- Pope Francis's change to the annulment procedure. Fr. Zuhlsdorf points out that the church doesn't nullify marriages ("Catholic divorce"); it determines there never was a marriage. Anyway, this is a non-story; educated Catholics know the church can and does change rules (such as how many tribunals review an annulment case), not teachings. Some speculate it's a political maneuver to defend the faith at the Synod on the Family next month by taking this issue out of the conversation; possible. Whether the Pope should have simplified the procedure, whether the church loses face, is a legitimate discussion. But again, at heart, a non-story. The teachings are unbreakable.
- While I'd love it if Raymond Burke were Pope, you have to watch out for/not get sucked into stories about "conservative revolts at the Vatican," even though you can and should criticize the Pope; both you and he are subject to the faith so both have the job of defending it. But those stories smack of the media-academia-government (MAG, establishment) game of "survey says," as if the church were the same as secular politics, with everything up for a vote and change like a Protestant denomination. (Funny: MAG wishes the church were the Anglican Church, yet it doesn't go to the Anglican Church.) Usually it takes the form of polling self-described Catholics on the street and treating their uninformed opinions (gotten from Protestant/secular society) like a papal or conciliar definition of doctrine.
- Somebody else noticed that Pope Francis is a Peronist. Never mind the swipes at the church. What it comes down to, why Perón (a man of the left even though he was military) failed, is what Margaret Thatcher wonderfully articulated later: eventually you run out of other people's money.
- Cheers for Nadia Bolz-Weber. But just one or maybe two cheers, not three. She leaves out much of what Christianity has to say. There is a limit to how radical she and her church can be. God wants to do more than forgive you. He wants to change you. A fundamental difference between Catholicism and Protestantism, including the conservative Lutheranism little to do with her.
- The word “belief” is not the appropriate word for marriage. Marriage is a fact, not a “belief.” To imply that it is a “belief” means, in modern context, that it has no grounding in reality. It is improper to call marriage a “belief.” MAG is trying to train you to believe there is no truth other than what it tells you; only "beliefs." Catholicism is about reason, seeing objective reality, things as they really are.
- Even if the worst speculations about the church are true, that Pope Francis is a heretic and/or the German bishops are starting a schism, where else is there to go? Eastern Orthodoxy, which blesses divorce-and-remarriage and contraception, and says "Byzantium is the church"; idolatry? No way. (I'd love it if American Catholicism were Byzantine but that rite has a limited shelf life here.) Evangelicalism, whose logical conclusion is "No middleman between me and Jesus? Fine, I won't go to church"? The mainline is obviously MAG's puppet, not worth taking seriously. There's the SSPX and, at "Defcon 1," MAG, Communist-like, or ISIS persecution, going underground like many Ukrainian Catholics did last century.
- The Muslim refugees pushing their way into Europe may well be a Trojan horse. Not mostly women and children (whose only foreign policy is "don't hurt me" as one decent person wrote) but young men of military age. The U.S. government may well have created the problem. Solution: let's leave each other alone, including staying out of each other's countries (so they'd go home) and our no longer supporting Israel.
- Five types of Russian-Americans. A priest once told me that none of the Russian immigrations get along: the real tsarist Russians thought the World War II refugees were Sovietized, which the refugees in turn thought of the post-Soviet immigrants. I've had the honor of meeting a real tsarist Russian (or Russian-identifying Ukrainian), Serge Koolish, in his 100s.
- Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning British monarch; 63 years. I like her, but:
The British establishment knows what God, the Catholic faith, and the church are (what the names of their old churches and colleges mean) and says, "I will not serve." Creepy self-awareness. (Some smart observers: Americans on the other hand think they're Christian but they're not.)