William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Author: Blonde Bombshell (page 1 of 4)

Married Priests And The Impending HR Disaster — Guest Post by The Blonde Bombshell

The so-called vocation crisis has been reported on here, here, and here.

The irreligious press has an answer. Of course, they say, the Catholic Church has to get with the times and either allow women to be ordained or let male priests marry. Translated from media-speak, “let priests marry” is “let them have sex”—which nicely dispatches with that troublesome vow of celibacy. In the media’s current narrative, of course priestly men will marry women; but one could very well expect to see male priests with blushing male “brides”.

The atheistic media is off to bad start in offering their (unasked for) prescription to combat the declining number of priests. They succumb to the temptation to equate “vocation” with “job” as in “vocational training.” In the religious sense, a vocation is related to God’s calling to direct one’s life in a particular way in the service of the Church. Lost in the debate is that marriage itself is a vocation. What the secular press is suggesting, if not demanding, is that a man have two vocations—two callings—two directions for his heart.

There are some who have slipped into the Catholic priesthood through the Anglican backdoor. The fact that there are exceptions doesn’t mean that the rule has to be changed. Additionally, the permanent diaconate offers a path to ministry for married (or single) men over the age of 35. It is categorically false that married men are being shut out from serving ministerial roles. In fact, if the crisis is so crippling, this is an avenue that should be more thoroughly investigated.

With these considerations set aside, imagine that starting tomorrow married men can enter the church to serve as priests, and by extension, brothers. Of course it would be discriminatory to allow priests to marry but not the friars. Things to consider:

1. Wages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps in all clergy, with a median salary of $45,740 (2016). Salaries for Catholic priests can fall about $10,000 behind, in part because they are not expected to support a family. It is potentially much more profitable to be a rabbi or Protestant minister, but less so for imams.

2. Housing. Catholic priests can live in the rectory, or if they are brothers, in a priory. Adding a wife and children to the equation is going to strain Church resources, and small children necessarily interrupt a life of meditation and prayer. Will they live communally? Will other arrangements have to be made?

3. Healthcare. Having a wife in most cases means having children, and childbirth costs in the United States are more than anywhere else in the world. Someone is going to have to pay for it.

4. Education. Some provision will have to be made for educating the children of the priests. At the very least, there should be tuition relief for Catholic schooling, from K-12, and perhaps even at the college level.

5. Moving costs/change of station. If bishop says, “Go”, the priest can no longer put his belongings in a modest bag and catch the next bus, but he will have to fold up his marital assets (i.e., worldly possessions) and incur the expense of moving house and home, which will be billed to the diocese.

6. On call/time off. The priest or brother doesn’t have a “weekend” as most people do, and even on a day off, a priest know that an emergency can arise and he will have to flee to someone’s bedside or hold someone’s hand. Ah, the secular press will cry out, but do not Protestant pastors have to juggle family needs with that of the flock? A Protestant can happily die without last rites, but for a Catholic to pass beyond the velvet curtain without the extreme unction is a completely different matter.

7. Marriage during seminary. If priests can marry, maybe they will when they are at seminary. Before seminary? How will the female factor affect the formation, not only of the man but also of his cohort?

Married priests will be a substantial drag on the Church’s purse almost immediately. To cope, more land, buildings, and treasure will be have to be sold at a much faster clip than they are now to cover these (perfectly avoidable) expenses. While there may be a net increase in the number of priests, there will be fewer actual churches for them to serve in.

What is missing from this debate is God. What is God’s plan? Recall the words of one Joseph Ratzinger:

From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning…Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.

Vocations are declining, except for orders like the Dominicans, who openly embrace tradition. One solution to the crisis is to look backward and not forward, and to try to recapture and revive what has been drowned in the backwash of contemporary culture. It would be a costly and foolish mistake to do otherwise.

How Quickly The Popular Mind Forgets — Guest Post by The Blonde Bombshell

Was it only four short months ago that Donald Trump was excoriated by the press for suggesting that he may not wholeheartedly embrace the election results? In answer to a question posed by Chris Wallace during the last presidential debate asking if he will concede if he loses, Trump said, “I’ll keep you in suspense.” Objectively, this could mean yes, but it could mean no. The public and press would have to wait until the time came for Trump to act.

Trump’s glibness in answering the question may have been in partial response to the DNC’s successful efforts from to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders a mere three months before. Trump’s non-answer was greeted with howls not only from Hillary Clinton (“horrifying”) but also:

Finley: Trump’s noncommittal to outcome the last straw (In retrospect, quite amusing.)

Donald Trump trashes our democracy (For heaven’s sake, who is the “our” in this statement.)

Is Trump the first-ever candidate not to say he’ll accept election results? (Why is “ever” gaining popularity as a headline word?)

The ridiculous comparison of Al Gore to Donald Trump (Al Gore once owned a television network, and Donald Trump has been on television.)

John Oliver offers Trump his Emmy in return for accepting election results (Why was not a similar offer extended to Mrs. Clinton? The hubris embedded this stunt is breathtaking.)

The “I’ll keep you in suspense” remark caused so much blowback because of course Mrs. Clinton would win, and of course Trump would have to concede, and of course he would have to grovel at Hillary’s feet. Only an idiot would have imagined that Trump would be, well, triumphant. All the angst was focused on the potentiality of Trump not accepting the election results. None of it considered Mrs. Clinton’s, the DNC’s, or the Democrat rank and file’s inability to accept the election results.

The list of people not accepting the election results and/or not attending the inauguration grew by the day. There were singers who did not perform at the inauguration—once an honor—because of “death threats.” (Enough of the death threats on both the right and the left. What do the death-threaters hope to accomplish, besides showcasing the depth of their ignorance? Every responsible gun owner knows that one does not point the gun unless they plan to pull the trigger. The corollary is not to make a death threat unless you personally plan to go through with it, and in the process to leave as much evidence for law enforcement as possible to pin the dirty deed on you.)

Well, the election did not go as planned, and the DNC and their fellow travelers are confronted with a Republican President, a Republican Senate, a Republican House, and a majority of Republican Governors. Instead of working to forge middle ground, and make a few strands of gold from a heap of straw, those disappointed by Trump’s win plan took to the streets and tried to cause as much childish disruption as possible. Woe to those who think that this will end at midnight of January 20th. We are in for four years of the constant buzz of protest accompanied by the soundtrack of never-ending gay dance parties.

This, I submit, is the result of thirty years of “everyone gets a trophy” public education. This is what happens when children are not confronted with failure. Without learning to fail, one doesn’t learn to overcome and to make the best of a bad situation. These poor souls have not yet learned that they are not the center of the universe, and no one cares about the lint in their navel that they can spin into thread and commission someone to knit into a sweater for their dog.

Trump has a hard job ahead of him. Not only does he have to be leader of the free world and contend with an actively oppositional spy apparatus, but he also has to reinforce his legitimacy as president of not only the millionaire celebrity class (hello, they make their living by repeating words other people wrote and many of them haven’t graduated from a conventional high school, let alone college, and we have to listen to their endless lectures on climate change? And what is this about Chinese interests owning the major studios?) but also the less well-off professional activists, who may or may not be on the payroll of Mr. Soros.

Good luck, Mr. Trump. If anyone can prevail against these odds, it will be you.

Editor’s note Russia’s plan comes to fruition!

There Is No Such Thing As The GOP — Guest Post by The Blonde Bombshell

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There is no such thing as the GOP, in the sense of an opposite party to Democrats. And there hasn’t been since Ronald Reagan left office. Reagan himself never was supposed to be the candidate, and he was never supposed to win the 1980 election. To blunt his independent spirit, he was assigned George H.W. Bush as vice-president. That way, in case of emergency, the country would be in the tested hands of a man who could well open the door to a New World Order.

The case can be made that Papa Bush was not an operative of the Republican party, but rather of something else. The substance of the “something else” can be debated, and there isn’t room for that discussion here. It can be said that whatever this entity is, it is not Republican and not birthed by the Party of Lincoln.

It is no small point to note that Bush 41 has gone on record to assert that he will not be voting for the Republican nominee. His GOP bona fides have been officially revoked.

Enter Mr. Clinton. His party loyalty was and is nominally to the Democrats, but as the evidence continues to show, his loyalty—then and now—lies mostly to Himself and Herself. While he could cry crocodile tears and “feel your pain“—his actions ultimately exacerbated the pain for countless citizens, as they watched factories close and jobs go south, exactly as H. Ross Perot predicted, with a “giant sucking sound.” That comment was met with much mirth and merriment by the establishment media; and in the video the tittering of the crowd is audible.

Bonus: Perot nicely sums up the incestuous relationship politics has with industry in this clip. To be perfectly fair to Mr. Clinton: NAFTA could not have been passed without Republican congressional support.

To maximize personal gain and profit, Mr. Clinton had to forge an alliance with the “something else.” Fortunately for him and later for Mr. Obama, progressivism and the “something else” are largely the same, except the “something else” is infinitely more devious, watchful, and determined than the clueless rank-and-file members of the Democrat party.

Then…surprise! Bush II is elected. A Bush boy was up for office, but it was supposed to be the sober, hardworking Jeb. In a cruel twist of fate, we were gifted George Junior. On his own he was likely harmless enough. He could cut ribbons and read books to schoolchildren, as if that is the important work of a president. And it is, if “something else” is calling the shots. Bush II led the United States to war, and War is usually in the purview and the privilege of Democrats, giving further credence that Bush II was never really, fully, sincerely a Republican.

There has been an acknowledgement that Republicans do not always act in the interest of the people (see NAFTA). Republican In Name Only (RINO) is a real phenomenon, and senators and congressmen sent to Washington under the banner of the GOP routinely attend the same parties as their friends across the aisle. Sooner or later, GOP lawmakers find that they have more in common with the Democrats than the rubes back home, and legislate accordingly. The GOP gave up on itself, long before anyone seriously considered Donald J. Trump to be a contender for the presidency.

There is a great deal of handwringing about the “future of the Republican party.” See here, here, here, here, here for starters. Why are Democrat-voting reporters are obsessed with reading the (yet to be extruded) entrails of November 9th when they don’t seem interested in investigating the facts of:

  • The existence of a server that illegally stored top-secret material in someone’s house
  • The murder of four Americans in Benghazi
  • The sale of fetal tissue by an organization that widely supports the Democrats, and vice versa
  • Admitted voter fraud, which resulted in at least two resignations
  • A mysterious transfer of $1.2B to a bank account in Qatar
  • Satanic rituals and child abuse involving members of the ruling elite
  • The baffling death of Seth Rich
  • The unusual of uranium deal with the Russians
  • How one family—not born to wealth by any stretch of the imagination and never involved the production of any material object—is able to attract and control staggering wealth.

Shall I go on?

Obviously, the stories are in the news, and there is reporting, in the academic sense, but there is no urgency to get the nitty-gritty of what really happened. If Woodward and Bernstein took such a cavalier approach to the Watergate break-in, there would have been no impeachment, no arrests, and no jail time for anyone involved.

The legacy media prefer to be fed stories than going out and doing some real reporting. It isn’t just reporters whose interest is not piqued by these events, but GOP lawmakers are reluctant to examine the shenanigans related to Herself. Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz are willing to enter the fray, but they aren’t getting the tactical support they need to do battle with such an enormous beast.

The party formerly known as the GOP is dead, and there is no one blame but the elected officials who deliberately, knowingly, and willingly turned their collective back on the American people. The charge that the current “GOP” nominee is holding the bloody knife that killed the party is grossly unfair. The party sacrificed itself on the altar of the “something else” a long time ago, at the expense and the everlasting chagrin of the American public.

Why Trump? — Guest Post by the Blonde Bombshell

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As the election nears, some voters and pundits continue to be perplexed why Donald J. Trump is on the ballot.

Forget that the country underwent a political process, where the field of 17 was whittled down to Trump. And also forget that while the winnowing process underway, the media added up the numbers of the also-rans and declared triumphantly that Trump was losing, because the aggregated number of “against” votes outweighed the “for” votes. However, sad as it seems, the “for” votes were tabulated for what they were, leaving the “against” voters in the dust. Sorry, #NeverTrump-ers, but that is how math works: The one with the most votes wins (caveat: notwithstanding the special math employed by the electoral college).

Also conveniently forget that the real contenders for Mrs. Clinton were the fearsome Jeb Bush and equally formidable Marco Rubio.

The events of the past eight years have paved the way for Trump: the rise and disembowelment of Tea Party movement; the current attitude and actions of the sitting president; and the unwillingness of anyone in the GOP to not only to articulate but robustly support a coherent point of view (that, egads, may be opposition to the Democratic party line).

The Tea Party movement was born, almost accidentally, from the exercised remarks of CNBC commentator Rick Santelli as he reacted to President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA; aka Stimulus or Bailout). Since 1913, taxpayers have come to terms with persistent nature of the tax system, and grudgingly go along with having their tax dollars fund policies and practices they don’t necessarily agree with.

However, the ARRA unabashedly released taxpayer funds (provided by people who tried to make good decisions, but were still struggling) to people and businesses that made genuinely bad decisions (and would no longer be struggling, thanks to the harried taxpayer). This unfair allocation of funds stuck in the craw of a proportion of the voting population. To be fair, the ARRA passed without a single GOP Congressional vote, but it did manage to garner three Senate votes. Nevertheless, the complete disregard for the will of the people mobilized what became the Tea Party movement.

Adding fuel to the fire was the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was legislation that was so lousy that it was on life support from the beginning. Since motions involving expenditures have to originate in the house, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi honed in on HR3590, which was a military housing bill that they stripped of content and dumped in the text created by Jonathan Gruber, John McDonough, and Ezekiel Emanuel (none of whom at the time were duly elected members of Congress). On Christmas Eve 2009, the Senate had 60 votes to pass the bill, and it did, without a single GOP yea.

Shortly after, Democrat Edward Kennedy died, which led to the election of Republican Scott Brown. This is important is because Congress was still engaged in a minutia of bill passing, and it was still possible that Scott Brown could cast a crucial vote.

There wasn’t a final version of the bill that both the House and Senate were happy with. The deal was made where the House would pass Reconciliation Act of 2010 that made changes to the original ACA. The Senate passed the Reconciliation Act on March 25, 2010.

But the vote in the Senate made use of the little-used “Reconciliation Rule” (not to be confused with named House bill) that permits budget items to pass with 51 votes rather than 60. Ultimately, it did not make one whit of difference that Scott Brown was elected. Although from the moment he was sworn in to the minute that the Senate voted on the Reconciliation Act, there was something in the air that felt like hope.

With the disappointments of the ARRA and the ACA, the Tea Party was poised to be force in the 2010 elections. Some of the same insider fighting that dogs Trump’s race for the White House was evident in the 2010 mid-term elections. Predictably, Tea Partiers were denounced as “racists” because they did not warmly endorse the policies of President Obama.

As a party, it was a bust. There weren’t great swells of new congressman darkening the halls of the Capitol. There were some, and a few at the state level. They could achieve some things, but because the way the system operates (or to employ a term used by one candidate, is “rigged”) there was no way that an eager first-termer can shake things up without the blessing of the party leaders. Evidently, no blessings were forthcoming.

When the Tea Party wasn’t being suffocated by the GOP establishment, it was being
deliberately swindled by the consultant class. And those efforts were largely successful.

Fast forward to the current moment. President Obama supplied the Iranians with $400 million in currency under mysterious and bewildering circumstances. There is also that little administrative loose end of turning over the oversight of the internet to the UN.

Over the Labor Day weekend, Obama pledged the US to the Agenda 21 goals. It is reassuring that he did not exactly sign a treaty, but only engaged in the pantomime of putting his name on an “executive agreement.” It is an open question if he will engage in similar statesmanship when it comes to the TPP. After all, precedent has been set.

As for the current GOP leadership, do they have a view? Where are the full-throated calls to investigate the Obama administration for the Iran cash-for-hostages deal? Why is there no interest in keeping the internet oversight under US control? Where is the opposition to Obama’s maneuvering with Agenda 21? Doesn’t the Senate have some duty to rubber-stamp treaties?

Where are the cries for health insurance reform? During the primaries it was a surprise to many that Ted Cruz led so many (failed) efforts to repeal the ACA. Where were the hearings? Where were the stories of working families who are shackled not only with five-figure premiums but also five-figure deductibles (sometimes per family member)? How did Cruz lead this fight? Was it a matter of filing a piece paper? Wow, that was effective.

Where was the pushback when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan proved to the nation that he inherited John Boehner’s “kick me” sign when he cheerfully ushered in a new budget deal in October 2015? Who needs enemies when your friends and allies treat you so poorly?

GOP legislators don’t do very much. They can muster “nay” votes when they have to, but they aren’t forging new legislation, they aren’t creating new directions that are going to signal a better future for the American public. In the last eight years, the GOP lost so many opportunities, and allowed the genius of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to outfox and hoodwink them, not once, but over and over again.

Not only for healthcare, but also for other issues—how hard is it to sit down and think through what legislative trickery is available, and to come up with a strategy to check it? Where did they put their “thinking caps”?

The GOP establishment can win primaries, but they can’t lead. They can’t make a stand. They can’t make a decision or have an opinion and stick with it. They don’t fight for what they believe in—in fact, what do they believe in? They are like leaves blowing on the breeze, without an intention or a set direction, and without a sense of unity or purpose.

There is no perfect presidential candidate, and to pretend there is such a thing is folly. Some of the enduring criticism of Trump is that he is a flawed individual. When harping on Trump’s imperfections, the suggestion hangs in midair that, in contrast, Mrs. Clinton’s virtues are legion and worthy.

It is the voters’ duty to elect someone that they will agree with more often than not. And it is the leader’s duty to look after the interests of the citizens—not just the ones who showed up in the polls on a November day, but also the ones who will become citizens, either by birth or by oath, in the coming years.

Trump is that candidate. Trump has a point of view. He has a direction. He can listen. He can modify. He will fight.

That’s why Trump.

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