NFP and Fasting

Tuesday, October 26, AD 2010

When trying to explain the Catholic understanding of sexuality to someone “outside”, I almost invariably find myself falling back on analogies relating to diet and gluttony.  It’s a natural comparison, and while modern society has lost any sense that it’s reasonable to have any less sex if you want to have fewer children, people are able to get more righteous then ever over the point that if you want to be fit you must, must, must eat moderately and exercise more. 

Indeed, diet and exercise may be the one thing relating to sexuality where modern culture understands a great deal of self denial.  After all, one of the motivations for all this diet and exercise is, I think one may honestly admit, to look better while naked.

Which leaves the obvious question: Why has a Church which finds itself swimming against a quickening current in regards to its teaching on birth control nearly totally abandoned any sort of severity in regards to fasting? 

Sure, we’re an “Easter people” and all that, but maybe some rigorous self denial for the sake of religion would help us with some rigorous self denial for the sake of our faith.  I’ve been pretty much as bad as the next fellow on this — doing the mental calculation of whether I can make one more cup of coffee and still make the hour fast before mass or falling to the “I’ll say some extra prayers tonight as a sacrifice instead” temptation on Fridays outside of Lent when meat is all that appears on the menu.  But this is, after all, part of the problem.  The constant NFP lament is “Look, we played by the rules all those years before we were married.  Why does there have to be frustration now too?” 

If virtue is a habit, perhaps it’s time to form some more habits around denial of appetite.

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11 Responses to NFP and Fasting

  • It seems to me that the Church, after Vatican II, relaxed the fasting and abstaining rules for Catholics because It felt that many could not fast or abstain due to the modern way of life, and therefore, possibly save their souls from being disobedient. Actually, we are still supposed to abstain from meat on Fridays as a sacrifice and penance in honor of Our Lord’s Sacrifice and Death, but if not, we must do some other penance or “good work!” But Our Lady has come to remind us of fasting and has asked us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. Those who are in-tune with Our lady’s requests try to do so and there are millions of us out there in the world trying to do what Our Lady wants!

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  • Great point, DC. Thomas Merton wrote that none of his old friends could understand him sleeping on a cot, but they used to think nothing of crashing on the floor after a night on the town. We can endure inconveniences on our schedule, but never on God’s.

  • “If virtue is a habit, perhaps it’s time to form some more habits around denial of appetite. ”

    Yes.

    Although it’s so…. difficult.

  • When I think of “fasting” I assume it to mean not eating anything at all, or at least not any solid food. That would be analogous to a single, widowed, divorced or vowed Religious person living in celibacy.

    NFP practiced within marriage would be analogous to a person consuming a normal, balanced diet, neither overindulging nor completely depriving themselves. They might still “fast” completely at times, however.

    However, the kind of sexual indulgence that secular society advocates, complete with artificial contraception, would be analogous to attempting weight loss or maintenance via measures such as diet pills, or bulimia — an attempt to enjoy the pleasures of eating without the consequences.

  • We are a culture of indulgence. Food addiction and is just the latest attack by satan on life. That’s why they call it “morbid” obesity. Although I do see many protestants who understand moderation in lifestyle, only the Catholic Church really has teachings to back it up and if we were following those teachings, it would not be an issue. Seems to me that in a world where some are starving and others are eating themselves to death, there should be no fat Priests?

  • “Seems to me in a world where some are starving and others are eating themselves to death, there should be no fat priests”

    Ideally, I think that is true; however, most Catholics have not been brought up to see food as a moral issue or to consider gluttony as a sin — and this includes priests. Eating habits by and large are more ingrained and difficult to change than drinking or sexual habits (in my opinion) so I wouldn’t go so far as to say that every fat person is guilty of serious sin or of giving scandal. Plus there have been people of great holiness, even canonized saints, who were overweight by our standards (I think St. Thomas Aquinas was pretty hefty, and G.K. Chesterton certainly was).

    That being said, priests certainly need to live healthy lifestyles in terms of diet and exercise as much as possible, for the sake of their parishioners as well as for their own sake.

  • No, I don’t think every fat person is guilty of serious sin, and yes, I know about St. Thomas Aquinas, but he did not live in a day when so many people were eating themselves to death. Gluttony leads to sloth – and makes all of us less useful tools for God. I just keep thinking, though, that if any of us has enough to eat to weigh 300+ pounds, we certainly have enough to share. I have also noticed that the percentages of seriously overweight priests is not much different than that of lay people. I guess I just feel we should be able to look to them for examples.

  • @Amy @Elaine : I have been a FAT person. From my own experience it is because people are addicted to junk. We have a international problem since these companies know that by adding excess fat,sugar, and salt will have us hooked. In looking into my own faith, I agree that as catholics we need to start looking at this as a sin. Just as we fight in the prolife areana. I think we need to also look at what sloth has done to our society as a whole. I can also rap this up with fear. When I was a child i remember going out ( ridding my bike, swimming, etc.. ) I see less and less children doing this because of fear, junk food, television, video games .. etc… I am in IT myself and i see many people in my field to be also overwieght but that is a culture problem. We need things like more time off and less stress again many of these issues come down to both a micro level ( getting parents active and a macro level making the national, state, and local gov incentivise what we should be doing as a society. I think this post opens a can of worms that I would hope the people in this block will investigate further. Good Post and sorry if i ranted a little 😉

  • @Alex: I too used to be seriouly overweight – I was a little over 300lbs and lost half of it. Prayer was a HUGE part of my success. In fact, I often say that I asked for motivation to eat right and exercise and God gave me diabetes. So, I’m a recovering food addict myself. I am also a convert to Catholicism (and NO, you don’t want to get caught in a corner with me at a party!) 😉 Seriously, though, I have noticed how many things are sort of cross applicable to spiritual growth and weight loss: Obedience vs Desire, Structure can be applied to food plans as well as prayer life, and who knows more than Catholics about our body’s true role as a Temple of the Holy Spirit. As Catholics, we have the ability to partake of the one and only food that has all we need. Contemplation of The Eucharist can teach us to desire what is for our own good, rather what creates instant gratification. I am sad to see what people are doing to their bodies – and to the Body of Christ as a whole with all the junk they are filling it with.

Patron Saint of Politicians?

Tuesday, October 26, AD 2010

In this political season I was curious as to which saint was the patron saint of politicians.  Much to my shock I learned that on October 26, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Saint Thomas More as patron saint of politicians and statesman.  It was an inspired choice, but I think the average politician might find Saint Thomas More difficult to emulate.

1.  As far as I can tell, Saint Thomas More always told the truth.  Most politicians seem to regard lying as a job requirement or a job perk.

2.  Saint Thomas More was noted by contemporaries for not taking bribes.  Such honesty was just as rare among politicians then as it is now.

3.  As Cardinal Wolsey, unforgettably portrayed by Orson Welles, in the video clip above noted, Saint Thomas always viewed issues of public policy with a “moral squint”.  Most politicians would view this as a severe handicap.

4.  Saint Thomas gave up the highest office in England over a matter of principle.  I am afraid the average politician’s reaction to this would be, “You have got to be kidding”.

5.  Most politicians when viewing the movie “A Man for All Seasons” would probably think that Richard Rich is the hero of the film.

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13 Responses to Patron Saint of Politicians?

  • Patron saint for politicians??? BARF!

    If a patron for politicians, then a why not a patron for practitioners the world’s “oldest profession”.

    B/G Meagher’s speech from the dock:

    “Proceed, then my lords, with that sentence which the law directs — I am prepared to hear it — I trust I am prepared to meet its execution. I shall go, I think, with a light heart before a higher tribunal — a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as of infinite justice, will preside, and where, my lords, many, many of the judgements of this world will be reversed.”

    Patron of politicians: Why St. Thomas – polar opposite: antipolitician!

    An patron saint for pure (nothing is pure in the fallen world) evil: it isn’t right. If so, I nominate Judas Iscariot and Caiaphas. Take your pick.

    Meagher was sentenced to death, but was transported to Australia from whence he came to America and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • Looks like someone has been watching Letterman’s “Top ten”? Nice blog post!

  • Nicely done, Don. As he is also the patron saint of lawyers, it may have hit a little too close to home if you had explored the differences between St. Thomas More and most practicing lawyers.

  • If a patron for politicians, then a why not a patron for practitioners the world’s “oldest profession”.

    Ask and you shall receive. That would be St. Nicholas.

    🙂

  • “it may have hit a little too close to home if you had explored the differences between St. Thomas More and most practicing lawyers.”

    That post will be coming John Henry, but not today!
    🙂

  • I keep a picture of St. Thomas More on my office wall to remind me what happens to lawyers who tell the truth.

  • Well, T. Shaw, it is supposed to be a patron Saint. The two you identified are not confirmed as saints. They may be more typical of politicians, but the aim should be for the ideal.

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  • I apologize.

    St. Thomas More, pray for us!

    My occupational patron saint would be St. Matthew the Apostle, accountants and bankers.

    St. John Baptiste de la Salle, pray for us.

    Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!

  • I keep a picture of St. Thomas More on my office wall to remind me what happens to lawyers who tell the truth.

    I have a crucifix for a similar reason.

  • As it regards #7, if I hear one more politician use the words “ship,” “of,” and “state” in sequence one more time, I swear I will explode!

  • As I see it St. Thomas More was not entirely a “politician” in the American sense of the word because he was not elected by vote of the people — he was appointed by the King. His role was more comparable to that of a Cabinet official or an appointed judge, administrator or agency head whose job it is to advise the king/president/governor/mayor/other executive and to help them carry out their policies as wisely as possible.

    When he could no longer support those policies, he resigned — and there have been plenty of instances in which appointed officials, agency heads, etc. have done just that as a matter of principle. (The best known example on a national level perhaps being the “Saturday Night Massacre” during the Watergate era.)

  • Interesting observations as usual Elaine and correct in part. However, in the time of Saint Thomas the posts he held were highly political in nature. The King of course cast the initial vote to place the person into an office. Normally the person seeking to gain such an office would seek to woo the King in a manner not dissimilar to the way today most politicians attempt to flatter and woo voters. Saint Thomas would have none of that. He was appointed to his posts through share ability and character: rather in the same fashion in which George Washington had the offices of commander in chief, President of the Constitutional Convention and President of the United States thrust upon him.

    After a man was appointed by the King in the time of Saint Thomas, the true politics began as the inidividual had to seek to keep happy the King, the Church, the nobility and the commons. If an individual failed in that task, Henry was quite capable of sacrificing anyone, and blaming unpopular policies upon an “evil counselor”. This of course is what happened to Cardinal Wolsey before Saint Thomas, and Thomas Cromwell after Saint Thomas, and a host of other officials of King Henry. Political skills of a high order were necessary to survive. Saint Thomas had those skills, as indicated by his popularity as Chancellor. Yet he chose to sacrifice everything on a point of principle by resigning. I think he knew by doing so it would ultimately cost him his head, since he knew King Henry well, and was quite aware of his vast cruelty when his passions were roused. The “Saturday Night Massacre” you cite is inapposite. Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelhaus resigned to the cheers of most of the opinion organs in our country. They enjoyed highly successful careers afterwards. Their resignations cost them nothing, unlike Saint Thomas, whose resignation cost him everything in Earthly terms. Individuals willing to do that are a rare breed indeed.

TAC College Rankings: Week 8

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

There are few reasons a baseball team’s logo leads this week’s post, not the least of which being the Rangers victory that knocked out the Yankees was the last worthwhile sports thing that happened for me this weekend. I had 7 and a half hours of hideously ugly football.

I digress a bit to express my hatred for CBS’s announcers Gary & Verne. Although I am pleased that they have found a replacement after Tim Tebow broke their hearts by both leaving the SEC and by not marrying them, I didn’t near to hear that much about Cam Newton. I’d say more, but this is a family blog. LSU fans now are clamoring for Bama tickets just so they don’t have to hear this duo ever again, and many across the SEC share our pain.

However, my purple and gold brethren were not alone in our pain. The Sooners lost their bid for a perfect season (As did their in-state rivals, but they barely beat The RajunBullCajundogs of ULL so it was to be expected). Texas lost to Iowa St.; Notre Dame got destroyed by Navy. Not a good weekend for most of the powerhouses.

With Texas’s & Oklahoma’s loss, unless Missouri dazzles it’s harder to see the Big 12 getting into the title game. Oregon’s destruction of UCLA makes the Texas win by Oklahoma less shiny (as does Air Force’s loss to TCU) and weakens the conference overall. If Auburn and Bama don’t lose again until the Iron Bowl, they will both have impressive resumes. The Big 10/1/2 has an undefeated Michigan St. team that has only a test against Iowa left to seriously challenge them. TCU also had an impressive victory over Air Force.

The Heisman looks to be Newton’s to lose, but if Auburn sleeps against either Ole Miss or Georgia, a loss could devastate their national title & Heisman hopes. While wins are nice, in a season like this sometimes the losses are more important.

Now to the rankings. No Tito this week, as he is presumably honeymooning in the blue fields of Idaho. Yet, we still have the bizarrest rankings yet. Enjoy.

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4 Responses to TAC College Rankings: Week 8

  • I couldn’t see the LSU-Auburn game; cable went out. I had to listen to Jim Hawthorne, “The Voice of the Tigers”, instead of Gary and Vern. Apparently, I was lucky.

    I’m going to pick LSU against ‘Bama already. LSU’s defense matches up much better against ‘Bama. (No one matches up with Newton.) And Miles – bittersweet that it is – always manages to come up with something.

    LSU will go 10-1 and get in a BCS game as a wildcard.

    Oregon vs Boise St. in the title game.

  • You were very lucky.

    LSU does match up better-but we match up best against Arkansas. Bama can still run, and we may be a little undersized on D such that we’ll have some trouble. The question is whether Lee can rebound and put in a good performance-and if our WRs can freaking catch. We can beat Bama.

  • Our D might be a little undersized, but I think their speed and strenght make up for that. Plus, I believe that there’s enough pride to make up the rest of the size deficit. Sheppard, Peters, Nevis, and company are going to want to make a statement after what Newton did.

  • Geaux Tigers!!

    LSU beats ‘Bama, 24-21.

    I called it. (Hey, let me gloat a little. I was totally wrong about the Saints the other day.)

    Once again, I didn’t get to see the LSU. This time I was giving a talk to Confirmation students, so I guess God gave me a gift for my sacrifice.

    As I climbed in my truck after Mass, I heard Jim Hawthorne say, “All the Tigers need is to tackle, and … They did it. LSU beats Alabama!”

    Such sweet words.

    My prediction stands. LSU goes 10-1 and goes to the Sugar Bowl.

AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

National Public Radio’s ludicrous firing of Juan Williams and a subsequent mainstream media article on Catholic bloggers may seem to be two separate issues. Some may say what does the overwhelmingly conservative leaning Catholic blogosphere have in common with the liberal leaning Juan Williams? The answer is quite simple; both scare the mainstream media because Juan Williams and the majority of the Catholic blogosphere put forth interesting solutions to often discussed questions.

The modus operadi of some in the mainstream media is to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. Combine this with a Juan Williams quote which most of America agrees with and voila you have it; the ultimate straw man from which you can tear apart any minority who appears on Fox News or any Catholic blogger who faithfully defends the teachings of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church.

In this Associated Press article on the Catholic blogosphere, the piece mentions Thomas Peters and Michael Voris (who is known for his videos not his blogging,) but focuses on harsh unnamed Catholic bloggers. The article quotes John Allen who calls elements of the Catholic blogosphere “Taliban Catholicism.” The highly respected Mr. Allen, who though working for the dissident leaning National Catholic Reporter, is often known for his many high ranking Church contacts and his fairness. He should have know better than to give the quote that he did. To take a few bloggers from the right (or even from the left) and call them the Catholic blogosphere is the type of journalism that would not pass muster for a high school paper, let alone the AP. This would be akin to taking the worst rated college or pro football team and telling the world this is the best of American football, or perhaps watching the Walla Walla Community theater production of Hamlet and saying this is Hamlet at its finest. John Allen should have realized where this article was going and chosen his words more carefully.

The AP article continues by naming a Church official who seems worried about the Catholic blogosphere. One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Semple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana. I worked for years in a diocesan office and I have yet to meet, even in my travels, a diocesan official who is well versed in the blogosphere. It seems to be a generational thing and most diocesan officials are not to be confused with the younger, more conservative seminarians or young priests being ordained.

While some in the mainstream media snicker at the Pope and Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) they in reality have their own magisterium. In their secular magisterium anyone who believes in the Catholic Church’s authority is hopelessly outdated, because according to gatekeepers in the mainstream media, true thinkers are those in the dying liberal churches who don’t know what they believe. Sadly, GK Chesterton prophetically predicted this would happen. He said, “It’s not that atheists and agnostics believe in nothing, they believe in everything.” In modern parlance, “It’s all good.” How sad that some who proclaim to be “open minded” can’t see the obvious; liberal Christianity is dying on the vine.”

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19 Responses to AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

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  • Keep preaching brother!

    I nominate the following excerpt to be the quote of year here at The American Catholic.

    “One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Simple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana.”

  • Nothing to “wonder” about. The answers are self-evident.

  • Well said, excellent, wonderful!

  • Uh…it’s “magisterium.”

    Good piece, though.

    🙂

    -Theo

  • It’s not clear to me that Allen was interviewed for the AP story. He was using “Taliban Catholics” in his own writing at least as far back as February.

  • Great piece with good insight. I especially like your quote about people not knowing the difference between Catholic bloggers and others.

    One note: Allen’s quote reveals more about himself than it does about Catholic blogging or orthodox Catholics. For all those who believe him to be fair, you might want to read his work more closely and don’t forget that he chooses to work for the dissident Reporter. His work displays some real blind spots.

  • It’s just funny that in article that to some extent is bemoaning in the incivility of the blogosphere, the term “Taliban Catholic” is so casually tossed about as though there is nothing uncivil about that comparison.

    But that, of course, is par for the course for people who yelp the loudest about tone and the harshness of dialogue. What it really is is an attempt to change the topic and avoid having to defend indefensible positions.

  • Defending the indefensible?

    As in an article that defends the civility of Michael Sean Winters but paints Catholics who are righteously standing up and saying enough as fringe.

    30-40 thousand readers a month may be ‘nobody reading’ to you, but I think it is enough to get an army of Catholics to get folks who espouse the opinions of dissent, silenced.

    It is half past time we take our parishes and schools back.

    We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Carry on.

  • Someone should ask John Allen when was the last time a Catholic blogger destroyed millenia-old works of art. Or shot a woman in the back of the head as halftime entertainment at a soccer match. Or sponsored terrorists who flew airplanes into buildings killing 3000 people.

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people who should know better consider John Allen to be “fair”. “Fair” people don’t make such idiotic comparisons.

  • We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Umm, what? I was critiquing the Allen quote and the condescending tone of the AP article, not Dave’s post.

  • Please, please, please – check your spell-check and correct “magEsterium” to “magIsterium”. The word comes from the Latin – magister.

  • Paul,

    Yes, my comments were about the article, not your comments which I completely agree with and thank you for stepping up to the plate to say.

  • p.s. I am not of the opinion that the article had coded message in it that needed to be cracked.

    There are many of us that are finished with letting teachers and priests preach and teach dissent and we area shutting it down by exposing what is going on with teaching, sanctifying and governing.

    Writing intellectual treatises on the internet is swell but it is not helping our children down at the local school being hoodwinked by Sister Mary Wear the Pants and Fr. Hehirtic. We have had to flee from our parishes, pull our children out of schools.

    What are we running from? It’s time to go back and demand our religion be taught.

    1. Pour through every bulletin and expose every problem, naming names and exercising your gifts by explaining the theological problems and consequences to our children.

    2. Start holding the priest accountable.

    3. If the priest won’t be held accountable, go to the Bishop.

    4. If the Bishop won’t be accountable, go to the Nuncio.

    5. If the Nuncio won’t hold them accountable, go to the Holy See.

    Round up as many in your area who are willing to do it.

    If in time, they do not intercede and do something to stop the people poisining the wells our children are drinking from, start a campaign to hold up the money on the annual Bishops appeal.

    Build it and they will flee.

    People may call it harsh. People like this author will call it fringe. Whatever hits you have to take from the author of this article on The American Catholic or anyone in the AP – Do it anyway.

    :O)

  • Anna, I do hope your not talking about me as being part of the dissent, or just sitting at my computer composing essays while Rome burns. I do think my bona fides as a writer, educator (working in the Church and taking a lot of heat from Church liberals) etc should fit pass muster. I would hope so anyone, considering how many nasty names I have been called by the liberals in the Church. If I have misinterpreted your remarks, please forgive me. However, it would appear to me that you think this article is somehow not orthodox enough. I don’t know how that is possible. It would seem to me that the first three or four commentors (among others) like what I have to say. Anyway, God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I actually never knew you existed before I found your article, but I can see that you are not a dissident.

    It has been such a refuge to come to the internet and read solid opinions. But we need those opinions to get into our schools and parishes and it is time to do something a little different.

    As a Boston activist who is part of the blogging community described in the AP, those of us on the ground doing this difficult ministry not only get called ‘names’ by dissidents, we are undermined by people on the right, sitting staring at their computers using their orthodoxy and bonafides to take cheap shots at us.

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    Is blogosphere a game of “who is the bigger player”? Is it about chumming around with folks who post comments telling you how great you are?

    Oh wait…

    Look, I’ve done my share of years of writing and defending the Magisterium.

    But you know what we realized?

    Not a single dissident in our children’s schools been removed from teaching children by the things we are writing on the internet (myself included)

    A lot of us have been parish shopping for ten years.

    It’s time to go to plan b.

    I can appreciate your frustration with the article that they failed to recognize the big wazoos who have been banging away at their keyboards. But the work we are doing is critical new work and the author of the AP article knew more about that then you did!

    Nobody on the ground is a threat to your thunder. We will not be competing in who is the greatest of them all contests. At ease.

    We are people who are trying to focus getting orthodoxy to our own children, family and friends while you bang away at your ministry doing it for people in the com boxes. Not as worthy as the work you are doing, but it is nonetheless, worthy work that did not deserve your cheap shot.

    The kicker was your respectful attitude towards John Allen, who in between working with Joan Chittister, Tom Roberts, Michael Sean Winters and Bishop Gumbleton (talk about fringe!) serving up poison to Christ’s souls, characterized parents fed up with dissent that is continuously being taught no matter how much you write with concerns to your Bishop, as lecherous murderers.

  • Goodness Anna I think the liberals have got the best of you. I spoke kindly of John Allen? I took him to task for his comment. I only said he was respected by many. Have you ever read what Father Zuhlsdorf says about John Allen? Father Z calls him “his friend and highly respected.” Do you think Father Z has gone wobbly too?

    I understand what you must be going through living in Boston. You may remember that I mentioned in my article that my childhood parish was scourged with not only one priest sent to the slammer for molestation, but two. Some of those these two deviants molested were my friends, so believe me I don’t need any lectures on that subject.

    I would suggest you take some time to pray over the whole matter, calling those that are on your side not wholly orthodox doesn’t help. God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I must not be making myself clear.

    I have the greatest respect for Fr. Z. But I disagree with his characterizations of John Allen. I am NOT attacking Fr. Z or his orthodoxy. Nor, am I attacking your orthodoxy. Nor am I attacking you.

    Phew.

    There is no need to be defensive. Be at peace.

    The AP wrote an article about a new ministry in the Church and your reaction to it was a knee-jerk.
    Look here:

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    The good people in Boston are getting off their fannies and taking our schools and parishes and chancery back. That’s what the article was about.

    What is it about that you wouldn’t embrace?

  • Anna, there is nothing about what you said that I wouldn’t embrace. God Bless you and the good people of Boston who are helping turn the tide. May God Be With You All!

October 25, 1415

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
    But one ten thousand of those men in England
    That do no work to-day!
 
KING. What’s he that wishes so?
    My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
    If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
    By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
    Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
    It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
    Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
    But if it be a sin to covet honour,
    I am the most offending soul alive.

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3 Responses to October 25, 1415

Predictions

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

The midterm elections are upon us a week from tomorrow, so it is time for predictions.  Predictions are harder than normal this year because we are dealing with an unprecedented situation in modern American politics.  Never before have the Republicans been so far ahead on almost every generic Congressional ballot, and never have they enjoyed such a large enthusiasm gap between their voters and voters who intend to vote for Democrats.  Additionally, never before have the Republicans fielded so many well-funded candidates in traditional Democrat strongholds.  This is political terra incognita.  Almost all serious political analysts believe that the GOP will take more than the 39 seats necessary to take the House, with some of the chief prognosticators making the following predictions:  Larry Sabato (47), RCP (”up to 57?), Charlie Cook (52), Jay Cost (61), and Nate Silver (51).

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9 Responses to Predictions

  • The people who do this for a living (e.g. the Rothenberg Political Report) are predicting the federal legislature will have something close to a 50-50 split, with a modest Republican advantage in the House and a modest Democratic advantage in the Senate.

    The current President is not Gerald Ford. He does not have an extensive history (or any history) of negotiating with the political opposition. The Governor of Minnesota has said the President shows no evidence of being able to set priorities in the manner of an ordinary political executive and we can see the Democratic Congressional caucus could not do so either. The Republican Party remains addled by the notions of Arthur Laffer and Grover Norquist. With these characters, we face the severest fiscal challenge of the post-bellum period. I do not think this is going to end well.

    A wave of sovereign defaults is not going to be pretty. The U.S. military taking a page from their Uruguayan counterparts, ca. 1973, is not going to be pretty either.

  • The funny thing is that everything seems to be trending up for the GOP in the House and down in the Senate as far as polls are concerned. The said, it’s looking something like a 65-70 seat gain in the House for the Republicans. I’m going to say that it will be an even ten seat pickup in the Senate to give the GOP a majority. I think Don’s spot on with the local races.

    As to what this will all mean – I’ll write about that after election day.

  • 82, 11 and 32? I hope you are right.

  • Would it not be more prudent to wait until after the elections to give your predictions?
    Will you not also give us the weather predictions? the state of the stock market? who will win the Super Bowl?

    Predictions are a mug’s game. What purpose do they serve? what benefit?

  • Would it not be more prudent to wait until after the elections to give your predictions?

    At that point they would no longer be accurately called predictions, but rather a reporting of facts.

    Predictions are a mug’s game. What purpose do they serve? what benefit?

    It’s called having some fun with politics. Relax and enjoy.

  • The national debt has ballooned by $5,000,000,000,000.00 since Squeaker pelosi promised no new deficit spending in the 2007 liberal takeover of conress.

    Obama stated that if THEY let him borrow $2,500,000,000,000.00 (next year it will approach $4,000,000,000,000.00), unemployment would not exceed 8% – it is 9.4% and they keep subtracting numbers from the denominator.

    Anyone besides me and the tea party know why Obamacare does not body slam us until 2013?

    The only states with private sector job rowth are Red states.

    Eat when you’re hungry.
    Drink when you’re dry.
    If the sky don’t fall in,
    You’ll live ’til you die!

    Big government is the problem, not the solution.

  • I will be honored to cast my first vote as a Californian against Missus Boxer.

  • I am voting for Toomey and Corbett in Pennsylvania.
    I hope that Donald’s predictions come true.

    I predict that the GOP will gain at least 70 seats in the House and at least 9 seats in the Senate.

  • You’re in California, Joe? Here’s to casting our votes against Babs “Call me Senator” Boxer!

The Future?

Sunday, October 24, AD 2010

Actually, I think if current trends continue, I could imagine in  2030 a group of Chinese prisoners under guard working in a rice field.  A passerby yells out, “What did they do?”  A guard growls at one of the prisoners, “Wang, tell him what all of you did!”  Wang sheepishly yells out, “We are the economic advisors who thought that American debt made for a good investment!”   As the screen fades, the passerby has to be physically restrained by the guard from attacking Wang.

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6 Responses to The Future?

  • And said: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job

  • While I agree with the underlying sentiment of the ad (the purchasing of American debt by the Chinese government helped enable Washington D.C. to essentially spend the nation into oblivion), I’m not too comfortable with the sinister and demonizing tone towards China (and future China).

    I’m not into blaming the Chinese for problems we created for ourselves. I suppose you could make the argument: if the Chinese were really our friends, they would refuse to keep buying our debt…

    Either way, I’m just not cool with the Chinese as scapegoat, nor am I ok with enacting policies that would begin a trade war…

  • “if the Chinese were really our friends, they would refuse to keep buying our debt…”

    Our debt situation is a problem of our own making. Communist China is a rival power that will take advantage of our folly if they can, although I think Chinese purchasing of US debt may well have been an act of folly on their party.

  • To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to…

    At some point they’ll realize the bills aren’t going to get paid. I’d rather take steps to ensure that our “rivalry” tends towards friendship rather than leaning towards inevitable conflict.

    If it were me, I’d level with them while they were still significantly weaker than us militarily. This debt must be restructured, or it will not be repaid. That, and there must be major austerity measures at home… you can’t have one without the other…

  • “I’d rather take steps to ensure that our “rivalry” tends towards friendship rather than leaning towards inevitable conflict.”

    Nations do not have friends, they have interests. The Chinese leadership views China as a rising power and the US as a declining power. The hostility against the US in that leadership sometimes rises to the surface.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/07/AR2010060704762.html

    I think war between the US and China in the near term is unlikely. Intense rivalry and fairly high levels of hostitlity? Almost certainly.

4 Responses to Army of the Free

Pro Bono Publico

Friday, October 22, AD 2010

Hattip to Instapundit.  To all would be attorneys who read TAC, I have warned you about the law as a profession on several occasions, here, here, and here.  You have been adequately warned!   For those of you who ignore my advice and are jobless on graduation, you can always sue your law school.   (Of course my first born is planning on following me in the law, so my warnings must be inadequate!)  Now this post will have to be brief, because I have 10 calls to return, three bankruptcies to prepare, 2 trials to get ready for, and all the other charming events that the day will bring me in the law mines!

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19 Responses to Pro Bono Publico

  • Our attorneys at work are all outstanding people – no reservation.

    Two more I need to pray for! The wife’s brother-in-law and a nephew are (GASP!) lawyers.

    “Pray for the living and the dead.”

  • This is very funny. I actually clean the classrooms and offices of Saint Louis University Law School.

  • Oh My! That was very funny. I laughed out loud several times.

  • “Pray for the living and the dead.”

    By praying for lawyers, you can do both at once.

  • “Pray for the living and the dead.”

    “By praying for lawyers, you can do both at once.”

    Ah, that one is a keeper Michael.

    Nate, lawyers are a sloppy bunch, or so I’ve been told by numerous secretaries over the years.

  • There must be a special talent to writing dialog which sounds hilarious when delivered in the halting monotone of this movie generation software. Love it…

  • Funny and sad and accurate all at the same time. Well done. I recently had a conversation with friends and co-workers and none of them thought, in retrospect, that going to law school was a great decision – even with low-to-non-existent levels of debt. At the same time, some people really enjoy law practice – they are just a minority of the people who hold law degrees in my (necessarily limited) experience.

  • I loved law school. Let me re-phrase that: I loved going to UVA Law School, which, at least when I attended had a reputation for being a much more laid back and enjoyable atmosphere than other law schools.

    We referred to it as “Withers High” – the name of the building in which the Law School was located was Withers Hall – because it was so much like high school.

    John Henry, I don’t know whether your experience some 15-20 years later was similar, but that’s how it used to be, at least. So, it’s hard for me to say I regret going to law school – even though I HATED practicing law – because the experience for me was such a good one.

    But I would not encourage others to do it. I would NEVER encourage anyone to go into law.

  • Yeah, let me clarify. I loved law school too – UVA was and is a great school in a great location. I could not have been more impressed with most of the faculty. The conversation was more about going to law school to become a lawyer (which all of us currently are). I would not recommend that to pretty much anyone, unless they have spent significant time in the legal industry (or, like Don’s son, are very familiar with the work).

  • I hated my first year of law school at the U of I. The second was tolerable and the third was a breeze.

  • 9 out of 10 of the poli-sci post-grads at my school were on their way to law school.

  • By the way, having this video pop up while I’m scrambling to finish my submission I’m required to do for law review was perfect timing.

  • “By the way, having this video pop up while I’m scrambling to finish my submission I’m required to do for law review was perfect timing.”

    Ah that reminds me of the case note I did 31 years ago. I think I had done 31 drafts on a manual typewriter by the time that wretched thing was in print.

  • My younger daughter was not selected for a jury this week, largely on the grounds that she is related to too many attorneys. Both grandfathers, two uncles, a great uncle and she has a brother and a cousin in law school.

    When my father’s law school retroactively changed his LLB into a JD, he began making restaurant reservations as “Doctor Duffy,” in the belief that doctors got better reservations.

    Of course poli sci grads want to go to law school. Isn’t that the logical next career step in their plan to become President? Follow with a few years doing poverty law or something similar, polishing your credentials as a protector of the working man, and then you run for office… Oh, wait. I’ve already seen this movie.

  • I can’t help but to watch it over and over – The blackberry line was classic 🙂 I am going to use it at work… (no I am not and never have desired to be a lawyer – I am in aviation and there are plenty of nutty things in this profession as well LOL)

  • “I am not and never have desired to be a lawyer”

    Just one of your many good qualities I am sure Robert.
    🙂

  • Pingback: The Truth Hurts « The American Catholic
  • I ended up getting a job as a paralegal because that is the only thing I could get in this economy. I do a lot of complex cases in immigration law, and even though I feel pretty low on the totem pole, it pays the bills and whatnot (barely). Six figures of debt and three years gone in my life are not things that I want to do at this point in my life, all for a job that may or may not be there.

    My question, then, is this, if anyone is game: if you have paralegal experience, and there is a temptation to go to law school since you know that you are smarter than the lawyers you are working for, what other options does one have? I am just brainstorming ideas, because I don’t want to do this job forever.

  • Join the military cassianus. I assume you have your undergrad degree. The military has programs to pay for law school while you are in if you qualify:

    http://www.veteransbenefitsgibill.com/2010/07/16/law-school-assistance-for-veterans/

Andrew Klavan on Extremists

Thursday, October 21, AD 2010

In a nation where 40% of the population identify as conservatives, it is hilarious that we have what is laughingly referred to as the mainstream media which tilts overwhelmingly to the left, and purports to determine which candidates are “moderate” and which are “mainstream”.  However, in the age of the internet, the power of the mainstream media is a diminishing asset, especially when such examples as NPR firing liberal Juan Williams for stating that he is nervous on a plane when he sees passengers in traditional muslim garbindicate clearly who the intolerant extremists truly are.

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8 Responses to Andrew Klavan on Extremists

What Is This Wicked Capitalism?

Thursday, October 21, AD 2010

One of the difficulties that comes in discussing the many “isms” that populate the landscape of political discussion is that very often people use the same words without mean the same things, or indeed without having any clearly defined idea of what they do mean. While this is the case with nearly any ism (socialism, liberalism, libertarianism, conservatism, etc.) I’d like to address in this case the way in which opponents (particularly Christian opponents) of “capitalism” tend to address the object of their condemnation. This is in some ways a beautifully typical example of a Christian opponent of capitalism attempting to describe what it is he is condemning:

We must remember the capitalistic system we live in also is a materialistic ideology which runs contrary to the Christian faith, and it is a system which is used to create rival, and equally erroneous, forms of liberation theology. It is as atheistic as Marxism. It is founded upon a sin, greed. It promises utopia, telling us that if we allow capitalist systems to exist without regulation, everyone, including the poor, will end up being saved. The whole “if we allow the rich to be rich, they will give jobs to the poor” is just as much a failed ideology as Marxist collectivism.

Admittedly, this is a somewhat muddled set of statements, but I think we can draw out of it the following statements which the author, and many other self described critics of capitalism (in particular from a religious perspective) believe to be true:
-Capitalism is a system or ideology much as Communism is.
-Capitalism is based on greed or takes greed to be a virtue.
-Capitalism is a materialistic or atheistic philosophy/system.
-Capitalism could be summed up as the idea that “if we allow the rich to be rich, they will give jobs to the poor”
-Capitalism promises utopia if “capitalist systems” are allowed to exist without regulation.

While one approach to this is simply to throw out the term “capitalism” entirely, what I’d like to do is accept that claim that we live in a “capitalist” system and that this system is roughly what libertarians/conservatives advocate, and proceed to address the claims made about “capitalism” in that context.

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31 Responses to What Is This Wicked Capitalism?

  • “If anything, capitalism is based very much on the assumption that human nature will remain the same as it has been in the past.”

    And that is one of the safest predictions about the human condition that anyone can ever make.

  • I think the only people who might be labeled as capitalist utopians are Randians. Even that might be stretching it.

  • Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves… And this ideological promise has proven false.

  • True, Paul, though Randians seem to want more than just the private ownership of the means of production in order to produce their utopia.

  • Henry,

    Where did capitalism “promise to point out the path for the creation of just structures”? Was that in the Capitalist Manifesto written by Mr. Capital?

  • The closest thing one might find to a “Capitalist Manifesto” would be Wealth of Nations. Although Smith argues that free market economies are more productive and more beneficial for society, I don’t recall anything that “promise[d] to point out the path for the creation of just structures”.

    Of course, it’s been 20+ years since I read it, so my memory may be faulty.

  • “Was that in the Capitalist Manifesto written by Mr. Capital?”

    ROFL

    It’s individualism that is condemned by the Church – not capitalism. You can have collective or cooperative forms of capitalism.

  • The closest thing one might find to a “Capitalist Manifesto” would be Wealth of Nations. Although Smith argues that free market economies are more productive and more beneficial for society, I don’t recall anything that “promise[d] to point out the path for the creation of just structures”.

    To be honest, I haven’t read Wealth Of Nations since college, though I did read Theory Of Moral Sentiments fairly recently. I’m not sure I’d say Smith really seems to talk about “just structures” one way or the other. He thinks that freer trade will tend to result in better outcomes, and that’s about as far as he goes. Morally he’s a very psycholical/emperical kind of fellow, and as such it seems to me that while he’s very solid on how people tend to relate to each other and to experiences, he’s not the sort you’d turn to for any kind of sweeping moral vision.

    It we take Smith as the “Mr. Capital” of capitalism, it seems to me that capitalism is the very opposite of utopian.

  • Excerpted from a WSJ Letter to the Editor, today:

    FDR got by because almost no one understood how bad government policy distorts the economy by misallocating resources. Today many understand that the current recession is rooted in the massive distortions caused by the (bipartisan) political crusade for making home ownership affordable to nearly everyone.

    In the 1930s very few people understood that government policies meant to stimulate the economy are counterproductive. Today, in contrast, we have abundant evidence that further government interventions can only prolong and increase our economic distress. Many knew that the “stimulus” spending would fail to lower unemployment even before the bills were passed. Now only deep idealogs believe more government action will be our salvation.
    Better economic comprehension today is creating very choppy waters for President Obama and his party.

    Before my lib genius brothers get your knickers in a bunch, here’s a pithy quote from Congressional Research Service; 2/1/2010; “Government Interventions in Response to Financial Turmoil” – Summary:

    “ . . . an unprecedented housing boom turned to a housing bust.”

    And, you can thank Andrew Cuomo and Christine Gillibrand for it.

    I am not current with on the books. I’ve been working in this financial services whirlwind for 33 years, and his is the fourth or fifth (and direst, is tha a word?) financial crisis I’ve experienced.

    What is just about mass brigandage? – Whether I do it or the government, it’s theft.

  • Funny to see the great Catholics mocking Pope Benedict here.

  • For those mocking Pope Benedict, you might want a longer quote:

    The problems of Latin America and the Caribbean, like those of today’s world, are multifaceted and complex, and they cannot be dealt with through generic programmes. Undoubtedly, the fundamental question about the way that the Church, illuminated by faith in Christ, should react to these challenges, is one that concerns us all. In this context, we inevitably speak of the problem of structures, especially those which create injustice. In truth, just structures are a condition without which a just order in society is not possible. But how do they arise? How do they function? Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves; they declared that not only would they have no need of any prior individual morality, but that they would promote a communal morality. And this ideological promise has been proved false. The facts have clearly demonstrated it. The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful oppression of souls. And we can also see the same thing happening in the West, where the distance between rich and poor is growing constantly, and giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness.

    Ask Blosser if you need help finding what Pope Benedict has said. He has it on his Ratzinger blog. Oh, and btw, you just proved my point. Thank you. Good bye.

  • Henry,

    Your attempt to quote Benedict completely out of context, and then accuse others of mocking him, does not say much for your ability to engage the topic at hand, or indeed comprehend it.

    Proof-testing is not argumentation, nor a valid path to knowledge, as you should well know.

    Benedict is not addressing the relative merits and differences of Marxism and capitalism as systems in that passage, nor their origins or natures. Rather, he is relating historically how attempts to treat either Marxism or capitalism as if they would, in and of themselves, create just systems, failed in the Latin America.

    The key difference between capitalism and Marxism in this respect, as I pointed out and you have failed or refused to understand, is that is that capitalism is not in the first place a utopian system that claims to have such an ability.

  • Funny to see the great Catholics mocking Pope Benedict here.

    This post mocks Pope Benedict in the same way that jokes about grown men living in their parents’ basement mocks the traditional family.

  • I don’t even think he wrote that as pope.

    But some people love blindly following authorities more than they do thinking. A lot of popes have said a lot of things about a lot of economic issues. But there have been no decrees forbidding anyone from starting a business and making a profit.

  • “This post mocks Pope Benedict in the same way that jokes about grown men living in their parents’ basement mocks the traditional family.”

    Best comment of the week BA!

  • Actually, I would agree with the more full Benedict quote (though perhaps Henry would not) and indeed would go further and say that no economic system will create just structures by itself and without prior individual morality by promoting communal morality. It is not in the capacity fo an economic system to do such thing.

  • “This post mocks Pope Benedict in the same way that jokes about grown men living in their parents’ basement mocks the traditional family.”

    😉

    Awesome!!!

  • “I don’t even think he wrote that as pope.”

    He did: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2007/may/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20070513_conference-aparecida_en.html

    Funny to see the great Catholics mocking Pope Benedict here

    Mocking, no, as BA humorously pointed out. Disagreement? You have a better case, though you could use more evidence/argumentation.

  • Ah. I stand corrected. Still, I’ll wait for the statement that says we can’t start businesses or make profits.

    On the other hand, we do have pretty clear denunciations of socialism, such as I referenced in my last post.

    The neo-Calvinists at Vox Nova, though, holding to their view of the depravity of man, believe that a large managerial state is the necessary requisite of charity and justice.

    If only they could see how it destroys and mocks both.

  • Maybe a better way to “sum up” capitalism in one little sound bite would be “if you let people control their own resources, they’ll make better choices”? Or maybe “Each person is best suited to watching his own interests”? Still a bit broad for an economic system…. Maybe “Let people spend their own money, and they won’t waste as much”?

  • Henry,

    Where did capitalism “promise to point out the path for the creation of just structures”? Was that in the Capitalist Manifesto written by Mr. Capital?

    “Was that in the Capitalist Manifesto written by Mr. Capital?”

    ROFL

    —-

    The comments were mocking a quote of Pope Benedict. It is clear how clueless the people who comment here really are. I just quoted that text. You can’t say I said anything out of context– I just quoted the text. And the text you mocked. And you can’t get away from “the bigger quote is fine.” You mocked what the quote says.

    People can see. You have been shown for what you are. Spin as you want, the words of the Pope were ridiculed.

  • “Actually, I would agree with the more full Benedict quote (though perhaps Henry would not) and indeed would go further and say that no economic system will create just structures by itself and without prior individual morality by promoting communal morality.”

    Then why did you attack a post which said just that?

  • Henry,

    You quoted one line of Benedict’s out of context in a way that suggested:

    – They were your own words written specifically to respond to the post
    – That you were attempting to argue by assertion that capitalism did, in and of itself, as a system, make the promise that it would create just structures

    Given that you had provided no back-up for this assertion, this was rather mockable. and the whole gambit becomes more so when you fall into this whole “you mock Benedict” line. Now, if you want to say any thing in response to the actual post, that would be most welcome. Conversations are best when they are two way. For instance, perhaps you have an importanit source or thinker you would like to cite which you believe demonstrates that capitalism is widely believed or represented to create just structures on it’s own and irrespective of individual morality.

    However if your going to continue this silly “you mock the pope” line without bothering to address the topic at hand, I’ll simply leave your comments inthe moderation queue, as further travel down that road would go well past silly and into pathetic.

  • Actually we already passed pathetic in the Political Miscellania thread where mocking the selfish, gravely slothful and exploitive was turned into mocking the tradional family.

    Plagiarizing is a new low. It doesn’t matter if the intent was to decieve the readers into thinking the plagiarist was more insightful than he actually is or if it was a shallow and immature attempt to win a self-serving gotcha point. It’s just a shameful new low. I’ve seen a lot of silliness on the internet and regretably contributed to it, but I have never witnessed a thing such as this.

  • Henry apparently has gotten into one of his fits where he alone discerns that his opponent has betrayed their true wickedness, and will spend the rest of the thread denouncing the opponent as revealing their darkness, while every other onlooker is bewildered at what he’s talking about. It won’t matter if you explicitly tell him you don’t think what he ascribes to you, for he has secret knowledge about your views that not even you know. Quite sad, really.

  • The neo-Calvinists at Vox Nova, though, holding to their view of the depravity of man, believe that a large managerial state is the necessary requisite of charity and justice.

    But even a large managerial state is made up of depraved men, so it does not seem to be a solution to the depravity of man.

  • “Capitalism is based on greed or takes greed to be a virtue.”

    This is asserted by people on the right and left who lack an understanding of virtue as the golden mean. A proportionate interest in profit isn’t greed. It’s appropriate. Profit is a means to an end; the goal is freedom from want. Greed is an excess; animosity towards the flesh is the corresponding absence.

    The Randers get a kick out of saying that greed or selfishness is a virtue. It’s kind of sad, because they’re doing it to “shock the squares”, even though no one’s been shocked by a Rander in decades. As ideologues, they are attracted to extremes, so they err toward an excess of desire for wealth.

    The left sees the capitalist embrace of wealth and assumes it’s an excess. They point to the Trumps of the world and believe that the capitalist sees him as a role model. It’s possible to see the profit motive as virtuous and still recognize Trump as the embodiment of every embarrassing vice.

  • I believe the Pope is infallible in matters of Faith and Morals. I do not think that quote infers that a person who kept himself sane and sober and worked hard for a livin to support his wife and children as best he could AND does not believe that the overnment is a solution, but a problem is an evil person.

    If so, I imaine the vatican has unli9mited funds.

  • And then, Henry was silent.

    You write with clarity and truth Darwin. It would be nice if your critics responded to the actual words and ideas written in these excellent posts.

  • Well, I think Spengler had already caught on to the idea that capitalism and socialism/marxism/communism are but two sides to the same coin. Of course in practice it’s a continuum. But what I’m trying to say is that it’s all people’s attempts to cope and hopefully thrive in a post-Fall context–and they aren’t aware that a fall occured. Economic and political systems have a tendency to dispense with God and to rival his kingdom’s claims.

  • “Labeling this tendency to respond better to perceivable benefits as “greed” seems rather harsh — one might as well say that cooking is motivated entirely by gluttony.”

    Or that marriage is motivated entirely by lust, or that asking for days off from work is motivated entirely by sloth. Or that the invention/discovery of fire was motivated by a desire to commit serial arson. ANY human desire or tendency can become sinful if indulged to excess; that doesn’t negate the fact that there is usually a legitimate and beneficial way to exercise that desire.

Faculty Committee Finds That Dr. Howell's Academic Due Process Rights Were Denied

Thursday, October 21, AD 2010

 

Faithful readers of our blog will recall the case of Dr. Kenneth Howell at the University of Illinois.  I have posted on his firing and subsequent rehiring here, here, here and here.  Briefly, Dr. Howell taught a course on Catholicism at the University of Illinois under contract between the Newman Center at the University of Illinois and the University since 2001.  Dr. Howell describes the events which led to his firing:

This past semester was unusual. In previous years, I had students who might have disagreed with the Church’s position but they did so respectfully and without incident.  This semester (Spring 2010) I noticed the most vociferous reaction that I have ever had. It seemed out of proportion to all that I had known thus far. To help students understand better how this issue might be decided within competing moral systems, I sent them an email contrasting utilitarianism (in the populist sense) and natural moral law. If we take utilitarianism to be a kind of cost-benefit analysis, I tried to show them that under utilitarianism, homosexual acts would not be considered immoral whereas under natural moral law they would. This is because natural moral law, unlike utilitarianism, judges morality on the basis of the acts themselves.

 After the semester was over, I was called into the office of Robert McKim, the chairman of the Department of Religion, who was in possession of this email. I was told that someone (I presume one of my students) sent this email to the Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Concerns at the University. It was apparently sent to administrators in the University of Illinois and then forwarded on to Professor McKim. I was told that I would no longer be able to teach in the Department of Religion.

Professor McKim and I discussed the contents of the email and he was quite insistent that my days of teaching in the department were over. I offered that it would be more just to ask me not to address the subject of homosexuality in my class. In fact, the other class I regularly taught (Modern Catholic Thought) never dealt with that subject at all. I also averred that to dismiss me for teaching the Catholic position in a class on Catholicism was a violation of academic freedom and my first amendment rights of free speech. This made no difference. After that conversation and a couple of emails, Professor McKim insisted that this decision to dismiss me stood firm.

The Newman Center and the Diocese of Peoria did not stand behind Howell initially, seeming to want to avoid a conflict with the University.  Dr. Howell contacted the Alliance Defense Fund which contacted the University and threatened to file suit.  Catholic bloggers raised a huge hue and cry about the firing.  Eventually the firing decision was reversed, and Dr. Howell was re- hired to teach Introduction to Catholicism in the fall semester of this year.  However, the contract between the Newman Center and the University of Illinois was ended, and Dr. Howell would simply teach the course as a regular adjunct professor of  the University.

The faculty committee has finished its examination of the firing of Dr. Howell.  Inside Education has obtained a leaked copy of the report, and a story on the report may be read here, along with a link to the report.

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6 Responses to Faculty Committee Finds That Dr. Howell's Academic Due Process Rights Were Denied

  • Donald – Thanks for all the work you have did posting on this topic. It was/is very helpful. Thank you.

  • I confess. I am one of the (primally evil) Americans that opposes politically correct censorship, coersion and show trials.

    One of the more notorious perpetrators of the so-called enlightenement said something to the effect, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend (to the death?) your right to say it.

  • That was Voltaire T. Shaw. I doubt if he meant it.

  • That was Voltaire T. Shaw. I doubt if he meant it.

    Ha!

    Don, Do I recall correctly that you have a book of quotes you collected or am I thinking of someone else? If so, you need to put your own quote in there. Perfect!

  • Thank you RL, and I have do have quite a list of quotes I have stol…, that is borrowed, from others over the years.

  • Catholics fought back, and that is the most important lesson from this affair: the necessity for Catholics to stand and fight when they receive bigoted treatment.

    Exactly. Helmet to helmet, put ’em down hard.

Reading Between the Hats

Wednesday, October 20, AD 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has announced the 24 men who will become cardinals next month. There are two Americans in the group: Archbishop Burke of St. Louis and Archbishop Wuerl of Washington D.C.

It seems pretty clear that this is, in part, a stinging loss for those Catholics on the left who have attempted to deride Burke and other hardline Catholics on the abortion issue as being “out of touch with the Vatican.” Obviously, Burke’s viewpoints are not so distasteful and Calvinist to the Pope. Considering how vocal Burke has been on the issue, it would stretch credulity to think that the Pope did not think that Burke’s interpretation of the meaning of the abortion issue in the voting decision is an acceptable Catholic position.

However, with the appointment of Wuerl the pope seems to be suggesting that Burke’s position is not the only one. In a papacy that has confounded left and right, the pope does so again by elevating one of the more vocal bishops on determining withholding of communion on an individual basis in regards to pro-abortion politicians. Wuerl was however also extremely vocal in opposing DC’s move to same-sex marriage.

While neither “side” can claim victory with these two appointments, what has been defeated is the idea that the Vatican has a right answer. That the Vatican secretly disdains all these Republican voters or that the Pope wishes he could excommunicate everyone cannot be held except by the severest of ideologues. Instead, the Pope is sending a message that, as he did in Caritas in Veritate, he wants the different sides of the aisle in American to be dialoguing with each other and this debate, far from being an example of silly American politics, may be one that the rest of the world needs to be engaged in. So while neither side can claim victory, both sides seem to be encouraged in coming to the table to present their arguments.

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17 Responses to Reading Between the Hats

  • I think you’re right to an extent, Michael.

    But I’m not sure it actually represents some sort of “compromise” on whether those who publicly dissent from Church teaching on issues such as abortion, same-sex “marriage”, torture, etc. should be permitted to receive Communion. On matters of Canon Law, Abp. Burke is the expert, not Abp. Wuerl. The fact that not only does Abp. Burke serve as the Church’s chief canon lawyer but has now been raised to the status of Cardinal, in my mind, argues that someone in high places thinks Abp. Burke knows his Canon Law stuff.

    In addition, I don’t think Abp. Wuerl’s being raised to a Cardinal can necessarily be seen as a defeat for those on the so-called “right”; whereas Abp. Burke’s being raised to a Cardinal is a clear and resounding defeat for his detractors on the “left”.

  • I for one am ecstatic for both announcements. I don’t see this as any sort of mixed message. While Wuerl does take a less hard-line approach than some would want, his preaching has been consistent and clear throughout his tenure here in DC. I am very happy to see him finally get his red hat.

  • I should say that I’m very happy to see Abp. Wuerl get a red hat, as well. Somewhat surprised Abp. Dolan didn’t get one, though.

  • Somewhat surprised Abp. Dolan didn’t get one, though.

    Me, too.

  • Yeah, it’s not a mixed message but it’s not a clear endorsement of “Burke is right about excommunication.” Both bishops have been good in arguing in defense of life however.

    I too was surprised Dolan didn’t get a nod. Perhaps he is too new to his post?

  • Dolan did not get one for the reason many did not. That is technically a few of these American Sees as well as elsewhere have a Former Cardinal under the age of 80 and can still vote. Dolan should be up next year.

    I actually like Wuerl a lot. I think his stance during the recent DC debate on the gay issues and Church services was a strong one.

    Further he seesm to be taking care of business. Vocations are up, little by little CUA is gaining their Catholic ID again. I get the sense of a very Orthodox Archdiocese on the whole.

    Further having him as Cardinal will help even more the new Anglo Catholic structure that is coming on line that he is head of.

  • How old is Cdl. McCarrick? Is he already 75?

  • Sorry, 80, not 75, is the cutoff age for voting.

  • And McCarrick just turned 80 in July.

  • I think you are reading this too much through the prism of American politics; in reality, it was a bureacratic decision. McCarrick turned 80, making space for Wuerl. And Burke’s job typically comes with the red hat, like him or not.

    I was happiest with Abp. Marx of Munich, one of the leading authorities on Catholic social teaching. Marx has criticized the tendency of “reducing Christianity to religious ideology propping up the market economy” and had praised the German model of “a welfare state that works: insurance for the unemployed, benefits for those laid off, support for those with odd jobs, public health care.”

  • praised the German model of “a welfare state that works: insurance for the unemployed, benefits for those laid off, support for those with odd jobs, public health care

    The first two on the list have been provided by state governments in this country since the 1930s. The last has been provided by the state and federal governments since 1965. As for the 3d, perhaps one of our attorneys recalls when the Earned Income Tax Credit was enacted.

  • The Archdiocese of Washington is a diocese that is traditionally led by a Cardinal. It was just a matter of time that Archbishop Wuerl would receive the red hat.

    From his many years serving as bishop of his home Diocese of Pittsburgh, Cardinal-designate Wuerl was known as being very adept in dealing with all sorts of people from the most politically powerful to the captains of industry. He angered many in the Pittsburgh Diocese when certain old ethnic parishes that had declining membership and severe financial problems were closed, but those decisions were the right ones to make.

    On the other hand, Archbishop Wuerl was not known to be overly friendly to the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community. He disappointed me when he gave permission for John Kerry, who is married to John Heinz’ widow, to receive Communion despite Kerry’s abortionist stance. Teresa Heinz inherited a vast sum from her late husband (but she is not in control of H. J. Heinz Company) and owns an estate in the north suburbs of Pittsburgh.

    Priestly vocations have struggled here during and after Cardinal-designate Wuerl was here, which is a little odd because Pittsburgh is one of the 20 biggest dioceses in the US (almost 800K Catholics).

    Pittsburgh will now have two representatives in the College of Cardinals. Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston is the other “yunzer” – he grew up in suburban Pittsburgh but was born in Steubenville, Ohio (36 miles from the Point).

    Congratulations to both Cardinal-designate Burke (whom I admire and respect greatly) and Cardinal-designate Wuerl.

  • Good man, Art! I am most gratified by your endorsement of the social democratic gains from the New Deal onwards. I am sure you are vigorously opposing the GOP attempt to cut unemployment benefits amidst the biggest economic slowdown since the Great Depression. And I am sure you support universal healthcare, though would you go as far as Cardinal Marx and call for public provision?

  • MM & Art:

    Nope. not here; not in my thread. You guys can go fight elsewhere.

    And Burke’s job typically comes with the red hat, like him or not.

    Yes, but that fact that Burke has the job + the hat shows that Burke’s views are not nearly as far-fetched to the Vatican and the Pope as some have suggested. While Burke’s appointment doesn’t mean the Pope agrees with Burke on everything, it gives his thoughts a little more credibility than many have given them.

  • The naming of cardinals is like the Roman Catholic version of Calvinball (would that make it deSalesball?). Everyone invents their own way of keeping score, and most people seem to win.

  • Cardinal Wuerl is a world-class catechist. Bravo and congratulations.

    I also like Cardinal Burke, and whatever else one makes of his appointment to Rome, he hardly seems to have been silenced by it.

    I imagine those recently appointed to sees which traditionally have cardinals will get them once their emeriti turn 80–Dolan, Vigneron, etc. Abp. Gomez will have the longest wait.

Political Miscellania 10\20\10

Wednesday, October 20, AD 2010

A roundup of political news less than two weeks from the midterm elections.

1.  Kentucky Fried Political Suicide-Jack Conway decided to lose the Kentucky Senate Race with a bang not a whimper.  His video resurrects a college prank pulled by Rand Paul almost three decades ago and attempts to use it to brand Paul an apostate from Christianity.  I have seen lots of ludicrous attack ads over the years but this one takes the case.  And the woman who was tied up in the prank?  Here is her take:

The woman — who was made available to me for an interview by GQ reporter Jason Zengerle in response to the Paul campaign’s denunciations of his article — said she didn’t mean to imply that she was kidnapped “in a legal sense.”

“The whole thing has been blown out of proportion,” she told me. “They didn’t force me, they didn’t make me. They were creating this drama: `We’re messing with you.'”

The woman said that much of the subsequent coverage of her allegations missed a key nuance: As a participant in a college ritual, where lines between acquiescence and victimization are often blurry, she was largely playing along with the notion that she was being forced to follow Paul’s orders.

“I went along because they were my friends,” she said. “There was an implicit degree of cooperation in the whole thing. I felt like I was being hazed.”

By all accounts the ad is backfiring big time on Conway and will probably ensure a double digit Paul victory.  Most voters understand that college students are young and often immature, at least I was,  and can act in fairly foolish ways at times as a result.  Besides, attempting to turn this into an attack on Paul’s religious faith is misplaced.  I am as confident as I can be that when Paul was tying up the coed the last thing on his mind was religion.

2.  Ohio Fried Political Suicide-Steve Driehaus is the Democrat Congressman for Ohio 1.  He doesn’t want you to see the ad above.  He is desperate because he trails his opponent Steve Chabot by double digits according to a recent poll.  He is one of the incumbent Democrat Congressmen who have been cast adrift by the Democrat party because their re-election races appear hopeless.  He is also one of the “pro-life” Democrat Congressman who voted for ObamaCare.    The Susan B. Anthony List paid for a billboard to remind the constituents of Driehaus that ObamaCare allows for public funding of abortions.  Driehaus complained to the Ohio Election Commission, claiming that the ad is misleading.  A hearing is scheduled for the end of October.  The attorneys for Driehaus strong armed the owner of the billboard not to allow the ad until the Commission has issued a ruling.  The President of the Susan B. Anthony List Marjorie Dannenfelser has stated in regard to Driehaus and his lack of familiarity with the first amendment:

The Ohio Elections Commission has allowed Steve Driehaus to achieve his strategic objective of preventing constituents from learning the truth about his vote in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care reform bill. We are disappointed and surprised that the complaint was not immediately dismissed. The fact that the health care reform bill allows for taxpayer funding of abortion has been agreed upon by every major pro-life group in the country, including National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, Focus on the Family, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The larger problem here is a public official’s attempt to use a criminal statue to silence legitimate debate on his record. The proper place for public policy debate is in the public square, not in an Elections Commission or criminal court. The SBA List will see this process through to the end and vigorously defend our position that the health care reform bill, supported by Steve Driehaus, allows for taxpayer funding of abortion. Moreover, we will use every vehicle possible within our First Amendment rights to communicate this message to the people of Congressman Steve Driehaus’ district between now and the hearing.

Of course by attempting to suppress the billboard, Driehaus has ensured that it has been seen by far more people over the internet and in newspaper and television stories than would have ever seen the billboard.  Brilliant.  Desperate and stupid is a poor combination in politics.

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35 Responses to Political Miscellania 10\20\10

  • I’m guessing the Seavey-Rittelmeyer relationship didn’t last because it’s awfully difficult to carry on an adult relationship with a 40-year-old guy who still lives in his mother’s basement.

    As I’ve noted on other occasions, libertarianism is an ideology for the unserious and the childless. Most serious people “graduate” from libertarianism roughly about the same time they graduate from college.

  • “didn’t last because it’s awfully difficult to carry on an adult relationship with a 40-year-old guy who still lives in his mother’s basement.”

    Words for women to live by Jay!

  • “I’m guessing the Seavey-Rittelmeyer relationship didn’t last because it’s awfully difficult to carry on an adult relationship with a 40-year-old guy who still lives in his mother’s basement.”

    Such family values! Such respect for the traditional family!

  • Karlson a 40 year old guy, of at least normal intellect and health, living in his mom’s basement has nothing to do with family values and everything to do with pathetic.

  • Among desperate (for re-election) statesmen truth, facts, realities, history are weapons. And they are putty in their hands. They use them to assassinate the opposition, or to construct a fabrication, to win at all costs and do good as they see it. And whatever they need to distort or omit is justified by their purity of intentions – and they always have the purest of intentions!

    From ‘Epitaphs of the War; 1914 – 1918’; R. Kipling

    A DEAD STATESMAN
    I could not dig: I dared not rob:
    Therefore I lied to please the mob.
    Now all my lies are proved untrue
    And I must face the men I slew.
    What tale shall serve me here among
    Mine angry and defrauded young?

    2. There is no such animal as a pro-life democrat.

  • Thankfully not all libertarians are like Mr. Seavey. After listening to the C-SPAN panel, I caught this episode of Blogginheads (cause there’s not a lot to do in my Mom’s basement) with socially conservative libertarian Tim Carney. Here is a relevant excerpt.

  • There is no such animal as a pro-life democrat.

    I am related to and friends with many of these “animals”, many of whom are deeply involved in pro-life work as well as political issues (such as assisting the Prop 8 campaign in California.) So, yes, they do exist.

  • There are pro-life Democrats. What are rare to the point of extinction are Pro-Life Democrat politicians, at least at the national level.

  • According to this, Conway has cut Paul’s lead in half since the “Aqua Buddha” ad started running. While I think the ad is preposterous and infantile, it doesn’t seem that was political suicide. In fact, in may end up being political homicide.

  • We shall find out soon enough MJ. With all due respect to Rasmussen, I stand by my prediction of a double digit Rand win. He was in a very strong position prior to the ad, and I stand by my contention that the ad has blown up in the face of Conway.

  • As a former resident of California, I am very interested in how the Boxer/Fiorina race plays out. I would like to see Boxer ousted (and everyone can tell Deb that I am biased in this case!).

  • Donald

    Once again, you mock the traditional family.

  • Karlson, you are beyond parody.

  • Donald

    You seem to ignore traditional family values. You mock them.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy): RE: “Ohio Fried Political Suicide” above, Rush Limbaugh mentioned on his show Wednesday (10/20) about Cincinnati high school students being taken by vanloads to early voting during school hours, handed sample ballots for Democrat candidates only, and then taken out for ice cream afterwards. Apparently the students were also escorted into the early voting area by operatives for Rep. Driehaus. Go here http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20101018/NEWS010702/10190308/ for the full story from the local Cincinnati media.

  • Once again, you mock the traditional family.

    To my knowledge, it is quite traditional to look askance at a grown (indeed, middle-aged) man who despite no disability lives off his parents rather than being a support to them. Indeed, this is all the more the case among those who have maintained that traditional understanding that just as it is the duty of parents to be a support to their children in their youth, it is the duty of children to be a support to parents in their old age.

    Living with one’s relatives as an active support is certainly not to be mocked, but having a hobby rather than a job at age forty is — except among the idle rich, who can be mocked for that instead.

  • having a hobby rather than a job at age forty is — except among the idle rich, who can be mocked for that instead.

    I think the video identifies Seavey with the American Council on Science and Health, an advocacy group. One might raise the possibility that his current living situation is intended to be temporary and derived from a recent dismissal. (From looking at him I would guess his age is closer to fifty than forty, but perhaps my vanity requires that).

  • Art,

    I don’t think Seavey actually lives in his Mom’s basement. That’s just a stereotype about libertarians in general.

  • DarwinCatholic

    What was mocked is that he lived at home with his mother. Living in the same home as one’s parents is quite traditional — many families have been known to live together in a multi-generational home until modern times, where the family has been deconstructed. Again, it is rather peculiar for people who claim to be “pro-family” mock people who are with their family (in whatever capacity).

  • Two points.

    First, I don’t care about Paul’s infantile behavior. I do care that he is an acolyte of Ayn Rand, which is msot certainly not compatible with Christianity.

    Second, Donald’s liberalism comes through again. Living with one’s parents is a sign of virtue, a sign of real family values, not the atomistic nuclear family (a recent invention of the individualistic west) that are held to such esteem around here.

  • What was mocked is that he lived at home with his mother.

    Not “with his mother.” In his mother’s basement. It’s not mocking the family or inter-generational living arrangements to point out that middle-aged men should generally be financially self-sufficient (and ‘living in his mother’s basement’ in our culture is short-hand for ‘still financially supported by his parents’). This ideal of course can be modified for unfortunate economic circumstances or short transition periods (for example, I moved back in with my parents for about six weeks – with a wife and child, no less – several years ago. And that’s when I started blogging…(j/k) ). In any case, the ideal of middle-aged financial independence from one’s parents is hardly an attack on the family.

  • Really guys? An otherwise self-reliant 40-year old man living with his parents – not because he’s assisting them or because has some traditional concept of the nuclear family – but because he’s incapable of making it on his own, is a “sign of virtue?”

    There is a reason there’s no parody site of Vox-Nova. It provides the self-parody in spades.

  • And here you see, folks, the promotion of individualism instead of interdependence, how everyone must make it on their own, instead of as families. This is an incredible assault on traditional family values.

  • “First, I don’t care about Paul’s infantile behavior. I do care that he is an acolyte of Ayn Rand, which is msot certainly not compatible with Christianity.

    Second, Donald’s liberalism comes through again. Living with one’s parents is a sign of virtue, a sign of real family values, not the atomistic nuclear family (a recent invention of the individualistic west) that are held to such esteem around here.”

    Paul is fiercely pro-life Tony which is not in accord with the pro-abort views of the late Ayn Rand, although her views on that issue are in accord with the Democrat politicians who you usually vote for.

    In regard to a 40 year old man of normal intellect and health living in his Mommy’s basement, if it is liberal to consider that to be a disgrace, then just call me bleeding hemophiliac heart Don!

  • I will note that, to echo what John Henry said, sometimes stuff happens and people are forced into temporary living arrangements due to short-term economic setbacks. I’m sure Seavey wasn’t thrilled to have move back home (assuming he had to move back and hasn’t been there all along). But to act like he’s a paragon example of the traditional family for so doing is a bit farcical.

  • BA wrote: I don’t think Seavey actually lives in his Mom’s basement. That’s just a stereotype about libertarians in general.

    I think the stereotype is as amusing as the next guy, but Jay was joking, right? Seavey obviously has some emotional maturity issues – the clip was painfully awkward – but I also assume he doesn’t actually live in his mom’s basement (uh, not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, for our more sensitive readers).

  • I think the stereotype is as amusing as the next guy, but Jay was joking, right?

    Wow, so we’ve basically been debating something which isn’t an actual fact. Yikes.

  • Yeah, I think perhaps this is what happens when we take things a bit too literally. Jay, this is all your fault. 🙂

  • Well, I think Jay made a joke. Then Henry took the joke seriously, and suggested it was an attack on the traditional family and all that is right in the world. Then we’ve basically been responding to Henry by saying that criticizing someone for living in their mother’s basement =/ criticizing the family. As usual, we haven’t really gotten anywhere, but, yeah, we’ve been debating whether Henry’s criticism of Jay’s joke was valid.

  • In regard to a 40 year old man of normal intellect and health living in his Mommy’s basement, if it is liberal to consider that to be a disgrace, then just call me bleeding hemophiliac heart Don!

    There are bachelors in this world. It is a truncated life, but not a dishonorable one. It is also correllated with, but not identified with, antecedent personal deficiencies.

    There are also problems in this world in the realm of eldercare, and when you do not have a family and your siblings do, the hands on tasks are yours, like it or lump it. The most practical solution may involve living in a piece of real estate on which the mortgage has been paid off because the house was purchased in 1970.

    I have not a clue as to what Todd Seavey’s domestic situation actually is and there came a point in that graceless exercise of his where I could not watch anymore. That having been said, it does not require much imagination to conceive of circumstances where a middle-aged man might be living with his mother because it was necessary for them both. I have known men who had to live that life.

  • Yikes.

    Anyway, the nuclear family is atomistic? Compared to the old (sadly passed) Italian model maybe it is (and I do want grandparents and cousins around my kids as much as possible), but it is not inherently atomistic. In fact, the nuclear family is a reflection of the Trinity itself, as many become one in spirit and flesh. The nuclear family is the very foundation of a good society.

    The concept of one man, one woman, and children for life is our greatest shared heritage, and a source of spiritual health, wealth, and cultural continuity.

    This “Western invention” deserves to be held in high esteem, and it is not opposed at all to close relationships with other family members.

  • Yes, it was joke. LOL!

    I was dogging the guy on both his obvious emotional immaturity and on his libertarianism. As BA points out, libertarians are often stereotyped as guys living in their mom’s basement smoking pot and reading porn.

    But reading the comments in response has been a riot. LOL! Literally, LMAO! Please keep it up.

  • Amazing. Simply amazing. Beyond words.

  • And here you see, folks, the promotion of individualism instead of interdependence, how everyone must make it on their own, instead of as families. This is an incredible assault on traditional family values.

    Whether you live in a stem family or not or whether your cousins are around the corner or on the other side of the continent, generally it is the middle-aged men in a nuclear, stem, or extended family who bear the brunt of doing the earning, not septuagenarian women.

  • This thread now goes into the TAC Hall of Fame. I would like to thank Henry Karlson, without whose able assistance this would not have been possible. Time to call on the TAC Hall of Fame cockatiel for a fanfare:

Constitutional Ignorance

Tuesday, October 19, AD 2010

I see that my co-blogger MJ Andrew has already posted about the Christine O’Donnell-Chris Coons debate, and I thank him as that saves me the trouble of having to sort through a whole bunch of links.

I disagree with him, though somewhat reservedly.  Having listened to the entire clip it does seem to me that O’Donnell is questioning whether the concept of the separation of Church and State is in the First Amendment, not the Establishment Clause.  There was some crosstalk at this point in the debate, and it appears to me that she’s just repeating her question with regards to the issue of separation.  It’s debatable, though, and a candidate should do a better job clearly establishing what she’s talking about in such a setting.

That being the case,  I was more intrigued by  Coons’s own response to the question.  While O’Donnell possibly made a gaffe – an unfortunate one if indeed it was a gaffe – Coons’s response is the more troubling aspect of this exchange.

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11 Responses to Constitutional Ignorance

  • I tend to agree with those who think the Establishment Clause does not mandate a strict separation of church and state, and I think Coons gets that bit wrong.

  • Coons believes that the Supreme Court is a perpetual Constitutional Convention which may amend the Constitution as it pleases, the text of the document be hanged.

  • I agree with you, but as MJ points out not knowing at least the gist of the 14th amendment is pretty bad.

  • “I agree with you, but as MJ points out not knowing at least the gist of the 14th amendment is pretty bad.”

    Michael, outside of attorneys who do criminal defense and constitutional law cases, I think many attorneys would have a hard time saying much about the 14th amendment, not to say anything of the Byzantine case law interpreting the amendment. Of course you law school sudents being force fed all of this put us practicing attorneys to shame in this area! 🙂

  • I think many attorneys would have a hard time saying much about the 14th amendment, not to say anything of the Byzantine case law interpreting the amendment.

    It’s true that after what SCOTUS has done to the poor amendment has rendered its meaning unintelligible to all but the wisest of men (obviously those being on the Court), I think knowing that 14th guarantees due process against state infringement and that this is the avenue of incorporation would be nice to know. After all, it’s the through the 14th that SCOTUS has brought its, er, unique modern approach to constitutional interpretation.

  • Substantive due process has been the gateway to practically every dubious Court decision of the past century plus.

  • Israel and Great Britain get along passably without a formally composed Constitution. It sometimes seems ours is just an excuse for our appellate judges to be officious nuisances.

  • I learn something new about the 14th Amendment every time some judge with an expansive view of his or her self worth puts pen to paper.

  • I knew the Constitution pretty well during Con Law class and just prior to taking the bar. After that, not so much. Although I do occassionaly peruse it when a particular issue comes up. God help anyone who has to rely upon my faulty memory.

  • My keyboard quotes marks are not working.

    Meanwhile, Cornell law prof William Jacobson comments: A literal reading of O’Donnell’s comments reflects that she was correct, but of course, the press and the blogosphere don’t want a literal reading, they want a living, breathing reading which comports with their preconceived notions.”

    And, Instapundit: The Constitution stands for things that are good. The things that we want are good. Therefore, the Constitution stands for what we want. QED. How can those dumb wingnuts (like ODonnell) not understand this simple logic?

  • Good catch on Coons – most people have missed it in the frenzy to attack or defend O’Donnell. Whatever one may think of O’Donnell’s views (and I agree with them – though I think she didn’t effectively advance her correct argument), Coons is clearly of that liberal mindset which holds to “if we like it, it’s Constitutional”. On his own ground, Coons is going to be fine – as long as he’s talking to ignorant MSMers or liberal who like the current status of Constitutional law, he’s going to look like a genius…put him in a room with anyone who actually holds that laws are meant to be obeyed, and he doesn’t come off so well.

    We’ll see if O’Donnell can actually do anything with this – Delaware may not be ready, yet, to ditch its liberal Ruling Class…but O’Donnell has dented it, and that’s good enough to go on.

TAC NFL Rankings, Week 6

Tuesday, October 19, AD 2010

Parity continues to reign. We’re starting to get the idea that in the NFC, it’ll probably be an NFC South showdown between the Dirty Birds of Atlanta and the Saints who finally had an offensive breakthrough this week, and the Giants and Eagles playing spoilers. However, the AFC looks to be far beyond the NFC.

To the rankings!

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8 Responses to TAC NFL Rankings, Week 6

  • No love for my Jets? It is okay there will be payoff in AFC Championship game. As the Jets and Baltimore meet again. I don’t think the Steelers will be there…

  • No love for my Jets?

    I don’t know, ranking them 2nd seems like a decent amount of love.

    It is okay there will be payoff in AFC Championship game.

    I certainly hope so.

  • I think MJ is entering the ‘Tito CFB zone’ with his Ravens rating. The Ravens beat his #1 team (the Steelers) and his #2 team (the Jets), then took his #3 team (the Pats) to overtime on the road. And somehow they can’t crack the Top 10 at 4-2?

    Also how do wins against the Lions (awful), Panthers (even worse), Texans (mediocre), and Chicago (bad, but lucky so far) make the Giants a top 5 team?

  • I agree with John, Giants shouldn’t be on the list. Eagles should definitely be ahead of them on the list.

    Also, I definitely called it last week that the Steelers would be the new #1.

  • I think MJ is the great equalizer in my humble opinion!

    😉

  • I agree with John, Giants shouldn’t be on the list. Eagles should definitely be ahead of them on the list.

    With this year, it’s more a question of “who’s better?” The Eagles did thrash the Falcons (of which I am most appreciative, I assure you) but the rest of their wins aren’t great (Detroit Jack & San Fran) and they can’t pick a QB. I’m not sure you’re giving the Texans win enough credit; the Texans have been very formidable (it is the 1st half after all; second half choke is still 2 games away). Also in the Giants favor is that their losses (Colts & Titans) aren’t as bad as the Eagles’ (Pack & Washington). It’s close but I still put the Giants ahead.

    I think MJ is entering the ‘Tito CFB zone’ with his Ravens rating.

    Lol, I agree though I would not be surprised if I get a change of vote from him.

  • If you’re going by the criteria of who’s beaten who, then we probably couldn’t pick a top five let alone a top ten.

    I still gotta love Tito. When I saw that someone had actually put the Cardinals in the top ten – at number eight no less – I didn’t even have to look to know who put them there.

  • Ahh it’s always fun to talk football 🙂 Nice job guys 🙂

The Angel of Marye's Heights

Tuesday, October 19, AD 2010

Richard Rowland Kirkland is a name that should be cherished by every American.  On December 13, 1862 he was a sergeant in Company G, 2nd South Carolina.  The day was ending and his regiment was stationed at the stone wall at the base of Marye’s Heights overlooking Fredericksburg.  His unit had helped smash Union attack after Union attack, and now he looked over fields strewn with wounded and dead Union soldiers.  He could hear the wounded Union soldiers crying out desperately for water.

Unable to bear the cries any longer, he approached Brigadier General Joseph Kershaw and informed him of what he wanted to do.  Kershaw gave him his permission, but told him he was unable to authorize a flag of truce.  Kirkland said that was fine and he would simply have to take his chances.  Gathering up all the canteens and blankets he could carry, Kirkland slipped over the wall, realizing that without a flag of truce it was quite possible he would be fired upon by Union troops.

Kirkland began to give drinks to Union wounded and blankets to protect them from the cold.  Union troops, recognizing what he was doing, did not fire at him.  For hours Kirkland went back and forth tending to the enemy wounded.  He did not stop until he had assisted all Union wounded in the Confederate portion of the battlefield.  The last Union soldier he assisted he gave his own overcoat.  He was repeatedly cheered by both Union and Confederate soldiers.

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4 Responses to The Angel of Marye's Heights

  • Great story, illustrating that the conflict really was between brothers and was one of the last in which chivalry and honor were front and center… Fredericksburg was such a strange, horrific battle, with the aurora borealis appearing in the sky on the night of the 13th over this vast field of death and suffering… it was an extremely rare appearance for the “northern lights” in Virginia.

  • Tom, the Confederates joked that night that Heaven was celebrating their victory at Fredericksburg. Lee, surveying the carnage left in the wake of the defeated Union assaults, uttered one of his many memorable quotes: “It is well that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it.”

  • Thank you for posting about this remarkable story and for using our film trailer. Our documentary has received wonderful response from both the religious and secular community. It was made by Christians and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to show this film at churches in addition to museums and theaters. The message in this story of’ mercy’ is one that is far too often forgotten and the virtue of ‘loving thy enemy’ challenges us all. We invite you to visit our website at http://www.theangelmovie.com and come out to one of our screenings. Thank you and God Bless. – Michael Aubrecht (Producer The Angel of Marye’s Heights)

  • Thank you Michael! I look forward to seeing the film.