Horror Movies Redone With Kittens

Saturday, October 31, AD 2015

A cute PSA from ASPCA; it features The Purring (1980), The Texas Chainpaw Meowsacre (1974), Psycat(1960) and Cattie (1976).  (Only possibly nasty part is the paper cutout of the mask for the second one– my preschooler didn’t have an issue with any of it, so probably only disturbing if you know what it’s supposed to be.)

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Halloween Articles

Thursday, October 29, AD 2015

It’s a little late, but there have been several rather good blog-articles about Halloween not being evil and nasty and a thing unsuited for polite company this year.

SuburbanBanshee did a Christian Halloween FAQ that I found very amusing, focusing on variations on the pagan issue.

Father Augustine Thompson did one with a really nice focus on the early years called The Catholic Origins of Halloween, which is more history-aimed. (names, dates, that kind of thing)

Mrs. Hull did a more heavy, serious one on the Catholic Origins of Halloween, which is more tradition-aimed.

Bridget Jones did a nice, light one called Don’t Be Spooked, it’s Catholic.

I did a rather scattershot one that includes debunking claims about black cats being killed on the Pope’s orders.

And now I need to go finish my kids’ costumes.  They’re all embodying virtues… in the form of pop culture characters they love.

(Kindness, generosity and bravery.)

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Sir Terry Pratchett Dead

Thursday, March 12, AD 2015

Died at home, surrounded by family, with his cat on his lap.

No other details available; Otherwhere Gazette will add them as they become available.

Much loved for being intelligent and honest enough to come around to the truth from entirely the wrong direction– I don’t know about anybody else, but trying to figure out how that could possibly happen was one of the ways I found out about “natural law philosophy.”  Even someone who stared with some really bad assumptions will, in some cases, come around to the truth as a matter of course if they just keep going.

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The Danger of Nice

Saturday, March 7, AD 2015

This has been on my mind of late because of the kerfluffle about common core and fact vs opinion, so republishing it from Catholic Stand.

“Be nice.” “That’s not nice.” “Wouldn’t it be nice if people would just get along?”

Nice is almost as hard to define as the notoriously subjective “fair,” but I’m starting to think it’s far more dangerous.  ‘Nice’ is applied to a standard of behavior that does not raise objection among those who are around to be offended; ‘nice’ is a sort of vague version of ‘polite,’ centered around everyone feeling good.

Most obviously, I’m sure anybody that’s stumbled on to this site has at least heard someone say “I’m not very religious, but I try to be a nice person– and that’s what’s really important, isn’t it?” Those of us who have argued theology have almost surely heard “Well, we disagree about that– but we agree that people should just be nice to each other, and that’s the important thing.”

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25 Responses to The Danger of Nice

  • Excellent post.
    .
    NICE
    .
    Neurotic
    Insecure
    Cantankerous
    Emotional
    .
    God save me from being NICE.

  • How some words change over time.
    Nice is an amelioration it seems.
    Latin: nescius meaning ignorant.
    Old English nice was know as being foolish and silly.

    So fitting though.

    I love this quote because its dead on; “In the absence of faith we govern by nice.” Thanks Foxfier. It’s so true!

  • Thanks Foxfier – great post.

    Much food for thought – I can feel a homily coming on 🙂

  • Phillip

    “Nescius” in Latin can sometimes refer to affected ignorance and so mean something like reticent or coy. One can see how this could evolve into “unwilling to give offence.”

  • MPS.

    Unwilling to give offence. Yes. I could see how that meaning transpired into todays nice. Thank you.

    are you ready…”Have a nice day.”
    Truly. Take care. 🙂

  • Abortion is quite a relevant issue regarding “nice” and I will try not to judge women who have terminated. My big problem with many anti abortion groups is that they don’t speak enough about terminating unborn babies due to detected disabilities. As someone pro life I believe in disabled individuals having a right to live and be born. The problem is progress has allowed for discrimination of those who are not as contributing to economic progress. As Catholic’s we need to fight more for the needs of the disabled, who are often victims of many cutbacks.

  • I would agree with everything that’s been said here with one caveat. There are now many, particularly on the internet, who seem to believe that not being “nice” in this sense means throwing good manners out the window and grants a license to be perpetually insulting, cynical and rude. Yes, there are times when we have to call a spade a spade and not be “inoffensive,” but let’s not go off the deep end in the other direction and use it as an excuse to dispense with ordinary courtesy. I know that the term “civility” has been frequently abused of late, but there is a place for it.

  • St. Augustine from The City of God, “What is reprehensible is that, while leading good lives themselves and abhorring those of wicked men, some fearing to offend shut their eyes to evil deeds instead of condemning them and pointing out their malice. To be sure, the motive behind their tolerance is that they may suffer no hurt in the possession of those temporal goods which virtuous and blameless men may lawfully enjoy; still, there is more self-seeking here than becomes men who are mere sojourners in this world and who profess hope of a home in heaven.”
    Amen.

  • While it is true many people get more offended by swear words than wars or famine, I still find little excuse for rudeness. Living in England I have noticed a rise of celebrity rudeness and bullying on television. There is a difference between Assertiveness and Aggressiveness and good manners costs no money. Being nice and displaying good manners is I feel a duty of all faiths.

  • James Charles: “As someone pro life I believe in disabled individuals having a right to live and be born. The problem is progress has allowed for discrimination of those who are not as contributing to economic progress. As Catholic’s we need to fight more for the needs of the disabled, who are often victims of many cutbacks. ”
    .
    Every human being created has an immortal, rational human soul. Murdering an human being scandalizes his soul as he is murdered. Satan relishes getting his claws into any human soul.
    .
    Therefore, it is incumbent upon the state to protect and provide for the reality of realities, the human being, body and soul and not to do so is evil.

  • Only prayer and fasting will bring the grace to deal with bullying, rudeness and the corrupt form of NICE.

  • The You Tube video part way down the page at the following web link shows how nice the left wing anti-nuclear agitators are:
    .
    http://atomicinsights.com/agencies-should-not-allow-creation-of-a-hostile-environment-at-public-meetings/
    .
    This is NORMAL for public meetings arranged by the US NRC. The govt of Barack Hussein Obama encourages this sort of thing: Occupy Wall Street, Ferguson Race Riots, etc.
    .
    Some might say that this comment has little to do with this blog post, but the example cited here in this comment is one of many that shows the barbarism into which this country is descending. Consider: a 60+ year old woman who is pro-nuclear power who attended that meeting about the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant was openly and publicly threatened by the anti-nuclear agitators, and neither the US NRC representatives nor the locally constabulary charged with maintaining public order at the meeting did anything to reign in the outrageous antics of these hyenas and jackals. This is NICE in its truest form: the acting out from ignorance – nescius. And our govt officials do NOTHING to stop it and everything to encourage ti.

  • Paul: “This is NORMAL for public meetings arranged by the US NRC. The govt of Barack Hussein Obama encourages this sort of thing: Occupy Wall Street, Ferguson Race Riots, etc.”
    .
    Divide and conquer. Create a chaos and a smoke screen for evil and enjoy license.

  • Elaine-
    I didn’t say a blessed thing about being not-nice as an acceptable goal.
    In fact, you might want to check out paragraph 4 and on.

  • Mary De Voe “Every human being created has an immortal, rational human soul. Murdering an human being scandalizes his soul as he is murdered. Satan relishes getting his claws into any human soul”.

    What you say makes sense and I would consider most cases of the death penalty and war as murder. Especially when many wars has been a fight for resources like oil. My concerns for abortion include the many women who are forced to terminate against their wishes. Countries like China have high abortion levels and many women around the world are forced to terminate their babies due to being female.

  • “Many wars have been a fight for resources like oil…”
    .
    Not true in the case of US involvement in the Middle East. We get the majority of our oil indigenously or from Canada.
    .
    But if it were true, then would you support replacing reliance on fossil fuel with reliance on nuclear energy, by means of which we can via the Fischer-Tropsch process use nuclear steam heat to convert our vast coal reserves into liquid hydrocarbon fuel?

  • What you say makes sense and I would consider most cases of the death penalty and war as murder.

    Based on what?

  • To love one’s neighbor includes correcting him. But that’s something that has to be done politely. I’ve heard a lot of conversion stories over the years, but I’ve never heard one that was instigated by being yelled at. We look to Jesus as an example – but Jesus knew what was in people’s hearts, and knew when to yell and when to bond. With the woman at the well, he was firm but compassionate. The fact is, we’re an increasingly rude society, and that’s infected the way we approach the faith. Most of the people I know who talk about the need to avoid niceness are also rude. The internet encourages rudeness. We have got to keep a close eye on our tendency to belligerence.

  • Most of the people I know who talk about the need to avoid niceness are also rude.

    Could you please confront them, instead of dragging it in to a post about the problems with “be nice”?
    As you point out, there’s a need to correct people– choosing to take a post that is about what’s wrong with conflating “nice” with “loving” and drag in an entirely different animal of “so make very sure that you actively avoid being nice” to fight is not helping anybody, except for possibly the folks arguing for the “make sure you’re not mistaken for being nice” folks.
    *****
    We look to Jesus as an example – but Jesus knew what was in people’s hearts, and knew when to yell and when to bond.
    Jesus also showed a pattern of not using the advantages He had, instead choosing to act out what should be done– for example, being baptized, where it’s even flatly stated that He’s doing it so we’ll have a clue.
    *****
    I’ve heard a lot of conversion stories over the years, but I’ve never heard one that was instigated by being yelled at.
    I have.
    You think the 60s style protesters chose the “be incredibly rude” tactic only because it’s emotionally appealing to the person using it? It works.
    .
    Kind of like how “being nice” isn’t a one-size-fits-all, flipping tables and chasing people with whips isn’t a one-size-fits-all– even though it might be emotionally satisfying. You’re less likely to find it being effective in person because most times you test it, it’s already been used, and there’s a good chance that the person you’re testing it on actually enjoys making you angry.

  • “I’ve heard a lot of conversion stories over the years, but I’ve never heard one that was instigated by being yelled at.”
    How about being thrown through a screen door? My paternal grandfather was a saintly man by the time I came along, but that had not always been the case. He liked to drink when younger and when he drank he was a mean drunk. One day he was chasing my grandmother, and if any goodness was lacking in this world before her birth, my grandmother filled that lack, around the kitchen table with a butcher knife. My Dad, and the first time I ever saw my father weep was when his father died, tossed him through a screen door to stop him. My father then went down town and enlisted in the Air Force. After he finished basic he received a letter from his father asking him to come home for Christmas. He told my Dad, accurately, that he had not touched a drop of liquor since the day he was tossed through the screen door. He was a total abstainer for the rest of his life and it had a remarkably positive impact on his character. I would not recommend the solution of tossing someone through a screen door to rectify bad behavior, but it certainly worked in the case my grandfather.

  • Thank you, Donald. Great response about the efficacy of being yelled at (or thrown through a screen door). When I was new in a 12 step program and before my introduction into RCIA, I was routinely “yelled” at by my mentor or sponsor. His sponsor – a saintly Franciscan priest – always seemed to be standing behind him when I was getting my hind end handed to me, and he always had this beatific smile on his face. He later gave me RCIA instruction and heard my first confession.
    .
    Oh what sensitive feelings we have! We didn’t give a darn about whom we hurt or what lives we tried to destroy when we were out there carousing and having fun. But then we decide that all that fun isn’t as painless and misery free as we once thought, and we get religion and we want people to be nice to us, and kind and gentle and tolerant and non-divisive. I thank God that my sponsor and my first Confessor were anything but that for otherwise I would have died with a heroin needle in my veins.
    .
    Yeah, I know I shouldn’t talk about those things in a public forum but sometimes the truth has to be told.

  • “Most of the people I know who talk about the need to avoid niceness are also rude.”
    “Could you please confront them, instead of dragging it in to a post about the problems with “be nice”?”

    Virtue is typically found in the mean. I can’t think of a better place to talk about avoiding rudeness than on a thread about avoiding misplaced politeness. There’s a danger of an either/or mentality about it.

    I’ve said this before on this site, but one thing struck me when reading the lives of various saints, how nice so many of them were. I used to think about the old doctrinaire guys, the Dominic’s and the Francis de Sales’s, as being strict and militant. When I actually read about them, though, they turned out to be genuine, decent people I’d want to spend time with. That’s maybe what I’m talking about here: the value of likeability. It’s very hard to convert someone if they don’t like you.

  • Maybe I’m responding more to the provocative title than the content of the article.

  • I can’t think of a better place to talk about avoiding rudeness than on a thread about avoiding misplaced politeness.
    Then perhaps you should find one?
    Rather than responding to your impulsive reaction to the title, and ignoring the point: “in the absence of faith, we govern by nice. And ‘nice’ leads to the gas chamber.”
    The irony of defending “nice” by being so rude as to ignore both the article and the several specific responses to your only-vaguely-related comments is kind of thick.

  • A question I have been thinking about today– Just how do you convert a heterodox modernist priest so that he quits misleading people you like. I would like to be nice But also effective.
    If I could I would throw him through a screen door! but It’s true that It’s “very hard to convert someone if they don’t like you.” I would probably end up “nescius” (Michael P-S) or coy or disingenuous.

Good Summary Of ISIS

Tuesday, February 17, AD 2015

Right before I hit “send” on an email sharing the following, my husband sent me a text mentioning that there was finally a mainstream article that had a clue about ISIS.

Suburban Banshee has 14 points, but I think the first five are enough to make the point, and you can always go read the rest at her blog.  It is very much worth the time.

1. The leader of ISIS is a member of Mohammed’s Quraysh tribe, and thus is potentially eligible for being a legit caliph.

2. A legit candidate having declared himself caliph, all Muslims are supposed to declare their allegiance to him. If they support anybody else, they can be considered apostate and killed. (Of course, Shia Muslims and Ahmadi Muslims are pretty used to that.)

3. There’s a lot more Sharia law for individual Muslims and the state to follow, when under an caliphate.

4. Under a caliph all Muslims are supposed to live off the state, and all People of the Book and slaves are supposed to do the paying and the working. So other than fighting, ISIS supporters don’t plan on doing anything with their lives; and they must keep conquering and oppressing, or the whole structure collapses under its own weight.

5. If the caliph neglects anything in Sharia law and doesn’t respond to criticism from his followers, they can declare him apostate and kill him. Another member of the Quraysh tribe can then take over as emir, and later, caliph.

They’re not crazy, and they’re not suicidal– they have a radically different world view.  Well, maybe they are crazy, but if so it’s a very human sort of crazy– one which Himself spent a lot of time and effort forming a culture, a world-view, that could accept what His Son had to tell us about the different way.  Their idea of strength doesn’t allow for mercy, for starters… I’m not good at explaining it, but if you keep studying, you can find it.

It’s sad, but it can deepen your appreciation of what an amazing gift we’ve been given.

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8 Responses to Good Summary Of ISIS

  • …so curing the underlying problem (giving these peoples jobs according to the Obama admin. ) won’t work?????!!!!!!!!!!!! Hmmmmm…thought so!

  • He has history on his side (so he says). The only thing holding back Obama: he is not a member of Mohammed’s Quraysh tribe . . .

  • This is speculation and probably not worth the time of day it takes to read it, but what if some left wind liberal progressive narcissist demagogue like Obama is the antichrist, and what if he is the one to masquerade himself as the man of peace – a sort of messiah – by making peace with these Islamic terrorists? What if afterwards this peace process breaks down – this unholy alliance between men who murder unborn babies and men who murder already born children – in that final battle of Armageddon when the Lord eventually returns?
    .
    I am NOT a dispensationalist. I have no idea when the Lord will return – today or 2000 years from now. And I do know that the Church has been viciously persecuted many times in the past, so maybe this is just another round of that same old persecution. But man’s technology prowess has never been greater than today. So that’s my speculation and I would be happy to be wrong.

  • In the interest of accuracy, I have a couple of quibbles with what you wrote:
    1. ‘True’ Islam and ISIS do have a place for mercy…but it’s the mercy after submission to Islam and sharia law. If you are an apostate muslim or an infidel, you are give the opportunity to submit to ‘True’ Islam and live, or if you refuse to submit you become a slave or are executed.
    2. Christians who believe Jesus is the Son of God (which encompassed most Christians) are infidels who can be enslaved or killed. From the Koran, Sura 5.72 “They are surely infidels who say: ‘God is the Christ, son of Mary’.

  • BPS-
    I don’t think you understood what I was saying about mercy. “Do what I say and I will not kill you” is not mercy, it is a demonstration of power, in a very raw, simple way. We recognize that the truly strong will often control themselves; in the main cultures involved over there, not demonstrating your power means you don’t have the power. (highly simplified, there is a lot of possible messing around)

  • “they have a radically different world view” boy is That true! Not only different in the religion but also the culture that is the outgrowth of religious tenets. Lots of great books out there about how Christianity has formed civilization.

  • Can you suggest some?
    It took sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean for months at a time, paying attention to what they were doing, and eventually reading a Show Your Work fiction that had a heavy focus on tribal morality before I started to really understand, in as much as I do really understand.
    It’s one thing to know that Jesus was being radical when He said that stuff about all men being your brother, and that “brother” covered all your kin-group, but then to realize that the behavior of the others in the Good Samaritan story was normal….
    ***
    It’s like a fish explaining water.

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Frankenstein’s Monster, Then and Now

Wednesday, October 29, AD 2014

An opening note: Yes, I know that in the book, the Doctor was Frankenstein, and the Monster was to be “a new Adam.” In popular culture, Frankenstein’s Monster became shortened to Frankenstein, and sometimes to Frank. I’m going with “Frankenstein” or just “the monster” from here on out.

The basic story is well worn from use– brilliant scientist tries to create a perfect creature and things go badly. It’s been used in every variation from the original human corpses to clones to robots to vampires. (one of the Blade movies) I could make an argument that the Island of Doctor Moreau is a Frankenstein variation, as is the legend of the Golem and thus the Wizard’s Apprentice.  A fairly new movie has the monster fighting demons in modern times, or something. Frankenstein even harassed multiple comedy teams in old movies!

The story-line of “make a better person and/or create a new life artificially and horrible things happen” is so well established that it would be easier to try to list all the examples of times it goes right in movies or others stories, and the iconic caricature of The Monster is recognizable even when he’s bright pink and apparently steam powered.

And yet, somehow, there’s something in the way people are that drives us to the same goal as Doctor Frankenstein; we want to make life, because when we make it we’ll do a better job. We manufacture humans in a lab, test, select and implant some portion rather routinely; at the other end of the spectrum, the Anglicans and Catholics in the United Kingdom actually joined together to protest plans to manufacture cloned humans in animal eggs. (Animal Human Hybrids.) In a modern echo of the original story, we use the genetic material in a human egg, put it in another egg, and then fertilize the resulting cell. This makes the “three parent children” you may have heard about.

Focusing on the human-animal combinations, I’ll just quote the Daily Mail:

This legalised the creation of a variety of hybrids, including an animal egg fertilised by a human sperm; ‘cybrids’, in which a human nucleus is implanted into an animal cell; and ‘chimeras’, in which human cells are mixed with animal embryos.

If you’re not familiar with the process, cloning is done by taking an egg, removing the nucleus and inserting a cell, then tricking it into growing. When it does start to grow, it’s the same as an embryo formed in the traditional manner. Almost all of the resulting organism’s DNA comes from the nucleus, but things like mitochondrial DNA come from the egg’s shell. This means that a human cloned in a cow’s egg and not killed for research, if they managed to reach adulthood, would most likely look and act like a naturally formed human. They would probably have health issues, since there are mitochondrial genetic diseases, but being ill health is hardly restricted to clones. God makes the soul.

This is a really long work-up to saying, as best we can tell, a human clone formed in a cow’s egg would be just as human as a child from IVF, or rape, or adultery, or any of a wide range of offenses to human dignity.

Obviously, a cow with a few human genes inserted (‘spliced’) is clearly not human. Drawing a line– “if more than 27.9835% of identified genes are human, you shouldn’t do it” is rather difficult. I would use a rule of thumb that if the goal of creating the organism is to kill it for human parts or to evade rules against killing humans for parts, you’re doing it wrong. Contrast with, say, gene splicing a pig so that a protein that makes a human body reject a pig heart is replaced by a protein that’s recognized as human by a human body.

Another way of looking at it is along the lines of therapy vs enhancement. To go to my pig example, altering the pig with the goal of fixing an existing problem is one thing; altering the pig to get as close to a human as you can get while avoiding non-moral problems (Why animal eggs? Human eggs are expensive and dangerous to get.)

The old question of “what makes a man” is quite popular, so I’ll end with a very long quote that a writer was kind enough to share, taken from The City of God, Chap. 16, Book 8.

Whether Certain Monstrous Races of Men are Derived from the Stock of Adam or Noah’s Sons.

It is also asked whether we are to believe that certain monstrous races of men, spoken of in secular history, have sprung from Noah’s sons, or rather, I should say, from that one man from whom they themselves were descended. For it is reported that some have one eye in the middle of the forehead; some, feet turned backwards from the heel; some, a double sex, the right breast like a man, the left like a woman, and that they alternately beget and bring forth: others are said to have no mouth, and to breathe only through the nostrils; others are but a cubit high, and are therefore called by the Greeks Pigmies: they say that in some places the woman conceive in their fifth year, and do not live beyond their eighth. So, too, they tell of a race who have two feet but only one leg, and are of marvelous swiftness, though they do not bend the knee: they are called Skiopodes, because in the hot weather they lie down on their backs and shade themselves with their feet. Others are said to have no head, and their eyes in their shoulders; and other human or quasi-human races are depicted in mosaic in the harbor esplanade of Carthage, on the faith of histories of rarities. What shall I say of the Cynocephali, whose dog-like head and barking proclaim them beasts rather than men? But we are not bound to believe all we hear of these monstrosities. But whoever is anywhere born a man, that is, a rational, mortal animal, no matter what unusual appearance he presents in color, movement, sound, nor how peculiar he is in some power, part, or quality of his nature, no Christian can doubt that he springs from that one protoplast. We can distinguish the common human nature from that which is peculiar, and therefore wonderful.

For Halloween, I’m cross-posting slightly edited versions of my C&C monster series from Catholic Stand, one a week. Hope that you folks enjoy them.

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15 Responses to Frankenstein’s Monster, Then and Now

  • Foxfier.

    Scary stuff!

    I’m wondering if one Halloween night the doorbell rings and I’m looking into the face of Pan. What should I do?
    Ask it to play it’s flute for some candy?
    Or would it rather like some cabbage and carrots?

    The world is getting to complicated.

  • When society discards tradition and the sacred it can be unsettling and a little scary. Mary Shelly lived in the wake of the French revolution and I believe this inspired her to write the story – Frankenstein. Today, we are still suffering from the impact of enlightenment and the revolution that essentially rejects God. The popularity of horror films today is noteworthy.

  • I’m wondering if one Halloween night the doorbell rings and I’m looking into the face of Pan. What should I do?
    Give him candy, just like anyone else! Basic politeness doesn’t hurt. *grin*
    ****
    When society discards tradition and the sacred it can be unsettling and a little scary.
    More importantly, you find out what horrors those “silly” traditions were holding back, and discover that it’s just been a shift in what folks exercise their religious impulses on.
    Scary, I can handle. Destroying peoples’ lives, though?
    .
    That said, yeah, I can’t stand horror and it sure seems like it’s getting ever worse. My husband isn’t so squeamish, and he’s stopped watching most of it because it’s so hopeless and pointless. For a guy who’s a fan of Warhammer and all that grimdark is saying something.
    That Grimdark is even a thing– it’s a meme referring to the habit of making things “more adult” by making them deadly, sad and violent, which is frequently parodied by taking it so far that the horror just becomes ludicrous– is kinda depressing. Laughing at things is a traditional defense, but I really would prefer if people could have better empathy instead of laughing hysterically at realistic, bloody slaughter. It’s sad to read really old stories and realize that the soldiers who are doing gallows humor type stuff I recognize in normal people were being used to illustrate how broken they were from the horror they’d seen.

  • Have you ever seen the 1910 version of Frankenstein made by Edison? Or the 1920 film “The Golem, How He Came Into The World?” Imo, The Golem was the inspiration for the novel Frankenstein. The story of Rabbi Loew’s cabbalistic creature was well known in the occult tinged circles that Mary Shelly traveled in. Interestingly enough, when Universal made their classic version of Frankenstein, they studied The Golem for hints on how to make their film. If you compare the two films, you will see a lot of similarities.

  • I don’t think I’ve seen the movie, but I’m familiar with the legend of the Golem because an English teacher used it for a root of The Magician’s Apprentice, plus Terry Pratchett’s awesome treatment. (Feet Of Clay for starters.)

  • “Laughing at things is a traditional defense…”

    I agree with the full comment Foxfier.
    I wonder if this learned behavior is a desensitizing of a persons character or core. When children fantasize of killing bad guy’s on computer games, are some enticed into acting that behavior out for real? Has that ever been proven?

  • Foxfier. I am so please that you put forward the cloning and abuse of the human being, body and soul. Most people do not have any idea of what these mad scientists are doing with us, and to us. When these anomalies become rampant in the human species, without our given and informed consent,”We, the people” will become enslaved by them… and all at the citizens’ taxes. Time for rakes and shovels. Wonderful insight and proper presentation… but I am no teacher or critic, or even a lawyer.
    .
    Percy Shelley was unhappily married to Harriet Westbrook, who, pregnant and holding the hand of her two year old son, jumped off a bridge and drowned herself and her children when Mary Shelley took up with Percy.
    .
    Frankenstein was the image of Mary Shelley’s soul, the living dead without grace. It is said that The Monster went about searching for his soul. How did Frankenstein know to know that he was supposed to have a soul, and whose soul would Frankenstein have? Frankenstein could only have the soul of his creator. So, keep a brick handy.
    .
    Happy Halloween.

  • Philip– the instinctive reaction to violence period has been recorded, and of course those who have violent urges who play games are more likely to play bloody games.
    That said, those who wish to fight evil are also more likely to play video games that involve killing bad guys.

  • The Scottish Catholic philosopher, John Haldane, is rather good on this
    “in antiquity, people were animistic in their inclinations. They thought that the difference between a living thing and a non-living thing consisted in the fact that the living thing has something that the non-living thing lacks, a principle of life. Now, a principle of life is an activating organisation.
    Matter is taken up in a way that is not reducible to that matter. Aristotle in his famous work the De Anima (On the Soul) identifies a vegetative soul, that is, a principle of life which a plant has, and which gives it powers of nutrition, growth and generation. But there is, he says, another kind of living thing, which is possessed of a different set of powers, powers of perception, appetite and locomotion. Still other kinds of living things have powers of memory, will and intellect. Now these different beings constitute a hierarchy because the third kind has all the properties of the second, and the second of the first, but not vice versa. A plant, for instance, is capable of nutrition, growth and generation, but in addition, a rabbit, say, is capable of locomotion, appetite and perception, while a human being is capable of nutrition, growth and generation and locomotion, appetite and perception and memory, will and intellect.
    If we are to understand what it is to be a person, there is much to be said for returning to this older, Aristotelian, picture, according to which things are organised at progressively higher levels of activity. Things are the kinds of things they are in virtue of the kinds of powers they have, and activities at one level are not reducible to activities at a lower level. Just as locomotion cannot be reduced to nutrition, or perception to generation, so intellection, volition or memory cannot be reduced to perception, appetite, or locomotion. These are genuinely emergent higher-level powers and capacities.”

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “If we are to understand what it is to be a person, there is much to be said for returning to this older, Aristotelian, picture, according to which things are organised at progressively higher levels of activity. Things are the kinds of things they are in virtue of the kinds of powers they have, and activities at one level are not reducible to activities at a lower level.
    .
    Thomas Aquinas was in agreement with Aristotle. The human soul is immortal, created in the image of the Creator, by the Creator, in free will and intellect.
    .
    Frankenstein had no soul, no personhood, nor identity other than the soul, personhood and identity given him by his inventor, Mary Shelley.

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  • Leviticus 19:19 provides grounds for questioning the direct genetic manipulation of organisms, even if no human materials are a part of that manipulation.

  • Foxfier.

    Thank you..
    Your answer makes sense.
    Happy Halloween.
    btw…the traditional eve for Mexicans is beautiful. They go to the grave site of their loved one with dishes they prepared beforehand. Meals the deceased liked prior to death.
    Then they have a celebration of sorts.
    They do this tonight.
    All hollowed’s evening.
    I was privy to one in Wisconsin years ago. Included music and dancing.
    One of the best Halloween’s in my life.
    Peace.

  • Howard-
    not really. It could be read as “don’t cross a Jersey with an Angus” or even “don’t try to breed your cows with animals they cannot breed with,” but 1) it’s one of the go-to examples of ceremonial law, and 2) in context, it’s about mixing unlike things– if you want to try to argue from that verse, you’ll have to go after the producers of mixed hay (or any other agriculture that involves planting two different plants in the same field at the same time) and blended fabrics first, as they’re much more common; otherwise it’s like publicly opposing human experimentation but not abortion or murder.

  • On further research, it seems that the prevailing theory is that the Israeli’s nasty pagan neighbors did a lot of sympathetic magic of that sort– put a strong horse in with the cows and all the calves will be strong because it rubs off type stuff, definitely not applied technique. Superstition.

Demons

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2014

It’s a staple of horror movies– there is some invisible thing that will get you, destroy your life, take over your loved ones and drag you to hell.  A demon haunts this house!

First, we should probably back up a little– demon and devil are frequently used interchangeably with devil more frequently used for specifically religious or silly uses, and demon for “scary and kind of hopeless to resist.” Religiously, the devil is the chief of the demons, (Diabolus enim et alii daemones, kept popping up while I was trying to find any decent information on this topic) and it’s usually capitalized to indicate the Devil. Originally, demon was more like “supernatural being”– think kami, for those who are into anime and manga, or various location-gods and demigods for those who know their classic mythology. If you’d like to see how you get from δαίμων to “demon,” Dictionary.com is your friend, especially in special uses for various spellings. I’m going to save any further “other powers” geekery for a later article– on to demons!

So, when we talk about a demon, what are we talking about? Besides being the Devil’s henchmen, demons are fallen angels; this means that they are definitely not metaphors, symbols, impulses, or any other way of saying “there are not really demons.” They also are not a synonym for mental illness– any good exorcist is going to check for mental illness as a first step; it doesn’t do anyone any good to avoid treatment in hopes that a ritual will help someone, rather than trying to accurately identify the problem. (I have no idea how frequently mentally ill people are also afflicted by demons–especially when there are so many ways to qualify demonic involvement.) Here’s a longish quote from the Catechism to explain how that works:

II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”. The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.”

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God.” The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies”.

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.”

So, demons are definitionally evil, having chosen to throw in against God, and they cannot change now. That throws out a pretty good chunk of the more dramatic “can the fallen angel un-fall” type movies– now for the horror.  I am going to draw heavily from this interview with Fr. Gary Thomas.

 What can demons do?

Infestation:

Think like Paranormal Activity or any other “house has a demon” story. No, you don’t try to fix it by putting a video camera in your bedroom and taunting it, nor do you call “Ghost Hunters,” you see about getting your house blessed; talk to your local parish. Get some holy water. See about getting your hands on a book of prayers, linked below. My mind keeps giving me the image of demonic fleas, but it’s not really funny–here is a quote of signs, from  The Rite:

The various kinds of phenomena that can occur in this situation are vast and include unexplained sounds or noises like mysterious footsteps, loud bangs, laughter, screams; the temperature of a room dropping or the feelings of a cold wind with no discernible source; objects disappearing suddenly and materializing in other parts of the house; strange presences felt’ the presence of offensive odors’ interruption of the electric current or the malfunction of electronic devices; pictures that mysteriously bang or fall off the wall; doors and windows that open and close on their own; dishes or other objects levitating and flying about the room.

This cursed activity can be caused by something horrible having happened on the site– crimes, suicides, satanic rituals (yes, including wicca-of-the-month, and probably turn-of-last-century seances, too– it’s a bad idea to invite in unGodly powers, go figure)– or because an infested object is there, or because the demon is there with a human.

Oppression or Obsession:

Two sides of a coin, the former pushed down and the latter wound up; your thoughts are warped in a bad direction; this is when an individual is being attacked by a demon. You can imagine why an exorcist would need to know a lot about psychology– it would be hard to tell mental or emotional attacks by an being with no physical form from a mental disorder. You might think of this as the demon version of a monkey on your back, or maybe being stalked.  Instead of a house being “haunted,” it’s you. I don’t want to belittle this– having a demon attack you is obviously bad, even if it’s not as cinematically iconic as the final type of demonic assault, possession.

Possession:

When a demon can move the victim’s body against their will. (Willingly accepting a demonic possession is integration.) Their soul isn’t controlled by the demon, but everything else…. This is when the exorcist goes to work, although this is incredibly rare and unlikely to involve green pea soup. Some exorcists have reported physical changes that are not scientifically possible. (A note on the limit of science– you’ve got to be there and set up to get really good data, and somehow I don’t think demons would be willing to cooperate.)

So, should we all go hide?  Nah.  Don’t invite demons in, either actively or by sin, and try to soak your life in spiritually suited everything because that’s a general good idea, but don’t forget that our Boss is massively more powerful.  They’re scary but they will not win.

For Halloween, I’m cross-posting slightly edited versions of my C&C monster series from Catholic Stand, one a week. Hope that you folks enjoy them.

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7 Responses to Demons

  • Good stuff (so to speak.) Where is there more on Oppression or Obsession?

  • Foxfier: You write so well, I feel jealous.
    .
    When I feel the devil present, I say what Jesus said when the Christ was tempted by Satan on the mount.”You will love the Lord, your God with your whole mind, your whole soul and your whole strength.” “Begone Satan” works, too, but most of all the Morning Offering: “All for Thee my sweet Jesus.” and “Here I am Lord, I come to do Your will.”
    .
    The devil will not help you get to heaven, so when you offer up your demonic possession to Jesus, the devil flees.
    .
    I have not watched “The Exorcist.” I cannot handle it. I do know that one cannot be an exorcist without the permission of his bishop. Very often, demons will appear as “victims” because, of course, demons are liars.
    .
    I am looking forward to you future posts.

  • Nice article, thanks

  • Good post.

  • WK- I wrote this several months ago, so it’s not on top of my mind anymore, but I think it was largely EWTN, interviews with the famous (infamous?) Father Amorth, and I thought I had some others but I can’t seem to FIND them…. Vaguely remember the book for The Rite being highly praised.
    ****
    Thanks, Mary D. 😀 I think it’s because I have an editor over at Catholic Stand, and honestly publishing several months of work at one a week is kinda cheating. 😉
    ***
    Glad you like it, TomD.
    Honestly, after writing it I really got spooked, because I’ve always been interested in “ghost” shows and books. Finding out that the “newly discovered signs”– which always had me kind of rolling my eyes, because I know how folks are good at fooling themselves– are not actually unknown of, and were rather signs of a fallen angel? Um….
    EDIT:
    oops, forgot to close the response…..

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Vampires

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2014

Through mere glimpses of him, however, demonic accuracy is achieved: Dracula is an Antichrist. He cannot attack unless willingly engaged. He baptizes his victims in his blood even as he drinks theirs in a sacrifice that gives eternal “life” in animated death. He unites captive souls to his existence, thriving on the unhallowed. He twists scripture to his purpose, lusts for worship … and fears Christ. Crisis Magazine, Oct 2013

Over at Father Z’s blog, he made a (joking) post about how sad he was that he didn’t get a vampire hunting kit for Christmas. One comment pointed out that we can’t sell blessed objects. (Technically false; blessed objects can be sold for their intrinsic value, without added price for the blessing, but accurate enough in terms of buying a Vampire hunting kit which would be pretty worthless without blessing.) This got me thinking about the various legends related to vampires, and Catholicism, especially how often they are portrayed wrongly.

The most famous example of bad (horrifying, really) Catholic theology that involves vampires and popular culture is probably the Dracula story. At one point, Van Helsing makes a putty out of consecrated Hosts, and uses it to vampire-proof a room. It’s supposed to be alright, because he has a dispensation. (No, they don’t work that way.)

Needless to say, this isn’t respectful of the Body of Christ, and if the vampire is reacting to the Body of Christ then it isn’t effective, either.

With respect to the presence of Christ, most theologians hold that, although the host externally remains intact for several days, the real presence ceases as soon as the host is fully soaked with water as from that moment the species is no longer exclusively that of bread.

That aside, Dracula is rather well researched in regards to the folklore of vampires. For example, the crucifix has power in and of itself, since it has a representation of Christ on it, while crosses depend more on the person holding the cross invoking God directly. In various times and places, the formally-blessed cross (or other objects, such as holy medals) was thought to be enough to invoke God. Those objects are called sacramentals, things that recall the sacraments. (Dracula’s mistaken abuse of the Host is indicative of someone who didn’t recognize Transubstantiation, but viewed it as a sort of super-strong symbol.) The most obvious sacramental, which is also used in popular pieties and commonly available for the asking, is holy water– many parishes even have dispensers. It should be kept in mind that the people who really believed in vampires weren’t trying to use holy water or any other sacramental for some kind of a magical effect, but to invoke God’s protection from forces of evil.

Some of the things vampires fear are symbolic, instead of sacramental. Running water calls to mind baptism and the washing away of sins, silver is “white” metal and thus pure, garlic and various plants were believed to be medicines against corruption. Even salt, because of its powers of preservation, was thought in some places to ward off evil, including vampires.

Vampires lack of reflection probably grew out of the folklore of the soulless not having a shadow, and the way that mirrors were once backed with silver. Some more folklore savvy stories had digital cameras work to record vampires, but not silver-based movie cameras, and at least one used silver nitrate in the blood to kill a vampire.

Speaking of souls, this is probably the biggest problem with vampire stories: all too often, authors write “vampires” that by all evidence possess rational souls. To shamelessly steal–er, borrow– from Jimmy Akin’s highly enjoyable Theology of the Living Dead, there are four basic options for any flavor of living dead:

  1. Animal soul – this is the most traditional, but has more in common with modern zombies as far as behavior goes; modern vampires are generally more intelligent than the average human.
  2. Non-human rational soulBuffy the Vampire Slayer’s vampires– they are evil, but the “demons” animating vampires aren’t Satanic, and a lot of the “demons” are just multidimensional travelers. The theology of that television show makes my head hurt….
  3. Human souls – the ‘vampire’ subculture would be an example of this, or if a story had vampirism as a sort of disease.
  4. No soul – the body is remote-controlled, either by technology (nanobot vampires) or perhaps demonic possession. (As I understand it, demons are spirits, rather than souls, and couldn’t inhabit a body the way a human soul would. I’d highly advise a lot of mythology research before anybody tried to write this!)

Most vampire stories these days are either humans with a disease or non-human souls animating a body; some of them aren’t even “allergic” to blessed objects. Obviously, if they have rational souls, we have to treat them as people rather than monsters, but then it doesn’t make any sense why holy objects would harm them.

On a practical level, I’d say that anything that smokes on contact with a holy object is to be avoided.

For Halloween, I’m cross-posting slightly edited versions of my C&C monster series from Catholic Stand, one a week. Hope that you folks enjoy them.

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12 Responses to Vampires

  • “On a practical level, I’d say that anything that smokes on contact with a holy object is to be avoided.”

    Brilliant Foxfier! That goes in my little black book of quotations that I steal borrow!

  • I’ve always considered the traditional vampire legend to be a metaphor for the carnal (corrupt) as opposed to the spiritual (perfect) and as such was used initially as an anecdotal teaching tool. When instruction in metaphysics and theology were more familiar, a good instrument to initiate the young or help inform the less-erudite would be “what to not be and how to avoid it” as illustrative models.
    .
    In that vein (pun intended) it is easy to see how the vampire pathos has been made more approachable as the carnal has become elevated to equality with the spiritual in popular culture. Religious teaching is virtually non-existent in the main, so how can the denouement of carnal deterrent by application of the sacred make any sense?

  • If one wants a fun read on vampires, the Rev. Montague Summers is the man. This somewhat controversial priest actually believed in the existence of vampires and other revenants. However, his books on the subject are chock full of stories of the living dead from ancient times to now. So, if you want to read books with a lot of folklore about these critters, you can’t go wrong with Monty.

  • I think zombies are the “larger” post-modern bogey-man. The proliferation of zombie-themed movies and TV series is proof.

    When the zombie apocalypse (trope for societal collapse?) falls, I’ll be head-shooting Z’s and gut-shooting liberalss.

    Need to increase my supplies of ammunition.

  • I was kinda proud of it, Donald. 😀
    ….

    WK- there’s so many possible metaphors, and it mines so many things we fear, that it’s hard to pick “the” thing that it’s about.
    There’s a writer named Mary C that points out modern vampires fill the role of the “fairy lover” in classic stories, and the modern zombie is more like the classic vampires.

  • At the risk of coming off as completely self-serving and stealing Foxfier’s thunder, here is a link to a short story that I wrote and published on Amazon about Dracula and friends. It’s available on Kindle for the low low price of 99 cents, and is more of a spoof of modern vampire literature. I have what might be considered a unique interpretation of why Vampires fear crucifixes, and of their entire back-story for that matter.

    http://www.amazon.com/Dracula-Friends-Paul-Zummo-ebook/dp/B00G4ST8G4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1413480766&sr=8-3&keywords=paul+zummo

  • Vampires, werewolves, zombies and ghouls are devoid of self-sacrifice.This is why remembrances of self-sacrifice disturb them. Once they were human beings. Now, they are trapped in a dimension of the living dead, which they chose for themselves, thinking it better than to be a Christian. They must be ex-patriots from hell operating on the forbearance of God, which is to warn sinners to behave. They may be the rich man allowed to return to earth to warn his brothers of the hell awaiting them.
    .
    Remember too, it was not the state, nor the mad scientist who gave Frankenstein life. It was the lightening of God.
    .
    Let me be the first to wish you all a HAPPY HALLOWEEN, a HOLY ALL SAINTS’ DAY and a memorable ALL SOULS DAY, Nov. 2nd.

  • Paul Zummo, thanks for the momentary distraction. Very amusing. How much of my 99 cents do you keep?

  • T Shaw: got to get silver bullets. The economy is bad. Tell the vampires to go to hell and keep the silver for yourself.

  • Mary Dear,

    Not sure the melting temperature of silver. It’s likely much higher than lead. That makes loading my own more difficult.

    I’m piling up Scotch whisky. Might as well go out on a spree.

  • 962*, T. Shaw.
    Paul Z- that is AWESOME! I’m all about supporting self-pub.

  • The Lone Ranger also used silver bullets.
    .

    According to wikipedia, “The masked man decided to use bullets forged from the precious metal as a symbol of justice, law and order, and to remind himself and others that life, like silver, has value and is not to be wasted or thrown away.”

A Question of Learning

Friday, July 11, AD 2014

Or, less pretentiously:

What should a kid learn in kindergarten?

I’m taking a swing at home schooling the Princess*– she’s just a bit too young to go into kindergarten, and I’ve got enough qualifications legally allowed to be a home educator by the state.

I know that I want her to be reading and diving in to self-guided research that I can supplement with what she isn’t interested in, but I really am looking for a realistic expectation in general.

I’m thinking:

  • reading basic words– “Hop on Pop” as a test.
  • being able to draw a connection between math problems and real examples– 2+2 is the same as two apples plus two apples
  • writing print legibly in military style all-caps, and basic progress in upper-lower case block-print
  • trace a standard coloring book– depending on small motor control, color inside of the lines and fill it out
  • recognize and match colors and basic shapes, both two and three dimensional; possibly recognizing a pattern and copying it
  • recognize basic classes of animal– land mammal, reptile, bird, fish, sea mammal
  • recognize basic plant categories
  • growth stages of plants and animals
  • master the ASDFJKL; of the keyboard, demonstrate ability to both double-click and click-and-drag, plus understand which you should do in a specific instance
  • safety related science– germ theory, electronic theory, very basic physics; why you wash your hands, why you don’t touch that wire, and why you don’t jump out in front of a car to yell “boo.”
  • basic scientific theory
  • basic skepticism– “what’s another way to look at this?”  “is this person trying to make me think something that isn’t quite right?”
  • memorize basic prayers– Our Father, Hail Mary, possibly how to pray the Rosary
  • basic theology; Trinity, angels, life after death, salvation, caritas, the Saints, some of the ideas of expressing love as wishing-another’s-best-interest

So, those expectations: too high?  Too low?  What am I missing?  No idea what kind of metric to put on history– trying to build a basic understanding of our family history, and of world history, but it’s rather tough with someone who doesn’t consistently grasp the difference between “today” and “last week.”

We have a phonics book that both girls love (yes, the two year old knows her letters and is connecting them to “making words.”  Yay, older sister leading by example.) and I subscribe to an OK online school called Starfall, plus a lot of concepts are being introduced by Dinosaur Train, My Little Pony, Guess with Jess and Boo!, as well as Good Eats.  I don’t have any good specifically Catholic “edutainment,” although the Scriptural Rosary from Rosary Army is rather good for car trips and I try to catch some ETWN radio shows when I can.

After hearing some horror stories of the utter lack of basic control in classrooms, my husband is pretty supportive of home schooling if I can get this year to work… so please, feel free to suggest!

*Please, don’t bother to “correct” me that it’s not homeschooling– yes, parents are responsible for teaching their children.  I noticed, my folks did a great job– I learned more science from my mom than from school, and the only thing they didn’t do well on was what they were told they weren’t qualified to teach. (Religious education.)  That doesn’t change that there is a difference between getting one’s formal schooling at a gov’t facility and getting it at a private school, or at home.  It’s a matter of specifying what formal schooling a kid gets.  I get the world-view statement being made, but I value communicating clearly over Making A Statement when it’s a social nicety like “where do your kids go to school.”

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10 Responses to A Question of Learning

  • Hello Foxfier,

    Matt Archbold is jumping into the Homeschool Pool, and there are a lot of good suggestions in the comments.

    I think your list is pretty long… the most important thing is reading.

    I highly recommend an explicit, systematic, sequential, synthetic phonics program using decodable texts, rather than incidental instruction, let alone so-called “whole language”. From http://www.readingtockets.org,

    in synthetic phonics approaches, students are taught to link an individual letter or letter combination with its appropriate sound and then blend the sounds to form words…. many synthetic phonics approaches use direct instruction in teaching phonics components and provide opportunities for applying these skills in decodable text formats characterized by controlled vocabulary.

    By decodable, they mean that you don’t ask the child to read words with letter-sound combinations she hasn’t learned yet. The program I used with my own boys had a series of 72 booklets. The first booklets are extremely simple. In fact, barely there. But the point is for the child to experience more success than frustration, page by page, booklet by booklet.

    The wisdom of this approach is that if your daughter learns fast, you two finish the program fast, and she moves on to better content. If she learns slow, there is no other way she’s going to learn to read.

  • Matt’s post is what got me started thinking about it; I don’t remember much of Kindergarten other than it being massively boring and printing my name, along with the frustration of trying to get the concept of “phonetically” across to my mom, when I didn’t know the word. Didn’t help that I was trying to grasp the phonetic spelling for the names of the letters of the alphabet. (“but how do you spell that sound?!” Why yes, mom’s hair DID get quite silver….)

    The book is one from the Beka whatever program, and more importantly I try to find words that she can sound out and have her do them everywhere we go. (Example: “exit.”) The important part for now is that she thinks it’s great and is actually learning useful phonics.

    The theory of setting things up so they have more success dang near ruined my ability to read, though– they wouldn’t let me read anything interesting, so I refused. Very, very effectively refused, but quietly.
    I was sent to special ed, and as soon as I was given the teacher’s main therapy– being allowed to choose any book I thought looked interesting– I was reading fine. (As in, from “may never learn to read” to “several levels above grade level.)
    If we run into a combination she doesn’t know, I tell her what it does, and have her do the rest; so far the main problem is that she wants to memorize things. (I can see how folks think the whole word program is a great idea…but I LIKE that English isn’t as limited as Chinese. How could we have lovely works like Jabberwock with those pictures-for-words?)

    I’m still not sure what I should set as a “goal” for graduating to first grade in each category, although that reminds me I should work music and poetry into it– probably in the same one, maybe some old Irish songs and that Pirate CD they like so much.

  • Foxfier and anyone else thinking of homeschooling:
    After 22 years of homeschooling and 4 graduates, 3 of whom have also graduated from college (the youngest is beginning his 2nd year), I would like to put my 2 cents in! Reading is king but not just your child learning to read–read aloud to your children. A LOT. I cannot emphasize enough the part that reading aloud has played in my children’s lives (mine, too, for that matter). Vocabulary, conceptual understanding, opportunities for discussion, grammar, style, wisdom from the world’s best thinkers, and so very much more come from the simple act of reading aloud good and great literature. Get hold of John Senior’s “The Restoration of Christian Culture” and then read to your kids (and husband, too) the thousand good books and help them be ready for the great books when it is time. If you do nothing else for them, READ ALOUD!

  • On teaching basic theology to small children, you might like this from Miss Anscombe

    http://www.secondspring.co.uk/articles/anscombe.htm

    The first part deals with teaching children about the Real Presence and the second part is an interesting reflection for grown-ups

  • Second JRuskin’s advice to read aloud, listen to audiobooks together. Your child can build a vast vocabulary long before she is reading it. Relating this to the mechanics of reading, it’s no use learning to sound-it-out if what you just sounded out has no near correspondence with a word you have already heard and know the meaning of.

  • I like the reading aloud, and reading together taking turns, and I like incorporating science and math and philosophy/ theology into what we are doing in our day anyway. Watering trimming plants. Planting measuring ingredients sewing writing letter to friends etc.

  • You might check out Catholic Heritage Curricula (chcweb.com) just to see what they have for kindergarten, not necessarily to buy anything, but just to see what they have for sale since that would dictate what they think is important. I started out with ambitious plans myself back in 2004, and things did not go well in the beginning. I have three boys, two of whom are dyslexic (one severely). That changes the map quite a bit.
    .
    I definitely like the idea of letting the children read what they like as oppose to reading “readers”. If they like “readers” fine, but if they don’t, find something else. My little guy, the one who has the most trouble, would rather struggle through a real book than the controlled readers that come with his reading program.
    .
    About handwriting–girls are not quite as bad as boys in this area, but what you teach first, is what they will most likely stick with. If you want them to develop a nice cursive, begin that first. And it must be worked on daily. Good penmanship does not happen with just teaching one letter a day, for 26 days. It must be worked at daily (well, M-F anyway) over a period of years.

  • Music cannot start too early.

    Begin with the recorder and piano lessons should start no later than four

  • Yeah, music isn’t going to happen. Exposure to music, yes, but classes simply aren’t an option.

    Remembered I have a set of McGuffey’s and she did pretty well with the first reading lesson.

  • For music, you might check out Classical Kids (found at http://www.childrensgroup.com/product.php?mode=cat&cid=classic_eng) You could probably find used copies at Amazon.com

Basic Life Science and Catholicism

Thursday, May 15, AD 2014
mildly edited and cross posted from Catholic Stand, because it seems to be timely

“Quit forcing your religion on me! Your Pope might think that a fertilized egg is alive, that it’s human, but that’s your opinion– I believe in science! It’s no more a person than a skin cell is, and you just think it has a soul. If abortion upsets you, you should get people to use birth control.”

If you’ve been in abortion discussions, you’re probably familiar with this kind of assertion. I’ll admit that I’ve taken some slight liberty with the paraphrase– I combined several variations into one claim. Other than that….

A ‘fertilized egg’ is a somewhat improper way to describe what happens when a sperm and egg (gamete) join; it’s a zygote, the first stage of development in all animals. It is a single celled organism of whatever species the parents were. In cloning the egg is emptied, the insides of a cell from whatever is being cloned are put in, and the result is induced to start growing as if fertilization had just occurred. (Nuclear transfer; I mentioned this in the Frankenstein installment.) Sometimes the phrase is used to mean “pre-embryo” or “pre-fetus,” although in non-abortion situations (such as IVF) a three-day-old organism is called an “embryo.”

While a skin cell can be said to be alive– because it is part of a living organism– a zygote is an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent : a living being. If uninterupted, a zygote will develop into a recognizable adult member of the species. A skin cell will remain an skin cell.

When a human egg is fertilized, the organism that results is a member of the human species, distinct from both parents. That is a scientific fact. The Catholic Church teaches that being a living human being means the individual has inherent dignity which we must respect. The question of ensoulment doesn’t arise. (You can find a much more in depth explanation of when human life begins in this PDF of the same name, from the Westchester Institute.)

All of this establishes that, scientifically speaking, the unborn ‘product of conception’ we’re looking at is both alive and of our species.

This is where things get confusing, because science does not speak on who is a “person.” The question of personhood is (in this context) a moral question. As Catholics, we are required to recognize all living humans as people– ironically enough, it is those claiming to be defenders of science who are making a moral judgment, and one that is sadly not that uncommon in the history of humanity. More recently the word “person” has come to be synonymous with “human being,” and is preferred by some to “man” to apply to an individual homo sapiens. It is then easily understandable that most people defending abortion would not want to recognize that their stance means that they are explicitly denying that all humans are “people.” Especially if someone is not carefully choosing their words it is understandable that they would try to claim that a member of our species below a set point of development is not a “human being.”

Pointing out that they are declaring a group of humans to be non-people can be effective, sometimes even on the person arguing for abortion. Please try to be as gentle as possible about it, the shock can be pretty nasty. The author John C. Wright wrote about his instinctive recognition of his son as a person, and laid out the logic rather bluntly. It is worth noting that at the time he was an atheist, though a very classically influenced one.

On a related note, some folks will say that If you don’to like abortions, you should support birth control.  This sounds like it should make sense– the logic of “women have abortions because they have an unwanted pregnancy; birth control reduces pregnancy; more birth control would result in less pregnancy.”

First a religious or philosophical response: for a Catholic, this is roughly on par with saying “if you don’t like murder, you need to support assault!”
Chemical “birth control” results in death for the small human, in some cases as a primary means, some physical methods (IUDs) also cause death, and even something as basic as a condom inherently deforms the essence of sex. This is religion, or at least philosophy, although obviously some (sometimes very) non-religious people will agree that risking your kid’s life so you can have lower risk of pregnancy is obviously wrong.

Now the practical side.

Birth control does not necessarily reduce the number of pregnancies, it lowers the chance of a pregnancy as a result of intercourse. Failure is usually measured in terms of the percent of female users who have an unintended pregnancy in the first year of typical use. Not listed, of course, is not having sex unless you recognize that the reproductive act may result in a new life.

That is what makes contraception– and the “contraceptive mentality”– a root cause of the heat in the abortion debate. Contraception promises that you will have sex without a chance of needing to be responsible for your resulting children. So, if pregnancy results anyways, it’s very tempting to believe that there’s not really your offspring involved.  People you can’t see are so much easier to dehumanize, and the unborn are both really small and not walking around.

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77 Responses to Basic Life Science and Catholicism

  • As I watched the video of the girls of Nigeria who have been captured by Islamist terrorists, I had the strangest little picture form in my mind of Sandra Fluke.
    She was talking about women’s right to government provided birth control but the girls couldn’t hear what she was saying.

  • Our first world discussion about birth control seems vanity. Trying to convince people who don’t believe the most basic truths about life because their lives or so protected and so abundant. In the movie “God Is Not Dead” the left leaning reporter got her own wake up call when she was diagnosed with cancer… sad to wonder what it will take to really convince people. Great arguments suggested here and we can’t quit trying.

  • Thank you, and you’re right– we just can’t quit trying.

  • Science acknowledges Divinity in “Conception to Birth Visualized”.

    http://youtu.be/RROgLtKWqRU

  • Liberals for all their talk about revering science know the least about the subject, and that includes everything from nuclear energy to life sciences. What is worse: they do mot want to know science. What they know is but a caricature.

  • Those who claim to believe in “science” really don’t believe in anything but their own ideologies.

    Anyone who tells me that my wife’s miscarriage did not result in the death of our baby will get a fist in the mouth. Leave it to the Left to dehumanize those they find bothersome. The unborn, Jews, Catholics, Eastern and southern Europeans, Slavs, black Africans, Japanese-Americans in World War II…..

    I watched parts of the Cosmos miniseries with Neil Tyson. He did a nice job narrating and the CGI was well done, but what was nauseating was the references to greenhouse gases and global warming and climate change, blah, blah, blah. Don’t foister that crap on me. I know the entire thing is made up of lies. The leaked emails proved it.

  • Penguins fan-
    I’m sorry.

    My sister lost a baby, too. My aunt has lost at least one, and my grandmother lost at least three mom knew about.

    My folks never taught us theology, explicitly, but I grew up knowing about “pine needle abortion” in cows– it results in a second trimester calf being prematurely birthed. Fatal, of course, but some quick thinking rancher managed to pull something good out of that loss and pickle the calf.

    There was never any doubt in my mind that the unborn is a member of the parent species– from the first time I walked into the science class, it was right there in a big pickle jar.

    I think I was in my teens before I ever heard of abortion in any context but “horrible accident that kills a calf.” I think I even ignored it a couple of times in a human context, because–what kind of loon would do that?

  • I would have reservations about describing a zygote as a “person.” I should prefer to say that it was a “living individual whole whose life is—all going well—to be the life of one or lives of more than one human being.” Perhaps, “human organism” would be the best succinct description.

    I mean that if A and B are monozygotic twins, they cannot both be the same “person” as the zygote from whom they developed. Were A identical with Z and B identical with Z, then, by transivity of identity, A would be identical with B; which is absurd, as Euclid would say.

    There is a very good analysis of this problem in Miss Anscombe’s two papers, “Were You a Zygote?” and “Embryos and Final Causes.”

    It is thought that this may have influenced the CDF’s 1987 Instruction, Donum Vitae, “The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable”

  • I would disagree. From a Thomistic framework (and thus an Aristotelian one), there are the four causes as intimated by your reference to the final cause. Those causes are material, formal, efficient and final cause. The formal cause is that which causes the matter to be the type of thing it is. The form of dog coming to matter causes that matter to be dog. The form of cat causes the matter receiving it to be cat. The form of man is the soul. The form coming to matter causes it to be man.
    Now, there is act and potency. An acorn is in Aristotelian natural philosophy a oak in potency. That is, while it has not achieved the fullness of the end (final cause) of the oak tree, it has that very nature of oak. The very nature of the acorn is not a potential oak but rather an oak in potential. Given the proper conditions, the formal cause of oak will direct the operations of the oak in potential (acorn) to its final end (cause) of oak tree. In the oak tree the nature of the oak is in act whereas in the acorn the nature was present though it was in potency to the final end.

    So too with a fertilized egg. Its form is a human soul which is that of a rational animal – a person. This form is never anything else but the form of a nature of a person. Given the proper conditions, this form will direct the operations of the fertilized egg through the varied stages of development (blastocyst, zygote, fetus, infant, toddler, child, adolescent) to the final stage of a full adult person. This is the realization of the fullness of personhood – potency realized in act. But this personhood was always present from the moment of conception in potency if not in act.

    Will respond to the twinning question later.

  • “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights” Fransisco Suarez from Thomas Aquinas. First let me say to Foxfier that this is a very fine exposition of the truth of science. You know I am not known for weaving the cloth of threads, I only do my best to posit what I do know.
    .
    For science to know anything, the thing must first be defined correctly. All life comes from and with the soul. (We know this because when the soul leaves the body, death occurs.) Aristotle said that a table has a table soul and a rock has a rock soul, existence, as a thing exists. The human being is composed of a human body and an immortal human soul, from the very first moment of existence.
    .
    The Supreme Court went looking for the constitutional person in Roe v. Wade, but found only life, really, the human soul, for without the human soul, there would be no life and no need for abortion. Signs of the soul are life, growth, free will and sovereign personhood. (The person wills to live. The person dies when the person chooses to not live.) Finding the human soul, the Court ought to have found the person. When the human soul is aborted, life for the human person ends. When the human soul is created by our Creator, a new person is begotten. The court must be concerned with the human person and our constitutional posterity, those future generations still to be brought into the world, as these future generations exist in the mind of God. Atheism is unconstitutional. The Constitution of the United States of America, is the law of the Land, and bringing our constitutional posterity into the realm of the physical is constitutional while destroying our posterity is unconstitutional and unlawful.
    .
    What was not proven, for the burden of proof was on Sarah Weddington and the abortionists and the burden of proof was not met, was that the newly conceived was not a person. How Roe presumed to go into court and state that the physical existence of our posterity in a citizen’s womb was not a person, and without proof, to have her unconstitutional falsehood placed into law.
    .
    The individual substance of a rational nature, is Thomas Aquinas’ definition of the person, the human being composed of human body and human soul. God creates life and endows unalienable rights enumerated in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The state is constituted by the persons to protect and preserve human life, our physical constitutional posterity.
    .
    How is it that the actual bench the Justices sat upon has a bench soul and the newly begotten human being has no human being soul, as the individual substances of a rational nature sitting in Roe v. Wade found to be Truth and Justice?
    .
    The human being without the human soul, life and personhood does not exist in time and in eternity.

  • Thank you, Phillip: “This is the realization of the fullness of personhood – potency realized in act. But this personhood was always present from the moment of conception in potency if not in act.”
    .
    In the sovereign Person of Jesus Christ, as true God and true man the act of the human being is perfect and eternal. Made in the image of God, man has recourse to Christ’s perfect act from conception. This is evident in the Immaculate Conception. Without God, man is worse than lost, man ceases to exist as man. Man takes his being from God, through Christ. Roe v. Wade is the imposition of atheism on our citizens and taxation without representation.
    .
    “Who Will respond to the twinning question later.”
    .
    Two or more souls are sent into the material, physical world and direct the growth of two or many persons with free will and sovereign personhood made in the image of God.

  • “In cloning the egg is emptied, the insides of a cell from whatever is being cloned are put in, and the result is induced to start growing as if fertilization had just occurred. (Nuclear transfer; I mentioned this in the Frankenstein installment.)”
    .
    It is the Frankenstein installment. Frankenstein had no soul of his own only that of the dead.
    Cloning is not a fertilized egg in act or in potential, no procreation only manipulation. Cloning produces the walking dead, zombies with no soul of their own.

  • Since the science and philosophical angles have been covered so well (we obviously have had practice engaging our culture of death), might I offer a “everyman’s” explanation for those neither scientists nor philosophers and perhaps do not give the thought to it we do. We agree that a human is no less of person because he or she is missing a leg, or more of a person be he or she has an higher IQ. We are not more or less of a person because we just turned 5,10,30, 50 or 70. Good looks, wealth and power do nothing to make us more of a human person. And except for the cold blooded atheists, most of us do realize that being born is an artificial and phony criteria that does not make us more or less human. When we can get most people on this same page it is time to propose the question, what makes us a human person? Most people believe in something metaphysical such as a soul that makes us human persons. Coming this far in the discussion makes it a lot easier for a person to conclude the personhood of the unborn human regardless of the stage of development.
    I have found that a similar discussion on love and the purpose of sexual expression can lead others to better understanding of the evil of contraception, however, I think an inner selfish desire to hold onto lust makes many a person to not actually deal with their own conclusions.

  • I would have reservations about describing a zygote as a “person.” I should prefer to say that it was a “living individual whole whose life is—all going well—to be the life of one or lives of more than one human being.” Perhaps, “human organism” would be the best succinct description.
    .
    Then you are arguing that not all humans are people. And that you get to choose which is which.
    .
    I mean that if A and B are monozygotic twins, they cannot both be the same “person” as the zygote from whom they developed.
    .
    The zygote was a person, who became two people.
    Sort of like how a clone– even if a man cloned himself using one of his mother’s eggs or a woman with one of her own, which would (IIRC) make the clone identical in all but age– is not the same as the cell-donor.
    If there’s a transporter accident that makes two identical to-that-point people, they’re not the same person even though they were.
    .
    Kevin– I think you’re right. It’s easy to lie to yourself when you really, really want it to be true.
    .
    Mary-
    I’d disagree with you on the Frankenstein’s monster, but we’re coming from two different directions– you’re correct on the metaphorical/symbolic point of the story.

  • Foxfier,
    Check online the biology on that. I think all texts note that the cells are totipotential and thus uncommitted to a role in a person as yet for about 14 days. That’s why they can be scientifically teased into twinning. At c.14 days the cells commit and twinning can no longer take place. Human matter is present in the first two weeks but not a person. But check the embryology sites online. The second problem is the chimeric individual who has the DNA of two persons thusly: two fertilized fraternal twins lie too close in the initial days and fuse into one cell mass which eventually becomes one person ( unless identical twinning happens days later). Provable cases of this are so recent (? last 60 years) that it is possibly another reason St. John Paul II hesitated in talking of this area with absolute certitude in EV and hence the CDF also.

  • I think all texts note that the cells are totipotential and thus uncommitted to a role in a person as yet for about 14 days
    .
    Does not follow.
    .
    Yes, before the cells specialize, they are totipotential; that doesn’t mean it’s not an organism, it’s a description of that stage in every mammal’s development.
    I linked at least one site explaining the difference between “matter” and an organism, which also explained when the cells diversify.
    .
    The second problem is the chimeric individual who has the DNA of two persons thusly: two fertilized fraternal twins lie too close in the initial days and fuse into one cell mass which eventually becomes one person ( unless identical twinning happens days later).
    .
    There’s a reason I didn’t go into the theories about the soul, although I have noted before that charity demands we believe all living humans (or things-which-seem-to-be-nonhuman-people) have a soul.
    .
    Does death mean that the one who died didn’t have a soul? Even if they die very young? Did health care improvements then mean that young children gained a soul relatively recently?
    I trust God to figure out who has a soul and who doesn’t; it has nothing at all to do with the post, unless you’d like to argue that those you decide do not have a soul are OK to kill.

  • Heck, I never even mentioned DNA. The “each person has their own unique DNA, so if you don’t have unique DNA or if you have more than one DNA sequence you are not an individual in your own right” is taking a science-based rule of thumb (DNA us usually unique to an individual) and conflating it with observed facts (individuals are different people) to make an assumption that the reason a person is a person is their DNA, rather than that being the program that builds their body.
    I’m not 40-mumble percent the same person as my mom, even though our DNA is the same on that level.

  • Penguins Fan writes, “Anyone who tells me that my wife’s miscarriage did not result in the death of our baby..”
    .
    I am very sorry that you and your wife lost your precious baby; I too had a miscarriage and know the pain of that loss.
    .
    You might find the movie “Heaven is For Real” comforting. http://youtu.be/hFVOo9oNVeg

  • Some quick thoughts from another writer on Anscombe and twinning:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2006/01/sweet-reason

  • bill bannon: “Human matter is present in the first two weeks but not a person.” God awaits the will of man and his wife at procreation to instill a human soul and endow human rights with free will and personhood, simultaneously at fertilization of the newly begotten human being. There is no human being, no human life, no human matter without the human soul.
    .
    The soul is the form of the body. The will of the individual to live and grow to become the human form of the soul must be present.
    .
    From the beginning, body and soul, are present in the human matter. The person is present. The will is present. Life is willed to be by the human being in his soul. There is no human life without the human soul and the personhood therein.
    .
    Man is the glory of God. There is no man without God. There is no life without God. God is present in the life of the newly fertilized egg from the first moment of existence, for God is existence.

  • Mary,
    You wrote, “The soul is the form of the body”. But Aquinas saw the first two successive souls ( vegetative and sensitive) as not being the rational soul.
    Delayed ensoulement was the longest tradition on the matter in the Catholic Church. Your view began in the 18th century at which point St. Alphonsus kept with the older one. Trent’s catechism has the older one in the section on the Incarnation/ Creed article three, 9th paragraph:
    ” ….the most sacred body of Christ was immediately formed, and to it was united a rational soul enjoying the use of reason; and thus in the same instant of time He was perfect God and perfect man. That this was the astonishing and admirable work of the Holy Ghost cannot be doubted; for according to the order of nature the rational soul is united to the body only after a certain lapse of time.”
    That is why the CDF passage cited by Michael PS implied that the ensoulement issue is not settled as did St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae…in section 60 or 61.

  • Here’s the section from Donum Vitae:

    “This Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] is aware of the current debates concerning the beginning of human life, concerning the individuality of the human being and concerning the identity of the human person. The Congregation recalls the teachings found in the Declaration on Procured Abortion: “From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. To this perpetual evidence…modern genetic science brings valuable confirmation. It has demonstrated that, from the first instant, the program is fixed as to what this living being will be: a man, this individual-man with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization is begun the adventure of a human life, and each of its great capacities requires time…to find its place and to be in a position to act.” (25) This teaching remains valid and is further confirmed, if confirmation were needed, by recent findings of human biological science which recognize that in the zygote resulting from fertilization the biological identity of a new human individual is already constituted.

    Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person? The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable. (26)

    Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.”

  • From Ms. Anscombe “And this “living individual whole” is nothing less than a complete and distinct human organism possessing all of the genetic material needed to inform and organize its growth, as well as an active disposition to develop itself using that information. The direction of its growth is not extrinsically determine , but is in accord with the genetic information within it.”
    .
    “as well as an active disposition to develop itself using that information.” This would be the rational will to live of the rational human soul

    The fact that a human individual in the embryonic stage can divide or be divided into two individuals is no cause for doubting whether the individual is a human being.
    “In “Embryos and Final Causes,” Anscombe correctly observes that “the Catholic Christian Church has always objected to procuring abortion, but to this day has not adopted the doctrine of immediate animation.””
    .
    “Immediate animation”, even of several souls, is necessary since there is no life without the rational soul.
    Aquinas taught that “ensoulment “ took place when the child began to kick and was felt, leaving the question as to how the child arrived at that point. If the soul is the form of the body, there is no body without the soul.

  • Phillip,
    The CDF Cardinal writing that seems unaware of the identical twin problem at all.

  • Phillip: “Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul:”
    .
    The Immaculate Conception, the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is proof that the human soul is present in the human being from conception.
    .
    To Foxfier: From whom did Frankenstein get his soul? Was Frankenstein’s soul pieced together with the pieces of his body? The pieces were dead, having no soul. The souls of these dead had already gone to eternity, leaving Frank. with no soul from them. Did God bless the dead in Frank. with reincarnation? I think not. The Frankenstein monster had no soul.
    .
    I am glad that Ms. Anscombe was a contemporary of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

  • bill bannon:
    “Mary,
    You wrote, “The soul is the form of the body”. But Aquinas saw the first two successive souls ( vegetative and sensitive) as not being the rational soul.”
    .
    I am one person. How many souls can one person have? Vegetative and sensitive and now, rational are phases of the one human soul. Are you two souls when you sleep and when you are awake?
    .
    When God creates a rational, immortal human soul at procreation for the newly begotten child, that soul guides the child into eternity, forever. Am I to meet my vegetative and sensitive souls in the hereafter. I hope I like myself. If I do not, I am coming back for a refund, and God help them.

  • “Immediate animation”, even of several souls, is necessary since there is no life without the rational soul. ”
    .
    “even of several souls” refers to twinning and tripleting and is not a comment on a vegetative or sensitive forms of the soul.

  • The CDF Cardinal writing that seems unaware of the identical twin problem at all.

    More like, does not see it as a problem.

    Same way I don’t.

    Same way various others haven’t.
    ***
    Maybe you could explain why you do find it to be a problem?
    Is a person less themselves if they get a liver transplant? Am I less myself than I was before having children– since it’s been found that mothers carry the DNA of their children in their blood and body after the birth or loss?
    ***
    If some sort of a machine did the Star Trek trick where Riker was duplicated– technobabble, one guy thought he’d been beamed up and it failed, the other thought he just had a rough go being beamed up, technobabble— would you then think they are the same soul, or had no soul, or had two souls up to that point?
    That’s just a simplified, scifi version of cloning, unless you think that the soul is somehow involved in the egg? Because a clone is made out of a differentiated cell that is put in an evacuated egg that is then shocked….or maybe you’d claim clones can’t have souls?
    Then there’s the currently-can’t-do-it-but-probably-eventually-will form of cloning that bypasses the embryo stage and instead “prints” the body from the DNA at some stage of growth…. (We already grow skin, it’s a difference of degree.)

  • Mary-
    From whom did Frankenstein get his soul?

    From God. Same as any victim of rape, IVF child, or future children of other atrocities on the course of human development.
    .
    In the natural course, a child’s is made from the combination of his parents’ bodies. In IVF, similar but outside of the body. In cloning, similar but the parts are egg shell and cell filling. In, God forbid, the case of GM people– DNA parts of various parents in an egg shell. In the Frankenstein Monster’s case, similar but from the actual chunks of the people.

  • Foxfier,
    No, he is unaware when he writes this: ” that in the zygote resulting from fertilization the biological identity of a new human individual is already constituted “. That rules out multiples which result not from an individual with a primitive streak ( post 14 days ) but multiples result from the fact that the cells are totipotential with no primitive streak prior to the primitive streak phase when no twinning can happen because dual members like hands now have their initial basis.

  • Here for readers are two opposing very intellectual authors on the twinning problem in the Jesuit periodical, Theological Studies…

    http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/51/51.4/51.4.2.pdf

    http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/58/58.4/58.4.6.pdf

  • “…how could a human individual not be a human person?”

    Bill,

    As I formulate my response to the question of twinning (which will take some thought to respect your position) perhaps you can address this question from Donum Vitae.

  • Also, just quickly reading from your 1st reference, we have this:

    “But we suggest that appropriate protection of the human organism changes with its developmental stages. We wish to present a theory which recognizes the right of every potential mother to a meaningful life and a healthy personality development,2 but which condemns irresponsible destruction of fetal life.”

    It seems, at least from the first paragraph of your first reference that the degree of protection depends on its developmental stage. Also that every “potential mother” has a right to a meaningful life that does not involve an “irresponsible destruction of fetal life.” What is a responsible destruction of fetal life?

  • I am one person. How many souls can one person have?

    “Soul” is used at least partly as a way of saying “it is alive.” So, if it’s alive, it has a A soul, although the animating thing for a cat isn’t the same as for my son. (possible bad explanation here, it’s as good as I can do)
    ***
    bill bannon

    No, he is unaware when he writes this ” that in the zygote resulting from fertilization the biological identity of a new human individual is already constituted “

    No, he is not.
    It is a simple statement of FACT that a new, human, individual is there. It’s a statement of biological fact, as is the the POSSIBILITY that the individual organism which is human (a restatement of ‘human individual’) can become two, or theoretically more, individuals.

    It’s no more challenging to me than “two parents can become two parents and a child” as a description of biological fact.
    ***
    Likewise, you are avoiding the “twinning” effect of cloning– while it’s artificial, it’s still making an identical twin.
    ***
    You have still not explained why you find a human individual becoming two human individuals a thing that is troubling.

  • As Catholics, we too believe
    that “from the moment of conception, the life of every human being is
    to be respected in an absolute way because man is the only creature on
    earth that God ‘wished for himself and the spiritual soul of each man is
    ‘immediately created’ by God.”1
    But we are also vitally concerned as to
    when one might reasonably believe such absolute value could be present
    in a developing organism. We would also like to defuse some of the polar
    opposition fanned by the rhetoric of both prolife and prochoice advocates
    that creates a legislative dilemma for morally and religiously responsible
    politicians.

    These two things do not gel.
    Either you respect the humanity of every HUMAN BEING from THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION or you ‘try to defuse the polar opposition fanned by the rhetoric…that creates a legislative dilemma for morally and religiously responsible
    politicians’.
    .
    You can recognize fact, or you can try to make it easy.
    There is no middle way.
    ***
    Either a human is a human and to be respected as this from the moment that the human organism is alive, or it’s something to be bartered away for the ease of whoever is doing the trading– and who, from history, is incredibly unlikely to pay the price of being a human non-person.

  • Phillip,
    Let’s lengthen your first quote: ” nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?”
    There is neither an individual nor a person present as long as the cells have not decided on how many people are going to be born….or a lab deliberately teases the mass into twinning. Ergo this is another quote in which the Cardinal in question seems oblivious to the possibility of identical multiples.
    Your second question is what Shannon means and since his phrasing is general I can only guess. He is saying that if the c. pre 14 day human cell mass is ended for an emergency then that is not abortion. Pro life people for years have been saying it is but Popes have not had the same rythmn of repetition. If they thought so, they should be saying so frequently and loudly as pro life people do. If the pill is an act of murder then it could easily be said by a Pope to a world press and they have not done that. They might know that the choice to eat too much by a woman also militates against implantation and therefore a
    pope would then have to add that. They don’t because they know this area is iffy. The CDF says “procured abortion” not as they could have said “both procured abortion and pills that are abortifacient from fertilization”. The late Jerome and the late Augustine saw abortion as mortal sin but not murder until the preborn was formed and that was based on the Septuagint version of Exodus 21: 22-25 “If two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is struck in her belly, and her child comes out not fully formed, he shall pay a fine. As the woman’s husband shall impose, he shall pay it with a valuation. But if it is fully formed, he shall give a soul for a soul…”
    Only in modern times did someone notice that this might be a mistaken translation because one Hebrew version reads differently : “When men are fighting and one of them strikes a pregnant woman so that her offspring comes out, and there is no mishap, he shall be fined in accordance with what her husband shall impose upon him, and it will be given over to adjudication. But if there is a mishap, then you shall give a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise.” ~Exodus 21:22-25. Here a preborn’s life seems to worth the brawler’s life no matter how young. But the Vulgate by Jerome is the official Church version based on other manuscripts still which Jerome rendered: “If men fall out, and one of them strikes a woman who is pregnant, so that the child is still-born, but she herself lives, he must pay whatever sum the woman’s husband demands, and the judges agree to; if her death follows, then life must pay for life.” (DR)
    So the Vulgate does not have the brawler paying for the foetus with his life but he pays for the mother’s life with his. So our official version actually supports the Jewish position that the mother’s life is more valuable than the preborns.
    Since Biblical manuscripts differ, the Church is not bound by them but at the extraordinary magisterium level where there is no doubt, She condemns abortion infallibly in section 62 of Evangelium Vitae in such a way as to pass canon 749-3 that demands clarity of infallibility in heresy trials. But that clarity is not reached on the abortifacient question of the preimplantation human cell mass. Ergo Shannon is arguing against the pro life position of laity and lower clergy but is not arguing against the clearly infallible of the Magisterium and his view resembles the relative assessments of the late Jerome and the late Augustine.

  • There is neither an individual nor a person present as long as the cells have not decided on how many people are going to be born….
    .
    If that is so, if the human involved dies before birth then there is no human, and thus those who lose children before birth have not actually lost a child with a soul.
    .
    This being a rather…bold… assertion, do you have anything to support it?

  • They might know that the choice to eat too much by a woman also militates against implantation and therefore a pope would then have to add that.

    What on EARTH are you talking about?

  • But the Vulgate by Jerome is the official Church version based on other manuscripts still which Jerome rendered:

    Again, but in English, with official citations if you please.

  • Foxfier,
    The rational soul according to Aquinas cannot divide and fills the entire organism therefore prior to twinning, there cannot be a soul…it’s withdrawal from part of the cell mass would be death to that part.
    Summa T. Part 1, Question 76, article 8:
    ” But since the soul is united to the body as its form, it must necessarily be in the whole body, and in each part thereof…on the withdrawal of the soul, no part of the body retains its proper action…”
    The twinning problem will return the Church eventually to the delayed ensoulement tradition that stretched from the Fathers to St. Alphonsus di Ligouri.

  • Foxfier,
    Go here to number one for Vulgate as official Church text and google it and you’ll see multiple attestations:
    https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/bible_versions.htm

  • Foxfier,
    I don’t agree with your inferences from my text and for obesity and implantation…here but google on your own too.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130709124127.htm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20395425

  • The official Church version is n longer St. Jerome’s translation, but the Nova Vulgata Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio of Pope John Paul II:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/bible/nova_vulgata/documents/nova-vulgata_index_lt.html

    I purchased a hard copy from the Vatican’s publishing house a few years ago. It cost about$120.00 or so. I had it blessed by one of our priests here in Charlotte who also knows Latin.

  • They are identical in most places and herein on this issue they have the same meaning…here is your new Vulgate and the same meaning:

    si rixati fuerint viri et percusserit quis mulierem praegnantem et abortivum quidem fecerit sed ipsa vixerit subiacebit damno quantum expetierit maritus mulieris et arbitri iudicarint

    If men quarrel, and one strike a woman with child and she miscarry indeed, but live herself: he shall be answerable for so much damage as the woman’s husband shall require, and as arbiters shall award.

    23 sin autem mors eius fuerit subsecuta reddet animam pro anima

    But if her death ensue thereupon, he shall render life for life,

    24 oculum pro oculo dentem pro dente manum pro manu pedem pro pede

    Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

    25 adustionem pro adustione vulnus pro vulnere livorem pro livore

    Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

  • Kevin: “Most people believe in something metaphysical such as a soul that makes us human persons.”
    .
    The human being, body and soul, makes us human persons. Government is constituted to protect human persons. Atheism denies human persons and defines the human being as an animal with no metaphysical soul or transcendent purpose or vocation in this world and without heaven. Atheism is refuted in the very First Amendment. Atheism is unconstitutional, while the atheist must be tolerated until he learns and accepts the truth about himself as a creature of God.
    .
    Freedom of religion must remain a civil right for when the atheist finds himself in the truth.

  • Foxfier: I love you.
    .
    Mary-
    From whom did Frankenstein get his soul?
    From God. Same as any victim of rape, IVF child, or future children of other atrocities on the course of human development.
    .
    In the natural course, a child’s is made from the combination of his parents’ bodies. In IVF, similar but outside of the body. In cloning, similar but the parts are egg shell and cell filling. In, God forbid, the case of GM people– DNA parts of various parents in an egg shell. In the Frankenstein Monster’s case, similar but from the actual chunks of the people.
    .
    Death is defined as the soul leaving the body. This happens when the body begins to decay (usually two or three days, Lazarus took four days) and the soul can no longer abide in it. Everything you say about life and soul coming together is true. My problem, trying to wrap my mind around the idea that Frankenstein had no life in his body since his parts were dead, the soul having left. No, I think that God did not give Frankenstein his life or his soul. Frankenstein is a fairy tale, filled with Mary Shelley’s errors.
    .
    “In, God forbid, the case of GM people– DNA parts of various parents in an egg shell.”
    .
    DNA parts exactly. DNA is human body parts and may not be patented or bought or sold, or owned by any person other than the human being to whom God created the DNA for.
    Foxfier: I love you. Keep up the good work.

  • Foxfier: “I am one person. How many souls can one person have?
    “Soul” is used at least partly as a way of saying “it is alive.” So, if it’s alive, it has a A soul, although the animating thing for a cat isn’t the same as for my son. (possible bad explanation here, it’s as good as I can do)”

    .
    This is very well done. A cat has an animal soul which dies with it when the cat dies. (I suspect that Frank. had a Frank soul that died with him when he died…really dumb). Only the human being has a rational, immortal human soul capable of knowing, loving and serving God. (animals serve God by being animals, in the sense of Aquinas’ vegetable soul. Animals are innocent and not capable of committing sin). The immortality of the human soul is the image of and likeness of God in our being human. Without acknowledging our Creator, man cannot know who he is, or where his destiny lies.
    .
    Twinning is the individual person, begotten, sharing himself and this too requires free will assent. The person consents to live at procreation. This act of the will to live is an act of the person’s soul. Can a twin or triplet be less than the human being, body and soul, of whom he or she is begotten? Can a candlelight be less, more or less, than fire? (very poor analogy)

  • bill bannon: “Foxfier,
    The rational soul according to Aquinas cannot divide and fills the entire organism therefore prior to twinning, there cannot be a soul…it’s withdrawal from part of the cell mass would be death to that part.
    Summa T. Part 1, Question 76, article 8:
    ” But since the soul is united to the body as its form, it must necessarily be in the whole body, and in each part thereof…on the withdrawal of the soul, no part of the body retains its proper action…”
    The twinning problem will return the Church eventually to the delayed ensoulement tradition that stretched from the Fathers to St. Alphonsus di Ligouri.”
    .
    Not if there are more than one soul and more than one person immediately animating the procreated individual.

  • bill bannon: “There is neither an individual nor a person present as long as the cells have not decided on how many people are going to be born….or a lab deliberately teases the mass into twinning. Ergo this is another quote in which the Cardinal in question seems oblivious to the possibility of identical multiples.”
    .
    Actually the person does decide. The cells do not decide. The free will, an attribute of the immortal human soul, acts in deciding to live and the twinning may be God’s creation and immediate animation of more than one person (soul) in this particular individual.

  • Mary,
    I am done. This debate swallowed my Friday. It will not devour my weekend. Adieu.

  • “…There is neither an individual nor a person present as long as the cells have not decided on how many people are going to be born….or a lab deliberately teases the mass into twinning.”

    I know you are not here still Bill but this is just a longer assertion of what you have said before and not an actual argument as to why.

    Clearly there can be a soul present. If the cell mass is totipotent there seems to be no problem in a portion of it splitting off into a distinct, self-organizing body. This of course would also require the presence of a distinct soul infusing this new person. Why is this impossible?

  • “He is saying that if the c. pre 14 day human cell mass is ended for an emergency then that is not abortion.”

    Though this does make for an important distinction. If a woman is pregnant and finds out before day 14, then they could, according to the author, licitly have an abortion.

    “If the pill is an act of murder then it could easily be said by a Pope to a world press and they have not done that.”

    Of course this is part of the reason that the Church is opposed to the ACA contraception mandate. That certain pills act as abortifacients by preventing implantation of the fertilized egg which typically occurs between 6 – 8 day.

    “Ergo Shannon is arguing against the pro life position of laity and lower clergy but is not arguing against the clearly infallible of the Magisterium and his view resembles the relative assessments of the late Jerome and the late Augustine.”

    “So the Vulgate does not have the brawler paying for the foetus with his life but he pays for the mother’s life with his.”

    Though from that perspective, one can claim that a fetus about to be born is not a person.

    Yes, and the CDF as noted above as am I arguing from the perspective that modern science in its full understanding of embryology provides. Something Augustine and Aquinas (and Aristotle from which Aquinas evolved his understanding of gestation) did not have.

  • Mary de Voe’s ingenious suggestion of two souls runs into a difficulty pointed out by St Thomas. What exactly do we mean by saying there are two, rather than one. “Although the intellectual soul, like an angel, has no matter from which it is produced, yet it is the form of a certain matter; in which it is unlike an angel. Therefore, according to the division of matter, there are many souls of one species; while it is quite impossible for many angels to be of one species.” (ST I q 76 a 2) Apart from matter, there can no more be two souls of the same species than two angels of the same species, or two identical ideas. They would be one and the same soul (or angel or idea). There would be nothing to separate or distinguish them.

    Discussions around ensoulment cannot answer the question of identity. Miss Anscombe in The First Person, makes the point that “If the principle of human rational life in E.A. is a soul (which perhaps can survive E.A., perhaps again animate E.A.) that is not the reference of “I.” Nor is it what I am. I am E.A. and shall exist only as long as E.A. exists.” She continues, “But “I” is not a name: these I-thoughts are examples of reflective consciousness of states, actions, motions, etc., not of an object I mean by “I,” but of this body. These I-thoughts (allow me to pause and think some!) are unmediated conceptions (knowledge or belief, true or false) of states, motions, etc., of this object here, about which I can find out (if I don’t know it) that it is E.A. About which I did learn that it is a human being.”

    Hardly surprising that in Donum Vitae, the CDF says, “”This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement.”

  • Hardly surprising in that the Church rarely makes pronouncements in favor of one philosophical position or another. What is surprising in Donum Vitae is it does develop Church teaching in that it accepts that all human life are persons from the moment of conception. Again, the key phrase:

    “…nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?”

    I might add here, given that his small audience is aware of the twinning problem, I suspect the CDF has been aware of this problem. Thus, making the assertion that a human person is present from conception being even more remarkable. Even given the tradition of authors such as Augustine and Aquinas.

  • That should read “…this small audience…”

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  • Phillip

    The CDF was careful to qualify its remarks.

    ““The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature…” and “This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement.”

    In other words, Catholics are free to dispute over the questions of individuality and ensoulment and personhood and are not tied down to any particular philosophical or metaphysical position.

    Wittgenstein probably said it best, when he remarked, “the human body is the best picture of the human soul.” (PI II, iv, 178) and “To have an opinion is a state – a state of what? Of the soul? Of the mind? Well, of what object does one say that it has an opinion? Of Mr. N.N. for example. And that is the correct answer.” (ibid I § 573)

  • It does so from the perspective of philosophy and there is a right to not hold the position. But from the perspective of science it does go in that direction as per the quote I provided.

  • Hardly surprising that in Donum Vitae, the CDF says, “”This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement.”

    Part of why I pointed out that the question of ensoulment didn’t come into the argument.

  • Phillip
    I think Foucault and Derrida have convinced most of us that the objective features of a phenomenon so little constrain the ways it is classified and theorized that these features can be disregarded in trying to understand why a particular classification system or scientific theory has been adopted

    Foxfier
    You are right.

    I have always been particularly impressed by Tertullian in the Apologeticum, where he is obviously expressing, not his own views, but the common teaching of the Church.

    “With us, homicide being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even what is conceived in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood for its sustenance. To prevent a birth is to hasten homicide; nor does it matter whether you take away a life [animam] from one that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a human being which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed.” [My translation – Clearly, “Animam” here has its normal Latin meaning of “life”; not “soul” in the philosophical sense.]
    This passage is so important, given that the author’s floruit(160-220 AD) and his acquaintance with the churches of Rome and North Africa, that I give the original: “Nobis vero semel homicidio interdicto etiam conceptum utero, dum adhuc sanguis in hominem delibatur, dissolvere non licet. Homicidii festinatio est prohibere nasci, nec refert natam quis eripiat animam an nascentem disturbet. Homo est et qui est futurus; etiam fructus omnis iam in semine est” (Apologeticum 9:8)

  • bill bannon: “Mary,
    I am done. This debate swallowed my Friday. It will not devour my weekend. Adieu.”

    .
    Sometime blogging may make on feel like Jonah in the whale.. Have a nice week end, Bill.
    .
    The Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate from the first moment of her existence in the womb of Saint Anne, her mother, is the Immaculate Conception. Jesus Christ’s mother, Mary, was ensouled from the first moment of her existence and Mary is the person all mankind must emulate after the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The soul of Christ was conceived in the Incarnation. The soul of Christ took on human flesh in the womb of Mary. Without reference to Mary, because Mary is the mother of God, and Jesus, because Jesus is true man and true God, the human race is lost. How is it possible that one human being is immaculate and sinless from conception (1854) and another human being of the same species cannot have a soul?
    .
    The human being in the species homosapiens is composed of body and soul. Without the soul there is no life; no human being. Miscarriage tells that there was once life. “I AM” comes into being at the very first moment of existence, at the fertilization of the human egg by the human sperm at procreation. God is existence. A person is the sovereignty of God in man, his soul. “I, in them and Thou in me” John 17: 23. …for you are men sacred to me, as I, the Lord am holy.
    .
    If the soul is the form of the body, then, how did the body get formed from fertilization to ensoulment, unless the body had a soul from fertilization to ensoulment to form it? Immediate animation. “Love one another as I have loved you.”
    .
    The human being knows God, our Creator, from the first moment of his creation, of his being made in the image and likeness of God. The human being is being all he can be from ensoulment and life to desoulment and death.

  • “God created man in His image, In the image of God he created him, Male and female he created them” Gen.1:27.
    .
    God took Eve from Adam’s rib. Twinning.
    Look at the word id entity. Man is an id entity and man’s id is made in the image of God. The purpose of sex is to bring forth more ids, ids who are sacred.
    I am enjoying this excursion into words and meanings. The newly conceived child listens and learns and loves, all through his soul which can twin.

  • Oooh, I hadn’t considered that aspect, Mary.

  • This is as profound as it is simple: We, the people, are all Jesus Christ’s twin.

  • Oh Foxfier: I boofed on my own teaching. “The newly conceived child listens and learns and loves, all through his soul which can twin.” ought to read:
    .
    The newly conceived child listens and learns and loves, all through his soul WHO can twin.

  • Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University cares not a bit about any ensoulment process experienced by a human child in the first weeks or months of his/her development, rather the good professor holds that a child’s right to be born, or to stay alive once born, turns on the child’s possessing self awareness or functionalism.
    .
    Absent self awareness, a child, according to Professor Singer, may be subject to abortion at anytime including post birth.

  • “I think Foucault and Derrida have convinced most of us that the objective features of a phenomenon so little constrain the ways it is classified and theorized that these features can be disregarded in trying to understand why a particular classification system or scientific theory has been adopted.”

    There are some things that are true regardless of Derrida or Foucault or how anyone chooses to interpret the phenomena. One would be that the Earth revolves around the Sun and the heart pumps blood. Among these scientific facts is that from the moment of conception, a distinct, new human individual is present.

    Now, as Donum Vitae notes, it is difficult to conceive of a human individual who is not possessed of a rational nature and thus not a human person. Though perhaps to preserve the appearances for continental philosophers, some will try.

  • Slainte-
    that is why he is known as one of the more honest pro-aborts. His views are utterly abhorrent, but they are logical, based on his beliefs, and he follows them right off the cliff.

  • Who is Professor Singer to dictate Who is and Who is not self-aware? The sovereign personhood of the newly conceived and begotten individual substance of a rational nature, constitutes our nation as our constitutional posterity, from the very first moment of existence…not a very new idea. The Chinese count the age of the child from the moment of conception. Existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.
    .
    If bill bannon made Mass today he heard John 14: 1-19. I thought of the Hound of Heaven. In Jesus Christ, theology and philosophy are united as Jesus is Man and God.
    .
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: “What exactly do we mean by saying there are two, rather than one. “Although the intellectual soul, like an angel, has no matter from which it is produced, yet it is the form of a certain matter; in which it is unlike an angel. Therefore, according to the division of matter, there are many souls of one species; while it is quite impossible for many angels to be of one species.” (ST I q 76 a 2) Apart from matter, there can no more be two souls of the same species than two angels of the same species, or two identical ideas. They would be one and the same soul (or angel or idea). There would be nothing to separate or distinguish them.”
    .
    This is why the human body with two or three souls divides to become two or three human beings, (all within the creative power of God), in the fourteen days before the cells become diversified. The necessity of twinning and of tripletting prove the presence of more than one human soul. Who can deny the human soul to any individual? “I am the Way the Truth and the Life” If the child has life, the child has a soul, the brother of Jesus Christ, and a child of our Creator.
    .
    Atheism, as practiced by Peter Singer is unconstitutional. Our constitutional posterity, begotten, have the same endowed free will and freedom as our constitutional posterity birthed into citizenship…The Preamble.
    .
    slainte: “Absent self awareness, a child, according to Professor Singer, may be subject to abortion at anytime including post birth.”
    .
    Hitler, too, destroyed those individuals who did not measure up to his idea of self-awareness, and if they were Gypsies, Jews, homosexuals, disabled or priests, religious or political opponents, they were destroyed even faster. More of Margaret Sanger’s legacy of “useless eaters” and “human weeds”. Any individual who dares to believe in the human soul and God in America is verbotten.
    .
    Speaking of id-entities brought forth in fertilization, there are also id-iots. Moral relativism explained and exposed and annihilated.

  • Who is Professor Singer to dictate Who is and Who is not self-aware?

    To quote pop culture of my generation:
    Good, bad, he’s the guy with the gun.
    ***
    Less obscurely: he has the ability to act, and he has desires he wants to be fulfilled, and he chose his viewpoint based on the things he wants to be true. He then applied logic to those views and realized that if he wants to be able to kill those who are not functioning on the same level that he is* then they have to be not-really-people. Recognizing this is how we have atheists or agnostics who are still absolute pro-lifers.
    .
    *at least in theory; in practice, he behaved honorably to his own disabled mother. When you’re a better person for being a hypocrite, maybe your philosophy needs to be reexamined.

  • Foxfier: “he has the ability to act, and he has desires he wants to be fulfilled, and he chose his viewpoint based on the things he wants to be true.”
    .
    Every soul “has the ability to act,” the soul makes a free will act to live and consents to life, these are two free will acts of the self-awareness of the soul and consciousness. “and he has desires he wants to be fulfilled,”. The pursuit of Happiness is the soul’s directing of the human body to grow into who the person is to be and facilitating the discernment of one’s vocation and destiny. The endowed soul, the form of the body, desires these benefits for the human body. These gifts are the “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity” of our Constitution. “and he chose his viewpoint based on the things he wants to be true”. All persons have an opinion based on the things he knows and wants to be true. The intellect is an attribute of the human soul, the form of the body, who makes choices and informs the person from the very first moment of existence.
    .
    If Peter Singer does not like the form of the body and his choices, Peter Singer is not free to injure, assault or kill the person. Even now Peter Singer is deemed to be a monster.

  • May I add that when the soul makes the act of a free will choice to accept Jesus as his Savior, worship God in a free will act of accepting the gift of Faith, and when the soul, the form of the body, works to form the body; these acts are the work of the Holy Spirit in the holy soul of man; acts to which man in his sovereign soul and freedom gives assent.

  • If Peter Singer does not like the form of the body and his choices, Peter Singer is not free to injure, assault or kill the person. Even now Peter Singer is deemed to be a monster.

    Rightly so– at least philosophically– but that’s a function of him having the physical power to express his desires/beliefs.

    The Problem Of Sin, writ very black and white.

  • In his Rethinking Life and Death, Singer says, “[The argument that a fetus is not alive] is a resort to a convenient fiction that turns an evidently living being into one that legally is not alive. Instead of accepting such fictions, we should recognise that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being’s life”

    To say that the fetus is not both alive and human is plainly nonsense and, in calling for greater honesty from those who defend abortion, Singer is so far right.

    The French National Assembly was of the same mind, when it enacted the Veil Law (Loi n° 75-17 du 17 janvier 1975, concerning the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy), Art 1 of which declares, “The law guarantees respect for every human being from the outset of life. There shall be no derogation from this principle [Il ne saurait être porté atteinte à ce principe] except in cases of necessity and under the conditions laid down by this Law.” [My translation]

    Most French people, on either side of the debate, regard the “convenient fiction” to which Singer refers as a typical piece of Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy. However, Singer’s views can be traced back to the malign influence of a French philosopher, René Descartes and his Mind-Matter dualism.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “In his Rethinking Life and Death, Singer says, “[The argument that a fetus is not alive] is a resort to a convenient fiction that turns an evidently living being into one that legally is not alive. Instead of accepting such fictions, we should recognize that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being’s life”.
    It is the duty of the state to prosecute crime and “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” From The Preamble. Abortion was legalized to “protect the life of the mother.” It is wrong to take that being’s life unless that being has been taking the mother’s life unto the mother’s death. The mother’s death must be imminent, here and now, not maybe in the future or a prognosis. The mother and father beget that human being’s life. God creates that human being’s life. Atheism is unconstitutional.

    René Descartes and his Mind-Matter dualism.”
    .
    This I know. The human, rational, immortal soul is the seat of reason and immortality. The immortality of the human soul is life, earthly human life and heavenly human life, the life of the saints in heaven. Once life, created and endowed by our Creator, is begotten, life is a right (not a wrong) and may not be explained away as an opinion by any other human being. The rational, immortal, human soul is endowed with intellect, intuition, free will, sovereignty, personhood and humanity, the power of compassion, to recognize and understand, to empathize and sympathize with other individuals of homo-sapiens. Devils refuse to do this. Angels behold the face of God.
    .
    In “I think therefore I AM” Rene Descartes proved that he existed as a human being by exercising his free will to act in the act of thinking. Descartes might also have proved his existence in the free will choice to act in the experience of sacrificial love. Descartes proved that the brain, as an organ, had a purpose directed by his soul and this purpose was to know; to know the experience of himself as a human being and to know, to love and to serve God, in and through and with Jesus Christ, the true purpose of man existence.
    .
    How can we admit of man’s soul when we are forbidden to admit of God? We are not forbidden to admit of God or the reality of man’s immortal soul by our Founding Principles ratified by all states. The First Amendment: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”
    .
    Peter Singer, steeped in his ignorance of the truth of his existence and his purpose in life, is an id-iot and as an id-iot, must be tolerated as an id-iot. Singer’s self-awareness of himself is defunct.

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “In “I think therefore I AM” Rene Descartes proved that he existed as a human being…”
    No, No, No! Descartes is saying, in effect, “I can conceive myself not to include or be my body.”

    As Miss Anscombe points out, “by that method Descartes must have doubted the existence of the man Descartes: at any rate of that figure in the world of his time, that Frenchman, born of such-and-such a stock and christened René; but also, even of the man — unless a man isn’t a sort of animal. If, then, the non-identity of himself with his own body follows from his starting-points, so equally does the non-identity of himself with the man Descartes….
    This led to an imaginative tour de force on the part of Locke: might not the thinking substance which thought the thought “I did it” — the genuine thought of agent-memory — nevertheless be a different thinking substance from the one that could have had the thought: “I am doing it” when the act was done? Thus he detached the identity of the self or ‘person’ from the identity even of the thinking being which does the actual thinking of the I-thoughts.”

    In fact, “I” is not a referring expression at all, any more than “it” is a referring expression in “it is raining.” “I am MPS” is not an identity proposition. It is connected to an identity proposition, “This thing here is MPS.” But there is also the proposition “I am this thing here.” It means: this thing here is the thing, the living human being, of whose action this idea of action is an idea, of whose movements these ideas of movement are ideas, of whose posture this idea of posture is the idea. And also, of which these intended actions, if carried out, will be the actions.

  • It would appear, Michael Paterson-Seymour, that Descartes and you, Sir, have traced yourselves back to the mind of God and have proved the existence of your immortal souls. for “I” is the name of God. but “it” is not. “I” is a person. “It” is not a person. “I can imagine myself as an idea in the mind of God.” “I am a soul willed by God into existence.” “It is this soul who I am who is. Thank you, Michael Paterson-Seymour.
    .
    My goal is to align the human being, body and soul with the Constitution. How well I do only time will tell.
    .
    That one-celled human being loves his Creator, loves his life and loves his parents. Who can prove otherwise? That one-celled human being who is growing to know, to love and serve God in thought, word and deed is a child of God. He has a Right to Life. He is legally and morally innocent. His conscience is a clean slate.
    .
    No idiot may exercise his ignorance in prohibiting or destroying the embryo’s love for God. “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” The idiot is jealous of the one-celled human being. The idiot cannot destroy the embryo’s conscience, the embryo’s will to live and the embryo’s will to love. The idiot cannot destroy the one–celled human being’s immortal soul.

Pro-Life Demonstrator Assaulted By Professor

Wednesday, March 12, AD 2014

A department of feminist studies professor has been accused of going berserk after coming across a campus prolife demonstration that used extremely graphic displays, leading a small mob of students to chant “tear down the sign” before grabbing one of the signs, storming off with it, then allegedly engaging in an altercation with a 16-year-old prolife protestor who had followed the educator to retrieve it.

“Allegedly” for legal purposes, it was caught on video and is serious enough that the cops– who reportedly were going to poo-poo it off– got serious when they saw the video.

Also notable is that, at the bottom of the article, they mention that some students are claiming they feel unsafe.  Why?  Because there are people protesting the legal, at-will killing of unborn humans, with pictures and facts to back them up.  Not because teachers assault teenage girls with whom they disagree and from whom they have taken private property.

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19 Responses to Pro-Life Demonstrator Assaulted By Professor

  • The article I read indicated that the pro-life demonstrators were from a nearby Catholic college, and were not students at the college where the “feminist” professor – (who reportedly taught something like Black studies, “Queer theory” and “pornography” ) was “teaching”.
    The demonstrators were holding up pictures of murdered babies, and that apparently makes the abortion crowd very very nervous.
    Please someone let me know where I can go to hold up pictures of murdered babies and get the pro-murder crowd bent out of shape!

  • The professor…leading a small mob of students to chant “tear down the sign” before grabbing one of the signs, storming off with it, then allegedly engaging in an altercation with a 16-year-old prolife protestor who had followed the educator to retrieve it.” Unalienable civil rights to peaceable assembly and freedom of speech. Where is the ACLU on our tax money? Thank God for the video. An education is learning how to think, not what to think.This gorilla must be canned.

  • CatholicsRock! Most county and state fairs will not accommodate you, so start there.

  • CatholicsRock! P.S. Remember your video cam.

  • Great, now I’m picturing the professor checking for student ID before assaulting teenagers…..

  • As far as I can tell, here is the original article: http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/16673/

  • I have searched Google for “Church Militant” “Angry Catholic” “Catholic Protest” and similar, but can not find a group or a Facebook or whatever where there is a bunch of Catholics who, like me, are eager to confront the baby murderers, the mass media, and the Catholic-bashers with the same nasty, in-your-face tactics that have been perpetrated on us.
    Surely these people exist, but I can’t find them!
    Anybody????
    Never wrestle a pig in the mud, because you both get dirty, and the pig likes it. Well oink oink oink, I am ready to get down!

  • There you have it. The university is the most closed minded institution in the country.

  • Linked in the first para of the story; apparently the latest skin for the blog doesn’t underline links in quotes anymore.

  • CatholicsRock! on Wednesday, March 12, A.D. 2014 at 4:14pm (Edit)

    eager to confront the baby murderers, the mass media, and the Catholic-bashers with the same nasty, in-your-face tactics that have been perpetrated on us.

    Please do not promote illegal or immoral actions on any of my posts, even if you’re joking or using it to make a point. I will remove them in the future.

  • “The university is the most closed minded institution in the country.” Agreed.
    More close minded than Cardinal Kaspar (not in the country I know)

  • I can well believe that “Santa Barbara law enforcement officials… are investigating the March 4 incident.”

    Where I come from, taking another’s property by a sudden snatch or pull, is theft (the felonious taking and appropriation of property without the consent of the person to whom, it belongs, or in whose possession it is.) The case of a person having property taken from her forcibly, beyond a snatch, pull or mere jostling, or extorted from her by alarming menaces is robbery.

    However, attacks by mobs or combinations of persons, in which property is masterfully carried off, and the lieges put in alarm is the much more serious crime of stouthrief.

    Then, of course, there is mobbing and rioting, which consist in assembling of a number of people, and their combining against social order and peace, to the alarm of the lieges.

  • Foxflier – I do not believe that using the same tactics that have been used against American Catholics constitutes “illegal” actions.
    “Immoral” – well – that is open to interpretation.
    I stumbled across this site, and found something of what I am looking for. However, since the only thing most people here want to actually DO is sit around and whine, I am asking for direction to where I want to be.
    Again, NO ONE here knows of a group of Catholics – like the heroic people who are the subject of the article you posted – willing to confront evil with a physical presence?
    Fine, you whiners want someone else to do it? Here I am. If you people are unwilling to share your experience with a few keystrokes, I think you should all examine your motivations.

  • CatholicsRock!-
    I do not believe that using the same tactics that have been used against American Catholics constitutes “illegal” actions.
    That claim beggars belief, seeing as how the entire point of the post is criminal actions against a teenager, and following MPS’ elaboration.
    .
    Confronting evil with a physical presence is done at most dioceses– call up and ask if there is a group organized to pray the rosary at abortuaries. Generally they are associated with “40 days for life” drives, but they go on all year long.
    .
    You did not ask “is there something I can do”– you asked for groups that will do the same thing that the pro-aborts do.
    I doubt the young lady and her friends would appreciate something thinking they are committing the same “nasty, in-your-face tactics that have been perpetrated on us,” and I definitely do not agree with the claim.

  • CatholicsRock – How about using a different, or additional, tactic to oppose the abortion-lovers? Hit ’em where it hurts – in the wallet! BOYCOTT all businesses that support Planned Parenthood (or as I call it, Dead Babies Are Us) and the so-called none-profits that donate to PP, AND the businesses that support these nonprofits! Go to these businesses , locally, and write to them both at the local and national levels and TELL them why you are boycotting them. You can get information from Life Decisions International (www.fightpp.org), and from 2ndvote.com. Susan G Komen, a huge prop-abort entity, lists its donors on line also.

  • CatholicsRock: Go see Joan Andrews Bell on youtube. She has what you need.

  • Thank you Edie E. Good info

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Catholic Answers Needs Help

Tuesday, August 13, AD 2013

I’m sorry I haven’t posted for so long– I’ve been over at Catholic Stand and Ricochet, and trying to help folks on facebook– and I’m sorry to come back with a “Please help” message.

Doing it anyways.

Catholic Answers needs help. They’ve had to let folks go, cut pay and are still falling short.

I don’t know if you’ve been helped by them, but… I got more just from the Catholic.com website than I got from the decade plus of “catholic” education from my local parish.  Just last week I was talking to my mom about how much stuff I wouldn’t even know I didn’t know if not for ‘stuff I found online’… which almost always meant “On Catholic Answers.”

More recently, I helped a cousin who was being faced with the “but if you weren’t a nasty evil mean person, you’d support marriage equality” stuff with some of their articles.

I know things are tough. Please help.

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3 Responses to Catholic Answers Needs Help

On Ricochet: Modern Media and Benedict the Humble

Sunday, April 21, AD 2013

Our modern media, driven by image, loves outward signs of humility. The incongruity of a Pope riding the bus and moving out of the palace creates a spectacle that viewers can instantly digest as “good,” even though these are only external acts. Now, I don’t doubt that these acts are spurred by Francis’ genuine virtue, but they should mean less if humility, as Aquinas and Augustine insisted, is only a virtue as an inward movement of the soul.

In Benedict’s pre-papacy book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, he wrote that the Pope should be a “humble servant” to the “Tradition of the faith” — a deliberately inconspicuous goal that a headline cannot capture, and which those unfamiliar with that tradition cannot fully appreciate.

Again, I do not wish to criticize Pope Francis, but rather to suggest that we, as viewers, keep our idea of “humility” in proper perspective. Humility is not the greatest virtue proposed by Christianity — it is just a prerequisite, an interior attitude of other-worldliness, for receiving the rest of the Faith.

Rest of the article is here.

Thought y’all might enjoy it!

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5 Responses to On Ricochet: Modern Media and Benedict the Humble

  • Humility is not the propeller pushing the ship along, rather it is the wake that is tangible but soon returns to the stillness of the sea.

  • I’m not sure that works, either… maybe it’s more like, humility is the prow of the ship, and the stuff folks keep identifying is the wake? Mistaking the evidence for the thing itself?

  • Thank you for posting this. I’ve been lately disappointed in friends and family who seem to be so impressed with the outward symbols of F1. I think of them as victims of modern media celebrity worship.
    I am hopeful that Francis is not exploiting his celebrity. Let’s hope.

  • Evidence.
    That’s the illusion.
    That man can adequately know the depths and intent of mens hearts.
    At best we partially see the evidence, and at worst we doubt the intent.
    If a man kisses the leper and a bystander interprets the intent incorrectly, is the man justly scrutinized by the bystander? No.
    Please allow me this. What so ever you do for another, if it is done with perfect intent and selflessly, joyfully gift of self, then the scrutiny of the world is unimportant.
    Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was credited for a poem entitled; Do it Anyway.
    The final analysis states the beauty of our actions of mercy….that being that it was never about those who scrutinized your actions, but it was about your call to serve God regardless of what the doubter would do or say.

  • Very good article. Francis is showing, I believe, genuine humility in the way he approaches the office. Benedict showed humility in walking away from the papacy.

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.
Origin:
1590–1600; < Middle French ( Old French: derogatory name applied by the French to the Normans), perhaps < Old English bī God by God

Dictionary.com 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.”

    Bingo.

  • 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: http://www.richardbradley.net/shotsinthedark/). 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.
    Quote:
    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.”

    Greg-
    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.

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  • 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.

Little Miracles

Friday, March 15, AD 2013

No, I don’t mean “kids.” They’re really big miracles in little packages. I also don’t mean things where small happenstances have big side-effects– like the time something silly I can’t remember happened, and delayed my car enough that we missed being T-boned or caught in the huge pileup with it from a run-away car. Barely.

I mean things where you are just not having a good time of it, for perfectly normal and predictable reasons…and then something rather odd happens that made you feel better, or fixed a problem unexpectedly.

The “hey, I know you’ve been down, but I also know you like rocks and I found this pretty crystal. Have a nice day!” type stuff.

Got to thinking on it because 1) I am a total sleep wimp, and 2) I’m a month and a half from the next baby being due. That means that, most nights, I can’t sleep. Mental note: next time, make sure that the last trimester is at the END of DST…. 😉

A couple of days ago, the girls were having screaming fits over everything. They’re tired, too; they miss their dad, mom isn’t as fun and can’t pick them up anymore, and there have been some minor disasters the last few weeks, from medical to minor injury to very minor vehicle trouble. As an added bonus, I emptied all the odds and ends stuff out of the closets to organize them properly, got a bunch of storage boxes and all… about two months ago, and haven’t managed more than a third of it. I knew that TrueBlue did a lot, but this is ridiculous.

I was unable to sleep, again, and about ready to cry from frustration, so I thought I’d try to find a registration code for a game I had on the old computer. Can’t find it. Try ever odder groupings of the name… and this email forward from a family friend that witnessed for our wedding, but has since died, popped up. It was one of those probably made up tear jerkers about a guy whose car suddenly had problems, and he managed to get to a gas station where he saw a woman in distress. He helped her and her kids out, feels the urge when she asks if he’s an angel to tell her “they were busy, so God sent me” and when he gets back to the car, it of course starts up.

The cry I got from that did more good than two hour’s worth of sleep, and I know it’s been making my days a bit easier. They’re still…trying, but I can deal a bit better, now. I’ve been able to get enough energy to do a couple of the things that I’ve had on my list for far too long, and I KNOW it’s made me a bit less irritable.

I still can’t find anything that should’ve triggered that search to bring up that email. I’m sure there’s something, but… a little, well-timed “accident” of the sort mom always taught us to be grateful for.

Trigger any thoughts anybody would like to share?

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11 Responses to Little Miracles

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  • This week, my son locked his keys in his recently purchased truck with the engine running. I went over to see if I could help him out with it. While I was there, I found a spot on one of his front tires that had been worn down to the wires under the rubber. The rest of the tire was fine, there was just this one spot where the previous owner must have repeatedly skidded the tires. The tire had been overinflated as well. Had he not locked his keys in his truck, a blowout of that tire was just a matter of time. It was a minor inconvenience that prevented what would have been a big one, potentially causing an accident. Small miracles…

  • I was seven or eight years old in the midst of the depression, one of five children. One Saturday, two school friends asked me to go to the movies with them. I said sure, hoping to “borrow” from them the 7 cents for a ticket. I didn’t dare ask my parents (my Dad had no job). When we got to the theatre it was a mob scene, waiting for the earlier show to end. While waiting in the entry, I spied a ticket on the floor and picked it up. There’s no doubt in my mind, some 75 years later, who put it there.

  • My sainted mother taught me how to drive which was quite a feat. I wasn’t the worst driver in the history of the world, but I was definitely in the running. I flunked driver’s ed and had to repeat it, although I did get my license on the first attempt. Mom always remained somewhat nervous about me as a driver, although I did get better with age.

    Mom died on Easter Sunday 1984 after a heroic fight against the cancer that killed her. In September of that year, my bride and I were planning on driving to Meridian, Mississippi from Mattoon, Illinois for the wedding of her kid sister. It was the longest car trip I had made up to that point. My bride and I were driving in our 77 T-Bird the day before our trip, and suddenly the power steering went out. As I was driving to the garage to get that repaired, all four tires went flat, one after another. The tires were replaced, the power steering repaired and my bride and I had an enjoyable and safe trip to and from Meridian. Coincidence? Perhaps, although I have now been driving for 40 years and I have never seen anything like it before or since.

  • Back in 1987 I went to Basic Training at Fort Bliss, Texas. I was issued a rifle that continuously malfunctioned. In fact, it was so old and worn out that parts wobbled and rattled when you shook it. I couldn’t get three shots off without a massive double or triple feed that took a considerable amount of time to clear. As a result, I had no practice because my time was taken up clearing multiple cartridges from the chamber of my weapon. The armorer couldn’t get it to function correctly. I dreaded the prospect of our marksmanship test. It had timed pop-up targets. If you didn’t get a passing score, you got “recycled” and sent back to an earlier phase of Basic Training to repeat the marksmanship portion. There was no leniency for malfunctioning weapons. I did not want to spend any more time in that place, and seriously considered going AWOL if I failed my test. I prayed hard the entire day leading up to the test. When it came time to shoot, my M-16 performed flawlessly, and I got the high score for the range that month. It was as if I was watching myself shoot. After that, my weapon went back to being the jam-o-matic piece of junk it was before. I once again couldn’t get three shots off without a jam. I consider that a miracle.

  • I’ve got a couple – but this one sticks most in my memory.
    In 1979 I had just carted my family across the Tasman to live in Australia. I had a very rough old ’64 Holden station wagon. It was 7 am. Sunday morning, Mass was at 8 am. a few miles away. The wagon had been hard to start, so went out at 7.15 am to start her, and warm her up before going to Mass. There was a “Rurr” sound, then silence. Flat battery. I opened the bonnet to let the early sun warm the battery, and went in to get my two young boys ready to come with me. We got into the car, and tried the ignition. Not even a “Rurr”.
    My oldest boy said, “what are we going to do dad?”
    I said, “you guys start praying.” “What will we pray?”
    I said, “The Our Father.” So the boys broke into praying the Our Father.
    When they got to “………..Thy will be done.” I hit the starter. No lie, I kid you not – the car roared into life.
    We got to Mass on time. After Mass, we went out to drive home, and the car was dead as a dodo – not even a click. My cousin was a part rime mechanic, so I phoned him and he came out – replaced the points in the distributor, and jump started the car so we could get home, buying a new battery on the way.
    The power of children’s prayer – I will never forget this.

  • My turn.
    My wife Mary and I we’re the caregivers for my mother-in-law Jeane. She had cancer and asked us to assist her in her last 18 months on earth.
    We were blessed to fulfill her every wish.
    On the morning of Aug. 25th 2000, at 6:30am Jeane was taken home. I stepped outside to reflect on the event. Suddenly three sandhill crain’s took to flight from the river across the street from Jeans home. The moment was breathtaking as I pondered the beauty of God in the Holy trinity.
    Two years later at Jeans gravesite, after finishing the Joyful mysteries for Jeans soul, I looked overhead and a perfect heart shape cloud filled my soul with Joy.
    A thank you from mom perhaps?
    God is so good. He cannot be outdone in generosity.

  • I can think of two things that happened to me while I was living in the Washington, DC area.

    In early 1989, I was really hard up for money. I had a car payment (I did not want to buy a new car, but my dad insisted and I was stuck with the payments). A refund check came from the insurance company that I cancelled five months earlier.

    Jump forward a little more than a year, and the car that I had (a 1988 Ford Tempo that I beat to death) began to sputter on I-95 on the way home from work. It stalled. I was stuck on the side of the highway. Cell phones were not common then and I certainly did not have one. Less than ten minutes later, a tow truck that was looking for someone else stopped and gave me a tow to a Ford dealer. The fuel pump was bad. Later, Ford recalled those cars with defective fuel pumps and my repair bill was refunded.

  • I don’t know why, but I suddenly had the realization I should’ve waited a few days and posted this as “Luck of the Irish (Catholic)” Or something.

    Nah, works fine. Even if that way would’ve gotten more eyes.

  • But Foxy……….
    I’m not Irish 😉

  • I had left the church 30 years ago but for some reason recognized the need to come back. I followed the same religion as my wife (Jehovahs Witnesses) but didn’t believe it. I was reading the Bible and writings of early christians and had come to the determination that the Catholic Church was started and guided by God. I knew my wife looked at our shared faith as the center of our marriage and for me to leave her religion could destroy our marriage. If I left I would be rejected by all our friends and her family. This would make it difficult to share friends and fun with my wife. I had come to the point where I had prayed to God to show me the way. Do I continue to go to the Kingdom Hall with her, save my marriage, yet worship God as a Catholic in my heart, or do I take a stand as the early Christians had? I prayed for an answer for several weeks.

    One day I was driving down the interstate listening to a homily on Catholic radio about an old man on the island of Crete who loved everyone. He welcome everyone in the community by going to their Baptisms and say good bye by going to their funerals. When he was very old and ready to die, he asked his sons to lay him on the ground so he could die with the soil of Crete in his hand. He passed away and came to the gates of heaven. Peter asked him if he was ready to enter heaven, and he said yes, very much. Peter than asked what he had in his hand. The old man explained to him that it was his beloved soil of his beloved Crete. Peter said you must put God first. They old man replied, but this is so little. I have lived my whole life for God, please let me in. Peter replied, when you give all to God you can enter.

    The next day, the old man approached the gate. This time Mary was to ask the same questions, but the old man just couldn’t give up his beloved Create.

    The next day, the old man approached once again and it was Jesus at the gate. Jesus asked the man what it was he had in his hand. The man opened his hand and the soil had turned to sand and falling between his fingers. Jesus asked him if he was willing to give up union with God in heaven of that sand. The old man dropped the sand and Jesus invited him in. When he came through, all of the loved ones who had died were waiting to greet him and heaven was like the best Crete had to offer.

    As I continued to drive, I prayed about this homily since it struck me as so pertinent. Just then there was a red semi trailer cross ways to the interstate like a large sign and in bold white it had one word on it, ‘Crete’. That was my sign from God. I rejoined the Church and my marriage became very difficult but it is getting better. But the Graces God has given me have made me the happiest I have ever been in my life. Deo Gratias. Praise be to God.

Lies of Omission

Thursday, February 7, AD 2013

I’m fairly sure that anyone here is sufficiently “plugged in” to current politics enough to have heard about House member Gabby Gifford’s recent plea for further gun restrictions. I’m not sure what your local media is like, but there’s a fair chance that there was even a mention of Sarah Palin or at least some sort of “incitement” behind that shooter’s attack. Given the body count, it’s not too surprising.

Also recently mentioned, though only in passing, is that the guy who shot up the Family Research Council in DC was finally in court.  Honestly, my main memory of that was being on a family trip and wondering why the heck somebody targeting based on “anti-gay bias” would have bags of Chick-fil-A. I can remember a few commentators suggesting that it was some sort of cartoonish attempt at “blending in”– an indication of just how crazy his view of those who disagree is or was. “Hey, Chick-fil-a is ‘anti-gay’ the same way that the FRC is– they don’t support redefining marriage to fit current pop culture appeals. The Family Research Council even denies a man and woman are functionally identical to two guys or two gals, of all the nerve! They’ll never notice me coming in and killing people if I have suitable fast food bags!”   Not someone to take too seriously, even if he did have a gun.

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32 Responses to Lies of Omission

  • If the loon attempting to shoot up the FRC had been a conservative attempting to attack a Leftist institution, media coverage about every aspect of his case would have been non-stop from the initial arrest to today. It would have been a major issue in the campaign with the Democrats and their media cohorts arguing that this demonstrated how Republicans had created an atmosphere of hate that led to the shooting. We no longer have a merely biased media in this country; we have a media that operates almost entirely, and unashamedly, as the propaganda arm of the Left wing of the Democrat party.

  • It looks like there’s another shooter story breaking, in LA. A former police officer and (the blogs are saying) a liberal. For the time being, this is something we should be praying about. But it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how the narratlve is delivered.

  • One of our local radio guys moved down there, so he called up and did an interview to plug KFI. All information to follow is from that interview.

    Shoot was in the military–supposedly got some shooting experience that way– and was a police officer, until he was fired for misconduct. He’s murdered the daughter of the guy who represented him at the hearing, her fiance (who may or may not have been another cop) and a second man that was at the same place.
    He’s posted at 20 page “manifesto” on facebook that, to my ears, sounds like he was pushing every button possible to get attention– promotes gun control, W, Tebow, and brain injury.
    As of about 11:30 they’d had a description of his pickup all over everywhere and hadn’t had so much as a report since the night before, even with two different license plates.
    He supposedly has a wide range of guns, including a .50 cal rifle.

    End what I’d heard so far.

    I half-heard at the last newsbreak that he may have tried to steal someone’s boat last night around “a San Diego military base”– which worries me, because we’ve got friends and family that are down in that area, and the bases with the most POBoats nearby would be right next to most of them.

  • Here, several sources have said this is the full “manifesto”.
    http://pastebin.com/yw3Ffy0S
    (looks more like “simicoherent rant,” and my blogging shows that I’ve got expertise when it comes to throwing thoughts together just enough for them to stick)

  • …Apparently, he thinks guns cause shootings, too. Or is willing to claim they do.

    Psycho.

  • Did the guy, DORNER, did he call up KFI?? This is some odd story:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/07/christopher-jordan-dorner-facebook-pages_n_2639934.html?utm_hp_ref=technology#slide=2076164
    http://news.yahoo.com/scariest-parts-chris-dorner-manifesto-warned-lapd-killings-175227852.html
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57568288-504083/christopher-dorner-update-ex-los-angeles-cops-manifesto-hints-at-racism-as-motive-for-killings/
    You can see from the excerpts, he wrote some of that manifesto and predicted he’d make these killings and those that know me won’t be able to believe it he says.
    http://www.tmz.com/2013/02/07/lapd-cop-killer-christopher-dorner-tim-tebow-charlie-sheen-larry-david/ Stuff he wrote to Tim Tebow, the KFI guys and others.
    It’s intriguing but it’s also a bit like rubbernecking at an auto crash.

  • ***REMOVED AS PER AUTHOR’S PERMISSION, AS TOO FAR OFF TOPIC***

    Foxfier-as-editor: No hard feelings, just too many directions; I’m horrible about staying on topic as it is.

  • Since today/lastnight’s shooter mentioned two different KFI hosts and (if my guess about the selection of the topics is accurate) has the kind of personality that a host might want to stir things up, I’d say there’s a good chance he’s called in several times.

    I wonder if him being black, being former military (maybe a reservist, since he still had mil stickers on his pickup?) or being a former cop will have a bigger effect on how the story’s spun. Just waiting for this to be use to justify gun control, since he’d previously been in both of the groups that would not be disarmed.

    Not exactly rubber-necking, since it really is a scary situation and thinking about what would I do? is pretty dang important.

    Bet you that Mr. Johnson spent a lot of time thinking about what he’d do if, say, some hothead came in, picked a fight and shot him.

  • It appears that for mass-media, mass-murder politicizers some mass murders is more equal than others.

  • We have to wonder whether we are capable of handling guns anymore these days. We’re not the same people we were sixty years ago or so. We’re becoming increasingly incapable of our institutions and democratic traditions. This is the kind of people we are now, not quite the citizenry the founders had in mind, I’m afraid.

  • “We have to wonder whether we are capable of handling guns anymore these days.”

    And leave only criminals and the State armed? No thank you very much! The Founding Fathers did not idealize the American people of their time. Their writings and their speeches are filled with criticisms of the people and laments as to the lack of public virtue. Random senseless murders were far from unknown in their day. Many of the Founding Fathers thought that the experiment in self rule they had started would not long survive their death. Our freedom is absolutely as precious now as it was when the Founding Fathers crafted the Constitution.

  • Yes, there are outrageous crimes but how many gun owners never cause trouble? It’s a bit like how many drink beer and never cause trouble, you have your cases of drunk driving and accidents. I’m sure throughout the heartland, you have farmers, etc. no problems ever happen. I’ve heard there may be as many as 80 million gun owners in the US, legal owners. So do they pay for the crimes of Jared Laughner, James Holmes and these others?

  • I’m so glad you said that. I often idealize our country’s past. Yet I can’t help but feel we’re worse off now than then. I could be mistaken, but we seem so much more dysfunctional, perhaps because we have less space or because we blame the environment more. Any thoughts?

  • @Jon: Just in my view, I would look more towards a decline in moral values, really does seem like with the pill, abortion where life is not valued, sexual revolution, the country has entered a decline.

  • Yes, the new morality of the 60’s has not helped. I do feel we’re worse off now and perhaps it’s due to that. I also wonder whether a lack of space leads to less civility.

  • Since, as I mentioned, today’s guy was in not one but two of the groups that would stay armed with disarmed citizens– I’m very much against taking guns from everyone else!

    Over at National Review Online, somebody pointed out that the one study of gun-crimes-per-person comparing police to concealed carry folks found that the rates were about the same. (cops were a little higher, but that may be a bigger chance of being caught/accused)

    Guns are just a tool. They become more dangerous as fewer people have them, because they’re of greater relative power. The Portland mall shooting would have had a much higher bodycount if one guy hadn’t ignored the signs and brought his concealed carry weapon inside, making him able to threaten the murderer.

  • You could be correct about the lack of space, inner city crime has probably declined and it amazes me that Colorado which is so beautiful and seemingly spacious has had a few of these incidences though the Aurora Theater shooting was done by someone who was not from there.

  • I also wonder whether a lack of space leads to less civility.

    I’d guess it has more to do with the lack of consequences. The 60s promoted both gross violation of basic manners (“Alinsky tactics”) and prevention of punishment for transgressions. (ie, being punched in the nose if you walk up to a woman and proposition her)

    Then, starting in the 80s or so, actual assault by bullies in school was excused– and self-defense punished more harshly than the assault.
    (maybe 70s; I wasn’t around for it, but about ’89 they did try to expel my roughly-six-year-old self for kicking at the over-100-pounds-bigger bully that hauled me off the play equipment for a beating, while he faced…detention, for having “known problems.” Small, rural school, so it had to be pretty well established for it to filter down to us.)

    So now we have a generation where the psychopaths have learned there’s no real risk to their actions…and when they run up against any resistance, it probably feels like a betrayal of the basic order.

    Or, for today’s shooter-on-the-loose, maybe “racism”– very unjust, anyways. They’re reporting he got kicked out of the Navy Reserve officer corps, and I’m wondering what he did that got him kicked out of the police as well….

  • Hmmn…interesting. Yes, I think people are more prone to aggression and neurotic behavior when less space is available. I wonder if many of these types of crimes involving weapons take place in more heavily populated places generally. For example, New Jersey and Connecticut, two states that are densly populated, rank the highest for neuroticism! New York’s pretty high too.

  • Foxfier, I totally agree with everything you just said!! But here’s a question: Why was it that in the 80’s bullying was excused and self-defense severely dealt with? Why was that the trend? Where did it originate and what was the thinkin?

  • “Thou shalt not kill” was never taught to the shooter.

  • Jon-
    probably a bunch of different trends, from “fruit of the 60s” (which were fruit of their own predecessors, etc) to those theories about how society is what makes you “act out,” to bias against good masculinity and a belief that all violence is bad, even if it’s in self defense.

    Honestly, if you really believe that “violence never solved anything,” then treating a bully (who does, indeed, have emotional problems by definition) more lightly than an otherwise good kid who offered violence in self defense makes sense.

    I can’t claim to understand the line of thought that would make someone really think that all violence is equal, though.

  • Mary De Voe’s much shorter comment kinda puts it in a nutshell.

    Remove Christ, the culture can only go so far on inertia. Humans just aren’t very nice without some help.

  • probably a bunch of different trends, from “fruit of the 60s” (which were fruit of their own predecessors, etc) to those theories about how society is what makes you “act out,” to bias against good masculinity and a belief that all violence is bad, even if it’s in self defense.

    1. Self-defense requires independence of spirit, anathema to people who are inclined to make ‘clients’ of everyone.

    2. Self-defense incorporates the assumption that both parties understand the relationship between acts and consequences, and that the will of both parties (instructed by consequences) determines their acts. This is ‘much too simple a view’ and cuts into the act of people who inveigle and manipulate for a living (with professional certifications from faculties of ‘education’, ‘counseling’, social work, and clinical psychology.

    Assuming that mass-entertainment tends to reflect certain notions ambient in the society at large, I offer this:

    There was an episode of The Andy Griffith Show broadcast ca. 1962 which ended with Opie and Andy in an agreeable frame of mind. Opie has a piece of beef over half his face nursing a black eye and Andy is proud his son took the pain and gave a local bully a shiner rather than part with his lunch money. I recall seeing the rerun around a decade later and it was just completely alien to the line figures in authority were shooting you (in suburban Upstate New York ca. 1973). The dysfunctionally feminized, manipulative, and passive-aggressive ways of school administrators, school teachers, and bourgeois mothers of that era (aided and abetted by contemporary mass-entertainment products) simply ignored or wished away the actual social dynamics of the world boys inhabited (and, really, the world anyone inhabited).

  • I will offer this hypothesis also:

    In that era, people in authority (school officials, bourgeois mothers, and, in a different way, clergymen) were on something on a suicide mission. They made themselves into superfluous people to the rest of the world by repairing to platitudes (the clergy) or continually offering ‘guidance’ which did not tally with the lived experience of their charges. The court system compounded the problem by favoring social work over punishment; elected officials had to strip judges of much of their discretion in order to contain that.

  • It needs to be noted how much the media have to do with all this. If the guy didn’t know for a fact that he’d get attention, he never would have done this. I remember saying this a few weeks ago – and I wasn’t alone. The attention we give to the last shooter inspires the next shooter.

    Of course, in this case, it’s a little different. The guy is an active threat. It make sense for people to be informed about him. But we’ve got to move toward shutting down the channels of publicity for the disturbed and violent.

    Now, for the completely, completely honest part. I’m sick of being tarred by everyone who disagrees with me politically. I’m sick of being called names. I want Anderson Cooper and the SPLC to have to deal with it for a while. I don’t know if that’s justice or pettiness or a “teaching moment”.

  • Donald,

    It is disheartening to read the idiotic comments at Yahoo and elsewhere cheering on this monster. Whatever flaws the LAPD has, it doesn’t justify murdering innocent people. It makes me uncomfortable to share geography with some of these people. I don’t understand the thought process at all.

    And if you read his “manifesto,” it is manifest that this guy was Officer Looney McNutty. He’s full of contradictory statements and opinions, and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon without even listening to the other side of the story.

    Sometimes Americans sicken me.

  • There are always loosely wired people and many of them seem to like to vent on the internet! I do not take them as representative of most Americans, not even Americans who inhabit the political Left.

  • Art Deco, you are spot on. From the 50’s onward, representatives of society and culture seemed to feel that the environment was both the cause and solution to every problem and that evil didn’t exist. There was no devil to inspire people individually or collectively, and institutions through social engineering could never do wrong. A tremendous faith in human nature coupled with education prevailed. One can still find this unwarranted optimism in the United Church of Christ as well as among some politicians and many social workers. I think it must have seemed for a little while that progress would endure.

  • @Foxfier: Your post has enlightened me by its thoroughness; your post and the comments, too. Brilliant.

  • @Mary-
    if you say so… I feel like I’m just throwing stuff out there, but I know my perceptions are off from lack of sleep.
    (I should be napping while the girls do, but I just can’t sleep during the day unless I’m sick.)

Culture War on a Shoe String (Budget)

Sunday, January 6, AD 2013

Over at the blog of the author, Sarah Hoyt, there’s a very good post.

I was going to try to use the theme to combine with some conversations from over at Ricochet.com, but then she went and put what I would’ve been pointing at into its own paragraph:

Both of these endeavors will change your perception and you’ll find yourself huffing at sitcoms you used to enjoy.   This is good.  Most of the politics are snuck into stuff like that (hence the directive that came down for more plots about healthcare in sitcoms and episodic dramas) and if you’re not aware of them they’ll insidiously color the way you see the world.  It’s brilliant to sneak them into entertainment because if you complain, you’re a sour puss.  But at this point they’re not even subtle, and you’ll start seeing them if you look: cardboard “conservative” characters who are anything but and who can’t defend their positions.  “Dangerous” tea partiers.  Liberating yourself through having indiscriminate sex and stuff.  The government as a fount of goodness.  It’s all there.  And it’s there on purpose.

There’s more, some general stuff on how the polite refusal to inject politics into everything puts us at a bit of a disadvantage, and it’s quite worth reading.  Now, on to my comments:

She’s right.  My husband is a lot more easy going than I am, but we both can’t watch some shows because of the obvious agenda involved.  Recognizing it isn’t just about paying attention or such– we had a rather long argument with my mother over a TV show that opened with a guy being shot inside his house by a SWAT team called in for a false hostage situation. (Before SWATting got big.)  The show, and the woman who taught me to not trust the story that the news presented, held the SWAT team (personified by the leader) responsible.  TrueBlue and I held those who certified that it was a hostage situation on an anonymous call from a random number as being responsible– there wasn’t any way for the guys who’d been told they were going in to a known hostage situation to know that the guy charging them with a kitchen knife was righteously defending his house.  The guy risking their lives had to be at fault, while the paper-pushers that actually created the entire situation had to be blameless– not even faceless, but as natural a thing as the sun rising, and as unquestioned.  Something goes wrong?  It’s the fault of those uniformed Authority Figure guys. (Who all incidentally looked military.)

Stories set up the way we see the world.

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7 Responses to Culture War on a Shoe String (Budget)

  • Just gave up cable, and it felt liberating. It’s not that I think we should detach ourselves from the culture – in fact I believe I advocated just the opposite here recently – but if we start making wiser cultural purchases (for lack of a better way to phrase it) then we can start slowly turning the tide.

    You’re right about the little things. It’s easy to just sort of shrug your shoulder at the little digs, but it’s the little things that frame the narrative.

  • “But at this point they’re not even subtle,”

    About as subtle as this:

  • Giving up cable is good. Another option is to get something like netflix – it then tracks what you watch and becomes, in a sense, a Nielsen type rating, but one that gets real input from real viewers, and one you actually control to some extent.

    I have also noticed how shows that have any intelligence whatsoever seem to get cancelled while the most idiotic ones get five seasons. Although it may hae had biases, a show like Caprica explored issues your average viewer never even thought about (what it is to be a person, use and abuse of technological power, etc.). It may have eventually degenerated in unhealthy directions, but at least it was asking the right questions. It seems sci-fi and fantasy are where the real philosophy happens; sitcoms are essentially cultural anesthesia.

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  • Our home has never had cable. Internet, sure, and about two years ago we got Netflix– recently I figured out how to use my husband’s old computer that we use as a back-up system to work with Hulu, so the girls can watch “Where’s Boo?” on our schedule.

    It seems sci-fi and fantasy are where the real philosophy happens; sitcoms are essentially cultural anesthesia.

    Building worlds means that you get to put in a lot more assumptions. *grin* They do inject a lot of BS into the non-fantastic, but it is usually a LOT more obvious. Suspension of disbelief doesn’t require you to be blind when something is required by the world, but sometimes you do blink past it when it’s a “just happens” thing in “real” shows.

    The same lady I quoted often mentions the “Gray Goo” type of scifi– you know, the hopeless, depressing drek that they were pumping out when I was a teen, and have kept doing. Baen pulled a Fox News and filled the niche demands of “people who read scifi for enjoyment instead of the message.” (To be fair, I think Baen got there first, but since they print “anything we think will sell,” it’s a bit less obvious.)

  • I really liked Hoyt’s article.

    Increasingly, with the ease of access to information, the skill of being able to sort through information critically is becoming ever more important. Even if there were no right/left battle, and no fight between religious tradition and secularization, it’d be important to teach your kids to review things that they hear and read and consider what underlying assumptions they make, what points of view they advocate. That ability to skim, digest, and appreciate information is essential. Of course, as Christians defending a certain framework, those skills are tested every day. So by all means, teach your children to critically analyze their history lessons and their entertainment.

  • I am never quite certain if they are laughing at me, with me, or for me. It is important to take a stand for the slightest insult, indignity imposed or heresy. This would consume one’s whole day, but one’s children will know where to draw the line when they are being sucked into a black hole. The shows and their sponsors are not invincible and they know they can do better.
    In the old days, the pastor would go down to the moviehouse and turn away any of his parishioners from an x-rated movie.