This is a thesis that could use far more development than I can give it at the moment, but I hope I can lay it out clearly enough that to generate some interesting discussion and perhaps revisit it later.
It’s frequently complained that the US is in danger of becoming a global empire. Traditionally one elaborates on this by quoting Washington’s farewell address if one is of the right, and by citing the evils of colonialism if one is of the left.
I’d like to suggest that the imperial horse has pretty much left the stable a long time ago. The US has been a global empire since World War II, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been the sole global power. Although, like the later Roman Republic, the US has not actually taken direct political control over countries beyond its traditional borders (nor does it collect tribute from abroad) it has a sphere of influence covering much of the known world and is repeatedly involved in exerting pressure or deploying force to ensure regional conflicts do not spin out of control.
This in itself is perhaps not a terribly unusual thesis.
Hattip to Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia and The Catholic Report. Eric McFadden was the founder of Catholics for Kerry, a group which proudly proclaimed that Catholics should support John Kerry notwithstanding his support for abortion.
At this very moment, miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there is a British nuclear submarine carrying powerful ICBMs (nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles). In the control room of the sub, the Daily Mail reports, “there is a safe attached to a control room floor. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander and it is from the Prime Minister. In that letter, Gordon Brown conveys the most awesome decision of his political career … and none of us is ever likely to know what he decided.”
To be honest, I feel inadequate to deal with the topic of homosexuality. Eric has a remarkable, stunning, and moving post on homosexuality in general, focused predominantly on the human aspect of those struggling with homosexuality. What I have to say—how homosexual acts fit in the pattern of pitting body against soul, the topic of my series on human sexuality—seems flat and insipid in comparison. Nevertheless, and at the risk of sounding like I’m endless repeating the same message, I intend to complete this series with a discussion of where homosexuality fits in our discussions thus far.
Before we proceed, we should clarify one matter, a necessary distinction. First, I am not condemning any person with homosexual tendencies. My focus is entirely on the action. Whether or not homosexuality is a matter of nature or nurture, same-sex attraction is not in and of itself sinful. I would certainly argue that at least some people train themselves (not deliberately, for the most part) into same-sex attraction, but that is neither here nor there. Every person, no matter how grave his sins be, no matter how unrepentant he is, deserves our love and prayers. As a corollary, every person with same-sex attraction still deserves charity and welcome. The sins we denounce, not because we despise the person, but exactly the opposite. Indeed, if we cared nothing for the person, we would simply say, “Go ahead and do whatever you want,” as though his eternal destination was of no importance to us.
When I first came across this group, I thought it was a joke. Well it is, but they are serious. The humorous side of me wants to say, “Great! I am very happy that people with your views will not be having kids!” The more serious side of me thinks it a calamity that any group of people can seriously call for the extinction of humanity. Needless to say, although I will say it anyway, this group supports abortion.
This ties in with a particularly foolish blog entry by a woman who believes the path to social progress is to end human reproduction.
Pope John Paul II was fond of speaking of “a culture of life”. If we don’t have a culture of life in this century I think we will most certainly have a culture of death that will dwarf the body count of the last century. Silly groups like Voluntary Human Extinction and the deluded blogger are merely ludicrous manifestations of a culture that increasingly views human life not as a sacred gift from God, but rather a disposable commodity. As Catholics we face no greater challenge than rekindling in our society a respect for innocent human life, and an optimism that life, with all of its challenges and pain, is to be embraced with joy.
Blagojevich impeached in a cliffhanger, with the vote for impeachment only 114-1. Here is the House report on which the impeachment vote was based. Blagojevich is the first Illinois governor to be impeached which is rather remarkable when you consider some of the public thieves who have misgoverned my state. Now on to the Senate for the trial. Blagojevich is vowing to fight on, and I expect his legal team to pull every possible maneuver to delay the inevitable.
We all know that there is a global economic crisis and no one can predict how it will play out. Will it be short or will the world seek deeper and deeper into a global economic depression? These questions cannot be answered by any man or woman on earth. Many have lost all hope? We should remember that all economic systems are man made and thus imperfect. During the dot com boom of the late 90’s economists were stating that we had conquered the economic cycle and entered an age of unstoppable economic growth. When that flopped, they looked to housing and real estate. It never goes down, right? Any person who had studied property prices knew that to be incorrect, nevertheless, many fell for the lie. But how many people believe the words of Christ? Seems to me that these economic times call for heeding the words of Christ in Matthew 6: 25-33:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”
Of course, there is some good news that has come out of the financial turmoil and scandal:
Update: Powerline has a depressing look at the projected budget deficit for this year as a percentage of gdp. We are getting into very dangerous territory, starting with the 750,000,000,000 bailout under President Bush last year, as to the amount of debt that the Federal government is incurring in a very short time.
DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Now that the mythical national championship has been won by the University of Florida Gators as per the bowl oligarchy, I’d like to ask The American Catholic readers whom they would pick as their N.C.A.A. F.B.S. national champion. My pick goes to the University of Southern California Trojans. They’ve destroyed all non-conference competition by wide margins and play in the toughest football conference in the nation where the Pac-10 went five-and-0 (5-0) in bowl games this year.
UPDATED (1-13-2009 A.D.): ESPN crowns the Utah Utes the National Champions of college football.