He's Here! And the Conversions Have Begun!

I'm shamelessly pinching the USCCB's pro-life spokesman's screen capture of the Pope's arrival at Andrews Air Force Base.

I'd also like to break the story that the President has secretly converted to Catholicism, with allegiance to the Roman Pontiff.  You can tell, because he bowed. 

Shamelessly pinched from here

And the Pope has had a conversion of his own, by the way: 

All the Weeds & Weedlets have wangled tickets to papal events here in DC or Philly, so we'll be filling you in after the festivities, w/ possible live-tweeting moments. 

An Excellent Primer on the Pope's Visit

This is so well done, if you can spare the time for it.

Can Bad Art be Christian?

Like this writer, I hate discouraging well-intentioned people, but sometimes the most anti-Christian ideas seem to me to come from "Christian" movies.
The martyrs of Syria, Iraq, and Iran cry out against this facile film making. The martyrs of the Soviet Union cry: “How long Lord!” Meanwhile, the American multiplex spits on their suffering by pretending, somehow, they did not pray hard enough or in the right way. After many films, these filmmakers are still presenting Genie Jesus and not the Jesus of the Cross, the martyrs, and the real world.

Every Girl's Crazy 'Bout A Craggy-Faced Man

By Charalambos Papadopoulos, shamelessly pinched from 

Scroll through the page and see much beauty. I was trying to learn more about the artist and Google asked me, "Did you mean Χαράλαμπος Παπαδόπουλος?"  Why yes, I suppose I did. 

America in Play

Have to break my She Who Must Not be Linked rule, because this is good, supremely interesting, and perhaps hopeful. She's just been on the road a bit, talking to people, and surprised by who is supporting Trump. Hispanics, for instance. 
Something is going on, some tectonic plates are moving in interesting ways. My friend Cesar works the deli counter at my neighborhood grocery store. He is Dominican, an immigrant, early 50s, and listens most mornings to a local Hispanic radio station, La Mega, on 97.9 FM. Their morning show is the popular “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” and after the first GOP debate, Cesar told me, they opened the lines to call-ins, asking listeners (mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican) for their impressions. More than half called in to say they were for Mr. Trump. Their praise, Cesar told me a few weeks ago, dumbfounded the hosts. I later spoke to one of them, who identified himself as D.J. New Era. He backed Cesar’s story. “We were very surprised,” at the Trump support, he said. Why? “It’s a Latin-based market!”
Same result when Trump through Univision's Jorge Ramos out: the majority of the Spanish station's callers LOVED it. 
It's because legal immigrants hate seeing others game the system, and it's because they don't see Trump as anti-Hispanic, but anti-elite. 
On the subject of elites, I spoke to Scott Miller, co-founder of the Sawyer Miller political-consulting firm, who is now a corporate consultant. He worked on the Ross Perot campaign in 1992 and knows something about outside challenges. He views the key political fact of our time as this: “Over 80% of the American people, across the board, believe an elite group of political incumbents, plus big business, big media, big banks, big unions and big special interests—the whole Washington political class—have rigged the system for the wealthy and connected.” It is “a remarkable moment,” he said. More than half of the American people believe “something has changed, our democracy is not like it used to be, people feel they no longer have a voice.” 
Mr. Miller added: “People who work for a living are thinking this thing is broken, and that economic inequality is the result of the elite rigging the system for themselves. We’re seeing something big.”

Assumption, 2015


Happy Feast Day! Enjoy this piece from Msgr. Pope from last year.  I like it because he discusses assumptions in the Bible (Mary isn't the first or only to be assumed) and he reflects on why we should care. 

The assumption of our bodies prefigured by Christ in his own power and also in Mary by the gift of God, will one day be our gift too. For now, it waits till that “great gettin’ up morning.” Until that day, and on that day, fare you well, fare you well!
Postscript: Just catching up on my homily reading and adding this here because it's Marian. Wow! The Holy Father's homily for Mass in Ecuador. 

The Tomatoes Don't Lie, XI

Finally! I'm used to late June/ early July home-grown tomatoes, but this year only today --when summer is almost over-- am I finally harvesting the first tomato of summer.  The lateness is only partially a function of having planted late (May 30 v. early in May), because I also planted more mature plants than usual -- that factor should be more or less a wash. I think the late and paltry fruiting is more a function of it having been an exceptionally rainy summer ... a la 2013, when it was so rainy, hardly any fruit and I didn't even bother to note when or if I ever got a tomato.

So that makes two of the past three years have seen unusually cool, rainy summers where it was difficult to grow tomatoes. Does that count as a bellwether for climate change?

Last year's first tomato came July 6.  This is a full 5 weeks later.  Bah.

2015: August 14
2014: July 6
2013: No data
2012: July 5
2011: July 7
2010: July 23
2009: July 16
2008: July 12
2007: July 8
2006: July 5
2005: June 23

On the bright side, the rain has been great for the hydrangeas.

Why Not to Be a Socialist

Here's an anti-Bernie Sanders campaign ad for you. The narrator of this video, shot somewhere in Venezuela, tells us that it's Saturday, August 8, 6:00 am, two hours before the store opens, and this is the line for milk. You cannot even see how far down the street the line goes.

The embed code seems to be working only fitfully, so click here if you don't see video on this post.

Momento histórico en venezuela

Posted by Cesar Rodriguez on Sunday, 9 August 2015

Trump's Failed Foreign Policy

Any Spanish speakers here? If so, you might be interested in this clip of Antonio Banderas receiving an award for Spanish-speaking cinema and using his time to thump Donald Trump and reassure Latinos that they have dignity and value. I am afraid we gringos have zero idea how much offense Trump gave all around the world in his comments about Mexico and Mexicans because we see him as a buffoon and don't take him all that seriously. But the Spanish-speaking world sees him as a candidate for President of the US who must speak for many Americans since he has a following.

I have been amazed at how many of my friends in other countries have been talking about -- and truly angered by-- Trump. Even friends who form part of the upper class in their own countries and have a hard time breaking free of upper class condescension to the very poor have been filling their Facebook pages with anti-Trump comments.

At one level Banderas' comments are an eloquent defense of the dignity of all those who speak, as he calls it, "the language of Cervantes." But he also seems to describe Hispanic culture as a beautiful and valid counterpoint to, and corrective of, American culture. That is, he goes beyond saying, we have something to contribute, be proud and seems to suggest the Hispanic or Latino identity trumps (forgive me) all other identities. That is not good from the standpoint of race relations generally and the country's ability to assimilate its Spanish-speaking immigrants. And the more Trump-like commentary we hear, the stronger attraction and force Banderas' suggestions will have.


Bishop Morlino on the SSPX

Great letter to his people from Bishop Morlino about the SSPX. Here's a problem that's important and that I'd never thought of (given that I'm not much of a devotee of the Extraordinary Form, though I support people who love it having it):
If you take nothing else away from this letter, at least hear this —the SSPX’s marriages and absolutions are invalid because their priests lack the necessary faculties.
The SSPX argues for the validity of their marriages and absolutions based on the canonical principle that the Church supplies the faculty in cases of doubt or common error. In certain rare and exceptional cases that might apply to their situation, especially with regard to confession, but for the most part their arguments are not persuasive.
Part of their argument hinges on the faithful erroneously believing that the SSPX priests have the requisite faculty; well, if you were in error about that up until now, you are not in error anymore.
The SSPX also makes the argument that they have permission because the Church is in a state of “emergency.” However, 1) the Legislator (the Pope) and the bishops with him don’t think there is a state of emergency, and 2) the sacraments offered by the SSPX are already widely available at legitimate parishes and chapels, i.e., no one is being denied the sacraments.
This is not the place for a discourse on the technical points of canon law, but the point is: do you want to take that kind of a risk with your marriage or even with your soul
Emphasis by Fr. Z, to whom curtsies for the link.

P.S.  Bishop Morlino seems like a very fine man. Never seen anything from him that didn't have a wonderful, sober, thoughtful, kind and generous tone. 

Just Cuz It's Purty.


Guess It Doesn't Mean What I Think It Means

Gay teens have higher pregnancy rates than their straight peers.   There's a LOT of psycho-babble and  LGBT cant in this story, but the bare fact is suggestive, isn't it?