Kintsugi and Christ

Sunday, February 7, AD 2016

There’s a Japanese technique that means “mend with gold.”

Here’s an example from a shop that offers a wide selection:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/266433009/super-red-kiss-kintsukuroi-kintsugi-vase?ref=listing-shop-header-3

A chance phrase from someone explaining salvation as a side to another point— Suffice it to say that God was not content with leaving us in our brokenness– brought the image of Him mending us.

With gold, of course.

Lovely symbols really are everywhere around us.

Have a great day, folks.

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3 Responses to Kintsugi and Christ

  • 1 Corinthian 3:12-15
    .
    12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

  • 2nd Corinthians 4:7 ; “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.”

    Broken and fragile, yet good enough for His word to be shared… but first mended and born a new to carry the treasure to the thirsty, lost and forsaken.

  • Thanks Foxfire. Good Lenten message.

    “Our bonds are re-enforced through mending. We are stronger and more beautiful for being broken.”

    We might think of going to confession as mending with gold, the gold being God’s grace and mending being our repentance.

Technology and Faith 1

Monday, February 1, AD 2016

In the “ways that tech can help us” meaning, since there’s no shortage of “technology can hurt you horribly and is probably evil” type posts, articles and borderline verbal ticks.  And this is going to be a tiny post, which I hope to have future “good tools” to add to, thus the 1.

“Inspired” to write it because I spent the last hour or two trying to find…basically the free calendar we have from the local Catholic mortuary, but that I can import to my skydrive.  (I failed.)

I’ll sort them by platform; PC, MP3 player and Smartphone.

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3 Responses to Technology and Faith 1

  • Christians are credited with one of the most important innovations in the history of information technology: the codex or hinged book.
    This made possible the table of contents, the index, the concordance and much else that we regard as the indispensible tools of exact scholarship and ready-reference.

  • … when I’m stuck in the crying room…
    –Foxfier

    Come out, come out where ever you are!

  • *rolls sore shoulders*
    I don’t think that would contribute positively to the baptism this week. The almost-three Baron decided that he did not want to sit, stand, be held or even lay on the floor. He wanted to be half-held…and would holler to get it. >.< That stage when they're really not clear on words is TOUGH!

Not-So-Lying Nativity Scene

Thursday, December 17, AD 2015

Over at Catholic Vote, they’re responding to the inevitable Atlantic “look at me!” inflammatory article; this one is “Your Christmas Nativity Scene is a Lie.”

He finally does come to something that is admittedly an inaccuracy, and here we seem to arrive at what really concerns him. He notes that most American nativity scenes depict the Holy Family as white, although they certainly were not Europeans.

Merritt has a point here: a depiction of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as European-looking is certainly factually wrong. I think, however, that he makes this into more of a problem than it really is. He fears that such depictions reinforce racism by suggesting that lightness is associated with what is good and darkness with what is bad.


The point was to depict Jesus as a human being, and the artist defaulted to depicting him as the kind of human being with which the artist was most familiar.

If it’s good enough for Mary, it’s probably good enough for the whole family– just last night I was taking pictures of some of the depictions of apparitions on display at the local Catholic school. Pretty sure that a first-century Middle Eastern Jew didn’t look Vietnamese, either.

The problem only comes up if the change is made to make a bad point– I have heard of artists that change Jesus specifically to ‘claim’ Him, as opposed to the idea that He is claiming us.

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11 Responses to Not-So-Lying Nativity Scene

  • From CV combox; “He (Merritt) forgot to include that Jesus and Mary were not 3-4 inches tall in real life as the Nativity Set tries to represent.” -commenter Ram.

    The above comment is equal to Merritt’s proposition in his essay. Equally lame.

    The only one reinforcing racism is the author, Mr. Merritt.

  • I saw that comment too. That’s as good as the internet gets.

    I’ve always wondered if the depiction of Jesus as more European relates to the fact that most of Europe would have been more familiar with Ashkenazi Jews.

  • They had no idea what first century Jews looked like, and truth to tell our own knowledge on that point is speculative.

  • Anybody else notice how they don’t write garbage like that about Islam.
    .

  • @T. Shaw

    Not just noticed it but irritated as hell at the sewage they spew as being thought right and correct. Sick bastards. Meanwhile a Satanist in Oklahoma is staging a fake blood bath to pour over a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Christmas Eve. This animal has his permit from Oklahoma City officials. He’s doing this at St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral in O.C. on the 24th.

    Bastards.

    http://americaneedsfatima.org/Oklahoma-city -desecration-of- blessed-virgin-mary-on-christmas-eve

  • http://m.newok.com

    Archbishop Paul S. Coakly is discouraging Catholics from protest. Wants the focus on Christmas. He is right. Let the animal rage by himself or with his rat pack.

    Excuse me Foxfier.
    I will not post on this idiot’s cheap trick anymore.

  • Seems to me a public gathering to pray the rosary would be a good way for Oklahoma City Catholics to start the Christmas season.

    Gee, I wonder where they might gather to do that?

  • @Ernst Schreiber.

    There will be Catholic’s doing exactly that, praying the Rosary at St. Joseph’s despite the suggestion of the archbishop. Having participated in a dozen public square rosaries I find the Reverends words hard to swallow, but he has a good reason. Allow families the joy and peace of the blessed day. Forget the Grinch. He’s just a sad p.o.s. that can’t win the day.

    I owe you foxfier. 🙁

  • So..that they were Sephardic Israeli Jews..if they look too Northern European then we’re not being pro-Israel enough? Does the Left really wanna play the “who’s the anti-Semite?” game?

  • Clay.
    Exactly!
    The author is the racist.
    I loathe the left.

  • It is amazing how much octane post-Leninists continue to get out of vaunted claims of soviet-style “racial egalitarianism”—when in fact Lenin, Stalin, and for that matter, their contemporary Western successors, were hysterically pro-European, very anti-Siberian (except when they needed troops against Hitler in WWII), and anti-Asiatic. And forget Africans as being humans, from their viewpoint (are you listening in, Card. Kasper?). So much sham-concern to cover up…well, w’dya think it’s covering up?

C&C Miracles

Sunday, December 13, AD 2015

Written because during C&C Saints the issue of the certified miracles that are required to show that a Saint was in position to nag Himself in person, so to speak; that would require figuring out what a miracle is, and then what it takes, and even a basic summary is worth its own post.  So here’s a post, only slightly re-written.

Literally, it’s from the the Latin for “wonderful”. As we are using it, it’s close– wonder-workers, things done by supernatural power, specifically those things done by the power of God. There are several Greek terms at the link for specific meanings if anybody wants to go and break it out.

A miracle is a thing done by the power of God. An event in the natural world that is not of the natural world, so to speak.

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27 Responses to C&C Miracles

  • “Big hint; apparitions are found “worthy of belief.”

    Regarding sainthood, the scrutinies and investigations used to take much longer than the more recent declarations. Is that true in your opinion, or is it just the individual who is being investigated? Archbishop Fulton Sheen process and the struggle for his corpse to remain in NY v. Illinois, is a whole can of worms in itself.

  • ‘Just like with the saints, the purpose is to bring us to God– not to become some little god in themselves.’

    …… another purpose is perhaps to give us that mouth dropping AWE as a reassuring jolt while we ‘run the race’ : that there is truly, a “Patrem omnipoténtem, factórem cæli et terræ, visibílium ómnium et invisibílium. especially the invisible.

    Merry Christmas, Don McC, and all

  • I have no idea if the investigations really are faster, but I’d imagine that electronic communication drastically streamlined the inquiry process! When my mom had to get my baptismal certificate for my confirmation, when we were actually in the same parish, it barely made it in time for the confirmation. (It’s entirely possible that it came up with the Bishop, I was rather young to remember.)

    When I got a copy of my papers for the kids’ baptism, on the other hand, it was only delayed by the mail, and that only because the parish office there didn’t want to scan and email a copy like the Godparents’ parish did with their paperwork.
    *********
    Finding experts who are willing to look at the information, and respond to it, electronically– it’s got to be faster than sending papers!

  • Of course in the absence (or the severe emasculation) of the office of the Devil’s Advocate the whole sainthood process is much faster than before, and indeed is something of a joke now.
    Perhaps one day soon, someone will redo the whole canonizations done in the last 25 years or so.

  • cpola.

    Yes yes!
    Let’s undo as all the past 20 years.
    Forget the Miracles given, the graces bestowed, the prayers answered and the countless conversions All! Hey. Let’s treat the entire church since V2 as a huge mistake void of any good….then cpola, then enjoy your small elite elect. You got it right. Small barns small harvest. Eradicate the weeds as they grow along with the wheat… so what if the wheat gets pulled up while ripping out the weeds…..call it cpola way.

  • cpola –
    can you point me at a source on the reduction of the Devil’s Advocate’s section? I’ve got an article on how Saints are made official, and as you might have noticed, I like updating them. 😀
    As far as redoing the canonizations– they can’t. It’s infallible.
    It might be that it’s one of those things where they’re preserved from error, though, and it’s not less objective than “general acclaim.”

  • The permission of God is necessary for the saints to appear and for the saints to work miracles. Mary said so, but I cannot point to the quote.

  • “The people who call John Paul II a catholic Saint will be given many lashes. The people who should know better, and still call John Paul II a Catholic Saint will be given the most number of lashes. The people who ignorantly call John Paul II a Catholic Saint will be given fewer lashes.”

    In a paragraph following, in cpola’s most quoted site; popeleo13, then states that we must; “all be vigilant and alert as the enemies of the salvation of Christ seek always to plant the Weeds in the midst of the Wheat.”

    This implication by cpola’s popeleo13 cherished site, blatantly accuses Saint Pope John II THE GREAT as being a sower of weeds.

    Well then cpola.
    If he was that evil in planting weeds then his fruit must be bad. I disagree with this.
    His fruit is good. Divine Mercy is a blossom which is developing into the conversion of many souls. I’ve witness this in person with four different families in fifteen years of service. Satan does not want souls to come to Christ….or is that a bad fruit. Conversions are what…bad?

    cpola.
    Go pull more wheat. Good luck.
    May you be fit to kiss the feet of the Saint you disgrace.

  • Only one of those says anything about the change you mentioned, and it says that the whole process was changed around– with some of the duties of the devil’s advocate being spread to the rest of the group. (Which seems quite reasonable, given that individuals can miss things.)
    ***
    I would not trust that links’ authorial judgement, by the way; it says:
    Church canonized 480 saints from 1978 to 2005
    but mysteriously leaves out that 119 of those were at a single go, being the Martyrs of China. Another 24 were the Martyrs of Mexico. (year 2000)
    Another 8 Martyrs of Spain in ’90.
    116 Martyrs of Vietnam. (why, exactly, were 57 martyred bishops and priests ignored up to 1988? It’s not like they were NEW, some were over a century dead.)
    16 Martyrs of Japan. (’87– there was an entire genera of anime about this before the Church acknowledged them.)
    101 Korean Martyrs in ’84.
    As the second link says, martyrs’ miracles in 1907 could be like the one where my brakes went out, rather than the kid whose cancer disappeared. (second and first class, respectively)
    ***
    Yeah, when you’re recognizing that various areas have been martyring Catholics in job lots, you will rack up the numbers pretty dang fast.
    Unfortunately, the Vatican’s website is terrible for looking this stuff up– I could only find the list of those recognized by JPII– but this website does a decent job of showing them in a usable way.
    http://www.gcatholic.org/saints/jpii-saints1.htm
    I haven’t found one that shows the popes before that, though.
    ********
    Going off of who is bothering to have kids in the various parishes I’ve been in, recognizing the martyrs of various Asian countries has born good fruit. Seattle has a decent Asian population because of location, sure– but when I look around at Mass, I can’t help but notice that we’re one of the very, very few European looking families who are young enough to have kids, let alone who have them, while a whole lot of the (mostly Vietnamese) families are both the right age and actually have kids. They’re going against “their” non-Catholic culture there, too– there are a lot of girls, even if they’ve got older sisters and no brothers. This is not common in similar, non-Christian circles.

  • Great article, Foxfier!

    I think most miracles are messages to one person only. There is a very nice book by Ann Lawrence called BETWEEN THE FOREST AND THE HILLS in which the bishop ends up very frustrated because many events that he knows to be merely providential are counted as genuine miracles by his flock — miracles attributed to him, to his chagrin. When his faith begins to waiver and he cries out to God, he witnesses a Very Explicit Miracle — yet no one else notices. The message was for the bishop alone.

    The recent haste to declare, for example, John Paul II a saint is *unseemly*, but that does not bring into question its *validity*. It’s more on par with an ugly, modern church building: it satisfies the minimal requirements, but we should expect better.

    So yes, John Paul II is a saint, along with 81 other popes. His claim to be “THE GREAT” comes only from people like Philip, and I’m sorry, but that’s an extreme case of grade inflation. Can you HONESTLY imagine either Gregory the Great or Leo the Great kissing the Koran? Of course not! That, by the way, was a serious scandal in the proper sense of the word — maybe not for you or for me, but for Christians in the Middle East who have to pay a real price for rejecting the Koran in favor of the Gospel. John Paul II is a saint, but he made too many serious errors of judgment to be one of the handful called “the Great”.

  • I’m afraid I can’t agree that it was properly scandal, because kissing a book isn’t an inherent evil– a really, incredibly bad idea, on par with the current Pope letting word get out that he doesn’t wear a bulletproof vest, I’d say– and there are reasonable possibilities for why he’d do a morally neutral thing for good, such as signaling “we are not your enemy.” (Jimmy Akin has it broken down rather nicely here: http://jimmyakin.com/2006/04/jp2_and_the_qur.html )
    ********
    Can you HONESTLY imagine either Gregory the Great or Leo the Great kissing the Koran?
    *Sad smile* Because of the state of the Church in America, I have only heard of those guys from my own reading. And not deeply.
    I can no more form a reasonable image of what they would or wouldn’t do than fly to the moon.
    One thing he did do was encourage young people, and faith-sharing that spawned EWTN and eventually sites like this very blog.
    And that is the only reason I’ve even brushed the robe’s hem for this stuff, why I heard of Bishop Sheen, why a dozen other things. Him standing up to the Evil Empire made my husband willing to listen, and brought him back to the Church that those following the old ways just sort of…dropped him out of.
    Just because it’s been a thousand years since a saint started being called “The Great” doesn’t invalidate the existing swell of general acclaim. Give it a few centuries, we’ll see if it sticks or not.

  • As for those who make a big deal out of the Saintly Pope kissing the Koran; Matthew 15:8-9: “These people honor me with there lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

    Don’t kiss the Koran!

    Oooohhh noooooo.

    Prayers for this current pontiff are being said, over and over and over……
    I’ll keep at it. Hope you will too.

  • Foxifier : “Just because it’s been a thousand years since a saint started being called “The Great” doesn’t invalidate the existing swell of general acclaim. Give it a few centuries, we’ll see if it sticks or not.”
    .
    There will be no few more centuries!
    People are out there – DEMANDING IN PUBLIC – to have sex with people of the same gender, just as they did at Sodomy.
    Read the signs of the times.
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2014/11/14/category-archive-message-board-175-jesus-end-time-hints/
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2014/12/29/category-archive-message-board-214-acceptable-year-of-the-lord/

  • There will be no few more centuries!
    People are out there – DEMANDING IN PUBLIC – to have sex with people of the same gender, just as they did at Sodom and Gomorrah.
    Read the signs of the times.
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2014/11/14/category-archive-message-board-175-jesus-end-time-hints/
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2014/12/29/category-archive-message-board-214-acceptable-year-of-the-lord/

  • To allude to a great man, what part of you shall not know the time was unclear? The apostles knew it could happen Any Day Now– but you think some guy on a message board is going to get the REAL scoop?
    And that’s before the issue at sodomy is, sadly, pretty normal– how did you manage to escape the scandal of one of our servicemen being discharged because he stopped the rape of a boy, which is ‘normal’ in many middle eastern cultures, cultures world wide? Sexual perversion is only so obvious here because we are the beneficiaries of centuries of Christian philosophy.
    The guys we’re fighting will slaughter those accused of being homosexuals, but still rape boys. A similar dynamic shows up in jails, where penetrating another man is not the same as being a ‘catcher.’

  • cpola… soothsayer.

    We have no positive way to know that; “There will be no few more centuries.”

    Will a nation be chastised for it’s National sins? Yes. Will it be within this century? Guessing Yes!

    Will the chastisement fall on a once Christian Nation that honored God by honoring the Son and Holy Spirit together? Three in one? Probably!

    The guess that we will not have centuries left is just a guess. A better assessment is that it will be America that becomes the example.
    Just as the chosen people were made an example of. The Church will take a beating but as long as it’s Christ’s Holy Church and as long as it takes for souls to be ready for His harvest, then the world as we know it will cease to exist.

    I hope your call to all faithful Catholic’s will help in gaining souls to Christ, and fill his barns. I hope it doesn’t discourage souls from joining the Church because it’s leadership is flawed and has been stained since V2, possibly changing the minds of thirsty souls, changing the direction of finding the living Waters in the Holy Catholic Church, but now doubting the well since your opinion is less than favorable of the Popes since V2.

    I take great relief in knowing that St. Pope John Paul the Great was without a doubt a prayerful and honest man. A man. Flawed and sinful but forgiven and merciful. A practitioner of Holy Catholic Church. A seminarian studying in clandestine times.
    Threatened by two of the worse regime’s ever to come to existence on this earth. Nazism and Communism. He survived both.
    He helped to collapse the latter, and was in a work camp of the former. He lived it.
    He is great because God worked through him as a humble oppressed pole that had Great Faith. Great faith. Can that be disputed?
    Sure……some will, but they do not know the man.

    Peace to you cpola.
    Peace.

  • People are out there – DEMANDING IN PUBLIC – to have sex with people of the same gender, just as they did at Sodom and Gomorrah.
    .
    The operative phrase: DEMANDING IN PUBLIC, Again: DEMANDING IN PUBLIC !
    .
    Give me a precedent in the history of humanity and then we can talk.

  • Give me a precedent in the history of humanity and then we can talk.

    Cpola, MY knowledge of history can come up with some, and I’m publicly educated!
    For heaven’s sake, the Romans and Greeks!

    You know, the ones that were around at that time? And in the area? And so public about it that there are surviving philosophical debates on if a woman is able to be companion the way a boy-toy would be, as well as procreation?

  • Here’s Plato on the subject:
    All the gods ought to have praise given to them, but not without distinction of their natures; and therefore I must try to distinguish the characters of the two Loves. Now actions vary according to the manner of their performance. Take, for example, that which we are now doing, drinking, singing and talking—these actions are not in themselves either good or evil, but they turn out in this or that way according to the mode of performing them; and when well done they are good, and when wrongly done they are evil; and in like manner not every love, but only that which has a noble purpose, is noble and worthy of praise. The Love who is the offspring of the common Aphrodite is essentially common, and has no discrimination, being such as the meaner sort of men feel, and is apt to be of women as well as of youths, and is of the body rather than of the soul—the most foolish beings are the objects of this love which desires only to gain an end, but never thinks of accomplishing the end nobly, and therefore does good and evil quite indiscriminately. The goddess who is his mother is far younger than the other, and she was born of the union of the male and female, and partakes of both. But the offspring of the heavenly Aphrodite is derived from a mother in whose birth the female has no part,—she is from the male only; this is that love which is of youths, and the goddess being older, there is nothing of wantonness in her. Those who are inspired by this love turn to the male, and delight in him who is the more valiant and intelligent nature; any one may recognise the pure enthusiasts in the very character of their attachments. For they love not boys, but intelligent beings whose reason is beginning to be developed, much about the time at which their beards begin to grow. And in choosing young men to be their companions, they mean to be faithful to them, and pass their whole life in company with them, not to take them in their inexperience, and deceive them, and play the fool with them, or run away from one to another of them. But the love of young boys should be forbidden by law, because their future is uncertain; they may turn out good or bad, either in body or soul, and much noble enthusiasm may be thrown away upon them; in this matter the good are a law to themselves, and the coarser sort of lovers ought to be restrained by force; as we restrain or attempt to restrain them from fixing their affections on women of free birth. These are the persons who bring a reproach on love; and some have been led to deny the lawfulness of such attachments because they see the impropriety and evil of them; for surely nothing that is decorously and lawfully done can justly be censured. Now here and in Lacedaemon the rules about love are perplexing, but in most cities they are simple and easily intelligible; in Elis and Boeotia, and in countries having no gifts of eloquence, they are very straightforward; the law is simply in favour of these connexions, and no one, whether young or old, has anything to say to their discredit; the reason being, as I suppose, that they are men of few words in those parts, and therefore the lovers do not like the trouble of pleading their suit. In Ionia and other places, and generally in countries which are subject to the barbarians, the custom is held to be dishonourable; loves of youths share the evil repute in which philosophy and gymnastics are held, because they are inimical to tyranny; for the interests of rulers require that their subjects should be poor in spirit (compare Arist. Politics), and that there should be no strong bond of friendship or society among them, which love, above all other motives, is likely to inspire, as our Athenian tyrants learned by experience; for the love of Aristogeiton and the constancy of Harmodius had a strength which undid their power. And, therefore, the ill-repute into which these attachments have fallen is to be ascribed to the evil condition of those who make them to be ill-reputed; that is to say, to the self-seeking of the governors and the cowardice of the governed; on the other hand, the indiscriminate honour which is given to them in some countries is attributable to the laziness of those who hold this opinion of them. In our own country a far better principle prevails, but, as I was saying, the explanation of it is rather perplexing. For, observe that open loves are held to be more honourable than secret ones, and that the love of the noblest and highest, even if their persons are less beautiful than others, is especially honourable. Consider, too, how great is the encouragement which all the world gives to the lover; neither is he supposed to be doing anything dishonourable; but if he succeeds he is praised, and if he fail he is blamed.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1600/1600-h/1600-h.htm

  • By his reasoning, not only is homosexuality just fine and dandy, it’s superior.

    Several hundred years before Jesus.

  • Howard, my understanding is popes are entitled ‘ great’ , not because they did not make errors like Assissi , Pray for John the Baptist to Protect that abomination of desolation Islam things that you i and many others who are by definition their lessers, think are errors,’
    but Great because of their outstanding achievements and their lives of ‘ heroic’ virtue. Leo, Gregory, not Peter ……… I’ll leave it to higher pay grades to decide if JPII is a great or not- my dad suffered terribly under Jp’s weakness in making the Ancient Mass readily, easily available.

  • Foxifier, that was Plato philosophizing.
    But I am talking about the precedent of a society of men demanding the right to have sex with people of the same gender in the context of other members of the society frowning at such acts as evil.
    Not only do these people demand to have sex with persons of the same gender but they seek to lawfully and legally sanction those who reject or are opposed to such evil acts.
    Now give me a precedent.
    Otherwise what is happening now in our present world is the sign of the End-Time prophesied 2000 years ago by Our Lord Jesus.
    And remember that this phenomenon is now on a global scale not just in one or two small parts of the globe.
    In otherwords homosexuality (Sodomy) is to ancient Greece what cannibalism is to Papua New Guinea. But thanks be to God that cannibalism is not yet a phenomenon being DEMANDED IN PUBLIC by large swathes of humanity.

  • 76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal

    If locust was substituted for homosexuality, I’d say the days are shortening. The feeling that this plague is unstoppable. One thing.
    God hasn’t given up on man…..yet.

  • “But I am talking about the precedent of a society of men demanding the right to have sex with people of the same gender in the context of other members of the society frowning at such acts as evil.”

    Among aristocratic Greeks it was expected in most city states that a nobleman would have another nobleman, a teenager, as a lover. The Sacred Band military unit of Thebes was made up of such pairs. Lower class Greeks did not engage in such conduct and apparently made jokes about it. Men who engaged in such conduct would go on and get married and raise families. The Greeks had no concept of homosexuals as a separate class. Sodomy between two adult males was looked down upon by the Greeks. Male prostitutes were a feature of some ancient pagan temples and bordellos, as there is nothing new under the sun regarding sexual perversion.

    Pederasty in ancient Greece overall seems similar to that in prison today. Where women are absent, and among aristocratic families in Greece women were highly sheltered and men did not marry until their thirties, some men will look to each other. Some Greeks viewed the whole business as distasteful while others, including Plato attempted to elevate the business as superior to male women love. There was a fair amount of snobbishness in this, that pederasty could be looked upon as one more means by which aristocrats could separate themselves from the common herd. The Romans took all this as yet another sign that the Greeks were hopelessly decadent, although some of their aristocrats engaged in the vice.

    Of course to the Jews this was all an abomination and we see some of their typical outrage in what Saint Paul has to say on the subject.

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Papal Errors

Thursday, December 3, AD 2015

of the past.

I found it really interesting; some examples are this:

Pope Benedict IX (1032-44; 1045; 1047-8): Benedict IX was elected through bribes paid by his father. Kelly tells us that “his personal life, even allowing for exaggerated reports, was scandalously violent and dissolute.” The Catholic Encyclopedia judges: “He was a disgrace to the Chair of Peter.”

and

Pope Leo X (1513-21): Leo X is the pope who is famously said to have remarked: “Let us enjoy the papacy since God has given it to us.” Says the Catholic Encyclopedia:

[T]he phrase illustrates fairly the pope’s pleasure-loving nature and the lack of seriousness that characterized him. He paid no attention to the dangers threatening the papacy, and gave himself up unrestrainedly to amusements, that were provided in lavish abundance. He was possessed by an insatiable love of pleasure, that distinctive trait of his family. Music, the theatre, art, and poetry appealed to him as to any pampered worldling.

I do think it opens a bit weak, since Peter wasn’t the Pope before Christ was even crucified… but it’s justifiable.

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The Church in the World

Saturday, November 21, AD 2015

During the debates leading up to the 1983 pastoral letter of the bishops of the United States on nuclear weapons, “The Challenge of Peace,” the great churchman Archbishop Philip Hannan of New Orleans said that many of the bishops were uninformed. I paraphrase, because the archbishop himself used much more colorful language, honed by years of working with the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II.

The Plot to Kill Hitler and the Vindication of Pius XII, Crisis Magazine

The article gets better from there.

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9 Responses to The Church in the World

  • I’m guessing it’s still wrong to send a T-100 back to 1888 to kill Klara and the T-1000 back to 1902 to kill her son Adolf?

  • The good Archbishop of New Orleans was, if memory serves, the only bishop who thought the bisops’ pastoral letter wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. That was over 30 years ago.

    We all need to learn the Faith. There are lots of good websites and lots of good books. The Church did not begin with Vatican II and the sometimes bland and sometimes dopey documents. We all ought to know when the bishops are acting as political blowhards and tune them out when they do.

  • Father Tom told us in his sermon that the Faith should shape the World, not the opposite. Liberal catholics feverishly work to subvert the Faith to their sick world views.

  • PF–
    and how many of those guys are still here?

    Thirty years IS a long time….for people, less for culture, at least in these days. We’re going to have to wait for the folks who got bit by “the spirit of Vatican II” to get up there in age. I’d guess the oldest are…what… 50? My mom’s family was influenced by it, but things hadn’t shaken out enough, and the folks who left over the entire thing provided an excuse.
    Their kids will have to become the priests in charge before there’s much of a change.
    ************
    Donald– wow.
    I can see why the bishops may have been a bit…um… less than rational. That would be an impressive biography to “challenge,” and people are people.

  • More like the oldest are collecting social security, since the “spirit” went forth before the documents were ratified.

  • Of the various comments to Father Rutlers article, this is my favorite:

    Eamonn McKeown • 4 days ago

    Yet Jeb Bush finds it necessary to answer yet another dull question – would you kill baby Hitler? My answer would be a question to anyone in the media that asked, first trimester or second trimester?

  • It’s not enough to have been around when the ideas started coming around– you have to be from one of the folks stuck with the bill.

  • Too many bishops in the US found it more fun to snark at President Reagan rather than attend to the basics of their jobs.

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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5 Responses to Horror Movies Redone With Kittens

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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3 Responses to Halloween Articles

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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