Monthly Archives: April 2012
Something for the weekend. Mars, the Bringer of War, from Gustav Holst’ s The Planets. Throughout history Mars has been associated with the god of war, no doubt due to its frequent red coloration when viewed from Earth. However, I have it on the highest authority that we have nothing to fear from Mars. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Or, as the Author over there put it: Theology of the Body, Rishathra and the Cyberpope.
Warning: Mr. Wright’s style can be a bit startling until you’re use to it, just keep in mind: if he’s totally outrageous, he’s probably joking. It also helps if you’ve got a love for classic pulp science fiction and a sense of the absurd. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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.
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:
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.
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: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
One of the saddest features of Catholic life in America since Vatican II has been the transformation of so many nuns and sisters from being Brides of Christs into promoters of every Leftist and New Age fad imaginable. Finally, the Vatican has taken notice:
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has launched a 5-year reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States representing more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious (nuns) in the country.
The CDF doctrinal assessment, released today, criticized positions espoused at LCWR annual assemblies and in its literature as well as the absence of support from LCWR for Church teaching on pro-life issues, women’s ordination and homosexuality.
The CDF said that the documentation “reveals that, while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
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.
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!