Various & Sundry, 3/10/15

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2015

I was attending a work-related event, thus the lack of a V&S yesterday and the brevity of this one.

– Don linked to the Dr. Long piece referenced, but here is Ed Peters on the issue of the Church and the death penalty.

So argue, if one will, the prudence of the death penalty—there are some very good prudential arguments against it, as Häring noted fifty years ago—but do not read the Catechism as making any principled points against the death penalty beyond those that have long been part of the Church teaching on the death penalty, that is, for the last 20 centuries during which no Catholic thinker, let alone any Magisterial pronouncement, asserted the inherent immorality of the death penalty. To the contrary, as Long points out, acknowledgment of the moral liceity of the death penalty justly administered, is the Catholic tradition.

Second, Catholic opponents of the death penalty should be aware that their (supposedly) faith-demanded opposition to the death penalty carries, right now, implications for real Catholics getting real summons to serve on real capital crime juries.

I assume that Catholic opponents of the death penalty would advise fellow Catholics in capital crime jury pools to express to the court (and jurors will be asked about this) their opposition to the death penalty. At which point, having answered Yes, they, like any other juror so answering, will likely be dismissed from the pool for cause. But, do we really want Catholic citizens—while Catholic pundits debate the death penalty from the comfort of their offices—excluding themselves (or being subjected to dismissal by lawyers) from trials wherein a sound Catholic commitment to justice and fair-play is most needed? If not, may I suggest some moderation in the rhetoric being used by some Catholic opponents of the death penalty against Catholic support for the death penalty. Such rhetoric (besides likely being wrong-headed in itself) seems especially susceptible to the law of unintended consequences. + + +

 

By the way, here is the Anchoress post that Dr. Peters also referenced. It’s, umm, something. I guess.

– On Mr. Spock – Point:

Not only do Spock’s peacenik inclinations routinely land the Enterprise and the Federation into trouble, his “logic” and “level head” mask an arrogant emotional basket case. Unlike the superhuman android Data, a loyal officer whose deepest longing is to be human, Spock spends most of his life as a freelancing diplomat eager to negotiate with the worst enemies of Starfleet. He’s the opposite of a role model: a cautionary tale.

Counterpoint:

First is that Continetti’s primary complaints are not with Captain Spock, but with the writers and the plotting. That is hardly his fault. They have to write for me, after all.

Second and most important: four times in the films, and many more times in the TV show, Spock acknowledges that he is not at all the superior being, and that his logic-based pursuits are intrinsically limited. The examples are so easy to find, it is shocking that Continetti missed them. But then, perhaps we of the Enterprise are the only ship within range …. of Netflix.

Things you should never say to a Catholic bookstore employee. I must say that having worked for a popular Shrine bookstore myself for over a year, I don’t recall any of these things ever being said to me.

This is what treason looks like.

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4 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/10/15

  • Jim McDermott has kept the Kennedy tradition alive and well.
    .

    Now, if only the same Senate Republicans would show similiar initiative vis-a-vis Obama’s amnesty executive order. I’m thinking something along the lines of “We love the idea. It will make it so much easer to find them all and round them up for deportation when the next President rescinds it!”

  • Senator Kennedy did not go to his judgement until 2009. The memorandum
    was unearthed in Soviet archives by a reporter for the London Times in
    1991. My question is: why on earth did that reporter sit on that information
    for 18 years? Was the Times waiting for an engraved invitation to make
    that memo public, or do the editors there have a difficult time understanding
    what news is?

  • From the Anchoress:

    “To those who suggest that capital punishment is a proper justice, and that one who has taken the life of another has no right to his own, or her own, let us consider a life lived in captivity, where, — because of one’s actions — one’s choices are forever limited; where simple human freedoms no longer exist for you. You cannot decide to take a walk at midnight, or plan a menu and entertain guests, or try a new restaurant, or rustle up some scrambled eggs, or go fishing, or sleep in, or lay on the grass with a good book, or dandle a baby, or watch a parade, or travel to Rome, or rearrange furniture, or retire to someplace quiet. The loss of simple human options like these is the loss of much of the richness of life; to most of us, it would feel like deserved but heavy justice, indeed.”

    What! Hasn’t that heretic the Anchoress got the news? Pope Francis has come out against life sentences which he calls “hidden death sentences”. Under the “logic” of many anti-death penalty Catholics, since the Pope has spoken all Catholics must now be against life sentences! For shame Anchoress!

  • Ed Peters:

    “Now, comparing Davis with the revised Catechism, two things, I suggest, stand out: (1) the Catechism restates in modern style what has always been the principled teaching of the Church (that the death penalty is morally licit under certain circumstances) and (2) the Catechism offers some prudential (and thus, by definition, debatable!) reasons not to use the death penalty (basically, modern states can afford to house murders till their natural death). In short, what’s principled in the Catechism isn’t new and what’s new in the Catechism isn’t principled.”

    Bingo.

Various & Sundry, 3/6/15

Friday, March 6, AD 2015

– Patrick Archbold has an excellent response to the Gang of Four joint editorial on the death penalty.

They are specifically calling on a Court to override the proper legislative authority of the states.  They are willing to grant plenary legislative power to a group of black-robed oligarchs that is specifically reserved by the U.S. Constitution to Congress and the States if they prefer the policy outcome. Remember, it is this very same power which these editorial boards grant so freely that unconstitutionally nullified the ability of state legislatures to protect the lives of the unborn over forty years ago.  As a result of the same unlawful exercise of power they espouse today, millions upon millions of babies have perished with God-fearing Christians in many states unable to do anything about it.

This is the same mistake that the USCCB makes time and time again in this case and in others. The USCCB willingly feeds the Federal beast even when every reasonable person understands that the federal government is the single greatest threat to life and religious liberty in America.

The USCCB got in bed with the Federal Government to force universal government healthcare on Americans even though many Catholics in good standing opposed it on prudential and constitutional grounds while warning of the dangers of federal interference with life and religious liberty.  The ink wasn’t even dry on that particular power grab before the very same federal government with which the Bishops allied in support of their preferred healthcare policy turned on Catholics and tried to force them to violate their religiously informed consciences.  This outcome was entirely predictable, but the lessons clearly are not yet learned.

– The national GOP may be a mess, but on the state level they continue to do things like this:

The West Virginia legislature on Friday voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s (D) veto over banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The move comes after Republicans in Congress also tried to pass a 20-week abortion ban but had to drop the effort in January after a revolt from female members and centrists.

Can we get one of these guys in West Virginia to be the next Speaker of the House?

– Surely slippery slope arguments against same-sex marriage are invalid, right? Right?

Ummm, about that . . .

Three gay men from Thailand have tied the knot in what is thought to be the world’s first three-way same-sex marriage.

Happy newlyweds Joke, 29, Bell, 21 and Art, 26, took the plunge on Valentine’s Day after exchanging their vows in a fairy-tale ceremony at their home in Uthai Thani Province, Thailand.

– Trust in Hillary starting to wain in light of the email scandal.

I kind of don’t get this. She’s been in the national spotlight for over two decades, has been embroiled in scandals since the beginning, has shown herself to be every bit as much a pathological liar as her husband, and this is what finally gets the public to start doubting her truthfulness? Better late than never I guess.

– With Hillary slumping, you know who’s waiting in the wings? Martin O’Malley.

Excuse me a second . . .

– And with that, I’ll remind you that Saturday evening is arbitrarily turn your clocks forward so we can pretend to save energy although every study under the sun shows that this doesn’t save a lick of energy but we’re gonna keep doing this anyway even though it means that we get less daylight in the morning but who cares about people who work for a living we get an extra hour of sunlight in the evening to theoretically do stuff who are we kidding we’re just gonna watch television anyway so really this is a complete waste and eventually we’ll probably expand it so that it lasts the entire year time.

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10 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/6/15

  • Thank You, PZ, for Patrick Archbold.

  • ‘South Park’: Out of the mouths of babes …

  • I think it’s revealing that even with Hillary Clinton’s slump in the polls,
    nobody, nobody nobody is seriously proposing that Biden make a run for
    president. Man, even his friends in the donkey party know he’s already
    way out of his league as veep…

  • “Happy newlyweds Joke 29, Bell 21 and Art 26, took the plunge…..” Enough said!

  • Shhhhhh! Lets us not gloat over the demise of Her Hillaryness because Chelsea might just decide to carry the..eh…Clinton torch, or Boehner might decide to run in her place.

  • Shhhhhh! Lets us not gloat over the demise of Her Hillaryness because Chelsea might just decide to carry the..eh…Clinton torch

    Chelsea is 34 and has never settled on a career, having had short stints in a series of professions. She’s not ambitious in the manner of her mother and father and has yet to demonstrate any of their absence of scruple.

    Chelsea’s uncles are a trio of seedy characters, but they also lack the will to power of Bilge and Hildebeeste and only Uncle Tony has been at the center of any sexual or amatory scandals. Bilge also had a brother he did not grow up with who could not have been more salt of the earth – career military turned small town tradesman (and Elk). Bilge has a sister in Tucson who has kept an exceedingly low profile. The previous generation of Clinton’s, Rodhams, and Blythes bear little resemblance to either Bilge or Hillary (bar coarse manners). Bilge and Hildebeeste are sports, resembling no one among their relations, and its a good thing to. In any case, 2d acts are an uncertain business in American politics. Joseph Kennedy’s more capable grandchildren stayed out of politics (and the remainder had indifferent performances outside the Boston media market) and no Roosevelt has been elected to public office since 1962.

  • “black robed oligarchs” is spot on; for what I call the “SCtUberLegislature”. They have become like those judges pictured in German courtrooms in the late 1930s finding Nazi laws just, valid, and directed to the common good. Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • To bad Archbold is wrong about calling for the complete abolition of the DP, I would have expected better from him.

  • Steve D: You are correct. Only God gets to define the punishment for homicide. It is up to the state to deliver the murderer up to God and “May almighty God have mercy on his immortal soul” The rest is atheism imposed by the state, a violation of the First Amendment.
    .
    Art Deco: Enjoyed your post very much, especially Bilge and Hildebeeste. Must write book. I’ll buy.

  • I hear you on DST. For the last two, two and a half weeks, I’ve been driving with the sun in my eyes when I drop my kids off at school in the morning. And now that the equinox is just about here –and the pain in the eyes about to stop for six months– they roll the clock ahead an hour so I can do it all over again!

Various and Sundry, 3/5/15

Thursday, March 5, AD 2015

– Jay Anderson has indicated he has written his final blog post, so I will provide him one last link. It seems that the heads of the four families – excuse, me the big four Catholic publications have joined forces and issued a joint editorial. They have set aside their differences and collaborated to discuss the burning issue of the day. Liberal and conservative, orthodox and heterodox: these labels mean nothing when it comes to this unequivocal teaching of the Church*. Yes, finally, America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor have written their joint editorial calling for an end to abortion, rebutting same-sex marriage, condemning the genocide of Christians taking place in the Middle East, calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

These four Catholic publications have decided that the paramount issue bridging the gap between these distinct entities is the death penalty. What’s more, they’re not calling for the election of local legislators who will vote to outlaw the death penalty in their respective states. Oh no, they’re calling for the raw judicial activism when the Court decides on the case of Glossip v. Gross. Despite the fact that the death penalty is one of the few things manifestly countenanced by the U.S. Constitution, (after all, if you need to write amendments saying you can’t deprive someone of their lives without due process you’re tacitly admitting you can deprive citizens of their lives with due process) these four publications are totally cool with judicial activism so long as such activism comports with their personal preferences.

Jay notes that in his very first blog post he wrote:

Sir Thomas More’s admonition to Roper should serve as a warning and a reminder to Catholics that the activist Court that sides with us in this particular instance is the same activist Court that is likely in the future (as it has in the past) to “turn round on us” and use its increasingly strident activism to decide cases contrary to our Catholic values.

This was in reference to Roper v. Simmons, another death penalty case. Now, here we are, ten years later these supposedly Catholic publications are totally fine with the use of raw judicial power. They’re fine with it now, but where will they be in ten years when judicial activists deprive Catholics of basic First Amendment rights?

Like Jay I am personally opposed to the death penalty, but I’m even more opposed to legislation by judicial fiat, and those who support the Court declaring unconstitutional that which is concretely and unambiguously constitutional are compliant in an act of judicial tyranny, even if it is for an ostensibly good cause.

*Footnote here for the sarcasm impaired. Let’s just say that traditional Catholic teaching is no more prohibitive of the death penalty than the U.S. Constitution.

– Anna Mussmann muses that we’re over-complicating motherhood. It’s of a similar vein to what I’ve written before, suggesting that helicopter parenting is a symptom of selfish parenting. Her take is a little different, but well worth the read.

– I just can’t quit the latest Clinton scandal. It’s odd that this is the thing that has dented the Clintons’ teflon coating, to the point where even Lawrence O’Donnell is abandoning ship. Now the website Gawker demonstrates that Clinton’s use of a personal email account was a huge security risk. Long story short, Clinton preferred having her emails fall in the lap of Russia than an intrusive American press.

Here’s another Hot Air link. The Republican party now controls more state houses than any point in recent history, and they owe it all to President Obama. The party that is supposedly on its deathbed is routing Democrats at all local levels. This ascendancy started before Obama was immaculated, but has only sped up since.

– Darwin’s take on when to call the cops on a kid.

If you see a property or violent crime being committed, by all means call the cops. Or if a kid is doing something which seems likely to directly result in death or injury. If a child seems genuinely lost, upset or hurt, and you’re not able to find an adult connected with them (especially if you’ve taken the time to ask the kid if she needs help and she says yes) then by all means summon help.

But keep in mind that calling the cops on a family can have traumatic (and at times even fatal) consequences. “I wouldn’t let my kid walk home alone,” is probably not a serious enough reason, unless you happen to live rather literally in a war zone.

A victory today for the revolutionaries who dared to sled on Capitol Hill.

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10 Responses to Various and Sundry, 3/5/15

  • Over at PJMedia, Michael Walsh suggests that Hillary is being sent a Sicilian message.

  • Looks like the one last link is broken. Missing a colon.

  • “What’s more, they’re not calling for the election of local legislators who will vote to outlaw the death penalty in their respective states. Oh no, they’re calling for the raw judicial activism when the Court decides on the case of Glossip v. Gross. Despite the fact that the death penalty is one of the few things manifestly countenanced by the U.S. Constitution, (after all, if you need to write amendments saying you can’t deprive someone of their lives without due process you’re tacitly admitting you can deprive citizens of their lives with due process) these four publications are totally cool with judicial activism so long as such activism comports with their personal preferences.”

    National Catholic Register should know better. America and National Catholic Reporter have as much respect for the Constitution as they do for the Constitution: bupkis. Our Sunday Visitor should have this as their official song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGhTr8lDCV0

  • ….Well, I guess we won’t be subscribing to the NCR. Too bad, although at least they didn’t do this the week after we subscribed. (We were planning on it as soon as our mail situation got sorted out.)
    ***
    Tons of binding teachings, and they decide to go for prudential activism, and in an especially stupid way. I’d like to call it something other than stupid, but that’s solidly in the “let’s chop down all the laws of England– again!” category.

  • The motherhood article has some good points, but I think it starts out with a big problem:
    Some time ago I made the mistake of picking up a parenting magazine.
    Don’t do that, unless it’s for amusement. It’s like picking up Cosmo or some guy version, but with fewer pretty ladies.
    They make money by making problems, and trying to get folks to solve them. (Also, the recipes tend to either not work, or taste horrible. I’m now pretty sure that the “creative treats” are more for impressing other adults than for the kids.)
    Biggest problem with motherhood is that, if you do it right, it puts a lie to the “you can have it all” BS we’re fed– you are not going to have a high-pressure male type career and be supermom.

  • Pingback: A Disgrace | The American Catholic
  • Thanks, Paul!
    ***
    One point of clarification: I’m not just “personally opposed” to capital punishment, I’d actually like to see it abolished. Just not by judicial fiat. I know that’s what you meant, but just wanted that point to be clear when the inevitable accusations start rolling in that we’re only “personally opposed” and therefore just like Mario Cuomo.
    ***
    Also, I’d just like to point out that, while I want to see the death penalty abolished, those Catholics who are essentially arguing that opposition to capital punishment is de fide for Catholics are full of it. Yes, I agree that, as Catholics we SHOULD oppose capital punishment, following the admonitions of Pope John Paul II; but it is a blatant misstatement of the Faith to proclaim that Catholics MUST oppose capital punishment or else be “dissenters”.
    ***
    Finally, this “cooperation” among the “Group of 4” national Catholic publications on this particular issue raises a question for other issues: Since these publications are “uniting [them]selves with the Pope and his predecessor on this issue” (to quote the justification offered by Register on the publication’s Facebook page), I am assuming that they will similarly unite and show Catholic solidarity with a joint editorial backing the Church’s teachings when the Supreme Court rules on same-sex “marriage” later this year?

    Yeah, right. I won’t be holding my breath.

  • They use (among other sophomorical ruses) that capital punishment meme as smoke screen to justify support for the uber evil Dem party, a.k.a., Abortion, Inc.

  • Please see my comment on the death penalty at the next post: A Disgrace.
    Herewith is my take on informed consent and guilt and devil possession.
    When a sovereign person chooses to relegate himself to entertain evil he chooses a diminished capacity, forfeits his sovereignty over himself and literally sells himself, his soul to the devil. Even for atheists, who do not believe in the human being, composed of body and soul, embracing a big lie and the Great Liar poses some hazards. Informed consent becomes impossible because of diminished capacity. Obsessed or possessed by the devil, a person’s free will is bound and therefore informed consent cannot be forth coming.

Various and Sundry, 3/4/15

Wednesday, March 4, AD 2015

Is winter over yet? Supposedly we’re getting somewhere between a centimeter and a foot of snow tomorrow.

– Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the Obamacare subsidy case. It looks like Anthony Kennedy stuck his finger in the air and it was blowing the government’s direction today. We’ll see if the Court determines that words do, in fact, mean things.

– Stop the presses, David Brock was spinning on behalf of Hillary Clinton. His performance on MSDNC this morning was so outlandish that even co-host Mika Brzezinski was forced to sigh, ““Oh my God. I’m not sure what planet I’m on right now,” in response to one of Brock’s evasions. To paraphrase one of the commenters at NRO, when Miza Brzezinski is the voice of reason, oofta.

Looks like Brock’s gonna have his interns working double tonight to produce another 17-page document that is largely a giant tu quoque argument.

– Michele Obama’s attempts to brainwash our kids by feeding them tasteless junk is well underway. I cringe when I read things like this:

Under the complex “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” legislation, which has long been a signature issue for the first lady, participating schools take federal money but must stringently limit the number of calories and the amount of sugar, fat and sodium in every morsel of food sold at schools. Also, in what presumably falls outside the hunger-free aspect of the act, there are calorie caps.

A Maryland lawmaker is also pushing legislation that would require fast food restaurants to offer water, 100% pure juice, and low fat milk as the default beverage option for kids’ meals instead of water.

You know I don’t necessarily have a problem with the idea of government promoting healthy nutrition. What I do take issue with is them issuing mandates based on outmoded and discredited nutrition concepts. Evidently the only way children are eating healthy enough for the government is by eating tasteless vegetables and low-calorie foodstuffs.

Now, I’m fortunate enough to have children who actually like eating vegetables. I also try to prepare said vegetables in a manner that will make them more prone to eating them. If you have to add a little fat to the veggies to make them a bit tastier, so be it. There’s also no need to force feed them stuff when they might prefer other foods that have high nutritional value.

Four lessons from the fourth season of Downton Abbey. Not sure I completely agree with all of the interpretations, but certainly some interesting food for thought.

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2 Responses to Various and Sundry, 3/4/15

  • So that Maryland guy wants to make known quackery put into law? Not surprised….
    We only use whole milk. All three kids are very healthy*. Doctors have to give people orders not to give small children non-whole milk, because they really need the fat.
    It builds up their brain.
    Insert obvious insult about how much milk the Maryland law maker had as a child.
    .
    * their skinniness probably has more to do with my not restricting my weight-gain while I was pregnant with them; their developing bodies weren’t “taught” that we’re in a starvation situation. Plus normal “run around all the time” stuff.

  • Abolish the school lunch program. Separate School from State. Curtail government hijacking of parental responsibility. Cut government to the bone, then grind the bones down.
     
    Back when I was a kid, the school lunch program was Mom Makes A Sandwich. The day-care program was the Babysitter, in my family’s case she was a nice Catholic schoolgirl from our neighborhood. We also had the best welfare program of all, Dad Had A Job.

Various and Sundry, 3/3/15

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2015

I’m bringing back an old feature, which I will hopefully be able to bring back nightly. Please feel free to use this as an open evening thread for anything you’d like to share, including news and prayer petitions.

– I’m beginning to feel a lot like Ace here.  The argument that Congress is limited in its ability to push back against the President only goes so far, and certainly collapses when you actually do have the power to tie his hands. I also agree with AllahPundit that we shouldn’t be too impressed with the number of Republicans who voted against the leadership, as many of them would have voted for the funding bill if their votes were really needed.

This isn’t even purely a partisan issue. At some point the legislative branch has to be willing to stop the continuing overreach of the executive. The checks and balances of our form of government is arguably the quintessential element of the republic. As these checks are eroded, so too is the notion that we are, in fact, dwelling in a republic.

– Party over, whoops, out of time, it looks like we’re living through the 90s again. Hey, the ability to totally ignore the Constitution without consequence is now an essential trait in any would-be President.

– Curt Schilling tweeted some words of pride and congratulations for his daughter, and naturally some individuals decided to take the opportunity to exemplify everything that is wrong with the internet, including tweeting some rape threats against his daughter. Schilling took to his blog and outed these fools, one of whom (at least) was fired, while others face other forms of discipline.

This incident is interesting as it gets to the idea of public shaming for internet comments. There was a story recently (that I’ve unfortunately misplaced) following rather infamous internet celebrities who lost jobs and any sense of privacy due to ill-advised tweets. The article made the point that the “grab the pitchforks” mentality can really go way overboard, and people have their lives ruined over 140 unwise characters. On the other hand, public shaming does have the effect of silencing the worst and most obvious offenders, and in this case I will cry no tears over someone losing their job because they tweeted their rape fantasies.

– Speaking of public shaming, I would like to do that the dolts employed by the Montgomery County (MD) Child Protective Services who found some local parents guilty of “unsubstantiated child neglect,” their sin allowing their 10-year old and 6-year old to walk home by themselves from the park. Now they will be “watched” by CPS for the next five years. As one of the commenters put it:

I think we need to start lobbying state legislatures for reasonable laws that provide some clarity and security for families in these situations. As I understand it, this is the law the Meitivs were accused of violating: “A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.” How does letting your kids walk home from the park even trigger an investigation under this statute? It is unacceptable that CPS has the authority to interpret the law so loosely in order to bring a family into the system.

I was happy that most of the callers into the local radio show this morning were as perturbed by this decision as I was, but one person would just simply not accept the fact that kids are in no more danger of abduction today than they were 30 years ago. Some people just can’t let fact get in the way of unsubstantiated fear mongering.

– Rebecca Taylor is right: the UK has just made a frightening decision to allow the creation of three-parent embryos, and Catholics have largely been silent on this abomination.

Even more infuriating is that fact that, at the very same time that the UK approves the genetic engineering of the next generation (and the next, and the next), Hershey’s has been so hounded by food purists on social media that the confectioner has given into the pressure to remove any ingredients that come from genetically-modified organisms.

Great. We will be eating GMO-free chocolate (reading about the spread of Dengue fever) while we blissfully ignore the creation of genetically-modified kids.

– Kevin Williamson is just awesome. But you already knew that.

Here he is destroying Politifact for, as usual, not getting its facts straight.

And here he is, defending Archbishop Cordileone’s “scandalous” decision to uphold Church teaching.

And here he is one more time, once again writing about the good Archbishop.

The people who have the strongest feelings about Catholic teaching tend to be the people who know the least about it. That the archbishop is a fallen creature, a sinner like the rest of us, is not a challenge to Christian teaching—it is a vindication of Christian teaching. Of course the archbishop is called to a life of greater holiness—just like the rest of us—and of course he is going to fail—just like the rest of us. That’s the weird tough nut at the heart of Christianity: “Here’s an impossibility high standard that you have to try to live up to as part of a faith based on the understanding that you are not going to do that.

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6 Responses to Various and Sundry, 3/3/15

  • At some point the legislative branch has to be willing to stop the continuing overreach of the executive. The checks and balances of our form of government is arguably the quintessential element of the republic. As these checks are eroded, so too is the notion that we are, in fact, dwelling in a republic.

    .
    No worries –then next time the Republicans a conservative wins the White House, Congress will suddenly recall the importance of checks and balances.
    .
    Anyways, a step in the right direction would be for the Senate to eliminate the filibuster altogether.

  • Regarding the Maryland case of the two children whose 1-mile walk
    home from the park got their parents investigated by CPS, one of the
    commenters in the article linked made an interesting observation. It
    seems that the Montgomery County Public School system’s guidelines
    state that elementary school children may be eligible to ride the bus to and
    from school if their homes are over 1 mile from the school! The busybody
    who called in the two children has his or her work cut out for them, as
    it would appear there are many, many elementary school-age kids walking a
    mile without adult supervision in that county…

  • I pulled this off of the internet. not verified, but it can’t be all wrong, can it? Concerning Congress entertaining heads of state other than those invited by the president:
    September 18, 2014 Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 8, 2013 Park Geun Hye, President of Republic of Korea addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    October 13, 2011 Lee Myung-bak, President of Republic of Korea addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 24, 2011 Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 9, 2011 Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 20, 2010 Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 3, 2009 Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 4, 2009 Gordon Brown, Prime Minster of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 30, 2008 Bertie Ahern, Prime Minister of Ireland addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 7, 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 7, 2007 King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 26, 2006 Dr. Nouri Al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 7, 2006 Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 24, 2006 Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 15, 2006 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 1, 2006 Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 19, 2005 Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 6, 2005 Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 23, 2004 Ayad Allawi, Interim Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 15, 2004 Hamid Karzai, Prime Minister of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 4, 2004 Jose Maria Aznar, President of the Government of Spain addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 17, 2003 Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 12, 2002 John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress. The scheduled address by Prime Minister John Howard of Australia to a Joint Meeting of Congress on September 12, 2001, was cancelled.
    September 6, 2001 Vicente Fox, President of Mexico addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 14, 2000 Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 15, 1998 Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 10, 1998 Kim Dae-jung, President of South Korea, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 27, 1997 Eduardo Frei, President of Chile, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 11, 1996 John Bruton, Prime Minister of Ireland, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 10, 1996 Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 1, 1996 Jacques Chirac, President of France, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    December 12, 1995 Shimon Peres, Prime Minister of Israel, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 26, 1995 Kim Yong-sam, President of South Korea, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    October 6, 1994 Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 26, 1994 Hussein I, King of Jordan, and Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 18, 1994 Narasimba Rao, Prime Minister of India, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 17, 1992 Boris Yeltsin, President of Russia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 30, 1992 Richard von Weizsäcker, President of Germany, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 14, 1991 Carlos Saul Menem, President of Argentina, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 16, 1991 Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 16, 1991 Violeta B. de Chamorro, President of Nicaragua, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 26, 1990 Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress, South Africa, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 7, 1990 Giulio Andreotti, President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 21, 1990 Vaclav Hável, President of Czechoslovakia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 15, 1989 Lech Walesa, chairman of SolidarnoϾ labor union, Poland, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 18, 1989 Roh Tae Woo, President of South Korea, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    October 4, 1989 Carlos Salinas de Gortari, President of Mexico, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 7, 1989 Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 23, 1988 Robert Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 27, 1988 Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 10, 1987 Chaim Herzog, President of Israel, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 18, 1986 Corazon C. Aquino, President of the Philippines, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 11, 1986 Jose Sarney, President of Brazil, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    October 9, 1985 Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 13, 1985 Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 20, 1985 Raul Alfonsin, President Argentina, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress
    March 6, 1985 Bettino Craxi, President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 20, 1985 Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 16, 1984 Miguel de la Madrid, President of Mexico, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 22, 1984 François Mitterand, President of France, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 15, 1984 Dr. Garett FitzGerald, Prime Minister of Ireland, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    October 5, 1983 Karl Carstens, President of West Germany, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 21, 1982 Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 22, 1977 Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau of Canada addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 23, 1976 President William R. Tolbert, Jr., of Liberia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 2, 1976 Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 18, 1976 President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 17, 1976 Prime Minister Liam Cosgrave of Ireland addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    January 28, 1976 Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 5, 1975 President Anwar El Sadat of Egypt addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 17, 1975 President Walter Scheel of West Germany addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 15, 1972 President Luis Echeverria Alvarez of Mexico addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 3, 1970 President Rafael Caldera of Venezuela addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 25, 1970 President Georges Pompidou of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    October 27, 1967 President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 15, 1966 President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Philippines addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 28, 1964 President Eamon de Valera of Ireland addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    January 15, 1964 President Antonio Segni of Italy addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 12, 1962 Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shahanshah of Iran, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 4, 1962 President Joao Goulart of Brazil addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 21, 1961 President Manuel Prado of Peru addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 12, 1961 President Mohammad Ayub Khan of Pakistan addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 4, 1961 President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 29, 1960 Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 28, 1960 Mahendra, King of Nepal addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 25, 1960 President Charles de Gaulle of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 6, 1960 President Alberto Lleras-Camargo of Columbia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 12, 1959 Baudouin, King of the Belgians, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 18, 1959 President Sean T. O’Kelly of Ireland addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    March 11, 1959 President Jose Maria Lemus of El Salvador addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    January 21, 1959 President Arturo Frondizi of Argentina addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 18, 1958 President Carlos F. Garcia of the Philippines addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 5, 1958 President Theodor Heuss of West Germany addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 9, 1957 President Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 17, 1956 President Sukarno of Indonesia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    February 29, 1956 President Giovanni Gronchi of Italy addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    January 27, 1955 President Paul E. Magliore of Haiti addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    July 28, 1954 President Syngman Rhee of South Korea addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 28, 1954 Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 4, 1954 Governor General Vincent Massey of Canada addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    January 29, 1954 President Celal Bayar of Turkey addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 3, 1952 Queen Juliana of the Netherlands addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    January 17, 1952 Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    September 24, 1951 Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi of Italy addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    June 21, 1951 President Galo Plaza of Ecuador addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 2, 1951 President Vincent Auriol of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 19, 1949 President Gaspar Dutra of Brazil addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    April 19, 1948 Ambassador Guillermo Belt of Cuba addressed a Joint Session of Congress held to memorialize the 50th anniversary of Cuban independence.
    May 1, 1947 President Miguel Aleman of Mexico addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    November 13, 1945 Prime Minister Clement R. Attlee of the United Kingdom addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 19, 1943 Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    December 26, 1941 Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
    May 20, 1934 Ambassador Andre’ de Laboulaye of France addressed a Joint Session of Congress held to memorialize the centennial anniversary of the death of Lafayette.

  • The busybody who called in the two children has his or her work cut out for them, as it would appear there are many, many elementary school-age kids walking a mile without adult supervision in that county

    Wagers the busybody in question is someone who has had disputes with them in the past or is smoldering over fancied slights. My guess would be an abrasive late-middle aged female.

  • There was a story recently (that I’ve unfortunately misplaced) following rather infamous internet celebrities who lost jobs and any sense of privacy due to ill-advised tweets.

    Is this the article you were thinking of?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html

    If not, let me recommend it. It’s a great article that I shared with my high school students.

A Few Quick Hits

Saturday, February 28, AD 2015

A few noteworthy news items:

– One of the key opposition leaders in Russia was assassinated randomly killed.

A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say.

An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say.

He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the murder, the Kremlin says.

President Putin has assumed “personal control” of the investigation into the killing, said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Undoubtedly this will be the most thorough murder investigation since O.J. Simpson hunted down Nicole Brown Simpson’s murderer.

– Scott Walker is already living rent free in the heads of the far left. Now they’re just throwing whatever they can at the wall to see what sticks. Unfortunately for them there’s been this invention called Google that exposes their misinformation attempts. RS McCain explains.

Jezebel’s “senior political reporter” Natasha Vargas-Cooper gotBreitbarted, exposed as a dishonest and corrupt partisan hack, by a guy who did 20 seconds of Googling. Darleen Click:

Here’s Darleen’s post.

Long story short, Vargas-Cooper posted a story about how Governor Walker had allowed Wisconsin universities not to report sexual assaults. What she failed to mention that this was a request from the universities, who already have federal filing requirements to comply with.

Naturally when Vargas-Cooper was confronted with all of the facts she retracted the story and apologized.

Ha ha ha. I slay me. No, she doubled down and basically said that facts don’t matter. Because narrative.

– Here’s a local story about how Montgomery County, Maryland is investigating the pros and cons of getting out of the booze business. County Executive Ike Leggett is having none of it.

The News4 I-Team reached out to County Executive Ike Leggett for comment. His spokesman pointed us to the Chief Administrative Officer’s official response in the report on page 107, stating, “In our opinion, local liquor control has served Montgomery County well. We have lower alcohol consumption and higher revenue for public purposes than other jurisdictions. There are not liquor stores on every corner.”

I highlight this because it demonstrates something that has been manifest for some time to anyone paying attention: the real social scolds are on the left. While the popular narrative is that social conservatives are the ones looking to run everyone else’s life, time and again, story after story, we see examples of left-wing busybodies seeking to interfere with private behavior. Now Leggett might actually have a good argument in defending the liquor stores on these grounds*, but make no mistake, the man is making social policy motivated at least in part in a desire to control behavior.

*: Though as my wife points out, Leggett’s shot at liquor stores is misplaced. I’ll take places like Speck’s in Houston over the dreary state-run stores in Maryland any day.

– This is a few weeks old, but as relevant as ever: fat is good for you. No really, eat your eggs and butter.

New research claims that official warnings against the consumption of saturated fats should never have been introduced

The article in BMJ’s Open Heart journal argues that the advice was based on flawed data and “very limited evidence”.

The warning, adopted by British authorities in the early 1980s, was based on research that focused only on unhealthy men, with the reports authors arguing: “it seems incomprehensible that dietary advice was introduced for 220 million Americans and 56 million UK citizens.

“Dietary advice does not merely need a review; it should not have been introduced.”

Yeah, so pretty much most nutrition advice over the past five decades or so was based on seriously flawed research, and the dietary guidelines have been counter-productive. And yet people still insist on low-fat diets. Whatever. More bacon and eggs for me.

 

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14 Responses to A Few Quick Hits

  • I think the people pushing the low fat diet thing were just trying to keep all the bacon and eggs for themselves.
    .
    So believe me when I say: pork ribs are bad for you; very bad. Especially when slathered in bbq sauce.

  • “Long story short, Vargas-Cooper posted a story about how Governor Walker had allowed Wisconsin universities not to report sexual assaults. What she failed to mention that this was a request from the universities, who already have federal filing requirements to comply with.

    Naturally when Vargas-Cooper was confronted with all of the facts she retracted the story and apologized.

    Ha ha ha. I slay me. No, she doubled down and basically said that facts don’t matter. Because narrative.”

    These Leftists precious snowflakes are unused to quaint concepts like proof and facts. Living inside an ideological cocoon is hazardous in the age of the internet.

  • The author of the Jezebel piece on Walker finally offered a 21st Century apology on Twitter, of sorts. What’s really sad about the whole story is that all she had to do, as McCain suggested, was spend about 20 seconds googling and she could have spared herself the embarrassment. It’s as much as an indictment of reporting in the modern age as it is of the leftist mentality.

  • One thing that we really ought cut down on is…listening to the “experts”.

  • “was spend about 20 seconds googling”

    Ah the Mark Shea school of internet reportage: Skim, then outrage!

  • Ah the Mark Shea school of internet reportage: Skim, then outrage!

    Good one Donald….very good.

  • “Yeah, so pretty much most nutrition advice over the past five decades or so was based on seriously flawed research, ..” ~and now they the have the gall to tell us to become quasi-vegetarians to save the planet.

  • “Putin has assumed “personal control” of the investigation…” What a bad joke!
    Let’s see….Hitler to oversee wrongdoing in wake of Jewish harassment.

    KGB = Killing Good for Brotherhood.

  • Want to save a harmless vegetable from a horrible fate? Eat more bacon!
    It amazes me that so many conservatives, (especially Catholics) think Putin is an alright guy. Hey folks, Putin is a former KBG man. Those people have ice water in their veins.

  • You can take the man out of the KGB but can you take the KGB out of the man? His wife, Aka a woman scorned, says he is a vampire. My Russian friend years ago said he is not a good guy. If we like him, it’s because at least he’s a mensch, unlike so many light in the sneakers types leading us here. Whether Putin or Obama, all is for public consumption, and we think if all the hidden things were made known, we would be shocked to the core.

  • I am a Virginia resident although I have lived in Maryland 3 times in 3 different counties. Prince Georges County has Sunday blue laws as do some of the other one in MD. As I understand it in PG opposition to 7day alcohol sales is from the pulpit as was opposition to casinos. Now there is talk of a casino at National Center with 24/7 operation. Tax is 9% on alcohol sales.

  • Perhaps all this intended narrative against Walker by the Left (and that by Libertarians) will end up for his good.

    also – I had never heard “light in the sneakers” before, and I like it.

  • I doubt that the Jezebel folks are in the least bit embarrassed– they made their token “Him! Bad!” report.

  • Sounds like a case of workplace violence in Moscow.

Correlation and Causation

Thursday, February 5, AD 2015

Years of reading through and listening to debates on the internet and in other spaces is enough to make me yearn for mandatory courses in basic logic. In particular, it seems most people do not have even a remedial understanding of the difference between correlation and causation.

Enter President Barack Obama, who delivered remarks today at the National Prayer Breakfast. Meandering and condescending are but two of the words that come to mind after listening to this address. At one point the president lectures the audience on humility. Yes, Barack Obama was prodding his audience to be more humble. I’m just going to let that sink in for a minute and have you pause and reflect. Maybe you’ll even think about another concept: irony.

And no doubt many of you will need to take blood pressure medication after reading this part of the speech:

And this is the loving message of His Holiness, Pope Francis.  And like so many people around the world, I’ve been touched by his call to relieve suffering, and to show justice and mercy and compassion to the most vulnerable; to walk with The Lord and ask “Who am I to judge?”

But that’s not what caught my attention, nor is it the part of the speech that has gotten or will get the most attention. After some discussion of the events taking place in the Middle East and in Paris, and the dangers of theocracy, he intones:

 Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

Yes, of course he went there, would you expect anything less? Now many will rightfully complain that he is dredging up events that occurred centuries ago in order to morally equivocate, and that is indeed happening. We’ve all heard this song before, and we have naturally become somewhat inured to it.

Without jumping into the Crusades and Inquisition and why using even these centuries-old examples is flawed, let’s look at the more recent American examples, and let’s talk a bit about cause and effect.

President Obama is, essentially, comparing Christians justifying slavery to Islamic terrorists burning people alive. He is saying, “You see, Christians did some terrible things in the name of religion, just like these people.” Again, let’s ignore that we’re talking about something that took place two centuries ago rather than two minutes ago, and explore the inadequacy of this analogy.

The thugs in ISIL, the theocrats in Iran, the butchers in France: all of these groups are comprised of individuals acting in the name of their interpretation of Islam. Granting for the sake of argument that they are all acting in a way that is contrary to the true meaning of Islam, however that is supposed to be defined, they are clearly and unmistakably acting in accordance with their religious dictates. Put more bluntly: their interpretation of their religion is causing them to behave in a specific manner.

Now let’s look at slavery and Jim Crow. Yes, it’s true that some defenders of each would use the Bible to defend these practices; however, did anyone ever pick up a Bible and, “Gee whiz, God is really talking to me, I’m gonna go buy me a slave.” To put it another way, slave holders and, subsequently, practitioners of Jim Crow acted on purely, dare I say, secular reasoning to engage in their behavior. Christianity did not cause them to own slaves, nor did it cause southern politicians to enact Jim Crow laws. The Bible was used as an ex post fact rationalization for what they did.

Some may try to argue that this is a distinction without a difference, and to them I’d suggest that they still do not understand the difference between correlation and causation. Take away the Bible and you’d still have slavery in the southern parts of the United States. Christian beliefs did not inspire slaveholding – economic self-interest did that, and the latter also largely explains Jim Crow (plus a whole lot of irrational racism that didn’t have a whole lot to do with the Bible and Christianity).

Take away the religious motivation and do we have gunmen killing members of the press? Do we have the beheadings? Contra the ramblings of certain atheists, not all or even most violence throughout history has been “inspired” by religion, but the maniacs in ISIL are undoubtedly acting upon religious motivations. It isn’t some ex post fact rationalization for their behavior; no, it is the primary cause of the behavior.

Much of President Obama’s address is an exercise in moral equivalency with some vague platitudes thrown in, so about what one would expect from him. Failures in logic are just a little bit of icing on the cake.

Incidentally, Noah Rothman at Hot Air makes a good point:

It’s strange that so few see the contradiction inherent in this assertion. The president, and many of his allies on the left, frequently trip over themselves to emphasize – correctly, as it happens – that ISIS’s acts of brutality are not archetypical Islamic behavior. The insurgency’s most recent atrocity, the immolation of a captured Jordanian pilot, is apparently a violation of Islamic norms according to even Koranic scholars in the Middle East.

But to assert this and in the same breath suggest that Christianity was also a violent, expansionist religion a mere 800 years ago is a contradiction. Why make this comparison if ISIS is not representative of Islam? Isn’t the concession in this claim that those who commit acts of violence in the name of their religion, regardless of whether those acts are supported by a majority of coreligionists, are representative of their faith? Therefore, by perfunctorily nodding in the direction of a moral equivalency between Christian and Islamic violence, isn’t the president invalidating his own claim that ISIS, Boko Haram, Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Sayyaf, and a host of other fundamentalist Islamic terror groups are agents of a violent strain of the Islamic faith?

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15 Responses to Correlation and Causation

  • A few years back I discovered that there’s no more polarizing question than: who is more humble, Bush or Obama? People on either side literally can’t comprehend how this could even be a question. I mean, literally. It’s beyond their imagining. If you want to ruin something, try that question.

  • Why would the National Prayer Breakfast have Obumbler there anyway?
    The Crusades and the Inquisition are old and tired anti-Catholic canards.

    Obumbler is a dictionary definition of a jackass.

    Islam is an evil that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth and Obumbler makes excuses for it.

  • I believe Obama comments are a direct attack on Christians. Only a demagogue would use such an illogical comparison. It’s similar to your child arguing … “but all my friends do it!”
    We now have both a President and a Prophet.

    And he learned his theology from St. Reverend Wright.

    Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., took me on another journey,” Obama once said.

    “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation. Rev. Wright 2001

    Obama is more indirect …. “Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place”

    Nothing new here … same old, same old … don’t get upset by massacres, burnings, attacks on America … it’s been done in the past. And we have no moral authority to object to it.

    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in President’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

  • Brevity is the soul of wit. To wit, the following sentence is to be repeated whenever Obama opens his mouth. “Everything that guy just said is bull#$%^.”

  • Very interesting post Paul.
    There seems to be some correlation between our pope and our president. They seem to espouse some of the same beliefs. There seems to be some correlation between the Troubles of our Church and those of our Country.
    Or — the cause— the events and tides of history that brings them together on the world stage at this time. These two personalities in these two positions just now.
    The president likes our pope- he likes the fact that he said “who am I to judge?” The president might think that comment shows a weakness in our pope, an unwillingness to stand up and demand respect for the Truth of Christ in His Church. An unwillingness to take a line and stand on it. Perhaps that perceived weakness could be seen as an inroad for enemies of the Chruch.
    The president does make and stick by his judgments. No matter the howls and cries and pleas from people to react, to fight the enemies of America, he stands strong in his convictions. He doesn’t try to please everybody, saying one kind of statement one day and another kind another day.
    He is consistent in his denigration of America and of Christianity.
    The military is being weakened, Christian chaplains driven out; those who have attacked us are released from prison for time served, fights among citizens encouraged, as well as drug use encouraged and what they used to call “free love” and birth control for the destruction of the family and society.

    The pope has made strong statements about life and marriage, but we wait to see if he will be strong and defend the faith in this Synod… or if he will take the popular stand.

  • ” in order to morally equivocate, and that is indeed happening. We’ve all heard this song before, and we have naturally become somewhat inured to it. ”

    A touch of psychological warfare at breakfast to push back some of the righteous objectors to the deeds being committed to further blur what is good/bad or right/wrong or lawful/unlawful ?

  • Pingback: Obama's Comparison of ISIS Evil to the Crusades - Big Pulpit
  • The danger inherent to this kind of lazy equivocation is that somebody takes you at your word, and decides that the ends really do justify the means.
    .
    Call it the the Sgt. Jablonski rule.

  • Slavery, in particular, is a really bad example to use as Christian moral equivalence for the simple reason that practically every civilization throughout history engaged in it (ahem, some still do). From the far East, to deepest Africa, to New World Aztecs. Only in a Christian west was it first abolished.

  • What strikes you about Obama is the degree to which every substantive utterance seems to be a restatement of some conventional prejudice you hear in a certain sort of bourgeois subculture. Unlike Messrs. Truman, Nixon, Carter (and perhaps Reagan and Bush the Younger), I doubt he ever did any serious reading outside a classroom setting. You wonder if the man ever had an original observation in his life.

  • Years of reading through and listening to debates on the internet and in other spaces is enough to make me yearn for mandatory courses in basic logic. In particular, it seems most people do not have even a remedial understanding of the difference between correlation and causation.
    When I finally got a basic logic class, it made me wish for it just because it would’ve made math so much easier…. but of course there’s a lack of understanding about it, decades of “science reporting” have made sure of that.
    It’s much more “interesting” to say ‘X causes Y,’ rather than ‘when two students did a class assignment and looked at a group of 50 volunteers recruited by being in the same psychology class that we’re in, according to the 37 self-reporting diaries that were turned in and actually had anything in them, 15 total times X had happened before Y.” Even if the first article says that, by three or four articles later it’s been restated as “study out of X college says X causes Y.” If you’re lucky, it says “X MAY cause Y.”
    ______
    When he talks about “THE inquisition” as an event, it’s pretty clear he hasn’t bothered to do much research. I’ve started using it as a big warning bell that someone isn’t doing their research, and so I really shouldn’t trust anything they say on the topic without verification.
    Please excuse me plugging my own writing: http://www.catholicstand.com/conspiracies-catholicism-inquisition “The Inquisition” is an organization; “the _____ Inquisition” is an event. That I found, folks usually mean the Spanish Inquisition when they say ‘the inquisition,’ and it’s a warning they’re going to be regurgitating really bad pop history and propaganda.
    _______
    Basically, exactly like Art said– he just echoes pop belief.

  • I did have mandatory courses in basic logic. Oh, that’s right . . . 40 years ago at my Catholic Prep School. Silly me.

  • So ironic that this baby killer President has an ally and fellow traveler in our radical Jesuit pope. Chastisement?

  • Pope Francis & Obama to Congress;
    global warming alarmism
    expanded welfare state
    illegal immigration
    submission to UN
    government control of healthcare and education
    anti-capital memes
    help for the ‘poor'(or give me your money – I’ll do good with it)
    cherish homosexual relationships
    muslim outreach
    no mention of abortion
    no mention of the slavery of national debt
    no mention of the destruction of the family by the welfare state
    no mention of US government oppression of Christianity

Can’t Truss It

Sunday, January 25, AD 2015

We’re approximately a year away from the beginning of the presidential primary season, and the stars are already out in Iowa. I’ll have a bit more say about the presidential field in the coming days, but I’d just like to note this article from the Washington Post and Rand Paul and his, umm, daddy issues.

This weekend was a crucial one for Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky and un­declared candidate for the presidency. He was in California, trying to line up donors at an opulent retreat organized by the billionaire Koch brothers.

At the same time, his father — retired after 12 terms in Congress and three presidential runs — was in the ballroom of an airport hotel here, the final speaker at “a one-day seminar in breaking away from the central state.” He followed a series of speakers who said that the U.S. economy and political establishment were tottering and that the best response might be for states, counties or even individuals to break away.

“The America we thought we knew, ladies and gentlemen, is a mirage. It’s a memory. It’s a foreign country,” Jeff Deist, Ron Paul’s former press secretary and chief of staff, told the group. “And that’s precisely why we should take secession seriously.”

A former press secretary  of his dad’s. Not exactly a silver bullet to derail the Paul train. That said, the questions does remain: will his father be a millstone around his neck? Especially when his dad says things like this:

Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense

But that’s just his father talking. It’s not fair to lay the sins of the father at the feet of the son. Rand Paul should stand on his own merits, and the company he keeps.

Paul_Sharpton

It’s going to be an interesting primary season.

*: I feel compelled to note that the title is not a typo. Probably not many Public Enemy fans on this site.

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The Left Has No Credibility on Abuse of Power Issues

Friday, November 21, AD 2014

Those of you who remember the space of time between January 20, 2001 and January 20, 2009 might recall that cries for George W. Bush’s impeachment rang out roughly every five seconds from some corner of the American left (and some libertarian circles as well). The Iraq War was a primary impetus for these calls, because I guess continuing a war that had been granted Congressional approval but was becoming increasingly unpopular ran afoul of some constitutional principle. Of course this was not the only motivating factor behind calls for Bush’s impeachment. At some point late in his second term his mere existence was viewed as grounds for impeachment. The most serious centered around supposed abuses of executive power, highlighted especially by his use of presidential signing statements. The anger over these relatively mundane statements revealed more about the bone-dry ignorance of those who sputtered the most outrage over them, because it was quite evident that these individuals didn’t even know what these signing statements were or what they were meant to accomplish.

George W. Bush was obviously not the first, and he certainly won’t be the last president to receive such treatment. Every president faces hostility from members of the opposing party, and every president will be the subject of frivolous and not-so frivolous impeachment talk. Perhaps this is just indicative of our polity’s reflexive desire to howl “IMPEACH HIM!” at every instance of executive overreach. After all, while Bush was not guilty (IMO[NS]HO) of any impeachable offense, arguments that he extended his executive powers to the breaking point are not exactly unreasonable. That Bush merely continued the long tradition of augmenting presidential powers beyond their constitutional breaking point is really no excuse. We can endlessly debate the merits and demerits of executive actions undertaken by our 41st president, but the point is that they are in fact at least debatable.

Which brings us to our 44th president. President Obama’s imperial edict issuance of amnesty by executive order is so breathtaking in its abuse of presidential authority that even advocates of comprehensive immigration reform such as the editors of the Wall Street Journal are left shrieking in horror. We’ll leave aside the Journal’s insistence on using the idiotic phrase “anti-immigration” Republicans and note that even they think he clearly went beyond the scope of his powers. There is no shortage of commentary explaining why President Obama lacks such authority, so I’ll leave that discussion aside right now (although here’s one for starters). I also won’t get into a detailed discussion of what the Republicans ought to do (although you can go here, here, here and here  if you’d like).

What I would like to note is the utter silence of the left on this issue. Actually, it’s not really silence – rather, the left is in full-throated support of this action. Okay, maybe that’s not true, as some on the left don’t think the president went far enough. But, by and large, the left is completely hunky dory with this decree. And they are not alone, as some of the geniuses at the USCCB had already signaled their contentment with Obama’s act of contempt for the constitution. We’re not even two years removed from the Bishops marching out in opposition to the HHS contraception mandate, and there they are providing a wink and a nod this round of executive overreach. I guess some violations of the constitution are okay so long as they accord with your policy preferences.

Which brings us to the nub of the issue. After years of bemoaning every real and imagined instance of George W. Bush overreach, the left in almost its entirety has either remained silent or actively applauded every instance of Obamian executive rule-making. This most recent example is just the latest in a long line of executive abuses of authority by this administration. Whether it be forcing Churches to cover contraception, or “recess” appointments when there wasn’t any Congressional recess to be speak of, or name your favorite example of some departmental rule-making beyond the scope of its Congressional authority, and there have been opportunities for honest citizens of the left to cry out in opposition. But their silence is deafening.

You see for progressives it’s all about the ends, not the means. If the ends are good, then the means don’t really matter. Now if the ends are bad, then well, any means is de facto illegitimate.

Jay Nordlinger talks about an example of this from his own personal experience.

In 2003, I was at a dinner party on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. All liberals, plus me. The Texas sodomy decision had just come down from the Supreme Court. My hostess asked me what I thought. I said that I agreed with Justice Thomas — who wrote essentially this: “The Texas law is dumb. If I were a member of the state legislature, I would vote to repeal it. But I find nothing in the Constitution that forbids a state to make such a law.”

My hostess looked at me as though I had come from Mars. She did not look at me with hostility. She looked at me with incomprehension. If you’ve got the power, you use it, for good ends. If you’ve got the black robe and the gavel — why, ram home what is right!

When I was in college, and figuring things out, I noticed that the Left had a disdain for process. They would use it, if the process was to their advantage. But they would jettison it the second the process was inconvenient. What mattered was the result, period.

Jonah Goldberg has written about all this in his excellent book, Liberal Fascism. For over a century the American left has steadily worked to undermine the constitutional process. It has done so via the Courts. It has done so through the presidency. It has even done so in subtle ways culturally. Why do you think there has been so much bellyaching about gridlock and Congress’ failure to “compromise?” The left wants to leave the impression that the failure to produce legislative action is a bug and not a feature of our constitutional process. This impatience with our peculiar republican form of government is what has spurred all of the actions that have degraded our constitutional system.

It is tempting to bemoan the hypocrisy of the left and its refusal to hold President Obama to the same standards it held President Bush. But the left is not being hypocritical, at least not now. No, the real hypocrisy occurred in the years between 2001 and 2009 when the left pretended to care about things like separation of powers, checks and balances, and limits on the Executive’s authority. In reality, they didn’t give a fig about any of these constitutional checks on the presidency except insofar as the wrong guy got to exercise said authority. So when Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, or some other individual with an -R next to his name next occupies the Oval Office, please lend all leftist cries about abuse of power all the credence they deserve.

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5 Responses to The Left Has No Credibility on Abuse of Power Issues

  • The left has no credibility.
    .

    Ed Driscoll: “Grubering also helps to define the relatively recent trend on the left not just to lie — that’s always been a component of the left — but to openly admit to lying as an unalloyed good to advance the Noble Cause.”
    .

    Sean Davis: “Gruber was an Obamacare architect who helped draft the law. This is a fact regardless of whether it’s currently convenient for the Left.” Things that are inconvenient for the left aren’t “facts.” They’re things “Republicans claim.”

  • Jonah Goldberg has written about all this in his excellent book, Liberal Fascism.

    He also wrote about it in today’s g-file.

    “As I’ve written many times before, the story of the progressive movement can best be understood as activists going wherever the field is open. If the people are on your side, expand democracy. If the people are against you, use the courts. If the courts are against you, run down the field with the bureaucrats, or the Congress, or the presidency. Procedural niceties — the filibuster, precedent, the law, custom, the Constitution, truth — only matter if they can be enlisted to advance the cause. If they can’t, they suddenly become outdated, irrelevant, vestigial organs of racism, elitism, sexism, whatever. Obstruction, or even inconvenience in the path of progressive ends is prima facie proof of illegitimacy. The river of history must carry forward. If History hits a rock, the rock must be swept up with the current or be circumvented. Nothing can hold back the Hegelian tide, no one may Stand Athwart History. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This is the liberal gleichschaltung; get with the program or be flattened by it.”

  • 100% correct, Paul Zummo.

  • I think Raoul Berger may have been the last man of the left to be animated by a respect for rules and procedure, though I suppose a case could be made that Nat Hentoff, Alan Dershowitz, and Jerilyn Merritt have such respect in certain contexts. Prof. Berger was admitted to the bar around the time my grandparents were married, so it’s been a while.

    What we’re attempting to cope with (and we cannot) is that half the political spectrum (the half favored by the word-merchant sector) has at the apex and center of American political life decayed into a criminal organization. They are protected by elements of the legal profession who are criminal themselves. This is not going to end well (and may end with large swatches of the bar being dealt with rather crudely).

  • “Obstruction, or even inconvenience in the path of progressive ends is prima facie proof of illegitimacy. The river of history must carry forward.”
    .
    Don’t they know that the world is round and what goes around comes around and it picks up speed. Progressives in their mindless lust for power have not yet realized that the world is not flat, or if the world is flat they will eventually fall off.
    .
    The most hilarious situation would be if the progressives hurried up and found out that they have become Republicans. If Obama can be dethroned.

So About that Emerging Democrat Majority

Thursday, November 6, AD 2014

In graduate school I read John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s The Emerging Democratic Majority. Here is the Amazon summary of the book:

In five well-researched chapters and a new afterword covering the 2002 elections, Judis and Teixeira show how the most dynamic and fastest-growing areas of the country are cultivating a new wave of Democratic voters who embrace what the authors call “progressive centrism” and take umbrage at Republican demands to privatize social security, ban abortion, and cut back environmental regulations. As the GOP continues to be dominated by neoconservatives, the religious right, and corporate influence, this is an essential volume for all those discontented with their narrow agenda — and a clarion call for a new political order.

I confess that the book provided a good chuckle, particularly as I read it in 2003, sandwiched in between successful Republican electoral triumphs. Particularly laughable were predictions that states such as Georgia and Texas were destined to become fertile ground for Democrats thanks to rapid demographic shifts.

Twelve years later, and I confess that I am not seeing much blue here or here.

Now, to be fair, Judis and Teixeira were not arguing that a permanent and enduring Democrat majority was on the cusp of dominating the political landscape. They noted that cultural and demographic trends favored the Democrat party, which is an observation that certainly rings true in many respects. Certainly at the presidential level it is true that Republicans seem to start out perpetually behind the eight ball, having to win every possible swing state to have any chance of barely squeezing past 270 electoral votes. And election results in 2006, 2008, and to a lesser extent 2012 seemed to confirm that the Republicans were in danger of extended minority status.

Then again, there’s this.

For those too lazy to click the link, it’s a map of US Congressional districts by party in control, and there is a sea of red that just washes over nearly the entire country. If you do not live along the coast in the United States, then there’s a near guaranteed chance that your representative is a Republican.

Even this map does not do the party justice. These maps show party control of the various state legislatures. After Tuesday night the GOP can now add Nevada, Minnesota, and West Virginia to the mix. Additionally, after inauguration days in January, 32 states will have Republican governors, including Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland. This table presents a clearer picture of where things stand. Republicans control both the governor’s mansion and the legislature in 24 states, with super-majorities in 15 of those states. Democrats, meanwhile, hold both the legislature and the governorship in seven states, with super-majorities only in Rhode Island and Hawaii. Seven GOP governors will have a Democrat legislature (with a super-majority of Democrats in Massachusetts), and 11 Democrats governors will have a GOP legislature (with a Republican super-majority in Missouri). Additionally Nebraska has a Republican governor and a non-partisan unicameral legislature.

Now, elections are cyclical, and things can change in American politics. The Republican majority in the Senate is rather tenuous considering that Republicans will have to defend 24 seats in 2016, many in blue or purple states, and in a presidential election year. That being said, Republican dominance at the state level is hardly a new thing. Republicans have fared well at state-level elections even in heavily Democratic years.

In the end, the Judis and Teixeira proposition (which they continue to defend, by the way) is fatally flawed for a number of reasons.

1) Politics is local – It’s a cliche, but it happens to be true. Though Americans tend to focus on presidential elections at the exclusion of all other races (much like some Catholics tend to focus on the Papacy at the exclusion of all other offices, ahem), believe it or not the presidency is not everything. Local decisions still have more bearing on your day-to-day lives than what the federals do, even if the federal government is more powerful today than in years past. Local circumstances are unique, and individual politicians at the local level might be able to connect with the electorate in a way that federal officials cannot.

2) Even the presidential disadvantage is overrated. Sure Republicans face certain electoral defeat in states that total close to 200 electoral votes (although Democrats face a similar hole in about the same amount of states), and Republicans continue to fail to break through in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and other swing states, while losing their grip in Virginia and Colorado. Yet again one must ponder if this is due to a complete change in the electorate or unique circumstances in each presidential election. It is my contention that candidates matter, and the lackluster string of GOP nominees – including the one guy who won – over the past two decades have failed to move the electorate. Yet the potential GOP field in 2016 is incredibly deeper than the Democrat field. The GOP will have at least half a dozen credible candidates running. GOP has establishment governors (Christie, Bush, possibly Romney), conservative Governors (Walker, Jindal, potentially Kasich, Pence, Perry), as well as conservative Senators (Cruz, Paul, Santorum). All of these candidates would be serious contenders on both a primary and general election level – perhaps the Senate field less so. The Democrat field meanwhile is essentially Hilary Clinton and . . . umm, is her husband eligible to run again? Elizabeth Warren is being touted as a potential candidate, but does anyone see her as a legitimate threat to win a general election? What else is there? Republicans will still have to scratch and claw to win in 2016, and they will have to do much better than they did in 2012 to get out the vote, but almost all of these candidates (except Romney) would seem to be individuals who could inspire more of the electorate.

By the way, I would tie this in with point one. Republican victories at the state level have provided the GOP with a much deeper bench to help them become more competitive in presidential elections.

3) The idea of any kind of cyclical majority is simply wrong. And this is the most critical point. The Teixeira/Judis thesis is part of a larger body of work in political science that contends that American politics has been dominated by a series of electoral realignments. Starting in 1800 with the Jefferson coalition, one party dominates government for roughly 30 years before a new governing coalition dominates. Therefore the next coalition after Jefferson emerged in 1828 with the Jackson Democrats, 1860 with the Lincoln Republicans, 1896 with the McKinley and the GOP, 1932 with the FDR coalition, and then 1968 with GOP electoral dominance. So now we should be entering a period of Democrat dominance. But as Richard Mayhew* aptly demonstrated, electoral realignment theory just doesn’t pan out under close scrutiny. There are just too many holes in realignment theory to show that there is a real pattern. In reality, elections are decided by unique circumstances. The quality rather than the ideology of candidates determines national elections much more than is acknowledged. And while demographic trends should not be ignored, nor should we simply rely on demographic analysis to predict election results. The politics of demographic groups change over time. After all, I don’t think Democrats are counting on the Irish Catholic vote as much as they used to. Some trends on Tuesday should be encouraging for Republicans, including garnering a majority (or plurality) of the Asian vote, a much more substantial percentage of the Hispanic vote, especially in Texas, and some inroads among women. Again, the midterm electorate might be different, but those groups should not be counted on to vote in exactly the same way for all perpetuity.

*In the world of political science, academics aside from Mayhew are akin to the priest who delivers 25 minute homilies that ultimately seem to have no point and which are forgotten by the time the Creed starts, whereas Mayhew is the young priest who delivers a meaty seven minute homily that you’re still thinking about the next day.

Demographics is not destiny. American politics is more than just the presidency. And the Republican party, as flawed as it is, is safely off of life support.

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26 Responses to So About that Emerging Democrat Majority

  • American politics is an ever changing battle between the two parties. In that battle there are never any final victories or defeats. If one of the two parties should ever disappear, a new party standing for much of the same things would arise. Continuity within chaos is the odd form of American politics since the rise of Andrew Jackson gave birth to the modern two party system.

  • Curious how voting patterns vary between countries.

    The 2012 French Presidential election saw a turnout of 79.48% in the first round and 80.35% in the second. The media, both left and right, claimed the disillusionment of the missing one-fifth spelled the death of democracy.

    In the 2012 US Presidential election, the turnout was 58.2% and no one batted an eyelid.

  • I don’t remember “the emerging Democratic majority”. I do remember talk that the GOP was becoming a regional party. See map.

  • Paul Zummo is correct.

    Pennsylvania has been very difficult for the GOP in presidential years since Clinton won in 1992. The Philadelphia suburbs were majority Rockefeller Republicans a generation ago and they more than canceled out the vote in the city of Philadelphia. It is important to note that they voted for Reagan twice and Bush 41 once. This region flipped in 1992 and the GOP has not found a way to win it back. Romney did carry some of the Philadelphia suburban counties in 2012. It is not about the GOP being dominated by Bible thumpers, but putting out weak candidates. I think Bush carried Pennsylvania at least once but Philadelphia City voter fraud led to a Donkey win in both 2000 & 2004. Western Pennsylvania has remained stagnant in population and is not a Democrat sure thing outside of Allegheny County anymore, as evidenced by the winners in state senate and legislature elections. Soon to be former Governor Corbett governed weakly, refusing to contest the gay marriage ruling AND the voter ID ruling AND selling the state stores to bail out the state pensions. Tommy Wolf-cub will be a one term governor once Pennsylvanians realize he will push for tax increases ostensibly for “the rich” and people who are struggling will be surprised to find out that they are “rich”.

    It’s true that Northern Virginia swayed Virginia in 2008 & 2012. However, Cucinelli narrowly lost last year to the cretin McAuliffe in 2013 after getting NO help from the national GOP and Gillespie, not the best candidate, made things a lot closer than anyone thought against a thought to be popular incumbent.

    Florida twice voted for Obumbler, relying heavily on the black and Latino vote. There is no second Obama in the wings for the Donkey Party. Cory Booker, a black senator from New Jersey, may come close but is he going to be able to repeat what Obumbler did? Doubtful at best.

    A GOOD GOP candidate can carry Pennsylvania, Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina and Florida in 2016. New Hampshire used to be the one GOP enclave in the Northeast but it’s gone now. On the other hand, Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia are lost to the Donkeys. Walker, Perry, Kasich, Jindal – the next GOP candidate MUST be a governor from the Midwest or the South and NOT a one term Northeastern moderate (NO Romney) or McCain type who should be retired.

    The GOP still has fossils in the Senate who can cause a lot of damage. McConnell can’t be trusted. McCain is a nasty old man who needs to go. Cochran from Mississippi should have retired. Roberts from Kansas is another one who voters held their noises and elected just to get rid of Harry Reid.

    The race for 2016 begins now. The GOP must put forth ideas that are popular and resonate with their base and independents. Repeal of Obumblercare, tax reform, the Keystone pipeline, energy independence (nuclear, oil, gas, coal), abolishing Common Core and instituting real education reform, reform of Medicare, repeal of Dodd-Frank (those two belong in prison for the rest of their lives), real health care reform in allowing insurance companies to compete against each other like car insurance companies do, and FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY including passing a budget – all are winning ideas. 24 Senate seats must be defended, and they are ALL winnable. Nevada and Colorado could be GOP pickups, as Buck narrowly lost to Bennett in 2010 and Harry Reid is no longer in charge of anything significant in the Senate. The GOP needs to get rid of Murkowski and McCain.

  • I agree with most of what I hear about “the Republicans must do thus and so”. In addition tho, people who don’t think of themselves as active working members of the GOP can help bring change. Republican or Democrat leaders are not going to be better than the people they lead. Those who are Catholic and conservative must do their part to inform and engage their local culture, helping more people to understand the the moral issues, and make the decision to follow Christ in a rising tide of Christianity that really does lift the whole society.

  • Did I hear right that Ben Carson has thrown his hat in the ring for 2016 Pres. elections?
    A great and inspirational guy, I have bought a couple of his books, and he did a flying visit here to NZ a couple of months ago to talk to and inspire a whole lot of young underprivileged Pasifika kids – but is he politically tough enough? Time will tell.

  • Good analysis from both Paul and Penguins Fan. I have one quibble though:

    “The Democrat field meanwhile is essentially Hilary Clinton and . . . umm, is her husband eligible to run again? Elizabeth Warren is being touted as a potential candidate, but does anyone see her as a legitimate threat to win a general election?”
    .
    Nobody thought Barak Obama was a legitimate threat to win the general election in 2006 either. I think she can take Hillary. And if the GOP holds true to form, I think she can win the general election.
    .
    It’s all going to depend on whether or not voters have had enough of “historical firsts.”

  • Thanks Pinky. Agreed on all counts.

    Did I hear right that Ben Carson has thrown his hat in the ring for 2016 Pres. elections?

    It is looking that while. While he seems like a thoughtful man, his should be a candidacy that goes nowhere. Getting hopped up about someone because they once delivered a great speech has been done before, and that turned into the disastrous presidency of Obama.

    Nobody thought Barak Obama was a legitimate threat to win the general election in 2006 either. I think she can take Hillary. And if the GOP holds true to form, I think she can win the general election.

    I thought that even as I was typing the comment, but to me Warren doesn’t have quite the same crossover political appeal as Obama. That said, she could be dangerous, especially for Clinton.

  • Fauxcahontas got 53% against Scott Brown in Massachusetts in 2012 with a 39 million buck war chest. Color me unimpressed. One should never underestimate an adversary, but if the aging Warren is ever on a national ticket it will be as Veep for a Democrat who thinks there is still milage in the tired War on Women meme.

  • I would disagree with you about ‘re-alignment’. You can discern a number of distinct periods in American electoral history. You’ve had inchoate periods (1788-1800, 1824-34, 1854-60); dominance by one party (1800-24, 1860-74, 1894-1928, 1932-68), advantage to one party (1834-54), and even competition (1874-94). What you can see retrospectively is that there has been a secular increase in their duration and we entered a new era in 1968 from which we have not emerged and which has been characterized by a lack of enduring advantages for either party in federal politics.

    Not much more than a year ago I was reading the spew of an obnoxious Democratic partisan (who signs himself “RTod”) that the polls results he was consulting indicated that the GOP was doomed (oh, and all their majorities stem from gerrymandering, which is demonstrably untrue). Waal, there are still 10 races not called, but (depending on the number of ballots Democratic poll workers have secreted in their car trunks) it appears we have the largest Republican House caucus since 1930 and Barack Obama will face in Congress the most disadvantageous balance of forces of any Democratic president since 1897 (when the big issue was the gold standard and three of my great-grandparents were still in school). I’m enough of a political partisan to be enjoying the doom.

  • My understanding of the situation in Pennsylvania was that Corbett was undermined by careerists in the Republican legislative caucus who were not all that numerous but held crucial gatekeeper positions.

    Just shy of half the population of Pennsylvania is small town and rural and the dense settlement in the eight counties around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh comprehends about 37% of the state’s population. The balance is held by nine fairly unpretentious provincial cities of which only State College is heavily invested in higher education, media, or technology. There’s fertile soil in Pennsylvania for a dissent from the social projects of the chatterati, but you have to plant it. For the entire period running from 1952 to 1992 the Republican Party ran political temporizers or the vaguely liberal for marquee races. Santorum showed in 1994 that you did not have to do that and Toomey demonstrated that again in 2010. The only congressional district the Democrats won this year outside of the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metros is a hideously gerrymandered piece of work which assembles swatches of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Allentown/Bethlehem, and Harrisburg metros with connecting territory.

  • Repeal of Obumblercare, tax reform, the Keystone pipeline, energy independence (nuclear, oil, gas, coal), abolishing Common Core and instituting real education reform, reform of Medicare, repeal of Dodd-Frank (those two belong in prison for the rest of their lives)

    The Keystone pipeline is not that important and ‘energy independence’ is a rotten cause if it means public subsidies directed at various and sundry technologies and projects.

    If you want ‘real’ education reform, the federal government’s contribution to that should be to transfer the NAEP to the Labor department, replace federal aid to primary and secondary education (and all categorical and bloc grants while we’re at it) with general revenue sharing distributed to state governments according to formula, strip NCATE of any para-statal authority it currently possesses to accredit teacher-training programs, eliminate federal student loan guarantees, eliminate enhanced bankruptcy protection for student loans, eliminate federal grants to higher education (and any sort of corporate body, while we’re at it), and comprehensively replace the federal regulatory architecture governing higher education with ERISA protections for employees and with consumer-protection law governing the interstate contractual relation between institution and student (which in turn would emphasize disclousure and audits with sanctions for lying institutions). Let the states and localities fix their bloody schools without federal interference.

    You can replace Obamacare. You likely cannot simply return to the status quo ante. For reasons of salesmanship, you might grandfather the population over a certain age (say, 47 or thereabouts), leaving Medicare roughly intact for them and then craft a revised public insurance scheme for the rest of the population.

  • Nobody thought Barak Obama was a legitimate threat to win the general election in 2006 either.

    Haven’t noticed that she’s been getting push like Obama did from the start— when he won his Senate election in ’05, they were making a big deal of it on CNN and it was supposed to be deeply touching. (I only remember because I thought him describing his wife as his “baby mamma” was horribly tacky.)

    Warren, OTOH, hasn’t had that kind of fluff.

  • I wonder if there is a Democrat out there that we’re not thinking of that will challenge Hillary. It is a weird position, in that she seems so invincible in the primary and yet is such a bad candidate. Six years ago proved that she is beatable. I’m thinking more of a nonentity than Elizabeth Warren. I don’t think the Dems will be lucky enough to find someone as well known with absolutely no standing as Obama.

    Or maybe the Dems just think it is Hillary’s turn this time.

  • Aside from education and fiscal fraud issues, it would be good to work on Voter ID and paper ballots – or a way to monitor and match electronics with paper from the sign-in table. Temp jobs galore for those registrars to dole out on their big day and a worthwhile expenditure of tax dollars from the citizenry.

  • I wonder if there is a Democrat out there that we’re not thinking of that will challenge Hillary. It is a weird position, in that she seems so invincible in the primary and yet is such a bad candidate.

    Rather like Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968. I think we’d see them on the horizon at this point (and with minions schlepping around Iowa). Aside from Warren, the names which have been bruited about are Capped Teeth and Hairplugs (and the fun never stops with that crew http://theothermccain.com/2014/10/17/glad-i-wasnt-caught-with-hookers-too-hunter-biden-didnt-say-after-dismissal-from-navy-reserve-for-blow/), Gov. Dean (Yearrrgh), Sen. Manchin (fat chance), Gov. O’Malley (see Ann Althouse on his chumpificaiton this election), Gov. Rendell (who has some of Dean’s kinetic energy but leavened with a history of assaulting reporters), Gov. Schweitzer, and Sen. Webb. If you average it out, it’s actually a better bench than the Democrats have fielded in the last 20 years inasmuch Webb, Schweitzer, Rendell, O’Malley, Manchin, and Dean have all superintended a public bureaucracy (which only Gov. Richardson among their 2008 aspirants had). Webb, Schweitzer, Manchin and Dean have another agreeable property: they’re not lawyers.

  • Art,

    Rick Santorum was soundly defeated in 2006 by the son of Governor Casey. Son of Casey will likely be reelected for life. Son of Casey voted for Obumblercare and was reelected in 2012 and has a power base in Scranton – Wilkes Barre.

    Corbett was brought down by many things. Obumbler’s porkulus gave Pennsylvania a fat check that Ed $pendell gave to the schools. Corbett’s administration told the schools not to count on getting that money each and every year. Wolf Cub then ran saturation ads accusing Corbett of cutting school spending by the amount of the porkulus. School districts across Pennsylvania have found themselves responsible for funding pension shortfalls due to a law signed by abortionist Governor Ridge that increased state employee pensions. These pension liabilities have been eating up state spending as well. Wolf Cub thinks he can push through a natural gas severance tax and an income tax increase, like $pendell tried to do. Wolf Cub and his bozo ring haircut will fail. Corbett gave in to gay marriage which hurt him badly in the Pennsylvania bible belt and he did nothing to reform pensions or taxes.

    “Only State College is heavily invested in higher education, media, or technology.”
    Not true. Penn State is the biggest state university but it isn’t the only state university. Pitt and Carnegie Mellon have a huge impact on the Pittsburgh economy.

    For those who would build and benefit from the Keystone pipeline it is a big deal. Energy independence does not mean public subsidies for garbage like Solyndra. If you read my post I never mentioned any of that so-called renewable fraudulent nonsense.

  • “Let the states and localities fix their bloody schools without federal interference.”

    AMEN! At least 50% of what takes place at a public school on a daily basis is secretarial work for the fed govt–vs real teaching–and that doesn’t include the state programs for which secretarily work is required to meet federal rules/regs. All of that energy being sucked away from instruction for our students. Our schools will continue to fail as we long as we are required to do everything except teaching & meeting the needs of our students.

  • “For those who would build and benefit from the Keystone pipeline it is a big deal. Energy independence does not mean public subsidies for garbage like Solyndra. If you read my post I never mentioned any of that so-called renewable fraudulent nonsense.”

    The entire country would benefit by the Keystone Pipeline. The ability to produce our own energy is as much of a national defense matter, if not more so, as is the ability to produce our own food ( which we cannot do without the requisite energy supplies.). We are controlled ultimately by those who provide us with energy & food–try doing without them sometime & see how far you get. 😉

  • Penn State is the biggest state university but it isn’t the only state university. Pitt and Carnegie Mellon have a huge impact on the Pittsburgh economy.

    The referent was not to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia but to the nine smaller cities. Only State College and Allentown have a research university, and the one in Allentown is a modest private institution and no larger than you’d expect for a community that size.
    ==
    Just to point out, research institutions with enrollments like the three in Pittsburgh will employ in toto roughly 9,000 people exclusive of any teaching hospital they may have, and have the equivalent of 17,000 students in residence if you pro-rate the seasonal presence. Add in employees family members and knock-on effects and you figure about 4.5% of the population in greater Pittsburgh is enrolled at these schools or derives sustenance from them. That’s not chump change, but Pittsburgh is not and cannot be a college town in the manner of Ithaca or State College and is much less invested in higher education than (say) Binghamton or Trenton.

  • Rick Santorum was soundly defeated in 2006 by the son of Governor Casey. Son of Casey will likely be reelected for life.

    You mean he lost an election so none of the other elections he’s won count?

    Re Casey Jr, Arlen Specter is the only U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania who has served more than 3 terms since the advent of popular election and he was eventually voted out of office. He might have been dispatched in 1992 if his opponent had not had a history as a tax scofflaw. He had only one easy contest in six attempts. Incumbent Senators have been ejected from office every dozen years so in recent decades in Pennsylvania, so I would not wager Casey Jr was impregnable

  • For those who would build and benefit from the Keystone pipeline it is a big deal. Energy independence does not mean public subsidies for garbage like Solyndra. If you read my post I never mentioned any of that so-called renewable fraudulent nonsense.

    There’s nothing wrong with renewable energy if it’s cost-effective. There have been dramatic improvements in the utility of wind power over 30-odd years, to take one example. The problem is setting the likes of Steven Chu up as venture capitalist. Industry is for the most part financed by the capital markets, but commercial banks have as we speak commercial and industrial loan portfolios which amount to $1,700 bn. Extractive industries amount to about 3% of domestic product. The Department of Energy had at one point a $50 bn portfolio, i.e. it rivaled the entire population of commercial banks as a source of funding in the mining and energy sectors.

    The availability of physically accessible supplies in the event of an implosion in international trade (as would occur during a general war as we had to 1945) would be a concern for war planning. That does not militate toward development and extraction of domestic reserves, but toward having the technology and the plans to make such reserves accessible if necessary. If you have what it takes to ramp up domestic production in war time, ‘energy independence’ is not important in ordinary circumstances and it’s insurance to keep some in the ground. The problem we faced in 1973-81 was that most of the proven reserves were concentrated in a politically contentious subregion and held by a modest number of states which could act as an effective cartel and extract tribute from the rest of the world. That made development of sources elsewhere and improvements in the flexibility of international oil markets worthwhile projects and that ultimately destroyed the effectiveness of OPEC (which is the only commodity cartel of the era which had any success). So, if there are not explicit or occult costs which have to be socialized, sure, build it. If not, don’t. Just because not building it is one of the President’s shticks does not mean his opposition has to make building it one of theirs.

  • I thought ballots had to be rotated to minimize the “top of list” affect. Should be random, but I don’t think that is truly developed.

On the Moral Duty to Vaccinate Your Children

Thursday, October 30, AD 2014

There is nothing quite as soul crushing as reading a thread on Facebook or social media regarding vaccinations, especially when well-intentioned but seriously misinformed Catholic parents express their outright refusal to vaccinate their children. This anti-vaccination fervor has been sparked by long-discredited studies as well as well as celebrities of shall we say less than dubious credentials.

Not all opposition to vaccination is based on groundless fears about autism or other health issues. Some Catholics also have concerns about the nature of vaccine research and the possibility that vaccines contain aborted fetal tissues. The Rational Catholic discussed this topic, and puts to rest some of the myths surrounding this line of attack, and he quotes from the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

Parents may vaccinate their children because by doing so, they are not involved in any illicit form of cooperation with the original abortion. Many Catholic experts concur that cooperation today is not really possible in an event that was over and done with many years ago. Because the abortion occurred long ago, and for reasons completely unrelated to vaccines, it is untenable to conclude that vaccine recipients today somehow cooperate in the original abortive event. Moreover, there is no ongoing use of recently aborted material for vaccine preparation; the lines obtained 30 or 40 years ago are the only abortion-derived lines being used currently for vaccine production. In sum, then, by vaccinating their children, parents do not illicitly cooperate in evil, nor otherwise engage in wrongdoing. If pharmaceutical companies or other agencies derive fetal cell lines from elective abortions, those companies or agencies, not the parents, are guilty of immoral cooperation in the evil of abortion.

The Rational Catholic has another pair of posts that delve deeper into vaccines, and goes so far as to argue that not can Catholic parents vaccinate their children, they have a moral obligation to do so. Again, quoting from the Catholic Bioethics Center:

Focusing in on your central question, there is indeed a moral duty to immunize one’s child and so help preserve the public good through the use of scientifically established and clearly beneficial programs of vaccination. The chickenpox vaccine may be an exception to this rule, as the risks resulting from this disease are not great. As for the rest, for example, measles, mumps, and rubella, these are important childhood vaccinations and parents have a special duty to care for and love their children. Children cannot make these decisions for themselves and so depend upon the prudential judgments of others.

Unfounded fears about possible adverse effects do not overcome the objective duty to make use of immunizations. To make a sound moral judgment, the individual Catholic must properly inform his or her conscience. That means that one must seek to determine whether fears are based in reason and fact, or they are instead merely — if I may put it this way — superstitions. A correctly formed conscience will come to the conclusion that immunization is a moral obligation.

For those who remain “invincibly ignorant,” and who refuse to acknowledge facts, they must follow their conscience even though it is ill formed.

Of course not everyone will be convinced on this issue, no matter what evidence is out before them. But hopefully all parents – Catholic or no – will at least mediate on the potential harm they are doing to their children and other people’s children by refusing to vaccinate them.

Continue reading...

28 Responses to On the Moral Duty to Vaccinate Your Children

  • “A correctly formed conscience will come to the conclusion that immunization is a moral obligation.”

    WOW! What a meddling do-gooder stretch of the gospel. Exactly how far do you take that? Because the gov’t says we need to get a shot, we are sinning if we don’t?

    “Moreover, there is no ongoing use of recently aborted material for vaccine preparation; the lines obtained 30 or 40 years ago are the only abortion-derived lines being used currently for vaccine production.”

    Who exactly is taking the responsibility of proving this unprovable, very politically correct statement? And what are the limitations on it? Only here in the US? Only in their state? Anywhere in the world? If the companies using those lines from 30-40 year old abortions could not make a profit from it–they would cease using them. I want the names of the companies that are using 30-40 year old abortion materials and the names of the inoculations that are being made from them, and where they are currently being distributed/given. If this is so morally acceptable, there should be no problem with us being given that information.

    “Not all opposition to vaccination is based on groundless fears about autism or other health issues.”

    There is a huge difference between saying something has not been proven and that it is unprovable (i.e. groundless.) They are not the same.

    ” That means that one must seek to determine whether fears are based in reason and fact, or they are instead merely — if I may put it this way — superstitions.”

    Well, my best friend’s 1 year old granddaughter’s doctor said that an inoculation she recently received is the cause of the horrible, disabling, incurable juvenile arthritis the child has developed. That is a fact.

  • “The chickenpox vaccine may be an exception to this rule, as the risks resulting from this disease are not great.”

    Even this is an incorrect value laden judgement. Try having a debilitating outbreak of shingles for an extended period of time like I and friends of mine have had!! My extended family out to the 4th cousins had the measles and mumps as children and have had no lasting effects from those diseases. Please note: I have a large family.

    Another point of contention for me & my well developed conscience is the giving of Hepatitis B inoculations to newborns in their 1st 24 hours of life when they do not have their full immunity. Are their studies that show this is good for the barely born babies? I don’t know about your neighborhood, but I have never lived in a place where there was an ongoing rampant outbreak of Hepatitis B–although I did work in a neighborhood several years back which was experiencing a large number of Hepatitis B cases in adults who lived immoral lives–however I was in my late 30s at the time (hardly a new born and was never exposed directly to my knowledge.)

    The folks who make and market these inoculations nor the developmental stages at which the government administers them to children are run past God for His approval. It is the FDA that approves them. An incompetent, behemoth of an unaccountable politicized federal bureaucracy.

  • “Because the abortion occurred long ago, and for reasons completely unrelated to vaccines, it is untenable to conclude that vaccine recipients today somehow cooperate in the original abortive event.”

  • “Because the abortion occurred long ago, and for reasons completely unrelated to vaccines, it is untenable to conclude that vaccine recipients today somehow cooperate in the original abortive event.”

    . . . but that was in another country,
    And besides, the wench is dead.

  • Spare me.
    .
    And yes, my kids did eventually get vaccinated. Vaccines, like any other drug, have side effects. For most people, minor, but not for all. My grandmother’s death was hastened by a bad reaction to a vaccine (granted, that was many moons ago.)
    .
    If vaccines work as well as they are purported to work, then the vaccinated should have NO fear of the un-vaccinated.
    .
    http://www.cogforlife.org/

  • Isn’t his one of those prudential decisions that a Parent must make?

  • If vaccines work as well as they are purported to work, then the vaccinated should have NO fear of the un-vaccinated.

    Gonna repost this link from the main body of the article.
    http://welovegv.com/entries/vaccines/an-open-letter-to-non-vaxxers-

    Isn’t his one of those prudential decisions that a Parent must make?

    I suppose in the same way that deciding whether to feed and shelter your child is a prudential decision.

  • You are a braver man than me Paul! I only write about relatively non-controversial topics like the use of the atomic bomb!
    I am all in favor of vaccination and my bride and I paid meticulous attention to having our kids vaccinated. My paternal grandmother passed on to me grim family history of the conditions that existed in the days before widespread vaccinations for common diseases.

  • I don’t blog as often as I used to Don, so I gotta make it count.

    By the way, despite my admittedly sarcastic (and for that I apologize) reply to Anzlyne, I am willing to concede that vaccinating your kids is not exactly a magisterial must on the order of Baptism. There is some room for debate on the theological imperatives, and in a sense I regret that the post may have over-emphasized that aspect of the issue. That being said, I do not view this as something akin to natural child birth, breastfeeding, cry it out, and other parenting issues that are matters of judgment and circumstance. The decision to not vaccinate one’s children is something based on junk science and fear mongering, perpetuated by celebrity dullards who have done untold damage by spreading their ignorance and stupidity.

  • Yes, this is one of those cases in which parents must make prudential decisions.

    The Vatican has said that parents must avoid tainted vaccines with ethical alternatives. They have also said that to use tainted vaccines is “very remote mediate material cooperation” with evil.

    Furthermore they said one must weigh the risk of cooperating with evil and violating ones conscience versus the well-being of ones children and the population at large.

    They consider the lack of ethical alternatives to be moral coercion.

    Please read the Vatican’s statement before jumping to the conclusion that vaccination is a moral imperative.

    http://www.cogforlife.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/vaticanresponse.pdf

  • A critical part of the the Vatican document states:

    As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which
    are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if the latter are exposed to
    considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience.
    Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true
    in the case of vaccination against German measles.

    In other words, if there are no alternatives, and withholding vaccination will cause potential harm to the population, then it is morally licit to vaccinate, and in fact would almost appear to be a moral necessity.

    Parents who do not immunize their children against rubella would be responsible for the malformations and subsequent abortions of malformed fetuses that might result from a pregnant women being infected by the unvaccinated child, both the study and Msgr. Suaudeau said.

    In this case, the parent would be in “much more proximate cooperation with evil” than if he had accepted a morally questionable vaccine to begin with, he said.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0504240.htm

  • Interesting, from the CDC:

    “Nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles before there was a vaccine, and hundreds died from it each year. Today, most doctors have never seen a case of measles.

    More than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria in 1921, before there was a vaccine. Only one case of diphtheria has been reported to CDC since 2004.

    An epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964-65 infected 12½ million Americans, killed 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages. In 2012, 9 cases of rubella were reported to CDC.”

    Except measles has begun to make a comeback, with multiple communities around the U.S. suffering outbreaks in 2014.

  • Well, if vaccines are going to be mandated for “health and safety” reasons, then so should breastfeeding. No, breast is not best. Breast is standard. Formula feeding is substandard feeding, although certainly better than starvation. Breast-milk has many antibodies and nutrients that formula does not have and will never have. Formula fed babies have more ear infections, allergies, more prone to obesity, and the list goes on. See more at
    .
    http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc
    .
    and
    .
    http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Breastfeeding-Benefits-Your-Baby's-Immune-System.aspx
    .
    Mothers who breastfeed have lower rates of breast and uterine cancers. (I really ought to say that exclusively formula feeding mothers have higher rates of those cancers, since the human female body was designed to nurse the infant, not use a bottle.)
    .
    http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/breastfeeding/why-breast-is-best/7-ways-breastfeeding-benefits-mothers

  • Oh, yes, let us not forget handwashing. It is a moral duty to wash your hands with soap and water.
    .
    http://www.globalhandwashing.org/resources/general/handwashing-ebola-factsheet
    .
    I remember reading an article many, many years back written by some “virus hunters” who remarked that a lot of epidemics could be stopped by soap, water, and bleach.
    .
    Soap, water, and bleach brings us to the “proper” sanitation angle. I don’t doubt vaccines have been helpful in stopping things like polio and small pox, maybe chicken pox as well (from which people do die, so I am not sure why it would not be morally required to get the chicken pox vaccine if others are required.) Better sanitation methods (especially the clean water we take for granted in the West) are very much a part of stopping diseases.

  • Well said, Paul.

    It was interesting hearing my mother in law’s opinion on vaccination:

    “My sister *died* of diphtheria.”

    Bonus: her father crawled into a bottle for thirty years after watching his baby girl die.

    Yeah, we vaccinate. There’s something to be said for listening to the painfully-earned wisdom of your elders.

  • Dr. Salk’s original polio vaccine used a live virus –children were deliberately infected with a weakened strain so that their immune system could develop the antibodies necessary to fight off a full-blown polio infection. There was a real chance of contracting full-blown polio. I don’t know how many, but it’s a fact that children were crippled as a result of taking the vaccine.
    .
    And yet, fully aware of the risks, and in spite of them, parents lined up to get their kids vaccinated. Because they knew what polio was. Today, we have to invent our own anxieties.
    .
    Normally we don’t bother with flu shots. This year, between that entero-virus going around, and idiot health care workers traipsing about after sojourns in the hot zone, I got my kids vaccinated. Because if there are flu-like symptoms in my house, I don’t want to be thinking “it’s just the flu.”

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “My paternal grandmother passed on to me grim family history of the conditions that existed in the days before widespread vaccinations for common diseases.”

    I am not yet seventy and I was vaccinated for smallpox, a legal requirement under the Vaccination Acts. I believe the last outbreak in the UK was in Bradford in 1962, originating from a child recently arrived from Karachi. Twelve people died. The French authorities took it seriously enough to require everyone entering the country from the UK to produce a vaccination certificate.

  • A little more than 14 years ago, before my 1st child was born, and my doctor told me that I needed to stop eating turkey sandwiches for lunch because I was pregnant, I researched vaccines. I made the informed decision to delay, and spread out the (and, oh the horror, decide to not get certain) vaccines that my children had to have. Every day, I praised the Lord that there were no adverse reactions. In 2011, we were looking at doing foster care. The state required the hepatitis B vaccine for our children (not the adults for some reason), and against my better judgment, I let my kids get the vaccine. My oldest son’s hair fell out (alopecia areata). I used “alternative” medicine and essential oils to help his hair grow back. I praise the Lord everyday that the adverse reaction wasn’t worse, and that his hair grew back. Have you done any research on the vaccine craze for the Gardisil Vaccine? “Over my dead body” would be my only answer to my children’s pediatrician on that one. Go to the VAERS website, choose 2014 and look at the 18,000 reported vaccine injuries. And look at the Died? column. It’s not empty. if your family hasn’t been adversely affected by a vaccine, you should be praising the Lord in Heaven.

  • Missy wrote, “look at the 18,000 reported vaccine injuries. And look at the Died? column. It’s not empty.”
    Granted, but in 2012, there were some 528,000 cases of cervical cancer and 266,000 deaths.
    Where does the balance of risk lie?

  • Gardasil does not protect against cervical cancer; it helps stop the spread of a couple of different strains of HPV that contribute to its cause. It does not stop all cases of HPV.
    .
    Abstinence before marriage and being faithful to one’s spouse would also stop the spread of HPV, and do a far better job of it.

  • I wonder how many parents that are concerned with their moral duty and frog march their children to every vaccination and flu shot available, recognize how this behavior compares in importance to family outings once per month to the Sacrament of Penance. Which activity matters most? Which activity is most frequently carried out?

  • Non-sequitur. One can be pious and still take care of basic health care needs of kids.

  • But how many practice health care for their eternal life. Our Lord said that the way to heaven is narrow and few go there. Since this is a catholic forum, it begs the question, how many follow our Lord’s advice for an eternal reward. Does an immunization or flu shot rank higher. It is not a “non-sequitur” at all. A poor choice indeed to inject a red-herring. Nice try.

  • “Abstinence before marriage and being faithful to one’s spouse would also stop the spread of HPV, and do a far better job of it.”
    True, but no woman can totally exclude the possibilities of her husband’s infidelity or of rape. The same can be said for an HIV vaccine should one be developed, or any other vaccine for STDs.

  • No, it is very much a non sequitur, Rick. A parent must safeguard both the physical and spiritual well-being of their children. It is not an either/or proposition. If some people ignore the latter, that is not an excuse for others to ignore the former.

  • No one addressed WHY a newborn baby must begin Hepatitis B inoculation before they are 48 hours old and have relativey small immunity to anything in this new world they entered. Let me encourage you to look into the connections between inoculations and non-Autism cognitve disabilities.

    I took the flue shot or 10 years and developed a version of the flu from the shot and then got a 2nd version of the flu as well for the majority of the same years. Yes, I know that the nurses have told me that there was no live virus being injected into my body. So how come my arm swelled for days, and I ended up with fever within 24-72 hours everytime?

    re: “I made the informed decision to delay, and spread out the (and, oh the horror, decide to not get certain) vaccines that my children had to have. Every day, I praised the Lord that there were no adverse reactions. In 2011, we were looking at doing foster care. The state required the hepatitis B vaccine for our children (not the adults for some reason), and against my better judgment, I let my kids get the vaccine. My oldest son’s hair fell out (alopecia areata).”I am all for spacing inoculations out and waiting until children are older and have some immunity to this world they come into before illiciting such immune responses from their new little systems. The rush to innoculate them has more to do with gov’t funded day care from 6 weeks of age than it does the welfare of the child in this nation.

    Re: “By the way, despite my admittedly sarcastic (and for that I apologize) reply to Anzlyne, I am willing to concede that vaccinating your kids is not exactly a magisterial must on the order of Baptism. There is some room for debate on the theological imperatives, and in a sense I regret that the post may have over-emphasized that aspect of the issue.” The article says that it is a moral imperative and that a properly formed soul would make that decision. Again, the gov’t is propogating these things-not God.

  • I do not agree with annual flu shots or most of the vaccinations offered. I hope some parents do the research and discover how ineffective some of these injections are and the real negative side effects. Just consider the HPV vaccination and why it was developed and how little it works. Each parent should pray this has no long lasting impact on their children. We will know in about 25 years.

  • And I pray that most parents aren’t as ignorant and misinformed as you, Rick, at least for their children’s sake.

“Because Shut Up” He Said

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2014

How do you solve a problem like Walter?

Walter Cardinal Kasper, that is.

Cardinal Kasper, who is leading the charge to allow some civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, has given an interview with Zenit. The entire thing is a dispiriting mess, but the truly horrendous part comes partway through the interview.

I do not see this going on in the Pope’s head. But I think the majority of these five people are open people who want to go on with this. The problem, as well, is that there are different problems of different continents and different cultures. Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.


But are African participants listened to in this regard?

No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].


They’re not listened to?

In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.


What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?

I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do. (emphasis mine)

So a Prince of the Church has essentially dismissed the viewpoints of an entire continent, as well as a large chunk of another. This from a Cardinal who only moments earlier had praised Pope Francis because:

Is there any sense that he’s trying to push things in that direction?

He does not push. His first speech was freedom: freedom of speech, everyone should say what he thinks and what he has on his mind and this was very positive.

Well, obviously it’s only positive so long as those backward ninnies from Africa and the Middle East keep their pieholes shut, right Cardinal?

By the way, people should not disregard how awful the rest of the interview is. First, here’s the Cardinal sounding like he would be a good addition to the National Catholic Reporter:

But people feel the Church’s teaching is going to be undermined by your proposal if it passes, that it’s undoing 2,000 years of Church teaching. What is your view on this?

Well nobody is putting into question the indissolubility of marriage. I think it wouldn’t be a help for people, but if you look to the word of Jesus, there are different synoptic gospels in different places, in different contexts. It’s different in the Judeo-Christian context and in the Hellenistic context. Mark and Matthew are different. There was already a problem in the apostolic age. The Word of Jesus is clear, but how to apply it in complex, different situations? It’s a problem to do with the application of these words.

And for those who still think the relatio is nothing to get too worked up about, there’s this gem:

The teaching does not change?

The teaching does not change but it can be made more profound, it can be different. There is also a certain growth in the understanding of the Gospel and the doctrine, a development. Our famous Cardinal Newman had spoken on the development of doctrine. This is also not a change but a development on the same line. Of course, the Pope wants it and the world needs it. We live in a globalized world and you cannot govern everything from the Curia. There must be a common faith, a common discipline but a different application.

But remember kids, you have nothing to worry about. No doctrine is going to change.

You may now resume putting your heads in the sand.

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42 Responses to “Because Shut Up” He Said

  • Good quote from the Bible for the heretic, Cardinal Kasper. “If anyone preaches to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be an anathema.” (Gal. 1:9)

  • Number Seven: “You shall not commit adultery.”

    But hey! They’ll change objective truth and fabricate a substitute as they go.

    Confusion and doubt. Doubt and confusion.

  • And for those who still think the relatio is nothing to get too worked up about, there’s this gem:

    The teaching does not change?
    The teaching does not change but it can be made more profound, it can be different. There is also a certain growth in the understanding of the Gospel and the doctrine, a development. Our famous Cardinal Newman had spoken on the development of doctrine. This is also not a change but a development on the same line. Of course, the Pope wants it and the world needs it. We live in a globalized world and you cannot govern everything from the Curia. There must be a common faith, a common discipline but a different application.
    – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/10/15/because-shut-up-he-said/#comments

    I read that quote with as critical an eye as possible and there was nothing it contained which was not true.

    Wouldn’t it be better to provide quotes and dissect them substantively rather than to assume that such quotes are meat for the orthodox lions to devour reflexively?

  • Walter Kasper deserves to be sent to a Cistercan (sic) monastery for the rest of his days. He is obnoxious and revolting. By extension, our Holy Father allows him to run around wherever he wants and says nothing about Kasper’s rantings.

    Remember a year and a half ago when the Rorate combox went into meltdown over Bergoglio? They were right. Pope Francis is supposed to come to Philadelphia next year. I would not cross the state to see him. Hell, i would not cross the street to look at him.

  • As for Kasper one could say: “We specialize in quality guess work.”

  • Psalm 55, in small part,
    .
    If this had been done by an enemy
    I could bear his taunts.
    If a rival had risen against me,
    I could hide from him.
    But it is you, my own companion,
    my intimate friend!
    How close was the friendship between us.
    We walked together in harmony
    in the house of God…
    .
    The traitor has turned against his friends;
    he has broken his word.
    His speech is softer than butter,
    but war is in his heart.
    His words are smoother than oil,
    but they are naked swords.

  • Liberal progressives are the ultimate racists. Always have been. Always will be.

  • They keep saying teaching won’t be changed- we learned from the “spirit” of Vatican 2 that you don’t need to change teachings as long as you change practice– and eventually practice becomes the belief- lex orandi credendi etc
    .
    Read “Gradualism” and the Inevitability of Doctrinal Change at Queering the Church
    http://queeringthechurch.com/2014/10/15/gradualism-and-the-inevitability-of-doctrinal-change/

  • Pingback: The Walter Cardinal Kasper Synod Saga - BigPulpit.com
  • A vast gulf separates the cultures of Africa and Asia from that of nations long christened.

    As Jacques Maritain said of the United States, “In a more general way, if we bear in mind some of the remarks previously made, how could we be surprised at the existence of an unquestionable diffused religious inspiration in the background of the American lay or secular common consciousness? What is the objective meaning of that transmutation which I have pointed out, of the sufferings of the poor and the wounded into a new strength and a new hope, — if not a Christian meaning projected into the sphere of temporal, social and political existence? Except under the shadow of the Gospel such a phenomenon could neither take place nor make sense in human history… At this point let me insist that the religious inspiration with which we are confronted in the temporal consciousness of this country is not a particular religious creed as defined in the spiritual order of religion and religious truth itself, but rather a projection of religious belief into the temporal order, — a temporal projection of religious belief which holds in actual fact even for many who have slipped away from religious faith, though it can obviously preserve its vitality only if in many others it is not cut off from living religious faith. So the existence of this common religious “temporalized” inspiration is compatible with the astonishing multiplicity of religious creeds and denominations which history, as we observed, has caused to come about in the spiritual structure of the American nation.”

  • Synod on the Family.
    Integrity and sobriety or no supper.

    http://ecclesandbosco.blogspot.com/

  • Kasper says that Jesus’s quote on marriage is clear. Kasper then says it is a complex situation. Typical liberal diatribe.

  • I have had to increase my blood pressure med dosage. I believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I will go and receive the Sacraments and believe that I am doing the right thing. I will not adhere to this diabolical blather. Yesterday while having breakfast at the local restaurant there was a full out verbal battle due to an article in the St. Paul paper. The confusion and arrogance of practicing Catholics was astounding. Or maybe I’m totally wrong. (And I was very Christian about the whole thing as I wanted to go back to my primal ranting’s) It’s really hard to turn the other cheek and be charitable.

  • Tamsin, You have hit the nail right on the head with your psalm.

  • If I die soon I want them to put this on my gravestone, “She died from a broken Catholic heart”.

  • Jeanne, take heart. Many post Vatican II Catholics don’t know the teachings that were preached and taught before Vatican II. Vatican II was a disaster. This present regime will not teach doctrine with which they disagree. Of course, Catholics are not learning some of the teachings of the church.

  • Pat, laughter is the best medicine, even in these dark and deadly times. We must laugh lest we cry all the time. I especially liked Eccles’ recent “Bitter Disagreement at the Synod (664AD)” and “Catholic Church Endorses a Dalek Lifestyle”, especially his use of Bacon’s Pope painting. Talk about subverting the subversives! #winning

  • joe DeCarlo wrote, “Many post Vatican II Catholics don’t know the teachings that were preached and taught before Vatican II”
    The principle underlying every heresy is that the teaching of the Church is something to be searched for in the records of the past rather than something to be heard and accepted in the living present.
    As Cardinal Manning insisted, “No Catholic would first take what our objectors call history, fact, antiquity and the like, and from them deduce his faith ; and for this reason, the faith was revealed and taught before history, fact or antiquity existed… The Church, which teaches him now by its perpetual living voice, taught the same faith before as yet the Church had a history or an antiquity… In truth, and at the root, is not this inverted and perverse method a secret denial of the perpetual office of the Holy Ghost? The first and final question to be asked of these controversialists is : Do you or do you not believe that there is a Divine Person teaching now, as in the beginning, with a divine, and therefore infallible voice ; and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world ? If so, the history, and antiquity, and facts, as they are called, of the past vanish before the presence of an order of facts which are divine namely, the unity, perpetuity, infallibility of the Church of God: the body and visible witness of the Incarnate Word, the dwelling and organ of the Holy Ghost now as in the beginning: the same yesterday, to-day, and forever: its own antiquity and its own history.”

  • “The principle underlying every heresy is that the teaching of the Church is something to be searched for in the records of the past rather than something to be heard and accepted in the living present.”

    Quite untrue.

  • it is too long to quote, but take a look at the First Vatican Council’s writings concerning Jesus saying to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” Then Take a look at what Pope Francis said about the same quote. You will see a major difference.

  • Donald R McClarey

    Every heresy, without exception, claimed that the Church of its day had departed from some pristine truth and appealed to the Church of the New Testament, or the Church of the Fathers or what have you, against the Magisterium that condemned them.
    Invariably, they were condemned as innovators and invariably they claimed to be preserving, or to be restoring, the primitive doctrine of the Church.

  • The pope says that everyone can be saved. Not according to what I learned during the pre-Vatican II days. Our priests and clerics constantly quoted Jesus, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Only way to the Father is through me.” Notice, Jesus said the ONLY way. The pope said that Jews and Muslims pray to the same God. That is not what I was taught in my 12 years of Catholic school. Jews and Muslims do not go through Jesus to get to God. Jesus said to the Jews, “If you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your owns sins.” Has any post vatican II pope preached that. “Those who are baptized and believe will be saved. Those who don’t believe are already condemned.” When was the last time you heard a pope proclaim those teachings of Jesus. We heard constantly during the pre-Vatican II days. The Modernists are either giving us half the teachings of Jesus or none all. Why doesn’t the pope quote the above to the world? Isn’t he supposed to teach what Jesus taught?

  • What you say MPS is simply factually incorrect. Explain to me how what you say applies to the Modernists, the Albigensians, Islam, if that is considered a Christian heresy, Docetism, Ophites, Montanists, and the list could go on for a very long length.

  • I had said starting some months ago that this synod when announced, and as it came to into formation, would be the category-5 disaster it is now come to be. Some assailed this position as Bergoglio-hating, the contemporary ecclesiastical equivalent of race-smearing in politics today.
    .
    Sorry, but like the nation, we have a leadership problem. The facts I see: a not-very-theologically erudite pontiff as organizational leader, who prefers to lead from behind, who historically has kept intellectual company with very strange bedfellows (his amanuensis, the late Card. Martini; Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires, who has openly called him “a revolutionary”; ex-Franciscan and radical Leonardo Boff [who blames the US for the cause of 9-11: see his essay”What Caused 9-11?”]; or Bergoglio’s oft-expressed admiration for equally radical lib theo Gustavo Gutierrez). I can go on: a strange pontiff who attributes supreme value to the vague concept of “dialogue”, yet is a heavy Argentine authoritarian when opposed; and one who has a very weak Catholic philosophical and historical education (yes, I know he has a licentiate in philosophy, but it was earned in 1960 from the San Miguel, Buenos Aires theologate—not known as a strong theological center— and his later theological education in the 1960’s prior to ordination was undoubtedly deficient in being able to effectively critique the new philosophical existentialism underpinning Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Kung, and other Nouvelle Theologie-types).

    There is his oft-hidden failure at advanced studies in theology at Frankfurt, especially the false claim that he finished his doctorate and thesis. This is important because it does matter now: Kasper, Danneels, and Lehmann are really running things (say what you want, but these 3 are profoundly skilled), and they have the clout and support of the progressive European cardinalate now in collegially exercising their control over the “Roman” Catholic Church. Everyone is confused now, and Bergoglio calls it a positive development.

  • The plot thickens. According to this (you’re going to need to use google translate) not only does Cardinal Kasper deny saying these words, it sounds like he denies even giving this interview.

  • Good post, Steve.

  • The Zenit link is now 404.
    .
    “Ich bin schockiert. So habe ich nie über Afrikaner geredet und würde ich auch nie reden. Ich stelle fest: Von Zenit hat sich mir in diesen Tagen und Wochen nie jemand vorgestellt und mich nie jemand um ein Interview gebeten. Niemand von Zenit hat von mir ein Interview erhalten.”
    .
    “I am shocked. I’ve never said anything like that about Africans, and I never would. Please note: Nobody from Zenit contacted me in the past days or weeks, and nobody asked for an interview. Nobody from Zenit got an interview from me.”

  • The journalist who conducted the interview has evidently released a recording of said interview, so . . . .

    Stay tuned.

  • . . . And here’s the reporter, Edward Pentin, providing audio proof of the interview.
    http://edwardpentin.co.uk/statement-on-cardinal-kasper-interview/

    But don’t judge Cardinal Kasper too harshly. He was likely mistranslated/quoted about not giving the interview in which he was mistranslated/quoted speaking as he did about Africans.

  • “The journalist who conducted the interview has evidently released a recording of said interview, so . . . .”

    Perhaps the Cardinal is living out gradualism. He is a liar but is seeking to come closer and closer to living the true life of a Christian. We should see him not as a liar, but accept him as someone who has particular gifts to bring to the Christian Community. Perhaps his particular gifts are those of developing age old doctrines to be more in line with the Modern, German mindset.

  • Your list, Mr.McClarey, proves his point. All of those groups claimed a continuation either of true past teachings or secret dogmas for the imitated. In many instances, the historical records make the claims plausible if not accurate or valid. The Montanists claimed the gift of prophecy passed to them from Agabus, and the daughters of Philip the Evangelist. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity or earnestness of the claim. Montanus and his followers would have been only a century out of the closing of the Apostolic age with its public prophesy, open canon and a forming, nascent church. We see a similiar pattern with those groups which held Docetist or Adoptionist beliefs, which very plausibly trace back to the very beginning. Even Marcion of Sinope and his ditheism touched upon what must have been an already old and popular tradition explaining the relationship of Gentiles and Jews in the event of Christ. An attempt to extricate Christianity completely from Jewish sources and influence has been a constant and perennial heresy; with 20 centuries behind it, it has much as claim as the pristine and historical tradition as the orthodox positions.

    What Mr.Paterson-Seymour fails to explain is how this relates to the present situation. Are we really discussing Donatist zealotry here? With all past heresies, however ancient the tradition claimed, there was always an equally known, if implicit, tradition passed on- it’s understand and consequence later explicated upon. That tradition, in this case, has already been sussed out and codified starting with the diminishing western Roman empire up until the industrial period and the attempted sociological creation of medical and scientific sexual characters distinguished in the hetero and homosexual characters. As the western empire faded, we may trace our Christian tradition by the seismic shift in the general attitude on human sexuality (from the pagan Roman active/passive dichotomy to a male/female one) and marriage. We no longer discuss legitimate concubinage like they did at the Council of Toledo in 400 AD. Every nation the Church has evangelized among has had matrimonial traditions that chaffed against the Christian one. But she patiently wore down these old practices and replaced them with her own understandings. .

    As the ambiance of our matrimonial beliefs are more Protestant-influenced than Catholic, I can think of no other time when the Church seemed eager to capitulate to the demands of foreign cultures. There are many of us who are having trouble reconciling the attitude of Cardinal Kasper with the previous 20 centuries. And when he dismisses the African and Asian bishops, how are we to comprehend this? Is the Church universal and not beholden to one nation (or group of nations) or is the Church from his Excellency’s perspective nothing more than a mouthpiece for the current opinions of the European and American elite?

  • I apologize for this second post, but I thought br-tag (with brackets of course) separated paragraphs. Could someone please inform me on the proper html tag so I don’t make one long post again.

  • “Your list, Mr.McClarey, proves his point. All of those groups claimed a continuation either of true past teachings or secret dogmas for the imitated.”

    Secret dogmas for the initiated of heresies was not the point that MPS was asserting. For example, the Montanists called their movement the New Prophecy. Their focus was not on the past of the Church but rather the future which was to be shaped by their prophecies. Some Montanists claimed that their visions superceded the authority of Paul and even that of Christ. Like most heresies any reference to the history of the Church was mere window dressing to support their radical deviation from the Church.

  • Ah, Paul, but did you make me laugh at your characterization of Kasper’s denial. This is good for I cannot imagine the good bishops of Africa taking his characterizations of their teachings as mere “taboos” too kindly. Perhaps something good can come of this Synod now that the Left’s cards are laid out.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “the Montanists called their movement the New Prophecy”

    Indeed they did, but their movement can be seen as an assertion of the charismatic element in the early Church, noted by Hmmmmm (prophecy,glossolaly &c, against the growing institutional model.

    This, by the by, has been a recurring theme, whether one looks at Mediaeval heresies, like the Brethren of the Free Spirit, the Anabaptists of Munster during the Reformation and their successsorsover the centuries, from the Society of Friends, the Camisards with their child-prophets, the “swoonings” at the first Methodist meetings or the Irvingites of Victorian England. Then one has the Quietists and Jansenist convulsionaries of the 17th & 18th centuries.

  • Steve Phoenix wrote, “Kasper, Danneels, and Lehmann are really running things (say what you want, but these 3 are profoundly skilled)”

    Indeed. Not only was Cardinal Kasper Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Tübingen, one of the most celebrated schools of theology in the world for the past 200 years, but he was for 13 years Dean of Faculty there. He was a student of Josef Geiselmann and, in point of learning, he has few rivals in the hierarchy.

  • “can be seen as an assertion of the charismatic element in the early Church,”

    The orthodox defenders of the Faith who struggled against Montanism for centuries certainly did not see them in that light, and they were absolutely correct. Montanism, if it had triumphed, would have turned the Church into a wholly new faith, governed by ongoing revelations to their self-appoint prophets.

  • I like Chesterton’s definition of heresy –misrepresenting a facet of truth as the totality of truth (something like that).

  • Ernst Schreiber wrote, “I like Chesterton’s definition of heresy –misrepresenting a facet of truth as the totality of truth (something like that).”

    Absolutely. Mgr Ronald Knox pointed out that “traditional Christianity is a balance of doctrines, and not merely of doctrines but of emphases. You must not exaggerate in either direction, or the balance is disturbed. An excellent thing to abandon yourself, without reserve, into God’s hands; … but, teach on principle that it is an infidelity to wonder whether you are saved or lost, and you have overweighted your whole devotional structure… Conversely, it is a holy thing to trust in the redeeming merits of Christ. But, put it about that such confidence is the indispensable sign of being in God’s favour, that, unless and until he is experimentally aware of it, a man is lost, and the balance has been disturbed at the opposite end”

    Thus, “Quietism exaggerates only a little the doctrine of the mystics about simplicity in prayer, about disinterested love. Quakerism does but enthrone in dangerous isolation the truth of God’s presence within us. Jansenism is the vigilant conscience of Christendom overshadowed by a scruple. Methodism is the call back to Christ in an age of Deism.” Hence, “Almost always the opposition is twofold; good Christian people who do not relish an eccentric spirituality find themselves in unwelcome alliance with worldlings who do not relish any spirituality at all.”

  • “I like Chesterton’s definition of heresy –misrepresenting a facet of truth as the totality of truth (something like that).”

    Absolutely. One of my Protestant pastors used a very wise & clear analogy in this regard when teaching on various points in scripture. His analogy in regard to truth was often a well worn dirt road with deep ditches on either side. He said that truth needed to be on the middle of the road because if you went to one extreme or the other you would end up in a ditch (either on one side or the other of the road.).

  • “Not only was Cardinal Kasper Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Tübingen, one of the most celebrated schools of theology in the world for the past 200 years, but he was for 13 years Dean of Faculty there. He was a student of Josef Geiselmann and, in point of learning, he has few rivals in the hierarchy.”

    The Bible speaks of learned fools who think themselves wise. Does Cardinal Kasper not understand the connection between Biblical marriage and theology–the very nature of our God? How sad that is to me. Has he imparted such warped theology to others in his positions of such authority & influence? God forbid!

  • “…Mgr Ronald Knox pointed out that “traditional Christianity is a balance of doctrines, and not merely of doctrines but of emphases…”

    So VERY true in my experience. This is why you can often find some “truth” in almost any faith.

What to Expect When You’re Expected Not to Expect

Thursday, October 9, AD 2014

There’s a bit of an irony in the fact that I’ve not been able to get to Jonathan Last’s What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster sooner in part due to having several small children to tend to. Alas, as Last dutifully emphasizes, my family is an outlier in modern America (even if in our own Catholic community we sometimes feel like we are woefully far behind).

Last’s book is a very important, if somewhat depressing read. America’s birthrate has been hovering at barely above replacement for the past several decades, and is starting to dip below the magic 2.0 line. Though we are doing better than almost all of the rest of the western world, we have reached a point where more and more Americans are choosing either not to have kids, or are having only one or two if they do, in large part thanks to starting so late. The only thing keeping our birthrate even near replacement are immigrant families, but even the trend here is steadily declining as immigrants are assimilating in at least one way: not having as many children as they used to.

Last identifies several key factors. Long story short, middle class Americans are getting married later and later (if at all), as they spend their most fertile years paying off their college debts. There’s much more to it than that, but most Americans in their 20s would prefer to spend whatever money they have left over after loans on more consumer goodies. Last identifies several other anti-family pressures. He even alludes to increasingly harsh child safety seat measures. As I can testify, I am pretty sure my oldest child won’t get to ride in the front seat until she’s in drivers ed.

One key takeaway is that this demographic disaster is a largely cultural phenomenon that cannot be reversed by legislation. To be sure Last offers several minor policy suggestions, but he concedes that these would barely make a dent. Last notes that several countries that have tried extreme measures to reverse their demographic decline have failed miserably, and the evidence is in that mere policy fiat will not stem the tide.

One of the most striking aspects of the book was Last’s discussion of how he felt compelled to leave Old Town (a suburb outside of Washington, DC) and flee to the suburbs once he and his wife began having children. The kind of life they were living in this very trendy and hip location was no longer supportable with children in tow. What’s more, the cultural milieu of places like Old Town are almost hostile to children. As someone who has spent time in these areas, I can acknowledge the truth of this. It is difficult, though not quite impossible, to raise a large family in certain parts of DC, in part because it’s so expensive, but also because, well, it’s not the most kid friendly environment.

The key observation is that there are many subtle cultural forces at work against the family. As noted above, Last mentions child safety seats. The mandates to keep kids in some form of safety seat until they are practically adults necessitates purchasing larger vehicles. You might want to take note of how many Honda Odysseys, Siennas, Town and Countries, and similar minivans there are in the parking lot next time you go to Church. These are not cheap vehicles. That’s not to say that these laws are necessarily wrong, or are a primary driver (no pun intended) of smaller families, but they are just one of many things working against the family.

There’s also just the general hostility towards large families. As this Matt Archbold post from July reminds us, some people just can’t fathom the idea of handling more than one or two children. Or as the mom in Matt’s post put it, “Who has five children? I’d kill myself if I had that many kids.”

So with all that in mind, what can we do? For starters, we need an entity or organization that fearlessly and tirelessly celebrates the family. Such an entity would speak of the value of children and of the wonders of procreation. This entity would speak against all of the forces that work against the family. It would even unabashedly critique the contraceptive and consumerist mentalities that persuade people to put off having children. Such an entity, if one such entity exists, would first work to convince its own membership on these matters, and would risk alienating a few of them so long as it managed to sway the rest. It would have to preach from the pulpit, if you will, ceaselessly imparting knowledge and guidance.

Oh for such an entity to exist.

Continue reading...

32 Responses to What to Expect When You’re Expected Not to Expect

  • “Oh for such an entity to exist.”

    If only. If only.

    Here, have some verbal “accompaniment,” “caresses,” graduality and freedom from dogmatic interpretations instead. That’s just as good, eh, no?

  • Maybe the government can get involved and invent such an entity . . . maybe something like the Department of Population Expansion (DOPE)?? jking!

  • Hey – I just learned something! I’ve been hearing about this book for a while, but didn’t realize who wrote it. I’ve been a fan of Last from the Weekly Standard. I’m still not sure I want to put out the money for another book, but I’m glad he’s the one behind it.

  • Last is conning you for effect. There is no demographic disaster nor much reason to anticipate one. There is no secular decline in the size of birth cohorts (the 2007 cohort was the largest on record), nor is their any indication that recent downward flux is anything but a reaction to economic conditions.

    France, Britain, Sweden, and Ireland all have fertility rates near those of the United States and Britain, France, Russia, and a number of Scandinavian countries have had improvements in fertility sustained over periods of 15 to 30 years and counting. The disaster is in Germany and Japan and parts of Mediterranean Europe.

  • Last is correct in so many ways.

    My parents met and married in their early 20s. Dad was not yet 26 and Mom was 22 when they married in 1962. My youngest brother – there are four of us – was born in 1973. Mom had just turned 33.

    I did not finish college until after I turned 24. 5 and a half years of struggle – college was never any fun. It took me 13 months to find a job. I didn’t have a single date until I was 23 and not any girlfriends until I was 35. The missus and I have two kids. We have lost three due to miscarriage. God bless those who have bigger families.

    So Last lived in Old Town Alexandria. So much of the DC area is hostile to families with young kids. On the rare occasions that I saw a family on the Metro with kids the train would be filled with scowls from cranky people.

    Western Pennsylvania is a far better place to raise a family.

  • The total number of births for 2007 was “the highest ever recorded”– about 4.316 million, managing to top 1957’s 4.308. Keep in mind that records can have issues, etc, let’s assume they all equal out…

    That said, there’s a bit* of a difference in the population, birth rate, number of folks born here to non-resident parents, etc.
    .
    *that’s irony, there; the US population is a bit less that twice as big, for starters.

  • Amusing thing– heard on the radio today that there’s no need to worry about population, because Millennial now make up ALMOST 30% of the population.

    My husband and I are both Millennials. We’re in our early 30s. (everyone born in 81 up to now, the way they defined it)
    Humans live to about 90.(79 at birth, but we all know how jacked the infant mortality stats are) If a third are in the youngest third, there are issues unless you manage to absolutely stop all deaths in the “people under thirty” group.

  • Penguins Fan- to back up your bit— when my parents met and got married, they were both “obviously” never going to get married because they were so old; when my husband and I met and got engaged, folks were shocked because we were “so young.”
    I was two years younger than my mom had been….that’s a really big cultural shift, and a lot of it from the self-same people.
    **
    (Dumbest reason I heard that we’d “never have kids”: I didn’t babysit when I was a teen. Because liking kids in general is needed to like your kids in specific? Meh.)

  • Alright, one more in its own post because it didn’t fit the flow of the prior:
    when I was in high school, they wanted us to write out “goal sheets” about what we wanted to be. I wanted to say “mother.” (My mom is awesome. Even when I was in that phase where we fought constantly, I knew that and wanted to be her, wanted to be the version of her that SHE wants to be.)
    I was informed that was not a valid option.
    I still have folks who are horrified that I am “wasting” myself on being Mom. Never mind that my daughters discuss the good and bad points of various weapons in a fight, that my four year old reads, that my three year old can measure out a cup of flour without supervision, that my one year old knows to move chairs, I’m “wasted” because I don’t get a paycheck.
    This really wears on a body, and women are especially vulnerable to that stress– that expectation– and our ability to make children decays faster than a man’s.
    Amy S over on Ricochet is my age, and is desperately fighting to have a baby after having spent the first 30 years of her life doing what she is “supposed” to do, and finding it empty. (pray for her, please)

  • Listening to NPR radio– Spokane Public Radio– and they just did a segment on how by 2020 there will be 40% of the electorate who are Millennials, AKA those currently 18-35. (I think, didn’t write it down– may have been 34 or 33, I’ll go with the low.)

    in 2020 the 18 will be 24, so age 24-39 will be 40% of the “electorate.” Heaven knows how they’re defining this, registration or population.

    Folks under 40 will be less than half of the voting population, and that’s a big thing?

  • Does Mr Last address birthrates per population groups, regions, religions etc?

  • Japan, because it has very low rates of inward and outward migration, provides a good case study of what happens as a population ages.

    People spend less and save more for retirement. Demand shifts from present goods to future goods, that is, securities. The price of present goods falls and the price of future goods rises; the compensation for waiting for the future declines, and the rate of interest falls. The country trades surplus present goods for future goods, exporting goods and buying securities with the proceeds, shifting the current account balance to surplus. The exchange rate rises (unless, like Germany, the country is in the €)

    All in all, not a particularly gloomy prospect.

  • eople spend less and save more for retirement.

    Which is precisely the opposite of what is happening in Japan.
    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/05/14/are-japanese-eating-into-their-savings/

    A demographic shift has added to the decline. As its population ages, Japan’s retirees are drawing down savings. The household savings ratio stood at 1.0% at the end of March 2013, down from 11.8% two decades ago, when there were roughly half as many people aged 65 and over.

  • Paul Zummo

    Of course, as people retire they draw down their savings (often to purchae annuities)

    As I said, “People…save more for retirement,” which is precisely what did happen in Japan. That is how Japan sustains a gross government debt of 237.9% of GDP (134.32% net) – It is almost all held internally

  • Good post – thanks.

  • Paul Zummo
    It really is quite simple.
    (1) As they get older, people of working age save towards their retirement and spend less on consumption.
    (2) After they retire, they draw down their savings.
    That has been the pattern in Japan since at least the 1970s.
    As the proportion of over-60s in the population increases, savings decline.

  • “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

  • “We need an entity or organization that fearlessly and tirelessly celebrates the family.”
    .
    Babies are hard work. New mothers, and mothers for whom the second, third, next child has just arrived on scene… need all the spiritual help they can get, to keep up morale even when every material need is met.

  • Another factor may be :expectations of government.
    .

    The following (posted at Zero Hedge) is excerpted from Armstrong Economics.
    .

    “Socialism has even changed the historic bounds of family. You had 4 to 6 kids for that was your retirement. The kids knew they had the responsibility of taking care of their parents. Today – that’s government’s job. Everything has been changed to depend upon government that never tells the truth […]”
    .

    “ . . . the Black family was stronger than the white family before welfare. When you paid women not to be married and to have children, you change the family structure. Socialism has significantly altered the behavior of every race all based upon expectations of government.”
    .

    “Free food changes behavior be it people or animals. Being compassionate is to be human. To give a man a free fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and your feed him for a lifetime. Government adopted the first strategy to create dependency upon the political system.
    .

    “What happens when government collapses and people are totally unprepared because they never thought government collapses?”

  • I’ve posted this before, and it was an eye opener when I read it.
    .
    http://mises.org/daily/2451/Making-Kids-Worthless-Social-Securitys-Contribution-to-the-Fertility-Crisis
    .
    I was alive and somewhat aware during the 80’s. I vaguely remember the population control gaining traction, and Reagan and his supporters saying that “education was good population control” (meaning that contraception and abortion wasn’t needed (do I remember this wrong?)
    .
    Brian Robertson in his book There’s No Place Like Work notes that public education closely correlates with birth rate decline, and that homeschooling seems to boost fertility rates.

  • “education was good population control”

    I don’t recall Reagan ever saying anything like that. Declining fertility and public education probably has more to do with delaying marriages as a result of going through the educational process due to the time it takes. I doubt if homeschooling would make any difference to fertility rates, absent the family involved being anti-contraceptives.

  • “education was good population control”
    .
    Donald,
    .
    That essentially was what the blogmeister at Thorium Molten Salt Reactors said in his blog post here:
    .
    http://thoriummsr.com/2014/09/review-of-the-talk-by-hugh-macdiarmid-for-tei
    .
    The blogmeister said specifically:
    .
    “Robert Hargraves who wrote Thorium: Energy cheaper than coal – writes and speaks about how energy, which he says allows prosperity – and that allows for education – and education allows for a lower birthrate.”
    .
    I responded:
    .
    Overall a pretty good post. However, the following statement treats a positive birthrate as a negative social factor, and assumes a false Malthusian overpopulation problem (there is enough thorium and uranium in Earth’s crust to fuel a planet of billions more than we have for millennia on end, and such energy could enable our species to expand to other places in the solar system):

    “Robert Hargraves who wrote Thorium: Energy cheaper than coal – writes and speaks about how energy, which he says allows prosperity – and that allows for education – and education allows for a lower birthrate.”

    Viewing conception and birth as things to be separated from conjugal relations, and as things to be artificially manipulated is the height of selfishness and self-centeredness, and is the opposite of what moral and virtuous education provides. The anti-procreation mentality says: “What I want to have for myself is more important than what I have to give to a baby.” Personally, I myself would not want to entrust the energy of the atom to such selfishness, for such people seem to have been educated into imbecility. The following blog entry at The American Catholic, while not directly applicable to nuclear energy, addresses the unintended consequences of a selfishness that institutes measures for low birth rates – how sad that at a moment of the greatest prosperity that the human race has ever experienced, we don’t want babies!
    .
    The blogmeister responded:
    .
    “If it is the natural outcome that birth rates become lower as the result of prosperity and education I think you are using the word Malthusian incorrectly. The desire to engineer a higher quality of life should not be viewed as immoral. You need to scold the greens among us who are anti nuclear. With their prescription the planet will result in far more deaths and that seriously slows down birth rate. I would say ignorance is no excuse.”
    .
    I responded (with comment in moderation):
    .
    “A higher quality of life can only be had by a moral and virtuous people who value babies as new life to be cherished. Failure to procreate in order to provide for a larger next generation disables the living standard of the elderly retired in the previous and current generations, for the next generation, being bigger, would generate the revenue needed to support the previous. The current socialist democracies of Europe and the corporate socialism of North America are failing precisely because of falling birth rates, except for Islamists whose militancy adversely impacts all of us. And those falling birthrates are due not to having conjugal relations less, but to immorally divorcing such relations in half, dividing the unitive function of love from the procreative function of love. When a people wants pleasure but not the consequences of pleasure, when they lack the personal self-control that such hedonistic libertinism clearly demonstrates, when they disregard new life as bothersome and troublesome, then they surely cannot be trusted with the power of the atom.”
    .
    The overwhelming majority of people nowadays believe in the contraceptive, abortive mentality, and think they can engineer prosperity. Sadly, we have to re-learn the lesson of Judah and Israel.

  • Whatever the motivation, it is true that there is a negative correlation between birthrate and educational levels. In other words, the higher education level, the lower the birth rate. Now as Donald mentioned this no doubt at least partially due to people delaying marriage because they are going through the educational process, and then paying down their loans.

  • Does Mr Last address birthrates per population groups, regions, religions etc? –

    Yes, he does go through different population cohorts, including I believe regional variations. I’d have to go back through to see what he wrote specifically, but he pretty thoroughly explores different aspects of the issue.

  • Maybe you are right, Paul Zummo. But I think what happens is this: people are educated into the sterility life style. Yes, some delay having children due to debt pay down. But are they refraining from conjugal relations or are they contracepting and aborting? And do they stop after debt payoff or do they continue?
    .
    🙁

  • I think it’s a bit of everything, Paul. My generation, and the one coming up behind me, simply have different attitudes.

  • Stress also lowers fertility in women; being told we can of course “have it all” places a different demand on us, emotionally.

  • T Shaw wrote, “You had 4 to 6 kids for that was your retirement. The kids knew they had the responsibility of taking care of their parents”
    Capitalism (or usury) introduced another method. Old people earn interest from mortgage-backed bonds, issued to finance homes for young people.
    The old people do not even need savings to buy their bonds. Capital gains on homes, in a rising property market fuelled by mortgage-lending will serve the purpose just as well.
    If they cannot find enough young people to lend to in their own country, they can find them abroad.
    The most honourable, as well as the most lucrative, employment for young people is acting as middlemen in the process – “something in the City.”

  • You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own set of facts

    My facts are from the World Bank, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Census Bureau. You and Last can complain to them.

  • Paul Zummo wrote, “Whatever the motivation, it is true that there is a negative correlation between birthrate and educational levels”

    The strong negative corrolation does not only apply to higher education but also to levels of female literacy. Those Islamic countries most successful in improving female literacy rates, such as Algeria and Iran, have seen a sharp dcline in their birth-rates. In Iran, the decline from a TFR of 6 to one of 2 occurred in a single generation; in most of Western Europe (excluding France, which is a very curious case), it was spread over three.

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Cause and Effect

Tuesday, October 7, AD 2014

Pat Archbold has highlighted this post from a professor at the “Catholic” Villanova University by the name of Katie Grimes. Grimes exhorts the Bishops at the upcoming Synod on the family to recognize some of the “injustices” of Christian marriage.

Bishops participating in the synod ought to consider issues of sexual morality in accordance with the preferential option for the poor.  In this way, rather than blaming the decline of marriage on sexual immorality, the bishops ought to recognize the way in which, at least in the United States, marriage has increasingly become a privilege of the privileged. For example, today, the college-educated are both more likely to be married by the age of 30 and less likely to divorce than those who lack a college degree.  Marriage seems the consequence not so much of moral righteousness but of socioeconomic privilege.

Bishops ought to also listen to those critics who point out that marriage also accords disproportionate benefits to the well to do.   Marriage, they claim, is not just about sex and love and children and stability, it is also about acquiring andtransmitting wealth.  Put another way, heterosexually married white and upper-middle class Catholics who follow all facets of magisterial sexual morality perpetuate social injustice not just in the political or economic spheres but also through their sex lives.*

In addition to insisting that all sex must be good sex, may the bishops also accord more attention to the relation between social justice and sexual goodness.

One can spend a day and a half unpacking all of this, not to mention the long-winded preamble where Grimes goes off on whitey putting African Americans in jail because, I guess, that’s what whites like to do. There’s certainly something to be said about the clunky academic jargon that Grimes not so masterfully uses as subterfuge to mask her dissent.

Instead of looking at all that, we should instead ponder that Grimes is actually kind of right about marriage. Just about every study shows a direct correlation between marriage and economic stability (for lack of a better term). Married men earn more than unmarried men. Married people are more financially secure. And yes, marriage rates for lower income individuals is lower than for upper and middle class people. Unfortunately Grimes comes to the wrong conclusion. Instead of looking at marriage as an institution for the privileged elite, Grimes fails to consider that the correlation between financial stability and marriage is a reason to promote marriage rather than to take swipes at it. In other words, she doesn’t seem to consider the possibility that the reason most married people are financially secure is due, at least in part, to being married. In other, other words, she may be mistaking cause and effect.

Now I’m not suggesting that marriage automatically makes the poor richer, nor that economic advancement should be anything close to a motivating factor in considering matrimony. And yes, people are delaying marriage until they are more “set.” But perhaps it is this latter attitude that needs adjusting. Too many people may be putting off marriage further and further into an ideal future that may never arrive. They may, in fact, be unintentionally putting off doing something that will ameliorate their financial situation. Perhaps Grimes ought to exhort herself to consider how the continued assault on marriage is one of the contributing causes of the social injustice she so decries. Perhaps she ought to recognize the way in which, at least in the United States, marriage has become a saving grace for the underprivileged.

Then again, this is a woman who thinks white married people perpetuate social injustice through our sex lives. We probably should not anticipate too much deep thought from such a mind.

 

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28 Responses to Cause and Effect

  • The Church’s concern at the synod must be the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, first and foremost.
    The next, must be the determination of valid consent of the couple. Valid consent of the couple is one thing “same sex marriage” does not have, therefore, ssm cannot be redefined as marriage.
    Emphasis on the soul’s relationship with God in marriage would bring the synod to realign with Humanae Vitae. Prayers.

  • “Perhaps Grimes ought to exhort herself to consider how the continued assault on marriage is one of the contributing causes of the social injustice she do(sic) decries.”
    .
    My thoughts exactly. How much better, you, Paul Zummo, express what I sometimes find difficult.

  • Thanks you Mary. And also thanks for the typo correction.

  • This woman is loony tunes:

    “Some may see a resemblance between the “innocents” massacred by Herod and the “innocents” ended by abortion. But as Sonja has brilliantly shown in an earlier post, we err both when we identify fetuses as “innocent” and when we identify innocence as the reason they should not be aborted. Like Sonja, I remain wary of moral schemas that use innocence to distinguish those who deserve not to be killed from those that do. Too often, we define innocence ideologically in ways that support the status quo. For example, in a white supremacist society like the United States, a “black” fetus is innocent, but a black man (i.e., Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell) is not.”

    http://womenintheology.org/2012/12/28/abortion-newtown-and-the-feast-of-the-holy-innocents/

  • This woman is loony tunes:

    Indeed. And yet she teaches at a Catholic university. Kind of says it all.

  • i guess the each and all of the seven sacraments accord “disproportionate benefits” to those who receive them and enjoy the benefits. Get in line sister, if you want to be “well to do”!

  • Grimes get’s it all backwards. What the stats prove is that the poor oppress the rich through lack of marriage. Obviously, as income goes up, marriage stability increases. Why? Because as married couples have higher incomes and more assets, divorce puts much more at stake. Poor people have less (or nothing) to lose in a divorce, so they can divorce freely. Seriously. It’s obvious. Divorce equality NOW!!!

  • I bet she sports a Barack Hussein Ebola sticker on her Subaru Forester.
    .

    Correlation (poverty/divorce rates) is not causation.
    .

    Note to Professor Grimes: Bless your heart. The poverty that drives wrath, violence and hatred is moral/spiritual poverty not material poverty.

  • In France, it is not often that a commission of the National Assembly cites a bishop with approval, but, on the subject of marriage and the family, the Pécresse Mission did just that: “Archbishop of Paris André Vingt-Trois feels that the role of the family justifies its being enshrined in the law: “Even though it has not taken the modern form familiar in our civil legislation, there has always been a means of handing things down from generation to generation, which is the very basis of continuity and stability in a society. This transmission between generations is primarily effected by the family.”
    It added, “in this country, the model has long been the peasant family, structured around a patriarch and expanding from hearth to hearth.” One imagines that, until very recently, this would have been true of the American family also.

  • I do not like how the truth is being turned around. Financial stability and success do not cause marriage, nor does financial instability and failure cause hedonistic libertinism. Rather, marital stability results in conditions that predispose one to financial stability and success, and living like a hedonistic libertine results in conditions that predispose one to financial instability and failure.
    .
    Put another way as St. Paul does, one will sow what one reaps. If one sows promiscuity and un-chastity, then one will eventually reap the concomitant consequences. That does not mean that all poor people are poor because of promiscuity. Rather, it means that if one lives like a wild baboon mindlessly succumbing to the concupiscence of the flesh, then one can and should expect to receive exactly and precisely what one deserves. After all, one is behaving like the very animal from a common ancestor of which one likely claims one has evolved (or is that devolved?).

  • End Federal tuition loans now. Let universities sell their product on the open market just like anybody else, using private credit that has to have a competitive tack and a better-then-good chance of being paid back by employed graduates. Then we’ll see how long intellectual dustbunnies like K. Grimes stick around.

  • Katie Grimes is practicing a particularly virulent form of ‘liberation theology’ [perhaps in a radical feminist guise] applying marxist socialist critique to “Catholic Marriage”. What most people do not realize is that before Marx ever attacked Capitalism in his Communist Manifesto he had attacked “Marriage and the Family” attacking male patriarchism [does this all sound familiar?]

  • Paul Primavera.

    Your very last statement; “After all, one is behaving like the very animal from a common ancestor of which one likely claims one evolved (or is that devolved?).

    Spot on! Archbishop Fulton Sheen said; “Why is it that those who propagate evolution live like animals yet those who strive for holiness in Gods created universe live lives just short of the angels?”

    As for so-called same sex marriage…if monkeys want to redefine this sacrament let them do so only in the confines of their zoo!…(bedrooms).

    Otherwise Do Not call an apple a screwdriver to feel better about yourselves. You can call it a screwdriver all day long but in the end it’s still an apple. Marriage is not in need of redefinition!

  • Philip,

    In the end, and it might take decades or even centuries for ‘man’ to realize this-marriage not only does not need redefinition but in fact cannot be redefined!

  • T Shaw. You are correct. Poverty isn’t the cause, it is the lack of values.

  • I think this has more to do with the perpetuation of the welfare system and the systematic removal of personal responsibility for rearing children you have created.
    The welfare system celebrates and encourages single parenthood and removes the father’s responsibility for his children. I know, an unpopular thought but I saw this in practice as a social worker.

  • c matt, I bet Ms. Grimes would be delighted to take that family nest egg off your hands, and free you to divorce and pursue your bliss without further concern for distribution of assets. Ms. Grimes speaks, writes, teaches, and probably votes towards that end.
    .
    Why do any of us suffer under the false consciousness of a duty to feed our own children? As sure as night follows day, when people think they ought to work to feed their own children, they will soon be tempted to set aside a little something for a rainy day, foregoing consumption and accumulating a surplus: capitalism. 🙁

  • 🙂 My how you make your point funny and clear Wry Tamsin!

  • St. Paul says people are free to marry, but such people will have trials in this life. He recommends that people live as he does, i.e. unmarried. Seems like the marrieds are always saying the opposite — for ex. it “pays” financially to get married they say. It makes life easier, and better somehow. Is that really a good reason to marry ? Or should it be because one has discerned a call to that state ? Jesus said “let him accept this teaching who can” with regard to celibacy. Note he said “Who Can,” not “Who Can But Also Who Want To.” I do agree that singles are marginalized and persecuted by non-singles — called selfish, immature, and told “you get what you deserve” if they encounter suffering in financial, health, or other areas. I don’t buy it. Are non-singles just trying to justify their choice for some reason ? Because they know they could have “done better” by responding to a different call ? I believe more “Who Can” exist than those “Who Will.” Society is geared toward marriage and thus perhaps makes marriage easier – or at least makes it seem that way – because the married have been allowed to dictate society and its norms, not because matrimony is morally superior to single lay life. Singleness is the normal state in heaven (etymology “celibacy”) as Jesus pointed out when asked whose wife a hypothetical many-time widowed woman would be. He said people live like angels and neither marry nor are given in marriage. Want a little heaven on earth ? Celebrate celibacy.

  • “Celebrate celibacy.”

    Too much of a good thing and there would be no people to celebrate it for long. The idea that singles are persecution by non-singles is ludicrous.

  • My son is is 34 and single. He was not invited to his best friend’s wedding. We think it is because he is single. His cousins go on cruises and he is never invited. He is a very outgoing person with a great personality and a very good sense of humor.

  • Celibacy for the single, unmarried is a vocation. All people must follow their vocations to get to heaven.
    .
    T Shaw: Ouch. My son gave me a Subaru Forrester. But you are right on the money with: “Note to Professor Grimes: Bless your heart. The poverty that drives wrath, violence and hatred is moral/spiritual poverty not material poverty.”
    .
    Grimes has more than her share of moral/spiritual poverty.
    .
    Donald McClarey: This woman is loony tunes:
    “Some may see a resemblance between the “innocents” massacred by Herod and the “innocents” ended by abortion. But as Sonja has brilliantly shown in an earlier post, we err both when we identify fetuses as “innocent” and when we identify innocence as the reason they should not be aborted. Like Sonja, I remain wary of moral schemas that use innocence to distinguish those who deserve not to be killed from those that do. Too often, we define innocence ideologically in ways that support the status quo. For example, in a white supremacist society like the United States, a “black” fetus is innocent, but a black man (i.e., Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell) is not.”
    .
    Worse than Loony tunes. Grimes is a raging atheist with absolutely no idea of who she is. Concupiscence comes from Adam. God creates the immortal, human soul in perfect legal and moral innocence, infused in immediacy, then burdened with concupiscence. Endowed with sovereign personhood, free will and freedom, the newly begotten is an innocent individual. (Unless Grimes can prove otherwise in a court of law)
    .
    Grimes refuses to acknowledge the innocent soul of our constitutional posterity, as more than bad ideology. Her non-belief in “their Creator” and the unalienable human rights immediately endowed by God violates the First Amendment for every person.
    .
    As an individual, Grimes cannot dictate to people. If Grimes wishes to impose her non-belief on any person, she must secure a change in the Bill of Rights, with three quarters of the states ratifying the change.

  • Single Lay Catholic at 52 wrote, ”Singleness is the normal state in heaven (etymology “celibacy”)”
    Cælebs or Cœlebs derives from two Indo-European roots meaning “living alone.” It is quite unconnected with Cælum (the sky, heaven)
    It is worth noting that near-universal marriage rates (90%+) are a late 19th & early 20th century phenomenon. In earlier periods, it hovered between 75%-80%. Those least likely to marry were domestic servants and the younger children of the landed gentry and the clergy. One recalls that Jane Austen, her sister Cassandra, Anne and Emily Bronte were all spinsters.

  • Being single, at least for some of us, has everything to do with heaven. The dictionary and the linguists will have difficult time convincing me that “cael” has nothing to do with “cael” especially when indo and european languages do have the same ancient roots, do they not ? And celibacy certainly does not match the definition of “living alone” as many people in religious life live in community. Perhaps we need a new term for abstaining from sexual activity, one that is not so “lingustically” and “definitionally” challenged.

    As for the argument “If everyone were celibate there wouldn’t be any kids.” Really ? That’s just an argument so people can justify having sex. Didn’t you ever see Jurassic Park ? God would find a way to reproduce people however he wished. He is not limited to a human’s understanding of reproduction.

    I did not say, nor did I mean to imply that celibacy was a call for everyone. Just that it is underrated and undertried. And underestimated by too many non-celibates. And yes, persecuted and insulted. Let’s see. For example the word “spinster.” A statement of fact, or a put down ? How about “old maid” ? Or better yet “dried up bitter old maid” ? Or “latent homosexual” ? Pervert ?….

    Sounds like I hit a raw nerve with many of you. Good.

  • I’m really trying to decide if Single Lay Catholic is a parody account, especially after reading this:

    Didn’t you ever see Jurassic Park ? God would find a way to reproduce people however he wished.

    While Jurassic Park may have been decent entertainment (but the book is better), it is not a source of theological teaching. Clearly God did have a design for human reproduction, and I’m sorry to say for you, SLC, it was sexual reproduction.

  • “As for the argument “If everyone were celibate there wouldn’t be any kids.” Really ? That’s just an argument so people can justify having sex.”

    A bloody fortunate argument for you, or you would not be. It does not make me weep that God decided that a physical union of man and wife was necessary to bring about their kids. What truly daffy times we live in, when the obvious has to be defended from fools and/or fanatics. Since Single Lay Catholic has decided not to give us a real e-mail address, I am placing him or her on moderation.

  • Single Lay Catholic at 52

    Cælum is from the proto Indo-European root *kaə-id- also found in Scutum=a shield. The bowl shape of the sky resembles the underside of a shield.
    Cælebs is from the PIE root *kaiwelo-“alone” + lib(h)s- “living.”

    A good working rule is that all popular etymologies are false, usually based on accidental homophones and ignoring known patterns of sound-shifts.

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End Times Catechesis

Friday, October 3, AD 2014

On the bright side, a Christian-based movie is being released today.

Unfortunately that movie is this:

Left Behind

Well, they can’t all be The Passion of the Christ.

With Left Behind being released today, it’s probably a good time to brush up on what Catholics actually believe about the end times. In long form, there’s Paul Thigpen’s The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to End TimesFever. Even better is Carl Olson’s Will Catholics Be Left Behind? Meanwhile, Msgr. Pope has penned a blog post on the Catholic approach to the end times which helps sum up Catholic teaching on this matter.

As for you poor, brave souls who for some reason choose to view this cinematic masterpiece, I have a feeling you’ll be feeling envious of this man by the end:

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13 Responses to End Times Catechesis

  • My whole family – Mom, brothers and sister – are devout Pentecostals who believe in the Rapture theology invented by former Anglican priest John Darby in the 19th century and popularized in CI Scofield’s study Bible of the early 20th century. I myself once believed in it, too. Then I studied the Catholic Faith and what the Church Fathers said. I changed my mind.

  • I always get a chuckle when I see a car with a bumper sticker stating: “Caution, in the event of Rapture this car will be unmanned.” The presumption! I do suspect that on the Last Day many people will be repenting of wishing to have that day of judgment hastened.

  • So a remake of the Kirk Cameron starring masterpiece? Is Nicolas Cage that desperate?

  • The only rapture I believed in was from my youth. A performer named Blondie had a hit that was catchy. Rapture!
    Nicholas Cage is grinding it out.
    Take the crumbs until the filets arrive.

    By the way….love the bee’s.
    Funny Mr. M.

  • Opps. Funny Paul Zummo..Mr. McClarey does have a great sense of humor though.

  • Ghost Rider was better.

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  • I confess to be a sucker for end-times fiction (for both religious and sociological reasons), so I ended up buying the first three books in the Left Behind series. The first was pretty good. The second was so-so. The third was worse. I stopped there.

    The problem wasn’t the theology, which was standard fare. It was the quality of writing. I must mention that all three books ended on a well-written cliffhanger. The authors did seem to have a good vision as to what the books were supposed to be. But the second book spent too many pages recounting the events of the first, and the third felt as if half of it recounted the first two. The pace got so draggy it became a Tribulation of its own.

  • OK. This link made sense out of the Catholic position to me as a recovering pre-trib Protestant. However, I simply will never be able to agree with the amillennial position because of the plain reading of the scripture. I know….I know….not all passages are meant to be literal–I just had too much explaining away of such things as a teenager in the General Baptist denomination for my liking.

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-rapture

    Am I understanding the Catholic position on the rapture correctly if I say that Catholics believe in the rapture–they just don’t call it that?

  • I well remember the reaction of a certain Doctor of Divinity at Oxford, on being told that a former student of his was writing a commentary on St John’s Revelation –
    “Oh, dear! How very sad. Such a promising young man – and with a young family, too.”

  • What I don’t understand is “speaking in tongues.” I still waiting to hear a person speak in tongues.

  • joe DeCarlo: I am told that for a person to be “speaking in tongues”, there must be an interpreter present for the speaking to be authentic. I have been present and heard on several occasions (three) the “speaking in tongues”. One time was an exorcism which only a bishop can authorize. The “speaking in tongues” frightened me. Sometimes the speaker does not understand what he or she, all were women, is speaking. Someone approached the speaker and told her that she was speaking in aramaic. Her response to the information was very informative. Ordinary.

  • I have a theory that people will watch it because a) they believe in the theology of the Rapture or b) simply because Nicholas Cage is in it.

    In all the reviews I have seen so far, it’s not doing well in theaters. Wonder why?

No

Wednesday, October 1, AD 2014

Seriously, NO.

A recent column by the conservative pundit Byron York noted that Romney had kept in close contact with many of his advisers and aides. As we spoke, Romney compared the barrage of 2016-related questions to a scene in the film “Dumb and Dumber.” After Jim Carrey’s character is flatly rejected by Lauren Holly, she tells him that there’s a one-in-a-million chance she would change her mind. “So,” Romney told me, embodying the character, “Jim Carrey says, ‘You’re telling me there’s a chance.’ ”

This was the obvious opening for me to ask if there was a chance. Romney’s response was decidedly meta — “I have nothing to add to the story” — but he then fell into the practiced political parlance of nondenial. “We’ve got a lot of people looking at the race,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Well I can’t think of a better potential candidate than the guy who lost to an unpopular incumbent during a time of high unemployment and after passage of a widely reviled health care reform law.

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8 Responses to No

  • Can we say “Hell No!” on this site?

  • Romney ran on the basis of his competence. In the general election he ran a completely fouled up campaign that couldn’t do campaign 101 things like effective television advertising, identification of voters and getting them out to vote. His “Project Orca” get out the vote plan was a total fiasco that was unbelievably badly managed:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/11/09/beached-killer-whale/

    After winning the first debate he decided that a good strategy against an incumbent president was to sit on a non-existent lead and fritter away the 30 days before the election.

    His internal polling was so bad that it came as a complete shock to him election night that he lost.

    A million times no to putting this incompetent loser up again.

  • I can only muse that all this Romney talk is designed to make Jeb Bush and Chris Christie look palatable by comparison.

    It’s amazing that a man who has lost so many more elections than he has won is consistently trotted out as an ideal candidate in some quarters. He’s the Oakland Raiders of politics.

  • Could it be that Hillary Clinton is financing Romney’s bid? Check those donor disclosures.

  • I’m afraid the GOP is pretty much over. And as far as Romney’s ability to target and be an advocate for the aspirations of social conservatives is concerned, well, we have a rather earthy, but apt expression for men like him here in the Deep South: “That boy couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle!”

  • “I’m afraid the GOP is pretty much over.”

    The GOP hasn’t been stronger across the nation Father since the days of Calvin Coolidge.

  • Depends on which GOP is being referenced. The Establishment “Ken dolls” are finally fading away in favor of a more vigorous, aggressive and realistic version. About 8 years too late, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

  • A presidential election loser has come back and been elected president; however,
    those were different times. Romney was an honorable, and decent, God loving family man, who had achieved success in the private and public sector. He knew how to generate jobs. BUT the Dems always outsmart the opposition. They defined Romney and they started a year before he was nominated. Combine that with a lousy campaign and the ticket lost. The McCain and Romney campaigns appeared to be run by closet liberal Democrats. When are Republicans going to smarten up and nominate a conservative candidate, and campaign like they want their guy to win? If the Republicans do that and still lose maybe the End Times are near.

Too Dumb to Vote

Monday, September 29, AD 2014

Note to self: never get on Kevin Williamson’s bad side. Here is Williamson’s rebuttal to a particularly empty-headed column from Lena Dunham.

If you would like to be filled with despair for the prospects of democracy, spend a few minutes attempting to decipher the psephological musings of Lena Dunham, the distinctly unappealing actress commissioned by Planned Parenthood to share with her presumably illiterate following “5 Reasons Why I Vote (and You Should, Too).” That’s 21st-centuryU.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.

It is an excellent fit, if you think about it: Our national commitment to permanent, asinine, incontinent juvenility, which results in, among other things, a million or so abortions a year, is not entirely unrelated to the cultural debasement that is the only possible explanation for the career of Lena Dunham. A people mature enough to manage the relationship between procreative input and procreative output without recourse to the surgical dismemberment of living human organisms probably would not find much of interest in the work of Miss Dunham. But we are a nation of adult children so horrified by the prospect of actual children that we put one in five of them to death for such excellent reasons as the desire to fit nicely into a prom dress.

It’s not for nothing that, on the precipice of 30, Miss Dunham is famous for a television series called Girls rather than one called Women. She might have gone one better and called it Thumbsuckers. (The more appropriate title Diapers would terrify her demographic.)

And he’s just getting warmed up.

Williamson’s contempt for Dunham is shared by yours truly, as she is representative of a completely narcissistic generation of pseudo-intellectuals whose idea of good citizenship is casting ballots that elicit warm fuzzies in the cockles of one’s heart. Dunham’s insipid and banal meanderings would be worthy of mild scoffing were it not for the fact that a generation of Americans is so mesmerized by her lot.

Williamson says in his concluding paragraph:

I would like to suggest, as gently as I can, that if you are voting as an act of self-gratification, if you do not understand the role that voting in fact plays in a constitutional republic, and if you need Lena Dunham to tell you why and how you should be voting — you should not vote. If you get your politics from actors and your news from television comedians — you should not vote. There’s no shame in it, your vote is statistically unlikely to affect the outcome of an election, and there are many much more meaningful ways to serve your country and your fellow man: Volunteer at a homeless shelter; join the Marine Corps; become a nun; start a business.

Statistically speaking, those most in thrall with Dunham, Stewart, et al are likeliest to stay home on election day. Unfortunately, the percentage of Americans who are of this type is growing as we are increasingly becoming a nation of perpetual children (who, in turn, have no actual children, but that is for the next post).

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2 Responses to Too Dumb to Vote

  • Lena Dunham, the daughter of NBC News Anchorman Brian Williams. The same father who watched his daughter perform soft pornography in the filming of one of the episodes of ‘girls’, who said he couldn’t be more proud of her performance in porn. One of his responses to his daughter filming a graphic sex scene, “unmitigated joy”.

    Read it and weep:

    http://floppingaces.net/most_wanted/brian-williams-likes-watching-his-daughter-film-sex-scenes/

  • I am getting tired of thinking “surely (she or she) just doesn’t understand, if he or she understood they wouldn’t say or do those things. I guess I am tired of the “dumb” or “amateur” or “reared in an inscrutable left wing place we can’t possibly understand” explanations. Perhaps these people (O, PF, and BriWi) know very well what they are doing and are just congratulating themselves, thinking how smart they are. compared to us who continually take hits and wonder- gosh if that guy really meant to hit us.