Author Archives: Dennis Mallon

About Dennis Mallon

Secular Franciscan of the Order Franciscan Seculars

Pope Benedict’s Message

Saint FrancisPapal authority

The Pope acknowledged that papal authority is a stumbling block for some people, who see the teaching magisterium as a threat to freedom of belief and of conscience. But he explained that the Pope’s authority is not really his own, since “the ministry of the Pope is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word.” As teacher, he continue, the Pontiff “binds himself and the Church in obedience to God’s Word, in the face of all attempts to adapt that Word, or water it down, and in the face of all forms of opportunism.” Benedict XVI went on to say that his predecessor, John Paul II, was carrying out this task when he repeatedly demanded respect fro human life, in the face of mounting public opposition. “The freedom to kill is not true freedom, a but a tyranny that reduces human beings to slavery,” he said.

Universe is product of design

Pope Explains his Authority

Pope Benedict said that Christ had given his apostles, and the bishops who succeeded them, the duty to ensure that the faith is passed along without dilution or distortion. Although the Pope “must be aware that he is a weak and fragile man,” he cannot avoid this responsibility, the Holy Father continued. He must execute his teaching function, fulfilling the mandate from Christ, because “when Sacred Scripture is separated from the living voice of the Church, it falls victims to the disputes among experts.”

The Pope acknowledged that papal authority is a stumbling block for some people, who see the teaching magisterium as a threat to freedom of belief and of conscience. But he explained that the Pope’s authority is not really his own, since “the ministry of the Pope is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word.” As teacher, he continue, the Pontiff “binds himself and the Church in obedience to God’s Word, in the face of all attempts to adapt that Word, or water it down, and in the face of all forms of opportunism.” Benedict XVI went on to say that his predecessor, John Paul II, was carrying out this task when he repeatedly demanded respect for human life, in the face of mounting public opposition. “The freedom to kill is not true freedom, a but a tyranny that reduces human beings to slavery,” he said.

The Universe is product of design, not chance, January 06, 2011

The universe reflects “the wisdom of the Creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily as he celebrated Mass for the feast of the Epiphany,

Commenting on the visit of the Magi, the Holy Father said that the wise men who followed a star recognized the plan that is inherent in all creation. The universe is not driven by random chance, he said. “In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, its greatness and rationality, we cannot fail to read the eternal rationality,” the Pope said. “We can not help but be guided by it to the one God, Creator of heaven and earth.”

A Fox News report on the homily drew the curious conclusion that the Pope was speaking about the “Big Bang” theory. But in fact the Pontiff spoke about the limitations of all human ideas about life—political as well as scientific—and all human plans that tend to shut out God. He reflected on how King Herod feared the Christ Child, because of jealousy for his royal power. All believers should learn from that story, he said:

Herod is a character whom we do not like, whom we instinctively judge in a negative way for its brutality. But we should ask ourselves: maybe there is something of Herod in us? Perhaps we, too, on occasion, see God as a kind of rival?

Editors note: Perhaps, living in the world with its authority we may see God as a kind of rival”— today in the middle of an impeachment of the president many politicians try their best to hold on to their convections, whether right or wrong, they have to keep their “royal power” and not loose face. Yes, the past is prologue and history does repeat itself.

 “Our Apostolic Mandate”

A Key to Restoring Christian Civilization!

From TFP, July 29, 2010 | Luiz Sérgio Solimeo 

Exactly a century ago on August 25, Pope Saint Pius X published the Apostolic Letter, Notre Charge Apostolique (“Our Apostolic Mandate”). That document complemented, in the sociopolitical field, the Pontiff’s struggle against the philosophical and theological errors of Modernism, which he condemned in his Encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (September 8, 1907).

Although the new document was aimed directly at the errors of the leftist French Catholic movement Le Sillon (“The Furrow”), its teachings are perfectly relevant today, as the progressivist movement, like the Sillonists of old, keeps “its eyes fixed on a chimera, bring[ing] Socialism in its train.”1

As in the times of Le Sillon, based on confusing calls for “change” and on false notions of human dignity, today they seek to build an entirely new civilization opposed to Christian civilization.

The Gradual Side-Tracking of a Catholic Movement

Le Sillon was founded in 1894 by a group of Catholic students on the initiative of Marc Sagnier (1873-1950), who became their leader and top ideologue. The movement quickly spread throughout France and particularly among the youth, enjoying the support of countless bishops. Large numbers of seminarians and young priests joined its ranks.

However, it did not take long before strange aspects and dangerous doctrines began to surface in the movement, such as an egalitarian tendency to place priests and laity on the same footing during study workshops. Likewise, a kind of democratic mysticism became increasingly prominent in it, presenting democracy as the only legitimate form of government compatible with Catholic doctrine. Now, this was in blatant contradiction with the teaching laid down by the previous pope, Leo XIII in many of his encyclicals.2

Anarchic Aspect

As a result, the bishops began to withdraw the support they had initially given Le Sillon. By 1910, ten French archbishops and twenty bishops had forbidden their clergy and seminarians from participating in the movement.

When the Bishop of Quimper issued that prohibition, Marc Sagnier retorted that the diocese’s priests should disobey their prelate and added: “I may be accused of being an anarchist, but I don’t care a hoot about that.”3

For its part, Le Sillon increasingly abandoned its Catholic tone and assumed a sort of mystical and populist democratism pursuant to the principles of the French Revolution. Its publication went from being a “Catholic review of social action,” to a “Review of democratic action.”

___________

Legitimate Concept of Democracy

Criticism of the purely ideological and egalitarian concept of democracy has nothing to do with democracy as a form of government. Catholic social doctrine — and wholesome philosophy as well — teaches that there are three classical forms of government, all of which are legitimate and in accordance with the natural order: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.

Also, the noun democracy is frequently used as a synonym of liberty and an antonym of totalitarianism. According to Pius XII, the word democracy, used in this broad sense, “admits the various forms [of government] and can be realized in monarchies as well as republics.” The Pontiff also says: “With its pleiad of flourishing democratic communities, the Christian Middle Ages, particularly imbued with the spirit of the Church, showed that the Christian Faith knows how to create a true and proper democracy.” 4

_______________________ 

Rome’s Condemnation

Echoing the concerns of the French bishops, after much hesitation and having tried to bring Le Sillon back to the right path, on August 25, 1910, feast of Saint Louis the King of France, Pope Saint Pius X sent an official letter to the French episcopate. As customary in papal documents, it became known by its opening words (the Apostolic Letter was written in French): Notre Charge Apostolique (Our Apostolic Mandate).

As in his encyclical against the philosophical and theological errors of Modernism, the Saint analyzes with great perspicacity the tendencies and errors of Le Sillon and the psychological and moral, as well as philosophical and theological causes of its deviations. The document shines in logic and clarity, apostolic zeal for souls and unparalleled care for the integrity of the Faith and of Catholic social doctrine. Since it is impossible to summarize such a substantial document here, we will merely point out some of its aspects, recommending that it be read in its entirety.5

False Concept of Human Dignity

According to Saint Pius X, the fundamental doctrinal error of Le Sillon, from which all others emanate, is a false concept of human dignity that implies a complete liberation of man from all bonds of submission to another, whether these be social, intellectual, political or economic:

The first condition of that dignity is liberty, but viewed in the sense that, except in religious matters, each man is autonomous. This is the basic principle from which Le Sillon draws further conclusions: today the people are in tutelage under an authority distinct from themselves; they must liberate themselves: political emancipation. They are also dependent upon employers who own the means of production, exploit, oppress and degrade the workers; they must shake off the yoke: economic emancipation.

Finally, they are ruled by a caste preponderance in the direction of affairs. The people must break away from this dominion: intellectual emancipation. The leveling-down of differences from this three-fold point of view will bring about equality among men, and such equality is viewed as true human justice. A socio-political set-up resting on these two pillars of Liberty and Equality (to which Fraternity will presently be added), is what they call Democracy.6

Divinize Neither the State, nor the People

Le Sillon upheld the thesis propounded by the Enlightenment7 that the origin of all authority lies in the people, who merely delegate it temporarily to someone and can depose him at any time:

Le Sillon places public authority primarily in the people, from whom it then flows into the government in such a manner, however, that it continues to reside in the people.8

In order to better understand that doctrinal error, consider the following:

Human authority is a power of a moral nature that obliges one man to obey another. But what does “obey” mean, other than the submission of one’s will to that of someone else? And how can any man impose his will on another if, everyone being equal by nature, their wills are of the same weight and value? Hence, from the strict perspective of human nature alone, there are no grounds that justify the imposition of one man’s will on another; no man has a right to exercise authority over another.

This gives rise to a problem, because if on the one hand the reasoning above is true, on the other, man being sociable by nature, he feels drawn to life in society. But life in society becomes impossible without an authority to unify, guide, and coordinate everyone’s individual efforts toward the common good, which is the purpose of life in society.

A solution to this problem is only possible if we consider that human authority is not an independent authority that originates from within human nature itself, but an authority by participation in the authority of a being with a superior nature. This higher being, Who is God, stands above all created wills and thus can oblige the human will to bend before and acknowledge His authority. Therefore, the origin of all authority is God; and this explains why some men can command others: their authority to do so derives from, and is a participation in the supreme authority of God.

Moreover, this philosophical truth, which we attain through the use of reason, was confirmed by divine Revelation. Suffice it to quote the famous teaching of Saint Paul to the Romans: “there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.”9

Thus, those who claim that authority originates from the people or from the State are in fact deifying the people or the State. This entails a certain form of social and political pantheism10 that feeds the mystique of both populism and State-worshipping totalitarianism.

Therefore, since all authority comes from God, both those who command and those who obey must submit to the divine will and work together to achieve the ultimate end of man, which is eternal salvation, and the immediate end of life in society, which is the pursuit of the common good.

Change Mania and Scorn for Tradition

When man abandons reality to chase after chimeras, he begins to dream with nonexistent worlds and magical formulas to get there. In other words, he becomes a social reformer. His slogan and goal now become “change,” which he implements by jettisoning the country’s principles, traditions and customs.

That is what happened with Le Sillon. As Saint Pius X put it, the Sillonists, “by ignoring the laws governing human nature,” lead society “not toward progress, but toward death.” They “dream of changing its natural and traditional foundations; they dream of a Future City built on different principles; and they dare to proclaim these more fruitful and more beneficial than the principles upon which the present Christian City rests.”11

Seductive Words, Nefarious Errors

To seduce the incautious, the Sillonists present their errors and daydreaming “in dynamic language which, concealing vague notions and ambiguous expressions with emotional and high-sounding words, is likely to set ablaze the hearts of men in pursuit of ideals which, whilst attractive, are nonetheless nefarious.”12

And the Holy Pope has a special warning for priests:

Photo

Human authority is a power of a moral nature that obliges one man to obey another. Thus it participates in the authority of a higher being, Who is God, Creator of all. Therefore the origin of all authority is God.

“There is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.”

St. Paul to the Romans, 13:1.

However, let not these priests be misled, in the maze of current opinions, by the miracles of a false Democracy. Let them not borrow from the Rhetoric of the worst enemies of the Church and of the people, the high-flown phrases, full of promises; which are as high-sounding as unattainable.…Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.13

Christian Civilization Must be Restored, not Destroyed

And the saint goes on to present with incisive words the great lesson of this magnificent document whose centennial we now celebrate, a lesson more valid and necessary than ever:

No, Venerable Brethren, We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker – the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be set up unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. OMNIA INSTAURARE IN CHRISTO.14

Let Us Not Repeat the Errors of the Past

History repeats itself, as the common saying has it. And although history flows like a river, its ever changing events never turning back, new events closely resemble the old ones by the simple fact that human nature always remains the same. Hence the famous phrase in the Ecclesiastes, “Nothing under the sun is new.”15

This is why history is called the teacher of life; for while man learns from his own experience, he learns a whole lot more from the pool of experience accumulated through the ages: in other words, by knowing history.

Indeed, knowledge of past developments, above all those similar to events now unfolding, enables us to better understand the present by analyzing the right moves and mistakes of our forerunners.

The errors of Le Sillon, its populism, and craze for novelties and scorn for tradition warn us against the dangers that such tenets pose today to society and Holy Mother Church.

And the clear and incisive warnings of the great Saint Pius X – one of the greatest popes in history – should guide us on how to analyze the present situation and take a stand consistent with Church doctrine.

“To Restore all Things in Christ”

Let us close by thanking Divine Providence, on this centennial year of Notre Charge Apostolique, for that enlightening document so full of his loving zeal. The motto of Saint Pius X, Omnia Instaurare in Christo [“To restore all things in Christ”], should be our own.

Footnotes

1Notre Charge Apostolique (“Our Apostolic Mandate”), no. 38, (paragraph numbers are ours) at http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=5456&CFID=3649535&CFTOKEN=23143625.

2For example, Leo XIII, Encyclical Au Milieu Des Sollicitudes, On the Church and State in France, 1892, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_16021892_au-milieu-des-sollicitudes_en.html.

3Adrien Dansette, Religious History of Modern France, v. II, Herder, Freiburg-Nelson, Edinburgh-London, 1961, p. 284.

4Vincent A. Yzermans, ed., The Major Addresses of Pope Pius XII (St. Paul: North Central Publishing Co, 1961), Vol. 2, pp. 80-82)

5For instance at http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=5456&CFID=3649535&CFTOKEN=23143625.

6No. 13.

7The Enlightenment was an ideological movement propelled by the so-called ‘Philosophers’ of the eighteenth century who intended to completely secularize the world in every sphere: culture, politics, morals and so on. They denied the existence of Divine Providence and maintained that, just as a watchmaker puts together a clock and winds it up so it will work and then stops thinking about it, so also God, once having created the world and the laws that govern it, ceased to have any relationship with it. The ‘watchmaker-God’ metaphor is by Voltaire (1694-1778), the most famous representative of that group.

8No. 21.

9Romans, 13:1. Cf. Encyclical Diuturnum, by Pope Leo XIII on the origin of civil power, no. 11, at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_29061881_diuturnum_en.html.

10Pantheism: a philosophical-religious system that identifies God with creation: everything is ‘god.’

11No. 10.

12No. 1.

13No. 44.

14No. 11.

15Ecclesiastes, 1:10.

America Lost Its Religion

Article from The Atlantic by way of Catholic World News by Derek Thompson, Staff writer at The Atlantic

Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?
“Not religious” has become a specific American identity—one that distinguishes secular, liberal whites from the conservative, evangelical right. Sep. 26, 2019

The idea of American exceptionalism has become so dubious that much of its modern usage is merely sarcastic. But when it comes to religion, Americans really are exceptional. No rich country prays nearly as much as the U.S, and no country that prays as much as the U.S. is nearly as rich.

America’s unique synthesis of wealth and worship has puzzled international observers and foiled their grandest theories of a global secular takeover. In the late 19th century, an array of celebrity philosophers—the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud—proclaimed the death of God, and predicted that atheism would follow scientific discovery and modernity in the West, sure as smoke follows fire.

Stubbornly pious Americans threw a wrench in the secularization thesis. Deep into the 20th century, more than nine in 10 Americans said they believed in God and belonged to an organized religion, with the great majority of them calling themselves Christian. That number held steady—through the sexual-revolution ’60s, through the rootless and anxious ’70s, and through the “greed is good” ’80s.

But in the early 1990s, the historical tether between American identity and faith snapped. Religious non-affiliation in the U.S. started to rise—and rise, and rise. By the early 2000s, the share of Americans who said they didn’t associate with any established religion (also known as “nones”) had doubled. By the 2010s, this grab bag of atheists, agnostics, and spiritual dabblers had tripled in size.

History does not often give the satisfaction of a sudden and lasting turning point. History tends to unfold in messy cycles—actions and reactions, revolutions and counterrevolutions—and even semipermanent changes are subtle and glacial. But the rise of religious non-affiliation in America looks like one of those rare historical moments that is neither slow, nor subtle, nor cyclical. You might call it exceptional.

The obvious question for anybody is: What the hell happened around 1990?

According to Christian Smith, a sociology and religion professor at the University of Notre Dame, America’s nonreligious lurch has mostly been the result of three historical events: the association of the Republican Party with the Christian right, the end of the Cold War, and 9/11.

This story begins with the rise of the religious right in the 1970s. Alarmed by the spread of secular culture—including but not limited to the sexual revolution, the Roe v. Wade decision, the nationalization of no-fault divorce laws, and Bob Jones University losing its tax-exempt status over its ban on interracial dating—Christians became more politically active. The GOP welcomed them with open arms. The party, which was becoming more dependent on its exurban-white base, needed a grassroots strategy and a policy platform. Within the next decade, the religious right—including Ralph Reed’s Christian Coalition, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, and Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority—had become fundraising and organizing juggernauts for the Republican Party. In 1980, the GOP social platform was a facsimile of conservative Christian views on sexuality, abortion, and school prayer.

The marriage between the religious and political right delivered Reagan, Bush, and countless state and local victories. But it disgusted liberal Democrats, especially those with weak connections to the Church. It also shocked the conscience of moderates, who preferred a wide berth between their faith and their politics. Smith said it’s possible that young liberals and loosely affiliated Christians first registered their aversion to the Christian right in the early 1990s, after a decade of observing its powerful role in conservative politics.

Second, it may have felt unpatriotic to confess one’s ambivalence toward God while the U.S. was locked in a geopolitical showdown with a godless Evil Empire. In 1991, however, the Cold War ended. As the U.S.S.R. dissolved, so did atheism’s association with America’s nemesis. After that, “nones” could be forthright about their religious indifference, without worrying that it made them sound like Soviet apologists.

Third, America’s next geopolitical foe wasn’t a godless state. It was a God-fearing, stateless movement: radical Islamic terrorism. A series of bombings and attempted bombings in the 1990s by fundamentalist organizations such as al-Qaeda culminated in the 9/11 attacks. It would be a terrible oversimplification to suggest that the fall of the Twin Towers encouraged millions to leave their church, Smith said. But over time, al-Qaeda became a useful referent for atheists who wanted to argue that all religions were inherently destructive.

Meanwhile, during George W. Bush’s presidency, Christianity’s association with unpopular Republican policies drove more young liberals and moderates away from both the party and the Church. New Atheists, such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, became intellectual celebrities; the 2006 best seller American Theocracy argued that evangelicals in the Republican coalition were staging a quiet coup that would plunge the country into disarray and financial ruin. Throughout the Bush presidency, liberal voters—especially white liberal voters— detached from organized religion in ever-higher numbers.

Religion has lost its halo effect in the past three decades, not because science drove God from the public square, but rather because politics did. In the 21st century, “not religious” has become a specific American identity—one that distinguishes secular, liberal whites from the conservative, evangelical right.

Other social forces, which have little to do with geopolitics or partisanship, have played a key role in the rise of the nones.

The Church is just one of many social institutions—including banks, Congress, and the police—that have lost public trust in an age of elite failure. But scandals in the Catholic Church have accelerated its particularly rapid loss of moral stature. According to Pew research, 13 percent of Americans today self-identify as “former Catholics,” and many of them leave organized religion altogether. And as the ranks of the nones have swelled, it’s become more socially acceptable for casual or rare churchgoers to tell pollsters that they don’t particularly identify with any faith. It’s also become easier for nones to meet, marry, and raise children who grow up without any real religious attachment.

Nor does Smith rule out the familiar antagonists of capitalism and the internet in explaining the popularity of non-affiliation. “The former has made life more precarious, and the latter has made it easier for anxious individuals to build their own spiritualities from ideas and practices they find online,” he said, such as Buddhist meditation guides and atheist Reddit boards.

Most important has been the dramatic changes in the American family. The past half century has dealt a series of body blows to American marriage. Divorce rates spiked in the ’70s through the ’90s, following the state-by-state spread of no-fault divorce laws. Just as divorce rates stabilized, the marriage rate started to plummet in the ’80s, due to both the decline of marriage within the working class and delayed marriage among college-educated couples.

“There’s historically been this package: Get married, go to church or temple, have kids, send them to Sunday school,” Smith said. But just as stable families make stable congregations, family instability can destabilize the Church. Divorced individuals, single parents, and children of divorce or single-parent households are all more likely to detach over time from their congregations.

Finally, the phenomenon of “delayed adulthood” might be another subtle contributor. More Americans, especially college graduates in big metro areas, are putting off marriage and childbearing until their 30s, and are using their 20s to establish a career, date around, and enjoy being young and single in a city. By the time they settle down, they have established a routine—work, brunch, gym, date, drink, football—that leaves little room for weekly Mass. “They know who they are by 30, and they don’t feel like they need a church to tell them,” Smith said.

The rise of the nones shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the religious identity that seems to be doing the best job at both retaining old members and attracting new ones is the newfangled American religion of Nothing Much at All.

Does the rise of the nones matter?

Let’s first consider the possibility that it doesn’t. As America’s youth have slipped away from organized religion, they haven’t quite fallen into wickedness. If anything, today’s young people are uniquely conscientious—less likely to fight, drink, use hard drugs, or have premarital sex than previous generations. They might not be able to quote from the Book of Matthew, but their economic and social politics—which insist on protections for the politically meek and the historically persecuted—aren’t so far from a certain reading of the beatitudes.

But the liberal politics of young people brings us to the first big reason to care about rising non-affiliation. A gap has opened up between America’s two political parties. In a twist of fate, the Christian right entered politics to save religion, only to make the Christian-Republican nexus unacceptable to millions of young people—thus accelerating the country’s turn against religion.

Although it would be wrong to call Democrats a secular party (older black voters are highly religious and dependably vote Democratic), the left today has a higher share of religiously unaffiliated voters than anytime in modern history. At the same time, the average religiosity of white Christian Republicans has gone up, according to Robert P. Jones, the CEO of the polling firm PRRI and the author of The End of White Christian America. Evangelicals feel so embattled that they’ve turned to a deeply immoral and authoritarian champion to protect them—even if it means rendering unto an American Caesar whatever the hell he wants. American politics is at risk of becoming a war of religiosity versus secularism by proxy, where both sides see the other as a catastrophic political force that must be destroyed at all costs.

The deeper question is whether the sudden loss of religion has social consequences for Americans who opt out. Secular Americans, who are familiar with the ways that traditional faiths have betrayed modern liberalism, may not have examined how organized religion has historically offered solutions to their modern existential anxieties.

Making friends as an adult without a weekly congregation is hard. Establishing a weekend routine to soothe Sunday-afternoon nerves is hard. Reconciling the overwhelming sense of life’s importance with the universe’s ostensible indifference to human suffering is hard.

Although belief in God is no panacea for these problems, religion is more than a theism. It is a bundle: a theory of the world, a community, a social identity, a means of finding peace and purpose, and a weekly routine. Those, like me, who have largely rejected this package deal, often find themselves shopping à la carte for meaning, community, and routine to fill a faith-shaped void. Their politics is a religion. Their work is a religion. Their spin class is a church. And not looking at their phone for several consecutive hours is a Sabbath.

American nones may well build successful secular systems of belief, purpose, and community. But imagine what a devout believer might think: Millions of Americans have abandoned religion, only to re-create it everywhere they look.

Baseball Statistics

Pete and Skip are the baseball announcers for the Atlanta Braves and its a game between the New York Mets and the Braves.

Pete: Here we are Skip, its the 5th inning tonight, two men are out and the Mets have men on second and third. The Mets have yet to score. Who do we have coming up for the Mets, Skip?

Skip: We have Billy Bones, Pete and he is 0 for 2 in tonights game.

Pete: What else do you have?

Skip: He’s batting .272.

Pete: What else do you have?

Skip:  I do Pete. It says here in his statistics that his hitting average is .250 with men on base; .285 with 2 men out; .235 with men on second and third; .290 with a man on second; and .201 with a man on third. He also hits .299 when its a Monday night game in the month of August.

Pete: Do you have anything else Skip?

Skip: Yes Pete. He’s hitting .234 when he’s up against our pitcher Maddox, although if it is below 60 degrees at game time he only hits .210. Oh, I forgot to add, if he went 2 for 4 the day before he hits .301 and .130 if he went 0 for 5. I might add that if he didn’t play the day before he hits even lower, he only hits .120.

Pete: Is that all?:

Skip: No! If it’s a three game series with the Braves he only hits .222 with two men on, two men out in the 5th inning and above 60 degrees at game time and Maddox is the pitcher. Oh, I forgot to add, and it’s at night.

Pete: Can you be more explicit?

Skip: Well, yes Pete. if he is batting from the left side with two men on, two out and again it’s the 5th inning, the game is played at night and on a Monday he hits .270.

Pete: Is there anything else,

Skip: Yes, Pete. If his mother is in the stands his average goes up in every situation.

Pete: Do you have his statistics when his mother is in the stands?

Skip: They are all in a book by his brother Bob, “Billy Bones’ Ballistic Statistics.”

Pete: What happened to Bones?

Skip: Bones broke his bat bunting out.