Fr. Schall on Mercy

Fr. Schall on Mercy
"Mercy is a response to the repentant. It does not change the unrepentant. It often hardens them. Technically, mercy extends to sin of whatever kind or species. But mercy does not forgive. God in His mercy forgives. Mercy is contingent on the sinner’s acknowledgement that he is responsible for something objectively wrong in his acts or thoughts." (Fr. James V. Schall S. J.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jason Riley: An Alternative Black History Month

(photo from Wikipedia)

Jason Riley, a senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute, and a WSJ contributor, wrote an Opinion piece, published in today's Journal, in which he posits: Black History Month's sunset might seem long overdue, but the celebration is too useful politically for that to happen anytime soon.  You won't be hearing about the rising black middle class or intact two-parent families of the 1950s.

Here's the full editorial:
An Alternative Black History Month
You won’t be hearing about the rising black middle class or intact two-parent families of the 1950s.
Feb. 9, 2016 7:20 p.m. ET
Black History Month, which began as Negro History Week some 90 Februarys ago, was meant to be temporary. Its founder, historian Carter G. Woodson, envisioned a time when black history would be incorporated with American history and no longer require separate recognition. Woodson’s optimism was warranted.
Americans today are led by a black president in the fourth year of his second term. Martin Luther King’s birthday is a national holiday. The likeness of Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks might soon grace U.S. currency, if the majority of people surveyed prevails. And it has been decades since school curricula excluded black perspectives and accomplishments. Black History Month’s sunset might seem long overdue, but the celebration is too useful politically for that to happen anytime soon.
Woodson died in 1950, a few years before the civil-rights movement found its stride. In the post-1960s era, black leaders turned that movement into a lucrative industry, and Black History Month helps keep them relevant. February is not simply about highlighting the achievements of people like voting-rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer or the Buffalo Soldiers who served in the Spanish-American War.
It is also about using racial identity to advance groupthink and to discourage black individuality. It is about presenting the history of blacks as the history of their victimization by whites up to the present day—which explains racial disparities in areas ranging from school achievement and household income to rates of unemployment, incarceration and single-parent homes.
The irony is that black history in the first half of the 20th century is a history of tremendous progress despite overwhelming odds. During a period of legal discrimination and violent hostility to their advancement, blacks managed to make unprecedented gains that have never been repeated. Black poverty fell to 47% from 87% between 1940 and 1960—before the implementation of Great Society programs that receive so much credit for poverty reduction. The percentage of black white-collar workers quadrupled between 1940 and 1970—before the implementation of affirmative-action policies that supposedly produced today’s black middle class.
In New York City, the earnings of black workers tripled between 1940 and 1950, and over the next decade the city saw a 55% increase in the number of black lawyers, a 56% increase in the number of black doctors and a 125% increase in the number of black teachers, according to political scientist Michael Javen Fortner’s new book, “Black Silent Majority.” The number of black nurses, accountants and engineers grew at an even faster clip over the same period. “There are signs that the Negro has begun to develop a large, strong middle class,” wrote Time magazine in 1953.
You don’t hear much about this black history during Black History Month (or any other month, for that matter) because it undercuts the dominant narrative pushed by the political left and accepted uncritically by the media. The Rev. Al Sharpton and the NAACP have no use for empirical evidence of significant black socioeconomic gains during the Jim Crow era, because they have spent decades insisting that blacks can’t advance until racism has been eliminated. If racism is no longer a significant barrier to black upward mobility and doesn’t explain today’s racial disparities, then blacks may have no use for Mr. Sharpton and the NAACP. The main priority of civil-rights leaders today is self-preservation.
Many factors could plausibly explain black progress in the first part of the 20th century. The post-World War II economy was booming, and blacks were steadily increasing their years of education, which increased their levels of compensation. Mass migration from the South meant that more blacks had access to the higher-paying jobs in the North.
The black family was also more stable during this period. Every census from 1890 to 1940 shows the black marriage rate slightly higher than the white rate. In 1925 five out of six black children in New York City lived with both parents. Nationally, two out of three black children were being raised in two-parent homes as recently as the early 1960s. Today, more than 70% are not.
Black nuclear families used to be the norm. Now they are the exception. Jim Crow did less damage to the black family than well-intentioned Great Society programs that discouraged work and marriage and promised more government checks for having more children. But that black history is also kept largely under wraps by those who have a vested interest in blaming the decimation of the black family on slavery and discrimination.
Much of what ought to be studied, duplicated and celebrated in black history is often played down or willfully ignored. And so long as the media allow civil-rights activists and liberal politicians with their own agendas to speak for all blacks, that won’t change.
Mr. Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Journal contributor, is the author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014).

Obama's Budget, Explained in 30 Seconds | The Daily Signal

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Prager U: Are Electric Cars Really Green?

(photo from Wikipedia)

Are Electric Cars Really Green?: Are electric cars greener than conventional gasoline cars? If so, how much greener? What about the CO2 emissions produced during electric cars' production? And where does the electricity that powers electric cars come from? Environmental economist Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, examines how environmentally friendly electric cars really are.

Sen. Ben Sasse on How to Fix Washington | The Daily Signal

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Climate Change: Is it starting to dissipate?

Francis Menton, who blogs at Manhattan Contrarian published some good news recently, in a post in which he offered the following query:  "Is The Mass Hysteria About Climate Change Starting To Dissipate?"

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bishop Steven Lopes: First Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

From: Catholic World Report, February 4, 2016 10:10 EST
By: Catherine Harmon

On Tuesday, February 2, Steven J. Lopes was ordained the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. The North American ordinariate, which was established under the norms set out by Pope Benedict XVI in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, is one of three such communities made up those from Anglican traditions who wish to worship in full communion with Rome.

Bishop Lopes worked for several years at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he collaborated with those establishing the ordinariates and with many of the formerly-Anglican clergy who were joining them.

(Above) is a video of Bishop Lopes’ remarks during his ordination Mass (it also offers a taste of the glorious music from the Mass): 
Addressing himself to the priests of the ordinariate, Bishop Lopes explained his episcopal motto, Magna Opera Domini, “Great are the works of the Lord.” He referenced an assembly for ordinariate clergy several years ago:
"It was the first time for me to meet many of you and finally put faces to the spiritual autobiographies that I had been reading in the dossiers you had submitted to Rome. Yours were stories of faith and of courage and of a passion and zeal for the truth and the search for the truth in Sacred Scripture. And they were also often enough stories of sacrifice, suffering, and the anguish of leaving what was familiar and comfortable in order to embark on an unknown and sometimes lonely path toward the fullness of Catholic communion. It was the final Mass on that last day of the assembly and we were sitting together in silence after Holy Communion. I was in my Communion meditation simply looking around the chapel at each of you and moving from face to face, linking that in my own mind to the stories I already knew. … And in that moment, beholding, if you will, before me the great work of communion manifest in that chapel, my heart was moved to only one thought: we did not do this. God did this. This is the work of the Lord and great are the works of the Lord."

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Matt Walsh on The Iowa Caucuses

Matt Walsh weighs in on last night's Iowa Caucuses, with his usual low key unassuming manner.  Here are a few excerpts:
This should be the end of Trump’s campaign. It won’t be, sadly, but it should because Trump’s one single solitary selling point was just destroyed. As we’ve covered ad nauseum, Trump is not a conservative, he has no principles, he has no integrity, he has no moral courage, and he lacks the judgment and wisdom to govern this country at such a volatile time, or at any time. But, up until now, he was a winner. He wins. He makes deals. He wins. He always wins. He never loses. He should win because he wins, we were told. That was always bunk considering the great “winner” bankrupted four businesses, destroyed two marriages, and failed spectacularly in many other ventures, sometimes so badly that he’s being investigated for fraud. But that was all in the past, and now after a lifetime of failures, he’d been reborn a perpetual winner. And winners win. Until last night...
Speaking of losers, the Democrat race is supposedly still locked in a tie. Hillary Clinton and Bernies Sanders both took 50 percent, with Martin O’Malley earning the support of his mother and two of his cousins (his dad said he’s really more of a Sanders guy). I say “supposedly” because I have no doubt that Clinton and her minions will do, and have done, whatever they can to steal this win. Six precincts came down to a coin flip (which is a thing in Democrat elections, apparently), and Clinton won all six of them. These kinds of “coincidences” have been happening to the Clintons for 30 years. They must be very lucky...
I won’t, however, celebrate the continued public humiliation of Hillary Clinton until, and if, a Republican president not named Donald Trump is elected president. If Hillary’s all around awfulness makes Sanders the nominee, and if Sanders somehow wins (which I think he will if he’s running against the reality TV show character) then we won’t have any reason to cheer. Hillary and Bernie are both terrible and would, to equal degrees, be disasters for this country. Bernie isn’t a crook and a morally bankrupt cretin like Hillary, but he is a rabid progressive radical who, if elected, would irreversibly complete Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of America. Bernie’s ideas are equal parts insane, childish, silly, and dangerous. Worst of all, incredibly, he actually seems to believe them. He would be a catastrophe, and it could be said without exaggeration that America will be officially dead the moment it decides to elect an avowed socialist as president...

You can read the whole post by Matt Walsh at The Blaze by clicking HERE.

Maggie Smith and the Wisdom of Downton Abbey

                                            (photo from Wikipedia)

Today's Notable & Quotable in the Wall Street Journal is more than relevant today given the ongoing political campaigns after which our government will be brought under control or our freedoms will be further dissipated.
Feb. 1, 2016 7:02 p.m. ET
From a recent episode of the television show “Downton Abbey”:
Dowager Countess of Grantham ( Maggie Smith): For years I’ve watched governments take control of our lives, and their argument is always the same—fewer costs, greater efficiency. But the result is the same, too. Less control by the people, more control by the state, until the individual’s own wishes count for nothing. That is what I consider my duty to resist. . . .
The point of a so-called great family is to protect our freedoms. That is why the barons made King John sign Magna Carta. . . .
​Lady Rosamund (Samantha Bond): Mama, we’re not living in 1215. And the strength of great families like ours is going, that’s just fact.
​Dowager Countess of Grantham: Your great-grandchildren won’t thank you when the state is all-powerful because we didn’t fight.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on MSNBC Defining Conservatism

Monday, February 1, 2016

Crime, Punishment and Foreign Policy

Crime, Punishment and Foreign Policy: Is there a middle ground between the aggressive foreign policy of the Bush Administration and the passive and hesitant foreign policy of the Obama Administration? Yes, and New York City is a model. How so? Bret Stephens, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, explains how the NYPD's 'broken windows' policy--swiftly and forcefully punishing even petty crimes--can be applied by the United States on a global scale.

Courtesy of Prager U.