Monday, June 17, 2019


Seminarian Will Cook has finished two years of pre Theology and two years of theology at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmits burg. He is spending the summer with St. Anne. He is sponsored by our diocese and the Archdiocese for Military Services. This is an interview they did:


rcg said...

It’s good to have a young man that understands commitment.

Anonymous said...

He sounds like an excellent young man. However, the ecclesiastical “thought police” may seek to waylay his vocation because of his admiration for Robert E. Lee!

Anonymous said...

To have as a "hero" or an "admired" person a man who fought to destroy the Union and to maintain slavery is an interesting choice, to say the least.

Yes the Civil War was about secession and, yes, it was about maintaining slavery. From Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens' Cornerstone Speech, 21 March 1861:

"The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. [...] Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it—when the "storm came and the wind blew, it fell."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I can't speak for Will, but I think he would approach Robert E. Lee from the point of view of Catholicism, that we all a work in progress and in terms of moral decisions, things aren't a "black and white" if you will, as we would like them to be. In addition, a political correctness and awareness we have today can't really be applied to actual lives and personal conflicts we experienced in the past.

Will gave a talk to his seminary classmates on this subject and was well received for his reasoning and Catholic perspective.

Anonymous said...

There is no hint of "political correctness" in matters of secession or slavery and Lee's support for both.

That we are works in progress does not preclude the fact that, along the way, some people make dead wrong choices.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In other words you are a puritanical about human nature and see all in black and white terms allowing for no mistakes.

Anonymous said...

No, I do not see everything in terms of black and white.

But, in other words, I will not explain away being pro-slavery and being in favor of dissolving the Union as some kind of inconsequential oversight or some time-conditioned rationalization.

Forgetting to buy eggs when you go to the supermarket with 10 things to pick up is a "mistake." Going to war to dissolve the Union and the defend slavery was not a "mistake."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I hope you are not a Democrat because if you are you are a hypocrite!

rcg said...

Could it be he admires General Lee for hid grace in defeat and helping to heal the Union after The War? In addition to his military prowess.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe it is time for a response from another "Anonymous"---the one from 30327 who actually graduated from General Lee's School in Lexington, VA. Lee stuck with the South only because his state---Virginia---did so. He was hardly "gung ho" about going to war. If Virginia had stayed with the Union, then so would have he. It was Lee who urged Southerners to accept defeat and not go one fighting a hopeless irregular warfare against the North. Lee also helped save Washington College (now Washington and Lee University). Unfortunately, I can't say his college has been immune from the PC trend; for instance, one of the buildings on his campus was renamed from Lee-Jackson to some house named for a late woman professor (who was pro-choice on abortion and considered a liberal feminist). In Lee Chapel (the school chapel,) military portraits of Washington and Lee were removed lest they "offend" anyone. And of course given the collapse of the Episcopal Church these days, it was not surprising that Lexington's Episcopal was renamed from "Robert E. Lee Memorial" to "Grace Church"---lest of course anyone be offended. (Well, at least the little parish there is not fighting the battle of a generation ago, whether to have Communion every Sunday or every other Sunday---the old "Morning Prayer" versus "Communion" debate as to the type of worship they should have each week.)

TJM said...

Anonymous from 30327 has brains, the other one, a PC shill and Dem operative, does not

Paul McCarthy said...

Forget the Lee point. I’m just glad to see more manly seminarians with a pair versus the girly men of these last 50 fifty years of Novus Ordo Uncle Teddy time.

Semper Fi

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Robert E. Lee graduated 2nd in his class at West Point in 1829, and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. He was an engineer and worked in the Army Corp of Engineers after his graduation. He was a phenomenal military leader and was distinguished by his command in the Mexican-American war. He served and worked with Ulysses S. Grant during that war. Later he was appointed Superintendent of West Point, and improved not only the physical plant but courses of study as well.

I believe Lee was a superior military leader to anyone else in the Civil War, including Grant or Sheridan. I believe the loss of the south to the north was more a matter of skilled soldiers and lack of supplies than it was poor leadership. Lee's boldness cost him greatly in major battles, but I believe had he led the North rather than the South, the war would have been shorter with fewer casualties.

There is ample evidence suggesting Lee was for the emancipation of slaves and the end of slavery. At the end of the war he said, "So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South."

Perhaps those who would condemn this seminarian, a former military man, for his admiration of a great military commander based on cursory popular opinion of General Lee, should read a book. Their criticism demonstrates little true knowledge of Lee's actual life, beliefs, accomplishments, and talents and the reason for the seminarian's admiration. (And lest Anonymous of June 18, 2019 at 10:50 AM defend the criticism, I have only this to say, "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone." That means you.)

God bless.

John Nolan said...

The British military historian John Terraine classed Lee as one of 'the last of the great old-fashioned generals', along with Ferdinand Foch, Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. He contrasted these with the 'great moderns' - Ulysses Grant, Douglas Haig, Georgy Zhukov and Dwight Eisenhower.

Anyone with an interest in military history and an appreciation of honour holds Robert E Lee in the highest regard. That he was on the losing side is immaterial.

Anonymous said...

Adding to what Bee said earlier---the loss of the South---the region simply lacked the industrial and infrastructure might of the North. The South had less than half of the North's total rail miles---and railroads played a crucial role in the war (if Sherman were around, he could tell you how the rail line from Chattanooga to Atlanta was critical in supplying his army). Although Atlanta was (as it is now) a major rail center, it lacked a direct rail connection to the Richmond-Washington corridor where much of the fighting took place. Eventually the superior economic might of the North prevailed.

The rector (pastor) of Lee's church in Lexington back in the mid 1980s was one Arthur Lee Dasher the fourth, a native of Macon, Georgia. I think he eventually became Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Knowledge of Lee's action to dissolve the Union and to perpetuate slavery is not "cursory popular opinion."

I would not choose as a "hero" any general, no matter how talented, who acted in this way.

Erwin Rommel had a reputation of being, "... a chivalrous, humane, and professional officer, and that he earned the respect of both his own troops and his enemies." Hero figure?

TJM said...


LOL, but you consider the leaders of the Abortion Party heroes in continuing Margaret Sanger's fight to kill as many black infants as possible!

TJM said...

Hey Anonymous,

Here is YOUR party at it again, this time in formerly, Catholic, Rhode Island. You should be proud.

Exactly what is the proportionate reason you vote for the Abortion Party? LOL

Anonymous said...

TJM - So now you say you think Lee was an abortionist? Interesting....

TJM said...

Anonymous K,

Answer my question first. What is the proportionate reason for voting for the Infanticide/Abortion Party? Even the craven knows that both parties once abhorred abortion before it became a fundraising technique for the Dems

Anonymous said...

TJM - It seems to me that you don't believe that such proportionate reasons exist, so your question is disingenuous.

More to the point, the Church gives the voter, in his or her conscience, the right and the obligation to make this judgment.

The Church does not have the authority to tell a voter how to reason. It is an epistemological matter. "How does one make a judgment; in this case, a judgment regarding the question of voting." The Church can and does propose values - the value of human life, the value of generosity, the value of forgiveness. But the Church leaves the individual free to make prudential judgments on questions of how to apply or live these values.

The cannot say, "You have the right and the responsibility to make a judgment, but this is the conclusion you must reach." Some in the Church may disagree with the conclusion a person reaches. Some may agree.

But, fundamentally, the Church cannot force its way of reasoning - assuming there is only one Catholic way of reasoning, which there is not - on the individual.

George said...

The authority that the Church possesses comes from God Himself, the Church being guided by His Holy Spirit.
I would like to know what proportionate reasons would be sufficient to vote for a pro-abortion politician where the choice exists to vote for an alternative candidate with a position opposing the procedure. Especially in those states where laws are enacted permitting abortion up to the moment of birth.
There exists no "Catholic way of reasoning". This amounts to Enlightenment thinking. With the Church, there is the law of God which is not subject to opinion or dispute or arbitration. It is for we as persons loyal to the Faith and therefore under the guidance of the Church, to submit ourselves to the truth of her teaching and this is our surety in doing what God desires us to do. If you are in the right spiritual frame of mind and heart you will discern what is good and what is evil and so will be able to choose correctly in making your decisions. Pray to be open to the grace of God to accept what has been revealed in Scripture and, submitting yourself to the guidance of the Church, to act accordingly.
Technological advancements and the influence of the material world have become a predominant influence in the lives of too many people who do not have the counterbalance of being guided by the revealed teachings of God. The faculties of the intellect and will, no longer governed by faith in a higher power, succumb to pride and relativism and have become disordered in too many people today who then can no longer discern the right from the wrong. One opinion has equal legitimacy to another.
Modern man cannot know true freedom if does not obey the precepts revealed to him by God. By ignoring or discounting traditional values and religious teachings he ends up a slave to his passions and his selfish desires or to the governing opinions of others who happen to be in power. Things are the way they today in large part because the governing restraint and guidance that comes from a faith in God is lacking in far too many.

Anonymous said...

The phrase above at 3:51, "The cannot say..." should read, "The Church cannot say...".

TJM said...

"Anonymous said...
TJM - It seems to me that you don't believe that such proportionate reasons exist, so your question is disingenuous."

Since you are a priest I would like to hear what a de facto proportionate reason is to vote for a Party which know endorses infanticide and goes well beyond what the rest of the civilized world allows. It is an honest question, not disengenous. I suspect you cannot articulate a proportionate reason based on the facts on the ground, rather than some abstract "what if."

Anonymous said...

It is not an honest question. You do not believe that ANY proportionate reasons exist.

When you cast a ballot for a candidate, you are engaging in an act very much grounded in "what if."

"What if" this candidate is a bald-faced liar and has hoodwinked his supporters.

"What if" this candidate is absolutely ungrounded in any ethics or morality save what he/she finds personally pleasing or beneficial, even though he/she says differently.

"What if" this candidate has little or no understanding for the geopolitics of the world other than what he/she sees on television.

"What if" this candidate claims to be a very stable genius, though his/her actions and words reveal otherwise.

"What if" this candidate maintains that he respect women, yet brags, in print, out loud, and on tape, of his sexual conquests of numerous women, married and unmarried.

Etc, etc etc.

Votes are all about "what if."

TJM said...

Anonymous K,

The politicians you are describing sound a lot like a combination of Bill Clintoon and Obama the Magnificent, who were both extraordinary liars and one who was credibly accused of rape. You are such a hardened ideologue, you do not recognize reality.

None of what you described is a proportionate reason for casting a vote for a candidate that belongs to a party that markets itself as the baby killer party. If I were your bishop, I would suspend you a divinis because you lack judgment and no longer believe what the Church teaches about the sanctity of human life.

Anonymous said...

The "What ifs" I noted are all, de facto, descriptors of Donald Trump.

Anonymous voter said...

Both candidates in the last election had issues. Two things that were of
primary importance to faithful Catholics were religious freedom and abortion. Mr. Trump has shown himself to be on the right side of those in both policy directives,
executive orders, and judicial nominees. Looks like our "What ifs" won out over those
who voted for Hillary.