Monthly Archives: July 2009
As readers of this blog know I have a series of posts, Jesuitical, in which I have highlighted follies of some modern day Jesuits. This series will put the spotlight on great Jesuits of the past and present. First up is Father Andrew White, SJ.
As California continues on a course that may well end in bankruptcy, the indispensable Iowahawk decides to give us a sneak peek of the future California funeral here. Any relation between California’s funeral and the funeral of a pop singer this week is purely intentional. After all, they both died broke!
Given that the Church offers no exacting technical program for getting the job of the common good accomplished in any given state or global community. But does offer a blueprint of values and insights into the necessity of applying the Gospel to our social conditions- to include economics- I offer this past guest column I wrote shortly after my run for Florida state house. It addresses some conditions particular to the state of Florida, but it contains an outline of general responsibilities that could be applied at any level of governance.
[Updates at the bottom of his post]
Governor Sarah Palin recently announced her resignation as governor of the great state of Alaska and there has been a flurry of analysis of her motives, her character, and her future plans. Some of this analysis were sincere, others were borderline antagonistic.
This is all occurring in the midst of an Obama presidency steering both Democratic controlled chambers of Congress that have substantially increased spending and enlarged the government to the detriment of our freedoms. Couple this with the lack of a clear Republican plan to challenge all of this, the American people are in need of a leader to guide us out of this wilderness.
I believe Governor Palin can and should play this important role. She stated in her final address as governor of Alaska that she wants to do what’s best for her state. If she is a person of principle and a patriot then it is logical to presume that she wants what’s best for America. And what’s best for America right now is to have a strong and vigorous counterweight to the liberal agenda of President Obama and his enablers in the Congress.
The plan that Governor Palin should pursue is to proactively lead Americans to take back Congress as part of the pact with America. She should do what then House Leader Newt Gingrich did in 1994 with the Republican Party’s Contract with America that gave the Republicans control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.
A helpful post courtesy of Father Z here on the major points of Caritas gleaned from L’Osservatore Romano. I found this very useful.
Thus far I’ve only had the chance to read the first couple pages of Caritas in Veritate, however seeing the first rounds of blog and media reaction rolling forth from both sides of the Catholic political spectrum I would like to indulge in revisitting a prediction from the beginning of the year:
9. The much discussed social encyclical will finally be issued — and all sides of the Catholic political spectrum will within several days claim that it supports the positions they already held.
Regardless of one’s political position, if the main thing one gets from reading the encyclical is, “I am right, and my opponents are all fools or villains” then you probably aren’t reading very carefully. Hopefully most Catholics taking the time to discuss Caritas in Veritate will take the time to read at a deeper level than that.
As a result of previous discussion on this blog, I invited one of our regular commentors, Anthony Chelette, who works as an advertising agency art director, to read the Pontifical Council on Social Communications document Ethics In Advertising and write his thoughts on it as a person working in the field. He was kind enough to do so, and thus results the following guest post.
I’d like to thank Anthony for taking the time to read the document and write this response over the last several weeks. I hope this will lead to fruitful discussion and greater understanding of the field and this response to it.
–Brendan Hodge (DarwinCatholic)
Certain ideas are intrinsically a part of being American. Liberty. Individualism. Capitalism. But often another ‘ism’— consumerism— is associated with the American experience. Catholics appropriately abhor what consumerism is — an insatiable search for happiness through material gratification— and some point a finger at advertising as a pusher for ‘unneeded’ products of questionable value. Such opinion holds advertisers partially responsible for behavior that distracts from moral progress and discourages the ordering of economies.
The Church has always had a keen eye on how the desire for material satisfaction erects walls between the human person and his true destiny in Heaven. Jesus himself recognized that love for possessions easily make men willing slaves. Suddenly, man is more obedient to besting his Guitar Hero score than Christ’s teachings.
Link here. As with all of Benedict’s encyclicals, I am sure there will be much to reflect upon. Let the discussions begin!
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. No doubt in part a response to the declaration on Saturday of the prestigious Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum that the election was illegitimate, spokesmen of the Revolutionary Guards, formally known as the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, announced on Sunday that the Guards had taken charge of all security in Iran and that no further debate over the Presidential election would be tolerated.
The Shia revolution of 1979 was based on the idea that a government controlled by the mullahs, motivated by pure Islam, would provide the best form of government in Iran. Now each day brings more news of mullahs speaking out against the current regime in control of Iran.
“Over the weekend, Grand Ayatollah Assadolah Bayat Zanjani launched a broadside against the mass arrest of reformist activists and protesters.”
“Every healthy mind casts doubt on the way the election was held,” said the high-ranking cleric in a statement distributed online. “More regrettable are post-election large-scale arrests, newspaper censorship and website filtering, and above all the martyrdom of our countrymen whom they describe as rioters.”
The walls are closing in on Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guards member, and his puppet masters. Mullahs speaking out have destroyed any remaining illusion that this regime is blessed by God. The Revolutionary Guards is the last remaining support that this government has, and, if the Guards falter, Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Khamenei and their cronies better have their bags packed and a plane warming up. This could all happen quite swiftly. The Resistance has called for mass rallies on Thursday. If the dissident mullahs join them, the Iranians could witness mullahs being beaten by Revolutionary Guards. Once that happens, I think armed revolt will not be far off.
Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Father Z at What Does The Prayer Really Say. Today he has a post on calls to tone down the rhetoric of those who oppose abortion. He eloquently explains here why he probably will not heed these calls. Let me associate myself with Father Z’s remarks. I have a great many interests and a great many opinions on a lot of issues, but for me abortion will always be THE ISSUE. I am never going to stop speaking out against the obscenity of abortion. I will never stop making abortion THE ISSUE on which I vote. Sometimes in life you simply have to call a spade a spade, and to call abortion the deliberate taking of innocent human life.
Based on the just war doctrine first enunciated by Saint Augustine, the American Revolution was a just war.
Over the centuries the precise content of the just war doctrine has varied. The classic definition of it by Saint Thomas Aquinas is set forth in Part II, Question 40 of his Summa Theologica:
“I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”
Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (Questions. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”
Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”
The most recent formulation of the Just War doctrine for the Church is set forth in the Catechism at 2309: Continue reading
Yesterday the most important group of clerics in Iran, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, called the Presidential election in Iran illegitimate. It is now impossible for the Iranian regime to claim the Iranian Resistance is restricted to a handful of malcontents or foreign agents. This is the grimmest news yet since the election for the Iranian regime, and the best news that the Resistance has received. Good analysis here at Hot Air by Ed Morrissey. Now the Iranian regime has to decide if they are going to arrest and hang these clerics who have been the mainstay of the regime as they have been hanging protesters. The clerics speaking out indicates clearing that there is a strong division among the ruling elites in Iran as to whether Ahmadinejad and his puppet masters can stay in power. This coming week could be decisive in Iran.
From the only reliable news source on the net, the Onion. Fess up. Haven’t you sort of suspected this as you’ve been choking down a soft taco at Taco Bell?
Charles Carroll of Carrollton was a delegate to the Continental Congress and later United States Senator for Maryland. He was also the only Catholic to have signed the The Declaration of Independence. One of the wealthiest men in the colonies, it is reported that — upon fixing his signature,
a member standing near observed, “There go a few millions,” and all admitted that few risked as much, in a material sense, than the wealthy Marylander.
(The Life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, 1737-1832, by Kate Mason Rowland).
A new biography, American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll (Lives of the Founders) (ISI) will be published in February 2010. (Tip of the hat to Carl Olson). The author, Dr. Bradley J. Birzer, was recently interviewed by the Washington Times:
The 4th of July is the primary patriotic holiday of our country, and yet the event it commemorates (the publication of the Declaration of Independence) was just the first step on our road to nationhood. Although the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Articles of Confederation were not adopted until November of 1777 and were not ratified until March of 1781 — the year that the Revolutionary War was finally won, with the surrender of General Cornwallis in Yorktown. Yet the Articles turned out to be a fairly unworkable practical form of government, and Shay’s Rebellion of 1786-1787 demonstrated that to many of the new country’s citizens, armed revolt was still a standard form of political expression.
The ratification of the US Constitution in March of 1789 represented a significant step, creating a stronger central government with more clearly defined powers, and a model for federal constitutions to this day. Yet, whether the words on paper could be translated into a lasting and stable government remained yet to be seen.
To my mind, one of the major milestones was reached in 1794, when President Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion.