Google Celebrates Their Religion

Sunday, March 31, AD 2013

Ed Driscol notes that Google has a predictable manner of observing Easter.  Ironic, since whatever else you could say about Cesar Chavez he was a devout Catholic:


“While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous ‘Doodle’ search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader,” notes, adding that “Google’s Easter insult sparks Twitter backlash, mockery,” as well it should.


The timing of latest in-your-face politically correct homepage is oddly appropriate. As Dennis Prager has written, “You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion,” and one with its own sources of mythology. Back in 2006 at Tech Central Station, Lee Harris described French Marxist Georges Sorel (1847-1922), and the concept of the Sorelian Myth:

Sorel, for whom religion was important, drew a comparison between the Christian and the socialist revolutionary. The Christian’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that Christ will one day return and usher in the end of time; the revolutionary socialist’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail. What mattered for Sorel, in both cases, is not the scientific truth or falsity of the myth believed in, but what believing in the myth does to the lives of those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations. How many times have Christians in the last two thousand years been convinced that the Second Coming was at hand, only to be bitterly disappointed — yet none of these disappointments was ever enough to keep them from holding on to their great myth. So, too, Sorel argued, the myth of socialism will continue to have power, despite the various failures of socialist experiments, so long as there are revolutionaries who are unwilling to relinquish their great myth. That is why he rejected scientific socialism — if it was merely science, it lacked the power of a religion to change individual’s lives. Thus for Sorel there was “an…analogy between religion and the revolutionary Socialism which aims at the apprenticeship, preparation, and even the reconstruction of the individual — a gigantic task.”

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18 Responses to Google Celebrates Their Religion

  • “..believing in the myth has done to those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations.”

    Sorel’s comparison is poetic.

    Conversions are life changing! Amazing grace is just that, amazing. Thirteen years and I am still in awe of Gods Love. Thirteen years ago was my return home to my fathers house. Leaving behind the pig’s food for a welcome home celebration that still today leaves me breathless to ponder it.
    Was once lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
    Happy Easter everyone at TAC, and thanks for being kind and showing patience with me.

  • Happy Easter Philip. Personally, I have always found myself in great need of the kindness and patience of those around me.

  • *faint smile* I think it’s bad for ’em, but I’d be more worried if they did have, oh, flowers and eggs and fluffy bunnies as the doodle. Flatly ignoring Easter does far less harm than trying to make it all about candy, at least at this point.

    (Not that my family is going to lack for candy. At all. The girls are a little loose on what we’re celebrating, but that’s because they’re not sure what “death” is.)

  • It doesn’t have any thing to so with Easter. It’s Cesar Chavez day, a state holiday in at least three states.
    do your homework, before you start writing propaganda.

  • Reading comprehension skills pretty low on your priority list, eh nreyn?

  • Mac,

    Wishing you and all a blessed and joyous Easter!

    Thank God for small mercies.

    Coincidentally, March 31 could be liberal saint and mass murderer Che’s birthday that Google (stinks) commemorated.

    Google stinks. It 24/7 celebrates liberals’ (synonymous with imbeciles) true religion.

    Apparently, some believe C. Chavez died for their sins.

    Forgive all injuries.

    Forgive all injuries.

    Forgive all . . .

  • One would not complain if Nero or Stalin forgot to send Christmas cards. It’s expected. This does not surprise me. At this point, the only thing I expect from our supposed corporate and government leaders is a slap in the face. Christ told us to expect this. Now it’s here. Yes, the slap in the face still stings, but so does their hand. Our wounds will be healed. Theirs? Not so much unless, and we can always hope, they convert, repent, and amend their lives.

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  • “Wishing you and all a blessed and joyous Easter!”

    Same to you and yours T.Shaw!

  • “And Chavez died and rose from the dead, so that all wages may be risen…”

  • “…said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Then Cesar Chavez said to her, “I know nothing, I’m just the gardener.”

    Happy Easter to everyone at TAC! 50 day celebration!!

  • I’m mreminded of a blog someone posted about Dostoevsky’s socialism. it was a Christian vision which he held, and one that could only find realization in the kingdom of God. All other types depend on human effort and are doomed to ultimate failure.

  • “Happy Easter to everyone at TAC! 50 day celebration!!”

    Happy Easter Larry!

  • Bing has WAY cooler images on its home page anyway (today’s picture was of dozens of brightly colored Ukrainian Easter eggs) 🙂

  • Wow! Elaine, that is was a really cool picture on Bing.

  • I definitely found Google’s Doodle for yesterday a bit jarring. After all, with Easter’s changing date, and Chavez’s birthday hardly being a landmark one this year (86 is not one of the biggies after you are dead… if it had been 85, 90, 100 etc, that might excuse it a bit), it definitely seemed more like a deliberate snub to Western Christians.

    Honestly I expect Google’s approach to Easter is the tack that the media will take in the future. Ignore it… and possibly counter program with secular feasts.

  • Easter is not in Google Calendar — I had to write it in myself. In fairness, there’s no Hanukkah or Ramadan either. There’s New Year’s, MLK Jr Day, Groundhog Day, Lincoln’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, St. Pat’s, April Fools’, TAX DAY, EARTH DAY, Cinco de Mayo (really? They thought people would forget when it is?), Mothers’ Day, Memorial Day, JFK’s birthday, Fathers’ Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriot Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Election Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Easter and History

Sunday, March 31, AD 2013

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

H.G. Wells

How many movements throughout the history of Man have flourished briefly and then vanished into everlasting oblivion, forgotten entirely by History or relegated to the briefest of footnotes?  From a human standpoint that was clearly the fate of the movement started by the carpenter/rabbi from Galilee following His death on a cross.  His followers had scattered and went into hiding at His arrest.  He was denied by the mob, their choosing a bandit and murderer over Him.  Condemned by the foreigners occupying His country, His people observed His death by mocking Him.  The idea that He had founded a “Church” that would spread around the globe, altering all of human history, and causing Him to be worshiped as God by billions of people would have struck any neutral observer as mad ravings.  Yet that is precisely what happened. 

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8 Responses to Easter and History

  • I should probably make some sort of a joke about this being a once-in-a-double-lifetime event, but too busy smiling.
    Odd, that thinking about how bad things have been can work so well with being hopeful!

    Jesus overcame death– what can stop us?

  • “Jesus overcame death– what can stop us?”

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, which is why the enemies of Christ are usually so out of temper.

  • From a Prayer after the Rosary:

    “O God, whose only begotten Son,
    By His
    Death, and
    Has purchased for us
    The rewards of eternal life . . . “

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  • And to think, we have no record of the resurrection event. We have a record of an empty tomb with witnesses who also saw the Risen Lord. Enough eyewitnesses to give account for these things as the church was launched.

  • one of the things iI appreciate about this post is your choice of words here:
    “What changed this defeated cause into an everlasting crusade is the Resurrection.”

    so many words have been messed with, diluted, stolen or emptied of meaning… there is a whole world of import carried in your use of the word “crusade” here.

  • “And to think, we have no record of the resurrection event”

    IMHO, I think that in a way, we do – the Shroud of Turin. There is now way to explain how that image got on that cloth – other than The Resurrection.

Eschewing liturgical protocol can cause some real world problems…

Saturday, March 30, AD 2013


There are some on the Catholic left who are chortling in response to the “Good News” that Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 prisoners, aged 14-21—and two them, female prisoners—on Holy Thursday. The question they are in a frenzy about concerns how best to interpret this liturgical statement.  After all, the ritual calls for “viri” (i.e., “men” as in males). They are wondering: Is Pope Francis signaling something positive, namely, greater “inclusion” and “diversity” in the liturgy than has been customary during the past two pontificates?

According to The Telegraph, Pope Francis told his first general audience this past Wednesday:

Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so as to attend to the needs of others: those who long for a sympathetic ear, those in need of comfort or help.


Eschewing protocol—stepping outside of ourselves and our comfort zones—is something Pope Francis apparently intends to do.  But, did the Pope step “outside of” or “beyond” liturgical protocol at the Holy Thursday liturgy? After all, one the two women whose feet he washed, one was a Serbian Muslim.



Some  on the Catholic right have been guarded in their evaluation of this Pope’s early ministry.  More traditional, liturgically conservative Catholics  have expressed concern about the new Pope’s approach to the liturgy, in particular.  The footwashing of the Serbian Muslim woman will heighten their level of discomfort.

More important than the liturgical statement Pope Francis may have intended to telegraph is that, in doing so, he may have overlooked, neglected, or disregarded, if not violated Muslim law.

According to the Code of Ethics for Muslim Men and Women—Rules Related to Socializing:

The Rules of Touching

193 – Rule: Body contact is not allowed with one who it is not allowed to look at, and every kind of touching of the body to any part of the other one’s body is haram and one must refrain from this; unless it from on top of the clothing and it is without the intention of lust. ABGKLMS


While the Pope may have intended this particular footwashing to be “a positive sign” in the life of the Serbian Muslim inmate whose foot he washed, strict Muslims may take offense.

Like Pope Benedict XVI, it may not be long before Pope Francis finds himself being challenged by an Imam who issues a fatwa.  In October 2006, Pakistan’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa has issued a fatwa asking the Muslim community to kill Pope Benedict for his “blasphemous” statement about Prophet Mohammad:

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa has declared death to Pope Benedict and said that in today’s world blasphemy of the Holy Koran and the Prophet has become a fashion….Prominent Jamaat leader Hafiz Saifullah Khalid said that in the present circumstances, jihad has become obligatory for each Muslim. Muslims are being declared terrorists and our battle for survival has already started. The Muslim world has rejected the Pope’s apology and decided to continue protests and demonstrations in big cities.


Eschewing protocol can be refreshing and prove reinvigorating.  It can be a sign of love and respect, fulfilling the spirit of the law” rather than living according to the “letter of the law.”

In retrospect, it can also cause unintended problems.



To read the article in The Telegraph, click on the following link:

To read the Muslim Code of Ethics rules of touching, click on the following link:

To read the about the fatwa issued against Pope Benedict XVI, click on the following link:

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29 Responses to Eschewing liturgical protocol can cause some real world problems…

  • There is much that we do in charity that will offend someone. If we worry about this nonsense when trying to serve God, where will we be?

  • I’m sure Pope Francis or any pope is going to say things contrary to Muslim belief. Muslim will probably place guilt on the woman for not refusing to participate. On this matter, the foot washing, the press will happily give him cover. They will focus their reporting on the washing of women’s feet as it is a useful tool to divide Catholics, the last power on earth standing in the way of their social agenda.

    In regards to the pope washing the feet of women, I cannot entirely embrace the idea. It is in contradiction to church instruction, but the pope has latitude. But, he is also setting an example for others. So, is he saying it’s ok to break with liturgical norms when it feels right? (Note: Many America parishes sadly already do this.)

    As Jimmy Akin at National Catholic Register has pointed out, the Bible text refers to disciples. While “disciples” has meant more than the apostles, it seems in this text it’s the apostles who are present. Jesus’ hour is coming, and he is readying his priests. On the night priesthood is established, Jesus giving his men some pastoral training.

    It is true this is a call to serve others, but it is deeper than a call to service. Jesus, who is a model for his priests, is preparing his men to be models for others. To interpret this passage as another “serve one another” message is to water it down. This event took place at a special time in a special place John’s gospel with a special audience.

  • I doubt if Pope Francis was intending to send any great signals by washing the feet of the female juvenile delinquents. My guess is that he is learning what life is like as Pope, where everything one does is subject to microscopic analysis. I suspect that he likes this feature of papal life as little as most of his predecessors.

  • From my understanding, the norm is to have twelve men unless there’s permission from the pope. I think we can assume he gave permission. Besides, didn’t Jesus attend to the Samaritan woman at the well?

  • Fr. Z posts an excellent comment containing an analysis by the canonist, Ed Peters, concerning the “legalities” involved. Well worth reading.

  • “…..strict Muslims may take offense.”
    Gosh, that would be a first.

    As Kyle Miller points out, veering from the norm on this is pretty common in American parishes, so I’m not sure the Pope’s actions will have a noticeable ripple effect. Considering the actual gospel act being commemorated, I think washing the feet of twelve seminarians would remove all quibbles. Hey, let me dream 🙂

  • Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, not those of Barabbas, St. Dismas, Mary Magdelene, the Samaritan woman, or, (I’m shocked!) the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    From whence does Pope Francis come up with that “crap”?

    Maybe I’m not doing enough reading.

    Here’s what I see in Pope Frank’s early reign: silence on the salvation of souls.

    Why should he be different?

  • The greater insult to Islam (other than touching a Moslem woman) is the appearance of attempting to proselytize Moslems to Catholicism. According to wikipedia (Apostasy in Islam) the ordinary penalty for apostasy in Islam is death both to the former Moslem, and apparently, the person importuning (i.e. to press or beset with solicitations; demand with urgency or persistence) the Moslem to convert to Catholicism.

    I can not believe how out of touch with reality the last two popes have been regarding Islam. Benedict’s statements about Islam at Regensburg caused rioting in Pakistan and other places and the death of a Catholic nun, as I recall.

    On a positive note to conservatives, if Francis were a true liberal, he would be strictly and scrupulously observant of the tenants of Islam out of deference to Moslems and flippant and careless about Catholicism.

    Jesuits, such as Pope Francis, are not famed for liturgical rigorism seeing the liturgy as a side-show or warm-up act to their main event, i.e. preaching at Mass or teaching in the classroom.

  • Question: If Jesus was concerned what other “faith” organizations might do when he reached beyond their laws, their customs and their rules, what would we have missed in the process?
    Pork defiles oneself……what comes out of man defiles, not what goes in.
    Samaritan’s are the lowest of the low, yet Jesus teaches us in parable not so.
    Pope Francis may cause unintended problems, true.
    To the Sanhedrin Jesus was “the” problem.
    I guess Pope Francis is in good company.

  • There’s good analysis per Sacred Scripture in this afternoon’s post at Holy Souls Hermitage Blog.

  • Pat-
    I liked the analysis from HSH.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • There is much that we do in charity that will offend someone. If we worry about this nonsense when trying to serve God, where will we be?

    So trying to avoid causing needless offense– nevermind possible harm in leading others to ignore rules just because– is “nonsense.”
    What a charitable notion.

  • “I doubt if Pope Francis was intending to send any great signals by washing the feet of the female juvenile delinquents. My guess is that he is learning what life is like as Pope, where everything one does is subject to microscopic analysis. I suspect that he likes this feature of papal life as little as most of his predecessors.”

    He certainly had to know this was going to cause a stir, ignoring liturgical law (which as pope he has the perogative to do) amongst Catholics and including a Muslim girl. This law has been flouted by parishes here in San Diego for as long as I can remember, as I am sure it has in many American dioceses. This will only seem to give them the aircover to continue violating that law, regardless of teh fact that just because the pope can do it. it doesn’t give them permission to do so.

  • I doubt Francis was very much out of his comfort zone.

    The rule about No girls allowed in the foot washing ritual is probably one that could be changed as a concession to our current cultural limitations–the change might do some good and little harm. But it has not yet been changed, and it may be unseemly for the Pope to exempt himself from it (although I rather doubt he thought of it in that way).

    We probably should not hyperventilate over minor matters, but if we do have a liturgy, we should do it right. What is the real example being set here? As someone once said (in effect): if we are cavalier about little things, how can we expect to be listened to about the great?

    (I’d be a little surprised if there is much Muslim blowback from this, but neither had the problem occurred to me; maybe the Monk is on to something.)

  • While the Pope may have intended this particular footwashing to be “a positive sign” in the life of the Serbian Muslim inmate whose foot he washed, strict Muslims may take offense.

    Let ’em.

  • Foxfire, with respect, charity includes thinking well of others until they evidence bad intent. I have none so you are needlessly picking a fight.

    Cultural sensitivity is a complicated subject. Giving intentional offense may, indeed, be uncharitable. What about offense being taken where none was intended? Surely that is uncharitable?

    It is nonsense to expect that others will strictly apply a particular groups norms. The touch stone is intent.

  • “Author: Art Deco
    While the Pope may have intended this particular footwashing to be “a positive sign” in the life of the Serbian Muslim inmate whose foot he washed, strict Muslims may take offense.”

    Pope Francis engages in an intemperate and ill considered gesture (washing the foot of a Moslem female) and now Catholics in Moslem countries must be killed to avenge the insult to Islam according to Sharia law. I guess you can insult Islam all you want as long as you don’t live in a country, such as Italy, which has not totally converted to Islam, yet!!! Pope John Paul II found out otherwise when a Moslem bullet found him.

    I read somewhere that all but six of the 50 juveniles at the kids prison are Moslems. Ten of the 11 boy foot-washing recipients were Moslem. The Pope was offering a Catholic Mass for a bunch of Moslems who did not want him there.

    Please, Holy Father, don’t be niave about “the World” and Moslem behavior.

  • David, you are quite wrong about giving “no reason”– you respond dismissively to valid, well-argued concerns and abuse charity to attack those who disagree with you, and when called on it you abuse it again to make baseless accusations.

    “Charity” is not a hammer, and it’s quite annoying to see it used that way more often than not.

    Charity is loving, and there is nothing loving about curling your lip at the idea of not needlessly trampling someone’s toes.

  • Wow, Foxfire! You sure assume the worst in a guy!

    Let’s try this again…

    I meant no offense to the Motley Monk or anyone else for that matter.

    Our culture has formulated an unworkable and nonsensical standard that is displayed all around us. “Nonsense” was the wrong word and I appreciate your pointing that out. Let us say instead that the standard being applied is “unworkable.”

    Islam is no more a monolith than Christianity. The cultural and religious variation is huge and it is unworkable to expect those who are not part of one’s particular group to apply the standards of that group.

    The touch stone is intent because nothing else is workable.

    When a man intends to offend, we are free to be offended but it is uncharitable to assume the worst in others. We should begin by assuming they meant well and failed to connect than that they meant to offend.

    That is, I maintain, the heart of charity in human interactions.

    So, i acknowledge that I foolishly chose the charged word “nonsense,” but I meant nothing more than I said and no ill intent at all.

  • Wow, Foxfire! You sure assume the worst in a guy!

    Hardly. I go off of what you actually wrote. That it bears no resemblance to what you explain you meant to convey is not an effect of my “assuming the worst.”

    Amusingly, you take offense. Kind of proves the point.

    The touch stone is intent because nothing else is workable.

    You prove that it isn’t workable– twice, now, you have tried to mind-read my intent, and made false accusations based off it. Before bothering to explain what you were trying to do, even.

    That someone didn’t mean harm doesn’t do any good if there is harm done– as Mr. Horton points out, this lack of thinking twice could cost lives.
    Including that of the girl whose feet he washed.

  • I think its good the pope’s doing things differently. It’s a sign of humility and authentic servanthood when people engage in such actions. I don’t think anyone seriously intent on service worried about the implications of the acts. As a protestant, I really don’t see anything wrong with female ministers. I know certain change can be good. Other types of change can signal degeneration. It depends on the type of change being implemented. We know from the scriptures that many women were involved in frontline ministry early on. We also know St. Paul wrote some things against women doing certain tasks in the church, perhaps in certain contexts. But it would be nice if the new pope can introduce some change for the better. Every so often that’s necessary or things grow stagnant.

  • Sir, I appear to have offended you t some time in the past and for that I am sorry. I do not remember all that I have written so all I can do is apologize. If you share with me the particular offense, perhaps I can make amends.

    My e-mail is [email protected].

    With regards to the problem posed by the Motley Monk, i began badly by using the charged word “nonsense.”. The aubstance of the quick comment was not, to my mind, wrong though and, looking back at it, it fits seemlessly into my later responses.

    I wrote “there is much that we do in charity that will offend someone. If we worry about this nonsense when serving God, where will we be?”. Please walk with me a bit and hear me out.

    Cultural sensitivity is a constraint to evangelization where it cordons off whole segments of people from hearing the Word nd experiencing Christ. In the Motley Monk’s post I heard an echo of America’s unwillingnss to engage others for fear of offending. It may well be that this was not the Motley Monk’s intent and that I displayed an hypersensitivity to the issue.

    I am human and saw the post theough my particular lens.

    “There is much we do in charity that offends” is true, isn’t it? China bars the importation of Bibles except though official channels and entirely bars religious works other than the bible that don’t have the government’s approval. Surely it is more charitable to share the Word, even thoguh it offends the State than to sign off China’s people as being beyond our reach?

    “There is much we do in charity that offends” isn’t an uncharitable statement, is it? Surely it is charitble to call our brothers and sisters out on their sins when they are receptive to that message? I have, thanks be to God, been saved by the timely intervention of others. Is it charitable to let those receptive to the truth wallow rather than sharing the Word and experience of Christ?

    “There is much that we do in charity that offends” is true as applied to this particular situation too, isn’t it? The girl in question is a Moslem and a prisoner. Surely these facts suggest that she needs help. Is it charitable for His Holiness to withhold the experience of washing her feet from her merely because a group of Moslems oppose his doing so? Can it possibly be right to let a soul perish out of deference to an unknown and unnamed person who may, conceivably, somewhere, be offended by that Christian act?

    I say “intent is the touch stone” because this flwed creature called “Man” can be bound by no other measure. Nothing, however well it works out, turns out as we planned. If the effects are the measure of our lives then we are all doomed for we are all failures. No, my friend, we are bound to do our best with the right intention. We can do no more.

    I assume His Holiness intended to save souls and, ven if it should cause millions their lives, I will not call that deed “evil.” so long as his intent was pure, it was a good deed, worthy of our warm regard.

    We are brothers Foxfire and I am not offended by your characterization. I am saddened that my choice of words caused you to become angry at this wonderful time of year. I am sorry for having chosen my words so recklessly and take the disagreement on my head, for I initiated it.

    I debated whether to reply this evening or not. I do not with to have the last word in this and pray that you will take that privilege.

    I am going to sleep and pray that Providence smiles upon you as the dawn breaks and the Risen Christ renews the Earth.

    May God Bless and Keep you,


  • And, again, you demonstrate that “intent” is useless. Even when I clearly explain what I am objecting to, and why, you persist on telling me that I am doing it for another reason, wrap yourself in outrage and offense, and refuse to listen to what is said, let alone respond to it.

    Of special interest is your response to the girl’s life possibly being put in danger— “oh, that’s just someone else’s response, it should be ignored so she can have the experience.”
    That is… words fail me. As anyone here could attest, that isn’t a common occurrence.

    I am not a “Sir,” and I am not going to waste my time on an email when you cannot be bothered to read what I write here and respond to actual points made, rather than the reasons you feel like projecting.

  • David,
    I read what you wrote and I think you are charitable regardless of how anyone else interprets what you wrote. It seems clear that you intended no offense, apologized for possibly causing offense, offered the last word,wished peace, and offered prayer. You set a good exampleto follow.

  • Yikes, Foxfier. Go ahead and act more Catholic than the pope if you must, but no need to be so prickly about it. Geesh.

  • Foxfier & David-
    Peace be with you and your families.

  • Pope Francis engages in an intemperate and ill considered gesture (washing the foot of a Moslem female) and now Catholics in Moslem countries must be killed to avenge the insult to Islam according to Sharia law. I guess you can insult Islam all you want as long as you don’t live in a country, such as Italy, which has not totally converted to Islam, yet!!! Pope John Paul II found out otherwise when a Moslem bullet found him.

    I think if it bothers you, you can stew quietly and stop making an obnoxious nuisance of yourself.

  • Folks, this back and forth is unseemly on Easter, so I am closing down the comments on this post.

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3 Responses to Pange Lingua

The Cross: Sign of God’s Life

Friday, March 29, AD 2013

A Good Friday meditation on the Cross by commenter Greg Mockeridge.

Out of all Christian symbols, the sign of the Cross is by far the most significant. In the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths, the blessings given by priests, which are believed to convey actual grace, are given with the sign of the Cross.

The Cross also symbolizes one of the cruelest forms of capital punishment ever inflicted in human history. So it should be no surprise that this “sign of contradiction” is seen by many as the largest “stumbling block” of the Christian faith.

Such reaction, while superficially understandable, ignores a foundational truth of human experience large and small as attested to by history: the greatest of life’s triumphs and successes have always come on the heels of the worst failures and horrors.

This truth finds it fulfillment in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord.

While believing firmly in the truth of this great paradox, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Cross symbolized something more than just a paradox, a deeply profound paradox though it may be.

In reading what then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now pope emeritus Benedict XVI) had to say regarding the sign of the cross in his book Spirit of the Liturgy, I believe my hunch was vindicated. The sign of the Cross is the sign of God’s mark on creation prior to being a sign of crucifixion.
He states:

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Ayn Rand Rants Against CS Lewis

Thursday, March 28, AD 2013

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

CS Lewis

I have always found amusing a fifth rate mind coming up against a first rate mind in a debate and being reduced to muttering imprecations with all the intellectual content of scrawlings on a bathroom wall.  Such was the case when Ayn Rand decided to read CS Lewis’ Abolition of Man and scribbled out her hate in the margins:

C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man Ayn Rand’s marginalia
I am considering what the thing called ‘Man’s power over Nature’ must always and essentially be. No doubt, the picture could be modified by public ownership of raw materials and factories and public control of scien­tific research. But unless we have a world state this will still mean the power of one nation over others. And even within the world state or the nation it will mean (in principle) the power of majorities over minorities, and (in the concrete) of a government over the people. And all long-term exercises of power, especially in breeding, must mean the power of earlier generations over later ones.… So in the pre-science age, there was no power of majorities over minorities – and the Middle Ages were a period of love and equality, and the oppres­sion began only in the U.S.A. (!!!) The abysmal bastard!!!
The later a generation comes – the nearer it lives to that date at which the species becomes extinct – the less power it will have in the forward direction, be­cause its subjects will be so few. There is therefore no question of a power vested in the race as a whole steadily growing as long as the race survives. The last men, far from being the heirs of power, will be of all men most subject to the dead hand of the great plan­ners and conditioners and will themselves exercise least power upon the future. … It is unbelievable, but this monster literally thinks that to give men new know­ledge is to gain power(!) over them. The cheap, awful, miserable, touchy, social-meta­physical mediocrity!
There neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on Man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well. Each advance leaves him weaker as well as stronger. In every victory, besides being the general who triumphs, he is also the prisoner who fol­lows the triumphal car.… So when you cure men of TB, syphilis, scurvy, small pox and rabies – you make them weaker!!!
In the older systems both the kind of man the teachers wished to produce and their motives for producing him were prescribed by the Tao – a norm to which the teachers themselves were subject and from which they claimed no liberty to depart.… And which brought such great joy, peace, happi­ness and moral stature to men!! (The bastard!)
We do not look at trees either as Dryads or as beautiful objects while we cut them into beams: the first man who did so may have felt the price keenly, and the bleeding trees in Virgil and Spenser may be far-off echoes of that primeval sense of impiety. The stars lost their divinity as astronomy developed, and the Dying God has no place in chemical agriculture. To many, no doubt, this process is simply the gradual discovery that the real world is different from what we expected, and the old opposition to Galileo or to ‘body-snatchers’ is simply obscurantism. But that is not the whole story. It is not the greatest of modern scientists who feel most sure that the object, stripped of its qualitative properties and reduced to mere quantity, is wholly real. Little scien­tists, and little unscientific followers of science, may think so. The great minds know very well that the object, so treated, is an artificial abstraction, that something of its reality has been lost. This is really an old fool – and nothing more!  



Ad hominem!

And what does he think an abstraction is, that great “advocate of reason”?

Here’s where the Kor­zybski comes out in him


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14 Responses to Ayn Rand Rants Against CS Lewis

  • I have to admit that I’ve never, ever, heard of Ayn Rand (I thought it was an a acronym for research and development). Am I missing out on something important?

  • She was an emigre from Soviet Russia in the twenties. She wrote a series of pot boiler novels: Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, etc. She hated the Left and all forms of collectivism. She was a militant atheist and despised Christianity and anything to do with altruism. She founded a cult called Objectivism that basically existed to say “Yes Ma’am!!!” to every syllable that passed from her lips. She has a following among Libertarians in this country which helps explain why they do so pathetically at elections. Whittaker Chambers wrote a devastating review of Atlas Shrugged that basically has her number:

  • Good follow up commentary from First Things: “She didn’t hate the argument because she thought it was false; she thought it was false because she hated it.”

  • You forgot one more point, Donald– she doesn’t get decent criticism very often, because she was a threat to some other really nasty folks who have more power. They sneer enough that even those who disagree with Ayn Rand are reluctant to speak up with valid criticism.
    It’s like the inverse of the Crazy Libertarian Effect. (where folks who are sympathetic to rational libertarianism won’t say anything because they know folks will “hear” them saying: “Hi, I’m a barking mad wingnut that will rant for hours at the drop of a hat and want to abolish laws against murder.”)

  • John Nolan: you really haven’t missed a whole lot. My take on Rand is that she was so horrified by the totalitarianism of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany — where the concepts of “common good” and “shared sacrifice” were twisted into justifications for anything the government felt like doing — that she went totally off the deep end in the other direction, to the point where she insisted there was no such thing as common good and that expecting ANY kind of sacrifice from people was evil.

    Philosophically, she is a good example of the saying that anyone can kick down a barn door but not everyone can build one — she was great at knocking down the pretensions of the 1960s Left (one essay of hers that I like compares the crowds at the Apollo 11 moon launch to the crowds at Woodstock), but not very good at building a coherent philosophy to replace it.

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  • I have never been a fan of CS Lewis. He was a proud man and his theology was twisted. When his wife died he lost his “faith” and blamed God for her death.

    A. R. was a lot like Lewis, she was a proud woman and never had faith in our Heavenly Father.

    Read the CC, V radio, the Bible, and go to mass. After studying the CC and the Bible you will not be happy with the books of CS Lewis

  • Your interpretation could not be more wrong. CS Lewis was one of the least proud geniuses I have ever read. A healthy intellectual humility suffuses his writings. Lewis did not lose his faith in God after his wife, as demonstrated in his book A Grief Observered which he wrote after the death of his wife.

    “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

  • After studying the CC and the Bible you will not be happy with the books of CS Lewis.

    You’re wrong, sorry. Not just the folks here, but untold numbers of others are very well studied in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible, and go to Mass frequently– yet are happy with the books from Lewis.

    He’s rather famous for being a very Catholic protestant.

    I don’t study the lives of the Inklings enough to know if your claim, but from the summary of the book he wrote after his wife’s death, it’s inaccurate; wrestling with the pain of losing your other half makes people question many things. What matters is that they get the right answers.

  • “Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
    CS Lewis’ rationale is excellent, except for the last sentence of the quote. God is the ultimate explanation of everything, but not the proximate explanation. The ultimate in explanation and in being is never broached in logic, mathematics and science, for example, and yet they are the product of valid thought. Much of philosophy does not concern the ultimate in being. Even ethics is almost entirely concerned with proximate details without having to consider the ultimate rationale for ethical behavior. It is strange for Christians to resort to God as a proximate explanation. That is characteristic of Islam. Nevertheless, it is true that I cannot use thought to disbelieve in God. It is not because I cannot believe in thought unless I believe in God. It is because the only adequate concept of God initially arises in the human mind in the course of philosophical inquiry in the judgment that a being must exist outside of our experience whose nature is to exist. One cannot disbelieve in that which is undefined and thereby unidentified.

  • After Joy died, Lewis was shaken. He questioned the scenario but did not lose his faith. Perhaps it grew stronger as A Grief Observed seems to demonstrate. He came to the conclusion that he knew less than he thought. I would probably say his faith grew stronger as it was taken to anoteh level. The movie Shadowlands portrayed it in a problematic light which could lead the viewer to assume Lewis lost his faith.

  • Bob Drury

    Miss Anscombe (a Catholic) raised the same objections in her debate with C S Lewis on the first edition of his book, “Miracles.” She published her paper in a collection of papers, “Causality and Time,” in 1981, with an introduction.

    As for Lewis’s revisions following their debate, she remarked, “The argument of the second edition has much to criticize in it, but it certainly does correspond more to the actual depth and difficulty of the questions being discussed. I think we haven’t yet an answer to the question I have quoted from him: ‘What is the connection between grounds and the actual occurrence of the belief?'”

    A very telling remark is “He obviously had imbibed some sort of universal-law determinism about causes.” It was Miss Anscombe’s view that the notions of causality and necessity should be disengaged.

  • who commented that we shouldn’t listen to C.s. Lewis because, gasp, he was an imperfect, sinful human? Then what perfect human being next to our Lord and our Lady can I read?
    Does C.S. Lewis’s personal problems take away from the brilliance of that first quote in this article?

  • No, the fact is that Lewis remains a first-rate thinker, and one of the few classic Christian writers. He’ll never go out of fashion! He was too right on too profound a level in too many cases!

Msgr. Pope on Gay Marriage

Thursday, March 28, AD 2013

Every now and then as I begin to think about writing a post, I’ll see that someone has written on the very topic I was about to write about, taking the exact same view but expressing it in such a way that it would make any attempt on my part to add to it just plain futile. So when I saw Msgr. Pope’s blog post on gay marriage this morning, I realized he just saved me about an hour’s worth of writing.

Here’s the opening:

There is, among faithful Catholics, a dismay, and even an understandable anger at the events unfolding at the Supreme Court these past days related to to gay unions. And even if the court were to uphold traditional marriage (which does not seem likely), or merely return the matter to the States,  it seems quite clear where our culture is going regarding this matter, approving things once, not so long ago, considered unthinkable.

What then to do with our dismay and anger? It is too easy to vent anger, which is not only unproductive, but in the current state of “hyper-tolerance” for all things gay, angry denunciations are counter-productive.

Rather our anger should be directed to a wholehearted embrace and living out of the biblical vision of human sexuality and marriage. Our anger should be like an energy that fuels our zeal to live purity, and speak of its glory to a confused and out-of-control culture.

The fact is, traditional marriage has been in a disgraceful state for over 50 years, and heterosexual misbehavior has been off the hook in the same period. And, if we are honest, heterosexual misbehavior and confusion has been largely responsible for bringing forth the even deeper confusion and disorder of homosexual activity, and particularly the widespread approval of it.

We have sown the wind, and now reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).

Our anger, dismay and sorrow are better directed inward toward our own conversion to greater purity as a individuals, families and parishes, than outward toward people who will only interpret it as “hate” and bigotry” anyway.

There’s much more at the link as he delves into how the contraceptive mentality has already degraded marriage. There’s been a domino affect, and gay marriage is really just the last domino.

I was attending a conference this week and heard a speaker who talked about generational differences in the workplace. Even though it was geared towards workforce issues, it applied to our culture more generally. The overwhelming support for gay marriage among millenials (generally those 30 and under) is easily explained when you examine the context of the culture and society they grew up in. Not only is mass media propagandizing to them, but many if not most of these kids have developed in an environment where marriage is not the institution it was for our grandparents. In other words, heterosexuals damaged the institution long before homosexuals did.

That’s an argument often made by people who support gay marriage, and so we have a tendency to dismiss it. They happen to be right – it’s just that the logical conclusion that flows from that analysis is not that we should further erode the institution of marriage, but that we need to re-examine all of the other elements that have broken it down through the years.

At any rate, please read the rest of Msgr. Pope’s fine blog.

On a related note, Bill O’Reilly is still a pinhead.

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36 Responses to Msgr. Pope on Gay Marriage

  • “And, if we are honest, heterosexual misbehavior and confusion has been largely responsible for bringing forth the even deeper confusion and disorder of homosexual activity, and particularly the widespread approval of it.”

    I really do not think that is correct. Sexual immorality certainly has been rampant over the past 50 years, but so has it in other times over the past 2000 years. In England in the Eighteenth Century illegitimacy was not uncommon for example. Initially the Soviet Union attempted to largely do away with marriage. None of these prior periods however led to calls for equating homosexuality with heterosexuality. I think rather our current circumstance has been caused much more by a steady drumbeat of pro-homosexual propaganda, as you note, in the entertainment media, and a non-judgmental stance towards morality in the sexual realm that has permeated our society and reached Gospel status, along with a drive for (fake) egalitarianism uber alles. Additionally, many opponents of the movement to normalize homosexuality have been bullied into silence by the tendency of some homosexual activists to engage in massive assaults on any groups that stand in their way. Mormon groups used to be very active in this fight until the passage of Proposition 8 in California. The gay activists went berserk with fury and engaged in a non-stop war against the Mormons that is still under way. As a result the Mormons have become very quiet on this issue and the Mormon groups who used to fund anti-homosexual marriage groups no longer do so. Timid people rarely retain their freedom for long.

  • “On a related note, Bill O’Reilly is still a pinhead.”

    There was a question?

  • That’s a fair point Donald. I think what Msgr. Pope is especially emphasizing is the contraceptive mentality, tracing it back to the Lambeth Conference. Once procreation – or the possibility of procreation – was removed from the sexual act, that changed the dynamic significantly. Throw in the rise of no-fault divorce, and marriage further eroded. Now the familial aspect of marriage has been almost lost.

    Earlier ages engaged in sexual immorality, but has it been as celebrated and accepted on as wide a scale as it is now? I don’t know.

  • Good commentary and also good point by Mr. McClarey. I agree that the difference between today and moral issues of the past is that it is now ideologically driven, and technologically enabled. That’s the one way to explain the rapid shift. But I still tend to view it as cumulative decline, building up speed as it reaches the bottom. Who helped redefine marriage? Henry VIII and his supporters, if you want to go back that far.

  • I probably should have highlighted this passage to further illustrate the point Msgr Pope is making:

    Yes, we have sown the wind. And now comes the whirlwind. Enter the “gay” community who have in effect called our bluff and illustrate the absurdity of our “no-necessary connection” philosophy. For, if sex has “no necessary connection” to procreation, and can just be about what pleasures you, or is just your way to show “care” for another, if this is the case, what’s wrong with homosexual behavior? And if marriage is just about two adults being happy and there is “no necessary connection” to procreation, why can’t homosexuals “marry”?

  • Pope is dead-on right. I’ve been spending time lately on a mostly-libertarian chat board, and people go nuts when I criticize divorce. Gay marriage, they think I’m a bigot. Contraception, they roll their eyes. But say anything critical of divorce and people hyperventilate. The fact is, while it’s right to oppose gay marriage, it’s only going to affect a few hundred people directly. No-fault divorce is a catastrophe that’s harmed what, a hundred million people maybe in the US alone.

  • “On a related note, Bill O’Reilly is still a pinhead.”

    I have rarely seen a more profoundly ignorant man be more clueless about his ignorance that O’Reilly. Something that can unite Left and Right in this country!

  • Romans 1:28-30

    “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil.”

  • But angels can dance on the head of a pin. O’Reilly’s head, on the other hand, what’s it good for? Absolutely nothing.

  • A huge “yes” to Donald. I’m tired of people blaming the increasing acceptance of gay marriage and homosexual behavior on heterosexual behavior. Heterosexuals have always screwed up and heterosexual marriages have always been fraught. People just dealt with it different ways: they didn’t get divorced, but they lived separate lives, which was much easier in cultures in which men and women generally lived separate lives anyway. Men used prostitutes. That’s why it’s called “the world’s oldest profession.” Most marriages were not about love (in the beginning) and soulmates anyway. They were arranged and it was clearly understood that marriage was at the service of society and culture.

    BUT it was always understood that male-female relations and relationship were the normative base of all human behavior and society. Homosexuality (or..sodomy, as they used to call it) was an outlier.

    Even – and this is key – in cultures where homosexuality was more accepted and visible – ancient Rome or Greece – you would have been laughed out of the Forum if you’d suggested that what men did with other men had anything to do with marriage.

    As long as Christians persist in their implied acceptance of homosexual behavior, gay marriage will stay on the table. What’s been lost is the truth about maleness, femaleness and sexuality.

  • “No-fault divorce is a catastrophe that’s harmed what, a hundred million people maybe in the US alone.”

    if SSM becomes a constitutional right it will be impossible to strike down no-fault divorce anywhere, because marriage is no longer seen as related to procreation

    any attempts to do so will be found unconstitutional

  • “And, if we are honest, heterosexual misbehavior and confusion has been largely responsible for bringing forth the even deeper confusion and disorder of homosexual activity”

    this really doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t the Church take the position that it’s innate for the most part? Is he arguing it’s a recent phenomenon just cuz it’s more visible these days?

    I think it’s good to understand the underlying nature of something, regardless of your judgments on it, and this kinda reads like fitting things into a particular narrative.

  • ah sorry, “activity.” Still though.

  • In England in the Eighteenth Century illegitimacy was not uncommon for example. Initially the Soviet Union attempted to largely do away with marriage. None of these prior periods however led to calls for equating homosexuality with heterosexuality.

    Eighteenth Century England and Soviet Russia had more cultural capital to draw upon than we presently have.

  • Perhaps in regard to England, although in many ways Eighteenth Century England reminds me of our own time with its promiscuity, drunkeness and widespread irreligion. However, not a chance in regard to Soviet Russia. The Communists were in active war against most of that cultural capital, at least initially,

  • Then let me try to phrase it differently. Eighteenth Century England and Soviet Russia had greater reserves of cultural capital to burn through. The latter more thoroughly and completely than the former.

    Whose reserves of cultural capital do our reserves more closely approximate? Eighteenth Century England’s, or Soviet Russia’s?

  • Rampant homosexual behavior and now, equally rampant approval of it on the part of much of heterosexual society indicate one thing above all. And that is a lack of what human sexuality is at the most fundamental level: our sexuality is primarily who we are: male and female, not something we do. Of course, heterosxuality is the only orientation that naturally flows from this. Any behavioral scientist who dals with this issue in an honest scientifically coherent way say that same sex attraction is at root a sexual gender idenitity disorder. Heck, even Sigmund Freud believed homosexuality was a perversion from a psycho-analytical perspective.

    Donald, did 18th century England give widespread public approval to such behavior or was it just that they preached a different standard than that which they lived? Today, not only is such behavior on the rise, the ideals are being redefined.

    Certainly, while I wouldn’t be so quick to lay the problem of homosexuality at the feet of heterosexual deviance as some seem to do. However, it does compound the confusion many homosexuals have and obscures the credibility of traditional sexual morality.

    I also think we would do well to come to a better understanding of the psychological factors that give rise to same sex attractions. NARTH is a good resource:

    I would recommend the 1986 CDF Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

  • As far as Bill O’Reilly is concerned, I would have to say his show is truly a “No Spin Zone”…. except when O’Reilly himself spins like a jet turbine.

    That being said, the clip that Paul links to doesn’t give a full context to what O’Reilly is saying. There is some validity to what he says about the whole equality rhetoric employed by the pro-same sex marriage side being more compelling at least in the eyes of teh public (the growing shift in opinion on the issue in the pro-same sex direction seems to confirm this) than the religious based argument. Of course, a religious argument is not really needed when a simple look at human anatomy will do. But then again, I am becoming more and more convinced that it takes a religious faith to be able to accept the most obvious of scientific facts.

  • “Donald, did 18th century England give widespread public approval to such behavior or was it just that they preached a different standard than that which they lived?”

    Fairly widespread, certainly among the aristocrats and the rich who tended to be all who really mattered in Eighteenth Century England. The influence of Continental Enlightenment anti-Christianity, along with growing scepticism and religious apathy at home, had produced ugly fruit in England. Methodism had planted the seeds of revival, but the virulence with which it was hated by many of the powers that be in England is reminiscent of some of the bitterest atheist rants of today. That things changed for the better in the nineteenth century, largely as the result of men who were frequently mocked at the time, including among that number Burke and Wilberforce, gives me hope for our time.

  • John 15:18, “If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you.”

  • Donald,
    I am reading Chesterton’s St. Francis of Assisi and you echo and apply his views on sexuality, as expressed in chapters 1 and 2, quite well. I think that what is different is that we are now calling “good” what reason demonstrates is “bad.”

    It is surely true that human beings have ever acted on sexual impulses against better judgment and societal mores. Such is the state of the fallen soul. However, the 10th century nobleman who fathered illegitimate children knew that what he was doing was wrong and did not declare the act right. The 14th century merchant, looking for hidden houses of prostitution, did not proudly display his beastly behavior. The Victorian hid his pornography.

    What is different now is that bad behavior is held up as a badge of honor and actively promoted. This is irrational.

    The Center for Disease Control reports that more than 110 million Americans have venereal diseases! Our priests report that pornography now eclipses all other mortal sins confessed through the Church. 48 percent of American children born in 2012 were born to unwed mothers. 1 in 5 women will be sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives.

    The evidence that the West’s hedonistic plunge off of a humanist cliff is irrational abounds. Yet, Victoria’s Secret is producing “sexy underwear” for tweens, it is damn near impossible to find summer dresses for my 11 and 6 year old daughters that come anywhere close to their knees, the “Family Channel” runs sexually charged shows for 12 year olds, and condom and Viagra commercials invade football, rugby, and baseball.

    The West has abandoned reason as much as religion.

    Amazingly, people of faith are told that our mores are “unnatural” and slavish and, so, must be abandoned for the “freedom” of this new age. But the age looks more and more like the 3rd Century.

    Our response to it must be the same as St. Paul’s: that Man is not a beast.

    It is no compliment to say to a man “you are like a male dog, sensing a woman in heat. You cannot control your impulse to chase her and, like a dog, may injure yourself or others to get to her so you should not be constrained. Take these condoms and get it out of your system.”

    It is no honor to a woman to say “your form evolved for the primary purpose of causing men to want to have sex with you. Your value is defined by how wild and uncontrolled you can make men.”

    This is not an impossible task to have precisely the same effect on this debased and destroyed culture as the early Church had on Rome’s for our message is the Truth. We need to stop equivocating and learn to speak with passion and conviction and love. Christ’s message is far more powerful than the sophomoric arguments of Satan’s servants.

    So, yes, we must live it Msgr. Pope; but we and, most especially, our clerics must proclaim it from the rooftops of the world.

    We are Man, made male and female, in God’s image. We were given all of creation and commanded to be stewards of that creation so that we would learn to love and serve Him in this life so that we will be happy with Him forever in the next. We are Man, not beasts, and are capable of and called to control our appetites, to embrace adversity and I will not sacrifice my children on any alter but God’s!

  • “The West has abandoned reason as much as religion.”

    We live in increasingly stupid times G-Veg. The flight from sexual morality goes hand in hand with the flight from fiscal responsibility. As a society we are engaged in a huge recreation on an epic scale of the parable of the prodigal son.

  • The rampant acceptance of homosexuality is driven almost entirely by pop culture. the explosion of the Internet, smartphones, Twitter, Facebook, etc. is something that has been completely embraced by young people.

    I suspect homosexuality has been part of Hollywood since the modern entertainment business began. In a sense, it has been propaganda as much as entertainment. Young people – especially those in high school – feel the pressure of fitting in, so they follow the pack when it comes to entertainment, and entertainment has been effective in propagandizing homosexuality – while trashing Christianity.

    Glee is just one example.

    Some group enlisted National Hockey League players to participate in something called “You Can Play”. It is an outreach program aimed at…not blacks, Latinos and Asians, who are rare in the NHL; but…homosexuals.

    I fear a Canadian Human Rights Commission being established in the US, where the homosexuals drag out anyone who criticizes them and makes them pay thousands of dollars in fines.

    I could go on and on, but I can’t. My 98 year old grandmother died yesterday. I had to call for the funeral home to pick up her tired and worn down body. I am the executor and I have to handle things, and I have wasted too much time on the Internet today already.

  • To read much of the comment here is to gain hope that there is a lifeboat on this sinking ship we call “modern culture.” As to the homosexual juggernaut which presses upon us with an assumed air of inevitability, (which is how the left cunningly presents itself), its present day power certainly is derived from the history of sexual misconduct of every kind that has so blithely been excused and rationalized for so long. Its roots are deep in our disordered wills – no fiat voluntas here – which has permeated the psyche of even “Christian thinking peoples.” “Yeah look at me. I’m independent. I do it my way.”

    The contraceptive ideology played a crucial role in getting us here and it remains one of the most valuable weapons for the culture of death orchestrated by the father of lies. Homosexuality, like contraception, is a dead act incapable of giving life. And both are based on a juvenile, perhaps demonic, idea that love has to do with pleasing oneself and being “happy.” These may be the consequences of true love, but not Love’s goal.

    The lack of intellectual honesty and muddled thinking so carefully cultivated by our educators makes an appeal to reason very difficult. Reason doesn’t matter when, “well, that’s just the way I feel. You can’t judge my feelings.” Another victim to the culture of death- thinking. We are so far down the proverbial road to perdition it’s hard to imagine how we turn things around – but we must. After all, that is the Easter message. Death has been defeated. It is clear you all believe the same. Living the Truth and proclaiming the Good News seems our only alternative as some of you have already pointed out. Our pulpits, our schools, our priestly people have long been nearly silent on contraception, homosexuality, chastity, purity and have become quiet again on abortion. It’s time to get back in the game of saving souls.

  • Penguins Fan – You and your family will be in our prayers.

    You mentioned Glee. Does anyone remember High School Musical? This was a rare Disney sleeper, something that they didn’t promote the heck out of, but it became a hit, then the Disney machine kicked in and marketed it like crazy. High School Musical was innocent. It was a love story that appealed to kids of the right age group. Now, when anything is successful, Hollywood steps in and duplicates it, right? Not in this case. Instead we got Glee. That tells you something about Hollywood.

  • Thank You Donald and Lisa and Kevin SD and everyone.

    I want to respond to this:
    “The fact is, while it’s right to oppose gay marriage, it’s only going to affect a few hundred people directly.” (from Pinky-whose pithy comments I appreciate)
    Pinky, just me and my family number more than half a hundred. We are directly affected and hurt. That is not counting the ones age 15 and under, whose life, and possibly eternal life, will feel the effect. Families suffer in silence for the most part.

    My son has chosen this behavior. He didn’t choose the temptation, but he is choosing his response to it. He doesn’t choose it just for himself and his current partner only, but has mailed out “save the date cards” to all of our family and friends thus making a few hundred people choose.

    If all the commentators on TV could be present in our family room and hear and see the wounds especially for brothers and sisters they would know how much it hurts. It isn’t just about the one day of the wedding and the sacrilege, but about being cut apart. It is as if he is saying to some of his siblings “You either love me and celebrate this wedding with me, or we are severed. I can line up some brothers/sisters on my side and see if anyone remains with you”. The chips fall where they may… Mom and Dad will be branded haters by many lifelong friends, family and coworkers. I am warned by my sister that I am on the wrong side of history, like Bull O’Connor.
    The validation he seeks won’t come from getting to be called “married”… because there is really no satisfaction in this relationship… that’s why it won’t be monogamous.
    It is not illegal for him to be in this relationship, those old sodomy laws are gone. I think they want to bring the Church to heel though- making them give up the sacrament, give up moral authority.. as well as the only ones who still love enough to care- thousands of moms and dads and brothers and sisters.

    His dad and I are not guilty (more than ordinary) Neither is society.

    This willful prideful juggernaut against our family and all families can’t just be ignored like a pesky but mostly inconsequential fly. A fly that is irritating but really doesn’t hurt much. This fly carries medical and social and spiritual problems with it such that the deleterious effect will be widespread.

    I realize that the flies are out the bottle and it is very hard to put them back in.
    Here is a quote from Charlemagne in an 802 capitulary about the “most pernicious rumor” that “some of the monks are understood to be sodomites” and his vow that “if any such report shall have come to our ears in the future, we shall inflict such a penalty, not only on the guilty, but also on those who have consented to such deeds, that no Christian who shall have ever heard of it will ever dare in the future to perpetrate such acts.”
    I know Charlemagne lived in a different era. But the important thing he was not afraid to call right and wrong. And try to do right. And he knew that you can not give place to evil but must stop the spread.

    Sometimes modern day Christians have wondered why the Christians who knew they would have to face the lions didn’t just go ahead and say the word– they are just words. And only affected a few people at first.

  • I can’t even imagine the pain of this situation for you Anzlyne. Your attitude is completely correct. We do no favor for our children by pretending that a sin they are enmeshed in is a virtue. My prayers for you and your family.

  • There have been times, in the middle of an heated discussion, where one will say “what if our child…” Reading your lines makes me finally understand how trite and foolish that is.

    Our reaction to the theoretical cannot easily be forecast and I am humbled by your sharing this with us.

    God bless and keep you and yours.


  • Anzlyne – Thanks for calling me “pithy”. In this case, you could have said “flippant” or worse and I’d have no room to argue. As I said to Penguins Fan earlier, I’ll be keeping you and your family in my prayers, and I’m sure we all will. It’s 3:00 on Good Friday. This is when Christ turned to a sinner in his dying moments and told him that he’d be with Him in Paradise. This is a moment for hope for all sinners. I’ll pray for your son.

    I’ve been getting clobbered on the web lately, defending traditional marriage – with a fake name, when I can turn off my screen any time I want to. You’re defending it in the most personal way, and I thank you for your fortitude.

  • Anzylne, you also will be in my prayers. I wonder if our ancestors went though something like this during the Civil War, when families also were being forced to choose sides over a contentious social issue (slavery), to the point that brothers, cousins, fathers, sons, etc. joined different armies and marched off to kill one another. And I wonder sometimes if it’s about to happen again …

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  • / Recently saw the following web item. Readers may also like to Google or Yahoo “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up.” /

    (The following paper was inspired by Bill O’Reilly whose TV show favors God Dumpers and not “Bible Thumpers.” Quotes are from “Vital Quotations” by Emerson West.)


    ROBERT E. LEE: “In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.” (p. 21)
    DANIEL WEBSTER: “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper.” (p. 21)
    JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: “I have made it a practice for several years to read the Bible through in the course of every year.” (p. 22)
    ABRAHAM LINCOLN: “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book.” (p. 22)
    GEORGE WASHINGTON: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” (p. 22)
    HORACE GREELEY: “It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible-reading people.” (p. 23)
    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “I hold the precepts of Jesus as delivered by himself to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man. I adhere to the principles of the first age; and consider all subsequent innovations as corruptions of this religion, having no foundation in what came from him.” (p. 45)
    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would by now have become Christian.” (p. 47)
    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see.” (p.49)
    WOODROW WILSON: “The sum of the whole matter is this—-that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. It can only be saved by becoming permeated with the spirit of Christ and being made free and happy by practices which spring out of that spirit.” (p. 143)
    PATRICK HENRY: “There is a just God who presides over the destiny of nations.” (p. 145)
    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.” (p. 225)
    THOMAS JEFFERSON: “Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” (p. 237)
    GEORGE WASHINGTON: “The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low, that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” (p. 283)
    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped.” (p. 301)
    CALVIN COOLIDGE: “The strength of a country is the strength of its religious convictions.” (p. 305)
    GEORGE WASHINGTON: “The perpetuity of this nation depends upon the religious education of the young.” (p. 306)

    Prior to our increasingly “Hell-Bound and Happy” era, America’s greatest leaders were part of the (gulp) Religious Right! Today we’ve forgotten God’s threat (to abort America) in Psa. 50:22—-“Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.” Memo to God Dumpers: In light of Rev. 16:19, can you be sure you won’t be in a city that God has already reserved for destruction?

  • THe pope made a very good point. Heterosexuality has been in a very bad state for many years. I think he said 50. A serious heterosexual crisis occurred opening the door to homosexuality. This was a gradual erosion.

  • Jon

    I believe Miss Anscombe made the point very well in 1972

    “If contraceptive intercourse is permissible, then what objection could there be after all to mutual masturbation, or copulation in vase indebito, sodomy, buggery (I should perhaps remark that I am using a legal term here – not indulging in bad language), when normal copulation is impossible or inadvisable (or in any case, according to taste)? It can’t be the mere pattern of bodily behaviour in which the stimulation is procured that makes all the difference! But if such things are all right, it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse, for example. I am not saying: if you think contraception all right you will do these other things; not at all. The habit of respectability persists and old prejudices die hard. But I am saying: you will have no solid reason against these things. You will have no answer to someone who proclaims as many do that they are good too. You cannot point to the known fact that Christianity drew people out of the pagan world, always saying no to these things. Because, if you are defending contraception, you will have rejected Christian tradition. “

Saint Peter and the Last Supper

Thursday, March 28, AD 2013



I have always been fascinated by the figure of Saint Peter, our first Pope.  He was such an unlikely choice!  God could have chosen a priest, a very wise teacher, a prophet, a ruler, even, Heaven help us, a lawyer.   Someone who, to most superficial human eyes, would have been vastly more suited to be the first head of His Church on Earth. Instead he chose a humble fisherman.  Why?  Any number of reasons, I suppose, many of them still known only to God.  Perhaps one of the major factors was the love that Peter bore for Christ.  We see this after their first meeting when Peter urges Christ to go from him because Peter is a sinful man.  I think that at that point Peter desperately wanted to follow Christ, but he thought he was unworthy to because of his sins.  He was willing to have Christ depart from him in order to protect Christ from Peter’s sinful nature.

Peter is heartbroken when Christ reveals that he must die on the Cross.  Peter tells Christ that this must not happen, only to be rebuked by Christ for acting as a Satan attempting to tempt His human weakness.  This was said shortly after Christ, no doubt to Peter’s immense shock, advised him that He was going to build His Church on him, and committed to him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.  How strange it must have all seemed to the Fisherman from Galilee!  However, his love for Christ kept him at the side of Jesus.

At the Last Supper when Christ reveals the Eucharist, He has this dialogue with Peter:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

And he (Peter) said unto him, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”

And he (Jesus) said, “I tell thee Peter, the cock show not crow on this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”

After seeing the great miracle of the Last Supper, Peter did precisely that, deserting Christ in His hour of need, denying him three times. 

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8 Responses to Saint Peter and the Last Supper

  • Beautifully done.
    Wait a second…..Jesus could of chosen a Lawyer?
    Well ummm, a public defender??…yes Yes a public defender!
    Just kidding…I realize your profession is an easy target. Many great Bannisters make good public officials…atleast thats what I’ve heard.
    All kidding aside. Thank you for this post.

  • St. Peter, pray for us.

    And, When Our Lord was led out from before the council, we looked at Peter and their eyes met. And, Peter wept bitterly and fled.

    However, Peter repented and sought forgiveness and came forward (Christ’s prayer for Peter had been answered) to lead his brothers and he founded the Church in Rome.

    When it came to his time to bear the fatal witness to the Gospel, Peter required that he be crucified head down so as not to die as Our Lord had died to redeem the World.

    We adore you, O Christ, and we bess you. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the World.

  • Though, in his first Volume of Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict does propose that the Father of Simon and Andrew may have been one of the priests who performed duties in the temple on a rotating basis and that he kept his fishing business nearby to help make ends meet.

    If this is true, then it does point to a certain basic familiarity with the Temple that Simon/Peter would have had, rather than being merely some “ignorant fisherman”.

  • Whoops… I was mistaken. It was Zebedee the father of James and John that was referred to above as a possible priest with Temple duties, not Simon and Andrew’s father. (Jonah?)

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  • Yes, Chris. John tells us in his Gospel that he was known to the high priest. Strange, though, Zebedee is not called Saint. If I add a point to this excellent post: When Jesus speaks to Peter at the Passover meal, He first uses the plural “You,” then He switches to the singular. “Satan has desired to sift you (plural), but I have prayed for thee (singular). Such it is in the inspired Greek.

  • It is simply astounding to imagine Peter in Rome!

    He probably had a good head for business and figures since he had his own boat and men working for him but I doubt he spoke more than his local dialect or read more than essential Hebrew.

    That he and Paul spread the Gospel so widely is one of God’s most amazing and least celibrated miracles! It gives me great hope too for so many good people are lost and desperate. The West so very much needs us; now more than ever.

    I really heard the Good Friday readings for the first time today. I’ve gone through the Tridium motions for years but I heard the Gospel loudly today. How did I miss the passages from Isaiah foretelling Christ?! I’m a 42 year old, cradle Catholic and I never put it together… Even though the Church put it together for me. 700 years before Christ he told the world exactly what was going to happen. And, you know what, I now believe… Not in the amorphous, non-specific sense that I have but in the sense that my mind can conceive of no explanation for the accuracy of Isaiah’s prophesy that that Jesus is the Christ!

    It is a very good day and I am filled with hope and joy and am excited by my discovery and overwhelmed by my foolishness.

    Jesus lives!

  • I think of the devil in the role of accuser, his place in the story of Job and how it parallels his part with Peter. Interesting.

Screen Pilates: Stephen Russell

Thursday, March 28, AD 2013


Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas and Frank Thring may be read here, here, here, here  here and here.

Stephen Russell portrays Pilate in The Gospel of John (2003) which is a straight forward no frills presentation of the Gospel of John.  As in the Gospel of John Pilate is shown in the film as first curious about Jesus and then sympathetic to Jesus.  He attempts to save Jesus by giving the mob a choice between Jesus and the bandit Barabbas.  When that fails he presents Jesus after He has been beaten and utters the phrase Ecce Homo, Behold the Man.

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5 Responses to Screen Pilates: Stephen Russell

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  • I would like to place a challenge to you — analyse the portrayal of the Procurator in the TV adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita.” It’s quite different from the Gospel standard, but well known to Russians, as it’s arguably the greatest Russian-language novel of the 20th Century. The Pilate in Vladimir Bortko’s Rossiya TV version was Kirill Lavrov, a top Russian actor (the entire cast was “A-list” of Russian TV and movie actors) A complete playlist of the TV version starts at this link, and Pilate’s first appearance in this version is at this link. It has English subtitles, and the text of those titles was cribbed from one of the leading English translations of the work.

    Anyway, it’s a unique portrayal of Pilate. Take a look at it. What do you think?

  • I read the novel the Master and Margarita when it was first translated into English. Magical Realism Russian style! A beautiful satire on Stalinist Russia, a la a combination of Faust, The Grand Inquisitor with some Thirties Slapstick tossed in. I hadn’t seen the film version before and the interplay between Christ and Pilate is interesting although it has nothing to do with the Gospels. Pilate plays the role of the Grand Inquisitor in an homage to that great section from The Brothers Karamazov. The world weariness and the cynicism I suspect is probably an accurate reflection of the historical Pilate. Mr. Lavrov did a fine job, and it is a pity that I haven’t had the time to explore Russian cinema much beyond the forties.

  • Stephen Russell’s Pilate shows reasonable wonder, and fear, accurate to the gospel account. (Now where’d the evangelists get inside info? Hard to believe a Roman governor wearing his emotions on his tunic sleeve.) This Pilate does feel very much like “us,” more so, imo, than the sneering, haughty, noxious versions. Thankfully most of “us” don’t have to worry about our families being slaughtered if we tick off our employer.

  • Thanks for sharing this information and video too.

So Who Are The Bigots?

Wednesday, March 27, AD 2013

big·ot [big-uht]
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.
1590–1600; < Middle French ( Old French: derogatory name applied by the French to the Normans), perhaps < Old English bī God by God Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.

A movement to redefine a basic institution of civilization into a novel form, unsupported by traditional practices or even rational justifications for gov’t involvement. Supporters commit acts of vandalism, intimidation/assault (including by law enforcement), and violence up to and including attempted mass murder; those who oppose are met with bullying attempts to silence them and ban their employment.

All of those could also apply to the introduction of laws against blacks and whites marrying.

Actual voting results do not back up claims that the fight is over, and even if they did– Truth is not determined by a majority vote. Forcing people to call a thing by a nice name does not change the thing; as was pointed out in arguments yesterday, forcing kids in a class to call everyone a friend does not actually make them friends.

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59 Responses to So Who Are The Bigots?

  • much as I dislike the intimidation stuff, I tend to think arguments on who’s bigoted-er (or “the real bigot”) are total deadenders, because the people making them hold radically different assumptions

  • Do not answer a fool in the terms of his folly for fear you grow like him yourself.

    Answer a fool in the terms of his folly for fear he imagine himself wise. Proverbs 26:4-5

    Any argument on the topic will tend to be a total dead-ender, because 1) you can’t convince someone against their will, and 2) you’re unlikely to reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into.

  • Today in this country the most intolerant people tend to be those who yell the loudest for tolerance. Of course those promoting gay marriage are not concerned about tolerance in the slightest. This is all about domination and forcing every group in society, especially the Catholic Church, to confess that there is nothing morally wrong with homosexual conduct. Those who do not comply with this are to be treated with the utmost contempt and intolerance. This is all part of a long term war against Christianity in general and Catholicism by the forces of the Left. These blind fools are sowing the wind and they will reap a whirlwind before all of this is over.

  • but “tolerance” is a pointless concept in the way you’re using it. There’s things people have the right to say that you no doubt wouldn’t tolerate. Likewise there’s certain things the Catholic Church doesn’t tolerate cuz it believes they are wrong.

    mutual tolerance between two irreconcilable worldviews seems pretty much impossible.

  • Their folly should be responded as it deserves, with derisive laughter.

    I find it inappropriate to discuss their nonsense with my liberal realtives.

    It gets us nowhere.

    They have no context or moral grounding.

    They do not believe in objective truth. There is no reason in them.

  • Jesus told us not to cast pearls before swine.

    As always: Truth.

    If the liberals had half a brain, I’d use something like this.

    Only I’d need to talk really slowly and use fourth grade vocabulary.

    Every person in the United Stated has the same right to marry. These people do not want the opportunity to obtain a state-issued marriage license. They already can obtain one. They require that the state redefine marriage to include passive/sterile/unnatural buggery, that which Plato (Gorgias) termed “ridiculous, loathsome, disgraceful, shameful, and wretched.” They want the states to force the rest of us to believe that such shameful intercourse is equal to fecund, sacramental marriage, i.e., that which sodomy can never be: marriage’s moral and legal equivalent.

    Elsewhere, Plato provides other condemnations. See Laws 636c. Plato, speaking through the character of the Athenian stranger, rejects homosexual behavior as “unnatural” (para physin), describes it as an “enormity” or “crime” (tolmema), and explains that it derives from being enslaved to pleasure.

    Here are comments from Aristotle. “Others arise as a result of disease [νόσους] (or, in some cases, of madness, as with the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or with the slave who ate the liver of his fellow), and others are morbid states resulting from custom, e.g. the habit of plucking out the hair or of gnawing the nails, or even coals or earth, and in addition to these sex with men [ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν]; for these arise in some by nature and in others, as in those who have been the victims of lust from childhood, from habit.” [Nicomachean Ethics Book 7:5] [Arist Eth Nic 1148b 27-30]

    His equation of sodomy with nail-biting or eating coal was made to communicate that which they have in common: essential futility. Likely, Aristotle meant the weird comparisons to highlight his conclusion.

    There are no rationales for sin/vice only causes.

    Gay marriage is solely about those getting “married.” This narcissism is the main difference with valid marriage.

  • but “tolerance” is a pointless concept in the way you’re using it.

    No, it’s responding to the false assumption that “tolerance” is a universal good, by showing that the argument is much more suited to being used against their preferred outcome.

    The idea is to refute what they believe is a trump card.

  • but “tolerance” is a pointless concept in the way you’re using it. There’s things people have the right to say that you no doubt wouldn’t tolerate. Likewise there’s certain things the Catholic Church doesn’t tolerate cuz it believes they are wrong.

    mutual tolerance between two irreconcilable worldviews seems pretty much impossible.

    Yet somehow we manage it and have managed it for decades. Go figure.

  • Art Deco: past widespread agreement on cultural norms with a small minority of people against them is different than the 50-50 split you have today

  • JDP-
    the claim of a “50-50 split” is based on surveys…which have consistently been shown to understate how people will actually vote.

  • i’m speaking in general, that there is obviously a vast divergence between (speaking broadly) blue/red regions on basic moral assumptions, where the most committed believe that if the country doesn’t share these moral assumptions they’re evil. I don’t see how you have peaceful coexistence or compromise in this situation. It’s different from, to pick an obvious example, the ’60s, where you have a vocal minority rejecting several norms but the country generally still believes in them.

    If trends continue you might get the past in reverse: traditionalism tolerated within church walls but thought of as some kind of eccentricity

  • i’m speaking in general, that there is obviously a vast divergence between (speaking broadly) blue/red regions on basic moral assumptions, where the most committed believe that if the country doesn’t share these moral assumptions they’re evil.

    I very much disagree with that characterization.

    One side has “they disagree because they’re evil” as a basic tactic– the fruit of the seeds planted in the 60s, I’d argue. Demonization works, if the other side is too polite to scream back when lies are shouted at inappropriate outlets.

    The other side, by and large, believes that those who disagree are mistaken, haven’t got all the information or otherwise just drew the wrong conclusions.

    This is so well known that there’s a long running bit of wit to the effect: “Republicans think Democrats are wrong; Democrats think Republicans are evil.” There’s also variations that substitute stupid, evil and insane in various combinations.

  • There are, of course, individuals on the “right” who hate, and those on the “left” who don’t assume the disagreement is because of fear/ignorance/stupidity/bigotry/etc.

  • Here’s a question that recently occurred to me. When divorce and remarriage began to become more pervasive, and laws were passed forbidding discrimination on the basis of marital status, why was that not regarded as a dire threat to religious freedom in the way that same-sex “marriage” is today? Why was there not (as far as I can recall) concern that Catholic priests would eventually be obliged by law to preside at weddings for divorced persons, or that Knights of Columbus halls would have to host receptions for couples marrying outside the Church? Would that not be as much a violation of their religious principles as having to celebrate a same-sex wedding? And given the fact that divorce and remarriage are and probably always will be far more common than same-sex unions, wouldn’t that be far more likely to create situations in which a person or group must choose between their livelihood or their family relationships and their faith? What is different this time around? I say this NOT to minimize the nature of the threat to religious freedom and genuine tolerance that exists today but to ponder whether or not we have already been in this situation without fully realizing it.

  • There was a fair amount of resistance to no fault divorce for a very long time in this country, hence the popularity of Vegas for decades as a mecca for quicky divorces. Most religious denominations fought against it, and the Church was in the forefront of that fight. When that battle was lost in the sixties and the seventies, it was a foreshadowing of things to come. By the time that battle was lost, the Church was already engaged in the fight over abortion, which tended to overshadow everything else.

  • When divorce and remarriage began to become more pervasive, and laws were passed forbidding discrimination on the basis of marital status, why was that not regarded as a dire threat to religious freedom in the way that same-sex “marriage” is today?

    Was there the same push to force public approval and aid in granting divorces?

    Was there the same level of violence and attempt to criminalize disapproval of divorce?

    Was there a legal push to force those offering benefits to married couples to offer the same to divorced persons?

    As Donald points out– it WAS fought against.

    If you want to draw a line of similarity, you’ll have to find someone who has lost their likelihoods due to objection to divorce, and then many more examples– it’s dead easy for abortion or homosexual marriage.

    There is a line of similarity– the justifications offered fell apart.

  • and laws were passed forbidding discrimination on the basis of marital status

    Who was aware of them?

  • Foxfier you’re right about the evil/mistaken left/right dichotomy in political discourse, something I’d chalk up to the Left’s tendency to see a million things through the prism of the civil rights movement. but you still have this conflict between people who think certain things are sinful, and people who not only disagree, but think teaching that they’re sinful is harmful. Not a situation that’s really amenable to compromise

  • Elaine, the ‘divorced’ do not form pressure groups to engage in lawfare against third parties. Has anyone ever sued the Knights of Columbus to be able to use their halls for 2d marriage receptions?

  • but you still have this conflict between people who think certain things are sinful, and people who not only disagree, but think teaching that they’re sinful is harmful. Not a situation that’s really amenable to compromise

    JDP, have you forgotten or were you not there? The use of the language of sin was not the predominant way of assessing homosexuality as a phenomenon 35 years ago. It was certainly a way, but not the exclusive way or the modal way (at least in public life and mundane life where I was living). Homosexuality was more than anything else as another booth in the carny in and amongst all the entropy around us. You had characters like Cleve Jones on their soapboxes, but they did not look any more dignified than the rest of them. In everyday life the subject was surrounded by embarrassment or annoyance. The difference in world view was between vociferous homosexual men making displays of equal parts petulence, exhibitionism, and pathos; and a general public looking on with a mixture of sentiments. What has happened in the intervening years has less to do with the homosexual population than with how the professional managerial bourgeoisie understands itself as against previous generations and as against other classes in society.

  • “What has happened in the intervening years has less to do with the homosexual population than with how the professional managerial bourgeoisie understands itself as against previous generations and as against other classes in society.”


  • i wasn’t there no, i’m a young’n

  • JDP-
    I think that’s just a useful tool; the movement made most famous by Alinsky’s ‘Rules’ is a more likely target.

    Also, on shifting to “compromise” you miss that tolerance is possible– except that one side, the side that believes the other is evil, hateful, crazy and/or stupid— wants to enforce a “compromise” where everyone just agrees with them. On pain of everything they can throw at the heretics.

  • Interesting remark about the term ‘friend.’ Recently, one method that’s been adopted in some classrooms for pre-school and kindergarten now is to refer to have the children refer to each other as friend. Even the teacher uses the term collectively, such as “Friends, let’s clean up now.” It’s thought that if they use that word the children will automatically see each otehr in that light. NOt sure whether it makes much of a difference or not.

  • Steven Sailer (a dubious character, I know) offered a more colloquial assessment:

    Look, principles don’t have anything to do with it. It’s a popularity contest. Gays are popular and Mormons aren’t. Polygamous fundamentalist Mormons are extremely unpopular, so nobody is going to do anything for them.

    You get past a certain age, and progressiste politics seems more and more like high school. We have middle-aged men informing us that it is just imperative we have some social policy that never entered their heads for the first 20-odd years they walked this Earth. (See this guy: These people do have, when carefully examined, a body of moral sentiments. It is naive, however, to think that is what is really driving this in most cases.

    And in response, what do they get? Here we have a United States Senator (who was also the budget director and special trade representative) telling the world he takes direction on matters moral and political (and, implicitly, religious) from his callow post-adolescent son. Said U.S. Senator is armed with a baccalaureate degree from Dartmouth College and a juris doctor from the University of Michigan. An attorney and counselor at law makes arguments for a living, no? Well, evidently not to his son, to whom he was ‘rock-solid supportive’ [smarmy term the son’s] from the get-go. You could call that a moral point of view as well, but it seems rather a function of the disordered internal dynamics of the Senator’s own household (which member of the mental health trade will no doubt bless with the encomium ‘healthy’).

  • Jon, I’d guess that– and the infamous banning of “best friends” in various schools– is what brought the comment to the Justice’s mind.

  • Plato probably would have liked to ban “best friends” too. When was that banned in schools? I was unaware of that.

  • As long as people, including many ,if not most, conservatives, stop being intimidated by accusations of bigotry, the left will continue to hurl that accusation every chance they get.

  • Jon-
    I believe it’s mostly in the UK, but one school doing it hit the news a year or two ago, and the spread of the fad is in the news again.
    Teachers in England are banning school children from keeping best friends, instead encouraging the youngsters to play in large groups, The Sun reported.
    The controversial policy was implemented in certain schools with the idea of avoiding pain for children who experience break-ups with a close pal, according to the newspaper.
    “I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together,” U.K.-based psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni told the newspaper.
    “They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.”

    fighting it is the best way I can think of to keep folks from curling up when accused of such things, thus the post.
    Well, that and the sheer, mind-bending backwardsness of the side that has attempted mass murder and is trying to force everyone to change to fit their biases engages in name-calling.

  • I don’t know. It seems we keep trying to excise suffering from life, as C. S. Lewis seemed to have remarked years back. In the twentieth century as early has his day this sort of thing was happening: people trying to change life or to live it artificially so they don’t feel pain, when pain is what you need to grow and to learn, to become more human and more connected. Pain is often the way back to God. Lewis said it is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

  • But the real problem of bullying and children acting out is not solved by the group thing. Bullying grew worse through the years when group work was really implemented. So the problem is that children are not taught and trained in morality and decency. And changing words as you said doesn’t change realities. Children still act the same.

  • Ya’ll old folks are lucky you don’t have Facebook/aren’t FB friends with people of Generation Y.

  • As long as people, including many ,if not most, conservatives, stop being intimidated by accusations of bigotry, the left will continue to hurl that accusation every chance they get.

    Or intimidated by conflict.

  • Jon-
    who says the issue of “bullying” is about anything but forcing kids to profess the “right” things? Behavior doesn’t matter, or the adults wouldn’t be acting like the bullies that tried to make my high school years bad.

  • The business about ‘bullying’ is a pretext.

  • It’s complicated. Bullying arises for many different reasons, but when children are not taught morality and decency, their actions become far worse and bullying increases exponentially. There’s nothing checking their nature. No discipline. No clear teaching regarding positive action. I know you had a bad school experience as have many people including myself. My middle school years were awful! Middle schools seem to be even worse behaved than high schools, come to think of it. What I saw was that morality wasn’t taught. Tradition wasn’t extolled. Teachers wanted the kids to behave well, but the school system and its staff including teachers didn’t support good behavior. It didn’t have the tools to promote that. It fell victim to the cerebral fallacy, that humanity’s problems owe themselves to a lack of mental education. There is no education of the heart. No education in morality. No education in behavior. And schools cannot get punitive for fear of lawsuits, which is another issue. Most people familiarized with the state of classrooms in many schools today will tell you it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it to teach there or to learn there. It’s a dead end and a waste of time. Not to mention the horrible language, threats, and violence you come across there. It’s crazy. The saying is true that you have to be crazy to want to teach in the public shcools today. You have to be the type that thrives not only on constant challenge but on chaos, and the type that doesn’t mind if a brat one quarter of your age is telling you they’re going to beat you up in the parking lot because you reprimanded them. Horrible place for teachers and kids.

  • “The business about ‘bullying’ is a pretext.” A lie they repeat ad nauseam to quash debate and villify Christians.

    When the bigots win, gay “marriage” will be legal. Then, it will be mandatory.

    Holy masturbating monkeys, Batman!

  • T. Shaw, bullying really exists, but I agree they use it as a reason to further shape and mold kids in a direction that is not really productive or good for society. It becomes an excuse to endorse wrong things at times. What they won’t do is teach morality. That’s not an option in the public schools, yet it is the only way children can learn to behave well and get along with each other and respect their teachers.

  • JL –
    I know at least some of the “old folks” here facebook with Millennials (Ys/Echo Boomers/”the 9/11 generation”), because they are “friends” with me.

    I will also vouch that, going off of those of my generation who have become aware that I share ANY unpopular view with them, we’re the most aware of exactly what kind of violence our “peers” are willing to commit on those who become acceptable targets. At best, they’ll try to destroy your social life; at worse, they show up with products from the latest target of a boycott in hopes of smearing your dying face with it.
    Most of the time, they’ll be satisfied with vandalism and other attempts at intimidation.

  • Jon-
    that bullying exists doesn’t mean it’s not a pretext. The anti-bullying campaigns have been amazingly focused not on physical assaults against the intellectually inclined, or in stopping the “boys will be boys” or “they’re just being girls” mindset to “pranks” (which may cost hundreds of dollars and/or physical harm, and would be assault in the adult world), nor even in keeping bullies from exploiting the rule system in order to bully more effectively (such as where raising your arms to shield your face/glasses is “fighting”)… they’ve been focused on those who will not be “accepting” of “diversity.” Such as the little girl that objected to having a boy in the girl’s bathroom, because he “identified” as a girl. Or wearing a flag shirt on Cinco de Mayo.

  • Yes, bullying opened the door for them to engage in further indoctrination. Now they have the floor to brainwash kids even more. What I wanted to get across though, is that bullying really does exist and that it really has grown worse in recent years. It’s just that they’re not really addressing it. They’re just promoting further tolerance for deviancy.

  • What’s wrong with a flag shirt on Cinco de Mayo?

  • What’s wrong with a flag shirt on Cinco de Mayo?

    It’s “bullying.” Because wearing the stars and stripes when openly racist organizations are waving the Mexican flag is hateful, you see.

  • I think she’s referring to an incident in Tucson involving school kids. Something to do with cultural clash and Arizona polarization.

  • Well, Foxfier, we have a cult of diversity in this country. It is in a sense our new religion. We no longer have a civic religion. The diversity cult seems to be the only thing that works, and it reflects a very leftist view of reality, too.

  • Oh, I’m not aware of this happening. I thought you meant it’d be wrong to wear a Mexican flag shirt on Cinco de Mayo.

  • No, not “an” incident, although each year there tends to be at least one in Arizona. Kind of like the “no best friends” rule, it has spread.

  • Foxfier

    I agree with the fighting part. But I believe we need to be more offensive than just defensive in our approach. For instance, instead of waiting for Al Sharpton to call Dr. Ben Carson or some other black conservative and Uncle Tom, go on the offensive and call him, and others like him, out for the Uncle Toms they really are. Only they are doing the bidding of the white left wing slave masters. And we have plenty of facts at our disposal to back that claim up. And not just how the welfare state has harmed blacks more than anyone else. You can point out the fact that around 70% of black children are born to single mothers, which can be tied to leftist ideology in action. Let’s not forget the black genocide of abortion, to quote black pro-life leaders. I mean when you consider blacks make up only 12% of our population, but account for about a third of all abortions.

    Another thing is not allowing the left to define the terms of the debate. That has gone on for far too long. Anyone who has engaged in any kind of debate, knows that he who defines the terms wins before the debate even starts. That’s just barely the tip of the iceberg.

  • Pingback: About Same-Sex 'Marriage' | Big Pulpit
  • Jon, school officials have an obligation to enforce standards of conduct in the classroom, in the halls, in the lunchroom, and on the school property generally. The recipients of ‘bullying’ are generally boys who manifest a certain vulnerability. That is correlated with academic performance but not identified with it. With the girls, the business is more esoteric (as always). Crapsters like Dan Savage have used this common and persistent problem in human relations as a wedge to promote sodomy and subcultures organized around sodomy. That is outside the proper purview of any public institution (much less schools) and is disgusting to boot.

    I sound stupid stating the obvious, but adults cannot be present at all times and there are real limits to the prudence of adult intervention in the social dynamics which obtain amongst the young. Boys and girls need to learn emotional resilience and boys need to be taught to fight and take a punch.

    Now, the powers that be have created a school system which exacerbates problems baked in the cake. The very unseriousness of secondary education in this country renders the social competition among the young paramount in junior and senior high schools. If they were in a mix of academic and vocational training programs with people of a variety of ages but a greater similiarity of interests, you would have fewer problems (and they would accomplish more while young).

  • Teachers in England are banning school children from keeping best friends, instead encouraging the youngsters to play in large groups, The Sun reported.

    The teaching profession attracts more than its share of the world’s officious people.

  • I agree with the fighting part. But I believe we need to be more offensive than just defensive in our approach. For instance, instead of waiting for Al Sharpton to call Dr. Ben Carson or some other black conservative and Uncle Tom, go on the offensive and call him, and others like him, out for the Uncle Toms they really are.

    I disagree.

    When the other side goes for juvenile tactics like name calling, we point out where the issue is and keep acting like rational adults. Otherwise, they are setting the argument by their name calling– as the amazingly undaunted by his “welcome” archbishop from San Fran did, pointing out where their setting is wrong. As he pointed out, this isn’t about discriminating against homosexuals– they have the exact same ability to enter a marriage as anyone else, the argument is that the marriage is centered around having and raising kids. In that context, “homosexual marriage” obviously loses its ability to claim discrimination, because the meaning of isn’t “marry whoever gets you hot.”

    In the “Uncle Tom” example, it lets the folks who think name calling and insults are the height of argument set the assumption that skin color matters.
    (I use to always put in a joke about not needing sun screen here, but one of my Marines found out that he could burn if he hadn’t had sun on his back for over a year and then laid out on the beach all day. Talk about an ugly shock.)

  • I sound stupid stating the obvious, but adults cannot be present at all times and there are real limits to the prudence of adult intervention in the social dynamics which obtain amongst the young. Boys and girls need to learn emotional resilience and boys need to be taught to fight and take a punch.

    I propose that step one be that they stop forcing the social dynamics into the false dynamic of “you were born the same year! This is the only time it will happen, but due to that birth date you will spend the first third of your life REQUIRED to socialize only with those of your own age, rather than those who are doing the same thing you are doing.”

    Get rid of age-grades, and a large part of the problem goes away– especially if you are allowed to drop those who do not want to be involved in a class. Get rid of “zero tolerance” (which never ends up ACTUALLY being zero tolerance– it’s CYA and pound on the odd ones that make waves) and hold teachers responsible for their action or inaction, just like any other adult. Bringing “recess” back might help, too.

  • Get rid of age-grades, and a large part of the problem goes away– especially if you are allowed to drop those who do not want to be involved in a class.

    I think that works if you are speaking of secondary schools. Elementary schools might have separate tracks delineated by performance metrics but should have a fairly similar curricula (studies toward the mastery of English grammar, arithmetic, elementary algebra, and the fundamentals of American history, geography, and civics). Within each track, however, the classes are going to be roughly age-graded as the track will be composed of students adapted to a similar pace of learning.

  • Art-
    in theory, yes; in practice… well, I know that I finished my work in the first ten minutes of class, and I’m not amazing.
    About 10-15%% of the other kids didn’t bother to do the work, but got advanced at the end of the year anyways.
    Some folks needed help and took up most of the teacher’s time.
    And most of the kids were being distracted in one way or another by either the quick or didn’t bother kids.

    Just because the paths are going to be pretty much the same doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be going down them at the same speed.

    Add in the ability to “challenge” classes and organization gets a lot easier…

    but we’re getting into the weeds, now. 🙂 I keep meaning to “design” my dream school, but keep getting distracted by trying to figure out how we’re going to educate the kids…..

  • Art,

    Get with the program.

    The publick skool’s sole mission is to produce state-worshiping zombies.

  • i do not know the efficacy, that is dependent upon each unique encounter, of engaging same-sexers in debate. however, i do know that we are all called upon to testify to the truth. it is not often a good idea to allow evil ideas to be expressed without opposition.

  • Elaine I think it is not such a close comparison as it might seem. Divorce, thought hurtful and to be avoided, was never an abomination. Moses could tolerate divorce.

    When the marriage sacrament is a good thing, with the proper matter, divorce had to do with sundering a bond that could have been natural and good, and carried with it unhappy consequences for the individuals and the rest of the family. So it is something to be avoided but not in the same league as the sexual perversion of sodomy. Same sex activity is always been viewed as an unmitigated evil, and has not been seen as natural or good. And often the unhappy consequences are mortal.

  • I think bullying really exists and has worsened in recent years. But it has become an excuse for schools to get on their soapbox about homosexuality, arguing that the children being picked on are homosexuals. So all they do is teach tolerance of the alternative lifestyle. They’re not really dealing with actual bullying, but promoting a secular or statist agenda.

Tell Us What You Really Think Greg

Wednesday, March 27, AD 2013

Greg Gutfeld unloads on Jim Carrey, an aging Canadian comedian whose career is currently in the process of tanking, over Carrey’s remakably unfunny “Hee-Haw” attack on the late Charlton Heston and anyone who supports the Second Amendment.  Nothing is sadder than a professional funnyman who does not realize that his time in the limelight has passed him by.  I have two words for Mr. Carrey:  Jerry Lewis.  Oh well, perhaps the French will hail him as a genius too.

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22 Responses to Tell Us What You Really Think Greg

  • Jim Carrey wouldn’t dare make fun of Muslims that way. Thing is, Heston often encountered that kind of ridicule often his gun rights stance when he was still alive. But he always responded with the kind of grace I never could.

  • This reminds me of the times when mother has called you two or three time to get out of bed and get ready for school and your bedroom door opens and father is walking toward you. You are suddenly wide awake the covers are off and you realize the truth detector is staring you in the face. We needed a wake up call like Greg’s.

  • I’ve seen this clip before. I want to spread this clip on toast and have it every morning as part of a balanced breakfast. I want to sew this clip on the back of a leather jacket and ride around on a motorcycle.

  • How pathetic Jim Carrey is. Somehow he thinks he is still funny.

    If I were to become Benevolent Dictator of the United States, I would put most of Hollywood in a detainment camp on one of the Aleutians, seize their property and money and use it to pay down the national debt, and turn Hollywood into a Naval and Air Force bombing range.

    These dufuses have done more to wreck this country than anyone else, with the dufuses running public education running second.

  • The problem is that the doofuses are often quite talented at what they do, if at very little else in their lives. They use their talent for the relentless marketing of vice. It would help if various other parties (mothers and fathers) were willing and able to formulate arguments contrary to vice, but in general people are fairly complacent about what goes on around them, or, push comes to shove, value commodious living and not much else (see Portman, Robert, Esq).

  • Rob Portman is the prime example of why I am disgusted at the Republican Party.

  • 1) Jim Carey is wrong and his video and tweet were stupid and offensive.

    2) This Greg fellow is an idiot.

    3) Jim Carey’s stupidity does not take away from the fact that he is a fantastic actor and a comedic genius– although of the low brow variety.

  • 1. Agreed.
    2. Disagree. The rant is a masterpiece.
    3. Please. The only one of his movies I could tolerate is “Liar, Liar” and that one I found intriguing only because of the concept of an attorney always having to tell the truth. (Applied for twenty-four hours to attorneys worldwide and civilization would teeter!) Carrey is a poor man’s Jerry Lewis and Lewis, the French to the contrary, was far from a comedic genius. If plagiarism were a crime in show business, instead of a way of life, the lawsuit by Lewis against Carrey would be vastly more amusing than any of Carrey’s movies.

  • JL – I’m a big fan of Gutfeld’s show Red Eye. Not exactly highbrow humor there either, but it’s funny. I also like Jim Carrey. I thought that The Truman Show was great. But Carrey’s video wasn’t funny, and his anti-vaccine stuff is fair game.

  • And I should add – Gutfeld used to work for Prevention Magazine and he gets really hot about the anti-vaccine stuff.

  • Other than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and perhaps Bruce Almighty, I don’t think Carrey’s starred in anything that hasn’t been a box office or critical flop (and often both) since Truman Show. Even Travolta didn’t have that long a down period.

  • 1) OK.
    2) Disagree. Absurd hyperbole and wishing ill upon someone else (not to mention it was staged). Sounds like an idiot and an asshole. But I guess he agreed with our point of view so that makes anything he says and the manner in which he says it OK.
    3) Agree to disagree.

  • Regardless of your political views, to mock a colleague is one thing, but to slam him when he is dead is altogether a pitiful act.

    Jim Carrey may want to leave the Political satire to professionals….say Ted Nugent. 🙂

  • Paul – As per earlier conversation, Chris Plante’s radio show the last few days has been talking about Marylanders giving up on their state and moving to VA.

  • Pinky,

    To me that’s an even worse option. Northern Virginia is just as liberal as Maryland, and it’s just not as pleasant an area to be in, politics aside. If I’m moving, it’s well south of Virginia.

    Speaking of WMAL, not sure if you were listening to the state delegate from PG County discussing giving driving licences to illegal, err, undocumented immigrants. Whatever one thinks about the issue, I couldn’t help but weep that this person was an elected official, that’s how idiotic she sounded. If only the guy on the other end of the line – Dan Bongino – could get elected in this state.

  • Well, there was one email from a now-Floridian, and another guy was talking about South Carolina.

    I only caught a little of today’s show and none of yesterday’s.

  • Northern Virginia is just as liberal as Maryland, and it’s just not as pleasant an area to be in, politics aside. If I’m moving, it’s well south of Virginia.

    Northern Virginia is near as liberal as Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Baltimore has a different sensibility than Washington and the rural zones, small towns, and small cities in Maryland are not liberal in their politics. State boundaries are not respecters of settlement patterns and unfortunately the quintessential Maryland and (increasingly) the quintessential Virginia have seen their political dynamic ruined by the unfortunate influence of the federal capital.

  • Whatever one thinks about the issue, I couldn’t help but weep that this person was an elected official, that’s how idiotic she sounded.

    Democratic politicos are motivated by the ‘plight’ of potential clients (and potential voters). The interests of their common-and-garden constituents do not motivate them.

  • Here is the conversation I was referring to. I missed the later call from the GOP delegate.

  • Thanks for that gem in the crown of Maryland’s legislature.

    If I have this right, we’ll give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants for safety reasons, but only after they’ve filed tax returns in the state for two years? If it’s such a safety concern, why wait? And what about all the spouses, and kids, and students who aren’t working? If licenses are going to improve Maryland’s safety so much, shouldn’t we be trying to get the risky 16-year-old illegals into the DMV? You can’t make the safety argument at the same time you put up restrictions. And you can’t make the restrictions argument at the same time you say that the licenses won’t have any official use other than for driving.

  • I’ve been able to avoid watching the thing.

    That said, there’s a line that folks keep playing from it, something about “Charleston Heston’s films are no longer in demand”… and a little voice in my head says “as opposed to, what, Ace Ventura Six? Mask 4? Hey, doesn’t this guy remind you of the class clown, turned up to eleven and with a bigger budget episode… like… fifty?”

    It is impressive how elastic his face is, and that he managed to take acting like that kid that’s in every single class and turn it into a pretty good career, but…he’s not that funny. Or that impressive. He’s a ham, yeah, and that’s not a bad thing– until he starts getting nasty, and thinking that making money means he’s to be taken seriously.

  • Dear American friends,

    Well being an Eastern Orthodox Christian from Russia, I stand with all conservatives. But listening to this parody, which I don’t approve, I heard a very good music. Is he parodying a concrete song? If yes, where can I find it? To what sub-genre of country music does this composition belong?

    Thank you very much and sorry for my poor English.


Screen Pilates: Frank Thring

Wednesday, March 27, AD 2013

Frank Thring as Pilate



Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov and Telly Savalas may be read here, here, here, here and here.

The late Frank Thring, an Australian actor, had the distinction of playing both Pilate and Herod Antipas in major films, Pilate in Ben Hur (1959) and Herod Antipas in King of Kings (1961).

In Ben Hur we get a glimpse of the backstory of Pilate.  Thring portrays Pilate as an urbane Roman aristocrat dismayed that he is being sent to govern bleak and hot Judea.  At a party given by Arrius to anounce his adoption of Ben Hur, go here to view the video,  Pilate indicates his dismay at the prospect.  After Ben Hur wins his famous chariot race, Pilate cynically crowns Ben Hur as the “one true God” for the moment, of the people.  Go here to watch the clip.

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3 Responses to Screen Pilates: Frank Thring

  • Pontius Pilate serves as a rather strange figure in scripture. It is often expressed that he caved into popularity by listening to the mob and having Jesus crucified. He is described as someone who could have used his job to do the right thing, but he ignobly past that by. And so his reputation from the Christian standpoint is tarnished. He failed in his public role at so pivotal a moment as that one.

  • This series on “Screen Pilates” has been very informative. As a trivia note: there are some literary scholars who think Pilate, rather than the reluctant Pope Celestine V, is the unnamed figure in The Inferno whom Dante describes as having “in his cowardice made the great denial” — i.e. denial of responsibility for Christ’s death.

  • I had never heard that before Elaine. Of course the scholarship regarding The Divine Comedy is huge and I have only dipped a toe in that vast sea.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Tuesday, March 26, AD 2013

Christians are born for combat.

Pope Leo XIII



To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.”(13) Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.


Pope Leo XIII


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14 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pope Leo XIII

The Ten Commandments of the Science Fiction Writer

Tuesday, March 26, AD 2013

Ten Commandments



My co-blogger Darwin has a good post at his blog, Darwin Catholic, expressing his irritation at three laws proposed by the late science fiction writer Arthur Clarke.  Go here to read it.  The proposing of laws seems to often go with the territory of being a science fiction writer.  Asimov had his laws of robotics, for example.  Reading Darwin’s post propelled me into imagining the ten commandments for science fiction writers, and here they are:



1.  You are a science fiction writer, and will write only science fiction:  no fantasy, no (spit) urban fantasy, no (gag) romance novels disguised as fantasy.  This rule is subject to being overruled if you really, really need the cash.

2.  You will not bow down to the idols of popular taste or to what will sell in the mass market.  Kindle and e-publishing will have your sole worship.

3.  You will not take the name of science in vain and have more than three scientific absurdities in each story that you write.

4.  All the rest of creation labors for only six days.  For science fiction writing wretches remember the words of Heinlein:  “Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.

5.  Honor your father and your mother as they may well be the ones supporting you as you seek fame and fortune by scribbling endlessly for a living.

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4 Responses to The Ten Commandments of the Science Fiction Writer

  • Speaking of murdering science fiction writers, did you ever read the two fun “murder at SF convention” novels Bimbos of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool, Don?

  • No Darwin I missed those two. The best parody of a science fiction convention I have read is contained in Heinlein’s Number of the Beast, a dreadful book unless one realizes that Heinlein meant it as a parody of science fiction in general, and his own work in particular.

  • Donald,

    I know of no other way to contact you, so this is a bit off topic. Have you read Joe Holland’s Modern Catholic Social Teaching? I am through the first chapters and I’ve noticed your interest in history, so I was curious what you thought of it.

    I am trying to brush up on my history of CST (especially pre-Rerum Novarum) to better understand the more contemporary encyclicals, do you know of any other good sources for this?

    I’d also welcome your thoughts, Darwin!


  • “Joe Holland’s Modern Catholic Social Teaching?”
    No, but I will put it on my ever lengthening lists of books to keep an eye out for!

Screen Pilates: Telly Savalas

Tuesday, March 26, AD 2013


Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen and Hristov Shopov may be read here, here, here and here.

Telly Savalas in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) gives a fairly stolid performance as Pilate.  He portrays Pilate as a world weary Roman functionary to whom Christ is merely a problem he does not need.  When he transfers Christ’s case to Herod, we see Jose Ferrer who gives a strikingly good portrayal of Herod Antipas.  Ferrer portrayed Herod as a man touched against his will by the words of John the Baptist.  Now however he has executed John the Baptist, and has given himself up for damned, taking refuge in drink.

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9 Responses to Screen Pilates: Telly Savalas

  • Rod Steiger was undeniably a great Pilate and Jesus of Nazareth is one of my all time favorites. But when I picture Pilate in my mind’s eye, I see and hear Hristov Shopov. He was just perfect for the role. His physical look (much like Steiger), but also his ability to convey so much with his facial expressions. He is hands down my favorite ~ he’s who I picture when I think of Pilate.

    Funny how certain movies have left me with ALWAYS picturing a certain actor when I think of the real-life person. Shopov is Pilate. Cavaziel or Robert Powell for Jesus. James Farentino is Peter. Olivia Hussey or Maia Morgenstern for the Blessed Mother.

    The Passion and Jesus of Nazareth are definitely my all-time keepers.

  • It was for this role that Telly Savalas shaved his head, creating the signature look that he kept for the rest of his career. So if it hadn’t been for Pilate, Kojak might have had hair….

  • I have watched “The Passion of The Christ” and “Jesus of Nazareth” a couple of times and those films are amazing! I will have to watch “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and see how good the movie is. Thank you for a great movie suggestion. This will be a perfect film to watch tonight with the family and feel Jesus’ undying love in our hearts. Thank you!

  • I think you will enjoy it Erin. The sequence after the Resurrection is especially good:

  • Wow, I hadn’t heard of Telly Savales in years. Guess he’s deceased by now.

  • Telly Savales was a kind man. Many years ago, my brother Gerald was shopping in a hat store in NYC. He noticed that Mr. Savales was in the store and approached him to ask what sort of hat he wore on Kojak. Telly spent some time looking with Gerry to find one of the right size and then bought it for him as a gift. As far as we know, there were no bodyguards or any entourage. Just a simple, touching encounter with a humble and kind man. I don’t think my brother knew it was paid for by Savales until he went to the cashier. They’re both gone now but I hope they get together occasionally in the Lord’s presence.

  • I have heard similar stories about Mr. Savalas, William. May his soul rest in peace, as may the soul of your brother Gerald.

  • Thank you and a Happy Easter to you and yours.

Who really deserves to be stomped on?

Monday, March 25, AD 2013

Across the state from Florida Gulf Coast University—so far, this year’s “March Madness” Cinderella team—a student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Ryan Rotella, claims to have been suspended from his Intercultural Communications class.

The problem?

According to CBS12 News, Rotella is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  His professor, Dr. Deandre Poole, asked students to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper and step on it.  Rotella refused, saying the act was insulting to his faith.

Surely, if Dr. Poole had students write “liberal activists,” “gays,” illegal immigrants,” “maggot-infested dopers,” “Obama,” or any other number of names or phrases on a piece of paper and step on it, and the students refused, they would be commended and Dr. Poole would be put on notice, no?

Rotella should be commended and the professor “put on notice,” no?

Let’s not forget, however, this is contemporary American higher education and not just as it being enacted in classrooms in the sunny State of Florida.

Conservative news outlets and websites jumped on the story, festooning their headlines with eye-catching statements including “Professor Makes Students ‘Stomp on Jesus.'”

To protect the institution’s “brand” from these right-wing media assaults, FAU’s administration issued the following statement:

A recent classroom exercise in an Intercultural Communication course at Florida Atlantic University has attracted public attention and has aroused concern on the part of some individuals and groups. The exercise was based on an example presented in a study guide to the textbook Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach5th Edition, written by a college professor who is unaffiliated with FAU. The course is taught by a non-tenured instructor on an annual appointment.

Contrary to some media reports, no students were forced to take part in the exercise; the instructor told all of the students in the class that they could choose whether or not to participate.

While we do not comment on personnel matters, and while student privacy laws prevent us from commenting on any specific student at the University, we can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class.

What is intriguing about this story is not that  FAU’s statement doesn’t contest the fact that Dr. Poole did invite the class to participate in this activity.  Nor is it intriguing that FAU’s statement contradicts Rotella’s, in that “no student has been…suspended.”  No, that’s all a sideshow, as those two items deflect from what really is interesting, namely, what must be going on in the minds of professors, like Dr. Poole, who believe they must introduce an activity like stomping on the name of Jesus into their classrooms.

Yes, they surely will argue, academic freedom guarantees their right to “push the boundaries” to get students “to think for themselves.”  In light of this lofty ideal, who should give one hoot about offending Christians?

Yet, this is to overlook what is intriguing about this story: The fact that professors don’t need to engage students’ feet in the activity of stomping on pieces of paper containing the name “Jesus” to learn to think for themselves.  After all, isn’t that  organ located at the opposite end of the human anatomy?

Then, too, there’s the administration’s “apology.”  FAU’s administration wrote:

This exercise will not be used again. The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.

Now, this  apology is very interesting.  Note how, as with so many so-called “apologies” today, the activity that’s being apologized for is “any offense this caused.”  The act itself—stomping on the name of Jesus in an FAU  classroom—doesn’t merit an apology.  No, what requires an apology is that some close-minded or perhaps even bigoted party or parties, like Ryan Rotella, took offense.  Apparently, Dr. Poole and others like Dr. Poole never “intend” to cause offense by introducing two-footed activities into their classrooms to get their students to think for themselves.

Perhaps students like Ryan Rotella should stomp on Dr. Poole and FAU administration as well.



To read the CBS12 article, click on the following link:

To read the FoxNews Radio story, click on the following link:

To read the FAU administration’s statement, click on the following link:

To access The Motley Monk’s webpage, click on the following link:

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17 Responses to Who really deserves to be stomped on?

  • Precisely the same sort of device used by the Tokugawa Shogunate to ferret out Christians in Seventeenth Century Japan:

    The Professor involved is Vice Chair of the Palm Beach County Democrat Party:

  • This story isn’t passing the smell test for me. The student says he was “suspended from the class”. What does that mean? I don’t think “suspended” is the right word. As for the act itself, it makes sense in an Intercultural Communications class. I know that the whole radical professor challenging students assumptions thing is trite, actually laughable, but presumably that’s going to be an important part of intercultural communications. If you want to appreciate why Muslims get offended by acts against the Koran, you can probably stir up the same feelings by stomping on the name of Jesus. Am I saying that becaue I want to stomp on the name of Jesus? Of course not. Am I equating all religions? No. I’m saying that intercultural communication requires you to empathize with the other person, and examining your own assumptions is an important part of that.

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  • Why not just explain the act and engage the students by writing how other individuals and groups might respond? That would be a “two-fer”: encouraging thought and writing. Perhaps that’s what’s laughable: stomping on pieces of paper is viewed as more educational than thinking and writing are!

  • Pinky, it is no part of any class to have students engage in acts against their religion. Presumably the Professor would understand that if one of his students wrote “Obama” on a piece of paper and requested that he stamp on it.

  • Thanks for reminding me about the Japanese practice with the icons… I had read about it years and years ago, but had forgotten. Have to say it would be pretty effective with true Catholics.

    Pinky… Did you watch the videos that go with the story, read the story. It was all over the news down there in FL. Apparently he was suspended from the class after complaining to the professor’s supervisor. Not until after following up on the complaint did the school issue the so-called apology.

  • I would show up at the administrator’s office with an ax handle and go Buford Pusser on the place.

  • I would show up at the administrator’s office with an ax handle and go Buford Pusser on the place.

    We can have some stylistic variation on that point.

  • People are always pushing the boundaries. It seems we’re reaching a dead end academically. When people resort to blasphemy like that it demonstrates we haven’t got anthing worthwhile left to do.

  • Please correct me if I’m wrong, but our Holy Church is graced by courageous men and women that stood up to the demands of tyrants that threatened certain death if they didn’t renounce the One True God.
    O.T. and throughout the centuries.
    The context is different ofcourse, however in an ever growing anti-Christian landscape what Ryan decided to do is commendable.
    As mentioned by Monk, engage the topic in speech and writing. This physical “step” has painful history associated with it.

  • Why not stomp on Mohamed or Martin Luther King? Jesus is easy pickings for left wing professors, because Christians let it be that way. Too many believe that being Christian simply means being nice and remaining neutral and faceless on all things. Jesus’ Crucifixion and the the countless Christians martyred for their faith even to this day, stand in testimony to the folly of such a notion. Far too many choose to ignore the wisdom of Saint Paul when he said, ‘Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect’.

  • Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

    He will justly forsake rascals that cast slurs on, and brawled against, His religion.

  • John-
    I feel the angst.
    We are Trusting in God by standing up publicly when assaulted,( HHS mandate, abortion…) however tit for tat won’t advance the cause for Christ.
    Having the courage of St. M. Kolbe, St. Peter, St. Joan of Arc and the list goes on, is the way proven.
    Yes, like a lamb led to the slaughter.
    This apparent weakness however, is the Power of Almighty God working on the conversions of countless pagans.
    Trust in this method is holiness.

  • Poole’s behavior is only eclipsed by the administrative gibberish with a sophomoric approach.

  • We are with the student. IN his honor we did a youtube video.

    google: Stand Up – Don’t Tread on Jesus , Youtube

    What are your thoughts?

  • Thanks! Well done.

  • To the YouTube post.
    Standing Up is expected from all Christians when Our Lord is blasphemed.
    Thank you for your time and talent to stand at the foot of the Cross.
    The majority of Christians run and hide.
    Sound familiar?

You Pro-Life Torturer You

Monday, March 25, AD 2013

12 Responses to You Pro-Life Torturer You

  • The main body of the public interest bar harbors a parasite and purveyor of moral fraud? Quick, somebody get on the horn to The Elders.

  • This is very sad. I notice that there is no mention of the torture suffered by women who are forced to abort against their will, and no talk of protecting THEIR right to choose in any way. (That’s not even counting the torture experienced by babies in the womb who are developed enough to feel pain when they’re aborted.) No, it’s only abortion that must be protected.
    Sad indeed. Human rights are important, and stopping torture is a noble goal. So sorry to see it hijacked for political purposes. Amnesty International was a good group to support, until the pro-aborts staged a coup within the group, kicked to pro-lifers out and turned it into a pro-abortion group. I heard the original founder of the group was pro-life. But now they’re comprimised. Maybe we’ll just have to pray about human rights, instead of supporting a group.

  • It logically follows from his argument that religions that prohibit abortion are torturing their followers. No doubt, freedom of religion never anticipated the freedom to torture, and so any religious group that teaches against abortion must be eliminated.

  • The United Nations should be abolished.

  • The United Nations should be abolished.

    C’mon. That would be a horrible injury to the better restaurants of New York, Paris, and Geneva.

  • Good on ’em.

  • If a fetus could speak; “Okay..lets see. Human rights? Nah, I wish I would be considered as being an animal. Then I would have a better chance at being born.”

  • [there is a move afoot at the United Nations to hold that banning abortion is torture]

    And ironically, those who are in the worst possible position to combat this are those who sought years ago during the whole enhanced interrogation debate to even define what they meant by the word “torture.”

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  • And ironically, those who are in the worst possible position to combat this are those who sought years ago during the whole enhanced interrogation debate to even define what they meant by the word “torture.”

    Well, no– those in the worst position to combat this insanity are those who rejected actual harm being required for a thing to be “torture.”

    Defining torture traditionally makes it easier to fight this, while “not nice stuff I want to oppose” and “doesn’t give someone a thing I want to give them” is right in line as a predictable, though especially horrific, abuse.

  • [Well, no– those in the worst position to combat this insanity are those who rejected actual harm being required for a thing to be “torture.”]

    You saying that torture requires actual harm, right?

  • I refuse to be dragged into that argument again.

    Do your peacock imitation for cheap grace somewhere else if you can’t manage to engage the posts’ topic.