Monthly Archives: December 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.
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.
This past Summer a conference took place on the shores of Lake Michigan on reinvigorating the use of Gregorian Chant in our liturgies. The Reform of the Reform continues.
(Biretta Tip: New Liturgical Movement)
“I think it’s okay as long as nobody gets hurt.”
That has become the rallying cry of our times, the gloss over all deeds, the excuse for practically any sin. It is the banner of the sexual revolution, the fallback position of those confronted by the “narrow-minded” religious in society. After all, who does it really hurt if teenagers have pre-marital sex, as long as they play it safe? Who does it hurt if two consenting adults decide to have a one-night stand? Who does it hurt if two men or two women decide to sleep together? More importantly, how could one possibly claim anyone is harmed if someone masturbates?
Not really. This New York Times article contends that my home state of Illinois is not the most corrupt state in the Union. However I note that two of the three methods by which they obtain their rankings focus on convictions. In a truly corrupt state, convictions might lag because the engines of law enforcement are often part of the problem. Based upon spending my entire life in Illinois, except for three years, I believe FBI Agent Robert Grant is correct, if Illinois is not the most corrupt state, it is a strong competitor for the title.
Update I: Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of the State of Illinois, is attempting today to have the Illinois Supreme Court strip Blagojevich of his powers as Governor. I agree with this article that her brief is extremely weak and would draw a “C” as the effort of a first year law student. At any rate I doubt if the Illinois Supreme Court will step into this briar patch. If the House acts swiftly to impeach him, Blagojevich may resign, but I do not think anything short of this will work. To add to the banana republic quality that is part and parcel of current Illinois politics, Lisa Madigan is the daughter of Michael Madigan speaker of the House who has a long-standing blood feud with Blagojevich. Lisa Madigan herself has long been thought to be hungering to be Governor. Illinois politics frequently consists now of hereditary political fiefdoms that are passed down through the generations. We have the reality of a largely feudal political system with none of the entertaining trappings.
Update II: As usual, John Kass of the Tribune has a brilliant column on the farce that is Illinois politics.
Update III: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has an excellent look at the behind the scenes machinations of this mess. I wholeheartedly agree with his conclusion: “Calling this sewer “The Land of Lincoln” is a bad joke. If Illinois voters aren’t inclined to make the kind of necessary changes, can they change the license plates to read, “The Land of Capone”? It’s certainly a more accurate description.”
Why did God come to us, as one of us, in the Incarnation? Why this particular path for our salvation? Great saints throughout the history of the Church have sought to answer this question, and perhaps the best answer is one of the earliest, that given by Saint Athanasius of contra mundum fame:
“I was irresistibly prompted to go out into the open air … The slush of melting snow formed a deep mud along the banks of the River Charles, which I followed down toward Boston … As I wandered aimlessly, something impelled me to look contemplatively at a young tree. On its frail, supple branches were young buds … While my eye rested on them, the thought came to me suddenly, with all the strength and novelty of a revelation, that these little buds in their innocence and meekness followed a rule, a law of which I as yet knew nothing … That night, for the first time in years, I prayed.”
Probably because of my skeptical bent, most apparitions (including those approved as worthy of belief) are things I can take or leave. I don’t disbelieve in them, but they’re not something I give much thought or spiritual focus to. The great exception to this is the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which has been dear to me ever since I was a child reading Tommie dePaola’s outstanding The Lady of Guadalupe.
The story of Our Lady’s appearances to Juan Diego is simple and moving on its own, and the significance of her appearance in emphasizing the truly universal nature of Catholicism cannot be underestimated.
Happy December 12th.
Today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a new Instruction entitled Dignitas Personae, On Certain Bioethical Questions. You can find it along with a Vatican summary as well as a Q&A and press release from the USCCB here.
It is usually a bad sign when a President’s Chief of Staff is ducking questions. To all those outside the Land of Lincoln, welcome to Chicago politics 101!
Update I: I think Emanuel may be an ex-chief of staff even before he becomes chief of staff if this story pans out.
Update II: More detail as to the contacts between Blagojevich and Emanuel as to the Senate seat.
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”
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One of the big criticisms of free market economics is that markets are driven by greed. “Why would you want to allow markets to set the price of [health care, wages, basic housing, food, education, etc.],” the argument goes, “when that means subjecting a basic humanitarian necessity of the dictates of unfettered greed?” I think this represents a basic misunderstanding of how markets work, and I’m going to try to address that in this post — though I approach the attempt with some trepidation given the difficulties of the subject matter and the limits of the medium.
I’m going to start by conceding a point which those making the assertion I describe above may consider to prove their case: The economic view of market dynamics tends to view individual actors within a market as value maximizing agents. In other words, a market consists of a number of actors each trying to get the most possible value for the least possible expense.
Doesn’t this mean that markets are driven by greed? Don’t we need to encourage people to be something other than value maximizing agents?
Well, certainly, there is much more to life than what you can buy and sell,
My inspiration for starting this post and continue the topic through several other posts is the “Day without a Gay” protest, which is supposed to inspire homosexuals and those in support of homosexual marriage to take the day off and perhaps commit to volunteer work (to take a little bit of the sting out of the strike). Whenever issues like this come up (as they do at least annually here at the University of Wyoming with the Matthew Shepard Symposium), I find myself reflecting on human sexuality, the importance it plays in our lives, and the great detriment its misuse has caused, both to the nation and to myself personally.