Q&A November AD
Our Lady of the Rosary
Canonization of Pope John XXIII-no Miracles?
Grand Theft Monatery--Zimbabwee and the IMF
Lighting & Extinguishing Candles?
Question: I heard that Pope
John XXIII will be canonized, but no miracles have been attributed to him.
Will his canonization be an infallible act?
Catholic theologians distinguish between
direct and primary objects of infallibility on the one hand, and others that
are indirect and secondary objects on the other hand. The direct object of
infallibility is the revealed truth of God—such truths may be doctrinal or
moral, so we say that the Church is infallible in matters of faith and
morals. The Church may act through the person of the Pope, or through an
ecumenical council of the Church’s bishops. Only when it is clear that the
pronouncement is definitive and binding on all who wish to be Catholics can
the decree be said to be infallible. Most of what Pope’s and bishops say is
not protected by the charism of doctrinal infallibility, which in fact has
not been employed since Pope Pius XII declared the dogma of the Assumption
on 1 November 1950.
After a moderately long explanation of the dogma, Pope Pius defined it in
paragraph 44 and specified the penalty for disbelief in 45, thereby assuring
the faithful of the infallible character of the pronouncement.
The indirect or
secondary exercise of infallibility refers to judging the conclusions of
theologians deduced from revealed truths, and to disciplinary matters like
the Rule of a Religious Order, the censorship of books, and the canonization
of saints. All of these things call for the exercise of a certain “due
diligence,” on the part of Church officials. Very often, a number of
officials are called to collaborate in such matters, in order for them to
criticize the procedures of the whole.
Examples of “due
diligence” would include:
Careful consideration of
the logical structure of a deduced proposition by those well trained in
Careful consideration of
the proposed Rule of an Order by those well experienced in the monastic
or religious life, and fully conversant with the discipline of moral
Censorship by those
quite fluent in the original language of the writing, and fully
conversant with the subject matter. One would expect a list of specific
statements said to be heretical, and not just an overall opinion of the
Encyclopedia speaks of “due
diligence” in canonization:
It is also commonly and rightly
held that the Church is infallible in the canonization of saints,
that is to say, when canonization takes place according to the
solemn process that has been followed since the ninth century.
Mere beatification, however, as distinguished from canonization, is
not held to be infallible, and in canonization itself the only fact
that is infallibly determined is that the soul of the canonized
saint departed in the state of grace and already enjoys the beatific
The operative idea here
is that the solemn process gathers earthly evidence that the candidate lived
a life of heroic virtue and apparent sanctity (by interviewing those who
knew him if they are available and by evaluating his writings), and at the
same time gathers supernatural evidence of the candidate’s ability to
intercede for those in the Church Militant (i.e. miracles worked through his
intercession). The process further allows an appointed official, (the
Promoter of the Faith—promotor fidei, colloquially called the Devil's
advocate—advocatus diaboli) to present reasoned arguments against the
evidence in favor of canonization.
In addition to evidence
of heroic virtue and apparent sanctity, the process requires two miracles
before the candidate could be declared Blessed, and another two before he
could be declared a Saint. Obviously, there has to be some evidence
connecting the specific miracles with the candidate, and this might be
subject to refutation by the Devil’s Advocate. The process generally took a
significant period of time to come to completion.
Certainly, one can
imagine a modified process that did not exercise “due diligence.” Say, for
example that the process were reduced to picking names at random out of
hundred year old telephone directories—would the charism of infallibility
insure that only Saints were chosen? The answer should be no, for while the
age of the directories might insure that those picked were at least dead, it
would do nothing to confirm their heroic virtue and apparent sanctity—they
might not even be Catholics—and the Devil’s Advocate would have nothing to
argue against (except, of course, against the new process itself in all of
They are not yet
picking Saints out of old directories, but in recent years, diligence of the
process has been considerably weakened in the Conciliar Church. Instead of
a total of four miracles, only two are now required. The office of the
Devil’s Advocate was abolished by Pope John Paul II in 1983. “Heroic
virtue” seems to have been replaced with “progressive thought” and “apparent
sanctity” with herd popularity.
Pope John XXIII is
credited with an impressive miracle—sustaining for twenty six years the life
of a nun with no stomach, no pancreas, and no spleen—a nun who lived an
active life from 1966 until 2010!
There is some discussion of who worked the miracle, for in her initial
illness the nun prayed to the Virgin of Pompei for a cure—the suggestion to
pray to John XXIII came from other nuns. Unfortunately, there is no longer
a Devil’s Advocate to ask this question. Nor will a Devil’s Advocate
question the wisdom of Pope Francis dispensing from the required second
What evidence have we
of Pope John’s “heroic virtue and apparent sanctity”? Well, Pope John
claimed to practice perfect chastity in his autobiography, Journal of a
Soul—good, but tooting one’s own horn is not exactly evidence.
“[National Catholic Reporter senior correspondent John] “Allen told
CNN that Pope Francis had decided John XXIII had lived a life of ‘heroic
But the Pope’s actual words don’t appear to be on-line, and no one is saying
just what Francis found “heroic” about Pope John’s “virtue.”
What we do know about
was Pope John’s summoning of the Second Vatican Council, insuring that no
condemnations would be made of any error or of anyone in error, scrapping
the carefully laid out agenda, and opening the Council to “progressives” and
“progressivism.” Marie-Dominique Chenu, Yves Congar, Hans Küng, Henri de
Lubac, Karl Rahner, and Edward Schillebeeckx were among Pope John’s
Perhaps the idea of
picking saints out of old telephone books has its merits!
“Thou shalt not steal.”
Grand Theft Monetary--Zimbabwe and the IMF
Zimbabwe Fourth Currency Series—Z$100,000,000,000,000 Note
A hundred trillion dollars ought to
set anyone up pretty well for the future, no? Just two or three such notes
ought to be enough to pay off all the unfunded liabilities of the United
Well, in fact, the note pictured above can be ordered by anyone who wants
one on Amazon.com for under US$5.00. If you buy more than one you can even
get consecutive serial numbers. Even at five dollars apiece the note is no
great bargain, for it has value only as a collector’s item, with Zimbabwe no
longer honoring its own currency and is depending on foreign currencies for
Says the Wall Street Journal:
At one point in 2009, a
hundred-trillion-dollar bill couldn't buy a bus ticket in the
capital of Harare. But since then the value of the Zimbabwe dollar
has soared. Not in Zimbabwe, where the currency has been abandoned,
but on eBay.
The notes are a hot commodity
among currency collectors and novelty buyers, fetching 15 times what
they were officially worth in circulation. In the past decade,
President Robert Mugabe and his allies attempted to prop up the
economy—and their government—by printing money. Instead, the
country's central bankers sparked hyperinflation by issuing bills
with more zeros.
The 100-trillion-dollar note,
circulated for just a few months before the Zimbabwe dollar was
officially abandoned as the country's legal currency in 2009, marked
the daily limit people were allowed to withdraw from their bank
accounts. Prices rose, wreaking havoc.
The runaway inflation forced
Zimbabweans to wait in line to buy bread, toothpaste and other
essentials. They often carried bigger bags for their money than the
few items they could afford with a devalued currency.
How does such a thing happen? What
did the Wall Street Journal just tell us?
President Robert Mugabe and his allies attempted to
prop up the economy—and their government—by printing money. Instead,
the country's central bankers sparked hyperinflation by issuing
bills with more zeros.
The Journal seems
confused—they seem to be saying that it was okay to print money to prop up
the economy—that the problem was in printing larger bills. The size of the
bills in circulation is generally decided by what is convenient to carry.
If the Zimbabweans had to carry big bags filled with hundred-trillion-dollar
notes, imagine the problem if they only had one-dollar notes! The adding of
zeros was caused by inflation, and was not inflation’s cause. The inflation
was caused by whoever decided to finance the government by printing money
instead of taking steps to increase national production of tangible assets.
Money is not wealth. Wealth is
things that people need and want. Food and drink, clothing, shelter,
transportation, communication, and even things like art, music, and
entertainment are wealth if people need or want them. In a prosperous
economy, as more goods are produced, the dollar cost of each of these things
goes slowly down, not up.
Keynesian economics makes the
mistake of considering government as a productive good, when it is in
reality a cost. The government acquires money (and the consequent ability
to acquire actual goods or “wealth” from the productive) either by taxing
the productive or through inflation. Since the government or the
government’s central bank produces the new money, the government can
redistribute the nation’s wealth as it sees fit. The recipients of the new
found wealth may be happy, but none of this “prop[s] up the economy.”
Indeed, everyone who holds the nation’s currency must buy less with their
money. It is not only that inflation of the money supply lowers the
currency’s value, but that the government or its central bank has taken its
cut out of the nation’s production.
Central banks produce money in
exchange for the nation’s debt, while government treasury departments print
money used to directly acquire the nation’s wealth—which government has
neither produced nor earned. The citizen must pay, whether it is later or
now. Central bank money printing gives the illusion of something for
nothing, but passes the responsibility for repayment on to future
In the past decade it has become
more obvious that nations cannot borrow their way to prosperity. The
productive countries of the world are becoming less willing to lend money to
those countries whose primary “product” is government. The bankers are
cronies of the governments—they don’t want to see cuts in the size of
governments. So the burden of payment is shifted to the tax payers, those
forced to pay into government retirement and medical plans, and to those who
worked in good faith for government with the promise of salary, benefits,
You worked for a government/union/company
pension—you paid into Social Security/Medicare/an IRA/401K or saving
account/CD or paid off a mortgage on your home—well tough! The
bank/government needs the money more than you do, so we are taking
Think that can’t happen here—think
again. Although the idea originated with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) for dealing with the default of Cypress and other nation’s banks, it
is quite possible in the U.S. since the 2010 Dodd-Frank banking bill became
The IMF is getting serious about
this. the following three points are taken from a Forbes article: (You
should read the whole article.)
First, IMF economists know there
are not enough rich people to fund today’s governments even if 100
percent of the assets of the 1 percent were expropriated. That means
that all households with positive net wealth—everyone with
retirement savings or home equity—would have their assets plundered
under the IMF’s formulation.
Second, such a repudiation of
private property will not pay off Western governments’ debts or fund
budgets going forward. It will merely “restore debt sustainability,”
allowing free-spending sovereigns to keep tapping the bond markets
until the next crisis comes along—for which stronger measures will
be required, of course.
Third, should politicians fail to
muster the courage to engage in this kind of wholesale robbery, the
only alternative scenario the IMF posits is public debt repudiation
and hyperinflation. Structural reform proposals for the Ponzi-scheme
entitlement programs that are bankrupting us are nowhere to be seen.
You can read the IMF paper on the
Be prepared for plenty of government jargon and mathematical gobbledygook.
The Forbes article is far more brief and comprehensible.
My personal opinion is that
(1) continued money printing, (2) confiscatory taxation of personal homes
and dollar accounts—those of the “middle class” as well as those of the
“rich,” (3) allowing the “Ponzi-scheme entitlement programs” to fail, and
(4) reduction of welfare payments like SNAP (food stamps)
would trigger American Revolution II.
Is this a Catholic Issue? This is a
violation of the seventh and tenth Commandments on an unprecedented scale,
never before seen in this world. Worse yet, it may lead to similar
violation of the fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”
Is there an order in which the altar candles are to be lit and extinguished?
Answer: I served my first
Masses in the Dominican Rite and was told that the order for lighting
candles was such that the candle heights would remain about equal. Thus, if
the candle(s) on the Gospel side were a bit taller than those on the Epistle
side, the former would be lit first and extinguished last. Apparently this
was not just the opinion of a single Dominican, as I have found the practice
Authors writing about
the Roman Rite are consistent in having the candles on the Epistle side lit
first, and then those on the Gospel side. If more than two candles are lit,
the server begins with those closest to the tabernacle, and works outward.
The candles are extinguished in reverse order. None suggested a reason for
preferring this order, but two did cite SRC 4198 as their authority. “SRC”
is the Latin abbreviation for “Sacred Congregation of Rites,” and their
decrees govern the celebration of Mass in the traditional Roman Rite.
The Sanctus candle, a
single candle placed on or near the credence table, is lit after the
Sanctus and extinguished after Holy Communion.