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Table of Contents

Is the Pope is Pushing Conservative Catholics Toward the Society of St Pius X?
Legal Processes make the Ferguson Situation much Worse
Difficult Situations can Create Feelings of Guilt
Few Churches have Such an Long History
An Open Letter from a Conservative Brother to His More Liberal Sister
Listening to a Reading of Korda's Book on Lee's Life while watching Ferguson Burn is Very Painful
Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren

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Is the Pope is Pushing Conservative Catholics Toward the Society of St Pius X? - Pope Francis is evidently a numbers guy.

He seems to want large numbers of divorced and remarried Catholics and large numbers of sexually active homosexuals to be somehow reconciled to the Church. Perhaps their sins will be re-classified as venial so these folks will be allowed to receive communion without the Church going to full acceptance of homosexuality or divorce with remarriage.

In any event this sort of move by Pope Francis is likely to cause traditional Catholics to look more carefully at the Society of St Pius X as an alternative to attendance at their local parish. Currently the Society commands the allegience of 1% of Catholics but its seminaries are crowded and the waiting lists long. Additionally many high quality priests from main line parishes are requesting acceptance into the Society. The number of transfer candidates has remained so steady that the Society has established a special facility in Kansas City to train these priests in the pre-Vatican II liturgy.

However, as noted above, Pope Francis must think that the Church will be improved with active homosexuals and divorce and remarried in the pews even if as a number of conservatives drop out?

The Pope has the additional problem of organized conservatives groups currently loyal to Rome that are restless about the Pope’s machinations. These groups, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, might bolt to the Society of Pius X if forced to change their beliefs on fundamental moral questions.

A final note: It is interesting that the entire process of change growing out of Vatican II has not reached stasis rather it continues. Many thought it would run its course as the new liturgy was implemented and a more accepting attitude toward Protestants took hold perhaps drawing wayward Christians back to the true Church. These original changes, while wrenching, only dealt with Catholic practice and have been accepted by most.

Now Pope Francs has arrived and the changes are beginning to impact Catholic moral teaching. Catholic belief has traditionally given the Pope wide latitude in changing practice but in the area of faith and moral his scope is more narrow. The Pope can only refine and clarify established teachings on faith and morals. He is never writing on a blank slate. This Pope, with his proposed changes, seems to be skating on thin ice, let’s pray he doesn’t lead the Church into a big freezing hole. ...............(prepared by Hugh Murray on 11/18/14)

Legal Processes make the Ferguson Situation much Worse - The Ferguson Missouri racial situation got totally out of hand because information about the injuries that Officer Wilson sustained at the hands of Michael Brown were withheld from the public. This failure to share important information with the public caused thousands of African American to commit emotionally and in many cases publicly to the “Michael Brown was a victim” position.

The reason the information about Officer Wilson’s situation was kept secret grows out of police and grand jury procedural rules that counter transperancy. These procedures, of course, grow out of the basic lawyer urge to “control” situations through selective disclosers. This selective, secret disclosure problem is most manifest in trials where lawyers on both sides bury evidence as long as possible and disclose only what they have to disclose as late as possible or not at all.

Of course, in the "Michael Brown - Ferguson" situation, the fact that literally thousand of people are now so emotionally committed that the eventual discloser of the “rest of the story” is likely to go unbelieved. There is a good chance that attempts will be made to torch or loot a good part of St Louis.

Will the legal failure to timely disclose facts the public has a right to know, be laid at the feet of the responsible parties? Probably not. Should these secretive procedures and those who promote them be held up to public scorn? Of course they should.

Unfortunetly the blame for all will be thrown on the poor African Americas who react when they saw one of their own dead with no coherent explanation coming from the authorities for week upon week........... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 11/17/2014)

Difficult Situations can Create Feelings of Guilt - Consider a man, Al, who, while attending AA meetings, becomes a good friend of another man, Ben.

They go along for a year or so attending meetings together and doing other things as well. The relationship is running along smoothly until Ben decides to go back to alcohol. At first Ben tries to get Al to follow him back to drinking. However Al protects himself and breaks off the relationship saying “I’ll only talk to you on the phone. I can’t hang with someone who is drinking “ .

Over time Al notices that Ben is calling more frequently and seems more and more needful. Al respondses by screening his calls and sending Ben to his answering machine. After a day or two Al then calls Ben back, usually in the morning, hoping to catch him in a better mood.

Then comes the Friday night when Ben calls and Al as usual sends the call to the answering machine saying to himself “ I’ll call him back Sunday”. On Sunday Al calls back and there is no answer. That evening he goes to an AA meeting and learns that Ben has committed suicide. It hits him like a ton of bricks as he thinks “If I had only spoken to Ben on Friday he might have cheered up”.

Al starts losing sleep and is troubled by the situation. He is at work on Wed and happens to mention his plight to a regular customer. The customer recalls that Al had been raised as a Catholic so he says “why don’t you go to Confession. The priest can discuss the situation with you and if there is any sinful behavior on your part you can obtain forgiveness.”

Al sees the customer a couple of weeks later and says: “thank you for that advice about my friend Ben and going to confession. I went last Saturday afternoon and the priest and I had a great talk about Ben but also about a lot of other situations in my life. You know I thought AA was the answer to everything but I think going to confession and talking to a priest might be the avenue to something even better.”

The customer turned and thinks to himself “you have no idea how wonderful the world of sacramental grace and thoughtful doctrinal instruction can be “. .... .........(prepared by Hugh Murray on 11/17/2014)

Few Churches have Such an Long History - November 9 is the memorial for the Dedication of St John Lateran Basilica in Rome. The original structure was given to the Catholic Church in 324 AD by the Emperor Constantine when his wife inherited this large home which was formerly owned by the Lateran family.

A few years before this gift, Constantine had allowed the Catholic religion to be practiced openly across the empire. With Constantine’s announcement the Church emerged from its underground status. After 300 years in the shadows, the Church was ready for its own permanent structure(s).

The Lateran home immediately became the headquarters of the Bishop of Rome, who is also the Pope, and thus the most important structure for Christianity. Its largest room served as the original church and the Pope lived and worked in the residential areas.

Later, two sets of Monks living nearby , one with a particular attachment to St John the Apostle the other with a particular attachment to St John the Baptist, were charged with maintaining the building. These monks built a baptistery dedicated to the two Saints. Eventually the baptistery’s name was transferred to the entire facility and the plural designation dropped, thus the name “St John Lateran” emerged..

The Popes lived there from 324 to 1306 when the papacy moved to Avignon. From the Lateran they oversaw the Catholics in Rome as well as those across the world. In this Arch-Bacilica there is a piece of stone which is said to have served as an altar for St Peter when he moved around the city saying Mass in caves and in various peoples’ homes.

The old structure was torn down in the 1600's when the current church was built on the site................. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 11/17/2014)

An Open Letter from a Conservative Brother to His More Liberal Sister - Dear loving sister,

In theory, I share your sentiment about the need for moderation in the Republican Party particularly on the "stylistic" side. However, there is not much hope: because of state laws and the electoral college we are locked into a two party system. So all effective political activity has to find expression in one of those parties. Thus you have many forces within each party.

In the gradual forward move of the Republic toward some temporary political stability, different people want advantage so they turn to government for benefits: business leaders want open borders so they can take advantage of cheap foreign labor, inner city mothers want more generous food stamp payments, defense contractors want America actively engaged overseas, politicians want programs and policies that promise re-election, etc.

There are some who rise above their current wants and think about the other, think about the future generation. In this category you have: environmentalists , pro-lifers, etc. But these people are attacked by those who say "your just using your issue to control my life". There is an unwillingness to see or understand the other guy's view of things. There is also a general unwillingness to accept any absolute truth. This relativist thinking is called Modernism which some Christians say is a heresy.


When one party swings strongly in a direction, such as George Bush's foreign adventures, you get a reaction manifest in Obama. The tea party is the libertarian/traditionalist manifestation of the next swing. Of course, the "country club" Republicans are frightened by the likes of Paul or Cruz a) firstly, because they don't want to lose control of the party, and b) secondarily because they might not be able to have one of their own as the Presidential nominee.

With their money they are usually able to control the local and state Republican parties most of the time. They might lose control for a short time, but they will get it back by selective support for "apparent conservatives" who have the ability to "grow over time".

Regarding the Presidential candidate, they will pick one moderate who they hope will win over a divided, splintered field of "true believers".. Perhaps Mitt Romney again or maybe Jeb Bush.

So the next swing to the right won't happen (or if it does it will be a weak swing).


Because the Democrats have discovered the huge turnout bonus they get by running a black for President. Cory Booker will probably be President perhaps in 2020. Of course, they can't run Booker in 2016 because the Obama missteps are too fresh in everyone's mind. The Democrats have to let memories fad and idealistic, liberal dreams return to the minds of the young and downtrodden.


Both political parties have been focusing on giving people benefits when they should be focusing on giving people private sector jobs that pay enough to support a family. The labor union was the vehicle which allowed people of limited education, skill and/or ability to earn such a wage; however, allowing mfg goods to come in "duty free" has allowed Wall Street to move millions of such jobs off shore.

America needs those jobs back, but how to do that? Particularly since China and Japan own so much of our national debt?

Also people argue that consumer goods would double in price. That's probably alarmist but some rise might occur. Which might be good because it could curb America's excess consumerism.

Regulation is ripe for reform. The latest winner of the Noble Prize for economics has worked in this area. It is not that all regulation should go away. Rather there is a need for smart regulation that can't be manipulated by the large players in a regulated industry.

Turning to an area I know, Peter Wallisin, at the moderately conservative think tank called AEI, has been working out ways to regulate the securities industry in a smart rather than a heavy handed way. He doesn't get much of a hearing. When I first began to manage a brokerage company, the small firms had their own regulator called NASD. Later they put all firms large and small into one pool, and there was FINRA. The regulation became more heavy handed and was dominated by huge checklists and more record keeping. We went from smart to heavy handed. Of course, it was all ultimately ineffective as the large firms sank the economy anyway.

Of course, the regulation, the transfer payments, and even the pomp of the Presidency causes the little guys around the country to say "enough is enough". I use a plumber who loses it when Washington is mentioned. He used to be a cop and he has been in many low income homes; he rails against the dysfunctional families, the child abuse, and spousal abuse, he has seen. He thinks the whole system needs to be blown up and redone with local control. He is a Tea Party type. No economic training and no real understanding of the history that made America such a centralized country. He just knows it has to change. This plumber is a crack shot and would probably join if someone said "Let's take Jefferson's advice and have ourselves a rebellion to adjust the situation".

The discord in Washington stems from the fact that our plumber and Bernie Sanders are in the same polity. A country can cope with difference but it can't be too wide or too strongly held. A homogeneous society can overcome splits more easily because the ties of common religion or tradition helps to bring folks together despite their political differences. However, America is a polyglot society and today takes pride in emphasizing its differences (rather than its former emphasis on the "melting pot").

I hope there is no revolution, but if it comes I would not be surprised.

Your loving brother

.............(prepared by Hugh Murray on 12/10/2014) ...................


Listening to a Reading of Korda's Book on Lee's Life while watching Ferguson Burn is Very Painful - Robert E Lee fought for the south because 1) he was a son of Virginia with many interlinked family relationships there and 2) he felt blacks were not ready for full freedom. However, he also felt slavery was worse for the master than for the slave. Lee felt slavery could be eliminated with some sort of gradual, controled emancipation accompanied by education and skills training preparing the black population for eventual freedom. Lee could not say how long it might take to prepare all slaves for freedom, but he felt the timing was not for man's determination. He felt God would provide guidance on how quickly or slowly this gradual emancipation would occur. Perhaps his reasons saying slavery was hard on the master were: 1) it hardened his attitude toward slaves and by extension all people and 2) it filled the master with excess pride because of his role as a slave master.

So today America looks at Ferguson or Staten Island today and wonders if Lee didn't have a point?

All this causes the thoughtful person to think more deeply about all this. Regarding the Civil War it is clear the war welded the states together essentially eliminating states rights. So what has this "welded together"¯ country done with its great economic size and strength in the 150 years since the Civil War: 1) the country picked a fight with Spain and destroyed its colony system setting the stage for instability in both the Phillipines and Cuba, 2) the country picked sides in WWI causing the Germans to lose thus setting the stage for WWII and thus allowing the Communist take over in Russia, 3) the US used its power to checkmate the British Empire only to find ourselves "picking up the pieces"¯ in places (such as Israel, Iraq, and Afganhistan), and 4) finding the hatred of radical Islam directed most intensely at the US.

No one can be certain of a "what if" senerio. But it seems pretty clear that had the North and South shared the current territory occupied by the US, the world's "indespensible country"¯. Certainly these two adjacent countries would not have thrown their combined weight around as aggressively as USA has. There might have been fewer people, particularly civilians, killed around the world. (Consider the wars that the USA participated in: 1) America was in briefly during WWI where only 5% of the casualities were civilians, 2) when America got fully engaged in the WWII, its airplane factories helped jump the casuality percent to 68%. 3) today the percentage is 90% when America goes to wars.) In addition, it is likely far fewer Americans would have been killed in all these foreign wars if the Civil War had ended in a stalemate.

It is interesting that Robert E. Lee, who had been a principal intelligence and engineering advisor to Windfield Scott in the Mexico War, had a strong aversion to strong nations agressively beating up weaker countries even when some earlier provocation existed. Lee felt intelligent people should negotiate over their differences. Lee and Lincoln shared an aversion to the Mexican War. However, in the Civil War they took opposite tacks. Lincoln favoring war with no negotiation, while Lee was in favor of a negotiated conclusion based on the principles of America's founders. ............. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 12/20/2014)

Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren - I just finished your book Fighting Chance. It was very engaging


You make a good case against the financial services industry. They have cheated people using tricky forms and these have thrown millions into bankruptcy. You mention that people go into debt for medical expenses, education, and because of long periods of unemployment. I agree with your analysis but it needs to go further.

Many small businesses are forced to close by lawyers who bring frivolous lawsuits trying to shake down these small businesses. If the business defends itself and it will go broke paying its lawyer; or it can agree to settle the lawsuit and then become severely stressed financially by the hole the settlement puts in the business’s working capital. One more little set back will cause such stressed businesses into bankruptcy. These small businesses are usually backed by one or perhaps two people who have committed big chucks of their personal assets. ........... I would say that fairness requires you to add “legal abuse” to your list of major causes of bankruptcy.


Later in your book you a give a more general listing of problems and solutions in the overall economy. You list services that everyone, including every businessman, needs that only government can provide. Your list included, roads, fire protection, police, etc., a neat list of locally provided services. You then use this list of necessary services as a justification for more government taxes and regulations, particularly at the federal level. These additional taxes or regulation you wish to imposes are for federal needs far distant from the local business.

I think if you want to win over a local businessman you might mention federal programs that help him in order to win his support for additional federal tax or regulation. For instance, if you told a small manufacturer that you would protect his domestic market with federal tarriffs against his foreign competitor, he might be willing to accept 1) easier rules for his workers to unionize, or 2) a higher personal income tax rate on himself, etc. In life the “quid pro quo” works best. There are people like Mother Theresa of Calcutta walking around but they are not very numereous.


I agree with you big banks should be split up seperating investment banking from comerical banking. I believe a companies like Merrill Lynch should be allowed to go babkrupt. I believe manager of any company that do illegal acts should go to jail and/or be thrown out of their industry forever.

I ran a small broker dealer and I was friendly with a Merrill broker who was getting older, slowing down. He all but told me “if Merrill goes under I would be interested in joining your small firm”. When Merrill got in trouble I daily expected our conversations to include serious interest in his coming to my firm, but that never happened instead Bank of America got the call from the US Treasury saying “Washington will facilitate your acquisition of Merrill”. My small firm lost, Bank of America won, the big got bigger. I heard a commentator on Bloomberg say the top banks in the US are now 38% larger than they were in 2007


In your book you speak with such compassion for everyone. But the most important step you could take is to get jobs for the 47% of black males in Ferguson Missouri who have no jobs. Steady jobs are needed in the private sector: 1) where these workers can see results for their efforts in a permanent position as oppossed the typical government “make work” type job that simply makes the US deficit worse, 2) where there is little worry that the job will soon end, 3) where they can have access to “on the job” training, and 4) where there is oppurtunity for gradual advancement into positions that do not have outside credentialing requirements. These men need to get steady paychecks 1) that they can show to their wives, and 2) that will allow them to hold their heads high in front of their children.


You need to address the insidious unstable finacial circle we are currently in. 1) America borrows billions sometimes overseas (or just prints up some money in basement of the Fed), 2) then America pays the money to 40M perfectly healthy middle aged adults in the form of foodstamps, extended unemployment, housing assistance, medicaid, etc and America pays another 40M perfectly capable young retirees Social Security and Medicare, 3) these subsidised Americas use a lot of this federal money to buy forgeign goods at Walmart, 4) the money moves offshore and these foreigners use the money to buy America assets like farmland, buildings, stocks, corporate bonds, etc. 5) America is soon short of money once more so they try #1 again.

The cycle begins anew with no end in sight.

But of course all thoughtful people know the “unsustainable” will not be sustained.


In 1850 the manufactures of Lowell Mass. needed protection from their foreign competitors. America responded and tariffs were raised, even risking a civil war with the South to help towns like Lowell.

Today black workers in Ferguson Missouri need protection from foreign competitors who are destroying the labor intensive, low skilled jobs they can do. Perhaps you should adopt the slogan “if its was good for Lowell, its good for Ferguson”. I would note that every dozen labor intensive, low skilled manufacturing jobs creates two jobs that require technical, accounting, and/or product design skills. So by creating jobs for the blacks in Ferguson you will also create some jobs for underemployed college graduates all over the St Louis area. Also note by the creating a protected market with a tariff the factory owners are likely to look more favorablly on unionization of his factory.


Of course, the government has to be prepared to withdraw transfer payments from these “Ferguson” households as unionization, “on the job” training, and gradual “in factory promotion” cause the households involved to move up into the middle class . Since this movement toward a more work oriented society from a transfer payment oriented society will occur at different rates in different regions States should have a maximum of control over this process of reducing transfer payments


Regarding your support from Planned Parenthood, I would only say that your desire to help the weak and downtrodden in society rings hollow when you turn your back on the weakest and most helpless among us, namely the unborn. You need to pray hard and I hope reconsider your position.


Finally, you offer the analogy between the design of the toaster in your kitchen and design of the loan documents that babktupted so many millions. If a engineer had intentional designed a faulty toaster that burned down a million homes I’m certain you would call for him to go to jail. However, lawyers did design the documents that caused millions of people to go babkrupt and I hear no call from you to jail these lawyers. Just because a big boss somewhere says “I want this done” does not exoneraite the engineer or the lawyer who then knowingly implemented the evil order.


You must think more deeply and more logicialy . You must not be blinded by your love of the law and lawyers. You must use your knowledge of social science to see what America might do to get unemployed low skilled men into meaningful long lasting jobs. You must allow your obvious love of people to extend to both born and unborn people.

Elizabeth Warren, you have the speaking skills and public persona to motivate others to support a higher, a better integrated, set of public goals and values, but first you have to decided on a well considered set of goals and values. .......... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 12/31/2014)

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This page hopes to bring a common sense, old fashioned view to today's news. The comments displayed on this page were prepared by Hugh V. Murray, who can be reached at hvm@aol.com