Attention Las Vegas Catholics

Sunday, June 20, AD 2010

This is a request for assistance from our readers to suggest a good parish inside the Diocese of Las Vegas for my family.

What I am asking in particular is a parish that has an orthodox priest that celebrates the Mass reverently.  That is not asking much.  Preferably a holy and charitable priest.

To be more specific, though this isn’t necessary, it would be nice if the architecture of the church did not resemble a Brady Bunch-1970s style of a building.  Again, preferably, a church with pre-Vatican II type of architecture.

What do I mean by reverently?

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24 Responses to Attention Las Vegas Catholics

  • Not a recommendation, but a question: At my parish, priests are rotated in and out every few years. So, if that’s true in Las Vegas and today you pick a parish with priests to your liking, isn’t the lineup just going to change before long?

  • Spambot, yes, but where are these good priests presently? I know there are good parishes in Las Vegas, just where are they is my question.

  • What do I mean by orthodox?

    If we want to get technical in our orthdoxy and tradition, then the proper parish is the one whose territorial boundaries encompass your home. THAT is the proper parish according to canon law and consistent with the teachings of the Magisterium.

    The practice of parish shopping, while widespread post-Vatican II, is one contrary to tradition, which has long followed the idea of the neighborhood parish. This is also more consistent with the truth that we are One Church, not an alliance of separate churchs and congregations, and that the Lord Himself is present, Body and Blood, at each of these parishes.

    We may not particularly like the members of our family — but they are family. We may not like their music, we may not like their architecture, we may not like their wishy-washy homilies, but they are family.

  • I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t mind if my family were to attend a different parish rather from the one that has led many into apathy.

    But your argument is a straw man.

    I’d like to know a good parish to recommend to my parents.

    I’d rather not debate your issues with canon law.

  • I’ve also been persuaded by orthodoxy (read: right opinion on this particular issue. Catholics should attend a church within their parish, that is near the physical land on which they live. Jesus is in every Catholic Church, even the ugly ones. And perhaps the ugly churches (physically or spiritually ugly) need orthodox Catholics more than anywhere else. We are all called to evangelize, and sometimes evangelization happens at our own parish! Orthodox Catholics cannot sequester themselves off from the rest of the Church at parishes with good priests and good liturgy.

    Also this is a great way for Catholics to recover a sense of place, something that has been totally lost in hyper-mobile 21st century America.

    We do not pick and choose our Churches as Catholics. It’s a protestant attitude and bad practice for members of a universal Church.

  • Zach,

    Thank you for continuing to distract from my post.

    How can certain family members be evangelized if they are receiving incorrect teachings?

    Keep up the distraction.

    //sarcasm end

  • As far as I can find in Las Vegas there are only 2 pre Vatican II style church buildings. One is St. Joan of Arch in the downtown area. I have been there a couple of times for evening non-Sunday mass. I did not find any major problems.

    The second is St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. It is a rather new building but it is beautifuly done inside and out. An intresting mix of old and new on the inside. I have not attended mass there. It is on Saharra Av.between Rainbow Bl. and Buffalo.

    Another choice is a new styled church is St. Bridget on 14th street just west of downtown. For a modern building it OK. The Tabernacle is smack in the middle of the sancatuary. The 9:30 am Sunday mass is a Hybred Latin and English Mass. Very well said by Fr. Leo the congreation is very reserved and reverant.

    I have been to this mass on several occasions.

    St. Bridget aslo hosts the only Authorized TLM in southern Nevada. It is only on the first Friday of the Month. I was there for this mass in June 2010.

    Do not be fooled by “St.Joseph Catholic Church” on the east side of downtown Las Vegas it is “Old Catholic” and not in union with Rome.

    If you want to broaden your catholic expierence. Las Vegas has four Eastern Rite Catholic parishes, all in union with Rome.

    Our Lady of Wisdom Italo-Byzantine, Lindell and O’bannon. My home parish when I am in residence in Las Vegas.

    St. Barbara Chaldean Parish Near the Meadows Mall. This is quite a diffrent expierence very reverant.
    Upon entry via the center aisle the priest bow at 3 diffrent places before entering the sancatuary, prostrates himself before the eucharist. The liturgy is mostly in Chaldean or Arabic. A good Expierence.

    St.Sharbel Maronite several miles south of downtown and about a mile east of the South Point Hotel. Somewhat like the Novus Ordo in its presentation but with more prayers and added rituals to the Liturgy.
    another good expeirence. They have an English Mass and an Arabic Mass.

    St. Gabriel the Archangel Ruthenian-Byzantine,2250 Maule ave., just south of McCarren airport. I have not been there. I have attended other Ruthenian Parishes. Another good venture. the Liturug is in English.

    I hope these selections help you out.

  • I was once told, by a priest knowledgeable about canon law, that nothing in Church law forbids a person from holding membership in more than one parish. You can hold membership in your territorial neighborhood parish AND also enroll in another parish if there is good reason to do so — for example, if that parish has a school in which you want to enroll your children, if it has priests who speak your native language, or if it has liturgies of a different rite (including TLM) that are not available at your “home” parish. If you belong to more than one parish, of course, you have a certain obligation to support both, financially and by your attendance.

  • John R.,

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be pre-Vatican II type of architecture.

    What’s important is a good and holy priest.

    And thanks for the recommendations.

    The eastern rites are awesome.

    Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary, was my old parish. It has since gone off the deep end and are heretical.

    Part of the reason for this posting.

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  • I’m a 19 year old who lives in Spokane, WA. But I use to live in Las Vegas when I was a kid for about 10 years. From my experience, I would recommand St. Joseph, Husband of Mary.
    As John Rondina posted, “It is a rather new building but it is beautifuly done inside and out. An intresting mix of old and new on the inside.”
    All the priests that I use to know when I attended to that Church were simple, orthodox Catholics who always pledged their obedience to the decrees of the Apostolic See. However, I do not know what the new priests are like now.
    But I say give it a try with my beloved Church. I do miss going there every Sunday.
    Also, I ask many of you to please pray for me as I will be entering the Seminary soon. I pray that I will be studying under the guidance and leader of His Excellency, Bishop Robert Vasa from the Diocese of Baker, Oregon.
    May our Heavenly Father continue to bless all of you and the U.S. Constitution

  • Andrew R.,

    Sadly that church isn’t what it used to be.

  • Tito:

    I tend to agree with the ones who questioned whether or not this was a good idea. Parish-shopping isn’t a great thing, especially when you’re picking churches in part based on architecture. Screwtape #16 has a lot to say on this-

    I had more typed, but I decided this would make a good post to kick off the week with. 😉

  • To Tito Edwards:
    It breaks my heart that many Catholic Americans are drifting away from the teachings of the Catholic Church, especially from the decrees of the Holy See.

    Praying the Rosary always facilitates the situations that any Catholic faces in life. Hopefully our Blessed Mother will guide us to Her Son and comfort us when we need to be comforted.

    I look forward to your response, Tito. God Bless

  • Michael D.,

    Apparently you chose to ignore what I have, and others, previously posted.

    The sheep need to be fed, not to be talked down to like you and your cohorts have done.

  • Ypu might got To Francis Beckwith’s place (Return to ROme) and ask him in the comments. He is from Vegas and of course still has family there.

  • I highly recommend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas. I have also heard good things about St. Francis in Henderson, Nevada, which is the largest city adjacent to Las Vegas. The latter can be found here: http://www.sfahdnv.org/ The former here: http://www.parishesonline.com/scripts/hostedsites/Org.asp?ID=6911

    Whenever we are in Vegas–which is often–my wife and I attend the 4 pm Saturday Vigil mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. We do so because it has a solid pastor and it is literally across the street from my sister-in-law’s home, where we stay when we are in Vegas.

  • Francis,

    Thank you for those recommendations.

    I truly appreciate the suggestions and will be visiting all of them when I visit my family and bring them along.

    In a nutshell, if the pastor is solid, then the parish will follow.

  • Tito, I do not understand my comment to be a distraction. I think it’s a direct response to what you are talking about here.

    I don’t appreciate your sarcasm or you ignoring it, though.

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  • Regarding St Joseph Husband of Mary – you may be able to avoid liturgical abuse there, but you are not getting any chant! Fr Marc is not a fan of it. You get a lot of Protestant hymns. Bleh!

    Your best bet for a reverently celebrated Mass is St Bridgets 9:30am Mass. Even though they dont have a choir (which is by choice – my chant group offered and were turned down) the congregation chants. Communion has a recording of chant.

    St Francis used to be pretty solid. But is no longer, ever since Fr Greg left.

    Dont personally know about St Elizabeth Ann Seton but I have heard good things.

    A decent parish is hard to find. Half the churches here qualify as protestant. Sad. Stay away from Christ the King Parish – they have liturgical dance! I still do not understand why the Bishop refuses to crack down on them!

  • Forgot to mention St Brigets 9:30 Mass is Novus Ordo in Latin

  • Tito,

    It’s ironic to me that you would indicate that you are interested in finding a parish in Las Vegas that has a good and holy priest at a parish that adheres to the Magisterium; yet you seem to discourage a 19-year-old (Andrew Ridgley) who tells you that he will be entering the seminary. Instead of offering encouragement for his holy vocation (especialy during this time of a shortage of priests), you tell him that the church isn’t what it used to be. To add insult to injury, you don’t even reply to him when he says that he is looking forward to hearing back from you. Honestly, I don’t get your thinking.

    My family has lived in Las Vegas for many years. I don’t live there now, but I go back to visit regularly. Growing up there, I attended Catholic elementary and high schools. When I began reading your post, I understood your reason for asking for input from others. However, I have to say that you lost me after I read your response to Andrew. Thanks be to God, Andrew sounds like someone who will not be easily dissuaded. I will pray for him, and others like him.

  • I think you misread what I said.

Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

In this spring’s debate over the healthcare bill, one of the disagreements that raised eyebrows most in Catholic circles was that between the US bishops conference and the Catholic Healthcare Association and other similar groups. The bishops claimed that the healthcare bill would lead to federal funding of abortions, while CHA et al. concluded that it would not.

In my opinion and that of numerous observers (including most of my fellow contributors here at TAC), the bishops were correct and CHA was horribly, terribly wrong.

There is another question, though… was CHA disobedient? That is, were they obliged as Catholics to accept the conclusions of the bishops conference? Was the activity of the bishops conference an act of their teaching charism which American Catholics were obliged to give their assent to?

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34 Responses to Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

  • Thank you for raising this important question, Chris.

    I do not think the Catholic Health Association was “disobedient” for not taking the same position as the Bishops. I do think it was a bad political decision and I am not sure if the official stance reflected the views of every member of the CHA. The responses in the media and the internal “church war” did little to serve the visible unity of the Church. I think it could have been a more tactful disagreement — a suggestion, perhaps, that the Bishops’ reading of the legislation might need a second analysis. But it was a very pronounced disagreement that was unfortunately hijacked by the political operatives and partisan Catholics more than ready to paint the USCCB in bed with the Republicans — and we’ve surely gotten portraits of the opposite, that is, of the USCCB having succumbed to liberal politics. I’d like to think that both sides seriously needs to rethink their Catholicism before trying to translate their faith into contrived, acceptable political platforms rooted in secular schools of thought.

    I do thinks the Bishops were right in their basic analysis, but I do think some of the criticisms of their conclusions were actually very legitimate. I think there more at stake in the health care debate — something deeper than — than health care policy, or even the right-to-life issues.

    There was a lot of misinformation, single-word slogans, and rhetoric and willful partisan fighting to simply win. This was most unfortunate.

    I do not think the Senate compromise on the abortion language was necessarily immoral. Politically, it was not what we would desire first, but I don’t think it was a riot. It surely wasn’t the Capps’ language that required in explicit terms abortion funding. I thought that claims that the language was absolutely unacceptable were terribly exaggerated. I believe the scare over CHC’s were a bit naive.

    The serious overriding issue was that the legislation did not say explicitly, leaving room for no ambiguity that no provision in the Act would allow funds to be used to subsidize abortion. The Act did not say that abortion could be funded rather it remained silent. The problem is — to my understanding — is that abortion jurisprudence in the last few decades has a clear tradition of allowing abortion funding when Congress does not explicitly exclude it when it calls for, say, “comprehensive services.” The logic obviously being that abortion is a legal medical procedure and if it is not singled out, then it should be included amongst “comprehensive” and/or “preventative” services.

    There was a Colloquy (a pre-scripted dialogue that goes on the record to clarify and illuminate Congressional intent on certain provisions of a bill) before the House vote on the health care bill that clearly stated that the legislation would be subject to the spirit of Hyde as is all other federal programs.

    Such a colloquy could be cited in Court as evidence to clarify the intention of Congress (when debating whether Congress intended to allow abortion to be funded). An Executive Order obviously would be overturned if it contradicted an explicit statutory law. The problem is that President Obama’s EO does not contradict statutory law and therefore is not absolutely guaranteed to be overturned by a court. But that doesn’t mean that it would hold up in Court either. It could, but then again, it could not.

    Therefore the security of the pro-life provisions are undesirably weak. I think this would be reason enough — even though there were plenty of other reasons — to hold out for amendments to statutory law to ensure that there would no insecurity and no ambiguity over the fate of the pro-life provisions of the bill.

    This is obviously a prudential assessment of the situation and it is clear that I, with a few disagreements, came to agree with the Bishops.

    However, anyone who sincerely and honestly disagreed may not be “disobedient” or a dissident Catholic. Obviously they could be. But I’m not really talking about party operatives or Catholics who are pro-choice or for whom abortion was never really an issue.

    Someone may come to a different conclusion and I’m sure they would present the case for the EO and the final abortion language quite differently. I don’t think they would be correct but I’m not ready to claim that they are a “disobedient” Catholic.

    This brings us back to your fundamental question: was the Bishops’ position on health care an act of the Magisterium? No. I think the approach was very political and pragmatic. The Bishops mostly focused on abortion, conscience clauses for health care professionals, and access for legal immigrants. But there was so many other concerns — voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, government and private-sector rationing of medical care, abuses regarding organ donation (particularly those resulting in euthanasia) mostly because of the dubious concept of “brain death,” not to mention, financial sustainability and the overall structure of the health care system itself. The moral principles are all there but there be an array of policy perspectives from those who fundamentally agree. So I’m not sure sharing the conclusion of the Bishops (as long as one was agreeing morally) was necessary to remain a Catholic in good standing. I’d say it is probably wise not to tread too far from the Shepherds for they have a vast resource pool from which to draw to form very informed and moral conclusions.

    But if the Bishops’ analysis of legislation is an act of the Magisterium then their endorsement or opposition to any legislation whether it’s health care, immigration, or any such thing, no Catholic could disagree. And I’m pretty sure a number of Catholics, particularly in conservative circles, don’t share the USCCB’s position on immigration and therefore I’d suspect that wouldn’t go so far as to say we must always agree with the Bishops’ prudential policy judgments.

  • Can one be disobedient and not violate the Magisterium? If so, I think that happened here.

    I don’t think there was anything close to dogmatic in the bishops’ evaluation of the bill (other than abortion funding is wrong). That said, even in non-dogmatic matters deference is owed to the bishops. If one disagrees with them, one must do so after prudential consideration. Furthermore, I think one ought not to be actively campaigning against them.

    So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.

    Nothing the left did shows any support or obedience to the bishops, even if dogma did not require them to agree with them.

  • “So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.”

    Bingo! The magisterium that they are loyal to has little to do with the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  • The misnamed Catholic Health Association was in bed with the Obama administration from the beginning on ObamaCare:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121805.html

    Abortion simply was not a priority for them in comparison to passing ObamaCare.

  • It seems to me that Sr. Keehan, the CHA et al. went out of their way to snub the Bishops, ignored the Bishops prudential judgment, and were indebted to helping the liberal establishment in passing any type of socialist or national health care regardless of what the consequences are going to be for unborn babies, elderly, and the rest of the most vulnerable human beings. They did not feel any obligation to follow the Magisterium and avoid scandal or a scandalous perception.

  • Obviously the bishop’s position on the health care bill was not a magisterial teaching. Lay Catholics take no vow of obedience to their bishops.

    I am one who thought Capps-Stupak would’ve been great but not absolutely necessary for me to support the bill. I ultimately opposed the bill on the grounds that the bishops told me to and, considering the politics, there was more to be lost in opposing the voice of the Church in America than opposing the bill.

  • Every time I see “the bishops” presented as some kind of Magisterial body I nearly want to go postal. The USCCB and “the bishops” in NO WAY have any teaching authority.

    Cardinal Ratzinger addressed this in “The Ratzinger Report” where on page 60 it says;

    “No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.”

    http://www.ignatius.com/Products/RR-P/the-ratzinger-report.aspx

    In other words the USCCB is not an “American Magesterium” – despite the efforts of the bureaucrats who manipulate “the bishops” efforts to pose as such.

    There is an old saying that there are two things you never want to see being made – sausage and the law. I would add a third, a document from the USCCB.

    Their watered down “documents” more often than not muddy crystal clear church teaching after laborious twisting and contorting aimed at preventing anyone form being “offended”. If you don’t believe me – watch the TV coverage of the next USCCB Conference where endless debates over every punctuation mark will bring you to tears. Our “Shepherds” have become congressmen.

    Call the USCCB what it is – an administrative body stuffed with career bureaucrats that speaks out on politics – mostly with liberal positions. The entire mess should be shut down.

  • It could be their hospitals’ solvency was the main motive. Yet that is not supportable, unless . . .

    Else, the “nuns-in-pants-suits'” prudential judgement is that “free lunch/something for nothing” always overshadows liberalisms’ insidious aspects – exterminating 47,000,000 more unborn persons, class envy/hatred, ESCR, gay privileges, immoral public school brainwashing of youth, etc.

    Their priorities seem to lie with secular, humanist progressives. For the secularist, man is the end all and be all and the greatest good is not saving souls but making life better for the convict, drug addict, drunk, felon, fornicator, illegal invader, murderer, rapist, thief, et al: all at the expense of the evil, racist, rich unjust American taxpayer.

    The COMMON GOOD???? Likely (my opinion), every (except the rulers in DC) American will be reduced to an equal level of health care misery and desperation.

  • It is a moral teaching and directive – not to support a law that promotes or supports abortion.

    It has Magisterial binding power coming from each individual bishop who concurred with that. And the pols under the bishop’s authority is obliged to obey as the Lord is to be obeyed. “He who listens to you, listens to me.”

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the Bishops per se…it is a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Lawyers studied the bill and I have read part of it where the bill gives Kathleen Sebelius major authority down the line to distribute federal funds as she sees fit and we know that ‘Catholic’ Kathleen Sebelius is rabidly proabortion, was a friend and colleague of George Tiller who terminated viable babies in the womb…abortion is a grave evil and anyone participating in any way is cooperating with this evil…Sr. Keehan and her group can disagree or not with the Bishops but – they have defied the teachings of the Church which teaches that abortion is the killing of a human in the womb…Canon Law states clearly that anyone publicly promoting such evil cannot receive the Eucharist…our Bishops do not enforce this which is, I believe, why these ‘Catholics’ are becoming more and more defiant and arrogant in their advocacy for abortion. I was told that Joe Biden went to Africa to convince them to legalize abortion in order to receive aid…the Africans don’t want to kill their babies!!! Pelosi preaches about how ‘the Word’ is so important to her…the word was made flesh…where does she think the word became flesh???? In the womb of Mary the mother…would Pelosi have fought so ferociously to exterminate the baby in the womb of Mary? I don’t think we are obliged to follow the advice of Bishops but we surely are not meant to publicly defy them…I think it’s time for the Vatican, for Pope Benedict,to speak into this issue just as he did in his letter to the Irish Bishops – he spoke strongly and forcefully against the abuse of children in Ireland…well, we are talking here about the extermination of human babies in the wombs of their mothers…millions and millions of them!!!!! It must be stopped…please God the Bishops will have the courage to tell Pelosi and Biden and others who advocate for abortion that they are not Catholics in good standing and that until and unless the publicly reject their pro abortion stand they cannot receive the Eucharist…until they do, the slaughter will go on…and on and on…

  • Samwise,

    I completely agree!

    But, I would like to point out that the Pope just recently talked to the priests about using the “rod” against heresy.

    “The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod,” he said, “the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray.”

    “Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented.”

    This is a step in the right direction.

  • The Health Care Bill put together with the USCCB and CHA equals a headache. But I’m glad that you’ve narrowed down the discussion with your last paragraph: “Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    As previous commentators have said already very thoroughly, the USCCB has no teaching authority. They do serve as a guide for how to apply real Church teachings to real life for Catholics but this does not mean everything they say or suggest is infallible and in fact is sometimes quite the contrary.
    Faithful Catholics ought to listen respectfully and try and understand what the USCCB stands for and may be trying to teach us. I think though, that if one does disagree with some or all of a statement or a posistion of the USSCB they do have a duty to disagree tastefully and respectfully. If love is not part of the motivator behind the disagreement then there’s a problem.

  • Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    It does not. The bishops do not, as bishops, have the authority to interpret the meaning and consequences of civil legislation. If the bishops had this authority and competency, they would be able to provide an official Catholic interpretation of other documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. But, of course, we don’t look to the bishops for whether we ought to interpret the Constitution as a “living document” or as its writers intended. Such questions reside outside their domain.

    On the other hand, I understand the frustration the bishops feel at the very public disagreement with them made by the CHA and others. They have sought to understand the legislation as best they can, have judged it to be morally problematic, and have, because of their concerns about the potential immoral consequences of the legislation, spoken out against it. Then they see other public Catholics disagree with their conclusions about it. A messy situation, to say the least, but then, the moral life is messy.

    In the case of “Obamacare,” at least, we will soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.

  • Kyle,
    I agree that the Bishops don’t have the authority to make it obligatory for Catholics to either support or oppose specific pieces of legislation when it comes to the Bishops’ prudential judgments. But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    I would rather be safe than sorry, and be absolutely sure that this piece of legislation does not have federal funding for abortions on demand or taxpayer funded abortions then find out later that Obamacare does fund abortions.

  • But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    Nope. The question here isn’t whether or not abortion is evil or whether or not funding abortion is evil – questions Catholics believe the bishops have authority to speak on. The question here is whether or not this legislation will fund abortion, which isn’t a question of faith and morals, but of legal meaning and consequence.

  • Kyle,
    Then one could draw a similar consclusion when referring to legislation related to border security or immigration, and matters of national security.

  • If the question is “Will immigration legislation do X?” or “Will national security legislation do Y?”, then sure.

  • “…we will know soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.”

    Though on the question of conscience I think it may take longer.

    Are there any protections for health care workers or hospitals that are Hyde Ammendment-like. That is, will Catholic health care workers and hospitals be able to refuse medical treatments that violate medical ethics? Can the state say to them that if contraception or abortion, etc. is not provided, then they can be denied health care dollars?

  • I would also say that Bishop conferences can teach with magisterial authority but that this is limited to a doctrinal matter and seems to require a unanimous vote (see Apostolos Suos). When it comes to prudential application of doctrinal principles, a Catholic may licitly disagree.

    Thus the arguments that some (not all) in CHA and others offer are licit though I think wrong especially beyond questions regarding abortion. When others disagree with immigration policies or even the general thrust of a document such as Faithful Citizenship, they are also free to do so.

  • Here is an example of why we need to heed our Bishops words, and why our perceptions as to what constitutes “prudential” judgement may not merely fall under the umbrella of prudential judgment in the case of health care reform.

    “Federal funds in the Act can be used for elective abortions. For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers. These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment (as they are not appropriated through the Labor/HHS appropriations bill governed by that amendment), or by the Act’s own abortion limitation in Sec. 1303 (as that provision relates only to tax credits or cost-sharing reductions for qualified health plans, and does not govern all funds in the bill). So the funds can be used directly for elective abortions.
    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions. Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions. This violates the policy of current federal laws on abortion funding, including the Hyde amendment, which forbid use of federal funds for any part of a health benefits package that covers elective abortions. By
    subsidizing plans that cover abortion, the federal government will expand abortion coverage and make abortions more accessible.
    The Act uses federal power to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions even if they are morally opposed.
    The Act mandates that insurance companies deciding to cover elective abortions in a health plan “shall… collect from each enrollee in the plan (without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex, or family status) a separate payment” for such abortions. While the Act says that one plan in each exchange will not cover elective abortions, every other plan may cover them — and everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions. No accommodation is permitted for people morally opposed to abortion. This creates a more overt threat to
    conscience than insurers engage in now, because in many plans receiving federal subsidies everyone will have to make separate payments solely and specifically for other people’s abortions. Saying that this payment is not a “tax dollar” is no help if it is required by government.”

    I found this here: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/Abortion-Funding-in-Health-Care-Law-4-12-10.pdf

  • Teresa,
    First, I agree that disagreement with the USCCB is not in and of itself disobedience in any proper sense. So I have no quarrel with the CHS if its interpretation of the law differs.
    That said, the explanation you quote is pretty compelling. Has the CHA ever responded with similar clarity? As an attorney, I am well aware that reasonable people can in good faith interpret a law differently. I am prepared to believe that is what is happening here, but given the USCCB’s general affection for liberal causes its opposition to the health care legislation does seem credible.

  • For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers.

    CHAs haven’t performed abortions. Many if not all of them would have to change charters in order to do so.

    These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment
    This is a point of dispute.

    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions.
    It is presently legal for health plans to offer an abortion benefit. Federal highway dollars cover roads driven on by drunk drivers too. More anon.

    Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions.

    There is no moral requirement to limit indirect funding. Federal housing dollars do not discriminate between women that have and have not had abortions. The tax code does not distinguish deductibility of premiums between plans that offer abortion and those that don’t. Further, there is no substantive difference between this and the USCCB’s endorsed Stupak compromise of requiring a rider be offered to the policies. With an executed abortion rider, a subsidy would still be offered to plans that “cover abortion.”

    everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions.

    And this is really no different than today. As a consequence of where one works, one may be forced to subscribe to a plan that covers abortion. However, the idea that the plan that will “best meet his of her family’s needs” will be the one that covers abortion is malarkey and product of closing one’s ears to what insurance company’s have been saying. Insurance professionals have been claiming that they hard pressed to offer a plan with abortion due to the additional costs involved. Due to the additional costs, insurers believe they will have difficulty capturing subscribers on plans that offer abortion benefits.

  • Any thoughts on conscience protections?

  • I’m not sure Phillip. Do you (or anyone) happen to know what is current law regarding conscience protections?

    What are the laws on the books and are they being properly enforced? I think this question is getting regularly overlooked and new laws are being crafted unnecessarily when we could simply enforce or clarify existing law.

    But that is all contingent on whether existing law is sufficiently pro-life.

  • A primer:

    http://usccb.org/conscienceprotection/q_and_a.shtml

    Don’t know what it will all mean with the new Health Care legislation.

  • Finally, how something like this might play in to the discussion:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/aug/09081005.html

  • Thank you Phillip for doing a bit of research.

    The next time there is a Republican Congress, the Hyde amendment needs to cease being an budgetary amendment attached to appropriation bills and voted on year-after-year and rather introduced as federal-wide legislation governing any and all monies. This could in effect end domestic subsidizing abortion and act as a permanent “Mexico City Policy” that prohibits funding of abortion on the international stage.

    The other thing is with such widespread abuse on conscience rights as the Bishops note (which I’m assuming didn’t just start happening post-November 2008), current conscience laws should be updated and clarified.

    I’m not sure how this has just now become an issue. We most certainly have dropped the ball on the first item.

    I think the latter story involving the Catholic college could be solved with contracts and this is a solution from a perspective of subsidiarity. But all employers of Catholic institutions should sign a contract stating in clear terms that all medical care and benefits offered to employers, spouses, children, etc will be in line with the clear and consistent teachings of the Catholic Church and no comprehensive plans or benefits will include abortion or birth control.

    The obvious point is that such things if people were to choose those things — unfortunate as it is — they would have to use their own funds.

    There really shouldn’t have to be a need to resort to such protective measures, but it has become increasingly necessary.

  • I think the conscience clause became an issue in Jan/Feb 2009 when the Obama administration stated it was rescinding Bush era protections. Before this it was undoubtedly a problem at local levels which prompted Bush era efforts. Prior to Bush I think most organizations/states accepted that health care professionals could refuse certain procedures that violated their conscience. I know as a medical student and resident I refused to take part in abortions, sterilizations and prescribing birth control. No one gave me grief over this (this was in the 80’s after all.)

    In the new millenium this started to change when organizations such as the American College of OB/GYN insisted that residents be trained in abortion procedures and some states supported this. See here:
    http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/ethics/co385.pdf

    This may have been further made urgent by the Benitez case:

    http://www.cmda.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Right_of_Conscience&CONTENTID=17179&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

    Thus the prompting of the Bush efforts. It seems to have taken on import with the USCCB with the Obama administration efforts noted above.

    A brief history that may require more unearthing and likely has more parts.

  • The position from the USCCB that points out the need to conscience protections. The threats seem to originate as I noted in the new millenium. Thus the Bush protections and the threat to such protections from Obama administration efforts:

    http://www.usccb.org/ogc/pl-hhs-conscience2.pdf

  • “…because the issue here is the competence of the Magisterium to determine the consequences of a particular legislative bill.”

    I suspect that the National Bishop’s council is a different entity than the “magesterium” and as such has “no hierarchal authority.”

    I still await their justification of failing to engage the Catholic issue of solidarity and their earlier approval of “the Welfare state”(Obamacare without abortion) so excoriated by JPII – not to mention their silence on the “death panels” government intrusion into end of life moral decisions by free citizens.

    I wonder why the eccleasial construction of the three bishops who wrote the final turnaround letter after the Stupak fiasco blew up in their faces was labeled the “migrant” bishop? Could that be that socialized Obamacare was really about immigration which the Catechism says is the business of the laity?

    Do they yet have any outside objective investigation ongoing or in the pipeline to find out how they jeopardized charity for the poor itself, by funneling all those millions to ACORN (long known to be of questionable character) to help elect the most pro- abortion pro-infanticide president in history. (thy still haven’t written a pastoral letter of protested about Obama”s installation of the principle of intent allowing the slaughter of a baby outside the womb because the mother intend to abort or simply asked -how long Obama, does such intent last?

    There are far too many unanswered questions about the national bishop’s council to blindly follow what appears to be their politics, as opposed to their obligation to lead souls to salvation.

    I also think the question of the “smoke of Satan in the tabernacle” finally raised by the late Pope Paul continues to require some housecleaning and serious redirection of the American Chiurch at its highest levels. Notre Dame honoring Obama (the first openly infanticide president in history)and the public silence of more than two thirds of our shepherds in the face of that scandal ought to have been the clue that more than healthcare needs to be reformed.

  • These nuns think they can speak for the Church. So, they offer an alternate teaching. And the media whores quickly pick up on the scandal that they’re causing. They’re applying American principles of independence and feminism in places where those do not apply. The community of faith is not a democracy even if they want to make it such and have themselves voted into power. The community of believers are not independent from their traditional and historical origins and an American revolution will not change that nature. But deluded with their degrees and having too much time in their hands plus the limelight of a secular press, these women forge on and wound the very people that they pretend to serve.

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One Response to Benedict Brings the Hammer on Heretics

  • This reminds me of a homily I heard once where the priest preached that the Gospels “shouldn’t be taken as Gospel” and that the story of the miracle (I forget which one) in the reading was just a metaphor. It really is the case a lot of times when the sheep need protection from the wolves in shepherd’s clothing.

TLM in Houston

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

Tomorrow this Sunday, June 20th at 1:00pm, Houston’s Annunciation Church (1618 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77003) will be hosting the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter as they celebrate a Solemn High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Recently ordained Father John Rickert will be celebrating.  Deacon Michael Malain will be in attendance.

For those not familiar with the parking situation at Houston’s Annunciation Church, parking will be available in the parish parking lot on Jackson Street, the street behind the church.  The Houston Astros will be playing Sunday afternoon in Minute Maid Park which stands right next o Annunciation Church, but attendees at that game are not to use any of the parish parking spaces.

This is something that will be an beautiful experience for all those interested in liturgy, music, history and the worship of the risen Lord.

Please try and attend this Mass.  Perhaps many of you have not had such an experience.   To witness and to participate in this Mass will be one of the great spiritual experiences of your life.

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Their Finest Hour

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

Yesterday, June 18, marked the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech to Parliament,  as he alerted Great Britain to the coming Battle of Britain.  Churchill did not sugar coat the situation for his listeners.  Britain faced a formidable enemy and the odds were against them.  However, rather than a call for negotiations or surrender, Churchill called for defiance and victory.  He starkly reminded his listeners that a victory for Nazi Germany would mark the end of Christian civilization.  Churchill was not speaking in hyperbolic terms.  He was a careful student of history, as well as writing and making it, and other than politics, history was his ruling intellectual passion throughout his long life.  He realized that the menace of Nazi Germany was sui generis and could not be lulled by appeasement or a meaningless negotiated peace that Hitler would violate with impunity, but that rather the Nazis must be resisted implacably with all the force that the Brits could muster.  Everyone who cherishes freedom is in the debt of Churchill for the words that he spoke on June 18 and his leadership at a time when the fate of the world truly hang in the balance.  This was the finest hour indeed for him and the nation he led, and no leader can have a finer accolade.

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7 Responses to Their Finest Hour

  • Mr. Woodward,

    I am Major Jim Harvey of the U.S. Army Reserve. I am writing an article for a Catholic periodical and would like to use some information from your blogs on military chaplains. Footnotes would be used. Please advise if I have your permission to do so. Thanks! Jim

  • Sorry meant Mr.McClarey

  • Be my guest Jim!

  • The Battle of Brtain was essentially a defensive air battle.
    If one individual were to stand out as the principal figure in the success of the Battle of Britian, it was New Zealander, Sir Keith Park.

    His record in both WW1 and WW2 is stuff legends are made of, and yet this humble self effacing man, after his retirement from the Air Force, went about quietly doing his civic duty in NZ until his death in 1975.

    I cannot help but think how he may have known my maternal grandfather on Gallipoli, or my great uncle at the Somme, and would definitely have rubbed shoulders with another great uncle in the Royal Flying Corps during WW1. As was often the case, he was treated as a “colonial” by his English peers during WW2 – a superior attitude by the British which was still noticeable in English migrants to NZ in the 1950’s and 60’s’ and which I encountered in my youth. Not any more though.
    He was decorated by the British, French and USA, and was called the “Defender of London” by the Germans. A statue of him was erected on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar square in London 2008 in his honour.

    There is a good article on him on Wikipedia.

  • Ha ha Don – McClarey trumps again. 😆

    That interview with Park’s grt.neice was done at my local airport here in Tauranga at the Classic Flyers museum, which I visit frequently – about 5 miles away. I didn’t know that it had been done, or on you-tube.
    Just a dumb kiwi eh? 😉

    Classic Flyers is a great set-up. Every 2 years they do an air show with WW1, WW2 aircraft plus other air displays – its a great weekend. This year they had a couple of Spitfires, a Hurricane, Corsair, Mustang, 2 Kittyhawks, a Messerschmitt 109 (not genuine) a couple of Dakotas, a Catalina, and various others I can’t recall right now

    Excellent.

  • Here are parts one and two of the interview Don:

    What Sir Keith Park brings home is just how international an effort was the defense of Britain during the Battle of Britain. Among the pilots were 145 Poles, 127 Kiwis, 112 Canadians, 88 Czechoslovaks, 32 Australians, 28 Belgians, 25 South Africans, 13 French, 10 Irish, 7 Americans, 1 British Mandate of Palestine, 1 Jamaican and 1 Rhodesian. Eventually American volunteers would supply 244 volunteer pilots for the RAF who would form the three American Eagle Squadrons in the RAF. After America entered the war the Eagle Squadrons became part of the US Army Air Corps.

Illinois State Song

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.   The State Song of Illinois with scenes from my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  My wife and I took our son down for his freshman orientation this week, some 35 years after I went through it. 

Another rendition sung on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Illinois is a wonderful state that has been long cursed with one of the most corrupt state governments in the nation.  Past time for the voters of the Land of Lincoln to correct this disgrace.

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I Give Up, Here's a Links Round-up

Friday, June 18, AD 2010

“The Vatican” endorses the Blues Brothers.

North Korea embraces neoliberalism (baby steps).

Matt Yglesias is my kind of liberal.

The Onion channels Bertolt Brecht.

Israel further loosens border restrictions with Gaza.

A lot of people seems to think this is good news for Afghanistan. Have they never heard of the resource curse?

The menace of friendship. Paging Eve Tushnet.

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Is Robert E. Lee Overrated?

Friday, June 18, AD 2010

Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative, and I run a blog on American History:  Almost Chosen People.  Yesterday Paul raised the question:  Is Robert E. Lee Overrated?

Yeah, the post title is somewhat deliberately provocative, but it’s also meant to be a serious question that I hope will spark some discussion.  I was going to ask it in the comments to Donald’s post below, but thought it might be useful fodder for debate in its own right.

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9 Responses to Is Robert E. Lee Overrated?

  • Yeah, what Donald said.

    😉

  • Personally, I think that the General Lee was in fact overrated.

  • I agree Lee was by far the best general of that war and probably in American history.

    Overrated? Some in perpetuating the Lee legend have tended to overstate Lee’s abilities. Longstreet, for instance, after the war flirted with Republicans, became a Catholic, and hob-knobbed with President Grant. The Lost Cause folks and especially Lee’s hagiographers in Virginia stepped up their criticisms of Old Pete, beginning a slander against him that is referenced even in the movie from which the clip headlining this post is taken. That is, that Longsteet’s reluctance vigorously to execute Lee’s orders on the second and third days at Gettysburg led to that defeat (and hence, to the ultimate fall of the Cause). Never mind that this slur was uttered only after Lee’s death, for Lee himself acknowledged many times that the fault for Gettysburg lied with him, not Longstreet. Never mind, too, that Longstreet was just plain right, no confederate army could successfully have dislodged Meade from the heights outside of Gettysburg. That battle was lost when Ewell neglected to do what Stonewall certainly would have, and that is press the broken Federal army on day one to capture Cemetery Hill and Culp’s.

    So the moral of the story is that while our greatest general, even Lee has been oversold somewhat. He was only mortal after all, and did make other mistakes (e.g., Malvern Hill, North Anna).

  • It depends.

    A read of Lee’s Terrible Swift Sword tells of his string of decisive victories from Antietam through Second Bull Run. Chancellorsville was the most dramatic drubbing of the Union army. If the Sun stayed up as it did for the Israelites, he’d likely have destroyed that federal army. Other federal armies would have been raised.

    Lee lost it at Gettysburg and it was mostly downhill from there. This is not to say that the South had an even chance. Without Lee the South likely would have been defeated much earlier.

    Tom is correct in all respects. IF Ewell had taken the Union lines before they could bring up the entire seven (was it five?) corpses (Obama!). That’s a big IF. The armies would yet have been in close proximity and a fight would have been fought; probably with a different outcome, assuming Lee lured Meade into doing for him that which Burnside did at Fredrucksburg or Hooker at Chancellorsville.

    Gettysburg seems the battlefield where Lee departed from his “modus” at very high cost. I believe it was that Lee abandoned the tactical defensive and made the same mistakes Burnside made at Fredericksburg. In fact the Irish Brigade soldiers at Picket’s Charge said, “It was Fredericksburg in rivarse.” And, the Union troops chanted “Fredericksburg” as Picket’s broken men retreated.

    Given the Confederacy’s limitations (compared to Union resources) the only salutary tactics available were tactical defenses (maybe guerrilla warfare) even if they went over to strategic offense.

    Another factor, the generals were just learning how to employ 19th century weapons and railroad supply movements. Attackers nearly always suffer higher casualties against a well-emplaced, well-led, prepared army.

    I believe George Washignton was the greatest American general. He cannot be overrated.

    “Late Unpleasantness”, “Lost cause”?? How about calling it what is was: the war of northern aggression? Is that in the Constitution?

  • In my view, Lee was a brilliant strategic and operational commander. He was also normally a very successful risk-taker. One of his problems during the Gettysburg Campaign was that he had grown accustomed over the last couple of years to the rabid aggressiveness of Stonewall Jackson. He had not really adjusted to the initiative and drive he lost when his most brilliant Corps commander was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville.
    Some have attributed the loss (with good reason) to muddling Corps commanders, others to Stuart’s absence (again, with reason), still others to Lee’s inability to compensate for the lack of his Cavalry’s scouting and screening functions), and many others to Longstreet’s reluctant and even tardy obedience to orders.
    Having retired as a mere Captain in Air Defense Artillery, I am unqualified to offer recommendations to one of the nation’s Great Captains. That being so, neither will I offer criticism as if I could and would have done better. Lee was aging and suffering from heart disease at the time. These factors may have contributed to Lee’s seeming inability to communicate his intentions and vision with accuracy and timeliness to his subordinates.
    I am profoundly grateful to God that there was a Robert E. Lee in the South. Without his leadership, however it may have failed at Gettysburg, Lincoln’s 75,000 volunteers may have been enough to suppress the rebellion within a year and a half. As it is, Lee gave the Union both the time and the necessity (more political than military) to re-tool public opinion of the war by casting it as being one of emancipation, rather than mere oppression. Without Lee’s leadership, all the world would have seen Lincoln for the Constitutional disaster that he was (and intended to be), and would have robbed many in both north and south of the comforting fiction that so many fought and died to free the slaves because that was the only way to get it done.

  • “Personally, I think that the General Lee was in fact overrated.”

    I am ashamed to admit how much time as an undergrad I wasted watching the Dukes of Hazard!

  • I would not say that Lee was overrated as a commander. Overrated I would apply to the following commanders:

    USA
    Major General John C. Fremont
    Major General Daniel Sickles
    Major General Ambrose Burnside
    Major General John Pope
    Major General Irvin McDowell
    Brevet Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick
    Brevet Major General Alfred Pleasonton

    CSA
    General Braxton Bragg
    Lieutenant General James Longstreet
    Major General John B. Floyd
    Major General John Bell Hood
    Major General Lafayette McLaws
    Major General Earl Van Dorn
    Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow

  • Lee recognized prior to the ‘Gettysburg’ offensive that the South would eventually lose a war of attrition in which it stayed on the strategic defensive, growing weaker as the North grew stronger. A Southern victory on Northern soil was the only chance to bring the war to a favorable conclusion. Fighting not to lose worked fine for the Yankees, but the Rebels had take the riskier course, and fight to win.

  • Robert E Lee probably lost the war for the South. One contribution he did make, however, was to encourage and end to violence at the end of the war.

    However, Lee often wrote that God fully intended the negro to be treated cruelly and painfully, in order to teach the negro his place. The letter most people assume shows Lee is anti slavery, is actually one of the most amazing pro slavery letters ever written.

    Lee claims its fine to pray for an end to slavery — someday. But God has to end slavery, he said, not man. And God might take 2,000 years or more. Meanwhile any man who would try to end slavery is evil. He equates owning slaves with spiritual liberty.

    But what about Lee’s supposed military genius?

    Shelby Foote said (paraphrasing) “Losing Gettysburg [and therefore the war] was the price the South paid for having Lee in charge.”

    Lee had remarkably able generals under him — Stonewall Jackson for one, Johnston for another. Lee’s speciality was taking credit for their daring successes. Lee shamelessly “brown nosed” Davis, while most other generals refused.

    Davis was known for his favoring people who flattered him — and Lee flattered Davis shamelessly. Few people today understand that Lee had virtually NO military battle experience at the begining of the Civil War — he was an engineer, and a good one. He was not a battle tested general.

    In fact, he wasn’t even a full colonel, until Lincoln made him one. This persistant myth that Lincoln offered Lee command of the Union forces is nonsense, –often repeated, but never by Lincoln, or Lee, or Scott, the person who supposedly offered it.

    Lee’s generals were very capable, particulary Jackson and Johnston. When Lee spurned their advice, or when they were not available, was almost criminally stupid. Lee got most his “true believers” killed off, and these men were irreplacable.

    The men that took their place were far different from those Lee sacrificed in stupid moves. The new men were eager to desert — in fact, over 2/3 of the rebel soldiers deserted. As early as Lee’s inept handling at Shaprsurg, out of 19,000 men who were suppposed to refor, only 5,000 did. A desertion ratio of 2/3– Davis himself went on a speaking tour later to beg, shame, and frigthen deserters to return. It didn’t work. Desertion is by far the biggest reason the war ended. And Lee’s ineptness is a big reason they deserted.

    Lee sincerely thought God should sort out who got killed– it was his job to send men to battle, God’s job to decide who died. But notice when Lee faced any personal danger, he wasn’t going to let God decided anything — he was going to run.

    Lee left Richmond on the FALSE rumor of a breach in the line. (By the way, Lee personally led the construction of the earth works around RIchmond and Petersburg — all done by slave labor, probably the biggest construction job in the South to that point — he used 100,000 slaves, under penalty of death or torture)

    He left the citizens without notice, without a word, and worse, ordered fires to be set to warehouses. With no men available to put out the spreading fires, the mayor of Atlanta had to ride out to the Union troops, under a white flag, and ASK FOR HELP to put out the fires.

    The Southern apologist have been forced to pump Lee into some kind of hero, militarily and personally. Yet Lee was all too human on both counts.

    We know now, from Elizabeth’s Pryors book “Reading the Man” that Lee did in fact have young women tortured, screaming at them during their torture. He also apparently regularly sold the infants from these young girls.

    We know Lee kept a “Hunting List” in his own account books of slave girls he most wanted captured. We know his slave almost universally hated him, and rebelled before the Civil War, to which Lee hired bounty hunters and paid extra for the torture of at least one young girl.

    We know Lee had sharpshooters in the rear of his own soldiers — killing those who would run away during battle, a tactic later mimiced by Stalin. (Page 410 of Pryors book). We know Lee’s soldiers hated him, and were deserting en masse.

    The real picture of Lee is almost directly opposite of the nonsense that has so far been deliberatedly fabricated about the man.

I've Always Suspected Most Politicians Are Zombies

Friday, June 18, AD 2010

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  Zombie Reagan?  Well, I’d certainly rather vote for a dead cat than Obama!

In the interests of bi-partisanship, it is apparently not only the Republicans who may be relying on  zombies.  In Illinois, we know that the dead have been voting for decades in Cook county!

Since I am a Republican, I will give the late Bob Hope the last word on zombies and politics.

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The World Cup & American Idealism

Thursday, June 17, AD 2010

If you read the comments here at TAC, no doubt you’ve seen the accusation that America suffers from a Calvinist dualism that sinisterly causes all of American conservativism’s woes like it was the Catholic Church in a Dan Brown novel. While these claims are exaggerated, there’s a bit of truth in the idea that when compared to Europe, we’re a little more dualistic.

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41 Responses to The World Cup & American Idealism

  • Heh, I’ve never thought about the American approach to sports through the lens of dualism, but you might be on to something there!

    But honestly, I can’t get terribly excited over these “soccer wars”. It’s mainly because I don’t really like sports. Of course, what kind of multilateralist would I be if I didn’t support the World Cup (!), and I do, but I just can’t get too excited about it. I certainly appreciate the game of soccer, and think it is incredibly skilful. I think the low scoring adds to the tension and excitement. I’ve always thought that the American distaste came from its culture of instant gratification, and the fact that soccer stubbornly refuses to adapt to the whims of American TV advertizers.

    But it’s not really a big deal. I can also appreciate why some people like baseball, even though it bores me to tears. I have a far less appreciation for American football and basketball, which I see as simply too “noisy” and chaotic.

  • “Scarred by the horrors of the two world wars, Europe has lost any kind of ideal and so do not push themselves towards. Instead they accept themselves and their countries as flawed and do not see anything that can be done about it. There is no hope.”

    I’m not sure I agree with this, but it sounds like a very “conservative” position to me – a rejection of modernity’s constant drive for betterment alongside a pessimism about human potential.

  • [SNORE]

    Is it over yet? Must not be, because I can still hear all that buzzing and droning in the background, interrupted by the occasional cheer whenever someone manages to kick the ball wide of the net.

    [ROLLS BACK OVER]

    😉

    Now we need to get back to some REAL sports news like how much money LeBron James is going to make by testing the free agent market and how much money the Texas Longhorns will make now that they’ve tested the free agent market.

  • I’m not sure I agree with this, but it sounds like a very “conservative” position to me – a rejection of modernity’s constant drive for betterment alongside a pessimism about human potential.

    I’m not sure that necessarily a conservative position. For example, the Founding Fathers set up the system of checks & balances so “ambition can check ambition,” the idea being that men were not going to become virtuous and so we could attempt to build institutions to use men’s vices against each other in the hope that something resembling virtue would come out. I think both conservatives & liberals have a problem with the idea of men pursuing virtue, though they differ one where should turn then (conservatives turn to traditions, small communities at least in theory while liberals turn to larger institutions like the UN).

    I’ve always thought that the American distaste came from its culture of instant gratification, and the fact that soccer stubbornly refuses to adapt to the whims of American TV advertizers.

    Yeah, but I’m not sure soccer is that much less of an instant gratifier than say baseball (especially small ball) or hockey. It’s an interesting question though.

    The advertising idea is interesting, as I think that largely accounts for why motor racing is relegated to a regional sport.

    Anyway, I like sports as a prism to view the culture b/c whereas in politics we have our guard up, in sports our guards are down.

  • I think you need to adjust your schema to explain the wonderfully cryptic scoring of Cricket.

  • Darwin, I leave that wonderful task up to you 😉

  • I’ve always thought that the American distaste came from its culture of instant gratification, and the fact that soccer stubbornly refuses to adapt to the whims of American TV advertizers.

    Not denying that modern America (or even much of the West) is hooked on the crack of instant gratification, but I’m not so sure the distaste for soccer follows from it.

    The money from TV advertising is as corrupting as the good it brings. However, I don’t think that’s a uniquely American problem either. This story has been big for a few days.

    http://g.sports.yahoo.com/soccer/world-cup/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Two-Dutch-mini-dress-models-arrested-after-defyi?urn=sow,248867

  • Ties in the World Cup only happen in the first round.

    Part is the TV ad money, but I agree with MM that instant gratification has something to do with it. It also has to do with not understanding the game (understanding the rules is not the same as understanding the game).

    It has more to do with American exceptionalism – if we can’t be the world champions at something, then the sport sucks. Best example – when was the last time you heard of the world cup of baseball? Yeah, when we actually compete as a national in our own sport, we lose, hence very little hoopla about it. Makes us feel like the English.

    Add to the list of “paint drying” sports baseball, bowling, and even American football (run for two yards, drop a pass, run for three more, punt…repeat – about 7 seconds of actual movement interrupted by 40 seconds of standing around in a circle). Baseball has to be the worst – if you don’t understand the game. Three up, three down…repeat for 9 innings…and you have what is known as the most excting thing – a no-hitter (how a no hitter can be “exciting” but a nil-nil draw is not because of low scoring, I can’t figure out). And basketball – they should just shorten the game to one period of about 7 minutes, since the last 7 is all that matters.

  • The notion that Calvinism is “dualist” is bizarrely ahistorical and inaccurate.

  • Best example – when was the last time you heard of the world cup of baseball? Yeah, when we actually compete as a national in our own sport, we lose, hence very little hoopla about it.

    We don’t hear about it b/c none of the MLB teams are interested in letting the best players risk injury for it. They don’t care, the best players aren’t there for America, so if they don’t care why should we?

  • It has more to do with American exceptionalism – if we can’t be the world champions at something, then the sport sucks.

    You contradicted yourself with your next statement. We lose in the World Cup of Baseball (which is moderately popular), and yet I don’t see baseball losing its popularity because of it. Then again, as Michael says, we’re not necessarily sending all of our best players anyway. Also, could we “suck” (we actually don’t, at least not as much as we used to) at soccer because we’re not that interested in it, and not the other way around. After all, how can you develop a good national team when the fifth best athletes from your country are participating in it – the others all going to the other big four?

  • For me, soccer’s fine, and I admit I am following the World Cup again this time around. Then again, I find curling fascinating, so YMMV. 😉

    My one complaint with soccer is the consistent, exaggerated “flopping” to try to draw fouls (is that the right term?). Some of these guys get tapped and they go down like they took a shotgun blast to the torso. It happens in hockey, too, but you can get penalized for it there. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  • I like soccer because you can leave the game on, accomplish many household chores, and exist firmly in the confidence you did not miss anything at all noteworthy.

  • c matt,

    We’re putting a lot of weight on the idea that the low score/tie scenario is truly a reason why Americans don’t like the game. While some may remark about it, I don’t think that’s necessarily it and find the instant gratification angle connection weak at best (again, not denying that as a culture we have a problem there).

    I think the largest part is tradition. Baseball, basketball, and football are essentially American (US) and their populatrity pre-existed our population. Hockey is North American, but not from the US, yet it caught on fairly well in the northern states early on and has a significant tradition to grow from. There’s just a huge hurdle for soccer to overcome to become popular here. It just doesn’t help that it’s rather boring to watch.

    I’m with Dale on curling. Everything about it screams BORING, but somehow it’s very interesting to watch.

  • Certain Americans don’t like the game for many reasons, I venture most who don’t like it have never played it consistently or at a decent level. Surprisingly, there are many who do. De gustibus, I suppose.

    We can argue until the end of the world which is more boring, but it is unfortunately too typical that many Americans for some reason have to pick on soccer as uniquely boring when, frankly, many sports are extremely boring if you did not grow up with it and don’t fully appreciate the various nuances. (C’mon, basketball and baseball have to constantly remind us that “every game matters” because they know in a 60+ game season every game really doesn’t). You can hardly stay awake during a full regular season game, when the regular season is nothing but a seeding for the playoffs (particularly basketball, where it seems half the teams go on to post-season).

    At least in soccer (in most countries) every game does count, as it is the team with the most points (3 for win, 1 for tie, 0 for loss) at the end of the season who is the winner. Kind of like NASCAR.

    Yes, it is very much a cultural thing, and as we know, Americans are rather notorious for not being very interested in other cultures. Perhaps that is the main reason.

    BTW, many of the best players in the Major league are not, in fact, US citizens. There was a hilarious commercial not too long ago that made just that point.

  • Pretty funny MM. Looks more like Brasilian training though.

  • Anyway, getting back to the main point, I don’t even see how allowing for a tie somehow shows a lack of dualism because there is no winner. There is clearly a winner at the end of the season, as there is at the end of the cup. Europeans separate winners and losers just as much as we do, they just do it differently. In fact, you might have less dualism here because playoffs are essentially a second chance. If you make it to the playoffs, you have just as much opportunity to win it all as the top seeded team, so you really haven’t lost. Even more so in basketball and baseball, where you are playing best of whatever series, so you can lose the first game or two and still eventually move on.

    In the Euro system, the 3 points you didn’t gain at the beginning of the season b/c you tied or lost rather than won can never be made up (ask Real Madrid).

    I just don’t understand where you are getting the idea that allowing for ties to factor in somehow does not show dualism whereas the American system does.

  • After all, how can you develop a good national team when the fifth best athletes from your country are participating in it – the others all going to the other big four?

    Fair and accurate point. Others go to the big four for good reason – that’s where the money is. College scholarships and pro contracts. Can’t blame them for doing that.

  • Although I think there is a lot of skill in soccer, I do find it a little boring.

    That’s why I played a REAL game, and continue to follow it enthusiastically.

    R U G B Y 😆

  • A rather fascinating topic. Just for the record my favorite sport is college football, but I enjoy all sports, especially nationalistic affairs. I think it is a healthy release and not grounds for over the top triumphalism like some claim. I will watch World Cup Soccer and Olympic hockey far more than I will watch MLS (or any Euro soccer) and NHL for that matter. It seems like there is more passion when the nation state is involved. A rather interesting concept that when one plays for their nation (instead of money) one sees this kind of passion. This is probably why I like college football far more than I do the NFL.

    I think these team events are far more healthy than the indiviudalistic Roman specatacle that evolved from the coliseum. As far as sports being boring, it seems our modern remote control society has told us that soccer and baseball (two of the world’s more ancient sports) are somehow boring.

    However centuries ago, during the infancy of the games that became to be known baseball and soccer, they were embraced because of their excitement. Keep in mind a cricket match can go on for hours and days. Just some of my thoughts on this interesting topic.

  • Don the Kiwi:

    Two of my sons play Rugby. Both won their college club league titles – different years. The elder is a prop. The younger is fullback or wing and co-captain.

    A ruffian’s game played by gentlemen.

    Excellent game! Enjoy to watch it. Took some time to get the rules.

    I never played. My face looks like it, tho.

    You have the All Blacks. We Yanks have a ways to go.

  • Hi T.Shaw.

    ” A ruffians game played by gentlemen

    That’s maybe how it was 100 years ago in England, but most of the guys I played with and against could hardly claim that title ( gentlemen, that is – mostly ruffians). 45 years on I still carry a few scars – but with pride, of course. 😉

    Actually, the US is getting better all the time. I’ve watched them over the past few world cups, and they improve with every showing. The Rugby World Cup is being held in NZ next year, around July 2011. It’ll be quite a spectacle I expect.

    Mmmm….propping in the front row is no place for shrinking violets. I used to play open side flanker in my school days, then moved to first five-eight in late teens and early 20’s.

    Them were the days 🙂

  • Yessir Don the Kiwi,

    “Youth is wasted on the young.” Yogi Berra said that.

    Last game this Spring the old maroon (grads), my prop son, played the students, my full back son.

    Mother’s big worry was one would bust the other’s nose or any other moving part.

    Last Fall, the young guy had his nose reworked. Had it fixed, good as new. Years ago, the older guy had his nose laid out on the side of his face, and just pushed in back – blood all over the place, tho. At one tourney a doc was on the side line with a beach chair doing free sewing up work. One of the lads can’t play any longer – fluid on the brain. His cousin is still in there. One tourney – about 30 college and club teams – at Fort Drum had the ambulances running every 15 minutes.

    Once they get it in the blood . . .

    Keep the faith! And, God bless the Kiwis.

  • As little attention as soccer gets in the US, Rugby has to get even less. Heck, I spent half of “Invictus” trying to figure out how rugby was played. Soccer to me has always been known by Americans, even if we didn’t care about it. Rugby is almost nonexistent, though I do know that at the high school and collegiate level it is starting to get attention as informal inter-school competitions pop up.

    Then again, I’ve also seen inter-collegiate competitions in Quidditch, so take what you will from that.

  • What I’ve come to love about European football is that if your a fan of a team there’s almost always some competition your team or at least some of its players is involved in. You’ve got the competition for the league championship if your team is really good. If your team is really bad you have to worry about your team staying out of the bottom three spots or it gets sent down to next lower level for the next season. Also during the season each country holds a competition for all the teams in the different leagues for their national cup. So big clubs end up playing against small town teams and every year there is at least one small club that goes a long way in the tournament. If your team finishes in the top four in its league then you compete in the European Champions League against the best four teams of other nations. If your team finishes in the top seven, then there is the competition for the Europa League Championship. And then maybe some of your star players make the national team and you’ve got international competition.

    So there is lots to live for and enjoy. As opposed to growing up in or around Cleveland.

  • “When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name – He marks – not that you won or lost – but how you played the game.”

    Grantland Rice

  • As an avid soccer fan, I have some quibbles with some statements made thus far. 🙂

    Athletes and the big 4 sports… many of these so-called “best” athletes have certain attributes that are beneficial for certain sports (height, 300 lbs., or massive upper body strength) that sort of preclude them from playing the game of soccer at the highest levels. You ever see high school soccer players answer the charge from high school football players that their game is wimpy? It wasn’t pretty, if you were one of the football players. I contend that the athletes in the big 4 sports are really no better athletes than soccer players. The game requires different skills, and thus is like comparing apples, Volvos and paper.

    Re: popularity
    It’s low popularity as compared to other sports is due to many different factors. Low scores, frequent draws, not to mention that the game is relatively new to Americans. Where were we 25 years ago? It’s making more inroads with each new generation, albeit slowly.

    John Cleese adds further commentary (however, he SHOULD know the origins of the word soccer seeing that he’s English):

  • Another point… “flopping” is not unique to soccer. Basketball does it too.

  • MM: You’re right–that’s a good one! Thanks!

  • Oh, the flopping in basketball drives me crazy, and is one of the many reasons it is my least favorite of the big four sports. But even basketballers don’t act like they’ve been shot in the groin every time another player so much as breathes on them. That to me is one of the more annoying aspects of soccer,

  • As for the Cleese rant, that was actually pretty funny. But I would like to see a soccer player, oh, excuse me, footballer lineup behind the line of scrimmage just once and see how “unthinking” an NFL quarterback is. I’m sure Peyton Manning would be amused by the results.

  • Big Tex,
    Soccer? Really? And you call yourself a Texan?

    Dude, first you refer to that university down on the Colorado as “UT”, then not giving REK and Lyle the love they deserve, and now … soccer???

    I’m going to have to reassess my, up to now, very high opinion of you.

    😉

  • Oh, by the way, Gaelic Football rules!!!

    😉

  • Jay, I am very much a Texan. My cleats are right next to my boots. Moreover, soccer is very much a part of the youth athletics landscape in Dallas. Moreover, the Dallas Cup is one of the premier tournaments in the US, featuring teams from across the nation and the world.

    Sorry about bustin’ your impression of me. I hardly conform to the typical Texan stereotype. Would it shock you even more that I love jazz music? One thing I’ve learned over the years about the interwebs, is that the old adage about books and covers applies even more. 😛

    The US was robbed out of two points today.

  • “Would it shock you even more that I love jazz music?”

    Not at all. Texans have always been eclectic about their musical tastes. Bob Wills, himself, loved jazz.

    As for soccer, I’m just giving all my soccer-loving friends a bit of a hard time (especially now that soccer has officially come out of the closet).

    😉

    Besides, my kids all play it, and my 6-year-old son is (dare I brag?) a superstar at soccer. I’m just not really all that into the sport, though (not that there’s anything wrong with it).

  • One of my buddies from college always calls it a communist sport.

  • T. Shaw.

    You may be interested to know that one of our well known All Blacks from the 80’s, 1980 – 86 in fact, was a Mark Shaw, his nickname ‘Cowboy’ Shaw. He was a tall rangy hard hitting loose forward who worked in the Freezing Works (Meat Industry). You being from Texas, I thought the info was appropriate 😉

    Michael Denton.

    I believe that rugby has a fairly good following up in the US North West – also the Canadians around Vancouver have a fairly respectable team. I have a Welsh born cousin in law( the Welsh are Rugby mad, probably more so than the kiwis) who live in Vanc. and he has had many world trips as assist.manager of the Canadian team. Also, I believe that rugby has a reasonable following in Texas and a couple of the other southern states.

    Jay Anderson.

    Oh, by the way, Gaelic Football rules

    You would be a fan then of AFL – Australian Football , commonly called Aussie Rules. It is a game based on Gaelic Football, but with an oval ball, and is quite a spectacular game. It is very strong in Australia, particularly Victoria, South Australia and Western Austrslia, tho’ the other 3 states have teams in the national comp. There may even be a Kiwi Aussie rules team in the comp in a few years.

    And I think the US were robbed of a couple of points last night too. Bloody refs. 😉

  • No winners or losers in football? cough…penalty…cough…golden goal…cough…really, it is well known that in football there is always ultimately a loser and a winner..one of the most merciless sport at reminding people of that.

  • LOL, Big Tex. Way back when, I used to tease a college friend of mine who was a soccer fan by saying that soccer was a sport for “chicks and communists”.

    Don,
    I remember the early days of ESPN, when they used to show Australian rules football all the time during the late-night hours. It was fun to watch.

  • Those judges at the world cup are clearly BLIND!… firstly with the germany-england game.. not to count all the other stupid decisions.

6 Responses to Is Barry, Jimmy?

  • Jimmy looks exceptionally good by comparison.

    Jimmy mismanaged inflation and unemployment adding up to horrendous “misery index” measures.

    Barry’s been successful in keeping unemployment so high that no one has cash to feed inflation. This is truly an outcome that had to be striven after. Barry and Ben Bernanke have destroyed the currency with expansionary monetary policy – monetized $1.25 trillion in worthless mortage papaer – and about $800 billion in fiscal stimulus, plus many hundreds of $$$ billions in TARP and bank (seems everything’s a bank excpet saloons and gas stations) debt guaranties. But, the patient expired anyhow. It appears, a dead economy doesn’t have inflation.

    Various coercive federal mortgage modification programs, tax credits, etc. have kept housing prices high and that piper must be paid before the housing construction can recover.

    The take-over of health care (no one knows how bad it will be but it will be bad) and demagoguery about raising taxes on the evil rich don’t foster economic growth and development.

    And, you know Barry’s gonna be at least as successful in saving the Gulf from the oil spill to end all oil spill.

    We’re screwed.

    Oh, I blame Bush.

  • No, Tito, Barry is not Jimmy. Jimmy was a largely good and honorable man who did not get us into any wars and stayed out of the internal affairs of other nations even if they were ruled by despots the US previously propped up in the past.

    Rather, I like the John Stewart segment the other night that showed that Barry is just becomming Bush III.
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-15-2010/respect-my-authoritah

  • “Jimmy was a largely good and honorable man who did not get us into any wars and stayed out of the internal affairs of other nations even if they were ruled by despots the US previously propped up in the past.”

    Carter was a self-righteous and smug idiot who presided over a bad economy, pulled the rug out from under the Shah and thereby allowed Khomeini and his thugs to seize power, who dithered through the humiliating Iranian hostage crisis, who hollowed out our military to the extent that the failed rescue attempt of the hostages was a symbol of American impotence, and who reacted to the Soviet seizure of Afghanistan by blurting out “Brezhnev lied to me!”

  • I’m tending towards the view he’s Nixon.

    Really, the last half-century or so of Presidents blur into one another, and if anything, they should be compared by policies rather than parties.

    Even in college, I heard the argument that it should really be the Carter-Reagan years and the Bush-Clinton years, since the actual policies of those presidents were very similar.

    If you go back before that (skipping Ford, though an argument could be made for a Ford-Carter comparison), LBJ and Nixon had a lot in common, and Eisenhower and JFK had a lot in common.

    So, if we’re going for historical comparisons, Obama is more like Nixon at this point than any other president (and the Stupak scandal is far worse in principle than Watergate), though Obama as Dubya II has some weight. Indeed, about 8 years ago at this time, Rush Limbaugh was accusing Dubya of being the second coming of Nixon.

  • T. Shaw, inflation is inconsequential. The Federal Reserve responded quite appropriately to a sudden increase in the demand for real balances, which is why prices have been more-or-less stable in the last 21 months (as opposed to declining at a rate of 9% per year over the period running from 1929 to 1933).

    Mr. Carter suffers from a menu of character and personality defects, as do we all. However, he was an experienced public executive, had two serious careers before adopting politics as a profession, was more resistant to public sector borrowing than any other president in the last 50 years, and sponsored a salutary policy innovations (e.g. removal of mercantile regulations in the energy and trucking sectors).

    Recall also that he had poor relations with Congress, not because he was deficient, but because they were. It was Mr. Carter’s position that the federal courts and U.S. Attorneys’ offices were not dumping grounds for patronage; that the watersheds of this country should not be manhandled to produce brochure fodder for members of Congress; that the tax code should not be manipulated to sluice income to the oil sector, the real estate sector, and a hundred other lobbies; and that Congress ought to concern itself with matters that they cannot exploit at the next election, like future energy sources and the condition of the civil service. There is a reason a mess of our federal legislators was attempting in 1979 to draft the U.S. Senate’s chief lecher-cum-lush, and it is not a publicly defensible one.

    To date, BHO has not compared favorably to Jimmy, and I doubt he will 50 years from now.

Scientology and Coerced Abortions

Thursday, June 17, AD 2010

Hattip to Big Hollywood.

The late L. Ron Hubbard’s religion-for-profit, Scientology, now stands accused of coercing employees in their SeaOrg organization into slaying their unborn children through abortions. I have always found it vastly amusing that this transparent scam calling itself a religion has been so popular among the glitterati in Hollywood, but these revelations illustrate how painfully destructive Hubbard’s money making scheme has been for so many people over the years.

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3 Responses to Scientology and Coerced Abortions

  • These are very inflammatory accusations. How about a little more careful investigation before an entire religion is sweepingly condemned?

    I doubt that what is written in the article above would pass the standards expressed in the Comments Policy of The American Catholic itself:

    “Comment Code of Conduct

    “I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for everyone, especially toward those with whom I disagree—even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

    “I will express my disagreements with others’ ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

    “I will not exaggerate others’ beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)”

    So, let’s examine the facts, even using the same source data.

    It is claimed that Scientology Church policy states that certain female staff are required to obtain an abortion if they become pregnant.

    The actual data, as can be gleaned even from the source newspaper, is that there is no such policy. The actual policy (given in the same paper) follows the same rational that prevents priests from raising a family. The fraction of Scientologists who accept the highest levels of responsibility within the Church do so with the understanding that should they start a family of their own, they will leave those positions to fulfill their familial duties. As in any Church (or any organization which is to survive), where violations of policy occur, corrective gradients are applied until the matter is straightened out.

    The scandal here is that these women report they were pressured to have abortions by other Scientologists. The handling is to get the correct policy applied. That’s completely different from a Church policy of coerced abortion. Someone falsely claiming a policy is handled by getting the actual policy applied.

    The heart-wrenching testimonies linked above plainly show the destruction that spreads from abortion beyond the killing itself.

    We (all religions) can end the practice of abortion by raising responsibility for the next generation with a coordinated effort of instruction and enlightenment. Articles like this one derail that coordination by fomenting mis-understanding and ill will.

    Here is data on the newspaper staff involved in this defamation campaign:

    http://www.freedommag.org/merchants-of-chaos

    Or one can communicate with me directly for a more inside view: [email protected]

  • “How about a little more careful investigation before an entire religion is sweepingly condemned?”

    Scientology is not a religion Milo. It is a money making scheme invented out of thin air by the late L. Ron Hubbard.

    http://www.rickross.com/reference/scientology/Scien32.html

    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/time-behar.html

    The accusations of coerced abortions will stand or fall based upon the evidence brought forward by the women making the accusations.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jun/10061504.html

  • Milo is a Scientologist sharing talking points from Scientology’s intelligence agency, the Office of Special Affairs (OSA).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Special_Affairs

    I am thrilled to see The American Catholic comment on the Scientology coerced abortions. We need many more Catholic and particularly conservative Catholic voices in addition to Randy Sly at Catholic Online to put an end to these horrors in the highly abusive Scientology organization.

    Our hierarchs have given us guidance on Scientology:

    1998 – Cardinal Ersilio Tonini “Scientology is a serious danger.”

    2002 – Archbishop Karl-Heinz Rauber: “It is a totalitarian business.”

    2009 – Cardinal Ouellet of Quebec, Primate of Canada: “It’s not a church.” And he then criticized Scientology at his annual press lunch. At the lunch this year he again warned Catholics about Scientology.

    Scientology (OSA)is at war with its Catholic critics.

    In December last year the abusive cult threatened to sue the Daughters of St. Paul for publishing a book by our fellow Catholic Maria Pia Gardini, who is a former member of the cult’s elite Sea Org and now again a practicing Catholic.

    When Randy Sly wrote about Scientology coerced abortions and its Volunteer Ministers in Haiti, OSA spokesman Tommy Davis blasted him and accused him of promoting anti-religious hate.

    Recently the police in Turin carried out a 9-hour raid on Scientology headquarters on a warrant for possible violation of privacy of personal information.

    Among the files were dead-agenting files on critics of the cult considered enemies and marked for campaigns of defamation.

    Among them was one on Fr. Luigi Ciotti, a priest of the Archdiocese of Turin. He is much respected for a wide variety of social servic programs he has established. He has spoken up against the Mafia and narco-traffickers.

    Fr. Ciotti’s crime in the cult’s eyes was speaking out against two facilities of Narconon, the cult’s dangerous pseudo-sceintific drug rehab front group. He helped get them shut down.

    For dead-agenting see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_agenting#.22Dead_agenting.22

    Catholic prelates have been warning us. Now we have the first criticism in English. Archbishop Robert Rivas of Castries, the capital of St. Lucia, devoted the last third of his Easter homily to denouncing the infiltration of the cult front group, The Way To Happiness:

    A challenge to Faith and Catholic Identity

    http://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/a-challenge-to-faith-and-catholic-identity-scientology-in-view-archbishop-robert-rivas-o-p/

    The sooner more of us Catholics speak out the sooner the coerced abortions in Scientology will end.

Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 1)

Thursday, June 17, AD 2010

If you move in conservative Catholic circles much, you have doubtless heard the phrase “contraceptive mentality”. Though used frequently and negatively, I think there is value in delving a bit more deeply into what we mean by the phrase. I was moved to write this in semi-response to an interesting post by Brett Salkeld a couple months back which sought to explore the bounds of what a “contraceptive mentality” is. Another good resource on the topic is this post at Catholic Culture on the contraceptive mentality.

While recognizing the dangers of trying to be too wide ranging in subject matter in the limited space of a blog post, my goal here is to set out answers to the following:

  • What is a “contraceptive mentality”?
  • How is a contraceptive mentality contrary to how humans are “meant” to function morally and sexually?
  • How, if at all, does NFP (natural family planning) relate to a contraceptive mentality?

I think it’s easiest to think about the idea of a contraceptive mentality against the backdrop of how we function sexually as human creatures — a term I use advisedly in that I want to emphasize our rootedness in a certain biological reality of being primates with certain biological systems and instincts, while at the same time not ignoring our rational, emotional and moral sensibilities in the sense that “human animal” strikes me as implying.

Uncertainty and Conception

One thing that sets us apart from most other higher primates is that humans have fairly even sexual drive all of the time. Or, at least, men have sexual drive pretty much all of the time. Women seem to have more variation in their level of interest, and indeed there is a fair amount of evidence that one driving (though unconscious) element of their drive is that they are more “in the mood” during the times of the month when they are fertile than when they are not. Another thing that sets us apart from most other higher primates is that a woman’s fertility is not marked by unmistakable physical signs (change of color and swelling of the genital area, changes in smell, etc.) (Though Bonobos have often been compared to humans in regards to their relatively constant sex drive, they are like chimps in that female fertility is readily apparent through external signs.)

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2 Responses to Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 1)

  • Though this doesn’t necessarily relate to the topic directly, according to a recent Gallup poll public opinion on same-sex relationships has shifted even more so toward moral acceptance. The two groups that shifted more toward approval were Catholics and men — the “contraceptive mentality” at work?

  • “the “contraceptive mentality” at work?”

    The older I get the harder it is to overestimate the pernicious effects of the “contraceptive mentality.”

Has Law School Become a Dead End Trap for the Unwary?

Wednesday, June 16, AD 2010

Hattip to Instapundit.

Law Prof Brian Tamanaha explains it all:

It’s grim reading. The observations are raw, bitter, and filled with despair. It is easier to avert our eyes and carry on with our pursuits. But please, take a few moments and force yourself to look at Third Tier Reality, Esq. Never, Exposing the Law School Scam, Jobless Juris Doctor, Temporary Attorney: The Sweatshop Edition, and linked sites. Read the posts and the comments. These sites are proliferating, with thousands of hits.

Look past the occasional vulgarity and disgusting pictures. Don’t dismiss the posters as whiners. To a person they accept responsibility for their poor decisions. But they make a strong case that something is deeply wrong with law schools.

Their complaint is that non-elite law schools are selling a fraudulent bill of goods. Law schools advertise deceptively high rates of employment and misleading income figures. Many graduates can’t get jobs. Many graduates end up as temp attorneys working for $15 to $20 dollars an hour on two week gigs, with no benefits. The luckier graduates land jobs in government or small firms for maybe $45,000, with limited prospects for improvement. A handful of lottery winners score big firm jobs.

And for the opportunity to enter a saturated legal market with long odds against them, the tens of thousands newly minted lawyers who graduate each year from non-elite schools will have paid around $150,000 in tuition and living expenses, and given up three years of income. Many leave law school with well over $100,000 in non-dischargeable debt, obligated to pay $1,000 a month for thirty years.

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17 Responses to Has Law School Become a Dead End Trap for the Unwary?

  • This post really cannot be written enough. Law School has become an extremely risky financial decision. The cost of a legal education has risen dramatically over the course of the last 20-30 years, and the earning potential of most law school graduates has not kept pace. For instance, here were the statistics on graduation for students who graduated in 2008, which was a much better economic climate than the current one:

    http://www.nalp.org/08saldistribution

    Spending $150,000 in order to gain access to jobs that pay $40-65k (42% of the jobs in a relatively decent economy) is a very questionable financial decision, particularly when lost wages during the period spent in school are taken into account.

  • Grim reading John Henry. It is even grimmer when consideration is given to the fact that most law schools do not bother to find out what other than the top earning grads are making. Certainly I never had anyone from the University of Illinois law school phoning me to learn about my first 16k year as a new attorney back in ’82! I also remember the law school dean blithely telling us that we should take out loans that we could easily repay from future earnings! Fortunately back in those Halcyon days I was able to defray quite a bit of the cost by my part-time employment, something which is far more difficult today with the astronomical explosion in the cost of law school.

  • Amen and again I say amen. It took well over ten years to repay my loans, and I am only now, after 15 yrs practicing, getting close to the “First Tier, First Year” salaries. If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a different path.

  • Yeah, if I hadn’t felt that God wanted me in law school, I wouldn’t have gone. Even so, I’ll be coming out with what my generation would consider relatively low debt (probably $30,000, with most of that due to non-tuition loans to give me and my wife and soon to be baby some breathing room). Even so, if I wasn’t in the top 10% or close to it even at a fairly good law school like LSU, I’d be very nervous about getting a job. I feel very bad for those who go to some of the private/more expensive law schools in the country.

  • Law school may not be worth it even if it were free. Debt aside, most entering law school don’t realize they’re probably spending 3 years to make less than the school’s IT guy.

  • I try to discourage people from going to law school. I’m pretty sure I sent some warnings against going to law school Michael D’s way, but he didn’t listen.

    😉

    At least he listened to my advice about which law school to attend and which one not to. That piece of advice is well worth his naming his firstborn after me.

  • I agree that law school has gotten more expensive but so have all the other four-year colleges in the country. Although, I didn’t realize that it was so hard for lawyers to find jobs. I would say that it all depends on what the person’s passion is, how deep their passion is, and whether that person is willing to go into debt (big time or a reasonable amount) to fulfill one’s dreams.

  • In a word – college is a racket

  • Jim: Ditto.
    I’ve been an advanced practice nurse for many years & it makes me sick to see the nursing students (male & female) who are being basically legally held-up by those in academia who stand to make money on their decisions. Nurses, like lawyers, are finding it harder to find jobs in a slowing economy & an industry that’s been turned upside down by this administration. Nonetheless, students are urged to go on for higher degrees (& more loans) than they’ll ever really need.
    Thanks for posting this.

  • I apologize in advance.

    “Can you imagine a world without lawyers?”

    Heaven?

    Just kidding!

  • I think you will appreciate this T.Shaw. This is an old lawyer joke, but as an old lawyer I have earned the right to tell it.

    Most people do not realize this, but there is a common wall that separates Heaven and Hell. By an ageless agreement it has to be maintained on both sides. It comes to the attention of Saint Peter that Satan, surprise!, has not been maintaining his side of the wall. Saint Peter calls up the Prince of Darkness and advises him that the Almighty has authorized litigation if Satan does not comply with the terms of the agreement regarding the wall. Satan responds, “Where will you guys find an attorney?”

    The joke really doesn’t work with a Catholic audience since our immediate retort: “Saint Thomas More! See you in court!”

  • I agree that law school has gotten more expensive but so have all the other four-year colleges in the country.

    Yes, but you go to law school in addition to those four-year colleges, not instead of them. Frequently, you even get a Master’s degree in between. That kind of student debt is staggering.

  • Andy, while that is true, lawyers have both more opportunity and potential to earn a decent wage up to being quite wealthy. A year at a private college costs around $18000 (at least that amount) per year but graduates only start out earning $10/hour or around $22,000 per year ( earnings depend on the location where one is living) and imagine having to pay $200 per month paying back loans only earning that type of wage.

  • They were talking glut when I graduated back in 1996. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the newbies right now. The University of Miami LS was offering to pay incoming admitted students to defer entry.

    http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2009/07/university-of-miami-law-school-to-defer-1l-admittees.html

  • St. Thomas More, pray for us.

    And, God bless all lawyers.

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Mr. President, Not Even Close to Good Enough

Wednesday, June 16, AD 2010

Mr. President,

Last night you gave an address using the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an opportunity to pontificate about many subjects. I am afraid that far from convincing me you are leading the federal government well in this disaster, you have removed beyond a doubt your indifference to the state of Louisiana. Since you rarely visited the state before the disaster (even when the un-repaired damage done by Hurricane Katrina should have called your attention), perhaps I, as a resident of this great state, can explain what you obviously don’t understand.

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8 Responses to Mr. President, Not Even Close to Good Enough

  • Flappin’ gums don’t get things done!

    Do something besides execrating BP and demolishing the unjsut, racist capitalist economy!

  • Bravo. I would not like to be President with the current problems that face the country including the disaster in the Gulf. But the man wanted the job and billed that the planet would start to heal with his ascent. Now he’s learning that neither the tides nor disasters heed his will.

    Leadership is a lot more than talk.

  • I honestly did not seize the opportunity to observe the speech, but I was amazed to learn that Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman heavily critized the President.

    Olberman said: “It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days.”

    Matthews compared Obama to Carter, said that he had “no direction,” was “a lot of meritocracy, a lot of blue ribbon talk” and that he did not personally “sense executive command” from the President.

  • This whole Obama experiment is kind of like expecting a career .200 hitter to suddenly start hitting .325 with 30 hrs and 92 rbi. I suppose it’s possible if the player played every game like the one game last September when he went 4 for 5 with 1 hr and 4 rbi. Possible, but not bloody likely. The truth of the matter is that Obama was not even a good community organizer. People who spend too much time reading the sports pages missed this little fact.

  • Actually, if a player played every game like the one last September, he would be an .800 hitter with 162 hr and 648 rbi – but I think you catch my drift.

  • Even more about the poor performance Tuesday night. You know its bad when your own press supporters dis you:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/06/obama_disappoints_from_the_beg.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

  • It seems like there is finally some good news with the spill. The Houston Chronicle reports, U.S. ships were being outfitted earlier this month with four pairs of skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days.” Could this be the turning point? For all those feeling pretty gloomy about this situation, I recommend a good laugh… Here’s a funny joke, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd0svVWfFbo

Quick Econ Thoughts on Licensing

Wednesday, June 16, AD 2010

This was going to be a comment on Blackadder’s post which has turned into a discussion on licensing and whether it raises prices, but since I only have time to write out one thought process today I thought I’d turn it into a post.

Most folks outside economics see licensing as a way of legally certifying duties and providing a means of redress when incompetence occurs. Not only does a plumber who consistently allows sewer gases to enter a home get sanctioned civilly, he can be sanctioned by license loss and prevented from harming other households.

Let’s try two examples on our theoretical plumber here:

1) Say that we have a local economy in which licensing is not mandatory. If I want some plumbing done, I have several options: I could open up the phone book, call around, and hire the absolute cheapest guy who says he’s willing to give plumbing a job. He may do a terrible job, and set sewage to run through my ice maker.

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3 Responses to Quick Econ Thoughts on Licensing

  • I think your statement is excessively binary – licensing requirements can do both.

    You have also neglected one of the benefits of licensure is the distribution of recognition to those licensed. Their sense of ‘professional identity’ may be highly or even solely dependent on their passage through the certification hoops. I think you tend to find these types in public and philanthropic agencies (librarians and social workers being the most blatant examples).

    The licensing requirement adds information to the transactions between supplier and consumer. The questions at hand is how beneficial is the information to the consumer, or, if not the consumer, to potential employers or other stakeholders; what kind of injuries might befall the consumer or other stakeholders in the absence of this information, and what resources the stakeholder in question has to acquire the information from alternative means.

    Italy used to have a system for licensing aspirant retail merchants. It is difficult to imagine how that might be of use to consumers. Banks might find such a certification useful, but they hardly need it to be given the force of law for banks to require them ‘ere approving a loan.

    One might also consider that other actors in the marketplace may replicate and replicate well the functions intended to be undertaken by state licensing boards and occupational guilds. Insurers come to mind.

  • One point is that a “license” may or may not mean something. For a janitorial business all it means is I went down to the city and purchased a “permit” to do business. The fee for the license was my qualification. For a brain surgeon it means I have completed the requisite education and training before being allowed to open your skull.

    With people like physicians you also have two other factors affecting supply; the AMA (their equivalent of a union) and the medical schools which have a Darwinian “pyramiding out” scheme. It’s a game of musical chairs, you learn you lessons and kiss enough butts and you get one of the last chairs. It’s as much political as academic.

    There are many things that are restricted to “licensed physicians” that can easily be accomplished by people with much less formal training. You are starting to see some of these people, like nurse practitioners and physician assistants make some headway into this “turf”, but not without stiff opposition by the medical (and political) establishment. I just read a post yesterday where homeopathy is being squeezed out of the medical establishment as they aren’t “real doctors”.

    Lastly, I think you are limiting the conversation by looking at it through the “progressive – conservative” lens. It’s not that black and white, it’s a false dichotomy that doesn’t hold up, especially when you look at it through the eyes of Church teaching (moral and social).

  • My sister’s trained to be a non-therapeutic massage therapist. After getting through a three year course of study, she paid several hundred dollars to be allowed to…um… do basic, non-medical massage for one year. It was expensive enough that she’s now working at Target because the overhead was killing her.
    (And that was with just filling a spot at a gym– no rent, just licensing fees.)

    Their justification is that it is theoretically possible for someone to be hurt by a massage.

You Do Not Get Something For Nothing

Wednesday, June 16, AD 2010

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey continues committing political heresy:  telling the voters the plain unvarnished truth.  Government since the New Deal in this country has run on the premise of convincing a majority of voters that they can get something for nothing.  Those days are coming crashing to an end against a wall of debt.  Few things are more powerful in politics than a man or woman who understands that a page has turned and that new times are upon us.  Governor Christie understands this and is acting upon it.

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7 Responses to You Do Not Get Something For Nothing