Archive for January, 2011

America: A Republic, Not a Democracy

An explanation of why the Founders chose to design America as a republic, not a democracy and the compelling reasons why a republic must be maintained if individual liberty is to be preserved.

Why Doesn’t Communism Have as Bad a Name as Nazism?

Why is it that when people want to describe particularly evil individuals or regimes, they use the terms “Nazi” or “Fascist” but almost never “Communist?”

Given the amount the human suffering Communists have caused – 70 million killed in China, 20-30 million in the former Soviet Union, and almost one-third of all Cambodians; the decimation of Tibetan and Chinese culture; totalitarian enslavement of North Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russians; a generation deprived of human rights in Cuba; and much more — why is “Communist” so much less a term of revulsion than “Nazi?”

There are Mao Restaurants in major cities in the Western world. Can one imagine Hitler Restaurants? Che Guevara T-shirts are ubiquitous, yet there are no Heinrich Himmler T-shirts.

This question is of vital significance. First, without moral clarity, humanity has little chance of avoiding a dark future. Second, the reasons for this moral imbalance tell us a great deal about ourselves today.

Here, then, are seven reasons.

1. Communists murdered their own people; the Nazis murdered others. Under Mao about 70 million people died – nearly all in peacetime! – virtually all of them Chinese. Likewise, the approximately 30 million people that Stalin had killed were nearly all Russians, and those who were not Russian, Ukrainians for example, were members of other Soviet nationalities. The Nazis, on the other hand, killed very few fellow Germans. Their victims were Jews, Slavs, and members of other “non-Aryan” and “inferior” groups. “World opinion” – that vapid amoral concept – deems the murder of members of one’s group far less noteworthy than the murder of outsiders. That is one reason why blacks killing millions of fellow blacks in the Congo right now elicits no attention from “world opinion.” But if an Israeli soldier is charged with having killed a Gaza woman and two children, it makes the front page of world newspapers.
2. Communism is based on lovely sounding theories; Nazism is based on heinous sounding theories. Intellectuals, among whom are the people who write history, are seduced by words — so much so that deeds are deemed considerably less significant. Communism’s words are far more intellectually and morally appealing than the moronic and vile racism of Nazism. The monstrous evils of communists have not been focused on nearly as much as the monstrous deeds of the Nazis. The former have been regularly dismissed as perversions of a beautiful doctrine (though Christians who committed evil in the name of Christianity are never regarded by these same people as having perverted a beautiful doctrine), whereas Nazi atrocities have been perceived (correctly) as the logical and inevitable results of Nazi ideology. This seduction by words while ignoring deeds has been a major factor in the ongoing appeal of the left to intellectuals. How else explain the appeal of a Che Guevara or Fidel Castro to so many left-wing intellectuals, other than that they care more about beautiful words than about vile deeds?

3. Germans have thoroughly exposed the evils of Nazism, have taken responsibility for them, and attempted to atone for them. Russians have not done anything similar regarding Lenin’s or Stalin’s horrors. Indeed, an ex-KGB man runs Russia, Lenin is still widely revered, and, in the words of University of London Russian historian Donald Rayfield, “people still deny by assertion or implication, Stalin’s holocaust.” Nor has China in any way exposed the greatest mass murderer and enslaver of them all, Mao Zedong. Mao remains revered in China. Until Russia and China acknowledge the evil their states have done under communism, communism’s evils will remain less acknowledged by the world than the evils of the German state under Hitler.

4. Communism won, Nazism lost. And the winners write history.

5. Nothing matches the Holocaust. The rounding up of virtually every Jewish man, woman, child, and baby on the European continent and sending them to die is unprecedented and unparalleled. The communists killed far more people than the Nazis did but never matched the Holocaust in the systemization of murder. The uniqueness of the Holocaust and the enormous attention paid to it since then has helped ensure that Nazism has a worse name than communism.

6. There is, simply put, widespread ignorance of communist atrocities compared to those of the Nazis. Whereas, both right and left loathe Nazism and teach its evil history, the left dominates the teaching profession, and therefore almost no one teaches communist atrocities. As much as intellectuals on the left may argue that they loathe Stalin or the North Korean regime, few on the left loathe communism. As the French put it, “pas d’enemis a la gauche,” which in English means “no enemies on the left.” This is certainly true of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cuban communism. Check your local university’s courses and see how many classes are given on communist totalitarianism or mass murder compared to the number of classes about Nazism’s immoral record.

7. Finally, in the view of the left, the last “good war” America fought was World War II, the war against German and Japanese fascism. The left does not regard America’s wars against communist regimes as good wars. The war against Vietnamese communism is regarded as immoral and the war against Korean (and Chinese) communism is simply ignored.

Until the left and all the institutions influenced by the left acknowledge how evil communism has been, we will continue to live in a morally confused world. Conversely, the day the left does come to grips with communism’s legacy of human destruction, it will be a very positive sign that the world’s moral compass has begun to correct itself.

U.S. Dollars for the Patriotic Association in China

Each year groups of supposed Chinese priests and sisters are granted visas to come to the United States to study in Maryknoll formation programs. Their studies completed, they return to their Communist country to allegedly spread the faith and initiate works of charity, educating the young and helping the sick. American Dioceses across our country are encouraged to donate to these “good” initiatives that by all accounts represent an opening of China to the Catholic Church and the Western world. Propaganda for “growing the Catholic Church in China” can be found even in the literature and websites of conservative organizations.
In fact, these religious who call themselves Catholic are not. They are part of the Chinese Patriotic Association (PA), the Communist State controlled “Catholic Church,” the only one with the right to exist.

For example, Sister Johanna came to St. John’s School of Theology in Minnesota to study, but she is quick to tell anyone who asks that she continues to be a member of the St. Joseph Convent of Beijing, a diocesan community of the Patriotic Association. In effect, her vow of obedience is pledged to the Chinese government, and not to the Catholic Church.

In the late 1950s, when the Catholic Church was suppressed, the Communist government formed the PA and required Catholics to disavow allegiance to the Pope and the “Church of Rome.” Chinese authorities have kept this “Catholic Church” of its own making – the PA – under its thumb.

Those millions of Catholics who refused to break ties with Rome and accept the government-run church worship clandestinely in the Underground Catholic Church, the authentic Church in China. Its Prelates, religious and members have faced persecution, imprisonment and even death.

Catholic money supporting Communism

The US Catholic China Bureau, founded in 1989 at the initiative of the Maryknoll Society and the Jesuits, has the full support and affirmation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Today it represents a whole cross section of Catholic religious orders, organizations and scholars. Under directives from our US Bishops, parishes are encouraged to fund raise and send money to the “Church in China” for its various projects. For example, the Catholic China Bureau hosts conferences, sends missionaries and study tours to China, sponsors lectures in the U.S. as well as visits to the Communist country.
The collaboration and networking is all done with the Patriotic Association, which the US Bishops and Catholic China Bureau call “the Catholic Church” in China. There is no support for the Underground Catholic Church, only for the government-directed Patriotic Association.

It is the PA bishops who choose students for the study programs in the US. It is the PA churches and clergy that host the American visitors. I know one woman who came back from one of these study programs raving about the growth and openness of the Church in China. She was unaware that the Patriotic Association was an organ of the Communist government, which had carefully overseen the details of her trip so she would have that ‘good experience.’

Why are the American Bishops promoting the Patriotic Association, accepting it as the Catholic Church in China? In their 2010 program update, the American Bishops explained they are taking their inspiration and guidance in its programs “from the many communiqués of late Pope John Paul II” and the “expressed pastoral concern” of Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 Letter to the Church in China. These messages, they explain, “continually call for respectful dialogue and mutual forbearance forgiveness” in the quest “to foster reconciliation and unity.”

In the name of this false unity, the authentic underground Church has been set aside, and the Communist PA is being wooed and supported.

What the post-conciliar Popes and US Bishops claim is that working with the Patriotic Association clergy and religious is the best way “to expose them to the Universal Church” and hasten the day of reconciliation. According to this theory, engaging in dialogue with the Patriotic Association Church would be the most expedient route to return China to Catholicism.

What such a policy demands, however, are concessions rather than resistance to the errors of Communism. There are the gravest dangers to the faith in such strategy.

No teaching on property

Public institutions exert a profound influence over the normal man, who accepts them as normal and follows their orientation in his way of thinking and acting. Knowing this, the Communist State in China imposes its agenda on all society, especially in the important areas of property and family. How can a Catholic accept the denial of private property, abortion, the one-child policy, to name just a few policies than directly transgress Catholic doctrine and morals?

The PA bishops and clergy are obligated by the Communist government to not preach the whole Catholic doctrine and to support – or at least close their eyes to – these errors in order to maintain their good relationship with the government. What happens is that both they and the faithful become deformed by those errors and consequently do not profess the Catholic Faith in its fullness.

Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira correctly predicted the results of such policy in his groundbreaking work, The Church and the Communist State, the Impossible Coexistence. In it, he points out that nothing is more valuable to Communism than this kind of pact that existed in the satellite countries of the USSR, and still exists today in China, where the Vatican accepts the bishops of the Patriotic Church. What kind of Catholics does such a policy produce?

He responds: “New generations of ill-prepared and lukewarm Catholics will arise, perhaps reciting the Credo with their lips, but with their minds and their hearts saturated with all the errors of Communism. In short, they will be Catholics only in appearance and on the surface, and Communists in the most profound and authentic layers of their mentality. After two or three generations formed in such a co-existence, what would be left of Catholicism in these people?”
This applies fully to the so-called Catholic members of the PA. We see the sad results of these concessions today. For example, the three priests and convent of 80 sisters in the large PA parish of the Sacred Heart in the Jiln Province have no problem reconciling Communism and Catholicism. Ignoring Church teaching on private property and family, they comply with the dictates of the Communist government and teach the Bible, administer the sacraments and provide social services.

Acknowledging the separation that exists between the “official” and underground priests, its pastor Fr. Wang asserts that the underground priests and bishops should come out and join the ”recognized” Patriotic church “because it operates as freely as any other institution in China.”

He goes on to criticize the Underground Church for not becoming Communists, “They (the underground Church) are too proud. They should realize that it is now OK to join us” (“Christmas in Jilin,” The Boston Pilot online, January 7, 2011).

In this priest’s mind, what separates the two churches – one faithful to Christ and the Papacy, the other to the Communist government – is a simple matter of pride, not doctrine or fidelity to Rome. We see that adhesion to the PA slogan “Love the Motherland, love the Church” – which demands obedience first to the government – has generated “Catholics” who are reconciled with the errors of an atheist and materialist Communism.

I believe we have a moral obligation not to contribute in any way to these ongoing diocesan-approved programs that are promoting the Patriotic Association and ignoring the Catholic Underground Church. I know of only one organization that exclusively supports the latter, the Cardinal Kung Foundation. I hope it will follow on the good path of its founder, the courageous Cardinal Kung, who would not betray the Catholic Church by joining the false PA.

“That ‘church,’” he affirmed, “was set up by the Chinese Communists to destroy the Roman Catholic Church in China,” and he lamented that it had been embraced “by so many Roman Catholic religious and institutions at the expense of the blood of their own brothers and sisters in the underground Church.” Unfortunately, this embrace today includes not only Bishops, but also the post-conciliar Popes.

Read more: Benedict Delivers Chinese Underground Catholics to Communism

Baby Boomers Owe Young People an Apology

We live in the age of group apologies. I would like to add one. The baby boomer generation needs to apologize to America, especially its young generation, for many sins. Here is a partial list:

First and perhaps foremost, we apologize for robbing many of you of a childhood.

We baby boomers were allowed perhaps the most innocent childhoods known to history. We grew up without material want, in one of the most decent places in world history, with media that preserved our sexual and other innocence, in schools that generally taught us well, and we were allowed childhood play from boy-girl play to rough and tumble boy-boy play to monkey bars and ringalievio. Our generation has deprived you of all these things. And while we were aware of the threat of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, few of us believed that we were threatened with death anywhere near the amount we have scared you about death from secondhand smoke, global warming and heterosexual AIDS, to mention just a few of the exaggerated death scares we have inflicted on you.

Our generation came up with two truly foolish slogans that also ended up robbing you of childhood.

One was, “Never trust anyone over 30.” Our infantile attitude toward adult authority has inflicted great harm on you. Because of it, many baby boomers decided not to become adults, and this has had disastrous consequences in your lives. It deprived you of one of the greatest needs in your life — adults. That in turn deprived you of something as important as love — parental and other adult authority. With little parental authority, you were left with little personal security, few guardrails and a diminished sense of order in life. And we transferred this denial of authority to virtually all authority figures, from teachers to police.

The other slogan whose awful consequences we baby boomers bequeathed to you was, “Make love, not war.” Our parents had liberated the world from immeasurably cruel and murderous regimes in Germany and Japan — solely thanks to waging war. But instead of concluding that war could do great moral good, we sang ourselves silly with such inane lyrics as “Give peace a chance,” as if that deals in any way with the world’s most monstrous evils. So we taught you to make love and not war. And we succeeded.

We made you anti-war and almost completely sexualized your lives. We told you that having sex was terrific or at least to be expected, even in early teens, and that your only concerns should be avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and getting pregnant. And if you did get pregnant, we made sure that you could extinguish the life you were carrying as effortlessly and guiltlessly as possible.

We started teaching you about sexuality and homosexuality in early grade school and we taught you how to put condoms on bananas. It is true that we did not grow up learning about these things at such young ages — certainly our schools never taught us about these things — but we chalked that up to the preposterous, if not reactionary, values of the 1950s and early 1960s. We had contempt for our parents believing that “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver” and “Superman” — with the show’s motto of “truth, justice, and the American way” — were good things for young people to be exposed to. So we replaced these shows with MTV’s mind-numbing parade of three-second images and sex-drenched shows for teenagers. Sorry.

We also made you weak. We did everything possible to ensure that you suffered no pain. Sometimes we changed game scores if a team was winning by too large a margin; we abolished dodgeball lest anyone suffer early removal from the game; and we gave trophies to all of you who played on baseball teams, no matter how awfully you or your team played so that none of you missed getting a trophy while members of another team did. Much of this was thanks to the self-esteem-without-having-to-earn-it movement, which in our generation’s almost infinite lack of wisdom we inflicted upon you. Sorry for that, too.

We also apologize for coming close to ruining so many of your schools and universities. Despite the unprecedented sums of money we had America spend on education, most of you got an education quite inferior to the one we got at a fraction of the cost. But we thought of our teachers as fools (they were, after all, over 30) who just concentrated on reading, writing and arithmetic (and history, music and art). We were sure we knew better and we therefore concentrated on sexual issues, and teaching you about peace, global warming and the horrors of smoking. The fact that few high school graduates can identify Mozart, let alone were ever exposed to his music, is far less significant to many baby boomers than your knowledge of the alleged perils of secondhand smoke. Most of you cannot identify Stalin either, and we are sorry for that, too. But, hey, we did make sure you saw Al Gore’s film.

And a real apology to those of you hooked on drugs. While your choice to do drugs is your responsibility, it was our generation that romanticized them and made them cool. “Mind expanding” we called them. But it turns out that they don’t expand minds, they destroy them. Sorry.

And, young women, we apologize especially to you. Many of us baby boomers bought into the feminist idea that getting married and making a family with a man were far less fulfilling than career success and that marriage itself is “sexist” and “patriarchal.” So, to those of you women who have career success and didn’t get married, we sincerely apologize. Turns out that most careers aren’t as fulfilling as we promised.

So we really blew it, and what’s really amazing is that few of us have changed our minds. Most people get wiser as they get older. But not those of us baby boomers who still believe these things. Of course, many of us never bought into these awful ideas that have so hurt you and our country, and some of us have grown up. But many of us still talk, think, dress and curse the same as we did in the ’60s and ’70s. And we’re still fighting what we consider the real Axis of Evil: American racism, sexism and imperialism.

But for those of us who know the damage baby boomers as a whole did to you, a heartfelt apology.

Our Lady of the Miracle – January 20

In 1842, a 28-year-old French Jew named Alphonse Ratisbonne was visiting Rome. He was the youngest son of an important banking family in Strasbourg, a close relation of the Rothschilds. As often happens with European Jews, a family takes the name of a city. The French Ratisbonne comes from Ratisbona, the Latin name for Regensburg, a famous German city near Munich. Alphonse was a Jew by race and religion, virulently anti-Catholic, and libertine in his customs.

Alphonse Ratisbonne was making a tour of Europe and the East before settling to marry his cousin Flore and assume a partnership at his uncle’s bank. Ending by coincidence in Rome instead of Palermo as he had intended, he was well received by the French diplomatic circle residing there. He reluctantly made a call on Baron Theodore de Bussières, a very fervent Catholic. Even though the Jew seemed quite far from any conversion, the Baron, undaunted by his sarcasm and blasphemy, saw in him a future Catholic and encouraged his visits.

One afternoon, during a lively conversation in which Ratisbonne was ridiculing the superstitions of the Catholic religion, the Baron challenged Ratisbonne to submit to a simple test and wear the Miraculous Medal. Taken aback but wanting to prove the ineffectiveness of such religious baubles, Ratisbonne consented and allowed the Baron’s young daughter to put the medal around his neck. Baron de Bussières also insisted that Ratisbonne recite the Memorare once a day. Ratisbonne promised, saying, “If it does me no good, at least it will do me no harm.”

The Baron and a close circle of aristocratic friends increased their prayers for the skeptical Jew. Notable among them was a devout Catholic who was seriously ill, Count Laferronays, who offered his life for the conversion of the “young Jew.” On the same day he entered a church and prayed more than 20 Memorares for this intention, he suffered a heart attack, received the last Sacraments, and died.

The next day, his friend Baron de Bussières was on his way to arrange the Count’s funeral in the Basilica of St. Andrea delle Fratte when he met Ratisbonne. He asked him to accompany him and wait in the church until he had arranged some matters with the priest in the sacristy.

Ratisbonne did not accompany his friend into the sacristy. He wandered through the church admiring the beautiful marbles and various works of art. As he stood before a side altar dedicated to St. Michael Archangel, Our Lady suddenly appeared to him. It was January 20, 1842.

Standing over the altar, Our Lady appeared wearing a crown and a simple long white tunic with a jeweled belt around her waist and blue-green mantle draped over her left shoulder. She gazed at him affably; her hands were open spreading rays of graces. Her bearing was quite regal, not just because of the crown she was wearing. Rather, her height and elegance gave the impression of a great lady, fully conscious of her own dignity. She transmitted both grandeur and mercy in an atmosphere of great peace. She had some of the characteristics of Our Lady of Graces. Alphonse Ratisbonne saw this figure and understood that he was before an apparition of the Mother of God. He knelt down before her and converted.

Returning from the sacristy, the Baron was surprised to see the Jew fervently praying on his knees before the altar of St. Michael the Archangel. He helped his friend to his feet, and Ratisbonne immediately asked to go to a confessor so he could receive Baptism. Eleven days later, on January 31, he received Baptism, Confirmation and his First Communion from the hands of Cardinal Patrizi, the Vicar of the Pope.

His conversion had enormous repercussions over all Christendom. The entire Catholic world became aware of it and was impressed by it. Afterward, Ratisbonne became a Jesuit priest. Ten years later, he and his brother Theodore, who also had converted from Judaism, founded a religious congregation – the Congregation of Sion – turned to the conversion of the Jews.

The Significance of the Miracle

Our Lady of the Miracle

Shortly after the apparition, based on the description of Fr. Ratisbonne, a picture was painted representing Our Lady who had appeared to him that day in Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte. When the picture was completed, he viewed it and said that it only vaguely depicted the beauty of the apparition he had seen. This is not difficult to believe since the actual beauty of Our Lady must far surpass any mere representation. The picture was placed on the exact spot where she had appeared to him, and became know as Madonna del Miracolo, Our Lady of the Miracle, referring to the two-fold miracle, her apparition and the instantaneous conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne.

Obviously, that apparition represented a great benefit for the soul of Ratisbonne. It also represented a benefit for the Catholic Church with the foundation of the Congregation of Sion, with its special mission to work for the conversion of the Jews. This congregation expresses well the Church’s position toward the Jews. Her position is not to hate the Jews, but rather to defend herself against their attacks. To the measure that they attack the Church, she defends herself. But above all, she desires their conversion, the eradication of Judaism as a religion, and the entrance of the Jews into the Catholic Church, which is the true continuation of the chosen nation.

But in the doctrinal and psychological context of those times, the Ratisbonne miracle had a more profound significance. In the 19th century, the Revolution was strongly promoting Rationalism, a school of thought that today has become outdated. Then the Revolution was emphasizing this point: the rational man, the man who tries to determine everything according to reason, cannot find the necessary supports in reason to believe that God exists, that the Catholic Church is the true Religion, and that she was founded by Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Revolution concluded, the entire Catholic edifice of doctrines cannot be accepted by human reason.

Those revolutionary assertions were just myths, like the Roman mythology or legends of the indigenous and African peoples. Most of the rationalist arguments were chicaneries or sophisms, with only a few proceeding from captious arguments. But because the Revolution insisted relentlessly on those points and presented a torrent of objections to Catholic doctrine, many people of that time lost their faith.

To counter this unrelenting wave of attacks against the Catholic Faith, Our Lady appeared and made miracles in several places.

The miracle of Ratisbonne’s conversion that took place in Rome shook up all of Christendom. In those times there was not this accursed ecumenism we are witnessing today. Then, the separation of the religions was much deeper and, therefore, so also was the gorge that separates truth from error, and good from evil. A wealthy and influential Jew, with absolutely no reason to favor the Catholic Church, suddenly converted because he saw Our Lady. He gave proof of his sincerity by giving up his positions in the world and breaking his advantageous engagement. He embraced the religious life, and founded a religious congregation to convert other Jews and to combat Judaism. It is impossible to imagine a more objective proof of the truth of the apparition. This episode had an enormous impact throughout Italy and France, and then the whole Catholic world. 

This series of apparitions and miracles was the blow Our Lady chose to give to the Revolution at that time. She counter-attacked with a skillful strategy, very well calculated. It was her way to smash the head of the serpent. The very head of Judaism was smashed by the public witness of an important Jew who affirmed that the Catholic Church is true.

We should, therefore, analyze the miracles Divine Providence gives, looking for the higher rule that governs them. Miracles become more frequent in the epochs when they are more necessary. 

The Miracle Needed Today

 Today we have reached the situation where the action of the Devil is becoming more evident with each passing day. I am speaking not only about UFOs and the hippy revolution. It is clear, in my opinion, that these phenomena are linked to a preternatural invasion.

I am referring also to the death of rationality in public opinion. That men effectively stopped using their reason – as they did in the ‘80s and ‘90s – and acted only by temperamental impulses is something that cannot be explained except by a special action of the Devil. He is making an enormous effort to keep the Revolution going, notwithstanding its failure to convince public opinion. Since we cannot explain this preternatural action, it is also difficult to combat it efficiently. It continues to grow and is reaching such an apex that it seems to me an astounding miracle is necessary..

What kind of miracle will it be? What would be the miracle that could move contemporary man to return to the Catholic Faith? The mysterious designs of God are beyond the knowledge of man. But this does not prevent us from speculating based on what He has done in the past.

Contemporary man has reached such a hardness of heart that he is no longer touched by miracles like the one that took place with Ratisbonne, nor the series of miracles at Lourdes.

In my opinion two miracles are necessary:

First, we are in need of a miracle that would move the good Catholics to be unafraid to disagree with the prevailing opinion of the revolutionary milieu around them. They should become indifferent to that opinion. Further, they should take the offensive against it. This is the first part of what is necessary. It was what happened at Pentecost. Tongues of fire appeared over the Apostles, and they left the Cenacle with the courage to face everyone. Before this, they were cowards, but with this they became invincible fighters.

Was it something interior or exterior that took place there? I do not know. The whole city of Jerusalem heard an enormous exploding sound that came from the Cenacle. Therefore, it seems that it was not only an interior action within their souls, but that it was preceded or followed by some exterior miracle. What really happened there we do not know. But since today commemorates the Madonna del Miracolo, we should ask Our Lady to give us a similar miracle to transform us into the Apostles of the End Times predicted by St. Louis Grignon de Montfort.

Second, this divine intervention should be a chastisement that would punish the world for its acceptance of and concessions to the Revolution, and especially for the sin committed within the Catholic Church. To be more clear, for the acceptance of Progressivism within the Church even to her highest summits.

I am referring to the chastisement Our Lady predicted in Fatima in which many nations will disappear. The miracle of the sun that left its orbit and raced toward the earth seems to prefigure a cosmic chastisement where the very equilibrium of the sun may be altered in obedience to a command of Our Lady. What would be the consequences in our solar system if the sun would actually shake and change its course for a short period of time? Such a cosmic disequilibrium could produce all kinds of meteorological catastrophes on the face of earth, destroying countless things and people.

Even after that, many of the people who survived these catastrophes would still need the miracle of a conversion like the one Ratisbonne experienced.

Both of these perspectives point to grandiose miracles necessary to make contemporary men return to the right path and make possible the Reign of Mary, as Our Lady predicted in Fatima.

In order to be prepared for such miracles, I would advise praying the Memorare, the prayer that Ratisbonne said before his conversion. We should pray it often, asking the Madonna del Miracolo to give us these two miracles and the victory of the Holy Church over the Revolution.

Humility in a Time of Recession

There has been much discussion about the contribution of unethical behavior to our present economic circumstances. Whether it was borrowers’ lying on mortgage-applications or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s politically-driven lending policies, there seems to be some consciousness that non-economic factors played a role in facilitating what we already call the Great Recession.

Unfortunately evidence is emerging that some people have learned nothing. A recent report, for example, commissioned by the Wall Street Journal illustrates that “losses from mortgage fraud—ranging from falsified credit reports to identity theft—rose 17% last year after declining 57% in the two years after its 2006 peak.”

Of course wider adherence to ethical norms against lying and stealing won’t solve every economic problem. There are heavy technical dimensions to many economic dilemmas which require technical solutions. Nor does every policy-error constitute a moral failure.

Nevertheless those making economic decisions are human beings, and our virtues and vices do shape our purchasing, selling and policy choices. Many such virtues could be highlighted, but one needing extra-attention today is humility.

The word “humility” derives from the Latin humilitas. This in turn comes from humus which means earth or soil, but is also related to homō, meaning man. For the Greeks and Romans, the word underscored the idea that humans are not God or gods. Likewise for the Jews and early Christians, humility was about remembering that humans are fallible creatures who come from and return to the earth: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Some first millennium Christian writers, such as St. John Chrysostom, even described humility as the mother of the virtues, as it prevented vanity from corrupting every other virtue.

So how might a renewed embrace of humility help us to rethink our approach to contemporary economic life?

In the case of consumers, a good dose of humility might well encourage some acceptance that the meaning of life is not simple and is certainly not to be found in how many material things we possess, as important as wealth can be in helping us to live dignified lives. To this extent, greater humility might temper the “I-want-it-all-right-now” mentality that helped generate such high household-debt levels in America and Europe.

Likewise, businesses could benefit from a renewed appreciation of humility. The financial wizard the late Sir John Templeton once wrote that humility was crucial if business was to maintain the open-mindedness that is essential to successful entrepreneurship rather than rest upon their past glories. To this we might add the insight of another prominent entrepreneur, François Michelin, that humility helps business leaders in a market economy remember that the customers are the real masters. More humble business-leaders would also be less-inclined to succumb to the “Masters-of-the-Universe” hubris that helped destroy any number of banks in 2008.

Speaking of hubris, humility also has a role to play in encouraging mainstream economists to accept economics’ limits as a science and acknowledge that not everything about markets can be explained by mathematical models that were supposed to fail only once in a million years. As George Mason University professor of economics Russ Roberts has wisely observed, while “facts and evidence still matter”, economists “should face the evidence that we are no better today at predicting tomorrow than we were yesterday.”

But perhaps those who could do with the biggest bout of humility during recessions are politicians and governments. If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it is that governments should admit many economic problems are beyond their control, and that any claim by politicians to be able to “manage” trillion-dollar economies is arrogant nonsense.

Instead politicians should be modest enough to concede that (1) the seemingly disorderly process of market exchange resolves many challenges that governments cannot; and (2) government overreach invariably causes new problems. Here they would do well to read Adam Smith’s famous warning concerning the “man of system” who “is apt to be very wise in his own conceit, and is so often enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it.”

The fear of the Lord, the Bible says, is the beginning of wisdom. Contrary to received opinion, this verse has nothing to do with frightening people into religious belief. Instead it reminds each of us that we are not the center of the universe and that the sooner we grasp this, the wiser our choices will be. All of us—consumers, business-leaders, and politicians—need to be sufficiently humble to reassess our actions in a time of recession, acknowledge our errors, and then live out the necessary correctives.

To this extent, the virtue of humility may well be a key to understanding our pre-recessionary past and a way of illuminating our path to a better and more economically-prosperous future.

Faustus’ Fate

 Faustus is the hubristic protagonist in Christopher Marlowe’s ever-popular play, “The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus.” Frustrated by human limitations on learning , he negotiated with Mephistopheles, Hell’s emissary, to gain for himself a twenty-four-year period of godhood by selling his soul to the emissary’s lord, Lucifer.

No longer constrained by such ordinary disciplines as philosophy, medicine, law, and theology, Faustus explored new frontiers of knowledge through the occult arts, among them alchemy, astrology, necromancy, numerology, and demonology.

Fatefully, the knowledge Faustus craved did not presuppose wisdom. While enjoying his superhuman powers, he failed to realize that all he really had was knowledge — knowledge that couldn’t be wisely applied to humanity’s betterment. When the twelfth hour arrived, Faustus, with nothing more than a useless, encyclopedic collection of facts, faced his tormentors who tore his body to pieces and introduced him to the worst of punishments: eternal absence of God’s love.

Pride, Faustus’ undoing, often finds fertile ground for bringing itself to fruition in human cowardice. As American Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, “Pride is an admission of weakness; it secretly fears all competition and dreads all rivals.”

In the high drama of current American politics, there are Faustian characters who smugly strut and swagger their hour upon the stage, and risk departing in ignominy.

As well they should. After all, what has taken Americans two and a half centuries to build up — a democracy of, by, and for the people, which is the shining light of hope for oppressed peoples the world over — is in jeopardy of being subverted in the eye-blink of one presidential term.

Archbishop Sheen was right: Those possessed of overweening pride fear dissenters and demonize them in cowardly ad hominem fashion. That may be effective when attacking individuals, such as conservative news commentators, but it’s no defense against an entire population awakening to the fact that its security, wellbeing, and freedom are being endangered by a handful of unscrupulous, dog-and-pony-show politicians.

On the home front, many Americans are coming to grips with the unsettling reality that the socialistic Health Care Law will destroy the best health care system in the world by trying to perform an impossible feat of legalistic legerdemain: giving bureaucracy the responsibility of lowering costs in a free enterprise society. When has bureaucracy ever lowered the cost of anything?

On the foreign front, nations having economic and defense ties with America are dismayed that some of her leaders are far too friendly with foreign fanatics fantasizing about the Great Satan’s fall. For example, in meetings with Iran’s president — a bona fide, fiendish, fanatical fruitcake — some of America’s highest echelon leaders, including the Secretary of State, have basically condoned his country’s right to build nuclear weapons!

Such leaders should take note of the warning given in the sixteenth chapter of Proverbs: “Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall.” If not, America may soon face Faustus’ fate.

Read the play  “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus” HERE

Infanticide On the Rise in Pakistan

 The lifeless bodies of two tiny babies are being given their final bath before burial in Karachi, after they were left to die in the southern Pakistani city’s garbage dumps.

“They can only have been one or two days old,” says volunteer worker Mohammad Saleem, pointing at the two small corpses being gently washed by his colleagues at a charity’s morgue.

In the conservative Muslim nation, where the birth of children outside of marriage is condemned and adultery is a crime punishable by death under strict interpretations of Islamic law, infanticide is a crime on the rise.

More than 1,000 infants — most of them girls — were killed or abandoned to die in Pakistan last year according to conservative estimates by the Edhi Foundation, a charity working to reverse the grim trend.

The infanticide figures are collected only from main cities, leaving out huge swathes of the largely rural nation, and the charity says that in December alone it found 40 dead babies left in garbage dumps and sewers.

The number of dead infants found last year — 1,210 — was up from 890 in 2008 and 999 in 2009, says the Edhi Foundation manager in Karachi, Anwar Kazmi.

Tragic tales abound.

Kazmi recounts the discovery of the burnt body of a six-day-old infant who had been strangled. Another child was found on the steps of a mosque having been stoned to death on the orders of an extremist imam who has since disappeared, he says.

“Do not murder, lay them here,” reads a sign hanging outside the charity’s Karachi base where it has left cradles in the hope that parents will abandon their unwanted children there, instead of leaving them to die.

“People leave these children mostly because they think they are illegitimate, but they are as innocent and loveable as all human beings,” says the charity’s founder, well-known humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Most children found are less than a week old.

Khair Mohammad, 65, works as a watchman in the charity’s vast graveyard in the city outskirts. It is dotted with tiny unnamed graves.

“We acquired this land to bury children after another plot was filled with hundreds of bodies,” he says.

The death toll is far worse among girls, says manager Kazmi, with nine out of ten dead babies the charity finds being female.

“The number of infanticides of girls has substantially increased,” Kazmi says, a rise attributed to increased poverty across the country.

Girls are seen by many Pakistanis as a greater economic burden as most women are not permitted to work and are considered to be the financial responsibilty of their fathers, and later their husbands.

A Pakistani family can be forced to raise more than one million rupees (11,700 dollars) to marry their daughter off.

Edhi says that up to 200 babies are left in its 400 cradles nationwide each year and that it handles thousands of requests for adoption by childless couples.

Abortion is prohibited in Pakistan, except when the mother’s life is at risk from her pregnancy, but advocates say that legalisation would reduce infanticide and save mothers from potentially fatal back-street terminations.

According to Pakistani law, anyone found to have abandoned an infant can be jailed for seven years, while anyone guilty of secretly burying a child can be imprisoned for two years. Murder is punishable with life imprisonment.

But crimes of infanticide are rarely prosecuted.

“The majority of police stations do not register cases of infanticide, let alone launch investigations into them,” said lawyer Abdul Rasheed.

On Martin Luther King Day, Blacks Face Racial Challenge From Abortion

As the nation pauses today to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., black Americans face a racial threat from a much different source than the ones King confronted:  abortion.

The Guttmacher Institute recently released a new report on abortion statistics nationwide that confirms the abortion industry continues to target black Americans. Abortions on black women still occur at a much higher rate than the percentage of African-Americans in society as a whole.

The Census Bureau, as of 2009, indicates black Americans comprise 12.4 percent of the total population of the United States, but Guttmacher’s new numbers reveal approximately 30 percent of the abortions in the United States are done on black women.

Statewide statistic in places with a large share of African-Americans also shows the racial component of abortion.

In Georgia in 2006, 57.4 percent of abortions are performed on African-American women even though blacks comprise just 30 percent of the general population. In Texas, abortions on black women comprise nearly 25% of all state abortions even though they only constitute 12.7% of the female population (ages 15-44). Every other racial demographic shares a smaller percentage of statewide abortions than their respective percentage of total population.

Rachel Jones, a senior research associate at the pro-abortion group and former Planned Parenthood affiliate, admits the average group of women who get an abortion “are more likely to be women of color” and black women “are more likely to have an abortion” than white women.

Susan Cohen, also of Guttmacher, adds: “This much is true: In the United States, the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women. Black women are not alone in having disproportionately high unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. The abortion rate among Hispanic women, for example, although not as high as the rate among black women, is double the rate among whites.”

Looked at another way, in 2000, though black babies represented 17 percent of the live births in the United States, they accounted for 36 percent of the abortions. White babies accounted for 78 percent of the live births, according to CDC figures, but accounted for 57 percent of the abortions.

The numbers from Guttmchaer (see right) are nothing new, as the percentage of abortions on black women has been consistently about twice the rate of live births.

John R. Lott, Jr. and Sonya D. Jones pointed out in 2008 that the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision allowing unlimited abortions resulted in the increase in abortions on black women compared with the pre-Roe era.

“The Centers for Disease Control recorded detailed information on the race of those having abortions from 1970 to 1981. It shows Roe’s impact on abortions by blacks in the years immediately before and after the decision. The Supreme Court’s decision had the biggest impact on blacks, raising their share of abortions from 21 to 30 percent, while their share of live births only increased from 12 to 15 percent,” they noted.

“Obviously, numerous factors may explain the changes over time in abortion rates for different racial groups. But even after accounting for other influences on the decision to have an abortion — such as per capita income, the size of welfare payments, unemployment rates and unemployment insurance payments, and the age and gender distribution of the population — white women’s share of abortions still fell by almost 7 percent after Roe,” they added.

Leading pro-life figures in the black community cite these racial disparities in the abortion numbers as one of the main reasons for combating abortion itself. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is among the pro-life advocates who bemoan the racial component of the abortion industry.

“Every three days, more African-Americans are killed by abortion than have been killed by the Ku Klux Klan in its entire history,” she says.

King points out that, were he alive today, her uncle would have been a strong abortion opponent and she points to advice columns written by her uncle for Ebony magazine in 1957-58 that reveal a man who would be regarded today as a clear social conservative.

“In advising men and women on questions of personal behavior 50 years ago, Uncle Martin sounded no different than a conservative Christian preacher does now,” King told late last week.  “He was pro-life, pro-abstinence before marriage, and based his views on the unchanging Word of the Bible.  Today, Planned Parenthood would condemn Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the ‘religious right.’”

In advice columns written for the African American-oriented magazine, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told a young man who had impregnated his girlfriend and refused to marry her, resulting in a “crime,” that he had made a “mistake.”  He urged another reader to abstain from premarital sex, noting that such activity was contributing “to the present breakdown of the family.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of peace, justice, and most of all a man of God,” added Alveda King.  “Were he alive today, he would be working to secure peace and justice for those in the womb and healing for a nation that is still pained by over 53 million missing lives.”

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, attributes the racial disparity on abortion to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business which has purposefully built new abortion centers in minority communities in places like Houston, Portland, and Chicago.

“Planned Parenthood has preyed on minorities since its founder advocated negative eugenics! If Congress truly wants across-the-board reductions in abortion, our leaders will have to stop funding its biggest provider,” said Perkins.

But pro-life advocates aren’t content to see abortion continue to destroy the African-American community and they are doing something about it with multiple billboard campaigns letting people know about the figures. That includes a new campaign in Los Angeles, California featuring billboards going up all over town. In conjunction with Walter Hoye, a pro-life African-American pastor, the Radiance Foundation is launching the new campaign.

“Billboards will be up through Black History Month and are an attempt to raise awareness of abortion’s devastating and disproportionate impact in the black community,” Ryan Bomberger told last week.

Hoye says he’s excited about the billboard campaign as he has been trying to raise nationwide awareness of the way in which abortions target black children.

“The impact of abortion in the African-American community is the Darfur of America,” Hoye declares, citing the 53 million aborted since 1973, 18 million of which are African-American.

Dr. La Verne Tolbert, a former Planned Parenthood board member, says black children are targeted through the schools for abortions in California.

“In California, children are targeted for abortions through school-based clinics and school-linked clinics, which are family planning clinics on or near school grounds. Girls are taken off campus to a Planned Parenthood clinic, where abortions are performed without parental consent or notification,” she said.

Read  “The Negro Project- Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Plan for Black Americans” HERE

Brief Statement of Christian Doctrine

Greens Lie, Africans Die

Fina’s little body shook for hours with teeth-chattering chills. The next day her torment worsened, as nausea and vomiting continued even after there was nothing left in her stomach. Finally, her vomiting ebbed and chills turned to fever, drenching her body in sweat. Then more chills, fevers, nausea, convulsions, and constant, unbearable pain in every muscle, bone and joint.

She cried out, and tears mixed with sweat. But no one could help her. She had no money for doctors, medicines or a hospital room. She didn’t even have a mother or father to comfort her. All the orphanage school staff could do was caress her, pray and hope she’d get better – and wait for her to die.

And in agony that never stopped from the time the malaria first struck her down, Fina Nantume did die. So did 49 of her classmates, out of 500 students in the APEA Primary School for orphans in Kampala, Uganda, in 2005. Most of the survivors were also afflicted with malaria at least once that year. Some became permanently brain damaged. Others died in subsequent years.

Fina didn’t have to die. None of these spirited, beautiful young students had to die. None of them had to get malaria. The disease is preventable, treatable and curable.

Then why did they? Why does half the world’s population remain at risk of getting malaria? Why are some 250 million people infected annually – with 90% of the agonizing chills, fevers, nausea, brain damage and death occurring in sub-Saharan Africa?

It’s said malaria is a disease of poverty, and poor countries don’t have enough funds, doctors or medicines to treat the disease – or prevent it in the first place. True enough. But malaria is also, and much more so, a disease of callous, intransigent environmental extremism and wanton disregard for human life. A disease whose prevention is hampered, and actively thwarted, by pervasive opposition to mosquito-killing insecticides, and mosquito-repelling DDT.

Anti-pesticide activists say they support other interventions: education, “capacity building,” modern drugs and bednets. Indeed, international funding for malaria prevention and treatment has risen from perhaps $40 million in 1998 to almost $2 billion in 2010. Millions of women and children now sleep under insecticide-treated nets. Millions now get diagnosed quickly and receive decent care and medicines.

These anti-malaria programs “saved nearly 750,000 lives over the past ten years.” the World Health Organization enthusiastically asserts. “That represents an 18% reduction in child mortality, compared with 2000.” That’s wonderful news. But it’s not good enough.

We would never tolerate 18% as “good enough,” if American or European kids’ lives were at stake, or if a 70-90% reduction in disease, misery and death rates were possible. And it would be possible, if we could end the lies and obstructionism that restrict access to mosquito killers and repellants that can dramatically reduce infection rates and the need to treat a quarter-billion cases of malaria every year.

But the lies and obstruction are prevalent, and effective. Here are just a few of the most egregious.

Lies and Obstruction: “Nets are just as good as insecticides”

“Nets are just as good as insecticides.” Prevention should always be the first line of defense. That’s why we chlorinate drinking water and vaccinate people against measles, mumps, polio and flu. Insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) certainly help and should be used. But they are a supplement to, not a substitute for, larvacides, insecticides and DDT that kill mosquitoes and keep them away from people.

Bednets help if they’re used regularly and properly. They don’t help if they’re torn, people are working, there are only enough nets for a family’s small children and pregnant women, or it’s too hot to sleep under one. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) eliminates behavior as a consideration; it protects everyone in the house, 24 hours a day.

Lies and Obstruction: “Bednets are more cost-effective than indoor spraying”

“Bednets are more cost-effective than indoor spraying.” This assertion is backed by several studies that anti-pesticide groups and ITN manufacturers allegedly financed. However, the studies compare bednets with IRS using pyrethroids like ICON, instead of DDT. Pyrethroids are far more expensive and must be applied more often than DDT, which raises IRS costs significantly. The studies also fail to include all the costs associated with manufacturing and distributing the nets. Independent analyses found that nets are actually four times more expensive than spraying the inside walls of homes with DDT.

Much more important, spraying DDT once or twice a year keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering the home, irritates those that do enter, so they leave without biting, and kills any that land. No other chemical, at any price, has these repellency and irritation features. DDT helps doctors treat more patients with often scarce ACT drugs and dramatically slash disease and death rates – often by 90% or more.

Lies and Obstruction: “Mosquitoes will become resistant to DDT”

“Mosquitoes will become resistant to DDT.” This is highly unlikely. DDT use today is restricted to disease prevention, whereas pyrethroids are used extensively in agriculture and ITNs, greatly increasing the risk of resistance to these DDT “alternatives.” Once that happens both non-DDT indoor spraying and bednets will become far less effective, and malaria rates could skyrocket. In addition, there is no evidence that mosquitoes have ever become resistant to DDT’s repellency and irritation effects.

Moreover, reliance on nets and pyrethroid sprays significantly reduces prevention and increases the need for treatment. This can stretch scarce hospital, medical staff and drug resources to the breaking point. It increases the likelihood that malaria parasites will become resistant to Artemisia-based drugs, especially monotherapies. And it magnifies the pervasive and growing problem of substandard and counterfeit drugs replacing scarce supplies of reputable ACT combination therapies.

Lies and Obstruction: “DDT has dangerous side effects”

“DDT has dangerous side effects.” Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network, Environmental Defense, International POPs Elimination Network and affiliated radical groups love to say “some researchers think” DDT and its break-down byproduct DDE “could” inhibit lactation, “may” weaken immune systems and are “associated with” low birth weights in babies. Not only is this rank speculation, but malaria definitely has all these side effects; it also causes severe brain damage, an inability to work for weeks on end, and agonizing death. Opposing DDT use on the basis of bogus side effects is infinitely worse than opposing cancer-curing chemotherapy because of the nasty and very real side effects of vincristine, asperaginase, methotrexate and other chemo drugs.

Lies and Obstruction: “DDT will poison the global biosphere”

“DDT will poison the global biosphere.” Anti-pesticide zealots claim even indoor spraying with DDT will “contaminate” soils and waters for decades and “damage entire regional environmental systems.” Baloney. IRS involves small amounts of DDT on walls. The chemical and its derivatives break down. Detection does not equal destruction. Our ability to detect chemicals at the equivalent of one second in 32 years does not equate with damage to any organism, and certainly not to entire ecosystems.

There is no magic bullet. We need every weapon in our arsenal to control and eradicate this vicious disease. DDT and insecticides aren’t necessary or appropriate in every case – but when needed health officials must be able to employ them, without recrimination or retribution.

The “net” effect of these bald-faced lies is that anti-pesticide zealots are perpetuating poverty, misery, disease and death in malaria-endemic regions all over the world. Safe in offices made malaria-free by the very chemicals, technologies and prosperity they deny to others, these baby killers and their financial benefactors are violating the most basic human rights of people in poor nations: the right of access to technologies that enhance and safeguard life.

Their reign of terror must end, before they usher in a disaster of truly epidemic proportions.

Fina Nantume – 1996-2005
APEA Primary School, Kampala