Archive for the ‘Totalitarian States’ Category

Aphorism XCIX

Monday, July 11th, 2016

One sure sign of ascendant fascism is a group that forcefully takes over a stage and microphone from another scheduled speaker. Such acts are especially offensive in a university setting, where theoretically freedom of speech and inquiry should rule.

This bullying tactic hearkens back to the shirt movements such as the Brownshirts and the Blackshirts that brought the Fascism of Hitler and Stalin to power in the 1920s and 30s.

Such public bullying today is no longer a virtual shirt movement online, simply multiplying tweets, but political thugs of the worst kind trying to wrestle control of the physical public square. Such a group will not moderate its use of force to simply take over stages from other speakers, but is capable of much more coercion and even violence.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


The Wit of St. John Fisher

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

St. John Fisher, 1469-1535, who was executed on this June 22nd date, wrote several documents defending the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. In one, the Licitum fuisse matrimonium Hen: 8: cum Catharina relicta fratris suj Arthurj, probably written in 1529, Fisher displays particular wit. According to the late scholar Edward Surtz SJ, Fisher employed the Latin adage or proverb “quite effectively”:

In striving to discover a basis for the invalidity of Henry and Catherine’s marriage in the Levitical prohibition (Lev. 18:16, 20:21), his adversaries are engaging in an activity as futile as seeking wool on a donkey (“lanam ab asino quaerunt”), or hunting a hare outside its burrow (“Inanis est venatio leporis extra sedem suam”), or shaking a bush from which the bird has already flown (“frustra dumus excutitur, in qua non residet avis”). By failing to reconcile the prohibition in Leviticus with the leviratic precept in Deuteronomy (25:5), they are keeping the two farther apart than treble and bass (lit. than a double octave: longius quam bis diapason). Nevertheless it is plainer than any sun (omni sole clarius) that the wife whose husband has died childless is exempt from the Levitical prohibition against marriage to one’s brother’s wife. Yet Fisher can apply a proverb to himself also. In trespassing on the territory of canon lawyers, he realizes that he must face the criticism: The cobber should not go beyond his last (Ne ultra crepidam sutor).

From: Surtz, E. L. (1967). The works and days of John Fisher; an introduction to the position of St. John Fisher (1469-1535), Bishop of Rochester, in the English Renaissance and the Reformation. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, pg. 352.

For more on St. John Fisher, and why he should be named a Doctor of the Church, please see my previous posts.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


The Rise of Virtual Shirt Movements

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

In a 2010 post, I wrote about the history of “shirt movements” like the Blackshirts and the Brownshirts, and how these violent thugs drove more moderate associations and leaders from the public square in the 1920s, 30s, and thereafter, allowing Fascist and other totalitarian movements to take power.

Thanks to Twitter and other social media, it is now possible to mount a virtual shirt movement of hundreds of thousands of participants (but usually a much smaller, but very vocal group) to marginalize individuals and one’s political or social opposition.

Since this virtual shirt movement phenomenon is still immature, many individuals are shaken when seemingly thousands of persons virtually gang up on them. However, as this phenomenon does mature and become better understood, we may see a situation in which only virtual reactions involving one million or more participants will be taken seriously, and only if they sustain themselves over time. Universities are especially susceptible to relatively small virtual shirt movements.

Right now, virtual shirt movements seem very powerful. This power may degrade as it is better understood, and as information countermeasures are established.

A virtual shirt movement may seem “fierce,” but these “virtually fierce” ones eventually can be virtually discredited and even ignored as their manipulative efforts are themselves revealed and better understood.

But if virtual shirt movements are taken too seriously and are allowed to succeed, we will see the makings of a new virtual fascism or totalitarianism. One sure harbinger of Fascism is a group of thugs who drive their opposition from the public square, virtually or otherwise.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


Condemnation of Donald Trump’s “You have to go after their families” Remark

Friday, March 11th, 2016

The following note is being shared with colleagues at UIC:


Certain outrageous and criminal public statements require public condemnation. Donald Trump’s remark, “You have to go after their families,” referring to the families of terrorists, calls for our country to commit war crimes. Yes, DT walked the remark back, but that he would make such an intemperate and ignorant remark groups him with the most infamous and dangerous demagogues in history.

One interesting development this past week of 3/7/16 is that a number of leading and more traditional Catholic intellectuals, mostly allied with the GOP, issued a condemnation of Trump, stating “Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States.” While UIC colleagues may not agree with a number of the premises in the statement, addressed to men and women of good will, I share it for your interest:


Albert Schorsch, III
emeritus research faculty

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


Garry Wills Erred on St. Edith Stein

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

The purpose of this blog post is to put into the public record that noted author Garry Wills erred significantly in his statement about the martyrdom of St. Edith Stein, on page 55 of his 2000 book Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit, when he wrote:

There are no reported indicators to say, “These we are killing as Jews but those as Catholics.”

On page 103-4 of Edith Stein: A biography, by Waltraud Herbstrith,1985, Herbstrith wrote:

“At Amersfoort, the retaliatory nature of the arrests became apparent. Protestant Jews and those of partly Jewish descent were quickly released, but the Catholic Jews remained under arrest, together with approximately a thousand other Jewish prisoners.”

For more background on this controversy, please see my 2009 post, and my second 2010 post on St. Edith Stein. For all of my posts on St. Edith Stein, please see the following link.

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


Comment on US Office of Personnel Management Data Hack

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Here is my comment on the massive personnel data hack at the US Office of Personnel Management, mentioned in this 7/10/15 story in the Wall Street Journal, “OPM Director Katherine Archuleta Resigns After Massive Personnel Data Breach”

“The results of this data loss will reverberate for a century — if we can survive it. I’m afraid the data will, among other things, be sold to the highest bidders. The reaction of the White House reminds me of a typical and recurring Chicago Way moment, after a political appointee messes up an agency or bureau — “Oh, now we’re going to have to hire a real expert to run the place” — until the real expert fixes things up well enough so the next political appointee can be hired. Real change includes reform, but somehow the reform got left out of the change agenda. . .”

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


Catholic Christian Answers to an Atheist

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Why Do We Follow Jesus as Catholic Christians?

Jesus taught that the greatest love is to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13), and to love one another as he loved us (John 13:34). By His willing acceptance of human suffering and death, Jesus transformed and transcended the meaning of suffering and death.

Jesus’ “New Commandment” to love as he loved could not simply have evolved to radical altruism through a biological process, where altruism arises to a point, but could only have been revealed–introduced as something completely new–as a Divine Gift by Jesus.

This love-teaching of Jesus is an historic fact in human culture.

We Catholic Christians remember Jesus’ New Commandment of Love both in the way we live and in our celebration of the Eucharist. By consuming the Body and Blood of Christ in the appearance of consecrated bread and wine as a living, present, continuing act of Love, we declare our unity with this Love, Who is God. In so doing, we proclaim the Resurrection of Christ.

The Catholic Church is first of all the sacrament–both a sign and an instrument–of the unity of the human race in union with God (Lumen Gentium, Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 1). We believe that we are not the slaves of God, but his friends (John 15:15). This friendship and freedom are God’s gift to us.

In believing in Jesus and in sharing in his Church as Catholic Christians, we listen to the truth which makes us free (John 8:32). To reveal this truth and freedom Jesus suffered death and rose from the dead for our sake, and gave us the gift of His Church.

Hope requires trust in that which greater than ourselves–not in the state, which in the end can enslave–but in God, Who frees.

Without this Christ and His Church, there would be no transcendence of suffering and death, no hope of human unity, no hope of eternal life, no hope that the poor in spirit will be blessed, or that the meek will inherit the earth, or that the merciful will obtain mercy, or that those who hunger and thirst for justice will be satisfied (Matthew 5:5). Those who reject belief in God and His Church risk rejecting these good things. In the end, the atheist to be consistent must reject also the Beatitudes.

A world without the living Love of Jesus Christ is a world without hope of overcoming slavery, strife, despair, and violence.

Science is necessary to offer healing to a point, but cannot offer lasting hope, nor a sure path to human unity without another failed and destructive attempt at totalitarian government–since to enforce universal atheism will once again require totalitarianism.

Belief should not reject science. Far from it. Neither does science contradict belief. But science has yet to demonstrate that it can in and of itself overcome pseudo-science. The (1) persistence of quackery in medicine (witness daytime TV and late-night infomercials, and intellectual thralldom to the unproved theories of Freud for the better part of a century), the (2) politicization of the social sciences which have weakened science as a positive force, and (3) continuing breaches of scientific ethics at universities all speak to the reality of science as an imperfect work in progress, not as a finished product.

Today both Christian belief and science are weakened forces, but both still seek truth. It is possible, and desirable, to embrace Christian belief while respecting and practicing science.

Once one recognizes that there is an aspect of Love that is transcendent, beyond what science can explain, one has entered into the truth of belief in God.

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


Iraqi Dominican Sister Diana Momeka, OP, barred by State Department from Entering US to Testify on ISIS; Then Visa Granted; Testifies on 5/13/15

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Iraqi Catholic nun Diana Momeka, OP, D. Min., a member of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena of Mosul, which has ancient roots in her country,


has reportedly been recently denied a temporary visa by the US State Department preventing her testimony in the US about persecution of Christians by ISIS. Sr. Momeka earned a doctorate in ministry at Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union in 2012, where she gave the commencement address, as described by the Adrian Dominican sisters’ website.

Ironically, the news of this denial spread on the 4/29 feast of St. Catherine of Siena, patroness of Sr. Momeka’s order. Please see this Reuters story for more.

Here’s a 5/3/15 update on the State Department’s response from religious freedom advocate Nina Shea.

The public witness for peace, justice, and holiness in Christ’s name is a particular charism of Dominican sisters in the tradition of St. Catherine of Siena.

Perhaps the US Congress can hear Sr. Momeka’s testimony via Skype!

Update: on 5/9/15, reported that the temporary visa was granted.

On 5/13/15, Sr. Momeka testified at the US Congress.

Here’s the video of Sr. Momeka’s testimony on 5/13/15 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee–

Here’s the full text of Sr. Momeka’s testimony National Catholic Register.

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


St. Maximilian Kolbe Ministered Both at Nagasaki and at Auschwitz

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

A number of social media postings memorialize St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941), who accepted execution in place of another prisoner, but few mention a most amazing fact about him: that his ministry took him both to Nagasaki (1930-36) and to his death at Auschwitz (1941), two among the most iconic places of dolor of the 20th Century.

The monastery founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe survived the August 9, 1945 atomic blast at Nagasaki, as did the Catholic community, in no small part due to St. Maximilian’s earlier witness. St. Maximilian’s feast day of August 14 follows shortly after the anniversary of the Nagasaki conflagration.

So let St. Maximilian Kolbe be remembered as the saint of both Nagasaki and of Auschwitz! His ministry at these two locations, among his many other works, presents to our suffering world a sign of hope in God’s mercy and love.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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In Hac Lacrimarum Valle: The Enduring Dark Age Revealed

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

The notion of the “Dark Age,” after its coinage by Petrarch at the dawn of the Renaissance, may well have been propelled by later Reformation retrojectors–those projecting their own current views into the past–to blow at the candles illuminating Medieval culture so that the Reformation might better shine.

Modernity, post-modernity, and other contemporary cultural forces have especially resisted the words of the Medieval hymn to Mary, the Salve Regina, “gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle,” translated “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” which is thought to have its origins in St. Jerome’s rendering of Psalm 83:7 (84:7)–

6 Beatus vir cujus est auxilium abs te:
ascensiones in corde suo disposuit,
7 in valle lacrimarum, in loco quem posuit.

Vulgate Psalms, Chapter 83, accessed from on 8/10/14.

–and which is now in many contemporary translations rendered as the “valley of Baca” instead of the valley of tears.

Contemporary Christians and agnostics likewise often reject the term, “valley of tears.” Garry Wills omitted the Salve Regina ending from his book on the Rosary (Catholics normally end their praying of the Rosary with the Salve Regina). The “valley of tears,” like St. John Paul II’s term “culture of death” from Evangelium Vitae, appears to make the progressive mind uncomfortable.

But I challenge contemporary thinkers to find a better expression to describe the terrible circumstances of those suffering from war, persecution, or poverty, than the “valley of tears.”

Scripture scholars have puzzled over the meaning of the Hebrew word Baca for centuries. Is it a place in Palestine, or a figurative state of sorrow?

In Arabic, Bakkah has a more precise meaning, the place of the sacred Kaaba in Mecca.

So those who suffer around the world today are indeed cast into the valley of tears, and into the collision of words and cultures–Baca, Bakkah–between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim interpretations.

Slavery has returned: it never left, but now is visible to the contemporary eye.

Yet can the contemporary eye fathom the meaning of the Enduring Dark Age that has exploded in our faces? What difference do progressivism, modernity, atheism, theory, narrative, etc., matter to Isis and their ilk? Atheists preaching their advantages to such a world merely sow into the wind. Can these violent fanatical forces be defeated by armies shaped today more to generate social change at home than the proper protective mission of a military force?

Fueled by almost a century of first Nazi and then Soviet anti-Semitic propaganda, a militant Islam is at war with the United States and Israel. Russia, Iran, and China are ready to pounce on their first geopolitical opportunities, and have an interest in prolonging the conflict. This general situation may not change for centuries.

Welcome, therefore, to the Enduring Dark Age, or if you prefer, the uncovering of a Dark Age that never really ended, but in which “enlightened” technological society collides with genocide, forced conversion, summary execution, and slavery–now made painfully visible by global communications, and catalyzed by the global proliferation of weapons down to the mad and genocidal local bully.

As long as hearts are darkened by hatred and fear despite our sophistication, and as long as the guns are not silenced, our age will darken still.

Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae. . .

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. . .

Perhaps we can find hope and consolation in the words of the Psalmist beginning with–

How lovely your dwelling, O Lord of Hosts! (Psalm 84:1)

–and hear in the confluence of the contested words Baca and Bakkah the ending of tears and the presence of God.

O Clemens, O Pia, O Dulcis Virgo Maria!

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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