Sacred and Holy?

Sunday, September 5, AD 2010

And they cried with a loud voice, saying:  How long, O Lord (holy and true) dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Apocalypse 6:10

If you listen closely you can hear the attendants (which include the mayor of our fine city of Houston Anise Parker) at this “dedication” commenting on their newly “sacred and holy” ground. They are speaking of the largest abortuary in the United States.

If we are moving toward, or already in, a post-Christian civilization then should we be surprised that those who promote and support abortion and other anti-life policies impart a religious sheen on their actions?  After all, human sacrifice was present in almost all pagan religions to some extent with the Aztec sacrifices being among the most infamous.  These people are willing and proud worshipers of Baal and, unless we pray, fast and offer Masses in reparation for these sins, we will only allow this evil to grow and ever more innocents slaughtered at the altar of “Choice”.

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5 Responses to Sacred and Holy?

  • Walter,

    Thanks for posting this.

    It’s a crying shame that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has the largest abortuary in their backyard.

    I’d like to know if there was a Catholic priest present at the ceremony and what is his name. I only say this because the attendees were reading from a pamphlet that said “holy and sacred ground”. Sounds very Catholic to me.

    That and Carol Alvarado, a Catholic state representative is shown prominently in this video. She is also (or was) on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas (Houston).

  • Yeah thanks for posting this.. I get sick listening to that mayor and state rep – notably misguided by a passion that can’t see the truth… Please people from Houston vote them out…

  • “holy and sacred ground” sounds very Catholic to me”

    It could just as easily be Episcopalian, since a lot of their liturgy “sounds Catholic” too (in some cases, more Catholic than the current Novus Ordo).

  • McClarey posted some homilies by Cardinal Newman this past Lent that addressed the neo pagan-atheism that will plague our times.

    It seems we may be experiencing that right now. Secularization of society, practical atheism, and a president with an ideological bent toward socialism, liberation theology, collective salvation and Mohammadism (he may not be a Muslim, but he is certainly sympatico).

    Add that to Human child sacrifice (abortion), use of magic potions (drug and alcohol abuse), sexual rites (cohabitation, pedophilia, pornography, sodomy, homosexualism, ‘gay marriage’, incest, polyamorous unions, etc.) and a generally hedonistic culture.

    We, orthodox Catholics, are nothing more than a remnant in a culture that is more pagan and evil than pre-Christian Rome.

    Time for the saints to rise up.

  • I noticed that the woman in red was clearly embarrassed and did not want to pronounce the word “abortion”.

    They perfectly well know what they are doing and desperately try to delude themselves into thinking that they are not murdering anyone.

    M

Yes, It Is a Weird Al Weekend

Sunday, September 5, AD 2010

I’m coming out of the closet, I’m a “Weird Al” Yankovic fan.  I don’t listen to him much these days, but I do keep up with some of his latest hits like my post from yesterday.

So here are some of his more enjoyable hits that some may not be aware of…

[Warning: The following videos are without profane lyrics or any form of nudity.  You may finally realize that you can enjoy “contemporary” or “pop” music without all the vileness that emanates from the black hole that is MTV.]

In 2006 AD the music video “White & Nerdy” re-introduced “Weird Al” back into the mainstream of American culture.  This video was his first Top 40 single since 1992’s “Smells Like Nirvana”.  It also eclipsed the greatest single he ever had, “Eat It”.

In between those to seminal hits he has been very active releasing albums every other year or so, but this new hit of his re-established himself as an icon of parody videos and clean fun.

“White & Nerdy” is the second single from “Weird Al’s” album Straight Outta Lynwood.  It parodies the song “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone. (OK, I’ll admit it, I have no idea who Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone are, but that’s what it said in Wikipedia)

This song makes fun of nerds everywhere from Houston, Texas to Springfield, Illinois.   It includes constant references to stereotypically “nerdy” things, such as collecting comic books, playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), and editing Wikipedia, as well as stereotypically “white” things, like watching Happy Days and playing ping pong.

Chamillionaire himself put “White & Nerdy” on his official MySpace page, and commented that he enjoys the parody. In an interview, he also stated he was pleasantly surprised by “Weird Al”‘s rapping ability, saying: “He’s actually rapping pretty good on it, it’s crazy … I didn’t know he could rap like that.”

Enjoy the cameo’s, especially from Donny Osmond!

Yes, there are more funny and highly entertaining video’s from Weird Al.  I compiled a short list of his most creative hits.

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15 Responses to Yes, It Is a Weird Al Weekend

Zorro: Foe of Big Government?

Sunday, September 5, AD 2010

When I was a small boy, I loved watching the old Walt Disney show Zorro.  I have read recently that Disney, a political conservative, used the Zorro show to argue against big government.  There are some episodes that support this, involving outrage by the people over unjust taxes.  The fictional character Zorro fought against tyrannical government in Old California, and I guess Disney decided that this was  a good storyline for how he viewed big government. 

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9 Responses to Zorro: Foe of Big Government?

  • Red like a Rose?

    One of my favorite deviations of Zorro!

    Don Luis Obispo of Bakersfield!

  • I really don’t know how hot to trot I would be to claim Walt as a conservative, all things being equal.

  • One of the great film duels of all time from the Mark of Zorro (1940)

  • “Its biggest claim to fame is the climactic duel toward the end between Zorro (Power) and Captain Pasquale (Rathbone). Rathbone was known already in Hollywood as an outstanding Classical fencer, but moviegoers were treated to the surprise of Power being excellent in his own right. The fight duel is extremely ornate and full of finesse, as opposed to Rathbone’s more famous duel with Errol Flynn in Robin Hood, and the duel in The Mark of Zorro is considered by many movie buffs to be the finest swordfight in cinema. Staged by Hollywood’s resident fencing master Fred Cavens and atmospherically shot by cinematographer Arthur Miller and director Rouben Mamoulian, the scene takes place in a single room and forces actors to fight rather than jump around in the scenery. In key shots, Cavens’ son, Albert, doubles for Power (such as the shot where he plunges his saber through the bookcase). Scenes of fast fencing are undercranked to 18-20 frames per second, which means all the sound for the scene was post-synchronized. Rathbone suffered two scratches on his forehead during its filming, and later said of Power, “He could fence Errol Flynn into a cocked hat.”

  • I remember watching it as a kid. Zorro also had a decent incarnation in the early 90s on The Family Channel.

  • Wow, I’m impressed with the way TAC has expanded its readership into unexpected market segments. Now Don has “Hardcore MILFs” commenting on his posts.

    😉

  • To echo the title of Chris’ most recent post:

    “The New Evangelization”?

    😉

  • One attempts to have a quiet afternoon defending helpless banks from widows and orphans and the spammers break through!

3 Responses to Another Jesus Sighting

  • from Faed Fiada (Cry of the Deer/St. Patrick’s Breastplate) St. Patrick:

    “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
    Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
    Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.”

    “Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever!” ST. John Baptiste de la Salle

  • I would have laughed, but about a year ago I witnessed the miraculous image of Saint Homobonus of Cremona’s hat in the static of my television; I reasonably concluded that God wanted me to stare at it, talk about, call the news, and not actually become a better human being.

  • Ike,

    Now, now.

    This was just poking fun, but there are mystical experiences of many varieties that cannot be explained away or made fun of.

The Merchant Marine

Saturday, September 4, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  It seems appropriate for this Labor Day Weekend to recall some of the unsung heroes of World War II, the Merchant Marine.  Along with their British colleagues in the Merchant Service, and the merchant fleets of the other allied nations, the Merchant Marine manned the merchant vessels that delivered supplies and troops through the war torn waters of the Atlantic and Pacific.  Technically civilians, one out of 26 merchant mariners died in action during the war, giving them a higher fatality rate than any of the armed services.  

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8 Responses to The Merchant Marine

  • Eternal Father, Strong to save,
    Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
    Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
    Its own appointed limits keep;
    O hear us when we cry to thee,
    for those in peril on the sea.

    O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
    And hushed their raging at Thy word,
    Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
    and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
    Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
    For those in peril on the sea!

    Most Holy spirit! Who didst brood
    Upon the chaos dark and rude,
    And bid its angry tumult cease,
    And give, for wild confusion, peace;
    Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
    For those in peril on the sea!

    O Trinity of love and power!
    Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
    From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
    Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
    Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
    Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

    Sorry to say, it’s the US Navy Hymn and a Church of England hymn, at that.

  • Thanks.

    My mother’s first husband, Claude Blanchette, was lost with the SS Muskogee in 1942. His image, with three others, forms part of the Merchant Marine memorial in Battery Park in New York.

  • Ultimate sacrifices by men like Claude Blanchette are the reason we are free today.

  • LEST WE FORGET

    Sometimes when the bands are playing
    And the uniforms march by
    You will find a seaman watching
    With a wistful-looking eye

    And you know just what he’s thinking
    As he hears the cheering crowd
    As the soldiers and the sailors
    Swing along, erect and proud

    He is thinking that his country
    Shows its honor once again
    For those in uniform while forgetting
    All the seas’ forgotten men

    He is thinking of the armies
    And the food and fighting tanks
    That for every safe arrival
    To the seaman owe their thanks

    He is thinking of his buddies
    Who have paid the final score
    Not in khaki or in blues,
    But the working clothes they wore

    But we’d like to tell him something
    That we think he may not know
    A reminder he can stow away
    Wherever he may go

    All your countrymen are proud of you
    And though there’s no brass band
    Not a bugle nor a banner
    When a Merchant Seaman lands

    We know the job you’re doing
    In your worn and tattered clothes
    On the seas where death is lurking
    Where a fellow’s courage shows

    So be sure to keep your chin up
    When the uniforms’ parade
    What a man wears doesn’t matter
    ‘Tis the stuff of which he’s made

    – Author Unknown

  • A grand poem!

  • I received a letter of thanks as well aa a medal for my participation as a merchant saeaman on the murmansk run in 1942…..What a shame that the Russian government thought more of our service than the U.S.Goverment…Shame on Senator Akaka for not allowing senate bill s 663 to the senate floor for a vote.His conscience will never be clear until he rectifies this terrible injustice!!!!!!!

  • Thank you for your service Mr. Kurkimilis!

11 Responses to Weird Al Yankovic Parodies Bob Dylan

German Economist: America Is Becoming Too European

Friday, September 3, AD 2010

I found this piece from the English-language edition of Der Spiegel by University of Hamburg economics professor Thomas Straughaar very interest, in part because it reads very much as written by someone who is looking at American history and culture from the outside, yet trying to understand it for what it is. A key passage from the second page:

This raises a crucial question: Is the US economy perhaps suffering less from an economic downturn and more from a serious structural problem? It seems plausible that the American economy has lost its belief in American principles. People no longer have confidence in the self-healing forces of the private sector, and the reliance on self-help and self-regulation to solve problems no longer exists.

The opposite strategy, one that seeks to treat the American patient with more government, is risky — because it does not fit in with America’s image of itself.

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4 Responses to German Economist: America Is Becoming Too European

  • I’d say the author has a better understanding of this country than many Americans do.

    The author fears that if America adopts European ways, “the American age will have really come to an end.”

    But the good professor fears this because he, unlike large numbers of leftists both here and in Europe, actually likes America. He sees the “The American Age” as a positive. The end of the American Age is precisely the result the left is after and when you look at it from that perspective, Obama’s not doing a bad job.

    America is evil in leftist eyes because – oh, heck, all you have to do is read Vox Nova and you’ll have the reasons. The secular left would add a few other reasons to loathe the US – far too many “Christianist” yokels who have silly qualms about abortion and gay marriage. These people never seem to ask themselves if the American Era might be preferable to a Chinese Era, or an era in which there is no superpower at all, just an ineffectual UN in thrall to states like North Korea and Iran and state-funded terrorist groups.

    Unless we get a grip on ourselves and steer back from the cliff’s edge, we may indeed find ourselves living out one of those 2 scenarios. And my bet is that many lives – not just American lives by any means – would once again become nasty, brutish and short, and the world would find itself yearning for the good old days of the American era.

    Another thing: I have noticed that Euro-admiring lefties are pretty good at ignoring aspects of Europe they disagree with. They’ll tout Europe’s smaller cars (it would be pretty difficult to maneuver a Explorer through narrow medieval streets) and railway system, but not, say, France’s nuclear energy program. Or they’ll praise more relaxed attitudes about adulterous politicians or public nudity, but when you mention that no European country allows partial birth abortions – well, that’s one example of American “exceptionalism” they don’t mind at all.

  • B…b…b….but Paul Krugman says …

  • [email protected]!

  • I’m always weary of these cultural arguments. How’s homogeneous state-friendly Greece doing?

Religion In the Modern World

Friday, September 3, AD 2010

Hattip to the ever reticent Lads and Lasses at Lair of the Catholic Cavemen.  Stanford Nutting and his misadventures are brought to you by the ever-talented folks at Theater of the Word Incorporated.   All of this brought me bad flash-backs to the Seventies, when my tuition money was wasted in too many classes conducted as group encounter sessions rather than instruction on the purported subjected matter.    As for religious education, I remember an old priest I knew at the time who told me that most religious instruction as then constituted would come close to mortal sin if the extreme stupidity behind it did not vitiate the necessary mental state.  I do not think that the situation has improved overall in either sacred or profane education.

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6 Responses to Religion In the Modern World

  • Oh, dear. “Let’s put our chairs in a circle and share.” That dreaded sentence brings back just about every “religion” class I took during the dismal ’70’s. Even the “facilitator’s” sweater looks familiar. A real Ford-era facilitator would have the students making godeyes out of wool and Popsicle sticks while “Jesus Christ Superstar” plays in the background.

    Drat, Donald! I’ll probably dream tonight of my groovy h.s. religion facilitator, jean and T-shirt wearin’ Fr. Dean (“call me ‘Dean,’ girls!”) coming after me in his purple Gremlin with the Carter bumper stickers, shouting “You WILL be tolerant!”

  • The Seventies, what a kidney stone of a decade! (Don spits.) In my experience Donna, when I hear someone talking lovingly about tolerance, the chances are high they are about to attempt to slap down some individual or group “with exteme prejudice”.

  • I had a horrible flashback of four years ago of a Mass where the “priest” asked us to stand in a circle around the altar.

    Even the sweater in the video reminded me of his loud vestment he was wearing!

    Needless to say I left that “your ok, I’m ok Catholic” church for the real stuff!

    An Anglican Use of the Catholic Church parish.

  • I think we can all remember “the good old days” hopefully they soon come to pass.

  • I grew up in the 70’s and my Catacism teaching was a coloring book discussions of feeeelllliiiinngggss.. That led me to agnostosism – alcoholism – drug addiction – profound confusion. Sobriety led me to CS Lewis – Chesterson – Fulton Sheen – A host of saints and back into the Church… I now am an advocate of the truth – it gets me trouble from time to time – But I like this kind of trouble 🙂

  • I lost my beloved husband to lung cancer 9 years ago. By the time he was diagnosed, he was Stage !V and it had spread to his spine and brain. He continued to live his life as before, practicing his music and even joined me as we spent two years learning Hebrew before our B’Nai Mitzvahs in February 5, 2000. He died three weeks later, on February 26th.

Filial Responsibility Laws and the Fourth Commandment

Friday, September 3, AD 2010

Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the LORD, your God, is giving you. — Exodus 20:12

The Fourth Commandment is most often interpreted as a directive for children to obey their parents and, by extension, for persons of all ages to obey lawful authorities. It has also been interpreted to mean that children remain obligated to respect, honor, and love their parents even after they reach the age of majority and are no longer bound to obey them.

Moreover, other passages in Scripture make it clear that this commandment carries with it a certain level of responsibility to care for parents who have become elderly or disabled:

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12 Responses to Filial Responsibility Laws and the Fourth Commandment

  • One problem is assessing the degree to which adult children can and should be held responsible.

    1. It is atypical for members of the current generation of elderly to have any kind of long term care insurance. The full force of expenses fall on the assets of the family.

    2. The minority who are admitted to nursing homes for aught but temporary rehabilitation are there (if I am not mistaken) a mean of two years or so. The cost for such would be ruinous for all but a few families. Mean annual charges for residence in a nursing home run to $104,000 here in Upstate New York.

    3. Care at home is agreeable, but it will commonly require some adult to give up their employment (which in turn impairs the ability of the family to support any future institutional care).

    4. Filial responsibility assumes something that is commonly but not universally true: that the infirm and addled parent will co-operate with their children in arranging various aspects of their care.

    5. Adult children are not legal guardians of their parents. An elder lawyer of my acquaintance recently informed me that guardianship proceedings are wretchedly expensive, emotionally wrenching, and will at times fail for the plaintiff.

    You have to be very careful with this sort of thing and see to it that structural mal-adjustments are removed (points 4 & 5), transactions costs (lawyers’ fees) are brought to a minimum, and an understanding is arrived at as to what portion of the assets of adult children can be attached and what sort of condition the parent must be in before institutional care is considered advisable. I have known people who sacrificed a great deal for their infirm parents (an engineer of my acquaintance has not worked for 14 years). I have also known elderly who were perfectly pig-headed and unmanageable by those around them.

  • Should their be penalties when deliberate neglect can be demonstrated? Possibly. But before such laws be enacted, I’d like to see a more just tax system in place, so that children can financially support their parents or provide for their care, etc. Welfare should be a last means of resort for those who have no other means of support. The government should not be taking away from income what should be used to meet one’s social obligations (including those beyond the family).

  • We live five blocks from my parents and less than an hour from my wife’s parents precisely because we have a responsibility to help them as they get older. Right now, this is not troublesome. We move boxes, fix things up around the house, take them shopping when they don’t feel up to driving, etc. Someday though, it is likely that the care required will be greater than we can manage while raising our children (3, 6, and 9).

    My brother is the director of a geriatric center and his stories are troubling. Of course, the most upsetting are those elderly persons who lie abandoned but the more common problem is that a lifetime of assets are wiped out very soon after admission to a full-care facility. If one has very few assets, $50,000 for example – the assets will be gone before a year is up and insurance will pick up from there. If one has a middling level of assets, perhaps $250,000 for example, your assets will also be gone before two or three years are up. Even the middling wealthy will last only five years or so before insurance is picking up the bulk of the cost.

    All this is to say that longevity due to medicine appears to have rendered the idea of saving for the end of one’s life a quaint notion. The end of life is now a democratized existence of managed care, insurance, and subsidy. Perhaps this is a fitting precursor to what follows.

    I am “investing for retirement” only in the sense that I want to live as well as I can before my body gives out. I expect to expend my assets BEFORE I require significant care. That will make me largely a ward of the State for a few years at the end but there is nothing I can do to forestall that so it is better to use the resources during a point that they can do me and my kin some good.

    This raises an ugly discussion about whether longevity without health is really a societal, familial, or individual good. Perhaps that is a topic for another time but it is a discussion I would like to see occur.

  • A filial responsibility law requiring all the siblings in such a scenario to contribute toward the cost of a parent’s care may help ease the burden on the primary caregiving sibling.

    If the assets of the other children can be attached by local courts. In the three cases of which I am personally acquainted, half of the children of the infirm parent live out of state.

  • “I expect to expend my assets BEFORE I require significant care… during a point that they can do me and my kin some good.”

    If you do, however, you should do so at least 5 years before you end up broke and in a nursing home (provided, of course, you have a crystal ball and can predict exactly when you will need to apply for Medicaid).

    Due to the change in federal law, nursing home residents who apply for Medicaid may be subject to penalty periods of ineligibilty equal to the amount of time they COULD have paid for their own care with any assets they gave away or disposed of at less than fair market value within the previous 5 years.

    If a penalty period is imposed, and a hardship waiver cannot be obtained, the resident then will have to get their children to cough up the money, move out of the home until the penalty period expires, or leave the nursing home holding the bag for those costs. This is the point at which some people think filial responsibility laws should be invoked.

    The purpose of the law, of course, is to discourage wealthy people from intentionally giving away significant assets to their children for the express purpose of “impoverishing” themselves so as to qualify for Medicaid.

    Unfortunately, depending on how the law is interpreted by Medicaid caseworkers, elder law attorneys, etc. it could also potentially come back to bite people who simply wanted to be generous to their children, grandchildren, friends, churches, charities, etc. if they cannot prove those transactions were made for a reason other than to attain Medicaid eligibility.

    This is a very difficult issue in that we have to balance the legitimate desire of people who have worked hard all their lives and want to leave something behind for their children and grandchildren, or give back to their community or church, with the legitimate interest of the state in insuring that Medicaid is reserved for the truly needy who have NO other means of obtaining care.

    How we can accomplish this, other than through encouraging people to purchase long term care insurance when they are still young and healthy enough that it won’t cost them an arm and a leg, I really don’t know.

  • This is where the locus of control is important. The parent may alienate assets without the knowledge or consent of her children (or at least a working majority of the children).

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  • One aspect that has not been discussed here: The choices that a couple make in readying for their later years affect and are affected by the economic structure of society. 100 years ago, most people aimed for having at least 4 or 5 kids, often more. As a result, when social security kicked in 1935, they could peg 5 paying workers for every retiree as an acceptable model. This ignored the fact that once people got to assuming that government would provide a healthy chunk of their retirement income (most people at the time, and for 50 years thereafter, assumed it would be the entirety of their retirement income) they ceased to have the same motivations toward having 4, 5, or more children. Family sizes dropped, which killed the possibility of retaining the 5 workers per retiree model. So a national choice to shift the responsibility onto “them” (the gov) induced changes that make meeting such responsibilities impossible.

    Similar problems occur with elderly home and health care. In point of fact, nobody can expect to live their last 2 years of life alone, without assistance. But with the reduction in the number of children, and the increase in house size and cost, the economic model of wife working (after 6 to 8 years out of the workforce, perhaps) means almost no wives are at home, available to care for grandma and grandpa.

    My family planned a bit better: we built a house with an in-law suite for my parents, 10 years before they hit their end-of-life issues, and my wife did not work outside the home. We had family available to care for the parents, including 2 of my sisters who were free to move in with us for several weeks at a shot, over the last 8 months of life, which Mom spent at home instead of miserable in an institution. But to be honest, all that still would not have been sufficient, if God had not also provided what we needed: there were many, many alternative scenarios where the resources that we had available would NOT have been adequate.

    While we need an economic model that encourages families to assume that they will care for their own parents, we ALSO need things like long-term care insurance to be a normal part of family expense.

  • Another consideration is that with the decline of manufacturing industries, the deterioration of certain urban areas and neighborhoods, etc., many times children must move hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their parents to find work. In the days when just about any able-bodied person who could read and write (and even some who couldn’t) could find work in a factory or mine or on a farm in their community, it was easier to stay close to family. However, that’s not always the case today.

    If Mom and Dad live in some fading Kansas farm town and Junior has gotten a high-tech job in Seattle, or if Mom still lives in the West Virginia coal mining town where the mine Dad worked at closed years ago, and her kids live in Texas or Georgia or wherever, what are the kids supposed to do when she gets sick? Quit their jobs, uproot their spouses and their own kids and move them someplace where there is no work to speak of? While Mom or Dad could always uproot themselves and move in with one of the kids, if they absolutely refuse to do so, the kids can’t do much about it.

  • 1. Some years ago I had to do an analysis of census data collected in 1990. One datum I discovered: at any given time, 65% of the population live in the state in which they were born.

    2. Back in 1979, a man of my acquaintance turned in an honors thesis to the History Department at the University of Rochester which incorporated an an attempt at assessment of migration rates in the Genesee Valley between 1825 and 1835 (when a great deal of agricultural colonization of the valley was ongoing by migrants from New England). He studied two townships now in Monroe County. His conclusion: in a single decade, 70% of the population of these townships had decamped elsewhere. That is a level of demographic churn that I am not sure you would find even today.

    3. I would not wish to deny that social security programs and private pensions have their effect on fertility levels. The shift from agricultural to non-agricultural employment also has its effects. The decline in total fertility rates antedated the advent of social transfers in this country and the advent of social transfers did not prevent periods of increasing fertility during the years running from 1946 to 1957 and again after 1978.

    4. My great-grandparents spent their last years not in the town in Tennessee where they had lived nearly all of their lives, but shuttling between their older son in the suburbs of Washington and their younger son resident in a small town in northeast Pennsylvania.

    5. I have been investigating long-term care insurance. Cannot verify this at this time, but the consumer guides the agents pass out estimate that some 40% of the population will see the inside of a nursing home before they die (bracket out those receiving rehabilitation care in such settings). Some other portion will spend time in assisted living, but that is private pay and thus has a niche clientele. The point being, a large fraction of the elderly do not require long term care.

    6. Sorry to be repetitive on this point, but the notion that wage work was unusual for the female population prior to 1970 is one that needs to be retired. I cannot help but notice that the census taken 10 years ago found 18 million women between the ages of 20 and 62 and not in the labor force. There were about 64 million women in the workforce. I think housewives still exist in large numbers.

  • “At any given time, 65 percent of the population live in the state in which they were born.”

    That is true in my case. However, unless you live in a geographically tiny state like Rhode Island, that doesn’t necessarily mean you live within reasonable commuting/ driving distance of the community in which you were born or where your parents/grandparents/other relatives live.

  • True, but your parents’ feet are not nailed to the floor either. You commuting may not be a realizable option, but them electing to spend some of their retirement years in Springfield rather than Rockford may be.

3 Responses to Letterman Zings Obama for Vacations

Catholics and Professional Football

Thursday, September 2, AD 2010

As a person who has voted for a Republican, I am a fascist. As you may know, fascists want to control every aspect of people’s lives (and I don’t want to hear any fancy political science definitions to the contrary). With the college football season starting tonight and professional football starting a week from now, it is the perfect time to consider the ethical approach Catholics must take towards professional football. I have attempted this once before, but like Cassandra, no one really listened to my wise teachings. Therefore, I must witness once again by examining afresh all the professional football teams in light of Catholic teaching in order to determine whether Catholics may root for them while avoiding the fires of hell.

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37 Responses to Catholics and Professional Football

  • Hilarious Michael! My one point of concern is that I despise football, indeed all professional sports. Can I remain a fascist in good standing with that stain on my record, in spite of my voting record? I suspect that Dan McLockinload would say no.

    http://thecatholicfascist.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/how-many-ecumenical-councils-are-there/#comments

  • That was very good. Well done, Michael.

  • Gnosticism and the Cleveland Browns? Good call, but you have only scratched the surface. I believe it goes far deeper than that, Michael, I suspect ancient secret ties between that organization and the bestselling author of anti-Catholic potboilers. I swear I saw an albino water boy hanging about the sidelines last time I watched a Browns game. Saints, beware!

  • Your comments regarding the Cowboys are Calvinist gibberish. 🙂

  • Don:

    All that is necessary to be a fascist is to condemn. Remember, we have no positive ideas of our own and are merely there to stop joy in the lives or others. Therefore, as long as you are condemning those around you, you are fine.

    Big Tex:

    Aha! You have revealed your own Calvinist leanings! For I did not mention Calvin, and the fact that you did shows your dualism and your secret adherence to his teachings!

    Donna V:

    I suspect that all of these organizations are secretly in collusion with each other as well as Islam to overthrow the Church.

  • I don’t see the point in supporting a sport that doesn’t involve Paul The Octopus.

  • Roger Stauchbach was the embodiment of Catholicism in the NFL. His most famous pass is named the “Hail Mary” because of his answer to a post-game question about what he was thinking when he threw the ball up in the air:

    “I got knocked down on the play. … I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”

    And all subsequent last-second heaves toward the endzone have been likewise named after the most famous and widely used prayer to Our Lady.

    If the staunchly Catholic Staubach could spend his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys, and remain one of their biggest fans, then you can get over yourself and your hang-ups over God’s Team (borne purely out of jealousy over a long winning tradition vs. the Aints’ likely one-and-done history of “success”).

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  • you can get over yourself and your hang-ups over God’s Team (borne purely out of jealousy over a long winning tradition vs. the Aints’ likely one-and-done history of “success”).

    I’m not jealous. I guarantee you that the joy myself and other New Orleanians had over this one Superbowl was more than the joy of Cowboys fans for all the Cowboy’s titles put together. Also, I am not jealous of any team that has Romo as QB, for we have Brees and he is amazing, both on and off the field. So you can keep your owner who charges people to watch TV outside the stadium; give me the Who Dat Nation anyday!

  • And you still need to brush up on your history (I still haven’t forgotten that you completely bolluxed the history of “Cavaliers” and the part they played in the war against the evil Calvinists under Cromwell).

    For example, you’re right that “Vikings are celebrated pagans who pillaged innocent towns, committing unspeakable atrocities while doing so.”

    But, while you cite things that are clearly contrary to Catholic teaching, you completely MISSED that what made the Vikings truly deplorable from a Catholic perspective was that they specifically sought out Catholic monasteries for plunder and defacement and took great pleasure in desecrating Our Lord in the Eucharist.

    Countless number of monks died before the altar in attempts to defend the Body and Blood of Our Lord from the Viking hordes. That makes the Vikings the MOST unCatholic team in the NFL – shame on a Catholic boy like Brett Favre for choosing to play for them.

  • Jay:

    That’s very true, and all the more reason to not cheer for them. Unfortunately, it would have been too long if I listed all the ways in which the various teams violated Catholic principles. Indeed, I would have spent the whole day writing on the Cowboys if I had done that, not to mention would have had to spend a week writing on the glories of the Saints.

    And I haven’t forgotten my college football post, either. I will deal with your UVA Cavaliers soon enough.

  • Lions eat Christians. That’s what they did in Rome, and that’s what they do to Catholics unwary enough to slip into their trap.

    But the Detroit Lions haven’t hurt anyone in years. OK, they beat the Browns and Redskins last year, but that’s not saying much. Kinda like shooting zombies in the head, really.

    Oh, and being a Lions fan is an excellent primer in Purgatorial suffering, so I think they’re ideal for Catholics–the Last Things, and all that.

  • Before my good friend Mr. Denton gets around to “deal[ing] with [my] UVA Cavaliers”, please allow me to enlighten the readers as to the genesis of this friendly discussion. Here is a link to the post in question, in which Michael gets taken to school on English Civil War history after he first referred to “Cavaliers” as “pirates”, and then subsequently edited his post to say something that was even less coherent in regard to the name “Cavaliers”:

    http://forthegreaterglory.blogspot.com/2008/08/catholics-and-college-football-part-i.html

    Michael, my friend, whatever you have to say in your future dealings with my UVA Cavaliers, I hope that it is, unlike your previous tripe, at least grounded in reason and actual historical knowledge.

    😉

  • Dale:

    You may be interested to know that my alternate entry for the Lions was:

    “The Lions haven’t fielded a team in years, or maybe ever, so this point is moot.”

  • Good lord, Jay. That post was two years ago. I guess UVA fans don’t have anything other than grudges to fill their memories.

    I don’t even remember what I said about them being pirates. Their dress is remarkably similar to that of pirates, which is probably where the association came from. Presumably in my haste to not spend as much time on a football team that isn’t any good, I misspoke. However, once you pointed out my error I amended the post to include some research. Having found that “cavalier” was a derogatory term for those who were Catholic, I argued that it is not permissible for Catholic that support a team whose name began in order to mock Catholics for their alleged vanity and lack of manliness and virtue. Just because a name is applied to Catholics does not mean Catholics ought to embrace it.

  • Somebody take American Papist out of the blogroll.

  • Somebody take American Papist out of the blogroll.

    Wow, Jay. Why do you hate Peters so much? Are…are you one of the bloggers at Catholic Fascist?

    headline: Jay Anderson hates American Papist; Pro Ecclesia to begin major blog war with Catholic Vote Action. 😉

    In seriousness, Papist refers to what protestants believes was undue reverence to the Pope. Catholics can rightfully celebrate being associated with the pope, but not celebrate being associated with being vain girly-men, which was the connotation of cavalier.

  • Wrong, again.

    “Cavalier” refers to what Calvinist Roundheads believed was undue Catholic influence within the Stuart monarchy and its supporters. Catholics can rightfully celebrate those who proudly accepted the name “Cavalier” for themselves and fought against the heretical, genocidal Roundhead usurpers.

  • And, by the way, I DO hate Tom Peters (admittedly out of jealousy for his success).

    😉

  • I agree; I hate everyone who gets paid to blog and tweet out of pure jealousy.

    As for you assertions about cavalier, do you have a source? I have a feeling we’re on different planes here.

    Additionally, for turning a discussion about football into the English Civil War, I hate you also. 😉

  • Weren’t tigers also used on the Christians? Just asking.

  • Dale,

    but that’s not saying much. Kinda like shooting zombies in the head, really.

    Niiice.

    I remember the day Sanders retired.

    I was doing a shift meeting with my colleague, a Lions fan, at a Wal-Mart Warehouse in front of the shift-workers and in the middle of announcements my colleague asked everyone to bow their heads in sorrow for Sanders retirement from football.

    Michael Denton,

    Your post is nothing short of Freemason gibberish with a dash of Illuminati seasoning.

    Anyone who lives south of I-10 knows full well that the best professional football is played in the SEC and not the NFL.

  • go pats!!!!!!!!! yes, i’m an addict 🙁

  • Your post is nothing short of Freemason gibberish with a dash of Illuminati seasoning.

    It’s not Illuminati; it’s more Opus Dei/Knights Templar. We New Orleanians know the best spices to season our gumbos.

    Anyone who lives south of I-10 knows full well that the best professional football is played in the SEC and not the NFL.

    It is difficult to be in Louisiana to choose between the World Champion Saints and the greatest conference in college football. Thankfully, they play on different days so that we may enjoy them both.

  • …this embrace of Gnosticism will lead many Cleveland fans to the depths of hell-where the devil will either show them “The Decision” or Cleveland Browns games on an eternal loop.

    Don’t forget “the Drive” which will be meticulously narrated by a demon with over-sized teeth and a #7.

  • Michael: Yeah, that would have worked, too. We Lions fans are eagerly awaiting the return of professional football to Detroit.

    Tito: Thanks! I mean, the Skins will wear the shame of breaking “The Streak” forever, which makes me happy as a Patriots fan.

    Pauli: There will also be slow-mo, frame-by-frame replays of “The Fumble,” narrated by a demon who impersonates John Madden’s voice.

  • You know, Jay, Roger Stauchbach was also a supporter of Catholic education. His daughter attended Ursuline Academy in Dallas in the early ’90s.

  • The Chargers were not named after an electrical device or even a charging horse–it’s worse than either. Former owner Gene Klein wrote about it in his book First Down and a Billion. The Chargers original majority owner, Barron Hilton, was starting a new credit card company in 1960 called “Carte Blanche”. The team was named for what we do with credit cards: We charge.

  • Robert K.,

    Are you serious about the “charge card” thing?

    I did some Google research and they were named “Chargers” because Mr. Hilton liked how Dodger and USC fans would yell “Charge!” during home games.

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  • Lol I couldn’t stop reading this, I was amazed that anyone could actually be this stupid.
    The saints are dirty cheap players.
    And Brees-GAG! …. I wish the vikings would break his legs.

  • Lol I couldn’t stop reading this, I was amazed that anyone could actually be this stupid.

    You don’t get sarcasm, do you.

    The saints are dirty cheap players.

    Actually the Saints have shower technology and are well paid, making them neither dirty nor cheap.

    And Brees-GAG! …. I wish the vikings would break his legs.

    How you can hate a guy like Brees is beyond me. I hope you’re a Viking fan, enjoying Brees walking around victorious tonight on his two perfectly healthy legs.

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Mama Grizzlies, Ewoks and Sarah Palin

Thursday, September 2, AD 2010

One of the more notable events in November this year will likely be the election of a record number of conservative pro-life Republican women to Congress, statehouses and state legislaturesTheir impact could be enormous.   Sarah Palin launched a movement in 2008 which may well be, long term, the most significant political event of our time:  conservative pro-life women running for political office. 

Of course every movement has its critics.  Emily’s List, the pro-abort group that supports female candidates who hold sacred the right to choose to slay kids in the womb, has put together the video below, which I believe should be entitled:  “WHEN EWOKS ATTACK!”

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17 Responses to Mama Grizzlies, Ewoks and Sarah Palin

  • Great post, but I couldn’t watch more than 10 seconds of the Ewok thing. Too embarrassing.

  • Essentially humorless partisans attempting to make an intentionally humorous attack video has a certain surreal quality that I enjoy.

  • Sarah Palin: Accidental Politician turned Opportunist Extraordinaire.

    In case you missed it, these Emily’s List women PURPOSELY went over-the-top to prove how over-the-top the ridiculous “mama grizzly” story is. If you think as a liberal, pro-choice mother that I would NOT defend my “cubs,” think again.

    FACT: “Anti-choice feminist” is an absolute oxymoron. Get with the program, idiots.

  • What choice are you supporting?

  • It’s unfortunate that grizzlies, not unlike leftists, have as little sense of shame as humor. Since I watched the entire thing I’ll have to be embarrassed for them. Rawr!!

  • Apparently, a woman can’t reach her full potential if she is unable to legally slay her own offspring in utero.

    I suppose, Amy, that your defense of your cubs is conditional upon whether or not they’ve been born? Born or not, they are still your cubs, your own flesh and blood.

  • Sarah Palin: Accidental Politician turned Opportunist Extraordinaire.

    Becoming an accidental politician is like becoming “accidentally” pregnant.

    In case you missed it, these Emily’s List women PURPOSELY went over-the-top to prove how over-the-top the ridiculous “mama grizzly” story is.

    There is a fine line between “over the top” and “creepy.” These women hit the creepy side of the scale when they began roaring.

    If you think as a liberal, pro-choice mother that I would NOT defend my “cubs,” think again.

    I’m sure you would, but any ideology that cannot respect the innate dignity of your “cubs” from conception is one that is poorly equipped to truly protect them.

    FACT: “Anti-choice feminist” is an absolute oxymoron. Get with the program, idiots.

    I admit, with the bears in the video and this “FACT,” I was reminded of Dwight K. Schrute of the Officer. FACT: Black bears are betters. Bears. Beets. Battlestar gallatica.

    In seriousness, I have a real problem with the notion that you can be pro-choice/pro-abortion and still be a feminist. The most significant aspect of femininity to me is the ability of a woman to carry a child. That beautiful connection between a woman her child is amazing to me as a man who can’t experience it, and I think that above all us if we are to be truly feminists we must protect that connection.

    However, the culture of abortion directly attacks that beauty by telling women that pregnancy and child-bearing is bad. Indeed, abortion feeds into a capitalistic culture that tries to turn women into more perfect cogs in the machine by reducing the inconveniences pregnancy has for a career via abortion. In essence, abortion attempts to turn women to be more like men by denying the particular beauty of pregnancy.

    Furthermore, there is plenty of statistics suggesting that abortion is used in places like China against female fetuses rather than male ones. Between the women told that their femininity is a bother so “go take care of it” and the women who are not alive with us today because they were aborted, it is difficult to understand how one can be a feminist and support abortion rights.

  • Thank you Amy for providing evidence to support my contention as to just how truly humorless pro-abort ideologues tend to be.

  • “If you think as a liberal, pro-choice mother that I would NOT defend my “cubs,” think again.”

    The ones you chose not to slay in utero?

  • Denton – That reminds me of something that Chesterton said: in the battle of the sexes, all of a sudden women gave up and decided to become men.

  • Thank you Amy for once again using the tired lefty playground “shut up you’re stupid” argument to support your shallow position–rroooaaaarrrr!! Feel better now?

    People like Amy feel so morally superior to others with different thoughts that they’re willing to risk their eternal souls to redefine morality on their terms. You and the ‘Ewoks’ shouldn’t argue with us–your argument is with God. They’re not our laws but we realize that following them enriches and brings real joy to our lives in ways we could’ve never imagined.

    The fact that so many women who’ve had abortions are scarred for life should drive real concern if you really care about feminine causes. That and the other inconvenient truth that over 50% of abortions involve coercion–some choice.

    Lefties ‘love’ to make up personal/emotional/gooey stories to support their socialist evil claims so let’s include a real story with real evil:
    http://www.lifenews.com/state5405.html

    “Thou shall not kill”
    Each individual gets to make the choice to follow God’s laws or make up their own according to their rationalized (lustful) desires. I just wish everyone would realize that committing sin moves you further away from Christ’s love and degrades your spirit which ultimately makes you more miserable long term. We’ll pray for you Amy–‘Ewoks’ too.

  • As a woman, I was embarrassed by that moronic video. A pro-abort lawyer dressed up as an ewok? Oh, yes, dear, that makes her look like a woman of substance, someone who should be taken seriously. I imagine that video gave Palin a good laugh. Her enemies constantly make prize asses out of themselves while insisting she’s the stupid one.

    FACT: “Anti-choice feminist” is an absolute oxymoron. Get with the program, idiots.

    And who made amy and the NOW/Emily’s List gang the judges of what is feminist? Why on earth do you get the deciding vote, princess? Unless I agree with you that murdering children in the womb is somehow a wonderful expression of womenhood, I’m not a feminist? Our “choice” trumps the right of other, innocent beings to live? Millions of women disagree with you. And we could care less about getting the little seal of approval from the grim harridans at Emily’s List or NOW.

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  • According to Amy’s peculiar “logic,” a Chinese woman who aborts her daughter because the woman can only have one child and is culturally conditioned to believe sons are more desirable than daughters is a feminist. Palin, a woman from a humble background who has run a business and a state, challenged the entrenched Murkowski dynasty in Alaska, and has endured all sorts of obscene slander, much of it coming from the liberal “sisterhood” – Palin is not a feminist because she favors the right of girls and boys to be born.

    ‘Cause the Emily Listers don’t really give a rip about an individual woman’s achievements, or character when it comes right down to it. Like Hugh Hefner, they’re focused on the ONE really important thing – what’s between women’s legs and women’s absolute right to do whatever they wish with said naughty bits without, as Obama said, worrying about being “punished with a baby.”

  • Excellent post, Templar. Here’s an interesting article by the daughter of feminist icon Alice Walker.

    But the truth was I (Walker’s daughter) was very lonely and, with my mother’s knowledge, started having sex at 13. I guess it was a relief for my mother as it meant I was less demanding. And she felt that being sexually active was empowering for me because it meant I was in control of my body.

    Now I simply cannot understand how she could have been so permissive. I barely want my son to leave the house on a play-date, let alone start sleeping around while barely out of junior school.

    A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.

    Although I was on the Pill – something I had arranged at 13, visiting the doctor with my best friend – I fell pregnant at 14. I organised an abortion myself. Now I shudder at the memory. I was only a little girl. I don’t remember my mother being shocked or upset. She tried to be supportive, accompanying me with her boyfriend.

    Although I believe that an abortion was the right decision for me then, the aftermath haunted me for decades. It ate away at my self-confidence and, until I had Tenzin, I was terrified that I’d never be able to have a baby because of what I had done to the child I had destroyed. For feminists to say that abortion carries no consequences is simply wrong.

    Ah, yes, we should all aspire to be like that great pro-choice feminist Alice Walker! What a wonderful mother! What a great role model, right, amy? Not like that creepy Sarah Palin!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1021293/How-mothers-fanatical-feminist-views-tore-apart-daughter-The-Color-Purple-author.html

  • If one goes beyond the initial embarrassment of looking at the video, one discovers that these supposed “mama bears”…….. demand the right to kill their cubs.

    Something is seriously wrong here but I doubt whether they can even see it.

    Next time the ladies want to make an attempt at humour, they should at least try to be halway coherent.

    I do hope that the video reaches a wide audience.

    M

  • If Amy thinks “pro-life feminist” (not “anti-choice”, thank you very much)is an oxymoron, her feminist history doesn’t go back any farther than Alice Walker. Before feminism was co-opted by the eugenics and population control movements ca. 1960, to be feminist was almost without exception to be pro-life. Read up on Alice Paul’s views on the matter, for example. Or Cady Stanton’s, Anthony’s (the subject of much contention recently, but a few editorials from her paper The Revolution should make the point)Woodhull’s, Claflin’s, Brinkerhoff’s, or Gage’s. Go back clear to Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote the seminal A Vindication of the Rights of Women and gave birth to a daughter outside of marriage at a time when doing so guaranteed her pariah status. And yes, abortion existed even then.

    Oh, and zoologically speaking there’s nothing “ridiculous” or “over-the-top” about the “Mama Grizzly” analogy. We don’t have grizzlies in the East, but as an Appalachian girl I could recite numerous accounts of the noteworthy protective behavior of Mama black bears.

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Natural Does Not Equal Good

Wednesday, September 1, AD 2010

“Unnatural, mummy? You tell me, what’s nature’s way? If poison mushrooms grow and babies come with crooked backs, if goiters thrive and dogs go mad and wives kill husbands, what’s unnatural?”
Richard, The Lion in Winter

One of the claims to which people seem peculiarly susceptible at the moment is that if something is “natural”, it must be good. “Natural” foods are believed to be uniformly healthy. The finding that some particular behavior (say, polyamory) is found in nature is taken to be some sign that it is a good thing.

I think a fair amount of this results from our culture having lost a sense of tragic vision in regards to nature — we naturally assume that unless some active force comes along and makes things bad, that they will be good. This could not be farther from a traditional view of nature. While neo-pagans are sure that being “in tune” with nature would be a blissful and pleasant state, real pagans of the ancient world saw the natural forces that were bound up with their gods as capricious, sometimes cruel, and almost always unconcerned with the impact of their actions upon mortals.

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51 Responses to Natural Does Not Equal Good

  • Darwin,

    I think the appeal of “natural” things is really a reaction against the scientistic arrogance of the modern technocracy. And I think that is a good thing.

  • They’ll argue that it’s natural, but won’t admit the possibility that defects also occur in nature.

  • I think the appeal of “natural” things is really a reaction against the scientistic arrogance of the modern technocracy. And I think that is a good thing.

    Actually, I think that’s a really good point, Joe. And that can be a valuable check to our “we can do anything we want” modern outlook. I often find myself pointing to what we are and how we work as creatures in order to say, “No, human beings aren’t meant to work this way.”

    At the same time, I think there’s an unhealthy way to turn to nature as well.

    So sure, Bonobos engage in casual group sex to defuse social tensions and reduce conflict. They also at times engage in cannibalism. I don’t think that the fact these critters are comparatively closely related to us and exhibit these behaviors means those behaviors are “good”.

  • If we all acted on our natural desires, Charlize Theron wouldn’t get a moment’s peace. The men of the world would amass around her house and fight to the death for the chance to be with her.

    When did we accept this idea that all desires are to be indulged, anyway? I know you could trace it back to the Romantic movement, or the Enlightenment, or ultimately to the Fall, but no one actually believed it. It was a theory. Humans would sit around and talk about how cool it would be to do whatever we wanted, then our moms would call us for dinner, and we’d obediently go home. The only new thing under the sun is that we actually think that this nonsense is a workable life vision.

  • “If we all acted on our natural desires, Charlize Theron wouldn’t get a moment’s peace.”

    First I would have to know who she is Pinky. If we get past that hurdle, I am sure my good wife would help make certain that my natural desires, such as they are, would keep themselves firmly in check. 🙂

  • If we all acted on our natural desires, Charlize Theron wouldn’t get a moment’s peace. The men of the world would amass around her house and fight to the death for the chance to be with her

    We need a comment of the year award at TAC. That’s awesome, lol.

  • All this shows is that people confuse fallen desires as natural desires, and engage heresy by saying nature is not good. Got it.

  • So, while we must make it clear that what is natural IS good (and that is why NATURAL LAW is valid), we are not always engaging the world according to nature (and why people misconstrue natural law by assuming fallen mode of being as being what is natural).

  • Henry,

    When most people talk about something being “natural” they mean “found in nature”. That is the sense that I’m using here.

  • Tone aside, Henry’s probably right.

  • I think there’s a general recognition that not everything natural is good but I also think people are skeptical of messing with nature in ways we don’t fully understand. Some of it is warranted. Things once thought safe have been proven to be unsafe. Some of it is due to ignorance of the science and some of it is due to the fact that the science is unclear. I see a paradox here. On social and economic issues, conservatives like to argue that we should be cautious because we don’t know the unintended consequences of changes. But on environmental issues, liberals make the same argument.

  • “So sure, Bonobos engage in casual group sex to defuse social tensions and reduce conflict. They also at times engage in cannibalism. I don’t think that the fact these critters are comparatively closely related to us and exhibit these behaviors means those behaviors are “good”.”

    Much the same can be said for Bobos.

  • Much the same can be said for Bobos.

    Now, that is in contention for comment of the year. Ha!

  • There is “nature” and then there is “natural law”. For the Catholic Church the natural law is God’s law. For a very complete and nuanced discussion of natural law and how it should be incorporated into the laws of the State, I would recommend reading Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Libertas”. If you don’t want to read the whole thing you can read my article on it here:
    Pope Leo XIII on Freedom

    The cult of freedom is one of the central problems which American society faces. Unrestricted freedom is not a blessing; it’s a curse. When America drops the teachings of Jesus Christ as the basis for morality, then it is left with no basis for morality at all. This is clear from reading the decision by Judge Walker on Proposition 8. Morality is one of those things that is not subject to reason. The same arguments that the Judge uses to say that religious arguments are absurd with regards gay “marriage” can be applied to just about any moral issue.

  • “Now, that is in contention for comment of the year. Ha!”

    As soon as people start saying you’re the best, every young kid with a revolver comes gunning for ya.

  • You’re right, Pinky. I’m blowing this blog and heading for safer waters. Vox Nova. No one shoots straight there.

  • Baba,

    If we had more freedom, and less judicial tyranny, Prop 8 would have been upheld.

  • It’s not surprising that both Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan are enthusiastically pushing this book. Both men are 1. gay and strongly in favor of gay marriage and 2. are or have been quite promiscuous. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want the financial benefits and societal respect accorded marriage, but they also wish to continue to sleep around. If polyamory can be widely accepted as “natural” and thus superior to “oppressive” old monogamy, then they can continue to bedhop after marriage without censure.

    It’s hardly stop the presses! news to anybody that people may be attracted to other people besides their spouses. It’s also not news that some married folks will yield to temptation. What is a modern twist is the rather sad need some people have to have all of their own sexual quirks and proclivities and tastes applauded and approved of by “society.”

    What those people wish to avoid thinking about is the idea that unlike bonobos and dogs and chickens, humans form deep relationships with their mates. A hen does not suffer agonies because tonight her true love Col. Foghorn Leghorn is spending the evening with another cute chick. Anybody I’ve known who has favored polyamory (and gee, sorry guys, but it always seems to be men who argue that polyamory or polygamy are natural and therefore we women are much too hard on straying mates)ends up saying people, i.e. women “shouldn’t” shouldn’t suffer agonies, shouldn’t be possessive, shouldn’t get all hurt and unreasonable. Sorry, but they are and those feelings of betrayal and agony and hurt are every bit as “natural” as polyamory.

    What hedonists also ignore is that “nature” is pretty darn hard on the promiscuous. Before AIDS, there was syphilis and there are still quite a few lesser STD’s which can make one’s existence very uncomfortable.

  • Joe. You seem to be taking the Libertarian view towards freedom. This is the logical conclusion of the view that absolute freedom trumps all other values. This is the creed of the cult of freedom. “I believe in Freedom.” (Or Liberty if you prefer.)

    Catholic teaching is quite different. It emphasizes submission to God’s will which results in a very different kind of freedom which is freedom from sin. We are all slaves, we just serve different masters. A judge who is serving God can and should do everything possible to change a law that is against God’s will. So there is a justification for judicial activism if used properly.

    In fact there is nothing inherently good about democracy. If “we the people” are not guided by God’s law, then democracy is just another form of dictatorship. In fact Pope Benedict XVI talked about a “dictatorship of relativism”:

    “Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”
    http://www.vatican.va/gpII/documents/homily-pro-eligendo-pontifice_20050418_en.html

    You notice that the Church of Christ is not a democracy. (And neither are most businesses.) I think the “overturning popular opinion” argument is one of the weakest, and is a position that is being taken because it conveniently suits the purposes of those opposing gay “marriage”. If we concede that religion should not be the basis for morality and therefore the law, then we have lost not only the battle but also the war. The biggest flaw in the Constitution is that it does not mention God, but this is in line with Enlightenment thinking. And now we are seeing where this flaw finally takes us, which is back to the morality of the ancient Greeks.

  • Why does “it’s natural” almost always boil down to “I wanna”?

  • “Sorry, but they are and those feelings of betrayal and agony and hurt are every bit as “natural” as polyamory.”

    More so Donna, since without those type of feelings it is impossible for the deepest of love to occur, something that hedonists eventually learn to their cost. When everything is reduced to the physical and the surface, with no intention of deeper attachments being formed, it becomes completely meaningless, and often sooner rather than later.

  • Good Morning baba,

    I understand these principles in our personal lives. Free Will gives us the freedom to do whatever we wish; which is to say that we are entirely free to either follow God’s plan or go it on our own. Ultimately, there are consequences to choices and true freedom is the ability to sleep soundly because we are ready to be taken home at His command.

    I wonder if I might persuade you to tie this into the larger civil society though? I suspect that most readers and bloggers here agree and understand the principles you state. But, once we get past our personal lives, there is a bit of a vacuum as to the application. Perhaps you are saying that, while the larger civil society SHOULD be organized to direct us towards those principles, as a practical matter, it is not and never will be?

    I suspect that the last statement is true and look to the experience of the Israelites – each reorganization of society around different leadership principles meant to “correct” the defect of not following God’s commands and each failing miserably – and Christ’s admonition to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s for support. Do I have it right?

  • I’ve always refuted the natural=good argument (such as is found in “Marijuana grows in nature so it’s okay”) with “Arsenic is natural. Are you going to ingest some of that?”

  • G-Veg. I guess we need to ask why the US was successful at implementing a democracy, while in France it failed. I think this is because the US did not fully embrace enlightenment principles the way France did. The US did not reject Christianity, but rather embraced it. This kept the US from falling into a dogmatic death spiral like what happened in France.

    In the US there was an undeclared truce that was worked out between the deists that wrote the Constitution and the vast majority of the population which were Christians. The deists while not believing in Christianity took care not to denounce it – at least not in public. (The exception being Thomas Paine in “Age of Reason”.)

    There was an unwritten concordat (if you will) that delineated the boundaries between the state and Christianity. (In contrast in France under Napoleon there was an actual written concordat with the Vatican concerning the roles of the state and the Church in education and marriage, etc.)

    This arrangement worked well enough in the US until the 20th century. The biggest factor I think was the emergence of mass communication (radio, TV, movies) which was quickly seen by the Humanist forces as a powerful weapon which could be used in a cultural war. The dogmatism imposed by the state from above (by force) was replaced by a creeping dogmatism that infiltrated into the individual conscience through constant exposure (via the media) to enlightenment ideals.

    So to answer your question, the solution is not to impose Catholic doctrine in a dogmatic fashion from above. The only solution is to nurture a Christian conscience in individuals, and then encourage those individuals to work through society to make changes from within. This probably means that in the future Christianity will become a dwindling minority in the US. Of course we need to remember that for God all things are possible, and we must continue to have faith in His Plan.

  • Well, I just can’t stay away! 😉

    Henry is right. We need to be careful to distinguish between natural desires and fallen desires. Natural desires are rightly ordered desires–ordered according to the meaning and purpose of human existence. Fallen desires are disordered (yet still natural and still good) desires–ordered contrary to the meaning and purpose of human existence.

    So while the feeling of sexual attraction that a man may have for a man is still *natural*, it is disordered, and hence, fallen.

    Yes, everything is natural. But no, not everything is ordered as it should be. Sexual attraction, and sexual behavior, is ordered toward the purpose and meaning of sexuality.

    Perhaps when someone says, ‘it is natural’, we should ask: well, what do you mean by ‘natural’? Do you mean that it is part of the natural order and oriented toward the purpose of that order? Or do you mean simply that you saw it happen somewhere at some time?

  • And now I promise to go back to my Amish-Catholic web-free zone. God bless, everyone.

  • To Joe’s point in his first paragraph, Fr. Benedict Ashley OP has made the compelling point that Romanticism (which values nature in the sense which Darwin uses it) and modern technocracy are two sides of the same coin. I wish I could flesh out his point more, but the book in which he makes the point (Choosing a Worldview and Value System) is currently boxed up for an office move! In any case, it’s a provocative point which might be worth following up upon.

  • Chris. The Romantics, if you’re talking about people like Percy Shelley, were anti-religious, so they fit in nicely with the thinking of Darwin and Huxley. The “theory” of evolution is largely a pretext to attack religion – especially the Bible. Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound” reveals his anti-religious thinking. Prometheus is the Titan who stole fire from the gods of Mt. Olympus, who are used to represent religion. The fire which Prometheus gave to Man is used to represent technology.

    The hope of Darwin, Shelley and others (Malthus, Huxley, etc.) is to unbound science (Prometheus) from religion. This is the same sort of Enlightenment thinking that drives the French Revolution and socialism. One of the things that results from this is the absolute separation of Church and State. (Notice also the similarity between Prometheus and Lucifer the “light bearer”.)

    Shelley’s wife, Mary Shelley, wrote Frankenstein. The complete title is “Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus”. You can see that even back then they were thinking of how Man could create a new form of life. The ultimate goal of this movement is for Man to become like God. This is Nietzsche’s Superman. (“God is dead.”) This is also the origins of the eugenics (“good gene”) movement.

    Today we have people like Craig Venter playing God through biotechnology. And we have the Humanists telling us how wonderful stem cell technology is – especially if they can use human embryos to experiment on – because this paves the way for creating a real life “Modern Prometheus” (Frankenstein).

    And the flip side of this is people creating a robot with artificial intelligence which is another way for Man to become God. The ultimate goal is to create a “Transhuman” which goes beyond natural evolution to create a new species of Man that incorporates both biological and computer technology. (Also nano-technology.) I’ve explored some of these ideas on my blog:
    Agnostica Eugenica Transhumana – A Dragon’s tail
    Iron Man as Prometheus Unbound

    So yes, Romanticism and Technology are oddly coupled. The Romantics would probably have been deists that looked to nature as their god and would have been revolting against Christianity since they would say that it Christianity against scientific reasoning. Not very “romantic” if you ask me, but then Humanist aren’t very humane either.

  • Clarifications:

    Henry is right. We need to be careful to distinguish between natural desires and fallen desires. Natural desires are rightly ordered desires–ordered according to the meaning and purpose of human existence. Fallen desires are disordered (yet still natural and still good) desires–ordered contrary to the meaning and purpose of human existence.

    Natural inclinations are rightly ordered through the acquisition of virtue (or through growth in the infused virtue). Fallen desires may be equivalent to desires not yet ordered by reason, or it may mean disordered desires. That they may have a good object does not mean that the desire itself is good, if it is opposed to reason.

    So while the feeling of sexual attraction that a man may have for a man is still *natural*, it is disordered, and hence, fallen.
    An analysis relying upon hylomorphism:
    A defect may be said to be natural in so far as it proceeds from matter and not form. I deny that SSA is natural in the sense that it is proper to the form. Those who wish to make same-sex attraction natural are implicitly arguing this.

    Yes, everything is natural. But no, not everything is ordered as it should be. Sexual attraction, and sexual behavior, is ordered toward the purpose and meaning of sexuality.
    The problem is ordering — if same-sex attraction is unchosen and pre-rational, then it makes no sense to say that it is not ordered as it should be, since order comes with reason and not prior to it. Unless you mean that it is not ordered with respect to the author of that desire, God Himself. This is akin to saying that God made them homosexual even though He wants them to be heterosexual.

    One cannot “order” a desire which has for its object that which is intrinsically opposed to reason. One can only not act in accordance with it.

    Thus to say SSA is “natural” without the necessary clarifications is to concede too much to the homosexual agenda.

  • Baba-
    argument slightly weakened by Frankenstein (and the storyline, which has been copied to the point of parody) being a classic story of why it’s bad to play god– you’ll lose everything you love.

  • PB-
    I think the “order” they’re talking about is from a specific theory– short version, in the ideal world it wouldn’t exist. No natural disasters, no babies with crooked backs, no inborn perverse desire. I can’t remember which philosopher it was, one of the classics?

  • Apropos to this interesting topic is an essay written by Paul Griffiths that was published in April or May in First Things, in which he denies our epistemic ability to distinguish between natural and unnatural desires given the fall. That essay caused a big ruckus, but I think its main point holds, and is an important point for American Catholics to keep in mind. (For one thing, it eviscerates the pretensions of new-natural law theorists who pretend as though we can read off from the structure of practical rationality a conclusion about same-sex marriage, among other things.)

  • WJ

    Paul is right, and I have discussed similar topics before when dealing with the problems behind “natural law.” The issue is not that the idea behind “natural law” is in error, nor that there is an element of truth which we can get to when addressing it, it is, however, limited and obscured by sin. For an interesting thinking who writes on the problems of natural law, I would always recommend Ellul. I think he goes too far (too much Barth and negativity toward the human) but I do think he reminds us concerns.

  • WJ — FT is for subscribers only, so I can’t comment on it, but there is this: Desires Natural and Unnatural: A Reply to Paul Griffiths

    As for a book that touches upon the concept of nature, see Steve Long’s latest.

  • The “not a choice” supporters should explain why they do not approve of incest, bestiality and ephebophilia or paedophilia (all very “natural” to those who commit them, who will claim that they “do not have a choice”). Instead, the liberals pick a particular perversion (homosexuality) and decide that *that* is all right because it’s “natural”.

    If they do approve of all the other abominations, they shouldd say it out loud so that the majority of decent (if gullible) people may become fully aware of their evil thinking.

    M

  • WJ & Henry,

    Sadly, I’m not a First Things subscriber at the moment, so I can’t get to Griffiths’ essay right now, though I’ll make a point of seeking it out in a month or two when it comes out from behind the subscriber-only wall.

    It does certainly strike me, at a practical level, that one of the big problems with natural law is that it is hard to get people of differing viewpoints to agree on what it is. There is most certainly a reality of how things work in regards to our nature and the nature of the world which we can know through experience and observation. But there’s also, obviously, a lot which goes on in nature and can thus be observed which is not natural in the sense of conforming to our nature/ideal form.

  • pb,

    I had not read that response. Thanks. I wonder, though, if the response of Snell doesn’t just push the problem to a different level. Snell writes:

    “The Thomist never looks at the soul to find some natural shape to its structure; the Thomist examines the intentions of the human being, the “why?” and “what for?” of action. A person does x. Why? Well, for the sake of y. He or she intended y and so chose x. This is the domain of intelligibility, of form.”

    But I take it that one of Griffiths’s major points–a point supported by Augustine, Nietzsche, and Freud–is that the answer to “why?” is never so tidy as a typical new natural lawyer would present it as being. At issue is not the contention that such a domain of intelligibility exists (at least not for Augustine, which distinguishes him from Nietzsche), nor that that domain does not, if fully understood, reveal the hierarchy of ends culminating in God (which distinguishes Augustine from Freud), but that our *epistemic* access to such intelligibility is so impaired that, beyond the most general or abstract level (say, the level of the primary precepts of the natural law), we must simply throw up our hands. This, I take it, is the Augustinian alternative to what many perceive as the naive optimism of new natural lawyers.

    Of course, both positions are well within orthodoxy; though they sometimes issue in very different assessments of what can or should be expected of a polity not formed by Christ and his Church, and consequently of whether, for example, arguments against gay-marriage should have any rational force for those not already being formed in Christ.

  • “The Thomist never looks at the soul to find some natural shape to its structure; the Thomist examines the intentions of the human being, the “why?” and “what for?” of action. A person does x. Why? Well, for the sake of y. He or she intended y and so chose x. This is the domain of intelligibility, of form.”

    I don’t know what sources he has consulted, but Snell is just wrong on this point if this is meant to be exclusive. The Thomist looks not only at the intention but also at the external act. But as to the more important point — how is our epistemic access. I don’t think it’s a problem with the intelligibility of ends, as those who advocate same-sex marriage, for the most part, appeal to the same set of goods. The question is of the means, and whether the means is correctly ordered to the ends. And yes, here it is possible that the lack of order in the soul, whether it be through vice or an unnatural inclination, can affect our moral reasoning. The problem is not with the reasoning or the “intelligibility” but with will’s influence on the act of judgment.

    Now, the “real world situation” may be the same regardless of which account is better, but even there I’d disagree with what you wrote to a point — just because arguments for certain laws do not have rational force for some people does not mean that those laws should not be put into effect. Good Catholic moral theology (or Catholic teaching, for that matter) has never endorsed the sort of egalitarianism which demands that all laws must be assented to by all before they can be promulgated.

  • pb,

    We are really not very far away from each other, are we?

    I agree with you that Snell’s (and Finnis’ and George’s) is an attenuated Thomism. I suspect that the reason why it is so is that–at least in Finnis and Grisez–the is/ought distinction is accepted as the starting point for ethics.

    I suppose that I am not as certain as you are that the question “why are you doing x?” is as easily answered as you present it as being. It may be that these parties, while they appear to agree, are in fact using the same terms in equivocal senses; it may be that each party is doing x for some reason other than what he/she presents to him/herself upon refletion, and that he/she really has no access to a determinate answer to this question, etc.

    But of course I grant that, assuming a non-equivocal response, the arguments most usually turn upon whether the means advocated by each party in the dispute align with or fall away from the ends toward which they are directed.

    I also agree on what you say about law at the conclusion of your comment. I’d just want to add that, once you realize that certain laws do not and cannot be expected to have rational force for large sectors of the population, you are then faced with the *prudential* decision about how the Church should act in relation to it. To take up the case of same-sex marriage, for example, Paul Griffiths holds (unsurprisingly) that Catholics should forget about what the American polity can or cannot be rationally persuaded of and should instead refocus their energies on revitalizing their own ecclesial community, hoping by doing so to display the beauty of Christian sexuality and thus, God willing, gain converts. Robert George has a different answer to this question, of course. And they both seem to me to be well within the Catholic tradition.

  • WJ, apparently not! It seems likely that I’d disagree with the substance of Griffith’s argument, but I do agree with his practical recommendations for the most part–though I do see a place for some sort of “political activism” at the local or state level in those areas where such can be effective.

  • Would that I was as well read!!! It has been a fascinating discussion to watch unfold. Thank you.

    I wonder though if the personal experiences of Catholics are as conflicted as the theoretical framework seems to suggest we should be.

    I know what I do is wrong and I know why it is wrong from the moment that it enters my head. It is not a rational response. I simply “know” that a particular act is wrong. Unfortunately, I often do it anyway. Tragically, I frequently analyze before action – specifically recognizing both that the particular act is wrong and that there are alternatives. It is this reality – knowing what is wrong and consciously choosing to do it – that condemns me.

    I have absorbed tens of thousands of rules that are at play behind the scene – “do unto others…, Thou shalt not…, It is unlawful… etc.” and I do not doubt that the basis of the conscious conscience is formed rather than imbued. My experience though is that there is a deeper understanding – something that drives the eyes down in shame before reason kicks in – at work. It is THAT force that I think of as “natural law.”

    It is my experience that the force that wells up from beneath reason is a surer test of right and wrong than my later analysis. It is haunting in a way that cannot be managed or manipulated, it can only be accepted or rejected. All of the rules that are laid on top, even those which come verbatim from Scripture, can be maneuvered around: I apply exceptions and allowances that let me get some of what I want (and know to be wrong) – like I am negotiating with God.

    In case I’ve failed to make my point clear, my experience has been that I simply “know” (perhaps “feel” is a better word) that something is wrong and then, after I have done it, reason kicks in to explain away my culpability. Even if reason cannot fully exonerate me, the exercise allows me to imagine that I am not as guilty. And yet I am ashamed and that shame is the surest proof that no reasoning can take away the reality of my sins.

  • Reading over what I wrote, I had one thought to share: those “tens of thousands of rules that are at play behind the scene” tend to be extremely valuable for avoiding the opportunity for sin more than as the reason for knowing that something IS a sin or that I ought to avoid it. It is because I know the Golden Rule (and because I know that “what goes around, comes around” that I DON’T embarrass someone I dislike at a meeting. That particular acts are unseemly removes opportunity to sin.

  • G-Veg, pb, and WJ,

    Why not get a pic to your name?

    Go here:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  • Thanks for the pointer. Let us see if it took.

  • Me thinks I need to go back to the drawing board. The images is of St. Michael but it is too complicated for so small as space. Shrunk down, it is unintelligible.

  • Simple, elegant, bespeaking better days for the Keystone State…

  • Of course, I should have emptied my cache first.

  • I don’t want to kill this thread though. There is an important discussion about natural law going on. Forgive me for dragging it into the trivial.

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