Move on Sacramental Marriage

Robert Royal, the editor of The Catholic Thing, published a scathing critique of Pope Francis' "Bizarre Papal Move" regarding sacramental marriage, particularly the circumstance around the question of receipt of communion by divorced and remarried Catholics.

It is troubling to see how there seems to have been a Kabuki show of holding two Extraordinary Synods on the Family, in which a clear majority of Bishops reaffirmed the traditional teaching, yet that formal process seems to have mooted by unclear footnotes in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and papal private letters.

In the late 20th Century, the Catholic Church had been blessed by two pontiffs who were extraordinary theologians.  It is not necessary for a successor to the Chair of Peter to be like Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis has a gift of outreach and seems to operate on a more pastoral bent.  Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si (2015) read like a hot mess. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis tried to extol a humane ecology but lapsed into six paragraphs championing Global Climate change politics as well as exhortations to forgo air conditioning and i-pads. Thus it is easy to interpret Pope Francis' quip about those who do not recycle needing to go to a confessional as a pastoral hyperbole colored by his concern for ecology.

However, it is troubling that Pope Francis' apparent will, infused with Mercy, seems to override two millennia of Church teachings on on the Sacramentality of Marriage  as well as established mechanisms for discerning and promulgating God's will for the Church.

As a practical Catholic, I must on occasion explain that everything which the Pope says is not infallible. While I ought to prayerfully consider things which a Pope says, I am not bound unless it is an ex cathedra statement. Dogma must be consistent with the Magisterium and aligned with the bishops.

From the inaccurate 2014 relatio, the footnote foundation and private letter reiteration of Pope Francis' view on Kasperian gradualism  for what were traditionally held as adulterous couples, this new teaching on marriage seems on shaky ecclesiastical grounds.  Moreover, it lends credence to progressive Catholics, like Democrat Vice Presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), that the Catholic Church will follow his lead to eventually endorse same-sex marriage.

H/T: The Catholic Thing

11 September 2016

Strands of Dr. Strangelove Surrealism in Bush Advance Man's 9/11 Memories

As America commemorates the 15th anniversary of the September 11th 2001 attacks by Islamic terrorists, the sting of the memory may have grown faint in some circles. Whether it is due to the passage of time or the widespread reluctance to show the terrible videos about planes hitting the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville PA, killing nearly 3,000 souls that day. So the producers of a commercial showing the collapse of twin towers of mattresses might not have struck them as being offensive humor.

However, Bush White House Director of Advance Brian Montgomery had a slightly sardonic memory of that dark day preparing for an impromptu stop at Barksdale AFB on September 11, 2001, as it seemed like Dr. Strangelove surrealism. 

The Secret Service was very protective of the President and were chary about returning to the White House to avoid the possibility of a decapitation strike. This sensibility was reinforced especially after hearing chatter that "Angel" (code name for Air Force One) was "next".  So the Presidential entourage was diverted to Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana.

It so happened that on that very day, the 8th Air Force based at Barksdale AFB was in the midst of their annual big exercise Global Guardian, including having loaded bombers at the ready.   So Barksdale AFB was already proceeding in a THREATCON Delta mode.  So when Advance Director Montgomery disembarked from Air Force One, he could see the B-52 Stratsfortress bombers lined up wing-to-wing it seemed surreal.
Bush White House Advance Director Brian Montgomery Recalls 9/11 at Barksdale AFB

Adding to the surreal scene was being met by a military man who looked like ready to roll General Buck Turgidson telling him that the squadron of B-52s were loaded with nukes, no wonder Montgomery thought of Dr. Strangelove.

Better to work with a guy looking like General Buck Turgidson than guy acting like General Ripper. However, to all reports, once the second plane hit the World Trade Center everyone in the military was on war footing.  

And despite less than ideal communications on Air Force One, President George W. Bush was able to reach out to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fletcher recalled: "Putin was fantastic that day.  He was a very different Vladimir Putin in 2001.America could have had no better ally on September 11th than Russia and Putin. Putin  accepted the President Bush's reassurances that America was under attack and hostilities were not directed towards Russia. 

President Bush exiting Air Force One on September 11,2001 with "Doomsday Plane" in the background

So despite "Angel" landing next to a fully loaded nuclear squadron of B-52's and being met on the tarmac by a guy who was a doppelganger for General Buck Turgidson, there was little chance on 9/11 that life would imitate art in Dr. Strangelove's (1964) climactic ending.

H/T Politico

08 September 2016

Gary Johnson's Final Jeopardy?

Gary Johnson's Final Jeopardy on Aleppo

In a Presidential election cycle in which many Americans are conflicted about supporting Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY) or Republican nominee Donald Trump (R-NY), many voters may be considering a third party candidate.  In some polls, Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson (L-NM) has been approaching double digits and arguably could qualify for the Presidential debates.

But ex-Gov. Gary Johnson appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and was asked a commander in chief type foreign policy question about Aleppo.

Some may consider this a gotcha question but for a Syrian city which has been savaged for years by ISIS and Assad forces, it reveals a lack of preparation and gave no solace to prospective supporters. It was effectively sounding like one drew a blank in Final Jeopardy.  Sorry.