Tuesday 30th September 2014

Recent Articles:

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

September 29, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


I spent some time before writing this column looking for a modern way of stating the logical error of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” reasoning. Considering the modern world’s disdain for Latin terms coined by medieval theologians, I was sure there would be some version in modern English, along the lines of the substitution of Common Era (CE) for Anno Domini (AD). But I didn’t find it. Writers and journalists seem content to use the old term “a post hoc error.”
But whether English or Latin is used, it is important to introduce students to this faulty logic. Charlatans and demagogues have been known to employ it to make their case. You can count, for example, on every administration in office attributing a drop in the unemployment rate to their economic policies, while at the same time pointing to some policy of their predecessor for anything that goes wrong.
“Post hoc, ergo propter hoc” means literally “after this therefore because of this.” It is an unsound presumption. It is illogical to hold that because B follows A, A caused B. Sequence does not establish a probability of causation, not by itself. Chance or some other factor could be the explanation. Coincidences occur. Because you wore red socks the day you passed your math exam does not mean the socks were the cause of your success. Because you had a rabbit’s foot in your pocket when you hit a home run does not mean the rabbit’s foot was the explanation for your batting prowess. There is no reason to assume that A caused B in these examples. … Continue Reading

Engaging Islam And The Islamists

September 28, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


(Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International.)

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Pope Francis was in the online news recently because of what he said about Islam in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (n. 253).
In this document of 288 numbered sections, there are 217 references, but there are no references for this statement regarding Islam. In response, the onepeterfive.com blog listed quotations from seven saints and a recent scholar who would have a hard time agreeing with the papal statement. Some of the statements by Catholic saints were made just prior to their being killed by Muslims for their refusal to convert to Islam.
The papal wishful statement was in the context of hoping for mutual understanding and for better treatment of Christians in areas of Muslim dominance: “I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries!” To which we can all say “Amen.” … Continue Reading

Ten Commandments Into Law?

September 27, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


The political satirist P.J. O’Rourke can be as funny and insightful as anyone on the scene these days. Not that he is Mark Twain, of course, but no one else is either. (If you want to laugh out loud over and over do a Google search of “Mark Twain quotations.”)
Here are some of my favorite O’Rourke quips: “”You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.” “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” “Gossip is what you say about the object of flattery when they aren’t present.” Good stuff: concise wisecracks that make a serious point.
Making a “serious point” is the key. O’Rourke tries to be funny, but not in the manner of a comedian doing pratfalls in a silly hat. He pokes fun at people he thinks need to be taken down a notch or two. His column on the website The Daily Beast on July 20 is a case in point. In it, he describes his reactions to a libertarian gathering he attended recently in Las Vegas. He talks of “certain difficulties” that arose from being with “people who agree with me.” … Continue Reading

Santorum Raises Hope… That U.S. Won’t Follow Other Nations’ Historical Path Of Decline

September 26, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


PHOENIX — The uniqueness of the United States being founded on the concept of “God-given rights” could be the reason this nation won’t follow the historical pattern of other lands that went into irreversible decline, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a dinner of business executives here.
“America was founded on principles that no other nation has” in its basic recognition of God, Santorum, a former Pennsylvania U.S. senator and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, told a September 10 dinner of the Phoenix chapter of Legatus, a national organization of Catholic business leaders.
He added later that history shows a “pattern of ascendancy, then dominance, then decline” that never was reversed in nations that had become world leaders. However, “No country has ever been founded on God-given rights” before, as the U.S. was. … Continue Reading

When Evil Looks Familiar… Strange Things Happen To Conscience

September 25, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


Propaganda wars around the world seek victories by winning bystanders. Persuading spectators from afar to choose one side over the other can be as useful in a fight as battlefield victories.
“You cannot imagine the pleasure you get from cutting off a baby’s head,” said a startling headline at the anti-Islamist website Jihad Watch on September 14, which was picked up by the religion-news aggregator PewSit
The bloodthirsty comment was attributed to a fighter with the Islamic State who described what he’d do when bursting in upon rival Muslims — death to the grandmother, the wife, then the baby.
The description sounds credible these days in light of the Islamic State heavily publicizing its beheadings of bound captives, plus reports that women and children are being slaughtered.
Yet an online reader with an Arabic-style name replied that the item about the baby was just America making up “weird stories.”
At least no one, not even the Islamic State, says the beheadings of journalists are imaginary. … Continue Reading

A Movie Review . . . “The Song” Celebrates Forgiveness And Redemption

September 24, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


In today’s culture that constantly attacks traditional marriage, life, and family, we all face terrific contrary pressures as we try to stay on the path of the straight and narrow. Temptations abound and the wickedness and snares of the Devil are constantly trying to get us to sin and put our eternal souls at risk.
Sometimes when we do choose to sin, we leave behind the wreckage of our sins, having hurt some of the people we purport to love the most, including God. This film is exactly about that.
The Song is one of the most enjoyable films I have watched in a long time. It has style, great acting, and a terrific soundtrack that is a huge part of the story because it is about a musician and his journey in life.
Actor Alan Powell puts in a stellar performance as the young, rugged, and handsome Jed King, son of a hell-raising country legend who passed down his sins to his son the same way other fathers pass down an old toolbox or even a hammer. … Continue Reading

Our Divisiveness Keeps Abortion Business Thriving

September 23, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


Many years ago, when I was a community organizer in Chicago, I cut my teeth with some of the most effective left-wing organizers as part of the politically influential Grassroots Collaborative. This group included ACORN, SEIU, American Friends Service Committee, and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).
Before I alarm you any further, let me just clear the air here. I certainly did not subscribe to their politics and I took a lot of abuse simply for being Catholic and pro-life, but I believed in the human dignity of the poor and disenfranchised people these organizations were claiming to be fighting for.
I soon realized that the community organizers and unions weren’t really interested in helping people, but rather were interested in using them for their own political agendas and gains and their own respective organization’s long-term sustainability. … Continue Reading

Do Fewer Teachers = Better Teachers?

September 22, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off

People have been seeking ways to improve the quality of teachers in this country for as long as most of us can remember. S.M. has forwarded to First Teachers a column by Amanda Ripley from the June 17 issue of the Arizona Daily Star that contends that Finland has come up with an effective answer to the problem. Ripley is the author of The Smartest Kids in the World — and How They Got That Way.
Ripley calls our attention to “something that hasn’t made many headlines but has the potential to finally revolutionize education. . . . In a handful of statehouses and universities across the country, a few farsighted Americans are finally pursuing what the world’s smartest countries have found to be the most efficient education reform ever tried. They are making it harder to become a teacher.”
Ripley points to reforms being made in Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Rhode Island to “raise the bar” for admission to the their states’ schools of education. In Rhode Island, a state “which once had one of the nation’s lowest entry-bars for teachers,” its education colleges will be required by 2016 “to admit classes of students with a mean SAT, ACT or GRE score in the top one-half of the national distribution.” By 2020, “the average score must be in the top one-third of the national range, which would put Rhode Island in line with education superpowers like Finland and Singapore.” … Continue Reading

The Deposit of Faith And The Development of Doctrine

September 21, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


There are certain words or terms in the Church’s vocabulary for explaining her beliefs and practices which I have always found especially enlightening, and perhaps more than any others, those which I have given as the title of this article: “The Deposit of Faith and the Development of Doctrine.”
Together they wonderfully encapsulate the whole process by which the Christian Revelation was given to the world and over the centuries came to be formulated and explained in the way it has by its authorized guardian, the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.
Although in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s there was a lot of talk about an “ongoing revelation” (God was continually revealing new truths), this idea has not been accepted by the Church.
As every well-instructed Catholic knows, divine Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle, St. John, and this, in its implicit form, is what “the deposit of faith” means. I especially like it because it has such a satisfyingly solid, definite sound. It is the totality of natural and supernatural truths and facts about the nature, history, and destiny of humankind and our relationship with God which was given by our Lord into the care of the apostles along with a promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit to help them and their successors expound it. … Continue Reading

Obamacare’s Hidden Agenda

September 20, 2014 Frontpage Comments Off


We are all taught early in our education that it is unacceptable to act as if we can read the minds of those who disagree with us on an issue. The formal term for it is “imputing motives.” We are told that we should deal with what our opponents actually say, not charge them without proof of dishonest intentions or “ulterior motives”; that we should not attack their character with an “ad hominem” argument, but the quality of their evidence, since even lowlifes can have the facts on their side at times.
Fair enough. But there are instances when circumstantial evidence of a hidden agenda can be too overwhelming to ignore. I submit that just such a situation exists when dealing with “pro-choice” groups and proponents of Obamacare who insist that they have no intention of pushing for taxpayer-funded abortion. Sorry: I find it hard to believe them. I submit that they are biding their time, waiting for the right moment to push for the goal of government subsidized abortion on demand.
That is why there is little reason for pro-life Americans to be pleased by the latest proposal by the Obama administration to exempt employers with religious objections from providing coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients in their company-provided health care insurance. It is a “compromise” that opens the door for government-financed abortion on demand. … Continue Reading

On the Way to a Troubled Synod


Cardinal Newman once remarked that anyone boarding the Barque of Peter shouldn’t look too closely at the engine room. Sometimes when there are storms brewing in the Vatican – as there are right now over the Synod on the Family…Continue Reading

Liberalism, Choice and Compulsion

Social liberals consider traditional moral restrictions cruel in their very essence. Each of us, they believe, should be as free as possible to pursue his happiness as he sees it, consistent with the equal ability of others to do the…Continue Reading

Vatican says bishop’s dismissal not the result of sex abuse

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican denied Pope Francis had dismissed a controversial Paraguayan bishop because of his mishandling of sex abuse accusations, attributing the decision instead to other failings of governance and…Continue Reading

Padre Pio Was The Opposite Of A Fan-hugging, Autograph-signing Celebrity

Brusque to the point of being rude’, the Italian saint was only interested in one personality – the Son of God By FR ALEXANDER LUCIE-SMITH on Friday, 26 September 2014 There is a somewhat strange passage of scripture which by…Continue Reading

Music Director Hasn’t Resigned Despite Archbishop’s Request

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) – On Sept. 12, Jamie Manzi-Moore was asked by Archbishop John Nienstedt to resign from the church where he has served as music director for more than 17 years — but he hasn’t done it yet.…Continue Reading

“The Teachings Of The Church Must Be Upheld.”

Minnesota Archbishop Backs Removing Gay Liturgist Who Married Partner LifeSiteNews reported Thursday that Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis backed the removal of parish liturgist Jamie Moore after “marrying” his partner on September 20 in strict violation of the Catholic…Continue Reading

State Medical Board Lets Clinic Get Away With Killing Woman in Botched Abortion

The State Medical Board of Ohio has stunned pro-life supporters by dropping all complaints related to the death of abortion patient Lakisha Wilson. Those who filed complaints seeking an investigation into Wilson’s death at Preterm, a Cleveland abortion facility, have…Continue Reading

Former Crystal Cathedral Undergoing Catholic Makeover

(CNA/EWTN News) – “Through this innovative design process an insightful plan has emerged that will establish Christ Cathedral as a place for involvement in the sacraments, a place to hear the Word of God proclaimed and a place for personal…Continue Reading

True Mercy and the Indissolubility of Marriage

September 25, 2014 In his foreword to a new book, Cardinal George Pell argues that “one cannot maintain the indissolubility of marriage by allowing the ‘remarried’ to receive Holy Communion.” Cardinal George Pell The following appears as the foreword to…Continue Reading

Professor Douglas Kries on Cupich

Well, this is interesting.  Professor Douglas Kries at Gonzaga University in Spokane gives his assessment of Bishop Blase Cupich, the Spokane Bishop tapped to head the Chicago Archdiocese: Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga, which was nothing short of an extraordinary…Continue Reading


A group funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been contacting Catholic school leaders, urging support for the Common Core standards and asking them to oppose the Cardinal Newman Society’s “Catholic Is Our Core” initiative. According to the…Continue Reading

Will Catholic bishops annul Pope Francis’ marriage reform initiative?

VATICAN CITY ( RNS) Pope Francis has appointed a special commission to look at ways to make it easier for Roman Catholics to dissolve their marriages in the eyes of the church. The goal of the 11-member commission announced Saturday…Continue Reading

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'From our friends at The Foundry'

Today . . .

Pope At Santa Marta: The Angels Defend Us


(Vatican Radio) The angels battle Satan for the destiny of mankind and win.  They defend and custody  the greatest mystery of the Church, God-made-Man.  Even though in Satan often presents “humanistic explanations” for his attacks on mankind.  This was the focus of Pope Francis homily at Mass Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta, marking the Feast of the Holy Archangels…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Synod Prayer To Holy Family


      _________________(Vatican Radio) Sunday, 28 September is to be set aside as a Day of Prayer for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to take place from 5 to 219 October to treat the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization. The Holy See on Saturday released a prayer guide,…Continue Reading

Is Burger King An Economic Patriot?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.” Jefferson’s brutal verdict comes to mind in the fierce debate over inversions, those decisions by U.S. companies to buy foreign firms to move their headquarters abroad…Continue Reading

How The Eastern Orthodox Misunderstand Catholic Marian Doctrine

By JAMES LIKOUDIS It is not only Protestants who seriously misunderstand the Marian doctrines of the Catholic Church. Surprisingly, various Eastern Orthodox who have traditionally manifested a deep and devout veneration of the Theotokos (Mother of God) are seen to deviate from their own ancient traditions. Thus one finds astonishing the views of Archbishop John…Continue Reading

Where Do We Begin?

By DONALD DeMARCO It often happens that the statement of a perceptive writer becomes more true many years after he originally framed it. Such is the case with George Orwell. The author of 1984, which he penned in 1948, stated: “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary… Our Lady Of La Salette

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Part 2 The previous article detailed how our Lady appeared to Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Mathieu on Saturday, September 19, and now we can see what happened to them afterward. It was only when the Blessed Virgin had disappeared that the children fully realized that the Lady they had seen was…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Phenomenology And The Sources Of John Paul’s Thought

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Gubser, Michael. The Far Reaches: Phenomenology, Ethics and Social Renewal in Central Europe. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. Pp. xiii +335. Professor Gubser opens his narrative with the statement: “The history of phenomenology is partly the history of friendships among the early disciples of Husserl in Munich and Göttingen, among East…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . God Does Not Come Through The Computer

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Virtual reality can never serve as “parish replacement therapy” for “Catholics on leave.” Many believers remain alienated as a result of personal choices from the life of the Church. Some of them have been known to post about their frustrations on Facebook, writing such things as, “Continue to wait for answers…” God, however, does not…Continue Reading

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or…Supernatural? The Biblical Foundations Of Celibacy: Summing Up

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 6 MThe Catholic priesthood is God’s holy calling (2 Tim. 1:5-9) to some men to follow Jesus’ footsteps more closely (St. Augustine). The priest is called to be an angel of the Lord, always keeping His Law in his mouth (Mal. 2:7). A truly celibate priest is one who is a real man, who…Continue Reading

Catechism Of the Catholic Church: Prologue

By Don Fier “Father, . . . this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). This Scripture verse, the opening words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), succinctly and beautifully expresses its very purpose. The CCC’s first paragraph goes on to expand on…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. What do you know about the Concordant Literal Version of the Bible? — G.P., Florida. A. It is published by the Concordant Publishing Concern in Almont, Mich., which describes itself as “a nondenominational, nonprofit association founded in 1909 for the purpose of disseminating the facts and truths of the ancient manuscripts of the Scriptures.” The company’s website says that…Continue Reading

Bearing Great Fruit

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7 Phil. 4:6-9 Matt. 21:33-43   In the first reading today we hear about God’s choice of Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, as the people from whom He expects great fruit to be produced. In the reading Israel is likened to a vineyard in which only the…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes… Saints Cosmas And Damian

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the last book of the Old Testament, 2 Maccabees, we read of the mother who stood by her seven sons, encouraging them to hold true to the law of their fathers and not give in to the attempts of Antiochus IV Epiphanes to get them to abandon their faith by eating the flesh of a swine…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading