Various & Sundry, 9/2/13

Monday, September 2, AD 2013

On the Obligation to Fast 

Pope Francis has declared Saturday, September 7 to be a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria. Ed Peters tackles the question of whether we are canonically obligated to fast.

In short, a Catholic who does not observe a fast on Sept 7 does not violate canon law. What such disregard for the pope’s unusual request might indicate about one’s desire to act with the Successor of Peter is another question.


Excuse me while I gather myself.


No. Seriously. I’m cool.

In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation’s largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

English Compositionism as Fraud and Failure

A senior lecturer at Santa Clara University takes a look at college level writing instruction and finds it wanting.

Compositionists today are laughingstocks on and off campus, notorious for babbling about “borderlands narratology” and “sustainable digitalized hyper-rhetoric” when students cannot write a coherent paragraph or even use an apostrophe correctly. I can think of no other field, academic or otherwise, in which the uninformed, “amateur” public has such a decisive advantage over guild-certified experts. A three-step program of professional reform follows: (1) dissociate composition teaching from literature teaching, (2) dissociate composition teaching from composition studies and composition theory, and (3) put writing instruction in the hands of practitioners—of whateveracademic training and political leaning—whose only job is to guide student-writers toward proficiency at the level traditionally associated with “higher” education.

And he’s just getting started.

Washington Post Writer Argues that Statutory Rape Ain’t So Bad

No. Really. That’s basically her argument.

To quote Bob Grant, “They’re sick and getting sicker.”

Prettiest Picture of the Day

Courtesy of Creative Minority Report, a wonderful image to close out the day.


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8 Responses to Various & Sundry, 9/2/13

  • OH man, for a second there I thought your “Bwahahahaha” was aimed at Ed Peters.

  • I take it college writing centers are now a disaster, just like the English department, the American history faculty, the constitutional law faculty, the Sociology department, and the divinity schools (and the student affairs apparat, while we are at it). I have an uncomplicated idea about how to fix academe: blow it up.

  • There is always the essential elimination of journal assignments from English Dept. teachers in all secondary school grades to be replaced with grammar book series. Quiz on Wednesdays, Test on Fridays. Rare allowance of the personal pronoun, “I” (except for fun, extra credit composition assignments). English teachers are neither sociologists nor psychologists.

  • In re: Bwahahahahahaha.

    When I saw this, it struck me that here was the most novel side-effect of Obama(don’t)care yet: Union busting, which in the Demo(n)crat universe is a solely Republican(‘t) enterprise.

    On second thought, though, it’s not all that surprising, since just about everything that ends with an “-ism” finally destroys what it claims to value most: In this case, “socialism” destroys “society,” both at large and in detail.

  • Not an obligation under church law but a loving response. As Fr. Z said,

    “And why not make it, voluntarily, a day of fasting and abstinence like to Good Friday?

    So, no, I don’t think we would sin by not participating in this in a concrete way. However, when the Holy Father makes an appeal like this, then we should respond.

    And I will add this: Those of you of the traditional stripe, by the first to take the initiative and help with whatever might be organized. Get out there.”

  • Apparently, they’re leaving the AFL-CIO because the AFL-CIO isn’t liberal enough.
    If you look at their statement, they want a single-payer healthcare system and shorter waiting periods for citizenship. I was a little less excited when I saw that.

  • A three-step program of professional reform follows: (1) dissociate composition teaching from literature teaching…

    I hate the fact that writing is always taught in the service of literary analysis in high school. It is killing my teen boys who are required to analyze literature while struggling to form coherent paragraphs. I would rather they could take a journalism class for a year, or a speech/debate class for a year, to get English credits. But no dice.

  • The ILWU was kicked out of the CIO (prior to its merger with the AF of L) for being too left wing. Under Lane Kirkland’s policy of “all sinners belong in the church”, it was re-admitted the the AFL-CIO. The west coast longshoremen are the second most left wing union in the USA, the UE taking the prize.

Maureen Dowd Does Theology

Tuesday, June 21, AD 2011


One of the House Catholics at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd, recently wrote a column in which she attacked the stand of Archbishop Timothy Dolan against gay marriage.  In the column she made the mistake of mentioning Canon Lawyer Ed Peters, who writes an incisive blog In The Light of the Law that I visit religiously.  Ed Peters responded to Dowd:

Fine, you ask, what does any of this have to do with me? I might have thought, nothing, except that Dowd decided to link my recent criticisms of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reception of Communion at a Mass celebrated by Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard (despite Cuomo’s open cohabitation with a woman not his wife), with Abp. Dolan’s criticism of efforts in the New York legislature to legalize “gay marriage”, the ‘link’ being that Cuomo is a strong proponent of “gay marriage” and would sign such a bill if it reaches his desk.

Okay, yes, I think that Cuomo’s signature on such a bill would add to his Communion-eligibility problems under Canon 915, but Abp. Dolan is not making that argument: he is arguing natural law on marriage and common sense, not sacramental discipline. (I know, I know, one would have to have read and understood Dolan’s arguments to see that point, but even if Dowd didn’t or doesn’t, some of her readers would have and do). So why does Dowd not discuss Dolan’s arguments on marriage in her article about Dolan on marriage, and later, if she wishes, tackle my arguments on holy Communion in an article about me and holy Communion (assuming I was worth her time in the first place)? Why smush these two strains together?

Because Dowd apparently thinks she has discovered some “ah-ha” contradiction in the Church’s logic. She writes: “Therein lies the casuistry. On one hand, as Peters told The Times about Cuomo and Lee, ‘men and women are not supposed to live together without benefit of matrimony.’ But then the church denies the benefit of marriage to same-sex couples living together.”


That’s not right. That doesn’t even rise to level of being wrong. Instead, that’s what comes from someone who is not even pretending to be interested in what the other side actually holds.

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5 Responses to Maureen Dowd Does Theology

  • Only way I know the NYT exists is because you guys seem compelled to respond to its inanities. And, that’s like trying to debate a set of wind chimes in a tornado.

    Dowd and NYT on matters of faith and morals: comprehensively confused and infallibly ignorant.

    I wouldn’t read the NYT with Ted Bundy’s eyes.

  • Tell us how you really feel about the New York Fish Wrap T.Shaw! 🙂

  • I apologize for offending . . .

  • I wonder, as Peters implies at the end of his piece, if Dowd realizes she has challenged the Times dogma that gay can do no wrong?

  • I had the same reaction as T. Shaw. I try to read the original article before reading posts about it, so I clicked over to Maureen Dowd’s piece. It was terrible, malicious, fallacious: vintage Maureen Dowd. I couldn’t figure out why I’d bothered. Then I read Ed Peters’ reply, and it was basically “Dowd’s article is terrible, malicious, and fallacious”. Yup.