Half a Million Pilgrims Flock to See Our German Shepherd in Fatima

Thursday, May 13, AD 2010

A beautiful musical video showing Papa Bene in Fatima celebrating Mass.  Courtesy Rome Reports TV News Agency.

TV news show from NetNewYork reporting on the Pope’s visit to Fatima.  Courtesy NetNewYork’s Channel.

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One Response to Half a Million Pilgrims Flock to See Our German Shepherd in Fatima

  • Thank you Tito for your post about the trip of Peter to our country, Portugal.
    We are full of grace and happinness for his coming here and also feeling so much the responsibility that he gave to us all.
    I urge all to read the words of the Pope specially in Fatima and to our portuguese bishops. They are very clear and specific. The Church wants more from us and we can do more things if we trust more in Christ.

Are We All Greeks Now?

Thursday, May 13, AD 2010

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot AirAnother fine econ 101 video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.   Government debt is rapidly becoming the major issue of our time, both here and abroad.  The welfare states erected throughout the world have always had a resemblance to Ponzi schemes,  and all Ponzi schemes ultimately collapse, which is what is happening around the globe.  Robert Samuelson nailed it this week in the Washington Post:

What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone, and that’s why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven’t fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies.

Americans dislike the term “welfare state” and substitute the bland word “entitlements.” The vocabulary doesn’t alter the reality. Countries cannot overspend and overborrow forever. By delaying hard decisions about spending and taxes, governments maneuver themselves into a cul de sac. To be sure, Greece’s plight is usually described as a European crisis — especially for the euro, the common money used by 16 countries — and this is true. But only up to a point.

Euro coins and notes were introduced in 2002. The currency clearly hasn’t lived up to its promises. It was supposed to lubricate faster economic growth by eliminating the cost and confusion of constantly converting between national currencies. More important, it would promote political unity. With a common currency, people would feel “European.” Their identities as Germans, Italians and Spaniards would gradually blend into a continental identity.

None of this has happened. Economic growth in the “euro area” (the countries using the currency) averaged 2.1 percent from 1992 to 2001 and 1.7 percent from 2002 to 2008. Multiple currencies were never a big obstacle to growth; high taxes, pervasive regulations and generous subsidies were. As for political unity, the euro is now dividing Europeans. The Greeks are rioting. The countries making $145 billion of loans to Greece — particularly the Germans — resent the costs of the rescue. A single currency could no more subsume national identities than drinking Coke could make people American. If other euro countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy) suffer Greece’s fate — lose market confidence and can’t borrow at plausible rates — there would be a wider crisis.

But the central cause is not the euro, even if it has meant Greece can’t depreciate its own currency to ease the economic pain. Budget deficits and debt are the real problems; and these stem from all the welfare benefits (unemployment insurance, old-age assistance, health insurance) provided by modern governments.

Countries everywhere already have high budget deficits, aggravated by the recession. Greece is exceptional only by degree. In 2009, its budget deficit was 13.6 percent of its gross domestic product (a measure of its economy); its debt, the accumulation of past deficits, was 115 percent of GDP. Spain’s deficit was 11.2 percent of GDP, its debt 56.2 percent; Portugal’s figures were 9.4 percent and 76.8 percent. Comparable figures for the United States — calculated slightly differently — were 9.9 percent and 53 percent.

There are no hard rules as to what’s excessive, but financial markets — the banks and investors that buy government bonds — are obviously worried. Aging populations make the outlook worse. In Greece, the 65-and-over population is projected to go from 18 percent of the total in 2005 to 25 percent in 2030. For Spain, the increase is from 17 percent to 25 percent.

The welfare state’s death spiral is this: Almost anything governments might do with their budgets threatens to make matters worse by slowing the economy or triggering a recession. By allowing deficits to balloon, they risk a financial crisis as investors one day — no one knows when — doubt governments’ ability to service their debts and, as with Greece, refuse to lend except at exorbitant rates. Cutting welfare benefits or raising taxes all would, at least temporarily, weaken the economy. Perversely, that would make paying the remaining benefits harder.

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25 Responses to Are We All Greeks Now?

  • The problem is not ‘the welfare state’, but a welfare state incorporating perverse incentives, a welfare state not subject to constraints as to its size (relative to the productive economy), public and private consumption financed through borrowing from abroad, and public sector borrowing at times and in circumstances where it is simply inappropriate. Congress and the Administration could fix these problems. They just don’t feel like it.

  • I suppose the term welfare state is a big murky. I regard Greece as such a state, but not the US, though because the term is a loose one it is hard to know where to draw the line. But it is rather difficut for true welfare states (in the narrow sense of the term) to be fiscally responsible in the long run. This is precisely because cradle to grave security diminishes the otherwise organic incentives that are necessary to generate the productivity required to deliver such security. The smaller and more homogeneous the society the more likely it can work, at least for a while, but there will inevitably be serious costs in overall standard of living, very little economic or social mobility, and eventually a serious brain/brawn/character drain absent mettalic curtains.

  • You are conflating two phenomena: 1. the inclination of the government to balance its books and 2. the effect of the relative size of the public sector and what it rewards and what it does not on the economic dynamism of the country in question.

    Bar in exceptional circumstances (and Greece is likely now in such circumstances), the government can balance its books if it so chooses. It chooses not to in part out of habit, in part in thrall to Keynesian notions of the utility of public sector borrowing which (per many economists) apply only when their is exceptional slack in the economy, and in part as a consequence of patron-client politics.

    You might say that fiscal responsibility is difficult in circumstances where so many incomes are politically determined. You might also posit that particular tax and benefit configurations induce demographic implosion. These are different arguments than one which says that annual improvements in per capita income of 1.4% as opposed to 2% render common provision unsustainable.

  • I do understand the two concepts, but they are not so easily disentangled. My point is that the second phenomenon makes the first very difficult in the long run, though not necessarily impossible under certain conditions that probably cannot exist in the US.

  • The per capita income of the United States was, in 1960, about 40% of what it is today. Prior to 1960, the U.S. Government balanced its budget bar in exceptional circumstances (which circumstances were regrettably common during the period running from 1929 to 1955, but that’s another story). Enhanced affluence has not improved the government’s ability to balance its budget, quite the contrary. The United States has also been on a lower growth trajectory than other occidental countries, as has Switzerland. Neither country is given more than its peers to state intervention, but both are on the technologial frontier, meaning improvements in output have to be driven by innovation as well as application.

    Think about applying your hypothesis on a micro scale. You have ten men selected at random from urban neighborhoods at age 23. You are going to find that at age 46 they have quite a range of incomes because of how their skill sets developed over the years. They will likely have quite a range of relative debt loads as well, but that is (bar at the bottom of the scale) going to be derived from their ability and willingness to defer gratification (and various accidents), not their quantum of human capital.

  • Art,
    I’m not suggesting that the US’s deficit is predominantly caused by welfare spending as such — I do recognize that lack of discipline, but then again I’ve never suggested that the US is a welfare state. My point is that welfare states invite serious long term fiscal problems because (i) paying for cradle to grave security requires high tax rates that discourage the work and investment that produce the tax base upon which those rates are applied and (ii) cradle to grave security is a pretty good option compared to work, which increases the need for more spending while simultaneously decreasing the number of workers paying taxes. The ensuing fiscal challenges can presumably be met by living with substantially lower standards of living and greatly reduced economic and social mobility, but most people don’t really want to live with these things, so politicians respond by deficit spending. Now of course you can say then the problem is still one of lack of discipline in such a case, and you’d be right. But one cannot say that welfare state spending does not increase the pressure to deficit spend. And it does so more than most other types of spending because of the perverse incentives that cannot be eliminated, at least in a true welfare state. The bottom line is that cradle to grave security is an expensive proposition in a modern society, and raising the revenue necessary to pay for it encounters both political and economic difficulties.

  • The Scandanavian countries are net lenders despite their larger welfare states. And they have great economic growth. Yes, they have higher taxes but they also have better incentives. They have low corporate tax rates. They use school vouchers. The American tax and welfare system is the world’s most complex yet we have little to show for it.

  • Donald,

    Thank you for sharing that enlightening video clip.

    My opinion of Sweden has increased.

    I’m also now going to add Reason.tv to my video-roll of viewing.

    Incredible.

    He advises the U.S. not to increase taxes for a poorly efficient public sector.

    Sweden owes the vast majority of it’s high level of living standard to “free markets, de-regulation, lowering of progressive tax rates, and privatization of many formerly government owned sectors of the economy”.

    Fascinating.

    And Obama wants us to be more like Europe.

    What a maroon.

  • “Are we all Greeks now?”

    Let’s just say not yet, but we can taste the souvlaki.

  • The problem is not ‘the welfare state’, but a welfare state incorporating perverse incentives…-Art Deco

    No “welfare” scheme can escape “incorporating perverse incentives.” Making “welfare” a State function only adds to the number and intractability of its perverse incentives. This is especially so in any State based on a principle of equal rights.

  • RR,
    First, I acknowledge that our patchwork welfare system is inefficient, likely more inefficent than those employed by other western nations. For that reason I have long favored replacing all transfer payments, including social security, with a negative income tax. My instinct (and that is all it is) is that the additional costs associated with the work disincentive caused by such a program would be overwhelmed by the savings permitted by gutting the existing myriad of programs.

    Regarding Sweden, (I think Don’s video addressed other issues), which incentives exactly are you talking about?

  • Micha is correct. A true welfare state necessarily diminishes the incentive to work or engage in entrepreneurship by rewarding doing nothing, especially if the safety net is more generous than bare subsistence. Without necessity, no invention, as they say. As workers gravitate to participate in the safety net, program costs increase necessitating tax rate increases that add to the discouragement of workers and investors.

    Unlike many conservatives, I do not oppose income or wealth redistribution entirely. While I favor private action, I think government can have a significant role. But government policy must be carefully crafted to strike a balance between assisting the truly needy, especially children and the disabled, and avoiding the enablement of able-bodied adults to avoid work. Crafting such policy necessarily requires imperfect compromises given the competing considerations. All too often liberals have an excessively rosy understanding of human nature. People will take advantage of any system you give them. The capacity for rationalization is not limited to Greek protestors. Indeed, in this very forum I’ve read orthodox Catholic posters insist that it is morally acceptable to walk away from an upside down mortgage even if one can make the payments — because the lender never should have given you the loan, you see. People are self-interested, and while generous welfare programs may be well-motivated they will encourage perverse behavior. Moreover, government assistance inevitably becomes perceived as entitlements that can be relied on as opposed to charity that is uncertain.

  • Mike, I was talking about exactly the things that the video that Don posted talks about. The Scandinavian welfare states are more efficient. Freer trade. Lower corporate taxes. School vouchers. VAT.

    I too would like to see all transfer payments replaced with something like a negative income tax.

  • Restrained Radical,

    You comment here often so why not add a pic to your ID?

  • Charity creates perverse incentives. Perverse incentives can’t be avoided if you want to help the needy but they can be minimized. I have an idea for a welfare system: If you’re able to work, the government can offer $5/hour make-work jobs picking up trash, watering plants, or even just running around in circles.

  • restrainedradical:

    Yes it does, but government charity is far more pernicious in creating such incentives than is private charity. The former is viewed as a legal entitlement whereas the latter as voluntary. The latter cannot be counted on and is understood as a gift that has not been earned.

    “Workfare” proposals have been around forever, but never seem to secure traction. I seem to recall that there are some reasonable and sound explanations for this, but cannot recall what they might be.

  • If you’re able to work, the government can offer $5/hour make-work jobs picking up trash, watering plants, or even just running around in circles

    As someone currently employed by the government, I can honestly say that some public sector employment is nothing more than a thinly-disguised version of this. What some people would do without it, I don’t know. Starvation is not an acceptable answer.

  • I should hasten to add that during my time working for large corporations, I saw plenty of “make work” jobs. Those employees were perhaps in a more precarious situation than their civil service counterparts, but it was a similar type of job nonetheless.

  • “What some people would do without it, I don’t know. Starvation is not an acceptable answer.”

    Repair my roof? Cut my lawn? Wallpaper my kitchen? Paint my garage? Clean my gutters? I’d pay more than $5 per hour.

  • …government policy must be carefully crafted to strike a balance between assisting the truly needy, especially children and the disabled, and avoiding the enablement of able-bodied adults to avoid work. Crafting such policy necessarily requires imperfect compromises given the competing considerations.Mike Petrik

    Ahh, but in a State founded the principle that all men are created equal in the sight of the law making such distinctions between people leads to the creation of legions of bureaucrats trapped into robotically following rulebooks of every growing size, complexity, and loopholes inevitably spawned by such complexity. The “imperfect compromises” ultimately lead to “the enablement of able-bodied adults to avoid work” and some of “the truly needy” being denied State assistance.

    Alas, the attempt to “strike a balance” within a State welfare scheme in a nation founded on a principle of equal, individual rights is thus doomed to be the pursuit of an illusion. In America, that has become a very costly pursuit and the costs are not only borne by the nation in mere dollars and cents.

    Perhaps a welfare State in a nation of culturally and ethnically homogenous people that has a class system is less encumbered by the consequences of the necessary imperfect compromises required by a State welfare scheme. Homogeneity of the populace in a welfare State has been discussed elsewhere. Less commented upon is that in a class system, the bureaucrat who is of the upper class can deny or approve the lower class supplicant based on consideration of individual circumstances with no or very circumscribed possibilities for appealing the decision.

    P.S. There is no such thing as “government charity.”

  • Micha,
    I don’t think that the Declaration’s claim that all men are created equal is particularly at fault here, though I do agree that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause has very gradually given rise to a culture that seems to demand equal treatment in every way under every circumstances, even though court decisions, while imperfect and not completely consistent, do not demand anything like this. That said, I do agree with your general point that equal protection reasoning, and equal protection psychology, permeates and paralyzes bureaucracies. And I acknowledge that this makes the compromises I describe somewhat more difficult, but improvements can be made. The Clinton Administration’s welfare reform was certainly a step in the right direction, and was not derailed by equal protection obsessions. And it is worth noting that benefits are far more available to mothers with children than single men, which is a terrific example of well-intended rules with perverse incentives.
    I have no brief on the use of the word “charity” to describe transfer payments. I normally don’t prefer the word for the reason you suggest, but it can certainly be justified on the ground that it is the expression of the will of the people to voluntarily tax themselves to provide for others in need, even if imperfectly. The government is acting as the agent of its citizens, nothing more. I understand that this view of government action does not sit well with libertarians, but I’m not a libertarian.

  • There are mixed economies, and there are mixed economies.

    I was once involved in local politics and in that capacity a careful student of the New York State Statistical Yearbook. It has been a while, but working from memory here and bits and pieces of data I have seen in recent years, I will draw up a back of the envelope grocery list:

    –School vouchers
    (for primary and secondary eduction)… 4.5% of GDP

    –Medical Insurance (for acute care,
    structured per Milton Friedman) … 6.0% of GDP

    –L/T Care Insurance (nursing homes,
    group homes, asylums, &c., structured
    similarly to the above) … 2.0% of GDP

    –Unemployment compensation … 1.5% of GDP

    –Remittances to those with a
    negative income tax liability
    (structured per M. Friedman) … 3.5% of GDP

    –Child Protective & Foster Care … 0.5% of GDP

    –Miscellaneous (public defender,
    legal aid society, public service
    jobs & clinics on Indian
    reservations, disaster relief,
    refugee resettlement, deficits
    of mass transit systems). … 0.5% of GDP

    –Intergovernmental transfers to
    impecunious states and localities
    (net) … 1.0% of GDP

    That amounts to 20.5% of domestic product and covers the waterfront (from my perspective, not the President’s). Prior to 1914, the ratio of public expenditure to domestic product in occidental countries was, if I am not mistaken, around 0.10, and some portion of that was devoted to the common provision of the day, most typically manifest in public agencies (schools, asylums, city hospitals, sanitariums, orphanages, veterans’ hospitals, poor houses, &c.). Here in New York, public expenditure apart from welfare, education, and law enforcement typically amounts to about 5.5% of domestic product, I think. Law enforcement at one time amounted to about 2% of domestic product; it is now more than that and money well spent, but other occidental countries may be able to get by with less for similar results. The United States spends about 5% of domestic product on the military and espionage services. I think the global mean might be around 2.5%. Provision of gas, electricity, and water are properly undertaken by public agencies or regulated monopolies and might amount to 2% of domestic product.

    In other words, a welfare state with a baseline of public services can generally be had with a ratio of public expenditure to domestic product of 0.33 (in peacetime and barring a banking crisis), give or take some portion dependent upon local circumstances.

    By way of contrast, at the time Margaret Thatcher took office in 1979, the ratio of public expenditure to domestic product was about 0.43; the output of state-owned industry amounted to 10% of domestic product; and about a third of all metropolitan households were living in public housing. All told, the state sector amounted to about 55% of domestic product.

    Borrowing from abroad (and note that Greece’s balance of payments deficit on current account is running at 14% of domestic product) is not sustainable; routinized public sector borrowing is not (after a generation or two) sustainable. Demographic implosion makes for an unsustainable society as well as an unsustainable state. All of these are phenomena distinct from maintaining a vigorous ethic of common provision.

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Time Lapse Evidence Shows an Increase in Carbon Dioxide Does Not Harm Vegetation

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

[Updates at the bottom of this post.]

Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant.

And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.  And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.  And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.  And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat:  And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done.

–Book of Genesis 1:26-30

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27 Responses to Time Lapse Evidence Shows an Increase in Carbon Dioxide Does Not Harm Vegetation

  • Um, Tito … plants breathe carbon dioxide. They release oxygen into the atmosphere as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

    Some plants also love phosphates, and when Dow or some other company dumps them into a pond or a swamp, some species will love it. And crowd everything else off.

    The biblical command to dominion is a two-way street, and involves, unlike our corporate masters, a reciprocity of care and stewardship.

    Agreed the penguin and bear photos are silly. But I wasn’t aware you were a priest who wore a biretta. Who knew?

  • Not sure I understand the post. The AGW argument, right or wrong, is that increased quantities of CO2 will heat up the Earth’s atmosphere. What does the effect of CO2 (which plants absorb and process) on plants have to do with this?

  • Todd,

    Thanks for the 3rd grade science refresher.

    So tell me how a rise in CO2 levels will kill plants again?

  • John Henry,

    Your straw man is unproductive here JH.

  • Tito,

    Don’t think there was a straw man. I just don’t see what this post proves. What do you think the study proves?

  • John Henry,

    I’ll play along this one time only.

    Al Gore disciples are promoting Global Warming/Climate Change as a catastrophe of immense proportions, ie, destroying our environment.

    So this video disproves one of the many whacky theories that Global Warming/Climate Change alarmists are bandying about in order to increase the role of government in our lives.

    Which of course violates our free will.

    If you want to continue down this train of thought, then go ahead and post your own column and stop distracting from my post.

  • So this video disproves one of the many wacky theories that Global Warming/Climate Change alarmists are bandying about

    I’d never heard about this particular theory, I guess. The main line of argument is that CO2 emissions cause the atmosphere to heat up, which, over time, will raise sea levels and damage low-lying areas. And the concern is that this is a one-way ratchet; something we can’t undo. That all may be wrong, but that’s the argument I’d heard, rather than the claim that CO2 damages plants. As you’ve requested I stop commenting on this thread, I won’t comment any further.

  • Tito,

    I’m a little confused as to what the video is getting at.

    It’s certainly true that CO2 is great for plants, and that higher CO2 levels would mean more plant growth. In this sense, greater CO2 emission would be great for “the planet”. There have been periods when, for natural reasons, the planet has had much higher CO2 levels than we have now, and plants (among other things) were just fine. The claim of global warming advocates (or at least, those who don’t think that The Day After Tomorrow was a documentary), however, is not so much that “the planet” would be destroyed by more CO2, but that it would become very inconvenient for us, with oceans rising, weather patterns changing, etc. Since it’s hard to move large populations from where they are without a lot of suffering and death, it is pretty clearly true that if they are right in their predictions about the climate (which I think is open to question) the results would be bad for civilization, even though plans would very happily grow over the abandoned cities.

    I do share a certain annoyance with calling CO2 a “pollutant”, since it’s a perfectly natural gas which appears as part of our atmosphere. But then, “a weed” is simply a plant growing where you don’t want it to.

  • John Henry and Darwin,

    I’m at a loss of words of where you two are coming from.

    So you’re both telling me that global warming alarmists have never said that a rise in CO2 levels will destroy the environment?

    This whole time that rising ocean levels, plants dyeing, changing weather patterns, etc. is not what they’ve been saying?

  • John Henry and Darwin,

    I will admit that I failed to explain the sarcastic elements of my post, for that I’ll take the blame.

    By mocking them I sowed more confusion.

    And when I have to explain a post then I’ll be the first one to admit that the message wasn’t conveyed properly.

    With that thanks for being patient in explaining to me your confusion.

    Tito

  • My recollection certainly is that the global warmist claim is that among the ill effects of increased CO2 concentration is deforestation and crop loss. (Gore famously Photoshopped a NASA photo of Earth to suggest this in one of his books.) The truth is, as the video demonstrates, increased CO2 levels enhance plant growth.

    But to me, the real lesson of the video should be the role of planetary vegetation in the dynamic control of O2 and CO2 levels, which global warmists totally ignore. As CO2 levels rise (and O2 proportionately declines), plants consume more CO2 and produce more O2, helping to restore balance.

    And not just any balance, but one perfectly suited to the need of humanity. Many of our global warmist friends think that’s just an accident.

  • “So you’re both telling me that global warming alarmists have never said that a rise in CO2 levels will destroy the environment?”

    Got it.

    I confess: I never read Al Gore’s book. I had a 200-level college course in climatology, and I follow the science on the issue, less the politics.

    More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases heat retention near the surface. Most climatologists are less worried today about rising sea levels–and that’s enough of a problem for obvious reasons–than the planet hitting a tipping point where climate will change rather quickly. The scenarios include a shift in the monsoon climates of South Asia, the Gulf Stream redirecting toward Africa because of increased freshwater melt in the North Atlantic.

    The environment will survive most anything we can throw at it. The survival question would be rioting hundreds of millions in India, SE Asia, and Indonesia. Or Europe getting Canada-style winters. Plant and animal life can and will adapt to change. Since you’re very concerned about the economics of it all, let me remind you that in the long haul, western economics and politics are very, very fragile compared to the long-term survival of the planet.

    By the way, I don’t know of any environmentalist that took those polar bear and penguin images any more seriously than as an icon. Sorry if others thought they were any more than that.

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  • I am also familiar with the CO2 will destroy the environment and kill plants. Vaguely remember writing several replies about it four-five years ago.

  • Tom, Foxfier, et al.,

    Thanks, I’m sure I’m not the only one that read it that way as well!

  • Symbol,

    Fake but accurate?

  • Phillip,

    LOL!

    It’s amazing how we are accused of believing in myths, yet progressives and their Catholic enablers continue to propagate falsehoods.

  • Symbols to elicit an emotional connection?

    Of course they were; same way PETA use to put out those stupid comics like “Daddy tortures fish to death” and “mommy boils bunnies” or whatever.

    It’s admitted openly, now?

    (In defense of the lay folks that believed CO2 was killing plants, I do know that up by Mammoth Lake that’s happening– trees don’t like volcanic gas hitting their roots.)

    I personally really, really hope we’re causing global warming, since the reconstructed pattern of ice ages says we should be hitting one about now. Talk about a difficult change to adapt to!

  • “It’s amazing how we are accused of believing in myths, yet progressives and their Catholic enablers continue to propagate falsehoods.”

    It’s one thing to literally believe in a myth, and another to utilize mythology properly as either moral teaching or cultural rooting.

    The polar bear/penguin on an ice raft isn’t too much different from the Stupak poster Donald puts up now and then. It’s meant to elicit an emotional reaction from the base. It’s political PR. No more, no less.

    Some climate change deniers refuse to be swayed by either logic or emotion. They cling to their own views of and desire for a static world, in which nothing ever changes, and one’s environment never changes.

    Well, the universe doesn’t work that way. The planet’s climate is changing. Once that was denied. But even today we see that carbon dioxide levels are rising faster than plants can absorb it.

    If you’re interested in the serious science on climate change, there are places to go. If you want to keep it political, you’re also free to do that. But don’t complain that you’ve been left behind in the serious debate.

    Last word, gents: all yours.

  • Todd,
    You are wrong. The Stupak poster is obvious propaganda. The bear/penguin photos and videos are contrived to be deliberately misleading. Most people assume they are true and actual events captured on camera or video, and that is exactly what is intended. That is not comparable to the Stupak poster.

  • To be fair, the polar bear was actually captured, as I remember…it’s just usually used as evidence that polar bears are dying off, and they’re…um… not.

    Some climate change deniers refuse to be swayed by either logic or emotion. They cling to their own views of and desire for a static world, in which nothing ever changes, and one’s environment never changes.

    Now this is ironic, given that the folks who claim climate change is going on assume a static world is good (without evidence) and that the evidence for real climate change is somewhat shaky.

  • Todd,

    Here’s some pretty hard science with this conclusion:

    “Although carbon dioxide is capable of raising the Earth’s overall temperature, the IPCC’s predictions of catastrophic temperature increases produced by carbon dioxide have been challenged by many scientists. In particular, the importance of water vapor is frequently overlooked by environmental activists and by the media. The above discussion shows that the large temperature increases predicted by many computer models are unphysical and inconsistent with results obtained by basic measurements. Skepticism is warranted when considering computer-generated projections of global warming that cannot even predict existing observations.”

    Full link here:

    http://brneurosci.org/co2.html

    Now people can and do discuss the merits of this article. Bottom line though, reasonable people do disagree.

  • “The polar bear/penguin on an ice raft isn’t too much different from the Stupak poster Donald puts up now and then. It’s meant to elicit an emotional reaction from the base. It’s political PR. No more, no less.”

    Actually Todd it’s giving Stupak the benefit of the doubt, by assuming that he actually believed that the meaningless executive order that he got from Obama meant anything. I could put up a poster of Stupak saying “Liar”, but I never like going beyond the evidence before me.

  • Todd and everyone else,

    The polar bears are actually having a population boom that they are now moving into areas that have never seen polar bears in centuries and interbreeding with grizzly bears.

    As one polar bear biologist was quoted as saying, “There aren’t just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears,”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1545036/Polar-bears-thriving-as-the-Arctic-warms-up.html

  • Stupid bears! They don’t know they’re supposed to be dying.

  • “polar bears in centuries and interbreeding with grizzly bears”

    Time for a mind scrub to erase that particular image!

  • Echo Phillip

    More CO2 means more heat potentially (not that mankind is doing all that much), means more evaporation/transpiration (which reduces the heat energy of the ocean/land/plant by kcal/g water and reduces the water level but we get more rainfall and snowfall which returns water to the lands and oceans and ice to the poles), means better plant growth which converts CO2 into Carbon compounds (wood, stem, leaf, fruit, nuts, food, wheat, corn) which reduces CO2 in atmosphere and increases O2. So we’re going to get woozy from all the higher O2! And need more kids to eat all this food!

    Entropy is positive – AHHHHH!

    So God had a plan – and earth’s ecosystem isn’t so man-dependent as our narcissistics want to believe. Do you really think He would trust earth to our free will? We’re weak idiots. I have dominion over my children and wife – as long as I concur with practically everything they do! And Thank God for the 4th Commandment to help me with that family dominion think too. As God Designed.

Catholic-Islam Dialogue: Reciprocity the Key

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

For the past few years I have been taking my Catholic school students over to the nearby Mosque, as part of their World Religions research. It has gone well, everyone is on their best behavior, and it gives the students a chance to hear about Islam from devout Muslims, in their own place of worship. I also have visited the Mosque and Islamic community during the time of my run for public office to speak and dialogue about issues where we would find some common ground. It has all been a very positive experience, but there is one large elephant in the room that must be paid attention to.

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53 Responses to Catholic-Islam Dialogue: Reciprocity the Key

  • Even if we were to accept all of Saudi Arabia as a special case similar to Vatican City, what about the entire rest of the muslim world? The constitutions of Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan all recognize Islamic law as the basis for their legal system, often to the exclusion of anything else. Source: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p16600.xml?genre_id=3

  • Good argument. So much for the Vatican-Saudi Arabia comparison. I can understand Mecca, and perhaps Medina, not allowing churches or synagogues, but not Riyadh or the rest of the country. That us like Milan or Venice not allowing non-Catholic places of worship.

  • You are wrong.

    Muhammedanism is a vicious affront to Our Lord and Savior, and a threat to world peace. It has been waging a desultory war against the rest of mankind since about 640 Anno Domini.

    Your ‘good’ muslims are biding their time and financing global terrorism . . .

  • T. Shaw- I take my cue from the Magisterium- dialogue is encouraged, Muslims worship the same God as we- Jews do not worship in full comprehension of the Blessed Trinity- but we do not say they do not worship the One, True God.

    In some very important ways we have much more in common with a faithful Muslim than with a hardened secularist who is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and so forth- if we are talking about non-negotiable type issues.

    The problem is the reciprocity of religious liberty- and this is a major, major stumbling block that must be addressed for honest dialogue to take place- otherwise we would do well to suspect that dialogue is a one-way street and infiltration of our society in order to radically curtail our Christian freedom is a real threat to society- so let’s not go too far with our beef against Islam, but let’s stay connected to our Magisterium in how we proceed in relationship to these believers.

  • Tim,

    A good post.

    Though there is one point I disagree with and that is jihad.

    jihad is usually described as an internal struggle inside each man’s heart for moral purity.

    Only within the last couple of decades has this line of thought been thrown around.

    Jihad explicitly does mean the subjugation of non-Muslim nations if they refuse to convert without force.

    There is nothing in the Quran nor the hadiths that state anything close to the Just War Doctrine that we have.

    Just my two cents worth.

  • I work with several devout, normal muslims & I like them. I doubt very much that they’re “biding their time”, for heaven’s sake.
    OTOH, since you’re taking your cues from the Vatican, I hope you explain to your class what the word syncretism means.

  • Vatican Council II indicates that all Jews and Muslims in Rome are on the way to Hell. The Bible, the Church and Vatican Council II says Jews and Muslims need to convert into the Catholic Church to go to Heaven. All of them. Ad Gentes 7 says all people need Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for salvation. All means everyone with no exceptions.

    Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door.-Ad Gentes 7,Vatican Council II.

    Ad Gentes 7 says those who know about Jesus and the Catholic Church and yet do not enter are on the way to Hell. In Italy Muslims and Jews know about Jesus and the Catholic Church. It is a mortal sin of faith when they do not enter the Catholic Church.

    Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.-Ad Gentes 7, Vatican Council II

    Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.-Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II

  • Tito- as for jihad- what I was describing is how the Islam rep. describes it when asked about it- also most of the textbooks go with this description over the one you gave. As for Just War Doctrine- that was not their chosen term but it was my own given how they described the militant dimension to jihad- basically that a Muslim population has the right to defend themselves when attacked- which is how many feel about situations in the Middle East as in Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan- they would say that the fighting was provoked by foreign invaders- and the only thing they regret are the terrorist responses against civilian targets. That is their side of things anyway- for me the issue of religious freedom/reciprocity is the one that they could not come up with any kind of decent response, and seem to be hiding from such a dialogue on that front- which is why I think it is important to put stress on it as I believe the Holy Father has strongly suggested-

    to gb- I’m not sure if I’m catching your drift- are you of the view that since the Church teaches that Jews and Muslims worship the same God as we do- despite not having an appreciation for the fullness of the truth of the Blessed Trinity- that this is syncretism- or am I missing your point?

  • CATECHISM, VATICAN COUNCIL II, EX CATHEDRA DOGMA AND CDF INDICATE ALL ROME’S MUSLIMS AND JEWS ARE ON THE WAY TO HELL

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates that de facto non Catholics need to enter the Catholic Church for salvation. It also uses the word all (CCC 836) as does Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7).

    CCC 1257 affirms the dogma when it says that the Church knows of no means to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water. This is a reference to explicit salvation for all with no known exceptions.

    CCC 1257 also says that for salvation God is not restricted to the Sacraments. This must not be interpreted as opposing the dogma or the earlier part of CCC 1257. This is a possibility, ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) and we cannot judge any specific cases.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848
    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved -and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    How do we understand this saying from the Church Fathers? All salvation comes from Christ through his Body, the Church which is necessary for salvation because Christ is present in his Church…-CCC846

    Here the Catechism places de jure and defacto salvation together. It does not conflict with the ex cathedra teaching that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Catholic Church .We cannot personally know any cases of a genuine invincible ignorance, baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    The Father wants to reunite all humanity into his Son’s Church. According to St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, the Church was prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saved the world from the flood.-CCC 845
    Here again we have an affirmation of the ex cathedra dogma, the infallible teaching that de facto everyone needs to enter the only Ark of Salvation.

    The dogma, the infallible teaching is that de facto every person needs to enter the Catholic Church, Jesus’ Mystical Body (Colossians) for salvation, with no exceptions, known to us. Pope Pius XII called it the infallible teaching (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).This would apply to non Catholics in Rome.

    If there are exceptions to the ordinary means of salvation which is the baptism of water and Catholic Faith it will be known to God only and Jesus only will judge. So in a sense mentioning it is irrelevant at the level of personal evangelisation personal contact with non-Catholics.

    All men are certainly called to this Catholic unity. The Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ and all mankind belong to or are ordered to Catholic unity.-CCC 836
    Here again we have an affirmation of the ex cathedra dogma and the word all is used as in Ad Gentes 7.

    Here is the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.).

    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) – from the website Catholicism.org and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS)
    The ex cathedra dogma does not say that ‘those who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel or Christ or his Church, or who have a sincere heart’ do not have to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven. Everyone has to enter the Church and there are no exceptions. This was the infallible teaching for centuries (Letter of the Holy Office 1949)

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848
    It means that those who are the exceptions to the baptism of water are rare cases,’ in certain circumstances’, known only to God (Letter of the Holy Office 1949). We cannot judge. So the explicit salvation teaching for all to enter the Church, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church still holds. It is in accord with the dogma.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says all people need to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven, the Church is the only Ark of Noah that saves in the flood and the Catholic Church knows of no other means to eternal beatitude other than the Baptism of water (which is given to adults who have Catholic Faith).The Catechism says God wants all people to be united into the Catholic Church, it is in the Catholic Church that God wants all people to worship him. So this is a reference to the infallible teaching based on the Bible and Catholic Tradition. It is the teaching of the Magisterium of the past and today.

    Vatican Council II indicates that all Jews and Muslims in Rome and Italy are on the way to Hell. The Bible, the Church and Vatican Council II say Jews and Muslims need to convert into the Catholic Church to go to Heaven. All of them. Ad Gentes 7 says all people need Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for salvation. All means everyone with no exceptions.

    Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door.-Ad Gentes 7,Vatican Council II.
    Ad Gentes 7 says those who know about Jesus and the Catholic Church and yet do not enter are on the way to Hell. In Italy Muslims and Jews know about Jesus and the Catholic Church. It is a mortal sin of faith when they do not enter the Catholic Church.

    Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.-Ad Gentes 7, Vatican Council II
    Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.-Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II
    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican has positively endorsed the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus in Responses to Some questions regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church in which it refers to ‘the traditional doctrine’, ‘according to Catholic doctrine’

    Cardinal William Levada, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and Archbishop Angelo Amato, former Secretary, CDF emphasize in Responses to Some questions regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church:

    Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

    This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.]the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.-Responses to Some Questions Regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.(June 29, 2007)
    So Responses to Some Questions Regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church does not explain are understanding of Church (ecclesiology) as a break from Tradition and extra ecclesiam nulla salus.It repeats the message of Vatican Council II that the Church is a necessity for salvation (Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14). We do not separate Jesus from the Church, even though elements of salvation can be present outside the visible boundaries of the church. De facto everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church; it is a necessity for salvation .All non-Catholics need to enter through the ordinary way of salvation which is the baptism of water and Catholic Faith. De facto everyone needs to enter the Church.

    De jure (conceptually, in theory, intellectually, in theology) we could debate or discuss exceptions to the need of salvation, those without the baptism of water. However these are exceptions known only to God. They are unknown to us. They are unknown to us since only Jesus can judge. He will decide.

    Responses states

    “It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church”
    In ‘certain circumstances’ as Pope Pius XII states (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) those with implicit faith, those who are not Catholics ,can be saved (without Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water).So we cannot interpret ‘It follows that these separated churches and Communities….’ as referring to the ordinary way of salvation. Since only in ‘certain circumstances’; exceptionally and known to God only can members of separated Churches and communities be saved without Catholic Faith in the Catholic Church. The ordinary way of salvation is the baptism of water and Catholic Faith. For example the Catechism states that the Catholic Church knows of no way to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water (given to adults with Catholic Faith). So this is the ordinary way. Yet CCC 1257 also says salvation is not limited to the Sacraments. So here we have the dejure, extraordinary reference to the exceptional means of salvation. In a way it is irrelevant to us since it will be judged only by Jesus.

    If ‘“It follows that these separated churches and Communities…’ was a reference to the ordinary way of salvation then it would contradict Vatican Council II. Since Ad Gentes 7, states “all people” need Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for salvation. All.

    If de facto we know specifically, personally, that someone in ‘these separated churches and Communities’ can be saved, then it would contradict the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    So dejure, conceptually we know “It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness…’-is possible. De jure (conceptually, in theory, intellectually, in theology) we could debate or discuss this possibility.

    De facto it is clear that there are no exceptions to ‘ Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

    De facto (in evangelising, in personal contact with non-Catholics) there is no one who specifically has the baptism of desire, who I know is in invincible ignorance or who I can judge has good conscience.

    We know that all Muslims and Jews in Rome need to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell. This has been Catholic teaching for centuries and it is affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican Council II, the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document, besides other Church documents and the Bible.

  • The reason I think that the reciprocity of religious freedom is so important is not just so that the small/minority Christian populations may live to see another day- but also so that the Good News of Jesus Christ can lawfully be preached in order to fulfill Christ’s command to His disciples. We are obliged to preach the saving Gospel- yet we are not here to judge- that is Christ’s work- so we cannot go around asking folks- “Are you Saved?” for we are working out our own salvation in fear and trembling. Ours is to witness Christ and His Church to all people everywhere- and the fact that America has chosen to go about doing business as usual with two major nations that have zero respect for religious liberty and the freedom to preach Christ and Church- well that says a whole lot about the powers-that-be in this Land of ours. Of course, some Free Market ideologues will claim that doing business with tyrannical forces- giving mighty tithes to those powers and letting them set upon their own peoples to exploit their labor and “compete” against workers in other lands who have their freedom- that this is all part of God’s plan of free corporate enterprise.

    The question I have is when does engagement really just mask a selling off of your own ideals and morality in the name of Money- the love of which is the root of many evils??

  • Lionel, Vatican II states (in Lumen Gentium 16) that “those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.”

    The same paragraph talks about Jews & Muslims having the possibility of salvation.

  • Another aspect in the dialog with the imam (assuming he’s interested in continuing it) is that Christianity does not compel its followers to force it upon others, nor does it say that we must prohibit other places of worship.

  • I’m not entirely on board with the idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. It would require divorcing God from his nature too much — how much of the Christian understanding of God has to do with the Trinity and Incarnation? If Muslims deny those doctrines outright, I don’t see how they’re actually worshipping the same God. The theology is too important to dismiss the differences.

  • ” During the class visits the question of terrorism and jihad always comes up and that isn’t the big problem for the Islamic representative as one might think. They distance themselves from an interpretation of the Qu’ran that allows for the killing of innocents- and jihad is usually described as an internal struggle inside each man’s heart for moral purity. Most Muslims seem to go along with a rough sketch of the Catholic Just War Doctrine, which allows them to support military “resistance” such as in Palestine and elsewhere, but not to agree with all the tactics of warfare conducted as such. Similar to what many Catholics would say about America’s involvement in World War II, but not agreeing that the dropping of nuclear bombs on civilian centers was legitmate. So much for that hot button issue. ”

    Very many mosques in the United States are influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Wahhabism. The great paradox is that whilst both the Republican and Democratic parties in the US, maintain the fiction that Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States, Saudi Arabia is in fact a committed enemy of the United States.Wahhabism will not accept that any country that ever was under Muslim rule can be legitimately ruled by non-Muslims, it is as simple as that. Since both Spain and America are pledged to mutual defense under the NATO treaty, that from a Wahhabi perspective places America in a state of war with the Muslim Ummah, ( World Wide Muslim Community ),.

    It is inherently dangerous to use the word terrorism in discussion with Muslims, in the way the author of the article may well has used it, for the reason that Muslims who are committed to deception ” taqiyya ” of Christians and other non-Muslims have ample scope for word games in relation to the term ” terrorism “. For example, if asked about 9/11, they might say that they ” unreservedly condemn the terrorism, that occurred on 9/11 “, sounds good doesn’t it, what they could be saying is that they fully support aircraft having been hijacked and crashed in to the Twin Towers of the WTC, NYC, NY and they fully support an aircraft having been hijacked and crashed in to the Pentagon but condemn as an act of terrorism, attempts by the crew and passengers of United Airlines flight 93 to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers. As regards ” innocents ” in war, one must understand that term within the context of the territorial claims of the Wahhabis, once the US does not recognize Spain as being a rightful part of Islamic territory, all Americans who do not reject the US Government’s position that Spain is not an Islamic territory become legitimate targets for military attacks. The difference between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda is not one of theology and interpretation of Islam, it is one of tactics. The Saudi religious establishment believe for the present, that more can be achieved with respect to Islamic conquest, by infiltration and manipulation of the enemy through political, ideological, economic and psychological warfare techniques than simple military attacks, whilst al-Qaeda believe more conventional military insurgency techniques are appropriate at this time.

    Undercover Mosque the Return

    By the way with regard to the nuclear weapons used against Japan, it is arguable that more Japanese would have died if the US had sought to bring the war to a conclusion using conventional military methods.

  • Middle East oil is poisoning Western society, since for example the Saudis use a substantial part of their oil revenue to foster interpretations of Islam, which are antagonistic to Western liberal, ( that is ” liberal ” as used in British English, as is quite different to how the term is used in American English ), society. America needs to ramp up alternative energy technologies that will displace oil consumption. One of the arguments that the oil industry uses against supporters of renewables, is that they want people to live in huts, eat porridge and wear clothes made out of grass, simply not true, there is nothing of green freakery in for example sitting down in a restaurant car having a fine meal in a train cruising at 350 miles per hour which is being supplied with electricity by wind turbines.

    TGV world train speed record 3/4/2007 357mph English version

  • From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    •841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”[330]

    This is the basis for any fruitful dialogue- but without reciprocity of religious freedom we would be fools to participate in commerce and provide student visas for those who are serving the brand of Islam that would see the Saudi system of governance as ideal. In fact it is our substantial involvement with Saudi Arabia that actually provokes the bin Laden element- that along with the other biggie- support for Israel over the Palestinians. If our ties to the Saudi leadership was actually leading to religious freedom for Christianity in that country, it would be one thing, but our economic/political ties seem to have the added negative of encouraging the Saudi leaders to continue proving their Islamic bonafides by cracking down on anything non-Islamic and funding Mosques in Rome and supporting radical Islamic causes other than the ones directly targeting the Saudi leaders themselves. We totally played into this during the anti-Soviet era by encouraging Saudi money and Intelligence into Afghanistan-

    Let us do business with Muslim-Majority States that respect religious liberty and allow for Christian free speech and worship, and cut way back on ties with those Muslim States who don;t- this should be a big issue among Christians in this country- but the pragmatists and corporatists are the ones dominating the political and economic decisions.

  • ” Let us do business with Muslim-Majority States that respect religious liberty and allow for Christian free speech and worship, and cut way back on ties with those Muslim States who don;t- this should be a big issue among Christians in this country- but the pragmatists and corporatists are the ones dominating the political and economic decisions. ”

    Some people would argue that the above is a naive dogooder policy but it actually makes a lot of sense from a perspective of hard-nosed realpolitik, national security and the long term financial perspective. My view is that donations from Saudi Arabia to US mosques, educational establishments and pressure groups should attract substantial rates of US taxation and that the US Federal Government should have a discretionary power to withdraw tax exempt status from organizations which accept donations from Saudi Arabia.

    WELSH Guard plays “Darth Vader” for Saudi King

  • Chris we cannot interpret LG 16 as de facto salvation. This would be heresy. It would contradict the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and Ad Gentes7 and CCC 836.
    Also there is no de facto baptism of desire that we can know of.Only God can judge cases of implicit faith.
    The popes and Councils knew about implciit faith (baptisms of desire,invincible ignorance etc) and did not interpret it as de facto but de jure salvation. Something we accept in principle, de jure, as a concept, ‘in certain circumstances'(Letter of the Holy Office 1949) and known only to God.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tgICQ9ErVs&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • Tim,
    It is true that we worship the One Creator but the Church teaches that Islam is not a path to salvation and there is no theology which can say that Islam is a path for its members to go to Heaven(CDF, Notification on Fr.Jacques Dupuis s.j 2001).

    There are good things in Islam but there is also the Arian heresy and they are not free from Original Sin.

    Here is a video of a Rosiminian priest in Rome, who celebrates the Novus Ordo Mass in Italian, saying that every Muslim needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to go to Heaven.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZxeMPNclKU&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • Joseph,
    It is true we Catholics do not force our religion upon others but we do not have the obligation in dialogue, in mutual sharing, to say that Muslims are oriented to Hell according to Vatican Council II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    God wants every Muslim to worship Him in the Catholic Church(CCC) and the Church know of no way to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water (CCC 1257) given to Catholics with adult faith.
    Here is a video of Catholic priests, who celebrate Mass in Italian and affirm Vatican Council II, also endorsing the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbWzbKLBu8s&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • ” During the class visits the question of terrorism and jihad always comes up and that isn’t the big problem for the Islamic representative as one might think. They distance themselves from an interpretation of the Qu’ran that allows for the killing of innocents- and jihad is usually described as an internal struggle inside each man’s heart for moral purity. ”

    Anjem Choudary ONLY Muslim are Innocent rest can be Killed

  • I would like to point out that those whom submit to God’s will are called Muslims and their religion is called Islam. Not moslems, moslemism or Mohammedism written in the comments. Muslims do not worship Mohammed (Peace be upon him) nor do Muslims believe he is the founder of Islam. The name Islam and Muslims is what God calls in the Quran, it is not a religion named after a man.

    Muslims believe in Jesus (peace be upon him). They also worship the same God. And regarding why muslims believe Jesus (peace be upon him) is a prophet, and not Son of God or God, is answered in the following links.

    Prophet Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them) in the Holy Quran and Previous Scriptures
    http://theradiantlight.blogspot.com/

    Islam
    http://www.islamreligion.com/

    Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)
    http://www.rasoulallah.net/

    Quran Tafseer/Explanation meaning
    http://www.searchtruth.com/tafsir/tafsir.php?chapter=1

    By a German diplomat
    http://teachislam.com/dmdocuments/Muhammad_Aman_Hobohm_Islams_Answer_to_Racial_Problem.pdf

    Ihope this comment clear all the wrong misconceptions and stereotypes associated with Islam and its association with terrorism. I encourage you to research the islamic websites provided when obtaining information, and not anti-islamic websites and productions which feed your mind and others with incorrect information and hatred. Those whom produce Anti-Islamic/offensive productions inevitably intend to incite and provoke unrest and intolerance among people of different religious beliefs, and to jeopardize world peace and stability. Hidden under the cover of freedom of expression.

    It says in your scripture “blessed are the peacemakers” I hope there will be better understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims for peaceful co-existance. We should all be increasing peaceful dialouge, not fueling hatred and extremism.

    …………………….

    Islam is Peace
    Was Islam Spread by the Sword?
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/677/

    The Tolerance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) towards Other Religions
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/207/viewall/

    Let There Be No Compulsion in Religion
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/661/

    The Rights of Non-Muslims in Islam
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/374/viewall/

    What Does Islam say About Terorrism
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/238 /

  • Were one to compare Vatican city to Mecca and/or Medina, then one is comparing apples-to-apples, except that non-Muslims may not visit those two cities, while anyone can visit the Vatican City.

    I have very few kind things to say or think about Islam, or the Prophet Muhammed. I would not think a thing, however, about a ban on Christian worship, mission or construction in Mecca or Medina. It is rank sophistry, however, for the Iman to compare all of the K.S.A. to Vatican City.

    But then puerile sophistry is par for the course with Islam.

  • Adrian/tryptic

    CATECHISM AND VATICAN COUNCIL II ENDORSE MESSAGE IN CATHEDRAL OF BOLOGNA PAINTING

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II indicate that Mohammad was not saved and was oriented to Hell barring the exceptional. The religion he founded-the Catholic Church and the Bible indicates, is not a path to salvation. The Last Judgment by Giovanni da Modena, is a 15 th century fresco in the cathedral of San Petronio, Bologna it shows the Prophet Muhammad being cast into the flames of Hell. This is relevant for inter religious dialogue.

    Catholics do not accept Mohammad as a prophet, nor Islam as a path to salvation. Muslims in general, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, need Catholic Faith and Baptism to go to Heaven. They need to be baptized in the only Church Jesus founded, to reap the benefits of His Great Sacrifice for all people, Muslims included.

    This is the mercy of God the Father. He provided a way for all people, even before the time of Abraham, to go to Heaven, through the Supreme Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.

    PONTIFICIAL COUNCIL FOR INTER RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE, VATICAN

    Islam is not a path to salvation and Muslims need Catholic Faith and Baptism to go to Heaven said Father Felix Muchado, Former Secretary, Council for Inter Religious Dialogue (PCID), Vatican. He was speaking with me at the PCID office near St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday (26.02.2008) morning. He was asked if non-Catholic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam etc) are not paths to salvation (i.e. to go to Heaven and avoid Hell).He said YES.

    Do non-Catholics need Catholic Faith and Baptism in general, except for the exceptions, to go to Heaven and avoid Hell, he was asked. He answered yes. This was not mentioned in a triumphal sense or with hatred. It was a matter of fact statement.

    Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Vatican in an interview in the Italian daily Avvenire has emphasised the importance of Catholic Mission. He quoted the text from the Council Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14) which says:

    ˜All must be incorporated into Him by baptism, and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself explicit terms affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism (cf.Mk.16:16; Jn.3:5) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism (cf.Mk.16:16; Jn.3:5) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church.

    He was interviewed at the Salesian University, Rome by Gianni Cardinale (Amato: non ce Chiesa senza missione, March 8, 2008, Saturday p. 21, Catholica, Avvenire).

    Archbishop Angelo Amato, CDF, Sec., Vatican was saying that Judaism without the Jewish Savior is not a path to salvation and all Jews in general, need the baptism of water and Catholic Faith.

    MONS.RAFFAELLO MARTINELLI: ISLAM NOT PATH TO SALVATION
    Islam is not a path to salvation and their members need Baptism and Catholic Faith to avoid Hell said Mons. Raffaello Martinelli at his residence on the Via del Corso, on the solemn feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God (Jan1, 2008).

    Mons. Raffaello has since 1980 been working with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Vatican. For the last 23 years he has assisted Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. Mons. Raffaello was also a coordinator in the preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.The Archpriest (Primicerio) of the exquisite Basilica dei Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso in Rome he said that the Catholic Church teaches that Islam is not a path to salvation but Muslims can be saved, who are in invincible ignorance and those who die in good faith.

    “Are they saved through their religion?” he was asked to clarify. He answered no. Their religion does not save them.

    “Do they need to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven and avoid Hell?”

    He answered yes.

    All Muslims, he said, are called (by God) to enter the Catholic Church.

    He was asked if they are simply just called (optional) to enter the Catholic Church, through the baptism of water, or, are they called to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell. He answered that they are called to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.

    The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ he said. The Church is the general, normal way to be saved.

    He made the distinction between the ordinary and extraordinary means of salvation.

    The Church, the Body of Christ is the ordinary means of salvation. So the Baptism of water is needed for all people in general. However through the extraordinary means of salvation Muslims can be saved within Islam. They too are saved by Jesus Christ.

    “Who are these exceptions, saved implicitly through the extraordinary means of salvation?” he said, we do not know. We cannot judge. Only Jesus knows. We cannot say that a particular person is in invincible ignorance, has good faith etc. We humans cannot judge.

    NON CATHOLICS GOING TO HELL DEFINITELY-VATICAN COUNCIL II

    Yet Lumen Gentium N.14 is clear that those non-Catholics who know they should be in the Catholic Church and who have had the Gospel preached to them, and yet do not do so, will go to Hell.

    The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II refer to these non-Catholics going to Hell, definitely.

    We do not know who is in partial communion or full communion, we do not know who is in invincible ignorance or has perfect contrition or has a good conscience-only Jesus does.

    When we meet a Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim we assume that he or she is not saved, not because we know personally but because the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit tells us so.

    So would Mohammad come under the category of exceptions? No. Since he knew. He knew about the Catholic Faith.This is seen in the Koran. He chose not to enter the Catholic Church and formed a new religion. Interestingly, Muslims still pray that he may have peace.

    Jesus however is saying that those Muslims who believe will be saved, those who do not will be condemned (Mk.16: 15-16, Jn.3:5)

    The condemnation is to Hell. It was Dante who described the Inferno he saw.

    Mohammad was among the many people whom the Italian poet Dante Alighieri saw in Hell.

    DANTES EXPERIENCE OF HELL SIMILAR TO CATHOLIC SAINTS

    Dante saw Hell with caves and special tortures for different people. There was fire and water, demons and the presence of Satan. He saw suffering which would never ever end in time. The Catholic saints Teresa of Avila and Maria Faustina Kowalski also describe Hell similarly. Dante’s experience of Hell can also be compared with Sr. Josepha Menendez. It is similar to Hell shown by Our Lady to Sr. Lucia at Fatima.

    The Catholic saints were permitted by God to see Hell while they were alive and were allowed to tell the world about it.

    Dante’s vision was contemplation, said Mons.Marco Frisina, during a series of talks on the Divine Comedy of Dante, given at the Basilica dei Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso, Rome.

    After one of the talks, I spoke to him about the visions of the Catholic saints and how they were similar to that of Dante.

    I asked him, “Was it just contemplation or did Dante really go to Hell?”

    He replied, “Non lo so” (I don’t know)

    Unlike Dante the Catholic saints do not name names. St. Maria Faustina Kowalski recognized in Hell, people whom she knew. So did Sr.Josepha Menendez.

    Most of them in Hell said St. Faustina were really surprised to be there. Surprised! They expected to be in Heaven, once past the Particular Judgment. Were there were those who thought it was enough to be a Jew or Muslim?

    St. Faustina Kowalski and Dante saw demons in Hell and Satan being present to torment the people sent there. St. Teresa of Avila noted the dirty water with reptiles, so did Dante. They both observed there were special places and caves for the demons to torture people forever. Josepha Menendez saw people tortured in a special way in the parts of the body, which they used to sin. So did the Polish saint Maria Kowalska. This was what Dante saw and described.

    Sr. Lucia saw people amidst fire. Dante described many realms with fire. The Bible and the sacred books of other religions also list fire in Hell. However Dante is more explicit and covers a large range of the specific suffering in Hell. Sr. Lucia seemed to be shown, by Our Lady, just one area.

    The Catholic Church tells us that a category of non Christians will go to Hell. That non Christians can go to Hell is clearly said in Vatican Council II and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Jesus cautions us about Hell in the New Testament. The road to Hell is wide and many take it He said. This warning was His love for us. The Old Testament and the Psalms have many references to Hell. Isaiah (33) asks who can withstand a devouring fire for eternity. The Quran refers often to Hell.

    The message of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that those non Catholics who have had the Gospel preached to them and who know that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church of God, founded by His Son Jesus Christ, and who yet do not enter through baptism and Catholic Faith will go to Hell (they cannot be saved).

    Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by God through Jesus Christ would refuse to enter her or to remain in her could not be saved. – Decree on the Missionary activity of the Church, Ad Gentes # 7, Vatican Council II

    Mohammad knew about Jesus Christ and the Church Jesus founded. This is clear in the Quran. Yet he refused to enter it. He had the Gospel preached to him. His soul, Catholic teaching indicates is oriented towards Hell.

    Many Muslims who have had the Gospel preached to them, who know that God the Father founded his only Church through his Son Jesus Christ. They know that they need to join this saving-Church because this is what God wants of them. Yet they do not do so. They are oriented towards the Inferno at the time of their death.

    The Bible and the Catechism say that just one mortal sin at the time of death, is enough for a soul to go to eternal death. Muslims, do not have the help of the Catholic Sacraments.

    And whosoever shall keep the whole law but offend in one point is become guilty of all. For he that said: Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also: Thou shalt not kill. Now if thou do not commit adultery, but shalt kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:10-11). (Douay-Rheims Bible)

    So there are not only Mortal sins of Faith, which is relevant to Mohammad, but there are also Mortal Sins of morals. The Church specifies which are the mortal sins e.g. committing or encouraging murder-abortion, euthanasia, fornication, homosexuality, fornication.

    There are many Muslims who believe that they are doing good and have a good conscience. With mortal sins of faith and morals they are oriented to Hell, while living as Muslims. This is not what God wants of them.

    The Catholic Church teaches us that the religion Muhammad founded has good things but it is not a path to heaven. It also has errors and deficiencies (Dominus Iesus). It carries the fourth century Arian heresy which denies Jesus is God. It denies the Trinity and the Crucifixion of Jesus.

    THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOES NOT CONDEMN ANY PROPHET OR RELIGION

    The Catholic Church, however, does not officially name any particular person in Hell. It does not even say that Judas is in Hell (or Heaven) even though Scripture indicates that Judas’ soul is cursefreesite in Hell.

    One can appreciate many good and holy things in the religion Muhammad founded.

    This report here hence is not a condemnation of Muhammad and Islam. Neither does the Catholic Church condemn either.

    The sin of heresy however is a Mortal Sin.

    ‘…those who do not believe will be condemned’ says Jesus (Mk.16:15-16).

    They have chosen their condemnation. They have chosen eternal death. Muhammad, like Gandhi knew about the Catholic Faith. They chose otherwise.

    Muhammad, like Gandhi, was born with Original Sin. Muhammad carried the image of Adam (1 Cor.15:45-49).Through Baptism ‘we bear the image of the heavenly one’- Jesus. Muhammad died with the stain of Original Sin. He could not say that Jesus is Lord. He who cannot say that Jesus is Lord is the Antichrist the Bible says.

    Muhammad’s concept of Heaven is not that of Christians. St. Faustina Marie Kowalski describes her vision of Heaven which is Trinitarian. (N.777Diary). She described Paradise where Catholics are in happiness, amidst great beauty and give praise and glory to the One Triune God. It is a place of pure love for God without the presence of evil. (Whatever ones religion or lack of it, if one is saved it is through Jesus and the Catholic Church, one is a Catholic in Heaven).

    VATICAN COUNCIL SAYS ISLAM NOT PATH TO SALVATION

    Vatican Council II actually says that Judaism, Islam and the other religions are not paths to salvation. (Ad Gentes 7) Their followers need Catholic Faith and Baptism in general, to avoid Hell (Lumen Gentium 14).

    The Council asks us to have “a high regard” for the precepts and doctrines of these religions “which often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men” (Nostra Aetate, N.2), but does not anywhere say that these elements are sufficient for salvation.’-Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, Christ to the World (1981)

    Not to believe in the one God as in Catholic Revelation is idol worship. It is contrary to the First Commandment. Idol worship is to make ones ego a god. It is to make ones badly-formed conscience god (CCC 2104, 2105, 2113, and 2114).It is choosing to worship as one wants to, personally, and not as God wants to be worshipped. We can choose to make television, or the editorial in a particular newspaper are idol, our god. Muslims can choose to stay within their religion, and circle the stone Kaaba, in a religious pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia.

    REFUSAL OF THE EUCHARIST FOR FIRST CLASS HERESY

    Muslims who know the truth about the Catholic Church and yet choose to remain in the religion Mohammad founded are in heresy. Heresy is a grave sin (CCC#2088).Persistent grave sin; with full knowledge is a Mortal Sin.

    A Catholic in persistent Mortal sin, known to many people, can be refused the Eucharist. It means the loss of Sanctifying Grace. Heresy on this issue, means giving up the right to receive the Eucharist. For a Catholic religious it is giving up the right to celebrate Holy Mass or to canonically hold an office as a Catholic.

    Muslims cannot receive the Holy Eucharist.

    We appreciate all the good and holy things inIslam which are a preparation for the Gospel and entry into the Catholic Church.(Notification,CDF,Dupuis 2001).God loves Muslims.

  • Adrian,
    The Youtube video of Choudry shows that Islam says the same as the Catholic Church, only we said it some 500 plus years before them.We do not advocate violence and war and do not force are Catholic beliefs on any one.
    However the Church does teach that everyone needs to be a member of the Mystical Body of Jesus to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.It is the will of God that everyone be united in the Catholic Church(CCC). The Church is the only Ark of Noah that saves in the flood(CCC),the Church can be compared to a Door in which all must enter for salvation(CCC/Church Fathers).

  • Tim/T.Shaw
    We do not personally say that anyone is going to Hell because we personally know- we don’t. However the Magisterium says that the Imam is on the way to Hell.Since he is educated and knows about the Church and yet does not enter.(Vatican Council II).He also has Original Sin and is oriented to Hell (Ex Cathedra, extra ecclesiam nulla salus).
    So in dialogue would you tell the Imam that the Church teaches that he is oriented to Hell fires?

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1KXFspkG4Y&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjJRCIHNqc4&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • ” The Youtube video of Choudry shows that Islam says the same as the Catholic Church, only we said it some 500 plus years before them.We do not advocate violence and war and do not force are Catholic beliefs on any one. ”

    Dear Lionel Andrades I am well aware that the thinking of the Catholic Church, ( or at least a good part of it ), during the era of the 15th Century had much similarity to the opinions of Mr Choudary but the way you have written your posting makes it ambigious as to whether the Catholic Church has abandoned the position that it is okay to kill people simply because they do not accept elements of Christian theology, for example the divinity of Jesus, when the reality is that the Catholic Church has abandoned enforcing Catholic orthodoxy on others through the sword.

  • Adrian

    We affirm the same orthodoxy as the 15th century(extra ecclesiam nulla salus) but we do not force people to accept our views, neither do we advocate violence.

  • If an adherent of a particular religion, wishes to claim that this or that individual or this or that group will burn in hell fire for all eternity, that is often in of itself of little concern to me. Where it starts to get problematic is in faiths, that do not leave it go to God dispense justice in such matters. This is a particular problem in Islam.

  • Adrian

    Islam believes in Hell with fire just like Catholics. They also believe all of us non Muslims are going there. So they conduct Mission(dawah) to convert us.
    Some do it peacefully others through violence.
    We also believe that Muslims are oriented to Hell unless they convert.So we proclaim are faith peacefully and can even expect to be killed.
    God will dispense justice of course, Hell or Heaven however we still proclaim the hard truths of the Catholic Faith.

  • But not all of us Catholics have the same view on Islam.
    Joan Lewis is the Bureau Chief of EWTN in Rome and over the last few years I have been asking her three questions about Catholic Mission and Salvation and she will not answer them. She can also be heard on Radio Vatican which continues the slander on Fr. Leonard Feeney implying all of us Catholics who agree with him are also heretics.

    To reject the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus is a mortal sin. So how can Joan Lewis receive the Eucharist at the Church of Santa Susanna Rome and worse still also be a Eucharistic Minister?

    It is possible becaue of the Rector of Santa Susanna Fr.Gregory Apparel, a Paulist Father. In a homily he openly rejected the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and cited Vatican Council II.After I corresponded with him via e-mail he asked me to stop coming to that Church.

    Joan Lewis would also give the Eucharist to John Allen, a former member of the Church praish council. Allen, at the National Catholic Reporter has rejected the dogma and supported homosexuality,syncretism and other evils.It is all there in public.

    EWTN has a similar policy as the Vatican Radio English Service. Even the Vatican Radio Press Service has been issuing press releases as if they have received a special dispensation from the Church to reject the extra cathdra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. The rejection of Church teachings and the criticism of the Catholic Church is familiar on Radio Vatican (English).
    They could politey tell you that the Imam does not have to convert.

  • To “World Peace”-

    I’m inclined to give you the space to defend Islam- in fact I think it fair to allow all religions to speak their piece- even go door-to-door to hand out literature or attempt to start a conversation with anybody on the questions that are the most important in life- Is there a God? Has He revealed Himself? What truths have been conveyed from Above? This freedom to speak and share- as long as there is no pressure or harassment conveyed- is what I call religious liberty- along with the right to worship and display articles of one’s faith on their property and selves- this is the whole point of my posting.

    Catholicism promotes religious liberty even as She preaches that the Church has the fullness of the Truth- the fact that Jesus Christ will come again and judge the living and the dead- and so forth- there is no contradiction in holding these two concepts- one that everyone should have religious liberty and two that God has revealed Himself and we have the obligation to preach the Good News in good weather and bad. The United States and most of Europe seems to allow for these two actions to occur simultaneously. Respecting individual consciences and respecting religious adherents to practice and preach their beliefs in public and private- with only minimal interference ideally.

    The problem I would address to “World Peace” is the seeming difficulty in the lack of reciprocity in some key Islamic dominate nations such as Saudi Arabia- if Christians are not free to do what I detail above in Saudi Arabia- why should we allow Islamic adherents to increase in numbers here in the U.S. or receive student visas, and profit mightily from an economic relationship- when the preaching and teachings of Jesus Christ are banned from the lands of Islamic dominance? If Islamic adherents were to be working toward ushering in an era of true religious freedom in their homelands- that would seem to merit a healthy presence in our country- but without that one must be concerned that if or when the numbers change and Islamic adherents become a majority here in the U.S.- would we see a push toward turning the U.S. into a replica Saudi legal state? I prefer not to have to worry about all this- and the situation would be easily rectified if Saudi Arabia and other such states would move in the direction of respecting religious freedom- there are plenty of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, and I imagine that there are Saudi citizens who are Christians but who fear criminal charges for coming out as Christian. Here in the U.S. Christians converts to Islam are in no way targeted by the laws of our land- why not put your respect for our Christian faith into real terms by proclaiming the need for religious freedom in Saudi Arabia et al? This would be a necessary first step in ensuring that any kind of positive dialogue could take place- otherwise you can speak all you want of the wonderful qualities of Islam but if in fact Islamic nations have zero tolerance for Christian expression, there is no reason for Christians to pursue good faith dialogue with those who apparently do not have the good sense to actually respect our lives and consciences.

  • One question I would posit based upon (CCC 846-848)

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    847
    This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    848
    “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.

    I would argue that the question of salvation turns on the question of the knowledge or lack thereof and possessed by Muslims concerning the Gospel of Christ or his Church, and the extent to which, their ignorance is vincible or invincible in nature As Pius IX pointed out in paragraph seven (7) of

    7. Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments. Quanto Conficiamur Moerore 10 August 1863 which was reaffirmed in paragraph twenty-three of Mystici Corporis Christi dated 29 June 1943

    23. Nor must one imagine that the Body of the Church, just because it bears the name of Christ, is made up during the days of its earthly pilgrimage only of members conspicuous for their holiness, or that it consists only of those whom God has predestined to eternal happiness. It is owing to the Savior’s infinite mercy that place is allowed in His Mystical Body here below for those whom, of old, He did not exclude from the banquet.[20] For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy. Men may lose charity and divine grace through sin, thus becoming incapable of supernatural merit, and yet not be deprived of all life if they hold fast to faith and Christian hope, and if, illumined from above, they are spurred on by the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit to salutary fear and are moved to prayer and penance for their sins.Mystici Corporis Christi dated 29 June 1943

    We as Catholics must tread carefully when speaking of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. because Pope Pius XII excommunicated Rev. Leonard Feeney 13 February 1953 for adopting a position that was to rigid on the subject. Even though the excommunication was lifted some twenty years later it instructive in the sense that it demonstrates the danger that exists in adopting absolutist positions.

  • Nathan:

    There is no Church document which says that Pope Pius XI excommunicated Fr. Leonard Feeney for heresy. The Letter of the Holy Office (1949) during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI refers to disobedience to Church authorities. The Letter mentions extra ecclesiam nulla salus as ‘the dogma’ and the ‘infallible teaching’.
    Here is the dogma, the infallible teaching.

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.).
    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).
    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)
    There cannot be two positions about the dogma, there is no rigid and non rigid position, there is no absolute and non absolute position, a dogma is a dogma.
    As can be seen from the dogma above Pope Pius XI was saying that every Jew (and Muslim) in Boston needs to convert to avoid Hell.
    The Jewish Left media refer to the rigorist interpretation of the dogma (as if there can be two interpretations) but that is their political position. The stuff of Wikipedia and the New York Times.
    The Catechism and Vatican Council II are in accord with the dogma.
    CCC 847 says all people are saved by Jesus and the Catholic Church. It includes those saved explicitly and those implicitly. It does not rule out everyone de facto having to enter the Church for salvation.
    CCC 847 like Lumen Gentium 16 mentions those who can be saved with implicit faith and who are known only to God. There are no de facto cases of invincible ignorance or the baptism of desire that we can judge or really know of. So 847 does not refer to de facto salvation and is not in contradiction to the dogma. It is a reference to de jure salvation, something we accept in principle and is possible ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).
    CCC 848 refers to those saved in invincible ignorance and who are known only to God.
    If salvation depends in particular cases on one’s knowledge or lack of it, in a Muslim, then this is acceptable in principle, de jure and will be judged only by God. The dogma and Ad Gentes 7 says all Muslims, everyone, need to enter the Church to avoid Hell.
    We do not know for example how many Muslims in Rome have the baptism of desire or are in invincible ignorance. However Ad Gentes 7 indicates that they are all on the way to Hell since they know about the Catholic Church and yet do not enter.
    Neither can we say that invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire is the general means of salvation for all Muslims and Jews.The church corrected ‘the theology of religions’ being proposed by the late Fr. Jacques Dupuis S.J (Notification, CDF, 2001)
    After every thing is said and done, debated and argued we have the dogma clear before us.

  • Tim,
    There are blasphemy laws in Pakistan and other Muslim countries.Does the Imam condemn it in public ?

  • Lionel,

    I respectfully disagree Rev. Feeny was excommunicated on 13 February 1953 as proof of his excommunication I submit the declaration of excommunication

    100 Acta Apostolicae Sedis – Commentarium Officiale

    ACTA SS. CONGREGATIONUM SUPREMA SACRA CONGREGATIO S. OFFICII DECRETUM SACERDOS LEONARDUS PEENEY EXCOMMUNICATUS DECLARATUR

    Cum sacerdos Leonardus Feeney, Bostonii (Saint Benedict Center) residens, qui propter graviter denegatam oboedientiam Auctoritati Ecclesiasticae
    a divinis iamdudum suspensus fuerat, non obstantibus iteratis monitionibus et excommunicationis ipso facto incurrendae comminatione, non resipuerit, Emi ac Revmi Patres rebus fidei ac morum tutandis praepositi, in Plenario Conventu Feriae IV, habito die 4 Februarii 1953, eundem excommunicatum cum omnibus iuris effectibus declaraverunt.
    Feria autem V, die 12 Februarii 1953, Ssmus D. N. D. Pius Divina Providentia Papa XII Emorum Patrum decretum adprobavit, confirmavit atque publici iuris fieri iussit.
    Datum Romae, ex Aedibus S. Officii, die xin Februarii a. MCMLIII.
    Marius Crovini, Notarius

  • Lionel, I never said Father Feeny was excommuicated for heresy. I know that he was excommunicated not for heresy but for grave, continuing disobiedence and refusal to submit to Ecclesiastical Authority as demonstrated above. His disobiedience originated with his refusal to conform to the position taken by the Ecclesiastical Authority on the subject of extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

  • We have to avoid the Fundamentalist Christian trap of claiming to full well know God’s will in deciding any particular individual’s ultimate destiny. Church teachings indicate that only Christ can Judge such things- and we believe that Christ is the one who judges all individuals- He is not our personal jesus, He belongs to everyone – or more accurately everyone belongs to Him. We also know that salvation is mysteriously worked out through the Church of Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ. We know that there are explicit members of good standing who are knowingly and wittingly Catholic, and we know that there are individuals below the age of reason who are nevertheless baptised Christians, and we know through reason and Church teachings that there are those who are separated from God by mortal sin- who are inside and outside of the visible structures of the Catholic Church.

    We also know that there must be an element of “knowing” of one’s sin, and “knowing” that the Catholic Church is really and truly the One, True Church- these elements are where the mystery of each man’s heart and mind kicks in. We should not presuppose that someone is a good sort and is definitely going to or is in heaven, and we should make the automatic opposite assumption that someone is definitely heading to hell- with no qualifiers- just a plain certainty that this or that fellow is going or is in hell. The Pope doesn’t even allow that Judas is for certain in hell- we know that hell exists, we know that Jesus warns of it and many parables suggest that there are many who end up there- but again the bottom line on ultimate status is one that is best left to Jesus Christ Himself. It is hard enough to sort out an official Saint of the Church.

    Now we are obliged to share the Good News with everyone, never assuming that a non-Catholic is necessarily such a good sort that they are heaven-bound no matter their beliefs concerning the Catholic faith. We have a duty to preach the Gospel in season and out. We can allow that children raised in non-Catholic or “bad” Catholic homes will have a more difficult journey when you take in the truth that we are all to honor our mothers and fathers, and when we are led astray by those who are put here to give us the best possible helps- well that makes for a confusing situation- add to that growing up in a society where nearly or very definitely everyone is a non-believer, or an adherent of a different religion, then you can start to appreciate some of the complexities in determining one’s freely chosen beliefs concerning explicit understandings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II even wrote in his book- Threshold of Hope- of how it was understandable how someone like Gandhi would have troubles in accepting Christianity from the hands of the same forces that oppressed him and his homeland.

    So- I hope to conclude my post with something approaching the true guidance of our Mother Church- we are called to witness for Christ and Church- there is no way to suppress that demand of all disciples of Christ. We must also be gentle as doves, and shrewd as serpents in doing so. We must evangelize with our lives, our words, our works and so forth. But we are called to stop short of making ultimate Judgements on the outcomes of any one man’s soul. We know the prescriptions for holiness as orthodox Catholics- we need to keep pulling the planks out or our own eyes first, but not neglecting to admonish all sin and sinners we encounter- with charity and without coming across as “clanging gongs” full of truth but too little love.

    I am not down with just outright bashing of folks who are Muslim, Jews, Buddhists, or even non-believers in anything Holy. We don’t know that these people who belong to some degree to these other faiths are necessarily going to hell- anymore than we can say with complete certainty- I’m saved, I’m going to heaven- Jesus has no say in the matter- well hold onto your horses. One can use the “Judge Not” Scripture to bad effect, but I think it is to be applied to making these Ultimate Judgments on particular human souls. We can apply good theology and sound reason, and we need to keep abreast of what language and what approaches our Church Hierarchs are activating, so that we can be better witnesses for the Faith. If someone sounds just way too harsh, or way too gentle and wishy-washy, I try to find some speech or talk from the Pope on the subject or watch to see how he conducts himself in the company of non-Catholics. In trying to become little christs, we should draw upon the guidance from our Holy Father- Santo Papa. As such I am pursuing the important issue of reciprocity of religious freedom, without making blanket assertions about all Muslims heading to hell- assuming that they fully understand the implications of not viewing the Catholic Church as Church founded by Jesus Christ to be the provider of the normative means of salvation for universal humanity. I try to step back and appreciate the Mystery of Salvation, and humbly submit my will to God for moral improvement and clearer insight into the human condition. God bless all those of goodwill- I would like to offer non-Catholics a welcome to consider what being Catholic means by reading our Catholic Catechism in it’s entirety, along with reading Holy Scripture, and the Papal Encyclicals on all manner of topics. Welcome!

  • Nathan,
    Here is the English version of the same DECREE:
    I am glad that you agree that he was not excommunicated for heresy.
    He refused to be obedient to the Archbishop of Boston, the ecclesiastical authority, who finally time showed, never affirmed the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.Neither did he issue a clarification when the secular media in Boston repeated that the Catholic Church has changed its teaching on outside the Church there is no salvation.
    Fr.Feeney also refused to go to Rome to defend himself.He was disobedient.

    Pius XII – Decree Excommunicating Leonard Feeney, 13 February 1953

    Prior to the excommunication, Feeney received the following summons to appear before the Holy Office from Cardinal Pizzardo on November 22, 1952.

    The Holy Office has been obliged repeatedly to make your teaching and conduct in the Church the object of its special care and attention, and recently, after having again carefully examined and calmly weighed all the evidence collected in your cause, it has found it necessary to bring this question to a conclusion.

    DECREE

    THE PRIEST LEONARD FEENEY IS DECLARED EXCOMMUNICATED

    Since the priest Leonard Feeney, a resident of Boston (Saint Benedict Center), who for a long time has been suspended a divinis for grave disobedience toward church authority, has not, despite repeated warnings and threats of incurring excommunication ipso facto, come to his senses, the Most Eminent and Reverend Fathers, charged with safeguarding matters of faith and morals, have, in a Plenary Session held on Wednesday 4 February 1953, declared him excommunicated with all the effects of the law.

    On Thursday, 12 February 1953, our Most Holy Lord Pius XII, by Divine Providence Pope, approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers, and ordered that it be made a matter of public law.

    Given at Rome, at the headquarters of the Holy Office, 13 February 1953.

    Marius Crovini, Notary
    AAS (February 16, 1953) Vol. XXXXV, Page 100
    ___________________________________________________

    Since he was not excommunicated for heresy, the ‘absolutist’, ‘rigorist’ position of the dogma stands. It is the official teaching of the Catholic Church.

  • Tim,
    ‘Making blankt assertions that all Muslims are going to Hell….’
    All Muslims are de facto going to Hell according to the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus which you still have difficulty in affirming.
    Here is the ex cathedra dogma,once again.

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215).

    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) – from the website Catholicism.org and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS
    http://nosalvationoutsideofthecatholicchurch.blogspot.com/)

    The Church does not say that Judas is in Hell and neither does the Church say that he is in Heaven.However the dogma does say that all Muslims are on the way to Hell.
    So when I meet a Muslim I know that he needs to convert since I cannot judge if he has the baptism of desire etc.The Church says that he is oriented to Hell with Original Sin and mortal sins committed in that state.He lacks the Sacraments including that of the baptism of water.

  • What would Scott Hahn say if he mt th Imam ?

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJdigrcFDFc&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu15hXWQ7Qc&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • What would Scott Hahn say if he met the Imam ?

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PtCFSVuKAc&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • VATICAN COUNCIL II SAYS OUTSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THERE IS NO SALVATION

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6ECtRajdJc&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • FRANCISCAN PRIEST SAYS LUMEN GNTIUM 14 IS THE ORDINARY WAY OF SALVATION

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om0mrS_H4w4&hl=it_IT&fs=1&]

  • Lionel-

    It is agreed that if there is any saving to be done- it is Jesus Christ who is going to do it- He is God- not a mere prophet or holy man. I don’t know that we have a dispute on formal theology because I also agree that the normative means of grace and salvation are found inside the Catholic Church- this is why we must as Catholics witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ and to the truth of the Catholic faith- I think we both agree here. Where we are getting tied up in knots is how do we go about evangelizing Muslims, Jews, Hindus, non-believers and so forth. Your way is to hit them over the proverbial head warning them that they are on the path to hell- that is one means of evangelizing the truth- another way is the way I see witnessed by our modern popes and current Pope- when I read their speeches regarding Muslims I don’t get this over-the-top approach in the way they evangelize- it seems that they are speaking the truth with nuance- recognizing that while the normative means of salvation are the surest path- we cannot exclude the extraordinary Mercy of our Lord.

    If you desire to help someone who has inherited a faith from parents they love and adore- you would do well to enter into an oftentimes slow and difficult dialogue if you hope to convince and convert someone. If you show up on their doorstep and announce to them that their parents are leading them straight to hell and come with us to be saved in the Catholic Church- well I imagine the means of communication will be such that most people will order you off their property and then regard Catholics as rude, insensitive blow-hards who couldn’t possibly have anything in common with a God of Love. You see Love and Truth go together- it is like in courtship- the first thing that may draw you to a woman may be her physical beauty- now you could approach her and say- “hey you’re hot, let’s get married and make babies!”- that may be a dominant thought in your mind, but love brings in the mystery- you show gentleness, patience, kindness, you chase after her- you don’t try to overpower her with logical reasons why she should simply choose you over the other men.

    Evangelization is a loving process as well as a truthful one- if you truly wish to convert someone over to Christ and Church you cannot just overpower them with threats of hell- you may feel good about yourself in telling others the raw truth- but if you approach people with clanging gongs in your voice, your words, your personal bearing- you will not be serving the Good News you are ostensibly trying to convey- at least not very well.

    As a convert to Catholicism myself- I was won over by a friend who was Catholic, who offered a personal life witness and who slowly put me in touch with such things as the papal social encyclicals, and then with Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgies. He could have rushed the process, cut to the chase, and told me- “if you want to be my friend, become a faithful Catholic now and avoid the pits of hell” Well- maybe that approach would have been something common in Jehovah witness circles, but how has that approach been going for them? As Father Corapi says in his conversion tape- “I discovered that the name of God is Mercy”. Many sins are covered by love, how many? We cannot know- Jesus the Just and Merciful will judge all of us- we should all do our best, and learn how best to convey His Name to those in ignorance. We can choose to court the non-Catholics, or we can just try to overpower them with our clubs of Truth. I think that we resort to the clubs only as a last resort, when a society tries to shut down our freedom to be and put into practice our Catholicism- or maybe when a society is engaged in a genocide of the innocents..

  • As far I am aware World Peace and please correct me if I am wrong, internet websites did not exist at the time of the revelation of the Noble Koran to the Prophet Mohammad PBUH by the Archangel Gabriel, what you have provided in your links to the web site
    http://www.islamreligion.com
    is links to a website, not to Islam as you apparently claim to be the case. You may sincerely believe the pages on that website represent the most accurate and correct interpretation of Islam but there would be very many Muslims who would disagree with various things on those pages. This is not some esoteric technical argument about how many angels could dance on the point of a needle but can be literally a life and death issue for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For example, some Wahhabi clerics will declare Shi’ite Muslim clergy to be apostates and within the Wahhabi frame of reference, apostasy from Islam carries the death penalty. One thing I am particularly interested in respect of that website, is I could not see who the people are, who are operating it nor could I find what interpretation of Islam they subscribe to, maybe those things are clearly posted, if so could you provide a link or links to a places or places on that website where such matters are detailed.

  • Tim,
    We both agree that the normative means for salvation is Jesus and the Catholic Church.
    My focus has been on doctrine and dogma.
    There can be different approaches to evanglisation.The Holy Spirit can guide us.
    For the sake of peace we cannot change the teachings of the Church.
    There is confusion when you say ‘while the normative means of salvation are the surest path we cannot exclude the extraordinary Mercy of Our Lord’. This seems a rejection of Catholic doctrine, it is also ‘playing God’.
    We can choose different ways and times for presenting Catholic doctrine but the doctrine must be clear to us.In this case ALL Muslims are on the way to Hell.

    Tim,I am glad that you responded to the Holy Spirit and became a Catholic in a way that was appealing to you.Love and Truth go together and with gentleness,kindness and patience we can keep affirming the difficult truths of our faith.
    Usually in answer to a question, or in a polite matter of fact way we can say that the Church teaches that all Muslims ( and Jews etc) are presently on the way to Hell.You can smile kindly and speak it gently.And if your met with anger still be gracious but get the message across like St.Paul.

  • VATICAN APPROVED BOOK INDICATES ALL MUSLIMS IN ROME ON THE WAY TO HELL

    ALSO AFFIRMS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH NO SALVATION WITHOUT DENYING THAT DE FACTO EVERYONE NEEDS TO ENTER THE CHURCH TO GO TO HEAVEN

    An apologetic book in Italian published by the Vatican press ( Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2008) and approved by Bishop Luigi Morelli, Bishop at the Rome Vicariate (Vicariato) indicates all Muslims in Rome need to convert to avoid Hell.

    50 Argomenti di Attualita by Raffaello Martinelli ( p.98 Cristo SI, Chiesa, No?) states those persons cannot be saved who know the Church has been founded by Christ and is necessary for salvation and yet do not enter. This passage is from Vatican Council II, Ad Gentes 7.

    Muslims in Rome know about Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. They are all oriented to Hell.

    The book also explains outside the Church there is no salvation(p.98,99) as, all people saved explicitly and implicitly by Jesus and the Church (Compendium of the Catechism,171).So it does not negate the centuries of teaching that de facto everyone with no caption needs to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell and go to Heaven.

    Here is the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215).

    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) – from the website Catholicism.org and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS: http://nosalvationoutsideofthecatholicchurch.blogspot.com/ )
    The dogma is saying that all Muslims in Rome and elsewhere in the world need to convert to avoid Hell. This is also the message of Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7).

    Ad Gentes 7 says ALL need to enter the Church for salvation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 836 also says ALL need to enter the Church. Muslims have Original Sin and need the Sacraments for salvation.
    The dogma is saying that all Muslims in Rome and elsewhere in the world need to convert to avoid Hell. This is also the message of Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7).

    Ad Gentes 7 says ALL need to enter the Church for salvation. The Catechism 836 also says ALL need to enter the Church.

    The ex cathedra dogma is not contradicted by Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium 16 said Fr. George Puthoor on a YouTube video. Fr. George Puthoor is a Rosiminian priest at the Basilica of San Ambrogio and Carlo, via del Corso, Rome. The book is available at the entrance of the basilica.

    Since Lumen Gentium 16 (invincible ignorance) refers to a concept only and not to de facto salvation it is not opposed to the Catholic infallible teaching that all non Catholics are oriented to Hell.

    Those who are in invincible ignorance or who have the baptism of desire are known to God only.There is no de facto baptism of desire that we can know of.

    Fr. Gorge Puthoor removed ambiguity in the book which could suggest Muslims all over the world are not oriented to Hell because some could be in invincible ignorance or have the baptism of desire that we can de facto know of.

    We do not know de jure (in principle) the number of cases presently with the baptism of desire in Rome. Neither do we know de facto the number of baptism of cases which exists presently in Rome. Nor do we know if there really are any cases of the baptism of desire presently.

    Mons. Raffaello Martinelli was recently appointed a bishop of Frascati, Italy. The Rosiminian priests and sisters continue to manage the basilica of San Carlo and Ambrogio via del Corso. The book is available free of cost along with apologetical pamphlets in different languages.
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.com/2010/05/vatican-approved-book-indicates-all.html#links

  • MONSIGNOR WHO SAID ISLAM NOT A PATH TO SALVATION APPOINTED BISHOP OF FRASCATI, ITALY

    Mons. Raffaello Martinelli has been appointed Bishop of Frascati, Italy. In an interview he had mentioned that Islam is not a path to salvation and that Muslims needed to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L5202FYCMs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCyWwQSHatc )

    In his book on apologetics, Argomenti d?Attualità in forma dialogica,Frammenti di Verità Cattolica. Come la Chiesa considera le religioni non –cristiane? P.54 (2006) he indicates that Muslims need to enter the Catholic Church for salvation according to the teachings of the Church.

    Raffaello Martinelli (born June 21, 1948) is an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.

    He was born in Villa d’Almè, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bergamo on April 8, 1972. He served as bureau chief at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    On July 2, 2009, he was appointed Bishop of Frascati by Pope Benedict XVI.He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 12 from Benedict XVI, with Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone and William Levada serving as co-consecrators, at St. Peter’s Basilica- Wikipidia

  • i am from pakistan i love america to help pk and afghanistan

  • i love usa to helping pk by us aid

  • Pingback: How about protesting for a church in Saudi Arabia? « Daily Page
  • There is a more workable analogy with Saudia Arabia, taken from history: the Papal States.

    I don’t know nearly enough of the details of the laws and how that sovereign state was run before it was dismantled in the 19th century, but it would make a more realistic comparison with contemporary Saudia Arabia as an actual theocratic country. While obviously not approving of religious intolerance in the latter country, personally I would be wary of condemning everything about it with too broad a stroke, lest I shoot myself in the Catholic foot.

Political Miscellania 5/12/10

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

A wrap-up of various items of political interest.

1.  The video that heads this post is one of the reasons why my vote for McCain in 2008 was a two handed vote, with one hand holding my nose.  McCain has long been an ardent supporter of amnesty and open borders.  Now that he is in a tough primary race with J.D. Hayworth, he is a born again believer in locking down the border against illegal aliens.  I certainly favor in making it tougher for illegals to get across the border, but I do not favor politicians who embrace positions simply to save their political skin.  I hope that the voters in Arizona will finally bring McCain’s political career to a screeching halt  by voting for his opponent in the primary.

2.  It looks like Hawaii will soon have a new Republican Congressman.  The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee is pulling out of Hawaii 1 and basically conceding that Republican Charles Djou will win the special election on May 22. The Democrats have two candidates running who are splitting the vote and thus allowing the Republicans to take a Congressional seat that has been in Democrat hands for two decades.

3.  The tea party movement claimed another scalp by causing the defeat of Republican Senator Bob Bennett at the Utah Gop Convention in his attempt to get the Republican nomination for a fourth term in the Senate. This should be a warning for all politicians:  this year is different, no re-nomination or re-election can be taken for granted.

4.  Faithful readers of this blog will know that I have quite a bit of respect for blogger Mickey Kaus who is taking on Senator Barbara Boxer in the Democrat primary in California.   Shockingly last week the LA Times refused to endorse Boxer:

On the Democratic side, we find that we’re no fans of incumbent Barbara Boxer. She displays less intellectual firepower or leadership than she could. We appreciate the challenge brought by Robert “Mickey” Kaus, even though he’s not a realistic contender, because he asks pertinent questions about Boxer’s “lockstep liberalism” on labor, immigration and other matters. But we can’t endorse him, because he gives no indication that he would step up to the job and away from his Democratic-gadfly persona.

To have the LA Times refuse to endorse Boxer is a strong indication of just how weak she is this election year.  She is probably strong enough to defeat Kaus (sorry Mickey!) in the primary, but there is blood in the water for the general election.

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5 Responses to Political Miscellania 5/12/10

  • Bob Bennett is a bit of an outlier. The Utah Republican party is becoming VERY VERY conservative, and there was an organized effort to push him out because of TARP and his Appropriations Committee role. It began two years ago when Jason Chaffetz beat Chris Cannon for his Congressional seat. While there may be a grassroots movement to “throw the bums out” Utah’s movement has been going on a bit longer.

  • Newsweek was put up for sale by the Washington Post last week. Last year the news magazine adopted a strategy of serving as an opinion journal of the Left. The decision has proven a disaster in the marketplace, although to be fair Newsweek has been losing money for quite a while.

    And a strange decision it was. The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker are about the only publications directed at that sort of audience which have been aught but philanthropic concerns during the lifetime of Newsweek‘s current editor, and the latter two are leavened with considerable reportage and fiction and offer little straightforward commentary. Comparing Newsweek to The New Republic also demonstrates that their is an art to producing an opinion magazine that not every collecting pool of journalists has; there would not be much point in a patron like Arthur Carter or Mortimer Zuckerman employing this crew.

  • The Hawaii election is very special to me.

    Having been raised the majority of my life in the Aloha State, we have never had a Republican elected to Honolulu’s 1st congressional district.

    Inouye’s “pre-selected” appointee, Hanabasu, is power hungry and feels entitled to that position held by the granola-eating Abercrombie.

    Case also feels a sense of entitlement, but then again, many Punahou School grads feel they are entitled to many things in life (Case is AOL founder Steve Case’s cousin; Punahou is the elite private school that silver spooned Obama attended as well).

    GOP Djou needs all the support he can get to rip that seat from the most powerful Democratic machine in the nation!

  • Re: #3… Here in WA, the state GOP (executive board) is looking at automatically endorsing whomever the GOP incumbent may be, even in the presence of a stronger, more conservative challenger… even if the PCO’s overwhelming support the challenger. It will be up to the voters both in the primary and the caucuses to decapitate weak incumbents.

  • McCain has proven he works for the people that voted him to office. The media would say this is flip flopping, I would say, any politician that thought one thing and turned around when hearing what his constituents believed, is exactly what govt is about. As for JD, well that is a long story that should not even be an issue. JD is as bad as they come…JD cannot find an endorsement, I am sure he will start paying people to say they like him! JD leaves us with many great memories, whether it be Abramoff, losing his seat to a democrat, ethical issues, issues about his lack of intelligence, being a huge blowhard, being a huge boozer, being a continuous egomaniac who does not have the experience needed to succeed in Washington (and he has already proven that to us!) I had decided JD was far too inexperienced, immature, egotistical and unethical to vote for him. McCain is the third most fiscally conservative member in Senate and that along with his integrity, we have a solid Senator.

SCOTUS: 6 Catholics, 3 Jews, Law, Scholasticism and Tradition

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

I read a comment[1] a few weeks ago on GetReligion.org attempting to explain why John Paul Stevens was the last Protestant in the U.S. Supreme Court which simply said that Catholics and Jews have a tradition of being immersed in law (Canon Law and Halakha respectively for Catholics and Jews as an example).

This struck me as interesting because at first glance it kind of makes sense.

Of course there is much more to why the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, 6 Catholics, 2 Jews, and an Episcopalian, is as it is.[2]

But I thought it was an interesting enough topic to dive into.

Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe chimes in with her two cents worth [emphases mine]:

Evangelical Protestants have been slow to embrace, or to feel welcomed by, the elite law schools like Harvard and Yale that have become a veritable requirement for Supreme Court nominees. One reason for this, some scholars say, is because of an anti-intellectual strain within evangelicalism.

As Ronald Reagan would say, there you go again, pushing the liberal theory that Christians are stupid (at least Evangelical Protestants).

Lets get beyond these stereotypes done by liberals to Christians.

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47 Responses to SCOTUS: 6 Catholics, 3 Jews, Law, Scholasticism and Tradition

  • The legalistic traditions would be the most obvious theory but I suspect that it’s too abstract to have this disparate an impact. Besides, sola scriptura is much closer to the originalism of the four conservative Catholic justices. The living Magisterium is more analogous to the living constitution that they reject.

    The anti-intellectual strain within evangelicalism makes sense. Part of it may also be that Catholics make more reliable conservative judges and are therefore more appealing Republican appointees but I bet Catholics are overrepresented in the general lawyer population as well.

    Maybe religion is actually hiding an ethnic cultural difference. The legal field was one of the few fields that was relatively tolerant of Jews which is at least partially why they are overrepresented. Maybe anti-Catholic or anti-immigrant sentiment drove the Irish, Italians, and now the Hispanics into law.

    Maybe religion is hiding a regional difference. Five of the justices are from New York, two from California, and one from New Jersey. New York and California are the two biggest lawyer markets. They also happen to have the largest Catholic and Jewish populations. I can’t speak for California, but every ambitious New Yorker wants to be either a lawyer or a banker (another field where Jews, and maybe Catholics, dominate).

    Maybe Catholics and Jews can’t be lumped together. Maybe Jews are overrepresented for historic reasons and Catholics for religious reasons.

    Protestants do have their colleges, seminaries, and Bible study groups, similar to those of Catholics.

    But their emphasis is very different. I’ve heard one Protestant accuse Catholics of being too mechanical in their religious studies.

    Ironic that people got all hot and bothered when the fourth and fifth nominees for the SCOTUS were Catholic’s thus over-representing Catholics in the Judicial branch. But somehow the secularists are excited that the current nominee, Elena Kagan, a Jew, would make SCOTUS 1/3 Jewish.

    They were hot and bothered because Roberts and Alito were conservative Catholics. They had no problem with Sotomayor.

  • Let’s get beyond liberals. Liberals only have insults and lies; and fabricated/imagined crises meant to “grease the skids” for their destructive policy “solutions.”

    If we don’t stop Obama and his horde of liberal idiots (I repeat myself) in congress, and soon the Judiciary, they will cause a degree of economic devastation from which the private sector may never recover.

    Then, they will have succeeeded in making us all serfs, which was their (the two or three that aren’t gays/lesbians/puppy-lovers/morons) plan all along.

  • I take issue with the notion that the conservative justices’ approach is similar to “sola scriptura” and that the “living Constitution” approach is analogous to the living Magisterium.

    Instead, I would say the two approaches to the Constitution are rather more like the difference between how a traditionalist Catholic and a Voice-of-the-Faithful Catholic view the Magisterium.

    Conservative jurisprudence does not reject development in the law; conservative jurisprudence recognizes that the world today is different from the world 200 years ago and that matters will arise that were completely outside the imagination of the Framers. However, conservative jurisprudence also recognizes that developments in the law (1) are better suited to be addressed by legislative bodies rather than courts, and (2) to the extent the courts must develop constitutional doctrine to meet modern challenges, the development must be (a) an organic extension of the rights and values traditionally held by society and (b) be bound to the text of the Constitution as originally enacted and intended by the Framers.

    Justice Scalia famously discussed this view in the Michael H. case, in which a putative father (from an extra-marital affair) sought to use the Court’s “substantive due process” jurisprudence (see, e.g., Griswold and Roe) to overturn a state’s codification of Mansfield’s Rule, which protects the children of a marriage from outside claims of paternity. Scalia, in his majority opinion, attempted to limit the extension of “substantive due process” to those instances where society had traditionally protected such rights:

    1. The § 621 presumption does not infringe upon the due process rights of a man wishing to establish his paternity of a child born to the wife of another man.

    […]

    (b) There is no merit to Michael’s substantive due process claim that he has a constitutionally protected “liberty” interest in the parental relationship he has established with Victoria, and that protection of Gerald’s and Carole’s marital union is an insufficient state interest to support termination of that relationship. Michael has failed to meet his burden of proving that his claimed “liberty” interest is one so deeply imbedded within society’s traditions as to be a fundamental right. Not only has he failed to demonstrate that the interest he seeks to vindicate has traditionally been accorded protection by society, but the common law presumption of legitimacy, and even modern statutory and decisional law, demonstrate that society has historically protected, and continues to protect, the marital family against the sort of claim Michael asserts.

    Scalia explains further:

    In an attempt to limit and guide interpretation of the Clause, we have insisted not merely that the interest denominated as a “liberty” be “fundamental” (a concept that, in isolation, is hard to objectify), but also that it be an interest traditionally protected by our society. [Footnote 2] As we have put it, the Due Process Clause affords only those protections “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.” Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U. S. 97, 291 U. S. 105 (1934) (Cardozo, J.). Our cases reflect “continual insistence upon respect for the teachings of history [and] solid recognition of the basic values that underlie our society. . . .” Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479, 381 U. S. 501 (1965) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgment).

    This insistence that the asserted liberty interest be rooted in history and tradition is evident, as elsewhere, in our cases according constitutional protection to certain parental rights. Michael reads the landmark case of Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U. S. 645 (1972), and the subsequent cases of Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U. S. 246 (1978), Caban v. Mohammed, 441 U. S. 380 (1979), and Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U. S. 248 (1983), as establishing that a liberty interest is created by biological fatherhood plus an established parental relationship — factors that exist in the present case as well. We think that distorts the rationale of those cases. As we view them, they rest not upon such isolated factors but upon the historic respect — indeed, sanctity would not be too strong a term — traditionally accorded to the relationships that develop within the unitary family. [Footnote 3] See Stanley, supra, at 405 U. S. 651; Quilloin, supra, at 434 U. S. 254-255; Caban, supra, at 441 U. S. 389; Lehr, supra, at 463 U. S. 261. In Stanley, for example, we forbade the destruction of such a family when, upon the death of the mother, the State had sought to remove children from the custody of a father who had lived with and supported them and their mother for 18 years. As Justice Powell stated for the plurality in Moore v. East Cleveland, supra, at 431 U. S. 503:

    “Our decisions establish that the Constitution protects the sanctity of the family precisely because the institution of the family is deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”

    Thus, the legal issue in the present case reduces to whether the relationship between persons in the situation of Michael and Victoria has been treated as a protected family unit under the historic practices of our society, or whether, on any other basis, it has been accorded special protection. We think it impossible to find that it has. In fact, quite to the contrary, our traditions have protected the marital family (Gerald, Carole, and the child they acknowledge to be theirs) against the sort of claim Michael asserts. [Footnote 4]…

    That’s hardly a “sola scriptura” approach to jurisprudence and, in fact, I would argue that Scalia was relying upon his own Catholic understanding of the Magisterium in formulating that approach.

  • Thanks, Jay, for beating me to it. I owe you.

  • Ditto what Mike said. I’ve written that comment before (although probably not as well).

  • Three comments:

    First, I would not dismiss the existence of an anti-intellectual strain within evangelical Protestantism as mere liberal rhetoric. Certainly there is some of that, but the anti-intellectualism in evangelical Protestantism is well documented, especially by scholars such as Mark Noll, who is himself an evangelical Protestant. It is a part of evangelical Protestantism that many adherents are putting aside, but its historical existence could be a factor.

    Second, we can’t ignore social trends. Mainline Protestantism has been declining in numbers and influence for some time. The lack of mainline Protestants that “percolate up” to the upper echelons of the law is a consequence of that. At the same time, Catholic numbers and influence increased during the same decades. Also, Catholics and Jews during the last century emphasized education, assimilation, and becoming part of the “establishment.” That too, had implications. I would expect the same to happen with evangelical Protestants in the decades to come.

    Third, both Jewish and Catholic teaching has not emphasized, as much as mainline Protestants, a radical separation of church/state and politics/religion. Mainline Protestants, some have argued, emphasized it so much that they made religion irrelevant in the public square.

  • It’s not a perfect fit but there are elements of originalism that more closely resemble sola scriptura. Sola scripturists would also agree that the world is different today. Jay, I don’t think anything you said is inconsistent with sola scriptura.

    It’s funny you mention Michael H. I was just rereading my notes on the case a few days ago. None of the justices objected to Scalia’s view to traditional rights. Brennan’s dissent also looks to traditional rights. But a majority didn’t join Scalia’s footnote 6 for a very different reason. I, along with most the justices, think he’s wrong in his application, if not his approach. Contrary to his assertion that broader classes are more susceptible to conflicting interpretations, Scalia’s approach allows judges to pick conflicting specific classes. Scalia puts Michael H. in the class of “cheating fathers.” One can also place him in the class of “biological fathers.”

  • No, Scalia does not place Michael H. in the class of “cheating fathers”; he places him in the class of those who society and the law don’t want breaking up intact families by challenging the paternity of the children within those families. He’s unwilling to create out of whole cloth a “fundamental right” to do something that society has not traditionally seen fit to give sanction.

    And while one may also place Michael H. in the class of “biological fathers”, that says absolutely nothing regarding the “fundamentalness” of his “right” to have Mansfield’s Rule struck down as unconstitutional. And that’s what’s at stake. The liberal would throw out a centuries old common law rule over some imagined “fundamental right” to claim the child of an intact marriage as one’s own. That’s not akin to a “development of doctrine” – that’s changing the rules to suit one’s own personal view of how the law SHOULD be and fits more in line with how the VOTF crowd view the Magisterium.

  • Furthermore, the reason the “sola scriptura” analogy is inapt is because it an ahistorical reading of how originalists have actually behaved on the Court.

    Protestants whose approach to religion is based on “sola scriptura” reject authority and tradition as having any sway over how they apply their Faith to their lives. They reject developments in doctrine (even while unconsciously accepting such developments as the Trinity and the compilation of the Bible itself). The “sola scriptura” mindset – especially when it is of the fundamentalist variety – is a back-to-the-basics approach with only the Bible and the Holy Spirit as a guide.

    The originalist, in contrast, doesn’t reject authority or tradition or developments in the law that have occurred in the intervening years since the founding. The originalist doesn’t seek to “refound” the American republic as it existed in 1787. In fact, the originalist approach to jurisprudence is actually quite limited in scope by comparison to the Protestant Reformation and the approach of the “sola scriptura” practitioner.

  • Jay,

    Protestants whose approach to religion is based on “sola scriptura” reject authority and tradition as having any sway over how they apply their Faith to their lives. They reject developments in doctrine (even while unconsciously accepting such developments as the Trinity and the compilation of the Bible itself). The “sola scriptura” mindset – especially when it is of the fundamentalist variety – is a back-to-the-basics approach with only the Bible and the Holy Spirit as a guide.

    Thanks for fleshing out what I said in one sentence.

    I’m no law expert nor a lawyer, but I too could see that sola scriptura was an impediment towards doctrinal development for Protestants.

    And with that, originalsim and sola scriptura have no similarities with the respect to doctrinal development.

    Also appreciated your first comment as well…

  • Finally, let’s be honest about why those Catholics opposed to Constitutional originalism try to stigmatize it with the taint of “sola scriptura”: they know that most Catholics, especially conservative ones, take a dim view of “sola scriptura” in the context of theology, so they use the analogy to paint Catholic constitutional originalists as unthinking (in relying on the same intellectually inferior practice as protestant fundamentalists) and/or hypocritical (in doing to the Constitution what they criticize the protestants for doing to Christianity).

    The problem, as I’ve noted above, is that the analogy is inapt. But it is inapt not only because it fails to describe what originalists actually believe and how they actually behave, but because it is a comparison of two completely different institutions established for two completely different reasons and under two completely different sets of circumstances.

  • Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

  • Jay, I see that you are anticipating in advance the charge of being trapped in a Calvinist (and very Protestant) dualism by virtue of defending originalism. But you cannot escape; in order for the intellectually cramped Calvinist-Catholic dualistic system to work, any disagreement must be described as an outgrowth of individualism/Calvinism/liberalism.

  • Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

    I am not sure how true that is. I have friends and co-workers who are evangelicals that went to Harvard Law, and the Christian (not Catholic) law student group at my school (t-10 or so) was fairly sizable and active. But, of course, these anecdotes don’t really add up to data. You could be right about the general trend.

  • I’d consider myself a Catholic originalist. Sola scriptura (or some weak version of it) can be an perfectly defensible way to interpret the Constitution but not Scripture.

    Originalists reject any develop of new doctrines not grounded in the law as understood at the time of its enactment. They accept tradition only up to the point of enactment. They do not accept the idea that later traditions that could not reasonably be anticipated, can add to the law. On the other hand, Catholics accept that later traditions can add to existing “law” in ways that could not reasonably have been anticipated.

    Even the process of development differs. Originalists reject abstract unifying doctrines and prefer to judge new situations as fitting or not fitting into specific laws or enumerated rights. Catholics, I would argue, work in the opposite direction. Starting with abstract unifying doctrines (e.g., dignity of man), then judging whether the situation falls within an exception (e.g., double effect).

    As for the Michael H. sidetrack, Jay, you demonstrate exactly why Scalia’s methodology is wanting (I’d like to note that this is a different argument than the one over originalism). I described Scalia’s classification of Michael H. as a “cheating father.” You described it as “someone trying to break up a stable family.” Which one are we supposed to use? You also dismissed the implications of classifying Michael H. as simply a “biological father.” Traditionally, biological fathers have rights over their biological children. An appeal to tradition doesn’t work here because both sides can, and did, argue it. If Scalia’s methodology is correct, it’s incomplete, at the very least.

  • Centinel, you wrote:

    Evangelical Protestants who take their faith seriously go to any law school they can find that’s conducive to their faith. Catholics just go to the highest-ranked school that will take them – even if that school is not particularly religious. Of course, I am speaking in general terms.

    That goes beyond generalization, friend. Generalization, philosophically, means abstracting a feature true of each instance of a class, e.g., “Houses have roofs.” Generalization, popularly speaking, means abstracting a feature true of most or even many instances of a class, e.g., “The students at Catholic University are Catholics.”

    What you’ve managed to do is pluck out of a bag of prejudices and biases a dazzling example of complete ignorance EXCEPT of perhaps one or two cases that you know, and a few more that you know of.

    I am close friends with a woman who, as an Evangelical, went to Yale Law School because it was “the highest-ranking school that would take” her, to use your words. Not too shabby. Granted, it’s not the University of Barbados, but I suppose Yale Law will do for her sort. She’s a Catholic now, though. Did you know that there are numerous law schools at Catholic universities bursting at the seams with… all sorts of people?

    Do you think it possible that Catholics might be serious about their faith and go to a law school conducive to it?

    Do you think it possible that an Evangelical might be serious about his faith and yet go to an ungodly school bearing in mind that it is not the law school’s job to nurture his faith, and that he will continue to seek spiritual nourishment through the means he always has – prayer, reading the scriptures, attending a good church?

    C’mon. Your “observation” was entire facile.

  • “Traditionally, biological fathers have rights over their biological children.”

    Not biological fathers who aren’t married to the child’s mother. That’s a very recent development.

  • And I’m sure you’ll say that my last comment illustrates your point about classifications.

    But there will always be classifications when talking about defining rights under the Consitition. The key is to find the classification that does the least amount of damage to the constitutional order, and this is done by limiting the interference of the judiciary into the democratic process by defining the “fundamental right” narrowly enough as not to remove a broad category of activities from democratic oversight (not to mention creating out of whole cloth “rights” that have no basis in the text of the Constitution).

    Scalia’s appeal to tradition is to look at the behavior that society has traditionally valued and protected and determine whether the particular case before the Court meets – with specificity – the activity society has sought to protect.

    The liberal will look at “tradition” and try to broadly define the activity that is “fundamental” to ordered liberty so as to include as much activity as possible and remove it from the democratic process. Thus, Brennan et al looked at Michael H. as a “biological father”, and relying on some very recent precedent (and ignoring other recent precedent – i.e. that “biological fathers” have very few if any rights when abortion and birth control are at issue), tried to make the argument that he had a “fundamental right” to interfere in the inner workings and relationships of an intact family unit.

    What’s “traditional” about that? Nothing. Maintaining Mansfield’s Rule was based on tradition – the tradition of protecting the family, as society has sought to do for generations. The Court’s “fundamental rights” jurisprudence – of very recent vintage – regarding a biological father’s “reproductive rights”, not so much.

  • While not remotely an expert on law, the sociological/historical aspect interests me in regards to biological fathers’ right. It seems to me that the accurate characterization would be that in Western Culture, a biological father can assert paternity rights over illegitimate offspring by effectively “legitimizing” or recognizing them. This, however, assumes that the illegitimate offspring are otherwise simply “fatherless” and unacknowledged.

    The rights of the pater familias as a husband typically include having paternal rights over all children he chooses to acknowledge. So if his wife bears a child which is not, in fact, his, he can effectively make the child his by acknowledging the child as his regardless of actual paternity.

    The idea that a biological father could assert paternity rights over a child he fathered on a married women over the objections of her husband (who is willing to raise the child as his own) would be distinctly un-traditional.

  • Darwin,

    You’re right. It IS distinctly un-traditional. And for over 200 years, under Lord Mansfield’s Rule, such claims cannot be heard.

    Okay, I realize I’ve dominated this thread, so just one last thing on the classifications in Michael H. and how they relate to “tradition”:

    As Restrained Radical notes, both Scalia and Brennan appealed to “tradition” in reaching opposite conclusions in the case. However, a closer examination of the arguments and what respective “tradition” was being sought to be preserved by the opposing Justices, will reveal that one of the Justices was ACTUALLY concerned with remaining faithful to and preserving an established tradition, while the other Justice’s feigned appeal to “tradition” was a complete load of BS from one of the most successful bu11$h**tters who ever sat on the Supreme Court.

    Let’s start off with the fact that the rights of “biological fathers” – the “tradition” to which Justice Brennan appealed – are, as I noted above, a recent development in the law, and there is no long-standing “tradition” of “biological fathers” having legal rights over their offspring outside the context of the marital relationship. Even the parental rights of divorcing parents have always been based on the fact that the parents were married in the first place.

    So, let’s dispense with Brennan’s nonsensical claim that he was appealing to “tradition” and cut right to the chase. Were one to follow his constitutional jurisprudence to its logical conclusion, here’s Bill Brennan’s take on the “rights” of biological fathers:

    * A “biological father” has absolutely NO LEGAL RIGHTS to protect the life of his child should the mother choose to abort the child; HOWEVER …

    * A “biological father” has a “fundamental constitutional right” to interfere in an intact marital family relationship by asserting paternity over a child born inside that marriage should the mother choose to raise the child with her husband.

    * A “biological father” has a “fundamental constitutional right” that overrides an over-200-year-old common law rule – a common law rule known to and explicitly accepted by the drafters of the Constitution – meant to protect marriages from outside attack and children from bastardization.

    That’s Bill Brennan’s definition of “tradition”.

    On the other hand, under Justice Scalia’s approach, here is the state of the law:

    * an over-200-year-old common law rule that was on the books at the time of this Nation’s founding is preserved;

    * the sanctity of the marital family unit is preserved from outside interference by claims from a stanger to that marriage that he is, in fact, the father of a child born to that marriage;

    * the original intent and meaning of the text of the Constitution is preserved from the violence done to the constitutional order whenever a newly created “fundamental right” is used to strike down as “unconstitutional” a law that was fully known to and explicitly acctepted by those who drafted the Constitution.

    Now, which one of those approaches is TRULY concerned with tradition?

  • Personally, I always thought the tradition of offering sympathy to orphans should have helped the Menendez brothers

    😉

  • Jay, your putative domination of this thread has enriched it, and is greatly appreciated at least by me.

  • Agreed, I’ve enjoyed your explanation on this stuff, Jay.

  • I spend the day in Bankruptcy Court and Jay leaves me nothing to say in regard to Constitutional interpretation. Rats! Ah well, I will merely say ditto to what Jay wrote and what Scalia says below:

  • Donald,

    I liked his Chestertonian quote:

    “Some worth doing, is worth doing terribly.”

    Or something to that effect.

  • I should’ve stated this early but I don’t necessarily disagree with the outcome of Michael H. And I do think originalism is the proper method of analysis (while I still maintain this is closer to sola scriptura). I only take issue with Scalia’s method of abstraction outlined in footnote 6. He defines classes that need not be defined in that way.

    Jay & Darwin, it all depends on how you’re defining the tradition and the specific case. The children of a married woman have traditionally been presumed to be the biological children of the husband. Is Lord Mansfield’s Rule designed to protect the husband or the biological father? In the absence of DNA testing, it would seem that it protects the biological father (usually the husband) from spurious paternity claims. Therefore, it appears tradition protects the rights of the biological father. Modern technology has eliminated the need for blunt evidentiary rules.

    Again, I’m not saying that’s right. Only that the very existence of what I think is an alternative reasonable interpretation, undercuts Scalia’s approach.

  • Don, that was a great vid. It would be interesting to see a liberal originalist on the court. Lawrence Lessig, a liberal and a broad originalist, says Kagan thinks as he does. I doubt it but if true, not only would Kagan be the most influential justice, it would also alter the course of American jurisprudence. I’ve believed that the best kind of judicial nominee would be a liberal pro-lifer. Perhaps even more important than overturning Roe is changing the way liberals view abortion.

  • “Is Lord Mansfield’s Rule designed to protect the husband or the biological father? In the absence of DNA testing, it would seem that it protects the biological father (usually the husband) from spurious paternity claims. Therefore, it appears tradition protects the rights of the biological father. Modern technology has eliminated the need for blunt evidentiary rules.”

    I suppose it provides an alternative interpretation to Scalia’s, but it is one that I believe to be ahistorical.

    The historical record will bear out that Lord Mansfield was primarily concerned with the children of marriages not being made bastards, which is a matter wholly unconcerned with determining actual biological paternity. In fact, it was an objective that was often in direct conflict with determining such.

    Preserving intact marital family units from such challenges was not for the purpose of ensuring that the husband’s factual biological paternity was protected from spurious outside claims, but rather to ensure that children were not delegitimized. For that reason, the law created an irrebuttable presumption that the children of a married woman were the legitimate children of her husband.

  • I suppose, from a sociological point of view, a lot has to do with how you interpret the purpose of established cultural norms. It seems to me that the purpose would clearly be that a pater familias be able to determine who he wants to call his children. If he want to acknowledge children he had by a woman other than his wife, he can. If he want to refuse to acknowledge those children, he can. And when his wife bears children he can either acknowledge them, or repudiate his wife and deny them.

    All this sounds rather negative and “patriarchal”, but it also has the effect of making the direct and extended family strong against outside assaults. Good or bad, though, I think it’s hard to deny that it’s “traditional”.

  • “I doubt it but if true, not only would Kagan be the most influential justice, it would also alter the course of American jurisprudence. I’ve believed that the best kind of judicial nominee would be a liberal pro-lifer.”

    I doubt restrainedradical that Kagan will be anything but an orthodox political liberal on the bench. However, the fact that she has no judicial experience on the bench should give her backers pause. Felix Frankfurter, the great advocate of judicial restraint, was a fairly conventional political liberal before he was appointed to the Supreme Court by FDR without judicial experience. Things can look quite differently after one dons the black robe, especially with a life time appointment, and Kagan, perhaps, could end up surprising everyone.

  • I would be astonished if Kagan does not prove to be “anything but an orthodox political liberal” cleverly legislating from the bench whey “necessary.” But I’m prepared to be astonished, and certainly hope that I am.

    In any event. I hope the confirmation process is a smooth one. I’m all for hardball politics, but Kagan is qualified and that should be the end of it. The Dems viciously changed the rules with Bork, and I believe that the temperament within the Senate has never been the same. I’d like to see the Republicans avoid scoring political and polemical points and just plain do the right thing.

  • I agree Mike that the Kagan nomination is not the one for the Republicans to put up a fight on, but one of the main reasons why the Democrats routinely engage in scorched earth tactics in regard to Republican judicial nominees is because the Republicans routinely fail to do the same to Democrat nominees.

  • Fair enough, Don, but it is worth remembering that both Roberts and Alito got through without the Dems resorting to scorched earth practices, which is not to say that they behaved perfectly. I’d rather try to ratchet the practices back to how they are supposed to work. I acknowledge that it is a judgment call as to whether exhibiting good behavior or returning bad behavior is the most effective way to do that.

  • In regard to Alito Mike the Democrats tried but failed to filibuster his nomination. The final vote for his confirmation was 58-42 which is astounding if one of the chief criteria is supposed to be judicial comptence.

    Obama of course voted against confirmation for both Roberts and Alito, two of the best qualified jurists ever nominated to the Supreme Court.

  • Forgot that, Don, thanks. I’d still support Kagan’s nomination, but would also score points by emphasizing the contrast between her treatment and that of Alito, and get lots of digs against Obama for voting against Alito and Roberts.

  • Roberts was confirmed 78–22. He got far more Democratic votes than Sotomayor got Republican votes. Alito had the misfortune of being second. Kagan has the same problem.

  • Wow. Such deep arguments!

    Still, I think a lot of folks are overthinking this situation. A president seeking a pro-life perspective on the high court appoints a Catholic. Another president seeking some pro-life cover also appoints a Catholic. Presidents who seek a reliably pro-abortion leftist or wish to appease leftist elements of their party often appoint a Jew.

  • Restrained Radical,

    There’s no comparison, democrats are far more emotional and vindictive when it comes to voting against well-qualified judges that happen to seem conservative.

    Case in point, Robert Bork who lost the nomination 42-58.

  • The Bork confirmation process was unprecedented. It broke with longstanding Senate tradition, and frankly the Senate has not been the same since. The Dems broke the rules and lied shamelesslessly while doing it. Mutual rancor, payback, and distrust have been the order of the day since.

    While not unopinionated, I am not given to immoderate commentary. In fact I sign my real name as a matter of self-discipline. But let there be no misunderstanding or doubt: Joe Biden made his bones in the Bork hearings and behaved like a consummate dirtbag. I expected such dishonest behavior from the cowardly Senator from Massachusetts, but this was when Biden showed his true character colors.

    Finally, let’s be clear. When the Left decides to play hard ball, you can ususally count on the subtext being their sacrament of abortion. It started with Bork and Palin has been the most recent manifestation.

  • Bork and Thomas are outliners. People like Bork with long controversial paper trails don’t get nominated anymore. And Thomas had to deal with Anita Hill. I don’t think either party has a monopoly on outrage. As I noted before, Roberts had an easier confirmation than Sotomayor who in turn will have had an easier confirmation than Kagan. I predict Kagan’s confirmation to be similar to Alito’s. Four Democrats voted for Alito. I predict 2 or 3 Republicans will vote for Kagan (Snowe, Collins, and maybe Brown).

  • It’s a straw man.

    Bork had the most difficult.

    You can continue to apologize for your democratic party, but facts are facts.

  • While, I do not disagree with the overall thesis expressed herein. I find the characterization of Reform and Hasidic Judaism to be off the mark. I contend that the divisions within Judaism that they represent a division with Judaism but that these division were the result not of dogmatic differences.

    Rather I view the divisions within Judaism as being similar to the differences that exist between religious orders with Catholicism.

    In the sense that each religious order agrees on the truth of the dogma espoused by universal church, their missions differ,and as a result there may exist minor differences within their devotions and practice.

  • Nathan Zimmermann,

    I would like to default to your position because I know very little about Judaism.

    But when I see “conservative” and “reform” Jews advocate for the death of the unborn in absolute violation of the Ten Commandments and then I see “orthodox” Jews express identical views with Catholics and stand up for the unborn, then your analogy does not seem to fit that of Catholic religious orders.

    Catholic religious orders differ in mission, but adhere completely to the teachings of the Church.

    I don’t believe your analogy falls into that category with all due respect.

  • Mr. Edwards,

    I based my analogy upon my experiences and interactions with the aforementioned communities within my native city where even the conservative and reform Jews tend to be more conservative and pro-life.

  • If the Republicans wish to Bork a nominee Solicitor General Kagan’s nomination may be the best opportunity. If President Obama had nominated Judge Merrick Garland, the ability of the Republicans to Bork the nominee would have proved less tenable because, Judge Garland’ nomination was openly advocated by Senator Hatch.

    As addendum to my two previous posts, and to throw a fox into a hen-house. While there is no doubt of the universal church on the subject of abortion and euthanasia, eugenics and Darwinism.

    It should be noted that there existed a split with the church on the subject of eugenics and Darwinism during the 1920s and 1930’s as is evident in the writings of Rev. Hermann Muckermann, the elder brother of Rev. Friederich Muckermann SJ.

  • Nathan:
    There has never been a split regarding either Darwinism or eugenics in Church teaching properly understood The fact that some Catholic priests and theologians have favored abortion rights, for instance (which of course is still the case) does not in any way impair the fact that the Magisterium has remained consistent, even as it develops.
    I have countless Jewish friends. Sadly I know none who consider themselves of the Reform stripe who favor laws forbidding abortions, even though I know many who claim they themselves would not abort a child.

The Dignity and Worth of Every Person

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

The Lying Worthless Poltical Hack, a\k\a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, tells Priests and Bishops to speak out on immigration from the pulpit based upon a biblical concern for “the dignity and worth of every person”.

The respect that the Lying Worthless Political Hack has “for the dignity and worth” of the smallest and most helpless among us was well demonstrated by this quote from Naral Pro-Choice America in 2007 after Pelosi became speaker of the House:

“Americans who value freedom and privacy have many reasons to celebrate as Nancy Pelosi takes the Speaker’s gavel to make this historic move forward for our country.  For her nearly 20 years in office, Speaker Pelosi has been an effective advocate for women’s health and has championed her pro-choice values by consistently voting to protect a woman’s right to choose.  In November, voters across this country endorsed Speaker Pelosi’s call for a change and new direction by electing 23 new pro-choice members to the U.S. House of Representatives.  Today, we celebrate as Speaker Pelosi takes the reins; under her leadership Americans can expect a new focus on commonsense solutions, not the divisive attacks that marred the previous Congresses.”

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8 Responses to The Dignity and Worth of Every Person

  • Problem is that many U.S. bishops don’t need Nip Tuck Nancy to egg them on in using their good offices as a feather to tickle their ideological fancies on this issue. I mean you have both Cdl. Roger Mahony and Abp. Timothy Dolan engaging in New York Slimes-style smear tactics to disparage the good people of Arizona who are exercising their God-given right to protect themselves from the ravages of open borders malfeaseance.

  • Is it dignified to die of exposure in the desert?

    Do we celebrate the worth of those who are suffocated in unventilated containers snuck across the border by ‘coyotes’?

    Or the women trafficked … or raped … crossing the border?

    Or the drug violence? Or gang crime? Kidnapping? Murder. Mayhem. Is that all dignified?

    Anyone who supports the current border situation, or would cause a stampede by offering ‘amnesty’ … has a share of all this blood on their hands. Not very dignified to my way of thinking.

  • Or it could be because of the bishop’s longstanding support of immigrants, mainly because the US Catholic Church was built on the backs of poor, outcast immigrants.

    http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-090.shtml
    http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org/

    Despite the Speaker’s horrid theology on abortion, she’s right that more clergy should speak out on a just immigration policy. How can we say we respect all life when we spit on the poor and needy who come to us looking for a living (in a legal way)?

  • “How can we say we respect all life when we spit on the poor and needy who come to us looking for a living (in a legal way)?”

    Deporting illegal aliens is not spitting on them. No one of course is proposing that legal immigrants do not have every right to be here, so I do not understand the (in a legal way) that ended your sentence.

    In any case this post isn’t about the debate over immigration, but rather at the deafness the Lying Worthless Political Hack has to an essential teaching of her Church and her willingness to attempt to enlist the Church, with language the irony of which I am certain eludes her, when it becomes politically expedient for her to do so.

  • Mr Smith:

    Immigration is not the issue. It’s about illegal aliens storming across our borders and the attendent dangerous criminal activity. For the bishops to accuse those who take a differing view from that of the open borders crowd od being anti-immigration when they know it is nothing of the sort is reprehensible, to say nothing of being unbecoming the office of bishop.

    USCCB “pastoral” letters on these type issues are more ideological than pastoral and are not worth the paper they are written on esecially that “Faithful Citizenship” one.

  • Again we get to the claim that immigrants have a right to immigrate – which they do according to Catholic Social teaching. But Catholic Social teaching also notes that states have a right to regulate immigration. I suspect the Church understood that when it developed this teaching that there would be some poor immigrants who were cut off. Catholic Social teaching is not about achieving utopia in the here and now. It is about applying moral principles in a fallen world.

  • If the Demonrats were not assured of getting the votes of the illegals, do you think they would be fighting so hard for getting them in to the county AND giving them “defacto” votes (via ACORN, et al)?

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Red vs. Blue Families

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

It’s fairly common for advocates of more liberal social policies to point out that “red states” tend to have higher rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, etc than “blue states”. This is taken to suggest that, however much conservatives may go on about “family values”, it is actually more liberal social values which are best for families. Ross Douthat does a good job of addressing this mentality in his column from last Sunday, in which he takes a closer look at some of these “family values” statistics.

Today, couples with college and (especially) graduate degrees tend to cohabit early and marry late, delaying childbirth and raising smaller families than their parents, while enjoying low divorce rates and bearing relatively few children out of wedlock.

For the rest of the country, this comfortable equilibrium remains out of reach. In the underclass (black, white and Hispanic alike), intact families are now an endangered species. For middle America, the ideal of the two-parent family endures, but the reality is much more chaotic: early marriages coexist with frequent divorces, and the out-of-wedlock birth rate keeps inching upward.

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20 Responses to Red vs. Blue Families

  • There are more problems with this book that I’ll outline in about a week. I have the post 3/4’s written but have to run some regressions and what not. I imagine you and your fellow travelers will largely be in agreement with me.

  • You read Douthat’s piece and came away with a completely different impression of it than I did. Of course, in my blog post on the subject, I did acknowledge that I may have been reading Douthat’s piece through my Ross-colored glasses, which probably tends to somewhat negatively distort anything written by the guy.

    I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

  • I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

    I thought it was pretty obvious from the context that he was characterizing the authors of the book as the kind of people who would make such a comment rather than taking a swipe at her himself. Judge for yourself:

    This is one of the themes of “Red Families v. Blue Families,” a provocative new book by two law professors, Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. The authors depict a culturally conservative “red America” that’s stuck trying to sustain an outdated social model. By insisting (unrealistically) on chastity before marriage, Cahn and Carbone argue, social conservatives guarantee that their children will get pregnant early and often (see Palin, Bristol), leading to teen childbirth, shotgun marriages and high divorce rates.

    I could be wrong, but it never occurred to me to read it otherwise. He is laying out their argument in that paragraph; and the rest of the editorial is critical of that simplistic portrayal of Red America, and (implicitly) the kind of people who would cite Bristol Palin as the exemplar of backwards redstate America. Notice, the conclusion of the piece:

    By comparison, the “red family” model can look dysfunctional — an uneasy mix of rigor and permissiveness, whose ideals don’t always match up with the facts of contemporary life. But it reflects something else as well: an attempt, however compromised, to navigate post-sexual revolution America without relying on abortion.

    Translation: Red State America does not take abortion as an easy way out; this decision has consequences that aren’t always pretty, but it also reflects a lived moral conviction.

  • MZ,

    Sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye out for it. (In the mean time, I’ll try to figure out if I should be flattered or perplexed at having “fellow travelers”.)

    Jay,

    Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it. But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says, Ross Douthat doesn’t fall in that camp for me.

  • Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it.

    I’m with Jay on this one – it sounded like it was Ross himself backing the authors’s thesis.

    There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken. Instead we get a subtle jab that leaves the reader perplexed as to what exactly Douthat’s personal point of view is.

  • It was pretty clear as written, Paul; certainly Darwin and most of the commenters at the New York Times picked it up quickly enough. Douthat’s point is that attitudes toward abortion – not abstinence education or an emphasis on marriage or the simple stupidity of people in Red America – account for most of the differences we see in out-of-wedlock birth, early marriage (and accompanying divorce), etc.

    The contemporary liberal narrative downplays this fact. Abortion is becoming increasingly unpopular, so liberals want to argue that increased access to contraceptives will reduce the need for abortion, and that it is cultural conservatism that, in effect, increases the abortion rate. Douthat just points out this argument doesn’t square with the facts; teen pregnancy is lower in blue states primarily because abortion is more prevalent. That’s why Darwin and Chris Burgwald flagged the article; it refutes a central part of the contemporary liberal diagnosis of red state America – the myth of social conservatism increasing the abortion rate.

  • Jay:

    I’m normally a Douthat fan, but I did think this article was weirdly written for some reason so while I noted as Darwin did that he ultimately refuted the thesis, that I didn’t feel great about him doing so. Not sure why.

  • The whole concept of the book is wrong-headed I think in its analysis of Red and Blue states. There are really very few states that fit in that category. For example I live in Blue Illinois. Outside of Chicago and some of the suburbs, most of Illinois has life conducted along the lines of a Red State by the lights of the book. The reverse is true of Red States, Texas for example, with large urban enclaves. This mixed quality of the states would have to be taken into consideration when looking at statistics regarding marriage and divorce. Additionally, I think we are at the beginning of a political era where the Red and Blue divisions may soon seem like relics as much as the divisions between the Whigs and the Jacksonian Democrats do today. The political landscape is changing rapidly, as I think Illinois will demonstrate in the fall.

  • “teen pregnancy is lower in blue states because abortion is more prevalent”

    Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates that would be lower in those states. I have seen lists of nations with the lowest teen pregnancy rates and the lowest teen birth rates side by side, and they are NOT identical, so statisticians do have a way to compile those statistics separately. (Switzerland, for example, is in the bottom five nations as far as teen birth rate, but does not have the same ranking for teen pregnancy rate.)

    If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    The only other possible cause for such a disparity would be a high rate of miscarriage or stillbirth due to poverty or poor medical care; that might be a factor in some Third World countries but probably not so much in the U.S., even in areas of extreme urban decay.

  • Also, figures in some of the red states may be considerably skewed by the impact of (illegal) immigration.

  • There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken.

    There is little indication from his writing that Ross Douthat has the background to have much critical engagement with a piece of quantitative social research, so he would be advised to tread rather carefully in commenting on that. It’s regrettably been years, but I have done this sort of work on this sort of topic and (judging from the literature I reviewed and my own analyses) you generally get ambiguous results.

    Of course, the book could be flawed in all kinds of ways that a layman could spot quite readily. Awful lot of groupthink in academe.

    But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says,

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

  • Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates

    Yeah, mistyped.

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

    Heh. A little harsh, but there’s a lot of truth there.

  • If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    While the terms are being used a bit interchangeably in the comments here, Douthat does successfully make the distinction, and the data he links to does indeed bear this out. For instance:

    Alabama has a pregnancy rate for 15-19 year olds of 73 out of every 1000 women. Connecticut has a rate of 57. For in Alabama only 20% of those pregnancies end in abortion, while in Connecticut 53% do. West Virginia has a teen pregnancy rate of 62, which is the same a Rhode Island’s rate of 62 — but in West Virginia only 17% of those pregnancies end in abortion while in Rhode Island 42% do.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about, Bristol Palin should not have been brought up at all.

  • The bigger point might be the supposed connection between morality and whether one is red or blue. As much as either side tries to convince that it is more moral than the other, neither the public examples, nor the statistics are there.

    If you wanted to analyze the big picture on abortion or divorce, you’d have to draw in economics, religion, and education, among other factors. They used to say the moral majority is neither. It’s still true.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about

    It’s not that she typifies the type of people the authors were writing about (although she does in some respects). It’s that she is a common example cited by people like the authors. Douthat is laying out the lefty worldview; and Bristol and Sarah Palin references are common. Is that unfair to Bristol? Sure. But I don’t think re-stating the blue state critique of red-state America in its own terms makes Douthat morally reprehensible.

  • Todd,

    I’m not clear that moral conservatives necessarily claim to be more moral than social progressives, they just claim that they continue to espouse morality while their opponents consider it “repressed” or “outdated”.

    Of course, the other point here is that claimed moral beliefs are certainly not the only difference between the populations of “red” and “blue” states. In this sense, although it’s an oft used distinction, trying to make these distinctions is overly broad.

    As I’m sure you’d agree “red” and “blue” (there’s a certain late-Roman quality to how attached we are to these color designations) in the sense of left-politics/right-politics can contain a whole host of contradictory groups within one label. I would imagine that you share much more in moral/cultural outlook with those in the Moral Majority (however distasteful you may find their politics) than you do with the sort of folks who write long self-examining essays about how monogamous marriage doesn’t make sense in the modern world for The Atlantic, even if you might share some of the same favorite politicians.

    Data that I have seen which is more explicitly broken down by actual stated moral beliefs does show that, while as should come as no surprise to anyone those who espouse traditional moral beliefs are far from perfect in their practice of them, people who claim to believe in traditional morality, attend some sort of religious services regularly, etc. do tend to have fewer sexual partners, “wait” longer as teenagers, etc. Whether people claim allegiance to moral norms is not irrelevent to their behavior, even though many do not life up to their own stated ideals.

  • I suspect those on the left have their own moral positions though they may deny that. Just look at the furor over such issues as immigration restrictions, global warming etc. And like those on the right, there are many on the left that do not live up to their moral positions.
    No one is the equal of their ideals. The problem is what ideals are the right ones. Then, how to implement them.

  • Thanks for the comment, Darwin. I suspect that “researchers” on this topic go after their perception of hypocrisy from the Right. In a way, all they have to do is point to select developments in Republican-leaning regions, say “gotcha!” and move on. Point proved.

    I have yet to see a serious across-the-board study that would link abortion, divorce, and other issues with geography, politics, wealth, education, race, etc.. Unfortunately, any serious sociologist who attempted one would either be too biased from the outset, given the polarization of the culture, or would get hammered from both sides of the ideological divide. For now, I think we exist in a state of ignorance when it comes to other people’s morality. And maybe it’s better that way. Heaven knows I have my hands full with my own moral temptations.

    I’m not sure I would equate this situation too much with the parable of the two sons, the one who promised to work then didn’t (conservatives) and the one who declined to give lip service, but then reconsidered and labored (liberals). But we do know there are prominent folk who do not live up to their stated guiding principles. I’m disinclined to credit that as a torpedo to the movement, even ones I disagree with.

    I know, for example, a number of homosexuals who are highly moral people. For some people on the Right, they would trip over the sex and not get any further.

    Sex is a big part of morality, in part because of our culture’s fixation on it, but it’s not the only factor.

  • I grew up in New York and raise my family in NJ, the statistics in this book challenge stereotypes of both liberals and conservatives. However, I just read Frank Luntz’s book, “What Americans Really Want…Really”. Based on polls taken in the U.S. it states that families who regularly attend church and children who are brought up conscious of God and family life are often more aware about the consequences of their decisions and how a religious family life is beneficial to children. Luntz states that children who attend church, eat dinner as a family, take family vacations etc are less likely to take drugs. He also states parents should go over their children’s homework daily. There are tips that can benefit both red and blue families. If rural America and poor areas tend to have higher teen birth rates and unstable families then the U.S. Govt should be working harder to bring quality education and jobs and rescources to these areas especially. Also, many jobs that illegals hold may be desirable to poorer and less educated Americans. Hence, the unfortunate recent bias attacks in Staten Island where people in poorer areas were hostile as illegals came to their neighborhoods and took the jobs available in a sluggish job market. Also, since contraception is so widely accepted since the 60’s the governments role in promoting (politically or financially) contraceptives doesn’t seem so vital in blue states. Teens in middle class blue states are educated and now have the access they need.

Of Tea Party Terrorists and Cognitive Dissonance

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

With President Obama demonizing Tea Party protesters and the recent comments of New York Mayor Bloomberg speculating that the Times Square bomber was a tea party protester, it is mind boggling how the evidence continues to stack up against their arguments of Tea Party protesters being intolerant and racists.

Especially in the light of breaking news that thieves have stolen the Mojave Desert Cross that was built to honor Americans who died in World War I.  When  just less than two weeks prior the U.S. Supreme allowed that Cross to remain on the property.

I’ll bet good money that some raving liberal removed the cross because of his or her dissatisfaction with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.

Yet where are the news of lynchings, swastikas painted on synagogues and burnt out black churches by Tea Party Protesters?

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2 Responses to Of Tea Party Terrorists and Cognitive Dissonance

  • Thrasybulus – ancient Greek tyrant and teacher of tyrants: “Cut down the tallest stalk in any political field.”

    Liberals are vultures.

  • Nothing frightens the corrupt criminals in the political class like the active involvement of citizens in politics.

    In their view, politics is “their” domain; our role is to show up every 2 or 4 years and cast a ballot and go home.

    Now we’re taking ownership of the political process. The tea party just unseated a Republican incumbent in the Utah primary.

    http://www.newpatriotjournal.com/Articles/Senator_Bob_Bennett_Loses_Nomination_Bid_in_GOP_Primary

    “Most of delegates, when interviewed, confirmed that they had never served as a delegate, and most had never attended the state convention or even a caucus meeting. The primary reasons cited by delegates spoken to were a concern about the increase in size of the federal government and a resulting loss of liberties.”

    The political class hears this and goes into spasms.

    And make no mistake – they are more afraid of this than they are of Al Qeda.

Elena Kagan and the state of Democracy

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

I’m not sure I ever expected to wake up to read the New York Times coverage of a new nominee to the Supreme Court and find myself in agreement.

Of course, they think she’ll be a fine justice and I think she’s a pro-abort and could do without her. I also think she looks like Ursula from “A Little Mermaid,” which is less a comment on her than it is a comment on how many Disney movies I watch with my wife (curse you, Disney movie club!). That’s not what we agree on.

What we agree on is that she is a stealth candidate and that just by itself makes us uncomfortable. The official editorial reads:

President Obama may know that his new nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, shares his thinking on the multitude of issues that face the court and the nation, but the public knows nothing of the kind. Whether by ambitious design or by habit of mind, Ms. Kagan has spent decades carefully husbanding her thoughts and shielding her philosophy from view. Her lack of a clear record on certain issues makes it hard to know whether Mr. Obama has nominated a full-throated counterweight to the court’s increasingly aggressive conservative wing.

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5 Responses to Elena Kagan and the state of Democracy

  • “(You can tell I went to law school with a sentence that long).”

    It’s not the length of the sentence but the fact that it is unintelligible upon a first reading that betrays your law school bona fides.

    😉

  • Posing in judicial robes for a high school picture truly creeps me out. I am always leery of people who have an overriding career ambition and who shape their entire life to reach it. Such individuals are the last people I would trust to wield power wisely.

  • Has anyone read anything she (or Obama for that matter) has had published?

    Hey! Her fellow traveler colleague defended her today in the WSJ. Seems she broke federal policy/law and refused access to military recruiters; but quickly complied (courage of her convictions) when they moved to take away my (taxpayer) money.

    Sounds like Supremo Corto material to mio!

    Only way I can explain this (and Sotomayor) is Obama doesn’t want anyone to show him up, or his wife would be jealous if he nominated a babe.

    Not that it matters. We are getting screwed “six ways from Sunday.” There will be nothing left by 2012.

  • I notice that Ms. Kagan put her opinions under wraps about the time her fellow political partisans calumnated Robert Bork.

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Bishop John Carroll, Joshua Barney and the Bonapartes

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

One of the difficulties that I often experience when preparing a post on a historical topic for the blog, is deciding what to leave out.  Oftentimes I have far more material than I can put in a post, unless I want to transform the post into a treatise.  In the case of my recent post on Joshua Barney, American naval hero of the American Revolution and the War of 1812, I had to leave out quite a bit on his life.  One portion that I think might be of interest to our readers is his involvement with Jerome Bonaparte, brother to Napoleon Bonaparte.

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27 Responses to Bishop John Carroll, Joshua Barney and the Bonapartes

  • What a huge mess is what I say. Archbishop Carroll should have refused to marry them. For the Americans to be in league with the family of the Terror of Europe by virtue of entertaining Napoleon’s brother on this land as though he was real royalty.

    Wouldn’t this be akin to Raul Castro being welcomed into this land and showing him a grand ‘ol time while his brother–Fidel– is terrorizing Catholicism and Christianity in general?

    And lastly, of course he saw the marriage to Betsy as nothing more than a piece of paper. I am not surprised. He himself was married twice.

  • fascinating post, Donald. Thank you. It would make a great movie (for those of you that like that sort of thing, and I think you know who you are!)

  • Napoleon was no Castro. He was a despot, but no more so than most of the Monarchs of the Europe of his day, with the proviso that Napoleon was far more talented at doing the Monarch job than all the rest of them put together. His concordat with the Pope effectively ended the Republican war against the Church. Napoleon of course bullied the Pope and locked him up, but these behaviors were well within the traditions of earlier monarchs of the “Eldest Daughter of the Church”.

  • What exactly makes one a monarch other than force, and then heredity enforced by force?

  • I think there was a BBC Horatio Hornblower episode that used this as a story line.

  • Phillip – I thought I had watched all the Hornblower episodes on A&E. As I recall, they were taken from Foresters “Mr. Midshipman Hornblower” stories (which were written long after “Beat to Quarters” but tell the story of Hornblower’s earliest experiences with [then] Captain Pellew). I also remember they did a two part movie based on Lieutenant Hornblower, where he and Lt. Bush must overcome a psychotic captain.

    I dont recall a similar storyline following “Fifi’s” romantic escapades but would love to see it.

  • The episode in which Hornblower met Jerome and Betsy was released in 2003. It was entitled Duty.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0352410/plotsummary

  • And I was preparing a screenplay … oh well …

  • “Lifestyles of the Young and Bonaparte!”

  • tryptic67,

    Go ahead and do your screenplay. As I recall, the Hornblower episode doesn’t approach the detail that Donald relates.

  • Interesting post. I am actually a descendant of William Patterson’s brother Thomas Michael Patterson who settled in South Carolina. In your post you make two historical mistakes: 1) William Patterson wasn’t Catholic, he was Presbyterian from Northern Ireland. He arranged for a Catholic wedding and even he was against her marrying a Bonaparte. 2) He wasn’t a shipbuilder, he was a merchant, like you said the richest after Carroll. He also aided the American Revolution by buying arms from the French and supplying Washington’s army. Other than that you are spot on.

  • Thank you Jason. You are correct on both points. One of the sources I consulted was in error. I have amended the post accordingly.

  • Historians generally call the period from 1800 through 1815 as the Napoleonic Wars. That one man can single-handedly plunge an entire continent to fifteen years of near-constant warfare, causing widespread death and destruction, is appalling. Not very many persons in human history can boast the same achievement.

    In my opinion, Napoleon was pretty evil.

  • “Historians generally call the period from 1800 through 1815 as the Napoleonic Wars. That one man can single-handedly plunge an entire continent to fifteen years of near-constant warfare, causing widespread death and destruction, is appalling.”

    Napoleon has his share of the blame, but I don’t think he can be properly alloted all of the blame. Wars were a frequent feature of life in Europe up to the time of Napoleon, and in that respect the wars of his period were not that unusual. What was extremely unusual was the almost century of peace and brief wars in Europe ushered in after the Congress of Vienna.

  • Admiral Nelson tried to help the Pope as much as he could. Contrast this with Napoleon, who occupied Rome. So Admiral Nelson, an Anglican, turned out to be more pro-Catholic than Napoleon, a nominal Catholic. This was an exceptional moment of Protestant-Catholic cooperation.

  • Catholic refugees in England during the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars helped begin the process of lessening the virulent anti-Catholicism that England had been cursed with since the time of Bad Queen Bess.

  • Napolean was actually an agnostic at best.

    He didn’t care for the Church unless it served him such as his wedding to gain legitamacy in the eyes of Frenchman.

    He’s still one of the closest men in history that resembled the anti-Christ.

    Only Mao, Stalin, and Hitler can claim that crown along with the Corsican.

  • I disagree with you as to Napoleon’s religious stance Tito. I agree with the observations of Metternich, his greatest foe:

    “Napoleon was not irreligious in the ordinary sense of the word. He would not admit that there had ever existed a genuine atheist; he condemned Deism as the result of rash speculation. A Christian and a Catholic, he recognized in religion alone the right to govern human societies. He looked on Christianity as the basis of all real civilization; and considered Catholicism as the form of worship most favorable to the maintenance of order and the true tranquility of the moral world; Protestantism as a source of trouble and disagreements. Personally indifferent to religious practices, he respected them too much to permit the slightest ridicule of those who followed them. It is possible that religion was, with him, more the result of an enlightened policy than an affair of sentiment; but whatever might have been the secret of his heart, he took care never to betray it.”

    My thoughts on Napoleon and his religious beliefs are set out here:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2008/12/28/napoleon-on-christ/

  • It is a little-known historical fact that Admiral Nelson almost became a Liberator of Rome. In 1798, Rome was occupied by Napoleon. Nelson persuaded King Ferdinand IV of Naples to take action. With the help of Nelson’s fleet, King Ferdinand and his army entered Rome on November 29, 1798. If their success had been more permanent, King Ferdinand IV and Admiral Nelson would have gone down in history as Liberators of Rome.

  • Actions speak louder than words, and Napoleon committed many acts that can hardly be described as Christian. He killed hundreds of thousands of people in aggressive warfare. Name almost any country in Western Europe, and more likely than not, Napoleon shows up in her history as invader or conqueror. Let’s not forget, either, the Russians and anyone else who opposed him.

    (Some of Napoleon’s battles may have been in France’s self-defense, but in many situations he was the aggressor rather than the defender.)

    “What was extremely unusual was the almost a century of peace and brief wars in Europe ushered in after the Congress of Vienna.” So Napoleon in power brings fifteen years of death and destruction, but Napoleon in exile three thousand miles away affords Europe a hundred years of peace. (Pardon me for using your argument against you.)

  • Blaming Napoleon solely for the wars of his time are absurd. The wars brought on by the French Revolution were already in full swing by the time Napoleon arrived on the scene. Britain, and the other powers it convinced to join in wars against France over the years, simply was not going to allow a greatly expanded France to dominate the Continent, as it had waged a similar war to prevent Louis XIV and France from dominating Europe a century before the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon was part of a long historical process of wars between Britain and France to decide which would be the dominant player in Europe and the World. To paint Napoleon as the bogey man in this process betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of this clash of two nations that ended in the Pax Britannica.

  • Look at a map of Europe. Austerlitz, Jena, Moscow, etc. are hundreds of miles away from French soil. Napoleon was not fighting in self-defense.

    At this time, France had beheaded its King and Queen. All the royal houses of Europe were in fear for their lives. You might forgive them a little for being eager to oppose France.

    I will admit though, that it was a little hypocritical of the British to oppose Napoleon and keep the Irish oppressed.

  • Austerlitz was fought as a result of Britain convincing Austria to join the Third Coalition against France, France and Britain being at war since 1803 after the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens. Jena was fought as a result of Prussia joining the Fourth Coalition, and being deluded enough to think that it could beat France in a stand up fight. Prussia declared war on France, not the other way around. Moscow was fought as a result of Napoleon’s attempt to keep Russia in the Continental System which involved closing the ports of Europe to trade with Britain. It is impossible to understand the Napoleonic Wars without understanding the ancient rivalry between Britain and France which was the underlying cause of each of these wars.

    As to the royal houses being in fear of their lives, that fear terminated long before Napoleon was crowned as Emperor with the end of the Republican terror. After Napoleon their motivation was chiefly fear of the loss of their jobs, until the nationalism that motivated the masses in France had spread to the masses of the nations fighting France.

  • Way before Austerlitz was fought, Napoleon had made his intentions loud and clear – he wanted to replace most, if not all, of Europe’s monarchies with his own rule. Would-be world conquerors do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Britain, Prussia, Austria and their allies perceived that Napoleon was a threat. They were on the defensive side, regardless of who technically declared war first.

    The traditional Anglo-French rivalry may have made the fighting more bitter than usual. If the British were a little eager in opposing Napoleon, it is because they knew what was at stake. Even before the Peace of Amiens, Napoloeon intended to cross the English Channel and invade Britain. What Napoleon was planning to do with the British once he had conquered them, you can imagine for yourself.

  • “Napoleon had made his intentions loud and clear – he wanted to replace most, if not all, of Europe’s monarchies with his own rule.”

    Quite untrue. What Napoleon wanted was to have a continent dominated by the Empire of France. If that goal was served by keeping the local rulers in power he kept them in power, as he did with the Hapsburgs in Austria and the Hohenzollerns in Prussia. From 1793 Britain and France were in a struggle to see which country would dominate Europe and the globe. I like the fact that Britain won that struggle, due to the restraint, usually, with which they exercised their hegemony in the Nineteenth Century, and their commitment to Parliament and the rule of Law, but that does not alter the fact that both Britain and France were aiming for the same goal, the top position among the powers of the globe.

  • Oh, and the Brits long before the French drew up invasion plans for England, had made unsuccessful attempts to invade France. Napoleon earned his promotion to Brigadier General by commanding the artillery during the siege of Toulon that drove the British from that French port in 1794.

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  • The principles of neoclassical economics are a flashpoint in some Catholic circles, where the mainstream economist is derided for his “science” and unwavering belief that economic phenomena are defined by something akin to scientific laws. But what are we to make of this:

    An increasing percentage of Mondragon employees, for example, do not have an ownership stake in the company, but work for it much as they would for an ordinary business. But while this may be a solution for a particular co-operative business, it is not really a solution for the co-operative business model so much as a gradual abandonment of it.

    The Catholic criticism of mainstream economics is fair enough — get the anthropology in the correct order before positing homo economicus, we’re told. I sympathize, but if there’s an incentive against expansion because of share dilution even at Mondragon, how do we square this apparent inevitability with the insistence that politcal economy and economic institutions are not deterministic?

    (This is a bit off topic and might make a good topic for a separate post.)

  • I don’t know that it’s necessarily that far off-topic. My issue with most discussions of economic “justice” is that they inevitably drift over toward equality of outcome at the expense of equality of opportunity. That is precisely the issue, it seems to me, with Mondragon and other worker co-ops.

    SOmeone has to set a relative value for the stuff being co-op’d. Whoever does that will be required to make value judgments as to the relative worth if various inputs to the system, and then to relate those values to outcomes. If we’re all OK with me being paid less than Blackadder because I only input potatoes while he inputs truffles (does anyone not-French really eat those things?), then we’re good. But when Blackadder becomes richer than me because his inputs are more valuable than mine, many Catholic sociologists will cry foul and seek to level the playing field. THAT’S when we get into trouble.

    Concentration of wealth, or resources, or whatever, into the hands of less than the entire society is inevitable, unless we desire to take everyone to the lowest comoon denominator. And remember: when everyone is at a subsistence level…the poor will STILL be with us, except that none of us will be able to afford largesse to aid them!

  • “If employers and employees find, for the reasons given above, that worker co-ops are less preferable than other forms in many circumstances, there is nothing wrong with that.”

    I really hope the assumption here isn’t that anyone ever said there WAS something wrong with it.

  • Deacon Chip,

    ” But when Blackadder becomes richer than me because his inputs are more valuable than mine, many Catholic sociologists will cry foul and seek to level the playing field. THAT’S when we get into trouble.”

    I agree. And Catholic social teaching is clear – men have a right to make a profit from their labor, to enrich themselves. They also have a MORAL obligation to use their wealth charitably (which is NOT the same as saying that the state should force them to; unfortunately we live in a world in which people can ONLY imagine obligations coming from the state, since they no longer believe in God).

    “Concentration of wealth, or resources, or whatever, into the hands of less than the entire society is inevitable, unless we desire to take everyone to the lowest comoon denominator.”

    I completely agree. But “less than the entire society” is very broad. It could mean almost everyone, or it could mean almost no one. What Catholic social teaching makes clear is this: in so far as POSSIBLE (the exact words of Pius XI and a paraphrase of JP II), we should look for ways to make more people full participants in the economic process – through degrees of ownership and control of the means of production.

    This doesn’t mean “do it, even if it will ruin the company or the economy.” It means, “examine each situation to discover how far this general principle can be applied, if it all.” And even BA is forced to admit that in some sectors of the economy it DOES work.

    In any case, we also have to remember that the aim of CST is to prevent or mitigate class warfare. The Church has always recognized a polarizing tendency in what we call “capitalism” and has suggested Distributism as ONE way of addressing it.

    The other ways – labor unions, and state assistance, have mutated into corrupt bureaucratic enterprises. In fact I would argue that it is because of a false hope that men in all classes put in these institutions that the real solution, Distributism, was never really tried on a mass scale.

    Now that the bankruptcy of organized labor and welfare-statism is evident, I believe the already empirically demonstrated upward trend in employee ownership (which I pointed out in this post:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/06/25/worker-ownership-%E2%80%93-the-untold-stories/)

    will continue. Though some people make a career out of denying it, the dog-eat-dog individualism of the unfettered market does not and will not serve as the foundation of a stable or a just or a moral society. We are social beings, we are meant to live, to work, and to worship as a community (without negating our individual dignity or rights, of course).

    As a final thought, even Ronald Reagan supported employee ownership.

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  • Though some people make a career out of denying it, the dog-eat-dog individualism of the unfettered market does not and will not serve as the foundation of a stable or a just or a moral society.,-Joe Hargrave

    Dogs don’t eat dogs – despite the claims of those who make a career asserting it. However the 20th century experience with unfettered collectivism demonstrates that socialists do eat other socialists.

    I am pleased to see Blackadder’s article explaining that worker co-ops are rare not because they are wilfully suppressed by Secret Masters of Political Economy (SMOPEs) but because they are naturally selected against by people’s own individual choices. I am amused by advocates of distributism who use mass-produced computers and a ubiquitous Internet to stump for distributism without regard to the fact that such tools subsist in an economy where large capital formations are commonplace. As Blackadder put it, “worker co-ops tend to be disproportionately concentrated in labor intensive, capital light industries.” These haven’t been the commanding heights of a Western economy since the Industrial Revolution, maybe not even since the days medieval Benedictine monks built water wheels, windmills, and forges adjacent to their monasteries.

  • Micha,

    The extent to which you go to misrepresent arguments is well known, and unworthy of a response. I’ll pray for you.

American Swashbuckler: Joshua Barney

Monday, May 10, AD 2010

It is a pity that Errol Flynn during the Golden Age of Hollywood never had the opportunity to do a biopic on Joshua Barney.  Barney’s life was more adventuresome and filled with derring-do than the fictional characters that Flynn portrayed.

The scion of a Catholic Maryland family, Barney was born on July 6, 1759 in Baltimore, one of 14 children.  At 10 he announced to his startled father that he was leaving school.  His father found him a job in a counting shop, but Barney refused to spend his life chained to a desk.  He left his father’s farm at 13 to seek his fortunes on the sea.  He became an apprentice mate on the brig Sydney engaged in the Liverpool trade.  The captain of the brig died suddenly on a voyage  to Europe and  the 14 year old Barney assumed command and successfully completed the voyage.

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One Response to American Swashbuckler: Joshua Barney

Is the Means of Production an Obsolete Idea?

Sunday, May 9, AD 2010

The “means of production” (which may be defined, roughly, as consisting of capital goods minus human and financial capital), is a central concept in Marxism, as well as in other ideologies such as Distributism. The problems of capitalism, according to both Marxists and Distributists, arise from the fact that ownership of the means of production is concentrated in the hands of the few. Marxists propose to remedy these problems by having the means of production be collectively owned. Distributists want to retain private ownership, but to break the means of production up (where practicable) into smaller parts so that everyone will have a piece (if you wanted to describe the difference between the Marxist and Distributist solutions here, it would be that Distributists want everyone to own part of the means of production, whereas Marxists want everyone to be part owner of all of it).

Where a society’s economy is based primarily on agriculture or manufacture, thinking in terms of the means of production makes some sense. In an agricultural economy wealth is based primarily on ownership of land, and in a manufacturing economy ownership of things like factories and machinery plays an analogous role. In a modern service-based economy, by contrast, wealth is based largely on human capital (the possession of knowledge and skills). As Pope John Paul II notes in Centesimus Annus, “[i]n our time, in particular, there exists another form of ownership which is becoming no less important than land: the possession of know-how, technology and skill. The wealth of the industrialized nations is based much more on this kind of ownership than on natural resources.”

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  • As long as people combine to form economic enterprises that can be quantified in terms of share ownership, discussions of the “means of production” will continue to have relevance.

    I’ll also add that Distributism, and Catholic social teaching in general, does not merely apply to America or other developed economies – though both still engage in agriculture and industry.

    “if you wanted to describe the difference between the Marxist and Distributist solutions here, it would be that Distributists want everyone to own part of the means of production, whereas Marxists want everyone to be part owner of all of it”

    Some Marxists. Others advocate total nationalization of the means of production, in which the state owns all of it. Though technically, I suppose, the theory is that a “workers state”, by representing the working class, owns and distributes revenues on behalf of the working class, and by that logic they may say that “the workers own the means of production.”

    In reality, the people who argued for actual, direct worker ownership of the means of production in Russia, the “Workers Opposition”, were suppressed by the Bolsheviks.

  • As long as people combine to form economic enterprises that can be quantified in terms of share ownership, discussions of the “means of production” will continue to have relevance.

    A law firm might have share ownership, but I’m not sure how useful the means of production would be in analyzing it.

  • Btw, you make a good point that much of the world hasn’t yet moved to a service based economy.

  • I’m not so sure it is an obsolete idea, although I am neither a Marxist nor a Distributist. I have a particular set of skills and knowledge that makes me useful to an insurance company. That knowledge and skill cannot be put to use except within a corporate environment. I could potentially quit and hang out a shingle and try to obtain consulting work, but there is no market for it. It is impossible for most individuals to be able to capitalize an insurance company, and it is also not desireable that this be done due to the risk of policyholders would face that the company would collapse and their claims go unpaid.

    In a certain sense, the modern corporation is in itself the means of production in a modern service economy. It brings efficiencies through organization, time management, concentration of money, and market share that cannot be matched on an individual or small business level. Small businesses have to find small niches in which to compete. In effect, we have migrated from “things” to organizations in a service economy. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, it’s just the way things are.

    Now, there are niches in which small businesses can thrive, which larger organizations will fail in. It is crucial that individuals be allowed the freedom to pursue happiness and livelihoods in the manner of their choice, whether in a modern corporation or in a self-owned business. This is why I’m neither a Marxist nor a Distributist. I don’t want the government to try to force a particular “ideal” on everyone, as this is not conducive to human happiness. Government should simply step in when people’s liberty is being infringed upon.

  • “This is why I’m neither a Marxist nor a Distributist. I don’t want the government to try to force a particular “ideal” on everyone, as this is not conducive to human happiness.”

    Doug,

    Distributism is not about the government “forc[ing] a particular “ideal” on everyone.”

    Anyone can argue that any idea ought to be forced upon everyone. This isn’t exclusive to Distributism or Marxism.

    On the other hand, anyone can argue that individuals ought to embrace an idea freely because it is good. And this is one way to approach Distributism, and it is how I approach it.

    The role the government plays is a variable, not a fixed measure. It can be a little or a lot. It could even be none at all.

    If you want to learn more about Distributism from my point of view, I invite you to read this:

    http://joeahargrave.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/the-distributist-manifesto/

  • Doug,

    I think your example of the insurance company is more an issue of financial capital than of the means of production as such.

  • Yes! I think this is certainly true of intellectual workers, who are persons who are not interchangable and are themselves assets to the company.

    As you suggest, the idea of “the means of production” is not totally obsolete but is of less analytical value in modern industrial economies.

  • Even though I work for a company which is, in a sense, a manufacturer (of consumer electronics and IT infrastructure) it strikes me that in many ways most large modern corporations run more on organizational capital, information, financial and brand equity than on actually owning “means of production”.

    Thus, while many of us who work there would have a hard time making as much without working for some sort of large company, it’s also the case that employees are not interchangeable for the employer. With fairly specialized human capital, the employer doesn’t exercise nearly as much power as an 1880s era landholder or a turn of the century factory owner. (As demonstrated by the dramatic increase in wages.)

    I certainly think there’s been some sort of major shift in what the “means of production” are, and that this shift has implications for the economy and society, but I’ve got the feeling it’s a bit more complicated than simply “now human capital is the means of production.”

    Interesting train of thought…

  • The distributists never thought highly of intellectual property rights. Much of the modern economy is a discussion of IP rents. A cursory search on my part suggests Marx wasn’t all that cool with IP rights. While human capital could merely mean the training of works, it has tended to be code for IP.

    human capital cannot be easily alienated from the individual, either to another individual or to the collective as a whole.

    The movie and music industries would be counterexamples.

  • The movie and music industries would be counterexamples.

    I’m not sure I’m following your point — could you expand?

  • It is not unusual for a band that has gone on tour to owe the recording company money for doing the tour, leaving them no net. In the odd universe of music, performers sign away all their rights and the music companies give them permission to perform their works. This is most apparent if you read the complaint lists of American Idol winners. Likewise in the movie industry, a large portion of the gross does not go towards the actors. The amount that goes to the actors is actually quite insignificant once the headliners’s earnings are taken out of consideration.

    Of course this is in the end an argument of what is actually property. And despite BA’s protestations, worker ability and knowledge has been folded into working capital and been considered a part of it for a long time.

  • In the odd universe of music, performers sign away all their rights and the music companies give them permission to perform their works. This is most apparent if you read the complaint lists of American Idol winners.

    That does certainly suggest an odd state of affairs, though it sounds to me more like a case of people signing a contract based on an expectation of larger ticket sales than actually materialized. Or at least, it’s hard to imagine why it would be a standard business practice that people sign up to work for free.

    Though with American Idol winners, perhaps the key is that most of the skill leading to revenues is actually on the part of the marketers, producers, promoters, etc., while the “talent” is interchangeable.

    Likewise in the movie industry, a large portion of the gross does not go towards the actors. The amount that goes to the actors is actually quite insignificant once the headliners’s earnings are taken out of consideration.

    Isn’t that assuming that the only skilled “workers” involved in producing a movie are the actors? They are in fact a minority of those who work in a movie crew, and at a supply and demand level there are an incredible number of people eager to take minor film roles in hope of being “discovered”, or just for the fun of it.

    If anything, I would imagine that movies and music would be a good example of how technology has leveled things in the last 10-20 years, as independent musicians and independent film makers have become increasingly successful at working outside the studio system.

  • Joe, thanks for the link. It was informative.

  • An interesting article. Have you considered the possibility that the important thing now is that the government is trying to control the means of *re*production?

Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

Sunday, May 9, AD 2010

When I was growing up in the late Sixties and early Seventies the number one sex symbol going away was the actress Raquel Welch.  What little I had heard of her opinions seemed to be those of a conventional Hollywood liberal.  Therefore I was shocked by this column she wrote for CNN on the anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill:

Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.

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6 Responses to Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

  • Putting these two quotations next to each other was a stroke of genius. Many thanks!

  • Amazing how these two different kind of people’s opinions could be brought together in agreement.

  • Divine Wisdom as it’s best…Thank You…GOD!!!

  • “‘I know one thing you don’t. I know the difference between right and wrong. They didn’t teach you THAT at school.’

    Rose didn’t answer; the woman was quite right: the two words meant nothing to her. Their taste was extinguished by stronger foods – Good and Evil. the woman could tell her nothing she didn’t know about these – she knew by tests as clear as mathematics that Pinkie was evil – what did it matter in that case whether he was right or wrong?

    ‘You’re crazy,’ the woman said. ‘I don’t believe you’d lift a finger if he was killing you.’

    Rose came slowly back to the outer world. She said, ‘Maybe I wouldn’t.’

    ‘If I wasn’t a kind woman I’d give you up. But I’ve got a sense of responsibility.’ Her smiles hung very insecurely when she paused at the door. ‘You can warn that young husband of yours,’ she said, ‘I’m getting warm to him. I got my plans.’ She went out and closed the door, then flung it open again for a last attack. ‘You be careful, dear,’ she said. ‘You don’t want a murderer’s baby,’ and grinned mercilessly across the bare bedroom floor. ‘You better take precautions.’

    Precautions. . . . Rose stood at the bed-end and pressed a hand against her body, as if under that pressure she could discover. . . . THAT had never entered her mind; and the thought of what she might have let herself in for came like a sense of glory. A child . . . and that child would have a child . . . it was like raising an army of friends for Pinkie. If They damned him and her, They’d have to deal with them, too. There was no end to what the two of them had done last night upon the bed: it was an eternal act.”

    (The inimicable Graham Greene, Brighton Rock)

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A Papal Audience in Autumn 1941

Sunday, May 9, AD 2010

Venerable Pius XII always believed that it was part of his duties as Pope to be accessible to virtually everyone who wished to see him.  His audiences would normally be crowded as a result.  In the autumn of 1941 he held an audience which was no different.  Italians, pilgrims of all nations, German soldiers (German soldiers flocked to see the Pope until the Nazis forbade such visits, fearing the influence the words of the Pope, in direct contradiction to the doctrines of National Socialism,  might have on the Landsers.), humanity from across the globe, all eager to see, and perhaps have a word with, the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

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Devon, England, Laying Claim to Americas Lost Colony

Saturday, May 8, AD 2010

I found this article by Andrew Hough of London’s Daily Telegraph quite interesting since it touches on the Lost Colony which is sometimes called the Roanoke Colony in present day North Carolina.

The Lost Colony is the first English attempt of setting up a settlement in the new world, ie, present day America.

The following is the article on the residents of Devon, England, laying claim that they were the original colonists of this Lost Colony:

Andy Powell, mayor of Bideford, north Devon, wants to use DNA testing to prove residents from the port town settled in the US three decades before the Pilgrim Fathers sailed there.

Mr Powell is trying to raise money for the research, which he hopes will prove his town’s “pivotal” role in the history of modern America.

He hopes advances in the science will enable scientists to link people from Bideford with descendants of a lost colonist.

His attempts centre on the story of the “lost colony”, where in 1587 Sir Walter Raleigh organised a colonial expedition of settlers including John White, a governor.

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3 Responses to Devon, England, Laying Claim to Americas Lost Colony

  • That’s so awsome. He sounds like the most fun mayor in England.

  • My Lumbee ancestors have said for hundreds of years (oral history even today) that we are descendants of Manteos Tribe and the colonists. It would be so amazing if the DNA backs up our oral histories. If so, we will finally have the ‘written proof and scientific proof’ to validate the oral histories of our forefathers. 🙂

  • I’m living half the time in Edenton, NC, and have visited Roanoke Island several times, read a dozen good recent histories on this subject, and would like anyone who has a similar interest to contact me..My own belief, shared by several recent studies/books, is that the 126 Lost Colonists did not head northward to the Chesapeake Bay area; but westward, on the Albemarle Sound and could have settled in what is the Dare County Peninsula (Beechtown and Sandy Ridge areas in what is not the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge) immediately to the west of Roanoke Island; also, some may have gone to what is today, Buxton, on the Outer Banks; others may have easily made their way further west about 65+ miles, to the western (inland) end of the Albemarle Sound, near Cashie, Chowan, and Roanoke rivers–all which empty into the Sound in that location. Very likely too that some of them became part of the Lumbee Indian tribe–as well as other tribes existing at that time, near the coastal plains near the Sound.