Papa Bene on the Importance of Spiritual Direction

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

Spiritual Direction is where you have a spiritual director, whether a priest or layperson, offer advice, guidance, and feedback in your spiritual health.

This usually involves going over what ails you, whether spiritual or even non-spiritual at times.  Then your director offers his or her direction in what aspect of your spiritual life may be deficient and offers a remedy to that deficiency.

This has been my experience so don’t take me as an expert, but as a witness in having spiritual direction.

Saint Theresa of Avila had outstanding spiritual directors which I long for and are a rarity to find.  She had spiritual direction from well educated and newly formed Jesuits who attacked the problem at it’s core.

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14 Responses to Papa Bene on the Importance of Spiritual Direction

  • Isn’t this why St. Josemaria Escriva established the Opus Dei prelature?

  • AK,

    Yes, one reason why.

    What’s with the Cthulhu icon?

  • Spiritual direction has been a tremendous grace for me. I’ve been getting it off-and-on for years from Opus Dei people, but I finally “got serious” about it a year ago. It’s probably the only way a schlub like me will ever be able to kick the devil’s ass.

  • Tito,

    No idea. I’m technologically incompetent. In addition to spiritual direction I am in need of technical direction.

  • AK,

    Just poking fun at you.

    I’ve changed the self-generating gravatar from abstract to monsterID.

  • I’ve had nothing but disappointment in my search for a spiritual director. A few priests are willing to be a spiritual director to a certain kind of person – say, in a particular state of life – and aren’t seemingly interested in anyone else, but many aren’t seemingly interested in *anyone*.

    I say “seemingly” because it’s not my place to judge them. At some point a priest’s lack of support for a person in spiritual crisis has to rise to the level of serious sin. I’ve had a couple of confessors whose souls I pray for with significant concern.

  • Pinky,

    I haven’t encountered what you have, but I do long for an excellent spiritual adviser, which I haven’t found yet.

    I’m worried about putting more stress on our priests.

    That is why I mentioned the Jesuits of Saint Theresa of Avila’s time because THAT is what exactly I need.

    Well formed, well educated, and kind spiritual advisers.

  • Tito, I wouldn’t want to say anything that would discourage someone from looking for a spiritual director. I, personally, am just shell-shocked from my experience, but I had some bad luck. And I can’t complain (but sometimes I still do). When you consider the Fall of the House of Maciel, a lot of good people must feel a lot more let down than I ever have.

  • Pinky,

    I hope my comment hasn’t led anyone to be discouraged to search for a spiritual director.

    As for me, I am still looking and so should you!

    🙂

  • It is nice to know that I am not the only sinner in need of direction. I must admit that pride gets in the way. When I reverted to the Faith, I think I was captivated by Grace and then I relied heavily on the natural virtue of religion. It seems a schmuck like me needed to get catechized after three decades of paganism. It worked for a while and then it became like I was reaching for faith by my own power – God had another plan and he let me get knocked down. He is wonderful.

    Now with my new found humility and a vestigial tinge of pride, He has brought me to the realization that I am NOT so special and I am just like every other sinner; which is to say infinitely special in His eyes, and of the lowest consequence from every other perspective. That is great.

    But, then I feel lost. I know the faith better than the average ‘Catholic’ – I am not boasting, I think this is natural for converts and reverts – The Catholic religion is very exciting and intellectually stimulating. That is NOT enough, in fact, I am not so sure it is even all that necessary. Apparently, the Cure d’Ars was not too bright and yet he was far more faithful and in love with God than I. So I began going to Reconciliation more often, and as often as possible to the same priest. That was very helpful, but he is new, he is busy, he has other sinners that need confession and we can’t really get deep into the issues. He tells me I have a pretty good perspective on the nature of my sins – that has to be Grace. But, I know I need something more.

    I used to think the holier people went to daily Mass, weekly confession, and had spiritual directors. I am now realizing that all that assistance is probably not for the holiest souls, but for the least – like me. I think I need more help, I don’t think I am alone (judging from this thread and the poor quality of Catholic culture in our country). So where to go?

    I have been bumping into Opus Dei more and more and St. Escriva’s books are, well, just amazingly insightful. I keep reading about different spiritualities and praying for guidance, but I seem to like aspects of de Sales, Ignatius, de Montfort, etcetera, etcetera. All good stuff. All orthodox Catholic. But it seems I need focus. So that is what lead me to think of spiritual direction.

    Then I am absent from this site for over a month and the moment I come back, Tito, posts this thread. Theoincidence? Must be.

    So how do you go about figuring this out. Opus Dei is the direction I am planning on going in. In fact, before I stumbled across this thread, I had called to the local Opus Dei study center to make an appointment.

    Do any of you know more about what is required, expected and the type of direction one can expect. I don’t want to be too skeptical, but I know that once the founder dies, things can get dicey. Heck, the Church’s Founder lives and things are dicey. Before, you tell me to pray for the Spirit of discernment – I am doing that. I am still looking for some practical advice from others exploring the same thing. I know this is just a blog, but I have found some of the mos profound Catholic insights on here, although y’all are charitable enough to tolerate some serious wackadoos, too. I might be one whenever the Federal Reserve or the War for Southern Independence comes up 🙂

    Any ideas?

  • Theoincidence

    I like that term! 🙂

    As a Catholic I don’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.

    This ‘theoincidence’ probably means God is directing you to follow a holier path. To pray more often during the day and do an examination of conscience at least once a week.

    I attend the month Opus Dei evenings/mornings of reflection. They involve over a two hour period three talks on the faith, reflection, prayer, and benediction of the Holy Sacrament. All throughout the evening/day the Sacrament of Confession is available.

    It’s pretty peaceful and you feel as if your spiritual batteries are recharged after each reflection.

    So I highly recommend it AK!

    (Here in Houston we have an evening of recollection once a month and a morning of reflection once a month… normally these monthly reflections coincide on the same week. This may differ from city to city)

  • Thanks, Tito,

    Theoincidence is not my word. I heard one of my brothers use it on our weekly Cardo Pivot Point call.

    I have been to the reflections, we have one next weekend. I like the Saturday morning Opus Dei reflections with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    I am going to go meet with one of the Opus Dei priests and I’m sure he’ll have some ideas about what I should do to make the decision.

    St. Josemaria was inspired to develop Opus Dei during the Spanish Civil War, so it seems perfect for our times. It is sometimes tempting to run into the desert and become a hermit; but, I don’t think that is where God wants most of us. I am glad you brought this important aspect of spiritual growth to everyone’s attention. I think it is a path many, if not all, of us should pursue.

  • For my part, God has blessed me with a wonderful Jesuit director for many years but then I have to say he’s directed me under duress bc he’s my brother so he basically has no choice 🙂 That said, a wonderfully accessible book has been published this year precisely for Catholics who say they can’t find a good SD. For 15 bucks, its helped me alot & might help others: Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Michael Gaitley, MIC by Marian Press.
    If you’re serious, this book will help and, best part, its not written by academics for academics!

  • GB,

    Thank you for that recommendation!

    If there are other such books out there that our readers are aware of, please share them with us.

    One reason I posted about his was because I too am yearning for a top-notch spiritual director.

    You are very blessed, GB, to have such a good SD!

Soccer's World Cup Gives Us Insights Into The Current State Of Politics & Religion

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

Every four years the sporting world, especially Europe, Africa and Latin America is held in rapt attention by soccer’s World Cup. It can tell us many things about the state of the world, from politics to culture and even religion, and that’s even before we get to the sporting angle. Now for purposes of full disclosure, my favorite sports are college football and college basketball, though having a mother who grew up in Germany has helped me gain some soccer knowledge. Many a book or intellectual statesman from Henry Kissinger on down the line have mused about soccer’s effect on the world, which seems to change each and every World Cup to reflect the sign of the times.

Unlike a relativistic world where social engineering has taken hold, it appears that sports are the world’s last venue where sheer work ethic and determination hold sway. Perhaps this is why sports are so popular in the world, especially Europe’ s social democracies. One should keep in mind that as high as the Super Bowl ratings are for US television, World Cup TV ratings for nations in the championship game are even higher. Let’s look at this World Cup to see what it can tell us about the state of the world.

Some of the political developments from the last World Cup were the rise of the African nations in the soccer world, perhaps reflecting the rise of the continent itself on political and religious grounds. Keep in mind tiny Ghana won the 20 and under World Championship last year defeating Brazil, quite an accomplishment. Also of note in the last World Cup was Germany’s rising national spirit as seen in public displays of flag waving, which had been a post World War II no-no for Deutschland.

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2 Responses to Soccer's World Cup Gives Us Insights Into The Current State Of Politics & Religion

  • I still see many european soccer players cross themselves entering the pitch, at least the Spanish players (and see how far they have gotten!).

  • Not everything that’s French is necessarily a loser; the fleur-de-lis, lowered in defeat in 1763 on this continent, is a symbol of the 2010 Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

Kagan Engaged in Falsification of Evidence to Defeat Partial Birth Abortion Ban

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat Senator from New York, was a pro-abort, but he voted to ban partial birth abortion, which he correctly described as “barely disguised infanticide”.  Many pro-aborts draw the line at this gruesome killing of an infant.  Not so Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan apparently.  Shannen W. Coffin has written a fascinating article at National Review Online.  Coffin was the deputy attorney general in the Bush administration who defended the partial birth abortion ban law.  In this article he details how Kagan falsified evidence in an attempt to defeat a partial birth abortion ban in Congress during the Clinton administration:

When President Obama promised in his inaugural address to “restore science to its rightful place,” he never explained what that rightful place would be. Documents recently released in connection with the Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan suggest an answer: wherever it can best be used to skew political debate and judicial outcomes.

The documents involved date from the Clinton White House. They show Miss Kagan’s willingness to manipulate medical science to fit the Democratic party’s political agenda on the hot-button issue of abortion. As such, they reflect poorly on both the author and the president who nominated her to the Supreme Court.

There is no better example of this distortion of science than the language the United States Supreme Court cited in striking down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion in 2000. This language purported to come from a “select panel” of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a supposedly nonpartisan physicians’ group. ACOG declared that the partial-birth-abortion procedure “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.” The Court relied on the ACOG statement as a key example of medical opinion supporting the abortion method.

Years later, when President Bush signed a federal partial-birth-abortion ban (something President Clinton had vetoed), the ACOG official policy statement was front and center in the attack on the legislation. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf, one of the three federal judges that issued orders enjoining the federal ban (later overturned by the Supreme Court), devoted more than 15 pages of his lengthy opinion to ACOG’s policy statement and the integrity of the process that led to it.

Like the Supreme Court majority in the prior dispute over the Nebraska ban, Judge Kopf asserted that the ACOG policy statement was entitled to judicial deference because it was the result of an inscrutable collaborative process among expert medical professionals. “Before and during the task force meeting,” he concluded, “neither ACOG nor the task force members conversed with other individuals or organizations, including congressmen and doctors who provided congressional testimony, concerning the topics addressed” in the ACOG statement.

In other words, what medical science has pronounced, let no court dare question. The problem is that the critical language of the ACOG statement was not drafted by scientists and doctors. Rather, it was inserted into ACOG’s policy statement at the suggestion of then–Clinton White House policy adviser Elena Kagan.

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12 Responses to Kagan Engaged in Falsification of Evidence to Defeat Partial Birth Abortion Ban

  • So the most pro-abortion President has appointed the most pro-abortion Supreme Court nominee. How will Esau Catholics defend this?

  • I’m shocked! Shocked!!!

    Ms. Kagan lied in a legalistical, federal (paid for by we the people) document dishonestly written to keep infanticide licit.

    No! Wait. It wasn’t a lie. She was protecting a woman’s right to choose!

    Ms. Sotomayor also lied when she gave sworn testimony in her confirmation hearings on her support for the Second Amendment and first chance voted the opposite.

    You will not get into Heaven if you vote democrat.

  • The Democrats believed the mild-mannered, highly qualified, and well-respected Samuel Alito to be so “extreme” that his nomination to the Supreme Court merited a filibuster.

    I believe the filibuster to be borderline unconstitutional when exercised in the case of judicial appointments, and believe it should have been “nuked” when the Republicans had a chance. But thanks to the Senator who just received a rare GOP primary endorsement from National Review, however, the filibuster is still available to defeat nominations to the judiciary.

    Working within the system we have, therefore, I now support a filibuster of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Her views on abortion are the very definition of extreme, but that’s hardly surprising coming from a Democrat-appointed nominee. But her falsifying a scientific report that was used as evidence in court to defeat legislative bans on one of the more brutal abortion procedures ever dreamed up shows her to be not only extreme, but unethical and untrustworthy and makes unfit to be an officer of the court, much less a life-tenured member of the highest Court in the land deciding the very issues on which she has manipulated evidence to affect the outcome.

  • To me this seems to speak more to the duplicity of ACOG than Kagan. ACOG wanted to oppose the ban on partial-birth abortion; they consulted attorneys in the White House to assist them, and Kagan was working there at the time.

    Also, it seems to me that these statements are not in conflict:

    “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”

    “in the vast majority of cases, selection of the partial birth procedure is not necessary to avert serious adverse consequences to a woman’s health.”

    “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.”

    Something can be the “best or most appropriate option” (awful terms, those) even if it wasn’t the only option; and something can be best in a ‘particular circumstance’ that isn’t necessary in the vast majority of circumstances. In other words, this isn’t, technically, a lie. There is clear and scandalous dishonesty by ACOG insofar as they presented their findings as the product of a ‘scientific’ panel rather than lawyerly advocacy, but I am not sure how much Kagan is to blame for ACOG’s deceit. Now, partial-birth abortion is an awful thing – and it reflects poorly on Kagan and Clinton that they supported it – but if her actions described above were on another issue, for instance, one I agreed with, then I don’t think I’d be that troubled by them. That said, ACOG’s conduct here is a disgrace.

  • Perhaps to the extent that she authored the lie that ACOG used. So the fact that ACOG is more duplicitous that Kagan doesn’t mean she isn’t. Perhaps we can call them co-conspirators in the continued effort to expand the ability to murder innocents.

  • And you wouldn’t be troubled by a lawyer blatantly lying about medical facts to influence court cases?

  • Phillip,

    The point is that the statements aren’t inconsistent. Kagan’s formulation: ‘may be most appropriate…in a particular circumstance’ is extremely broad wording; something that isn’t necessary in the “vast majority of circumstances” or that isn’t the “only option” still “may be most appropriate…in a particular circumstance.” The lie comes in on the packaging – this was being presented as a medical conclusion by a ‘non-partisan’ group of doctors, when it was really straight political advocacy (from the White House, no less), complete with wiggle room and squishy language that suggests more than it means. In other words, it’s the type of language lawyers use when they are arguing a case. I guess I agree that Kagan acted unethically insofar as she knew that this study would be presented as the work of ‘non-partisan’ scientists rather than Clinton-administration lawyers. ACOG’s actions here were shockingly fraudulent.

  • I guess by that logic each are equally at fault. Both were seeking to provide the best justification possible through legal wording for a procedure that is the brutal murder of a child during birth.

  • jh:

    “Wiggle room” I got a visual of a baby’s legs flailing while a ‘doc’ plunged the blade through his/her skull.

    Do you have a conscience?

    Does all that sophistry ease your conscience for voting for mass murder?

  • T. Shaw,

    Yes.

    Not sure I understand the question. If you mean voting for Bush meant that I was responsible for the Iraq War, I disagree. I never thought the war was justified. If you mean that not voting for Obama means that I signed off on his judicial nominations, I don’t know what to tell you. Even if I had voted for Obama, that vote wouldn’t necessarily connote support for Kagan, much less for her actions as an employee of the Clinton Administration.

  • But at some point one had to know that this would be Obama’s type of appointment to the Court. At some point Catholics who voted for Obama would have to know that voting for him would (even if not directly supported) result in the most pro-abortion Supreme Court picks.

  • Phillip makes my point.

    It seems I ate a ton of lead paint chips when I was a kid.

Top Ten Patriotic Movies for the Fourth

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

Last year I listed here my top ten picks for movies about the America Revolution for the Fourth.  This year here is my list of patriotic movies for the Fourth.

10. National Treasure (2004)-Sure it’s cursed with a ridiculous plot involving the masons and a treasure, it is still a lot of fun and calls us back to the foundation document, the Declaration of Independence, that is the cornerstone of our Republic.

9. Hamburger Hill (1987)-Content advisory: very, very strong language in the video clip which may be viewed here.  All the Vietnam veterans I’ve mentioned it to have nothing but praise for this film which depicts the assault on Hill 937 by elements of the 101rst Division, May 10-20, 1969.  It is a fitting tribute to the valor of the American troops who served their country in an unpopular war a great deal better than their country served them.

8.    Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)-James Cagney in perhaps the greatest film bio of them all, a salute to George M. Cohan, the legendary composer, playwright and patriot.

7.    The Alamo (1960)-“The Republic” scene from The Alamo, a film which was basically John Wayne’s love note to America.

6.    Gettysburg (1993)-The movie that I think comes the closest to conveying to us the passions of the Civil War.  You really can’t understand America unless you understand the Civil War.  As Shelby Foote, one of the greatest historians of the war, said:  “Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with the First World War, did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary, if you are going to understand the American character in the twentieth century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-nineteenth century. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads.”

5.    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)This movie came out at a time when fascism and communism seemed to be the wave of the future.  In the face of that dark reality, Mr. Smith is a brilliant paean to American democracy, and the idealism and devotion to the principles of the Founding Fathers that constantly battles against political corruption.

4.    Glory (1989)-The tale of the 54th Massachusetts in the Civil War, and a long overdue salute to the black troops who fought for the Union.  A superb film in every regard, and a model of  how history should be recreated on film.

3.    Wake Island (1942)-At the beginning of World War II the 1rst Marine Defense Battalion on Wake Island, gallantly supported by civilian workers, made an unforgettable stand against the Japanese.  This is the story of the American Thermopylae.

2.  Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)-Raymond Massey gives the performance of a life time as the greatest President this nation has ever had, save, perhaps, for George Washington.

1. 1776  (1972)-Singing and dancing Founding Fathers!  What’s not to love?  The film does a good job of depicting what a leap of faith the Declaration of Independence was.  For all the Founding Fathers knew, they could have all ended up dangling from British nooses, and cursed by their posterity.  They banished their fears and went boldly forward with their revolution, the most successful revolution in history, and which is still underway.

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15 Responses to Top Ten Patriotic Movies for the Fourth

  • “God gave us memory so that we could have roses in December.” J. M. Barries

  • That should be “Barrie.”

  • 1776? Yuck, I hated that movie.

    However, I do love the pick for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

  • Why is The Alamo on the list of patriotic movies? That battle was part of the Texas War for Independence. It has nothing to do with any part of the US outside of Texas. I agree there needs to be a John Wayne movie on the list but pick something patriotic to all 50 states like The Green Berets or the Sands of Iwo Jima.

  • “That battle was part of the Texas War for Independence. It has nothing to do with any part of the US outside of Texas.”

    “To The People of Texas and
    All Americans In The World —
    February 24, 1836

    Fellow citizens & compatriots —
    I am beseiged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, & every thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country —

    VICTORY OR DEATH

    William Barret Travis
    Lt. Col. Comdt.

    P.S. The Lord is on our side — When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn — We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves -“

  • That’s great that you can quote COL Travis, and he calls on American qualities, but so have many others around the world and the Alamo is still only relevant to Texan patriotism.

  • He called on all Americans in the world for aid. It is not only Texans who remember the Alamo.

  • Okay, I’m gonna have to send a little love towards 1776. I first saw it on a field trip in elementary school, and even then, the final scene where each man signs the Declaration and takes his place (ala Trumbull’s symbolic painting) while the Liberty Bell tolls sent chills up my spine. It really impressed on me the seriousness of the undertaking.

  • “while the Liberty Bell tolls sent chills up my spine.”

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has that reaction!

  • I have posted what I believe to be the 13 best Patriotic movies for Independence day. (One for each of the thirteen original colonies.) Check it out at:
    http://www.joshuajmasters.com/blog/?p=208

  • How could you leave out The Patriot ?

  • I had it on my top ten revolutionary war films for the Fourth.

  • Meh. I’ll stick my neck out and say I don’t think The Patriot was a very good movie.

  • Have to agree with Darwin. Will risk any run-in with Mel.

Janeane Garofalo Is Our Intellectual Superior

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

She continues to invited on MSNBC and network morning shows spouting out words of wisdom when asked her opinions on important topics of the day.

But why is she constantly being invited back when she’s not even a political pundit nor works in politics for that matter?

No problem, she now offers us what she knows about Christianity.

We are all better for it.

In fact, I feel that after being exposed to this intellectual superior, I’ve regressed enough to begin enjoying her comedy bits!

(Biretta tip:  Andrew Breitbart)

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9 Responses to Janeane Garofalo Is Our Intellectual Superior

  • Why does she keep saying “six and a half”?

  • “But why is she constantly being invited back when she’s not even a political pundit nor works in politics for that matter?”

    Because many in the media think just like her.

  • She meant to say “Six Of One, A Half Dozen Of The Other” which means they are the same thing …

  • I remember back in the mid-90s I quite liked her handle playing quirky, ironic and self-aware characters.

    Now, she’s just sad. Look and learn, kids, look and learn.

  • I think that most people under the age of 35 would know who this woman is. Her acting career has long since passed her by. At least she has her stunning intellect, good cheer and good looks to keep her warm at night. May God bless this poor, bitter woman and may we all see our poverty, and bitterness through her saddening display and ask God for deliverance from these crosses.

  • I meant people under 35 would NOT know who she is…

  • Regarding the title of this article: the truth hurts, doesn’t it?

  • It certainly made me laugh when I read it.

  • Amazing! This woman is more enlightened than Francis Bacon, Galileo, Issac Newton, Albert Einstein… more inspirational than Johann Bach, Shakespeare, Handel… more eminent than Washington, Adams, Lincoln… and more virtuous than Francis of Assisi, Amy Carmichael, Mother Theresa…

    All such puerile souls, tsk, tsk, believing in a Creator, Savior, and a Book of Truth.

    Can we clone her?

Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 3)

Tuesday, June 29, AD 2010

[Continued from Part 1 and Part 2]

Enter Artificial Birth Control

In Part 2, I discussed the sense in which marriage customs and sexual morality can be seen as an adaptive response to controlling childbearing. I’d like now to turn to the question of artificial birth control.

In my first job out of college, a small chemical distribution company, I sat next to the customer service group, and thus found myself overhearing a lot of middle-aged “girl talk”. One anecdote I particularly remember was recounted by a woman who’d married in the late sixties. She told about how when she and her husband were still engaged, she’d gone with her mother to a wedding, and her mother had taken occasion to whisper to her that it was generally known that the bride had “had to get married.”

“I’m just so glad you’re a good girl and you’ll never need to get married quickly like that, my mother told me,” she said. “Of course, what she didn’t know is that I’d been on the pill for the last three years.”

I think this does a good job of underlining a massive shift in social structure and morality which the advent of plentiful and efficient birth control allowed.

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6 Responses to Al Franken Takes a Nap During Elena Kagan Testimony

Elena Kagan Says It Is Fine If The Law Bans Books

Tuesday, June 29, AD 2010

SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan has argued before the Supreme Court that it’s fine if the Law bans books.

Her rationale?

Because the government won’t really enforce it.

I’m no legal scholar but this sounds like a 3rd grade argument.

Aren’t our nominees suppose to have better reasoning skills and a solid grasp of the U.S. Constitution?  As well as a fundamental understanding  of such concepts like Freedom of Speech?

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14 Responses to Elena Kagan Says It Is Fine If The Law Bans Books

  • Bibles banned in China – is that what is coming here?

  • So is Elena Kagan willing to support banning pornography magazines and books?

  • Like all the other “brilliant” liberals, Kagan the pagan is incapable of right reason.

  • Scratch the thin veneer of liberal bu!!$#it and you slam into totalitarianism.

    Peace, justice and human dignity: the slaves will enjoy free health care, free lunch, and free fornication!!!

  • But don’t you know that if you don’t want free health care, free lunch and free fornication you are part of the “let them eat cake” coalition?

  • And what’s with the new symbol thingies?

  • Phillip and all the non-gravatar readers,

    I got tired of looking at the random abstract icons, so I switched the default to MonsterID’s in the faint hope that some of you guys will sign up for free gravatar accounts/icons.

    😉

  • And what’s with the new symbol thingies?

    Yeah, Tito. How are we supposed to upload a real picture? I tried registering at WordPress, but it won’t accept any reasonable facsimile of my real name as a user name. Can we upload a pic without registering at WordPress?

  • I kinda like my monster thingie. 🙂

  • I also had the same problem as j. Used multiple variations of my name and said they were all used. Must be a govt. program.

  • Phillip et al.,

    Just so everyone knows, MonsterID links that icon permanently to the email address you provide.

    So if you get tired of it, you have motivation to go over to http://en.gravatar.com/ and sign up for a free account!

    🙂

  • To be fair I am rather doubtful that Kagen wantts to ban books. I am trying to recall the exact sequence of events here . I actually think what started this all this were the ealier comments of the Deputy Solicter that gave the SUp COurt Justices the heebee jeevees and thus Kagen here is trying somehow to recover.

    That being said the Supreme Court can make the most seasoned lawyers look like idiots and also (and this is the problem the GOP will have in her hearings) she is basically just working for the boss. So when these hypos come out that go to the most alarming degree well there is not exactly a easy answer.

  • jh

    Nail! Head!

    She’s going to rubber stamp Obama. She’s a nothing and will continue to do nothing except vote for whatever the boss wants.

    Phil, I’m paying for the free health and lunch. They’re on their own when it comes to fornicking. I’m of the “let them have the opportunity to pursue happiness” coalition.

    My grav seems appropriate!

Supreme Court Rules That Public Universities May Discriminate Against Christian Student Groups

Tuesday, June 29, AD 2010

Back in 1979 I was one of the founding members of the Christian Legal Society at the University of Illinois.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Hastings College of Law at the University of California was within its rights to deny recognition to the Christian Legal Society because the group requires that members agree, among other principles, that sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful, and that members must be Christians.  Hastings contended that these principles violated the open membership policy of the university, in that it would discriminate against prospective members on the grounds of religion and sexual orientation.  Go here to read the decision.

Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, wrote a thought provoking dissent.

The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.” United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 654–655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting). Today’s decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.

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23 Responses to Supreme Court Rules That Public Universities May Discriminate Against Christian Student Groups

  • Kagan once said, it’s okay for the government to ban books because the gestapo would be ineffective at enforcing it.

    You have to scratch a liberal just a wee bit to get to the totalitarian essence under the uber-thin vineer of warm and fuzzy bu!!$hit.

    Isn’t there a right, somewhere in the US Constitution, to free association, in addition to the rights to abortion; gay privileges; being fed, clothed and housed by the taxpayer.

    The king denied the Colonists the right to meet. They met anyway – Committees of Correspondence. The king isn’t king of this country. We shall overcome.

  • The pairing of decisions yesterday reminds us that our constitutional rights are basically at the mercy of the whims of Justice Kennedy. It’s truly frightening. Though he seems to have re-discovered some measure of a backbone, on social issues he remains completely inept.

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision? Gays aren’t going to get elected to leadership positions in CLS.

  • Question: If Hastings is a state institution, thus receiving government funds (from the tax payer), does that not mean it is essentially a politically-funded entity?

    And if so, should we not be surprised that what is politically correct weighs heavey on their policy choices?

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision? Gays aren’t going to get elected to leadership positions in CLS.

    I think the issue is more that it makes it very difficult for CLS to assemble, hold activities, etc. on campus if theyr’e not recognized as a campus organization.

  • Darwin, CLS can, and probably will, amend its pledge banning gays and the club will continue with business as usual, i.e., without gays.

  • One of the things I find interesting is that the argument that a group should be allowed to keep out people they do not like is being argued by two different groups.

    First, CLS. They say they should be free to have a group which follows the principles they hold dear. Of course, if they were not on a campus, looking for funding and approval to use facilities on campus, I think no one would question such a right.

    However, the second group is the university itself. If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right? To argue in favor of CLS is to argue in favor of the university, as far as I see it. That, I think, is the paradox with this case.

    Can someone show me why CLS can discriminate and not the university? I am in favor of free associations, and I do think a university should encourage such free associations (the university’s policy is wrong), but I also do wonder how a university is not accorded such a right?

  • BTW, I would even agree the university is going against its claims of tolerance to discriminate in this way, however, the question is not whether or not the university is acting bad, but whether or not it is within their legal rights.

  • Eh, you might be right, RR. I guess as an old Boy Scout I figured the organization would stick to its guns and suffer the consequences. 🙂

  • I am not a huge Kennedy Basher but bioth the right and left are right at times he gets carried away with his verbiage. I am amazed that a Catholic Justice basically said that Creed like matters are like Loyalty Oaths

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision?

    I disagree. Traditional morality is only tenuously tolerated. This further institutionalizes its banishment from the public sphere. It has very little to do with whether CLS admits gays or not; look beyond the legal ramifications to see the cultural narrative. A Christian group, along among others, is singled out for chastisement. This has everything to do with what metaphysical premises are acceptable in polite company.

    “Untenured” at WWWtW said it best (with respect to another story):

    Increasingly, we are seeing secularists posture as though their pet metaphysical and moral committments are some kind of reasonable “default” that everybody would naturally gravitate towards if only it weren’t for the malign influence of religious “indoctrination.” There is a very real movement to portray traditional morality as some kind of “pathology” that is okay to exercise coercion against. Witness, for example, the attempt to make moral objections against homosexuality appear as if they are *no different* from objections to interracial marriage. Even people with philosophical training who ought to know better, like to pretend that this line of reasoning is cogent out of some kind of weird “political solidarity” with “sexual minorities.” They don’t give a darn about intellectual honesty- they want to deny traditional moral beliefs a toehold in the space of reasons, and they will do so by any means necessary. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that we are soon going to see people arguing that there is *no difference* between a homeschooler being taught traditional morality and an underage bride at a Mormon polygamy compounds. Then some arguments, with the pretense of hand-wringing, about how reasonable people have no choice but to coerce these backwards homeschoolers out of existence. For the sake of the children, of course.

  • ” I would even agree the university is going against its claims of tolerance to discriminate in this way, however, the question is not whether or not the university is acting bad, but whether or not it is within their legal rights”

    Henry I think it is clear that the University cannot , as a general matter with exceptions of course) discriminate against viewpoint discrimination.

    Now I realize this is a complicated case and in hindsight I am willing to bet the Justices wised they never took up the case because they discovered it was such a procedural mess and the factual record was clouded.

    That being said while many are saying the Opinion is narrow ( focusing just on this odd unique all comers policy) I am not so sure if it that narrow at all. The comments by some of the Justices on how they got there are perhaps the most disturbing and I am hoping like Justice ALito this si an aberation

  • “Eh, you might be right, RR. I guess as an old Boy Scout I figured the organization would stick to its guns and suffer the consequences.”

    Well the case is not over. They still have a chance to prove that this “all comers” policy was a pretext for unlawful discrimination

  • “However, the second group is the university itself. If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right?”

    I would say that a private university should have that right, but a public university does not. Here we have a governmental institution, Hastings Law School, imposing membership criteria on a private entity, the Christian Legal Society. All Catholics, members of an organization that is looked upon with hatred by many of the elites in our society, should look with alarm at this decision. “The Catholics want to prevent women from being priests? Fine, we will pass a law dictating that no non-profit may have tax exemption unless they sign on to this non-discrimination policy.”

  • I would say that a private university should have that right, but a public university does not. Here we have a governmental institution, Hastings Law School, imposing membership criteria on a private entity, the Christian Legal Society.

    Actually, the problem is the university is saying that, as a public institution, it cannot accept a private society as a student body if it is going with such discrimination. In other words, their argument is if they support the society, they are supporting such discrimination as a public institution. They are not saying what CSL can or cannot do, just what they can or cannot do if they want to be a student group at Hastings. The court, of course, said something unusual, in that it said a university can engage in such rules, but does not have to. It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.

  • “Actually, the problem is the university is saying that, as a public institution, it cannot accept a private society as a student body if it is going with such discrimination.”

    That is a way of saying that the public entity will discriminate against a group based upon its membership policies, unless the private group has membership policies acceptable to the public entity. The implications for Newman Centers on public campuses are clear, along with any groups that are in official disfavor. The true absurdity of this policy of course is that almost all private groups, by definition, discriminate. A staunch Republican like me would not be wanted among College Democrats. If I join a Chess group on campus, I will be expected not to insist upon the group playing checkers. Why this absurd policy of no discrimination in admissions by private groups of course is being implemented on campuses is as a hammer to beat groups that do not sign on to the gay rights agenda. This is governmental action engaging in viewpoint discrimination in order to banish from campuses those groups engaging in heretical thoughts.

  • It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.

    I don’t think I agree or understand what you said before, but I agree with this sentence. Whenever one tries to enforce what SCOTUS said in this opinion is a “viewpoint-neutral” outlook, you run into problems once you have conflicting viewpoints. Instead of ditching the whole flawed approach, the majority here tried to argue “this form of discrimination isn’t really discrimination” by pointing out that CLS can exist off campus (which as a college student I can tell you is a waste of time; w/o events on campus and the funding to throw even small lunches, recruitment is difficult to impossible).

  • Says Kennedy, via the Washington Post: “A vibrant dialogue is not possible if students wall themselves off from opposing points of view.”

    Memo to Kennedy – as an American citizen, I have a right not to engage in dialogue. As an American citizen, I have the right to freely associate with whomever I choose. And the students on that campus, a public campus, have those rights as well.

    The right to associate and exclude on the basis of values may be the only thing that prevents radically different groups from going to war with each other. American governments and courts that think they can force everyone to “dialogue” are going to be in for a rude awakening. This isn’t Europe.

  • “A vibrant dialogue is not possible if students wall themselves off from opposing points of view.”

    Kennedy is always good for a bone-headed quote. This one is hilarious for two reasons.

    First, the clear intent of the Hastings Policy is to quash a point of view that the administration of the law school finds distateful by denying the Christian Legal Society recognition.

    Second, if there is any group more cloistered from opposing views than the federal judiciary, with lifetime appointments, I am unaware of it.

  • Henry Karlson wrote: “If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right? To argue in favor of CLS is to argue in favor of the university, as far as I see it. That, I think, is the paradox with this case.”

    This is exactly what my husband said when we discussed it. He’s pretty libertarian in outlook. His argument is that the university can make whatever rules it wants to for official clubs, that the students are still free to do what they want, but if they take the university’s money and free space, then they have to abide by the rules. He says it’s better for them to do so and believe what they want to.

    Things are coming to a head, and I’m afraid that anyone looking for tolerance anywhere is likely to be disappointed.

  • “His argument is that the university can make whatever rules it wants to for official clubs, that the students are still free to do what they want, but if they take the university’s money and free space, then they have to abide by the rules.”

    It should not be the role of any government entity to set the membership policies for private groups. It is of course especially ironic that this attempt to stifle a viewpoint is taking place at a university, a supposed citadel of intellectual liberty. Of course most universities in this country, as demonstrated by repeated attempts to impose speech codes on students, are as enamored of freedom of speech as they are of cutting their budgets to reduce the exorbitant tuition that they charge.

  • The libertarian outlook sees this case as yet another illustration of the need for separation of Schooling and State.

  • It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.-Henry Karlson

    Seems? (Hint: category error.)

Pope Benedict to be Deposed

Tuesday, June 29, AD 2010

The most evil inspired man in the world, attorney Jeffrey Anderson, plans to “sue the sh-t out of [the Catholic Church] everywhere”. Because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Vatican, a court case will move forward allowing for the Vatican to be sued.

“I have known for 25 years that all roads lead to Rome,” said Jeff Anderson, the Minnesota attorney who represents the plaintiff. “This is the beginning for us of a new journey, a uniquely difficult odyssey.”

Anderson, who has represented hundreds of abuse victims and has tried for years to sue the Vatican, said he hoped to persuade a judge that he should be allowed to depose Vatican officials.

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23 Responses to Pope Benedict to be Deposed

  • The guy is a sad-ass low grade attorney seeking notoriety. It is obvious that he does not understand the structure of the Church. I have listened to him on radio, and sounds as he looks.

  • While the motive for this may be troubling, there simply must be accountability for actions taken by clerics, particularly when these actions are not in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the local ordinary has either refused to act or simply ignored serious accusations.

  • The ambulance chaser can hope all he wants to depose the Pope but it is never going to happen. I have been involved in litigation for 28 years in thousands of cases and I am quite familiar with how discovery in a civil case is performed. No judge in his right mind will approve the compelling of a head of a foreign state for a deposition, and no appellate court would uphold an order requiring such a deposition if a trial judge were crazy enough to issue such an order.

  • Whew!

    I thought you meant the Obama regime would invade the Vatican, remove the Pope, and replace with Dougie Kmiec.

    I’m been deposed a few times. It isn’t fun.

  • I understand the deposition of Pope Benedict is very slim, though I do want to shed light on this character for the simple reason that there are people out there that act as evil incarnate (the man isn’t evil, just that his actions are evil).

  • “Most evil man in the world?”

    I assume you are exaggerating for comic effect?

    I’m not sure this kind of hyperbole is a good idea when you are writing about anything remotely related to sex abuse cases. People who are angry because they’ve been wronged are following this story.

    I like this blog, but I continue to be disturbed by more than one contributor’s insistence on describing individual human beings with dehumanizing adjectives that ought better be applied to their behaviors.

  • Bearing,

    I appreciate your concern and your loyalty to this website.

    I assure you I don’t throw that term around casually. In fact, I can’t remember ever describing someone like that on TAC outside of Mr. Jeffrey Anderson [I changed one word in my post. No one is actually evil, though they can be inspired to act as such].

    But your point is duly taken. I agree about the hyperbole and I personally will be more prudent in my own postings.

  • So a Supreme Court that has a majority of Catholic justices allows the Vatican to be sued in the US?

    We live in strange times.

  • Mr. Smith,

    I have no idea what the merits of the case presented to the SCOTUS are or what the *right* decision would be, but I could understand if any or all the Catholic justices passed on hearing it. If that would be the right thing to do if the case was concerning the Prime Minister of England or Kim Jong-il it would be the right thing to regarding the Pope. I’m doubtful refusing to hear this case was the right thing to do, but I appreciate the integrity and sound thinking that five of the four Catholic Justices bring to the court and wouldn’t expect them to place personal loyalties before their integrity as jurists. That’s what sets them apart and why they’re right for the job.

  • So a Supreme Court that has a majority of Catholic justices allows the Vatican to be sued in the US?

    Even taking it that the decision was primarily the result of what the justices thought of the Church (rather than the merits of the case) that still leaves Anthony “the weather vane” Kennedy as the deciding vote, Catholic or not.

    Honestly, though, I’m quite unclear what a ruling like this means. The only instances I’m aware of in which people have sued foreign countries in US courts have been in reparation for terrorism or government property confiscation by the foreign government. Here we have someone trying to insist that the Vatican itself is responsible for whether or not priests were disciplined, removed from ministry, etc.

    It seems at least moderate unlikely that there’d be any merit found in an attempt to sue the Vatican. Any of the lawyers here able to fill us in a bit?

  • I would caution people not to read too much long term into this. THe reporting on this was pretty bad., Including that the Supreme Court “Confirmed” the lower court ruling. They did no such thing. The Supreme Court decides not to take cases for a whole bunch of reason and is foolhardy to try to divine those reasons.

    Mr Anderson has cases all the place as do other Lawyers. The Supreme Court could be waiting for all we know for their to be a split in the circuits till they take this matter up

  • FWIW, JH was referring to the AP article and not the TAC column.

  • That correct the AP coulmn that ran shortly after the order was released

  • My gut says that a deposition would be a good thing. I don’t think it will happen, but it would probably help if the world heard about the extent of Ratzinger’s/Benedict’s efforts against pedophilia.

  • Depositions don’t work like that Pinky. Consider the most savage cross examination in the world. That is what the Pope would be subjected to in a deposition.

  • There is a long road between suing the Vatican (whatever that means) and deposing the Pope. Big companies get sued all the time, yet their CEO’s and other top executives rarely get deposed.

  • Donald, we’re supposed to lay down our lives for the faith, even us laymen. Popes have often been called to martyrdom, as have more bishops than I could count. I wouldn’t wish Benedict to go through a tough deposition, but it’s part of the job. An onerous, prying public spectacle could actually turn people’s hearts back to confidence in the Church, and ultimately back to Christ.

  • “Donald, we’re supposed to lay down our lives for the faith, even us laymen. Popes have often been called to martyrdom, as have more bishops than I could count. I wouldn’t wish Benedict to go through a tough deposition, but it’s part of the job.”

    Martyrdom is one think Pinky, being made to look like a lying scumbag is another. A skillful attorney can make almost anyone look like a lying scumbag in a deposition.

  • An attorney of my acquaintance used to use the expression “You can sue the Pope for bastardry” as a way of saying that anyone could sue another person for any cause, no matter how ridiculous or improbable, if they could get an attorney to file the suit. Well, it appears that life is now imitating cliche.

  • This is not going to happen…just imagine, this lawyer who is really an ambulance chaser and who has said indicated he really wants to sue the Catholic Church…imagining all the money he will amass from such a lawsuit…now, the Pope refuses to come to the United States..what is this lawyer going to do? Send troops to the Vatican? Pope Benedict has done more than anyone to address this crisis of sexual abuse by member of the Catholic Church (who else has done anything like this in response to sexual abuse in other institutions?)…anyway, this lawyer fellow is in way over his head…and he is in not for the victims but to line his pockets … Jesus said right from the beginning that scandals would come but that His Church would last….

  • Wasn’t Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Faith, responsible for overseeing the Church’s tactical strategy toward sex abuse cases by priests? Wasn’t he an advocate of a “delay until the Statute of Limitations has expired” strategy? Joseph Ratzinger’s strategy was to obstruct justice all over the world. This man is a criminal and should be brought to justice…he should be tried, convicted and put in prison. There have been other corrupt popes in the Catholic Church but none in recent memory. This is a great sin at the highest levels of the Church.

  • Daishin,

    Unless you can provide proof that Papa Bene did what you claim, which of course he didn’t, then you will not be allowed to comment anymore on TAC.

  • Daishin,

    Your claims are almost exactly the opposite of the truth. Throughout most of the period of the scandals, these accusations did not fall under the control of the CDF. Ratzinger asked for that brief when the scandal blew up in the US, and once he got began personally going through the files. It was when his department took control that the cases really started moving in regards to discipline and helping the secular authorities pursue justice. Far from being an advocate of “delay until the Statute of Limitations has expired”, he pushed to get accusations into the open and to ignore the statue of limitations even where it applied.

Benedict Opens New Evangelization of Europe and America Office

Monday, June 28, AD 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is continuing to fulfill his goal of re-evangelizing the West, Europe and the Americas.  His Holiness has opened a new office called the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization of the West.

Rome Reports has a short synopsis on this new office:

Papa Bene understands the rot and atrophy that is so apparent here in Europe and the America’s.  When we have bishops pushing for universal healthcare yet remain silent on the genocide of millions of innocent unborn children, there is cause for concern as to what priorities our bishops have.

From Reuters:

Pope Benedict on Monday announced the creation of a new Vatican department dedicated to rekindling the Catholic faith in rich, developed countries that are threatened with “the eclipse of a sense of God.”

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2 Responses to Benedict Opens New Evangelization of Europe and America Office

  • Well, given Fisichella’s controversial past, I think that you might be missing the point in saying that:

    “When we have bishops pushing for universal healthcare yet remain silent on the genocide of millions of innocent unborn children, there is cause for concern as to what priorities our bishops have.”

    In fact, I’m not sure that one can point to anything concretely that Benedict has done or said in the past few years that could indicate that he is particularly concerned with the “priorities our bishops have.”

    Fisichella, for his part, is associated with “Communion and Liberation,” which has a highly ‘pneumatic,’ somewhat anti-legalist approach to things (which might explain his stance in regard to the Brazil abortion case), and they are not exactly as critical of radical secularism as some might like. Moreover, at least among those C-L-ers I have known, they have a preference for a Balthasarian “razing the bastions” approach to the institutional Church. This preference is not to be confused with liberal protestantism, to be sure, but it is externally focused and ever ready to shed certain institutional baggages at a moment’s notice….

    The pope’s general approach, moreover, has been one of rapprochement with those who are fearful that the better values of European social democracy are fast losing any sort of institutional safeguard in the economic and political domains.

    He proposes the Church as the last bastion for the support of these values. I suspect that Fisichella would likewise take such an approach.

    I would, personally, prefer a more radical critique of contemporary secularist pieties, and more internal ecclesial “housecleaning,” but, given what I have said, I doubt that this will be the approach or concern of this new pontifical council.

  • more internal ecclesial “housecleaning,”

    Which will not come anytime soon or even ever.

    We can only pray and bear it.

Supreme Court Holds That the Second Amendment Applies to the States

Monday, June 28, AD 2010

In the case of McDonald v. the City of Chicago, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Second Amendment applies to the states.  Read the decision here.  The decision was 5-4 which is absolutely stunning since I think that there was no intellectually respectable argument to be made that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states.

The bill of rights applies to the States due to the Fourteenth Amendment.   In the opinions written by the majority justices, emphasis is given to the importance that the drafters of the Amendment placed upon the rights of freed slaves after the Civil War to keep and bear arms for their defense.  A good day for the Constitution at the Supreme Court.

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16 Responses to Supreme Court Holds That the Second Amendment Applies to the States

  • Apropos of our discussion a few weeks ago regarding Justice Scalia’s view that “tradition” should inform the Court’s “substantive due process” jurisprudence, note that this was key to the Court’s decision. (See also Justice Scalia’s concurrence, in which he masterfully dissects Justice Stevens’ dissent.)

    I think Justice Thomas’ privileges or immunities clause analyisis is the better argument from both an originalist and textualist standpoint. But, given that that ship has already sailed, and given the need to limit the Court’s “substantive due process” jurisprudence to those rights that actually have some grounding in the text of the Constitution and the history and tradition of our nation, I can’t say that I blame the majority for relying on the due process clause rather than privileges or immunities, and using this case as a vehicle for defining the limits of “substantive due process”.

  • One gets the feeling that, should a case that hinges upon the question “Does the Constitution require that there be a House and Senate?” make its way to the SCOTUS, the vote would come down five votes to four. Sadly, no one seems able to predict whether the five would be for or against.

    Those of you who think “we are a nation of laws” will find yourselves confounded by the caprice of five untouchables in black robes.

  • I agree. The vote should have been 9 – 0.

    One, “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Can the four dissenting read?

    Two, I bet “dollars to donuts” that the four dissenting (plus Kagan) will affirmatively vote (hallucinating) that the constitution gives a woman the RIGHT to have taxpayers pay a medico to exterminate her unborn babies.

  • Incorporation through the 14th has been piecemeal. The court had never adopted a blanket doctrine of incorporation. But I agree that if we’re going to incorporate at all, the 2nd amendment has to be included.

  • I’m with restrainedradical. The incorporation doctrine is hardly an obvious feature of our constitution, but there is no coherent basis for excluding the 2d amendment from its ambit once it has been applied to the other enumerated rights.

  • T. Shaw, I think the four dissenters are right in insisting that the clause you quote–“the right of the people to bear…”–is qualified, and rendered more precise in its intent, by the prior clause, establishing the need for militias. On an originalist reading of this text, the right to bear arms for, eg. the purposes of hunting or personal protection, simply does not exist.

  • WJ,

    That issue was decided and rejected in the Heller case. They had already lost on that. And don’t pretend that your argument is originalist. Calling it such doesn’t make it so.

  • wj:

    I think the four dissenters do not believe we the people should be free people. I doubt they believe in individual liberty.

    You may read the commentaries, minutes, and statements of the “state” conventions, and all the drafters/founders. At no time was the right of US citizens to individually keep and bear arms questioned until around the time the federal government instituted the income tax (they needed to amend the Constitution) and Federal Reserve System.

    But, you’re right. Once the Obama regime packs the court. [I’m ‘chanelling’ Thomas Jefferson here] We’re likely to devolve into slaves to the state.

  • wj:
    Your is a common argument. The problem is that it does not withstand the scrutiny:

    http://www.guncite.com/journals/vanalful.html

    Van Alstyne is one of the leading con law scholars of our time. Although a liberal to the core, he is ruthlessly principled in his constitutional reasoning. for instance he is pro choice as a policy matter, but believes Roe was a terrible decision.

  • I’m aware of van alstyne and heller etc and disagree with the findings of both. You can disagree with heller precisely on originalist grounds; which is not to say you must–just that you can as a matter of interpretation. Both heller and van alstyne perform any number of impressive exegetical contortions to escape what to my mind is the clear intent of the sentence in question. But maybe you’re right that the four dissenters are motivated less by interpretive scruple and more by policy preference.

  • Fair enough, Wj. For what it is worth I have no great interest in gun regulation as a policy matter, and really don’t care if guns are outlawed. But I find Van Alstyne’s exegesis if the 2d Amendment air tight. Moreover, I have known Bill for almost 30 years; he is immune to exegetical contortion. I have no opinion on the motivations of the four dissenters. I just don’t think there exists a reasonable argument for sparing the 2d Amendment from the incorporation doctrine.

  • Way too much education wasted here on a rather simple issue. Where in the Constitution is any branch of the federal government given authority to disarm either the states or the people? The ninth amendment applies. The critical issue here, and the reason many oppposed incorporation of “the Bill”, is that the amendment did not create the right, though it is now treated as if it had; it only acknowledges the right. No one ever would have written the second amendment as it was written to make sure that states allowed their militia to keep arms at their homes (the point of mobilization). To say they would have is simply dishonest. So it comes down to this; you are either for, or against the Constitution. There are no nuances here that merit consideration.

  • I’ve heard estimates that 90,000,000 Americans own firearms.

    “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” Thomas Jefferson

    “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…such laws make things worse for the assaulted; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” Thomas Jefferson 1764

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Thomas Jefferson proposed Virginia constitution 1776

    “The Constitution preserves ‘the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.'” The Federalist #46

    “…arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property…Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived the use of them.” Thomas Paine Thoughts on Defensive War 1775 – proof positive in all the states that infringe the Second Amendment.

    “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” Samuel Adams 1788: During Massachusetts’ Constitution ratification convention.

    “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.” Patrick Henry: during Virginia’s ratification convention (1788)

    “Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense.” John Adams 1788

    “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms…To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people possess arms.” Richard Henry Lee Additional Letters From The Federal Farmer 53 (1788)

    “I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people…To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” George Mason: Virginia’s US Constitution ratification convention (1788)

    “To secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” US Constitution

    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force; like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” George Washington, Farewell Address

  • That Washington quote has to be the best. Seems our Presidents went downhill from there.

  • Kevin, nobody reads the 9th Amendment as you do because it would be ridiculous to do so. The 9th was intended merely to clarify that the Bill of Rights shouldn’t be interpreted to prohibit all other rights. It doesn’t ensure any rights. It only ensures that absent a law prohibiting it, you have the right to do it.

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Comedy Centrals Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Monday, June 28, AD 2010

Brent Bozell of NewsBusters documented Comedy Central’s attacks on the Catholic in a post this past Saturday that I’m reposting here.

It’s been two months since Comedy Central censored Mohammed out of their cartoon “South Park.” Even the utterance of the name was bleeped. The blog Revolution Muslim quoted the world’s most notorious terrorist as an inspirational figure. “As Osama bin Laden said with regard to the cartoons of Denmark, ‘If there is no check in the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.’”

But there has been no ceasefire in Comedy Central’s war on Christianity. The attacks on Catholic Americans just keep coming. On “The Daily Show” on June 17, fake correspondent Samantha Bee interviewed two priests and two nuns who are watchdogging Goldman Sachs for a liberal interfaith group.

Jon Stewart started the Catholic-bashing in his introduction: “Sometimes it’s easy to spot the villain in a story. Sometimes it’s not.”

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9 Responses to Comedy Centrals Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Robert Byrd, Requiescat In Pace

Monday, June 28, AD 2010

Kristina Peterson of the Dow Jones Newswires writes for the Wall Street Journal this synopsis of Robert Byrd’s life:

Robert Byrd, the 92-year-old West Virginia Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate for 51 years, died Monday.

A spokesman for the family, Jesse Jacobs, said Mr. Byrd died peacefully at about 3 a.m. at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va. His health had been failing for several years.

A master of Senate procedures and orator whose Stentorian tones aimed to evoke the roots of the republic (if not Rome), Mr. Byrd served longer, voted more frequently, and probably used the arcane Senate rules to more effect any previous denizen of the nation’s senior legislative house.

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4 Responses to Robert Byrd, Requiescat In Pace

  • Mortuis nil nisi bonum, for today at any rate.

  • I pray that he’s in the company of the angels and the saints rejoicing in the eternal peace of God — the end that I a poor sinner hope to share in as well.

    I’m glad this post is not what I saw on LifeNews (i.e. “Pro-Abortion Senator Robert Byrd Dies”); I couldn’t fathom how there is absolutely no condolences, no mention of prayer or best wishes to his family or loved ones. The entire piece focuses on how pro-abortion he was, how many seats the Democrats now have, and how the Governor of West Virginia doesn’t know yet (the man died this morning, sheesh) who is going to replace Byrd with.

    I’m obviously pro-life, but respect and prayer for the dead should be embraced.

  • Eric,

    I agree.

    Hence why I chose the WSJ article instead of some others.

  • Prayer for the dead, yes. Silence in the presence of those who loved him, yes. Respect for a man like Byrd, too much to demand…

Abraham Lincoln on the Declaration of Independence

Monday, June 28, AD 2010

On February 2, 1861, on his way to Washington, Abraham Lincoln stopped at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  There he made a few remarks on the Declaration:

Mr. Cuyler:

I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here, in this place, where were collected together the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle, from which sprang the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country. I can say in return, Sir, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall. I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence. I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland; but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.

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The Disgrace of Cardinal Danneels and the Belgian Catholic Church

Sunday, June 27, AD 2010

This past week, Belgian police raided the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Belgian, as well as the home and office of recently retired Archbishop Godfried Danneels, during an investigation into the sexual abuse of children.

Rorate Caeli provides the full text of Pope Benedict’s letter to Abp. André Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Mechlin-Brussels and President of the Belgian Episcopal Conference, responding to the unfortunate series of events:

I wish to express to you, dear Brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and my solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and deplorable methods, searches were carried out in Mechlin Cathedral and in places where the Belgian Episcopate were assembled in plenary session. During that meeting, aspects related to the abuse of minors by members of the clergy were to have been treated, among other things. I have myself repeated numerous times that these grave facts should be treated by the civil order and by the canonical order in reciprocal respect for the specificity and autonomy of each one. In this sense, I wish that justice will follow its course, ensuring the rights of persons and institutions, in respect for victims, with the recognition, without prejudices, of those who wish to collaborate with it and with the refusal of everything that could darken the noble duties that are ascribed to it.

As Rorate Caeli notes, there is a “one-sideness” and “tone-deafness” to the papal remarks. The impression is exacerbated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone,

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21 Responses to The Disgrace of Cardinal Danneels and the Belgian Catholic Church

  • And there are still many people that “pooh-pooh” pointing out the wrongs of our bishops.

    Well I’m glad I never listen to their crocodile crying.

  • “Those expressing frustration over the impertinence of the Belgian police’s raid…” include the pope!! This is truly horrifying to me.

  • This is the particularly disturbing in light of Danneels having been considered papabile in some circles. We certainly have the Holy Spirit to thank that we don’t have someone so obviously tainted at the healm at this time.

    On the Vatican response — their press office is pretty notoriously amateur. I wonder if they responded to the accounts in the populat press on the first day without actually having looked into the details first.

  • So these sorts of statements released with the pope’s “signature” are routinely not written by the pope himself?

  • I reread the entire article over at The Brussels Journal.

    Cardinal Danneels disgusts me almost as much as Weakland did.

    Cardinal Danneels should be handcuffed and taken into custody until a trial date is set for his cover-up of the sickness inside the Belgian Catholic Church.

  • This looks like an absolutely horrible mess, far worse than the scandala in Ireland and the US. I can understand how a kid who went through this grows up with an implacable hatred of the Catholic Church. It appears that Cdl Danneels and his band of brothers were allowed to get away with it for so long precisely because they were part of the liberal establishment. All too often these prelates, instead exercising close pastoral care and supervision of the spiritual life of Catholics, spend their time holding forth on matters of peripheral concern such as Israel and immigration. I suppose this is the preferred way to ease their conscience. Cdl Danneels is famous for allowing Muslims free rein on Catholic property.

  • Cardinal Danneels used his standing as the prelate of Belgium to push for his most extreme liberal causes at the expense of the souls he was suppose to shepherd.

    This should be a warning to Cardinal George, O’Malley, and the rest of the liberal cabal at the USCCB that they need to heed the spiritual needs of their flock instead of pushing the Democratic Party agenda and warming up to Teddy, Nancy, and John Kerry.

    This disgusts me to no end.

  • This is a pissing contest between the Belgian liberals and the conservatives. Obviously this was part of a sex education program instituted by Daneels to be au currant with other European nations. If yoyu’ve not seen some of the things that is being taught to 13 year olds in ‘secular’ education, it would make you wretch. However I noticed that this article omits the last paragraph from the Journals article which expressed the responses from other Cardinal prelates around the Globe on such a course.

    “I received letters of support from cardinals from all parts of the globe. “I share your concern. It is important that you do not leave the matter uncontested,” wrote Cardinal Meisner of Cologne; “You have good reasons to be concerned,” wrote Cardinal Wamala of Uganda; “I feel strongly enough to write to Cardinal Danneels in the hope that he may enlighten me,” wrote Cardinal Vidal of the Philippines; “If I have the opportunity to discuss with Cardinal Danneels the matter you have drawn to my attention, I will do so,” wrote Cardinal Williams of New Zealand; “I shall try to do something in order to help you,” wrote Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo; “I am aware that your concerns have been brought to the attention of Cardinal Laghi, Prefect for the Congregation for Catholic Education,” wrote Cardinal O’Connor of New York.”

    None of this mitigates due process or even begins to construe a legal linkage between the abuse cases and sex education courses. If so, American courts will be extremely busy in the future.

  • Robert C.,

    I read the same article and my question is, did those bishops and cardinals follow up those letters of support by contacting Cardinal Danneels and investigating these allegations.

    Regardless, if this is true, Cardinal Danneels should be scrutinized with a thorough investigation of his memoirs.

  • Danneels is clearly much at fault here, and I would imagine that at the very least he’ll end up like Law.

    At the same time, as I think about it, the search of the crypt remains a pretty over-the-top act. I mean, seriously: outside of a Dan Brown novel who is going to be hiding incriminating documents in the crypt of a dead bishop? If you want to get rid of incriminating documents, the obvious thing would be to get rid of them not bury them in a place which would result in the maximum possible scandal if they were found there. (If the shredder is un-handy, I believe that a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the leopard” is traditional.)

    While having no interest in cushioning Danneels’ long overdue fall from grace, it seems fairly reasonable of Rome to be upset over the crypt opening — even if it was only drilling a couple holes and peeking around with a camera.

  • Raiding the tombs is absolutely over the top.

    As one Vatican observer said, not even during the communist era did such acts occur.

  • Exactly correct, Darwin.

    I do think people need to support a proper investigation if there are justified reasons for it; on the other hand, I do not think that allows extreme police-state like tactics.

  • “not even during the communist era…”

    Wrong.

    Much worse happened in the communist era, and continues to happen under communism today, but the Vatican ignores it.

    Churches and shrines are routinely bulldozed in communist China and in Vietnam. Tombs mean nothing to them.

    Why does the Vatican ignore the millions of Catholics put to death by communism?

  • Come now, is the entire clergy abuse scandal really the fault of “liberal” bishops? Worldwide? Seems to me there has been plenty of scandal to go around.

    Certainly, the protectors of perps like Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado were not hardly the liberation theology types, including the past Bishop of Rome.

    The problem is an old-boy network of fraternal pandering and protection, not unlike what was often seen in groups like Freemasonry and the Mafia.

  • RSG,

    including the past Bishop of Rome.

    Yes, anti-Catholic bigots are a dime a dozen.

    Thanks for that bit of nawlidge.

  • The paedophile clerics and their friends in the Belgian Church hawe sown the wind, now their reap the storm, their reward. I hope the police will investigate them carefully in minute details and jail them with harsh sentences.
    Their fellows in the US will take their turn soon.
    I am sorry for the Pope and for Card. Bertone.
    The Pope may err in that issue: The pontifical infallibility doesn’t stretch up to protect these criminals, even if our Holy Father haas but a few responsibility in the laissez-faire which was the policy of his predecessors.
    There is an URGENT need to sweep and clean vigorously the Temple of God. The door is wide open to push these evil men out.

  • Fr. Marciel was pathological. He used the Church and his alleged orthodoxy as cover for his pathology but never sought to change the Church into his sad image. Clerics who promoted catechisms like those noted in the links were trying to change the Church to advance their pathologies. Quite a difference.

  • The church will fight the homosexual paederasty that has pushed its liberal agenda for too long under a false interpretation of Vatican II. The liberal mafia must be identified and cast out from wherever it has infested the Church.

    This is battle royal.

    Support the Holy Father.

    The church is fully aware of the persecution and murder of Catholics around the World. See ACT (Action for the Church in Need)

  • The Patriarch of the West, The Pope is infallable on faith & morals but on issues like homosexual pedophila John 23, Paul 6 & John Paul 2 will have a lot to answer for in that horrible day they face G-D. Under their regimes liberal-socialist theology and a cabal of homosexual priests, lesbian nuns, and queer monks were given free reign and grew worldwide. The denigration of the 16oo yr old divine liturgy (Mass) liberation theology perverted seminaries since the ambiguous pastoral council called vatican 2 was the crack in the wall liberal socialists had been looking for, for the last 100 years. They found it in john 23rd aggoriomento. Even the socialist pope Paul 6th finally admitted the stench of satan had entered the church,(with the help of the above hierarchs).It is up to this good and holy Pope Benedict 16th to mop up the mess of these previous Popes.

  • Millions voted by walking out of the Catholic church in the years since Vatican 2 (rightly or wrongly). What was Holy & Sacred prior to this council suddenly became profane & illegal and anyone who dared to attend the ancient liturgy or question a liberal parish priest were ridiculed and shunned as fanatics. When in fact the real fanatics were the socialist, liberals aka “usefull” idiots liberal periti and “theologists” like Kung, hierarchs like weakland, mahoney,Brown,Gumbleton,Daneel, law & suenan not to mention the author of the venacular service called the novus ordo missae the freemason Archbishop annabal bugnini.

  • In a parting thought I will predict, since I’m NO prophet that the so-called Liberal branch (infestation) in the Catholic church will go the way of the Anglican schismatics, the american & Canadian episcopals and the heretical church of Horny Henry 8th, the so-called church of England.