Rise You That Sleep

Wednesday, December 24, AD 2008

saint-augustine

“It is called the Lord’s birthday when the wisdom of God presented itself to us as an infant, and the Word of God without words uttered the flesh as its voice. And yet the hidden divinity was signified to the wise men by the evidence of the heavens, and announced to the shepherds by the voice of an angel. And so we celebrate this day every year with great solemnity, because on it was fulfilled the prophecy which said,

Truth has sprung from the earth, and Justice has looked forth from heaven (Ps 84:12).

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2 Responses to Rise You That Sleep

  • How awesome and wonderful. Born to a young woman probably of high school freshman age. And her husband, 18 or 19. In a stable at the equivalent of a no-tell motel in a backwater Roman province. Destined to become a Sign of Contradiction. Let not your hearts be troubled this date. Let us celebrate the birth of the Son of the Most High God. A most blessed Christmas to one and all and thanks for letting me rant on most of this blog this year.

  • Throughout my life Gerard I have always found that Christ gives me a reason to smile no matter how bleak the events of the day. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family, and thank you for gracing the combox of this blog with your insightful comments.

One Response to AntiChrist and Advent

Torture in the News

Tuesday, December 23, AD 2008

Practically buried in the news in the wake of the corruption scandal of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was the publication, on December 11, of a report by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.) — the culmination of an 18-month long investigation into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody:

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10 Responses to Torture in the News

  • Christopher, there you go again, “confusing” the issue with facts and fairness. Well done!

  • Christopher,

    You’re in trouble now.

  • Excellent, Christopher. I wish I had something to add. I’m not very read up on the torture debate–in fact, most of what I’ve heard has come from Mark Shea, so I’m well aware of where he stands and his arguments–and so I only have hypothetical or theoretical musings to work with.

    The reason why I think Mark makes good points about torture (whether one agrees that torture is a Bush Administration policy) is that I have a hard time justifying drawing a bright line. To me, that simply sounds like “what can I get away with”, and what we must always ask ourselves instead is “how holy can I be?” I personally have no problem (other than maybe my tax dollars at stake) at feeding Gitmo prisoners the orange-glazed chicken that so many (such as those at Sweetness and Light) have harped endlessly about. And as far as the ticking time-bomb scenarios, I feel that, while it seems hard and heartless, it is better not to even engage in the gray area of coercive tactics.

    As I said, I only really have theoretical to work with. But it seems to me that evil wins whenever it can knock us off our high horses. Evil wins if it can makes us lower our standards even just a little bit.

    Sometimes I wonder. In the aftermath of 9/11, what would have happened if we simply dusted ourselves off, went about our business, and ignored the Islamic terrorists? That’s probably just naivety speaking, but sometimes it seems that it is better not to fight evil with physical force.

  • In the aftermath of 9/11, what would have happened if we simply dusted ourselves off, went about our business, and ignored the Islamic terrorists?

    The problem is that’s basically what we did after the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, and after the attack on the USS Cole. I don’t think that strategy was the wisest course. That’s of course not to say that everything done in the aftermath of 9/11 was the correct course of action.

    BTW, good post Christopher.

  • “In the aftermath of 9/11, what would have happened if we simply dusted ourselves off, went about our business, and ignored the Islamic terrorists?”

    The jihadist’s would have assumed, rightly, that we were unwilling to defend ourselves even when 3,000 of our fellow citizens were murdered, and would have ramped up the attacks. Unanswered aggression leads to further aggression is a law as old as history.

  • This isn’t about the topic, but I really want to bring this up…allegedly on or around 9/11, Bin Laden made a comment about financially ruining America as the best way of defeating us. I saw a whole news piece that linked the fall of Russia to the same sort of military engagement. Russia entered Afghanistan and remained in the region for roughly ten years and afterward its economy fail to pieces; their resources were wiped. We entered Afghanistan about 7 or 8 years ago, Iraq about 5 years ago…on Iraq alone, we’re borrowing roughly 10 billion dollars a month to fund this war and our economy, for other reasons as well, is in a bad place. Thoughts? I’ve never heard it framed quite like that.

  • Total cost for Iraq and Afghanistan as of June of this year was 850 billion. The bailout a few months ago was 750 billion. Next year we will probably spend 2 trillion on various economic crisis related programs.

    I think our involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq have had almost nothing to do with our financial woes. Three factors I think are the chief culprits are: 1. The end of the longest housing bubble price increase in our history; 2. The use of packaged debt as a leveraged commodity to support very complex financial transactions between financial institutions across the globe; and 3. The oil price spike of the spring and summer that helped send the world economy into a tail spin.

  • The jihadist’s would have assumed, rightly, that we were unwilling to defend ourselves even when 3,000 of our fellow citizens were murdered, and would have ramped up the attacks. Unanswered aggression leads to further aggression is a law as old as history.

    Donald’s right. I recommend The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage) as a good history of what transpired prior to 9/11.

  • I admit I haven’t spent much time thinking about the issue of torture and really ought to spend more time reading up on it. Much like capital punishment, I’m not going to attend any rallies in favor of it, but I also don’t lose a lot of sleep over it. If it ever comes to a vote, I’ll be a good Catholic and oppose it, if that’s what my bishop recommends. But for now, torture is on my list of evil priorities somewhere above global warming, but well below abortion and religious freedom.

  • The problem with dealing with terrorists is always this. Whether they realize it or not, their ultimate goal (or the goal of those who ‘inspire’ the mentality of terrorists, e.g. the devil) is to knock their enemies from their high horses. Can the terrorists make their targets lower themselves to the level of the terrorists?

    To an extent I support coercive tactics in dealing with captured terrorists. I definitely support many of our intelligence gathering methods that have been excoriated on the news, such as the wire-tapping. But when it comes to physically coercive methods, I pause. I understand greatly the role of discomfort, both physical and psychological, when dealing with the punishment and correction of criminals. How does that extend to dealing with extracting information from captured enemy militants? Locking them up is no problem. Subjecting them to hours of questioning is no problem. But after that, I feel that we’re starting to test the boundaries of a realm we shouldn’t even come close enough to know it has borders.

    I’m certainly no pacifist, though at times passive aggressive will describe my mentality and behavior. When I express curiosity about what would have happened if we had ignored the terrorists, it isn’t out of any desire not to fight them, or concern about the price that has to be paid in fighting the type of war we’re currently in. Rather, it stems from a wonder if it wouldn’t have been a huge, huge, huge insult to the jihadists to treat their grandest schemes as beneath our notice. (Not possible, I know.) I imagine a world where the terrorists are so befuddled by the inability to rouse any response–military action, certainly, but more importantly the fear that the terrorists are after–that they start wondering just what that whole Christianity thing is really about. This imagination probably ignores certain traits–perhaps contempt for someone who won’t fight, and indeed the “I’ve gotten away with X, so now I’ll try Y” mentality–but I can’t help shake the desire to express the depth of contempt I feel for the terrorists, and I can’t think of any better way than to treat even destruction of the World Trade Center as nothing more than a temper-tantrum by some backwater crybabies. (But then I’m also caught in the dilemma of insulting all the victims of the 9/11 attack by being too blase, right?)

    Eric, I would say that allowing Bin Laden any more than a peripheral role in our current economic crisis is giving him too much credit. Our economy continually undergoes periods of recession due to various bubbles popping or some other factor. Right now, I could predict, Al Gore-like, that manmade efforts will decrease global warming and save the world, and then when the globe enters its natural cooling phase (which should happen in the next 10 or so years), I can take credit for bringing about the change. I might as well predict the sun will come up tomorrow because I prayed a bunch of mumbo jumbo, and then take credit when the sun indeed rises.

    Bin Laden can at best interrupt certain areas of supply and demand. He can influence how much foreign oil is available to us, for example. But he really doesn’t have the power to strike at the fundamental working of the economy. Only our government really has that power (and isn’t that frightening?).

Preach the Gospel; If Necessary, Use Words…

Monday, December 22, AD 2008

Self-avowed atheist Penn Jillette of the Las Vegas show, Penn & Teller, is well known for his antipathy towards Christianity.  But something happened to him just recently in an encounter with a practicing Christian after one of his shows.  He had a profound experience that moved him and Mr. Jillette did not hesitate to post this experience on You Tube on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

(Biretta Tip: The Anchoress via Kevin Knight)

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6 Responses to Preach the Gospel; If Necessary, Use Words…

  • Very impressive and touching. Good to see Penn bare his heart like that, and his commentary has some startling insights.

  • Likewise. It was moving to see Mr. Jillette reveal his thoughts in such an honest way. He does this a lot, but normally we Christians are taking it on the chin in his running commentary during his shows. But he is equally honest in this particular instance and it shows what a little honey can do instead of vinegar when bearing witness to our faith.

  • And a self-professed atheist gives the strongest argument for spreading the gospel (“I don’t respect believers who don’t proselytize…how much do you have to HATE somebody NOT to tell them about eternal life?”) — imagine that.

  • And a self-professed atheist gives the strongest argument for spreading the gospel (”I don’t respect believers who don’t proselytize…how much do you have to HATE somebody NOT to tell them about eternal life?”) — imagine that.

    That was indeed what struck me, and was pretty jarring, I must say. I have generally taken a live and let live attitude when it comes to dealing with non-believers, but that single line has absolutely got me re-thinking that approach.

    And now atheists can blame on of their own if they are now all inundated with obnoxious Christians trying to proselytize. 🙂

  • I agree that part was impressive, and indeed might indicate an opening. But that gets back to the part of atheism/agnosticism that frustrates me. Penn kept repeating (and truly reflecting on it) the man was good. I don’t get how people can give thought to God, gods, or the absence thereof, and come to the conclusion there is (are) none and proceed to think of things in terms of right and wrong, good, bad, or evil. Not that the absence of God in their mind should necessarily have to be tied to good and evil, right and wrong, but that if the absence of God means the construction of a worldview based on genuine mortality, that our being is just that, a temporary being – a mere part of a play of nature – then good should be of no concern to us. Indeed nothing could be good and nothing bad. We would owe nothing to our brother. By thinking in terms of right and wrong and an absence of something or Someone beyond yourself or mankind you betray your own doctrine.

    I think CS Lewis did a good job examining that and presenting it in a way that would seem quite agreeable to someone like Penn. Perhaps, the good man would be just the right person to put Mere Christianity in Penn’s hands.

  • Very sincere of Mr. Jillette with his feelings and certainty that there is NO God but, one can be sincerely “wrong” as well. Christians reading this, we need to pray for him and all that are unsaved.

    God bless!

    1 Corinthians 15:1-4

    1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you,
    which also you received, in which also you stand,

    2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you,
    unless you believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,
    that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

    4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

33 Responses to Should Catholics Own Guns?

  • I do. I don’t see anything in the catechism that says I’m obliged to passively let a home invaded kill me in my own bedroom.

  • Indeed. The passages I quoted from the catechism affirmed that we have a moral duty to protect ourselves, out of the love of self derived from our existence as a gift from God. I personally believe that gun ownership should remain legal and in some places be more accessible.

    On the other hand, you have to consider the likelihood of a trespasser attempting to kill you in your home. What actually is the risk, and what is the risk of having a gun in the house? This is why it is a question of prudence. For me, since I’m not a hunter and have no training, owning a gun would pose a greater risk than an intruder, so until I get the training, a gun is definitely not for me. For my wife, who is trained and has been around guns her entire life, a gun poses much less risk than an intruder, and so a gun is definitely an option for her. How does that mesh between the two of us? Right now, her guns are in storage well away from home. Perhaps in the future that might change.

  • In addition to training/experience, there is also a moral duty to know how “strong” one’s firearm is in relation to the proximity of your neighbors. For example, using a hunting rifle (with a high muzzle velocity) to defend yourself very well poses risks to your neighbors if you miss, and perhaps even if you don’t. The flip side of 2263-65 is that you can’t risk your neighbor’s lives, either.

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  • I’ve never liked guns, and haven’t shot one since my Army days three decades ago, but I strongly support the right of people to own guns for hunting and self-defense. I agree with this line from my late father’s favorite western, Shane: : “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

  • Of course, what I didn’t argue in this post is how effective guns are at what they’re purported to do. I’ll leave that to someone else. But, to play devil’s advocate, speaking of a gun as only a tool may mask part of the issue. Does handing a person a tool with which it is easy to kill someone–especially since guns are designed for killing, be it animal or human–make it more likely that a person will kill? Under what circumstances is merely owning a gun bringing a person into the near occasion of sin? I think those are the questions that Catholic opponents of gun ownership would ask. (I don’t think the accidental death ranks near as high, since by that mark we’d have to ban cars before banning guns…)

  • Yes, Catholics should own guns if they see the need. Good luck trying to get the Vatican security details to disarm 😉

  • “Does handing a person a tool with which it is easy to kill someone–especially since guns are designed for killing, be it animal or human–make it more likely that a person will kill?”

    Depends entirely upon the persons wielding the weapons Ryan. I’ve lived my life almost entirely in rural Illinois. Most of my neighbors have guns of all sorts, pistols, shotguns, rifles,etc. I have never been threatened with a weapon, even though for the past 26 years I have brought legal actions, on behalf of clients, against thousands of people who live in the surrounding area. Some people can be trusted with firearms, just as they can be trusted with knives, axes, etc, and other tools, while other people, including some of my criminal clients, could not be trusted with a paper clip.

  • “Does handing a person a tool with which it is easy to kill someone–especially since guns are designed for killing, be it animal or human–make it more likely that a person will kill?”

    As Donald said, it depends a lot on the person, but for someone who’s got a basic level of moral responsibility and has received at least 20 minutes in training on basic gun safety and respect for what they can do, my experience is that generally the knowledge of what a gun can do as a tool is sobering rather than a motive towards irresponsible behavior.

    Robert Heinlein (hardly an exemplar of Catholic thinking, I know) said, “A well armed society is a polite society.”

    And while that could be taken to refer to the reserve of mutual fear, my experience is more that people who know they bear the responsibility of handling highly lethal weapons remember to be more polite, more careful, and more helpful for it. I’ve been treated rudely in church far more often than I have at the gun range.

    This, I think, is where familiarity with guns is very, very important from a safety perspective. The person you want to fear is not the “gun nut” with the AK collection who’s down at the range every other weekend, but the person who went and bought a gun that he or she has never shot — or perhaps only shot once. That’s the person who’s likely to be quick to reach for it “like in the movies”.

  • I think, for the most part, agreeable that people have a right to self-defense and the right to defend their families, and therefore, a right to gun ownership. However, I am most curious as to why many second amendment advocates I’ve encountered oppose very reasonable gun control laws.

    24 to 48 hour waiting periods. I’ve encountered opposition to this idea and I’ve been told (I wouldn’t be surprised) that some politicians actually vote against such laws. Common sense would suggest that if a person cannot wait two measely days to get a gun, perhaps it would be prudent to think twice about giving it to them.

    I read in a book about Catholic Social Teaching (I haven’t checked the statistics that were footnoted) that some 40% of gun sales are done privately and background checks are not done. I’ve further encountered opposition to changing this reality on the basis of a slippery slope argument.

    Moreover, laws restricting the number of guns bought in day have found opposition. Does one really need to buy more than twenty guns at a time? I can’t recall the precise number, but I do not remember it being unreasonable.

    I’m just not certain why sensible gun control laws are opposed when the right to own guns is respected while seeking to minimally regulate the flow of guns.

    I am not a fan of guns. There’s a debate in the Texas state government to unrestrict concealed carry laws to enable teachers and students to carry concealed weapons on their campuses and even in classrooms. I don’t think words could even describe my opposition to this idea.

    Thoughts?

  • There’s a debate in the Texas state government to unrestrict concealed carry laws to enable teachers and students to carry concealed weapons on their campuses and even in classrooms. I don’t think words could even describe my opposition to this idea. Thoughts?

    Well, ever since Va. Tech….

  • I simply see no need for a Catholic to own a gun, an instrument for killing.

  • The solution to the problem of armed violence in schools is to enable everyone to be armed as to even the playing field?

  • Hey Mark,

    That is what Carl Rowan thought too.

  • Just as a follow-up, I do not own a firearm, and I tend to be ambivalent about the 2nd Amendment. I have mixed feelings about gun control, but as a Va. Tech alum the incident was a particularly jarring reminder that only those who break the law have guns in gun-free zones.

  • I don’t think a single incidence speaks enough volume to write off other ills that may come of such a policy that we may currently be blind to. I think emotional reaction to such incidences potentially can lead to legislation that doesn’t get fully evaluated.

  • However, I am most curious as to why many second amendment advocates I’ve encountered oppose very reasonable gun control laws.

    Probably a couple of reasons for this.

    On the unreasonable level, gun owners often start to feel fairly persecuted by the gun control lobby, and so their emotional reaction is simply to oppose everything that the gun control lobby advocates, regardless of whether it seems like a good idea.

    On the reasonable level, oftentimes laws which seem to make a lot of sense to gun control advocates do not make much sense to people from the perspective of law abiding gun owners. For example, as you point out a lot of gun sales are private person-to-person sales which currently require no paperwork to be filed in most states. I once made a private gun sale myself. I knew that a buddy of mine had been wanting a Swiss K31 bolt action rifle for some time, and I had a chance to buy one for under $200. It’s a moderately hard to find rifle (a straight pull bolt action rifle that the Swiss army used until the 50s and which the papal Swiss Guard used until fairly recently) and it’s not exactly the crowd killer — the design has not changed since 1931. So after checking with him on the cell phone, I bought it for him, and then sold it to him the next time I was down where he lived.

    Now in states that apply all the same rules to private party sales that are applied to dealer sales, I would have had to drive down to his town, take it to a gun dealer, give it to the gun dealer, who would then run a background check and hold on to it for a waiting period before letting him have it. (And generally charge a $50 to $75 fee in the process for his trouble.) Since these sales are usually between relatives or friends, that seems like a royal pain and rather unfair.

    The solution to the problem of armed violence in schools is to enable everyone to be armed as to even the playing field?

    To be fair, though, that’s not the suggestion. In all states that I’m aware of the licensing process to get a concealed carry permit is intensive enough that it’s very clear by the time you get one that you
    a) have no criminal record
    b) know how to use a gun well
    c) understand thoroughly the (very severe) legal consequences to using a gun improperly

    The change in law that they’re looking at would simply allow people who’ve already gone through that process to continue to carry (if they want) on the premises of “gun free” institutions like universities. I don’t have a strong opinion either way, personally, as you’re going to find very, very few licensed carriers among the student and faculty demographics. But to the extent that we already have a legal process for determining who’s allowed to carry, I don’t have a problem with them carrying in schools, hospitals, etc.

    I look a quick look around for data, and at least in Florida only 0.01% (out of 1.4 million) of those licensed to carry later commit crimes involving guns — so it doesn’t sound like much of a risk to me.

  • Darwin,

    On the first note, I don’t think inconvenience as reason to oppose those laws. I’m just as sure that criminals obtain guns from private gun sales and that the small inconvenience one might pay in the hobby of collecting guns, if it could potentially save one life is worth every bit of it.

    On the second matter, I see your point, but Florida’s demographics are not the same as, say, Los Angeles, Houston, or Chicago. Statistics of Florida don’t immediately apply to the rest of the country.

    And on the same level, I think numbers of student/faculty gun carriers will change depending on the demograpics and the state. I think much more would have to go into analyzing such a policy.

  • On the first note, I don’t think inconvenience as reason to oppose those laws. I’m just as sure that criminals obtain guns from private gun sales and that the small inconvenience one might pay in the hobby of collecting guns, if it could potentially save one life is worth every bit of it.

    I see your point, though at the same time — if Criminal A has a gun he wants to sell to Criminal B, and the state in question requires that private party sales be made through a dealer, I strongly doubt that the criminals in question would feel they needed to go over to the dealer and subject themselves to a background check and waiting period. I’d have to look the statistics up, but according to nationwide statistics slightly over half the guns used in all crimes are already obtained illegally.

    So I think often gun owners (myself included) feel like these laws simply make us jump through useless hoops, while doing very little to actually keep guns out of the hands of criminals. That said, if a law really would be successful in keeping guns out of criminals hands, I personally think it’s worth some inconvenience to achieve that.

    On the second matter, I see your point, but Florida’s demographics are not the same as, say, Los Angeles, Houston, or Chicago. Statistics of Florida don’t immediately apply to the rest of the country.

    Agreed, though due especially to the drug trade Florida has plenty of crime in some areas. Still, though I’d have to hunt for more data, I think you’ll find that people with concealed carry permits are absolutely the safest people you could possibly deal with in regards to guns. (Also, it’s hard to compare as Chicago, DC, New York, and Los Angeles all have incredibly restrictive gun laws compared to most other parts of the country. The concealed carry approach has not been tried in any of those places.)

    Gun training, background check, and knowledge of the world of trouble you’d be in for mis-using the gun ought to be roughly the best combination of factors for reducing people’s likelihood of committing crimes.

  • “I don’t think a single incidence speaks enough volume to write off other ills that may come of such a policy that we may currently be blind to. I think emotional reaction to such incidences potentially can lead to legislation that doesn’t get fully evaluated.”

    Well, sure, but emotional reactions work both ways. If we already have concealed carry permits under state law which allow people to carry everywhere else in the state, why should colleges and universities be different? If you think there are ‘other ills’ that we are blind to here, shouldn’t we see those ills everywhere else in the state?

    If you are against concealed carry laws, then maybe the question is irrelevant, but otherwise I do not see why a university campus is significantly different than a block away from a university campus. If anything, university students and faculties are less likely to be criminally dangerous. To me the suspension of an otherwise valid concealed carry permit on university grounds seems more emotional (no guns in our pristine intellectual utopia!) than rational, but I would be willing to revise that view if there is empirical support for the ban.

  • Wow, I can’t believe this thread has been up for nearly a whole day, and Michael Iafrate hasn’t posted a kneejerk leftist response. (For someone who seems to think the most important thing in the world is to question the assumptions and beliefs that come naturally to you, he never shows the slightest openmindedness about questioning his own leftist beliefs. Anyone who disagrees with him is the enemy.)

  • Happy Advent, S.B.

  • I don’t think a single incidence speaks enough volume to write off other ills that may come of such a policy that we may currently be blind to. I think emotional reaction to such incidences potentially can lead to legislation that doesn’t get fully evaluated.

    The question isn’t necessarily are we reacting to a single incident (though I agree that many, many, many reams of paper with worthless blots of ink have been forced through legislatures everywhere in response to single incidents), but whether the single incident is indicative of a larger trend. Part of the problem with trying to learn if arming the campus deters shootings is that there isn’t much evidence one way or another. But from the one incident that we have, we can speculate that either a) having guns nearby did nothing to deter the shooter, as he still shot and killed several people or b) having guns nearby allowed several students to halt the shooting before it became a massacre.

    Frankly, I’m of the opinion that allowing guns on campus and keeping legal in all places the right to carry a conceal weapon are suitable deterrents for crime. Attempting a crime becomes like playing Russian roulette. Will there be a bullet in the chamber, or won’t there? Granted, some will take the risk anyway, just as some will still obtain guns illegally and commit crimes that way. At this point, I feel it becomes a number game determining which methods decrease deaths the most.

    The problem, of course, is that no gun law is going to solve all the problems. Fallen human nature, and all that. I know from personal experience that it is very, very frustrating to have to deal with inconvenient legalities, and it isn’t because they’re inconvenient. Rather, it is like being treated like a criminal when I haven’t committed any crime, while the legal nonsense does nothing to prevent real criminals from doing what they will, anyway. That sense of being judged before any crime has been committed has, I think, more implications than simply us crying out in frustration about punishing those who obey the law, while doing nothing to stop those who break the law.

    However, I don’t feel that such limitations as: licensing, background checks, waiting periods, and bringing a gun by at least the county office after a private sale are beyond reason. Mark is exactly right when he describes guns as instruments of killing. While I disagree with him as to whether or not a Catholic can/should own a gun, I do feel that it is important to keep in mind that a gun is a weapon. The gravity of that fact demands a healthy respect for guns. To that effect, I believe every gun owner needs to be licensed (just like anyone who drives a car needs to be licensed); I believe a background check is important, especially since it is against federal law for a felon to own a gun, or to provide a felon with a gun (so a bit of cya there); I think a waiting period is a good idea to help with those few cases where someone might need a day or two to calm down before he actually receives his gun; and I think a gun should come with a title, like a car, that has to be transferred to the new owner with a minimum sale of $1.00 (so you can then go down to the county office and pay your $0.06 tax).

  • 24 to 48 hour waiting periods. I’ve encountered opposition to this idea and I’ve been told (I wouldn’t be surprised) that some politicians actually vote against such laws. Common sense would suggest that if a person cannot wait two measely days to get a gun, perhaps it would be prudent to think twice about giving it to them.

    I remember watching an interview once with a woman who had sought to buy a gun in a locality with a waiting period, and then was attacked and raped during the waiting period. In that case, at least, a waiting period turned out to be pretty harmful.

    Now you might say that such occurances are rare. And you’re probably right. But then cases where someone goes to buy a gun in order to kill someone and then changes his mind about it during the waiting period aren’t that common either. In fact, it is not obvious that cases of the former type are not more common than cases of the latter type. And unless one can establish that the latter sort of case is more common than the former, then the justification for the law would seem to be rather weak, even aside from considerations of inconvenience.

  • I wonder what Saint Gabriel Possenti would have to say?

    http://www.gunsaint.com/

  • As a friend of mine said….

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes– or hours– away.

  • blackadderiv-
    I’ve heard of a couple of cases where the dead woman was found with a card that indicated she had a restraining order aginst the murderer, and that she was to pick up her handgun the next day….

    Yeah, worked great, eh?

  • “I’ve heard of a couple of cases where the dead woman was found with a card that indicated she had a restraining order aginst the murderer”

    How true Foxfier. I’ve often been in court when judges issue orders of protection. The judges usually admonish the petitioners that the orders of protection are merely pieces of paper and that they still need to take precautions for their safety. The police will often tell people that they cannot guard them twenty-four hours a day. A gun is often the only means by which a physically weaker potential victim, usually a woman, has any chance against a stronger assailant.

  • I can think of a few people in the old testament who, not only owned weapons of killing, but were commanded by God to use them swiftly.

    *picks up the indiana jones whip he got for christmas and wonders… wwjd*

  • If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
    Also, if Catholics don’t own guns, only non-Catholics will own guns.

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Politicians. Little Tin Gods on Wheels.

Monday, December 22, AD 2008

Since the bad joke who happens to be the governor of my state is apparently fond of quoting Kipling, the title to this post is also from Kipling who had very little use for most politicians.  A variant of the great poem “If” , much more fitting for Blagojevich, is provided by Claudia Rosett here.

Blagojevich, Chicago’s curse to the state of Illinois, might be more careful in the choice of poets he quotes.  Kipling did not think much of the Windy City.

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4 Responses to Politicians. Little Tin Gods on Wheels.

  • He should have quoted Roger Water’s (Pink Floyd) If. A number of appropriate “ifs” there.

    Particularly fond of:

    If I were a rule, I would bend

    AND

    And if I go insane,
    Will you still let me join in with the game?

  • Blago is now in Gift That Keeps On Giving Dept. Consider his bluster last week and harrumph I’m Hanging Tough. Now new stuff from the Chicago Trib on major fundraiser who scarfed up cash for his enemies- like Ms. Madigan the State AG and daughter of State House Speaker who hates Blago’s intestines. Then I read in my Philly Inquirer Sunday- all right, I read it on-line- that major local youth group sponsored by Congressperson Chaka Fattah under FBI scrutiny. Sorry you’re feeling kinda glum this Christmas season, Don. I’m in ho ho ho mode.

  • “Sorry you’re feeling kinda glum this Christmas season, Don. I’m in ho ho ho mode.”

    Glad to hear that Gerard. No actually I rarely allow politics to effect my personal mood. Living in Illinois I long ago learned that most politicians are good for only comedy relief.

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3 Responses to Veni Emmanuel

Clear Creek Monastery

Saturday, December 20, AD 2008

The Our Lady of the Annunciation Monastery of Clear Creek located in Oklahoma is a booming order of Benedictine monks.  They have completed their main residence hall and are currently building their church adjacent to their hall.  The following is a short video explaining their progress.

To learn more about these monks and their monastery click here.

(Biretta Tip: New Liturgical Movement)

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One Response to Clear Creek Monastery

  • How delightful. A thriving Benedictine monastery in ….. Oklahoma. The World’s Largest Catholic Radio/Teevee/Internet organization, based in…. Alabama. Much like the thriving Toyota and Honda and Benz plants in states below Mason-Dixon Line. Far away from traditional hq’s like Bahston or Chi-Town or yes my own Philly. Growth happens where it happens. Still- Example # 12469874013 that God has a sense of humor.

2 Responses to Special Election Now!

  • More fun than this heart can stand. Where I hear the voice of the esteemed H.L. Mencken, Sage of Baltimore. Who loved democracy much as a drama critic enjoys a first-rate stage production. What a grand stage. What a wonderful cast of characters. Even our beloved Shakespeare would be hard-pressed to create characters on the order of the unpopular governor; the fighting prosecutor- an archetype in U.S. of A. politics; the state AG; HER father, Speaker of State House and blood enemy of the unpopular governor; of course, numerous members of House of Jackson; Hizzoner Da Mare; all manner of other hustlers, activists, and the like; with the President Elect- that’s what it said on the sign, in the background. And his Chief Of Staff Elect, who may be into it up to his eyeballs. Fire up the popcorn machine. Make sure the cola dispenser has enough syrup. Hope And Change will just have to wait. As the Broadway song noted, “Tragedy tomorrow- comedy tonight.”

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Freedom as a Political Good

Thursday, December 18, AD 2008

Historically the Catholic Church has had, or has been perceived to have, a rocky relationship with “freedom” in the sense that the term has come to be used in a political and cultural sense since the Enlightenment.

Freedom in the modern sense is often taken to mean, “I’m free to do whatever I want without anyone telling me what to do.” The Church, on the other hand, generally takes freedom to mean, “Freedom to do that which is good.” The Church sees sin as enslaving and as reducing one’s capacity to choose freely in the future, and as such even where acting contrary to the good is in no way forbidden, doing wrong is not seen by the Church as exercising “freedom”.

So the in the moral sense, the Church does not hold “freedom” in the sense of simply doing whatever you want to be a good. Rather, the Church holds doing the good to be the good, and freedom to be the means of achieving that.

I speak above in the moral sense. However, let us look now at the political question of freedom.

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2 Responses to Freedom as a Political Good

  • The issue about the state restriction of freedom, which Walter Berns advocates for very eloquently and I am sympathetic to, is a rather tricky one. Certainly we should not value freedom as the highest good, but to what extent to trust the state? Given the constant morass of sinful humanity, might it be better to have, for example, something like free speech absolutism where we can argue and shout and make fools of ourselves, and hopefully convince? We have something like this on the Internet, and I think it works well enough (child abuse is the only thing not instant accessible and not tolerated. Everything else is a go….often for the worse, but not without the good.

  • State power should always be used sparingly. As Washington noted: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

    Government should stop us from wrongfully harming others, one of many reasons why I believe government should ban abortion. Government can and should impose time and place standards of decorum: no parading nude down a public street. In the area of marriage, since the expansion of state power prevents it from being solely a matter for religions, the state perforce must make rules as to how marriages are made, who may marry, and how marriages may be dissolved and what happens afterward.

    One difficulty we are now experiencing is that the expansion of the role of government over the past 100 years has made it hard to limit government involvement in a plethora of areas which used to be dealt with by other means. For example, the whole area of divorce. Government decrees “easy” divorce. People take advantage of this and a whole host of new problems: child support, visitation, abuse by “step” parents, etc, are created which government must also act to “solve”. To what I am sure would be a total lack of surprise to the Founding Fathers, the government “solutions” tend to work poorly, are enormously expensive to administer, and undermine self reliance. At incredible cost we have developed a nanny state, but unfortunately we do not appear to have Mary Poppins running the show, but rather one of Homer Simpson’s sisters-in-law from the DMV.

Pride of Peoria

Thursday, December 18, AD 2008

“A Paris reporter asked TV-Comedian Milton Berle how he felt about the Bishop Fulton Sheen program which is on a competing channel with his own show. Said Berle: “We’re known as Uncle Miltie and Uncle Fultie now. It doesn’t make any difference if we’re in competition. It’s a pleasure to have him opposite me. After all, we’re both using old material.”

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2 Responses to Pride of Peoria

  • He wrote the book. Literally. Too far ahead of his time. After his departure from teevee, the lights went out on its use by orthodox Catholics. Of course, coincided with GoGo60s, hootenanny Masses, academics spouting any nonsense they please. Along comes a cloistered nun in Alabama who gets into the cable game around the same time as CNN and ESPN. Wow amazing use of teevee to educate and inspire the faithful. If the Good Bishop were alive he’s use internet, ipods and mp3 as tools. Or stuff still in R&D labs. That same Alabama-based network of course has the good sense to rerun the Good Bishop’s programs. Where they are still fresh and timely. Everything old is new again.

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24 Responses to The War on Joe the Plumber-Update

Sex Talk from Steven Greydanus

Wednesday, December 17, AD 2008

My own thoughts on fornication and adultery in specific are slow in coming right now, but Steven Greydanus has an excellent piece up at Jimmy Akin’s blog dealing with sex, its multiple purposes, and how those multiple purposes can go right or wrong depending on intent.  I especially like

However it may work out in practice, sex must always be done in a way that is at least open to the multifaceted goodness of sex in all its levels and aspects. Whatever aspect of sex is a couple’s motivation tonight, either they take the occasion to accept the mystery of sex in its fullness, insofar as it is available to them, or they seek to reject and exclude some or another aspect, to the detriment of the act itself and their own being.

It is my hopes with my next post to speak directly to what those detriments that SGD mentions are, especially in terms of trust, deceit, relational bonds, maturity, and so on.

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Planned Parenthood Indiana – Oops!

Wednesday, December 17, AD 2008

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has a good article regarding the investigation launched by the Indiana Attorney General of Planned Parenthood of Indiana.  Thanks to the intrepid Lila Rose, and her colleague Jackie Stollar, the long standing flouting by Planned Parenthood of mandatory reporting laws regarding sexual abuse is now coming to the surface.  Ms. Rose and her associates are to be congratulated for coming up with a clever tactic, and having the courage and initiative to implement it, to combat Murder, Inc.  Bravo!  It is precisely this type of energy and novel thinking that the pro-life cause needs.

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7 Responses to Planned Parenthood Indiana – Oops!

One Response to Remembering Thomas Merton