Baby as Parasite

Friday, April 20, AD 2012

 

 

Over at the Huffington Post a diarist blogging under the name Sasharusa helps explain why babies in utero are treated like so much disposable garbage by so many people in our society:

This is Giardia lamblia. It is an intestinal parasite that is very common and is a pain in the ass to rid of.

I know, I know, it doesn’t look like a precious little baby. I know. It looks scary, and gross, and looks like it will bite your head off. But we’re not talking about looks. Who knows, maybe aliens think we’re ugly as f–k but this parasite would be labeled Miss Universe in their culture? Who knows! Anyway, I am sorry for plastering this as the very first thing in my diary. Consider this just like those exploited photos of miscarried late term fetuses that Anti- Choicers parade around.

Anyways, back to the whole fetus= parasite thing. That is how I see them. I don’t see them as cute and cuddly. I see them as terrifying and scary. I see pregnancy the same way.

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27 Responses to Baby as Parasite

  • Time to weep. LIFE clothed in flesh. Pay it forward.

  • Clicking on that link to the Huffington Post would make me feel like I hit on a porn website, so I’m not going there.

    “Sasharusa” is indeed in need of prayers, but I don’t believe what this person posted. As for “anti-choicers”, those lamebrains are the true anti-choicers. Do you think they favor freedom of choice for schools? Or buying a car with a big V8 engine that runs on natural gas with room for a family? Or living where you want? Or choosing your own dmaned health care plan?

    No, Sasharusa and that ilk don’t believe in any of that. They live in an echo chamber and confuse opinions with intelligence.

  • Every sovereign person alive was begotten as an innocent virgin including this dreadful person writing terrible things that makes indecent individuals of those people invited to spend some time here on earth. Those pesons who renew the face of the earth with Joy, Justice, innocence and LOVE. These people (in utero) love because they have not been taught how to hate. If they are fearsome, remember man that you are fearsome and wonderfully made. These children make mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, community, nations and universes. Homo sapiens. Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. The human being, called, accused falsely, of any crime, any insult, will triumph because of his virginity, innocence and JUSTICE.

  • The devil has no soul, because the devil has no body, no human body. This individual substance of a rational nature is GROWING according to the dictates of his immortal soul. Expalin that Sasharusa.

  • Every piece like that provides the contrast necessary for the lost to find God.

    Joseph reminded his brothers that their intended evil was used by God for good. I think that happens more than we realize because it is only in looking back that we recognize Providence.

    My read of history is that God uses decaying cultures in opposition to the City of God. So it was under the Roman Empire and so it is today. Sasharusa doesn’t know that her evil rant will be turned to good but I trust that it is so.

  • Beware whom you call a “parasite.”

    When I think of liberals, parasite comes to mind.

  • @ G-Veg:
    My read of history is that God uses decaying cultures in opposition to the City of God@

    Sounds like my compost pile. It is full of rot and cow poo but when it is spread out on good soil, it produces the most luscious fruit. We need to stand firm; God is working and His people are listening and preparing for the good fight.

    Lord, give us holy priests…shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priests, for you can do all things.

  • I have been involved with the Right To Life movement since before it became what it is today. These poor souls are out here. They have been out here since before R v W. Does anyone remember(if your as old as I am) being taught to “die for your faith”? At the time the sisters said, “there are many ways you will be called to die for your faith. You may not be brought before a firing squad, or burned at the stake. But you will be called.” As a young child I just thought that was sooo dramatic. Now I know what they meant. Yes, we may be brought befor a firing sqaud befor it’s all over. We are being called right now to die for our faith. We have had such a long period of wandering in the desert of not having the guidance, the leadership of our hierarchy. Many of whom fell right into the lock step of the progressive think tanks. Some who were a PART of them. I believe we are as close to losing our freedoms as we have ever been in the history of our country. If you want to get a thumbnail of how this has happened and how deceptively this movement towards communism has “snuck up on us”, which of course it has not, please read “Righteous Indignation” Excuse Me While I Save The World, by Andrew Breitbart. Starting at chapter 6 he really gets into a rundown of where and how this has been promulgated upon the masses. The beginning of the book is boring but it does lead up to this very good outline. At the time of the first warning signs of abortion on demand in this country many of the original pro life activists learned of these things. It was virtually impossible to talk about at that time. The response was always,” Oh that’ll never happen in America!” Well it did, and “they” are very close to achieving their goals. There is only one way out now, Pray Pray Pray, and yes be prepared to “Die For Your Faith” and the unborn.

  • I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the Church is routinely accused of writing Modest Proposals in regards to Jews, women, dissenters, social liberals, et cetera. I will not pretend that traditionalist Catholics are innocent. I have looked all around and I have seen unpleasant facts.

    Look at the burning of Giordano Bruno. Look at the right-wing firing squads in Spain and Latin America. Look at the shoveling of Jews into ghettos. Look at the demonization of women as temptresses and witches who need to be silenced. Haven’t these and other facts repulsed people? Haven’t these and other facts led people to believe that the Church erases humanity?

    How can people see the Culture of Life in the Church? Please do not assume that I am an enemy of the Church. I have a complicated spiritual journey. I am trying to find truth and goodness wherever they are found, mainly in the Church.

    P.S. Paul, are you referring to liberals as parasites? Aren’t liberals human beings? Furthermore, I have yet to see every single liberal referring to unborn children as parasites. I have yet to see any serious liberal referring to pregnancy as a disease.

  • It seems to me that if one takes the idea that fetus = parasite seriously, and additionally finds pregnancy ‘terrifying and scary,’ then one would certainly want to avoid any sexual interactions, given that this terrifying state only comes about by that means.

    After all, if one knew that one had a high likelihood of contracting an actual parasite by eating a certain thing or walking barefoot in a certain place or whatever else, it would be perfectly reasonable to avoid all those scenarios- we might call such precautions and abstinence a mark of intelligence, whereas if someone deliberately continued to engage in them there would be little else but to presume them a fool.

    So if this analogy is going to have any currency, and if the parasitic nature of pregnancy is so remarkably terrifying, those who profess such an understanding should be (one would think) on the forefront of abstinence practice and endorsement.

  • Perhaps I should have added this. I abhor referring to unborn children as parasites. I also know that there may be much more to the history than what I related. The point that I wanted to raise was that the Church has MUCH baggage. I do hope to see the Church given the grace to face that baggage head-on. Why have I not left the Church? I do try to find Jesus in the Church.

  • Brian Cook: I have yet to see any serious liberal referring to pregnancy as a disease.

    How about as a punishment?

  • I do not debate or otherwise have dialogue with liberals, but perhaps Dr. David L. Schindler’s “The Repressive Logic of Liberal Rights: Religious Freedom, Contraceptives and the ‘Phony’ Argument of the New York Times” at Communio News would rebut the assertion, “I have yet to see any serious liberal referring to pregnancy as a disease”:

    http://www.communio-icr.com/articles/PDF/schindlerdl38-4.pdf

    Because liberals (being secular atheists or otherwise of that temperment) believe man is evolved from ape, and hence an animal, of course to them might makes right and an embryo is simly a parasitical collection of cells. But a truly authentic Christian realizes that man is created in the image and likeness of God Almighty, and that implies and necessitates responsibility and accountability. The liberal, being liberal, thinks he / she may engage in sexual intercourse like a wild baboon in heat without any consequence for his / her action, and nanny government is supposed to pay for his / her contraception or abortion (or failing that, the government may compel the Church to so pay). A truly authentic Christian on the other hand knows that God will hold him / her responsible and accountable, and knows that all human life derives from that same God from moment of conception to death.

    Other than that, I have nothing to say to the liberal.

  • “but the Church is routinely accused of writing Modest Proposals in regards to Jews, women, dissenters, social liberals, et cetera.”

    Yes, by people who do not want to focus on what really bugs them, which generally boils down to the fight of the Church against abortion and the refusal of the Church to bend and say that homosexual sex is morally good. The Church has been around for 2000 years and critics can find plenty to point to where Catholics have not lived up to the teachings of Christ. However, the critics usually have an appalling lack of knowledge of the history involved, often are quite comfortable with the enormities of our day while passing judgment on those of the distant past (beam and speck problem) and are simply not being intellectually honest. If what bugs a critic is the belief of the Church in the sanctity of life then battle us about abortion and don’t babble about the Albigensian Crusade or the “oppression” of lesbian nuns in 13th century Perugia.

  • “I have a complicated spiritual journey. I am trying to find truth and goodness wherever they are found, mainly in the Church. ”

    Stick around and read and comment Brian. The search for truth and goodness is a necessary pursuit and you may find some here.

  • When, in Engel v. Vitale (1962) the Person of Jesus Christ was refused acknowledgment in the public square, the soul of Christ was denied to us, making of all persons, beasts of burden, parasites, anything the fallible state calls us, slaves of a fallible, mortal disease, punishment. Every person in this generation may be described by Obama’s definition as a “punishment”. To end the “punishment” we must return Jesus Christ to His proper place as Sovereign King in our hearts, our minds and in our country. Unfortunately, abortion, ending the punishment by ending our neighbor’s life, making war on the unborn, human sacrifice replaced love and charity and generosity.

  • Wow…I’m not a fan of pain myself, but for crying out loud, grow up, lady. Millions of women have done it before and will continue to. Your grandma and great-grandma and great-great-grandma before her weren’t sissies, or you wouldn’t be here.

  • enness. Let’s go over this again. When the person of Jesus Christ was denied to us, many of our brothers and sisters in the womb were denied their sovereign personhood and were murdered. With the return of the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ, our sovereign dignity will be acknowledged by the government and our culture. My ancestors had this same problem with the communists in Poland. Instead of welcoming a new life , the mother and child were HATED. There is no separating Jesus Christ from His people and this is being done to the detriment of the newly begotten. And as you say “women have done it before” but only their enemies ripped the child from their wombs. In America, our representatives rip the child from the womb, call our unborn punishments and diseases, as though the human soul does not exist and with our tax dollars. Why is that?

  • I think we have less to worry about from kooks like Ms Rusa who regard the infant as a literal biological parasite. After all, God/Nature/Evolution (take your pick) has devised absolutely marvelous mechanisms to see the mother and baby safely thru pregnancy. Those who decline to participate in the natural imperative to colonise the future are self-selecting out.

    But industrial capital capitalism and consumerism have transformed children from blessing to burden (economic parasite) and thence to luxury item. For the large percentage who “wait until we can afford children” IVF, surrogates, &c become necessary.

    Who knows? Perhaps new technologies will move economic activity back into the home where children will again be an asset.

  • I heard someone the other day on a chat TV show talk about the IVF procedure and the “host” carrier. Seriously folks, doesn’t this give you cold chills? Why, they even said sometimes the original egg producer could carry the embryo.

    How do you get this horse back into the barn?

  • Mr. Cook, I do not believe that you would want to get into a debate with me about the firing squads in Latin America – of whom I am sure you consider to be “right-wing”.
    The Spanish Civil War is a very complex time in history and the people Franco opposed and defeated were not as pure as the driven snow…far from it.

    Latin America has been a place of political extremism and violence since before the conquistadores set foot in the Western Hemisphere. The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice and were hated by the Indian tribes they ruled over. Cortez would not have overthrown the Aztec Empire without Indian help.

    Those who point out the Latin American firing squads are usually silent about Castro, the FARC or the Sendero Luminoso, the three who are to blame for most of Latin American bloodshed over the last half century.

    Babies are not parasites. Babies are not burdens. The fact that some people believe these lies does not make them truths. They believe they can have it all – the expensive imported luxury car, a high powered career, annual vacations in exotic places, etc. For them, a child is a burden. When they are old, they will be considered a burden to the younger taxpayers of that time.

  • “How can people see the Culture of Life in the Church?”

    Mostly in places and in ways that don’t get as much media attention as the bad stuff, and for the most part are spearheaded by lay people rather than priests or nuns (with some exceptions) so they aren’t as closely associated with “the Church” in the public mind. Are you familiar with the Sisters of Life religious order, or with the work of the late Dr. Jerome Lejeune, for example? Were you aware that one of the founders of NARAL, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, eventually became a Catholic and ardent defender of life, as has Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” in Roe vs. Wade?

  • Brian CooK: “I do try to find Jesus in the Church. ” IN the Blessed Sacrament on the altar.

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8 Responses to Doggate: After This All Else Is Commentary

  • Don’t discount the dog lovers’ voting bloc, Don. It could put Mitt over the top.

    It’s always refreshing to have a paws in an otherwise dull campaign. yuck-yuck. Here’s a few more: (Rim shots optional)

    Cesar Milan: “Remember, it’s exercise, discipline, then affection.” Obama: “Yeah, but what temperature do I set the oven?”

    Mr. President, where are we going to eat?
    Obama: Well, I know a great spot.

    Speculation is growing about what kind of dog Obama ate. Right now, leading the pack is weiner-schnitzel.

  • Any chance we could rename Mr. Romney “Mutt?”

  • The higher inflation is and longer the recession is the fatter my beagle becomes.
    Victory garden planted—-check.
    Sweaters knitted———check.
    Wood chopped———-check
    Rifles loaded————check.
    Beagle fattened———-check.
    She had better figure out a way to earn her keep real soon.

  • It seemed to me that it was in poor taste, given that’s it’s a riff on a kid who was shot to death.

  • I rather took it as a riff John Henry on the President’s crass attempt to exploit the death of a 17 year old shot to death for political advantage.

  • It’s a riff on both, Don. I think it’s witty…just didn’t find it as funny when the hoodie reminded me of the dead kid and his family. I’m recording my personal emotional reaction – that I think it’s in poor taste – not saying that anyone who disagrees is a terrible person.

  • The dog probably loved being on the roof in fresh air.
    Have you ever seen a dog on the back of a ute – or even in a car with the window open – the first thing they do is hang their head out to get the wind full in their face – they love it.

    And what’s more, how long have you been able to stay inside the car when the dog farts.
    Ppfffaaawww !! 😉

Schadenfreude

Friday, April 20, AD 2012

Occasionally I take a glance at the website of the National Catholic Distorter Fishwrap Reporter for the purpose of amusement.  Yesterday I wandered over there to see their reaction to the Vatican’s attempt to reform The Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  The reactions were both hysterical and hysterically funny.  Father Z, who I have designated the Master of the Fisk, had one of his patented devastating takes on one of the reactions:

[Sr. Joan] Chittister said she was deeply distraught at news of Sartain’s appointment and the order for LCWR to revise itself. [What a surprise!]

“When you set out to reform a people, a group, who have done nothing wrong, [You mean, other than purposely embrace heresies and all sorts of strange things, criticize and defy the Holy See and bishops, abandon their habits and the charisms of their communities… ] you have to have an intention, a motivation that is not only not morally based, but actually immoral,” she said.  [Keeping in mind that this new project comes from the CDF and that this is approved by the Holy Father, I rest my case.]

“Because you are attempting to control people [Note the word “attempt”.  I look forward to many more statements of defiance from women religious, speeches at conferences, articles in NCR.] for one thing and one thing only — and that is for thinking, for being willing to discuss the issues of the age … If we stop thinking, if we stop demanding the divine right to think, [She pretty much side-steps the problems, no?  This “think” thing is misdirection.] and to see that as a Catholic gift, then we are betraying the church no matter what [NB] the powers of the church see as an inconvenient truth in their own times.”  [Sr. Joan must be for the Magisterium of Nuns what Al Gore is to the climate change crowd.]

In attempting to take such control of people’s thinking, [She must think most of her readers are pretty stupid, since she keeps repeating the point.] she said, “You make a mockery of the search for God, of the whole notion of keeping eyes on the signs of the times and of providing the people with the best possible spiritual guidance and presence you can give.  [More Enneagrams, please!]

“When I was a child in this town, I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.

In my lifetime, the church, to its eternal credit, admitted that it was wrong. [!?!  About entering Protestant churches?  – Would that some of them would… but I digress. ] The scandal and the sin is that it took 400 years to do that.”

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22 Responses to Schadenfreude

  • They find hope in everything and everyone EXCEPT Jesus Christ. Typical godless liberals.

  • As Lord Macaulay famously observed, “We know through what strange loopholes the human mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable inference from an admitted proposition. We know how long the Jansenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to believe doctrines which he pronounced to be heretical.”

  • “I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.”

    No one actually had to teach me that for me to figure it out.

  • “’I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.’ No one actually had to teach me that for me to figure it out.”

    Frankly, statements like that are offensive. When my 80 year old Pentecostal mother and my older brother visit me, and ask me to drive them to the local Assemblies of God (AG) Church where I live, then I have done so and shall happily and respectfully continue to do so. I have and shall continue to enter and sit with them, and be a polite and decent human being who realizes that he doesn’t have a lock on the Kingdom of Heaven.

    If the LCWR embraced the Gospel of Conversion and Repentence the way that the AG does, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    There is so much wrong with this triumphalism. The Eastern Orthodox Churches not in union with the See of Peter are recognized to have valid Holy Orders and valid Sacraments. There are other examples. While I utterly despise and loathe the liberalism and progressivism inherent in the Liberal Conference of Women Religious, there is a world of difference between their renegade brand of “Christianity” and our separated Evangelical, Pentecostal or Orthodox brethren. We could learn lessons from the latter even while we disagree with them on matters of theology. Indeed, I have more in common with the typical, run of the mill Evaneglical or Pentecostal than I do with any liberal progressive who calls him or herself “Catholic.”

    BTW, go to a typical AG Church or Church of God Church, and you’ll see no Obama bumper stickers in the parking lot. Go to a Catholic and the story is very different. Why is that? Who really has the problem?

  • Let us stay on topic please. I have a family filled with all Protestants on my father’s side, and my wife was a Protestant when I married her, and so I have zero interest in getting into a battle on this thread about Catholic vs. Protestant. The topic is LCWR and not our separated brethren.

  • All this talk about continuously “thinking” and “being allowed to think.”

    I always thought the purpose of thinking was to arrive at a conclusion. The Church has arrived at its conclusions a long time ago (at least on Sister’s pet issues).

  • Paul Primavera:
    “They find hope in everything and everyone EXCEPT Jesus Christ.” You took the words out of my mouth. “…EXCEPT Jesus Christ and His Holy Church.

  • I was recently reading some of “The Soul of the Apostolate”. The theme of the book is the importance of the interior life over the active life. I thought the author used some outrageous stories of religious people who got so lost in their active apostolates that they bankrupted themselves spiritually. Now I’m thinking that the author actually understated the risk.

  • Niiice.

    The biological solution is taking care of these catholycs.

    Check out the despair in their movement at the 4:00 minute mark.

    Then take a look at their demographic at the 6:12 mark, you can see an elderly person walking with his stroller in the background.

    You can almost see Michael Sean Winters way in the back curled up in the fetal position sobbing with his thumb in his mouth.

    Yep, the biological solution is taking care of these dissidents.

  • Pinky: Mother Teresa of Calcutta instructed her nuns to pray five hours a day and work five hours a day, without which the nuns would lose their vocation.

  • IIRC, it was never a sin to go into a protestant church.
    We were taught that taking part in their “communion” was sinful, because it meant that we accepted their view of communion as a symbol, was equivalent to the genuine “Eucharistic Sacrfice” of the consecrated species of the Catholic Mass.

    There was never a ban on entering a protestant church – I attended many weddings of family and friends in other churches.

    Sr. Joan’s red herring.

  • *shrug* Pretty standard stuff. “Think” is the same as “listen”– it usually means “agree with what I’m saying.”

  • Power is indeed the issue. The left decries greed and indeed there is. But they ignore their own greed in grabbing for more and more power. This is the true problem with greed today.

  • The LCWR has become a rat’s nest of secular dissent against the Catholic Church. After Archbishop Sartain investigates them, I hope the Holy See disbands the LCWR and puts the dissenters on notice – shape up or ship out.

    I cannot look at the NCR website. Just can’t do it.

  • All I can say is Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI, for Bishop Levada and for Bishop Sartrain. What I found most interesting about the video attached is that no one answered the question What do you have hope in? with the answer I would give: Christ and the Church. That is where I put my hope. And it is refreshing and awesome to see how Benedict is gracefully charting the Church out of the Scandals and into the future by returning its heart and its focus to the past, to the teaching of the magisterium, and the true deposit of the faith. May GOD continue to bless the Catholic Church. And I pray that those within it who want to change it to something more modern and conforming of the world — find the exit and fast. The Church that Christ founded is good enough for me.

  • Penguins Fan,

    I don’t visit the NCDistorter for any reason at all. Even if they have John Allen writing there, which I find disturbing.

    Isn’t writing for the NCDistorter formal cooperation with evil?

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  • The LCWR has attempted to turn the Church into a democracy, not unlike the mainstream protestant denominations have done in their own misguided way. When doctrine is subject to the whim of a vote or popular opinion, you have what the TEC community is experiencing: doctrinal confusion and ecclesiastical meltdown.

    The undoing of the LCWR will not be due to the Vatican’s legitimate action to rectify the disturbing anti-Catholic teaching and behaviour among the LCWR membership and their allies. No, the LCWR will fall due to what comes out of their mouths and which further alienates them from the Church. They can try to blame others for the problems they have created. However, mature adults would normally find it within themselves to examine their consciences, submit to the legitimate authority of the bishops and make the necessary changes to harmonize their mission with that of the Church.

    One would think that the LCWR leadership would exercise restraint and humility. Instead, their reactions amount to the confused rants of petulant children. As it is, the LCWR’s defiance proves they are not with Christ and His Vicar.

  • Don,

    You asked. “Why do people who so manifestly hate the Church, at least the Church as she has existed throughout history and not the Church of their desires, stay? ”

    I believe they stay because being Catholic has a distinct and definitive meaning. It has some bona fides that they would not be able to claim outside the Church. I find it ironic that the only way their opinions carry weight is staying in the very organization they seek to destroy.

    Dominus Vobiscum

    KCHawk

  • Warren
    “The LCWR has attempted to turn the Church into a democracy,” Biting the hand that feeds them.

  • Maybe they are staying and trying to change the Church into their own image and likeness because they would lose a lot of property if they left (convents, etc….) and PRIDE , of course, – they are right and those old men in Rome are….wrong!

29 Responses to Aliens, Sex and Catholicism

  • Happens, with science fiction.

    Some people enjoy speculative fiction, some don’t.

  • Foxfire:
    My dad was a storyteller, every night to us, his children, dad made it up as he went along. Dad had The Pirates of the Carribean and Harry Potter beat. God rest his soul.

  • May there be more like him!

  • Foxfier, Foxfier, Foxfier. God love you

  • Somebody’s gotta.

    (….no, I can’t resist a straight line like that.)

  • I was going to post, “What a waste of my time!” Instead I”ll say ” It’s just not my cup of tea.”

  • Well, as a Trekkie I really enjoyed this. Science fiction was a childhood favorite of mine, and this was funny!

  • BTW, it was Larry Niven in his Ringworld series (which also I loved reading and re-reading) who coined the term Rishathra. I don’t think it was ever used on Star Trek. But Vulcan Ambassador Sarek did marry human Amanda Grayson who bore him the son Spock.

  • So, technically speaking, Sarek and Amanda were not interspecie, but intraspecie. One common definition of different species is that they cannot procreate. It therefore would not be Rishathra.

  • Interesting clarification, C. Matt. However, Humans and Vulcans are different species (e.g., the former having iron in its hemoglobin and the latter have copper) whereas Vulcans and Romulans are the same species, but different offshoots or races. So in the case of Human-Vulcan parings, inter-species is appropriate (with the possibility of viable off-spring), but in the case of Vulcan-Romulan, intra-species is likely the accepted term (with still viable off-spring). But I really don’t know. We may have to find a Vulcanologist to ask!

  • Star Trek always struck me as the pinnacle of Enlightenment atheism, which is very common in science fiction. As we understand more and more, we’ll credit fewer and fewer things to God, until religion will die out (according to the narrative). It didn’t make me flee from science fiction, but it did grow tiring.

  • Karl-
    generally a good choice! I figure 95% of EVERYTHING would be a waste of my time, but is at least enjoyable and harmless for others.

    Paul and c Matt-
    I have a LOT of fun with that, since we’ve got at least one cannon example of a quarter-Vulcanoid, and at least one half-Romulan that was made without reproductive “help.” (Random redshirt in TNG who lost his clearance for a Romulan grandfather and AU Tasha Yar’s daughter, the Romulan commander.)

    The really fun thing? ….Ever try to get someone to define “species”? The old definition was that they could make fertile offspring, with some quirks (similar to how we consider tomatoes a vegetable). More recently, the definition is more like “are a different genetic group that reliably makes offspring that look the same.” Which would be fine, but would classify different breeds of cow as different species without the unwritten rule of them being different “enough.”
    I didn’t realize how plastic the definition was until I found out about the arguments about wolves/dogs/coyotes. Turns out that “red wolves” are just mostly-coyote wolves, genetically, and the “coyotes” up north are mostly wolf….

    So part of the definition of “different species” might include “possibly fertile but don’t generally interbreed because of different mating practices or other difficulties.” (Like coyotes usually eating dogs.)

    Obviously, can’t use that for PEOPLE!

  • Pinky-
    I got tired of it, too, until I started playing mind-games– there are bits of religion all over the place, they’re just kind of smashed, and even though the series was designed to reject God, the demands of story keep slipping him back in there.
    (Such as all the half-aliens…. wow, I just realized that from TOS through Voy, every single series had a half alien main character, at least sort of; I thought DS9 didn’t, but Sisko’s mom was a human embodying a wormhole alien, so he counts.)

    So, my current theory? We only see StarFleet, the highly public stuff– the Church has gone underground. The Vulcan Pope is coming!

  • I always respected Babylon 5 for depicting religion. The creator of the show was an atheist, but he didn’t believe that the instinct toward religion would disappear.

  • Pinky is correct. I loved Babylon 5 especially for its respectful and realistic depiction of religion.

  • Pinky wrote:

    “Star Trek always struck me as the pinnacle of Enlightenment atheism, which is very common in science fiction. As we understand more and more, we’ll credit fewer and fewer things to God, until religion will die out (according to the narrative). It didn’t make me flee from science fiction, but it did grow tiring.”

    He’s 100% right. Capt Picard once told Q that humanity had outgrown its need for gods. That turned me right off.

    But the original Star Trek once had an episode in which the Enterprise visits a world where the Roman Empire never died, and only in its equivalent to the 20th century did news of the “Son” spread. When Enterprise people heard of this religion of the “Son”, they thought it was “Sun” worship (why the Romans weren’t speaking Latin but English isn’t explained because the difference between Filius Dei and Sol Dei is obvious to the ears). At the end, when Uhura explains everything, Kirk says that now the religion of peace and universal brotherhood will overthrow their Caesars. Ignored is the obvious Crucifixion – the Paschal Lamb slain to save sinners. It’s all about social justice and the common good. Typical and disappointing, but expected.

  • He’s 100% right. Capt Picard once told Q that humanity had outgrown its need for gods. That turned me right off.

    That sort of thing is what prodded me to think that religion was suppressed– there are a lot like it, but it’s all slogans without form. Kind of like how there’s “no money” in the future…officially. Went right out the window as soon as you got any distance from total Federation control.
    Kind of like how we’re going in politics these days, with any allusion to religion being scrubbed– even “AD”– with the actual form remaining. A new coat of paint doesn’t change much!

  • Foxfier – That’s a pretty dark interpretation of the Federation – an interstellar army that censors thought. It’s definitely not what the show’s writers had in mind, but it would make for good fanfiction.

  • “That’s a pretty dark interpretation of the Federation – an interstellar army that censors thought. It’s definitely not what the show’s writers had in mind…”

    But that’s essentially the upshot of Picard’s comment to Q that the people in the Federation had outgrown the concept of gods. If you believe in God, then you are old, outmoded, barbaric, uncivilized, etc. The same thing with money – the Federation has outgrown that – we all work for free, each receiving according to his need and giving according to his ability. I remember when Commander Riker explained that to the Ferengi who were the 23rd century outmoded capitalists that Picard derided as Yankee pirates.

    Wait! Didn’t someone say that about receiving according to need and giving according to ability in the 1800s? It’s all Marxism – er, dressed up, techno-fantasy liberalism – in the setting of Sci-Fi.

  • Pinky-
    Not so much censoring and promoting their own, pro-unity theories– it’s a voluntary club, after all. You can’t even apply as a planet unless you’ve got a one-world gov’t.

    I prefer to take an optimistic view and figure 1) it’s easy to travel, so those who disagree with Federation policy or mots world governments just leave, and 2) there are non-Federation planets, entire flotillas of ships, all the normal folks who keep stuff going. Anybody remember Mudd from the original series? Or Worf’s brother?

    Of course, it’s not much of a choice for the folks who are on a boarder with the folks that the Federation are fighting (poorly) with, but the Klingon Empire wouldn’t be very comfortable no matter who their neighbors were!

    Of course, joining the Federation can be pretty dangerous if you’re in the way of peace, as the Marquis figured out when their systems were traded over to Cardassian management. (Can you say “fascists”? They really have replaced religion with The State, and Garak is their roving preacher….)

    Like Paul touches on– it’s liberalism; Marxism that doesn’t actually require that people be forced to work to get stuff. Replicators set that up. It’s just for extra stuff, or things that are outside of The System, that people need credits/money/barter.
    It probably helps that DS9 was the first series I saw when I was old enough to really think about what stuff entailed, and they even had to deal with martial law on Earth. (for good reason, but still) The Federation’s interaction with the Russians–oops, I mean Romulans– especially reminded me of real world liberal reactions. /twee

    I accept only the vague notion of a lot of the Earth/Federation stuff from DS9 in part because some of it contradicts itself and some of it is just really bad writing, but the gist is there.

  • In my defense, I’m not thinking this stuff up on the fly, nor do I set for hours watching the show– I’ve been “working” on a fanfic about this for roughly a decade. It’s what I do when I’m doing something that requires attention but not thought. (biggest problem: I can’t make a story-arc to save my life, and when I do write scenes down it’s usually 90% dialog and some repetitive actions. My scene descriptions are best left unconsidered.)

  • Michael Eddington’s, a leader of the maquis, speech in which he presented a rather damning view of the Federation:

    “Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We’ve never harmed you. And yet we’re constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands, and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we’ve left the Federation, and that’s the one thing you can’t accept. Nobody leaves Paradise, everyone should want to be in the Federation! Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You’re only sending them replicators because one day, they can take their rightful place on the Federation Council. You know, in some ways, you’re even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You’re more insidious, you assimilate people – and they don’t even know it.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRxPjJ8VlyE

    Gene Roddenberry was of course a liberal and he had the usual liberal view that Man could ultimately create a terrestrial paradise. Conservatives, and Christians, understand this is the sheerest hubris. For Roddenberry the Federation was perfect. Imperfection came from outside of the Federation. Once Roddenberry died Deep Space Nine and Voyager were able to explore storylines where the Federation was shown as less than perfect and filled with fallible humans.

  • Foxfier – No need to defend yourself. It’s interesting. I take it that you see the Federation as something like the Alliance on Firefly?

  • Michael Eddington’s speech could well apply to liberal America.

  • Actually, now you’ve got me thinking about it. Weren’t there earlier hints that the Federation liked power a bit too much, like maybe on TNG and the second movie, where they co-opted scientific discoveries?

  • Donald-
    thank you! I fried my speakers yesterday– the magic smoke came out while the girls and I were listening to the radio online and cleaning house– so I can’t really look up any videos for stuff, even if I had the patience to set and watch them. I’m going largely off of memory…although I suppose I could go get the wedding gift my in-laws gave us and actually LOOK at the DVDs!

    I spent a lot of time thinking about the Federation and Marquis when I was writing a character in a play-by-email sim, too– it was set on a Cardassian space station, post-Dominion War, and my character was a Cardassian. (Only ones I could work up a lot of sympathy for, too– former POW to the Federation, which is not a bad gig, especially if you’re injured.) Figuring out how to make the characters make sense as a young teen probably warped my thinking permanently.

    Pinky-
    usually, if I defend myself on that sort of thing, I feel a bit guilty about the amount of implied time and effort. Since I feel guilty about swatting a fly on up, I end up explaining a lot! Just assume I have a smile on my face. :^)

    As for Firefly, I haven’t really watched it as closely as Star Trek, but I see it as a good version of the Alliance as I understand it. Not perfect, any more than the Alliance was pure evil, but a sort of extrapolation of our gov’t if it was controlled by folks who thought the way that a lot of Fleeters talk. Much more into soft power, too, with a few individual exceptions for abuse of power.

    They do stuff For Your Own Good. That’s a thing that’s pretty easy to pervert.
    There was even that two-part episode where evil parisite aliens realized this and tried to take over… either SF or the Federation, can’t remember.

    One of the things that keeps the Federation as basically good guys is the way that they have a lot of rules that are way too broad to be good (You can’t mess with pre-contact civilizations.) where violations are ignored if you do the right thing. (Like when they saved a planet’s population from a supernova sun; pretty sure that was the second ep where Worf’s brother showed up.) Reminds me of the US military being responsible for refusing unlawful orders…when you do refuse an order, it’d dang well better be upheld.

    Sure, they have Bureaucratitus, but what system-spanning organization wouldn’t? It’s not like politics will die out.

    They just happen to have this little…twitch… where nothing related to religion is allowed out… a perfectly understandable extrapolation from the current drive to remove religion from the public square. And what’s more public than StarFleet?

Two Things Conservative Catholics Should Stop Doing

Thursday, April 19, AD 2012

Has the title of this blog post got your attention? Good. Many of this blog’s regular readers and com-boxers could be classified as conservative Catholic, myself included (though I do my best to elude fixed categories). So I hope you will take this to heart, and maybe even take the debate outside the confines of this blog if you feel so moved.

I like Bill Donohue. I sympathize with him and his organization, The Catholic League. I share many of their sentiments, including outrage and disgust, whenever the media decides to take another whack at Christianity. So I certainly don’t critique Donohue or the CL from the left. Nor is my critique limited to Donohue and CL, but could extend to any number of Catholic and Protestant organizations as well.

With that said, here are two things that I wish they would all stop doing, and they are closely related.

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70 Responses to Two Things Conservative Catholics Should Stop Doing

  • I do not agree with every word of this, but your basic points are dead on. Thank you for saying this on this blog, of all places.

  • The most common sense I have read in a long time. Jon Stewart is violating our freedom of religion, our civil rights to be secure in the exercise of our Faith from God. Until the freedom of religion has been successfully removed by two thirds of the states ratifying the change from our founding principles, Jon Stewart must publicly respect our freedom and our Faith. To not do so disturbs my peace.
    The Freedom from Religion group must show cause that it has legal standing in a court of law after they have gotten two thirds of the states to ratify a change in our founding principles removing the free exercise of religion. Our founding principles acknowledge “our Creator’s” endowed, unalienable rights, “the laws of nature and nature’s God”, “Divine Providence”, “Sacred Honor” in The Declaration of Independence and “the blessings of Liberty” in a person’s free exercise of “religion.“ Nowhere, do I read a “freedom from religion” that may be constitutionally imposed upon the nation without having this change ratified by two thirds of the states.

  • I am so happy said something about fake apologies– because that’s what they are.

    But I don’t think pointing out inconsistencies is unhelpful. Some people do paint themselves as courageous, yet they won’t criticize Islam for fearing of being terrorized. It’s not about insisting that people mock ALL religions, it’s pointing out that taking potshots at Christianity is intellectually lazy and cowardly. And it’s not about feminism either. If you’re going to preach certain values to the rest of society, then you’d better abide by them, otherwise you’re showing what your *real* values are.

  • Not only should we not demand fake apologies, we should not give them either. This is a trap conservatives in general fall into. Does anyone think Rush was sincere when he apologized to Sandra Fluke? I can think worse and more accurate labels to put on a woman who wants others to pay for her promiscuity or that of other women. Especially an institution that regards contraception as intrinsically evil.

    I think the Catholic League needs a media other than Bill Donahue. God bless him he means well. But comes off as a crank and a whiner. To the anti-Catholic media he is the gift that keeps on giving. He helps reinforce the misconception that being a traditional Catholic is be an angry, humorless prude.

  • Greg Mockeridge: Dr. Donohue gets the job done by publicizing and informing what needs to be done, especially the boycots that have brought great results. Prayers work. Speak softly and carry a big stick. William Donohue is our “big stick”. Dr. Donohue levels the playing field. In our culture, being an angry, humorless prude is all we got.

  • I agree with point #1.

    I don’t agree fully with point #2, because I haven’t interpreted the comparisons with Islam in the same way that you have. When I hear someone make the point, “hey, you wouldn’t see the NY Times run an ad like that that criticized Islam, would you?,” I usually interpret that to mean that we would rightly expect them not to criticize Islam in that way, so they shouldn’t criticize the Catholic Church in that way either.

    In other words, my understanding is that such commenters (generally) are not saying, “hey, let’s make hateful remarks about all religions equally!” Instead I think they are saying, “hey, let’s stop making hateful remarks about the Catholic Church, just as we rightly refrain from making hateful remarks about other religious groups.”

  • I can’t believe this. Jon Stewart just showed absolute pornography for a laugh– ridiculing women and the nativity all at once– Pornography. The victim is the woman! ..the incognito woman– no head shown because she might as well have a sack over her head right– just the body– open to the mocking world. And the response to the issue is whether or not Donohue’s protest is done in the best possible way.
    Gosh– what about what Stewart did?
    Stewart was mocking Fox news and Christianity, too bad– he was mocking the dignity of women and men– our bodies- the Image of God! but our concern is not about the woman used or the porn– just whether or not this is an insult to Christianity because of desecrating the Nativity scene! This woman is desecrated!
    and whatl we talk about is how Donohue handles it? Donohue speaks up in the face of the cool guy…. and all we can do is say Donohue comes across as crabby?
    let’s stand up against the porn in this terrible act and what the casual acceptance of porn does to women– and after we do that, I think sending a nice private suggestion to Donohue could be helpful– if we want to be helpful and not just talk about his efforts and how we would do it better…that is, if we did do it.

    In the meantime the news programs are talking about how body parts of dead Afghans have been insulted… What about the respect for the body parts of a living breathing ensouled person. Not news.

  • Paul H,

    You should research the NY Times anti-Catholic ad and Pamela Geller’s response to it. She drafted an equally hateful anti-Muslim ad that many wanted to see in the Times. The whole idea was to try to catch them in a double-standard.

  • Anzlyne,

    I don’t know how many times I have to say that I share Donohue’s (and your) outrage and disgust.

    What I disagree with are the tactics of calling for apologies and insisting that other religions get mocked as the Church gets mocked.

    As for doing things as opposed to talking about them, well, this is a blog. And I did suggest we do something. Pray for Jon Stewart.

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  • When people say “they wouldn’t say that about Islam, would they?”, they mean that, “They wouldn’t say that about Islam because someone of that religion might take violent action against them and most of the left wing Christian haters are cowardly punks who are afraid to actually have to face real repercussions for their words”. It can also be said that, “They wouldn’t say that about Islam because in their eyes, only Christianity, and most specifically Catholicism, is wrong and evil.”

    At least, that is what I mean when I said that. I don’t say it anymore because it really goes without saying these days. Oh, a left wing idiot insulted my religion and all that I hold sacred? Yawn…

  • I was a fallen away Catholic and have recently returned to my faith. I was absorbed into the current pagan culture like many others. I know exactly why I have returned. Through the intercession of prayers from countless faithful. I do not doubt for one moment the power of prayer. I intend to pray for Mr Stewart and others that are lost and keep the words that Christ said deep in my heart. “Father forgive them..for they know not what they do.”

  • I agree in general with your post. Personally, I am not a fan of Mr. Donohue even if we see things OUTSIDE the Church in a similar light.

  • I agree with your first point about stopping forcing people to make fake apologies. The second point I disagree with. Pamela Geller only produced the same exact ad for Islam to see whether or not the New York Times would publish the ad. They didn’t. She pointed out the hypocrisy of the liberal NY Times. They are so willing to offend Catholicism and Traditional Christianity but are unwilling to offend Muslims because they are afraid that offending them may spur uprisings by Muslims. The New York Times exemplified their hate for the Catholic Church whereas Pamela wasn’t testing them for purposes of hate but rather to make a valid point. Therein lies the difference between the NY Times and Pamela Geller.

  • Are you equating Bill Bill Donohue with Al Sharpton? Good grief. That blows your whole analogy. Sharpton has no logical moral basis for his demands while Donohue does. Sharpton’s outrage is feigned, phoney and manipulative; Donohue’s is authentic and grounded in reality. Did you skip logic class in Catholic school?

  • Does Jon Stweart believe in God? I don’t know, but to say he doesn’t without being sure is not right. Are we sure he doesn’t? I disagree with his awful blasphemy.

  • Although I am not a fervent Catholic, blowing hot and cold at times, I say the best defense is a good offense, which the Anti-Defamation League shows can be effective in blunting anti-Semitism. The ADL rolls out the top guns whenever Jews are attacked, individually or collectively.

    I’m with Donohue and others who go for the jugular rather than turning the other cheek. As for praying for the heathens, I don’t think that will workers. Millions of prayers were sent up for saving the soul of virulent atheist Christopher Hitchens and he was unrepentent to the bitter end.

  • Jon Stewart must publicly respect our freedom

    Well, if you are saying he has a Constitutional duty to do so, no, he does not. The Government has a Constitutional duty to respect our freedom, but last I checked, Jon Stewart was not the government (thank God!).

    He certainly has a moral duty to do so. And perhaps, since TV transmittals are regulated by the FCC, he may have some quasi-legal duty to so (depending on FCC regs), but strictly speaking, not a Constitutional one.

  • the title of the post is about things conservatives should stop doing….conservatives should stop taking down their own men, doing the work of the opposition, acting as a circular firing squad…when donahue makes a foray into the culture war– he is on our team– our team members and their methods are not perfect–but let’s not lose sight of the End

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    Matthew 5:43-48

  • “You should research the NY Times anti-Catholic ad and Pamela Geller’s response to it. She drafted an equally hateful anti-Muslim ad that many wanted to see in the Times. The whole idea was to try to catch them in a double-standard.”

    I am aware of that. Still, I interpreted that as a publicity stunt to make the point that the NYT would not run the anti-Muslim ad, therefore they should not have run the anti-Catholic ad either. And in general, when I hear comments of this type, I usually interpret them in the way that I mentioned, as “stop bashing Catholics” rather than “since you’re bashing Catholics, please bash Muslims too.” I respect that you may see it differently, and I’m not saying that my interpretation is necessarily correct in every case.

  • I don’t think that anyone is calling for the mockery of Islam. They’re just trying to embarrass the mockers of Christianity. It serves a purpose, exposing the hypocrisy. But there’s a difference between exposing hypocrisy and winning the argument.

    It’s tough. Yesterday I just had another internet exchange with someone who doesn’t believe there’s a left-wing bias in the mainstream media. You have to keep pounding away relentlessly in order to persuade people. So I’m glad that Donohue does most of what he does. But I don’t pay attention to him, because he’s so predictable. And I don’t know if he is really convincing anyone.

    It reminds me of that old rule of English jurisprudence, that one should defend one’s client to the extent that he’s in the right. Very different from the American approach. In a similar way, I’d like to see the culture warriors only react to affronts as much as each one merits, rather than getting pig-biting mad at everything.

    Of course (and I realize that this is a digression), the Jon Stewarts of the world live off the attention, and increase their offensiveness steadily in order to guarantee that they solicit outrage. So if you do moderate your outrage, they’ll ratchet things up even more. I don’t know if there’s a way out of the cycle. Maybe the best thing is if guys like Donohue exist, but we don’t let them run the show. Otherwise you end up in the Sarah Palin predicament where you don’t have anything to talk about other than the lack of respect you get.

  • Fantastic points! I have the same reaction you do when I hear those responses. This is exactly what Christ promised for us; we should be rejoicing to be thought worthy of being persecuted for the sake of Jesus’ name (cf. Acts 5:41).

  • Finally some common sense here. As best as I can tell Mr. Donohue is a committee of one and his vicious and biting demeanor usually turn me off and I wish that someone would stop him from using the word “Catholic” in the name of his league.
    Race, religion and press bating tactics are not helpful and merely reduce “Catholics” to the level of ur detractors. Too many times we seem to be living up to the negative stereotypes instaed of elevating the conversation and doing so in the true spirit of the Gospel and our Tradition.

  • If the media or a particular personage is being hypocritical, I am inclined to inform for the purpose of fraternal correction. A good work of mercy, no?

  • Very good, but I would only add that a response could be in order, but it would be of the form “Can you not be a gentleman and have a reasoned and civilized discussion? Do you really want to live in a society where everyone shouts epithets past each other instead of communicating?”.

    After 9/11, Muslims in general became the target of every cheap shot. I can find no end of attacks from the cafeteria Catholics of the right. It’s ok to assassinate American citizens if they are Muslims, ok to torture them, kill a lot of muslim women and children with drone missile strikes, deny habeas corpus or lawyers, surveillance without warrants, imprison them for speech (called “material support of terrorism”). I pray there is no anti-abortion violence since RIGHT NOW the sitting president can declare any pro-lifer or supporter a terrorist and treat them like we are treating anyone swept up while going after Al Queda (including the innocents). Perhaps the Vatican will be put on the “axis of evil” list. The HHS mandate would look like a very minor violation then.

    You cannot do any good by doing evil, even if it is the same evil you have suffered, or even deflecting one evil to others. Evil multiplies enough when merely ignored.

  • I completely agree with point one, and basically agree with point two though I understand the objections of some of the commenters. As they say, pointing out the double standard isn’t meant to goad the media into attacks on Islam, but is meant to indicate that the media would never attack Islam in the way that feels free to do with Christianity and Judaism. That said, it’s a bit tiring to see that argument trotted out every single time.

    There is also something be said about going on the offensive. The late Andrew Breitbart was an admirer of Saul Alinsky – no, not his radical politics, but his methods. Even though Donohue goes overboard at times, we do need someone to shine a spotlight on the anti-Catholic stupidity that exists. So while I might personally roll my eyes at faux outrage, it’s not without certain benefits.

  • It is most dangerous for one individual to have an office that gives the impression that he speaks in the name of our holy mother church regardless of his intentions.

    Civil defense groups like ‘Tradition,Family,Property’ or ‘AmericaNeedsFatima’ are aptly named after their particular movements and do not seek to represent our church as a whole. Even if one feels the needed to have the term catholic in your organization’s name, one can follow the example of ‘Catholics called to witness’ or even ‘The Catholic American’ who are clearly labelled so as to not misrepresent THE church.

    One must think that creating an organization that was purposefully named to assume a position of misrepresentation is most precariously inviting the sinful ways of pride into the fold, which in turn can lead into scandal. The Protestant league was a most influential political force in the annals of history and should hardly serve as an inspiration into the naming of a moral organization.

    My fellow youth, who naively eat up Jon Stewart and the likes are also prone into assuming that ‘The Catholic Leage’ is a Church Body. What if one were to hear ‘The Baptist Leage’ or ‘The Mormon League’ and not now much about their faiths?

    I must say that the name of that particular organization is playing with fire.

    CCC:2464 “The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others.”

  • Ikilope says:
    Friday, April 20, 2012 A.D. at 10:39am
    Finally some common sense here. As best as I can tell Mr. Donohue is a committee of one and his vicious and biting demeanor usually turn me off and I wish that someone would stop him from using the word “Catholic” in the name of his league.
    ==========================================
    As luck would have it, Mr. Donohue just sent out an email addressing this item (quote follows):

    “O’Donnell says the Catholic League “has absolutely no official affiliation” with the Church, and that it is run by a “fraudulent operator.” Really? While we are independent, maybe O’Donnell can explain why the Catholic League is listed in the Official Catholic Directory and has the support of many bishops. To show how clueless the man is, he then interviewed Sister Jeannine Gramick and an official from Dignity. Last year, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, representing the bishops, said that Gramick’s New Ways Ministry group was not authorized “to identify itself as a Catholic organization.” Similarly, Dignity has long been rejected as a Catholic entity. And we’re the fraud? O’Donnell is out of his league.”

    I really enjoy reading CL press releases.

  • Before I read this I guessed that one of two would be simply “stop gossiping”… but article is well written. Good job 🙂

  • c matt: If Jon Stewart is a citizen, then Jon Stewart has a constitutional obligation to behave as such, by keeping all our constitutional freedoms intact and active.

  • Jesus took a whip made of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple. St. Joan of Arc made a couple of individuals unhappy too. Let us hope and pray that it becomes unnecessary, but let us be ready all the same. Who needs to have insult and indecency in our cluture influencing the very lives and souls of our constitutional posterity.

  • I wrote to Father Virgil Blum, the founder of the Catholic League, Yes, I am that old. The League was founded to parallel The Anti Defamation League. I am in total agreement. Our culture is sinking into the pit of Sodom and Gomorrah and those going into the pit are trying to take us ALL with them. The very fact that an insincere apology must be wrung out of Stewart, puts all on notice, that Stewart and all are not going to get away with the soul murder of our innocents, the desecration of our holy reminders, and the tramling upon our sensibilites until we can no longer afford to have virtues among us. Viva Christo Rey

  • I think that the people who accuse writers of mocking Islam are missing the point. Nobody who takes Christianity seriously wants to see Islam mocked. Wasn’t the ad submitted to the NY Times actually satirical and meant to provoke the NY Times to admit that it was wrong to mock the religious faith of a significant minority of citizens, and move everybody else to conclude that it is wrong to mock Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and evangelical Christianity too?

  • There are a few things I find distasteful in this– “whining like feminists” “there is a whiny quality”* and the general idea that we should get used to unfair treatment. The post recommends that instead of boycotting such anti Catholic behavior and such enterprises, we should pray for the conversion of our enemies. Well yes. It would be better to do both…to fight back with prayers And with action. Fight back… we are in an actual battle.

    * ”whiny” is often applied to children and to women — and tends to deny people in an “under” position the right to speak their grievance

  • Well, this piece had the intended effect, I must say. I’m glad to see that there is a vigorous debate going on. Replies all around!

    Laura:
    Glad to hear it! And welcome back to the Faith 🙂

    Teresa:
    Geller’s purposes aren’t really the issue here. The piece she drafted was OBJECTIVELY hateful. I believe, as well, that she is Jewish – which means she may have a different axe to grind with Muslims altogether.

    Ge0ffrey:
    Am I equating Donohue and Sharpton? They’re not exact equivalents but their methods do strike me as similar. It doesn’t matter what they are “grounded in” as far as their methods are concerned. And I don’t like those methods.

    Didn’t take logic class in Catholic school. I took it at university, and I did pass. I think you should thank me, moreover, for giving you something to gripe about.

    Brjeromeleo:

    If Stewart believes in our God, THE God, then his behavior would be beyond irrational. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom (hopefully not the END of all wisdom, though). I always assumed he was another lapsed secular Jew.

    Joe Green:

    What horrid comments.

    “I’m with Donohue and others who go for the jugular rather than turning the other cheek”

    Yes, forget about that pansy Jesus Christ. Let’s emulate Scarface and Tony Soprano. I’m not advocating that nothing be done, but there is actually a great deal of wisdom in turning the other cheek. It isn’t about pacifism; it is about allowing your enemy to lose the moral highground and expose himself as the aggressor. Donohue ends up accomplishing the opposite.

    We will never be the secularists at their own game. They want this world and its glories and delights and will do anything to have them. We have limits imposed upon us, and for good reason. We don’t have to win this world. What good would it do us to win the world, and lose our souls? Don’t answer me – answer He who first asked that question.
    “As for praying for the heathens, I don’t think that will work”

    Right. God just can’t get the job done. Better rely on our own efforts. Because that always just turns out wonderfully.

    Anzlyne,

    “conservatives should stop taking down their own men, doing the work of the opposition, acting as a circular firing squad… when donahue makes a foray into the culture war– he is on our team”

    I am always, always, always going to be critical of the people on “our side” and “our team.” If that bothers you, just skip my future posts. Without self-criticism, we will be destroyed through hubris. Self-criticism makes us stronger. And it’s just a mark of immaturity when one can’t see it.

    Paul H,

    Like I said above, I think Geller has her own axe to grind with Muslims and was actually taking advantage of the assault on the Church to push her own radical anti-Islamic agenda.

    Pinky,

    I just don’t understand how people can say that they don’t think anyone is calling for the mockery of Islam, as you did. It is clearly what is being called for. Whether or not the people calling for it actually expect it to be done is besides the point. Suppose it actually were done? Suppose the media wasn’t actually afraid of Islamic retaliation? What then?

    TaraJ & Ikilope:

    I appreciate your comments. But I do want to be clear that I share Donohue’s outrage and disgust. I just disagree with his methodology.

    Paul Z:

    We cannot take advice on how to operate from the likes of Saul Alinsky. Again, its that whole win the world and lose your soul thing. That’s what happens when you become Machiavelli/Lenin/Gramsci/Alinsky (Alinsky was simply rehashing what he’d found in these sources). And I’d repeat my question to Pinky to you: what if the media took the challenge?

    Buckeye Pastor:

    Same question to you as well.

    Anzlyne (again):

    I say distasteful things. Another thing you ought to get used to. I am an offensive person. But it isn’t a sin to offend people. It is often a sin of ommission to go out of your way not to.

    I can’t deny anyone the right to do anything with my words. But I call ’em like I see ’em.

  • Bonchamps, the church could use a Tony Soprano or two and attack dogs like Donohue. I would never imply Jesus was a “pansy” — your word — but “turning the other cheek” is often used as an excuse by Christians to never oppose evil. You forget how mad he got in the temple at the money changers. Read Ecclesiastes. There is a time for everything.

    You ought to view/listen to some of the old Bishop Sheen broadcasts where he vehemently assailed Communism and other evils and all those who represent it. You don’t win fights by retreating. Robert E. Lee found that out when he tried to move his Army of Virginia south only to be surrounded by Grant and company.

    Further back in history, the Church did not tuck tail when the hordes of heathen Muslims poured north and threatened to overtake Europe. The Crusaders prevailed or otherwise you’d be facing Mecca by now.

    Fight the good fight, Bonchamps. Illegitimi non carborundum

  • Yes, Joe, there is a time for everything, and wisdom consists of knowing what to do at what time.

    A public insult is not cause for a Crusade. If you don’t turn the other cheek for an insult, then what would you ever turn it for?

    The Crusades were launched at the behest of the Greek emperor, after centuries of Islamic aggression and the recent destruction of hundreds of Christian churches. They were an appropriate and proportionate response to a grave threat. No one defends the Crusades more fervently than I do.

    I mean, do you even try to think things out, or are you always stuck in this either/or mental prison? I believe in denouncing evil. I believe in the use of force when it is justifiable. You can’t compare some late-night comedian’s sick humor to the existential threats posed by Islam and communism.

    You have zeal enough to fight, but you lack the wisdom to know when to draw your sword and when to put it up.

  • There’s a reason, too, why the Marquis de Bonchamps is my inspiration. He resisted the murderous atheistic regime of the French Republic without compromising his Christian dignity. He refused to allow his soldiers to commit atrocities in war, and insisted on mercy for captured and defeated enemies. But this didn’t diminish his military leadership in the slightest. So you CAN effectively resist evil without becoming evil.

  • This post reminded me of Michael Brendan Dougherty’s recent rant against the Catholic League:

    http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/9485?in=48:38&out=54:01

    It was primarily in response to the Catholic League’s constructive and charitable comments on twitter after Hilary Rosen’s recent mis-step:

    Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.

    Stay classy, “Catholic” League!

  • Bonchamps, despite your ad hominem attack, I will reply without an equal measure malice or insult. Yes, I think critically and am not locked into a “mental prison,” as you assert, but rather believe in exercising my brain rather than repeating historical, or should I say, hysterical bromides that fail to refute my points.

    It is a good thing that strong-spined Christians who resist evil by speaking out are in the vast majority rather than passive-aggressives such as yourself who would be trampled by the pagans. Read Acts sometime and see how Peter, Paul and the other brave apostles stood up to the tyrants rather than cave. When does one draw one’s sword? When one is about to be cut to ribbons.

  • Joe,

    Like 99% of people who use the term, you’ve completely missed the mark on what “ad hominem” means. I didn’t use ad hominem, and I didn’t “attack” you either. Talk about hysterical.

    I think your assessment of the situation is way off and completely lacking in wisdom. If you disagree, fine. It’s nothing for two members of Christ’s Church to hate one another over. You’re taking this all way too personally.

    I’m really, truly sorry that you don’t see how it is possible to have a strong spine and retain your moral dignity as well. It makes me sad, not angry. That’s all.

  • Also, deriding someone as “passive-aggressive” who would willingly be “trampled by pagans” isn’t exactly a lack of malice. And it’s completely false and absurd, too. There are other ways to resist and to fight. Your inability to comprehend them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It’s just really dishonest and uncharitable for you to continuously paint me as some sort of weak-willed pacifist because I don’t see the wisdom or prudence of a particular method. That’s why I think you are in a mental prison. Or is it really just malice?

  • Bonchamps, let’s agree to bury the hatchet — but not in each other. If nothing else, you’ve provoked comments, pro and con, and led a spirited debate. I bear you no malice, my brother.

  • Ok, sounds good to me. Have a great weekend! Let’s throw in a prayer or two at Mass for one another.

  • 45 comments!
    I’m surprised Mr. Donohue has not commented by this time. Or, has he been banned here?

  • While Dr. Donohue is called the Bulldog, I have followed him since he took office at Catholic League. Dr. Donohue has always and forever been a gentleman. A first asking for rectification of the problem, then seeking reconcilitation, accepting apologies and the like. When met with stonewalling, Dr.Donohue goes into the street with a bullhorn. “Can you hear me, now?” with bullhorn, barfbag, and boycott. Dr. Donhue can turn his other ceek, but as President of Catholic League, Dr. Donohue may not turn our other cheek.

  • wow I disagreed with you, in an agreeable way, and you have just invited me not to participate in discussion of your posts anymore.

    I am not sure who or what you are referring to here:
    “Self-criticism makes us stronger. And it’s just a mark of immaturity when one can’t see it. “
    I do not say that there should be no constructive criticism– I did say it would be helpful to offer it directly to the person criticized.

    (again):
    then you suggested I should get used to the fact that you say distasteful things and that you are an offensive person. I think you are not, as a person, offensive. I simply pointed out my own reaction (and why) to calling people whiny.

  • ” you have just invited me not to participate in discussion of your posts anymore.”

    I did no such thing. This is melodramatic. Moreover, there was little “agreeable” about your initial objections. You accused me of taking down our own side, forming a circular firing squad, you all but suggested I was some sort of traitor to the faith.

    You think you can say things like that and expect me to find you “agreeable”?

    As for offering criticism to the person criticized, a) I made it clear that my criticism was NOT exclusively about Donohue, b) named other people in the same article specifically and c) Donohue is a public figure who opens himself up to public criticism.

    I must say I am disheartened and even a little ashamed of those commenters who can ONLY see some sort of treachery in my post.

    What a bunch of crybabies.

  • “Greg Mockeridge: Dr. Donohue gets the job done by publicizing and informing what needs to be done, especially the boycots that have brought great results. Prayers work. Speak softly and carry a big stick. William Donohue is our “big stick”. Dr. Donohue levels the playing field. In our culture, being an angry, humorless prude is all we got.”

    Mary, i do not deny that Dr. Donahue has done great work as head of the Catholic League. For instance, their work against some of the calumnious attacks against Pope Pius XII, the most unsung hero of the WWII period as well as setting the record straight on complex Motara affair during the pontificate of Blessed Pope Pius IX can be attributed to his dogged and splendid leadership. But as a media face, he often comes off as a bore who is way too easily rattled. His opponents are often all too successful in getting the reaction from him they want. When the enemies of the Church say things with the purpose of getting us upset, we would do well not to give them the satisfaction of getting in a twist.

    As far as boycotts are concerned, I have never thought them to be all that practical.

  • “The League was founded to parallel The Anti Defamation League.”

    I see… well surely the Jewish folks who started their initiative were wise enough to place in their name a fitting description of their raison de etre. It is by good reason they didn’t name it “The Jewish League”.

    Perhaps, the sitting president of the “Catholic League” can embrace a more fitting name, such as; “The Catholic Defenders League” or something to that extent? He would get more support that way no?

  • You’re wrong. What Jon Stewart did used to be called blasphemy. He simply hides it under the cloak of ‘comedy.’ By insisting that ‘conservative’ Catholics shut up about this,you’re applying the standards of this culture of death to the Church. Basta!

  • Ultimately, Catholic conservatives must desist from beheading and blowing to smithereens people they don’t like.

  • T. Shaw remarks, “Ultimately, Catholic conservatives must desist from beheading and blowing to smithereens people they don’t like.”

    Exactly. Fighting fire with gasoline is generally a poor strategy.

  • John Henry, Thank you for bringing up Bill Donohoe’s latest outrageous attack on adoptive mothers (and ad hominem attack on lesbians) on Twitter. He is a bulldog that most non-Catholics mistakenly link to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, which just adds more fuel to the fire of anti-Catholicism in the mainstream media. If there were ever a need for an apology, it is in the case of this Twitter post. While I agree with the idea that, in most cases, public apologies are rarely anything but attention seeking stunts, Donohoe owes all adoptive parents an apology for this callous remark.

  • GTB,

    I NEVER said that anyone should “shut up” about this.

    Do you have reading comprehension problems, or are you just a liar?

  • Does anybody with a job, or a DVR, or eyes watch Jonathan Liebowitz anymore? Doesn’t his show have like 65% of the viewing audience of “Swamp People” on the History Channel? The only time I hear anybody talk about the Daily Show anymore is when he does something really gross and someone else in the media whom people still watch mentions him; you’re giving him the attention he wants! He’s like a baby. Come on; for someone supposed to be so counter-cultural and edgy (I don’t care what these Christo-fascist people think!), isn’t it strange that he’s afraid to use his real name?

  • I couldn’t disagree with you more. Insisting on an apology is really a way of insisting that they take ownership of thoughtless words. “Whining” about double standards is crucial to making clear how illogical and politically partisan, the press in particular and liberals in general, are. Calling it whining is a silly description meant to cast a negative perception on it without seriously evaluating it. I suppose the Bishops are whining about the HHS mandate.

  • Right.

    Because a late-night comedian’s joke is on the exact same level as a federal assault on religious liberty.

    Yes. You’ve convinced me with your kind, charitable tone that you are right and I am wrong.

    Seriously though.

    Whining about double-standards is what the left does for reasons I described. Dealing with them in a dignified manner is what a Christian ought to do. If you want to roll around in the sh – er, mud, with our enemies, fine. Don’t look to me for a towel to wipe yourself off when you’re done.

  • Bonchamps: Most people are unaware about HHS madate and what it means to our religious freedom, most unfortunately, probably because these people are tuned into Jon Stewart. It is groveling in the mud. St. Paul said: “Soldiers be satisfied with your pay.” Sometimes going down with the enemy is the only way to take the enemy down. Not that you are wrong, but some people are different.

  • Whilst I appreciate the Catholic League’s defense of the church, the problem that I have with Bill Donahue is that he seems to choose targets that are of high-profile and will make the biggest noise (Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, Viacom, the Empire State Building) while turning his back on other, less valuable, occurrences of anti-Catholic bias. I have been complaining to him about the website fark(dot)com for over 5 years for its aggregate re-publication of new stories about the Catholic Church with mocking headlines, and allowing anti-Catholic commentary to made on these stories, Never once has the League taken actions. Yet every time I have pointed out anti-Muslin or anti-Jewish commentary at that website, to defense groups of those faiths, they have sprung into action and the comments have been taken down. It seems as if Bill Donahue only does whatever will promote him rather than promote the Catholic Church.

  • Mathilde:
    “John Henry, Thank you for bringing up Bill Donohoe’s latest outrageous attack on adoptive mothers (and ad hominem attack on lesbians) on Twitter.” Did not Hilary Rosen, a lesbian, career woman attack Ann Romney first for being a stay at home mom?
    The Christian symbol of the Nativity Scene used by Jon Stewart between the legs of a naked woman belongs to Christians to reverence. Piracy. Stewart ought to be prosecuted for intellectual property theft.
    Bonchamps: My first thought was: Why does not Bonchamps go to work with Dr. Donohue at the Catholic League to change matters?
    Greg Mockeridge: The bar one block away from our Catholic grade school began naked pole dancing. Our pastor called a boycott. It worked.

  • Well from one point I can see that Mr. Donahue is trying to stand up for the faith since it is now not “Kosher” or may I say Politically Correct to say anything against Muslims or Gays or Women and He is just trying to say “well if we are not suppose to attack these entities then we should also be respectful of Catholics and Christians”!
    On the other hand when we look at the life of Christ, we do not see him standing up against those who attacked him nor for any of the disciples….in fact he warned them that they would be hated and stoned and loose their lives! Jesus DID however correct his own disciple when he cut off the ear of the roman guard, and Jesus also came against the Jewish Leaders and those selling products for the temple worship.
    Maybe we should look at what Christ DID get angry at and then also how quiet he was when he was being attacked and offended.

  • Mary De Voe: So, because Hilary Rosen attacks Ann Romney, it is the proper CHRISTIAN response to: a) Call her out for being a lesbian; b) Criticize her for being an adoptive mother? That is extremely illogical and absolutely un-Christlike. Why don’t you go have a little chat with your pastor and get your head set back on straight? He seems like the only one in your little “CHRISTO REY” world of yours that seems to be thinking with a clear head.

  • Ms. Rosen succeeded in getting too many to emote over her slanders and to be distracted from the immense failures and corruption of the obama regime.

    Mathilda, thanks for popping by!

    Dr. D first needs to be charitable.

    a) That would be “proper” if it were done with charity. See: Ms. Rosen likely won’t be going to Heaven if she/he continues her/his sinful lifestyle and persists in serving evil, liberal (but I repeat myself again) causes. FYI: The Spiritual Works of Mercy include: Admonish the sinner. Instruct the ignorant.

    b) See a). Likely her/his adoptive children also will have slim chance at salvation.

    And, thanks for the “Christo (sic) Rey” reference. The bolshevists murdered tens of thousands (including over 3,000 religious: bishops, priests, brothers, nuns) of Christians in the Spanish Civil War and in Mexican, not to mention the USSR and German National SOCIALISTS. Many martyrs cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” as their liberal murderers killed them for being Christians much like Mr. and Mrs. Romney.

  • T. Shaw:

    Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum.

  • O.k. let’s just roll over and let any of these groups do whatever they want to us. Now you can make the turn the other cheek arugment, but Catholics need to Buck up and defend their faith. Asking for an Apology or “whiney” behavior shows that the secularist are doing something offensive and people need to know that the stuff they are doing is garabage. If no one does anything then nothing will be done and they will just roll right over us. I am sorry but your commentary sounds a bit “whiney” complicit.

  • Yes. That’s exactly what I said. Roll over. Let them do whatever they want. You’ve bravely ousted a traitor to the Faith. Feel good about yourself? Enough to go away? Like, forever? And not come back?

  • M: Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem.

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Harry Reid: Seniors Love Them Some Junk Mail

Thursday, April 19, AD 2012

Like Jim Geraghty, every time Harry Reid opens his mouth I’m left wondering how we didn’t defeat him last time out.

In his opening speech on Wednesday, Reid called on theSenate to quickly move forward on the passage of S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, which restructures pensionplans for Postal Service employees as well as allows the USPS to access overpayments in the Federal Employee Retirement System.

“Madam President,” Reid said to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the presiding officer of the Senate, “I’ll come home tonight here to my home in Washington and there’ll be some mail there. A lot of it is what some people refer to as junk mail, but for the people who are sending that mail, it’s very important. “And when talking about seniors, seniors love getting junk mail. It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling like they’re part of the real world,” Reid continued. “Elderly Americans, more than anyone in America, rely on the United States Postal Service, but unless we act quickly, thousands of post offices … will close. I’ve said this earlier today; I repeat it.”

I think this comment requires me to break out the big guns.  Yes, it’s time to up the ante and respond the only way that seems appropriate.  It’s time for:

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4 Responses to Harry Reid: Seniors Love Them Some Junk Mail

Doggone Campaign

Thursday, April 19, AD 2012

I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that dogs think humans are nuts.

                                                                        John Steinbeck

Well, the burning issue of the day is that Obama admits in one of his autobiographies that as a child he ate dog.  Considering that he was living in a place where dog is often what is for supper, that is not surprising.  I bear him no ill will for this, although my dog Baby, our terrific terrapoo, may not be so forgiving, or Internet Hitler for that matter.

 

The Romney campaign launched this gem due to the fact that back in 1983 on a family trip, Romney had the family dog Seamus in a dog house secured to the top of his car for 12 hours.  All was well until Seamus decided to relieve himself on the front windshield to the vast amusement of the Romney boys.  This strikes me as a typical Dadism:  an attempt by a family man to solve a problem in logistics that sounded like a good idea at the time.  Of course, my dog Baby might well take a harsher view.

Scott Crider, who has founded an organization called Dogs Against Romney, has no problems with Obama’s dog chow:

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7 Responses to Doggone Campaign

  • Sorry for being silly, but I am not buying that some sort of double standard is being applied. Romney’s decision (as an adult) to travel with the family dog on the roof of the car — not just around the block, but cross-country — demonstrates exceedingly poor judgment. Obama’s consumption of a dog (as a child) does not demonstrate poor judgment. I agree with Scott Crider on this.

  • Seamus was unharmed Spambot which indicates that Romney did a good job securing the dog into the dog house on top of the car. Now if he had just tied him to the bumper on the other hand:

  • Perhaps a better example of a double standard would be the Malvinas gaffe by Obama, which would have been subject to endless ridicule if done by Romney, was largely dismissed by the press.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/296272/maldives-malvinas-lets-call-whole-thing-mark-krikorian

  • New slogan:

    DOG: IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER.

  • Still not seeing what’s inherently wrong about putting a dog on top of the vehicle; there are bad ways to do it, sure, but as long as there’s a way for the dog to get out of the wind, like in a pickup, not a problem. (Beats the heck out of stuffing them in a cargo-cage in the back of a car.) I remember seeing dog-cage-on-a-vehicle less than 15 years back, so it would be a pretty new sense of outrage about something that happened the year I was born. Yeah, trying to make political hay about something that caused no harm and that a middle-aged house wife barely predate is pretty silly– so the “dude, you ate dog!” response is perfect. (What next? “The boys weren’t in booster seats when they were under 13!”)

    Pretty sure they ran the dog when they ran the kids, too, and it’s been mentioned that the dog riding on top of the vehicle wasn’t that unusual, it only caused an issue because his…issue… was more liquid than usual. (Odd how they’re outraged about the assumption that the dog didn’t move for 12 hours, but not about a just as likely assumption that the KIDS didn’t move from their chairs for 12 hours, eh?)

    That said…. I LOVE the mental image of putting a Snoopy-style dog house on a station wagon.

  • Would these be the dog days of the campaigns? I think they’re having a ruff time. I also hear some liberals are getting howling mad, and some conservatives think that Romney’s tactic is barking up the wrong tree.

    (k, is that all the low-hanging fruit? No? Doggone it….)

Of Aging Leftists and Brides of Christ

Wednesday, April 18, AD 2012

16 Responses to Of Aging Leftists and Brides of Christ

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  • One has to wonder though that given these problems cropped up rather quickly after teh Council if teh seeds of this were not sown prior to the Council.

  • I know a couple of young women who have gone overseas – one to Australia and one to the US – to join religious orders there because of the liberalism that has infected many of our women’s orders – in particular the Dominicans and the Sisters of Mercy.
    My cousin, who was professed in the Domnican order back in 1992 was the mosr recent profession in that order in this country – and she is a raging feminist; we have some ding dong arguments, and I take much enjoyment getting her stirred up 🙂

    That order is dying here, but those of St.Joseph of Cluny and the one founded my St. Mary of The Cross – St.Mary McKillop – are doing okay.

    Greg.
    I wonder if, after Vatican II, that the liberals got hold of things so quickly that it was like a “blitzkrieg”, and has taken a long time to peg back. Therewer certainly liberal feminists around prior to V2 – look at how many jumped “over the wall” – but many stayed.

  • Like most great historical events Greg, one could point to events prior to Vatican II that indicated what happened subsequent to it. However, one could also point to events prior to Vatican II that presaged a coming age of vibrant orthodoxy. The tea leaves, as they usually are in human affairs, were mixed. My own opinion is that in some other decade Vatican II would have been benign or at least harmless. In the context of the Sixties, when most institutions in the West came under sharp attack, the turmoil within the Church, matching the turmoil in the World following Vatican II, was a disaster that destroyed the faith of many and brought to the fore within the Church in too many cases blind guides. Pope Paul VI deserves a lot of credit for not surrendering to these forces, albeit he could not stop them. John Paul II largely accomplished that, and Pope Benedict is carrying forward with the rebuilding.

  • Working for a Catholic Church on Long Island, New York, I’m surrounded by these type of Nuns. On a personal level, I’m very fond of them, but politically, they are leftys. They voted for Obama and continue to push for amnesty for illegals, woman priests, etc. I remember the day when Joseph Ratzinger was made Pope – they were all very upset, but I was DELIGHTED, though I had to keep it to myself. The youngest one is in her 70’s and their order (Sisters of Mercy) is dying on the vine. I pray everyday that these “Foolish Virgins” will return to the orginal intent of their calling and stop the liberal nonsense before it’s too late.

  • The Sisters I know personally are all pretty darned liberal. And old. Most of their stories are similar as well; joined their orders in the sixties because they wanted to be involved in work for social justice. No mention of Jesus at all. One is a Sister of the Living Word. I don’t know what the others were (they’re retired) because I never asked. I don’t think I want to know, either. It’s too disappointing.

  • One order that never had a lot of vocations is now doing fairly well. The “Hawthorne” Dominicans take care of terminal, poor cancer patients. My sister-in-law is coming up to her 60th jubilee. They accept no money from patients or their families until the patient has been dead for 1 year (I think). The Sisters are wonderful, dedicated and cheerful. They have a daily office and Mass in their chapel. It is always a privilege for me to visit them periodically. They truly do Gods’ work.

  • No offense against anyone, but I don’t have any lefty friends, nuns or otherwise, nor am I fond of any lefties. Most are deluded. The rest are vicious man-haters and tradition-haters. Nothing in common, nor would there be.

    Maybe I am just an intolerant, divisive, unkind and (worst of all) not nice conservative fanatic to the right of Attila the Hun (which by the way ryhmes with nun).

    😉

    Thank God they are being slapped down. About time.

  • Compare the rage of the aging leftist sisters to the joy apparent on the faces and in their speech of the Dominicans of Nashville and Michigan, or the Poor Clares in Birmingham and Arizona. ‘Nuff said.

  • One has to wonder why it has taken so long and gotten so out of control to have any kind of guidance from Rome. It doesn’t matter if it’s the sisters or the progressive clergy I honestly cannot believe these deep seeded efforts to destroy Holy Mother Church were left to fester and now we are REALLY reaping the fruits of our actions. If you want to be Catholic than be Catholic, otherwise go start your own church. I do not believe the souls that were educated and formated under these radical torrents of disdain for the Church and her teachings, will be held accountable for their loss of the gift of faith. Those however who formed these minds and knew better, but had their own personal agenda of what they wanted “the chruch” to be, will.

  • The Sisters of the Eucharist in Lansing/Ann Arbor are the most beautiful women I have ever met. You can’t wipe that smile off their faces. What a contrast to others who are in a power struggle with their own gender and faith.

    God, send laborers into your field. We are truly blessed by women who love Christ as their bridegroom.

  • I finally found a link to the 8-page document via an article on Fr. Z’s blog. It’s pretty blunt for a church document, and establishes some heavy-duty new policies. The LCWR response so far looks like spin and negotiation, the opposite of the kind of obedience which the saints and great orders displayed even when the authority which oversaw them was unjustified in their actions.

  • I’m well acquainted with sisters of a local religious house who do much needed work with the poor, immigrants, homeless women, and the mentally handicapped. I admire them for their dedication and their ministries. But their have been no young sisters joining them for many years. I attribute this to their spirit of rebellion against the authority of the Church. One of the sister who was a sponsor of someone going through our RCIA process was disruptive during a couple of the sessions dealing with the sacrament of Holy Orders (she was very upset that we don’t ordain women and predicted that the Church would change that under another pope) and Marriage and sexuality (the Church shouldn’t condemn homosexual acts). I am bothered by the way the sisters stand beside the priest and hold up the bread and wine during the offertory prayers at Mass and I was told by someone who attended a recent event there that one of the sisters danced up the aisle in the offertory procession in a long flowing outfit, with bare feet, swaying and gracefully motioning with her arms. One of the sisters once introduced me to a visitor as ‘conservative’ (meaning only that I don’t see a problem with accepting church teaching and discipline). I’m an ordinary Catholic lay person, why on earth should it be considered ‘conservative’ to do that? I think the visit and the CDF’s action is long overdue. I feel most sorry for the professed sisters who do NOT agree with what’s going on. They have taken vows of obedience and have given many years of their lives to God within the order. They are sometimes the recipients of unkindness. But they stay, faithful to the Church and to their vows and soldier on.

  • CFS
    ” I am bothered by the way the sisters stand beside the priest and hold up the bread and wine during the offertory prayers at Mass ………”

    This is a very serious liturgical abuse – the priest must be just as stupid as the nuns.

    Has anyone reported this to his bishop?

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  • Yes i do agree that there are orders dying out due to lack of attracting vocations, however there are two Domincan Orders both in the USA who have for the last decade have been attracting young women not only from the US, but from other countries as well. They are the Domincan Sisters of St Cecilia and the Domincan Sisters of Mary, in both of these orders the sisters are in traditional habit and veil and it is these orders that are attracting women. In the St Cecilia congregation they have over 200 in the mother house alone, that is fully professed, novices and postualants and are still taking in prospective applicants, the same is said for the Domincan Sisters of Mary. The St Cecilia congregation has recently opened it’s 1st overseas convent here in Australia in Sydney and are doing well.

From Shangri-La to Tokyo

Wednesday, April 18, AD 2012

 

Seventy years ago 80 very brave Americans, led by Army Air Corps Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, brought the nation a badly needed morale boost.  The War in the Pacific was going badly as defeat followed defeat.  Navy Captain Francis Low hit upon a plan to send a message, not only to the American public, but also to Japan, that the United States was not beaten and that it would strike back and prevail.

16 Mitchell B-25B bombers were placed on the carrier USS Hornet.  In great secrecy the Hornet and its escorts steamed to within 650 nautical miles of Japan when the force was discovered by a Japanese picket boat which was sunk by gunfire from the USS Nashville.  Fearing discovery the Doolittle force launched immediately, some 10 hours earlier than planned, and 170 nautical miles further from Japan.

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7 Responses to From Shangri-La to Tokyo

  • In addition to electrifying the public, it also provoked the IJN into its disastrous defeat at Midway.

  • Nice post.
    I read a more recent book a few years back: The First Heroes by Craig Nelson…not bad really. But, it inspired me to re-read 30 Seconds over Tokyo by Ted Lawson (a rather famous book) which I first read as a 9 year old (plus or minus). The edition I saw had photocopies of telegrams and letters from China regarding the raid. Very interesting. I wonder if newer editions still have this appendix because the Chinese of 1942 were not at all interested in politically correct speech. Especially toward the Japs.
    Oh…I appear to be rambling on…..
    er, read the book…I recommend both.

  • “it also provoked the IJN into its disastrous defeat at Midway.”

    True Dale. It also stunned many Japanese who had bought into the propaganda that Americans were weak and effete and would quickly be beaten or forced to make a compromise peace granting Japan free reign in Asia. The idea that America could so quickly strike the Home Islands was deeply unsettling to perceptive Japanese, like Admiral Yamamoto, who feared from the start that the War would end in utter disaster for Japan.

  • “Very interesting. I wonder if newer editions still have this appendix because the Chinese of 1942 were not at all interested in politically correct speech. Especially toward the Japs.”

    That is still the case with the Chinese. The ones I have talked to always assert that the Chinese like and admire America and despise Japan. Japanese I have talked to return the warm feelings of the Chinese with interest.

  • “Is this still possible?”

    Heroes tend to arise for us Mary whether we deserve them or not, and usually we do not.

NFP: Not Just Natural Birth Control

Wednesday, April 18, AD 2012

If you think you’ve found the key to a better life, the most natural thing in the world is to want to rush out and convince everyone else to do likewise. We want to shout from the rooftops, “Hey! Better life to be found here! You can too!” As someone who finds significant meaning and happiness in the Catholic understanding of sexuality and prohibition of contraception, this view (and the approach to natural family planning that springs from it) is indeed something that I think other need to hear — but as a result it’s doubly frustrating when it seems like it’s being “sold” wrong.

This is why my teeth went a little on edge when I ran into what ought to have been a very encouraging article to see in the Washington Post detailing the efforts of young and faithful Catholic women to re-explain the Church’s teachings on contraception to the modern world. Here’s the section that threw me off:

Yet the images the church uses to promote its own method of birth control freaked her out. Pamphlets for what the church calls natural family planning feature photos of babies galore. A church-sponsored class on the method uses a book with a woman on the cover, smiling as she balances a grocery bag on one hip, a baby on the other.

“My guess is 99 out of 100 21st-century women trying to navigate the decision about contraception would see that cover and run for the hills,” McGuire wrote in a post on her blog, Altcatholicah, which is aimed at Catholic women.

McGuire, 26, of Alexandria is part of a movement of younger, religiously conservative Catholic women who are trying to rebrand an often-ignored church teaching: its ban on birth control methods such as the Pill. Arguing that church theology has been poorly explained and encouraged, they want to shift the image of a traditional Catholic woman from one at home with children to one with a great, communicative sex life, a chemical-free body and babies only when the parents think the time is right.

Now, before I go any further, let me say that my limited experience of dealing with interviews is that what you say and the way you come off in the article are often very, very different. So I don’t want to suggest that McGuire was misrepresenting NFP. It may well be that the WaPo writer talked to her for a long time, wrote up the article in good faith, yet ended up infusing it with an attitude that’s just — off.  (And indeed, I see that Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary (quoted elsewhere in the article) feels like what came across in the article is not exactly what she was trying to convey.)

That said, I think the message that the article conveys is problematic in that it simply doesn’t reflect all that accurately what it’s like using NFP, and when your advertising message doesn’t fit the reality of your “product”, user dissatisfaction is sure to follow. Emily Stimpson covers this well in a post titled Truth in Adverstising:

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100 Responses to NFP: Not Just Natural Birth Control

  • So… how does this differ from birth control?

    Every line of that excerpt from Emily Stimpson makes it sound like NFP is primarily a “birth control” method, sans the chemicals.

    How many NFP practicioners understand that they need grave reasons to utilize NFP? 1%? Does that make them better people than condom users? Seriously?

  • So… how does this differ from birth control?

    There’s no form of artificial birth control that I’m aware of that people use in order to get pregnant.

  • Paul, how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    I would put the under 30 crowd at about 90/10 avoiding pregnancy rather than getting pregnant.

  • how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    Um, well, we did. Moreover, what’s your point?

  • I think that what JVC is trying to say is that NFP is often used with a selfish mentality and that using it for the wrong reason is potentially sinful. Note please, that that is what HE means and I am not agreeing or disagreeing with him.

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  • JVC,

    So… how does this differ from birth control?

    Every line of that excerpt from Emily Stimpson makes it sound like NFP is primarily a “birth control” method, sans the chemicals.

    The difference between using NFP to avoid pregnancy and using artificial birth control to avoid pregnancy is that NFP involves not having sex because you don’t want to get pregnant at the moment, while artificial birth control involves using artificial means to strip the sexual act of its procreative character (allowing you to have sex anyway without worrying about the act’s procreative implications.)

    How many NFP practicioners understand that they need grave reasons to utilize NFP? 1%? Does that make them better people than condom users? Seriously?

    Using NFP to avoid pregnancy is fundamentally different from using a form of artificial birth control such as a condom, because it involves not having sex — something which is always licit even between married couples. (Thus, for instance, if I rushed home right now and had sex with my wife, we’d almost certainly get pregnant. That does not, however, mean that I am morally required to do so, or that I need “grave reasons” to remain at work for the rest of the day.)

    I addressed this in detail a while back in a series of posts dealing with the question of the “contraceptive mentality” and whether one can accurately characterize the use of NFP as participating in the contraceptive mentality.

    http://darwincatholic.blogspot.com/2010/07/real-sex-vs-contraceptive-mentality.html

    Certainly, it is possible for people to use NFP in a manner that is selfish, but that remains fundamentally different from using artificial birth control which is an inherently sinful act. Not having sex is not an inherently sinful act (or sin of omission.)

  • Ive heard a lot of comments about NFP being de facto birth control. Probably, in the attempt to then make the next step to ‘just take a pill’. But wht I have only heard from my wife and never in comments sections, is the result of NFP. Which aside from not taking the well established health risks, but the fact that (my wife) has learned so much about observing her body, that go beyond just ovulation. She has shaped my opinion as a scientist who studies cancer, yet is a male who will never know what it’s like to give birth or deal with women’s issues. Does one suppress their bodies with drugs or does one listen to their body and make adjustments if,when needed to maintain health. If drugs are medically necessary for ones health, then we should consider the benefits, and not assume there are no costs.

  • how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    Um, well, we did.

    Ditto.

    I would put the under 30 crowd at about 90/10 avoiding pregnancy rather than getting pregnant.

    “42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.” — Steven Wright

  • Does one suppress their bodies with drugs or does one listen to their body and make adjustments if, when needed to maintain health.

    Mark, my wife and I share a similar experience here. And really, it has shaped our approach to medicine and nutrition. The human body is amazing.

  • Using NFP deliberately to avoid pregnancy without a grave reason is in fact tautologically
    birth control. Call it natural birth control, if you want. Does it carry the same moral sanction as someone who has sex but uses contraception? Obviously not. But let’s not pretend like the intent is not identical: acting in a certain way as to strip sexuality of its procreative nature.

    I can’t tell if you quoted Emily approvingly or disapprovingly, but that is the exact vibe I get from that excerpt. She cheers on the notion that there is a way to control a person’s fertility in the same way as contraception but without the moral consequences of chemicals or a condom. Totally absent from her comments is any context discussing the Church’s position that NFP must only be used for grave reasons.

    The fact that NFP cultists refuse to entertain the possibility that the Church proscribes that NFP must only be used for certain circumstances is exactly what causes NFP to be little more than “natural” birth control for most of its users.

  • Paul, you have a difference experience among young Catholics? Pray tell. What portion of the under 30 crowd that you know is using NFP to get pregnant rather than avoid pregnancy, on end, for years?

  • An “in truth very wide” latitude to use NFP to space births is Magisterial, FYI: http://zippycatholic.blogspot.com/2008/04/broadband-nfp.html

  • 63.576% Jvc.

    I don’t know, I don’t run polls among my friends to determine these figures, nor am I that much of a busybody. All I know is that my parish is nicknamed St. Baby’s for a reason, and it’s not because the parishioners there are making an all out effort to delay pregnancy.

    Although if I had to guess, if a married couple is Catholic, using NFP, and under the age of 30 – the proportion using it as a means of avoiding pregnancy is far, far less than nine in ten. Of course I’m just guessing – as you are. I’m just not pretending my guess is authoritative fact.

  • JVC,

    Using NFP deliberately to avoid pregnancy without a grave reason is in fact tautologically birth control. Call it natural birth control, if you want. Does it carry the same moral sanction as someone who has sex but uses contraception? Obviously not. But let’s not pretend like the intent is not identical: acting in a certain way as to strip sexuality of its procreative nature.

    But this is precisely the thing: NFP specifically does not strip sexuality of its proceative nature. That’s why using it to avoid pregnancy involves not having sex through a good portion (quite often the majority) of the cycle.

    What the Church teaches is not that one must get pregnant with some given frequency, but rather that sex is intimately tied to reproduction, and that if one is trying not to get pregnant this means a huge disruption (and diminution) of one’s “sex life” (to use that most modern of terms.)

    That one can use periodic abstinence to avoid pregnancy for a period of time and can also use artificial birth control to avoid pregnancy for a period of time is a red herring. It’s like arguing that because eating a healthy diet in the first place and gorging and purging can both result in being a healthy weight, that they are therefore functionally the same thing. (After all, either way you’re not obese!)

    I can’t tell if you quoted Emily approvingly or disapprovingly, but that is the exact vibe I get from that excerpt. She cheers on the notion that there is a way to control a person’s fertility in the same way as contraception but without the moral consequences of chemicals or a condom.

    I am quoting her approvingly, and precisely because I think she provides a good corrective to the WaPo piece (which does suggest that NFP is just natural birth control.) For instance, Emily points out:

    At the same time, rejecting contraception in general requires trust—trust in God’s will and God’s provision. It requires generosity—a willingness to put others needs before our own. It requires a spirit of poverty—detachment from the extras our culture says are essentials. And it requires a heart that delights in pictures of fat smiling babies, that believes babies are precious gifts from God, not a reason to run for the hills.

    Basically, it requires that we be everything our culture has programmed us not to be.

    And also

    NFP is not Catholic birth control. It’s the Catholic world view…lived out in the bedroom.

    Now, you’re correct, she does not specifically state that couples should only avoid pregnancy for “grave reasons”, but frankly I think that this is a term which people at times go a bit overboard on. As Bob notes, it’s not as if the popes have suggested that one must be in a “all our children will starve to death if we have one more” or a “my wife will die if she gets pregnant” situation in order to space pregnancies using NFP.

    “Therefore, in our late allocution on conjugal morality, We affirmed the legitimacy, and at the same time, the limits — in truth very wide — of a regulation of offspring, which, unlike so-called ‘birth control,’ is compatible with the law of God.” – Pius XII, Morality in Marriage (emphasis mine), from Papal Pronouncements on Marriage and the Family, Werth and Mihanovich, 1955

    Paul, you have a difference experience among young Catholics? Pray tell. What portion of the under 30 crowd that you know is using NFP to get pregnant rather than avoid pregnancy, on end, for years?

    Like Paul, I don’t take polls, by my observation among other young married Catholic couples (though we have now crossed over into our early 30s) is that most couples use NFP to lengthen the natural spacing they would normally experience between children out from 12-18 months to something more like 2 or maybe 3 years. Other than those struggling with infertility (or who did not find a spouse until late in life) I know very few NFP using couples you don’t have significantly more than the average number of children. (And that’s probably fairly natural, since having to abstain from the marital act most of the time — and often the times when the wife is most interested — is a very good incentive to give having more children another thought.)

  • It looks like there’s actually a pretty good article on the USCCB website dealing with the question of “When can we use NFP?”

    http://old.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/seriousq.shtml

  • NFP specifically does not strip sexuality of its proceative nature.

    By definition, excluding the possibility of procreation stripes sexuality of its procreative nature. This is what regular practitioners of birth control do, whether it is artificial or “natural.” Are they both morally evil? No. But the intent is the same. Your food example fails. The method is obviously very different, but the intent is identical.

    I am amused at how NFP enthusiasts cheer one quote from Pius while ignoring another. Have at it. What are those wide limits? It is amazing how the term “wide” for NFP enthusiasts somehow means “literally anything you can come up with.” Are there ANY restraints that you can think of? How about for most NFP users? Have the vast majority of NFP users ever restrained from using NFP due to the reasons Pius gives?

    Darwin, I don’t get the sense that you aren’t a level headed person. Including on this issue. I don’t know how old you are. But the sense I get from the majority of practicing Catholics in my age group (under 30) is that NFP is a perfectly acceptible form of natural birth control. I don’t think older Catholics have a clue to what extent this is the case.

    Paul, nice smarmy response. Have a nice day.

  • Darwin, thanks for the link. I will take a look — I have appreciated Mary Shivanandan’s writings in the past.

  • jvc,
    Frankly, I think you are wrong. If you care read through the article Darwin linked regarding our bishops’ input on this, you might scroll down and see the section on Grave and Serious:
    Paul VI in his encyclical, Humanae vitae (1968), while condemning the use of all contraceptive methods for even grave (gravia) reasons declared licit the recourse to the infertile periods if the spouses have good (just and seria) reasons to postpone even indefinitely another pregnancy.
    I think you are conflating two concepts here: Contraceptives are not permitted for even grave reasons. Also, recourse to infertile periods (periodic abstinence, NFP, etc…) is permitted for just and serious reasons. Just/serious has a different connotation than grave.

  • JVC,

    By definition, excluding the possibility of procreation stripes sexuality of its procreative nature. This is what regular practitioners of birth control do, whether it is artificial or “natural.” Are they both morally evil? No. But the intent is the same. Your food example fails. The method is obviously very different, but the intent is identical.

    The distinction I would make here is that I don’t think it’s the intent that is the actual problem from a moral point of view. (For instance, if a woman is unmarried, I’m sure she wants to avoid getting pregnant. That is good! So long as she achieves this by not having sex.)

    Similarly, I think we’d probably agree that if a couple were to decide to avoid pregnancy for a year by not having sex for that entire year, this would also be morally acceptable, even though their intent would clearly be the same (not get pregnant) as that of a couple using contraception and having sex frequently.

    Using NFP is simply a means of engaging in selective abstinence. The fact that its selective rather than total gives the couple a means to express their unitive love for one another via the marital act — which is a good of marriage — though obviously less frequently and less freely than if they were not selectively abstaining. And since they are not attempting to actually strip the fertility from the act itself, they of course realize that if they’re wrong about this being an infertile time in the cycle, they may very well get pregnant.

    What are those wide limits? It is amazing how the term “wide” for NFP enthusiasts somehow means “literally anything you can come up with.” Are there ANY restraints that you can think of? How about for most NFP users? Have the vast majority of NFP users ever restrained from using NFP due to the reasons Pius gives?

    Well, obviously the Church states that the bearing and raising of children is an end of marriage, to clearly it would be unacceptable for a couple to marry while intending to never have children by using NFP.

    I guess I don’t see that I’m competent to sit down and make our a list of what would or would not be a just and serious reason not to have another child at the moment. I imagine it would vary a lot from person to person. My own experience (my wife and I are both 33, we got married at 22, and we have 5 kids) is that practicing NFP strictly enough to actually avoid pregnancy is sufficiently frustrating that it’s a pretty good way of causing us to reexamine on a very frequent basis whether we are ready to stop using NFP and see when the next child will come.

  • From my perspective, there aren’t enough Catholics using NFP for me to get my boxers in a wad about the motivations of the tiny minority of the faithful who do. Honestly, I don’t get the need to get up in the face of those who practice it (“cultists”–nice) This discussion–which recurs with great regularity on the internet (if almost nowhere else) is a prime example of the circular firing squad in action.

    See also, “Gnats, Straining at.”

    My experience is the same as Darwin’s. Speaking from my own experience, our six-month old is the result of a re-assessment of our reasons for using NFP.

  • I read the piece by Mary. She seems to have a nice summation of the issue without providing a lot of answers. Here, as anywhere, it would be nice if the Church provided more leadership and more answers so we don’t have to argue over language from documents 50 years old.

    Darwin,

    The distinction I would make here is that I don’t think it’s the intent that is the actual problem from a moral point of view.

    You don’t think that there is a moral problem with having the same intent as the people practicing artificial birth control? I must be misreading you. Perhaps what you mean is, the primary moral problem is the method, which I would agree. But I don’t think that, given that the intent is identical, the moral position of those practicing “natural” birth control is oh-so-holier than those practicing artificial birth control.

    Similarly, I think we’d probably agree that if a couple were to decide to avoid pregnancy for a year by not having sex for that entire year, this would also be morally acceptable, even though their intent would clearly be the same (not get pregnant) as that of a couple using contraception and having sex frequently.

    I guess I can’t follow the rest of your analogy because I am not sure it would be morally acceptable for a married couple to avoid having sex for a year. That would seem fairly contrary to the intent of the marriage sacrament.

    And since they are not attempting to actually strip the fertility from the act itself

    I understand what you mean by this, that they are not stripping each occasion of the act of fertility. The problem that I have is that, when done over a sustained period of time without the reflection of serious or just reasons, they are stripping the overall purpose of that act within marriage of its fertile purposes.

    Can you see how this would run the risk of devolving into the same utilitarian errors of the culture on this issue?

    guess I don’t see that I’m competent to sit down and make our a list of what would or would not be a just and serious reason

    I would hope you are competent! You are or have practiced NFP, yes? The Church calls for you to consider whether there are serious/just/grave/whatever reasons to practice NFP. Surely you and your spouse at least discussed the reasons for this before launching into it?

    Most often today, a problem I see with my peers is that they dive into NFP as if it is the norm, precisely because they avoid or are ignorant of the fact that the Church requires cause to practice NFP. I think it is the failure to consider this that causes the practice to devolve into natural birth control and the utilitarian view of sexuality from our culture.

  • Darwin:

    What some are trying to say on this point is that the method is a secondary (though hardly unimportant) consideration in the matter. It’s the individual motivation we are talking about. If one is preventing pregnancy the motivation must be suspect, unless it is a genuine, unmistakably grave reason.

    What are those grave reasons? I’m not enough of a moral theologian to answer that question, but I do know that merely, wanting more money in the bank, a vacation every year, a second car, a 50″ tv set, the finest schools for my children, more free time between the spouses, a bigger and better house, my wife’s desire to work outside the home and many other reasons like that certainly do not qualify as “grave”. And that’s the rub. I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason and that is why many call NFP merely “Catholic contraception”, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become “Catholic divorce”.

    Sadly, most priests and Bishops are useless (worse than useless, really) when discussing NFP because many of them are so gutless and afraid to offend that they allow Catholic couples to practice NFP willy-nilly. This is certainly one of the causes of the extreme problems the Church is now facing, and will be facing as the years go on. The sooner we face up to the fact that NFP has been a disaster for the Church, despite some Papal encouraging words, the better off the whole world will be.

    Young, poor and foolish, my wife and I started using NFP after the birth of our first child. I cannot imagine how many little souls we didn’t bring into the world at that time that could now be a joy in our lives. It was a stupid thing to do.

  • Dale, you might not like my term cultists, but they are out there. I don’t think anyone blogging on this website qualifies, but you don’t have to look very hard to find blog after blog devoted exclusively to this issue, with many promoting it as another Solution To Everything.

  • I guess I don’t see that I’m competent to sit down and make our a list of what would or would not be a just and serious reason not to have another child at the moment. I imagine it would vary a lot from person to person.

    Bingo. The Church does not even provide such a list. This decision is between each couple and God, for every situation is unique.

  • I think DC is right; we can all agree that having sex during an infertile period is morally okay. Look at sterile people; their whole lives are infertile periods. Abstaining from sex during a fertile period seems okay too; every time we do something other than copulate we are abstaining. Doing both knowingly shouldn’t be a problem then.

  • Actually, the Solution to Everything is the Big Green Egg, which really does have a cult.

  • The Church does not even provide such a list? Did you actually read the article that Darwin linked to?

    PS- Darwin, please feel free to correct my HTML error above with the italics…

  • but definitely, NFP is not supposed to be the norm. It’s supposed to be the exception.

  • This decision is between each couple and God, for every situation is unique.

    This is the constant refrain of NFP promoters who dismiss any idea that there must be just/serious/grave/whatever reasons for using NFP. I would like Big Tex to provide a circumstance or a situation where NFP would not be proper.

    Or, rather, should NFP be the norm in Catholic marriages? Would it be ideal if every couple marrying in the Church use NFP? In other words, is NFP the ideal within every marriage? If not, why not?

  • . I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason and that is why many call NFP merely “Catholic contraception”, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become “Catholic divorce”.

    At the risk of being accused of being smarmy again, the plural of anecdote is not data. While I’m sure that there are people out there who do engage in the behavior you decry, but why are you so certain that this pertains to a majority of people practicing NFP? I keep hearing these rather generalized statements being thrown out there by you and jvc, but neither of you is backing these assertions with proof.

    Again, consider the population of people who use NFP. This is a subset within a subset of Catholics. As Dale said, the percentage of Catholics even using NFP is small (although the percentage among practicing Catholics would be much higher). Are these the type of people obsessed with acquiring 50 inch televisions? Perhaps your experience is different than mine, but where I am I do not see this type of behavior. Then again, maybe my experience is outside the norm.

  • Paul, it’s the majority of people I know who talk about it. You have your experience, I and others have ours.

  • Paul, it’s the majority of people I know who talk about it.

    Could you please clarify? Do you mean the majority of people you talk to about NFP, or the people you talk to and employ NFP?

  • And by the way, just so I am clear, I’m not suggesting that most people who have used NFP haven’t used it at some point to space pregnancies. I just doubt that a majority have done it for frivolous reasons.

  • The majority of people I know who a) talk about it and use it or b)talk about it with the intent of using it when they get married. In other words, the majority of people who talk about it and have an opinion about it. Hope this clarifies.

    Yes, I fully concede that this group of people may not be representative of the larger population. Nor necessarily would your social circle. It is my experience, though.

  • The Church does not even provide such a list?

    Meant to say exhaustive list. And no, the Church provides no list that details the situations in which it is and is not licit to have recourse to periodic abstinence to space children. Good luck trying to find one.

    This is the constant refrain of NFP promoters who dismiss any idea that there must be just/serious/grave/whatever reasons for using NFP. I would like Big Tex to provide a circumstance or a situation where NFP would not be proper.

    Or, rather, should NFP be the norm in Catholic marriages? Would it be ideal if every couple marrying in the Church use NFP? In other words, is NFP the ideal within every marriage? If not, why not?

    From whence did you ever get such an idea that I would dismiss the notion that there must be just/serious/grave/whatever reasons for using NFP? To your request, NFP would be inappropriate in saving up for a Porche or 747 or because mommy doesn’t look good in maternity clothes. On the flip side, NFP would appropriate in other situations. For one, a doctor may indicate to a woman that pregnancy is ill-advised based on her health. Or, an up-coming trip to visit relatives 2000 miles from home. Each family’s situation here is unique.

    I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage. It works rather well to space the little monkeys out, as well as when the doctor says no babies for a little while. Additionally, it’s a fantastic tool to aid in co-creating another one of those little monkeys we all find so precious (dirty diapers aside). The discussions that occur with each new cycle really develop the ability for a couple to pray together as well as communicate openly, honestly, and intimately. And as phase two approaches, and the attraction between spouses intensifies (as Darwin mentioned), said attraction really helps one cut through the B.S. on a couple’s reasons for postponing a pregnancy (i.e. Is this really a just/serious/grave/whatever reason?).

    So, jvc, I think you have taken the pendulum and gone far, too far to the right on this issue. For one, I think you are too easily dismissive of the intensified phase two attraction between spouses and how it can influence a couple.

    I also think you are doing yourself a disservice in equating grave reasons and serious/just reasons. Grave reasons insinuates finances/health issues. Just/serious reasons, which is the language used by our bishops, are broader and generally address (as does HV) situations such as the time in which we live.

    Lastly, I think you (and Ike) have an incomplete understanding of NFP and the Church’s teaching here. It sounds as if you believe we are supposed to be providentialists (think Duggars) when it comes to our family sizes and situations. Rather, NFP when taught with the mind and heart of the Church emphasizes prayerful discernment. The language used in the CCL course is specific: postpone/achieve pregnancy, as opposed to (what seems to be your main thrust in this discussion) prevent pregnancy.

  • I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage.

    Source?

  • Maybe the blog should stick to less controversial subjects like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? 🙂 I see 150 comments at least on this thread by midnight! Now I will scamper away from this particular minefield!

  • I got nothing.

    At my age, it is not an issue.

    It was once between my conscience, Father Confessor, and me. And, none of us spoke of it outside of our unique, little group: the Confessional.

    I attended pre-Cana so long ago they still had the wine.

  • I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage.

    Source?

    Do you understand what “I do think” means? Now, do you have a source that says it should not? Moreover, you and I have a different understanding what NFP is apparently:

    jvc: NFP = way to not get pregnant
    Big Tex: NFP = way to postpone kids if need be, AND way to aid/pinpoint conception

  • Don,

    Maybe the blog should stick to less controversial subjects like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    No kidding…

    JVC,

    In not particular order:

    I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage.

    Source?

    It seems to me that Paul VI’s section on “Responsible Parenthood” in Humanae Vitae does basically endorse the idea that couples should understand the fertility implications of the wife’s cycle and make prudent decisions about when to conceive accordingly (i.e. use NFP).

    With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person. (9)

    With regard to man’s innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man’s reason and will must exert control over them.

    With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

    Responsible parenthood, as we use the term here, has one further essential aspect of paramount importance. It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. In a word, the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.

    You don’t think that there is a moral problem with having the same intent as the people practicing artificial birth control? I must be misreading you. Perhaps what you mean is, the primary moral problem is the method, which I would agree. But I don’t think that, given that the intent is identical, the moral position of those practicing “natural” birth control is oh-so-holier than those practicing artificial birth control.

    I don’t think that the intent of “not get pregnant” is in and of itself morally good or bad. A nun does not intend to get pregnant. That’s fine, because her action is being celibate.

    The thing that a contracepting couple does which is sinful is “have sex while removing the procreative element of the sexual act”. This is wrong. The thing which a couple using NFP to avoid pregnancy for a time does is “not have sex during fertile time”. This is not wrong (so long as they are mutually agreed upon it.)

    I guess I can’t follow the rest of your analogy because I am not sure it would be morally acceptable for a married couple to avoid having sex for a year. That would seem fairly contrary to the intent of the marriage sacrament.

    I’m not sure how one could get to the idea that spouses not having sex for a period of time would be immoral. I’d have to go look up citations, but there are several instances of saints (other than Mary and Joseph, who were clearly a special case) who mutually made vows of celibacy with their spouses from a certain point on in their marriage.

    The problem that I have is that, when done over a sustained period of time without the reflection of serious or just reasons, they are stripping the overall purpose of that act within marriage of its fertile purposes.

    I don’t think you’re correct on why the Church would see a couple that avoided pregnancy for a long time without just and serious reasons would be behaving wrongly. It’s not that it would be removing the sexual act of its meaning, but rather that it would be a failure of generosity and openness.

    I would hope you are competent! You are or have practiced NFP, yes? The Church calls for you to consider whether there are serious/just/grave/whatever reasons to practice NFP. Surely you and your spouse at least discussed the reasons for this before launching into it?

    There are a lot of situations in which I think it is next to impossible to lay out specific and universally applicable rules on questions like “when is it okay to delay pregnancy” or “what is modest dress” or “what sort of art will elicit lustful thoughts”. I think I am pretty capable (with God’s help — and also with the help of very much enjoying sex and not wanting to give it up half the month) of figuring out whether my wife and I have, in a given set of circumstances, serious reasons to put off having another child. I don’t think that I’m capable of saying, “In all circumstances, X is not a good reason to postpone pregnancy” unless I pick something downright silly like “because the wife wants to pursue a hobby of skydiving” or “because they want to go on a cruise every year” or “because the husband wants his wife to stay thin all the time”.

    Similarly, I feel quite comfortable telling my daughters “you may not wear that outfit” even while I am not comfortable laying down some universal law of what is and what is not modest for all people in all places and times.

    Dan,

    Young, poor and foolish, my wife and I started using NFP after the birth of our first child. I cannot imagine how many little souls we didn’t bring into the world at that time that could now be a joy in our lives. It was a stupid thing to do.

    While I can certainly see why one would regret not having been more open to fertility at a certain point in one’s life, I think it’s worth pointing out that it’s not accurate to think of there being specific little souls who get denied a chance at life because we don’t happen to have sex on the given night on which they would have been conceived. Souls are created by God at the moment that a human being actually comes into existence (at conception) and so while we might be guilty of a lack of generosity or openness at a certain point in our lives in regard to bringing new lives into the world, it’s not as if we have some sort of chute or quota waiting for us that we do or do not fulfill.

    Similarly, if a couple finds that they are afflicted with infertility, it is not as if God is denying them the little souls they so desperately want. As bodies, we just are what we are. Sometimes we conceive, sometimes we don’t.

    I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason and that is why many call NFP merely “Catholic contraception”, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become “Catholic divorce”.

    This appears to be a fairly wide chasm of experience. In my experience, Catholic couples using NFP are mostly just using NFP to have children every 24 to 36 months rather than every 14 to 20 months. They also have far more than the average number of kids. (Some NFP instructors we knew had 10.)

    Now, some people might see the desire to have children “only” ever 2-3 years instead of one ever year to be a failure to be open to God’s will. Maybe for a few people it would be. I think for the vast majority of families, however, that is simply a matter of prudence. Especially as one gets older and the number of kids mount, it helps for the wife to be not-pregnant for a year or two at a time. And that’s not even taking into account the people who have serious medical or financial reasons not to have more children at the moment.

  • Darwin,

    How do you make the connection between that quote from HV and the idea that NFP should be the norm? Of course couples should be familiar with the concept of fertility. How do you go from there to the idea that the Church mandates that couples practice something that regularly prevents pregnancy? Are couples that leave their family size up to God bad Catholics? Is it preferential for parents to determine the exact number of their children?

    NFP enthusiasts seem to be of the assumption that human marriage was somehow deficient before the advent of NFP. Something tells me that families got along just well before either artificial or natural birth control came along. When did we become so distrustful of the natural processes that God created?

    The thing that a contracepting couple does which is sinful is “have sex while removing the procreative element of the sexual act”.

    And they do this if they choose to practice NFP for the purpose of not getting pregnant when they have no serious or just reason to not become pregnant. Can you see that this is a possibility?

    I don’t think you’re correct on why the Church would see a couple that avoided pregnancy for a long time without just and serious reasons would be behaving wrongly. It’s not that it would be removing the sexual act of its meaning, but rather that it would be a failure of generosity and openness.

    So the Church would not have a problem with a couple engaging in sexual intercourse for utilitarian purposes, with the cover of NFP to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy?

    Do you think that it *could* remove the sexual act of its meaning, to use NFP just because a couple has no interest in having children?

  • I guess I can’t follow the rest of your analogy because I am not sure it would be morally acceptable for a married couple to avoid having sex for a year.

    Young people bug me.

  • Art, I could be wrong. I know there are plenty of saints who stopped having sex. But I thought there had to be some kind of reason, like you had to be beyond your childbearing years and you had to have the intent of permanently not having sex. Dunno.

  • But I thought there had to be some kind of reason

    Fifty years and fifty extra pounds. That’s two reasons.

  • Art,

    Young people bug me.

    The kids are looking at me funny and demanding to know why I’m laughing so loudly.

  • The kids are looking at me funny and demanding to know why I’m laughing so loudly.

    So it isn’t the scotch talking?

  • This is just my very humble opinion, but I personally believe that any couple with the commitment and motivation to practice NFP at all, for any reason, is already way ahead of the game as far as being open to life and conquering selfishness.

    To complain that a couple who is faithfully practicing NFP is not doing so for serious enough reasons is, to me, like complaining about someone finishing 10th in the Boston Marathon or “only” coming home with a bronze medal in the Olympics. Yes, perhaps they didn’t perform perfectly, but the mere fact they were in the competition AT ALL is a huge accomplishment!

    If a couple were really concerned only about making lots of money, having a nice home, preserving mom’s figure, etc. chances are they are not even interested in NFP in the first place. If they are really as selfish as the “typical” contracepting couple, they won’t even bother with NFP, or they will give it up and revert to contraception after a short trial period.

    There may be other cases in which ONE spouse is interested or willing to try NFP but the other won’t hear of it, or agrees only grudgingly to try it and eventually pressures the other spouse to give it up. In those cases, it may not matter how unselfish and open to life the faithful spouse is, if the wife or husband won’t go along, there isn’t a whole lot they can do about it other than threaten permanent abstinence, separation or divorce — none of which will facilitate being open to life!

  • Wow, a lot of riled up people her today. Some excellent thoughts. Here’s mine: (1.) When the first protestor to NFP called it “Catholic B.C.” and were not refuted loudly and strongly from the pulpit by our teachers – bishops and priests – that arguement belonged to the protestors and they only got louder as the years rolled by. In college debate I learned those many, many years ago – frame the debate, define the terms, win the debate. We did that and one season went 147-0. (2.) Jesus said, “without me you can do nothing.” For the first 4 years of our marriage we used NFP, then accepted the Lord’s gift of three beautiful baby girls born within 20 months of each other. Then, sadly, we gave into the “power of the pill” and had no other children. A couple years ago, at a couples retreat, we admitted to each other that that decision has afflicted out marriage for at least the last 20 years. Alas, we cannot recover those lost years and lost children. The Lord has forgiven us and renewed our love and marriage in Himself. So, my advice to anyone contemplating using NFP bring it to the Lord in prayer and as someone above said recognize that it is the Catholic lifestyle. And also remember it is called, after all, narural family planning not natural family avoidance. IMy wife and I wish we had had the fortitude to live as real faithful Catholics back then. If only we had bothered to really read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, “On Human Life.”

  • “how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?”

    Again, we did as well–twice–both when we were under 30.

    Also, don’t discount what NFP does to your heart–starting out using it to avoid pregnancy might be opening the door to God for Him to work on your heart and your attitude about children and family size. I know I had “plans” for a much smaller family before I accepted the Church’s teaching on contraception but I’ve become open to having more children. I probably would not have even entertained the idea of having a larger family if I had used contraception, but I would not have even started using NFP if my instructor had not emphasized its efficacy for avoiding postponing pregnancy bc I wouldn’t have “trusted” it enough to get us through the end of school.

  • JVC,

    How do you make the connection between that quote from HV and the idea that NFP should be the norm? Of course couples should be familiar with the concept of fertility. How do you go from there to the idea that the Church mandates that couples practice something that regularly prevents pregnancy?

    Well, it seems to me that “responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions.” suggests that understanding how to tell when the wife is and is not fertile is okay (thus, understanding the workings of NFP.)

    When he says “With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time,” it seems to me that he’s saying that “responsible parenthood” can mean either using that knowledge to have more children (should that be the prudent course) or to avoid having children for a time or indefinitely (should that be the prudent course.)

    Are couples that leave their family size up to God bad Catholics?

    No.

    Is it preferential for parents to determine the exact number of their children?

    I don’t think it’s necessarily preferable (nor necessarily bad) but more to the point it’s usually not possible. I don’t think I know any couples who have never conceived “by accident” while using NFP. (In that sense, I suppose it is a bit like birth control. A lot of my secular friends at work had at least one “accidental” child while using contraception.)

    NFP enthusiasts seem to be of the assumption that human marriage was somehow deficient before the advent of NFP. Something tells me that families got along just well before either artificial or natural birth control came along. When did we become so distrustful of the natural processes that God created?

    I think there were simply different pressures on couples at that point. Just because there wasn’t NFP and artificial birth control doesn’t mean that fertility didn’t cause strife between couples.

    So the Church would not have a problem with a couple engaging in sexual intercourse for utilitarian purposes, with the cover of NFP to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy?

    Do you think that it *could* remove the sexual act of its meaning, to use NFP just because a couple has no interest in having children?

    I’m not clear what you mean by “engaging in sexual intercourse for utilitarian purposes” — or at least, all the ideas I’m coming up with at the moment sound more like dirty jokes than serious possibilities.

    Let me see if I can sum up:

    – I do not think that periodic abstinence can ever remove the reproductive meaning from the marital act.
    – I do think that a couple might in some circumstances be guilty of a degree of selfishness in using periodic abstinence to avoid pregnancy without good reasons — and given that selfishness is sinful, I do thus think that it is possible to use NFP sinfully.
    – I think that for the majority if couples, using NFP will in and of itself prove a very good safety mechanism to prevent them from behaving selfishly, because at the age you’re most likely have cause to actively avoid pregnancy, abstaining during the fertile parts of the cycle is seriously un-fun.

    (And now I see that Elaine has summed it all up more concisely and better than me anyway, so I’ll just post.)

  • Very few individuals have sex using contraceptives because they are loving, cherishing and appreciating the other, or being delighted in each other and each other’s company, or being in love with the other person to whom they are promised. It is an abuse of another person to whom they may be married to work off uncontrolled sexual urges, frustration or need for exercise which is what most sexual activity is about with contraception. “Saint Teresa (Martin), the Little Flower’s parents Louis and Zélie met in 1858, and married on July 13, 1858. Both of great piety they were part of the petit-bourgeoisie, comfortable Alençon. At first they decided to live as brother and sister in a perpetual continence, but when a confessor discouraged them in this, they changed their lifestyle and had 9 children. (from Wikipedia)They intended to devote themselves to prayer and did so for one year. Devoting oneself to prayer is the intent of and reason of Natural Family Planning. To grow spiritually and come to realize in one another, each person as a gift from God, who may become another child or remain in a secret place in our hearts. My girlfriend told me she used to lie in bed and listen to her mother and father giggling affectionately most of the night, two friends who happened to be married. The expression of God’s love for mankind expressed in the conjugal act is a gift that remains ever present, ever fulfilling, never needs reworking unless one chooses to bring another person into creation through procreation. The two concepts of prayer and procreation that are the substance of NFP, whereas the use of contraception is an insult to God, to the other person and to oneself.

  • “families got along just well before either artificial or natural birth control came along. When did we become so distrustful of the natural processes that God created?”

    Well, people were able to prepare nutritious meals before vitamins, carbohydrates, calories and proteins were discovered. Does that mean that someone who reads the nutritional information on their food labels and counts the calories and carbs in their food because they want to lose weight, control diabetes, achieve maximum fitness ahead of a marathon, etc. is being “distrustful of the natural processes that God created”? Or does it simply mean they are exercising their KNOWLEDGE of those natural processes in a way that is best for their health?

    There are secular promoters of NFP, or as they prefer to call it, “fertility awareness” who practice it not for religious or moral reasons but simply because it allows women to work with their nature rather than against it — not only for purposes of avoiding or achieving pregnancy, but also as a means of knowing what their “normal” cycles are like and knowing when something is “off” or wrong. God created women to be fertile in cycles and NOT all the time, so how can it be wrong to know about it, and exercise that knowledge prudently? I think this knowledge would be valuable for no other reason than knowing exactly when you could expect “Aunt Flo” to arrive every month… but I digress.

    I’d like to run with the food analogy a little farther because I think it might help us understand how NFP differs from artificial contraception. To me, NFP can be compared to losing or managing one’s weight by proper diet and exercise. You still eat real food with real nutrients, and digest it normally, so you are still fulfilling the natural purpose of eating; but you are doing so in moderation. (Total abstinence would be like going on a permanent fast, with the difference that while YOU won’t die of starvation if you “fast” from sex permanently, your marriage might!) Contraception, on the other hand, is like resorting to bulimia or diet pills to lose weight. You are attempting to go on enjoying food as much as you want and whenever you want, but in a way that actively interferes with the digestive process and ultimately will be very bad for your health. See the difference?

  • Well, I’m a total noob about NFP, and we used the little I know to get pregnant…. Family friend asked for help, I made some simple suggestions to her; their firstborn is adorable and nearly two.
    So non-observant non-Catholics use it to get pregnant, too!

  • I hate these NFP arguments because it usually goes nowhere. Anyway, as I intend to write a book or article series on this issue someday, I guess this is the price I will have to pay …

    No one answered the thrust of jvc’s original objection.
    Basically, these NFP promoters are appealing to women who desire to practice contraception in an attempt to get them off ABC. Despite the fact that their goal is an openness to life, it is marketed in such a way as to convince these women that NFP is a better approach while running the risk that the women they are appealing to will be convinced to go natural, but simply as an alternate means to ABC. So they still do not have the openness to children that really is at the heart of what is wrong with contraception. Almost all the popes and saints who spoke of contraception said it was wrong because it is unnatural, but said that the consequence of that unnatural act was wrong too – it limits the number of children without “just” reason(s).

    It isn’t either/or. It’s both/and. It is not enough simply to practice NFP. You have to do it for “just” reasons, which Dr. Taylor Marshall demonstrates by quoting past Magisterial teaching – most Catholics only reference Humanae Vitae and interpret discontinuously from the broader Tradition (i.e. see Bob’s comment). He also says, drawing on that same Tradition, that the “just reasons” are not as many as we would like to believe (because most couples unwittingly use NFP selfishly too – something Dr. Marshall stated as well), and that there are some objective standards – it isn’t all left to the couple.
    cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/02/you-can-only-use-nfp-for-grave.html

    Btw, if it is true that the “just reasons” are very few, then that would make them also “grave reasons” – which would take the substance out of the semantic argument that NFP promoters often use.

  • @ Big Tex and Paul Zunno
    1. Most people use NFP more to avoid (or “space” or “delay”, if you prefer) pregnancy than to achieve pregnancy. No statistics necessary – just have to talk to enough people, read enough articles, and use common sense.
    2. Most of the NFP couples do have a lot of children – at least relatively speaking, but those families are still half the size of families 50-75 years ago, and half the size of some couples I know who I am guessing have used NFP seldom or at all. In other words, sure, most NFP couples are “open to life” – at least in the sense of not practicing ABC, but that does not mean they are not using NFP for “unjust” or mainly selfish reasons.

    @ Big Tex
    “The Church does not even provide such a list. This decision is between each couple and God, for every situation is unique.”

    An unfortunate necessity because, yes, every situation is different.
    The downside to this is it’s a lot easier to practice NFP without “just reasons”. And many do.

    @ Big Tex
    jvc: “I do think [not using] NFP should be the ideal within marriage”
    Big Tex: “Source?”
    Dr. Taylor Marshall, citing the Magisterium, with ensuing comments:
    cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/02/you-can-only-use-nfp-for-grave.html

    @Darwin Catholic:
    You say: “Not having sex is not an inherently sinful act (or sin of omission)”.
    Yes and no.
    Perpetual continence has always been highly praised.
    However, sexual union with the intention of avoiding children has always been condemned.
    The Church, being the common sense mother She is, says if you have “just reasons” for doing so, it’s okay, but if not, it is a sin – not of “omission” (abstaining during fertile periods) but of “commission” (consummating during infertile periods).

  • The four statements that pretty much hit the nail on the head on this issue:

    1. Dan: “I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason [I would qualify this by prefacing it with “sometimes”] and that is why many call NFP merely ‘Catholic contraception’, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become ‘Catholic divorce’”.

    2. “Sadly, most priests and Bishops are useless (worse than useless, really) when discussing NFP because many of them are so gutless and afraid to offend that they allow Catholic couples to practice NFP willy-nilly”. [Or because they don’t really understand the Church’s teaching themselves – or dissent from it]

    However:

    3. Darwin: “Practicing NFP strictly enough to actually avoid pregnancy is sufficiently frustrating that it’s a pretty good way of causing us to reexamine on a very frequent basis whether we are ready to stop using NFP and see when the next child will come”. [However, I would say that the more we talk about the spiritual benefits to NFP – and NFP promoters do that in spades – the more likely these will override the desire for sexual union]

    4. Dale Price: “There aren’t enough Catholics using NFP for me to get my boxers in a wad about the motivations of the tiny minority of the faithful who do”.

    Out of all these points, I think the one that is most pertinent is Comment #4.

  • Wade St. Onge,

    I’ve run into the Dr. Marshall piece before, but it strikes me as a flawed piece of guidance for the following reason. He (rightly) quotes Pius XII in his address to midwives in which the pontiff says:

    Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called “indications,” may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned. If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to tile full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles. [emphasis added]

    But what Dr. Marshall proceeds to do is to take the list of indications “medical, eugenic, economic and social” and define them so as to make them things that arise only very rarely.

    So, for example, on medical reasons, Dr. Marshall says:

    The women’s life is in jeopardy or a circumstance would endanger the newly conceived child’s life (eg, the mother is going through chemotherapy or other treatment that would damage or kill a newly conceived baby). In regard to serious medical reasons, Pope Paul VI, in Humanae Vitae n. 16, also spoke of “reasonable grounds for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife.” So then, psychological problems could also be considered serious. If mommy is clinically schizophrenic, or clinically depressed, then I imagine a spiritual director is going to give the green light on NFP.

    The thing is, Pius XII and Paul VI don’t say things like “only if the mother or baby will actually die” or “only if the mother has severe, clinical psychological issues”. The popes say something fairly broad (Pius XII even specifies that the circumstances he’s speaking of are not rare) and Dr. Marshall seems to be at pains primarily to narrow things down a great deal. I don’t necessarily see him as performing a helpful service in implicitly telling people who may be suffering from scrupulosity, “Look, it may be that your wife is having a really hard time dealing with the two kids currently under two (not to mention the other four) and that her body is taking longer to recover from the last pregnancy than it did back in her 20s, but by golly if you don’t think she’d die if she got pregnant you just don’t have just cause to wait an extra year to get pregnant!” Dr. Marshall’s discussion of the other criteria starts to border on the silly. (For instance, when he specifies that “social” reasons would mean “Viking Invasions. Concentration Camps. Black Plague. Hiroshima.” but then backs down and suggests that “perhaps” if a couple were living under the brutally enforced one-child policy of China it might be okay for them to use NFP to avoid pregnancy.)

    If people actively feel called to be providentialist in their approach to fertility, more power to them. I just think it’s a really bad idea to “bind up heavy burdens for others to carry” when the Church doesn’t actually tell us that we have to.

  • What the hell is a “providentialist”? Is that the new NFP cult word for people who let God determine how large their family size should be rather than programmatically deciding for themselves the same way the ABC people do?

  • Oh, I see. Protestants. Nice slur. Yeah, the people not practicing artificial or natural birth control are Protestants. Right.

  • I just think it’s a really bad idea to “bind up heavy burdens for others to carry” when the Church doesn’t actually tell us that we have to.

    You mean like the NFP cultists who insist that a Catholic marriage is incomplete unless the couple is practicing NFP?

  • Oh, I see. Protestants. Nice slur.

    Aside from the fact that it’s not a slur nor the intention of the use of the word, would you have preferred Darwin use a term like, say, cultist?

  • Paul, do you actually deny that there is a cult following among many NFP-ers?

  • If by “cult” you mean “tiny number of adherents, routinely subjected to suspicion and ridicule,” then yep.

  • jvc, a providentialist is one who uses no means of fertility regulation whatsoever. There are Catholics and Protestants who take this avenue. The Duggar (you know, the one from the TV show) family is one such extreme example.

  • Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called “indications,” may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life.

    That’s a pretty important catch from the allocution–“such as those which not rarely arise.”

    Unless, of course, I was being a frivolous cultist for wanting to delay bringing a sixth child into a two bedroom, 880 square foot house with no basement, garage or even driveway.

    As they say, mileage varies.

  • And Darwin beat me to the punch on Dr. Marshall’s commentary. Good show, old boy!

  • “Psychological reasons” – sounds like the same clause upon which most of the annulments are granted today (apart from lack of form).
    Dr. Marshall gives examples because most NFP bloggers shoehorn every conceivable reason in to these four in order to use NFP – just as canon lawyers shoehorn every possible human defect into the “psychological disorders” clause in order to get an annulment. I don’t think his examples are too far off from the thinking of Pius XII – considering the examples orthodox moral theologians of the time gave.
    ….
    Perhaps Dr. Marshall is too strict – but then again, NFP bloggers are too lax – but they (you?) don’t acknowledge that as a possibility.
    ….
    If you’re scrupulous, it’s best to err on the side of the NFP bloggers. If you’re too lax, it’s better to err on the side of “providentialism”. That’s a good rule of thumb – coming from a scrupulant whose seminary run ended because of it.
    ….
    “I just think it’s a really bad idea to ‘bind up heavy burdens for others to carry’ when the Church doesn’t actually tell us that we have to”.
    So should I feel content to go to confession and Holy Communion only once a year during the Easter season?
    And should my priests quit urging me and my fellow parishioners to go to confession every two to four weeks?

  • Whoa there…

    Most providentialists I have known have been Protestants, but I have also known Catholic ones.

    I had certainly not been aware that the term was pejorative (other than to people who think having lots of children is in and of itself bad — and those people already think I’m bad). It’s not my intention to use it as such. I just needed a term to specifically designate people who make an active decision to simply have as many children as God gives them. Another term I’ve heard is “quiver full”, but to my knowledge that’s more an approach of actively trying to have the maximum number of children rather than doing nothing to space them out further and just waiting to see what God provides.

    You mean like the NFP cultists who insist that a Catholic marriage is incomplete unless the couple is practicing NFP?

    I’ve never heard anyone claim that — though I have heard people at least claim (reasonably I think) that Catholic couples getting married should at least know the rudiments of how NFP works so that they’ll be able to turn to it in more depth should they ever need it later. And yes, there are some (perhaps slightly odd) people who more or less make talking about NFP online a hobby. I think that’s a bit odd, but then I spend time online arguing about politics and talking about brewing beer and shooting antique military rifles, so what do I know?

    At the risk of being seen as playing the age trump card: I think you said you were in your mid 20s, which means I’m roughly ten years older and have been married a good bit longer. (At least, I’ve been assuming you’re married.) If I can speak from that vantage point for a minute: Because it’s so counter-cultural to be a young married Catholic these days (whether using NFP or just trusting in God in relation to family size) there’s a tendency of people to get very, very absolutist about their marriage choices. NFP, theology of the body, providentialism, whatever it is that they’re into becomes The Most Import Key To A Good Marriage. While the enthusiasm is well motivated and good, it often gets worn down quite a bit by the realities of 10-15 years of married life. Not that marriage isn’t good: it’s a constant source of joy to me. But there is something to the old saw of “I used to have five theories and no children. Now I have five children and no theories.”

    In the process, a lot of people who can be annoying because they were talking about NFP all the freakin’ time realize that there’s more to life than charts and mucus (and that NFP is not as fun to use as they thought.) And other people who really felt like NFP was all a bunch of trying to ignore God’s will realize that when you have three kids under four and are out of seats in your car and have a mountain of consumer debt from a couple of family emergencies over the last year or two — you’re too tired to have sex most nights anyway. And that abstaining off and on in order to actually have two or more years between the next few children is not that big a deal.

    It’s from that perspective that I think it’s important to stick to the bottom line: The Church says that you may NEVER using contraception, but that spacing pregnancies using periodic abstinence is not a problem so long as you have a good reason.

  • One last thought: It seems to me (and I think this follows pretty naturally from Pius XII’s quoted statement) that the degree of seriousness one needs as a just reason is pretty directly proportional to the length of time one is seeking to delay pregnancy.

    Thus, for instance, “We have to make a major family trip in three months and I don’t want to be in the middle of morning sickness while we’re traveling” might be a perfectly good reason to abstain during the fertile parts of the cycle for a couple months, but “We like to go on a trip every year and that’s hard with a baby” is a bad reason to simply never get pregnant again.

    If I seem like I’m being fairly lax here, one of the contexts I’m working in that all the NFP users I know really just use it to get a 2-3 year spacing between children — a spacing which is totally natural for some couples, but those who are very, very fertile would otherwise find ourselves having children less than a year and a half apart. As the number of children mounts, that kind of spacing can become very hard, not only on one’s ability to raise one’s existing children well, but also on the wife’s body.

    If I thought most NFP users were using it to put off pregnancy indefinitely, I might be more interested in looking at when it’s acceptable to use. But the only people I know who are doing that are people who do have medical problems such that any pregnancy would end up being a major danger to both child and mother.

  • Wade St. Onge [However, I would say that the more we talk about the spiritual benefits to NFP – and NFP promoters do that in spades – the more likely these will override the desire for sexual union] Notice that a spiritual director instructed Louis and Zelie Martin to abandon their perpetual continence and bring forth children. A relief because there is one more capable and willing to assume responsibility for the decision in procreation.

  • Mary: “Notice that a spiritual director instructed Louis and Zelie Martin to abandon their perpetual continence and bring forth children. A relief because there is one more capable and willing to assume responsibility for the decision in procreation”.

    A relief – and yet a burden. They desired religious life but were not accepted, so sexual intercourse was a bitter-sweet thing – a good that brought forth children, but also a reminder of the greater good they were missing out on.

  • Mary: ““Notice that a spiritual director instructed Louis and Zelie Martin to abandon their perpetual continence and bring forth children. A relief because there is one more capable and willing to assume responsibility for the decision in procreation”.

    So then you would disagree with Dr. Taylor Marshall that decisions about whether or not to practice NFP should be done with a trusted spiritual director – and should not be practiced without his agreement?

  • Pingback: NFP: Not Just Natural Birth Control | St Anne Center for Reproductive Health
  • I used NFP to get pregnant with my second child. It took us 3 months to get pregnant with our first and 1 weekend to get pregnant with our second. My best friend tried unsuccessfully for 10 months to get pregnant and once I taught her how to chart, she took her charts into her doc who could tell her why it was taking a while to get pregnant (late ovulation in her cycle due to coming off of Norplant 10 months prior). She had scheduled a doc appointment to help with her fertilization and got pregnant the week before, thanks to using NFP and understanding her body.

  • Hey everyone. This is my first post here. I wanted to say DarwinCatholic and Elaine’s first post I agree with. My situation is a little different. So before I go on with my 2 cents I’ll tel lyou what it is. I’m single, 23 , in college, I read about NFP from many places so I know what I am getting myself into when I get married. I’m preparing for it now so when the “hardness” of it hit’s the pill may be less bittersweet. I trust in God and I’m doing what I can to be a good example of a young Catholic. When I get married I will probably still be in debt, live with my folks and just getting started out on a job if there are any left. My wife will be paying off her debts and be starting to work. I will also have a $500 truck payment.

    Are there people in worst cases than me I’m sure it is, but am I going to use NFP? YES! First any method is not 100% effective, I leave the other 2 percent up to God so he wants that 2% to kick in than so be it. BUT ABC is different it’s telling God to take a hike I don’t want any chance of being open to life. SO JVC that is the difference. It’s not about wanting to have a 60″ tv, a beach house, or a Porsche I don’t want any of those things. I want to be able to give a life, a life from God a good life, and in order to be established as such I would need and we would need as a married couple to postpone pregnancy. The cost of ABC and what it has down to society is way more important and worse than bickering about just/grave/ this that upside down and sideways.

    I know it’s going to be hard, Katie at NFPandME has said so. But I am not shutting out the potential for a life.

    Honestly JVC I think when people read your post who want to know more about NFP. They see that if they don’t have those grave reasons then say “well so I shouldn’t use NFP, than what are the options”? ABC is the option they’ll see and go for. I don’t like the bickering, and I’m not saying this in anger, and I’m not saying this like I’m an expert on the matter. Nor am I a Saint, I’m a hopeless sinner who found hope in Christ, and I want people to see the joy had in NFP. I know so many couples who don’t talk with each other or who when board have sex. We put a grand canyon between sex and procreation. NFP closes the gap. I think about it almost daily and make sure that I’m not doing it for me, I’d be doing it for my future wife. I’m the last of my family so Jesus knows that kids are on the docket for me, ideally 3-4 would be nice. So clearly postponing YES, plus if she wold decide hey Nate I can work part time and so I’d like to be a mom, then I’m all open to have kids, will it happen like that it could it could not, that’s why I’m not just thinking of me or something vain. Just wanted to give my two cents, not trying to start a fight. God Bless you all.

  • Wade St. Onge:
    The word I ought to have used is “counseled” instead of “Instructed”. “Instructed” carries the weight of obedience without consent, or cooperation. Persons willing to use NFP are usually more self-directed. God is missing from much of what is written. Thomas More wanted to be a priest, but was sent home, too. It is God’s will pointing the way. Accepting God’s will in all things, not only NFP, makes life joyful. Marriage, children are all gifts from God to help us to mature into the human beings we are supposed to be. The greatest good is doing God’s will in whatever He tells us. “Do whatever He tells you.” Our Lady.

  • Wade St. Onge:
    You are dealing with a person who believes that sexual surrender to a spouse is valid for the other only when there is a possiblity of another person being conceived and it is no more different putting off intercourse than waiting for heaven.

  • Your analogy does not work.
    Waiting for heaven is not a choice. Abstaining from intercourse is.
    Furthermore, it is not the abstaining that is a problem – it is the sexual intercourse deliberately only during infertile periods without just reason that’s a problem.

  • Wade St. Onge: Haven’t you answered your own question? “it is the sexual intercourse deliberately only during infertile periods without just reason that’s a problem.” 1) natural intercourse is ALWAYS open to children. St. Elizabeth, St. Ann, St. Camillis de Lellis whose mother was 68 years old when he was conceived. This is a fact, as doctor said once about popping an egg, or two after menopause. To those who expect to practice NFP, let it be known that the possibility of procreation is ever present. Although there may be less likelyhood, then when it is probable. Increased intercourse brings forth more likelihood. Not trusting in Divine Providence completely imposes the fear and anxiety. But what you are saying is that there are times when a couple is forbidden to have intercourse and that is not right, that the couple is not free to have intercourse during low fertility because the couple did not have intercourse during high fertility. A married couple is always free to have intercourse. A man’s conscience tells him when he has avoided doing God’s will.

  • Mary, you are contradicting Church teaching.
    If a couple practices NFP without just reason, it is a sin. That’s what the Church says, not just what Wade St. Onge says.

  • Actually Wade, I think Mary is closer to Church teaching on this one that you are.

    You appear to be claiming that if a couple didn’t have a just reason for abstaining from intercourse during the less fertile parts of the cycle, then it is immoral for them to have intercourse during the more fertile parts. As Mary points out, this is not true. It is not, immoral for a married couple to engage in the marital act, whether it is at a time likely for them to conceive or not.

    It is true that a couple may be guilty of selfishness and failing to fulfill the purposes of marriage if they tried to avoid pregnancy for reasons that were not just — but neither the act of abstaining from sex (during periods when conception was more likely) nor the act of having intercourse (during the periods when conception was less likely) would be the sin in such a circumstance. The sin would be a sin of the will — the resolution to try to avoid the gift of children for bad reasons.

  • What frustrates me here is the reduction of NFP to a mere method of birth control. Sheesh… NFP involves more than avoiding pregnancy. The thrust of the original article here is that NFP is NOT just natural birth control, but those here who seem to be down on it are indeed reducing NFP to natural birth control.

  • “What frustrates me here is the reduction of NFP to a mere method of birth control. Sheesh… NFP involves more than avoiding pregnancy. ”

    This is why I hate the term “NFP”. “Natural Family Planning” is not Natural (really, is it natural to temp every morning, stretch your cervical mucus, and chart?) and it’s not “Family Planning”, because let’s face it, a high percentage of the children conceived from NFP are marginally planned at best, frequently after a couple of glasses of wine on a night when the older children went to bed early.

    But seriously, I vastly prefer the term “Fertility Awareness” because that is what the couple is doing: Charting the woman’s symptoms to become aware of the couple’s combined fertility. The couple can use this awareness to achieve or avoid a pregnancy, or they can just not care. Whatever they do, this awareness is an excellent barometer of the woman’s help.

    While some people are worried about people using Fertility Awareness to improperly not become pregnant, this isn’t much of a worry. Although the “perfect use” rates for all methods of FA are quite high, couples have to be very highly motivated to actually avoid pregnancy using FA.

    You see, it is no longer socially acceptable to want more than 2.3 children, and we assume that this is the norm, but people have been having larger families for years. A couple who relies on merely FA and self-control to prevent pregnancy will have their motives tested every month. On one side is the rational mind of man and woman. On the other side is millions of years of evolutionary biology urging reproduction. Unless there truly are “serious reasons”, the rational mind has no chance.

  • There is one aspect of Natural Family Planning that ought to be heard but is dissociated from the whole. This is nursing an infant into childhood. A nursing mother does not ovulate and the chances of a nursing mother becoming pregnant while she is nursing a baby is not in nature’s plan. Pharaoh’s sister called for a wet nurse for the found child Moses and Moses’ sister brought the child to his mother. There is a note of a child being weened at four years of age and a celebration that the infant survived into childhood, and the mother is now ready to bear more children, spacing her children at five years apart, in the bible, but I do not remember who the child is. It may have been Isaac. But of course, in Israel, the men had many wives who would give them many children. In modern America, there are many voices who discourage nursing an infant and outright deny a woman’s right to freely practice her motherhood. I know several women who did indeed nurse their children as well as speaking of experience. After one year I was sidelined as a weirdo, and after a while I thought that the government was going to be called.

  • Paul, how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    I would put the under 30 crowd at about 90/10 avoiding pregnancy rather than getting pregnant.

    In response to jvc….I didn’t read all of the comments but I just wanted to say that I am under 30 and not only am I using NFP to achieve pregnancy but I live in a Catholic community with my husband (he is studying for his PhD) and every woman I know on the street (most under 30 or in their early 30’s) are also using NFP to achieve pregnancy. It’s only common sense that a woman would use NFP to also achieve pregnancy.

  • Mary,

    In the main, yes. The one thing I would point out,though, (from experience!) is that some women simply do not have much infertility after birth no matter how conscientiously they nurse. (The which I bring up only because for a while CCL tended to rather coy about this fact, but we’ve known a lot of other people who found themselves quite surprised by it.)

  • I’ve been thoroughly pooped out by this thread, so I stopped responding awhile ago, but I have to ask a follow-up to Katie’s comment.

    Out of curiosity, what do you mean by you live in a “Catholic community”? Like a Catholic university? A particularly Catholic town?

  • DarwinCatholic says:
    Thursday, April 19, 2012 A.D. at 11:40am

    Darwin, thank you for the clarification. Perhaps it would just be easier to describe them as non-NFP, non-ABC practicing Catholics? Seems like the most accurate description, especially if the term “providentialist” is an explicitly Protestant term.

  • What frustrates me here is the reduction of NFP to a mere method of birth control.

    Perhaps the problem is that this is exactly what every promoter of NFP that I have ever heard has sounded like. And it is always discussed in the context of how ABC is wrong. It wasn’t even until years after I heard about NFP that I found out that some people were using it to get pregnant.

  • Jim says:
    Saturday, April 21, 2012 A.D. at 9:22pm

    I agree with the jist of Jim’s comments. Making oneself aware of the nature of fertility is prudent. Making it out to be another solution to everything, which the term NFP and marketing of NFP fall into, is the reach.

  • Nathan, thanks for your kind words, and welcome to this blog! I’m encouraged to see a young Catholic man like you taking an interest in this topic. I think you are a good example of exactly what I was talking about… you wouldn’t even be interested in NFP if you were totally selfish and unconcerned about doing God’s will.

    As for all the “bickering” you see taking place about what reasons justify NFP, for what it’s worth… I seem to remember that the most accurate translation of the actual term used in Humanae Vitae is simply “serious” reasons — meaning, not frivolous or selfish, but it doesn’t have to be a life or death reason either.

  • Darwin: “It is not, immoral for a married couple to engage in the marital act, whether it is at a time likely for them to conceive or not … Neither the act of abstaining from sex (during periods when conception was more likely) nor the act of having intercourse (during the periods when conception was less likely) would be the sin in such a circumstance. The sin would be a sin of the will — the resolution to try to avoid the gift of children for bad reasons”.

    That makes no sense. This “sin of the will” is carried out in concrete action. How else do you “avoid the gift of children” than by limiting sexual intercourse to the infertile periods?

    You could say what you said above about any sin. You could say stealing is not a sin; rather, theft is “a sin of the will – the desire to possess an object that is not yours”. That is true, and that is what motivated the sin, but the actual sin that was committed was taking the object, just as with using NFP for unjust reasons the sin is committed when the couple limits sex to the fertile period. So the act of sex itself is sinful …

    Pius XII: “If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, ***while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality*** [i.e. having sexual intercourse only during the infertile periods], can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles.”

  • Wade St. Onge,

    Pius XII is saying exactly the same thing that I am: “the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles.”

    Now, while it’s true that all sins involve an act of the will, and that it is that act which is actually the sin, I don’t think your stealing analogy holds. The difference is that stealing something actually is wrong. Thus, while it is the act of taking something which is not yours that is the act of the will in relation to the sin, the taking of something not ones own is itself wrong. (The act of the will remains key in that if you stole something, believing you had not right to it, but in fact it was something you were free to take, your sin would be just as great even though your action, from an objective point of view, would not actually be wrong.)

    A man having sex with his wife is not wrong. Neither is a man not having sex with his wife at a given time — even if the purpose of not having sex at that time is to avoid the possibility of getting pregnant during his wife’s current cycle.

    I think your error here is in seeing that mis-use of NFP in order to treat sex as a strictly non-procreative form of sensuality is sinful, you’re trying to zero in on some specific act on which to locate the sin. Given that periodic abstinence consists of having sex during less fertile times and not having sex during more fertile times — the obvious options are 1) labeling abstaining from sex during more fertile times as sinful or 2) labeling having sex during the less fertile times as sinful.

    What the Church actually teaches is that neither 1) nor 2) is sinful. It is not wrong for a couple to perform the marital act or not to perform the marital act. Nor is the marital act made wrong because one believes it to be highly likely that conception will not occur (as is the case not only with certain parts of the normal monthly cycle, but also with couples who are afflicted by infertility or who have passed the age at which the wife is likely to be able to conceive.)

    What can be sinful is the desire/attempt to experience a “full sensuality” completely unconnected with procreation.

    Now, that said, I think, frankly, that one of the best ways to defeat this “false appreciation of life” that Pius condemns is the practice of NFP, which you seem so suspicious of, specifically because using NFP to try to avoid conception very much does not allow for a “full sensuality”. Trying to avoid conception via NFP means abstaining about half the time, and typically the time when the desire of the spouses (particular the wife) are much, much greater. As such, for the couple which starts out just wanting to space their children farther apart or put off having more children for a while, using NFP creates the awareness that it is impossible to have a “full sensuality” that is not procreative.

  • “I think, frankly, that one of the best ways to defeat this ‘false appreciation of life’ that Pius condemns is the practice of NFP, which you seem so suspicious of, specifically because using NFP to try to avoid conception very much does not allow for a ‘full sensuality’.”

    1. I am as suspicious of NFP as Pius XII was.

    2. NFP is just a subset of “temporary continence” – something that the Church has always encouraged and something that the Catechism of Trent suggested Catholics practice during Lent. Most Catholics who practice NFP today seem largely ignorant of the rich Catholic Tradition of temporary continence within marriage, which was encouraged as a fast from sex the way that we are also to fast from food and meat during specific days and seasons. Most people who practice NFP today do not realize that the benefits of NFP are simply benefits that come out of temporary continence or “fasting from sex”. Due to this ignorance, most Catholics think the only reason to practice temporary continence is to space children. But even if you are trying to conceive, temporary continence is still a good and beneficial practice that the Church recommends. How many NFP practitioners today know that and practice that? I would say the number is close to zero.

    3. You obviously did not read Pius XII in context, because he was specifically referring to an abuse of NFP in that quotation. How can the practice of NFP be the best remedy to an abuse of NFP? If it was, there would be no need for Pius XII to warn against it, because its practitioners, by the very practice of NFP, would defeat this “false appreciation of life”.

  • “A man having sex with his wife is not wrong.”

    Even if he wears a condom?

  • I have a feeling that we’re going in circles, so I’m going to give this one more response and then I’ll leave it to you to have the last word should you so wish.

    Most Catholics who practice NFP today seem largely ignorant of the rich Catholic Tradition of temporary continence within marriage, which was encouraged as a fast from sex the way that we are also to fast from food and meat during specific days and seasons…. I would say the number is close to zero.

    Well, FWIW:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/10/26/nfp-and-fasting/

    You obviously did not read Pius XII in context, because he was specifically referring to an abuse of NFP in that quotation.

    Pius XII talks about the danger of people seeking to “avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality”. My contention, based on experience and that of all other NFP users that I’ve had occasion to talk to, is that abstaining half the time (and because of the way in which women’s hormones work — the half during which their desire is much higher) is very much not “satisfying their full sensuality”. Yes, it’s a step up from the long periods of total abstinence which a prudent husband and wife might need to have were they not able to track the wife’s fertility, and were there serious reasons for them to not conceive at the moment, but it is very much not a satisfying “sex life” (to use the modern term). It feels incomplete.

    Indeed, the times that do tend to feel complete are when they are not engaging in periodic abstinence — either because they are hoping to conceive or in the few months right after having a baby. Thus:

    How can the practice of NFP be the best remedy to an abuse of NFP? If it was, there would be no need for Pius XII to warn against it, because its practitioners, by the very practice of NFP, would defeat this “false appreciation of life”.

    That is, in fact, exactly my point. And I would argue that it is because of the increasing realization of this over the last 50 years that the Church has come to promote NFP fairly actively: because it is to a great extent a self correcting system which, through experience, teaching Catholic couples the Church’s understanding of the nature of sexuality.

    This doesn’t mean that those who don’t use it (or any other way of spacing children) have a less perfect understanding. Rather, it is the best practical counter to the contraceptive mentality. Those who wish to space their children and commit to doing so through NFP (rather than succumbing to some immoral means of avoiding conception) learn at a very deep and experiential level the inextricable connection between sexual intimacy and procreation, and that the “fullness” of marital intimacy can only be achieved when the couple is ready to get pregnant.

    “A man having sex with his wife is not wrong.”

    Even if he wears a condom?

    Now you’re knowingly taking me out of context. You and I both know that to the Church’s mind there is no similarity between a couple having fully natural intercourse while knowing they are unlikely to conceive, and using artificial means to strip the marital act of its fecundity.

  • Darwin Catholic: While nursing a child may not have an impact on ovulation, nursing a child does make an impression on the husband who surrenders his wife to be the mother of his child. Perhaps that is what makes his wife so desireable. “To have and to hold” to remember that moment of procreation in each other’s arms….

  • Having sex while married is licit.
    A married couple agreeing to not having sex is licit.
    Becoming aware of your fertility so that the couple knows when sex is unlikely to lead to conception is licit.
    Using this information to make a decision about whether or not to have sex is licit.

    Therefore, using fertility awareness to avoid pregnancy is, in itself, ALWAYS morally licit.

    Like anything else, of course, it may be done for selfish or improper reasons. But the sin is the selfishness, not the means of how pregnancy is avoided. Still, the abstinence is difficult enough that this problem is often self-correcting in most couples. For those for whom it is not, there is usually some other relational, sexual, or emotional problem or the couple is sub-fertile and the abstinence is shorter and not that much of a burden.

    I think the idea that fertility can be pinpointed with 99% accuracy is “too good to be true” for some people and they are trying to find sin where there is none.

    As for re-marketing, Billings LIFE (Australia) http://www.thebillingsovulationmethod.org/ seems to have done a good job in marketing NFP (which they call “fertility education”) to a secular audience. They put medical information first, which is what fertility awareness is. Fertility education and Catholic theology are two different things and combining them weakens both. Often this leads to the absurdity of promoting something that is “99% effective at preventing pregnancies” as a way of being “open to life”.

Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!

Wednesday, April 18, AD 2012

 

May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

                                                           Bishop Daniel Jenky

 

 

My bishop, Daniel Jenky, of the Peoria Diocese, speaks truth about Caesar on April 14 of this year:

There is only one basic reason why Christianity exists and that is the fact that Jesus Christ truly rose from the grave.

The disciples never expected the resurrection. The unanimous testimony of all four Gospels is that the terrible death of Jesus on the cross entirely dashed all their hopes about Jesus and about his message. He was dead, and that was the end of it. They looked for nothing more, and they expected nothing more.

So as much as they had loved him, in their eyes Jesus was a failed messiah. His dying seemed to entirely rob both his teaching and even his miracles of any lasting significance.

And they were clearly terrified that his awful fate, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans, could easily become their awful fate. So they hid, trembling with terror, behind shuttered windows and locked doors.

When the Risen Christ suddenly appeared in their midst, their reaction was shocked incredulity. They simply could not believe their own eyes.

Reality only very slowly began to penetrate their consciousness when Jesus offers proof of his resurrection. He shows them the wounds on his hands, his feet, and his side. Jesus even allowed them to touch him. He breaks bread with them and eats with them. And only then could they admit to themselves what had seemed absolutely impossible – the one who had truly died had truly risen! The Crucified now stood before them as their Risen, glorious, triumphant Lord.

His rising from the grave was every bit as real as his dying on the cross. The resurrection was the manifest proof of the invincible power of Almighty God. The inescapable fact of the resurrection confirmed every word Jesus had ever spoken and every work Jesus had ever done.

The Gospel was the truth. Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus was the Savior of the world. Jesus was the very Son of God.

There is no other explanation for Christianity. It should have died out and entirely disappeared when Christ died and was buried, except for the fact that Christ was truly risen, and that during the 40 days before his Ascension, he interacted with his Apostles and disciples, and on one occasion even with hundreds of his followers.

Today’s appointed Gospel reading for this Saturday in the Octave of Easter is taken from the 16th Chapter of Mark. It concludes with a command from the lips of Jesus, given to his disciples, given to the whole Church, given to you and me assembled here today: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

We heard in today’s Second Reading from the Acts of the Apostles that the same Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus was amazed at the boldness of Peter and John. Perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they recognized them as companions of Jesus. They warned them never again to teach, or speak to anyone, in the name of Jesus.

But the elders and the scribes might as well have tried to turn back the tide, or hold back an avalanche. Peter and John had seen the Risen Christ with their own eyes. Peter and John were filled with the Holy Spirit. They asked whether it is right “in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”

And Peter and John and all the Apostles, starting first in Jerusalem in Judea and Galilee and then to the very ends of the earth, announced the Resurrection and the Good News to everyone they encountered.

According to the clear testimony of the Scriptures, these Apostles had once been rather ordinary men – like you and me. Their faith hadn’t always been strong. They made mistakes. They committed sins. They were often afraid and confused.

But meeting the Risen Lord had changed everything about these first disciples, and knowing the Risen Lord should also change everything about us.

You know, it has never been easy to be a Christian and it’s not supposed to be easy! The world, the flesh, and the devil will always love their own, and will always hate us. As Jesus once predicted, they hated me, they will certainly hate you.

But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God’s one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best. But think about it. The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.

The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism.

And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.

The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.

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24 Responses to Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!

  • Amen!

    ” . . . for the country folk to be up and to arm, . . . ” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

    This night in 1775, Paul Revere . . .

  • Incompetence in the exercise of charity or malicious evildoing?
    Peaceably assembly in every public place owned, in joint and common tenancy by every person ever created, those persons who now are alive, our ancestors and those being aborted today, and all future generations, our constitutional posterity, is being redefined by the HHS mandate to usurp all public property to those in government and impose moratoriums on freedom, speech, assembly and our unalienable rights. Our unalienable rights are being proscribed by an incompetent and malicious evildoer. The TRUTH returned to the public square will announce that freedom of religion is man’s response to the gift of Faith from God and if God tells us that charity is man’s vision for a better world, government may not redefine charity as something with a price tag to be extorted from the people. If those people in public service do not like religious freedom, they are very, very, free to leave their office, their citizenship and their country to find what suits them. Remember that when Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the woman atheist who removed prayer from the public place came to the atheistic nation of the USSR, The United Soviet Socialist Republic, the USSR refuse to admit her. So, Obama and his HHS can go wherever anybody will admit them but not in my country. FREEDOM and one rosary in Latin, maybe two.

  • “the USSR refused to admit her.(the atheist)” I see my Russian, Jewish ancestor is at work again. Mary De Voe

  • “…one rosary in Latin, maybe two.”

    One in Latin during my lunch time walk and one tonight after Bible Study.

    😉

  • – those people who bravely came here for religious freedom continued coming all through our history…. puritans, French, Irish also came looking for life and religious freedom, Germans who came during the years of Bismarck, the Czech, defectors from communism in Asia and the soviet bloc, Jews from Europe… no wonder we are an Exceptional country, we are populated by people who take their religion seriously

  • Makes you want to move to Peoria just to be under his excellency. Any chance he might get transferred to DC?

  • The interesting thing c matt is that although Bishop Jenky has always been forthright, he has never been a fire brand. That he is speaking out now in this manner indicates just how dangerous our situation is becoming in this country as to religious liberty. This issue is ready to explode and the professional politicians are largely clueless as to what is about to happen. Yamamoto could clue them in:

  • SSPX (whose reconciliation with the Vatican seems likely) has a very different take on the topic of religious liberty:

    http://www.sspx.org/news/our_first_cherished.htm

    Basically, SSPX says no one has the right to choose the wrong and choosing faiths other than the Catholic one is wrong. Maybe I oversimplify. My view (for whatever it’s worth, which may not be much) is that we do have freedom of choice and religious liberty, and then we have to bear the consequences of our choices, whether right or wrong. It’s called responsibility and accountability.

  • in Peoria? maybe Fulton Sheen has inspired him

  • Bishop Jenky, as one might expect, has been a strong promoter of the sainthood cause for Peoria’s favorite son.

  • “Basically, SSPX says no one has the right to choose the wrong and choosing faiths other than the Catholic one is wrong. Maybe I oversimplify.

    Nope. This screed is as much a condemnation of all things non-Catholic, including the Constitution, as the HHS mandate is a declaration of war on all things non-secular.

    Does SSPX believe or desire that such a redefinition should be enforced by law? To say that “Americanist religious liberty” is an error is to condemn a keystone of The Constitution. There’s scant other conclusion to be had, so the question is begged, “If the Constitution itself is wrong, by what then shall it be replaced?”

    This?

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  • ““If the Constitution itself is wrong, by what then shall it be replaced?”

    Ummmm, It is to be replaced by a Catholic monarchy.

  • “Basically, SSPX says no one has the right to choose the wrong and choosing faiths other than the Catholic one is wrong.”

    They can believe anything they please, thanks to the Constitution they abhor, but their stand simply does not accord with current Church teaching on religious liberty. I might note that this discussion is far afield from the topic of this post and everyone from here on in will stay on topic on this thread.

  • “I might note that this discussion is far afield from the topic of this post and everyone from here on in will stay on topic on this thread.”

    How is that so if we are discussing political leadership? If we are to chose correctly and within the traditions of the Catholic faith, then no, there is no right, in the true sense of the word, to chose any other faith than Christianity in in fullness (i.e. Catholicism). This gets at the heart of what Bishop Jenky and all the bishops should be about, choosing, or am i wrong? Are we such “American” Catholics that we place the Constitution above the Magisterium? The right to religious liberty in the Constitution, which must and should be upheld by all citizens, is a compromise because so many abandoned the True Faith. They basically had to say “We agree to disagree” in order to stop killing one another, but that does not change the fact that Christ is very precise in where his Church is. And if we are to follow him truly, then how do we have a “right” to choose differently. That is still the teaching of the Church and not just the SSPX.

  • Dignitas Humanae from the Magisterium of the Church supports and provides the foundation for Bishop Jenky’s position.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html

    One can’t claim to be more Catholic than the Pope while dissenting from what the Magisterium and the Pope teach.

    That’s what SSPX does.

  • “How is that so if we are discussing political leadership? If we are to chose correctly and within the traditions of the Catholic faith, then no, there is no right, in the true sense of the word, to chose any other faith than Christianity in in fullness (i.e. Catholicism).”

    Because this is all a distraction courtesy of the idiots of SSPX who would reduce the Church to a cranky cult and make Catholics anathema to their non-Catholic fellow Americans. Believing that Catholicism is the True Faith and also believing that all humans have a right to religious liberty is the current teaching of the Church, all blather to the contrary not-withstanding. Further attempts to hijack this thread into discussions other than the Church’s stand for religious liberty will be deleted by me.

  • Well, this is perhaps my fault for having posted the link to SSPX’s thoughts on the religious liberty matter. The irony truly struck me as weird: claiming to be Catholic but denying the truth thereof. Personally, I think that the attitude of absolutism with respect to the Roman Catholic Church is as dangerous and wrong as the attitude of absolutism with respect to secular atheism that the Government is trying to force down our throats. Many religious denominations – Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God Pentecostal, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran Missouri Synod, etc. – are uniting with us against Obamania. If we can’t get along with our separated brethren here on Earth, then how shall we in an eternity in Heaven? And yes, I fully expect that my Pentecostal Mom and Dad are going to Heaven (if only because they put up with me for 18 long years of purgation).

    😉

    If they don’t make it in, then there is scant chance for me. Indeed, being a member of the Church that has the fulness of grace and truth (as we oft hear proclaimed) isn’t a cause for pride and self-satisfaction. It’s rather a cause for humility – I have received what I don’t deserve (which is grace) and I am not receiving what I truly do deserve (which is mercy). This “ain’t no cause” for insufferable pride.

  • OK, let us stay focused on the religious liberty fight the Church is engaged in today. This is far too important to get bogged down in side issues.

  • BRAVO Bishop Jenky

  • I love how the media is spinning this as some kind of unfair comparison to Hitler. The bishop isn’t comparing Obama to Hitler, but to every fanatically anti-Catholic statesman who ever tried to destroy the Church only to fail miserably. Silly liberals.

  • This issue is NOT about Catholics but every Christian. This is NOT about the Constitution. If one is a TRUE Christian, their faith will not let them enjoy the right to vote for anyone that believes, and promotes, abortion; the killing of unborn children. And if our government refuses to address the unborn, then why did they when Scott Peterson was charged with 2 murders. That of his wife AND unborn child. Our government wants to pick and choose but a TRUE Christian has only one response/belief….no killing of unborn and no voting for those that believe and promote that killing.

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Who Survived The Titanic: A Story of Chivalry Not Class

Tuesday, April 17, AD 2012

There’s something about the magnitude and timing of the sinking of the Titanic that makes it almost irresistible for people to turn it into a sort of fable. The sinking of the “unsinkable” ship, the largest ship of its kind built up to that time, seems like a perfect example of hubris, and the fact that the wreck occurred just two years before the outbreak of the Great War (which perhaps more than any event defines the beginning of “Modern Times”) allows the Titanic to serve as a symbol of all that was bad and good about the world before the world before the War.

One of the things that most people are pretty sure they know about the sinking of the Titanic is that many of the first class passengers survived while those traveling third class were kept below decks and perished in far greater numbers. This fits well with the image of rigid class stratification in the pre-War years.

It is certainly true that a much greater percentage of third class passengers died in the sinking than first and second class passengers, however, the images popularized by James Cameron’s movie of third class passengers being locked below decks by the viciously classist crew appear to be fiction. The question of whether third class passengers were actively kept from the lifeboats was examined during Lord Mersey’s official investigation of the wreck and his conclusions were as follows:

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13 Responses to Who Survived The Titanic: A Story of Chivalry Not Class

  • Astor was by far the richest man onboard. He left 150 million dollars in his will which would be 11.92 billion in 2011 dollars.

  • To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about,
    Is nothing so bad when you’ve cover to ‘and, an’ leave an’ likin’ to shout;
    But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill
    is a damn tough bullet to chew,
    An’ they done it, the Jollies — ‘Er Majesty’s Jollies —
    soldier an’ sailor too!
    Their work was done when it ‘adn’t begun; they was younger nor me an’ you;
    Their choice it was plain between drownin’ in ‘eaps
    an’ bein’ mopped by the screw,
    So they stood an’ was still to the Birken’ead drill, soldier an’ sailor too!

    We’re most of us liars, we’re ‘arf of us thieves,
    an’ the rest are as rank as can be,
    But once in a while we can finish in style
    (which I ‘ope it won’t ‘appen to me).
    But it makes you think better o’ you an’ your friends,
    an’ the work you may ‘ave to do,
    When you think o’ the sinkin’ Victorier’s Jollies — soldier an’ sailor too!
    Rudyard Kipling

  • “it was seen as the duty of society as a whole to protect the lives of women and children in such a situation,” an authentic “Right to Choose”

  • …the images popularized by James Cameron’s movie… appear to be fiction.

    Almost the whole flick is fakery of one kind or another – most egregiously its attempt to woozily merge feminism with female privilege via the duties chivalry imposes on men alone.

  • Don,

    Thanks for remembrin’ the “Birken’ead drill.”

    More “mixed” sea stories: this date in 1942 a small group of daring airmen who took off from the aircraft carrier Hornet in B-24 (bombers!) and took the first counter-punch at Dai Nippon.

  • The 1958 film “A Night to Remember” , a far better film than Cameron’s absurd epic, and done when many of the survivors were still alive, also buys into the myth that third class passengers were deliberately kept below. Third class (not ‘steerage’ please note) on Titanic was as well-appointed as second class on most liners, and represented good value for money – then, as now, the class you travelled in depended on how much you were prepared to, or could afford to pay. In the 1950s, when traditional notions of social class were being eroded, it was fashionable to portray the pre-1914 era as class-ridden. The same film also belongs to the stiff-upper-lip British officer war movie genre of the time, exemplified by Kenneth More who played Lightoller in the film. In reality the ship’s officers had no clear idea of what they were supposed to do and Captain Smith seems to have had some sort of nervous breakdown. Costa Concordia anyone?

    Incidentally, Charles Lightoller came out of retirement to command one of the ‘little ships’ in the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

    BTW, does anyone have an explanation for the low survival rate among second class male passengers?

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  • Just like on a plane, first class gets you more privileges/comfort. You get what you pay for.

  • No amount of truth can penetrate prejudice. Cameron’s “Titanic” was appalling. Drives me batty to see history (or even good novels, for that matter) gutted to serve somebody’s social agenda.
    God knows what heroes died that day, and why.

  • And the unsung ones were Wilde (Chief Officer) and Murdoch (First Officer) who saw all their boats away full, before going down with the ship. A rumour (no more than that) on Carpathia was that Murdoch shot himself in remorse as he had been the the Officer of the Watch when the berg was struck. The Cameron film had him shooting a third class passenger (Irish of course). No wonder Murdoch’s family objected. For all the millions of dollars spent on it the Cameron film was one of the worst I have seen in my life.

  • I don’t think Astor should be cited as an example of chivalry.
    He tried to finagle his way on (in place of who else but a woman or a child – who were to be given preference) and only when the powers-that-be put the kibosh on it did he accept his fate.
    His second wife (he divorced his first), a teenage girl 30 years his junior, was fine – she inherited millions and married her childhood sweetheart a few years later.

  • Good article. Minor nitpick to one comment. The Doolittle Raid used B-25’s, a twin engined medium bomber, not the 4 engined, B-24, a heavy bomber.

  • Mr. Onge,
    I think it is perilous to cast aspersions with respect to the actions of Mr. Astor since it is difficult to reconcile the account of Mrs Astor with that of Officer Lightoller. It is possible that Lightoller misconstrued Mr. Astor’s selfless efforts to assist his wife, just as it is possible that Mrs. Astor contrived a face-saving explanation for her husband’s selfish actions. We simply cannot know, although Mr. Garrett’s account gives one reason to want to favor Mrs. Astor’s rendering.

Of Social Darwinists, Robber Barons and Libraries

Tuesday, April 17, AD 2012

Jonah Goldberg has a great column in which he takes apart the myth of the Social Darwinists.

This raises the real problem with the AP’s analysis. It has the history exactly backwards. The topic was not popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but it is now. And it’s not suddenly “making its way” into modern politics. Liberals have been irresponsibly flinging the term Social Darwinism rightward for decades. Mario Cuomo, in his famous 1984 Democratic Convention keynote speech—which “electrified,” “galvanized,” and “inspired” Democrats, who went on to lose 49 states in the general election—declared that “President Reagan told us from the very beginning that he believed in a kind of Social Darwinism.” Walter Mondale, the Democratic nominee that year, insisted that Reagan preferred “Social Darwinism” over “social decency.” Even Barack Obama’s April 3 speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors was so much recycling. In 2005, then-senator Obama denounced the conservative idea of an “ownership society,” charging that “in our past there has been another term for it—Social Darwinism—every man or woman for him or herself.”

Meanwhile, the myth that Social Darwinism was a popular term in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was largely created by the liberal historian Richard Hofstadter, whose 1944 book Social Darwinism in American Thought didn’t merely transform our understanding of the Gilded Age, it largely fabricated an alternative history of it.

Go here to read the brilliant rest.  Richard Hofstadter was a professor of American history at Columbia University.  In his youth he was a Communist, breaking with the party in 1939 over the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.  However, his hatred of capitalism remained, and his  Social Darwinism in American Thought was a mere polemic with an academic wrapper.  Hofstadter did almost no primary research in the documents of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and relied on the research of other historians as support for the conclusions he wished to reach.  Almost throughout his entire academic career Hofstadter was a fairly reliable man of the Left, always ready to slam conservatives as provincial and paranoid.  His 1964 The Paranoid Style in American Politics and other Essays is fairly typical.  Ironically, by the time of his death in 1970 Hofstadter was no longer popular on the Left, due to his criticisms of the New Left, and especially the antics of student radicals on campus.

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13 Responses to Of Social Darwinists, Robber Barons and Libraries

  • Social Darwinism is “ever man for himself”?
    How is that a bad concept? Anyone can see that playing out in life.

  • “Anyone can see that playing out in life.”

    And with usually disastrous consequences. Anyone who is simply out for number one leads a life to be pitied.

  • Giants of industry? Carnegie painted himself as a Captain of Industry, himself, so I do not have to. Robber Baron yes, murderer yes, I was having a good day until I read this post. The Robber Barons robbed and killed their competition if they had to. I read in Andrew Carnegie’s biography (?) tell me that I am wrong, that Andrew Carnegie hired Pinkerton guards from England to shoot to kill any underpaid striking employee. Americans would not shoot to kill their own. The Pinkertons from England killed nineteen men. The word went out that anyone who did not share their Thanksgiving turkey with the striking families “ought to choke on it”. When Carnegie became a pariah and realized that he was going to hell, as his friend Harvey Firestone told him, he built the University at Pittsburg (The Steelers) for the sons of his workers whom he had murdered. Then, Carnegie went about donating to every large city a library. The City of New Brunswick, New Jersey, has one such library with Andrew Carnegie’s portrait in the entrance, kind of a mausoleum for his memory. A fascinating place I frequented until I learned about the man. I could not even look at his portrait in the entrance and soon refused to go there.

  • “In 2005, then-senator Obama denounced the conservative idea of an “ownership society,” charging that “in our past there has been another term for it—Social Darwinism—every man or woman for him or herself.” Of public property, each and every person owns it all, in joint and common tenancy, and holds it in trust for our constitutional posterity, all future generations, not yet born but to be born. Ownership of private property is held in trust as an inheritance for the heirs. Rural Councils Executive Order 13575 removes anyone’s claim to ownership of private property. Obama’s czars, every one of them, from Timothy Geitner to Cass Sustein are in charge of administering Rural Councils, Obama’s abrogation of all ownership of private property, unauthorized arrogation to himself of all our unalienable civil rights. What may I ask is “social” about being impoverished so that somebody else can steal your children’s inheritance?

  • I read Father Robert Barrons and I thought we could not have enough. God bless.

  • Amazing that people who are typically extremely supportive of abortion for almost any reason, and who virtually insist upon it when a child may be born with Downs Syndrome or some other disability – in other words, the modern left – can then complain about “Social Darwinism.”

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  • @ Student: Forget The Catcher in the Rye, read Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, if possible at the same sitting. An interesting dichotomy of contrast and congruence.

    As for “. . . every man for himself, How is that a bad concept?,” moral purpose is a deliberate desire to love. Love is not accomplished by isolated individuals.

  • Glad to see that Goldberg’s got a new book coming out.

  • Wasn’t Carnegie into eugenics? That was a little scary.

  • Brian,

    No offense, but you really need to offer better articles than the ones you usually recommend. The folks and crooksandliars hardly offered a meaningful rebuttal of Jonah’s article, instead cherrypicking statistics and offering strawmen arguments.

    I will say it’s a step up from Little Green Footballs.

  • May I show this?

    No. That site is vulgar and stupid. If you wish to read gliberal and leftoid literature, your time is properly invested in Dissent, the Boston Review, The Atlantic Monthly, the Utne Reader, or perhaps the New York Review of Books.

Talking About “Gay Marriage”

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

I’ve been told by more than a few people who support “gay marriage” that my take on it is somewhat unique. Given that I am virulently opposed to “gay marriage”, this is no small victory. It may be my absolute lack of fear when it comes to self-criticism (which may spill over into self-loathing if I am not careful), my willingness to unload heaps of criticism on those with whom I agree (lovingly of course), and/or my high level of intolerance for self-congratulatory nonsense that is responsible. I don’t really know. But I will tell you what I think about “gay marriage”, a phrase I will never utter or write sans-scare quotes, and you can decide.

First and foremost, I’ll acknowledge that a lot of criticism of “gay marriage” just misses the mark. Just the other day I witnessed a college-age conservative Catholic attempting to argue to a mob of atheists, some gay, some straight, that homosexuality was not a valid expression of human love. Woven in were concepts from modern Catholic teaching on the theology of the body and things of this nature. Setting aside the validity of such arguments, I have to say that attempting to argue that what someone experiences as “love” is not really love is going to be a pretty tough sell. I can’t imagine it working at all, especially coming from a stranger. Arguments that homosexuality will naturally lead to the acceptance of pedophilia or bestiality don’t tend to go over well either.

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40 Responses to Talking About “Gay Marriage”

  • Good luck finding someone that will argue in good faith.

    I’ve yet to find a single person who won’t go straight to the “then why should whites and blacks marry?” card– apparently, they think there’s as much difference between someone with dark skin and one with light as between two biological sexes.

    Who’s the racist, again?

  • Fox,

    They don’t really think that. It’s just intellectual laziness.

    And I have found some people willing to have an honest debate about the issues. Or at least somewhat honest.

  • Then I wish– for the umpty-bazillionth time– that I were around less lazy people.

    It’s a sad thing when the most intelligent person of my generation that I know can’t tell the difference between “saying everyone needs college” and “we shouldn’t have everyone go to grade school.”

  • GOP President Lincoln said something to the effect of, “You can call that tail a leg. But, that dog still has only four legs.”

    It makes little sense to argue with moral bankrupts and imbeciles that equate “love” with sodomy.

    Possibly, the problem’s root is in the 1960’s birth control defeat. That moral disaster separated the sex act from its biological purpose: procreation. Now, it’s all recreation.

    The world is ruled by fornicators.

    People of Faith are in the world, not of this world.

    The moral moron will lisp, “But, they’re in love (sniffle).” That’s not love. That’s lust . . . and perverted lust.

  • “In discussing the question, he used to liken the case to that of the boy who, when asked how many legs his calf would have if he called its tail a leg, replied, ” Five,” to which the prompt response was made that calling the tail a leg would not make it a leg.”

  • I agree that arguing that someone doesn’t love someone else is not productive. For one thing, it’s not true. We are all called to love one another. There is nothing wrong with someone loving a member of the same sex, but one should not act on that love in a sexual way. I know some very devoted same sex couples who love each other very much. That doesn’t make their sexual relationship right, but the whole relationship is not based on “perverted lust.”

  • I agree completely with your first point, that gay marriage is a symptom, not a cause, of societal breakdown. Non-Christians, and even gay churchgoers, make the point that gays can’t break down marriage. It’s already been broken, by a Christian’s own standards, through co-habitation instead of marriage, divorce, and porn, as you said, and though you did not explicitly mention the contraception mindset, I think it’s worth adding. The logic of concentrating on gay marriage seems like a malicious persecution separated from the larger reality of general disorder concerning love and marriage. Our arguments, quite frankly, make no sense to them.

    And they’re not making a tu quoque kind of fallacy, either. “Well, you Christians are messed up too, so you can’t talk to gays about their issues.” It seems to me that “they” have highlighted a real structural flaw — one we really must continue to answer and be responsible for.

  • The more you discuss something that is either ludicrous or lacks any validity the more you give it credence. You are playing into the hands of those who want you to take the notion of same-sex “marriage” seriously.

  • All good and substantial points, especially the “symptom, not cause” situation.

    But, Bonchamps, how does the moral Libertarian approach enforcement of laws against same-sex cohabitation or union? If, in fact, a marriage in its moral sense cannot exist between members of the same sex (which is both Scripturally aand doctrinally proven,) then there can be no law broken with respect to those who would pretend to, but could not actually, enact such a relationship. Would there be laws prohibiting civil or religious (if you could find one) ceremonies? I doubt any attempt at that would pass muster, nor would it be effective to any degree should it actually become law.

    As well, short of Thought Police viewscreens, how does one know the details of the relationship between two very good friends who have been “roomies” or co-domesticants for years, but remain inscrutable and respectable in public? No outward indications of their relationship are given – private lives are nobody else’s business – so who can tell if they are lovers, friends or even relatives? In decades past, unmarried women had such arrangements quite commonly. Such distinctions would be necessary for laws to be enforced properly, but how could that information be gathered without violating the Constitution?

    Finally, is the Constitution of the US, or of any state, the place to “define” marriage? Constitutions are supposed to be the enumerations and definitions of, and limitations on, particular governments. It seems incongruous that a definition of marriage would go there. Even Roe v Wade did not produce a Constitutional amendment – it’s codified law.

    The estate of marriage has already been defined in a much higher text of authority. To quote Max Lucado: “God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.” What God has ordained let no man put asunder, to borrow a phrase.

    If anything, trying to “define” marriage in a Constitution opens the door for government to theoretically define marriage, and with the direction governments are going these days, that’s not too attractive an option.

    So, IMHO, the whole thing is a trap – by getting conservatives to argue over this small symptom, the larger cause grows unabated. Such are the works of The Enemy, The Deceiver, The Prince of Lies. The sooner we see the truth behind these works the sooner we can stem that tide.

  • And I tried to undo the italics but they must be on a higher operational level.

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  • Mr. Green,

    BINGO!!!

    You are the voice of reason.

    There is one valid response to all liberal asininistries: “There you go again.”

    Gibbon: “I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”

    Somehow, I am on some moron’s Moron.org email list. Can you imagine?

  • Joe Green: Here in Maryland if voters do not take back their prerogative, same- sex marriage becomes law in January 2013. 150,000 signatures on a petition must be got to put the issue on the referendum in November. A tsunami of ignorance and filth has inundated our children’s minds and hearts and all. Gays can do what they want and go to hell, I cannot stop them but, VIRGINITY IS THE ONLY REASON TO SURRENDER VIRGINITY, one’s own virginity AND another person’s virginity, the holy innocence of the virgin child about to be procreated. If somebody does not love you enough to want more of you, it is not love. Lust, a vice, cannot be codified, no more than stealing, lying or ass ault. Same -sex behavior is assault and battery. A person cannot consent to a crime of any magnitude or inanity. A person who seeks homosexual relations has lost his rational soul and mind and cannot give consent. The mob mentality is encouraged by our present regime because while rational man is engaging the lower beasts in vice, our sovereignty is being abrogated. The hope of a virgin is the only rational equality demanded.

  • Doggone it, I double-checked that closed italics tag. Sorry. For good measure I’ll add another:

  • Having several members of our immediate family exposing their “gay” lifestyle recently and having several of my college age grandchildren (Catholic educated) completely reinforcing their decisions I found myself in that “love the sinner hate the sin” mentality. I find many of the arguments in this article to be right on and as I told the kids, “if God would have wanted this type of lifestyle there would not have been nor will there be any future. Beyond the relavant behavior of the homosexual act, which well I don’t know just gags me, I don’t know what else to say! They also know that it is not just homosexual behavior that is not ok. There is a reason for the 6th commandment, which entails co habitating, adultery and the myriad of other “sins of the flesh”. They ultimately, unless forgiven and brought back into the good graces of the Church are no less sinful. I know I was brought up a stodgy or cradle Catholic, but those awful sisters(whom I loved) seemed to be able to instill in me these values and although I also have not been perfect in my life, I sure knew right from wrong and where to go when I strayed. The Sacraments were “liberally” available to all of us. Now not so much.

  • While I am in agreement with you, I’d like to bring up a ‘devil’s advocate’ question.

    >Even those who would point to the prospect of gay couples >adopting children (which is a terrible idea, by the way) can’t >argue with the fact that such unions cannot produce new >life. They can do absolutely nothing to restore the birth rate >to replacement levels.
    Actually, lesbian couples sometimes do add to the birthrate, albeit in small amounts. They merely need to purchase the requisite biological material – something many heterosexual couples do as well.
    Plus, technology marches on. I believe that lab mice with female fathers were produced several years ago. If this gets to people , there will be girls with two female genetic parents – and the process, unlike sperm donation, will produce only female offspring.

    I think it would be a disaster, but it is plausible.

  • What is UP with the formatting here? Admins? Anyway, replies all around.

    Laura,

    “Our arguments, quite frankly, make no sense to them.”

    Precisely. That’s why we have to better make the connection between God’s law and the social good. Too often they are seen as something completely different. God’s law is seen as arbitrary, while pursuit of the social good is rational. But we must endeavor to show how God’s law is what is best for society, that Christian morality is not arbitrary.

    WK,

    “Would there be laws prohibiting civil or religious (if you could find one) ceremonies?”

    No. People can have whatever funny little ceremonies they like and call themselves whatever they like. But that’s not what they want. They can already do that. They want to force all levels of government, and eventually all social institutions and all individuals, to recognize their unions as legitimate and EQUAL to heterosexual marriages. A big part of this equality is in the name. They know the power of language, and so ought we to know, that by refusing to call their unions “marriages” we maintain an important psychological and social advantage.

    So I’m really not so concerned with fighting for a Constitutional amendment as much as I am fighting for our 1st and 10th amendment rights to call a spade a spade and act accordingly, respectively.

    Jeanne,

    If they’re college-age, I wouldn’t worry too much. It could be a trendy phase. Yes I know the typical gay activist will be shocked and offended by such a suggestion, but I’ve read enough stories of people who “discover” that they’re gay in college only to have it turn out to be a phase or a fad. Its another attempt to forge a unique identity for some people, just like others will become radical communists, feminists, or whatever.

    Donna,

    Hence my last paragraph. They have to have faith that technology will overrule nature before nature overrules their egalitarian vision of society. It is a race I don’t think they are going to win, for several reasons.

    In the meantime, though, yes, they can live out this abominable science-horror fantasy of a world in which there is reproduction without males and females mating.

  • I also have to add, for Mr. Green and Mr. Shaw:

    Maybe you live in a different world than I do. Or maybe your brains operate differently than mine does.

    I live in a world in which radical gay activists have successfully influenced the media, the schools, the courts, and even some of the major religious institutions of this country that their political agenda is good, wise, and fair. This influence has had major repercussions, including the legalization of “gay marriage” in some U.S. states and many Western nations, the classification of traditional religious views on homosexuality as “hate speech” (this in Canada), and the indoctrination of children as young as 5 into acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle with books such as “Heather Has Two Mommies.”

    You two are bent over with your posteriors in the air and your heads in the sand. Contemplate the implications of that image before you respond.

  • Argh! Narrow page!

  • Actually, lesbian couples sometimes do add to the birthrate, albeit in small amounts.

    But that’s the point – it is such a small amount as to be insignificant, and therefore does not warrant state recognition vis-a-vis marriage. Same goes for reproductive technologies – at this point, it is prohibitively expensive to rely on it to support continuation of the populace. True, this opens up the “perhaps one day” argument, but today is not that day. And it does not address the issue of the ideal – study after study shows the best form of family for raising children is one mom, one dad for life families. Statistical outliers (which exist, of course) are not a rational basis for setting general public policy – that would be as insane as designing seating on public transportation to accomodate only those in the smallest one percentile of stature.

  • Laura-
    no idea why it was so stubborn; you did put in the italics thing, you just transposed the / and the ‘i’; just fixed that.

  • C Matt-
    the example that pops to my mind is quibbling about the birth rate from women cheating on their husbands with someone that’s more fertile. Or maybe the birthrate of military wives with deployed husbands.

    That said, lesbian couples don’t add to the birth rate– a lesbian might, and two lesbians that are in a pairing might, but it’s not a function of the two being one.

  • (“equality” has no foundation in nature) That phrase jumped out at me and made me think!
    Yes–I wonder if we were able to go back to live in some very primitive first-generation-of-society type community– seeing the world and each other for the first time collectively– in that first original city individual individuals, forming families and learning about life, I guess homosexuals would be ignored; not necessarily protected, or elevated…..because that is not what most people are drawn to. Homosexuals would be outside the mainstream- and being not contagious, not procreative– would remain a small sidebar of society– not a problem for these original libertarians! 🙂 You do your thing and I will do mine.
    But bring Christianity into the picture and people start caring about what is going on in another person’s life because they love that person!.. and want the best for them. Even if they are in a brothel on the other side of town.
    People, developing a social awareness, begin to understand that they are in fact their brother’s keeper; that society does in fact mean -and depend upon- a kind of linkage between individuals. As Christians now our little society is brought, by a sense of, Love and Responsibility, to care about the souls of other people– not just their temporal welfare– in fact, to love those sinners… in this life for the next!
    But it is not all altruism….this community of folks now also understand now that sin is not good for the individual, and thus not good for society… not good for all of us…and cannot be shrugged off or ignored.
    Now this proto society develops a “State”– and the new State takes the office of protecting these loving individual individuals from harm and promoting their general welfare.. the State is generally reflective of society and all is Good.
    Change goes on– somehow the libertines are not safely in the brothel across town, but are in the school system and the governing boards of various institutions, stopping Christians from teaching Christianity…even from having Christian hospitals. The libertines begin to have a negative influence on this little society… tolerating sin to a certain extent seems to have gotten out of hand! Being libertarians, the people of the community are busy protecting their privacy, their personal rights; perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, thank you.
    …and all the others, over there in the brothel, sick with the result of their sin.. well, it was their own fault.. The children and families are wandering unkempt– because who is going to kempt them? The society has sunk back– to pre-Christian, like the original society…. before they knew about Love.

  • Bonchamps: “Precisely. That’s why we have to better make the connection between God’s law and the social good. Too often they are seen as something completely different. God’s law is seen as arbitrary, while pursuit of the social good is rational. But we must endeavor to show how God’s law is what is best for society, that Christian morality is not arbitrary.” God has given you a well trained tongue. God speed.

  • I see what a lot of flaws I have in my little parable.
    I was trying to say I don’t think we can go back to a time when homosexuals are marginalized and ignored; we can’t ignore them now but must reach out actually evangelizing in words and deeds. We must keep trying to become more Christian, not less, both as individuals and as a society.
    We must protect the Christian society that has developed in the 2000 years and realize that we are a Body, a Communion… above and beyond a political community.

  • Under pressure from militant homosexuals and adult/child (without informed sexual consent to give) activists, The North American Man Boy Love Association, the American Psychiatric Association removed the diagnosis of “arrested development” from homosexuality and classified homosexuality as “normal”. All people go through a same sex attraction at puberty and some get hung up in arrested development. Marriage is a covenant between two souls, a male soul and a female soul, as God created them in Genesis, body and soul, when God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils and brought Eve to Adam, the first marriage covenant. The equality homosexual activists are seeking is our very souls.

  • “”gay marriage” is not so much a cause of social decay as it is a symptom.” Our Creator endows man’s unalienable rights. Man has an unalienable right to Truth. For atheists and gay rights activists to try to overturn our Creator endowed unalienable right to TRUTH is contempt of court. Redefining our founding principles without two thirds of the states ratifying the change is treason. The “symptom” is caused by the despair planted when Paul Erlick’s Population Bomb and Thomas Malthus declared the populaton would all come to an end and it will unless people begin to trust in the Divine Providence of God inscribed in our Declaration of Independence.

  • I have not been placed on “moderation” for too long.

    You cannot reason with a rat that thinks 2 + 2 = 5.

    We outnumber the scum about 27 to one.

    Whenever you need to keep your head down, you maintain your arse in a similarly low profile.

    I did my part.

    I raised three real men. One is an captain airborne ranger on active service. One shortly will become a proud father. The third’s long-term girl friend is a blond beauty. She could be in the movies.

    You know what is teen code for lame-ass? Try “gay.”

    As in gay marriage is so gay!

    No, I am not equipped to deal with stupid.

  • While I agree with Bonchamps that many of the arguments put forth by Catholics based on the “theology of the body” can be a very tough sell. One of the reasons is, I have say, is that many of those who talk about the theology of the body don’t understand it much better than those whom they are trying to inform. And their interlocutors sense it, despite their own ignorance of the subject.

    However, I find the arguments put forth by Bonchamps, as valid and correct as they are, will have an equally tough road to hoe with the secularist crowd. These people like their porn. They like their sex without consequences (although they find out the hard way that that’s a cruel illusion.). So, I think exposing the falsity of same sex marriage cuts a little too close to home in that it sheds an unwanted light on the futility of their own lifestyle .

    Foxfier touches upon an important point about getting these people to argue in good faith. The most cleverly crafted arguments are not gonna get anywhere with someone who is not willing to argue in good faith. How do we help that process along? Of course, I cannot come up with anything like a complete answer. After all, if the Almighty Himself chooses to render himself powerless against man’s free will, we aren’t gonna fare any better in that realm either.

    But I think there a few things that are helpful. First thing is that if we are able, to try and strike up a natural friendship with some of these people. We can often fall into the trap of treating people more like potential converts than human beings, thus objectifying them in a sense. Friendship can help facilitate that. Another thing is to understand evangelization (which is what we doing here in a sense) has as much to do with listening as it does with speaking. Getting a sense of what makes people think a certain way is indispensable in getting them to take your position seriously.

    As far as the whole self-fulfillment and purpose of marriage thing goes, it is important to point out that while self-fulfillment is not the primary purpose of marriage, it is the primary MOTIVATION for marriage, even amongst seriously religious people. And everyone understands at some level that giving oneself to something or someone bigger than themselves is the key to real self-fulfillment.

    I have more to say but I am pressed for time.

  • ‘My first is a disarming tactic: we must acknowledge that “gay marriage” is not so much a cause of social decay as it is a symptom.’

    Well, it is both. I often use an analogy from the financial world — they have this great phrase, “throwing good money after bad money.” That’s precisely what it is.

  • I also think it is important to point out that the homosexual ( I refuse to use the word gay because the original meaning of the word really has nothing to do with sexual orientation) agenda is not controlled primarily by the homosexuals themselves. It is actually controlled by the heterosexual left. This is particularly the case in the political arena. Sure, there are militiant homosexuals in this movement that exert a great deal of intimidation, but they are puppets more than they are puppetiers.

    The basic driving force in almost all left wing ideology, be it in the political or social arena, is the acquisition of power for its own sake. And to acquire power as a thing in and of itself they create and/or prey upon as many victims as possible. And the victim mentality shapes the homosexual mindset in a very powerful way. Just ask any psychotherapist who works in the field of treating the disorder of same sex attraction(aka reparative therapy).

    And yes, I do believe that those who suffer from same sex attraction, whether they act on it or not, are indeed victims, but not in the sense many of them or those who defend that lifestyle believe and want you to believe. When one studies the psychologiocal causes that give rise to same sex attraction, one sees that these people have been victimized in several different and complex ways. Same sex attraction is a sexual and gender identity disorder. There are few forms of victimization more devastating than this. And the power drivers of the left seize upon this. They do so under the guise of compassion. Of course, it is not compassionate to leave victim in victim state or allow them to create other victims. But this is an important dynamic to understand.

  • This was brilliant! Enjoyed your writing VERY much Bonchamps…will frequent here.

  • It is interesting to note that the argument that led France’s highest courts to reject the equality argument for same-sex marriage.

    The Code Civil [the Code Napoléon of 1804] contains no definition of marriage, but Article 312 « L’enfant conçu ou né pendant le mariage a pour père le mari.» [The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father] has been treated as a functional definition by jurists, including the three most authoritative commentators on the Code Civil, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925) and Gaudemet (1908-2001), long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated. In 1998, a colloquium of 154 Professors of Civil Law, including Philippe Malaurie, Alain Sériaux, and Catherine Labrusse-Riou unanimously endorsed this interpretation of the Code Civil; this led to the introduction of PACS [civil unions] for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

    One of the greatest modern commentators on the Code Civil (Jean Carbonnier (1908-2003)) famously remarked, “The heart of marriage is not the couple, but the presumption of paternity.”

    In 2006, this interpretation received a ringing endorsement from the French Senate, who declared “The presumption of paternity of the husband rests on the obligation of fidelity between spouses and reflects the commitment made by the husband during the celebration of marriage, to raise the couple’s children. The report presenting the order to the President of the Republic rightly points out that ” it is, in the words of Dean Carbonnier, the ‘heart of marriage,’ and cannot be questioned without losing for this institution its meaning and value.””

    Not surprisingly, given that background, the courts held that “Clearly, same-sex couples whom nature had not made potentially fertile were consequently not concerned by the institution of marriage. This was differential legal treatment because their situation was not analogous” For them, the purpose of mandatory civil marriage is the determination of the civil status of children.

    It is significant that, in a country so committed to the principle of laïcité as France, no one has suggested that these views are the result of religious convictions or an attempt to import them into the interpretation of the Code.

  • You might well wish to consider the following argument of the eminent French Jurist, A. Mirkovic. Himself a supporter of SSM, he puts his opponents’ case very fairly and succinctly and his own arguments in defence of the opposing position are astonishingly weak. As a citizen, Prof. Merkovic is free to advance his own views; as one of the greatest living French jurists, he would never stoop to misrepresenting his opponents’ arguments.

    “Even today, in 2011, in commenting on the decision 2010-92 QPC, [the decision of the highest French courts rejecting SSM] some authors consider that the marriage is based on human reproduction. “In regard to marriage, persons of different sex, and persons of the same sex are not in the same situation because marriage includes the perspective of procreation. With regard to procreation, either natural or imitated in the case of adoption, the first may indeed procreate (or make as if they had procreated), while the latter cannot. If some male-female couples do not breed, it is for reasons peculiar to them, subjective (advanced age, pathological infertility, choice not to have children); same-sex couples cannot procreate together due to objective incapacity. The difference in situation justifies the difference in treatment, namely access to marriage. (…). The legislature must therefore reaffirm the specificity of the marriage, not only among other life-styles for couples, but as the foundational institution of the family.” This is only the confirmation of the doctrine of the 1990s. But we are now in 2011. This should not in any case prejudice the options open and the legitimization of same-sex marriage.”

  • Your article was great except for the line where you say that you aren’t concerned about what someone does in the bedroom or the brothel at the edge of town. ALL SIN affects each and everyone of us and as we know from Holy Scripture, ALL OF OUR SINS will be broad-casted to the whole world. My marriage was a truly GAY and joyful one, as my wife (born a woman, will die as a woman and myself, born as a man and will shortly die as a man), did not shack up before our marriage (we were what this world foolishly looks down upon us: VIRGINS), without any regrets whatsoever. Those that are against God and His Nature, are not, nor will they ever be truly gay, until they repent. I have seen some pictures lately of their ‘parades’ with signs calling themselves what they truly are: queers/fags; not my words, but, there own. +JMJ+

  • My concern is for a number of gay Christian friends who are incredibly angry at the conservative church. They argue that marriage is a civil service, and therefore is a civil right. And they don’t buy my view that marriage is not a civil service, but a sacrament instituted by Christ, and calling it anything else redefines and cheapens the relationship Christ has with his Church – the Bride of Christ – for which he died. So much anger out there.

  • Jim Cosgrove

    That is why I favour the European system of mandatory civil marriage, under which people have to go through a civil marriage, before any religious ceremony they may choose to have.

    This has not favoured the campaign for SSM in France, where the courts have held (1) Mandatory civil marriage, makes the institution a pillar of the secular Republic, standing clear of the religious sacrament (2) The institution of republican marriage is inconceivable, absent the idea of filiation, enshrined, not in Church dogma, but in the Civil Code (3) The sex difference is central to filiation.

  • I had the distinct unpleasant experience of tuning in to a two-hour presentation by filmmaker Michael Moore, who was introduced by Marxist economist UMass professor Stephen Wolff in glowing terms, in which two minutes into the program Moore said that “54 percent of the American people in a poll think that gay marriage ought to be the law of the land.” If true, then I am happy to be in the minority. Although Moore’s topic was supposed to be about the Occupy movement, I turned off the TV right after his reported the poll result. He did not cite a source, by the way. I’m thinking the poll might have been taken on the streets of San Francisco. Can anybody verify the 54% figure?

  • Joe, the poll may have been an online five-college campus opus from the area in which the professor earns his income. Verification? Source? Wording? Leaves in the wind.
    The thing to worry about, in my estimation, is how occupy is morphing into flash robs … then, what next during this grassroots campaign of change by the campaigner par excellence.

    Last week, I sketched two cases known from personal experience in which ‘talking’ about boiled down to availing the other of legal benefits and material concerns. Also, much misery, little love and so on. The comment deleted due to some touch on the keypad – maybe because I mentioned that my mother and one’s elderly aunt at a yankee restaurant on a mother’s day were treated to witnessing their hand holding before dinner without any knowledge of the situation. Averting eyes was the main dish and no such events since that year. The other case was about two little girls from IVF who, gone now in a ragged split, cried more than any children I have encountered. Unholy alliances and trails of sadness. I agree that ‘behind closed doors’ outweighs ‘legislating for material reasons’ which kills the essence of innocence. Talking? Nah.

Happy Birthday to the Pope!

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that — in a manner of speaking the guillotine would fall on me — I started to feel quite dizzy. I thought that I had done my life’s work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, ‘Don’t do this to me. You have younger and better (candidates) who could take up this great task with a totally different energy and with different strength.’ Evidently, this time he didn’t listen to me.

Pope Benedict XVI

 

Happy 85th birthday your Holiness!  If I attain that age in 3o years and have a quarter of your mental acuity I will consider myself deeply blessed!

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6 Responses to Happy Birthday to the Pope!

Brits Vote for Washington as Greatest Enemy

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

No, not our government, the general. (Though they’d be forgiven for thinking so based on some things this administration has done.)

He’s one of our Founding Fathers, but according to the Brits, George Washington is public enemy #1.

Our nation’s first president, who led the 13 colonies in the Revolution against England’s tyrannical rule, was picked by a wide margin in a National Army Museum in London poll as the greatest foe ever faced by Britain.

Washington delivered one of “the most jarring defeat(s)” ever inflicted upon the British Empire at the time, said author and historian Stephen Brumwell, according to London’s Telegraph.

“He was a worthy opponent,” he said.

Washington was selected among five other finalists, who were picked during an online poll that received at least 8,000 votes. The four other potential British foils were Ireland’s Michael Collins, France’s Napoleon Bonaparte, Germany’s Erwin Rommel, and Turkey’s Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

At least somebody still respects winners.

H/t: Stacy McCain.

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15 Responses to Brits Vote for Washington as Greatest Enemy

  • Great minds and all of that Paul. I have a post on this for Almost Chosen People on this later in the week. King George III of all people paid the ultimate accolade to the Father of Our Nation:

    “The king asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do after winning independence. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”

    “If he does that,” the incredulous monarch said, “he will be the greatest man in the world.””

    The first Catholic Bishop in the United States, John Carroll, from his eulogy on the death of Washington:

    “The last act of his supreme magistracy was to inculcate in most impressive language on his countrymen… his deliberate and solemn advice; to bear incessantly in their minds that nations and individuals are under the moral government of an infinitely wise and just Providence; that the foundations of their happiness are morality and religion; and their union among themselves their rock of safety… May these United States flourish in pure and undefiled religion, in morality, peace, union, liberty, and the enjoyment of their excellent Constitution, as long as respect, honor, and veneration shall gather around the name of Washington; that is, whilst there still shall be any surviving record of human events!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2L052IJbg8&feature=related

  • I knew this one would be up your alley, Don.

    Of course Washington’s model was Cincinnatus. The Society of the Cincinnati is not far from my office.

  • For our part, side ways sort of, do we forgive Benedict Arnold?

  • I tend to agree with a captured American sergeant who Arnold asked in 1781 what would happen to him if we captured him. The sergeant replied that the leg he had wounded at Quebec and Saratoga would be cut off and buried with full military honors. The rest of him would then be hung on a very tall gibbet.

  • Shows how Britain is, sadly, a hollow shell of its past when we see this sort of thing. Fortunately, there is still a minority of people there who still remember the great days of “Rule Brittanica”, and hopefully will pull them out of the mire that is engulfing them.
    Of that list, Washington, Collins and Ataturk were fighting on their own land, in defense of it, or attempting to expel an aggressor – which Brittain was in those cases.
    Bonaparte and Rommell were agressors against England, and I suspect Bonaparte was the worst of the two.
    Had they said Hitler instead of Rommel, then he would have surpassed Bonaparte.

  • “Shows how Britain is, sadly, a hollow shell of its past when we see this sort of thing.”

    I actually took pride in it Don! A great nation like the UK needs a worthy greatest enemy. A homicidal maniac like Hitler or a jumped up Corsican lieutenant of artillery simply do not fill the role!

  • In my mind, Washington’s personal qualities set him head and shoulders above the others.

    His greatness was in his possession (in spades!) of all the human virtues. He was not a military genius nor a conqueror, a la Alexander or Atla.

    The image of Washington praying at Valley Forge. Read the history of the War of Independence and I think one must conclude that the Divine Assistance always was with the Continental Army and Congress.

    Supposedly, King George said, “Washington was the greatest man of his time.” when he was informed that Washington refused a crown.

    Michael Collin did not live long enough. The other nominees’ personal attributes pale in comparison to the Father of our Country. Yes, I am a “little” prejudiced.

  • Kiwi – the difference is in the use of the word “Greatest.” Not in the sense of “largest threat” but as in “Which of Britain’ victorious opponents would be held most admirable?”

    Had the question been “Who was Britain’s worst foe?” then Der Fuhrer would have certainly topped the list, followed somwhere closely by King Phillip II of Spain and Oliver Cromwell, methinks.

  • Just a point of clarification: the rankings are of military commanders only, so Hitler would not be eligible for this listing. And yes, the #1 ranking in this context is definitely a compliment.

  • It is as silly to sanctify Washington as it would be to canonize the Duke of Wellington. But as far as the USA is concerned he was the man for the hour, as Churchill, despite his shortcomings, was for England in 1940. Michael Collins is a more ambiguous figure. His statesmanship in the 1921 treaty negotiations is recognized, but his earlier assumption that Ireland’s freedom could only be achieved by bloody revolution has been questioned, and rightly so. Most of the victims of his terror campaign were Irish Catholics – the Royal Irish Constabulary was referred to disparagingly by Ulster protestants as the ‘Fenian Force’ . And the problem with Irish nationalism, that it is intimately bound up with extreme violence, is part of the Collins legacy which should not be glossed over.

  • The Iron Duke did not have the difficulties that Washington had John in simply keeping his army in existence, a point that I address today at Almost Chosen People.

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/valley-forge-rations/

    Also, unlike Washington, Wellington in his personal relations could be a nasty piece of work, as I am sure his wife would attest.

    In regard to Collins, Home Rule was never going to be granted to Ireland as long as Ulster was prepared to revolt against it, this being graphically demonstrated just prior to the onset of World War I. Churchill’s father’s quip in 1891 that “Ulster Will Fight, and Ulster Will Be Right” demonstrated just how long enduring and intransigient this sentiment was. Independence simply was not going to be granted without fighting, and Collins led the guerilla campaign which was the only avenue the Republicans had since a conventional conflict was hopeless for the Irish. Winston Churchill, who negotiated the peace with Collins, paid him this tribute after Collins’ death:

    “Successor to a sinister inheritance, reared among fierce conditions and moving through ferocious times, he supplied those qualities of action and personality with-out which the foundations of Irish nationhood would not have been re-established.”

  • One more feather in George Washington’s cap – he indirectly benefited Canada, Australia and New Zealand. After losing her thirteen American colonies, Britain became more lenient towards her colonial subjects.

  • Don, it’s ironic that Collins was more respected by the British than he was by many of his own countrymen. Having worked in England he had no animosity towards the English and had none of the religious bigotry which sadly still exists in the North. The point I was making was that what Collins settled for in 1921 was effectively what would have happened anyway (by 1914 the HR Bill had passed both houses of Parliament and the Unionists knew that the best they could hope for was an opt-out for Ulster protestants). In British political circles it was expected that partition would not last and that the six counties would merge with the rest of Ireland sooner rather than later.

    This point was not lost on the Ulster Unionists who with an eye on the demographic situation in the six counties, and ever-fearful of a sell-out by Westminster, spent the next fifty years entrenching their position by effectively treating the Catholics as second-class citizens. The hands-off approach of successive British governments (who after all had a duty to ensure that all citizens were treated fairly) unravelled in 1968. Even then, it was nearly four years before direct rule was imposed, by which time NI had descended into a vortex of terrorism and counter-terrorism, the main driving force for which was a newly resurgent IRA. This delayed the inevitable political settlement for over a quarter of a century.

  • I have long thought John that De Valera set Collins up by sending him to negotiate the peace. He knew that any peace that the British would agree to would be unacceptable to many Republicans which is why he did not go. Collins understood this, which is why as he was signing the peace treaty he said that he was signing his own death warrant. De Valera never said truer words than these:

    “I can’t see my way to becoming patron of the Michael Collins Foundation. It’s my considered opinion that in the fullness of time, history will record the greatness of Collins and it will be recorded at my expense”.

  • As, Don, I think it has been. I have on my bookshelf biographies of Collins and Dev by Tim Pat Coogan which I think are well-reseached and balanced. When Collins negotiated the treaty in 1921 he knew better than anyone that he was in no position to resume military operations against the British, although he soon had to undertake operations against the anti-treaty faction in Ireland – and it should be remembered that the ‘civil war’ claimed more lives than the so-called ‘war of independence’.

    Fast-forward seventy years. Gerry Adams, who had imbibed Irish republicanism and irredentism with his mother’s milk (but was as much a politician as a terrorist) realized that the ‘armed struggle’ was not only futile but counter-productive, and worked for a political settlement. He was the only man who could bring the Army Council round, and the stark truth was that PIRA had shot its bolt; riddled with informers, compromised by an increasingly sophisticated intelligence apparatus, its ‘military’ operations more and more difficult to execute, its lack of sophisticated weaponry, its lack of funds; this amounted to a comprehensive defeat.

A Vision of Catholic Education (From the Front Lines)

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

There are many interesting parallels between military operations and the operations of the Church Militant. One such area where I have some personal experience is in the area of Catholic secondary education- with 6 years of National Guard experience giving me a taste of the military. One of the biggest issues that makes genuine reform difficult is the “dog and pony show” syndrome whereupon the politics of assessing the true situation and implementing the right reforms becomes corrupted and confusion and/or bitterness sets in. The foot soldier, those closest to the direct action often have excellent insight into the immediate problems, but the chain of command- which is set up to run a smooth line of good intel to the top levels of authority- may get bogged down or corrupted by those with imperfect motives or general incompetence.

On the subject of what is wrong with our Catholic schools- or framed positively what is a proper Catholic Education Vision- I have been on the front lines. For over a decade I have been a Catholic religion teacher in American Catholic high schools. I have also taught overseas in Catholic and secular teaching assignments. What I have put together is a short Vision of Catholic Education based upon my own study and direct experience in classrooms and professional meetings.

I am one of those orthodox Catholic adult converts, if it is taught in the Catholic Catechism I believe it, and I will teach it without objection. My own conversion came about after a heavy dose of study of Papal Encyclicals- it was essential for me to see how the thread of Scriptural wisdom continues operating to this very day. I buy into what my favorite professor, Dr. Scott Hahn, said about the Catholic Church being either True or a spiritual dictatorship- not much wiggle room in my estimation. With this understanding of my perspective as a Catholic, it is my contention that the Catholic Schools problems begin with the reality that these schools are often run and operated by individuals who are either lapsed, lukewarm or dissenting in their own Catholic beliefs. Unfortunately, religion departments are also often bastions of dissent- with views on the ordination of female priests and the Church’s teachings on homosexuality being two of the biggest fronts of opposition to orthodoxy. I understand what Mark Shea, noted Catholic author/blogger, says about the striking difference between many cradle and convert Catholics- for me, as a convert, I simply don’t get Catholicism without loving adherence to Doctrine. With that being said- here is my Vision:

I have recently been reading Yves Congar’s book, The Meaning of Tradition, and I ran across a couple of passages that seem to speak to the situation of Catholic education as well as to the idea of Sacred Tradition in the Church:

“Education does not consist in receiving a lesson from afar, which may be learned by heart and recited, thanks to a good memory, but in the daily contact and inviting example of adult life, which is mature, confident and sure of its foundations; which asserts itself simply by being what it is, and presents itself as an ideal; which someone still unsure and unformed, in search of fulfillment and in need of security, will progressively come to resemble, almost unconsciously and without effort. A child receives the life of the community into which he enters, together with the cultural riches of the preceding generations (tradition!), which are inculcated by the actions and habits of everyday life.” P.23

“But all teaching aims at reaching the ‘heart’ of those to whom it is given, that is, at going beyond an intellectual understanding of an academic or scientific explanation to reach the conscience- that level of intimate appreciation and feeling, inseparable from our moral personality itself. It is in this sense that a milieu is educative. It forms a certain spirit in us, or rather it forms us, starting with our most elementary reactions, and guides us in a definite direction.” P.24

My own thoughts on how to lead a Catholic school most effectively begin with the insight that “You can’t give what you don’t have”. I love teaching, and it is because I love to teach, that I feel that I may have some qualities of leadership. I also love my Catholic faith and the orthodox theology that articulates the love and truth collaboration that is our Church and her teachings/worldview.

I believe that the biggest task for any Catholic administrator is to assemble a team of teachers, administrative staff, support staff (even janitorial staff), that have that combination of specialty competence AND a genuine enthusiasm/passion/love for serving Christ and His Catholic Church. If one feels called to service in a Catholic school setting then it should be expected that they really and truly love the Church and young people. There should be no question that a professional Catholic teacher would already be interested in reading the latest Papal Encyclical for their own personal edification, and any insights that may be applicable to their classes.

Developing and enriching an authentic Catholic identity should be at the very top of any administrative agenda- I have thought of some ways to help achieve this goal and I will give you some short summations to consider:
• Catholic Identity is #1- Teachers and staff should see the school as their Catholic mission field, passing the torch of Christian discipleship to the “little ones”. I like to say that my being “in love” with my wife and kids makes it easy for me to talk about them all day long. And it is the same with God, Christ, and His Church- when you are in love, it just comes naturally to share and bear witness to that love in all kinds of ways. There are tough times, and dry patches in our spiritual lives, but love never quits. We have to have teachers and staff in place who will reinforce the ‘real love’ aspects of being truly and authentically Catholic. I would also lobby for textbooks that better reflect our Catholic identity across subject area curriculums. For example History texts could have elements of Church history embedded, and Literature texts could feature Catholic authors. We need to help our teachers who sincerely want to bring a Catholic identity/Worldview into their specialized disciplines.

• Spirituality- Attentiveness to the need for everyone on campus to be cultivating a personal call to holiness. Praise/worship must have a primary place in a Catholic school to re-energize the faith on a daily basis. I would like to pipe in contemporary Christian music between classes and during lunch to provide inspirational energy and counter some of the secular music that continues to pull teens in with dubious lyrics and messages. A Eucharistic-centered spirituality would be encouraged by bringing in guest speakers who can give personal testimony to the youth on the value of this great Sacrament. Theology of the Body instruction would be the cornerstone of our enabling Catholic youth to combat the negative pressures in the mainstream related to human sexuality and body image.

• Social Doctrine Promotion- Reading the Papal Social Encyclicals played a huge role in my own personal conversion, and it should be a major concern in a Catholic learning center. It is part of the evangelizing mission of the Church, and it should be appealing to young people to know that they can play a key role in building a “civilization of love” at every level of society. We should have a high-energy pro-life presence as a school, and a student body that comprehends even the intricate teachings relating to bioethics. We can invite Catholic Relief Services to bring their many Fair Trade opportunities to the entire school community and beyond. If we understand the social doctrine as an interconnected corpus of teachings and worldview, we can promote something better than the narrow human ideologies which presently dominate our American political landscape. Loving our neighbor is made much easier and more efficient when we draw upon our rich Catholic social teaching tradition. I would call upon the experts in social doctrine from the Diocese, Catholic Conference of Bishops, and Pro-Life leaders to be regular fixtures on campus.

• Catholic schools as economic/environmental models for community- Like the monasteries of old and new (see lasermonks.com), Catholic schools can do better at offsetting tuition increases by developing endowment funding, and also being creative in other pursuits. If we can develop consumer products for market, we can give our students real-life experiences in business rooted in our Catholic moral approach to economics. We can also look for individuals and companies to partner with us to bring renewable energies to our schools. We could find donors for solar roofing, wind, and other sources of safe, clean energies, and use these as laboratories for the students to learn more hands-on lessons in the scientific realms.

• All-Boy/All-Girl Schools- I have taught at all-boy schools in the past (American Samoa, Hungary). I think that this type of approach may be popular with parents who are properly concerned over the over-sexualized culture we live in. Distractions related to boys and girls are nothing new, but there are advantages to be considered as we look to market Catholic schools to Catholic parents, who are looking for the best ways to protect their beloved children. This concept of boy/girl separation could also take the form of classes being segregated by gender, as opposed to whole schools.

I’m not sure where all of this advice fits in with your current mission, but perhaps it can help in making longer term strategic plans. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, I am pleased to be at your service. I will add one last item- I am exploring the market for secondary religion teachers at present for next school year. If you or someone you know shares the Vision I present here and want to explore a professional collaboration in teaching, administration in-training, ministry or organizational work- please contact me personally at tigernach2002@yahoo.com. I have my M.A.’s in Education and Theology- Theology was studied at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

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8 Responses to A Vision of Catholic Education (From the Front Lines)

  • I am a 1976 graduate of an (at that time) all-male Jesuit prep school. We were taught a little about Jesus and less about the Church but a whole truckload of wishy-washy 1970s feelgoodism.

    My German teacher, one of the Jesuit priests cloistered on campus, was a leading proponent of Liberation Theology, and even took field trips with selected students to Nicaragua and El Salvador during the summers. “Selected” meant “sons of local Democrat-party bigwigs who could both foot the bill and bless the intent for the trip.”

    He once told his German class, (and this is a close to a quote as 37 years of sleep and other distraction will allow,) “The human body is ugly. There is nothing about it that should be admired.” Of course, Jesuit education being what it was, one never knew whether a well-founded reposte would get you a commendation for critical thinking, or, in the case of this particular person (who would later go on to become Dean of Students) a slam up against some lockers and a Saturday “Jug” for insubordination.

    Hence, the scar on my tongue from where I barely summoned the might to not reply “So God is ugly, too, since we are made in His image?”

    I wish I’d had the courage of conviction then that I have today. I’d have taken the slam, and the Jug, and then given the man reason to take me before the Disc board. That would have been an interesting conversation, I’m sure.

    All that aside, my greater wish is that the environment you describe had been extant instead of the one I knew. It was still a vastly superior education to the public alternatives at the time, but when placed on the bigger scale of “what could have been,” I think I feel a little cheated.

  • This article really struck a chord for me, something that’s been on my mind the past few months but that I’ve never been able to articulate until now. The distinction between church employees and ministers has bothered me. A parish office manager has as much responsibility to represent the Faith as the pastor. In your example, a janitor as much as a teacher. When did we give up on that notion? Each level of employment in the Church has a different role, but they’re all ministerial, properly understood.

  • Mr. Shipe—-I haven’t been so pumped after reading an article since a memorable pre-race speech by an esteemed college coach nearly 39 years ago. Your excitement and passion is inspiring on many levels, not the least of which is that your “Vision”, honed on the ‘front lines’ and clearly nurtured by Gifts of the Holy Spirit, offers Hope. I am curious and it appears fitting to ask but some like me, at the tail end of a career and thinking of ‘getting out’ of the law business, may be curious about transitions to such more important and Godly work, ie teaching. Your thoughts or insights are appreciated.

  • My humble advice kind cthemfly is advice I am now giving myself- make sure you present yourself and your vision very clearly to any school you approach to teach for- if you don’t have an environment where you and the school’s powers-that-be are on the same page- you will be isolated and made to feel that something is wrong with you because you are orthodox and on fire. So- be clear in your resume, your interview and open in discussions with colleagues so that if you are hired you can have higher hopes that there is a team concept at work which you are going to be empowered to be part of- you can’t do it alone- Catholicism is all about teamwork- a team with many competing visions is going to be rough going and the students will have influences that take them all over the spiritual map but ultimately away from the clarity of the orthodoxy. I am in the midst of looking for a school or organization that has the type of Vision I have put forth here- I don’t want to have useless conflicts with fellow Catholics in an educational setting- they only serve to confuse the youth who really need and deserve solid guidance from Catholic elders and educators alongside their own parents. So- if you know of any schools that are all about this Vision- let me know and maybe we’ll both sign up to teach there and we will share our passionate love of our Catholic Faith! My own Vision has grown and solidified along with my personal life witness- so now I am looking for the right environment to personally and professionally thrive.

  • A perceptive old priest once remarked to me that Catholic education was often like inoculation: you got just enough of it to keep you from catching the real thing.

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  • I’m a “revert” and a product of 12-years of Catholic school. I have 4 kids – 2 have completed 12 years of Catholic “education”; the other two are currently in our parish elementary school. The way I see it is that at some point parents – my self included – relegated the the teaching of the faith to the nuns (and a few priests that were still teaching in the high schools). As long as the kids came home once in awhile and had to memorize the beatitudes or the corporal works of mercy or somethign else they were familiar with it was assumed that they were being taught by orthodox teachers. As a result we now have multiple generations of Catholic-school-educated people who haven’t a clue as to to what the Church really teaches and why they teach it.

    Just the other night I found myself arguing with my 73-year-old mother, who also had 12 years of Catholic schooling, about whether or not hell exists! You should have seen the look on her face when I told her not only does hell exist but most people go there according to Jesus’ own words. The timing of the discussion was interesting becasue I am reading Ralph Martin’s, “The Fulfillment of All Desire” and had just read a section where he describes how the saints often spend alot of time meditating on the “narrow gate” in Matthew 7.

    Keep fighting the good fight!!