In my last post I brought up helicopter parenting and small families, and I postulated that there was a connection between the two phenomenon, and that fear prevented people from wanting large families, and further tended to make these same parents afraid to let their children be children.
Subsequently my wife sent me this article in Time Magazine, and I can’t help but think that fear is behind this cultural shift as well. As my wife said this is meant to be a cute and cheeky look at modern dating and marriage, but like her I just found it incredibly sad. Here’s a bit:
You could say I beta-tested my relationship.
It began with a platform migration (a cross-country move) and a bandwidth challenge (cohabitation in a 450-sq.-ft. apartment). There was a false start (botched marriage proposal). Then, an emergency deglitching (couples therapy). We tried to take the product public before we were ready (I wrote about our relationship in Newsweek). And then, finally, we abandoned launch. There were simply too many bugs.
It’s a joke, kind of — except that when it comes to millennials and marriage, the beta test may be par for the course. And really, why wouldn’t it be? For a generation reared on technology, overwhelmed by choice, feedback and constantFOMO, isn’t testing a marriage, like we test a username, simply … well, logical?
You can see where this is going.
PopeWatch will be on vacation hiatus beginning August 8 until August 18, so just assume in this post that Saturday PopeWatch came early this week, courtesy of LarryD at Acts of the Apostasy:
(AoftheAP) Catholic blogger Anselm Gregory Benedictus Ambrose Tiberius Athanasius, who writes at “Ex Ore Dei” under the pseudonym “Pepe”, admitted to his readers yesterday that writing negative posts about Pope Francis for forty consecutive days has turned him into “a miserable SOB”.
“What began as a crusade for Truth ended as a victory for self-discovery. And what I’ve discovered after forty consecutive days of complaining about how Pope Francis has been bad for Church, is that I’ve become an even more miserable SOB. Before embarking on this endeavor, I was merely incorrigible. Now I am a torte of rich arrogance, with alternating layers of curmudgeon and bitterness, covered with a thin gruel of pompous ganache.
“And you know what? It becomes me. Sure, I’m irritated every day, and I get short with my family and co-workers. I have fewer friends. I engage in long, protracted arguments in the combox with people I don’t know. Even my dog avoids me. But it’s made me a better Catholic.”
I went to see Disney’s summer fairy tale movie Maleficent against my better judgement. I am a fan of fairy tales, fantasy and fiction, but when they are revisionist versions of the classic fairy tales I smell a rat.
In this case the rat was Maleficient–the wicked horned witch from Disney’s classic animated feature Sleeping Beauty.
I had conflicting reviews–one that it was an ingenious and thought provoking re-working of the fairy tale and the other that this was a feminist–even lesbian re-working of Sleeping Beauty and it was diabolical for all that.
The feminist sermon is there. It’s true that Maleficent is a typically wounded female. As a beautiful young fairy she is the victim of a cruel and brutal rejection, her beauty becomes wicked as she seeks revenge. Hell hath no fury like a fairy scorned.
Not only is the feminist reading of the film clear but the lesbian sub text is also not too subtle. Sleeping Beauty does wake up to the kiss of true love, but it’s not Prince Charming, but Maleficent who learns to love by loving Aurora–the beauty she cursed into sleep.
Yes. Uh huh. We get it. Men are all horrible, hairy, smelly and violent brutes and ladies will find true love with one of their own.
We are used to this now. The homosexualists with their aggressive agenda are inserting their sermons into every orifice of popular culture.
However this was not my main objection to Maleficent. I objected not that it was a feminist sermon, but that it was a sermon at all.
“Damn the torpedoes!”
Bold Farragut said,
“Damn the torpedoes!
Full speed ahead!”
And, lashed to his rigging
With never a squeal,
He led his fleet into
The Bay of Mobile.
The Southern forts thundered
With vigor and vim
But grapeshot and canister
Never touched him.
The waters were mined
With a death-dealing load,
But Farragut simply
Refused to explode.
And fought till the Southerners
Gave up the fray.
(He’d captured New Orleans
In much the same way.)
So remember, if ever
You face such a plight,
There’s a pretty good chance,
“Straight ahead!” will be right.
And while “damn,” as you know,
Is a word to eschew –
He knew when to say it –
So few people do.
Rosemary and Stephen Benet
Time magazine, yes, it is still being published, has an opinion piece by John Gehring. Gehring is the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life and a former associate director for media relations at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He views Pope Francis as shifting the debate from issues such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage to issues much friendlier to the Democrat party:
The Religious Right has long dominated the values debate in the United States. Evangelical and conservative Catholic leaders built a formidable alliance in the 1970s and 1980s that became a major force in electoral politics. The Catholic activist Paul Weyrich teamed up with Rev. Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority to fight liberalizing cultural trends and paved a path that helped Ronald Reagan win the White House in 1980. George W. Bush built on this model in 2000 and 2004 by operating what is often regarded as the most sophisticated religious outreach strategy in memory. His circle of Catholic advisors served as an informal kitchen cabinet during his presidency. While the old lions of the Religious Right have died or lost influence – and a new generation of progressive religious activists are finding our voice – Christian culture warriors like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and some outspoken Catholic bishops still shape a faith in politics narrative usually focused on a narrow range of sexual issues that overshadow Christianity’s broad social justice claims.
Matt Archbold shared a story that is simultaneously humorous and quite sad.
My wife and I recently attended a sports banquet for one of our kids’ sports teams at a local restaurant. It was one of those events that I wanted to go to about as much as I wanted to get three teeth pulled. But my wife assured me it would be fun. I didn’t believe her but I came anyway.
We’ve gone to so many of these things as my five kids are all on at least three sports teams. All the kids sat together at a very long table and all the parents sat at another table with the coaches. I have a theory about sports teams, the worse a team is the more coaches it has. And this team had lots of coaches.
We were seated with about eight coaches and some parents we didn’t really know.
So what’s the first thing someone we don’t really know will bring up as a conversation starter? Well, it’s the only thing they know about us which is that we have five kids. This one coach said he knew it was us when we arrived because he saw all five of our kids walking in. “That could only be the Archbolds,” he laughed.
The mom directly across from me, who I didn’t really know and hadn’t seen at many games, leaned in conspiritorially and asked, “Who has five children? I’d kill myself if I had that many kids.”
Go to the link to read the rest of the story. The key statement comes here:
The woman, however, didn’t appear to appreciate my little joke and continued that she thought it was irresponsible to have that many children because you couldn’t possibly give enough attention to five kids. She then went on to explain all the things her child is involved in from soccer to piano to basketball to a reading club to field hockey.
Though the Zummo family exceeded the culturally acceptable family size last October with the birth of our third daughter, I must say that we have fortunately not had many if any encounters with such negative people. I have heard the occasional expression of incredulity from parents of one or two children, but nothing approaching the sentiments expressed by this individual.
Are you angry about immigration? I am, and that puts me (for once) in the majority. Millions of Americans feel overwhelmed, threatened, and frankly outraged at the prospect of our country being inundated by tens of millions of poor, uneducated people who carry with them the habits engrained by corrupt, authoritarian countries. We fear that they will suppress the already low wages of unskilled American workers, that many will become new burdens on our strained public welfare system, and that most of them will vote for the party that will promise them more government benefits—the party of gay “marriage” and abortion. We resent the fact that most new immigrants (including those amnestied) will benefit from affirmative action—that is, discrimination at the expense of white male war veterans who have paid U.S. taxes all their lives.
In other words, we consider the prospect of mass, unskilled immigration both damaging to our country, and unjust to the citizens of every race who already live here.
But what about justice for immigrants? Let’s examine that. As I explained in the National Catholic Register, strict justice for illegal immigrants would mean that they would be deported. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the right to enter a country is conditional on fulfilling certain duties—exactly as a worker deserves a “just wage”only if he shows up for work and performs it. To keep his conditional right to immigrate, each entrant to a country must “obey its laws” (CCC 2241). That includes a country’s immigration and labor laws. By evading border guards, working “off the books,” and often committing identity theft in order to skirt America’s laws, most illegal immigrants have sadly forfeited their moral right to be here. That’s not me talking—that’s the Church.
I suspect that it would not be prudent to grant these immigrants what the Church says that they deserve—a swift return to their countries of origin. It might not be merciful. But it would be perfectly just.
When people call for “amnesty” or a “path to citizenship,” what they are asking for illegal immigrants is not justice but mercy—just as a criminal’s relatives might petition for parole based on good behavior. The state grants parole based on many factors, including how crowded the prison is, and how likely the person paroled is to reoffend. Likewise, when we consider granting an amnesty to the millions who have squandered their right to be immigrants by violating our laws, we have to consider the concrete effects of doing so.
Given that our borders are woefully insecure, that rumors of amnesty have led tens of thousands of parents to risk their children’s lives by shipping them to America, it certainly would not be prudent to grant an amnesty any time soon. Not till our borders are tight as a drum, and employers face prison time for hiring illegal workers, would it be safe to offer an amnesty. A hasty “path to citizenship” would simply lead thousands more to die in the desert, and leave our border states on the brink of chaos—at the mercy of human traffickers and narco-terrorist cartels.
Is there a sane way forward that would allow us to offer some measure of mercy to millions of people who have mostly worked hard and obeyed (some of) our laws? I would like to think so. I would hope that the liberals and the cheap labor lobby could put aside their naked self-interest for a while, and cooperate with conservatives in securing America’s borders, mandating enforcement of workplace verification, and tracking people who overstay their visas and removing them. At that point, the justified anger of Americans might subside. We might cease to fear that our country is lapsing into anarchy. And then, with cooler heads on every side, we could reexamine the question of granting mercy to illegal immigrants.
But I do not expect such a compromise any time soon. The open-borders lobby thinks that they smell victory, that they can mau-mau Americans into leaving our frontiers unguarded, and also granting citizenship (plus welfare benefits) to some 12 million people—in return for empty promises, exactly like those that came with our 1986 amnesty. Marco Rubio’s bill in 2012, which was already insufficient in its efforts to guard our borders, was gutted by Democrats and turned into such a sham that even its sponsor had to renounce it. The cheap-vote left and cheap-labor right refuse to bargain in good faith, so the best thing that Americans can do right now is stand firm until an electoral shift brings in better legislators. I am grateful to the Tea Party congressmen and senators like Ted Cruz who had the patriotic good sense last week to block reckless bills that would have offered cosmetic solutions, and increased the influx of illegal immigrants. Let’s remember the Hippocratic Oath and “first, do no harm.”
John Zmirak is co-author of the upcoming The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life.
Since his election, the world has been focused on what Pope Francis says. However, as Sandro Magister points out at his blog Chiesa, what the Pope is silent about may be just as significant:
In Francis the collegiality of governance is more evoked than practiced. The style is that of a superior general of the Jesuits who in the end decides everything on his own. This can be grasped from his actions, his words, his silences.
For example, Bergoglio has spent weeks behind the scenes cultivating relationships with the heads of the powerful “Evangelical” communities of the United States. He has spent hour after hour in their company at his residence in Santa Marta. He has invited them for lunch. He immortalized one of these convivial moments by giving a high five, amid raucous laughter, to Pastor James Robinson, one of the most successful American televangelists.
When no one knew anything about it yet, it was Francis who alerted them about his intention to go visit their Italian colleague in Caserta, and explained the reason: “To extend the apologies of the Catholic Church for the damage that has been done to them by obstructing the growth of their communities.”
As the Argentine he is, Bergoglio has experienced first-hand the overwhelming expansion of the Evangelical and Pentecostal communities in Latin America, which continue to take enormous masses of faithful away from the Catholic Church. And yet he has made this decision: not to fight their leaders, but to make them his friends.
This is the same approach that he has adopted with the Muslim world: prayer, invocation of peace, general condemnations of the evil that is done, but with careful attention to keep his distance from specific cases concerning precise persons, whether victims or butchers.
He did not speak a single word when the young Sudanese mother Meriam was in prison with her little children, sentenced to death only because she is Christian, although he received her once she was liberated thanks to international pressure.
He is silent on the fate of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani mother who has been in prison for five years awaiting an appeal against the verdict that has sentenced her to death with the accusation of having offended Islam.
And yet the campaign for the liberation of Asia Bibi sees the Catholic world everywhere highly engaged on her behalf, and at the beginning of this year a heartfelt letter was made public after she had sent it to the pope. Who did not respond to her.
They are silences that are all the more striking in that they are practiced by a pope who is known for his highly generous availability to write, to telephone, to bring aid, to open the doors to anyone who knocks, whether poor or rich, good or bad. Continue reading
Well, we have added a new Catholic blog to our blog roll, OnePeter5. Run by Steve Skojec, here is his explanation of its mission:
We need to get back to basics. Belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. An understanding of the Four Last Things, and that Heaven is not a foregone conclusion. Adherence to traditional teachings on sexual morality in a world hell-bent on dragging us away from them. A properly-grounded knowledge of the Church’s thought on religious liberty and social justice, and how these impact those of us living in the post-Christian, deconstructionist ruins of Western Civilization. The re-establishment of long-discarded tradition that once made the Church strong, and can do so again.
The statistics aren’t good. Belief in core Catholic teaching among self-identified Catholics is at an all-time low. Liturgical orthodoxy is an endangered concept. We have a vocations crisis that stems directly from the crisis in the sanctuary and the family. And the governments of the world move closer each year to declaring Catholic belief a hate crime.
OnePeterFive exists as a place to begin rebuilding the Catholic ethos. We’re not just here to zero in on the problems, but to offer concrete solutions. We want to restore Catholic culture, rebuild the Church as a patron of the arts, reinvigorate the family and the traditions that keep it strong, reform the liturgy, support vocations, dust off the old devotions and make them relevant again. We want to help infuse the world with beautiful music, inspiring art, families that pray together, parishes centered around the Eucharist, strong communities, and a new generation of Catholics who can effectively bring the Gospel message to a world hostile to that message.
Our writers come from diverse backgrounds, but share a common goal: to work together to restore the beauty, majesty, and glory of the Catholic Church as the principle force for good in a fallen world.
The UN is an increasingly Orwellian organization. One of many, many examples is their outgoing High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillay of South Africa. Austin Ruse gives us her background:
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to name abortion advocate Navanethem “Navi” Pillay of South Africa as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) this week despite reservations from the United States.
According to the New York Times, the United States has privately raised concerns about Pillay’s nomination to the top human rights post because of her strong support for abortion. Pillay is a founding member of the international non-governmental organization Equality Now, a group that has spearheaded campaigns for abortion access in Poland and Nepal. Pillay remains on the board of the organization which receives major funding from pro-abortion foundations including George Soros’ Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation.
Go here to read the rest. So, being in favor of snuffing out unborn kids is now a “human right”. George Orwell was not so much a writer as a prophet. As the chief human rights bureaucrat since 2008, Pillay has been pushing to have governments around the world criminalize the pro-life cause. Go here to read about her efforts. Ms. Pillay is a walking stereotype of the contemporary left in the causes which she embraces and those she opposes, and in her firm conviction that those who oppose her agendas must be shut up by government power, so long as that power is wielded by her ideological think-a-likes. Human rights for thee so long as thou agree with me, sums up her philosophy.
The attitude of Ms. Pillay in regard to the Gaza War is therefore predictable and Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives a recent statement by her on the subject a fisking to remember:
Manhattan real estate is an incredibly valuable commodity. So whenever this country wakes the hell up and withdraws from the United Nations (or, at the very least, pushes through the idea of moving the world headquarters of that ridiculous institution to Geneva, Switzerland and permanently off American soil), what should be done with the Rockefeller family’s former Turtle Bay property?
The United Nations’ senior human rights official said on Thursday she believed Israel was deliberately defying international law in its military offensive in Gaza and that world powers should hold it accountable for possible war crimes.
Oh right, right, right, Hamas is bad too.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also said that Hamas militants in Gaza have also violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, sometimes from densely-populated areas.
Except that we don’t really believe that.
Israel has attacked homes, schools, hospitals, and UN premises in apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions, Pillay said, a week after her Human Rights Council resolved to open a commission of inquiry into Israel’s alleged crimes against humanity.
“Therefore I would say that they appear to be defying… deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” Pillay told a news briefing. “This is why again and again I say we cannot allow impunity, we cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on.”
We all know the real criminal here.
She also criticized the United States, Israel’s main ally, for failing to use its influence with the Jewish state to halt the carnage.
“Many of my remarks have been directed to the United States since they are a party with influence over Israel to do much more to stop the killing, to bring the parties to the negotiating table. I’ve called also for an end to the blockade and an end to the occupation.”
Pillay said that she was appalled at Washington consistently voting against resolutions on Israel in the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council.
Here’s one blatantly obvious war crime for you. Israel refuses to share its self-defense technology with people who wish to exterminate it.
“They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the ‘Iron Domes’ to protect the Israelis from rocket attacks,” she said. “But no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling.”
Seriously. I’m open to suggestions. Turn the UN into office space and/or a branch of the New York Public Library? Make the UN complex into an Orthodox synagogue and a particularly traditionalist Christian megachurch? Or should we just plow the place under and give it back to the Lenapes with our profuse and abject apologies. Continue reading
Some years ago Father Z wrote an internet prayer:
A prayer before logging onto the internet:
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Here it is in the original Latin:
Oratio ante colligationem in interrete:
Omnipotens aeterne Deus, qui secundum imaginem Tuam nos plasmasti et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta, quaesumus, ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete, et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
The gaunt man, Abraham Lincoln, lives his days.
For a while the sky above him is very dark.
There are fifty thousand dead in these last, bleak months
And Richmond is still untaken.
The papers rail,
Grant is a butcher, the war will never be done.
The gaunt man’s term of office draws to an end,
His best friends muse and are doubtful.
Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body
By the beginning of August 1864 Lincoln began to suspect that he was going to lose re-election and the Union was going to lose the War. Grant, at an immense cost in blood, had pushed Lee back to Richmond and Petersburg, but both cities still were controlled by the Confederates and Lee’s army was still a force to be reckoned with. The North was still reeling from Early’s victories in the Shenandoah, his daring raid on Washington and his burning of Chambersburg on July 30. In the West the Confederate Army of Tennessee still clung to Atlanta, and the Confederacy still controlled almost all of its heartland. The War seemed to be entering a stalemate, and if it remained so until November, Lincoln would be a one term president and the Union would be permanently sundered. With that on his mind, Lincoln sent a warning telegram to Grant. Lincoln never lost his faith in Grant, but clearly he wanted Grant to understand that unless victories were forthcoming the Union was in peril. Ironically, in this telegram Lincoln approves Sheridan being place in command in the Shenandoah, and it was Sheridan’s string of victories in the fall that probably ensured Lincoln’s re-election: Continue reading
Father Longenecker seems to think that conservative Catholics who have problems with some of what Pope Francis says are the same as liberal Catholics who reject Church teaching on abortion and euthanasia:
Now with Pope Francis the cafeteria Catholics are the conservatives. They splutter and fume at Pope Francis. He’s the pope, but they disagree with him about this and reject his words about that just as avidly and with as much fervor as the liberals used to reject Pope Benedict. They pick him to pieces, refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt and paint him as a terrible pope—just like the liberals did with Benedict. The liberals thought Benedict was a bad and inadequate pope. Ditto the conservatives with Francis.
Go here to read the rest. Now I think Father Longenecker is wrong on this, and I can name one person who probably would agree with me: the Pope Emeritus.
Back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote a letter in July of 2004 in which he made some crucial distinctions:
2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Go here to read the entire letter. The idea that Catholics must be in lock step with every view of a Pope in order to be a good Catholic would have struck most Catholics who have ever lived as a bizarre notion. For those confused on this point Cardinal Newman, as usual, is a font of light and wisdom: Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
“EWTN has been a partner with the Holy See for many years, and I am very pleased and excited that this highly respected organization will become a part of the EWTN family of services,” said Network chairman Michael P. Warsaw. “Since its founding two-thousand years ago, the Vatican has proven itself to be a valuable source for all things Catholic.”
Under the terms of the agreement, no cash will be exchanged between the parties, and EWTN will assume control of all ongoing activities of the Vatican. Host of The World Over Raymond Arroyo is expected to be named new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“Among other impressive accomplishments, the Vatican is the world’s largest charitable organization in the world,” Arroyo said. “It was founded in 33 A.D. and it’s been expanding ever since. I truly believe that this union is a match made in Heaven.”
Though the Holy See has long been a player in religion, it has struggled of late with many financial issues. But many analysts are saying that with EWTN’s power and influence now backing the Holy See, it should really start becoming a real contender again. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. On the hundredth anniversary of the start of World War I, There’s a Long Long Trail A-Winding, one of the more popular songs of the Great War, seems appropriate. Stoddard King wrote the lyrics and Alonzo Elliott composed the tune. Two Yale seniors in 1913, they wrote the song during some idle time and sang it before their fraternity. The lyrics of the song seemed eeriely on point during the coming War: Continue reading