Make America Safe Street By Street – Here's How

Tuesday, April 21, AD 2009

Here is something I wrote over at Facebook’s “Dads Protecting Daughters”- Joe and I traded some comments there, and I thought I would open it up to the American Catholic society! Here goes:

A Safer World For All Children

We have touched upon some of the cultural issues relating to the protection and nurturing of our daughters (and sons- really this Facebook cause “Dads Protecting Daughters” directly relates to boys and girls). Now I want to bring up something on the literal street level- this is a political and economic area of concern. I am a huge “root causes” guy- the Catholic social teachings and Hierarchical commentaries are constantly saying in effect- “be courageous, look at the root causes of violence, of terrorism, of war”. I take this very, very seriously.

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4 Responses to Make America Safe Street By Street – Here's How

  • Tim,

    I have a lot to say about the subject of child-rearing, and I don’t even have a child of my own. Unfortunately I gotta run for now, but a little later I’ll share my thoughts.

  • Our biggest domestic problem, by far, (one that entitlements and the baby boomers alone can only rival) are the rates of illegitimacy – about 1/3 for whites, half for Hispanics, and 3/4 for blacks. This is tragic and untenable. We are well on the way to large underclasses. These children are born with a significant handicap to start their life.

  • A lot of the focus so far is on what kids in poverty are doing.

    To be quite honest, I think they have an advantage over today’s suburbanite. I think they get a more realistic view of the world.

    Tim, you know I agree with you on a lot of things, and I appreciate your social justice perspective that is tempered with an orthodox Catholicism – it’s a lot like my own.

    On this issue of “making the world safe for kids”, though, we may have some different ideas. I say may, because I’m not sure the extent to which you may disagree with me here.

    I see a society today that has an unhealthy obsession with “protecting the children”, with sanitizing life until the age of 18 and even beyond in some cases.

    Human beings were meant to enter adulthood roughly around the time we call “adolescence” today – that is, child-bearing age. In earlier times boys went to work and girls were married off, and life properly began. But now we live a lot longer and in much greater material comfort here in the West. So we run into the problem, the scourge as I see it, of delayed adulthood.

    Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, and we’re seeing more school violence all the time, not just from low income students who belong to gangs but from white suburban kids who just “snap” one day.

    High schools have become four-year holding tanks, semi-prisons if you will, where most kids have no idea what they want to do in life because they’re told every day that they can do or be anything and everything. Unlike countries such as Germany and Japan, which have rational and socially-oriented educational systems, we have an individualist and romanticist view of childhood and education. In many cases this can be crippling.

    By high school age kids should be assessed and placed on career or educational paths best suited to their aptitudes. It doesn’t have to be rigid and inflexible, but they can at least begin heading in a certain direction through a rational plan.

    By the time a young man or woman enters the teenage years, they need to begin being treated like adults. They need to be guided more effectively by parents and teachers, they need to begin attending institutions that are suited to their future careers, they need to be given greater responsibilities. They need to be among peers who share their interests and goals, and not thrown in to a teenage version of “Oz” where petty cliques dominate the social scene.

    I can’t stress enough how much I think the American high school system is a failure, how much damage I think it does to particular kids, and how much better things could be.

    And yes, we need to let them experience danger. Kids should be exposed to little bits of negative things over time so they aren’t overwhelmed by them the second they leave the protected nest. Have a little alcohol, smoke a cigarette, even observe a bit of raunchiness on the television – it is the world we live in. I call it cultural immunization. It works the way vaccines do – its a little bit of the disease so the body gets used to it and is able to fight it off.

    Otherwise we create a totally unrealistic fantasy world of “innocence” and “fun” that leaves kids entirely unprepared for the real world. Sometimes they just go nuts – binge drinking on college campuses is out of control. Kids get to college and they start doing everything that was kept hidden and taboo in a burst of uncontrolled hedonism. College age girls, I think, get the most abortions too.

    I’m not trying to insult or undermine here, and I’m not saying anyone here has ever advocated the things I pointed out here. But I think it is a problem and no discussion of children can take place without it.

  • Joe- I find that we are pretty much kindred spirits, so it should be easy to disagree on some things and not become disagreeable or discordant. Strange thing how that works, there are some people with whom I share an orthodox Catholic belief system, but I feel a cold distance from them- sometimes it is probably related to the fact that I don’t really think they are committed to the orthodoxy since they are really just way too comfortable with being out and proud liberals or conservatives when it comes to political matters- and I just cannot see a way clear to either comfort zones by my study of the Church social doctrine and applications by the Hierarchical authorities.

    Now on to your view on the above. I think that we can’t and shouldn’t go back to the time when our young were pretty much forced by circumstances to end their brief foray into youth, and enter the grind of adult life. I think the fact that we live longer today allows for some extra time of youthful endeavors- all to the good if we put the time to good use- wherein lies the rub.

    I think it was in Plato’s Republic, that he recommended among other things that the youth be thoroughly protected from the corruptions of the adult world- wait until they are developed more fully in the virtues and reason before tossing them to the wolves where they will be eaten alive if they have not the developed capacity to deal with temptation.

    So, maybe I am proffering a third way- if we can introduce our children to the real world grind of social injustice and immorality just enough to serve as that vaccination, but not enough that it steals away their beautiful innocence- then that’s the ticket right there. More art than science. But my purpose in the original piece was to try to secure the streets in a response to the data that suggests a link between bad neighborhoods and cycles of criminals. It is just one more piece of the puzzle we could be taking more collective responsibility for. We can’t change every parent, but we can take back the streets from thugs and drug dealers, giving kids more of a chance to choose something different- different from what they are experiencing at home even. There is no silver bullet- I like the social interventions, but I also like the shouting the Gospel from atop the roof to inspire individuals- it’s a total both-and deal for me. Now you have in the past brought up complaints about my reliance on the police over citizen crime watch groups- that would be more interesting to pursue with more commentators. I am a fan of the police, we just have to make sure we have political oversight representing the people, and internal monitoring to ensure that corruption and/or racism is creeping into local law enforcement officier circles. We need to get the police working with the local faith based groups and missions, so that we don’t have cops with bad attitudes and unholy approaches to dealing with crime and those prone to criminal activities as youth.

EconTalk

Tuesday, April 21, AD 2009

For something over a year now, I’ve been enjoying the EconTalk podcast, something which Blackadder of Vox Nova turned me on to. EconTalk is a weekly, one hour podcast put out by the Library of Economics and Liberty. It’s hosted by Dr. Russ Roberts, a professor of economics at George Mason University and regular National Public Radio commentator on economics, and the format is usually one of Prof. Roberts interviewing an economist about his/her recent book, or about an topic of current interest. And generally it succeeds in pursuing that fascinating middle ground of being accessible to the general listener while not shying away from discussing highly technical/academic topics.

I was inspired to post on them at this point because this week’s podcast was of a different format than usual, consisting of an extended interview of Prof. Roberts by a journalist on the difference between wealth and income, and what it means to say that we have “become much less wealthy” over the course of the recession of the last 6-9 months. Roberts also discusses the inexact nature of economics as a science and how the uncertainties of interpreting data play into policy debates.

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9 Responses to EconTalk

Krugman's Foundation

Tuesday, April 21, AD 2009

This Newsweek article about Nobel Prize-winning economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman contained an interesting biographical detail:

Krugman says he found himself in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, especially the “Foundation” series—”It was nerds saving civilization, quants who had a theory of society, people writing equations on a blackboard, saying, ‘See, unless you follow this formula, the empire will fail and be followed by a thousand years of barbarism’.”

His Yale was “not George Bush’s Yale,” he says—no boola-boola, no frats or secret societies, rather “drinking coffee in the Economics Department lounge.” Social science, he says, offered the promise of what he dreamed of in science fiction—”the beauty of pushing a button to solve problems. Sometimes there really are simple solutions: you really can have a grand idea.”

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6 Responses to Krugman's Foundation

  • I remember finding this aspect of the Foundation series ridiculous as well (in fact, it was one of the main reasons I didn’t read beyond the first book).

    It’s probably not a coincidence that the first Foundation stories were written just as the Socialist Calculation Debate was winding down. A lot of economists back then really did believe that they could do something kind of like what Seldon did, if only they had enough computing power.

  • I read the Foundation series, the original trilogy, in High School back in the seventies. I enjoyed the broad sweep of History in the books, but I found prediction of History via math preposterous in the extreme. Purportedly Asimov was inspired by Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, a book I have devoured footnotes, the best part, and all. Gibbon is the best bad historian of all time in my opionion. His style is a take it or leave it affair: I take it and love it. His erudition for his time was immense. His history however was his biases against religion and “barbarism” writ into a fairly mechanistic formula that does injustice to the actual facts.

  • I also read the Foundation trilogy and the two that followed after a long hiatus and I enjoyed them all (thought the original 3 were the best).

    Reading about the Mule and how Hari Seldon mathematically calculated the demise of the Galactic Empire with the fall of Trantor mesmerized me as a high school student.

    As far as Gibbon, I just started reading the Rise and Fall recently and it’s good so far. Though I’m biased towards Warren Carroll (just finished reading the Last Crusade… magnificent)!

  • Tito, if you like The Last Crusade, you should try reading Jose Maria Gironella’s trilogy on the Spanish Civil War: Cypresses Believe in God; One Million Dead and Peace After War. Gironella fought on the side of the Nationalist’s in the Spanish Civil War, but his novels are remarkably even-handed and give a view from the inside of the war on the ground level among ordinary people. His books are suffused with a strong love of Catholicism and of Spain.

  • Donald,

    Thanks! I am simply enthralled with the Spanish Civil War and I’m wary of getting anti-Christian leftist authored history books.

    You have just made my next book purchasing decision on Amazon!

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8 Responses to Priest of Andersonville

Google's Top 25 Catholic Websites

Monday, April 20, AD 2009

John Henry and myself are a bit of stats geeks and we’ve been trying to figure out the most accurate way to gauge the number of visits American Catholic has been receiving by our readers.  We use WordPress, Sitemeter, and Feedburner to see how we fare and I’ve entertained the possibility of using StatCounter to add to our curious habit.  Then John Henry mentioned Google Reader and how it keeps tabs of the number of subscribers each website and blog has.  That gave me the idea to add all of my favorite Catholic websites and see which ones have the most subscribers!

Now before you go and see who ranks where keep in mind that Google Reader only keeps track of Google account holders that add websites and/or blogs to their reader.  It doesn’t keep track of how many times a site is visited and not all websites such as the Vatican (and yes even a couple of blogs such as Catholic Report) don’t even offer an RSS or Atom feed to subscribe to.  If it’s any consolation Google Reader seems to be the most popular reader out there with Bloglines a close second.

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41 Responses to Google's Top 25 Catholic Websites

  • Pretty impressive.

    Speaking of google reader, I’m curious as to why some TAC posts are syndicated in their entirety on Google Reader, while others just publish an excerpt. Do each of you set your own syndication preferences for your posts?

    For the record, I like seeing the whole thing post.

  • Paul,

    That’s interesting that each author has a different length in syndication.

    I’ll have to look into that to see why.

    Thanks for the input!

  • Hmmmmm. Interesting methodology.

  • Google Reader only allows for subscribers to be measured. It doesn’t measure the number of visits.

    If I had the time on my hands and if all Catholic websites used Sitemeter or StatCounter, I would keep track of these visits but it would be a bear!

  • Looks like all the recent posts are being syndicated in full, so there may have been a blog-wide change.

  • We work fast!

    Or at least one of the other guys here at AC. ;~)

  • I’m not sure the Google reader subscriber numbers above are accurate; for instance, the Curt Jester has around 1,600 subscribers when I look at Google Reader.

  • What Michael I was pointing out is that the title of the post is itself dishonest. It doesn’t look at all the possible Catholic blogs, and use that to determine which are the 25 top ones (whatever source one uses to get the stats, though as John Henry points out, something is wrong here with the stats). What is dishonest is saying “Top 25” when what one means is “Top 25 of my favorites” which is not the same as “Top 25.”

  • As much as I love seeing AmP #2, in fairness I see:

    WDTPRS – 2,125 subscribers
    Whispers in the Loggia – 2,099 subscribers

    So you definitely need to check the rest of your stats too. :-/

  • EWTN, New Advent, and American Papist are correct; but WDTPRS has 2,125 subscribers;

    CCC and TAC are fine, Jimmy Akin should be 166; Conversion Diary should be 897; Whispers should be 2,099; Holy Smoke should be 221; Inside Catholic 147;

    And Henry’s point is correct; it’s not really a Top 25, because it doesn’t include all the Catholic blogs. This is more of a ranking of favorites as it’s currently set up.

  • Yeah, I was wondering when I didn’t see Vox Nova in the top 25.

  • Yeah, I was wondering when I didn’t see Vox Nova in the top 25.

    Are you surprised he didn’t include it, though? 😉

    Also interesting that Tito’s personal blog is somehow #19 (er — the second #18 out of five 18’s?) on the “top 25 Catholic blogs.”

    In short, nothing to see here.

  • I’m not much of one to put stock in these “top blogs” and “blog awards.” I think they tend toward vanity myself.

  • “I think they tend toward vanity myself.”

    Vanity?

    With numbers as low as these, even as regarding the top members in the list, I would hardly call these stats as actually being something to be particularly proud of considering the number of sites that comparatively enjoy exponentially more visitations.

    Pride such as that does not tend toward vanity but, more likely, lunacy.

  • ‘Interesting’ are the blogs that self-advertise on site for your vote…

  • As far as the total number of subscribers, it is a rolling average over a 30 day period. Which may explain why the numbers may not match up.

    I explained why I called it a top-25, so no, John Henry and Henry K. are completely and categorically wrong.

    It is the top 25 subscribers over a 30 day average.

    As far as Policraticus (a.k.a. the notorious Michael Deem), Henry K., and Michael I. are concerned, Vox Nova isn’t a Catholic blog. When you have three bloggers who voted for the most pro-abortion candidate in the history of the United States and a fourth who is pro-abortion, then well their actions speak for themselves.

  • What source are you using for the thirty-day average?

  • Still far from perfect, and it would be a challenge to compile, but the technorati.com stats would be a better measure of a blog’s popularity (or more importantly, it’s credibility on a peer review basis).

    Of course there’s always the challenge of identifying what is a Catholic site. I can envision disputes over sites like Call to Action, Catholics for Free Choice, Catholics United and its front groups, etc.

    And as a refresh just bore out, that latter problem already surfaced. I think it’s best to go by self-identified as Catholic.

  • “Vox Nova isn’t a Catholic blog.”

    Given the extent of its content (and, in particular, its unyielding political support for a visciously pro-abort political figure), I hardly think not.

    In spite of a Catholic’s political leanings, I should think that one would nevertheless adhere to the moral principles as contained in traditional Catholic teaching, such as that regarding Life itself.

    To completely disregard this simply because of one’s political affiliations or leftest leanings merely testify to the apparent moral contradictions within the character of such individuals, that more likely than not would yield to the teachings of this world as opposed to that of Our Saviour Himself.

    The Defense of Life is nothing in comparison to the Defense of Moloch, from whom all good things come!

  • Still far from perfect, and it would be a challenge to compile, but the technorati.com stats would be a better measure of a blog’s popularity (or more importantly, it’s credibility on a peer review basis).

    Agreed. The google reader stats that Tito has seem to vary widely from what I see (not sure why), so Technorati may be a better source. And Poli’s right, of course, that rankings can be viewed primarily as about vanity (vanity of vanities, all things are…), although I’ve come across some good blogs via rankings.

    I think it’s best to go by self-identified as Catholic.

    Agreed.

  • John Henry et al,

    In Google Reader, click on the Navigation button. A drop-down menu will appear with a list of menu options separated into three modules (or boxes). In the first module (or box) you will see a menu option for trends. Click on trends and you will get something similar to the screen shot above. You will see two columns labeled Reading trends and Subscription trends. If you look on the right hand side where it says Subscription trends, there are three tabs under Subscription trends labeled Frequently Updated, Inactive, and Most obscure. Click on Most obscure. At the bottom of most obscure you can filter the top 10, 20, or 40 most obscure. I clicked on 40 and reversed the order. I may have misread what this means, but I interpreted it as over a 30 day average, eachRSS/Atom feed to a different Google Reader is a subscription.

    I will admit that I may have misread this. If I had, please explain this so I can understand what I’m reading. Outside of sending an email to the Google Reader help desk, I can’t find an explanation of what these labels and tabs mean.

    Thanks!

  • American Papist,

    I agree. There seems to be a variation in the number of subscribers amongst us.

    I’ll do more research, ie, email Google Reader help desk.

    This is far from being exact science.

    Et al,

    As far as ranking what is and is not Catholic it might be best to rank Catholic websites as far as self-identified Catholics.

  • My guess would be that number of subscriptions may be correlated highly to blog age as well as number of readers, which is the only explanation I can dream up for my personal blog showing more subscribers than The American Catholic, even though according to sitemeter visits I only have 20% as much traffic:

    Subscription Subscribers
    Pro Ecclesia 86
    The American Catholic 121
    DarwinCatholic 134
    Vox Nova 153
    Conversion Diary 262
    First Things 851
    American Papist 1,466
    Charlotte was Both 1,466
    WDTPRS? 2,125

    That, and the last time I’d logged into my Google Reader account was before American Catholic existed — which kind of underlines that the number of subscribers doesn’t necessarily tie to total traffic.

    Also, some disconnects on the numbers reported may have to do with different people having different feed addresses in there. I would assume that standard RSS feed and Atom feed (for instance) would both have different subscription counts because Google treats them as separate items.

  • DarwinCatholic,

    Also, some disconnects on the numbers reported may have to do with different people having different feed addresses in there. I would assume that standard RSS feed and Atom feed (for instance) would both have different subscription counts because Google treats them as separate items.

    You may have found the discrepancy. With the exception of one website, I used only RSS feeds. Maybe the RSS and Atom feeds are not counted together but separately.

    Again, this isn’t exact science.

  • Tito my friend you have far more patience with the Usual Suspects than I do!

  • Tito:

    While I strongly disagree with the decision to vote for Obama, the notion that Policratius isn’t Catholic is ridiculous and absurd. I often disagree with him, but there ought to be no question to a reasonable and charitable mind that he is Catholic. Furthermore, your use of his real name when he has chosen to go by a pseduonym is petty.

    Policratius:

    I agree. I hate it when Catholic blogs start begging its readers to go vote for awards.

  • Iafrate:

    Yeah, and you guys let Mark Defranicis troll around on your com-boxes. Both VN and A-C could probably use a stronger com-box policy, but as of right now they play by the same rules.

  • Who would’ve thought that something as innocuous as a topic on the top Catholic websites would’ve turned out to be so amazingly controversial?

    Even more spectacular is the seeming outrage as expressed by the notorious gang of detractors that hail from The Left bend.

    Sad, really.

  • Okay…maybe VN & Ac don’t playby the same rules since the Iafrate comment I responded to magically disappeared int he three seconds I wrote my last comment.

  • Michael Denton & Poli,

    By no means did I say that Poli is not Catholic. If that is how it came across I want to state that their blog, not themselves individually, is not Catholic per se.

    I was saying that Vox Nova isn’t necessarily a Catholic website due to certain contributors that dissent from Catholic teaching.

  • Donald,

    I am working on a project so I may have missed some comments that were derogatory towards me. Thank you for spotting them and rectifying the situation.

    I’ve been quite busy at work these last few weeks and so I haven’t posted anything so as not to distract myself from my work. I thought a seemingly innocuous posting on the top-25 Google Reader subscribers might have been fun and informative. I was even going to add dotCommonweal and Vox Nova, but I forgot to do so (I wanted to add them both since they both have a high number of subscribers and visits in St. blogs).

    Who would have thunk it that I would be attacked so viciously.

    Oh well.

  • I was saying that Vox Nova isn’t necessarily a Catholic website due to certain contributors that dissent from Catholic teaching.

    No, what you said was that VN is not a Catholic website.

  • No problem Tito. I thought the comments of the Catholic Anarchist and Mr. DeFrancisis were way across the line of personal insult. I have unapproved some of their comments, and I have sent Mr. DeFrancisis to moderation where I currently have the Catholic Anarchist.

    Gentlemen, my tolerance level of personal insult by either of you in any thread is now zero. I have received numerous inquiries as to why I tolerate either of you on this blog and I must say I can come up with no good answer. Tread lightly or I will go from moderating your comments to banning you entirely. First and last warning.

  • Donald,

    You continually allow Tito to make bald, uncharitable and false assertions. I call him on his behavior and you disbar my comments, making them seem worse than they actually are.

    Why do you protect Tito? Let him answer for his lack of charity and untruth.

  • Michael I.,

    Splitting hairs.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis you and the Catholic Anarchist have long baited Tito because you know that you can get a rise out of him. That is not the purpose of this blog and it ends today.

  • Mark,

    Those are straw man arguments.

    I made an opinion based on three bloggers who voted for President Obama and a fourth who is pro-abortion (or pro-choice, choose your poison).

    How can someone like Michael I. be lying if he has clearly and proudly been stating he voted for the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States?

  • I’m done responding to both Michael I. and Mr. DeFrancisis today.

    Enjoy the top-25 and the next rankings will include self-identified Catholics so as to end rabbit holes and straw.

  • Michael Denton, thank you for the kind words. To clarify I did not vote for Obama, and neither did the majority of Vox Nova contributors. In fact, the three who did vote for Obama were quite clear of their reasons, disavowing his abortion policies and hoping for a reduction in the number of abortions by way of his social policies. It is quite clear to me retrospectively that these members of Vox Nova made a poor judgment and were not correct in their predictions. But, in light of their clearly expressed reasons and faith commitments, I find nothing in our Catholic tradition to suggest that they are not genuine Catholics or that they committed grave sin.

    Now, I am not interested in getting into a war between blogs, be it over web traffic or who can boast of the best Catholic credentials. As the one who originated Vox Nova, I can testify to the strong Catholic faith of all its contributors, and I use as my gauge the teachings of the Church and participation in her sacramental life.

  • Comments are closed on this thread. I am also not interested in any war between blogs and I will take the steps necessary to eliminate the sources of friction.

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13 Responses to Dawn Johnsen

  • I hestitate to use the expression becuase I think Harry Potter wasn’t all that great but these people really are deatheaters.

  • How about deathspawners?

  • How does this fit into Doug Kmiec’s opinion that Obama is pro-life?

  • Obama is pro-life in that he is pro-choice and non-pro-abortion. In this he seeks to affirm priciples stated in Catholic social teaching. The statements from CST definitively teach that increases in taxation, social programs and family health/sexual education necessarily increase the prosperity of all and thus necessarily reduce abortion.

    Being pro-choice Obama is also definitely in accord with recognzing the freedom of the person and subsidiarity in society. This is also consistent with CST which definitively teaches that laws against abortion do not reduce abortion and violate the dignity of the person in the right to freedom of conscience.

    Make sense?

  • Thanks, Phillip. All clear now. 😉

  • “Make sense?”

    Uh, nope.

  • bill,
    I think that is Phillip’s precise point.

  • And did you hear he will have an honorary doctor of laws degree from Notre Dame? So of course he’s pro-life. 😉

  • “Obama is pro-life in that he is pro-choice and non-pro-abortion. In this he seeks to affirm priciples stated in Catholic social teaching. … Being pro-choice Obama is also definitely in accord with recognzing the freedom of the person and subsidiarity in society.”

    I’d say Phillip’s been taking notes from Gerald Campbell. 😉

  • I wonder if Obama isn’t making all these appointments of hard-core pro-aborts to his administration as a way to placate his hard-core pro-abort supporters (like Planned Parenthood and NARAL) for his failure to push the Freedom of Choice Act and for breaking his promise to make signing FOCA the “first thing” he would do as President?

  • Partially I think you are right Elaine. However it has been noted that his appointees in second tier positions in his administration, as in the case of Ms. Johnsen, are much more to the left than his cabinet level nominees. That is not an uncommon strategy for most administrations: present a moderate face to the public, and have the “true believers” below set and implement policy.

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2 Responses to Deadly Greenbacks!

Deal Hudson on Israel and Palestinian Christians, Revisited

Sunday, April 19, AD 2009

In his latest article for InsideCatholic.com, Deal Hudson presents Ten Hard Facts Confronting Benedict XVI in the Holy Land concerning the plight of Palestinian Christians.

One would expect that — when presenting a list of “hard facts”, particularly a topic as provocative as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — elementary journalistic standards would require the citation of a source.

Furthermore, one might expect the placement of such statistics in context to further enable a moral evaluation.

That Hudson completely neglects to do this is frustrating, to say the least.

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5 Responses to Deal Hudson on Israel and Palestinian Christians, Revisited

  • The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group is a good source. The group is very critical of Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and seems quite even-handed. There is a wealth of material on the site.

    http://www.phrmg.org/

  • Jerusalem Fever, that malady that frequently affects traverlers to the Holy Land seems to have bitten Deal.

  • Christopher,

    Good post but you may want to go back through and clean up the formatting. It’s a little unclear when you are quoting others and when you are writing in your own voice.

    Again, good post and one I plan to share with friends.

  • Mark,

    Thanks — For some reason I always have this difficulty w/ WordPress. (I tend to write in straight HTML to my other blogs, cut/paste into WordPress; for some reason the latter has trouble interpreting multiple-paragraph blockquotes. I’ll have to be more vigilant. =)

  • Good information. I remember a Lebanese Christian family I once knew. They were terrified of their Muslim countrymen.

Worthless Political Hack Says Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Answer To Our Prayers

Saturday, April 18, AD 2009

pelosi

Worthless Political Hack Nancy Pelosi, in defiance of the teaching of the Catholic Church of which she is purportedly a member, said on Friday embryonic stem cell research is the answer to our prayers.  She is quoted as saying , “We need science, science, science, science, science. ” I agree with the  Worthless Political Hack.  She might consider this little factoid:  number of cures and treatments from adult stemcell research:  72;  number of cures and treatments from embryonic stemcell research:  00.00.  If the Worthless Political Hack ever wishes to read the actual science on the subject a good place to start is here.

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11 Responses to Worthless Political Hack Says Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Answer To Our Prayers

Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier

Saturday, April 18, AD 2009

Something for the weekend.  I have been thinking a lot about the American Revolution this week.  One of the most popular ballads during that war was Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier.  Sad like most Irish tunes, it captures well the bitter partings that war always causes.  Dedicated to Major Andrew McClary, New Hampshire militia, and all the patriots who went to be soldiers and who never came back from that war.

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8 Responses to The Old-School Date

  • Better yet, raise your daughter(s) in a Catholic household and your daughter(s) should be able to filter out the MTV-tarnished date.

    In fact, don’t go on dates, but go in large groups, that way the two can get to know each other better without the daughter being pressured into sex.

    And then when she is ready, she has her guy friend ask permission from the father to court her.

    Dating isn’t supposed be about having ‘fun’ only. IT’s to discern your possible future spouse.

  • Yes Tito- I like your advice- I have a few years to go before I have to set these ground rules for real. I did want to offer some practical advice to get some momentum behind the general principle of going back to some of the old-school ways of courtship. So old-school, I have to look well past my generation to find a time period where the societal norms were more conducive to the postponement of sex until marriage.

  • While dating is sometimes courting, there are high schoolers from families that I know at church who are dating and for whom I have a great deal of respect as Catholic young people. (I’m sure I wouldn’t have objected to dating as a high schooler, but I didn’t run across the right women till college.)

    I think there’s a place for simple fun dating among the young, and Tim’s advice sounds pretty good. Indeed, somewhat more restrictively, in high school I would want to know a young man _before_ he dates my daughter and know that he’s a decent sort of guy. (Preferably from a family I know from church.)

    Right now it’s all theoretical, but since I have three daughters within three years (currently 3, 5, and 6) I’m sure that I’ll be dealing with these issues a lot in ten years.

    Whether I resort to cleaning one of the guns remains to be seen. But I’d be more well disposed to a young man if he wants to go shooting with me first and make sure that I know him and trust him.

  • think there’s a place for simple fun dating among the young

    I’m not so sure, I guess it depends on the definition of “dating”. If it means a boy taking her somewhere in a car alone and bringing her back 4-6 hours later after activities in unknowable locations with no chaperon or oversight, I think that’s a serious mistake. If it means going out in groups and holding hands or going to a chaperoned school dance, well that’s a different story.

    How do I know this? Because I was a teenage boy.

    ps. I like the gun cleaning approach, sounds like a perfect excuse to justify picking up that nice little AR-15 I saw the other day at the gun show. If you’re going to freak out the boy, why not do it with something more serious than an old .22

  • think there’s a place for simple fun dating among the young

    I respectfully disagree with you on this.

    I agree with Matt though on depending on what you would call a date.

    If it’s going alone with a boy to dinner and a movie, then their courting without your permission. Boys and girls mature in different ways and approach many activities differently.

    As far as your good Catholic friends are concerned, I would frown upon that. There is just no excuse. It’s succumbing to the zeitgeist of fun at all costs. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right.

    And the cleaning the 5.56 caliber M16 approach, I think it’s ok, but it would be more effective if you had several magazines lying around and spent cartridges on the coffee table.

    That’s if you’re asking.

  • I am putting forth a “baby steps” approach for the general culture- which includes many Catholics who are living and acting very much according to the general norms of our society. When I am facing the dating years with my daughters, I will probably take a much harder line myself, but my girls will hopefully see it as a continuation of the high standards we are setting in the family already- not some surprise hardcore “got religion” move that I come up with when my oldest daughter starts asking if she can go out with so and so.

    My article was in part inspired by my own memories- now that I am on the other side of the fence- the married guy with daughters, and not the single guy desiring someone else’s daughters, I am shocked by the realization that at no point in my dating past could I remember any father requesting a sit down chit-chat, or any girl asking me to talk to daddy before dating casually or even seriously. Now that I am a daddy- I can’t believe it! Where were the Dads? I think that the term “Deadbeat Dads” can be used more broadly than just as a description of Dads who aren’t paying child support.

  • I think for a mainstream audience, where the status quo is that one’s daughter goes to public high school and is going out on dates with guys her parents have never even met, this would unquestionably be a good step towards taking better responsibility as a father.

    I’m sure that I’ll be tweeking my ideals as my daughters get older, but right now (thinking back on being a teenager and watching families in our parish who I think are or are not getting things right) I’d say that starting at 16 I would allow my daughters to go on dates so long as:

    1) I knew the boy and at least slightly knew the boy’s parents (know meaning, he’s been over to the house with the full family enough times that I have a clear idea what sort of guy he is) and considered him a trustworthy young man.

    2) I knew where they were going and when they were coming back (and approved of both).

    3) The daughter in question had proved herself trustworthy and morally well formed.

    Of course, if the failure is on the third point, 16-18 is rather late to try to do anything about it — and when your kids move off to college they naturally end up in charge of their own dating lives — so I would certainly hope not to see failure on that point.

    However, I do think that there would be rewards for being a trustworthy teenager, with freedom to date in one’s older teens being one of them. And I also think it’s important not to develop an adversial, prison guard relationship with one’s children — which to be honest I have seen some very well intentioned Catholic parents do, seldom with good results.

    (Though if you boys want to clean a gun, you need to work up into a higher calibre than .223. The AR-15 is basically a muscled up 22. You need a Garand, boys.)

  • Pingback: Dating Humor « The American Catholic

Lesser of Two Evils or Worthy of Honor

Friday, April 17, AD 2009

Since the Notre Dame controversy has all the staying power of an inebriated relative after a dinner party, I’ll attempt one more brief comment on it.

It is a disappointment to me, though hardly a surprising one, that just about everyone in the Catholic blogsphere who advocated voting for Obama in the first place (or sympathized with those who did) now find so much to object to in those Catholics (including quite a few bishops — all who have address the topic to my knowledge) who are upset at Obama being made the commencement speaker for Notre Dame and awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

The argument, which was made frequently enough during the election, was that while Obama was far from perfect (and, we were always assured, the speaker was indeed deeply troubled by his positions on abortion) he was the better of two distinctly poor alternatives available on the ballot.

If such was one’s true position, I disagree, but with a fair amount of respect.  Sometimes both options available are very bad, and choosing the lesser of two evils is quite the judgment call.

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67 Responses to Lesser of Two Evils or Worthy of Honor

  • To be clear,

    I think the decision to honor Obama is wrong, and that the bishops are right to speak out against it.

    My problem was more with the tone of the com-boxers and others. Critique is one thing, wrath is another. I stick with what my priest told us about wrath; it is only moral when it is proportionate and productive. If it doesn’t lead to anything but a cathartic release, or a sense of righteousness, then it is a self-indulgent sin. I’ve confessed it more than once.

    Some people can’t or won’t make the distinction between principles and tactics. Disagree with one, and you necessarily hate the other. It is a distortion of logic to say the least. If I can’t disapprove of your tactics without simultaneously being opposed to your principles, then what you want is a cult following, not a rational discussion. Why should anyone have to put up with that?

  • I meant the general “you”. Not you Darwin.

  • My position is that I am upset about those who are making a huge deal about this because 1) they are singling out Obama but have had no problems with other anti-life politicians (like Bush and C. Rice) being similarly honored by Catholic institutions, so their protests ring hollow, and 2) because very few people are distinguishing between Obama receiving an honorary degree and him simply giving the commencement address, and 3) the over-the-top rhetoric is simply hateful and, quite frankly, insane. The latest letter this blog posted, from the bishop of Lincoln, is proof of that.

  • Michael I.,

    Considering that you’re an expert on hate and hating and accuse others of such nonsense is silly.

  • Catholic Anarchist, when pro-life Republicans were confronted with Rudolph Giuliani being a serious contender in 08, we made it clear to all and sundry, through the Stop Rudy movement and other efforts, that he was unacceptable and that we would prefer defeat to having him as the nominee. Leftists like yourself who claim to be pro-life, excluding the honorable exceptions, largely flocked to the banner of Obama, as you did, because the struggle against abortion is simply not very important to them compared to other political goals. Now you bash those of us outraged that Notre Dame is giving a forum to the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, a man who has raised campaign funds touting his opposition to banning the barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion. Frankly Catholic Anarchist, since you are a de facto pro-abort, I would have been astonished if you had not behaved in just the fashion you have. For an anarchist, you are very predictable.

  • Meanwhile, you can add Bishop George Lucas of Springfield to the list of bishops addressing the Notre Dame mess/issue/scandal/disgrace/abomination. He states in this week’s issue of Catholic Times:

    “It is hard to imagine the university honoring someone, no matter his office, who had consistently spoken against the value of football. We are not being unreasonable when we expect the value of human life to be a central focus of a Catholic university.”

  • I personally would be satisfied, or at least less disturbed, if Notre Dame withdrew the honorary degree or if Obama decided not to accept it, and just went ahead with the commencement address. However, that really should have been done from the outset, and to do so now would be too little, too late. Also, if the “commencement” address were given separately from the commencement — say, the day before, at a different venue or somewhere off-campus, with ND graduates and their family given first crack at seating IF they choose to attend. That way, the graduation itself isn’t ruined for anyone who is either scandalized by the whole thing or just doesn’t want to deal with the security and media which are bound to be there.

    As I have stated in a previous post, I attended Eureka College while Reagan was president and saw how much security and media attention was imposed on the graduation Reagan spoke at. If there had also been a huge number of protesters there it would have been even worse. I expect that is what will occur at ND.

  • And I have to add this: Reagan didn’t come to my graduation, and even though I and my parents voted for Reagan and agreed with what he stood for, we were glad he didn’t. My elderly grandmother, both my parents and my brother came to my graduation and were really stressed out and snapping at one another by the end of the day.

    I can just imagine what it would have been like had they been marched through a gauntlet of Secret Service people and reporters. I can also only imagine what it would have been like for them had they been die-hard liberal Democrats who despised nearly everything he stood for. We probably would have just skipped the whole thing and had the diploma sent in the mail.

  • Agreed Elaine. I found my commencements to be crashing bores. When I got my JD I skipped the general commencement at the U of I and sold my tickets for a good price. My wife, then my fiancee, did the same. I wish I had scalped my lawschool commencement tickets also, since I found it tedious beyond belief.

  • Catholic Anarchist, when pro-life Republicans were confronted with Rudolph Giuliani being a serious contender in 08, we made it clear to all and sundry, through the Stop Rudy movement and other efforts, that he was unacceptable and that we would prefer defeat to having him as the nominee.

    I remember that movement. I supported it because of Guiliani’s anti-life views on abortion and war. I do not recall the republicatholic part of the movement saying that they would “prefer defeat.” Can you point me to that official statement?

    Leftists like yourself who claim to be pro-life, excluding the honorable exceptions, largely flocked to the banner of Obama, as you did, because the struggle against abortion is simply not very important to them compared to other political goals. Now you bash those of us outraged that Notre Dame is giving a forum to the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, a man who has raised campaign funds touting his opposition to banning the barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion. Frankly Catholic Anarchist, since you are a de facto pro-abort, I would have been astonished if you had not behaved in just the fashion you have. For an anarchist, you are very predictable.

    I’m predictable? You are so predictable (and utterly boring) that I suspect you have this little passage saved on your computer and you cut-and-paste in whenever you need to tell a non-republicatholic that he or she is “really” a “pro-abort.” Just because you can repeat this nonsense over and over does not make it true.

    As I have said repeatedly, I oppose Obama receiving an honorary degree precisely because of his views, and more importantly his actions on abortion. If the bishops who have spoken out (relatively few) and you loudmouth republicatholic bloggers would focus on THAT and not get into the business of condemning Notre Dame and making personal attacks on Fr Jenkins’ personal faith, I could agree with you. But as usual, you turn into a bunch of blowhards eager to prove your own supposed piety and “respect” for life when you are, in fact, woefully inconsistent.

  • You can say that again. My brother graduated from Illinois State. The ceremony consisted of a five-minute speech by the chancellor, then sitting on hard chairs for 2 1/2 hours in a sweaty auditorium listening to 800 names being read. We had to sit through about 400 of them to get to my brother, since “Krewer” is in the middle of the alphabet 🙂 When my husband graduated from University of Illinois at Springfield, we didn’t even bother going. (Our married name, which I don’t use on this blog, is farther down in the alphabet.)

  • “I remember that movement. I supported it because of Guiliani’s anti-life views on abortion and war. I do not recall the republicatholic part of the movement saying that they would “prefer defeat.” Can you point me to that official statement?”

    We said it many times Catholic Anarchist, including in this thread on an obscure blog you may be familiar with, where “Alexham”, the founder of the movement, and I made our intentions quite clear.

    http://vox-nova.com/2007/11/27/rudys-evolution-on-abortion/

    Of course Catholic Anarchist, when put to the test, you went with your Leftist agenda, threw unborn children under the bus, and climbed on the Obama campaign bus.

  • Of course Catholic Anarchist, when put to the test, you went with your Leftist agenda, threw unborn children under the bus, and climbed on the Obama campaign bus.

    Once again, just because you can repeat some cliches does not make them true. I did not “campaign” for Obama.

  • Having read how terrible are those Conservatives who make a fuss about Fr. Jenkin’s awarding an honorary degree to Mr. Obama, I note with bemusement Mr. Lafrate’s words about the Conservatives:
    “You are so predictable [and utterly boring]…”
    “You loudmouth repubicatholic bloggers…”
    “Bunch of blowhards…”.

  • Climbed on board the campaign bus Catholic Anarchist is my way of saying you supported Obama. It goes nicely with my comment about you throwing the unborn children under the bus by your decision to support Obama.

  • Gabriel – Glad you got a kick out of it.

    Climbed on board the campaign bus Catholic Anarchist is my way of saying you supported Obama.

    I made pretty clear the extent to which I “supported” him. Too bad you ignored what I said.

    It goes nicely with my comment about you throwing the unborn children under the bus by your decision to support Obama.

    Only if you’re illiterate, and if you feel comfortable MAKING JOKES about throwing fetuses under buses. Unlike you, I don’t make jokes like that. Hope you’re proud of yourself, old man!

  • Oh, that part wasn’t a joke Catholic Anarchist. For you unborn children are completely expendable in order to accomplish more important political goals. The ironic thing is none of those other goals are probably going to be realized, certainly not in regard to foreign policy. You sold out on the issue of abortion for bupkis.

    You know, for someone who finds me boring, you certainly do spend a lot of time responding to my posts and comments on this blog.

  • You can keep repeating it, but it doesn’t make it true. Keep saying it. We’ll keep laughing, old man!

  • Glad you think dead babies are so funny!

  • Actually Catholic Anarchist you are the one repeating yourself. You have also been guilty of two ageism insults. It certainly doesn’t matter to me, since I have used my 52 years on this Earth productively, (besides my 14 year old daughter is a grandmaster at age jokes slung in my direction) but I am concerned that you may have to go to a progressive version of Confession in order to purge yourself of your sin against the PC gods.

  • How many more dead baby jokes do you think you can make in this thread, Don?

  • I’ve made none Catholic Anarchist. How many more dead unborn children do you think will result in this country and around the world from the pro-abortion policies of the man you voted for to be President?

  • More than what? The administration of the formerly pro-choice John McCain? The formerly pro-choice George W. Bush? The formerly pro-choice George H. W. Bush? The formerly pro-choice Ronald Reagan?

    I have no idea what results Obama’s abortion policies will bring. Neither do you.

    But leave it to you to make jokes about their deaths, feeling smug about having voted the “right way.” Haha, right?

  • I didn’t think the remark about throwing unborn children “under the bus” was meant as a joke at all, but rather as a metaphor for casting aside someone or something that is no longer useful to one’s cause. In that context, it would be entirely appropriate to say that Catholics who cast aside concern for life issues in their eagerness to elect Obama did indeed throw unborn children “under the campaign bus” in a figurative sense.

    Illinois residents may recall this this phrase having been used by Chicago Alderman Dick Mell to describe his now infamous son-in-law, ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, as someone who would “throw anyone under the bus” who got in the way of his ambitions.

  • I didn’t think the remark about throwing unborn children “under the bus” was meant as a joke at all, but rather as a metaphor for casting aside someone or something that is no longer useful to one’s cause. In that context, it would be entirely appropriate to say that Catholics who cast aside concern for life issues in their eagerness to elect Obama did indeed throw unborn children “under the campaign bus” in a figurative sense.

    It was not a joke in the sense of seeking to garner laughs. But Donald proves through his use of such language that he has absolutely no respect for the lives he claims to want to save. He’s only interested in voting the right way to preserve his moral “purity” while he kisses his grandkids and feels good about himself.

    Of course, the men he voted for have been directly responsible for the deliberate killing of human beings, but he could care less because they were (mostly) not pure little white american babies.

    The laugh is on him.

  • And once again Michael tries to depict opposition to abortion as somehow inspired by racism. What a hackish and unCatholic liar.

  • And once again Michael tries to depict opposition to abortion as somehow inspired by racism.

    Not at all, pal! Because I too am opposed to abortion! It is Donald’s disregard for human beings who are nto american and not babies that seems to be inspired by racism. In fact, one could say that Donald has “thrown Iraqis under the bus” because he did not oppose the Iraq War, right?

  • Above, the “nto” means “not,” ok?

  • Well then, Michael, if you ever use metaphors such as “walk through a minefield,” “drop the bomb,” “take no prisoners,” “go nuclear,” or “declare war on (fill in the blank)”, should we regard that as proof that you have no respect for the lives of civilians or soldiers killed in war and that your anti-war stances are therefore totally hypocritical?

  • Elaine – Donald’s views on respect for human life are inconsistent. And he’s proud of it. If I used those phrases in the way that Donald does, and if I demonstrated some inconsistency in who I regard worthy of respect when it comes to human life, sure, go to town and call me “hypocritical.” Have fun!

  • Joe,

    Yes, to be honest I think the topic has been discussed to much. Notre Dame University was wrong, it’s that simple. And I think little is gained from repeating the point and getting worked up. (Though at the same time, though I dislike the protest mentality, I have to admit that there are some good things that have come of protests. Civil rights comes to mind. And I fear that I am probably very much indicted by Martin Luther King’s discussion of what “moderate” civil rights supporters were like in the 60s.)

    Michael,

    I see no evidence that Donald lacks regard for lives which are not American and/or not babies. Can it.

    All,

    I have the feeling that things are going down hill on this thread. And so if anyone says anything rude before I complete my martini (which will take me roughly ten minutes) I will delete his or her comment[s].

  • I see no evidence that Donald lacks regard for lives which are not American and/or not babies. Can it.

    Could it be that you have similar views and this prevents you from having any sort of critical distance from Donald’s views? Just a question. Not trying to be rude. Enjoy your drink.

  • No, I think it’s that Donald and I both have a lot of regard for lives which are not American and/or not babies, but that you and we have very different ideas of what is actually conducive to helping others. And I think we’d all be a lot better off if we all kept that in mind before lobbing accusations.

    Speaking of helping others, try 1.5oz Plymouth Gin, 0.5oz Noilly Prat dry vermouth and a dash or orange bitters with two olives.

    Mmmmmm.

  • Even if you think that support for the Iraq war was racist (not at all proven), it’s being a bully to conflate the issues by accusing someone of opposing abortion only for “pure little white American babies.” That is, it is a complete lie to suggest that anyone around here is opposed to abortion only or primarily as to white babies . . . folks oppose abortion all around.

  • Darwin – I’m having a St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, straight from Montreal.

    …you and we have very different ideas of what is actually conducive to helping others.

    Stress on the word “very” of course. You and S.B. and Donald are open to killing people as a way of “helping” them. I am not.

  • It may be a bit of a segue but Obama also threw his primary opponent for senate, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and his aged white grandmother under the bus. So the unborn CHILDREN are in good company when it comes to this guy’s political agenda.

  • You and S.B. and Donald are open to killing people as a way of “helping” them. I am not.

    It is at the door, Rabadash. It is lifting the latch…

  • Catholic Anarchist, as I have observed before, it is going to be a very long four years for you. Better attempt to sharpen up on those rationalizations of your support for the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history. You are going to need them.

  • Michael,

    The charge of racism directed toward anyone who is anti-abortion is horribly inconsistent given that in this country a disproportionate number of minority child are the victims of abortion. Planned Parenthood, darling “health care provider” of the left intentionally sets up facilities in minority areas. American pro-lifers are as much against our government facilitating abortion overseas as well and have indeed always made a stink about that, often citing how Obama would rescind the Mexico City policy among other actions that would certainly help destroy children of color.

    On the other hand, a charge of racism could be plausible against supporters of abortion and those who pay lip service to immorality of it but don’t really act on it or who are critical of those who do.

    Personally I think it is erroneous (and even unfair) to consider someone’s support of a given war to mean that they are indifferent to the suffering and/or deaths of others. However, while it’s noble that you do care about the innocent Iraqi’s caught in the cross-fire, perhaps you’d feel a little stronger in your opposition to abortion if you considered unborn babies just as worthy of life as Iraqi adults. When you do, maybe you’ll understand why many of us come to a different conclusion about the gravity of the problems, what can be done about them, as well as the lasting effects of each.

  • You and S.B. and Donald are open to killing people as a way of “helping” them. I am not.

    As always, the preening self-righteousness combined with the gross mischaracterization of other people’s views.

    News flash: Killing the Nazis (for example) wasn’t helping the Nazis. But it was helping the rest of Europe, not to mention Jewish people.

  • However, while it’s noble that you do care about the innocent Iraqi’s caught in the cross-fire, perhaps you’d feel a little stronger in your opposition to abortion if you considered unborn babies just as worthy of life as Iraqi adults.

    You have no reason to think that I do not consider the unborn just as worthy as life as Iraqi adults. I oppose both abortion and war, unlike your buddies here at Catholic America.

  • You give every reason to think that you could give a flying leap for the unborn the way you fawn and protect your hero President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in the History of the United States.

  • You have no reason to think that I do not consider the unborn just as worthy as life as Iraqi adults. I oppose both abortion and war, unlike your buddies here at Catholic America.

    Actually, I have no reason to think that you do consider the unborn as worthy of life as others. All I have to go on are the words you utter online that I read. From those very words I don’t see much in the way of advocacy for the unborn, but I do see much from you intended to draw attention away from the abortion issue, coupled with a hostility and apparent hatred of those who do consider a Christian duty to defend the innocent. If you think others are lacking in their commitment you can certainly try to lead them to a more complete understanding, but you do no such thing. You condemn and insult those who should be your natural allies (if you indeed consider abortion an abomination). Frankly, your rhetoric tends to trivialize the cause of the unborn. In spite of your proclamations of “I’m against abortion too”, your remarks like “baby worshiping weirdos” speaks volumes.

  • As a couple people have pointed out, waging a war does not mean that one does not care about or value the lives of the citizens of the country one is fighting against or in.

    Otherwise, for instance, we’d have to assume that John Paul II didn’t care about Serbians because he advocated using military force against them to stop the strife in Kosovo.

    However, on both sides, I don’t think anyone will gain anything by discussing who does or does not care about the unborn, Iraqis, etc. So I’m going to ask that we drop the “you don’t care” “no, I care. It’s you who don’t care” line or argument. And if we don’t, I’ll close the thread.

  • It’s very perplexing that a few of the VN bloggers take that approach. If they deign to discuss abortion at all, 90% of the time it’s to ridicule and sneer at other pro-lifers for their political strategies, to urge people not to let anti-abortion sentiment sway their voting, to dismiss Obama’s pro-choice moves as “trivial,” to claim that pro-lifers are hypocrites, to mock Republican judicial nominees (but NEVER their Democratic inquisitors) for saying nice but meaningless things about Roe.

    But they get all sniffy if anyone wonders whether they’re really committed to being against abortion, given that opposing people who oppose abortion seems to be so much a higher priority. Then, and ONLY then, will they say, “Of course I’m against abortion.” Gee, thanks. Now how about writing that with conviction? How about focusing your voluminous contempt, for once, on pro-choicers rather than on other pro-lifers?

  • …but I do see much from you intended to draw attention away from the abortion issue

    Not at all. My intention most of the time is precisely to connect the issue of war with the issue of abortion. Their sinfulness flows from the same sacrificial logic.

    As for my use of the term “baby worship,” it is not mean to suggest that babies should not be valued and protected as any other human being. They absolutely should, by individuals and by the law. It is meant, rather, as a way to criticize the real god of many right wing Catholics. It is possible to care virtually only for unborn babies and to ignore the rest of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. So many Catholics are merely baby worshipers.

    Tito – Your comment is not worth a response.

    If they deign to discuss abortion at all, 90% of the time it’s to ridicule and sneer at other pro-lifers for their political strategies…

    I don’t ridicule the strategies of pro-lifers. I am a pro-lifer. But I not only sneer but oppose the “political strategies” of some pro-lifers: those who believe voting for republicans is the the way to enact pro-life politics. There is nothing pro-life about republican politics.

    …to urge people not to let anti-abortion sentiment sway their voting…

    “Sway” is an interesting word. I would urge people to vote pro-life, period. But the Catholic sense of the word pro-life is not limited to abortion. The Catholic anti-abortion position should absolutely play a role in the decision of who to vote for. A candidate’s view on abortion is important but not the only consideration.

    …to dismiss Obama’s pro-choice moves as “trivial”…

    Who is saying that Obama’s pro-life moves are “trivial”? I’m certainly not.

    …to claim that pro-lifers are hypocrites…

    I don’t claim pro-life people are hypocrites. A lot of them certainly are. Thankfully, there are many pro-lifers who are consistent and who do not isolate abortion as if it were the only pro-life issue. Why would I claim that pro-lifers are “hypocrites” if I am a pro-lifer?

    …to mock Republican judicial nominees (but NEVER their Democratic inquisitors) for saying nice but meaningless things about Roe.

    I have no party loyalty. I will “mock” any politician who claims to be pro-life and whose concrete political acts reveal otherwise. I oppose pro-choice policies coming from either party.

  • The real sticking point is in my last question:

    How about focusing your voluminous contempt, for once, on pro-choicers rather than on other pro-lifers?

    Can’t do that, of course, as it would jeopardize one’s reputation among other leftists. If you say anything about pro-choicers, it had better be couched amidst much more vehement criticism distancing yourself from all the “other” pro-lifers.

  • “How about focusing your voluminous contempt, for once, on pro-choicers rather than on other pro-lifers?”

    Because you have to recognize that this is a movement dispute!

    Do you guys realize how much time people on the left spend arguing with one another? I was there, I know – if any of you think there is some sort of united coalition over there, you’re completely wrong. Leftists fight amongst each other more often than the lesser chimps struggle with alpha male. There is an endless battle, and an endless purge, for ideological purity. This doesn’t happen on the right nearly as much, for reasons I won’t get into here.

    The left-populist author Thomas Frank tells us in his book “What’s the Matter With Kansas” that the only place he has ever seen the same amount of detailed, intellectual in-fighting is the history of the Catholic Church. That may not be exactly what is happening here, but then, it may be.

    To clarify, I actually DO write about abortion. But I don’t even bother with the pro-choice movement, and I suspect others don’t as well, because it is simply a given that they are wrong about everything. What reinvent the wheel by pointing it all out once again? We focus on our pro-life brothers who we believe are in tactical error because we remember what Christ said, and what he didn’t say regarding doctors and health: the sick are in need of a doctor, not the healthy, and here I’ll add, not the dead (i.e. choicers).

    We spend our time on Catholic forums, around people who are mostly pro-life – does it do any good to talk about choicers as if they’re here, as if they’re reading and they care? That’s just howling at the wind.

    All of that said, I think Mr. Iafrate is going out of his way to be disliked around here, so I’m not endorsing anything he’s said. Looks like there is already a history of conflict between him and others here – that this is more personal than anything.

    And, if anyone cares, I supported Mike Huckabee until he was out of the running.

  • We spend our time on Catholic forums, around people who are mostly pro-life – does it do any good to talk about choicers as if they’re here, as if they’re reading and they care? That’s just howling at the wind.

    There are plenty of pro-choice people who read Vox Nova, including one of the bloggers. Michael could easily write something about them that wasn’t just an offhand aside hidden amidst thousands of words aimed at other pro-lifers.

  • “There are plenty of pro-choice people who read Vox Nova, including one of the bloggers.”

    Who would that be?

  • Gerald Campbell.

  • There are plenty of pro-choice people who read Vox Nova, including one of the bloggers. Michael could easily write something about them that wasn’t just an offhand aside hidden amidst thousands of words aimed at other pro-lifers.

    You and I have a different understanding of Gerald’s position, obviously. Your simple-minded witch hunt mentality is discernible in a variety of ways, most especially perhaps with the way you engage Gerald on abortion.

  • But he IS pro-choice — there is no other semantically accurate way to describe someone who expressly says, time and time again, that he does NOT want the law to restrict abortion. Why would you dissemble on his behalf?

  • When in doubt, go to the horse’s mouth:

    Gerald Campbell-Vox Nova-January 28, 2008

    “MZ Forrest,

    “My problem with the Democratic candidates is that they seem to embrace abortion as a positive good.”

    If your statement were true, your point would be compelling. But, it’s not that simple.

    One cannot conflate pro-choice and pro-abortion. They are not the same. Most who are pro-choice are not pro-abortion. Some are; most aren’t.

    The pro-choice concern is primarily with the intrusion of the Federal government into the lives of individuals. It’s about personal freedom. This is a reasonable concern.

    When it comes to the legal route, I agree with you. The legal course has no future.

    Even if decisions are eventually returned to the states, it still becomes a matter of choice, doesn’t it. But in such case, the choice is abstract and distant from the person. Indeed, the choice of state legislatures will be based on numbers. At least when the women herself decides, a personal and existential dimension preserved. Moral persuasion then becomes an option.

    The best approach is to change “hearts and minds.” It’s a difficult journey. But it is a way that reaches into the very fabric of the person. It touches the wellsprings of human behavior.”

    http://vox-nova.com/2008/01/28/for-whom-i-shall-not-vote/

    If Campbell isn’t a pro-abort, no one is a pro-abort.

  • Here’s a recent comment wherein Gerald Campbell expressly said that he doesn’t support additional legal restrictions on abortion.

    Joe — this is yet another reason to question the commitment of Michael (and a few of his co-bloggers) to the pro-life cause. I.e., they’ll never question a co-blogger who has taken the pro-choice position repeatedly (and has even suggested that having the government pay for abortion is a matter of “equity”). Quite the contrary: they act like it’s a “witch hunt” just to quote the guy.

  • His answer is not, “No,” but “not within the specific context.” His answer is the same as Kyle who suggested that legislation without consensus does no good. It’s a question of strategy to reach the goal, not the goal.

  • Baloney! Campbell’s a total pro-abort as his comment about personal freedom and the federal government intuding into our private life indicates. Typical pro-abort talking points. As for waiting for a consensus, under that logic blacks would still be treated like fifth class citizens. At least Campbell is logical. As a pro-abort he of course had no qualms about voting the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history. To attempt to claim that he is not a pro-abort, however, is simply risible.

  • More dissembling . . . “not within the specific context” simply means “pro-choice for the foreseeable future.”

  • This idea that Catholics can opt out of the struggle to make abortion illegal is contradicted by this provision in the catechism:

    “2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

    “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

    “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

  • Well,

    It seem to me that Mr. Campbell does make a number of valid points – however, none of them make the pro-choice position logically necessary. To point to the limitations of the political approach is one thing, to deny them altogether is another.

    For instance, there is simply no way to deny that Roe will remain in force for at least the next 4-8 years. Given that reality, it would be a tactical error to focus time and resources on a political fight that cannot be won. No general would fight a battle on principle alone. To choose an imprudent course of action is to put its success in jeopardy, which is also immoral (and that isn’t what I do on immigration, contrary to what some people may think).

    What the pro-life movement has often done, at least as I have seen it in action, is also fight for the lesser victories that have a long-term cumulative effect. Educational campaigns go a long way towards influencing not only voters but lawmakers themselves. Show a video of an abortion to a panel of state legislatures, and they become more sympathetic.

    I also have to agree that “pro-choice” is not always a sinister cover for “pro-abortion”. Some people genuinely believe that legal abortion is the lesser of two or more alternative evils; others believe it is a positive good. And that difference usually manifests itself in policy – the difference between those who are willing to restrict, if not outlaw abortion, and those who struggle against all restrictions. The enemy camp, in other words, is rife with exploitable dissent.

    The problem on the pro-life side is that it has lately been using the language of slavery and the Holocaust to compare abortion to – PETA does the same thing with respect to animal rights. In both cases it backfires, because like it or not, no one is forced by the state to get an abortion, and it is not a practice that is confined to less than 10% of the population. It’s something 1/3 of women will go through in their lifetime, and that also means 1/3 of men will be complicit. There’s no need to compare abortion to these things to demonstrate its evil. Evil is evil.

    That’s a lot of people and a lot of choices. And that’s really what we’re up against. So to me, real change begins at the level of community, and culture therein – the services and alternatives we can provide to women in need, sidewalk counseling, crisis pregnancy centers, educational campaigns, public prayer, adoption, etc.

  • Donald’s speaking to hear himself talk, as he did in the “Worthless Political Hack” piece…

    Yawn.

  • See Joe’s newest post. In one post, he’s already said more words in defense of the pro-life cause, and critiquing pro-choice logic, than Michael has managed in years of blogging.

  • Donald,

    Is there a reason you permit the humorless dissident Michael Iafrate to post here? He adds nothing to the conversation and insults you and your guests. In all his interminably verbose posts, I can’t recall a single point worth retaining.

  • Joe,

    It’s hard to pin down, because Gerald is very careful about how he says things on controversial topics, but I have the very strong impression from some of his more controversial comments on the topic that he thinks not merely that it’s not possible to substantially restrict abortion through legal means right now (which because of Roe and the political status quo is indeed very hard) but that it’s actively not a good idea to restrict abortion period. He argues that it is a moral decision which, in a theologically diverse society such as ours, should be left up to individuals.

    In this regard, I think he is very, very wrong, and quite arguably outside the bounds of where a Catholic ought to tread. If we think that positive law should reflect moral law at all, then we should support restricting abortion — even though right now we know that we can achieve only small and incremental steps.

    Mark,

    On the contrary, Donald is speaking in order to voice the truth, which is always a worthy effort — though occasionally one with a sort of tragic futility.

    Rich,

    We tend to each make the rules on our own posts, and I generally take a pretty libertarian approach to the whole thing. However, I think we’ve indeed reached the point of total futility on this thread with him. I’m going to go ahead and close comments on the thread, which among other things give me the benefit of the last word. 😉

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Catholic Democrats Come to the Defense of Notre Dame

Friday, April 17, AD 2009

catholic-democrats

Catholic Democrats come to the defense of their leader in regard to Georgetown and Notre Dame and run into a buzzsaw named Father Z here.

Update:  Good analysis of why Catholic Democrats and other Obama-philes are so concerned about the fallout from Notre Dame is given here by the always readable Damian Thompson across the pond at his blog Holy Smoke.

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10 Responses to Catholic Democrats Come to the Defense of Notre Dame

  • Isn’t Fr. Z the man whose writing verges on pornography, whenever he muses lyrically on his intense love for certain U.S battleships?

  • Obviously Mr. DeFrancisis you know nothing about Father Z. Enjoy the fisk. I know I am!

  • Isn’t Fr. Z the man whose writing verges on pornography, whenever he muses lyrically on his intense love for certain U.S battleships?

    Only in the perverted imagination of a couple rather odd bloggers. He just likes naval architecture. Many people have worse hobbies.

  • Mark,

    And you wonder why I call you a dissident Catholic.

  • He just last year salivated in writing over the armored appendages of one US battleship, one that he pointed out delivered missiles in the (unjust)U.S military aggression on Iraq of the early 90s.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis, doesn’t it get tiring dragging red herrings across the screen? Deal with the substance of Father Z’s fisk and stop babbling about battleships.

  • Tito – Opposing war makes one a “dissident” Catholic? Someone better notify the Pope.

    If find it outrageously funny that you people did the same thing to Bush and yet you’re criticizing Obama’s folks when they rush to defend him. Are you surprised? I’m not.

  • Tito,

    Fr. Z is a phenon in an obscure corner of the Catholic blogosphere. His pronouncements have no authority over me, as he is neither a bishop nor a priset in my diocese. Additionally, despite all of his clains to Catholicity, his views on the liturgy and other matters are mostly the predilictions of an ideologue and an aesthete, not ones which mirror the necessary pronouncements of Mother Church. I wish him all the cyber-success he seeks out, but, otherwise, we have nothing to do with each other.

  • We should pray for Fr. Z. He will surely lose a lot of sleep over Mr DeFrancisis’ poor opinion of him…

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On The Question of Inequality

Friday, April 17, AD 2009

There’s been some discussion of inequality in posts and comments here recently. I have ambitions to write a series of the particular challenges I believe our country is facing in regards to inequality in a modern high-skill-based economy, but given recent discussion I’d like to open with something fairly open-ended.

John Henry pointed out that the Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses the question of equality to some extent in its section on Human Solidarity:

1935 The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it:

Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.40

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15 Responses to On The Question of Inequality

  • You are missing a core aspect of Church teaching, best enunciated in paragraph 303 of the Compendium:

    “The economic well-being of a country is not measured exclusively by the quantity of goods it produces but also by taking into account the manner in which they are produced and the level of equity in the distribution of income, which should allow everyone access to what is necessary for their personal development and perfection. An equitable distribution of income is to be sought on the basis of criteria not merely of commutative justice but also of social justice that is, considering, beyond the objective value of the work rendered, the human dignity of the subjects who perform it. Authentic economic well-being is pursued also by means of suitable social policies for the redistribution of income which, taking general conditions into account, look at merit as well as at the need of each citizen.”

  • This presupposes the notion that the sheer competency of church teaching extends to matters such as these (i.e., with respect to even economy).

    To my mind, I would think that the competency of the Church lies strictly within the realm of Faith & Morals and does not actually extend to even matters of economic system.

  • Well, no, of course it extends to the economic system. Even the most cursory review of the OT shows that economic injustice is something God cares about (as in a matter of sins crying to Heaven for vengeance).

    So, MM is right to cite that section and the Church is certainly right to give a rip about whether the economic system is just.

    Or should She have just shut up about communism?

  • Of course, the tricky part is whether a particular economic system fails to measure up to the concerns laid out in section 303, and whether or not “mere” numberical inequity is implicated by that.

    But, let’s just say I’m more than a little receptive to concerns about the “objective value of work rendered” when we consider a financial system that seems to have rewarded greater and greater levels of chicanery and obfuscation over the past generation.

  • “We see similar injustices in the world today on a much larger scale, especially as we have entered a period in which (contrary to the entire history of the world up to this point) nearly all hunger is the result of politics rather than lack of resources.”

    Not only politics, but reckless greed.

    http://www.foodfirst.org/en/node/2402

    “There is now wide agreement that speculation in food was the major cause of the skyrocketing food prices that led to the 2008 global food crisis.

    Though commodities prices are down, some investors are already betting on a rebound by the third or forth quarter. Despite low prices now, all the ingredients of 2008’s toxic, speculative bubble are still with us today.”

    Speculation is condemned as a sin in more than one of the social encyclicals, too. This is my problem: when, in the name of “freedom” people are allowed to do things such as this, that have a combined and cumulative effect that threatens the very lives of others.

  • I agree with MM that economic well being can’t be measured simply by the amount of goods it produces. A country where almost all the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few is not necessarily better off than a country where there is less wealth overall but it is more evenly distributed. I don’t think, though, that this contradicts anything in Darwin’s post.

  • There is now wide agreement that speculation in food was the major cause of the skyrocketing food prices that led to the 2008 global food crisis.

    Wide agreement among whom? Certainly not among economists.

  • Thoughtful post Darwin – you’ve done lots of great work lately!

    To MM’s quote from the compendium I would reply (hastily): An equitable distribution of income implies that income will not be equal. Justice obliges us to give to unequals unequally, and we are certainly created very unequally. (How bland life would be if we weren’t!)

    As to redistribution according to need – sure – but what does the Church teach that we really need?

  • Dale Price,

    Apologies, but where exactly does it state either in Scripture or in Tradition that the Church teaching even on matters of economic systems is actually infallible?

    To my mind, if the Church’s competency extends even to this, that even (what should rightfully be considered) her opinion concerning what type of economic system entire nations should subscribe to is actually indeed infallible, then I take it only marvelous Utopia awaits us all if only the World were wise enough to yield to the Church’s financial expertise (although her own balance sheets would have me skeptical even in that regard, but at any rate…) and have her impose upon the rest of the world’s populace the kind of economic system that She would have us all follow.

  • Wow, e, I scanned my previous post for phrases touting the Church’s economic thought as the immanentization of the economic eschaton, but came up empty. Perhaps my lack of rest, occasioned by a hit and run on our minivan, a bout of explosive nausea, and a barfing toddler who managed to call 911 and summon the police to our humble abode this morning have all managed to cloud my reading skills, but I still don’t see it. I’m inclined to call “straw-man,” but I’m really pooped at the moment.

    As a rule, I don’t look for the Infalli-label in Church teaching. By that logic, I could contracept.
    Playing the “But is it infallible?” card grates, to put it mildly. Supporters of women’s ordination do it all the time.

    Look, either the Church is a teacher, or she is not. She may not be the clearest teacher at times, to be sure.

    But treating her like an oracle on, say, theft, but like the crazy aunt who needs to be shuffled back up to the attic posthaste when she starts talking about paying a worker a just wage strikes me as a staggering exercise in special pleading, if not quite completely schizoid.

    Bluntly, you seem to be ignoring that there is a moral dimension of economic life. Again, by your logic, the Church’s warnings about communism could be just as airily dismissed.

    It at least behooves you to consider the body of informed teaching that has issued forth under the Popes since Leo XIII. Which, as it turns out, is quite open to free enterprise and hostile to statist collectivism. It is the furthest thing from imposed–snarf. If it is, it’s about as well “imposed” as Humanae Vitae, with similar consequences for our moral lives.

  • Dale,

    She have just shut up about communism?

    Communism/socialism is incompatible with church teaching because it explicitly rejects the true dignity of man, capitalism does not in it’s essence oppose the Church but must be bounded by limits to protect the common good. This is apples and oranges.

    I don’t look for the Infalli-label in Church teaching. By that logic, I could contracept.

    you’re in serious error on this. The Church infallibly teaches that every act of contraception is intrinsically evil.

    Supporters of women’s ordination do it all the time.

    And they are in serious error here as well, this teaching is clearly enunciated as infallible.

    You don’t further your argument with wildly inaccurate analogies.

    I do have concerns about the translation and interpretation of this article of the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine” (there are many compendiums, let’s not lend this one any more weight than the Church grants it). I’d like to know what is the original authoritative source for this paragraph.

    Regarding the food crisis… the politics which leads to it are more to do with African dictators and Islamic-fascism than with price speculation.

    Interesting to note that the US vessel captured by Islamic-fascist pirates last week was carrying food aid to the starving of Africa, and so was the vessel attacked subsequently.

  • MM,

    I’m not clear that the section you quote from the Compendium of Social Teaching says anything beyond the sections of the Catechism that I already quoted, nor does it depart from my point. From the section you quoted:

    the level of equity in the distribution of income, which should allow everyone access to what is necessary for their personal development and perfection.

    From this it seems pretty clear that sufficient equality that all members of society has access to what is necessary for their personal development and perfection, but it is not at all clear to me that it is an element of such personal development and perfection that one have the satisfaction of knowing that no one has significantly more than you do.

    Again, the point that I’m trying to be clear on is: inequality becomes a serious moral problem when it means that some in society lack either basic human dignity or the basic needs of life while others enjoy excess. However, it is not at all clear to me that it is an injustice for others to have a thousands times more wealth than I, so long as I have the basic necessities for life and human dignity.

  • Dale,

    “It is the furthest thing from imposed-snarf.”

    I don’t think you quite caught the gist of that comment.

    What I was trying to express is that if you should happen to believe that the kind of economic system that the Church conceives as ideal is actually infallible and, in all actuality, an efficacious remedy to the plight that has historically plagued mankind, then presumably a nation following such an economic system conceived ideal by the Church would ultimately result in only positive success & properity for all.

    However, given the reality of the world, I highly doubt that.

  • Darwin,

    I do agree with your main point; I have no desire myself to be extremely wealthy and I don’t look at anyone else’s extreme wealth as an offense against me.

    But there is a) the problem of inequality on a global scale, which I do believe deprives many of the necessities of a dignified life (simply existing as an organic life form is not necessarily an existence worthy of a human being), and b) the problem of political inequality – those with great wealth can and often do manipulate the political system to their advantage.

    A rough equality, falling at least in a range of highs and lows, would seem to be necessary either way.

  • Joe stated: “the problem of political inequality – those with great wealth can and often do manipulate the political system to their advantage.”

    Gee, I wonder why is that? That is, if what you would so happily desire is the kind of monstrously bloated leviathan state, then this is exactly what you’ll get as this oligarchy is but an unavoidable inevitable consequence!

    The Rich Pay for the Federal Government

The Rejected Ambassadors: The Plot Thickens

Friday, April 17, AD 2009

A couple weeks ago, Tito posted on the Washington Times report claiming the Vatican has rejected several candidates for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. It appeared the report had been satisfactorily debunked by the Catholic News Service, which quoted a statement by Father Federico Lombardi to the effect that the rumors were unreliable. Now, however, the Times Online has received confirmation of the story from “Vatican insiders”. This confirmation reconciles the two statements to a certain extent: no candidates have been officially rejected, but apparently informal rejections have taken place. Ultimately, this type of story is of little significance, but it’s always interesting to watch the interaction of the Vatican and the media. Here are some excerpts from the Times Online story:

Caroline Kennedy, the Roman Catholic daughter of the assassinated President, has been rejected by the Vatican as the next US ambassador to the Holy See because of her liberal views on abortion, stem-cell research and same-sex marriage, according to Vatican insiders.

Andrea Tornielli, the biographer of Pope Benedict XVI, said that at least two other potential ambassadors put forward by President Obama have also been blocked because they did not share the Vatican’s views on “pro-life” issues. A Vatican spokesman said that no candidates had been formally submitted “and therefore it is not true that they have been rejected”.

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8 Responses to The Rejected Ambassadors: The Plot Thickens

  • John Henry

    The problems I have seen with this remain.We don’t really have the names of so-called Vatican officials saying things “unofficially,” but we do have names of those who have said nothing official has been done. Asking what a former ambassador thinks is not itself an answer, either. I don’t even see any Vatican official naming Caroline Kennedy (btw, I wouldn’t want her as ambassador, either). I just think this is still on the level of rumor and gossip until something substantial is shown.

  • Henry,

    In this type of story, there will not be official confirmation because it’s not in the interest of any of the parties. If you think AC, and MOJ, and dotCommonweal, and First Things, etc. are all out of line in posting on this story, you are entitled to the view, but I think it’s a minority position. I wouldn’t have posted on it with only one source that had been contradicted, but at this point there seem to be a number of different sources corroborating it. While I think the story can be (and has been) overblown as a cheap partisan point-scoring opportunity, I think there is a legitimate issue at stake here: specifically, how is the process of appointing the next U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican going, and what does it tell us about the Vatican under Benedict XVI and the Obama Administration, respectively?

  • I think we can discuss the process without naming names, and necessarily trying to read more into it than what the facts suggest. The facts only say that talks are being had, and names perhaps are being asked about, not why the names are being asked, nor what, if some objection has been given, it actually is, nor if it would be seen, if the person truly was pushed forward officially, that the unofficial suggestion would lead to official rejection. There are many factors involved here (and we must remember,the Vatican itself, in history, has often given quite bad ambassadors to other nations without it reflecting upon the Catholic Church as a whole, or even the Popes who had those ambassadors). It’s to me being turned into too much a political story, and goes beyond prudence. Maybe it is a minority view, but I stand by it.

  • It’s to me being turned into too much a political story, and goes beyond prudence. Maybe it is a minority view, but I stand by it.

    Fair enough.

  • Speaking for myself, it appears to me there is one anonymous source that has gotten closer to the inner workings over the past year. He seems to be cited in a number of stories. If I were to be grossly speculative, I would guess the source is an assistant to one of the highly placed American officials. I have the one source theory, because the rumors eminate from the same reporters. I don’t put much credence in the source, because the source’s predictive value has been terrible. Specifically, I think the source is taking the head person’s opinion as policy and the head person isn’t involved in these particular areas.

  • Obviously, your speculations are even harder to evaluate for accuracy than the reporting in question, which isn’t your fault, it’s just a fact. I will say that the Times Online article claims it is citing more than one source, and when reporters are willing to go on record with something, they usually have evaluated the credibility of the sources involved. They also have a strong incentive to get thing right, or their relationship and credibility with other potential sources within the hierarchy will be badly damaged. All of which is a long way of saying, you may be right, but where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

  • Unless/until Vatican media operations come into the 21st Century, we are left with rumors and insiders and buzzbuzzbuzz on these matters. Only states the tension between this administration and the Holy See. Besides- thought of Caroline as Ambassador makes me fraidy-scared. Too much likelihood of things going poof. All a reminder of title of trashy women’s novel/movie title- He’s Just Not That Into You.

  • Nonetheless, names have been proffered a the Vatican has expressed disinterest in certain candidates.

    Caroline Kennedy and Douglas Kmiec are rightly to be rejected for their antagonistic views in regards to abortion.

    I’m quite satisfied with what has come out.

20 Responses to Spirit of '09 – Part II

  • Oh, let the “Palin people” have their day in the sun. It’s all rather quaint — the last gasps of a fading natovist culture… But let’s not pretend they have the slightest clue what they are talking about.

  • This purportedly grass roots stuff is corprate manufactured astro-turf. I know, for instance. that Fox News really pushed–almost advertised for– this event, showing itself once again as beyond the bounds of legitimate news. This also says something about the event itself.

  • Man, the established media and government must just HATE Youtube and the internet.

    Mark “the Great Oz” DeFrancisis just “knows” this is all corporate manaufactured. Just like the CNN reporter’s on-air comments were just completely objective reporting.

  • I see the Usual Suspects are out in force, not including c matt. Good to see you sweat gentlemen.

  • I’m new to this blog – first time commenter. I’m not into protests like this in general, but I don’t understand the venom, Morning’s Minion and Mark. You will ALWAYS find loony toons at these things (whether they are “conservative” or “liberal” causes). I know a LOT of very moderate, normally quiet people who are at their breaking point – some protesting for the first time in their lives. They have a point to make that would not have included repeating “he’s a fascist” over and over or waving a sign portraying President Obama as Hitler. For the main stream media in general and this hostile reporter in particular to completely ignore the regular people here who had something to say and focus exclusively (when they reported on it at all) on the uninformed and radical ones….well I would say that’s pretty suspicious. What is one to conclude but that they had an agenda to begin with? Do you really believe they couldn’t find a single normal person to interview to at least throw into the mix on TV w/ the crazies? I don’t, since we saw one in the video above. There were ignorant people in this crowd, no doubt, but this is very blatant media bias.

  • CT- it makes good teevee. That’s why they do it. The effects of Tea Bag Day continue to reverberate among the Chattering Classes. Given their universal condemnation of Fox News, would appear this news organization is This Week’s Lib Boogie Man. Postscript- Fox News ratings soared this week, particularly on April 15. Its 5-11PM lineup- Beck to Van Susteren- is virtually impregnable. How delightful- just following this monolith in numbers was…… Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. According to Drudge, career funny man Jon Stewart beat so-called journalists like Keith Olbermann. As for Ms. Rosegen’s employer- for the moment- sinkingsinkingsinking. Another report surfacing that Ms. Rosegen attempted twice to secure a gig from Fox News, to no avail. Note- then Teevee Division head Kevin Magee- who gave her the first brushoff- is old bud of mine from Enormous City U. Way to go, Kev.

  • I don’t understand the venom, Morning’s Minion and Mark.

    Because it’s all they know, CT. Once you begin on the road of becoming a political mouth piece, it’s hard to turn back.

    I know a couple who went to a Tea Party protest. Good folks who don’t even watch FOX News. They were just tired of pork, politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouth, and what they perceived as a federal government that’s become out of touch. They aren’t hateful people, and certainly aren’t hacks for the rich. But that’s what the media, and folks like Mark and Minion will portray them as. Honesty takes a back seat when it comes to the Party.

  • “Honesty takes a back seat when it comes to the Party.”

    Which is why you have to misrepresent them, right? But I see no answer for Jesus’ words about taxes. Seems like you answer to greed instead of Jesus. Mammon – can’t serve it and God.

  • God is not served by my tax dollars funding abortions.

  • Agreed Karen, and, I would contend that neither God nor the taxpayers are served by much of what our tax dollars are used for at all levels of government. God said render unto Caesar. Since we elect Caesar in this country, I don’t see why it is worshiping Mammon to make sure that he doesn’t waste the money, or that he takes more than is absolutely essential for the proper functions of government.

  • Karen

    Jesus said render that which is Caesar… to CAESAR. You know, the Roman Emperors. They were doing quite a bit of evil with the money, but as Jesus also pointed out, that money was ultimately theirs anyway. The same is true with American dollars, ultimately. What names is on it? The United States. This is why your answer in itself doesn’t respond to the question. We could go into more detail about St Paul and public authority, but you know, I doubt you want a Christian discussion on this.

  • CT,

    You are quite correct. When these dissenting Catholics froth at the mouth when their beloved lies are exposed, it is only venom which they articulate.

  • Tito,

    I am sorry you are having such a bad day.

  • God’s name is also on our currency ;)…

    I believe everything I earn/own is from God. It is given to me and is my responsibility. Since I do have a voice, unlike the people of Caesar, it is also my responsibility for my voice to be heard when our government is causing more harm than good. It would be nice if the media, which purports to be fair and balanced, really was. It has nothing to do with greed or worshipping mammon but with responsibility.

  • Mark,

    I’m actually having a good day. Though your powers of perception are underestimated.

  • Tito,

    Again, I am just trying to save you from your ridiculousness.

    This is a thread on national teabagging.

    It has nothing to do with Church dissent, as our Church has taken no stand on the matter.

    But if you want to run around making false claims about the condition of my assent to Mother Church, go right ahead. Realize, however, that at best you will be misguided, and at worst, an outright liar.

  • Mark,

    Your humility is astounding.

  • Karen,
    Your response betokens far more charity than your detractor deserves. I salute you.

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