Cardinal DiNardo Rebukes Critics on Health Care Involvement

Monday, November 30, AD 2009

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo defended the Church’s involvement in removing abortion from the House version of the health care bill after a storm of criticism was leveled against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) of “lobbying” concerning the last minute addition of the Stupak Amendment.

“We would say: If you call it lobbying, we’re lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others,”

Cardinal DiNardo became chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB.  He is also the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  His Eminence represents a growing cadre of bishops that are leading their flocks out of the wilderness bravely in a fallen world.

All throughout 2009 many bishops have entered the national debate in regards to defending fundamental moral values and rectifying misinformation from wayward Catholics in political life.  This year seems to be the year the bishops found their voice.  Not since Francis Cardinal Spellman graced the New York Archdiocese have we seen the faithful being led with strong ecclesial leadership from all parts of the country.

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14 Responses to Cardinal DiNardo Rebukes Critics on Health Care Involvement

  • Yep, that’s my Cardinal. With Cornyn and Hutchinson as our senators, Texas should be on the prolife side of this debate (although I have my doubts about Hutchinson at times, but she’s thinking of a governor run, so she has to tow the line).

  • C Matt!

    That’s my Cardinal as well.

    What parish do you attend (send me an email if you can).


  • My cardinal, my parish. . . you Texans are all the same. You still think the rest of the USA is the backyard of the Republic of Texas. 🙂

    Have some pitty on those of us stuck behind enemy lines will ya’?

    Part of the enemies and the Enemy’s strategy is to make religion irrelevent, personal, private, quite and indifferent, then neo-pagan Satan worship will rule by default.

    It is not only permitted and encouraged, it is mandatory and incumbent upon the Church (clerics, religious and layity) to form the moral conscience of society and government. Catholics cannot and will not be quite about protecting the pre-born, the aged and all those marginalized by secular, illicit authority and the powers of the present darkness.

    Thanks be to God for Cardinals and Bishops with faith, hope and charity and what you in Texas call ‘cajones’ too.

    St. Andrew ora pro nobis.

  • That is not quite, it is quiet. Sorry.

  • That’s my Cardinal. I even see Tito at Mass 🙂

  • I love those late, late Masses on campus 😀

  • Tito:

    Can’t seem to locate an email for you.

    I go t St. Vincent de Paul in Houston.

  • C Matt,


    St. Vincent’s, Where all the doctors attend! They have the best young adult spiritual group in the entire archdiocese.

  • I attended Mass at St. Vincent De Paul when I was down in Houston about ten days ago. I was pleasantly surprised – I was expecting a somewhat schlocky, new agey kind of Mass but got a very orthodox service (if with some unfortunate guitar accompaniment). A very packed Church, as well. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that they did not take up a collection for the CCHD. Interesting.

  • I noticed that as well at my own parish. From my understanding, you have to physically go to the narthex and drop your donation off in a CCHD bag or box.

    I like that idea instead of passing the basket around during collection.

    Outside of some of the architecture, the priests and laity are pretty solid there. You’ll still find your cultural Catholics, but it isn’t your typical parish that you normally find.

    And yes, they can definitely do without the guitar. It’s amazing how many orthodox and practicing Catholics that actually still play the guitar during Mass think it’s appropriate.

  • Well, if the worst thing is that they have guitar accompaniment, then things can’t be too bad.

  • St. Vincent’s, where all the doctors attend

    And the lawyers that sue them!! 🙂

    The Teen Life Mass tends to make me cringe, but while the style is not my cup of tea, the substance is usually solid. I am a bit disappointed with the Resurrection statue in the back (looks way to cartoonish), but the original crucifix and statues up front are pretty amazing.

    The architecture is a bit boxy and utilitarian, but at least it’s not theatre in the round.

  • C Matt & Paul,

    The statue in the back? The surfing Jesus?

  • Surfing Jesus

    Yes! That is a perfect description!

Women Religious: No Transparency Necessary

Monday, November 30, AD 2009

I have to say, I’ve been a little surprised by the reaction of many left-leaning Catholics to the Apostolic Visitation of women’s religious congregations. If history is any guide, whether inside the Church or outside, a resistance to third party scrutiny is not a sign of organizational vitality. This resistance is particularly odd in an ecclesiastical context, where one would have thought the bonds of communion between the Holy See and religious orders are fairly strong. Moreover, the reasons proffered for refusing to answer the questions range from unconvincing (‘they don’t understand us’) to the self-indulgently bizarre (‘Women religious…are asking if there is a “Ghandian or Martin Luther King way” to deal with violence they felt is being done to them’). In any case, I think it would be good to offer prayers on their behalf. There are clearly difficult issues here that need to be resolved; and it seems to me that the reaction to the Apostolic Visitation has gone a long way towards demonstrating the need for it in the first place.

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13 Responses to Women Religious: No Transparency Necessary

  • Fairly strong? Recently declared saints like Mother Guerin and Mary McKillop had their share of battles with non-saintly bishops. Is it charitable to suggest some men were deeply envious of women and their apostoaltes?

    I agree with your comment on the statement in which Gandhi’s name was misspelled. I’m fine with women religious refusing cooperation in the way that was asked. Questions from Rome have already been withdrawn because they were inappropriate. But the damage seems to have been already done.

  • If the women in the LCWR were really spiritual and not Marxist liberal New Agers, then their objection(s) to the bishop(s) might be understandable. But as it is, the LCWR goes to great lengths to admonish us to save the whales and the rain forests, and act with pluralism, all the while ignoring the fact that Obamacare will murder millions of babies on the taxpayers dime. No – there’s no excuse for the liberal trash in the LCWR. These Marxists should repent or be purged from the Church.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa. I read one comment and was startled, and then the next only to be startled all the more!

    To Todd: As far as I know, members of the LCWR are, by virtue of being religious communities of pontifical, rather than diocesan, right, directly responsible to the Vatican. These visitations are a normal, periodic thing. I was in seminary when we were visitated (lol). On one hand, it was a very big deal. Every single seminarian in the world was interviewed. A bishop met with me for 15-20 minutes and just wanted to hear whatever came to mind about the seminary. He asked some specific questions, too, ranging from the quality of the food and opportunities for exercise, to, shall we say, ones that offered opportunity for considerable more discomfort? They sat in on our classes and house Masses. They ate their meals with us and impressed me by their ability to listen and blend in. It was easy to forget that they are something like the modern equivalent of the Inquisition. The seminary I attended for 3 1/2 years before leaving (I am a layman) gave, as far as I could tell, no occasion for concern. Consequently, things went very smoothly and it was no big deal. Stonewalling makes no sense if there is nothing to hide.

    It’s not an invasion of privacy because there isn’t a right to call oneself Catholic publicly, use funds donated by the Catholic people, and then say, “Hey, how I operated as a Catholic is private.” That’s not a right – it’s a hypocritical self-contradiction.

    The second comment bothered me because of its eagerness to purge human beings made in the image and likeness of God. Excommunication, etc., is extraordinarily serious. The “good old days” aren’t coming back, and certainly not by that method. Things will only get harder and harder. What is happening, quietly around the edges, is that the Church is waking up. Not only are our bishops getting serious and our laypeople getting educated, but some folks who had naively strayed are starting to see the destruction wrought by ideologies they hold, and are second guessing themselves. There are bishops who could not bring themselves to mention contraception in the catechisms they wrote, who now write beautifully about the evils of such things. There are women religious who chucked their habits that now are rediscovering the rosary and the Holy Mass.

    Precisely because the Church and the world do not depend on me, I do not have to get angry about the things going on in them. Talk about purging usually comes from reddened faces, in my experience. Instead, I can take Jesus at his word (Mt 16:18) and (barring obvious malfeasance) trust those he has given us to govern.

    Paul, I enjoyed the “No Thanks, I Already Have a Messiah,” bumpersticker on your blog. Let’s follow Him, and not get too worked up about miscreants – God will take care of them.

  • The fact that groups representing 99% of women religious in the States (in the coverage I read anyway) are, at best, partially complying makes me want to see the questions for myself. I’d be much more comfortable judging this response if I knew more about what they were responding to.

  • Brett, the offensive and violent forms are here and here.

  • Is it charitable to suggest some men were deeply envious of women and their apostoaltes?

    Some years ago, I had a conversation with a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. She said the median age in her order was 70 and that the number of women who had entered in 1961 and 1962 exceeded by a factor of two the number who had entered since 1970. Somehow I do not think that that is an apostolate of which ‘some men’ would be envious. (Given that the population of women religious has declined by two-thirds since 1965, I would doubt that the experience of the Congregation of St. Joseph is unusual).

    I agree with your comment on the statement in which Gandhi’s name was misspelled.


    I’m fine with women religious refusing cooperation in the way that was asked. Questions from Rome have already been withdrawn because they were inappropriate. But the damage seems to have been already done.

    If they had not accommodated these broads by excising the questions, you’d have accused them of rigidity.

  • Those forms that Rick linked to are no more offensive than a census form. Silly.

  • Wow. All you have to do is declare perfectly legitimate questions–that make you uncomfortable–to be “violent,” and you are not only justified in not answering, but you can feign moral superiority at being “above” such violence. And rather than look to the Church for your example of peace, you look outside. How telling is this response?

    People who defend the dying orders’ decision to disobey, how do you justify this defense? Since when is transparency a bad thing? When did their oaths of obedience become obsolete? Who thinks that any Catholic religious order has the right to deny any accountability to the institution to which it belongs?

  • Todd – Are you suggesting that the Apostolic Visitation is inappropriate? If so, I am curious about why.

    Paul – I think women religious are owed a great more respect than the type of derision your comment displays. Obviously, I don’t think they are beyond criticism, but caricaturing them as ‘Marxist New-Agers’ is unhelpful.

    Brett – It’s a good point; at same time, the forms don’t seem that offensive to me, and it’s surprising that a better explanation for the noncompliance has not been provided.

    Rick – Thanks for posting the questionnaires.

  • Todd – Are you suggesting that the Apostolic Visitation is inappropriate? If so, I am curious about why.

    He is suggesting that apostolic visitations should proceed at the discretion of those being visited, FWER. He is also suggesting that everything is ship-shape in and among women religious, and pay no attention to those actuarial tables.

  • …or those labyrinths, yoga centers, liturgical dance studios, etc, etc, etc.

  • The questionnaires are perfectly harmless. The tone is similar to that of an auditor going through the books.

    And…resistance to answering the questions raises the same eyebrows that would be raised by resistance to an audit.

  • Their resistance is even more disturbing in light of the questionaires. The first half (Part A) appears to have been composed by CARA, which does superb survey work for the Church (and is affiliated with Georgetown). It simply asks for statistics regarding postulants and currently vowed sisters. What, exactly, is the problem?

    The second set is slightly more personal, but hardly “violence” to their charism (or what’s left of it, given the resistance). What harm comes from an honest, transparent response?

    The only “violence” here is what the recalcitrant sisters are doing to the English language. Either they are part of the broader Church (and are thus accountable to her), or they are not. The passive-aggressive rebellion does not speak of a healthy relationship to the rest of us.

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Fundamentalism Reclaimed

Sunday, November 29, AD 2009

One would be hard-pressed to find a term more frequently abused in recent years than ‘fundamentalism’. More often an insult than anything else, it’s been used to describe figures ranging from Pope Benedict XVI to Richard Dawkins to Osama bin Laden. One refreshing exception to this imprecision is Cardinal George of Chicago, who offers what I think is a fairly useful definition in his recent book:

“Fundamentalism is a self-consciously noncritical reassertion of identity and autonomy by selecting certain antimodern, antiglobal dimensions of local (especially religious) identity, and making them both the pillars upon which identity is built and the boundary against further global encroachment.”

What I like most about this definition is that it is descriptive rather than pejorative. It restores a content to the word beyond lazy journalistic slang for ‘someone I don’t like.’ For instance, Richard Dawkins is not a fundamentalist. He may base his identity on what appears to me to be an insufficiently self-critical foundation, but he is neither antimodern, nor antiglobal, nor entirely noncritical. Similarly, as any familiarity with his writings will attest, neither is Pope Benedict XVI.

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3 Responses to Fundamentalism Reclaimed

  • I am looking forward to this book. Thanks again for you balanced perspective John Henry.

  • Western and Russian interference in the Middle East has often been anything but beneficial.

    I’ll grant your premise about the Russians. However, until a lot more Middle Easterners take up a Bedoin lifestyle circa the 19th century the complaints about “Western interference” are a sham.

  • Micha,

    Of course a lot of the complaints of fundamentalists are a bit of a sham, or hypocritical, in that they are not consistent with their rejections of modernity.

    John Henry, thanks for the sneak peek into Cardinal George’s book. It’s on my Amazon wishlist, but your excerpt of it and the subsequent discussion have caused me to move it to the top.

Advent and Anti-Christ, Part I

Sunday, November 29, AD 2009

Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, John Henry Cardinal Newman, soon to be Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman,  preached in 1835 a series of Advent Sermons on the Anti-Christ.  I have always found them extremely intriguing, and I am going to present them on each of the Sundays in Advent this year.

In this first sermon Newman gives us an overview of the Anti-Christ and the time of his appearance.  We see in this sermon Newman’s total command of history and how he uses this knowledge to draw out the implications of the few mentions of the Anti-Christ in Scripture.  Newman intellectually was always first and foremost a historian of the highest order and he puts this talent to good and instructive use in this sermon.  When Newman converted the Church gained one of the finest intellects of the Nineteenth Century or any century for that matter.  Much of Newman’s work concerned the working out of God’s plan for salvation through human history, and his examination of the Anti-Christ places that mysterious part of revelation into that plan.

“Let no man deceive you by any means:
for that Day shall not come,
except there come a falling away first,
and that man of sin be revealed,
the son of perdition.”

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21 Responses to Advent and Anti-Christ, Part I

  • How prescient Cardinal Newman was.

    Including Mohammad as a proto-Anti-Christ. Many have backed up Newmans assertion that heretical forms of Christianity such as Nestorianism contributed to the rise of Islam.

    Hilaire Belloc I believe (I don’t recall who exactly) called Islam another Christian heresy.

    How right he was!

  • You are right, Tito. Belloc said it in “The Great Heresies.”

  • Evil begets evil. But thanfully, God begets God, and what greater good is there than God?

  • I know we can’t know the timing of these things. I also know they will happen again and again with increasing frequency and severity until the final one; however, it sounds like the good cardical is talking of a conspiracy. Are we listening? Becuase it seems most people freak out and dismiss any time I hint of a conspiracy. Makes you think hmm.

    Could it be a liberal conspiracy? I am not referring to Demomcrat liberals or even Republican liberals, just liberal thought in general. Liberalism has some great aspects. I happen to like much of libertarian (the classical liberal) thought; however, liberal is also plagued with utility, permissiveness, license and radical individualism. Could this be the Devil taking us by the hand and making us his friends in our own undoing?

    Karl Marx certaintly thought so. He developed ideas, ideologies and an ‘economic’ theory that seek to do nothing other than totally destroy Western Civ. aka Rome aka Christendom. The tool he used to present his destructive agenda is Marxism/Communism and it’s newer forms of Critical Theory hidden away in liberalism, both the neo-con and the lefty-loony viriety.

  • Vince C.,

    I like the link in your name!

    I added it to our Catholic resources list.

    Keep up the great witness to our beautiful faith!

  • One point of clarification – John Henry Cardinal Newman is not yet identified as “Blessed” that is supposed to happen next year when the Holy Father visits England. Hopefully his canonization will follow sooner rather than later.

  • Let us pray for the conversion of the Antichrist, so that he, too, might enjoy the Beatific Vision and be an endless hymn of praise of God’s Mercy.

  • Thank you Dontex! I was gettting ahead of myself. It has been a long wait for we Newman devotees! I have amended the post.

  • The antichrist has always been at work ever since he decided to be greater than God. And his work is visible. Look at those that want anything that has to do with Christianity taken out, look at all the sexuality on TV, internet and so on. Look at sexual liberation men giving themselves to men, women to women “Because they gave up the natural order “ now where have I heard those words before; check out the driving force behind religions. Islam says that if one is not converted to Islam they need to be killed. Today the war is over oil, but after the crises is over, what reason will there be to go to war. I remember reading the story of the Jewish holocaust, and in a meeting of high ranking Nazi officials the final resolution was being discussed, and one general asked “ and after we do away with the Jewish people , who will be next “. After the oil war is over whom they will persecute.
    Read the story of Sodomma and Camorra why did God destroy them and see if those same reasons are not prevailing in our society today. Oh yes my dear brothers and sisters the anti-Christ is lose, angry and wild. He knows the day of the Lord is at hand. He also knows what awaits him.
    But fear you not because as the apostle said “IF I AM WIH THE LORD, WHAT EVIL CAN BEGET ME”
    Christ be with you all.

  • No Nick I’m afraid not! To pray for the conversion of the Antichrist would be in vain. He is confirmed in evil! It would be like trying to pray for the conversion of Satan and that you must know is impossible. The prince of Darkness is confirmed in Evil for all eternity.

  • I agree with Gabriel about Satan being confirmed evil for all eternity, though I am not sure if it is applicable to the anti-Christ.

    Satan, being created an angel by God has perfect knowledge. Angels are not human but are something akin to spiritual beings that had perfect intelligence. So when he consciously chose to oppose God it was final since in his own mind he thought better of himself instead of God.

    The anti-Christ will be a man, not an angle, so he (or she) will be imperfect, hence then he may still be able to repent.

    As Saint Theresa of Avila said, she still prays for Judas because we truly don’t know if he asked for forgiveness at the moment of his death.

  • Which antichrist? Nero, Mohammad, Marx, Hitler, or The Anti-Christ?

    I think many antichrists can repent but the final Anti-Christ, I am not so sure. He may be so closely tied to Satan that there is no hope for him. Isn’t he supposed to be slain and then rise again in mockery of Christ? If so, how is that possible unless Satan is completely animating and possesing him? If he is that given over to Satan I don’t think he can return to God, not that God wouldn’t have Mercy, but rather becuase the evil is so consuming that he wouldn’t consider surrender to God anything desireable.

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  • The Anti-Christ is Satan only in the form of a human being, just as Christ is God in a human form.
    Satan nor any of the fallen angels will be pardoned or can be pardoned for their sins and crimes, this is way they hate us humans so much cause we have the opportunity to repent they can’t and do not have the opportunity to repent. They knew and saw God as He is in all his glory.
    They literally saw and understood God but decided to go against him, freely and willingly.

  • Excellent point Rafael.

    Because they are angels they have perfect knowledge, hence they would choose not to repent if they were allowed to repent.

    I am not sure on this point, but the angels that followed Lucifer hated humans because God placed them above angels I believe.

  • I suppose it is possible that Anti-Christ is Satan but it is also possible that he is just another poor power-hungry, disobendient human given over to Satan through sin. Either way he is a problem and he loses.

    Tito, we are not above the angels. To my knowledge only one creature is above the angels and she is perfectly human, the Queen of men and angels, our Blessed Virgin Mary. The rest of us are lower than the angels and we are integrated with our bodies and struggle against our flesh. You are correct about the perfect knowledge of angels and their perfect and fixed free wills. Once an angel makes a choice it is eternally fixed. St. Michael will always serve God fully and Satan aka Lucifer will always be disobedient and he knows his time is short.

    I think Satan and the fallen angels (demons) rebelled against God not because He made us higher than angels but precisely becuase He made us lower than angels. I think when God showed them that He was taking human form, a lower form than an angel, their pride was bruised. The virtue opposite the vice of pride is humility. God humbled Himself to become a small, vulnerable, cold, poor, homeless baby. Satan went nuts and a third of heaven was cast out with him.

    Come Lord Jesus!

  • I see no evidence in Scripture that the anti-Christ will be an avatar of Satan.

  • No! I don’t believe the Antichrist is Satan himself. Satan also known as the dragon, the ancient serpent of old! Who gave his power, worldly glory, status to the beast, the Antichrist to make war with the saints and to conquer them and there was given to it (by Satan) power over every tribe and people and tonque and nation.
    And later, the beast or Antichrist was captured along with the false prophet who worked wonders to lead many astray and both were cast alive into the fiery lake of burning brimstone and also those that worshipped the image of the beast.
    Shortly after that St. Michael the archangel seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit.
    Since Satan is the prince of this world he can give his power and earthly glory to whom he likes!!!!

  • To read what the church teaches on the Antichrist go to click on encyclopedia click A find and click Antichrist.

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If You Could Read My Mind

Saturday, November 28, AD 2009

Something for the weekend.  If You Could Read My Mind, by the unforgettable Gordon Lightfoot,  one of the few musical bright spots in the wasteland that was the music of the Seventies.

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong,
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me.
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see.

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15 Responses to If You Could Read My Mind

  • I remember always singing along with this but never really knowing all the words and certainly not reflecting upon them.

    I have always been more attuned to the melodic rather than the lyrical content in music. Still, even in those days there were some songs whose words mattered, sometimes, if you could just figure them out. Too bad the lyrics were not as readily available as they are now.

    Interesting love song.

  • Yes, this is one of my favorites too, along with ‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”.

  • one of the few musical bright spots in the wasteland that was the music of the Seventies.

    The Doobie Brothers, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Traffic, Weather Report, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Steely Dan, and Supertramp did not make for a wasteland. The decade was also free from Rap.

  • Indeed, Art Deco. The Seventies saw the pinnacle of rock music’s creativity and sophistication. Sure it saw the likes of Disco and Kung Fu Fighting type stuff, but I consider those less representative of Seventies music and more representative of the stupid cultural fads like the Pet Rock and polyester leisure suits.

  • And mood rings; and really bad haircuts.

  • I think you can divide the decade in half, musically. The good rock music was mostly pre-1975; the horrendous disco stuff came in the second half of the decade.

    I liked “The Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” And “Ruby.” (that was Gordon Lightfoot too, wasn’t it?) A song about a crippled Vietnam vet pleading with his girlfriend not to abandon him. I thought it a very moving song when I was in high school.

  • Well said Art Deco.

    You really are a character Don.

    For someone who hates 70’s music so much, you sure find heaps of it convince us of its quality and longevity.
    (in Kiwi speak, you are “a bit of a dag”). 😉

  • My condemnation of most of the Seventies music stands, and from that I will not be swayed, having survived that kidney stone of a decade!

  • Chicago and Lionel Ritchie, Hulio Eglesias, Ivan Rebrov………….. the list continues to grow 😉

  • Chicago, yetch! Yet another reason to despise the Babylon of Lake Michigan! 🙂

    Donna, I think the Ruby song you recall was written by Mel Tillis.,_Don't_Take_Your_Love_to_Town

  • Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love to Town) is actually a Mel Tillis tune made famous by Kenny Rogers. Wikipedia has an exhaustive list of artists who have covered it (from the Statler Brothers to the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra) but Gord isn’t on it. He and Kenny both did have similar deep, gravelly singing voices, though.

    We really like Song for a Winter’s Night. Unfortunately the only video I can find on YouTube right now with Gord singing has awful audio, but here:

    is one of the better covers I’ve found that’s in a style similar to his.

    Sarah McLaughlin’s rendition is also lovely:

  • Oops–I meant to post the link, not the whole clip. I could be a real danger with a mouse in my hand!

  • C

    I found the Gord version — not on YouTube:

    Song for a Winter's Night-Gordon LightfootUploaded by StonewallStudios. – See the latest featured music videos.

    A friend and I used to play and sing this every winter in college. It holds a special place for me.

  • Whew! For a moment I thought this was about the terrible “Can You Read My Mind?” sequence from Superman!

  • ….Dire Straits….

Ever Alert Joe

Friday, November 27, AD 2009

Tareq Salahi and Michaele Salahi decided to go to  a White House state dinner on November 24.   In a stunning revelation of how lax White House security is, the fact that they were not invited proved to be no hindrance.  Our ever alert Veep and national clown Joe Biden immediately swung into action and had his picture taken with them.


Note to terrorists:  if you want to gain access to a private party at the White House, and the Veep will be there, a good looking blonde gal should prove helpful.  Keep ’em coming JoeYour antics are a bright spot during these dark economic days!

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21 Responses to Ever Alert Joe

  • I am not one to support the VP but don’t ya think the suggestion that a celebrity, asked to pose for a photo at what is, essentially, one GIANT photo op, should figure out for themselves that they are with gate crashers?

    We can slam White House security with some confidence that they messed up but once the gate crashers were in, I hardly think the VP should have noticed they didn’t have an invitation.

  • The point G-Veg is not that Joe didn’t catch them but that he blithely posed for pictures with them. This man has a God-given talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and sticking his foot in it.

  • Like a lot of has-beens, Joe’s a sucker for a cuddle and a photo with a pretty face.
    Joe certainly lifts the humour – if not the IQ – of America. 🙂

  • Don,

    Now, THAT I agree with!


  • Indeed. That would never have happened with the last presidency. Mr Cheney would have snarled, muttered a choice obscenity, and Tareq and Michaele would have been ushered off to separate overseas detention centers.

    That the Salahis were channeling their inner Ben Gates was of no consequence.

  • The reason this couple got in is 1. they were dressed for the occasion and 2. they’re white. Biden looked at them and figured they were wealthy white liberals who had given the DNC and the Obama campaign big bucks in the past and would continue to do so in future if he tossed them a bone. Obviously, a couple from the Rescue Mission wouldn’t have gotten in. And I wonder if a similiarly dressed non-white couple would have been able to slip in so easily.

    I remember a humorous piece Chris Buckley wrote many years ago describing the differing treatment given to attendees of fancy black tie dinners, based on past contributions. The $25,000 donors got caviar, the best champagne, photo-ops with heads of state and so on. Buckley went on to describe how the perks became fewer and fewer as the donations of the attendees became more and more modest. He had the $1000 donors seated on folding chairs in the hallway, eating hot dogs and drinking cheap wine out of plastic tumblers.

  • The idea that Biden should be sizing up folks at a State Dinner to determine if they ‘really belong there’ is silly. This was a serious security breach, but Biden has nothing to do with it.

  • No BA, the point is that Biden is silly. Something I think the rest of the country will regretfully agree with by the time Obama and Biden are out of office.

  • No BA, the point is that Biden is silly.

    If that’s the point, then it isn’t effectively made here. Biden’s done and said lots of stupid things over the years, and will no doubt continue to do so. This wasn’t one of them.

  • Posing for pictures with the gate crashers wasn’t silly?

  • Donald,

    No. It’s not Biden’s job to check if people are gate crashers.

  • I would think it would be Biden’s job to have a clue who people are before he poses for pictures with them. Now the Salahis are claiming that they were cleared by the White House. I wonder if the person they will claim cleared them is Biden.

  • “It’s not Biden’s job to check if people are gate crashers.”

    Indeed not. It’s the blogosphere’s. Then they blame it on Biden.

  • I would think it would be Biden’s job to have a clue who people are before he poses for pictures with them.

    Really? It seems a little crazy to suggest that the Vice President should do a background check on everyone who asks to take a picture with him at a state dinner. I’m a fan of a good Biden joke as the next guy, but what exactly would you expect him to do at these events? Refuse to take pictures? Ask for paperwork first?

  • I would think it would be Biden’s job to have a clue who people are before he poses for pictures with them.

    Oh please. Suppose that the Salahis had crashed a State Dinner two years ago and had gotten their picture taken with President Bush. Try and imagine what your reaction would have been. Do you think that you would have said a) Bush is stupid for not spotting the crashers, or b) it’s not Bush’s fault the people got passed security and its unreasonable to expect him to vet people who have their picture taken with him at a State Dinner?

    The question answers itself.

  • “Suppose that the Salahis had crashed a State Dinner two years ago and had gotten their picture taken with President Bush.”–Blackadder

    In that case, blogs wouldn’t have had the story first. The Establishment Media Wing of the Democrat Party would have had speedily aired a clip of President Bush asking an aide, “Who are those people?” and followed up with nine days of loudly mocking Bush about that.

  • “Refuse to take pictures? Ask for paperwork first?”

    People who he doesn’t know in a closed venue? Absolutely. This was not a campaign event or a rope line. Biden deserves every bit of egg on his vacuous face. By posing for two very chummy pictures with these two he assumed the risk as to what they would do with the pictures.

  • Oh and BA if this had happend with Cheney, I am certain that the media would be running down any prior contacts between Cheney and the gate crashers, would have attempted to ask Cheney about it and would have attempted to gain detailed eye witness accounts regarding Cheney and the gate crashers from other party-goers, none of which the ink-stained wretches appear to be doing in regard to this event.

  • if this had happend with Cheney, I am certain that the media would be running down any prior contacts between Cheney and the gate crashers

    So what? Are you using the media as your guide for proper behavior now?

  • As much as I think Biden is an idiot, I have to agree that you pretty much pose with whomever is standing there, even if they will later be shown to be strange, broke, Republicans, et al.

    The funnier part, IMHO, is that the Secretary of State wasn’t invited to this State Dinner. It just goes to show you that Hillary doesn’t know how to crash a party!

    The over the top part is the official threatening “criminal charges” against the gate crashers. I find it hard to believe that asking to be admitted to the White House and eventually being told to go on in, without claiming that you are somebody else on the list or the like, is somehow criminal behavior. Hey, they put one over on you. You’ve now got egg on your face. Just accept it, wipe it off and try again later.

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Ben Franklin and the Turkey

Friday, November 27, AD 2009


After the American Revolution, former American officers in that struggle created a fraternal organization called the Society of Cinncinatus, named after the Roman consul and dictator, a constitutional office of the Roman Republic in emergencies, who saved Rome through his efforts in the fifth century BC and then retired to his humble farm.  The Society selected as its symbol a bald eagle.  In a letter to his daughter Sally Bache on January 26, 1784, no doubt with his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, Dr. Franklin indicated that he thought another bird would have been a better choice.

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7 Responses to Ben Franklin and the Turkey

  • We had ham for dinner on Thanksgiving. We are surrounded by turkeys, starting with Congress, all year long.

  • Eagles are magnificent creatures. No wonder the early writers in the OT refer to eagles often.
    The Australian Sea Eagle is, I believe, a close relative of the American Bald Eagle. While living in Oz during the 80’s, I was out fishing with a friend. As we watched, this sea eagle, only about 50 meters away, swooped down and plucked a fish out of the water – not just a little fish, what the Aussies call a southern salmon (not a true salmon) which would have weighed around 12 pounds.

  • Oops!

    4th. line – “livivd” should be “living”.
    (maybe I lived in Oz too long) 😉

  • I fixed it for you Don, although I imagine at least once while you were living in Oz you were livid. Most Aussies I’ve known have been fantastic, but a few have been truculent! 🙂

  • Actually Don, it was quite an enjoyable experience. I do have Aussie cousins, and we moved to Wollongong NSW where they lived, to be with people we know, and within weeks had a great circle of Aussie friends – all with young families, as Sandy & I did then. And, of course, I got called “Kiwi” – (hopefully because I epitomised all those manly qualities other nationals expect of us rugged antipodean outdoors men 😉 ) and the name stuck, hence my combox name.
    I did , of course, cop a lot of stick, as is usual with banter between Aussies and Kiwis, and the Aussies can be more outspoken and course than us more genteel people from the islands to the East :-), but I found, give back as much crap as you cop, and you’re respected – otherwise you keep copping it.
    Only had one punch-up, and that was in a game of Touch Rugby – go figure. Had plenty of robust arguments though, being a builder/labour contractor on some of the building sites around Sydney.
    Have many good friends in Oz – haven’t visited for about 5 years now, but each time I have, I’m sure that within a few days, if I moved back, everything would be the same.
    But I’m not moving – Tauranga, NZ is home and I’ll be buried here; though after, I hope, many more travels.

  • While I agree that he may have been saying it a bit tongue in cheek, he got it right. Given the turkeys in DC (& at lower levels of government as well), the turkey would have been a better symbol.

    PS 1776 is my favorite all time movie.

  • Do you remember the opening game of the World Series in 2001? It was less than a month after 9/11. A beautiful bald eagle soared over the Stadium during the opening ceremony. My eyes misted over and I got a lump in my throat. I’m sure millions of Americans had the same reaction.

    Sorry, Ben, but a turkey running across the field just would not have had the same effect.

Abortion, Capital Punishment and War, One of these things is not like the other

Friday, November 27, AD 2009

Ed Stoddard of Reuters’ religion blog Faithworld carries a roundup of the skirmish between Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, has claimed that Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin.

In conclusion, Stoddard asks:

This leads to a question about the consistency of views in the U.S. Catholic Church leadership. The Church opposes abortion and therefore liberal politicians who support abortion rights risk being refused communion. The Church supports a healthcare overhaul that would make the system more equitable. So does a conservative Catholic politician who opposes this reform risk being denied communion for ignoring the Catholic social teaching that justifies it?

How about support for capital punishment, which the Vatican says is unjustified in almost all possible cases, or for war? In the build-up to the Iraq war, Pope John Paul was so opposed to the plan that he sent a personal envoy to Washington to argue against it. Did bishops threaten any measures against Catholic politicians who energetically supported that war despite Vatican opposition?

The author’s questions reveal an elementary ignorance concerning the moral issues in question and their relationship to varying levels of Church teaching. While I am disappointed by his answer (Faithworld is generally one of the better and more educational “religion blogs” in the secular media), it is understandable — as even many Catholics find themselves confused on this matter.

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33 Responses to Abortion, Capital Punishment and War, One of these things is not like the other

  • Thanks for this excellent clarification, Chris.

    It’s going on my facebook 🙂

  • What about Justice Scalia who not only disagrees with the prudential judgment of our bishops on capital punishment but rejects Church teaching on the matter entirely?

    Also, as pro-choicers like to point out, there’s a difference between supporting abortion and supporting abortion rights. Can’t one accept Church teaching on abortion and still believe that criminalization is bad? Isn’t the legal status of abortion a matter of prudential judgment? I realize that this still doesn’t apply to Rep. Kennedy who not only supports keeping abortion legal but also supports promotion through subsidies.

    And can’t some prudential judgments concerning capital punishment or war be so obviously correct no reasonable person can oppose it without supporting the underlying evil? For example, suppose Obama stated that we’re waging war against Canada to raid their natural resources.

  • “Also, as pro-choicers like to point out, there’s a difference between supporting abortion and supporting abortion rights. Can’t one accept Church teaching on abortion and still believe that criminalization is bad? Isn’t the legal status of abortion a matter of prudential judgment?”

    The distinction between supporting abortion and supporting abortion “rights” is completely fallacious. That is akin to attempting to argue a distinction between being pro-slavery and supporting the “right” to own a slave. As to criminalization of abortion Catholics are required by the Catechism to support that:

    “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.'(79)

    ‘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.’ (80)”

  • I understand what Restrainedradical means — sometimes it seems reasonable to concede the legal matter (abortion is legal) and work on the practical one (getting people to stop aborting, or to not get pregnant). But that’s where prudence comes in. That approach has not worked, any more than (per D. McClarey’s example) attempts to get slave owners to give up their slaves worked when slavery was legal. Concentrating on the practical matters only ensures (barring a widespread change in social mores) they will continue as they are.

    All those practical things should be done, of course, because that’s all that most people CAN do. But it is a fallacy to think that because a thing has been declared legal, it is therefore right. Unjust laws can and should be repealed. People who make and influence legislation have a different obligation than the rest of us when it comes to action. We can and should work on the practical matters that are in our power, but we should also demand the legislative action that is within the LEGISLATORS’ power, and they have a moral obligation to do something about it. If a law is unjust, and a legislator does nothing about it, then is that legislator not guilty of perpetuating injustice and, in the case of abortion, murder?

    If we were talking about apartheid, wouldn’t we agree that the legislators had an obligation to end it, even if it were difficult and unpopular?

  • Ditto and amen to Gail’s, Donald’s and Christopher’s points above. Much like the ridiculous, one-sided “debate” b/w Chris Matthews and Bishop Tobin, the entire specious argument of “should women who procure an abortion be put in jail?” betrays a logical fallacy in thought. Nobody who makes that argument would ever make a similar one against women’s right to vote, legalized slavery, etc. And the ones who don’t recognize the difference b/w an intrisic evil like abortion and Just War or even the judicious use of the death penalty would also never make such an argument “defending” those who make the decisions to apply the death penalty or to prosecute a Just War.

    For the amateur philosophers out there, what kind of logical fallacy is the one that such wishy-washy “pro-lifers” use, namely the one we’ve all mentioned here on this thread? I’m no logician, but even I recognize that such thinking must be the result of some logical fallacy!

  • I’d like to clarify that Justice Scalia doesn’t reject Church teaching on the death penalty, he rejects the recent stand– counter to, in his phrasing, the “2,000-year-old tradition of the church approving capital punishment”— where various members of the leadership claim that the death penalty isn’t needed to protect society.

    This is solidly inside of prudential judgment, although it has (of course) been very poorly reported. Ton o’info here, including a response from Justice Scalia and a defense of the Justice by Cardinal Avery Dulles. (who does not agree with him)

  • I’d like to clarify that Justice Scalia doesn’t reject Church teaching on the death penalty, he rejects the recent stand– counter to, in his phrasing, the “2,000-year-old tradition of the church approving capital punishment”– where various members of the leadership claim that the death penalty isn’t needed to protect society.

    Exactly. As Cardinal Dulles himself emphasized the prudential nature of the disagreement:

    As to the Pope’s assertion that the death penalty should today be rare, I would reaffirm, against Justice Scalia, that this is to be understood as an exercise of the Pope’s prudential judgment. “Prudential” has a technical theological meaning with which Justice Scalia seems not to be familiar. It refers to the application of Catholic doctrine to changing concrete circumstances. Since the Christian revelation tells us nothing about the particulars of contemporary society, the Pope and the bishops have to rely on their personal judgment as qualified spiritual leaders in making practical applications. Their prudential judgment, while it is to be respected, is not a matter of binding Catholic doctrine. To differ from such a judgment, therefore, is not to dissent from Church teaching.

    It is of course possible to hold, with Justice Scalia, that the Pope is imprudent. Catholics are not obliged by their faith to hold that their pastors are always prudent. I personally agree with the Pope that the death penalty should be very rarely, if ever, applied in the United States today. In saying this I do not rely only on “steady improvements in the organization of the penal system,” the motive mentioned by the Pope. I would add that limitations and deficiencies in the penal system create a danger of miscarriages of justice. In our society, moreover, the death penalty is often seen as an instrument of popular vindictiveness and retaliation rather than of divine justice, since the transcendent order of justice is not generally recognized. The practice of capital punishment also reinforces that disrespect for human life which is all too prevalent in our society. For these and other reasons, I would be reluctant to approve of the death penalty except in cases of rare and prudential judgment assisted by the wisdom of the duly appointed pastors of the Church.

    And agreed with Scalia, that John Paul II’s intention was not to overturn traditional Catholic teaching on the death penalty:

    Like Justice Scalia, I doubt that the older tradition is reversible, but even if it were, I contend any ecclesiastical authority reversing it would have to propose the new doctrine with great emphasis and show why the older position is no longer tenable. In fact, however, the Pope says nothing against the traditional doctrine.

  • In my view, the greatest penalties ought to be reserved for the abortionist himself and whatever propagandists or pushers he might have at his disposal.

    I also don’t think a woman should be punished for abortion until an investigation into the father of her child’s status is conducted, due to the high number of coerced abortions.

    Hysterical liberals like Chris Matthews and NARAL promote the fantasy that every abortion is some kind of feminist triumph over patriarchy. The reality is that many abortions are coerced – the father has threatened the mother with violence, or with abandonment. Or her own parents have done the same.

    In the end, someone must be held responsible. But I don’t believe it should always be the woman who gets the abortion. And this we must make absolutely clear. Too many women who end up in the abortion clinic are themselves victims.

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  • Boo-Hoo for whomever is “responsible”, what we still have is A DEAD INNOCENT CHILD.

    With respect to the tradition of the Church on Capital punishment.

    There are serious fissures in the Catholic Church over traditions, that can be argued were “reversed” in Vatican II, so poo-poo on that Scalian argument, thus you have the discontinuity and continuity problems with many kinds of quasi-schismatic Catholics.

    Perhaps the Church needs a much more comprehensive revaluation than just what it is talking with the SSPX about. Perhaps Catholics in the United States need to see things in a BIGGER picture as well.

  • That is akin to attempting to argue a distinction between being pro-slavery and supporting the “right” to own a slave.

    Or being pro-war and supporting the right to wage war. There is a difference.

    As to criminalization of abortion Catholics are required by the Catechism to support that


  • “Or being pro-war and supporting the right to wage war. There is a difference.”

    The analogy to war is telling restrainedradical. The Church acknowledges just war. The Church does not acknowledge a just abortion. It is also possible to support the right to wage war while being opposed to individual instances of war. Once someone is pro the “right” to have an abortion, the ability then to oppose instances of abortion goes out the window due to the support of a “right” to abortion.

  • Maybe a more fitting analogy would be “Or being pro-murder and supporting the right to murder. There is a difference.”

    Perhaps “Or being pro-rape and supporting the right to rape. There is a difference.”

  • This moral hierarchy you are discussing is imperceptible to most modern thinkers. One of the most unfortunate consequences of political liberalism and the democratic ethos is the overpowering influence of equality. Equality is the fundamental end of our moral thinking and our political life, even when it contradicts justice and charity.

  • Or being pro-obesity and supporting the right to be obese. Or being pro-smoking and supporting the right to smoke.

    A supporter of abortion rights wants abortion to be legal. A supporter of abortion wants to increase the number of abortions.

    Anyway, that’s the pro-choicer’s argument and it does make sense but I too use pro-abortion as shorthand for pro-abortion-rights just as I use pro-death-penalty to describe not only those who want to see more capital punishment but also those who think it should be allowed.

  • “A supporter of abortion rights wants abortion to be legal. A supporter of abortion wants to increase the number of abortions.”

    Not necessarily. Some pro-aborts do want to increase the number of abortions, usually for mercenary or ideological reasons. Others are merely content to have abortion remain legal. In both cases the key agreement is that neither would want any abortion to be prevented by the State, which is what makes them pro-aborts.

  • For this simile to work the thing substituted in has to be not just bad but immoral– war, the death penalty, being fat or being a smoker aren’t inherently immoral.

    Killing babies, committing murder or raping someone are inherently immoral.

  • Some war can potentially be inherently immoral – for example, Cheney’s 1% pre-emptive war doctrine. There may not be definitive pronouncement on it, but I would consider such a position to be very close to, if not actually, inherently immoral.

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  • To clarify I am against abortion! But it seems to me the church in its teachings apriory sets a double standard in at least two ways:
    1) in cases of war and capital punishment the justification for respectful disagreement is in knowledge or presumed knowledge / interpretation of the facts
    In abortion this ” caveat” is denied since the beginning of human life if postulated without any further proof or facts proffered.
    could it be that the abortion is an individual decision and war and capital punishment is a system’s decision , made by the “king”
    according to your response …..“The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”…..
    Hitler had the responsibility for the common good at least de facto therefor according to your thoughts the Germans really had no further responsibility but to say: The Fuehrer knows best…. ( Well most followed the churches advice? lead ? and said Sieg! Heil!)
    May be this is the foundation to Hochhuth’s novel The Deputy
    I think the Catholic Church should move away from its over reliance on legal maneuvers and learned logical reasoning and return to its roots which seem to me to require to make firm moral stands and demand firm moral comittments, especially where life and death questions are involved, regardless of the costs to itself or its members. Anything short of this, degrades it into a mere club
    Revelations come to mind: But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you… .(Rev3:16)

  • With regards to the determination of moral criteria, the Catechism maintains “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”

    to my knowledge throughout history there never was an unjust war in the eyes of those who started it and have been at the time “responsibility for the common good” as you call it.
    This makes the Just War Theory a practical sham , without any significance for the people. It also is insulting to our intelligence and smells of the discontinued practice of the “Index”

  • …You’re really not even trying to understand the arguments, are you?

    If you really are, please try to say what, exactly, you’re having trouble with– I’d be pleased to try to help you understand it.

  • I thought the argument is pretty clear.
    there seem to be two standards in taking a life. One is ( in the case of abortion) to be on the safe side and and postulate when life starts since it cannot start any earlier than with conception therefor that’s when its starts . We have no proof for it but rather err on the possibility that it might start there. Fair and good, i fully support this.
    In the other two cases – capital punishment, war a different standard is invoked. It seems to me this is clearly expressed in the phrase given earlier ( (paraphrased)….the Prosecuting attorney can respectfully disagree with the Church on individual case of capital punishment….
    In this case a life can be taken even if the judgment of the person involved turns out to be wrong.
    In case of war there are 2 points , to my humble opinion involved:
    1) again the parties involved respectfully agree to dis agree and this is morally justified … Well we are all humans and mistakes are made….
    since never in history the aggressor felt the war was not absolutely necessary the whole just war theory became a mute subject it est meaningless
    2) Your argument that the moral decision should be left to the proper authorities seems to me to patronize any believer who is not in power. this leads to my comments regarding Germany etc.
    what is important to the argument here however is the willingness to agree to respectfully disagree
    This in my opinion is a double standard and is probably based on political considerations as it can be demonstrated throughout much of history ( especially since Constantin)
    What I think the stand of the Church should and has to be is consistent. Since I think the stance of the church and beginning of life is the prudent decision the same principles should apply to the other two cases. Anything short of this smells of intellectual dishonesty.
    By the way, in arguing this case I don’t think the Catechism can be invoked since the argument is consistency in reasoning the cases and not what the cases actually say.
    I thank you for your interest in setting me straight.

  • Innocent life vs non-innocent life.

    There’s no justification for me walking into a mall and shooting someone; there is a justification for me shooting a guy who is trying to kill me.

    We have no proof for it but rather err on the possibility that it might start there.

    Scientifically speaking, conception is the start of life– an embryo is a unique organism from the mother, while an egg or sperm cell is not. We don’t know when that organism gets a soul— but then, we’re guessing that you or I have a soul, as well.

    since never in history the aggressor felt the war was not absolutely necessary the whole just war theory became a mute subject it est meaningless

    Highly improbable. Beyond that the just war theory doesn’t just say whoever starts it has to think it’s needful, even with my horrible history education I can think of wars that were started for advantage, not need. I seem to remember Bismarck was famous for them– he had a tactical goal, expansion/reuniting Germany, but that’s not absolute necessity.

    Your argument that the moral decision should be left to the proper authorities seems to me to patronize any believer who is not in power.

    1)”It’s patronizing” isn’t a refutation of an argument.
    2) Hitler did have a responsibility for the public good. He did not fulfill that responsibility, needless to say.

    In human interactions there will always be leaders and followers– that’s the only way there can be cooperation. If there are leaders, they have to be able to lead– especially in the case of large organizations, it’s not possible for everyone to have all the information and properly assimilate it, and get everything else done.

    Life is highly valuable. What, then, does your notion of consistency make of those lives who try to take lives?
    Should those who are innocent be slaughtered at will by those who are not, simply because we’re all valuable– or is killing, as a last resort of defense, acceptable?

    By the way, in arguing this case I don’t think the Catechism can be invoked since the argument is consistency in reasoning the cases and not what the cases actually say.

    I try not to quote the Catechism unless the topic is what the Church believes– even if what I end up saying is simply a rephrasing of what it says. If someone agrees, then there’s no argument– and if they don’t, why cite something they disagree with to try to change their mind?

  • You dodged the topic by starting your defense with innocent versus non innocent life this does not seem to me a serious attempt to set me straight. May be that is not your intent?
    patronizing is a remark that is used in my opinion to indicate that the argument lacks substance and is movind into areas of emotional domination not a good thing to do in an argument.
    The Hitler example does not focus on Hitler but on the obligation of the Germans as suggested by your argument.
    Actually the historic response by the Germans can by justified with your argument. And by extension the dire consequences

    Life is highly valuable. What, then, does your notion of consistency make of those lives who try to take lives?
    Should those who are innocent be slaughtered at will by those who are not, simply because we’re all valuable– or is killing, as a last resort of defense, acceptable?
    Again this is not the argument. The question is are we consistent in our moral judgement
    take the Iraq war; it was deemed and turned out to be an unjust war , however you claim a different mechanism for the individual , up to the pope himself, than for the decision of abortion or euthanasia. What i am arguing for is that the same methods and principles are applied. After that we can start to talk about innocent life versus not innocent life.
    This latter discussion might prove even thornier than the first, especially if one allows for biblical guidance.

    I try not to quote the Catechism unless the topic is what the Church believes– even if what I end up saying is simply a rephrasing of what it says. If someone agrees, then there’s no argument– and if they don’t, why cite something they disagree with to try to change their mind?
    It might be that I see inconsistencies in the catechism and I said I might not that I necessarily did.
    In that case it would be good to grapple with the passage instead quoting it as gospel which it is not.
    I guess I subscribe to the motto Schiller coined in his poem “Die Glocke” what you have inherited from your fathers earn it in order to own it.
    this – I suppose – means grapple intellectually with it in order to understand it. It does not have much value intellectual or moral if one just accepts it without an earnest attempt towards understanding to ones capabilities. I think this would be demeaning to the human dignity.
    I still hope you will take the time and effort in truly showing me the light, since despite of what I wrote I feel the topic is much deeper and important than we both touch upon this far.
    thank you in advance for your effort.

  • You dodged the topic by starting your defense with innocent versus non innocent life this does not seem to me a serious attempt to set me straight.

    You seem to be dodging the topic by not seeing a difference between killing without cause and killing in defense.

    That’s what just war and the death penalty boils down to– it’s a nation-sized case of self defense.

    If you support self defense by individuals, but not by leaders on behalf of those they have responsibilities towards– or, more so, if you support defense on behalf of one’s children, but not on behalf of one’s citizens– then the lack of consistency lies with you.

    Actually the historic response by the Germans can by justified with your argument.

    A bold claim; so justify it, using my arguments.

    In that case it would be good to grapple with the passage instead quoting it as gospel which it is not.

    You’re getting off topic, reindl. You stated that I should not “invoke” the CCC because you disagree with it, and I did not quote the CCC.

    ((On the side– you can make it easier to read what you’re replying to by using < brackets around I and /I to trigger italics.))

  • Thank you for the suggestion I will try to use it, but I do not quite understand your hints Do you mean:
    I will try this!

    We are arguing two different things
    I am NOT touching the subject Killing versus not Killing.
    the subject – as I see it – is the way killing is justified in principle.
    in abortion case it is easy to argue not to kill no problem!!
    In case of war there might be the justification to as you call it self defense etc. the problem arises to determine when it is Justified.
    You seem to say in this case it depends on all sorts of things completely beyond the capabilities of the lay person , because he or she is incompetent.
    (that is where the patronizing comes in by the way)
    if that is the case however it is the Church’s responsibility to educate and support the “flock of sheep” so they can make the right moral choice. If the church is incapable of doing so it should say so.
    That it is possible for lay persons to make the right choice can be seen in the case of Franz Jaegerstaetter who resisted serving Hitler and was beheaded for his pains. he did this against his bishops advice ( Bishop of Linz Austria)who used precisely the argument you are using and urged him to serve in Hitler’s army.
    I am certain you are aware that the Church has beatified F.Jaegerstaetter proving him justified or right and his bishop or your argument wrong.

    I also would like to remind you that you intended to explain things to me. I am only raising questions and from me perceived inconsistencies

    You misunderstood me, I did not mean to imply that you cannot use the ccc as you call it, what I meant was that you would have , or should argue the points from first principles. I apologize for the mis-understanding.

    I am still looking forward to your responses to my original arguments. The ” stuff” in between as far as I am concerned was an attempt on my part to clarify my side of the argument and to give you enough info to refute correct … it as you please and can.
    Let me point out that I am trying to argue a Moral/ethical point that could be perceived as being “to the right” of your position as I perceive it now (if it would be a political debate of course)
    As always thank you for your interest

  • I tried to quote a passage of yours but it did not work I am too ignorant in these and of course also other matters If you could give me some more detailed instructions I would appreciate it. Thank you.

  • Use I to start, and /i to end.

    In case of war there might be the justification to as you call it self defense etc. the problem arises to determine when it is Justified.

    If you agree that it is ever justified, then your complaint that allowing the death penalty is inconsistent, due to allowing killing, is invalid. It becomes a matter of you not agreeing where the line is drawn, rather than if the line should be drawn at all.

  • You are avoiding the argument. I like you to comment on the Jaegerstaetter example I gave , as it is pertinent to this discussion. The argument was not whether killing might be allowed or not the argument IS to determine within a morally consistent framework when killing is allowed and it expanded – the argument that is – to who is allowed or has to make these choices.
    Please use the Iraq example I gave the pope determined that the just war theorem indicate that the looming – at that time- war would be unjust. Yet after the war started there was no further comment that participating in a unjust war – according to the just war theorem – is tantamount to murder.
    It is at that point that moral inconsistencies arise
    because murder is murder if nothing else killing a conscious being adds torture to the act of murder which – if one has to /wants to categorize these things-. The torture part comes with the fear and realization that you have to die I presume , never had to do it myself-.
    I think the abortion/ war/ capital punishment/… debate goes much deeper since there are corollaries to all this. And it are these corollaries that , in a practical sense might be even less palatable to us as a society than the results of the Killing argument.
    In any event I think any relativism in arguing the case should be avoided otherwise anything goes and the result is strictly utilitarian devoid of any claim to
    morality. one has to be able to argue the case consistently and continuously starting with abortion if you like and ending with war if you like.
    I am sure you understand what I mean.
    You asked in the beginning whether I am serious. I think this is and has been the defining challenge for the Church in the last and undoubtedly this century.
    The Church seemed to have failed its test during WW1 and WW2 (as well as many other conflicts thereafter. (see Jaegerstaetter example consider it a case study)
    But this does not mean we cannot remedy our transgressions in the future.
    Splitting up the argument of killing or shall I say murder – which would be unjustified killing and which would equally apply to abortion and war – certain wars etc into separately compartments to my mind is a moral dodge and with it makes our whole stand immoral one acts morally or does not.
    A murderer does not always have to kill in order to create immense suffering. it enough if he does it only in one case and not the other.
    thanks for the info on writing . the following is just a test so please ignore it.
    i test test test /i

  • Your original argument was that by differentiating between murder and abortion on one hand, and war and capital punishment on the other, there is a “double standard” in place.

    You futher claimed that, due to war and capital punishment being decided by the “system” or a “king,” Hitler was somehow justified.

    If you cannot manage to hold to your own argument and feel the need to accuse those who do of dodging the topic, I have no further time for you.

  • Sorry you feel that way

    I do have to respond to your interpretation – insinuation that:

    You futher claimed that, due to war and capital punishment being decided by the “system” or a “king,” Hitler was somehow justified.

    I never claimed that . What i did say is:
    IF your interpretation that responsibility for moral decision is vested in those of proper authority THEN
    The Germans where justified to line up behind their Fuehrer I think quite a bit different from your interpretation
    Unfortunately as in many of these discussions it often turns out that folks are not really interested in finding out or letting others find out the “Truth” or their truth and try to explain it in logical and dispassionate ways.
    It seems they are more interested in formulas than arguments and convictions ( I don’t mean just adopted beliefs) they can be passionate enough to defend.
    It was not me who offered to set me straight remember.
    the task obvious became too difficult
    Thank you for your time

  • a bit different from your interpretation

    No, it isn’t. Your argument against there being a difference between war and abortion was exactly as I stated.

    Unfortunately as in many of these discussions it often turns out that folks are not really interested in finding out or letting others find out the “Truth” or their truth and try to explain it in logical and dispassionate ways.

    Exactly why I am not going to waste any further time, barring some sign of actual interest in information– as opposed to dancing from claim to claim, then accusing those responding to you of “avoiding the argument.”

    If you admit any instance where self defense, unto death, is admissible– then you commit the same “inconsistency” you accuse the Church of committing. You may draw the line in a different spot, but still admit the difference exists.

    It seems they are more interested in formulas than arguments and convictions ( I don’t mean just adopted beliefs) they can be passionate enough to defend.

    A logical argument is a formula.
    And there is no inherent exclusion of conviction in an adopted belief, let alone an exclusion of passion in adopted beliefs.

    It was not me who offered to set me straight remember.

    Amazingly, it was not I who offered to set you straight, either; I offered, if you were truly trying to understand, to attempt to aid you in understanding. The latter has happened, but the prior is in doubt.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

A roundup from around the web …

1.  Jay Anderson gives us a history lesson on “The First Thanksgiving”:

Every gradeschool boy and girl in the U.S. will confidently tell you that their history books say that the very first Thanksgiving on American soil took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 when the English Pilgrims who had arrived the year before and the Patuxet Indians shared the food from their respective harvests in one great big happy feast.

As is often the case, however, the history books are wrong on this account…

2.  The Maverick Philosopher engages in a thanksgiving reflection:

We need spiritual exercises just as we need physical, mental, and moral exercises. A good spiritual exercise, and easy to boot, is daily recollection of just how good one has it, just how rich and full one’s life is, just how much is going right despite annoyances and setbacks which for the most part are so petty as not to merit consideration…

3.  How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims — When the Pilgrims landed in 1620, they established a system of communal property. Within three years they had scrapped it, instituting private property instead. Hoover media fellow Tom Bethell shares some economic history.

4.  News has it that President Obama’s decision whether to pardon a turkey could come at any day now!

5.  And it wouldn’t be the celebration of another American holiday without a screed from the Catholic Anarchist (reaching the height of self-parody).

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Cardinal Rigali: Catholic Politicians Cannot Support Senate Health Care Bill with Abortion

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.4019473&w=425&h=350&fv=]

Justin Cardinal Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia emphatically stated that no Catholic can vote for a health care bill that carries abortion.  He did say that the American bishops have been working diligently in getting health care for all individuals here in America and that the Catholic bishops do support a health care bill that does not provide or pay for abortions in anyway possible.

Cardinal Rigali’s comments came at the press conference announcing an unprecedented coalition of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders uniting behind a call to Christian conscious, the Manhattan Declaration.

Senator Bob Casey, Jr., I hope you’re listening, your soul is on the line.


To read about the Manhattan Declaration click here.

(Biretta Tip: CNSNEWS.COM)

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2 Responses to Cardinal Rigali: Catholic Politicians Cannot Support Senate Health Care Bill with Abortion

  • Unfortunately the lack of moral values and ethics of most of our elected officials today don’t allow them to be able to determine right from wrong. Even many Republicans have lost sight of reality. It is up to the new conservative movement to filter out the bad seeds in the upcoming election to get our country back on track to what our forefathers intended it to be. We have to learn from the community organizing powers of Acorn and connect with our people to get things right. God bless America!

  • Good video. I think I see our Fr. Chad Hatfield behind the Cardinal.

Thanksgiving 1863

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

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6 Responses to Have a Happy Global Warming Thanksgiving!

Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

On this Thanksgiving I’d like to convey my heartfelt thanks to my brother Nathan (currently overseas – prayers requested) and all those in service. I am forever conscious of the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country, including much time spent away from their loved ones.

God bless, God speed — and may you all enjoy such a welcome home.

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3 Responses to Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Junk Science Part II

Wednesday, November 25, AD 2009

A follow up to my initial post here on what is becoming known as Climategate.  Now news comes from New Zealand about massaging of data by global warming proponents.

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century.

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6 Responses to Junk Science Part II

  • Jim Salinger was fired from NIWA earlier this year, but the reason never came out into the public domain. Now the reason is obvious.
    The revised data seems to show similar data to the graphs I have seen on , in refutation of the AGW scenario.
    Locally, we have just had the coldest October since 1945. Winter last year was the coldest since 1973 – this winter just gone was colder – we had more snow on the Southern Alps than before – some say the most in living memory. The Cabbage trees are flowering about a month early – nature’s indication of a warm dry summer.
    Is this a proof of AGW?
    Nope – I recall in my lifetime this happening fairly regularly. I think this summer will be cooler than those in the 60’s when I was a callow youth – those lazy hazy days of summer were warmer then, and again warmer in the 90’s. Recent summers are cooler than previous.
    Maybe our bro’s across the Tasman in Australia would disagree – they are heading for one of the worst bush fire seasons in quite some time; will be interesting to see what the AGW pundits make of it.

  • I think around the world Don science bloggers are going to be checking data that has been amassed by global warming advocates. This whole thing is beginning to stink of group think and outright fraud.

  • Thanks Rick.

    Actually we do get large iceburgs floating past the bottom of the South island fairly regularly, some come part way up the east coast of the South Island not far from Dunedin and Christchurch, and tourist operators offer helicopter flights to them – they land on those that are stable and flat enough.
    But we’ve had a pretty wet winter as well as a cold one – so the Aussies should send out a ship and lassoe this ‘burg because they’ve has a fairly dry winter – they could do with the water.
    Both the NZ and the Oz governments have been focussing on pushing through Emission Trading Schemes over the past few days, in time for the Copenhagen conference – just so they can wave and say “look at me, look at me” for doing something about CC. What I want to know is, all the extra taxes (carbon) that are going to be levied, where does the money go? Our ex PM, Helen Clark, who is now in charge of the UN Development Fund is going to give all our hard earned dollors to “third worls countries” like China and India – that’s where the money goes. Clark “bought” her job with the UN by donating millions to the UNDF while she was PM, thus giving her a shoe in for the job.
    Its all part of a Marxist plot (Helen was a Labour -read marxist/left wing politicion, and radical feminist to boot) – wait and see. Don’t have time right now to expand – will later if I can.

  • > he claims NIWA has a good explanation for adjusting the temperature data upward. Wratt says NIWA is drafting a media response for release later this afternoon which will explain why they altered the raw data.

    In a reliable scientific study, such adjustments would be documented, explained, and justified as part of the methodology. It would be in the original publication.

    To say ‘we have good reasons for this, which we did not disclose before, but don’t worry, we will come up with an explanation’ means one thing: they got caught.

  • Hopefully this will be one more step towards scuttling plans to hamper the private sector with ever-increasing regulation… could we see both cap-and-trade and ObamaCare die in the Senate?

Bishop Bruskewitz Brings the Smackdown on CCHD

Wednesday, November 25, AD 2009

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln was one of only four* bishops in all of America to refuse collections to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  The CCHD has been a great scandal because their funds go directly to paying for abortion and the promotion of same-sex marriage among other things.

Here is what Bishop Bruskewitz had to say [comments mine]:

“We question the ideology of [CCHD]” [of course the marxist and socialist leaning organizations that CCHD funds go to.]

“and … we are shocked at the scandalous participation with the ACORN organization and also the participation with other organizations of questionable moral values or standards.” [Bishop Roger Morin apparently sees no evil and hears no evil]

“It’s so extremely controversial,” [Yes it is!]

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3 Responses to Bishop Bruskewitz Brings the Smackdown on CCHD

  • This is a beautiful thing. Every revolution started as one thought in one man’s head.

    CCHD was Cardinal Bernadin’s baby, right?
    ’nuff said.

  • I am very gald that we have CCHD. Shocked?

    It is just another human failing that facilitates an opportunity for God to shine His Light on us. He is giving us an opportunity to recognize that Catholic Social Teaching is Catholic not secular.

    We are to witness to the Lord in Charity and in Truth.

    Time for Republican, conservative, libertarian, liberal and Democratic Catholics to start behaving as Catholics ought to and stop being secularly partisan.

    This inlcudes bishops and clergy.

    I am American Knight and I am an orthodox Catholic and a faithful husband then a Virginian and then an American. Politcal parties and secular ideologies be damned.

  • At my parish in the Diocese of Owensboro (sede vacante) there has been no CCHD collection yet this year, nor any mention of one coming up. There was some small add in the monthly newsletter put out by the diocese, but not much. I think it may be getting skipped this year since we don’t have a bishop.

Programmer Smack Talk and Global Warming

Wednesday, November 25, AD 2009

I’ve been amused to watch some of the arguments going on out in the blogsphere as discussion of the hacking of the climate change servers moves off into a discussion of the quality of the code being used by climate researchers to model global warming.


Commenter One: Much of the code in the academic world tends to be written by grad students that have taken a class in programming and get told to write it.

Commenter Two: This is totally untrue. I never took a class in programming before writing my crappy undocumented code.

There’s a certain wry self recognition for me here as well: I’ve never taken a class in programming, and I build mostly undocumented models to predict revenue and profits at specific price points based on past data. My results are directionally correct when you look at whole categories of products, but can be wildly off when projecting specific instances. (I try to make this clear to those who use my data, but people are always looking for certainty in life, even if they have to imagine it.)

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7 Responses to Programmer Smack Talk and Global Warming

  • Amazing isn’t it to consider that it took a bunch of hackers to bring this all to light. Obviously peer review, government agencies funding the research, private entities funding the research and the media have all done a completely miserable job in checking out the claims made by people pushing an agenda that would totally remake our economic system.

  • I think this is really the most interesting angle of the story. I could have predicted most of the other parts without the disclosures. But I’d always assumed that the models themselves were the best available (isn’t there adequate funding for that sort of thing?).

  • Waste enough profit margin and your company goes out of business
    Get enough CO2 in your atmostphere, and you get to enjoy the kind of climate that Venus
    Co2 is a building block for life on this planet. I heard a quote that when scientist look out into the universe that 96% are not like the planet earth. So to take Venus as an end could not be true.

  • Well, actually, it’s more than that. There are no other planets known to be like Earth.

    And to be clear, it’s actually not possible for us to end up with an atmosphere like that of Venus. Venus’ atmosphere is about ninety times thicker than ours, and it’s make up of >90% CO2. Earth’s atmosphere is 0.04% CO2. We could burn all the fossil fuels on the planet, and we’d still never have anything like a Venusian atmosphere.

    However, Venus is a good example of how CO2 acts very successfully as greenhouse gas: the surface temperature is a steady 850 degrees F, significantly hotter than Mercury, which is much closer to the sun.

  • Exposing the CRU as Nixonite operators may not do the trick. In Copenhagen they will operate according the left’s favourite heurestic: fake but accurate.

  • Ivan,

    Isn’t that most liberal’s modus operandi?

    They make stuff up and then ignore everything else?

  • Tito, if I recall correctly most of the Watergate operatives were contrite about it in public if not in 1973 then at least later. The problem with the modern operators is that they are so brazen and self-righteous. Accusing the sceptics of everything from being in the pay of Exxon to comparing them with Holocaust deniers, while they themselves draw huge amounts of funding and have no compunction about spiking the academic careers and prospects of their opponents. I am glad to be living through this time, when all the clay gods are tumbling down.