Night of the Living Government!

Friday, December 31, AD 2010

In keeping with the mini-Zombie theme I have started here at TAC, we have the above Klavan on the Culture episode from 2009.  Hmmm, Zombies as metaphor for out of control government spending.  Actually I do not think it is apt.  After all, a horde of ravenous Zombies might eat a few brains, but they would quickly be dispatched to the nether regions since, if Hollywood can be trusted, Zombies are notoriously poor combatants, moving slowly, clumsily, and giving away their positions with incessant growling.  When confronting zombies, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!  (Plus running out of ammo.) 

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3 Responses to Night of the Living Government!

  • The.Perfect.Metaphor.

    That pretty much explains it all in four minutes, ten seconds: outstanding!

    No! Wait! That is racist, socially unjust(?), and treasonous!!!


  • I’d rather have my brains eaten by a real zombie, than have my income devoured by a government zombie

  • Yep – zombies….the undead who do not work or produce anything but have to live off the flesh of the living. Yep – that pretty much sums up the Democrats and the liberals!

Bowl Pick’Em Update

Friday, December 31, AD 2010

As we head into the New Year’s Bowls, I thought you’d like an update on how our pick’em contest is progressing.

Green is for a correct guess, red for a wrong one. Bold is for games in which there was disagreement.

You’ll notice a most amusing trend: on the ones in which our contestants were unanimous, we’ve been mostly unanimously wrong! Only our picks of Boise St. & Oklahoma St. have survived! I am most glad that Jay saved LSU from that category by picking the Aggies!

Everyone is very much still alive, as Jay & I are tied with 9 point, Jagneaux has 8, and dave and opinionated Catholic are  not too far behind at 7.

As for the bowls themselves, they’ve been quite entertaining. Unless of course, you’re a Tennessee fan in which case you probably ought to accept that in the year 2010 our Lord decided that he hated Tennessee Volunteer football. You may have similar feelings if you hate the “No-Fun-League” penalty on Kansas State that cost them the game.

So while you reflect on 2010, continue to enjoy the bowls & the contest! And go Carolina Panthers!

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3 Responses to Bowl Pick’Em Update

  • I’ve got to give it to the Sunbelt Conference: It has performed much better than I expected. Although I’m confident that Miami (OH) will still win, I wonder now about my pick against Middle Tennessee State.

    (BTW, that game should be in bold, too; Opinionated Catholic picked MTSU. Thanks for keeping track of the bowls for us.)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

  • Jay,

    2-for-4 today! Great job!

    I, on the other hand, went 0-for-4. 🙁

    Meanwhile, I hope that Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina are not setting the standard for SEC teams this bowl season. Hopefully, ‘Bama, Florida, and Miss. State will set things right.

  • It’s up to Ohio State to spare the Big 10 from total humiliation. Bucky should have beaten TCU easily, but was poorly prepared and play-calling was atrocious. Put the loss on the coaches. Give credit to TCU, which probably would put up a good fight against either Auburn or Oregon but still lose. All in all, bowl games this year were yawners and in many cases mismatches.

Ezra Klein Lays It On The Line

Thursday, December 30, AD 2010

Ezra Klein recently appeared on a cable news show to discuss the Republican plan to read the Constitution on the floor of the House.  He called it a stunt, and then elaborated:

The issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done.

So the Constitution is confusing because it was written over a hundred years ago (actually it’s over 200 years old, but let’s not let little details like that deter us)?  A fascinating comment  coming from a Jewish intellectual, because the Hebrew Scriptures are a wee bit more than a hundred years old.  Should we disregard the Bible because it was written centuries ago – and in several different languages?  Also, it’s not as though the Constitution was written in old English.  Sure there are some stylistic flourishes that were more common in 18th century America, but one doesn’t need some sort of secret decoder ring to decipher the meaning of the text.  One need not be a PhD in ancient languages to understand the Constitution.

Klein’s comment is quite revealing, though. 

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19 Responses to Ezra Klein Lays It On The Line

  • We recognize that if we turn the Constitution into a mutable plaything, ever changing with the times, then we might as well discard the thing and live under the temporary whims of whoever is in charge of the federal government.

    I’m not entirely sure, descriptively at least, that this would be much of a change. The Commerce Clause has been used as a license for Congress to regulate almost anything in practice. Requirements for procedural due process in the 14th Amendment somehow prohibit states from regulating abortion. In war, the Constitution has been found to permit massive relocation and detainment of U.S. citizens based on their ethnicity. I’m not saying there isn’t value in a written Constitution; just that there seem to be a long list of harms it does not remedy; and it may be better just to not have a Constitution (a la the UK) than one that serves primarily to provide footnotes to opinions from a third legislative branch. It would at least be more transparent.

    I’m not saying I agree with all of the above, just that I think the benefits of a written constitution seem to be oversold in the U.S. context.

  • I don’t take joy in defending Ezra Klein but I don’t think he said the Constitution should be disregarded. Replace “Constitution” with “Bible” in the sentence you quoted and it’s still an accurate statement.

    I think conservative support for originalism probably has more to do with the fact that originalism is better suited to accomplish conservative ends. Wouldn’t conservatives support an interpretation that considers fetuses as constitutional persons despite the fact that it’s almost certainly not the original meaning? Likewise, liberals love originalism if it means placing great emphasis on and strict adherence to the words “a well regulated militia.”

  • RR, speaking for myself, I would no more advocate twisting the Constitution for a constitutionally dubious policy that I happen to prefer than for one that I oppose. Tastes may vary.

    John, I agree with you up to a point. What you’re highlighting are the negative consequences of treating the Constitution as something that can be amended by judicial fiat or by temporary legislative whims. That being said, even Progressives largely maintain the fiction (currently) that they are attempting to live under the Constitution, at least as they interpret it. By and large Americans still have enough respect and reverence for the Constitution that we try to uphold its meanings. I don’t think we’ve reached the point where we’ve rendered it a blank paper by construction. Yet.

  • When RR writes: “I think conservative support for originalism probably has more to do with the fact that originalism is better suited to accomplish conservative ends”.

    he puts the cart before the horse. Defense of the Constitution comes first; it’s what makes a conservative conservative.

    What is curious is that so many Jews have become “liberal”. If ever there was a group that should be conservative, it is Jews. It is a subject discussed by Norman Podhoretz in his book on the topic. I suspect that it is a religious failure. And perhaps an attempt at assimilation.

  • I think conservative support for originalism probably has more to do with the fact that originalism is better suited to accomplish conservative ends.

    The way to test this hypothesis would be to look for cases where adhering to originalism would impede conservative ends, and see how people react. For example, suppose that you had a law vulnerable to the same sorts of Commerce Clause arguments as the individual mandate, except that instead of doing something conservatives didn’t like, the law did something conservatives generally support (say, prohibiting the consumption of marijuana for medical purposes, or dispensing lethal drugs to terminally ill patients).

  • Gabriel: A Jewish friend told me a few years ago that when you look at an Orthodox Jew, you’re looking at a GOP voter. (The Orthodox are usually pro-life, as well.) However, they are a small minority within a small minority. Most American Jews are Reform Jews, or entirely non-religious, and for those Jews, I suspect the Democratic Party and liberal causes take the place in their hearts and minds that the Torah once occupied in the hearts and minds of their ancestors.

    They haven’t “become” liberal – they tended to be liberal (and in some cases, downright radical) when they got off the boats at Ellis Island. Many of them were fleeing the pogroms in Czarist Russia. And the Democrat Party machines in the big cities reached out to poor immigrants (both Jewish and Catholic ones) in a way that the often nativist GOP did not. I certainly grew up thinking the GOP was the party of rich WASP’s – people who would despise me and my blue collar Catholic family.

    The difference is that as the Democrats became more radicalized after 1968 and Catholics descended from European immigrants became more professional, suburbanized and prosperous, many of us moved away from the party of our grandparents. The Jews in large part, did not, although they have certainly done well in America. Like I said, I think it’s partly because they now invest liberalism with the same fervor they once brought to their faith.

    Well, as Moses noted a long time ago, they are a stiff-necked people – but they’re hardly alone on that score. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon among lapsed liberal Catholics, specifically Irish Catholics, such as the recently deceased radical lesbian feminist Mary Daly, for instance. In the ’70’s at Marquette, I knew many milder versions of Mary Daly. They were so vehement. If they had been born 30 years earlier they might have been the stereotypically angry nuns I’ve heard about my whole life, but never actually met – instead that anger was poured into radical feminism and hatred of the Church and men. And *sigh* they got along just fine at MU, just as Daly flourished at another Jesuit university.

  • BA, that’s easy enough. Conservatives generally support the federal partial-birth abortion ban.

  • Pingback: Barney Fife and Ezra Klein « Almost Chosen People
  • This claim that Klein makes about “old” is common among radicals, liberals, and progressives. They believe that their ideas are the wave of the future, and anything that have come before them is out of date. So, unless established institutions embrace the new wisdom, they have to be denounced, slandered, libeled, to destroy their crediability, and to create faith in the brave new word that the Kleins wish us to have.

  • The Constitution, like any other text, is underdetermined as to its “meaning” if you choose to rely solely on the text itself. This is because you can never approach the text from the position of “nowhere,” as it were. So it’s a mistake to think that textual “originalism”, if implemented by every Justice, would result in agreement. (Note that this claim is *not* the claim that “anything goes” in interpretation.) This is just a hermeneutic point.

    Now you *can* aim for intentional originalism, in which you attempt to discern the propositional intent of the Framers behind the written document. But in order to do this you must rely on extra-textual material: you must do careful intellectual history, philology, etc. And even here you can only attain to a “best bet” hypothesis. There will still be disagreements, etc.

    What I am interested in, though, is the argument that seeking the original intent behind the clauses of the Constitution should be the aim for Justices on the bench. Why should this be the case? (I’m not saying that I hold to the “living Constitution” view myself–I’m a skeptic on this issue.) Also, it does seem odd to me that we could discern how the Framers wished a particular clause of the Constitution to be interpreted in situations that they could not have anticipated themselves. Here their “intent” itself seems to be underdetermined. (Usually considerations of this kind pull originalist-mided readers back to the “text itself”–but that is a non-starter, for reasons already noted.)

    In other words, I’m not claiming that we can’t get a good handle on how the Framer’s intended the COnstitution to function given the commercial, political, and social realities of the late 18th century. I’m skeptical of the view that we could discern and then apply this same intention to a radically different context.

  • All those who disagree with me, by the way, are not thinking like Catholics. 😉

  • “So it’s a mistake to think that textual “originalism”, if implemented by every Justice, would result in agreement.”

    No, but it would end such follies as reading a “right” to abortion into the Constitution, or that the Constitution, which speaks of the death penalty, requires us to ban the death penalty. Judges capable of such feats of sophistry defeat the purpose of a written constitution and use the constitution as a clumsy disguise for implementing their political agendas. Federal courts have the power of judicial review solely because of their role in interpreting the Constitution. When interpretation becomes “the Constitution is whatever a majority of us say it is, the written text be damned” the courts ultimately undermine their authority because of the intellectually dishonest methods they are using to impose a rule of judges on a free people.

  • I’ve decide to utilize my marginal bully pulpit in defense of what Ezra Klein was implying. He obviously was not clear enough, perhaps an analogy would do the trick:

    Ezra Klein In The Cross-Hairs Of Right Wing Outrage

  • Here’s some originalism for you:

    “[T]he government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers”

    That’s the most relevant point. And that language is over 200 years old. Anything in there you don’t understand?

  • Don Surber has a great post on this topic. (By the way, you’ll notice that Ryan’s comment here is repeated word for word there. You’d almost think that Ryan was going from blog to blog in an attempt to defend Klein and anyone who criticized him).

    Also, I apologize to WJ for not responding to his very good question, though Don and Joe have in part already. Who would have thought that being on vacation would have given me less time to blog. With five minutes to go before I depart for Church and another day of activities, I’ll have to be brief, but in short I don’t think the Constitution is quite as complicated or difficult to discern as is often made out to be. I’m not sure if it was Surber or one his commenters who made this point, but the Constitution has been made more difficult because of the way Judges have interpreted it, not because of its original design.

    The Constitution was a very general document laying out the framework of how our federal government was to operate. It wasn’t meant to be a detailed account of every power delegated to the government because the Framers could not foresee every political development. And it is general because it was intended to last, not be a temporary governing document amended every few years as Jefferson wanted. In fact, that’s why Jefferson’s “strict construction” method of interpreting the Constitution doesn’t work, but I don’t want to sidetrack us even more.

    Long story short, I think what we lack when we look at the Constitution nowadays is common sense. At the risk of simplifying too much, it might be best if we simply resorted to common sense when trying to interpret the Constitution in light of modern policy developments rather than reading into it all sorts of penumbras and emanations, and relying on some law school professor’s 100-page law review article full of abstractions and pet theories.

  • I just wrote out a rather detailed comment that for some reason got eaten. I don’t have time to repeat it, so for now I’ll just link to this Don Surber post and note also some of the comments there that address some of the comments made here. And Ryan, nice of you to go from blog to blog defending Ezra. How sweet.

  • I retrieved it from the spam file Paul. When a comment is “eaten”, it usually has been sent to the spam file. Only God and the internet gremlins know why! 🙂

Predictions for 2011

Thursday, December 30, AD 2010

Once again I boldly charge in where angels wisely fear to tread, and make predictions for 2011:

1.  The global warming scam/sham will continue to unravel.  I only hope we recall this episode the next time elites around the globe use junk science as an excuse in order to attempt to remake civilization.

2.  The Republicans in the House will put a halt to Obama’s legislative agenda, and Obama will veto most bills originating in the House that make it to his desk. 

3.  There will be considerable friction between the GOP in the House and the Republican Rinos in the Senate.

4.  The economy will begin to improve with unemployment ending the year around 7.5%.

5.  Either the North Korean or the Iranian government will be toppled in a violent overthrow.

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14 Responses to Predictions for 2011

  • I think interest in the Civil War will only increase in the South. Unfortunately, our nations most tragic war seems to be little more than a footnote to everyone else.

  • “At least three cabinet members of the Obama administration will resign”

    And THIS time one of them had better be Janet Napolitano!

  • Here are my (somewhat) safe predictions for 2011:

    · Middle East peace talks will resume for the 987th time since Esau and Jacob had a spat 3,000 years ago.

    · The U.S. will borrow another trillion dollars from China to pay for pork projects.

    · Brett Favre will announce his retirement but leave the window open for another comeback by uttering the words, “never say never.”

    · President Obama will go on at least four more vacations and will be photographed eating an ice cream cone while First Lady Michelle Obama will be shown teaching kids about the importance of good nutrition.

    · Sarah Palin won’t go away and will be photographed killing something and smiling while skinning it.

    · Neither will Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt and lots of other celebrities, some of whom will have unflattering mug shots taken at police stations.

    · Newly installed House Speak John Boehner will cry at least once in public, probably because he can’t get any bills passed.

    · Nancy Pelosi will get more botox.

    · Harry Reid will continue to stumble over every sentence in press conferences.

    · Vladimir Putin will take up hang gliding.

    · Gas prices will go up, along with everything else except paychecks (unless you work on Wall Street).

    · Someone famous will be embarrassed by a sex scandal.

    · Speaking of which, Tiger Woods will continue to struggle with his golf game and swear on TV.

    · At least one more big newspaper will fold (hopefully The New York Times).

    · WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be convicted of something, but still make several million dollars selling books and making speeches.

    · There will be more earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc., and dire predictions of more global warming or a new ice age. Al Gore will appear at least once on “Meet The Press.”

    · New discoveries of animal life will include a lime colored creature with six legs and three eyes living in jungles of New Guinea who only comes out of his underground home between 2 and 3 every Friday morning.

    · Multi-billionaire Facebook founder and Time magazine 2010 Person of the Year Mark Zuckerberg will buy California.

    · New York City will ban pork rinds and Twinkies.

    · Manny Ramirez, who will make $20 million playing baseball, will refuse to run to first base, but someone will say “that’s just Manny being Manny.”

    · LeBron James will take an hour on TV to explain why he didn’t win an NBA championship.

    · Great Britain will be on the verge of bankruptcy, but somehow manage to come up with $60 million to spend on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding.

    · CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who makes $15 million a year reading a TelePrompTer, will agree to cut out fancy lunches in an effort to save her network money.

    · At least one of the following will appear on “Dancing with the Stars”: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Rod Blagojevich, Brett Favre, Jim Doyle.

  • I believe that the Holy Father had some words to say about the future that have been very much overlooked by the culture at large:

  • 13. Jimmeh Carter will praise Obama for succeeding him as THE worst POTUS in American History.

  • 1. See also: the fat/cholesterol/statin scam and the globalism/free-trade scam. Maybe it’s just the circles I run in, but I saw a marked increase in 2010 in people wanting to buy local and/or grow their own food and make their own goods, and in general be more self-sufficient and take charge of their own lives again. That’ll continue.

    2. I’d like to think Republicans will cause gridlock, but I’m wary of them “growing in office” as too many of the 1994 inductees did. If they couldn’t stay strong against a scandal-plagued Clinton, will they against Obama? We’ll see.

    4. Depends on how much money they print. A couple trillion dumped on the streets could create enough consumer spending to bring down unemployment. It’s only temporary, borrowing from the future to ‘create’ jobs now, but it’s worked more-or-less for 50 years; they might be able to put off the reckoning another year. The question is whether it’s even possible to borrow/print enough at this point without bringing down the house of cards.

    Personally, my prediction would be that they’ll roll out a couple more sub-trillion stimulus deals, which will be just enough to generate some supposed positive signs of recovery, but most of it will still go to pay off debt, so unemployment will stick around 10% (with real U6 unemployment nearer 20%).

    7. I think it’s very unlikely that liberals could ever openly oppose our first black president, whatever he does overseas. That’s just hard-wired. Sure, there might be a few “stalwarts,” as you say. I remember a handful of Hollywood liberals protesting Clinton’s bombings in Serbia by dressing up in body bags, but “the Left” as a group was fine with it and the mainstream press ignored them. There’s a small minority that’s consistently peacenik, but most liberals are only anti-war when it’s not their guy calling the shots.

    11. That’d be a big one, almost the equivalent of solvent US states (if there are any) deciding their citizens don’t want to bail out bankrupt states like California and Illinois. China has been moving some reserves from dollars to Euros over the last decade, and if it weren’t for the uncertainty in the EU, they might have already stopped buying dollars. We Americans are fortunate that, as deep a hole as we’ve dug ourselves with our debt-based economy, most others in the West are as bad or worse.

  • My bet – neither Iran nor North Korea will experience a violent overthrow.

    Iran will be increasingly well-off. Europe will figure out that they really like heating oil, and don’t particularly mind anti-Semitism. The sanctions will fall by the wayside, maybe after an insincere act of contrition by Iran. The society will liberalize (at a snail’s pace) as the religious leaders lose influence, but the religious leaders will still control the government, and they’re not going anywhere.

    North Korea, on the other hand, will get a *lot* worse. The last of the food will run out, there will be mass desertions, and the country will fall into chaos. China will continue to prop up the regime and pretend that everything is fine, but they’ll be flooded with refugees and universally condemned. It’ll be their first excoriation as a superpower, and they won’t like it.

    Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

  • “13. Jimmeh Carter will praise Obama for succeeding him as THE worst POTUS in U.S. history”

    14. James Buchanan will send a message from the beyond thanking Obama for replacing HIM as a serious contender for the title of Worst POTUS Ever 🙂

  • A good Irishman makes predictions only after the event.

  • “At least one of the following will appear on “Dancing with the Stars”: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Rod Blagojevich, Brett Favre, Jim Doyle.”

    At least one of the above will also host Saturday Night Live or appear as himself during Weekend Update or another sketch. However, given that Blago’s retrial starts in April he better move fast.

  • You left out:

    The Catholic Church will formally be acquired by the Republican Party as a junior partner and will agree to repeat as revealed divineky revealed truth any utterances from Palin and Beck (two ex-Catholics) and Ailes and Gingrinch (coverts to Catholicism). These people are clearly the voice of Jesus.

  • Why do you say that Germany is propping up Ireland. That’s the media view. In fact the Irish government, for secret reasons they refuse to reveal, agreed to pay the debts of Ireland’s privately owned baks to European banks (mainly German). Should the Irish government not pay these debts the German banks would be in danger of collapse and the Euro plunge,, perhaps into oblivion.

    In fact the taxpayers of Ireland are propping up Germany, and are even willing to plunge their country into long term economic decline to do so. Is that generosity, subservience or naivete?

  • Ireland can never repay the debts racked up by the Irish banks, and the Irish government knows that. The empty guarantee was given in order to gain EU aid and to forestall the complete collapse of the Irish banking system. Ireland is effectively bankrupt, but the Irish government, and the Irish people, are unwilling to face that bleak reality yet.

  • “The economy will begin to improve with unemployment ending the year around 7.5%.”

    On the contrary, inflation will rise and be apparent by the first quarter of this year and become blatantly obvious by the end of summer. As inflation starts to rise they will spin it as “positive” for they will logic that demand is driving prices up. By early fall the spin will have dissipated as the reality of continuing unemployment increases. States will be late on their budgets and will be looking for a federal handout to close HUGE deficits but sorry daddy is broke too.

    At this point mass layoffs at the state levels will probably happen. When this happens “IT” is going to hit the fan.

    sorry folks I do not have an optimistic view of our future. I do hope that I am wrong, I truly do. My biggest fear is the USD falling or being replaced as the worlds currency. Look at the direction all the commodities are going…. up, up, up…. The only reason we are doing as well as we have been is because all commodities including oil trad in USD. If that changes we are finished….

Catholic Blog Argument Fallacies

Wednesday, December 29, AD 2010

Thanks to commenter RL for  a truly inspired idea!  Most Catholic bloggers and commenters would like to think they argue like Saint Thomas More in the video clip.  Unfortunately we, and I include myself in that “we”, more often argue like Norfolk, Cranmer and Cromwell.  In hopes perhaps of improving the quality of Catholic combox debate, here is a list of Catholic blog fallacies taken from comments made to Darwin’s post here:

1.  I have the biggest encyclical!-Cite a few passages from an encyclical by one pope to “win” a debate on a contentious subject. Never mind what other popes may have written on the subject, ignore the history of the Church on the subject completely, and certainly never concede that the pope perhaps was making a general statement that might not fit all situations. Throwing in a bit of Latin is always a neat touch. Then, when other commenters resist the fact that you have “won”, you can, more in sorrow than in anger, either imply, the best tactic, or state flatly that they are dissenters and that they are not now arguing with you but the Vicar of Christ.

2.  You heretic, you!-(Dawin Catholic contributed this):  Don’t forget that no intra-Catholic-blogsphere throw-down is complete without accusing someone of engaging in a heresy at least 1000 years old.

The following are from RL:

3.  Heresy Fallacies-Accusing your opponent of heresy without identifying the article of faith denied and usually basing it on something not even remotely dealing with heresy. Usually the charge is leveled at someone who doesn’t agree with your political policy prescriptions. i.e. Reductio ad Calvinism. “You disagree that every family making over $50,000 a year should be taxed at 80% which is a clear indication of Calvinism, something I have come to expect from people of your ilk”.

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21 Responses to Catholic Blog Argument Fallacies

  • Not many, Don, could exhibit the qualities that
    More practiced in the face of the fate he knew
    was his.

    His legal brilliance, in the judgement of this
    nonlawyer, was upstaged by his charity.

    How heartbreaking it must have been to those
    who saw this travesty unfold, in person.

  • And let’s not forget the surprisingly popular “You d***** b**!”

  • St. Thomas More provides evidence that even exceedingly sharp lawyers can make it into heaven. If I were a lawyer, I would be very heartened by that 🙂

    Etymological Fallacies: Would you say that the following two charges (both of which have been leveled against me by people on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum) are examples?

    “First, we have to define what torture is. Is it torture if it does not cause permanent physical dam-”

    “Ah, another member of the Rubber Hose Right!!!”

    “I believe government should be much smaller than it is now. However, I am still in favor of a safety net for the genuinely needy and weak – ”

    “Ah, another RINO! You’re no better than those Dem socialists!”


    (Not that I am any model of logic either, once I get my dander up.)

  • You forgot about “You’re a consequentialist!”

  • Deductive reasoning from a general principle to a necessary effect; not supported by fact; “an a priori judgment.”

    I think (dangerous) that this is addressed by a two part response. Identify the opinion/speculative. Provide facts.

    1. I know you hate torture. Who doesn’t?

    2. Torture saved innocent lives.

    Plato: “Opinion is not truth.”

  • Hmmmm. I wouldn’t exactly classify these as fallacies, but here are a few more tactics that spring to mind:

    – “Can you imagine Jesus/Mary/Joseph doing X?” This is, at certain points in life, a useful question, but in many other cases it’s simply a way to project one’s own preferences. Can you imagine Mary wearing pants? Can you imagine Jesus buying life insurance? Can you imagine Joseph negotiating wages?

    – “Go read this whole book, then we’ll talk.” This is an indirect way of trying to assert authority. Example: “I don’t think I can really talk with you about just wages if you haven’t read Sneed’s book on the guild system of 11th century Aburwundal. Besides, it’s just such a delightful read. Come back when you’re read that, and I’m sure we can have a very fruitful discussion.”

    – “I won’t research for you!” This is a variant of document quoting without having to provide the quote or name the document. The key thing is to pick a fairly broad topic and refuse to name the specific work that you think someone should have read, much less quote it. “If you can’t be troubled to read what Boetheus wrote about trade balance, I’m not going to do your research for you? No really, it’s a major theme through all his works. Oh, well, sure, you can pick that one quote out. But that’s really very out of context, as you’d understand if you’d read all of Boetheus’ thought deeply.”

    – Apply theological terms to whatever topic is being discussed. “I think in deriving that correlation coefficient, you’re engaging in some pretty egregious eisegesis rather than exegesis.”

    – Assert that if you had a “Catholic sensibility”, you would agree with me. (And if you can’t see how that’s the case, it’s because you’re so far from having a Catholic sensibility.)

    – Accuse someone of having a hermeneutic of something. (suspicion, rupture, bi-metalism, etc.)

    – Using Latin as a conversation winner. (You can trump this by trying to use Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic back. Ideally, this is combined with vocabulary insights which are un-backed-up and make your argument for you: “Ah, but Jesus spoke in Aramaic, and the Aramaic word he must have used is ‘ipstftuh’, which is never used in any work anywhere except to designate an Albanian investment banker — which as you can see clearly shows that the recession was caused by greed and mortgage derivatives.”)

    – Simply classifying everything you don’t like by it’s being before or after Vatican II.

    – Decide to be for or against theologians versus “ordinary people” and define every argument around whether it’s theologians or ordinary people who believe that.

    – And last but not least: Explain how whatever you don’t like is the root of The Scandal.

  • Here’s one:

    Characterize your list of argumentative fallacies in such a way that they only appear to be used by those who disagree with you.

  • I suspect that most people imagine that they use argumentative fallacies less than they disagree with. Feel free to go and do likewise. 😉

    Though some of these are pretty equal opportunity. For instance, both progressives and traditionalists tend to classify things as good and bad by whether they’re pre or post Vatican II — it’s just a question of which they consider good.

  • “Go read this whole book, then we’ll talk.”

    Particularly annoying when you *do* read the whole book and then they aren’t interested in discussing it anymore.

  • Ah, here’s an equal opportunity one: “It doesn’t matter what you or any documents say — ordinary Catholics in the pews agree with me on X.”

    This is wonderfully flexible, as “ordinary Catholics” is a group anyone you disagree with can be ruled out of.

  • “Characterize your list of argumentative fallacies in such a way that they only appear to be used by those who disagree with you.”

    WJ I cast the list open to suggestions from all sides. Feel free to note fallacies in argument that I have engaged in or that my co-bloggers have engaged in.

  • “It doesn’t matter what you or any documents say — ordinary Catholics in the pews agree with me on X.”

    I’d call that the people in the pews fallacy, a term, “people in the pews”, I’ve used in debate more than once.

  • Donald,

    Please excuse my joke–I just couldn’t help myself from going “meta.” I think the most common fallacies are shared by all alike, thus providing another proof of the wonderful Catholicity of the Church. Merry Christmas to all. 🙂

  • Merry Christmas to you WJ and a Happy New Year!

  • Since displaying a hermeneutic of rupture is possible as well as other hermeneutic classifications why should that and others be on the list if you can show it to be true?

  • This is a great thread 🙂

  • Outstanding post and comments.

  • My favorite:

    “you sound like a protestant”

    as if the Church were defined in opposition to Protestantism rather than the other way around.

  • Protetantism is not defined solely in terms of opposition to Catholicism. In fact, as a Protestant myself I consider myself simply Christian. I recognize that the Catholic church was the only church for most Europeans throughout most of European history. Perhaps that’s what led to the problem which confonted people like Luther and Calvin. They realized that the Roman church had experienced quite a development during that timespan. In some ways that was good. But many other things were aquired along the way that came to be seen as superflous if not downright unorthodox. For example, there was a certain view of merit that had evolved. Then there was the new vision of Mary. Also, church leadership had become very complicated in its various roles and assignments. There was the scholastic corpus that tended to obfiscate rather than clarify things. And the list can go on. So the idea arose that it was high time to clean house, to simplify matters, and to reform the church. It was often wished that this could occur without schism. True Christians should never be fond of division. Unfortunately, when certain people spoke up they were silenced and had to begin anew outside the traditional framework. They did this with heavy hearts, usually. I believe Luther, Calvin, and the true descendants of such men would consider it glorious to see the Roman church renewed and Christians institutionally united. But until that happens, many will settle for spiritual unity, which is enjoyed by the church universal regardless of time and space.


How To Argue Online

Wednesday, December 29, AD 2010

One of Megan McArdle’s readers provides a guest post on useful tactics for “winning” online arguments. If you spend much time fighting on the internets, many of the items here will sound familiar. Indeed, I think I’ve seen all of these used here at TAC by various regulars at times, and there are a few where I found myself thinking “Oh, that would be so-and-so’s favorite tactic.”

Enjoy a chuckle.

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7 Responses to How To Argue Online

  • A good post could be done on tactics for combox warfare on Catholic sites. One popular technique is to cite a few passages from an encyclical by one pope to “win” a debate on a contentious subject. Never mind what other popes may have written on the subject, ignore the history of the Church on the subject completely, and certainly never concede that the pope perhaps was making a general statement that might not fit all situations. Throwing in a bit of Latin is always a neat touch. Then, when other commenters resist the fact that you have “won”, you can, more in sorrow than in anger, either imply, the best tactic, or state flatly that they are dissenters and that they are not now arguing with you but the Vicar of Christ.

  • And of course, don’t forget that no intra-Catholic-blogsphere throw-down is complete without accusing someone of engaging in a heresy at least 1000 years old.

  • Great link. I think remembering to use humor is essential to good commenting…humor can have drawbacks, but on the whole the worst comment threads result in denunciations and anger; well targeted humor can help get the discussion back on track more often than not.

  • no intra-Catholic-blogsphere throw-down is complete without accusing someone of engaging in a heresy at least 1000 years old.

    Ha. Well, there are only so many ways for people to be wrong; a dim analogy of one form or another to a heresy – like a mildly supportive papal statement – is nearly always easy to generate.

  • To further refine Donald’s suggestion, perhaps what is needed is a definitive guide to Catholic blog fallacies. Most will be genuinely recognized fallacies but just with a Catholic flavor, others will be somewhat unique to the Catholic blogosphere. The fallacies are interesting in that they work so well in conjunction with one another!

    Heresy Fallacies: Accusing your opponent of heresy without identifying the article of faith denied and usually basing it on something not even remotely dealing with heresy. Usually the charge is leveled at someone who doesn’t agree with your political policy prescriptions. i.e. Reductio ad Calvinism. “You disagree that every family making over $50,000 a year should be taxed at 80% which is a clear indication of Calvinism, something I have come to expect from people of your ilk”.

    Etymological Fallacies: Derailing a conversation or accusing your opponent of ignorance for either not accepting your excessively broad or an inappropriately narrow definition. Examples:

    …Fallacy of Relativistic Definition: “Not all anarchists are people who oppose governance, some, like myself are for an all-encompassing dictatorial state”.

    …Fallacy of Anal Nitpicking: “Ah ha! I got you now! You said that all people have a right to life. The Catholic understanding is that people are PERSONS and you just betrayed your inherent radical Calvinistic individualism! Heretic!” (Note how well different fallacies can be combined to work together).

    …Inconsistent Etymological Fallacy: (Yes, one can apply the above two fallacies at the same time, plus legitimate usage!). “The problem with you on the Right is that you don’t know what a conservative really is, this no doubt due to your radical individualistic Calvinism.” Words have meaning and they have context. It’s not uncommon for a word to have different meanings in different contexts. We are rational beings so we can use our ability to categorize to make good use of these things. In the above example, we have someone being rather anal and condemning the (legitimate) usage of a word being in a particular context (conservative as applied to the US political parties) all the while exercising legitimate context usage when he/she says “the Right”. Even though, the Right technically dates back to the French Revolution and refers to those, oddly enough, that would be considered “Conservatives”. Bringing in the “C” word has the dual effect of counting as a Relativistic Definition AND a Heresy Fallacy.

    These are just a few. Please add your own observations.

  • Don’t make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions you have no respect.

    If you must, conclude with one of the more subtle philo-theological insults like, “I am praying for you.”

  • Hmm. Funny how a certain blog provides us with most of the examples for fallacies.

My New Year’s Resolution

Wednesday, December 29, AD 2010

I don’t normally do new year’s resolutions.  It seems silly to assign January 1 as some arbitrary date by which I will amend my life.  That being said, I have hit upon a resolution that is one that I hope (but don’t expect) most other people will adopt:  I refuse to blog on or even read about presidential horse race stories until no earlier than Labor Day.  We have just concluded a mid-term election, and yet every other item seems to be related to the 2012 race.  The presidential election cycle has become preposterously long, to the point now that we begin speculating on the proceeding race before the dust has settled on the most recent one.

I have chosen Labor Day because that gives me about four months to involve myself in the 2012 primary, which is well more than enough time.  Normally presidential candidates wouldn’t even announce their candidacy until after this date.  Now we’re faced with the prospect of several GOP debates by the end of the summer.  This is patently absurd.

Some people will contend that this process is a good way of vetting candidates.  This, too, is patently absurd.  All this excruciatingly long campaign season does is identify who the best campaigner is.  It does nothing to help us identify the best man or woman for the job.  It should not take more than a few months to come to a firm conclusion as to which candidate to support.

There are a few caveats.  If something monumentally shocking occurs – President Obama announces he’s not running for re-election, for example – then I might be inclined to pass comment.  Similarly, if one of the cndidates should make news in a non-presidential campaign context – Governor Daniels signs an abortion ban in Indiana, for example – then that, too, might be worthy of comment.  Finally, there is some ambiguity about what constitutes a “horse-race” item.  I’ll just say that a blog item about Herman Cain’s speech to the rotary club of Des Moines Iowa is something worthy of being ignored for the time being. I might read op-eds written by potential or announced candidates  for no other reason than to get a feel for what they stand for, but otherwise I don’t want to hear about it.

Since it’s almost new year’s, I am going to get a head start.  I hope that this is one resolution that sticks.

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4 Responses to My New Year’s Resolution

Predictions of Things Past

Wednesday, December 29, AD 2010

The end of the year signals that it is time for me to make predictions for next year, something I will do later this week.  However, first we will have a look at my predictions for last year:

1.   The Republicans will take back the House in November, either outright on election day, or through party switches between election day and the swearing in of the new Congress in 2011.

Well, that was certainly on the money!

2.   The Republicans will take back the Senate in November, either outright on election day, or through party switches between election day and the swearing in of the new Congress in 2011.  I am assuming that Joe Lieberman will caucus with the Republicans if the Republicans have 50 seats.

Nope, although the Republicans came close with 47 seats, representing a total gain for the year of seven seats for the Republicans which was a good, solid performance in a year when the contested seats up were mainly in states that had gone Democrat in 2008.

3.   The economy will continue in the doldrums next year with the unemployment rate not getting lower than 9%.

Unfortunately this prediction was entirely accurate.  The unemployment rate is currently 9.3% for the nation and never got below 9%.  Go here to view a graph.

4.    Regime change will occur in Iran with the Mullahs being toppled by a popular insurrection.

Sadly no, although the mismanagement of the economy of Iran might yet eventually topple the regime.

5.    Pope Benedict’s Anglican Initiative will prove amazingly successful  with ever increasing numbers of Anglicans and Episcopalians swimming the Tiber to participate.

True!  The mass announcement of Five Anglican bishops in November that they were converting to Rome merely being the tip of a large movement.

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One Response to Predictions of Things Past

  • It’s always interesting to look back on past predictions, isn’t it?

    I was convinced that Janet Napolitano would fulfill prediction #6 by resigning after the Detroit airplane bombing fiasco LAST Christmas. She didn’t, instead going on to prevent future underwear bombings by making EVERYONE undergo virtual or actual strip searches at airports. How on earth she manages to hang on to her job is beyond me.

    Two other predictions I added were: another successful or attempted terrorist attack within the U.S. (the attempted Times Square car bombing would count as an attempt; there were other attempts that were actually part of FBI sting operations, which I wouldn’t count) and at least one Catholic pro-abort politician being banned from Communion by his or her bishop (hasn’t happened yet, but I suspect some bishops may be getting close to pulling the trigger).

We’re In This Together

Tuesday, December 28, AD 2010

At mass on the Feast of the Holy Family, I was in particular struck by the readings. The first reading, from Sirach, deals with relationships between parents and children:

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

The second paragraph here is one that has always particularly struck me, as it emphasizes that honor to one’s parents is not simply a matter of “they have good ideas, so you should listen to them” but rather that parents deserve honor because they are parents. “Even if his mind fail… revile him not,” is something I had cause to remind myself often (though judging from my actions, not always often enough) during the time we spent caring for my Dad’s mother in her last days — a women who wanted things done her way at all times, even as simple things like making coffee and putting things in the fridge became impossible for her to do herself.

The second reading is the passage from Colossians 3 which is nearly the same as the Ephesians 5 passage which was discussed at some length a few weeks ago.

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4 Responses to We’re In This Together

  • Thanks for sharing this reflection. The readings almost make me wish I celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family. Almost. The Feast of the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos was beautiful. Surprisingly, we shared the same Gospel.

  • It is difficult to take any Catholic Church teaching regarding marriage
    seriously when you’ve watched the Church tell your wife to divorce you
    because she deserved an annulment, watched that same Church, in
    in five different states with numerous different bishops and clergy
    openly support her public adulterous civil remarriage and see that
    your requests for the Church to hold to account those who openly
    mock a vaild marriage, twice upheld before the Rota after the
    “promised” decision for nuliity was delivered through documented
    corruption and support from the local bishop.

    The feast of the Holy Family is a torturous event for those of us
    who can testify to the corrution we continue to see in the Catholic

    I do not need to be reminded about family and honoring my parents.
    I work hard to be a good father and I have tried to live up to
    the faithfulness that my parents 58 years together showed me,
    but the Catholic Church through its corrupt, enabling clergy, certainly
    does. Abandoned spouses are nothing to the Catholic Church unless
    they acquiesce to the violation of their vows.

    That being said, the Catholic Church remains the only “institution”
    with any significant effort to give even barely credible lip service
    in favor of marriage as anything but a joke. God bless her for that
    and may he help our clergy to listen less to theologians, clergy
    and canon lawyers and more to those of us who have the scars
    to show we know what we have seen and heard and watched
    happen to our marriages!

  • “Will this be the house they look back fondly on… or will this be Mom and Dad’s big project”

    When our daughter was just over a year old, we bought a rambling old farmhouse in a rural area. This was a dream of my husband, because his father had done it when he was a kid. I didn’t really agree with it but I went along with the plan. We lived there 3 1/2 years in all, before he decided we’d had enough of the expense, constant repairs, long commutes to work and shopping, etc.

    Although I complained and worried a lot while we were living there, our daughter remembers the place very fondly and still talks about it (she was just short of 5 years old when we left.) And yes, today, sometimes, I actually miss the place too (that is, until I stop to consider how much a 70-mile daily commute would have cost had we been living there when gas went over $4 a gallon!).

    Also, my husband’s earliest memory is of the bungalow-style house in Peoria where his parents originally lived before they moved to the country. He remembers that house very fondly also, even though it was in a neighborhood that was, shall we say, “in transition” and becoming increasingly crime-ridden (that’s why his folks moved).

    My parents had an oil burning furnace in their house. I’m sure they probably cursed it a lot in the early 1970s during the “energy crisis” when their heating oil bills went up. However, I can still remember the rumbling sound it made when it turned on on cold winter days, and I always found that sound comforting.

    My point is that the times and places you, the parents, remember as being stressful and worrisome may still be looked upon with nostalgia by your children, simply because kids see things differently. Where you see a source of high heating bills or unnecessary drafts, they may see a great place for their imaginary friends to hide out!

  • “If you’re known around the office as the “guy who goes to church”, yet you’re constantly heard on the phone arguing with your wife or belittling her concerns, your actions don’t merely affect your relationship with your wife, they may well help form (or malform) your coworkers ideas about God, Christianity and marriage. While it is certainly true that it is our own actions that we will be judged for at the end of our lives, those actions are not isolated actions in a void, but actions which affect, perhaps in some cases deeply affect, others’ relationships with God.”

    exactly, very true.

A Bad Witness to the True Meaning of Christmas

Tuesday, December 28, AD 2010

It was December 21st and MrsDarwin and I were standing in the local branch of our bank, getting a cashier’s check for more money than I like to think about so that we could go close on our new house. These things take time, as people don’t normally come in and asked to cut large chashier’s checks, and as we were standing there I gradually became aware of an increasingly loud conserversation between an elderly male customer and a teller at the other end of the counter.

“I’m very offended,” he announced. “Very, very offended. And do you know why I’m offended?”

“Why sir?”

“Because I am a Christian and when I look around here four days before Christmas I don’t see a single Christmas decoration. Do you know how long I’ve been a customer here? I want to talk to your manager.”

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43 Responses to A Bad Witness to the True Meaning of Christmas

  • Yeah, and the irony is that the paucity of XMAS decorations was probably budget driven. Moreover, I’m 54 years old and cannot recall banks ever having overtly Christmas symbols such as manger scenes, etc.

    I agree with those who lament the timidity of Americans to say Merry Christmas. There is no question that a good part of that is the result of the same phenomena that gives us such absurdities as unity trees. But over-reacting is not the answer.

  • Some people are perpetually in “crank mode” and I wouldn’t be surprised if that gentleman fit in that category. I had a client like that several years ago who found something to complain about every time I talked to him. I finally told him that I did not have the cure for the malady of perpetual dissatisfaction and that he should seek future legal services elsewhere.

  • “Though a nominally Christian country, at least as the polling data goes, people who are in any way serious practicing Christians are increasingly a minority in our culture, and as such ripe for being understood primarily based on their loudest representatives.”

    Loudest, or most prominent in pop culture, whatever.

    Can I vent here a little bit? One of MY pet peeves along these lines. In my own (not my husband’s) extended family, there aren’t many serious practicing Christians at all, at least as far as I can tell — a couple of cousins are Catholic because my uncle married (later divorced) a Catholic, but that’s it. Everybody knows that *I* am some kind of Jesus freak. The end result is that anything that even smacks of Christianity of any kind, everyone in my family assumes that I heartily approve of. This includes awful poetry, dreck-ridden sermons from hired preachers at family funerals, all manner of Protestant heresies, and grotesque liturgical abuses.

    I would like to get it across that actually I’m a *specific* kind of Jesus freak sometimes…

  • Anger management . . .

    I doubt JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA specifically refused to display Christian decor solely to offend subject offendable Christian.

    And, unless he withdrew $tens of millions in deposits, I doubt good, old J. P. noticed his withdrawal.

    Hint: find a local bank with a local focus. You may be able to identifiy a bank whose officers and shareholders are fellow parishioners and you may receive better service (lending in your home town for one) as well as Christian decor.

    I believe in Nassau County, NY there is a credit union run by the K of C.

  • The Customer perhaps was over reacting.But certainly he does not deserve such bad comments .In a country like India where I live and come from,the Nativity Crib does find a place in many Public Places ;perhaps they have no value where they are placed;but it shows that people who have displayed them do want to convey something about Christmas – how Jesus was born,atleast.The Customet in Chase Bankmust be one of those who thought that such a basic thing as a Christmas Crib should have been there in HIS BANK;and nothing wrong in it; and nothing wrong in him withdrwaing his money and closing his account;he stands justified in the eyes of God,certainly,and may not be in the eyes of ordinary men.

  • Perhaps the real challenge is how do we as Christians best deal with the continuous onslaught of bigotry we receive simply because our belief system threatens other’s comfy rationalizations. I agree that we need to improve on how we calmly articulate God’s truth as that is more effective. Before we slam this person as an embarrassment please see the web link below where the wonderful JP Morgan Chase bank has ordered local branches to take down Christmas related decorations while having a Menorah in their lobby of their headquarters last year.

    Perhaps we Catholics need to accept the reality that the forces against us, both within and outside of the church, are well organized and that this causes some of us to ‘blow our stack’ despite our noble intentions. I submit that we don’t look down too hard on this guy and instead work to marshal our hatred towards Satan. I would be willing to bet that if all Catholics had the same vigor as this gent and if we ALL together withdrew our cash from these kind of hypocritical institutions ‘ol JP would be sponsoring the Rocketts Christmas tour next year. Besides that local KofC credit union branch would probably give you better service and value beyond the spiritual benefits.

  • My bank froze a message on their exterior sign reading only:


    They also ran a “banner” ad, in the local paper, reading the same on Christmas Eve.

    It’s a small family owned bank that doesn’t give a hoot about political correctness. Bless them!

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  • Our money says, “In God We Trust.” But the sad fact is more people believe in Santa than Jesus.

  • Interesting,

    Would this same gentleman say something similar to a pastor (Catholic or not) who rids his Church of religious symbols? We have far more iconoclasts in our own Churches than we do in the public square. Let’s clean up our house first before shouting at others from our empty sanctuaries.

  • The old geezer sounds like one of those irascible characters we might encounter in a Flannery O’Connor novel. One might attribute his behavior to “the violent bear it away” if only we could know the rest of the story, such as the dubious possibility of acts of charity he performed with all those large bills he withdrew.

  • My bank has the caption “Happy Holidays” on its website. (shudder)

    I think I’ll object, because they really value me.

    I owe them a whole heap of money. 😉

  • I’m tired of panty wearing christians not man enough to stick up for their religion. In the town next to me they removed a Nativity scene from the local park, meanwhile many, many Christians are paying the majority of taxes which pays for the towns expenses, etc, plus the salaries of the bums who removed the nativity scene.

  • Oh, and thank God for the elderly old man, at least some Christians still have some balls..

  • What a crappy post. With friends like you who needs enemies?

  • Yes, Virginia, there really are “Christmas Inquisitors”.

    Seriously, if this man felt the bank was not showing the proper respect toward Christmas he had every right to take his money elsewhere, and explain to the bank why he was doing so. But does that mean he HAD to do so in the most public and obnoxious manner possible? Why not just come in, POLITELY ask to speak to the manager, and then explain his concerns, calmly and civilly, to the manager. And did he have to humiliate the teller — who isn’t responsible for creating the bank’s policy — in the process? That’s not “sticking up for your religion,” that’s just plain being a jerk and pushing people around so that you can feel important.

  • Exactly. I have no beef with someone wanting to use a bank which shares your culture — though personally what I look for in a bank is lots of branches in convenient locations and good products with low fees. My beef is with being rude to customer service people who aren’t responsible for what annoys you anyway. (And to a lesser extent with the sheer delusion of imagining that J P Morgan Chase as an organization has any particular respect for Christianity.)

    When I had my first bank account, back at Quaker City Savings and Loan in Whittier, I remember them having a huge decorated tree — but I closed my account there as soon as I left the area to go to college, because they didn’t have branches anywhere but Whittier. I don’t see why you’d expect that kind of thing out of a national bank like Chase. (Though for the record my teller wished me a Merry Christmas in a beautiful Indian accent as I left.)

  • We need more courageous people like him who are willing to stand up for their religion and God instead of those who are spineless, weak-kneed, silent and cowardly.

  • Being rude to customer service people is not courageous.

    Loudly demanding that a bank be decorated to your liking is not standing up for your religion.

    I mean, seriously. I can see neither how this took courage nor how it represents standing up for God in any meaningful way.

  • The cranky old coot wasn’t standing up for anything. If a purely secular institution doesn’t wish to observe Christmas, that is no skin off my nose. Now if a secular institution decides to observe Christmas and it comes under fire from village atheists, government or the ranks of the perpetually aggrieved, I will rally to the support of those who wish to observe Christmas. That is a far cry from tossing a hissy fit because some business is not observing Christmas. If it bothers people, the proper response is to do business elsewhere and not to conduct a childish public tirade. Some people see this fellow as a crusader, but from Darwin’s description I think he is more likely just a loosely wired crank.

  • Teresa, I agree, but why do people have such a hard time telling the difference between being courageous and being obnoxious? Couldn’t he have stood up for his religion without being rude to the other customers –including Darwin himself, who was forced to wait for his own very important transaction to be completed, with a baby in tow who could have awakened and started crying and fussing at any time? “Afflicting the comfortable” is one thing; imposing completely unnecessary burdens on innocent bystanders who have NOTHING to do with the issue at hand is another thing entirely.

    The man in question could have waited his turn to talk to the manager, explained his actions, and if he wanted the rest of the world to know why he did what he did, wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper.

  • Sometimes this type of action is the only way to get the person or the bank to wake up and really listen to a person’s concerns. Who knows… maybe the bank had been placating his requests for awhile and this was his last stand. Regardless, I see no problem with him confronting the teller or management and complaining about the utter disrespectful or anti-Christian manner in which the bank was capitalizing in on Christmas without recognizing the reason for the season, Christ. If he didn’t take a stand in some fashion then who would?

  • How is it disrespectful or anti-Christian for a bank to not have Christmas decorations?

    In cases where we have some organization trying to actively prevent people from putting up Christmas decorations, I am fully ready to rally to protect people’s right to celebrate Christmas. But I don’t see where one gets off saying, “I am offended that you have not voluntarily chosen to put out your own Christmas decorations.”

    As I say, one is certainly welcome to go find a bank that chooses to “celebrate” Christmas to one’s satisfaction, but I can’t see how one can be offended that they don’t choose to any more than my Jewish friends should feel offended that I don’t celebrate Hanukkah.

    Nor can I see how going around demanding that people decorate for Christmas whether they want to or not is a Christian witness, rather than just being pushy and rude.

  • How many of us would put up with this kind of demonstration from our children? The man was well within his rights to remove his business from the bank. He was not within his rights to inconvenience others transacting business in the establishement, especially by heaping abuse on those who do not control policy. But, as Darwin’s post title alludes, his biggest infraction may be representing Christians as tantrum-throwing brats who will disrupt the legitimate business of others in order to make a point.

    Now, having said that, and noting that man in question was elderly, there are a number of things that may have led to this demonstration, most of which have nothing to do with banking or decor. While the act itself was unfortunate, both for his reputation and potentially that of Christians in the area, why he finally blew a gasket at that time and place will probably remain a mystery.

    My view of Darwin’s story is colored by my experience below:
    Some years ago, the father of one of my daughter’s softball teammates repeatedly acted boorishly at games, berating the coach for his decisions concerning both the team and his daughter. I was embarrased and annoyed by his behavior, and thought very ill of him. I learned after the season that he had terminal brain cancer, and knew that he had only that season to see his daughter play. He was desperate for her and her team to do well. While the effects of his actions were negative, when I learned of his condition, I understood what motivated him.

    I hope everyone is having a Blessed Christmas season and will enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year

  • These people who refuse to post anything Christmas oriented are the same type of people who attack Christmas and Christianity in general. This is why applaud the man for his actions.


    Maybe, the gentleman could have handled this differently -in a friendlier manner? But, as I stated above, we do not know if he tried to handle this in a less confrontational way prior to this event or not. I would rather give a Christian man who is willing to stand up for Christ the benefit of the doubt in this situation.

  • So let me get this straight… I’m afraid I’m missing something here. Are this man’s defenders saying that a business is in some way obligated to decorate and put up a display for Christmas?

  • Big Tex the issue is that JP Morgan/Chase/Douwe/Cheatem/Andhow is hypocritical by demanding that branches remove Christmas decorations while having a Menorah in their HQ lobby last year. The older gent was on the right path but he didn’t communicate effectively. Still, content is what should matter over style.

    Everyone, please read the link below as it adds more info into the mix:

    Based on the link above maybe we should be discussing how we all remove our funds from this bank and focusing our energy into more effective communication to JP? Seriously, can someone please tell me how Christmas decorations are offensive? Doesn’t our government fund ‘artists’ to mock our Christian symbols? These people have us so intimidated… I thought we were supposed to be the ones constantly shooting arrows over the gates of hell… 🙂

  • Why is it hypocritical? So they had a Menorah. It would lead me to believe those in charge or at least a good number of HQ folks were Jewish. I’m fine with that.

    Methinks people are reading too much into all this. Looking for a fight where there really is none.

  • Well, as the resident crank, let me say that I don’t think private property owners should be compelled to display anything related to any holiday. So while I sympathize with gramps in this case, his complaint is unwarranted.

    My issue was over people who are actually offended BY Christmas – I think they’re fascist control freaks, others disagree.

  • TemplaroftheTruth:
    If, according to the story you linked, JP Morgan had both a XMAS tree and a menorah displayed at its hq last year, why would you only note the menorah in your comment on its alleged hypocrisy?

    I agree that private property owners should not be compelled to display anything related to any holiday. Moreover, they should be allowed to display whatever they wish. Just as private citizens, including customers, employees, and shareholders, should not be compelled to remain silent if they object. The fact that we are all free to do as we wish is not an especially helpful observation in this debate. The point here is that a rather small group of Americans have succeeded in intimidating many private and public institutions into modifying their behavior by removing any reference to Christmas and especially Christ. This vocal minority is free to do so just as the remaining minority of Americans who actually view Christmas as a holy day worthy of social celebration in accordance with our traditions are free to vocalize their views.

  • Mike, I could’ve sworn that when I first read this article it only specified a Menorah in their lobby. There is a reasonable chance this article was edited but then again perhaps this ‘Templar’ is en error. Next time I cite any internet article I’m printing out the version to my electronic files. Perhaps like the older gent I over reacted even though my heart is in the right place. Lesson learned….

  • No worries, Templar. My understanding is that online stories are often edited, so your hypothesis is certainly possible.

    In any event, I think that the vast majority of insitutions and people who avoid mentioning Christmas in public forums mean well — they either are just following well-intended instructions or just wanting to appear inclusive. Unfortunately, this behavior is grounded in complaints asserted by a very small minority who claim to speak on behalf of many non-Christians who have no objection whatsoever to the public celebration of Christmas. I work with many Jews and a handful of Muslims, and have never heard anyone object to a Merry Christmas, etc. When years ago our firm’s Christmas party mutated into a Holiday party, I do not believe it was the result of any internal pressures from Jews, Muslims or atheists; instead it was the result of Christian partners who wanted partly wanted to express a measure of inclusiveness to the minority of non-Christians and partly wanted to signal a measure of political correctness in keeping with the times.

    Expressing anger is counter-productive. Just wish everyone a Merry Christmas and roll on! Most will respond in kind regardless the context or institution.

  • Based on the plethora of comments and the original complaint, the only lesson one can draw from this episode is how thin-skinned people can be. Christ’s said His Kingdom is not of this world, yet his professed followers seem to think otherwise by constantly fretting about secular and often silly concerns. one sees so-called “offensive” symbols every day, on car bumpers, on T-shirts, on TV, on billboards; everywhere, in fact.

    It’s called Freedom of Speech, but it is a freedom which we would reserve to ourselves while restricting it for others. If you don’t like what you see or hear, then put on blinders or plug your ears or simply ignore it. There is an on/off switch on the remote and in our minds. No one coerces you into belief or non-belief. Any rational person can decide for his or herself what to choose. Have your say, then shake the dust off your feet and move on.

  • The old guy sounds like a Christian Soldier who simply needs to pick his fights better. Who cares what Chase does? Their god is manna. But he is right in that what was once a Christian culture is in a death struggle with evil. Pick your fights, but do fight.

  • Well, I own a business and we don’t have any Christmas decorations — or any other holiday decorations. It has nothing to do with political correctness. We are busy running our business and we don’t have time to decorate. My bank has a tree and ornaments.

  • The old guy sounds like a Christian Soldier who simply needs to pick his fights better.

    Bingo, Mike – it’s about picking your battles. This wasn’t the right battle to pick.

  • Well, the old guy could be, as Donald said, just a constant complainer who is never satisfied. But, on the other hand, he could be a generally reasonable man who has been doing a slow, silent burn over the increasingly secularization of Christmas for many years and then, one day, he enters his bank and blows a fuse. And, unfortunately, he blows off steam at someone who is not responsible for the policy.

    Who knows? I reserve judgement because a week and a half ago, I got very angry at a Whole Foods clerk who refused to sell me wine and beer because I didn’t have my driver’s license with me (I walked to the store – it’s 2 blocks away.) I was incensed at the idea of having to walk back to my place on a very cold, windy night to fetch my ID and walk back to the store to buy what I am clearly, obviously, of an age to legally buy. Wisconsin law now idiotically requires store clerks to card anyone who looks like they are under the age of 40 when they making an alcohol or tobacco purchase. I am 51. I look a bit younger than I am, but I do not flatter myself that I look 12 years younger!! Besides, even if I looked 30 or 35 – 21 is still the legal drinking age. How absurd – people who look, not 2 or 5 years, but 19 years over the legal drinking age must still provide ID! As I stomped home to get my driver’s license, I was fuming over the death of plain old common sense. I got the ID, was still livid when I returned to the store and gave the store manager an earful when I returned. He could not understand why I wasn’t feeling flattered – perhaps I might have been if it were June instead of a frigid December night – and gave me a $5 gift card to mollify me.

    The next day, I regretted my anger and apologized to the clerk. Yes, I still think it is a bone-headed law – but the clerk didn’t make the law.

  • An interesting tangent on this discussion, perhaps for another thread, might be how often does bludgeoning work as a tactic to change hearts, versus some other means. Or, is it just that we want performance (orthopraxy) more than we want a change of heart (orthodoxy).

  • “As I stomped home to get my driver’s license, I was fuming over the death of plain old common sense.”

    I hear you!

    Even when I have a big bushy beard I get carded once in a great while when I buy cigarettes. I once asked a clerk if he thought I had a fake beard when he carded me. He just repeated the store’s policy in monotone.

  • Didn’t this man wait in the same line as DarwinCatholic? Didn’t he have a right to complain and take out his money? What if DarwinCatholic and his wife took extra time checking out of a retail store and complained to the clerk because the retail store didn’t have the product which he was looking for and there were people waiting in line behind DarwinCatholic would they have a right to complain and make the other people wait? Or because of the slight inconvenience, no? The bank did not have the product – Christmas display – that he wanted to be represented at HIS bank so he complained to the teller, talked to the manager, withdrew his money out and left so why is everyone giving making a big deal out of one small incident or an actual Christian witness and standing up for Jesus? Didn’t Jesus call us all to be martyrs and not stay silent? To reach outside of our comfort zones? And, yes sometimes obnoxious and courageous are the same thing, and this happens to be one of those circumstances.

    Plus, how did this attack on Christmas occur? Is it because those who attack Christmas and Jesus stayed silent? Or, is it because we stayed silent while others attacked Christmas? Did we feel the need to play nice and accommodate these people?

  • “I once asked a clerk if he thought I had a fake beard when he carded me. He just repeated the store’s policy in monotone”

    What other choice did he have? He never knows when the owner or manager could use his failure to adhere to the policy as an excuse to fire him. Plus, local cops often run sting operations attempting to bust stores that sell alcohol or tobacco to minors. Usually, of course, they use obviously young people with no ID or patently fake ID as bait; but the ONLY way to be completely safe from getting busted in such a sting operation (which also means having the name of your store printed in the local paper or announced on the local news) is to card everyone without exception.

  • I think he’s brilliant.

    If atheists can walk into a public institution and demand the removal of a Christmas decoration and have their way,

    then Christians should be able to walk in and demand the reverse.

When Zombies Attack Over the Holidays!

Tuesday, December 28, AD 2010

How much useful information can be found on the internet!  One word of caution however.  In my experience those who overindulge, either in food or drink, can often make sounds like zombies, so only shoot if you can ascertain that the target is a zombie.  (Yes, sadly, that does go for relatives who seem to specialize in letting their inner lout come out this time of year.)

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Christmas at Bastogne: 1944

Monday, December 27, AD 2010

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101rst Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle.  On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101rst troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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16 Responses to Christmas at Bastogne: 1944

  • Ourstanding war film! There is another scene in the same movie where a chaplain delivers an excellent sermon.

    Here is a verse by a troop who spent Christmas 2009 in Afghanistan and expects to spend Christmas 2011 there: ” . . . asks you remember the ones who fell, the pain of detachment a veritable hell. While you sleep on soft bed in this happy, free land remember the warrior asleep in the sand. While you celebrate with loved ones on this Christmas day, send thought and a prayer to those in harm’s way.”

    Bless them all.

  • Interestingly, just as you post this article, the Ardennes is experiencing its worst (best?) snowfall since that battle back in ’44.

    My father-in-law was a 6-year-old boy living in a farmhouse just outside Bastogne at the time of the Battle of the Bulge. His family was “host” to a young German soldier – just a teenager. He vividly remembers the battle, as his family hid in the cellar while it raged above them. During the battle, his house was occupied by both German and American troops. After the battle, he remembers the dead, frozen bodies in the countryside.

    The following spring – in ’45 – he and his older brother would find weapons in the forest, including grendades which they hid from his father. The boys used them in the streams and small rivers to kill the fish.

    Today, there is a huge monument – the Mardasson Memorial – overlooking Bastogne. The monument is free to visit, but the museum/interpretive center requires a (somewhat pricey) fee; however, it is worth it.

    My grandfather ended up serving in the Ardennes after the battle, but – as far as I know – he never ran into my in-laws. There’s a whole ‘nother part to that story, however, that shows exactly how God was working in my life, even before I was born. But, it’s off-topic, so I’ll save it for another day.

    (By the way – if you make your way there, in addition to the famous Belgian beer, you’ve got to try some of the awesome ham – the Noix d’Ardennes – and wild boar sausage – saucisson de sangliers.)

  • Thanks for the background information Nicholas!

  • Very cool! Loved reading this! Thank you posting! It made my day.

  • NUTS! The most eloquent response to a surrender demand ever spoken.

  • My late father was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. He got severe frostbite in both his feet from the long hours of standing in the snow and later they began to get infected and gangrenous. The military doctors wanted to amputate his feet, but he refused, so they just kept pumping him with penicillin until the infection cleared up and he was able to walk again. That was just one of several instances in his life in which it seems that his guardian angel worked overtime to keep him alive and in one piece!

  • What unit was he with Elaine? That is truly a remarkable story and a tribute to what a determined man I assume your father was!

  • With a bunch of friends we biked some of the Ardennes back in 1996, in the summer. To actually go on some of the roads, and trails, the steep UPS and DOWNS, it really allows you to put into perspective what a battle it was to hold on to territory, let alone advance.

    That was a great movie. Thank-you for sharing clips from it.

  • I have not seen the movie ” Battleground”, but there was a good coverage of the Bastogne engagement in Spielberg’s excelent WWII series, “Band of Brothers”.
    One thing I was surprised about during that series concerning Bastogne was that there appeared to be very little air support. The aliies by that stage had air superiority, and fighters could easily reach that area.
    Do I have the wrong impression, or did the 101st have air support which enabled them to withstand the German onslaught, but it was not shown much on the doco. Perhaps someone may be able to enlighten me.

  • So, I got onto my favorite military history website
    which details all the wars NZ has been involved in from the Boer War in South Africa up to the Korean War.
    Anyway, I got my answer. The weather was so atrocious that planes were generally grounded till Dec. 23rd. NZ squadrons were attached to 2nd T.A.C ( which I presume is Tactical Air Command). 75 squadron – heavy bombers flying Lancaster and Halifaxes were bombing in Germany. All squadrons in the RAF starting with 4(00) were NZ squadrons, and it appears that 9 of the 25 mosquito atacking German lines were from our 488 squadron, and were flying close air attack on 23rd, 24th, and 25th. December. There’s a whole lot more, but I got my question answered – gotta keep reading. 🙂

  • I don’t recall what unit it was, but I know it was part of General Patton’s Third Army (which doesn’t narrow things down very much).

  • Bad weather did indeed stop Allied air support during the initial stages of the Battle of the Bulge Don. That led to Patton’s famous Weather Prayer:

  • Ummm……..( :blush: )
    Got my stories mixed. :mrgreen:

    The 25 mosquitoes, 9 from 487 squadron attacked and destroyed Gesatpo headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark the previous month in a low level precision attack.
    488 squadron was flying along with all the other airforces in the Battle of Ardennes, and around Bastogne (couldn’t refind the reference) on the days mentioned and whenever the weather broke.
    But, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  • Back in the late 40s I dated a young man who had been in the battle of the bulge. He had terribly frost bitten feet that gave him trouble the rest of his life. He would never talk about his experiences except to comment on the children who were German snipers and the difficulty in killing them. He also went into Berlin and of course the Russians were there. Again, he wouldn’t speak much of his experiences, except that he hated the Russians, apparently based on their actions (gang rape, etc.).

  • Fascinating Lee. I have talked to veterans who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and the terrible cold is always vivid in their memories of the battle.

Good King Wenceslas

Sunday, December 26, AD 2010


Something for the weekend and the feast of Saint Stephen, the first of the glorious line of martyrs for Christ.  Good King Wenceslas has always been one of my favorite Christmas Hymns.  We see in this hymn how the love of Christ in the breast of the King translates into immediate and personal action on his behalf to aid the poor man.  The winter storm are the adversities of life that deter so many of us from good works.  Following boldly in the footsteps of the saints can allow us to conquer all obstacles in our path to carrying out  that prime command of Christ:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

The first video is by Bing Crosby and is the finest rendition of the hymn I have heard.

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3 Responses to Good King Wenceslas

  • Thank you!


    St. Wenceslas exemplifies Charity toward neighbor: the Corporal Works of Mercy.

    I always find inspiration in St. Stephen’s witness of Faith, Hope and Love, and his heroic, saintly example for the Spiritual Works. He tries to convert the people; admonishes the sinner; instructs the ignorant; bears wrongs patiently; forgives all injuries; and prays for his murderers/persecuters.

    See Acts of the Apostles 7, 51 to 53 are the summation of St. Stephen’s speech to the sanhedrin. The rest is pure Faith, Hope (Job: “I know my Redeemer lives.”) and Love (forgiving his murderers). Especially, “I see . . . . the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” And, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

    51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

    The Stoning of Stephen

    54 “When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

    57 “At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. [Webmasters Note: Saul of Tarsus, who was a witness to the stoning of St. Stephen, and later was converted on the Road to Damascus and reborn as St. Paul the Apostle. See Acts 9:3] ”

    59 “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

    What am I prepared to do?

  • My favorite renditions of that hymn come from the Irish Rovers:

    and Lorenna McKennitt:

  • Still a wonderful song about a canonized ruler. His remains are still venerated in Saint Vitus’ Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic.

    Not to be confused with another, Wenceslaus, who caused the martyrdom of Saint John of Nepomuk (for not violating the seal of the confessional).

One Solitary Life

Saturday, December 25, AD 2010

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

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9 Responses to One Solitary Life

  • Family was God’s one choice for revealing his “Word” to “become flesh and dwell among us”. This was his model for man to understand our triune God, his love for us, his desire to be in communion with us, and to enjoy the mystery of his presence among us in this our universal home.
    It was a humble family which faithfully accepted the arrangement on his terms, by his means not as they had planned, and for his will to be done. Both Mary and Joseph, as part of that original covenant, were devout Jews and “willing” to do whatever God had in mind for them knowing they would be together “with child” in their adventure for the Holy Spirit who came to “overshadow” them.

    So what do we see here? A complete and dedicated union of a devoted husband, a pure and faithfully obedient virgin wife, and a divine child combined in love and purpose to make up the celestial package for the worlds first “Christmas”. A single unit of persons, Family was its name; Salvation was its goal; Love was its eternal message.
    There exposed and unfolded to the world was heavens “eternal family” of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in their greatest act of love for mankind’s salvation, spiritually conjoined with a “holy family” of husband, wife, and savior child. The nature of heaven’s Trinity revealed on earth in “Family” as only God would have it for the sake of all in humanity’s ultimate and nearly unimaginable triumph, the Incarnation.
    Father God is Love, willed through the Holy Spirit and His chosen vessel our Immaculate mother Mary, the “triumphant” woman named and promised in the garden, to be present among us as our savior Lord, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ once and forever.

  • Merry Christmas!

    Unto us (Non nobis, Domine, non nobis – even in our sinfulness and our unworthiness) the Savior is born!

    Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on Earth!

  • This is just too cool not to share. At the Third (During the Day) Mass of Christmas which I attended this morning, at Cathedral in Springfield, Bishop Paprocki opened his homily by comparing the iconic Star Trek introduction “Space: the final frontier” to the iconic opening line of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word…” Both, he said, were designed to evoke fundamental mysteries — in the first case, space exploration; in the other, exploration of the message of the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. Sounds like a better Trek connection to Christmas than the Klingon Christmas Carol, doesn’t it? Merry First Day of Christmas (there are 11 more to go)!

  • Rats! I’ve been going to mass for 53 years Elaine and never a Star Trek reference!

  • One Solitary Life is a great reflection Don.

    I actually posted it last week on our local Catholic blog, Being

    Great minds and all that, eh? 🙂

    Have a joyful and blessed Christmas Don, and Catherine and your boys.
    And to all on The American Catholic, from down-under-land.

    As you’re aware, we’re about 17 hours ahead of you guys, so my advice today is don’t over eat or drink. I did, and recovering today ( now 10 am.Sunday) – but maybe I’m already too late to give that advice. 😉

  • I’ve always loved One Solitary Life as a tribute to the unending significance of the Life of Christ, even if looked at purely in earthly terms. A Merry Christmas to you and your family Don! The advantage of being a tee-totaler is that I have only drunk today coffee, milk, non-alcoholic egg nog and coke. Now I just have to remember that I do not have to set a record for most turkey consumed by a homo sapien in one sitting!

  • “We’re about 17 hours ahead of you guys… and recovering today (10 a.m. Sunday)

    Don the Kiwi has sent us a message from the future! 🙂

  • They used to play this on TV when I was a kid. I always stopped whatever I was doing to watch it.

A Proclamation

Saturday, December 25, AD 2010

The twenty-fifth day of December.

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;

the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the one thousand and thirty-second year from David’s being anointed king;

in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;

the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;

the whole world being at peace,

in the sixth age of the world,

Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,

desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,

being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception,

was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

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5 Responses to A Proclamation

  • Mmmmm………………where do the dinosaurs fit in this timeline?

    They must’ve been killed in the flood?

    “To the Lord. a day is 1000 years, and 1000 years a day.” 😉

  • The dinosaurs were trying, and failing, during this period to devise accurate calendars Don! 🙂

  • There is a slightly more “updated” version of the Christmas Proclamation offered by the USCCB:

    “Today, the twenty-fifth day of December,
    untold ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth and created man and woman in his own image;
    Several thousand years after the flood, when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant;
    Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;
    Thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt;
    Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;
    one thousand years from the anointing of David as King;
    in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel….”

    (the remainder of the text is the same as the traditional version).

    Still no mention of dinosaurs or of the asteroid that allegedly killed them off thought 🙂

  • Carefull with those dates! We don’t want to upset certain people who believe in theistic evolution or old earth creationism!

  • I’ve always kind of wondered why people care so much about those dates…6 billion years, 6,000 years; big deal. Its not like anyone we know was around even 200 years ago…

O Sanctissima

Friday, December 24, AD 2010


O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration. Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.

                                                                                                                                                                    Saint Augustine


At Christmas we remember the coming of God into our vale of tears as one of us.  The infinite magnitude of God’s love for us demonstrated by His willingness to share our birth and our death in order to free us from our sins.  Our attention is riveted on to the scene in a humble stable some two thousand years ago where Mary gave birth to our Savior.  One of the chief glories of Catholicism is that we have always remembered the love that God has for Mary, the Queen of Heaven, humanity’s sole boast.  Although it is not regarded as such, Christmas is truly the greatest of all Marian feasts.  Few hymns to Mary are more beautiful than O Sanctissima.

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