Monthly Archives: November 2010

When Are Points Not Worth Making?

The media firestorm swirling around Pope Benedict’s discussion of morality and condom use seems like a good illustration of the problem of great trouble and anguish being caused by making completely true and reasonable points. The pope’s comment itself is both true and sensible: there is nothing magically wicked about condoms in and of themselves, rather it is using them in order to render sexual relations sterile which is immoral. However, because the pope is such a uniquely high-profile figure in the world, both those (inside and outside the Church) who are desperately eager for the Church to approve artificial contraception as morally licit, and those who live in constant fear that the faith will somehow be betrayed to the ravening hoards outside, immediately went into full freak-out mode. Continue reading

Roundup of Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Pope’s Condom Comments

The Pope’s comments in an unauthorized excerpt release from Peter Seewald’s latest book, “Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs of the Times”, has caused quite a stir.

Basically he said, as an extreme example, if a male prostitute was to use a condom during sex, it was a step towards a better morality.

Pope Benedict wasn’t speaking ex-cathedra.

Nonetheless, the secular media, like clockwork, has declared that condoms are now allowed by all fornicators (not like dissident Catholics were following the teachings of the Church anyways).

So here is a short roundup of the better informed among us:

Pope Approves Restricted Use of Condoms? – M.J. Andrew, TAC

Understanding Pope’s Dilemma on Condoms – Jimmy Akin, NCRgstr

Condoms, Consistency, (mis)Communication – Thomas Peters, AmP

Pope Changed Church Condoms Teaching? – Q. de la Bedoyere, CH

A Vatican Condom Conversion? – Mollie, Get Religion

Pope: Condoms, Sex Abuse, Resignation & Movie Nights – John Allen

What The Pope Really Said About Condoms in New Book? – Janet Smith

Ginger Factor: Pope Approves of Condoms! – Jeff Miller, The Crt Jstr

The Pope and Condoms – Steve Kellmeyer, The Fifth Column

Condoms May Be ‘First Step’ In Moralization of Sexuality – Cth Herald

Pope Did Not Endorse the Use of Condoms – Fr. Zuhlsdorf, WDTPRS?

Did Pope Change Teaching About Condoms? – Brett Salkeld, Vox Nova

(Hat tips:  The Pulpit & Henry Karlson)

Pharoah Oprah

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From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  Buried with Oprah in Chicago?  Well, at least the Oprah fans will be able to continue to participate in the political process after entombment.

God the Servant

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The feast of Christ the King is one of my favorite in the liturgical year.  It reminds me powerfully, through the confusion of daily life, that God reigns and rules.  However, there are myriad other ways of looking at God, and one of the more unusual, and powerful, is courtesy of the patron saint of paradox, G. K. Chesterton, in his The Ballad of  the White Horse. Continue reading

Favorite Civil War Book

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The point I would make is that the novelist and the historian are seeking the same thing: the truth — not a different truth: the same truth — only they reach it, or try to reach it, by different routes. Whether the event took place in a world now gone to dust, preserved by documents and evaluated by scholarship, or in the imagination, preserved by memory and distilled by the creative process, they both want to tell us how it was: to re-create it, by their separate methods, and make it live again in the world around them.

Shelby Foote

I know quite a few of our readers have a keen interest in the Civil War, and I am curious as to what their favorite Civil War books  are.  There are so many magnificent studies of the Civil War that I have read over the years, that I find the question difficult to answer.  However, I think pride of place for me is Shelby Foote’s magisterial three volume The Civil War:  A Narrative.  Written by a master novelist, Foote’s volumes are an epic recreation of the terrible conflict that made us, certainly more than any event since, what we are today.  That is my choice, what is yours?

Reactionary Music of the 20th Century

I’m sick of politics, in theory, and in practice, for the moment. So I want to share with you some music and some thoughts on it this weekend. The composers and pieces I will present here have something in common: they have been described, for better or (more often) for worse as “reactionary” in both form and content. And that is why I love them. While incorporating to some unavoidable extent the styles of the times in which they lived, these composers also remained committed to styles and themes that constantly evoked earlier eras of music and society. In listening to them, I can indulge in what I hope is a healthy way my romanticist tendencies without abandoning a realistic approach to the modern world and it’s problems.

Continue reading

The so-called conservative legacy of Reagan and a defense of Lew Rockwell Jr.

History will be the judge of Reagan’s Presidency, both the good and bad. Again it will be 30 years from now before a more fair and balanced assessment can be made about his Presidency, 50 years or more after it ended. It’s critically important now though to engage some of the myths and legends being perpetuated about Reagan.

Why the U.S.S.R. collapsed is more complex than just saying or alluding to that Reagan was the cause, as if he was the sole and only cause of its collapse. There were many factors, which include the following: an over-extension of their foreign policy (i.e. Afghanistan), Pope John Paul II, a sustained multi-decade U.S. foreign policy against Communism, a deeply flawed internal economic and political system, and an ideology which collapsed in on itself. All of these factors and many others help to bring an end to the Soviet Union. Did Reagan help the Soviets to reach their culminating point? Yes. He gave them one of the final pushes over the edge of the cliff before their collapse. He deserves at best partial or minimal credit for its demise.

One can argue that the economic successes that Reagan achieved could be largely credited to the Fed. Chairman, Paul Volcker, who was appointed by President Carter. Many justify the irresponsibility and lack of discipline in Reagan’s fiscal policies by stating that this was necessary because of the need to win the Cold War. Fair enough. Reagan was a war hawk. No one will debate you here about that. What you must admit though is that spending money you don’t have is not “conservative.” Putting that burden of large deficits and debt which quadrupled under his administration on future Presidents (i.e. Clinton) and future generations of Americans is not being a fully responsible or prudent. Reagan was no fiscal hawk. He simply was not fiscally conservative. Continue reading

Thoughts on Health Care as a Right

As MJ posted yesterday, Pope Benedict was in the news this week in regards to health care this week. A couple things struck me as interesting about this article, and the debate that immediately sprang up around it here.

1. It’s Not All About US Politics

It’s not often that those in the Commonweal and National Catholic Reporter set get to rub their political opponents noses in something and play the, “You’re not a very good Catholic, are you?” game, so it’s hardly surprising if there’s been a bit of crowing in some circles. However, as is often the case, I think it’s a mistake to see this as primarily relating to recent US political struggles, much though Catholic Democrats would like to imagine that the pope is admonishing the USCCB for not supporting ObamaCare. Indeed, the pope’s sentiments should be rather castening to those of us in the developed world: Continue reading

Castro Hates the Tea Party

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An English translation of the first portion of the above video.

Fidel Castro: Comrades, our nation is completely bankrupt! We have no choice but to abandon communism!
Castro’s Aide #1, Castro’s Associates: [sigh]
Fidel Castro: I know, I know, I know… but we all knew from day one this mumbo jumbo wouldn’t fly! I’ll call Washington and tell them they won.
Castro’s Aide #1: But presidente, America tried to kill you!
Fidel Castro: Ah, they’re not so bad. They even named a street after me in San Francisco!
[Aide #2 whispers something into his ear]
Fidel Castro: It’s full of what?

Hattip to the Babalu Blog, the go to blog on the net to keep advised of the follies of the Castro regime in Cuba.  It seems the Bearded One views the Tea Party as ”fascist”: 

Speaking to a group of students visiting Havana, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro accused the Tea Party of leading the United States towards “fascism.”

In his comments, Castro chided the United States as a “ruined nation” and derided the Tea Party as “extreme right.”

Castro also announced that health concerns had forced him to step down from his position as head of the Cuban Communist Party.

Castro’s exchange with the students was published in Granma, the state-run newspaper.

“I got sick and did what I had to do — delegate my powers.” Granma reported.

Castro ceded the Presidency of Cuba in 2006 after 46 years in power. He was replaced by his younger brother Raúl.

Under both brothers, Cuba has been isolated from the international community, criticized for its lack of democratic elections and for its systematic abuse of human rights. Continue reading

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