Better Red than Dead?

This project has fallen by the wayside for me as other things have taken precedence, but I want to revive it.  I don’t expect I’ll be able to write as much as I initially wanted to, but I will start back at a pace I think I can maintain and see where things go.

Instead of a full thermos, this may just be a shot of espresso, but I hope it is invigorating.

The Chinese Deal

Pope Francis is reportedly close to making a “deal” with the communist regime in China.  The deal is a mistake.  Essentially, Francis is assuming that it is better to work with the Chinese government than against it, a calculation that Chinese Catholics, knowing their own government far better than Rome, have already rejected.

Globally, the deal sets bad precedent.  It seriously weakens papal authority over bishops and independence from state control.  The agreement would officially approve bishops that the Chinese government appointed without papal approval, signaling it’s now officially okay for governments to appoint bishops without Vatican approval.  Not only would it approve the Chinese government’s past inappropriate behavior, it now gives them final say-so over the appointment of future bishops.

Locally (within China), it’s an awful move that discourages faithful Catholics who have been true to the Church as one, holy, catholic, and above all Apostolic.  Chinese Catholics have been persecuted and have lost homes, jobs, families, freedom, and in some cases their lives to stand for the Faith and against improperly ordained bishops and priests. And now Francis suggests their sacrifices are meaningless.

We are coming full circle to the undoing of John Paul II’s pontificate.  Now we may get to see what would have happened had John Paul II surrendered to the threat of the Soviets rather than telling the people of Poland to be not afraid.  We shall see what happens when the Church aligns itself with an oppressive government, rather than showing Solidarity with an oppressed people.  This move implicitly condones persecution instead of supporting persecuted Catholics and insisting on the full rights and independence of the Church.  But this is nothing new from a pastor who has shown far more interest in placating outside groups than ministering to Catholics themselves.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry calls the deal a disaster: “The pope surely thinks of such a deal as a coup. But, if approved, it would be an unmitigated catastrophe. It would not only be morally indefensible, it would also amount to nothing less than a dynamiting of Chinese Catholicism.”

Cardinal Zen slams Vatican diplomats who say that embracing the Patriotic Association is needed to preserve the church’s hierarchy and sacraments. “I would prefer no bishops,” he says. “With fake bishops you are destroying the church.”…“Also in the official church there are so many good people. . . . They are not afraid. Why should you surrender?  I’m sorry to say that in his goodwill he has done many things which are simply ridiculous,” the cardinal says of the pope. These include his approaches to both China and Cuba, the other communist state he has courted at the apparent expense of human rights.”

Meanwhile, Catholics will continue to be faithful to the Church: “’It’s possible that Rome may betray us,’ said Fr Dong, before he said Mass in the city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei province. ‘If this happens, I will resign. I won’t join a Church which is controlled by the Communist Party.  We are suffering like Jesus on the cross. We fight for religious freedom and follow the Gospel – but we are not supported by either Rome or China.’”

Culturally Catholic

The Devil and Father Amorth: William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, writes about his experience with the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the former chief exorcist of Rome.

Anthony Esolen: Contra Mundum – a Catholic professor is under attack at a Catholic university.

Reading and Writing

Piers Paul Read writes on Catholic novelists and their characters.

Michael De Sapio writes about one of my favorite books, Evelyn Waugh’s Helena.

Reading aloud to children: “delight in those precious moments when we keep our children close and read aloud worthy books we love, when the worries of the world fade into the background, chaos becomes quiet, and words bring us life.”

Deep encoding and the memorization of Paradise Lost.


Ross Douthat says the election is not a suicide mission: “Not because it is guaranteed long-term victory in that scenario or any other. But because the deepest conservative insight is that justice depends on order as much as order depends on justice. So when Loki or the Joker or some still-darker Person promises the righting of some grave wrong, the defeat of your hated enemies, if you will only take a chance on chaos and misrule, the wise and courageous response is to tell them to go to hell.”


Priests can’t be forced to break the seal of the confessional, Louisiana Supreme Court rules.


“She had done what only the saints succeed in doing; what indeed constitutes their patent of sanctity. She had completely conformed to the will of God. Others a few years back had done their duty gloriously in the arena. Hers was a gentler task, merely to gather wood. That was the particular, humble purpose for which she had been created. And now it was done. So with her precious cargo she sailed joyfully away.” – Evelyn Waugh, Helena