World War Z Begins…

World War Z Begins… December 10, 2015

as the a carrier of the Francis Rage Virus moves from dormancy to transmission vector in the wake of the Vatican Light Show the other day.

There was nothing, of course, heterdox about affirming our responsibility for creation.  The Church has always done so.  But for Reactionaries, the “thought” process tends to confuse aesthetics and buzz words with theology.  So “something something environment” = LIBERAL! = HERESY!!

And light shows on the sides of St. Peter’s are new, therefore Evil.  If only we could get back to the days of Realio Trulio orthodox Pope Benedict (who sponsored the Live Earth Concert in Rome). Or medieval mystery plays that put a hellmouth in the Sacred Space. That was Reverence. But honoring Creation is Satanic.

Meanwhile, Lifesite News continues to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to human life by poisoning as many people as possible against the pope for no good reason other than they just don’t like the guy. I’ll believe that LifeSite News’ core mission is to defend human life and not use the unborn as human shields for right wing culture war talking points when they stop going off message in order to bash Francis about such things as “aesthetics” and “the fact that he exists and is Pope.”

Affirming the teaching of the Church in Genesis 1 and Laudato Si is not “sacrilege”. It is sound theology. Lifesite should stick to its primary mission and stop dispensing anti-Catholic propaganda. As it is, tree-hugger Tolkien is now too “liberal” and “pagan” for the Francis Haters.

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  • Elmwood

    still flummoxed about the resistance of so many catholics to support the transition to 100% renewable energy. at the very least, air quality will drastically improve.

    it is amazing to see how the elites of our country instigate animosity between middle and lower classes, effectively distracting us while they rip our country off and laugh to the bank. most of the resistance to combating climate change comes from fossil fuel interests.

    yet we keep eating their sh#t sandwich they serve us and believe there are no alternatives to dirty fossil fuels.

    • MT

      Renewable energy is far better for subsidiarity. You can have more local grids that don’t rely on a global supply chain to keep it going.

      • masterhibb

        Is that necessarily true, though? Wind and solar energy are heavily dependent on the local weather, and hydro–well, if you’re not near a big river, you’re pretty much out of luck.

        It may be great for some geographic areas, but I can only imagine that universal reliance on renewable energy is going to require a pretty extensive grid to provide constant power to everyone regardless of their local conditions.

        • Bemused

          The limiting factor at this point really seems to be more a case of power storage. If you are producing solar energy during the day, you have to have a place to store it for use at night.

          • Elmwood

            they claim with enough over supply of renewable energy and a good grid they can move the power around when demand can’t be met. some of the solar plants store heat as molten salt which can generate hours of power when the lights are out. the technology is there, just not the political will.

            • iamlucky13

              The political will isn’t there because neither is the money.

              Oversupply of already more expensive energy only worsens the cost impact, as does overbuilding the grid, as does building additional infrastructure to store the energy, and that last part is by far the most expensive.

              Transitioning our energy supply away from sources like coal will be a decades long process (especially if we continue to irrationally exclude nuclear power and pathetically underfund research on even better technologies like nuclear fusion), just like transitioning to coal in the first place was. It will proceed by identifying the regions that can most effectively and cost-effectively make use of various technologies and employing them there first, while expanding to new areas as economics improve.

              Hence why the focus on solar is primarily in the southern states where demand peaks align well with solar supply peaks, and the focus on wind is in the windy states where backup for low wind periods is readily available – in particular in Texas, which has abundant natural gas, and which installed far more renewable energy on a per-capita basis than California over the last decade, despite the cliches about each state suggesting the opposite should be true. Yep, the “ignorant, polluting Texas hicks” are doing more to reduce our reliance on coal than the “earth-worshipping California hippies.”

              • Elmwood

                i trust the sanctimonious left as much as the fossil fuel industry in solving our national energy problem. how many times do we hear about these same “green jobs” cheerleaders shirk away from offshore wind development when it affects their precious ocean front view, it’s pathetic.

                the amount of wind turbines that would need to be built is staggering. but if we don’t, we’re just making life worse for ourselves and future generations. i don’t think there is any room for doubting the serious risk of climate change at this point. there are no easy solutions.

                • masterhibb

                  It’s not only aesthetics and finances, though; I’ve heard environmental concerns raised against the idea of putting up said staggering amount of wind turbines across the country. These range from ecosystem damage by driving (or killing) off migratory birds to impacting weather patterns enough to actually change local climate.

                  Now, I put about as much stock in these weather predictions as those of the global warming crowd who thought Orlando would be underwater by now, but it is yet another reason I’m pretty leery of drafting federal laws railroading everyone into blanketing the entire countryside (and shorelines) with these things over the next 30 years whether they want to or not, whether it makes sense or not.

                  • axelbeingcivil

                    I’ve never heard anyone claim that Orlando would be underwater by now, but sea level rise is actually measurable at an annual rate (about 0.10-0.11 inches, +/- 0.016 inches since 1993). It’s also accelerating; historical measurements show that between 1950 and 1999, the rate was about 0.067 inches annually, and even less through the 1800s. It’s already gotten to the point where Miami is now flooding regularly, and its sewers are frequently overflowing because the outflows are outright becoming submerged.

                    But hey, I’m all for nuclear power, myself. Thorium is the future.

                    • masterhibb

                      Those rising sea levels are data points. What do they mean? What do they predict? Gore took data points like these and told us all of the Arctic ice would be gone by 2013.

                      More to the point, what are we to do about it? Back in the ’70s, “We” were so worried the Earth was getting too COLD too fast that some folk proposed MELTING the Arctic ice caps. Can you imagine what our models would look like today if we’d gone and done that? Maybe Gore would have been vindicated!

                      …You know, assuming whatever scheme we cooked up to do so actually worked. After all, global temperatures haven’t exactly followed rising CO2 emission levels the way we were told they would. If they didn’t go up hand-in-hand with rising emissions, how are we to believe making desperate attempts to reduce CO2 emissions simply for the sake of lowering global temperatures isn’t just tilting at windmills?

                    • axelbeingcivil

                      Goodness, where to begin…

                      Firstly, Al Gore isn’t a climatologist; the man is a politician. The man doesn’t work for NASA. Why are you citing him as if he’s some sort of credible source being readily falsified instead of a self-aggrandizing nut? Yeah, the guy drew some much-needed attention to the problem, but he’s not a scientist.

                      Second, the whole “global cooling” thing was one team, questioning whether cooling effects induced by aerosols would OUTPACE the warming effect; the very paper that argued for the possibility of global cooling acknowledged global warming and was discussing competing effects. Eventual clarification of models showed it wouldn’t, even if we hadn’t started banning the aerosols in question. That’s somehow been taken to ludicrous extremes in the minds of some folks.

                      Third, even if the climate models are totally wrong, our carbon emissions are STILL harmful, both to humanity as a whole and the environment; the largest carbon dioxide sink on our planet is our water resources, which become increasingly acidic as we pump out more and more CO2. This acidification wreaks merry havoc on reefs, destroying coastal ecosystems, but, even worse, it affects planktonic organisms and shelled creatures, rotting away the very basis of our oceanic and limnic ecosystems. Even if carbon emissions did absolutely zero to our overall climate, there’s still ample reasons to get rid of them on this basis and this basis alone.

                      Fourth, I don’t see how climate models being more complex than “Increase of X carbon adds increase of Y temperature” is somehow a strike against them. I mean, I can hammer on this particular point – you’ll generally find strong agreement between carbon levels and temperature shifts – but the simple fact is that a lack of an absolutely flawless direct correlation doesn’t mean there isn’t a correlation. Increased CO2 output might be dampened by carbon buffers, for example, such as forests increasing their respiration rates, but those buffers have theoretical limits, causing shifts and spikes whereby one buffer reduces the apparent effect until it reaches its limit and suddenly CO2 seems to have a greater overall impact than it did before. Retreating ice can allow methane releases, further increasing the rate of warming. I can go on.

                      Models are complex, and climatologists will readily explain just about anything you ask about. More than 90% of all climatologists agree that humans are causing climate change, and they’ve been saying this for a very long time. And as noted, even if they’re completely, totally, 100% absolutely wrong, it doesn’t matter! Because there’s very good reasons for humanity to worry about the amount of carbon it puts out, which is presently on course to wipe out whole ecosystems and cause mass starvation around the world as fish stocks – already battered by our extensive use – are driven closer and closer to oblivion. We’re already seeing this, with whole villages losing their once reliable food source.

                      The sea level rises aren’t just “data points”; they’re well-understood and interpreted data points. Our climate is warming, our sea levels are rising, our oceans are acidifying, and the one and only thing that explains all these trends is our increased CO2 output.

                    • masterhibb

                      The difference is this:

                      “Carbon emissions are harmful, and we ought to put more effort into cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.”

                      “Carbon emissions are going to wipe out all life on Earth over the next 20 years if we don’t start putting everything we have into funding our pet green projects right now! We may also have to start severely curtailing your liberties, but it’s better than being dead, right?”

                      Scientists don’t make the laws. Politicians do. I cite the politicians and the pundits because they are the ones who see this as a golden fear-mongering opportunity to keep grabbing for more power.

                    • axelbeingcivil

                      What liberties are being curtailed, exactly?

                      I also don’t see why you dismiss a cause for urgency; the longer we wait, the more damage we do and the harder the problem will be to fix as more of our infrastructure becomes carbon-dependent. Carbon emissions also take time to cycle to the upper atmosphere, meaning that, even if we magically switched over to clean tech right this instant, we’d still be in for many more years of warming. The longer we wait, the more runaway effects we’ll run into and the more exacerbated this problem becomes.

                      In other words, no, global warming isn’t going to scour the world into barren rock, but it IS going to cause serious problems over the next century or so, and that’s even assuming we manage to keep the 2 C deadline. We’re only just starting to see commitments to aim below that.

                    • masterhibb

                      We’re derailing from the original conversation. One of the main things I was objecting to is local governments and developers being dictated to by their “betters” what kind of power they are allowed (or required) to use; Told when, where, and how much–costs to be borne by the compelled, of course. I don’t know about you, but I consider that a curtailment of liberty–especially since I’d be willing to bet many of these “betters” wouldn’t actually have been elected by said constituency.

                      I was also concerned with the unintended consequences and runaway effects of jumping on a particular bandwagon based on political expediency and/or urgency. This is why I brought up the example of nuclear power, and how if we hadn’t stopped using it by (largely pro-environmental) dictum 40 years ago, it likely would have lessened the current environmental predicament.

                      I bring up the doomsday rhetoric because I’m always critical of anyone trying to change the world “now, now, now!” In my experience, they tend toward consequentialism, have a propensity for misjudgment, and generally just make things worse.

                    • axelbeingcivil

                      We already have people “dictated to by their ‘betters’.” We do it all the time and consider it a good idea. Removing lead from products, for example. Tetra-ethyl lead used to be downright omnipresent because it was the product with a million to one uses; everything from glass to paint to gasoline to rubber to… You name it, whatever it was, odds are good it had lead in it. The alternatives were more costly or just plain didn’t provide the same level of apparent quality that the leaded variety had.

                      No-one now argues that lead being removed was a bad idea. Quite the opposite; the effects are dramatic and noticeable. I don’t think anyone considers this a curtailing of liberty, any more than we require the enforcement of health and quality standards in meat processing facilities to be. Is this not government interference, adding cost and burden to a market where some people might choose to buy dodgy meat to save a few dollars? And yet we consider such a burden not somehow undue.

                      I don’t think most people consider these things curtailments of liberty or, if they are, they’re curtailments worth having. Most people want a world where they don’t have to worry if eating a sandwich will give them Salmonella poisoning, regardless of whether the legislators who passed such laws lived in their constituency.

                      As far as nuclear power goes, you won’t get too much argument from me, but I will point out that this is not a one-sided argument. The United States government COULD have funded better nuclear systems; systems designed to use thorium instead of uranium, for example. It chose not to, because thorium systems are useless for developing nuclear weapons (or close enough to it). The United States government’s backing of nuclear power programs was entirely a convenience to develop a nuclear arsenal, nothing more and nothing less; dropped the moment the demand shrank below the supply. It was a short-sighted program, not done in pursuit of any environmental benefit but rather purely for the sake of raising nuclear arms. I’d love nuclear power to be more of a thing – about 60% of the energy in my home province is nuclear in origin and I’d like that number to grow – but you can’t blame reactionaries in the green movement completely; they had good reason to be opposed to nuclear power when it was so closely tied to nuclear weapons proliferation.

                      I understand and respect a cautious and skeptical approach, but the science is very clear on where this is taking us at the moment, and the dissenting voices always seem to find funding from the merchants of doubt.

                      If you want a more moderate green movement, that’s fine, but you can’t pretend that this isn’t an urgent issue; the response should be to try and find what you consider the most rational proposal on how to respond to this, rather than suggesting we just try and pretend it doesn’t exist. Embrace the people trying to protect our planet and its people from our own excesses, because they should be your allies, and cautious voices are often badly needed as long as they recognize there’s at least a problem that needs addressing.

    • masterhibb

      Well, if we assume said Catholics maintain some of the intellectual rigor and scientific attitudes that made the Church a bastion of light in the dark ages, I’d imagine it’s because they regard a proposal that depends upon dubious scale predictions of unproven technology and the magical appearance of nonexistent technology with the exactly the amount of faith it deserves.

      How much should our debt-crippled nation spend on a proposal that assumes as one of its axioms we will be able to replace all gasoline vehicles with electric in 3 decades, when in the almost 2 centuries since their invention, we still don’t have a single electric vehicle that is capable of driving my family to visit grandma?

      Remember, we were promised production fuel-cell cars would be available as early as 1990 ( In the 25 years since that prediction failed to pan out, we gotten to the point that we don’t even talk about fuel cells anymore. Under such circumstances, is it so unreasonable that men of good faith would hesitate to wholeheartedly endorse such a vision?

      If we were honestly that concerned about cutting CO2 emissions, we’d be converting our coal plants to nuclear–the best alternative we already have to dirty fossil fuels. Instead, we see the green interests trying to force other poor schmucks to put wind farms in their backyards, or funnel government funds we don’t have into green-branded fly-by-night startups with pie-in-the-sky proposals.

      But hey, at least those corporate interests that took our bailout money and ran weren’t fossil fuel interests.

      • Elmwood

        it’s not just about reducing CO2, which the church is strongly advocating, but cleaning up our environment. i grew up down wind of all the coal plants and think in no small part, resulted in my asthma and the smog over the skyline.

        why do we put up with this garbage when there are alternatives that work? there is nothing worse than oil refineries yet we tolerate them and establish lower class neighborhoods around them.

        if you haven’t guessed already, i grew up in new jersey, superfund site capital of the u.s.

        • masterhibb

          In large part because the environmentalists of the previous generation were more afraid of nuclear power than CO2, and they took action to “help the environment” by forcibly preventing its use, keeping us reliant on “safer” energy, like coal and oil.

          • Elmwood

            very true about the irrational fear of nuclear, it turns out germany’s fear of nuclear forced them into pursuing renewables more aggressively in europe but they still burn lots of crappy lignite coal.

            • iamlucky13

              They actually had to build several additional coal plants to replace the nuclear plants they shut down.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          A lot of the new coal plants are much cleaner than the old ones back east. Not renewable, but not pumping out any smoke, either.

          • MT

            Clean coal is a misnomer. Sure it’s cleaner, but that’s like saying dirty magazines aren’t as bad if the person’s private parts are covered.

            • Rebecca Fuentes

              Unfortunately, we don’t have a sensible plan for switching from coal to something cleaner. Shut down the coal plants today and tonight (and much of the future) will be dark and cold for most of the country–not to mention the economic devastation wreaked by all the plant workers and mine workers with no jobs. I’ll live with the un-reclaimed steam coming out of the stacks and the solid fly ash being used for road beds until someone forms a plan that does not put people into blackouts and the energy workers out of their jobs.

              • anna lisa

                How true: that we must work with an upright heart within the confines of a given situation, while squinting to see the possibilities of a greater future upon the horizon. That restlessness in the heart while bowing our heads to the pragmatism of the present moment is a prayer.

          • Elmwood

            they have scrubbers that remove the sulfur but not the CO2 and the heavy metals…. either way it’s awful and worthy of mordor.

            Burning coal is also a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution. Some emissions can be significantly reduced with readily available pollution controls, but most U.S. coal plants have not installed these technologies.

            you have to remember coal is formed in anoxic acidic swamps that can concentrate heavy metals. 100 feet of peat turns into like 10 feet of coal. we’re just putting all that concentrated filth into the air for everyone to enjoy.

    • iamlucky13

      Because the transition is not free. It can be managed cost-effectively, but there’s a lot of big businesses involved in the renewable energy industry who would rather it not be done that way.

      • FranklinWasRight

        We need something reliable when the temperature dips below zero for weeks at a time. Unless you want us all to go back to the days of in home coal furnaces as back up.

  • Sherry

    I’m exhausted by this stuff. It just makes me want to weep. I don’t know how they don’t see that they’re becoming what they professed to loathe, puritans desiring an exclusive club of members only, that belittle and snark at anyone else who dares think otherwise about anything. I’m reminded of Lewis’s Dwarfs are for Dwarfs! by some of this junk.

    • LFM

      But Lewis’s dwarfs went to Heaven too, didn’t they? They just couldn’t perceive it. They weren’t evil.

      That’s what some commenters here appear to forget when they go on about the awfulness of the Americans who don’t see things *their* way, who are doubtful about global warming or the wisdom of accepting so many immigrants in a nation already deeply divided.

      To get back to the dwarfs: it’s not a bad comparison, but you don’t develop it far enough. Lewis’s dwarfs in The Last Battle were a people who had been betrayed by their political overlords and found themselves unable to trust anyone as a result. Perhaps the same is true of the American Dwarfs of whom you speak here?

      • Sherry

        I would say, those who have no faith in the Pope, are very much like the dwarfs in Lewis’s story. You are correct, the dwarfs do make it to Heaven, but they cannot correctly perceive it, owing to their own refusal to trust anyone but themselves. I fiercely hope everyone who fears this Pope but tries hard to adhere to the faith, finds their way to Heaven, I hope even more, they can see it as it is, and not as they will it.

        • barnabus

          Faith in the pope? That is a dangerous error. Our faith should be in Jesus Christ and His mystical body on earth, the Catholic Church.

  • PalaceGuard

    Evil? No. Tacky? Yes. But, that’s just one primate’s opinion.

    • antigon

      Tacky? Not orcy?

  • Artevelde

    Tacky aesthetics, that lightshow. Not my cup of tea. Glad to see you’re not relenting when exposing some of the anti-Francis drivel, Mark. But that being said, when will you too, like Fr. Z., start handing out gold plated hexagrams to those who can most perfectly parrot your teachings? cause after all, nothing speaks louder in the fight against idols than … that, right?

    • johnnysc

      You didn’t get a good egg award?

      • Artevelde

        My post can be read *that* way as well, it seems. Wasn’t meant as criticism of Mark’s blog policies though. But indeed, I am no fan of badges, good eggs or stars being handed out on any blog forums. I think the show was in bad taste, but bad taste is hardly as scary as the auto-brainwashing that afflicts many of those who read blogs like that of Fr. Z. too regularly. The Comintern is in the grave but its methodology of conscience numbing keeps marching on.

        • chezami

          One can argue aesthetics legitimately. I don’t have strong feelings about it one way or the other. If it’s not your cup of tea, de gustibus. And since you don’t carry your aesthetics over into a loony charge of sacrilege, I don’t have any particular disagreement with you.

          • antigon

            Maybe. But it gives comfort to subhuman orcs, & thus at least has an orcy tendency.

  • wlinden

    …as opposed to those who say that something is new, therefore good.

  • [And light shows on the sides of St. Peter’s are new, therefore Evil]

    Evil light shows aren’t new. In fact, this is the main reason St. Benedict left Rome. From a letter to his nurse:

    “Come, let us leave Rome! I came for faith, and found only silly light shows with environmental messages. Alas, not even the decency to include overt Christian symbols.

    Truly, Rome has jumped the leviathan! The eternal city has really gone down the aqueducts. We must shake the dust of this wicked place off our sandal.

    The whole thing has me so sick that, after a trip to vomitorium, I intend to leave all civilian life behind me. I’ll start my own community. Maybe even write a rule book.

    And Rule #1: No Evil Light Shows!

    Unfortunately, Benedict’s editor was harsh and ended up dropping this rule before the final publication, along with Rule #29: “Don’t let helium balloons float away outdoors, lest a turtle later choke and die on the rubber scraps.”

  • LFM

    Some of us dislike this kind of thing, meaning the vulgarity, tackiness and ugliness of popular culture, as another aspect of that pollution that progressives affect to dislike so much. (Except that most of them will not give up their large houses, cars, central heating, air-conditioning or foreign travel to prove their point, so I am unable to take them very seriously.) Visual pollution, as far as I’m concerned, is as unhealthy as air and noise pollution. I frequently remind myself that vulgarity is not actually a sin, but all the same, considering how ubiquitous it is, I do not understand why it has to be imposed on the walls of St Peter’s itself.

    As for the idea that people who oppose the medium must necessarily oppose the message, that is simply nonsense, as is the implication that Tolkien, who would certainly have supported the message, would not have detested the medium and regarded this performance as an abomination.

    • Elaine S.

      While none of us can know for sure what Tolkien would have thought of the Vatican light show, given that Tolkien was distinctly traditionalist/conservative in his leanings and lamented the replacement of the Tridentine Latin Mass with the “New” Mass, we can kinda guess at it.

  • Ken

    I wonder why Father Z dislikes Pope Francis so much? Perhaps, Pope Francis’ call for the clergy for a simple lifestyle is in opposition to a priest that runs a website selling coffee mugs and asking for donations so he can fly around the world and post pics of his airplane ride and wonderful meals. Also, his donations go to a website that actively attacks the church. Why doesn’t someone rein in this nonsense?

    • iamlucky13

      You don’t have to wonder. He writes about the issues and actions he disagrees with Pope Francis on frequently. I share some of his concerns, while some of them I don’t, and have pointed out why they’re overblown He himself has quite a few times pointed out why many of the concerns of his readers are overblown. His air conditioning wise cracks are in particular getting old, but not nearly as old Mark’s incessant and much more serious implications that disagreements over issues like finding a reasonable balance between an economic security net and individual responsibility makes somebody pro-death.

      In some of these cases, I think Father Z. misreads Pope Francis, which given his speaking style, is not hard to do. I’ve encountered large numbers of people who misread him far more blatantly, claiming the Pope has approved of or is opening the door to many changes in Catholic teaching, in particular with regards to homosexuality and contraception, and most frequently from people who do not believe the Church’s teachings on those matters.

      Moving on, when did Pope Francis call for priests not to visit Rome, or forbid them from raising their own funds to do so? Are parish gift shops also forbidden?

      Who is it you claim he is supporting who attacks the Church and what do their attacks entail?

      • Ken

        A priest can fly on airplanes, they can have blogs and they raise money for their ministries. The problem I have with Father Z is that he uses his ministry, which is his blog, to post writings of other members of the Church and adds snarky comments and uncharitable remarks in his red ink. It’s fine to disagree with fellow Priests, and Bishops, Cardinals and even the Pope. I don’t like the way he does it.
        I don’t think he should use his blog, again his ministry, to constantly beg for donations so he can fly back and forth to Rome. I don’t see any correlation with his trips and his ministry. They are for his personal enjoyment. If a Priest used his blog to raise money for a troubled youth ministry or for some other work of mercy I would think it’s great. He’s not. He’s using his blog to for his own enrichment and that’s wrong.

        • I was going to reply argumentatively to your first post. But this is a reasoned explanation of your objection. I don’t really agree, but you make a compelling enough argument.

          I certainly don’t love everything Fr. Z does. However my biggest problem is not ever what he writes. (I find his criticisms generally well reasoned.)

          My problem is usually that the comments take it up a notch in uncharitable remarks and insults. I wish Fr. Z would reign that in. In that regard, Mark does have a point.

        • Stu

          It’s a problem endemic to the entire Catholic blogosphere.

          • Andy

            Probably a problem throughout the US

    • johnnysc

      Why doesn’t someone reign in the liberal clergy that speak against the teachings of Jesus? Probably because they agree with their liberal political ideology.

    • antigon

      Absolutely. Since it’s obvious there’s nothing to see here folks, only subhuman orcs would think any effort to question nonsense from Papa B to be inspired by other than motives not just wicked, but purely so. Especially in that, as with adultery, antagonism to calumny too is just so the thing that used to be Catholicism.

      • Ken

        You should send your donation to Father Z so he can take a flight to Rome. He’ll even pray for you just like any good TV Evangelist does. Prayers for luxury nothing wrong going on there.

        • antigon

          Will save me donations for LifeSiteNews, thanks. But had it been independent of the calumny that any misgivings about Padre B can only be motivated by orcish wickedness, your criticism of Padre Z might have led folks to ponder the strength of what was alas but a tendentious point.
          But since despite thy pretenses it was tendentious, possible instead they’ll give it, along with the real one, all the respect each deserves.

  • Andy W

    I finally had to unsubscribe to Lifesite the other day. I don’t agree with everything the Holy Father has done or said, but there is only so much Pope Francis bashing I can take.

    • antigon

      Fair enough, given the poet Eliot’s insight that ‘Humankind cannot stand too much reality.’

      • Andy W

        What good does it do to continue to slam the person sitting in the chair of Peter? If I wanted constant bashing about the papacy, I could read Protestant sites.

        You’ll note I said I don’t agree with everything he’s done.

        • antigon

          Since it’s neither bashing the papacy, nor slamming the current holder thereof, it is doing the good of reporting what he says & does.
          Those who call that slamming & bashing are blaming the messenger because, as Eliot observed, there are those who prefer avoiding too much reality.

          • Andy W

            Well, we have never met, so I’m not entirely sure how you can make the conclusion that I prefer avoiding too much reality based on unsubscribing from one site and my rationale for doing so.

            I would say the editorials combined with nearly all negative headlines regarding the Holy Father are overall trying to paint a negative image of this papacy. That’s fine, it that’s what they want to do. And to say it once more, I disagree with plenty Pope Francis has said and done. But to to not want to constantly read about it, does not mean I prefer avoiding reality, it means, I don’t want to be hit over the head with those types of articles all the time.

            • antigon

              A distinction without a difference, which is why you can’t see that LSNews, rather than ‘trying to paint a negative image of this papacy,’ is merely reflecting its reality as an objective news source from a Catholic perspective.

              • Andy W

                Including stories that aren’t obviously in its purview.

                “Breaking: Vatican Liturgy Chief Contradicts Pope Francis on communion for non-Catholics”

                I would argue is not a life issue.

                Look, we obviously disagree. But I don’t see that as a reason to assume I “cannot see things” and “prefer avoiding too much reality” based on this brief interaction within a blog’s comments.

  • Evan Keal

    I appreciate your perspectives Mark, but why should we value your outrage over theirs?

    Honestly, I think LifesiteNews brings up some good points and challenges us as Catholics just like the “progressives” claim to do.

  • iamlucky13

    Francis-rage syndrome? From Father Z?

    Mark, you’re delusional.

    I read his site regularly, and it’s clear you’ve never done more than glance at it. He’s made no secret of the fact that Pope Francis is far from his favorite Pope, for many reasons, ranging from his casual treatment of the treasure that is our liturgy to fact that he inexplicably intervened to grant a seat on the Synod for a retired pro-abortion cardinal known to have tried to hide a pedophile priest.

    Yet at the same time he’s lauded Pope Francis’ promotion of the sacrament of confession, and he’s also made no secret of the fact that he will ban visitors who try to use his comments section as a platform to promote rejection of his papal authority.

    The rage is sorely missing from your diagnosis of any sort of “rage syndrome.”

    “And light shows on the sides of St. Peter’s are new, therefore Evil.”

    Ok, since Father Z said that, I have to concede…

    …wait a second. Father Z didn’t say that. You made it up.

    His disapproval of the light show is not based on it being new, much less that new things are evil, but that St. Peter’s is consecrated to the work of the Church, but was granted to be used by several secular foundations for their show.

    I’ve got less to say in defense in LifeSiteNews. I followed their site for maybe a month or two several years ago before I got too tired of their sensationalism to put up with it in the hopes of keeping abreast of pro-life related topics.

    • LFM

      Not just secular foundations. The World Bank, champion of population control, a favorite cause, of course, of environmentalists.

    • chezami

      “Sacrilege” is a loony charge. Red meat for the mob of Francis-hating orcs who keep him in his comforts doing whatever it is he does besides priestly duties.

      • iamlucky13

        Once again you’ve conjured up a hoard of “Francis-hating orcs” – Not the sedevacantists, who seldom last more than two posts on his site before getting banned because he won’t let his site be used to publish their arguments; Nor members of SSPX, who he frequently lectures about the errors of; Not Rush Limbaugh nor Fox News; Not even one of the more extreme protestant denominations who believe the Pope, as apostate-in-chief, is more or less beyond possibility of salvation.

        Rather, you refer to the apparently degenerate readers of his blog who in their extremism accept Francis as the legitimate successor to St. Peter even when they disagree with many of the things he says, who attend Mass and seek confession regularly, who study and promote the teachings of the Church eagerly, etc.

        While I disagree with his inferring that the lightshow is necessarily sacrilege, I prefer to discuss why in an even-toned, rational manner, instead of beating the “he criticized Pope Francis so he must be a raving lunatic” drum.

        Meanwhile, I find the secular, political, and pagan (I’m referring specifically to the gaia comments by one of the artists involved), ties to the lightshow distasteful at best. Far more significantly to the point, his annoyed sarcasm and presumably misplaced suspicions pale in comparison to the hyperbolic vitriol evinced in comments like:

        “Francis Rage Virus” (classy way to diagnose fellow Catholics)
        “LIBERAL! = HERESY!!” (never said)
        “honoring Creation is Satanic” (never said)
        “Francis-hating orcs” (see also CCC 2477-2479)

        I could almost conclude that you hold the delusion that exaggeration and mockery are effective tools of evangelization, yet so many of your other posts are excellent examples of reason, patience, and zeal for explaining our faith, even on topics that are difficult for many people like torture or the noble lie. I come to this site (and a couple of your talks in person) for the latter, not for these frequent, maddeningly polarized tantrums you throw.

        • Stu

          This blog uses more straw than the top seven farming states combined.

          • Dave G.

            Now that was funny.

      • neoconned

        Done with the bomb throwing and click bait on this blog. I’ve been reading this blog on and off for years. I’ve just realized that the only reason I do is for the bomb throwing and click bait. Not good.

      • antigon

        Absolutely. And not remotely loony to call any who doubt the glory of this show subhuman orcs.

      • CradleRevert

        A loony charge? Here’s one of the examples of how the Catholic Encyclopedia defines a “local sacrilege” (which is a sacrilege of a sacred location):

        “the doing of certain things (whether sins or not), which, either by their own nature or by special provision of law, are particularly incompatible with the demeanour to be maintained in such a place. Such would be for instance turning the church into a stable or a market, using it as a banquet hall, or holding court there indiscriminately for the settlement of purely secular affairs.”

        So a loony charge, you say? I don’t know…sacrilege sounds just about spot on to me.

    • Very much agreed. Any regular reader of Father Z knows he spends as much time talking rabid Francis haters off the ledge as any other blogger.

      In fact, Fr. Z deserves extra kudos because he is able to do it reasonably, rationally, and effectively without having to ignore anyone’s discomfort, whitewash and belittle concerns, or hide his own preferences.

      When someone gets upset about Church going-ons, Fr. Z sympathizes with their hurt, then explains why they are off course and how they need to right themselves out. (It just doesn’t always need to be blind head nodding)

      Contrast that with a blog that responds to perceived outrage and unkindness with more outrage and unkindness.

      [I’ve got less to say in defense in LifeSiteNews.]


      • Mark Magister

        But clearly, if Shea and his readers are to be believed, there ARE no “legitimate concerns” that one can have about our current Church hierarchy. ….

        • chezami

          I have my own disagreements with the Holy Father. It’s just that I also have a sense of perspective that does not expand my disagreements to blubbering about “sacrilege” and “tragedy”. The Boomer narcissism is strong with this one.

          • antigon

            ‘ I have my own disagreements with the Holy Father.’
            O brother. Yet another loony Francis-hating orc.

        • Artevelde

          ”and his readers”? I assure you that in my house there are no garlanded Swami Shea pictures. I happen to agree with him a lot. Is such a thing still allowed without being deprived of having an individual soul?

          • Dave G.

            Yes. However:

            “bad taste is hardly as scary as the auto-brainwashing that afflicts many of those who read blogs like that of Fr. Z. too regularly.”

            • Artevelde

              Many. Perhaps that is too harsh a judgement, but at least it allows you to feel entirely free to shrug off any implied accusations, even if you generally find yourself on this or that side of the culture wars.

  • Stu

    The light show was just plain crass.

  • Martha

    So, women in burkas, and visions of creepy satanic goddesses are all good on St. Peter’s. The author of the light show said he took mind altering drugs to connect with the pagan dieties. They then channeled their visions through him into the digital projections he created for this light show.

    I have a problem with this, and so should all Catholics.

    • tj.nelson

      Caravaggio was a dissolute murderer. Artists have problems they work through.

    • Scaevola

      You don’t have a problem with the scandalous personal lives of any of the other artists whose works litter the Vatican grounds?

      • Martha

        Clearly I would, if I knew of them. Blissfully, I am ignorant. 🙂

        • Scaevola

          All I’m saying is that if we start judging the art by the artist, I’m not sure much would be spared from the flames.

          • Martha

            I hear you there. However, the Louvre and St. Peter’s aren’t synonymous when it comes to appropriate places for complete freedom of artistic expression.

      • DJR

        How many of those other artists claimed to use mind altering drugs to connect with pagan dieties (which Saint Paul says, in Sacred Scripture, are demons)?

        • Scaevola

          I’m not sure how this is relevant to the art itself?

          Would you complain if an artist lived a scandalously promiscuous life (as Bernini did)? Would you complain if (like Caravaggio) he was literally a murderer? Is Michelangelo’s obvious homoeroticism in his poetry enough to cancel out his merit as a religious artist? What sin is too much of a sin?

          (Also, can I have a citation of your claim?)

          • DJR

            I don’t think an artist’s personal life is relevant to the art itself. All I did was ask a question regarding the “scandalous” nature of the behaviour of the various artists cited.

            Comparing the “scandals” of the likes of Bernini, Michelangelo, et al., along with their art, to the “artist” who produced the light show is… well, rather remarkable.

            What exactly about the light show gives a person the idea that it is “religious art”? We’re comparing the light show to the Sistine Chapel? Really?



            • Scaevola

              Thanks for the links.

              Yes, we are making such a comparison, because they are qualitatively the same. Both are visual art; I don’t think that some art being better than other art (which is definitely the case) is grounds for a lack of comparison (in fact, that itself is an act of comparison). I wasn’t trying to say that the light show was *just as good* as Michelangelo’s work etc–merely that it’s *art* just as much as Michelangelo’s work is art.

              At the least, the light show has the benefit of being non-permanent.

              You do imply that artists’ personal lives, and their sins, is grounds for rejecting their art when you imply that the use of hallucinogens is unique among sins. The drug use or difference of worship of any particular artist is only a problem if we are analyzing the artist himself, not his work. As it stands, I’m not seeing that drug use and depiction of other faith traditions in one’s art is *so much worse* than murder, periodic infidelity and indulgence in homosexual desires.

              I’m not defending the light show–I haven’t seen the videos, and as far as I can tell it may well have been a gauche and unfitting display. But I just don’t want invalid reasons to be why we oppose such displays.

              • DJR

                You do imply that artists’ personal lives, and their sins, is grounds for rejecting their art when you imply that the use of hallucinogens is unique among sins.

                I made no such implication. If you got that from my question, you came to a wrong conclusion as to why I asked it in the first place.
                I don’t “judge art by the artist,” nor did I reject “the art.” I liked the depictions, particularly the monkeys. I don’t think St. Peter’s is the proper place for it, but that’s not my call.

                I would venture a guess that it is not the “art” per se that most of the objectors commenting object to. Who can object to a picture of lions? Nor are they “rejecting” the art due to the nature of the artists’ personal lives.

                • Scaevola

                  If that’s the case then, your original question was poorly worded. My q, in the context of Marta’s having a problem with the personal life of the artist: “Why is one sin singled out as opposed to the many other historical sins of Vatican artists?” Your response, presumably in that same context: “How many of those sinful artists committed this one specific sin?” You’ll forgive me from seeing you single out that sin from among many as an implication that that one sin is somehow more damnable, and as a reason to (per Marta’s original comment) have a problem with the art itself.

                  Be that as it may, though, it sounds like we agree more than we let on.

                  • DJR

                    In what manner was my question poorly worded?

                    All I did was ask: “How many of those other artists claimed to use mind altering drugs to connect with pagan dieties (which Saint Paul says, in Sacred Scripture, are demons)?”

                    That question uses standard English grammar and punctuation. There’s nothing poorly worded about it.

                    I believe you read far too much into the question and assumed an implication that I never had the intention of conveying.

                    • Scaevola

                      I already explained how in my last comment.

                      Otherwise, I’m left with the alternative that you were literally asking out of idle curiosity for a numbered list of Vatican artists who used drugs.

    • orual’s kindred

      women in burkas, and visions of creepy satanic goddesses

      Well, if these are meant to be like the gargoyles on churches, then perhaps they’re not too big of a problem?

      • Martha


        • orual’s kindred

          I’m glad my comment amused you and anna lisa 🙂 I admit I was at least only half-joking when I posted that. There’s several ways that art can go wrong that we as Catholics really do need to reject. And then there’s gargoyles. I’m probably missing something about the light display (which I actually haven’t seen yet. I was unaware of the whole thing until I read the above blog post.) However, it seems to me that, if there’s a place for monstrosities on churches, then perhaps there’s a place for other unpleasantries — even tacky light shows! — as long as these are properly ordered according to Scripture and Tradition. (Actual women in burkas, in particular, I think are invited to enter into the Church 🙂 )

          • anna lisa

            What I saw of the light show was heaven compared to the singing we had to endure a couple of Sundays ago. I’m kind of a parish shopper. We decide where we will go based upon a subliminal point system. (talented priest, beautiful Church, grouchy teens that want to sleep in…) if the new priest reads his sermon, (Oh how I miss the Jesuits that left)–and his accent is too thick to understand, I will leave the beautiful Church, in favor of the ugly modern one where the priest gives good sermons, –but the *problem* is that sometimes there’s a lady there who sings like a dying cat. It so appalls my family that we become incapable of even offering it up like decent Christians. My oldest daughter left feeling antagonistic and grumbling insults. I laughed at her and said “honey, focus on the Eucharist–the mass is about Jesus, not about some lady that screeches like a dying cat”, –but I felt like a big hypocrite, and was guilty of the added sin of laughing in Church while watching my husband’s face, which called attention to it, and made the kids laugh too.
            Light show at St Peter’s? I liked it– to each their own, and in all things CHARITY, which I myself failed miserably in that day at the ugly Church.
            Oh–and guess what? That same lady has been there since I *attended* that school as a child. She’s been the music director forever. Nobody has the heart to tell her the truth.
            Perfection is pretty hard to find in this life. It would serve us all well not to get so freaking uptight and rude about it all…

            • orual’s kindred

              Yes, perfection is pretty hard to find in this life. And I do sympathize. I hope and pray you and your family may find a church with both good sermons and good music. And I don’t know what can be done regarding that musical director, but as musical director, she will need to know that she needs a lot of improving. Or at least some help in performing her job. If no one can or will help her, then people will have to do their best listening to her at Mass.

              I must admit, though, that I am hesitant to talk about liturgical music. While I appreciate great, beautiful hymns, I suppose I have gotten used to fluffy, treacly songs, which many of the people that I find myself at church with seem to genuinely find moving. And considering that my voice sounds like a mostly dead cat, I know something about less-than-stellar singing. Any sighs, cringing or eye-rolling I make tends to be forgotten about before I leave the church. It’s something that I just don’t tend to feel as strongly about.

              And since you, and other commenters here do, I really feel very hesitant to say that, not only do we indeed have to pay attention to the Eucharist, we have a great gift in feeling naturally inclined toward traditional hymns. Not everyone is gifted like this. And even the best education and exposure will not bring them, at least in this life, to the kind of appreciation and skill that others enjoy. Some people find traditional music daunting, even discouraging. Yes, some find it boring. Some just don’t have the aptitude to distinguish very well between the two. And just to be clear, no, I am not defending sappiness, mediocrity or outright abuse. I’m only saying that these are opportunities for us to show kindness, understanding and, well, forbearance! 😀

              When actual abuse or carelessness is involved, we’ll have to correct that. But some people will have to struggle, if they so choose, with traditional hymns. Some will struggle greatly. I’m afraid it’s easy for many of us to forget that these are not avenues that will readily lead them to Christ. The kind of transcendental experience we enjoy is not theirs; or, at the very least, the closest many of them might experience is with some of the songs I see ridiculed in Catholic sites. I know because these are the type of songs I grew up hearing in church. And I do think God used that music to reach me where I was, and invite me to go further. Nor have I gone very far: I’m neither very skilled or knowledgeable. And even now I still feel the pull of sappy tunes. Such people have their cross; I think we who like beautiful music will also have to bear ours. We kind of contribute to each other’s burdens, too, so I think this once again forms a fellowship among God’s children.

              • anna lisa

                Orual, you shame/inspire me with your goodness.

                I see that we are like minded about the sappy, fluffy music!–I really have no problem with it, and grew up with plenty. It probably inspires me more than Gregorian Chant because the message is at my level. Latin hymns make me feel like an Oliver Twist too.

                When my Dad was about to die, he wrote a letter of “do’s” and “don’ts” for his funeral. He forbade anyone to even think about singing “On Eagles Wings.” Personally, I like the song but it makes me bawl at ANY funeral.

                When I told my oldest son about the screeching cat lady, he told me a true story about a socialite in New York, who had been trained in classical opera from her youth. She would actually fill Carnegie hall because her singing was so utterly and stupendously terrible that people would go to listen to her for the comic value. She went to her grave not realizing why people flocked to hear her perform.

                At my old parish near San Francisco, there was a nice old Argentinian lady who taught the first communion kids–lovely lady (sigh) but she too would sing Ave Maria in such a way as to inspire the neighborhood dogs to howl. The new pastor put a quick and ruthless end to it all. I did feel bad for her He himself had the voice of an angel but was challenged in the charity dept. He hired a nice young man who could sing and play the piano with effortless grace which was a relief.

                Anyhow–for all my judgey comments, let’s just make it perfectly clear that I too would sound like a yowling cat if I tried to sing opera! I do my share of lip singing and hiding behind the voices of others, but I always try, because singing really is a high form of prayer. 🙂 I’d rather die a martyr’s death than get up and perform in front of people though. :/

                • orual’s kindred

                  I remember when a former colleague of mine complained about how people could get “crazy about music.” He was complaining! And Our Lord knows just how much I failed in the charity and humily department. You are always so generous with me, dear anna lisa, even when I think shame myself more than anyone 😀

                  And I don’t think your comments judgey at all. It’s a difficult thing, bearing other people’s lack of musical inclinations/talents. I do think it’s important for us to remember that, though they may not know it, this is a wondrous gift that they may not experience as much as we do.

                  I don’t know how people could go out, pay money, and sit through someone mangling an opera. I mean…how? o__0

      • anna lisa


  • johnnysc

    Taking care of God’s creation is Catholic teaching. So called climate change is politics.

  • tj.nelson

    Mark – you are so not delusional. Keep on keeping on. From what I hear from people who were there it was a very moving experience. I’m so sad about the ruthless attacks against Pope Francis as a result.

    • chezami

      You’re a good egg. The Francis Haters have reached the place where the Obama Dementia Victims now dwell. They hate him first and then use anything as a reason after. A friend remarked that Obama should just give a speech praising oxygen and breathing. His enemies will all asphyxiate themselves out of spite. Francis haters are similar these days. It doesn’t matter what he does or says, they just hate him.

      • [Obama Dementia Victims]

        Again with the painting everyone who disagrees with you as an extremist. Are there delusional Obama haters? Sure

        But that doesn’t mean Obama is a nifty president. If *nothing else* he strongly supports abortion and forced provision of birth control.

        Same with those who criticize Francis. There are certainly some foaming-Francis haters, but your generalizations often seem to paint everyone who disagrees with you as one of them

        • Stu

          He does do that. And it stifles any real conversation on the topic. Instead, it’s either “Francis is the bomb” or “Francis has dropped a bomb.”

          • chezami

            Actually, it’s “Francis is a good and holy man and the charge of sacrilege is false”. It is the measure of the diseased state of Movement Conservative Catholicism that such a view is called “extreme”.

            Have an aesthetic argument. Knock yourself out. I could not care less. it’s only when somebody’s aesthetic preference become the basis of accusing the Holy Father of sacrilege, heresy, and so forth that I respond by saying, “stuff and nonsense.”

            • Dave G.

              And yet there is a difference between “Red meat for the mob of Francis-hating orcs” and “Francis is a good and holy man and the charge of sacrilege is false”. Approach the post with the second style, and you’ll likely have disagreements about the aesthetic, or even questions about why Pope Francis seems to have certain tendencies over others. Go forward with the first, and what else can we expect? In fact, the responses to the first approach are, from my seat in the stands, pretty restrained.

              • Stu

                It’s almost like he wants to see flying monkeys.

            • Stu

              You haven’t really countered anything I have said.

            • antigon

              Would fatuousness do?

            • FranklinWasRight

              It’s confusing to me why you get so worked up.

              Look, I had a priest who would not allow us to hold our parish school Christmas program in the church. This was after the previous pastors had allowed it for over 30 years. He considered it a sacrilege. He was a pretty liberal priest in many other regards.

              So I do not fault Fr. Z for considering a non-religious use of a sacred space as sacreligious. I’m sure it is a common opinion among the clergy. And when it comes to sacrilege, I’d rather error on the side of caution.

              We need to start treating sacred things with more respect. It demonstrates our faith. If we lose that sense of respect for sacred places and objects, our faith declines as well.

      • wlinden

        When Bush said he didn’t like broccoli, the Left Wing. Noise Machine felt they had to rave about how much they loved broccoli.

        • Dave G.

          I don’t think anyone would suggest that one particular group or another has a monopoly on bad behavior or over the top reactions. It would be better if we acknowledged that, and then said ‘let’s discuss the events of the day and see where we agree and where we disagree, knowing that most here don’t represent the extremes of either point of view.’ Or something like it.

      • antigon

        Fortunately these have their doppelganger complement among those inclined to swoon for Papa B like boppers at an early Beatles concert (not mentioning any names here Mr. Shea) – no matter what he does or says.
        Seems possible the vituperative energy by which they spew hate against any who fail to swoon, tho, must make the most demented anti-Fran folk positively green with envy.
        Not unreminiscent of the Obama cult actually, now that you mention it, & its attitude towards any who doubted the president’s messianic import.
        But surely the expression that comes most naturally to mind regarding the lightshow – see numerous examples among thy commentariat that elucidate – is that it was above all just groovy, sparkling like Las Vegas on a happy summer night.
        As for our modern Caravaggios, meanwhile, let’s just hope they weren’t shining all those monkeys with any apposite ironic intent.

        • chezami

          Oh brother. Aesthetic disagreements raised to the level of combox heresy trial.

          • Dave G.

            You didn’t begin the post with ‘people didn’t like light display, let’s discuss aesthetic differences.’ If you had, many of the comments would likely focus on the aesthetic disagreements.

            • Stu

              Why do you hate Francis?

              • Dave G.

                Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

          • antigon


  • anna lisa

    The light show was a beautiful homage to creation.

    If there is creation, there must be a creator. If the creator made things that are so utterly beautiful, and so beyond the power of our human creativity than let us reflect:
    this is simply a mere foretaste of a goodness that is so good, so beautiful, and so heavenly, that eye has not seen nor ear has heard what God has laid in store for those willing to love Him.

    How fitting that such homage to God’s creation used St Peter’s as a canvas.

  • Elaine S.

    My three favorite Catholic blogs (not in any particular order) are this one, Fr. Z’s and The American Catholic. I read each of them (ahem) religiously, NOT because I necessarily agree with everything they post but because they post new material on a daily basis, not just on Catholic doctrine but on other stuff I find interesting like U.S. history, pop culture, fine art, space exploration/astronomy, etc. There’s almost always something I find interesting or thought provoking. I take what I find helpful and leave the rest. So I’m not sure what “side” of “World War Z” I’m supposed to be on.

    • iamlucky13

      Similar here, but this and Father Z’s are the only Catholic blogs I read regularly. I’m not familiar with the American Catholic. My wife prefers Simcha’s. There’s a few others I end up reading occasionally, but they never worked their way into my regular reading rotation.

      • Elaine S.

        The American Catholic (TAC) has lots of posts on American history and is, for lack of a better description, distinctly right-leaning. I’ve posted a few articles there in the past. Some posts by the resident history buffs regarding past presidents, Revolutionary and Civil War figures, etc. are pretty interesting.

        As far as current events, however, I believe they jumped the shark with a fairly recent (within the past few months) post dubbing Pope Francis the “worst pope since Alexander VI” in terms of Church governance (not personal morals). I thought that was an inappropriate comparison and commented to that effect.

  • johnnysc

    A key mission given to the Catholic Church by Christ is the salvation of souls. Not lobbyists for an ideology. Especially an ideology that is tied to a liberal political party that purports to caring for God’s creation yet advocates artificial contraception, abortion , euthanasia and so called ‘homosexual marriage’..

    • etme

      You do realize that “Democrat” has absolutely NO meaning outside the small bounds of the US of A? There is no such thing as “Democrat” ideology, as this is a US party, about which about 95% of the world cares not a bit. Same for “Republican”.

      Furthermore, the Church is not American, so whatever American political issues there are, they have no relevance or interest, beyond the natrrow bounds of American politics. Finally, even within the bounds of tiny, local, and temporally-bound (today’s!) American politics, Catholics in America should form their thinking based on the Church, and then judge American politics – and not viceversa. The Church is not left, nor right, nor do those words actually mean much (as they are recent inventions and limited to local relevance) – the Church precedes all these, will outlast them, and is broader (“universal”) than them.

      To conclude, we should not be left, or right, but Catholic – which is not left, nor right.

  • AquinasMan

    One would think that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception would be used to promote the inviolable goodness of, oh, I don’t know, human life? One can debate whether or not using the edifice of Saint Peter’s to shill for the Climate Change summit is sacrilege, but on the solemn feast of Our Lady? Really? No one finds that either bizarre or provocative? Was there a single image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the mix? Isn’t she Queen of the Universe, which would include the Earth? We can’t be that thick, please. And criticism isn’t always about Francis or a reactionary judgment on his soul. Things like this simply beg explanation.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Perhaps Thomas Mann wrote more broadly than he knew: “There is nothing that is not political. Everything is politics.” That certainly is the late modern Catholic approach, which once practiced orthodoxy and fidelity as more than euphemism.

  • Mark Magister

    The Pope’s actions do the poisoning themselves. If you want “aesthetics,” look at some of the actually *Catholic* light shows out there. What happened at the Vatican was a travesty. A real and (par for the course) confusing tragedy.

    • chezami

      Oh brother.

    • Robbie


  • Robbie

    Live earth concert=animal image on a sacred building?

  • John Flaherty

    I’ll make you a deal, Mark: When the US Park Service agrees to display a light show of explicitly Cathoilc images on the side of the Grand Canyon for a few weeks after Easter, with a sound track of Vivaldi’s Gloria playing along, I will begin to take your idea seriously. Unitl then, ….
    We both know that such will not happen: Those who detest the Church would never be so foolish as to offer such a gesture of goodwill. I think it possible that we could see and hear threats of riots if we suggested it.

    I’m sure you wish to cast this in the most positive light imaginable, but I don’t believe such optimism has cause. If I recall correctly, this display began around the beginning of Advent. As others–not here necessarily–have reminded us, we’re intended to be anticipating the celebration of the birth of our Savior. Technically, this may not quite qualify as blasphemy, it may be merely another of Pope Francis “outreach” efforts, but let’s both understand that those who created this have little concern for worshipping our Savior. Environmental advocates and climate change types may not be considering this a victory of secularism over the Church, but we’ve opened the door now, and not in the name of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

    It may not be directly sinful, but neither does it appear to me at all healthy. Given the degree of abuse of that “not quite sinful” idea I’ve seen this last 30 years, i would say this might actually qualify as public scandal.

    • axelbeingcivil

      Opened the door to what, precisely? The Catholic Church, despite the Vatican having a seat at the UN, is not a democratic nation; it has no legal system by which people may petition to demand this sort of display. This was done by the Vatican itself; a decision by the Church’s hierarchy, to promote a sense of wonder and appreciation for the world.

      The United States government, meanwhile, is a secular nation-state, not a theocratic one; it can’t play favourites with the religions of its’ people. It’s not a sign of detestation to remain officially neutral. The people themselves may have their opinions on the Catholic Church, but the government itself is neutral.

      (Well. Mostly. The US government DID recently invite Pope Francis to speak at the federal level and give him its official recognition, something I can’t think of the heads of any other world religion receiving, can you?)

      • John Flaherty

        I think you missed my point. I am well aware that the Vatican arranged for this.
        But to explain, let’s return to my analogy with the Grand Canyon. You refer to the US as a secular nation-state which can’t play favorites with religion. I contend that secularism has become the de facto religion of the US; one that actually forbids any other, at least in public. Should someone ever propose a religious display in any public location–such as the Grand Canyon–the idea would be never be tolerated. Secular factions would denounce it as a means for people of faith to defy the status quo of secular expectations, a “door being opened” onto the possibility of other displays of religious concern.
        So too do I consider this display at the Vatican. So the Curia believes this a marvelous display of the wonders of the world. Well, I remind you–and them–that we need not use arguably the best-known basilica of the Catholic world for such a purpose. Most of use can certainly find the beauty of nature much more easily than that.
        In addition, by displaying the natural world so vividly, they also inherenlty suppress the super-natural beauty of the faith that sits within the walls of the basilica. I have never heard of anyone going to St Peter’s in Rome to see the wonders of nature; they go to see a large building that presents the beauty of Catholic faith.
        I do not believe this light show will help in any particular manner with evangelizing the world, but evangelizing the world is what we need to be doing.

        • axelbeingcivil

          How can secularism be a de facto religion? It’s a neutral stance. To be secular in a matter is to just not play favourites. Any action apparently done with government endorsement must be fair to all people, regardless of belief or lack tbereof, so it can’t be seen to endorse a particular belief system. Secular advocates are merely trying to keep the system fair for everyone.

          That being said, nothing’s stopping Catholic groups from getting permits for religious festivals at permit-allocated locations within any of the nation’s public parks and celebrating how they wish. If that includes a light show – done in an area permitting such displays – then they’d be allowed to do so, so long as anyone else is allowed to do so by seeking the same kinds of permits, etc. That’s what being secular means. It’s only when you get privileged displays that aggravation rises, such as when courthouses display the Ten Commandments but don’t allow other displays from other religions, or non-religions.

          As far as suppressing supernatural beauty, I, myself, find that view a rather personal one. I think that there is beauty and grandeur in the world and that, if you believe a Divine hand went into creating that beauty, it can and should be seen… Everywhere. I think St. Peter’s is probably an odd choice of where to display it – it just doesn’t seem like it has a natural symbolic connection – but I think the idea itself is worthwhile.

          • John Flaherty

            I never cease being amazed by this kind of attitude. You’ll insist that secularism is neutral, then proceed to demonstrate exactly the opposite. You argue that secularists aim to keep things “fair”, that government may not give “privilege” to any group. I contend that secularists have abandoned fairness wholesale, instead demanding that they, the secular factions, be given exclusive privilege to all things public. Any act or display motivated by religion had better not express an ideal exclusive of other faiths, nor may it last for any length of time. If either precept would be violated, the secularist will scream with all the fervor of the average religious fanatic.

            Incidentally, while secularists howl about “privilege” on the part of religion and chastise others for expressing virtuous ideas, rarely do I see secularists offer constructive efforts to the public discourse and life.
            If anything, “contributions” from secularists tend mostly toward publicity stunts. A secularist may offer indication that he’s offended; he’ll not offer any solution besides those which are most offensive to others.

            • axelbeingcivil

              Secular principles, though, mean fair treatment for all. If the government allows monuments for one group, it must allow them for all; if it allows holiday displays for one group, it must allow them for all; if it allows land to be used by one group, all others must have the same opportunity. That’s what secularism means. The United States government allows religious festivals and displays all the time; the only time suits are brought are when it denies others the privilege.

              • John Flaherty

                Ah, yes, the secular statist view of the nation. We cannot agree that We,the People, agreed to this state. Mostly, such has been imposed by Judicial fiat. We have allowed this because doing otherwise would require rampant civil disobedience, violent force, or both. Ironically, precisely because religion requires that we offer each person a chance at human dignity, we may not inflict the possibility of bloodshed except at the greatest of need. Even then, we must be careful to inflict only that damage most needed to correct the nation’s sins.

                I have heard this about “fairness” before. I have long since understood it for an excuse. People of faith erect monuments to honor God, deceased persons, or both. Secularists erect monuments mostly to demonstrate profound contempt for religion. I also notice that lawsuits aim primarily to suppress another’s good will. Little comes from these lawsuits outside of turning law into a dark force that all must heed, if not worship.

                I don’t think secularists care about fairness. I think they’re insistent that they should not be reminded of morals. that they are not gods in their own right.

                • axelbeingcivil

                  Who is this “we” you speak of? Some people might agree with you, plenty of others do not. Jefferson referred to the First Amendment as erecting a wall to separate church and state, and he was one of the people who wrote the document itself; it’s pretty likely he knew what he was talking about.

                  Likewise, that this is your view of what secularists believe betrays a profound lack of empathy; what you see as good will, plenty of others see as imposition; as a display of special privilege. To that end, one need look no further than all the furor over attempts to erect statues of Baphomet or Hanoman on the grounds of capitol buildings. When another group tries to express their beliefs as a part of public displays, they face harrassment and endless hoops that need to be jumped through.

                  A state that is to be fair to all its citizens cannot take a stance on proclaiming any beliefs right or wrong so long as those beliefs do not interfere with the rights of their people. This is the basis of freedom of conscience; one a belief becomes privileged, any other competing beliefs face discrimination to whatever degree the state cares to impose it. If the state allows monuments by one group, it must allow them by others. If it doesn’t allow them by one group, it must disallow them from everyone. These rules have to be enacted clearly and concisely, or else you have enshrined discrimination into law.

                  Consider for a moment a country that allows no Catholic monuments. Or perhaps one that allows endless displays of one particular religion’s symbolism on government grounds, but no others. Would you consider such a nation adequate in representing its populace of other faiths? Because I certainly wouldn’t. Yet somehow, when your faith is amongst the privileged, it is somehow mean-spirited to ask you to abide by the same rules as everyone else?

                  • John Flaherty

                    Wow! Where to begin?
                    Well, first, by “we”, I refer to the general populace of citizens of the United States. I’m well aware that you object to that. I’m well aware you consider these views as an imposition, as lacking empathy. Well, what of it? I can make equally valid arguments against your views. Any time there’s a disagreement about something, it has already become something over which we will debate and bicker. Such is the nature of politics and having a voice in one’s nation.

                    “If it doesn’t allow them by one group, it must disallow them from
                    everyone. These rules have to be enacted clearly and concisely, or else
                    you have enshrined discrimination into law.”
                    I think that’s almost funny. You have already, by your own assumed authority, enshrined the secular intent to discriminate against all religious expressions into law, Again, We, the People, have never voted for any such idea; the Supreme Court simply imposed it.

                    Declaring that a state must never proclaim any belief to be right or wrong has never been practiced. We create nation-states in part to enact agreed-upon laws. Such laws inherently declare a belief in something. If we declare that a person may not steal, we inherenlty declare that thievery is morally wrong. if we declare that one may not drive at 35 mph, but must drive only 25 mph, we declare that speeding is morally wrong. We will have varying punishment for infractions made against these moral beliefs.

                    BTW, I have rarely heard of non-Christian groups seeking to place a monuments on the grounds of state capitols. Most such efforts have constituted little more than secular efforts to give Christians an intellectual punch in the face.

                    If you want to howl about countries that don’t allow Catholic monuments on public grounds, look around. We already live in one. If you can find me a city park, a city hall, a courthouse, a public school, or another public buidling wherein a Catholic symbol may be found, I can probably find for you at least five more of each wherein such things are forbidden. Even erecting a plain-Jane non-sectarian cross on any public property will spark a protest from secular interests.

                    If you think Catholics or Christians have been “privileged” in this nation, I dread seeing your definition of oppressed.
                    Secularists howl a lot about privilege, yet they exercise it more than anyone else.

                    • axelbeingcivil

                      First off, you’re not the entirety of the United States. I’m not sure how you can claim to represent everyone or even the majority by just assuming they agree with you.

                      Second, no-one voted for it because it’s in the US Constitution and was explicitly referred to by one of its authors as creating a wall of separation between church and state. The intent is clear only when people have wished to ignore it.

                      Third, a lack of empathy means you’re not actually ever going to even try and understand why people are upset; you’re just going to pretend you know why they believe what they do or want what they want. You’re never going to have productive discussions or expand your understanding, and you’re never going to have actual effective policy, because of a persistent refusal to understand the perspectives of others. This doesn’t mean you can’t discard perspectives you consider invalid, or simply wrong, but you can’t really say you’ve made an honest, fair judgement until you’ve actually considered someone else’s point of view.

                      Fourth, plenty of states have tried to balance the question of dealing with popular morality against human rights, and the United States has erred to the latter (in theory, if not in practice). There is a profound difference between a state that tries to protect the rights of all its citizens and one that preferentially enshrines one group over others. One could very easily point out the reasons for laws regulating certain behaviours as being so because they endanger non-consenting parties, not because of any moral opposition.

                      Fifth, talk about intellectual punches in the face over monuments are precisely what I mean by demonstrating a profound lack of empathy. You’re so wrapped up in seeing the monuments of your own faith in the way that you see them that you haven’t even considered how other people might see them; how they might feel about the history and symbolism that goes into those monuments. What is, to you, a harmless and even joyful expression of love might come off to them as utterly unctuous and ignorant on your part. That you didn’t take a moment to consider that is precisely why this has historically been such a problem, and I’m willing to bet that your response is going to be a case of “Who cares what they think?”, likely without even a moment spent to consider the terrible irony.

                      Sixth, the traditional reason that religious displays are banned are because those displays existed there previously and other displays were not allowed, forming an explicit favouring of a given belief system and, thus, a constitutional violation. In areas where any group is allowed to erect displays, such displays are allowed, though displays by minority faiths are usually discriminated against. Everyone has to follow the same rules. If that seems unfair to you, maybe you should ask yourself why.

                      Finally, last but not least, the very fact that you consider a Cross, the explicit symbol of the Christian faith, to be non-sectarian somehow speaks volumes about you. Is Christianity the only world religion now? The only one in the United States?

                      I’ll tell you a place you can find crosses in abundance, paid for by the United States: Military graveyards. There, soldiers of any faith (or lack thereof) are given a symbol of preference in memoriam. Monuments of every kind imaginable exist there, but ALL monuments are welcome. Crosses, Stars of David, the Star and Crescent, the Ohm, the Asatru hammer, Ships’ Wheels, etc.

                      That’s secular too. That allowance of everyone to have their own symbol, to allow all people to commemorate their loved ones or be commemorated, in accordance with their beliefs. Just as allowing everyone to put up monuments in front of a courthouse would be, or allowing anyone to purchase space in a public park to erect a monument there. Once everyone is allowed that privilege and is treated fairly in being able to access it, I don’t think secularism advocates would object in the least.

                      After all, it isn’t about being anti-religion; just getting governments to treat everyone equally, regardless of their faith. Given how frequently Catholics have been discriminated against historically, shouldn’t ensuring equal treatment for all be a priority?

                    • John Flaherty

                      You really do seek to play the victim, don’t you?

                      I have never claimed to represent the entire populace. If anything, I have admitted that many disagree and always have. Always there has been intense debate about matters of religion and faith. Today does not difer from yesterday in this matter. If many may feel that religion should not be involved in public life, fine. We, the People, have disagreed. If the Court ruled against school prayer in 1954, such implies that taxpaying citizens expected their public school children to pray once each day in school or allowed for such to happen. We, the People, also wished that crosses and other monuments should be erected in various public places, so we did precisely that. We have also wished for prayers in numerous other public circumstances. We have certainly had the right to wish such activities.

                      BTW, you mention military cemetaries as places where we allow crosses. Amusingly, even the ACLU once admitted that such displays represented the apparent views of the persons buried beneath. Even had they not, I would say that since such places are also maintained by taxpayer dollars, that people of faith would certainly have the right to express their faith in such a place, precisely because they’re paying for it too. For the record, such does not make these places secular. If anything, crosses, stars of david, crescents, other symbols make quite plain that all intend for numerous religious ideals to be expressed.

                      If you wish to complain about empathy, ignoring other views, if you wish to insist that all peoples and faiths should be treated equally in the public square, I remind that we have long engaged in such debates and have been as empathetic as could be done. if you choose to be enraged that I or others do not agree with your view, bear in mind that such is your choice, I cannot make you happy. I will not try.

                    • axelbeingcivil

                      Courts often rule on matters where the laws enacted by the populace appear to tread on the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Guinn v. The United States, for example, which eliminated grandfathered voting requirements meant to keep non-whites from voting. Those were laws enacted by US citizens, but they violated the US Constitution, so they were overturned. Countless laws meant to restrict speech have been similarly knocked down. It is the job of the courts to protect the rights of minorities from the whim of the majority, as the Supreme Court did when it guaranteed the rights of Catholic parents to educate their children as they see fit.

                      Secular doesn’t strictly mean an elimination of prayer from public. It just means it must be fair to all; that any who wish to say a prayer or invocation be given an opportunity to do so. If you find some who give those invocations to be distasteful, either suck it up as they have to with you, or ban prayers altogether.

                      You’d think someone who professes Catholicism would understand this, given the historic discrimination against Catholicism in the past.

                      And, as for religious displays in public cemteries… Why the heck do you think I brought them up? They absolutely are intended for religious displays! But they’re not exclusive. That’s my point: In these places, no religion has primacy, nor does the lack thereof. Secularism doesn’t mean strict removal of religion from public space; just equal treatment. If you’d read my post, you’d realize that. As long as everyone gets equal treatment, everyone is happy. Monuments for everyone or monuments for no-one mean we all get treated the same. Which outcome doesn’t particularly matter beyond that.

                    • John Flaherty

                      “Secular doesn’t strictly mean an elimination of prayer “from public”

                      As a matter of practice, it HAS meant precisely that for several decades now.

                      “It just means it must be fair to all;”

                      Such has been the excuse.
                      In such rulings, the Court assumes we agree regarding what “fairness” shall mean.
                      We might not mind, except that such rulings have come about not because of any particular undue treatment, but because some secular interest is “offended”. If anyone should point out your thought about “sucking it up”, such persons are chastised for “bigotry” or similar nonsense.

                      Somehow, the idea that many of us are offended by any number of things, yet are required to pay taxes to support them anyway, doesn’t matter. No, because the secularist is offended, everyone else must abandon their faith in the public square.

                      We have never agreed, as a nation, that such a definition of “fair” should be the way of it. Such has rather been the Court’s assumption of authority.

                    • axelbeingcivil

                      “Suck it up” only applies if everyone has the same opportunities. If you can deliver invocations, everyone should be able to. If only one group is allowed to, you deliberately alienate people. Typically, the government’s been unequal, so the typical response is removal of the dominated field. In cases where the field had been left open to all, the courts have dismissed such actions.

                      I’m not sure how you can support otherwise any more than you might support limiting the kinds of opinions people might have, or what category of people are allowed to run for office.

                      Prayer in schools is an example of this, where public schools enforced a specific brand of religious indoctrination. Children are still allowed to pray if they wish, to have religious student groups, etc., but forcing students to pray (or to oust themselves as outsiders if they refused) is contemptible and discriminatory. If you feel it’s fair for the government to force children to take part in religious rituals, well… I think we can end this discussion right there. Nothing I have to say to you will matter if you believe that’s acceptable.

                    • John Flaherty

                      Incidentally, axel, the secular vs religious battle has little to do with fairness; everything to do with national self-perception. When the Court ruled in 1954, the Justices declared that we needed to forbid prayer because we were a secular nation. Most of the nation perked up in surprise and said “Since when?”.
                      We, the People, never agreed to define ourselves as a secular nation, nor to read secular ideals and practices into the Constitution. That slim majority of 5 merely presumed authority to force the entire nation to redefine itself per the views of those five Justices. Sooner or later, I expect we’ll either reject the Court’s idiocy and require the Court to reverse itself, or we’ll amend the Constitution, …or the nation will simply implode.
                      Hard to tell which of those three will be the outcome.

                      (Interestingly, the Court has overturned itself at least once before: Justices ruled on on occasion that Separate, but Equal made sense. Some decades later, a different group of Justices over-turned that decision.)

                    • Sue Korlan

                      The Amendments were voted on by the state legislatures, so they were indeed voted on. And Jefferson ‘ s comments referring to the separation of church and state referred to the laws of Virginia, not the First Amendment. And religious symbols were allowed in public places until the 19 50s when the Supreme Court overruled previous interpretations of the First Amendment to make it mean what no one before then thought it meant.

                    • axelbeingcivil

                      I would suggest you re-read your Jefferson; he explicitly quotes the First Amendment.

                      “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

                      That’s the quote.

                      And, hey, some people clearly thought it meant that, Jefferson among them, or the case would never have come that high. Just as some abolitionists clearly thought the Constitution applied to all people, not just a few, despite it not actually being interpreted that way at the federal level for over a century.

                      Sometimes, the majority needs to be stopped from stamping on the minority.

                    • Sue Korlan

                      Please provide the source for this quote. Thank you.

                    • axelbeingcivil
  • Elleblue Jones

    I have grown up on the west coast of Canada where ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ has been in effect since I can remember. Perhaps some of us just needed a timely reminder. As Catholics we can’t afford to worship Earth however it’s all part of God’s creation and is worthy of respect. Resources are not endless!

  • Mike

    were any of the images indecent? well then what’s the big deal? if they were just images who cares. if there were greenpeace logos etc then it’s not ok but as is?

  • Thomas

    If this doesn’t trouble them then I wonder if anything would trouble the open minded people in the Church? Anything goes? Words and images mean nothing?? The sacred means nothing? Everything is just peachy…nothing to see here. Right.