This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Is the clergy objectively disordered sexually?

Whether or not the clergy’s pursuit of chastity for themselves and the rest of us is correct depeds on whether or not it comes from a universal state of sexual being. We will discount for a moment non-chaste homosexual priests (and there are plenty of these) and those who embrace their chastity, either through piety, brain washing or self-loathing. We will also exclude former perfectly healthy heterosexuals, including widowers, who embrace celibacy and chastity, although quite a few of these left the priesthood to marry. I know a few, including a cousin.

This leaves quite a few who simply do not feel attraction to others of either sex. These are called Asexuals. If homosexuals are objectively disordered, certainly asexuals (or aces) are as well because their sexual orientation is not normal in its lack of fecundity, which trads consider the objective goal of sexuality. If sexuality is integral to humanity, then asexuality is objectively disordered. If that is true, then Sacred Continence based on the assumed celibacy of Christ cannot be allowed, because Christ, as the perfect man, could not have been objectively disordered sexually. QED.

If he was the Rabbi at Capernaum before his ministry, knowledge of Jewish religion dictates he was probably married, so the contention is false anyway. Of course, Sacred Continence has no justifiable excuse outside of asexuality, except outright misogyny, which was popular in the stoic wolrd that Christianity merged with when it became the state religion of the Empire. Its continued maintenace certainly has an asexual theme.

Luckily, those of us on the left are more charitable than our asexual traditionalist brothers. Modern psychology recognizes asexuality as another sexual orientation, like heterosexuality and homosexuality. It is not a disorder. Indeed, the biggest champions of the asexual cause are the LGBTQ community. How ironic is that? I encourage celibate asexuals to embrace their identity and in doing so allow LGBTQ Catholics to embrace their’s without being thought of as disordered and without requiring of them a celibacy that may or may not be their personal charism. Unaware asexuals in ministry have done untold damage to their LGBTQ brothers, especially the youth. The first step in atoning for that is self-awareness. Start at

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Removing General Lee

When I woke up this morning, I was not planning on writing about removing statues of Robert E. Lee. I certainly did not believe that I would see a Republican Speaker of the House denounce people protesting said removal in Charlottesville, Virginia, although given the conduct of the demonstrators, it is not hard to condemn them. Still, this will take some unpacking. The demonstrators claim that this all about their history. They are correct, so let us start there.

If Abraham Lincoln had not been elected President, the Confederacy would have never been formed. They would have been perfectly happy with a Democratic President who would continue to enforce the Fugtiive Slave Act and continue their economic system, which was based on human bondage, which is the ultimate form of Capitalism. In capitalism, the labor of the worker is wholly owned by the capitalist. Slavery wholly owns the laborer as well, with only in-kind wages provided (which were often produced by the slaves themselves, they were hardly orderign shirts from Europe for them).

Without the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act, the calls for abolition would goad slaves to vote with their feet on slavery to the North, for Dred Scott made it clear that they were property, so the now used name African American did not apply. Even though he said otherwise, Lincoln may have even freed the slaves, although he promised he would not. The Confederates did not believe him, so they seceded and fired on Fort Sumter. History makes it clear in the acts secession of each state that slavery was the issue, not self-determination, as some Confederate apologists now claim.

The Union soldiers did not orignially go to war to end slavery, although some eventually found that cause. Their motivation was restoring the Union. They certainly were not anti-capitalists, as many worked within that system, although Lincoln certainly made anti capitalist remarks from time to time. How Lincoln would have handled reconstruction is only vaguely known, although he at least had the 13th Amendment pass, although with a dangerous exception for convicts that was expoited harshly after reconstruction. Johnson handled it badly enough to be bypassed by the Radical Republican Congress and Grant led it well, but not so well that lasted when it lasted past 1872, when federal troops were removed for political expediency. The terms of the 14th and 15th Amendments were not enforced well in either the South or the North after that point, with President Wilson making Jim Crow universal.

Northern and Southern veterans alike began to remember the gallantry of battle and a mutual comradeship rather than the reasons for the war. Northern citizens no longer cared how African Americans (as the 14th Amendment made them) were exploited in both the sharecropper and penal peonage systems. Indeed, they still don’t when these come from the War on Drugs or have to do with immigrant labor in factory and field. As long as they get their bacon and orange juice, they have no qualms about how those who make it are treated.

Confederate monuments and highways are a testament to the historical amnesia to both treason and exploitation. Indeed, the Confederate Battle Flag only began flying when the Civil Rights movement and the coverage of racist push back pricked the conscience of the nation on these issues, although advances in agriculture and road building had already removed the economic imperitive for segregation where cotton is grown. 

De-unionization had still not reached meat packing and the abuse of migrant workers someone had not been noticed until Caeser Chavez brought it to our attention. Indeed, civil rights for Latinos took seperate Supreme Court action to have them considered a protected class rather than inferior whites.

It has taken fifty years for the civil rights movement to advance to the point of demanding the removal of monuments to Confederate treason. It took some time for civil rights action to grow enough to include this demand and the election of Barack Obama made people realize they could demand more, which has led to pushback from those who would retain power through voter suppression. Obama’s election and the FoxNews pushback has emboldened those who feel the charm of Southern glory to admit the outright racism of their desire to preserve Southern culture, which is was as much about racism and economics as it was about history.

The backlash also resulted in Donald Trump, whose record on civil rights in housing is putrid. Indeed, to hide it, you would think he would double-down on both housing enforcement and countering voter suppression. He has not. He gave us the ultimate Beaureguard as Attorney General and is advised by Bannon and Gorka, whose defenders claim have no racism in their background, even though Breitbart News is all about inflaming racism in the masses. Mr. President, give us a break and fire these three clowns and at least make it look like you honor your oath to enforce the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Future We Want

When I was a fourteen-year-old recovering from a bad bout of asthma (we had no health insurance and my parents would not apply for Medicaid), I was thinking in my sickbed about the house of the future.  It would be designed to make recycling easy – and why stop there – it would have facilities to grow food, including creating beef muscle tissue without the cow (we can do that now) so that everyone would have what they want to eat, not what the collective told them to eat.  It would be built by workers laboring cooperatively and paid equally.   People work until they paid back the labor hours that went into constructing the house, plus enough for a lifetime dividend – although most things would be done cooperatively so there would be little need for money.  I called the concept Inter-Independence.
This was needed because we were (and are) fowling the earth, raping the land and on the verge of nuclear annihilation (this was 1977). That is how I became a cooperative (and democratic) socialist. I have written several essays related to this and will look at the various chapters of the book through that lens, so I make no effort or claim to summarize the discussion of the book so far by our Book Club.
The Introduction was an interesting statement of the problem and call for a solution, although it was light on demands – although the succeeding chapters had some of these.
Working for the Weekend showed the need for full-employment – the real definition not the neo-liberal one found in government reports and political debates.  Back when worker pay matched productivity we had wage and price control and a 70% marginal tax rate on the wealthy.  Nixon junked the first and Reagan  the second.  We can’t go back, but we can pursue worker ownership and control, i.e., cooperative socialism.  As for the workday, I like 6.5 hours for 4 days and Fridays off.  Who’s with me!  I also want to shift lesser educated workers to mandatory paid training so that no one toils at a bad job because they are less than fully literate.
Socialist Education raises some interesting points, although I temper any analysis of U.S. educational attainment with a desire to compare the US to the EU as a whole, with their member states compared to our states.  Some American states would be at the top – others worse than anyone else in the world.  Of course, if we were really socialistic, teachers and parents would control individual schools, not the central neo-liberal administration.  High School students would be paid to attend (and unionized) and parents who have not attained full literacy would, as above, be paid to go to school.  Going away from property taxes (or even a land value tax) and toward income tax or Value Added Tax funding would be required for goals so large.
How to Make Black Lives Really Truly Matter highlights Dr. King’s admiration of Henry George, with his citizen’s dividend and land value taxation.  Though George had at times been supported by socialists, the vision as it now stands is heavy on liberty and light on government – which is fine when cooperative socialism is achieved, although by then it won’t be needed. We can (and do) have a Universal Basic Income for Kids in the Child Tax Credit, although it is not generous enough and should be paid through wage or VAT taxes as an offset.  Also, land value taxes cannot be federal without an amendment. This is mostly a state proposition.
Sex class is a wonderful essay that highlights, among other things, the injustice of having women work as caretakers for children while their own children do without or are cared for by relatives or neighbors.  It calls for collective community-controlled living arrangements – and I am all for that – but in the cooperative, not the geographical town or city.  I am also all for men being able to stay home as their wives work – indeed more men doing this removes competition for management and executive positions (although I would eventually make such positions electoral and force the incumbents to bid salaries down in open auction in advance of the election).  I would also provide easy access to child care at school and university for teen and twenty-something parents.
The Green and The Red covers the water front on the environment, going back to the New Deal and up to the problem of carbon emissions and overconsumption by America and the West.  Moving toward a shorter work week will help part of this (see 26-hour suggestion above) as well as decreasing consumption.  Note that consumption is the balm for the working class which has prevented a Marxian revolution for all these years.  Owning a home where you grow your own food will, by nature, lead to less outside work as good production takes time.  Fusion powered electric cars do the rest (preferably with central computer control to end most accidents).
Red Innovation demonstrates how much real progress was publicly funded and expropriated by the capitalists, who use technology in their war with labor and against poor nations.  Instead of making a technology a public resource, I would emphasize innovation in cooperative enterprises, giving innovators a bonus and – to the extent the innovation lasts for years – stock, rather than paying engineers and scientists higher salaries but keeping all the gain from innovation in the hands of the capitalists.  Innovators would be able to retire earlier – with more shares quicker in the cooperative and forgiveness of some of the home mortgage debt.
The Cure for Bad Science seeks to make science more on real-world applications.  After two years of doctoral work in political science building to what would have been a career writing more about mathematics than politics and how to help the polity find better solutions, I have to agree.  I would fund science with an excise tax on anything developed with public funds – with a high enough rate to keep research flowing.  I would also find scientists among those who never got a chance for an education – again, through paid remedial education, either publicly or through cooperative socialist employers (in lieu of taxes).
Finding the Future of Criminal Justice was provocative, especially the suggestion to abolish the police. I would more transform them by dealing with crime as a mental health problem – treating some and separating the rest from society in long term care (i.e., the sociopaths who have been dangerous).  Pimps should also get mandatory treatment or be locked up, with the trafficked women just getting treatment.  Legalizing drugs almost goes without mention – and crime committed while high will especially be a mental health issue.  The truth is that the war on drugs has been the war on black male voters, although they can’t help but lock up white trash meth dealers too.   A police state is needed when on part of society demands another behave – when society lacks the General Will Rousseau wrote about.  It’s time to end the police state. Disarming police and getting the guns also goes without saying.  All the guns, including those used against snitches.
After Gay Marriage wonders what is next, especially for Trans people and for those who don’t want to marry.  In some areas, progress has been made and forgotten about until something happens and many places still have domestic partner provisions, although not all.  I would answer that Employment Non-Discrimination should be next on the agenda.  Hopefully cooperatives won’t have these problems.
Small, Not Beautiful talks about business size.  I agree.  Bigger employers and cooperatives are often better for workers (even if CEOs are overpaid – not a problem for cooperatives).  If we ever do pass a Value Added Tax, it should include provisions forcing larger firms to pay the tax benefits to its 1099 contractors and to bring franchises into the larger organization (or at least allow franchise employees to divert their Social Security employer contribution to buy stock in the larger enterprise).  The use of franchising to avoid unionization must end and cooperative socialism will end it. Smallness is not a boon.  It is the flaw in Distributism, which would throw out our technological civilization in a mistaken search for progress.
The Red and the Black gives one of the best explanations of the differences between capitalism, socialism and the  problems of the Soviets that most of us have read.  Instead of a fund to invest in firms, I would use Social Security employer taxes (credited equally) to buy employers out and have a percentage of that as an insurance fund to pay off employees and retirees should a covered business fail.   Cooperative employees would have make v. buy decisions to see what gets made internally, what the cooperative buys and what members buy (and with how much money).  In what would be a free market for labor, everyone would have an equal base wage – with adjusting stock grants for education, innovation and longevity – which must be compensated as part of the supply cost for labor (and the preference for leisure as one gets older).  The last piece is probably what Marx was searching for in the labor theory of value.
Coda has interesting suggestions, but I suspect it was pre-Bernie.  I have some too. Again, on education, I would compare EU members to US states for apples to apples.  I would transfer state and local government pensions to Social Security.  I would regionalize the states into 7 regions, mostly autonomous.  Of course, there will always be differences between ALEC states (or regions) and Blue states, or regions, even if they year all states go blue, which could happen. We need a special emphasis on outreach in ALEC  states, even though it would be dangerous sometimes.  I would nationalize (or regionalize) Medicaid and Social Security Part D.  Public unions should lead the fight for a seven hour work day (to start).  Lastly and again, I would pay poor people to get educated and trained and insure them through the training provider’s health policy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

In Capitalist Realism, Is there no alternative?

In Capitalist Realism, Is there no alternative? Mark Fisher makes the point that even anti-capitalism is still a conversation about capitalism. We simply can’t get away from it. It’s why conversations about atheism still talk about God. Michael Harrington wrote about Scandanavia, which could ameliorate capitalism with social democracy but never fire the capitalists. Likewise, even cooperatives like Mondragon and Land O’ Lakes (started by my great-grandfather) still operate with capitalist structures. 

Protests don’t help. Their subject is still capitalism rather than new solutions. Even as we protest the ultimate capitalist POTUS, we take up time from discussing new ideas. We talk about warming, but capitalism is the background (Actually, the solution will likely be found in deveoping habitats for a Mars mission, which can then be replicated on earth, probably built by capitslist, but maybe not). Capitalism gives us video games, smart phones, TV as babysitter and ADHD. The author claims it gives us mental illness, I disagree, since mine was caused by an adrenal tumor. 

Capitalism as PR gives us market Stalinism. PR over substance seems to be how Congress works nowadays. The problem is, they are so caught in their orthodoxy they can’t shake a bad message. Capitalism, like any theology, relies on the lack of memory that things have been different, like how we celebrate Christmas, how every generation thinks it invented sex, how GOP economics thinks it was ever valid and how Trump is a social conservative.

No one is responsible in capitalism (except for making the CEO rich and keeping his taxes low). Alt-A junk mortgages, the run-up in oil prices in NYMEX and the phone scams we all face are about the system getting the CEO rich, although he claims no responsibility for abuses. Frontline, a PBS broadcast was the best source on this. The corporate media said little and FoxNews spread lies about affirmative action housing.

The morals and health of capitalism are hedonistic. Would a socialist humanism be that different? I hope so. GOP morality is a creature of the focus groups of Frank Luntz (my old methods teacher). There is no real ”there” there. Neither will there be any crisis, like 2008, that will give us a proletarian revolution, distributism or libertopia. We have to build it now and crowd out the capitalist hegemony. How?

After Capitalism (New Critical Theory)

After Capitalism (New Critical Theory) by David Schweickart goes beyond the usual Marxist excuse that the workers will design their future by actually suggesting a system for social control after capitalism. He has a three-part proposal. 1. Firms will be self governed cooperatively. 2. Assets will be owned by the state at large and enterprises will pay a ten percent tax. 3. Taxes will be distributed geographically for investment in new and existing operations.
It is an interesting proposal, but could uses some fleshing out in how firms will be managed, for example, how they will decide things and pay their executives. As for the rest, I am not sure why new investments and innovative product launches cannot occur within the context of existing socialist cooperatives. The state asset owership and investment system sounds like state control for its own sake. I expect that part of this is a safety net to redo failing cooperatives, but for that I would give a third of cooperative voting shares to an insurance fund to both insure the future incomes of members and to, at the request of a quarter of employee shares, take over the cooperative and reorganize it should mismanagement be found.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


The obsession with elitism started with resentment against the self-styled New York Jewish Elite. The Jewish was quickly left off and the concept became bi-coastal with Dan Quayle's use of the term Cultural Elite (presumably to include Hollywood and its Jews. The resistance to elitism spoke out for decency and family values, mostly because censorship does not focus group well. What the New York elite was known for was an avante garde sensibility that defied the censors, especially those resisting sexuality.

The elite was known to support women’s rights and gay rights, although they were not alone in this. Plenty of Catholics and High Church Protestants agreed with expanding freedom for those the mainstream would suppress, except that the mainstream no longer agreed with the so-called forces of decency, so censorship fell, Will and Grace topped the charts and support for abortion rights (if not abortion) became the majority view (and everyone seemed to look at porn and use contraception). Of course, in a 50% nation, majorities were slim and shifting and some states were decidedly non-elite in their attitudes.

The question arose, was there a compelling state interest for everything from regulating contraception to abortion to denying gays the right to marry. The Court concluded that these issues were private and that moral scorn, even by the majority, was not a compelling interest. It was the equivalent of yelling fire in a theater, not religious freedom. It was rather an attempt at religious power and therefore not protected or a counter-balancne against the liberty of others, most of whom were neither elite nor powerful, they just wanted the same dignity that others have. If supporting that dignity makes me an elitist, I wear the term proudly. Trump says he stands up for decency, but that is a very hard sell from the epitome of the New York elite.

The Pro-Life Movement as a Scam

The question is not about the morality or legality of abortion.  It is whether the Republican Party and the Pro-life movement are using the issue for political purposes without actually doing something about it.  Come on GOPeons.  You have Ryan, McConnell and Trump in charge and any abortion law they write will probably get Kennedy, Gorsuch, Roberts, Alito and Thomas to agree with.  You can even use the nuclear option to stop the filibuster.

Do it already!  I dare you.  I double dare you!

You know in your hearts that they won't and you know why.  Their wedge issue goes away and any moderates in your party will never, ever, vote Republican again, including the major donors.

If you don't think you are being scammed, you are not thinking.  That goes doubly for MSW, who thinks that somehow Roe will be repealed by SCOTUS (because Kennedy, Roberts and Alito have already said no to that option).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Right Wing Holy Grail, Constitutional Conventions!

MGB:_The other Holy Grail of the GOP Evangelical-Catholic Alliance is outrage over gay marriage. Currently attention is focused on allowing merchants to ignore the Civil Rights Act for religious reasons and there is already a case on the docket. Of course, if the part of the Act which prohibits discrimination in customers is overturned than the Pro-Life movement will have to quit talking about Plessy v. Ferguson on abortion, since Plessy would be restored if cake bakers got a break.

Protection of Marriage can now only be achieved by Constitutional Amendment (unless federal law removes due process and equal protection in the states from the Federal Docket or if Roe is overturned for the same reason). There is no chance that the GOP and get the votes in either house to overturn Marriage Equality, so their only hope is a constitutional convention. Not likely. A populist convention would more likely overturn Citizens United as Roe, Perry, Lawrence or Griswold, although term limits might have a shot, balanced budget, not so much.

The reason amendment efforts have not succeeded, or maybe they have, is because there are no congressional rules to say when they have been met. Must a call be all on the same issue? Must all petitions be submitted within the same Congress? How you answer these determines whether there may already be a valid call. As long as it is up in the air, Congress can dodge it. The GOP, if it wanted to, could pass a concurrent resolution answering all relevant questions as part of the rules of each house. Whether there will ever be 34 states in a call is another matter, since ALEC only has 30 members, but you have the votes to find out if you want to. Again, I double dare you.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Medicare for All, Do We Already Have It?

Medicare for all is a really good slogan, at least to mobilize the base. One would think it would attract the support of even the Tea Partiers who held up signs saying ”Don’t let the government touch my Medicare!” Alas, it has not. This has been a conversation among ourselves on the left and I don’t think we have gotten beyond shouting slogans either.

We need to decide what we want and whether it really is Medicare for All. If we want to go to any doctor we wish, pay nothing and have no premiums, then that is not Medicare.

There are essentially two Medicares, a high option and a low one. The high option has Part A at no cost (funded by the Hospital Insurance Payroll Tax and part of Obamacare’s high unearned income tax, Medicare Part B, with a 20% copay and a $135 per month premium and Medicare Part D, which has both premiums and copays and is run through private providers. Parts A and B also are contracted out to insurance companies for case management.

The low option is the Medicare Advantage (Part C) HMO. You pay a premium and copays, but there is much more certainty, while ABD are more like a PPO, but costs can go much higher. So much higher that some seniors and the disabled get Medicap coverage for the copays.

Medicaid lingers in the background and the foreground. It covers the disabled in their first two years (and probably while they are seeking disability and unable to work). It covers non-workers and the working poor (who are two poor for Obamacare) and it covers seniors and the disabled who are confined to a long-term care facility and who have run out their assets. I am not sure how the long term portion works (and I believe it should be federalized), but for the poor, it takes the form of an HMO, but with no premiums and zero copays.

Obamacare has premiums with income-based supports (one of those facts the Republicans hate) and copays. It may have a high option, like the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (which also covers Congress) on which it is modeled, but I know that the standard option puts you into an HMO. I know that the HMO drug copays for Obamacare are higher than for Medicare Part C, but the office visit prices are exactly the same.

What does it mean, then, to want Medicare for All? If it means we want everyone who can afford it to get Medicare Advantage Coverage, we already have that. It is Obamacare. I know this because I have Obamacare for another 45 days and will then go to Medicare Advantage. They will likely switch me automatically and I will notice no difference. Indeed, except for premiums and copays, I see little difference in coverage between my Medicaid HMO and my Obamacare Marketplace policy with the same provider. My Marketplace premium is $56 higher than Part B, because it includes drug coverage. I don’t expect Part C to be much more.

If Medicare Advantage is Medicare for All, we have it already. Promising it is pandering to people who don’t know the difference. Why do Tea Partiers want to repeal even that? Because they feel they worked for their coverage and no one else has. Admitting we already have it would be a huge facepalm to them.

I suspect that Medicare for All supporters want something even Medicare does not offer with the free Hospital Insurance (which in Republican parlance would be Single Payer Catastrophic), they want free doctor visits and free drugs (like Medicaid) but with PPO level choice (like Medicare Part B and Part D). If you did that, it would take a huge tax increase, exceeding the best private insurance coverage (which also has copays and premiums). It would replace Medicare, not just lower its age of eligibility.

Real single payer would either require a very large payroll tax (and would eliminate the HI tax) or an employer paid subtraction value added tax (so it would not appear on receipts nor would it be zero rated at the border, since there would be no evading it). If the latter were used (and VAT is more progressive than payroll) employers who provide direct medical care would get an exclusion, but third-party insurance would go away, unless the big companies administered the plan the way Medicare and Medicaid are run. The tax rate would be high enough to cover health payroll taxes for employers and employees, income taxes that fund Medicare and Medicaid and private insurance fees by both employers and employees. Gross pay would go down, but net pay would stabilize.

While we are at it, the subtraction VAT would also cover Social Security payroll taxes paid by employers, although these could be converted to Personal Retirement Accounts holding employer voting stock plus an insurance fund of similar companies. If you are a socialist and don’t recognize that as a good thing, submit yourself for reeducation. The tax would also be high enough to fund a Child Tax Credit of $1000 per child per month distributed with pay (and credited against the tax as applicable). If you are a socialist and don’t like that one either, submit yourself for reeducation on basic Marxism (to each according to their need).

If you want to make some of the Republican Catholic Bishops squirm, market this as a pro-life measure and dare them not to endorse it and force the National Right to Life Committee to do likewise.

Democrats have been criticized for not having a position, other than the slogan Medicare for All, in the current health care debate. As you can see, this is a position and it reflects the realities. It also shows that the Health Care Reform debate is ultimately a tax reform debate. Too much money is at stake for it to be otherwise, although we may do just as well to call Obamacare Medicare for All and agree to leave it alone. Sadly, the Tea Partiers will never let that happen until we give them a better deal. They seem to like their presents.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Religious Freedom/Religious Power

The Voice of Truth, a monthly newsletter by our lay action (pro-life) committee came out this week. The topic was Freedom of Religion under Attack. It goes back to when Lord Baltimore declared freedom of religion for Marylanders (especially Catholics) when we was granted his colonial charter in the seventeenth century. My Puritan ancestors were actually granted the same rights for themselves, but not for dissidents, in Massachusetts Bay. My ancestor was the constable in charge of enforcement and his son, a Quaker, was in charge of rebellion.

Then, as now, the question was not religious freedom, it was religious power. The 1950s were the height of Catholic power over both the nation’s sexual life and its entertainment. Like any tyrannical regime, it was overthrown. Some Catholic organizations wanted religious power over their employees regarding use of birth control. They wanted it so bad, they let Valerie Jarrett of Obama’s White House turn an innocuous regulation into a war on women. After goading pro-life politicians into making idiots of themselves, they put forth what would have been the original language and it was ratified by the Supreme Court when they forced a compromise.

One would think the issue dead, but it has become an annual thing for some in the Church, but certainly in not all of our names. It is now part of the Right to Life’s effort to look busy by going after Planned Parenthood’s non-abortive patients. They seem to have no faith in auditing by HHS, who assure that Planned Parenthood adequately seperates their funds according to OMB Circulars. The effort to disregard fact and pass the bill anyway goes forward, but meets a wall of opposition in the U.S. Senate (where 60 votes are needed for such nonsese) and an unfriendly Maryland Legislature.

The closing paragraph with an empty threat to hold Maryland office holders accountable is the final tell that this is about religious power rather than religious freedom or even truth, although I suspect the irony of the Platonic quote escapes them.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Answering the Five Dubia

Four elder Cardinals without pastoral portfolio have asked five question (dubia) of his Holiness, Pope Francis.  They have, of late, been whining to the right wing Catholic press about the fact they have not been answered.  If they were working pastors, it would be necessary to do so.  Instead, they are only grumpy old men who do not deserve to demand the Holy Father's time.  Instead, they get me, whose authority as a not so old retired and divorced Catholic guy is the same as their current portfolio.  They need to accept the fact that they speak as individuals and without authority - except as members of the body of Christ - which is my pay grade as well.  That they don't accept that fact is their main problem.  The divorced Catholics whose lives they wish to judge have more of a stake in Amoris Laetitia than they do.  I have a stake, they do not.  Their only stake is their pride.  Not a good place to come from in seeking God.

1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

Ans: For most people, the marriage is over at divorce, including for the spouse who responded to the divorce petition.  The marriage is essentially adulterated in the eyes of the couple - and if there is abuse, alcoholism or adultery, the wronged party has every right to be free of the marriage.  The Sacrament of Marriage is not a magic spell, it is a human connection.  For the past few decades, pastors have dealt with remarriages that have lasted the test of time by blessing the new union privately.  This is not a new thing and the Synod Fathers recognized this and overwhelming codified what is already the case.  Active bishops who resist should heed the exhortation and not stand on their pride of tradition.

2.  After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

Ans: Veritatis Splendor has largely been ignored pastorally.  It did not change practice that predated it.  It is intrinsically evil to abandon one's spouse and marry another because that other is hurt.  It is not intrinsically evil to escape physical or sexual abuse and marry another.  It is not intrinsically evil to agree to end a marriage by mutual consent and marry another.  It is not intrinsically evil to leave an alcoholic, addict or mentally ill person who rejects treatment and marry another.  Evil happens in relationships, not in some mysterious natural order that is a sophistry designed to get past the fact that God cannot be hurt by sin.  Neither is the Church harmed by remarriage, unless it ratifies remarriages by serial abusers, adulterers, etc. by granting annulments based on the original marriage and not on subsequent behavior.  This question is based on a superstitious view of marital morality.  The time for Catholicism to be a superstition ended with Vatican II, although St. John Paul and Pope Emeritus Benedict endeavored to bring it back.

3.  After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

Ans: The Apostle Paul put this question in perspective when he taught that fornicators sin against their own bodies.  If one has sex after marriage is over, they are properly fornicating, not committing adultery and suffer the moral qualms that go with sex without committed relationship.  That state of moral ambiguity goes away when one contracts a new marriage.  Whether that new marriage, or the prior sexuality, is adulterous depends on how and why the prior marriage ended.  If they are the wronged party, there should be no sense of sin unless one looks at the human relations involved as ancillary to the superstition of some otherworldly natural order, which again, is a sophistry to avoid the fact that sin cannot harm God.

4.  After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

Saint John Paul was speaking from superstition.  Real marriage marriages occur beyond discussions of intrinsic evil.  The intrinsic evil in questions of divorce and remarriage happen to the people involved.  What is intrinsically evil is for the Church to demand practices which deepen their pain.  In the reality of pastoral ministry as it existed before Amoris and even before Veritatis, pastors heard confessions and blessed remarriages which have lasted (as well as other civil marriages and probably in the future, gay marriages) to ease the burdens on the faithful rather than make them heavier.  Indeed, the four ex-bishops who are yelling from the cheap seats are like the pharisees whom Jesus condemns who used the Oral Law to pile burdens onto the Jewish people for the same reasons of moral self-righteousness and personal (and prideful) purity. Prostitutes and the remarried will enter Heaven before these four.

5. After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

Ans.  Veritatis Splendor is essentially Saint John Paul's redux of the Syllabii on Error by Blessed Pius IX and Saint Pius X.  It is a rear guard action in defense of the fantastic Natural Order and a doctrine of original sin that presupposes the reality of the Eden myth.  It is essentially anti-pastoral.  It would refreshing if Pope Francis preached a more realistic view of morality - one that existed in the lives of the people involved rather than one based on the old superstitions of doctrine past.  Sins happen to people, not to God or some natural order idealized by the Vatican.  Amoris Laetitia is an attempt to break us out of that cycle.  While many of us would welcome a repudiation of faith as superstition, many of the weak of faith, including the four ex-pastors, would not be able to handle it.  Faith is not loyalty to the Church, it is trust in God and His benevolence to people in pain.

Conclusion: Between the Cardinals and myself, one side is showing great pride and the other great faith.  I will leave it to the reader to decide who.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Letter to the White House

Early this morning:

Mr. President,  it seems you were ill served by FBI Director Comey when you asked him to help Mike Flynn.  He should have both warned you that what you were asking  came close to obstruction, not in criminal but political terms and should have advised you to communicate instead to the Pardon Attorney at DoJ.  While they traditionally act only after someone is convicted, you have the unilateral power to pardon anyone for any reason, whether convicted or not.  As long as the only issue is communication with the Russian Ambassador about sanctions and unfortunate oversight on security paperwork, a pardon seems appropriate.  Indeed, if he was contacting the Ambassador on your behalf, coming forward and saying so would help defuse the process.  While deciding to do so on your part would have been improper, it would not have been illegal.  Taking responsibility for any part of that incident that you had would help defuse the whole incident, as well as apologizing for any misunderstanding with Director Comey.  As you have recently learned, FBI Directors are not the kind of cops that look the other way because they like you.  Comey is no different from anyone before him or after him.

Unless there is evidence of other wrongdoing regarding the election or violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (and if there are, you should resign and hope the next pardons you and your family), you should quietly accept Censure and agree to a few conditions that will show a commitment to good public service.  It seems that the Attorney General was involved with Russia and lied about it under oath.  Fire him now.  Fire any White House staff member without significant political staff experience (and party office does not count).  I suggest you ask for staff to be detailed from congressional committees, both  majority and minority.  If you want to serve the nation rather than the party, bipartisanship is a must.  In business, personal loyalty is important.  In government, loyalty to the United States is much more important.  Those public servants that forget that when hiring staff are ill served and with them the nation.  Finally, cancel your Twitter account, both while you are the President and when you are a former President, as  in the Club, you don't openly criticize your successors.  Follow W.'s example in this and do not renew your account, ever.  You are now the man of the nation.  You serve it, it does not serve you.   Best wishes, MB

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Another Catholic Voice in the Public Square - May Edition

The May 2017 of our parish pro-life newsletter was included in the bulletin today.  It is not cross-posted on the St. Mary’s webpage and I do not have permission to scan it, so you will have to go to Mass there this week if you want the original text.  At any rate, here is my response to the authors, which I also delivered by e-mail.
Attacking Planned Parenthood funding has become the Pro-life movement's latest attempt at looking busy.  While Trump paid lip service to this effort, in the end he signed the FY 2016 Omnibus that continued it.  If the 2017 Maryland law excludes fungibility restrictions (it likely does not or the MCC would be all over it), then the pro-life move has to be supporting Federal funding.  I love the irony.
The whole body parts issue, that was never a real thing.  Both aborted and miscarried tissue is extracted for research.  It would take federal law to require parental consent, although my guess is that it is already in the forms you sign for both voluntary and therapeutic abortions.
As to when a pregnancy cannot be terminated, it was only in the nineteenth century when even the Catholic Church abandoned quickening for conception.  This is a natural law decision, not an absolute, and it affects personal morality and science, not law.
The science does say conception is important, but it also says that gastrulation is more important.  From The Encyclopedia Britannica:

Gastrulation and the formation of the three germinal layers is the beginning of the subdivision of the mass of embryonic cells produced by cleavage. The cells then begin to change and diversify under the direction of the genes. The genes brought in by the sperm exert control for the first time; during cleavage all processes seem to be under control of the maternal genes. In all cases of hybridization, in which individuals from different species produce offspring, the influence of the sperm is first apparent at gastrulation; paternal characteristics may appear at this stage; or the embryo may stop developing and die if the paternal genes are incompatible with the egg (as is the case in hybridization between species distantly related). (Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropedia, Growth and Development, Vol 20, page 394, col. 2, paragraph 1.)
If you follow the footnotes, the text written by the author is even more definitive on this point.  To ignore this is to spread error.  By the way, it is not until gastrulation that the offspring of parents of differing species are eliminated.
As for what the Constitution says, that there is a right to life for all persons is beyond question.  That the unborn are excluded from this status under the Constitution is also beyond question.  Roe v. Wade analyzes the issue, which is definitively addressed under the 14th Amendment.  From Part IX of the decision:
The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to "person." The first, in defining "citizens," speaks of "persons born or naturalized in the United States." The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause. "Person" is used in other places in the Constitution: in the listing of qualifications for Representatives and Senators, Art. I, 2, cl. 2, and 3, cl. 3; in the Apportionment Clause, Art. I, 2, cl. 3; 53 in the Migration and Importation provision, Art. I, 9, cl. 1; in the Emolument Clause, Art. I, 9, cl. 8; in the Electors provisions, Art. II, 1, cl. 2, and the superseded cl. 3; in the provision outlining qualifications for the office of President, Art. II, 1, cl. 5; in the Extradition provisions, Art. IV, 2, cl. 2, and the superseded Fugitive Slave Clause 3; and in the Fifth, Twelfth, and Twenty-second Amendments, as well as in 2 and 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only postnatally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application. 54   [410 U.S. 113, 158]
All this, together with our observation, supra, that throughout the major portion of the 19th century prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word "person," as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn. 55 This is in accord with the results reached in those few cases where the issue has been squarely presented. McGarvey v. Magee-Womens Hospital, 340 F. Supp. 751 (WD Pa. 1972); Byrn v. New York City Health & Hospitals Corp., 31 N. Y. 2d 194, 286 N. E. 2d 887 (1972), appeal docketed, No. 72-434; Abele v. Markle, 351 F. Supp. 224 (Conn. 1972), appeal docketed, No. 72-730. Cf. Cheaney v. State, ___ Ind., at ___, 285 N. E. 2d, at 270; Montana v. Rogers, 278 F.2d 68, 72 (CA7 1960), aff'd sub nom. Montana v. Kennedy, 366 U.S. 308 (1961); Keeler v. Superior Court, 2 Cal. 3d 619, 470 P.2d 617 (1970); State v. Dickinson, 28 [410 U.S. 113, 159]   Ohio St. 2d 65, 275 N. E. 2d 599 (1971). Indeed, our decision in United States v. Vuitch, 402 U.S. 62 (1971), inferentially is to the same effect, for we there would not have indulged in statutory interpretation favorable to abortion in specified circumstances if the necessary consequence was the termination of life entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection.
In part X, the Court concludes that viability is the ability to be born, so that viable fetuses are protected. Doe v. Bolton added the health of the mother as an exception, but it is up to Congress to define this if it wants that to change.  That it can is obvious under the Partial Birth Abortion Case, which overruled Doe for purposes of that procedure.
It does the movement no good to lie and to claim that all abortion are homicides is a lie.  They are killings, certainly, but until personhood is granted to the unborn at some stage earlier than viability (and hopefully after gastrulation to be scientific), saying abortion is murder is to play fast and loose with legal definitions, which is fraud (Thou Shalt Not Defraud).
Under the fifth section of the Amendment, Congress has enforcement powers.  The Civil Rights Act of 1875 empowered the Courts, but that does not mean Congress can not further enforce the amendment by moving personhood to assisted viability or even the start of the second trimester.  While it good go earlier, it does not have the votes, since granting all first trimester embryos legal personhood would not be limited to those who are aborted, it would include all embryos, including the miscarried, opening up the doors for Tort lawsuits by every Ave Maria and Liberty Law School graduate out for a payday and would require investigating every miscarriage.  It will never pass.
Of course, the last thing the movement wants is to settle this issue legislatively.  It would end the ability of opportunists like Palin and Trump to pander to the Catholic vote by saying the magic words without understanding them.  The fact that the movement is about electoral politics more than the unborn is proven by text from the May issue itself, "Our six senators should know their 'Pro'Death' voting will have serious consequences for them at the next election."  I am no obligation as a voter to go along with a Republican scam.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quanta Cura

Encyclical of Pope Pius IX promulgated on December 8, 1864.
The numbered paragraph are Pius IX. The bold ones are mine. Some Trads consider this the ultimate in papal authority. It is more the ultimate in papal authoritarianism.
To Our Venerable Brethren, all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops having favor and Communion of the Holy See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
With how great care and pastoral vigilance the Roman Pontiffs, our predecessors, fulfilling the duty and office committed to them by the Lord Christ Himself in the person of most Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, of feeding the lambs and the sheep, have never ceased sedulously to nourish the Lord's whole flock with words of faith and with salutary doctrine, and to guard it from poisoned pastures, is thoroughly known to all, and especially to you, Venerable Brethren. And truly the same, Our Predecessors, asserters of justice, being especially anxious for the salvation of souls, had nothing ever more at heart than by their most wise Letters and Constitutions to unveil and condemn all those heresies and errors which, being adverse to our Divine Faith, to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, to purity of morals, and to the eternal salvation of men, have frequently excited violent tempests, and have miserably afflicted both Church and State. For which cause the same Our Predecessors, have, with Apostolic fortitude, constantly resisted the nefarious enterprises of wicked men, who, like raging waves of the sea foaming out their own confusion, and promising liberty whereas they are the slaves of corruption, have striven by their deceptive opinions and most pernicious writings to raze the foundations of the Catholic religion and of civil society, to remove from among men all virtue and justice, to deprave persons, and especially inexperienced youth, to lead it into the snares of error, and at length to tear it from the bosom of the Catholic Church.
He believes he has to do our thinking for us.
2. But now, as is well known to you, Venerable Brethren, already, scarcely had we been elevated to this Chair of Peter (by the hidden counsel of Divine Providence, certainly by no merit of our own), when, seeing with the greatest grief of Our soul a truly awful storm excited by so many evil opinions, and (seeing also) the most grievous calamities never sufficiently to be deplored which overspread the Christian people from so many errors, according to the duty of Our Apostolic Ministry, and following the illustrious example of Our Predecessors, We raised Our voice, and in many published Encyclical Letters and Allocutions delivered in Consistory, and other Apostolic Letters, we condemned the chief errors of this most unhappy age, and we excited your admirable episcopal vigilance, and we again and again admonished and exhorted all sons of the Catholic Church, to us most dear, that they should altogether abhor and flee from the contagion of so dire a pestilence. And especially in our first Encyclical Letter written to you on Nov. 9, 1846, and in two Allocutions delivered by us in Consistory, the one on Dec. 9, 1854, and the other on June 9, 1862, we condemned the monstrous portents of opinion which prevail especially in this age, bringing with them the greatest loss of souls and detriment of civil society itself; which are grievously opposed also, not only to the Catholic Church and her salutary doctrine and venerable rights, but also to the eternal natural law engraven by God in all men's hearts, and to right reason; and from which almost all other errors have their origin.
He thinks our souls and civilization will be lost without his nattering, however he cannot seem to write a readable paragraph. He keeps at it because he does not know how to quit while behind.
3. But, although we have not omitted often to proscribe and reprobate the chief errors of this kind, yet the cause of the Catholic Church, and the salvation of souls entrusted to us by God, and the welfare of human society itself, altogether demand that we again stir up your pastoral solicitude to exterminate other evil opinions, which spring forth from the said errors as from a fountain. Which false and perverse opinions are on that ground the more to be detested, because they chiefly tend to this, that that salutary influence be impeded and (even) removed, which the Catholic Church, according to the institution and command of her Divine Author, should freely exercise even to the end of the world -- not only over private individuals, but over nations, peoples, and their sovereign princes; and (tend also) to take away that mutual fellowship and concord of counsels between Church and State which has ever proved itself propitious and salutary, both for religious and civil interests.1
He believes he is the last word on every issue..and stay off my lawn! He believes it is his duty to think for us, so he is monopolizing the Holy Spirit. She does not wish to be monopolized, however. (Shekhinah in Hebrew). The hierarchs won’t even use Her name.
For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of "naturalism," as they call it, dare to teach that "the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones." And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that "that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require." From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an "insanity,"2 viz., that "liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way." But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching "liberty of perdition;"3 and that "if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling."4
He is entirely against natural law reasoning, which abandons the role of authority in determing the outcome of the argument (making it easier for dolt popes to win). Later popes, like Pius XI in Casti Cannubii, embraced the language of natural law.  There are two kinds of naturalism, one relates to human behavior as an extension of our evolutionary roots (which is actually not a bad hypothesis, especially on sex if the Bonobos are in our family tree - since they do it for pleasure at the drop of a hat) and the other is natural reason that anyone can access without resort to authority. The former is not an old enough theory for Pius to condemn and the latter is condemned because of fear of loss of status, not virtue or holiness, no matter who Pius tries to dress his intentions up as somehow salutatory for the faithful. Natural law mixed with authority is simply authority and ignores truth when it rears its head in opposition to prior teaching (just ask Galileo and everyone on the Index who are now considered major influences in science and theology). 
Pius was afraid of secularists who denied the authority of the Church. He assumed that the believers in scientism simply found that religion was now unnecessary superstition, not entertaining the more likely view that it was the authoritarianism of the Holy See that was the source of at least some of there objections, so of course he responds with more authoritarianism. Not all critics of the Church or some of its natural law doctrines seek its demise. Instead, we seek its improvement and as members we have a right to do so. Listening to that call and incorporating what we see (rather than proposing counter-objections based on authority) will improve doctrine and attract back those who equate Catholicism with despotism.
The purpose of natural law morality is to become humanistic as God is humanistic. God accepts us as we truly are. Jesus commaded us to be perfect in love as the Father is perfect in love. He promised that his yoke is easy and his burden light. Jesus did not want his Church to behave as the Temple Priests did, putting burdens moral burdens on people in order to perfect their conduct before God rather than their love. The moral law of Leviticus was to make life easier and to make the people separate from others. Pius seeks to do the same, but that separateness and perfectionism is burdensome and does not accept some as they are, with Cardinal Ratzinger calling some people disordered. That is burden. God does not create homosexuals to test them with burdens but to test our ability to love.
The moral law and the salvation of the cross are not to prevent people from going to Hell in the next life. Rather, they are how we escape from the Hell of sin and separation from God in this one.
Natural Law does not necessarily disregard scripture, in fact, it cannot. What it does disregard is anyone trying to monopolize reason, scripture and science as being the province of the hierarchy and not all the people.
4. And, since where religion has been removed from civil society, and the doctrine and authority of divine revelation repudiated, the genuine notion itself of justice and human right is darkened and lost, and the place of true justice and legitimate right is supplied by material force, thence it appears why it is that some, utterly neglecting and disregarding the surest principles of sound reason, dare to proclaim that "the people's will, manifested by what is called public opinion or in some other way, constitutes a supreme law, free from all divine and human control; and that in the political order accomplished facts, from the very circumstance that they are accomplished, have the force of right." But who, does not see and clearly perceive that human society, when set loose from the bonds of religion and true justice, can have, in truth, no other end than the purpose of obtaining and amassing wealth, and that (society under such circumstances) follows no other law in its actions, except the unchastened desire of ministering to its own pleasure and interests? For this reason, men of the kind pursue with bitter hatred the Religious Orders, although these have deserved extremely well of Christendom, civilization and literature, and cry out that the same have no legitimate reason for being permitted to exist; and thus (these evil men) applaud the calumnies of heretics. For, as Pius VI, Our Predecessor, taught most wisely, "the abolition of regulars is injurious to that state in which the Evangelical counsels are openly professed; it is injurious to a method of life praised in the Church as agreeable to Apostolic doctrine; it is injurious to the illustrious founders, themselves, whom we venerate on our altars, who did not establish these societies but by God's inspiration."5 And (these wretches) also impiously declare that permission should be refused to citizens and to the Church, "whereby they may openly give alms for the sake of Christian charity"; and that the law should be abrogated "whereby on certain fixed days servile works are prohibited because of God's worship;" and on the most deceptive pretext that the said permission and law are opposed to the principles of the best public economy. Moreover, not content with removing religion from public society, they wish to banish it also from private families. For, teaching and professing the most fatal error of "Communism and Socialism," they assert that "domestic society or the family derives the whole principle of its existence from the civil law alone; and, consequently, that on civil law alone depend all rights of parents over their children, and especially that of providing for education." By which impious opinions and machinations these most deceitful men chiefly aim at this result, viz., that the salutary teaching and influence of the Catholic Church may be entirely banished from the instruction and education of youth, and that the tender and flexible minds of young men may be infected and depraved by every most pernicious error and vice. For all who have endeavored to throw into confusion things both sacred and secular, and to subvert the right order of society, and to abolish all rights, human and divine, have always (as we above hinted) devoted all their nefarious schemes, devices and efforts, to deceiving and depraving incautious youth and have placed all their hope in its corruption. For which reason they never cease by every wicked method to assail the clergy, both secular and regular, from whom (as the surest monuments of history conspicuously attest), so many great advantages have abundantly flowed to Christianity, civilization and literature, and to proclaim that "the clergy, as being hostile to the true and beneficial advance of science and civilization, should be removed from the whole charge and duty of instructing and educating youth."
Relgious societies have been replaced with constitutional ones. In each, basic human rights have been respected, including the right to be free of the tyranny of the Catholic mob egged on by the hierarchs. Public and private morals still survive. Indeed, religion is stronger today than when it was mandated. Vatican II recognized the freedom of religion in both Catholic and non-Catholic nations, repudiating the fears of Pius.
While the pious may be more often offended, it is often a response to its desire to supress free expression of ideas. Moral laws are for people and their happiness. God has no need of our obedience in these areas. A god that would is an imperfect Ogre. Teaching the moral law as self-interest is not only more true, it is more appealing. It most likely will temper what is taught as well, particularly where sexual morality is concerned.
Catholic Charities and Caritas thrive in this environment, although the giving alms part is harder because some see alms as not beneficial to the mendicent who may be alcoholic. Many religious citizens would like to see more in the way of assistance to the poor, but certain conservative bishops refuse to make it a priority, including the bishop whose charge is the Speaker of the House, a Catholic infected with the ideals of Ayn Rand. Teaching against Communism and Socialism is tragically amusing given the First Epistle of the Second Sunday of Eastertide from the second chapter of Acts which is proclaimed this very weekend. Public schools started in America way before Marx, by the way. The purpose of blue laws should not be for religious observance, but to give rest to workers, especially youth and manual laborers. The Sabbath is for man. It is about justice, not worship.
The Church’s treatment of divorce is scandalous, giving abusive and alcoholic men a pass until reform gave women a way out. The Church should concede its error and allow those who have been abused and abandoned a release from their vows rather than hunting for evidence of invalidity, all from inacurate proof-texting. 
Public education has not done as well in some quarters, however the decline in vocations that came with an end to the demonization of sexuality and an abandonment of authoritarian ways of life has led many Catholic schools to close. I actually favor tax supported parochial schools, but they should be unionized as well. Catholic Charter Schools are a good way to start, espeically in neighborhoods where the residents are not necessarily Catholic. The Blaine Amendments are being considered by the Supreme Court and the prognosis is good. The Church should tread lightly on this matter, however, and not try to impose True Religion on non-Catholic students and parents.
The charge that reform harms our youth goes back to Socrates and Athens. Every generation fears the corruption of its youth. The reality is that this only really occurs in wartime, when young men and women should be at university listening to a priest read Shakespeare, as I had the privilege of doing at Catholic College. It seems Pius’ fears did not materialize.
5. Others meanwhile, reviving the wicked and so often condemned inventions of innovators, dare with signal impudence to subject to the will of the civil authority the supreme authority of the Church and of this Apostolic See given to her by Christ Himself, and to deny all those rights of the same Church and See which concern matters of the external order. For they are not ashamed of affirming "that the Church's laws do not bind in conscience unless when they are promulgated by the civil power; that acts and decrees of the Roman Pontiffs, referring to religion and the Church, need the civil power's sanction and approbation, or at least its consent; that the Apostolic Constitutions,6 whereby secret societies are condemned (whether an oath of secrecy be or be not required in such societies), and whereby their frequenters and favourers are smitten with anathema -- have no force in those regions of the world wherein associations of the kind are tolerated by the civil government; that the excommunication pronounced by the Council of Trent and by Roman Pontiffs against those who assail and usurp the Church's rights and possessions, rests on a confusion between the spiritual and temporal orders, and (is directed) to the pursuit of a purely secular good; that the Church can decree nothing which binds the conscience of the faithful in regard to their use of temporal things; that the Church has no right of restraining by temporal punishments those who violate her laws; that it is conformable to the principles of sacred theology and public law to assert and claim for the civil government a right of property in those goods which are possessed by the Church, by the Religious Orders, and by other pious establishments." Nor do they blush openly and publicly to profess the maxim and principle of heretics from which arise so many perverse opinions and errors. For they repeat that the "ecclesiastical power is not by divine right distinct from, and independent of, the civil power, and that such distinction and independence cannot be preserved without the civil power's essential rights being assailed and usurped by the Church." Nor can we pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that "without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church's general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals." But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.
Christ gave leadership to Peter as an individual. The Church has evolved to consider the Pope his heir, although legend puts him in Rome because the emperor was there (and he did not found the Roman Church, St. Paul names Priscilla as its benefactor. How iroic that is. Rome was granted secular power not by Christ but by Constantine, at least until the Donation was found to be forged. When the western empire fell, the papacy filled the vacuum on and off for more than a thousand years and their conduct was an embarrassment to Christ.

Whether the masonic lodges in Italy helped the revolution or not is an interesting question. If they did, God bless them. The prohibition against joining such lodges is anachronistic. My great-grandfather and grandfather were lodge men and it made them no less Christian.
The moral authority of the Church has blossomed with the seizing of the papal states, although there are still problems as noted above with its perversion of the definition of natural reason by imposing authority rather than relying on truth and good argument. Indeed, those who would argue with the Church on morals with to perfect their teaching, not destroy it. Rome should listen humbly when offered new findings on evolution, the history and meaning of the Genesis myth and how it relates to the Sacrifice of the Cross. Knowledge gastrulation would only help its Gospel of Life and proclaiming that Gospel from a feminine ordained voice would crush the notion that it is anti-sex or anti-woman.
6. Amidst, therefore, such great perversity of depraved opinions, we, well remembering our Apostolic Office, and very greatly solicitous for our most holy Religion, for sound doctrine and the salvation of souls which is intrusted to us by God, and (solicitous also) for the welfare of human society itself, have thought it right again to raise up our Apostolic voice. Therefore, by our Apostolic authority, we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines severally mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned.
He lost Italy anyway. Pius mischaracterizes most of the so-called evils he condemns and history has not been kind to him on these matters, the final insult being Vatican II. These are matters of Church power, not dogma, although he tries to dress them up as such. Later popes echoed some of these views, but they too have been rejected as overreach by most Catholics. His infallibility in this area is non-existent, if only because his analysis and conclusions were ultimately wrong. Vatican II etirely rebuffed his views on freedom of religion and today’s religious liberty debate is really about religious power over society. The abuse of such power over morals in the early post-war effort has not been forgotten and will never be restored. 
What is most regretable is the American hierarchy’s susceptibility to flattery on the abortion issue and its cowardice in not advancing economic solutions that would greatly reduce this tragedy because that would influence its partisan position. The Church either fails to understand the relevant constitional law and the possible legislative parameters or it does understand and is cooperating with an evil lie (that Roe can or even should be overturned and replaced with state sovereignty and all equal protection with it) for electoral purposes for a specific party representing the wealthy over the poor. The reason Pius is wrong in this area is that the Church is not particularly good at civil goverment beyond providing charity, health and education.
7. And besides these things, you know very well, Venerable Brethren, that in these times the haters of truth and justice and most bitter enemies of our religion, deceiving the people and maliciously lying, disseminate sundry and other impious doctrines by means of pestilential books, pamphlets and newspapers dispersed over the whole world. Nor are you ignorant also, that in this our age some men are found who, moved and excited by the spirit of Satan, have reached to that degree of impiety as not to shrink from denying our Ruler and Lord Jesus Christ, and from impugning His Divinity with wicked pertinacity. Here, however, we cannot but extol you, venerable brethren, with great and deserved praise, for not having failed to raise with all zeal your episcopal voice against impiety so great.
Haters? Take away his cell phone. People write pamphlets and now blogs against the Church hierarchy (not to be confused with the vast majority of the Chruch) because it insists immunity from error while it most obviously coddles corruption, sexual abuse and errs on moral issues when science and archeology say otherwise. Calling those of us speaking prophetically satanic risks committing unpardonable sin.
8. Therefore, in this our letter, we again most lovingly address you, who, having been called unto a part of our solicitude, are to us, among our grievous distresses, the greatest solace, joy and consolation, because of the admirable religion and piety wherein you excel, and because of that marvellous love, fidelity, and dutifulness, whereby bound as you are to us. and to this Apostolic See in most harmonious affection, you strive strenuously and sedulously to fulfill your most weighty episcopal ministry. For from your signal pastoral zeal we expect that, taking up the sword of the spirit which is the word of God, and strengthened by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, you will, with redoubled care, each day more anxiously provide that the faithful entrusted to your charge "abstain from noxious verbiage, which Jesus Christ does not cultivate because it is not His Father's plantation."7 Never cease also to inculcate on the said faithful that all true felicity flows abundantly upon man from our august religion and its doctrine and practice; and that happy is the people whose God is their Lord.8 Teach that "kingdoms rest on the foundation of the Catholic Faith;9 and that nothing is so deadly, so hastening to a fall, so exposed to all danger, (as that which exists) if, believing this alone to be sufficient for us that we receive free will at our birth, we seek nothing further from the Lord; that is, if forgetting our Creator we abjure his power that we may display our freedom."10 And again do not fail to teach "that the royal power was given not only for the governance of the world, but most of all for the protection of the Church;"11 and that there is nothing which can be of greater advantage and glory to Princes and Kings than if, as another most wise and courageous Predecessor of ours, St. Felix, instructed the Emperor Zeno, they "permit the Catholic Church to practise her laws, and allow no one to oppose her liberty. For it is certain that this mode of conduct is beneficial to their interests, viz., that where there is question concerning the causes of God, they study, according to His appointment, to subject the royal will to Christ's Priests, not to raise it above theirs."12
He still lost all secular power, despite his pleas for help. I doubt he ever understood why.
9. But if always, venerable brethren, now most of all amidst such great calamities both of the Church and of civil society, amidst so great a conspiracy against Catholic interests and this Apostolic See, and so great a mass of errors, it is altogether necessary to approach with confidence the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in timely aid. Wherefore, we have thought it well to excite the piety of all the faithful in order that, together with us and you, they may unceasingly pray and beseech the most merciful Father of light and pity with most fervent and humble prayers, and in the fullness of faith flee always to Our Lord Jesus Christ, who redeemed us to God in his blood, and earnestly and constantly supplicate His most sweet Heart, the victim of most burning love toward us, that He would draw all things to Himself by the bonds of His love, and that all men inflamed by His most holy love may walk worthily according to His heart, pleasing God in all things, bearing fruit in every good work. But since without doubt men's prayers are more pleasing to God if they reach Him from minds free from all stain, therefore we have determined to open to Christ's faithful, with Apostolic liberality, the Church's heavenly treasures committed to our charge, in order that the said faithful, being more earnestly enkindled to true piety, and cleansed through the sacrament of Penance from the defilement of their sins, may with greater confidence pour forth their prayers to God, and obtain His mercy and grace.
He may have gotten prayers and limited public pressure, but he still lost Italy. There is also something unseemly in invoking the Sacred Heart to grant his political wishes and his ultramontism. Again, most say this was the best thing for the Church, although a bit of doctrinal humility in the face of new knowledge would be a strength, not a weakness.
10. By these Letters, therefore, in virtue of our Apostolic authority, we concede to all and singular the faithful of the Catholic world, a Plenary Indulgence in the form of Jubilee, during the space of one month only for the whole coming year 1865, and not beyond; to be fixed by you, venerable brethren, and other legitimate Ordinaries of places, in the very same manner and form in which we granted it at the beginning of our supreme Pontificate by our Apostolic Letters in the form of a Brief, dated November 20, 1846, and addressed to all your episcopal Order, beginning, "Arcano Divinae Providentiae consilio," and with all the same faculties which were given by us in those Letters. We will, however, that all things be observed which were prescribed in the aforesaid Letters, and those things be excepted which we there so declared. And we grant this, notwithstanding anything whatever to the contrary, even things which are worthy of individual mention and derogation. In order, however, that all doubt and difficulty be removed, we have commanded a copy of said Letters be sent you.
And he is trying to bribe the faithful using the same tools that gave us Protestantism in the first place. The irony is sad. The theological narrative of St. Anslem is currently under attack and the whole concept of indulgences will fall with it. Jesus did not die to satisfy the Father. He suffered to reach out to us in our suffereing and died so we can be raised with Him to life eternal.
11. "Let us implore," Venerable Brethren, "God's mercy from our inmost heart and with our whole mind; because He has Himself added, 'I will not remove my mercy from them.' Let us ask and we shall receive; and if there be delay and slowness in our receiving because we have gravely offended, let us knock, because to him that knocketh it shall be opened, if only the door be knocked by our prayers, groans and tears, in which we must persist and persevere, and if the prayer be unanimous . . . let each man pray to God, not for himself alone, but for all his brethren, as the Lord hath taught us to pray."13 But in order that God may the more readily assent to the prayers and desires of ourselves, of you and of all the faithful, let us with all confidence employ as or advocate with Him the Immaculate and most holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who has slain all heresies throughout the world, and who, the most loving Mother of us all, "is all sweet . . . and full of mercy . . . shows herself to all as easily entreated; shows herself to all as most merciful; pities the necessities of all with a most large affection;"14 and standing as a Queen at the right hand of her only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety, can obtain from Him whatever she will. Let us also seek the suffrages of the Most Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of Paul, his Fellow-Apostle, and of all the Saints in Heaven, who having now become God's friends, have arrived at the heavenly kingdom, and being crowned bear their palms, and being secure of their own immortality are anxious for our salvation.
Mercy was given to the Faithful, especially in Italy, by ending the papal states and it will be further given because of our new Pope, who rejects the imperial trappings inherited from the Roman Imperium and teaches with a gentle heart. Pulling out all the stops in asking God for favors does not help when one is wrong.
12. Lastly, imploring from our great heart for You from God the abundance of all heavenly gifts, we most lovingly impart the Apostolic Benediction from our inmost heart, a pledge of our signal love towards you, to yourselves, venerable brethren, and to all the clerics and lay faithful committed to your care.
Pius’ love would be more authentic if he recognized our ability to reason on moral issues for ourselves and trust that we also love the Faith and wish to see it perfected. His successors too.
It was easy for Pius to love his brother bishops. Sinners do as much. Loving those that he perceived to be attacking the Church is what the Master commands. To love is to listen.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Responding to the Syllabus of Errors of Pope Pius IX

Having dealt with St. Pius X’s Syllabus of  Errors on Modernism, which you can find at , I decided to analyze the Syllabus by Pius IX. As before, the writings of Pius are numbered.  They can be found at  My retorts are in bold. These were not as bad as I thought they would be reading Garry Wills, but most are easily refutable and reflect the biases of an age that no longer exists.  Interestingly, as a political scientist, my own ability to do so is carries more authority, although my authority as a Catholic is enough to question the Church.  Those who cling to these condemnations are practicing Catholic Relativism.
1. There exists no Supreme, all-wise, all-provident Divine Being, distinct from the universe, and God is identical with the nature of things, and is, therefore, subject to changes. In effect, God is produced in man and in the world, and all things are God and have the very substance of God, and God is one and the same thing with the world, and, therefore, spirit with matter, necessity with liberty, good with evil, justice with injustice. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.
God is, of course, eternal, et al, however we only know him through our human faculties and through language (of which tradition is a part)
2. All action of God upon man and the world is to be denied. -- Ibid.
Condemnation affirmed
3. Human reason, without any reference whatsoever to God, is the sole arbiter of truth and falsehood, and of good and evil; it is law to itself, and suffices, by its natural force, to secure the welfare of men and of nations. -- Ibid.
Human Reason and language are how we know truth or falsehood, although individuals may be visited with inspiration – all individuals, not just clergy.
4. All the truths of religion proceed from the innate strength of human reason; hence reason is the ultimate standard by which man can and ought to arrive at the knowledge of all truths of every kind. -- Ibid. and Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846, etc.
Revelation exists, but it is filtered through our intelligence and personal experience of God.  The truths of Dogma having to do with the Trinity were by reason and agreement – by elected bishops voting in Council without the Bishop of Rome (who was Aryan).
5. Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to a continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the advancement of human reason. -- Ibid.
Our understanding is imperfect and filtered through ourselves as vessels.
6. The faith of Christ is in opposition to human reason and divine revelation not only is not useful, but is even hurtful to the perfection of man. -- Ibid.
Faith and reason are compatible, as long at the Curia listens to reason and evidence.
7. The prophecies and miracles set forth and recorded in the Sacred Scriptures are the fiction of poets, and the mysteries of the Christian faith the result of philosophical investigations. In the books of the Old and the New Testament there are contained mythical inventions, and Jesus Christ is Himself a myth.
We know from Paul of the existence of Jesus (as well as from Josephus).  Whether the Gospel writers inferred that the scriptures must have been fulfilled and supplemented story with prophesy is not knowable, but I expect not.
8. As human reason is placed on a level with religion itself, so theological must be treated in the same manner as philosophical sciences. -- Allocution "Singulari quadam," Dec. 9, 1854.
Religion must be placed in its own context, but religious sects, including Catholicism, are certainly good subject matter for the disciplines of sociology and history.
9. All the dogmas of the Christian religion are indiscriminately the object of natural science or philosophy, and human reason, enlightened solely in an historical way, is able, by its own natural strength and principles, to attain to the true science of even the most abstruse dogmas; provided only that such dogmas be proposed to reason itself as its object. -- Letters to the Archbishop of Munich, "Gravissimas inter," Dec. 11, 1862, and "Tuas libenter," Dec. 21, 1863.
This depends.  Dogmas having to do with Natural Law are certainly subject to scientific criticism, especially those having to do with human development and human evolution.  In natural law, truth rules, not consistency with prior teaching.  Defending prior teaching in the face of scientific refutation is hubris, not faith. The same applies to both the teachings on sexuality and the ordination of women (sociologists have a field day with that one).
10. As the philosopher is one thing, and philosophy another, so it is the right and duty of the philosopher to subject himself to the authority which he shall have proved to be true; but philosophy neither can nor ought to submit to any such authority. -- Ibid., Dec. 11, 1862.
Philosophers, like natural scientists, are subject to the Truth, which is a way to interact with God, not the Pope, who is attempting to tradition (well, not the current Pope).
11. The Church not only ought never to pass judgment on philosophy, but ought to tolerate the errors of philosophy, leaving it to correct itself. -- Ibid., Dec. 21, 1863.
The Church should quit running away from discussion that might further human understanding. It can certainly reiterate what the Church teaches but should be open to changes in understanding as well.
12. The decrees of the Apostolic See and of the Roman congregations impede the true progress of science. -- Ibid.
Scientists don’t care what Rome says.  Most Catholic universities don’t let the local bishop interfere beyond the theology department, probably because of the Church’s record of interfering without understanding.
13. The method and principles by which the old scholastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable to the demands of our times and to the progress of the sciences. -- Ibid.
Scholasticism is about proving what is already believed rather than understanding new developments in the natural and human sciences and how they might impact theological teaching.
14. Philosophy is to be treated without taking any account of supernatural revelation. -- Ibid.
Supernatural revelation should be reviewed for its social context to see whether the seers had more human motivations (see Leviticus and Revelation) or were adaptions of the histories of others (see Genesis as an adaptation of Sumeric and Babylonian myth).
15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
You can’t force someone to worship a God presented as an ogre.  Spiritual societies work by allowing recovered individuals to choose a God of their understanding.  They do not mandate that the Church believe the same kind of God, although the Church would be wise to do so.
16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. -- Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846.
If Matthew 25 is any guide, if you encounter Christ among the least of these, that is enough.
17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. -- Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863, etc.
See answer to 16 and Vatican II
18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. -- Encyclical "Noscitis," Dec. 8, 1849.
The Catholic Church is a breakaway sect from Orthodoxy.  If Catholics want western unity, they must first submit to Constantinople.  How is that not obvious?
Pests of this kind are frequently reprobated in the severest terms in the Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846, Allocution "Quibus quantisque," April 20, 1849, Encyclical "Noscitis et nobiscum," Dec. 8, 1849, Allocution "Singulari quadam," Dec. 9, 1854, Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863.
Today, cooperative socialism is strongly endorsed by Catholics and social scientists, both American Farm Cooperatives (like the Land O’ Lakes cooperative started by a member of the Disciples of Christ – who was a Mason) and Mondragon (Started by a Catholic priest).  Condemning Masons show how backward the Church still is because it cannot handle social competition (sorry, but the Knights of Columbus are growing into a pathetic old Republicans club).  Biblical societies are not to be condemned, even if they compete in the doctrinal space with the Church.  Soviet Russia and China were/are bureaucratic authoritarianisms, not true communists or socialists.
19. The Church is not a true and perfect society, entirely free- nor is she endowed with proper and perpetual rights of her own, conferred upon her by her Divine Founder; but it appertains to the civil power to define what are the rights of the Church, and the limits within which she may exercise those rights. -- Allocution "Singulari quadam,&quuot; Dec. 9, 1854, etc.
See response to 18. The Apostolic See moved with the seat of empire to New Rome
20. The ecclesiastical power ought not to exercise its authority without the permission and assent of the civil government. -- Allocution "Meminit unusquisque," Sept. 30, 1861.
Agree with Pius that bishops should be independent of the state, however they should also be elected by their parishes or priests and be subject to civil law on pederasty.  They must also never sanction a Catholic politician with loss of Communion for upholding the Constitution. That is sedition.
21. The Church has not the power of defining dogmatically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the only true religion. -- Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
Judaism and Islam are true religions.  Orthodoxy must be included in any definition of Catholic, as should any that believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
22. The obligation by which Catholic teachers and authors are strictly bound is confined to those things only which are proposed to universal belief as dogmas of faith by the infallible judgment of the Church. -- Letter to the Archbishop of Munich, "Tuas libenter," Dec. 21, 1863.
Authors are now free to make arguments based on history, reason, archeology, etc. Vatican II ended preapproval by the local ordinary.  Matters of Dogma concern the Trinity and require an Ecumenical Council to change and proposing change, as long as it is stated as such, is legitimate.  Matters of Natural Law are subject to reason by every person.  The supposed authority of the Church over Natural Law is not legitimate or its not natural law.  The Church can regulate practice, but authors can certainly suggest improvements, like the time for Confirmation to be celebrated and how it is to be prepared for.  Parents should be consulted too.
23. Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals. -- Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
Princes have usurped the rights of citizens, but that is mostly no longer the case in Christendom.  That the Church is no longer allowed to dictate politics is long understood and its attempts to use abortion as an issue have given America and others the worst kind of authoritarians in office. While states cannot require a female priesthood, the faithful can strongly suggest it and do.
24. The Church has not the power of using force, nor has she any temporal power, direct or indirect. -- Apostolic Letter "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851.
Italian civil government has not been great, but is better than the Papal States. See 23
25. Besides the power inherent in the episcopate, other temporal power has been attributed to it by the civil authority granted either explicitly or tacitly, which on that account is revocable by the civil authority whenever it thinks fit. -- Ibid.
See 20
26. The Church has no innate and legitimate right of acquiring and possessing property. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856; Encyclical "Incredibili," Sept. 7, 1863.
The Vatican has made a mess of its finances and is an embarrassment.  Pope Francis is fixing it.  The clergy should never be in charge of property.  We need an elected lay deaconate (including women) to deal with these matters.
27. The sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman pontiff are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.
See 20 and 23
28. It is not lawful for bishops to publish even letters Apostolic without the permission of Government. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856.
No one argues against the Apostolic press, or any press, having freedom to publish or others the freedom to retort.
29. Favours granted by the Roman pontiff ought to be considered null, unless they have been sought for through the civil government. -- Ibid.
The Roman Pontiff no longer has favours to give, save the odd papal knighthood.
30. The immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical persons derived its origin from civil law. -- Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
By definition, immunities from law are granted under law.  Such immunities are gone, however, especially as they regard pederasty.  Indeed, each bishop should be considered a Vatican employee as long as the Pope appoints him, so the Holy See should be financially liable when the choice is to be made between raiding funds reserved for the parishes and charities and selling bad Vatican art that portrays the Holy Family as white northern Italians.
31. The ecclesiastical forum or tribunal for the temporal causes, whether civil or criminal, of clerics, ought by all means to be abolished, even without consulting and against the protest of the Holy See. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856; Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852.
These tribunals have been abolished and more predator priests and conspiring bishops should face both civil and criminal judgment.
32. The personal immunity by which clerics are exonerated from military conscription and service in the army may be abolished without violation either of natural right or equity. Its abolition is called for by civil progress, especially in a society framed on the model of a liberal government. -- Letter to the Bishop of Monreale "Singularis nobisque," Sept. 29, 1864.
There should be no conscription for anyone.  Meanwhile, military chaplains have earned a place of honor in the Church and in history.
33. It does not appertain exclusively to the power of ecclesiastical jurisdiction by right, proper and innate, to direct the teaching of theological questions. -- Letter to the Archbishop of Munich, "Tuas libenter," Dec. 21, 1863.
Theologians in Catholic institutions must be approved by the local bishop, although that power would be better served if these bishops were locally elected.  Further, local bishops do not approve every paper or book.  Vatican II ended those days.  Catholic theologians in secular or other sectarian schools are free to do what they like, including those of us who write without credential.
34. The teaching of those who compare the Sovereign Pontiff to a prince, free and acting in the universal Church, is a doctrine which prevailed in the Middle Ages. -- Apostolic Letter "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851.
There is no such comparison since the Vatican lost Italy to secular government.  The Holy See does enjoy the status of a head of state, which is handy in questions of global warming and poverty, but not helpful in holding predator priests responsible.
35. There is nothing to prevent the decree of a general council, or the act of all peoples, from transferring the supreme pontificate from the bishop and city of Rome to another bishop and another city. -- Ibid.
This is true and such authority should be recognized in Constantinople, which was faithful when Rome was Aryan. 
36. The definition of a national council does not admit of any subsequent discussion, and the civil authority car assume this principle as the basis of its acts. -- Ibid.
National Councils should elect the National or Linguistic Patriarch who shall look to Constantinople for unity.
37. National churches, withdrawn from the authority of the Roman pontiff and altogether separated, can be established. -- Allocution "Multis gravibusque," Dec. 17, 1860.
See 35 and 36.  The Canon of the Mass should pray for the Ecumenical Patriarch, then Rome or the National Patriarch and then the local Ordinary
38. The Roman pontiffs have, by their too arbitrary conduct, contributed to the division of the Church into Eastern and Western. -- Apostolic Letter "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851.
The objection is the truth.  It is all papal arrogance.  It has since been repaired.
39. The State, as being the origin and source of all rights, is endowed with a certain right not circumscribed by any limits. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.
Mr. Jefferson agrees with 39, as does Mr. Madison.  Of course, those limits gave us the right to privacy from birth control through gay marriage.
40. The teaching of the Catholic Church is hostile to the well- being and interests of society. -- Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846; Allocution "Quibus quantisque," April 20, 1849.
Now that Vatican II has recognized religious freedom, including where it has a majority, that hostility no longer exists except when the Church does not understand certain rights and liberties in a nation, like with abortion, and directs Catholic politicians to violate their constitutional oaths to sign unconstitutional legislation or face loss of Communion (which is seditious) or encourages election of politicians who promise progress on this issue when the option being proposed is not possible or desirable.  The tyranny of a Catholic majority is still tyranny.
41. The civil government, even when in the hands of an infidel sovereign, has a right to an indirect negative power over religious affairs. It therefore possesses not only the right called that of "exsequatur," but also that of appeal, called "appellatio ab abusu." -- Apostolic Letter "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851
Correct, for once.  No national has the right to persecute the Church, except of course for protecting children for pederasty (the offending priests should be tied to a millstone and thrown into the see, according to the Lord).
42. In the case of conflicting laws enacted by the two powers, the civil law prevails. -- Ibid.
This depends on the matter and on whose rights are at stake.  The Church should stay out of civil law matters.  While it has the freedom to not do gay marriages, there is no such freedom to deny the rights of gay employees to work for the Church.  It would be better, of course, if the Church would honor the families and celebrate these unions. Catholic schools should be able to control their curricula, provided that certain courses be taught in civics and to maintain educational standards.
43. The secular Dower has authority to rescind, declare and render null, solemn conventions, commonly called concordats, entered into with the Apostolic See, regarding the use of rights appertaining to ecclesiastical immunity, without the consent of the Apostolic See, and even in spite of its protest. -- Allocution "Multis gravibusque," Dec. 17, 1860; Allocution "In consistoriali," Nov. 1, 1850.
There should be no immunity from the civil law, especially on pederasty, where the Vatican should start backstopping civil lawsuits.
44. The civil authority may interfere in matters relating to religion, morality and spiritual government: hence, it can pass judgment on the instructions issued for the guidance of consciences, conformably with their mission, by the pastors of the Church. Further, it has the right to make enactments regarding the administration of the divine sacraments, and the dispositions necessary for receiving them. -- Allocutions "In consistoriali," Nov. 1, 1850, and "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.
The Church can teach what it wants and the public is free to challenge it when it is wrong.  The state cannot, however.  It can certainly say who can get married but not require the Church to perform the ceremony, though it must recognize the marriage among employees, regardless of their religion.
45. The entire government of public schools in which the youth- of a Christian state is educated, except (to a certain extent) in the case of episcopal seminaries, may and ought to appertain to the civil power, and belong to it so far that no other authority whatsoever shall be recognized as having any right to interfere in the discipline of the schools, the arrangement of the studies, the conferring of degrees, in the choice or approval of the teachers. -- Allocutions "Quibus luctuosissimmis," Sept. 5, 1851, and "In consistoriali," Nov. 1, 1850.
The requirements of accreditation, both from associations and government curricula, are quite settled.  Public schools are totally under the civic power, although it would be better if parental boards had control.  Universities have ancient rights of independence, although these too must meet accreditation requirements.
46. Moreover, even in ecclesiastical seminaries, the method of studies to be adopted is subject to the civil authority. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856.
Civil authorities cannot govern seminaries. Pius gets another one right.
47. The best theory of civil society requires that popular schools open to children of every class of the people, and, generally, all public institutes intended for instruction in letters and philosophical sciences and for carrying on the education of youth, should be freed from all ecclesiastical authority, control and interference, and should be fully subjected to the civil and political power at the pleasure of the rulers, and according to the standard of the prevalent opinions of the age. -- Epistle to the Archbishop of Freiburg, "Cum non sine," July 14, 1864.
Pius gets this one wrong.  Public schools should be public and the bishop should keep his hands off.  This is largely the case now anyway.
48. Catholics may approve of the system of educating youth unconnected with Catholic faith and the power of the Church, and which regards the knowledge of merely natural things, and only, or at least primarily, the ends of earthly social life. -- Ibid.
Catholics are allowed to use public schools if they so wish. Indeed, they often must because of the cost of Catholic Schools, although this may change.  Parents should control these schools.
49. The civil power may prevent the prelates of the Church and the faithful from communicating freely and mutually with the Roman pontiff. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.
This is no longer an issue in all free nations (China being the execpetion).
50. Lay authority possesses of itself the right of presenting bishops, and may require of them to undertake the administration of the diocese before they receive canonical institution, and the Letters Apostolic from the Holy See. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856.
Lay authority should not choose bishops, but the laity of the diocese should and local bishops should comply with these decisions and consecrate their new brother.
51. And, further, the lay government has the right of deposing bishops from their pastoral functions, and is not bound to obey the Roman pontiff in those things which relate to the institution of bishoprics and the appointment of bishops. -- Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852, Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
Bishops who cover up pederasty by priests should be jailed, whether deposed or not.  Bishops who are appointed by Rome who deny Communion to Catholic politicians who perform their constitutional duties as required should be referred to the Nuncio for discipline as a condition of the Nuncio’s presence in the United States.
52. Government can, by its own right, alter the age prescribed by the Church for the religious profession of women and men; and may require of all religious orders to admit no person to take solemn vows without its permission. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856.
This seems to only be a problem in China and China is wrong.
53. The laws enacted for the protection of religious orders and regarding their rights and duties ought to be abolished; nay, more, civil Government may lend its assistance to all who desire to renounce the obligation which they have undertaken of a religious life, and to break their vows. Government may also suppress the said religious orders, as likewise collegiate churches and simple benefices, even those of advowson and subject their property and revenues to the administration and pleasure of the civil power. -- Allocutions "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852; "Probe memineritis," Jan. 22, 1855; "Cum saepe," July 26, 1855.
No one is now suggesting that religious orders be banned, although many are falling apart. It was a mistake to let members avoid Social Security, as many retired religious are now destitute and must sell their property to be cared for. Sadly, religious missionaries and local clergy are targeted for persecution by fascist death squads in Central America, sadly with the encouragement of the American government.
54. Kings and princes are not only exempt from the jurisdiction of the Church, but are superior to the Church in deciding questions of jurisdiction. -- Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
Constantine, before his baptism, directed a few Councils.  This had been an imperial right.  This is no longer the case.  In the west, there are few working kings and princes and none bother the Church.
55. The Church ought to be separated from the .State, and the State from the Church. -- Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852.
Even in the United States, the Church is a valuable partner in both education and social services, often receiving contracts and grants.
56. Moral laws do not stand in need of the divine sanction, and it is not at all necessary that human laws should be made conformable to the laws of nature and receive their power of binding from God. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.
The laws of nature depend on reason and evidence, not the authority of Rome.
57. The science of philosophical things and morals and also civil laws may and ought to keep aloof from divine and ecclesiastical authority. -- Ibid.
The Church is free to give its opinion on civil law and morals in both legislative and judicial matters, but it must respect the ground rules and be honest when presenting whether its findings are based on authority or on reason and evidence.  The legislature and courts are free to disregard the Church’s evidence when it is wanting, as when it defended California’s Proposition 8 using grounds that did not even conform with Canon Law (marriage need not require fecundity, so you can’t prohibit gays from marrying for reasons of fecundity without looking like a bigot).
58. No other forces are to be recognized except those which reside in matter, and all the rectitude and excellence of morality ought to be placed in the accumulation and increase of riches by every possible means, and the gratification of pleasure. -- Ibid.; Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863.
Science only deals with what it can measure.  So far, not even consciousness has been measurable as being the precursor to thought, which starts in the material brain.  The soul must manifest in some other way, such as the electo-chemistry of the brain and every cell.  Whether there is another manifestation of this is unknowable by science.  Morality is for man, not man for morality.  God does not require us to be moral, rather he teaches us to be moral for our happiness and pleasure.
59. Right consists in the material fact. All human duties are an empty word, and all human facts have the force of right. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.
See 58
60. Authority is nothing else but numbers and the sum total of material forces. -- Ibid.
Authority is about consent, not numbers.  Free will is from God who created the intellect to present options to the Will, which desires good, truth and love.  Our exercise of the intellect and will collectively grants authority to both Church and State.
61. The injustice of an act when successful inflicts no injury on the sanctity of right. -- Allocution "Jamdudum cernimus," March 18, 1861.
The injustice of an act exists when it deprives another of their rights, especially if the actor claims such a right, like freedom from murder, rape or theft. Of course, some rights are outside the jurisdiction of society to regulate and are therefore private in the civil realm.
62. The principle of non-intervention, as it is called, ought to be proclaimed and observed. -- Allocution "Novos et ante," Sept. 28, 1860.
See 61
63. It is lawful to refuse obedience to legitimate princes, and even to rebel against them. -- Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1864; Allocution "Quibusque vestrum," Oct. 4, 1847; "Noscitis et Nobiscum," Dec. 8, 1849; Apostolic Letter "Cum Catholica."
There are few legitimate princes to obey and they are only obeyed (like Monaco) because their scope is insignificant.  All governments face revolution if they allow society to break down into anarchy or tyranny.  A government that can be goaded into making things worse in response to provocation has lost its right to rule.
64. The violation of any solemn oath, as well as any wicked and flagitious action repugnant to the eternal law, is not only not blamable but is altogether lawful and worthy of the highest praise when done through love of country. -- Allocution "Quibus quantisque," April 20, 1849.
Solemn oaths, especially to Constitutions, must be upheld. See 40. Love of country does not allow wickedness to others. There shall be no Muslim Ban or Wall, not because of eternal law but because of the Constitutional system.
65. The doctrine that Christ has raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament cannot be at all tolerated. -- Apostolic Letter "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851.
Agree with Pius in part. Marriage is very much a Sacrament, even without a priest to witness it and as long as conjugal relations are possible, regardless of fecundity.  Gay or Straight.
66. The Sacrament of Marriage is only a something accessory to the contract and separate from it, and the sacrament itself consists in the nuptial benediction alone. -- Ibid.
Agree with Pius in Part. The couple makes the Sacrament, gay or straight.
67. By the law of nature, the marriage tie is not indissoluble, and in many cases divorce properly so called may be decreed by the civil authority. -- Ibid.; Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852.
Civil divorce is a universal fact of life.  The Church must now recognize that some marriages that were validly entered into have failed and that the victim should be granted a divorce rather than an annulment.  The injuring party should not be allowed to ever remarry.
68. The Church has not the power of establishing diriment impediments of marriage, but such a power belongs to the civil authority by which existing impediments are to be removed. -- Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
Impediments may be established for Catholic weddings but not for civil ones.  Civil government can also establish impediments that the Church must respect and has also recognized the rights of homosexuals to marriage as a natural law right under constitutions.
69. In the dark ages the Church began to establish diriment impediments, not by her own right, but by using a power borrowed from the State. -- Apostolic Letter "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851.
In the Dark Ages, marriage was a lesser sacrament.  History proves it, including histories taught in Catholic college sacraments classes.
70. The canons of the Council of Trent, which anathematize those who dare to deny to the Church the right of establishing diriment impediments, either are not dogmatic or must be understood as referring to such borrowed power. -- Ibid.
See 68.  Trent is history.
71. The form of solemnizing marriage prescribed by the Council of Trent, under pain of nullity, does not bind in cases where the civil law lays down another form, and declares that when this new form is used the marriage shall be valid.
See 68. Trent is history.
72. Boniface VIII was the first who declared that the vow of chastity taken at ordination renders marriage void. -- Ibid.
The right of the clergy to marry before ordination is not dispute, its settled.  The right of marriage after ordination should be granted and doing so is a matter of practice, not dogma.  The problem is the requirement of Continence, which is based on misogynistic views of sex within marriage rendering the celebrant of Mass impure.  This requirement must be repudiated as an insult to wives of clergy and laity. Whomever made the first declaration is immaterial
73. In force of a merely civil contract there may exist between Christians a real marriage, and it is false to say either that the marriage contract between Christians is always a sacrament, or that there is no contract if the sacrament be excluded. -- Ibid.; Letter to the King of Sardinia, Sept. 9, 1852; Allocutions "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852, "Multis gravibusque," Dec. 17, 1860.
Whether a marriage is sacramental is based on the intentions of the couple.  The start of many marriages today now predate the ceremony and this is not unique to modernity.
74. Matrimonial causes and espousals belong by their nature to civil tribunals. -- Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9 1846; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851, "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851; Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852.
The Church essentially takes on the functions of civil tribunals when it performs both the civil and religious functions in witnessing the marriage, at least in the United States.
75. The children of the Christian and Catholic Church are divided amongst themselves about the compatibility of the temporal with the spiritual power. -- "Ad Apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851.
The Civil Power of the Pope was settled long ago.  Italy is free of it.  The roles of the Church in civil society are always in flux in both law and constitutions. The goal is utilitarian, not in protecting the superiority of the Church or Religious Power over society.
76. The abolition of the temporal power of which the Apostolic See is possessed would contribute in the greatest degree to the liberty and prosperity of the Church. -- Allocutions "Quibus quantisque," April 20, 1849, "Si semper antea," May 20, 1850.
It has.
77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. -- Allocution "Nemo vestrum," July 26, 1855.
True in America since my ancestors first landed (and a bit before) in both Plymouth and Jamestown, although the latter was not a champion of the free exercise of religion, as my family imposed both Quakerism and Anabaptism on the scene in New England and faced resistance from the state.  Constitutional freedom of and from religion is still a work in progress here, as are attempts to resist religious power.  Vatican II settled this question for the Church, repudiating Pius once and for all time.
78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. -- Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852.
See 77
79. Moreover, it is false that the civil liberty of every form of worship, and the full power, given to all, of overtly and publicly manifesting any opinions whatsoever and thoughts, conduce more easily to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indifferentism. -- Allocution "Nunquam fore," Dec. 15, 1856.
Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion, from religious practice and from religious control over public morals in the area of popular expression (no more religious censors).  Since 1959, this has been firmly established. Attempts to use religious power to ban private matters, like contraception (private means exempt from public decision, not simply pubic view) and marriage equality are still considered progress and will continue to be.
80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.- -Allocution "Jamdudum cernimus," March 18, 1861.
The current one has.  After Vatican II that has been the rule.  Work is still needed on reimaging Original Sin as a sin of blame rather than disobedience and with salvation as Jesus experiencing human brokenness rather than as a blood offering of obedience.  The Church’s understanding of contraception (that gastrulation is the beginning of development, not fertilization) and homosexuality (which is caused by epigenetics before birth and is therefore not a choice, implying that homosexual congress is natural for those who developed that way) would also be appropriate.