The $1 Million Chelsea Clinton Wedding

Saturday, July 31, AD 2010

The estimated cost of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding this evening is $1 million* and that is a very low estimate.

Obscene, simply obscene.

Talk about failing in the cardinal virtues of prudence and temperance.

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22 Responses to The $1 Million Chelsea Clinton Wedding

  • Agreed, Tito, although God knows the Clintons have the money now to spend. Estimates of their net worth as a couple are anywhere from US $40 million-$100 million!

    Actually, I’ve also seen estimates on different news sites pegging the minimum cost of the wedding at US $2 million, and up to $5 million at the high end of the estimates–yikes!

  • The $5 million figure probably included the dowry. I can’t see anyone accepting Hillary as a mother-in-law for less than $4 million.

  • I’ve seen estimates as high as US $12 million, but I stuck to the low estimate in fairness.

  • If the accounting includes the cost of the security detail which follows both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton around, it is less deplorable.

  • I believe Bill Clinton, because he is a former US president, and his family have lifetime secret service protection.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secret_Service#Former_Presidents_and_First_Ladies

  • I think my wedding, all said and done, cost around $5k… in 2002 dollars. 🙂

  • The Pope’s visit to England may cost England $15 million US and the Vatican donation to Haiti was only $250,000 and in 2009 the Vatican donation to all poor countries was 20 million.
    Let’s not single out the Clinton’s as wasteful or neglecting the poor… because of their wrong abortion position while letting our own habits go unexamined because it is Rome.
    I can’t imagine the expenses John Paul II’s visiting habits entailed on people over the years.

  • What if many of the recipients of the money were teetering on going out of business or unemployment, would this sum still be considered obscene?

  • the Vatican donation to all poor countries was 20 million.

    Not taking your figures as stipulated, I would point out that the Church is highly decentralized and the sum of people employed by the Holy See is fewer than 5,000. I think there are around 2,500 employed in the modest diocese in which I reside.

  • Wow, nice to see someone addressed THE burning issue of the day 🙂

    Should the $5 million cost estimate be correct, that would place the Clinton nuptials in the top five most expensive celebrity/millioniare weddings of all time. Even if it costs “only” $2 million that puts it in the same league as Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes, Madonna-Guy Ritchie, Liza Minnelli-whatshisname, etc.

    Of course, what do you expect from a wedding for 1) an only daughter of 2) a former president AND a current Cabinet official 3) who have lots of friends in Hollywood, D.C., on Wall Street, etc. and 4) whose own wedding was very low key and arranged with only a week’s notice (meaning, Hillary may be trying to give Chelsea the bash she never had).

    The cost does include security, because even though Bill, Hillary and Chelsea themselves have Secret Service protection, a lot of their A-list guests probably have personal security details/bodyguards who will also require accomodations.

    I agree the Clinton wedding seems rather excessive and one need not spend six or seven figures to have a joyous and memorable wedding. (I did it for less than $5,000 in 1994).

    I gotta say though, and I apologize if this comes off as kinda reverse sexist, it’s easy for a guy to say that money spent on a wedding is “selfish” and should have been spent on the poor… one could make the same argument about money spent on classic cars, boats, trucks, or events like the Super Bowl, World Series, Olympic Games, NASCAR races, etc.

  • Have to say the pope’s visit was uplifting to Catholics around the world. Don’t see how Chelsea’s wedding could bring upon the same spiritual uplifting.

  • Misspam
    Christ thought it was fitting to give the young couple at Cana 120 gallons of wine.
    And their names are never mentioned. That’s a lot of wine and it was great quality which in US dollars could well have been $25,000 just for the second stage of the wine drinking.
    As for how permanent an uplifting effect of a papal trip has beyond momentary exciitement,.. that would be impossible to document…wouldn’t it?

  • The other question: the Clintons have never done anything but government, and they’ve wound up with millions of dollars to blow on a wedding. That points out the flaws of our system better than anything else.

    Mark Noonan

  • “the Clintons have never done anything but government”

    What about the speaking fees and book deals they have made? Yes, I realize their public life is the reason they have those speaking and book contracts, but still, it isn’t the government paying those contracts.

    If PRIVATE citizens and groups didn’t care to hear them speak, and private book publishing companies weren’t interested in what they had to say, they would never have made the millions they now have.

    I’m not saying this because I’m any fan of either Bill or Hillary (far from it), just trying to be factual here.

  • My wedding in 1962: $30.00 for fabric to make my own dress; less than $100.00 for wedding cake. Flowers, probably $60.00. Stipend for the priest-? Stipend for organist: $30.00. Celebrated 48 years of wedded bliss this year. Let’s see how Chelsea & hubby last, hopefully a lifetime. I’ve played organ for many weddings in the past. My theory: the number of years of duration of the marriage is in inverse proportion to the number of attendants AND the cost. One could almost tell at the rehearsal if the marriage was going to be permanent. Pouty brides-to-be, mothers insisting on this and that. One bride was determined there was going to be NO NOISE out on the street; the church was located on a busy boulevard. No child would dare whimper or cry at her wedding. Well, everything was perfect until the photographer dashed upstairs to take photos as the couple came down the aisle; her tripod knocked the organ plug out of the wall and all the sound went down, and then back up, when she plugged the organ in. Those Hammonds had a way of ruining everything…I reminded her that SHE was to admit to the dastardly deed.

  • So….
    She’s Methodist, and he’s Jewish.
    Interesting combo.

    I’d say the Jewish will win out.

  • The bride in the most beautiful and most Christian wedding I have ever witnessed wore a pale yellow dress, with seasonal flowers (from her parents’ fields) in her hair; the groom wore a new business suit. There were no decorations, and the reception was at the house of the brides’ parents. The money not wasted on irrelevancies was used to send the couple on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella after they finished university.

  • “I’d say the Jewish will win out.”

    I suspect not. Most Jews in American today are ultra-secular. The Jewish in this marriage probably lost out long ago. Not that the Methodist will win out either.

  • If he only got $4 million for Hilary as a mother in law, I’d say the Clintons got off cheap.

  • OK everyone, enough of the weak moral relativism arguments of the Papacy vis-a-vis the Clintons. That’s insulting enough when you consider that the Clintons are at best crafty politicians.

    Spending $2-5 million on any wedding is beyond ‘hey look at me’ arrogance. It’s pure elitist ghoulish hubris and it’s even funnier coming from those progressive ‘party for the regular people’ types.

    Bill Banon, thanks for the laugh for comparing the dollar value of the wine at Cana. Wasn’t it a MIRACLE that Jesus used good ‘ol water as the input resource hence a much lower cost than the ‘high quality wine’? Perhaps they forgot to teach/discuss basic economics at that Netroots Nation liberal blogger conference?

    Great stuff!

Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

[Continued from Part 1]

Restraint, Relationships and Planning Parenthood

When I say that we “naturally want to avoid having children” at certain times, I would imagine that the image that comes immediately to mind is of birth control, abortion or infanticide, and most traditional societies have seen these in some form or other. However, I’d like to turn our attention to something so basic and so prevalent that we don’t think about it much.

From an anthropological point of view, the entire structure of our romantic and family relationships serves as a way to control childbearing, limiting it to situations in which offspring can be supported. Consider: Requiring that young women remain virgins until marriage ensured that children will not be born without a provider. Nor was the decision to marry, when it came, a strictly individual affair. Marriage was negotiated and approved by the wider families, because the families were in effect committing to help support the new family unit being created. Many cultures also required the husband’s family to pay a “bride price”, not simply as compensation for the lost contribution of the daughter to her own family, but as proof that the husband was of sufficient means to start a family.

Once in place, this set of cultural mores and laws provided an easy way to adjust to want or plenty:

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12 Responses to Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

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  • Chastity is very important both in and outside of marriage.

    “And the set of moral and societal norms surrounding marriage provide us with a way to manage that fact responsibly in order to have children only when we believe we can support them.”

    I agree. But, unfortunately our society’s norms and sense of morality has changed over time leading to a deterioration of family values, which has also in turn led to a break up of the traditional family unit.

    Plus, the Catholic Church has been quite remiss in promoting and teaching proper fertility treatment alternatives to IVF that are in line with Catholic teachings.

    But, Fr. Benedict Groeshel did recently host a show on Catholic fertility for couples with fertility issues.

    http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/05/faithful-couple-reflects-on-issues-of.html

  • I wondered if you’d mention Ireland. People think of the Irish as baby-crazy, but that has not always been the case as you say.

  • As a cradle Catholic I agree with your assessment. The only thing I don’t agree with is the use of birth control (aka condom) when your married and don’t want children. My spouse is a Medical Doctor and also disagree with the method the church authorized since it is not as full-proof as birth-control or condom. Let me correct myself hormone birth-control we are also against. My question I guess is why is the church against condoms even in marriage?

  • Marriage requires an openness to procreating and condoms inhibit that openness or are a barrier to that openness.

    Here is chart analyzing all forms of contraception and it shows reasons why the Church is against each form of contraception.

    http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/action.shtml

  • Alex,

    As Teresa says, the Church’s opposition to barrier forms of birth control are based on the understanding that they falsify the procreative nature of the sex act. From a Catholic point of view, there is not a moral difference between the use of hormonal and barrier methods of birth control.

  • Alex,
    While it’s hard to see at a glance because the columns are out of alignment, the chart to which Teresa links gives typical use effectiveness ratings (it’s not specified on the page but it looks to be measured in terms of pregnancies per hundred users) for all methods. Pregnancy rates for the fertility-acceptance methods allowed by the Church are actually lower than they are for barrier contraceptives–quite a bit lower if you exclude the now disused calendar rhythm method.

    These methods do demand a high degree of self-discipline, which many couples are unwilling to impose on themselves.

  • Alex..again…abstaining when the wife is fertile teaches sexual control, which is essential and the reason why couples who utilize NFP don’t divorce or stray.

  • The problem I see with NFP is not the theoretical admissibility of the practice, but with the widespread disregard of the Church’s requirement that such mean be used only for grave reasons.

    Now customarily one does not simply judge his own case– he submits the matter to an independent person. Hence, those having recourse to these methods should be doing so only after consultation with an orthodox spiritual advisor, who can judge the facts of a couple’s situation and determine if there truly is a grave cause for avoiding cooperation in the creation of new life.

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  • Sorry, for my delay in responding back. Thank all of you for the comments. We have looked into this method further and also reading Gregory K. Popcak’s “Holy Sex!” is the ultimate guide to a fulfilling, happy, yet virtuous sexual life.” I have to recommend this book because it does lay out what NFP is in detail and makes it sound so.. much more loving … read the book if anyone was like me… Thanks

Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 1)

Thursday, June 17, AD 2010

If you move in conservative Catholic circles much, you have doubtless heard the phrase “contraceptive mentality”. Though used frequently and negatively, I think there is value in delving a bit more deeply into what we mean by the phrase. I was moved to write this in semi-response to an interesting post by Brett Salkeld a couple months back which sought to explore the bounds of what a “contraceptive mentality” is. Another good resource on the topic is this post at Catholic Culture on the contraceptive mentality.

While recognizing the dangers of trying to be too wide ranging in subject matter in the limited space of a blog post, my goal here is to set out answers to the following:

  • What is a “contraceptive mentality”?
  • How is a contraceptive mentality contrary to how humans are “meant” to function morally and sexually?
  • How, if at all, does NFP (natural family planning) relate to a contraceptive mentality?

I think it’s easiest to think about the idea of a contraceptive mentality against the backdrop of how we function sexually as human creatures — a term I use advisedly in that I want to emphasize our rootedness in a certain biological reality of being primates with certain biological systems and instincts, while at the same time not ignoring our rational, emotional and moral sensibilities in the sense that “human animal” strikes me as implying.

Uncertainty and Conception

One thing that sets us apart from most other higher primates is that humans have fairly even sexual drive all of the time. Or, at least, men have sexual drive pretty much all of the time. Women seem to have more variation in their level of interest, and indeed there is a fair amount of evidence that one driving (though unconscious) element of their drive is that they are more “in the mood” during the times of the month when they are fertile than when they are not. Another thing that sets us apart from most other higher primates is that a woman’s fertility is not marked by unmistakable physical signs (change of color and swelling of the genital area, changes in smell, etc.) (Though Bonobos have often been compared to humans in regards to their relatively constant sex drive, they are like chimps in that female fertility is readily apparent through external signs.)

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2 Responses to Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 1)

  • Though this doesn’t necessarily relate to the topic directly, according to a recent Gallup poll public opinion on same-sex relationships has shifted even more so toward moral acceptance. The two groups that shifted more toward approval were Catholics and men — the “contraceptive mentality” at work?

  • “the “contraceptive mentality” at work?”

    The older I get the harder it is to overestimate the pernicious effects of the “contraceptive mentality.”

Talking About Sinful Lifestyles With Children

Saturday, May 15, AD 2010

Eric Brown wrote a post about the question of whether children of same-sex-couples should be allowed in Catholic schools the other day, which generated some interesting conversation. One of the problems that lies at the root of this controversy, I think, is the question of how to deal sinful lifestyles when talking to your children.

Obviously, one of the duties of a conscientious Catholic parents is to successfully pass on to their children belief in Catholic moral teaching. We believe, after all, that living according to the Church’s moral teachings is key to both the happiness and salvation of our children, and both of these are things we ought to care about a good bit.

This much, at least, is widely agreed upon. Why, however, should that be a reason not to want your children exposed to the children of a same-sex-couple? Isn’t that simply a great chance to talk about the Church’s teachings about marriage and sexual morality?

Frankly, I (and I think many other Catholic parents) would rather not have to rush that one. Why?

Both thinking back to my own childhood and also about my children (currently ages 8 through 1.5) one of the things that stands out to me very clearly is that children are naturally dualistic. There’s a reason why the fairy tale is a genre so enjoyed by children — children like clear heroes and villains. The adult my be interested in why it is that the wicked witch became wicked, and whether she really thought she was wicked, but to a child, the fact that she is wicked is all they need. Heroes do good things, villains to bad things, and children under the age of 10-12 have a great deal of difficulty seeing people in between.

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30 Responses to Talking About Sinful Lifestyles With Children

  • I like your approach, Darwin, on the whole. Yet the primary “heroes” in a child’s life are her or his parents. And they certainly see us at our best and at our worst. If children can navigate our blunders and triumphs, I suspect they might be able to make distinctions sooner than we realize.

    Perhaps key to addressing the nature of sin and sinners with kids is for parents to be more forthright than my parents were. I was 29 the first time my mother apologized to me. That strikes me as being about 25 years too late.

    Kids also have a sense of fairness about them. It would indeed be interesting to check with our kids about the children of same-sex couples issues. Would our daughters and sons think it “unfair” that one of their peers not be allowed to enroll in their school because of their mom and mom or dad and dad?

    I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe for some adults, that sort of childlike fairness trumps a childish knee-jerk reaction we see from some adults.

  • A good analysis.

    But I thought that the reasoning for not admitting to Catholic school the children of parents living objectively sinful lifestyles was NOT so much to avoid scandalizing the other children, as it was that it could cause objective harm to the child, by putting her in a position where the teachers would be teaching truths that would directly conflict with the parents’ teaching by example; it would have no option other than to teach that child, “Your loved ones are unrepentant sinners in danger of losing Heaven.”

    That the Church respects parents’ right to teach and form their own children — a primeval, natural right — so much that it ought not interfere with that right even by the parents’ own consent.
    Am I incorrect about this?

  • Todd,

    Kids also have a sense of fairness about them. It would indeed be interesting to check with our kids about the children of same-sex couples issues. Would our daughters and sons think it “unfair” that one of their peers not be allowed to enroll in their school because of their mom and mom or dad and dad?

    Childlike fairness works in many ways that we seek to curb. For instance, most children under 9 I know considered, “But he made me angry,” as a perfectly acceptable reason for hitting someone. Children’s sense of fairness also often involves things which parents know are not good for them: late bedtimes, dessert every night, unlimited movie privileges, etc.

    The entire point I make here is that we at times seek to keep our children in ignorance of certain sins for the very reason that they are not yet capable for forming just and charitable responses to many situations — situations they are not well able yet to understand. Laying out the nature of same sex marriage to a child in order to ask the child if such families should be allowed into their school would mean starting out by rejecting the idea of forming a child’s experience of the world in order to guide his or her moral development.

    (Am I really sure how the digression about apologizing to children comes in — certainly, I think it would be a deeply foolish and misguided instinct to attempt to portray oneself to one’s children as being perfect, but I never suggested that in the piece.)

    Bearing,

    I think I’d more heard concerns about scandal and about the presence of such families in a parish school (with young children) serving as a mute teaching that same sex marriage is a good thing — but I think your point is a good one. I honestly can’t imagine why, having entered into a same sex marriage or “partnership”, parents would want to put their children in a school which so directly contradicts their moral beliefs. Catholic schools are often better at academics than nearby public ones, but I certainly wouldn’t take that as a reason to send my children to a school where they’d be taught morality that I expressly disagreed with.

    I suppose one could posit that a same sex couple believes that homosexual activity is a moral sin, but live in relationship anyway — but I must admit that in our “I’m a good person” society I find that a rather unlikely claim.

  • Two notes that might add some clarity to my argument here:

    – It’s specifically the bad teaching by example as to the nature of marriage here which I have an issue with. I would not have an issue if a single divorced woman who was a lesbian wanted to put her kids into a Catholic school, so long as neither she nor the child were causing problems as regards to teaching in the school. It’s specifically the “same sex relationship” with “two mommies” or “two daddies” that I see as a problem.

    – While I can see this as a good reason for a school restricting its student body, or parent choosing who they let their children socialize with, it’s probably also fair to point out that one of the main reasons that my wife and I homeschool rather than putting our kids in parochial school is that few parish schools seem to provide a Catholic enough atmosphere for us to see a reason to pay so much more to put our kids there. So while I’d see it as reasonable for a school which did maintain an authentically Catholic culture and moral environment to exclude the children of a same sex couple — there are a host of other cultural and moral problems (routinely tolerated) which similarly cause me to see many parish schools as not worth bothering with. If I’m going to put my kids into a hostile moral environment at school, I’d at least like it to be an explicitly secular one rather than one which purports to be Catholic.

  • It’s specifically the “same sex relationship” with “two mommies” or “two daddies” that I see as a problem

    My guess is that as these relationships become more and more common, and they will, more and more children will come to hold such relationships as legitimate. And in the next generation or two, we’ll find that those who hold to the “old” view of marriage are in the minority. I wonder if being in the minority will make the problem you intentify more difficult or less difficult to deal with.

  • Bearing,
    You’re correct. Years ago our family left a parish where we’d worshipped for ten years because the priests (not diocesan, an order) decided that lesbian couples could have the (implanted) children baptized at the main Mass on Sundays. That way, we’d all be godparents!
    Even after we (& many other parishioners) were called “unloving”, “judgemental”, “homophobic” etc, we still moved our membership to another parish because we felt (& were told by the diocese) that the objection to such baptisms is that it is, in reality, “unloving” to baptize a child into a Church that recognizes their parent as involved in a disordered relationship. That action puts the child in an untenable position.
    As to why in the world the women in question would want to do that their children, I have no idea.

  • gb,

    Canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters wrote on the subject of delay (but not denial) baptism to some children. Quoting an excerpt:

    Understandably, canon law does not specify exactly what material needs to be mastered by parents and sponsors prior to presenting their child for Baptism. But a clue as to how much (or how little?) might be required is found, I think, in Canon 868 § 1, n. 2, which states that for the licit baptism of a child there is required (beyond parental consent) a “founded hope that the child will be raised Catholic.” Most observers would agree, that it is not much of a juridic requirement, especially when the canon goes on to state that only if such a hope is “altogether lacking” can the baptism be, not denied, but delayed for a time according to diocesan policy.

    On the other hand, the “founded hope” requirement is generally considered to be more than sufficient grounds for a pastor to delay a child’s baptism because of, say, the parents’ irregular marriage situation. Although the child’s right to baptism will eventually outweigh the parents’ duty to rectify their marital status, resulting in conferral of the sacrament, pastoral evidence is clear that many couples do correctly address their own status in the Church as part of the preparation for their child’s baptism.

    ~~~end quote

    Based on this, I think you are wrong to seek denial of baptism to children of lesbian couples.

  • I’d posted this at my personal blog as well, where one of our regular readers who is from the Philippines left this comment I liked quite a bit:

    My little brothers go to a very small Catholic school and are classmates with a boy who has “two daddies.” (I think they chose the school precisely because of its tiny student body and its repuation for being “progressive.”)

    One time, my brothers were talking about getting that classmate a birthday present, and I asked, “Is that the day he was born or the day he was adopted?”

    I found myself on the receiving end of two wide-eyed stares. Then the younger of my brothers asked, “Why do you think he’s adopted?”

    Then my mother yelled from the other room: “Your sister is just teasing. Hahaha! What a joker!”

    My brothers don’t seem very bothered by the idea of two dads, but they do wonder where the mother is. They’ve asked about it, and the answer they got was predictably vague: “Oh, maybe she’s in America . . . But don’t ask your friend about her, okay? It might make him feel bad because she doesn’t live with him.”

    Anyway, I have no quick answer here; just the opinion that the situation doesn’t spell the end of the world. I can understand why parents wouldn’t want to deal with that moral question when kids are so young, but I wonder whether the political situation in the United States is making this more of an issue than it has to be.

  • My guess is that as these relationships become more and more common,

    That’s interesting, Kyle. Is it your contention that there is no ceiling to the proportion of homosexuals in the population or that there is a secular trend toward homosexual monogamy?

  • Art Deco,

    I would guess that the proportion of children who are being raised by an openly same-sex couple is in fact rising.

  • Bearing has to be correct. Seriously, the quoted assertion has nothing to do with the proportion of homosexuals in the population or trends toward homosexual monogamy. The key variable is social and legal acceptance of such arrangements.

  • Mr. Kupp, who is capable of replying for himself, had this to say:

    And in the next generation or two, we’ll find that those who hold to the “old” view of marriage are in the minority.

    Which is a reference to the lateral association between the ‘parents’.

  • I’m sure Mr. Kupp is capable of replying for himself if he wishes to continue reading the thread.
    I don’t know about you, but I don’t always come back to re-read every comment thread I post on.

    Just in case he doesn’t choose to do so, I believe I am free to express my own opinion along those lines, which is that it’s the proportion of families headed by same-sex couples and raising children which matters here, not (as you suggest) the proportion of people with same-sex attraction nor the proportion who are monogamous (because, of course, monogamy and child-raising are not in one-to-one correspondence in any population).

    The relevant population is indeed rising.

  • I suspect that in a few years homosexual marriage may in fact not only be tolerated but legislated as a protected alternative. As such it may be as in Canada where if we were to denounce such a thing we will be brought before a Human Rights Commission.
    Perhaps part of the problem is the degree to which such attitudes have been accepted in general – even in Catholic education. How many students in Catholic Universities hear about the adverse consequences of contraception, divorce and single parenthood? How often do Catholic Universities actually endorse such trends and are even now endorsing homosexual activity? How much of this spills into Catholic families that have incorportated these secualar ideas into thir own lives and send their kids to Catholic schools with the expectation that these are normal beliefs? Should the Catholic school, including the university, be distinct from the secular world? How much “in the world” without being “of the world” should be tolerated among Catholics? That is, how many ideas should be tolerated in a school, either through direct teaching or through the passive example of families admitted, that are contrary to the faith?
    The idea of the Catholic hospital comes to mind. How much contraception, abortion or IVF should be tolerated? I would say none though from a post below we see that that is clearly a problem with hospitals. While these are direct attacks on life and the foundation of the social fabric, so too is the education of children that flaunts moral norms – even if indirectly in the form of scandalous behavior. And for many children, ultimately the emotional argument that “they love each other so its okay” will trump many a logical argument to the contrary. This particularly so in middle and high school when children are naturally rebelling and more inclined to accept such arguments. Let’s not forget the admonition not to teach children evil or be cast into the sea with a millstone about one’s neck.
    I might suggest that, as there are a great deal of arguments on this and other Catholic blogs on basing our choices on the Faith and not on ideologies, that this is a good place to start. Perhaps we should not expect the secular anti-life mentality of contraception and abortion to be taught in our schools. Perhaps we should be able to condemn the sin while we love the sinner – even in a school. Perhaps if the condemnation will hurt the child then we should accept that that child shouldn’t be there. Perhaps we should accept that not offering a forum for scandal is more prudent when educating a child than seeking to provide a Catholic education for everyone. Perhaps we should accept that making such a choice is part of being Catholic.

  • Perhaps if the condemnation will hurt the child then we should accept that that child shouldn’t be there.

    If the Catholic school is a good one and doing it’s job, all the students will eventually hear condemnation of a sin that is in some way personal to them.

  • True enough. And they will hear of reconciliation and penance. And they will hear of going and sinning no more. The problem with two “mommies” or “daddies” is the “going and sinning no more part.” This especially for other children who continue to hear that Joey has two “mommies” or “daddies.” Thus that scandal that emerges from allowing such an arrangement in a school. More obvious than a contracepting family or a divorced and remarried one. Of course both of those also need to go and sin no more. And if they don’t, then the child will feel a measure of pain. And if the parents make their sin public and are causing scandal to children then they should be asked to leave also.

  • spambot,

    Agreed. Though let’s be honest, most Catholic schools are not good ones and are not doing their job. If I had strong confidence that schools were doing a good job of passing on both Catholic teaching and culture, I’d actually have a lot less worry about things like admitting people who don’t agree with Catholic teaching.

  • Amen to Darwin’s comment. If Catholic schools weren’t afraid to be Catholic, and the parents in question *still* wish to send their kids there, more power to them.

    On the matter of Catholic schools being Catholic, there is a small but promising body of schools that fit the bill:

    http://www.napcis.org/

  • I experienced quite a similar situation growing up. In my small Catholic school, my friend’s parents separated, due to the mother finally coming out as a lesbian. It did not explode my precious little mind. You underestimate your children, and seem to think that they are destined to inherit exactly your moral code. Nowhere does the bible come out and judge homosexual relationships to be any worse a sin than any other. Can any of you honestly say that you live a life free of sin, never returning to commit the same one time and time again? Are you so pure that the thought of your children learning the reality of the world makes you queasy? Education, tolerance and love are all that you need. The lesbian parents wanted to be good Catholics, to teach their children, and you forsake them? Shame on you all.

  • Eli,

    In general I support allowing the children of gay parenting partners into Catholic schools, as long as there is no deviation from Catholic teaching that is presented to the students. The parents have to agree to that at the time of enrollment, and the students must learn Catholic teaching well enough to pass requried tests (whether or not they actually believe it).

    Having said that, this is what the Catheism has to say on the subject of homosexulaity:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, [Cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10] tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    ~~~end quote

    Eli, the lesbian parenting partners must agree to allow the school to teach their children this (in an age-appropriate manner), or no deal. They are being singled out. The Catechism has items that push us all against our natural inclinations.

  • Well, since we’re still discussing this, I’ll reiterate my total opposition to both the idea of homosexual partners “raising” children, as well as the idea of Catholic schools admitting these students.

  • Actually the Catechism calls on homosexuals to live chaste lives. Its unclear but perhaps the homosexual partners in question were living as sisters. If so, and if they were making that clear to everyone, then there would be an argument to admit them. But if they are continuing the appearance of being “married” which implies ongoing sexual relations, then they are continuing to commit acts of “grave depravity.” As such, there is still plenty good reason to refuse admission.

    Yes the Catechism does challange us all.

  • Living as sisters? Oh come on!

  • I take that from the Church teaching that men and women living together in irregular relationships (divorced and remarried) who cannot for whatever reason separate (i.e. raising children of the marriage) live as brother and sister.

    Hard to do yes. Best not to get in such a situation.

  • You underestimate your children, and seem to think that they are destined to inherit exactly your moral code.

    If I thought my children were destined to inherit my moral code, I wouldn’t be putting in hard work in order to try to teach it to them. But, obviously: yes, I do hope my children will grow up to share my moral code, since I believe it is true and I want them to have God’s truth.

    Nowhere does the bible come out and judge homosexual relationships to be any worse a sin than any other.

    At a minimum, the bible teaches that homosexual relations are very serious sins, along the lines of adultery, idol worship, etc.

    Can any of you honestly say that you live a life free of sin, never returning to commit the same one time and time again? Are you so pure that the thought of your children learning the reality of the world makes you queasy? Education, tolerance and love are all that you need.

    I absolutely do not claim to be free on sin — but that has nothing to do with trying to teach my children about morality and protect them (where possible) from its messier manifestations. There are a lot of things which I don’t think that very young children are able to think about and deal with clearly. While on the one hand I would never try to hide homosexuality from a 15-year-old, I would also never try to discuss it with a 6-year-old. Nor is my attempt to shield my children from the graver perversions of family restricted to same sex relationships — for instance, there’s been a nasty divorce (complete with adultery, calling the cops on each other, stealing each others cars, snatching the kids back and forth and constant recriminations) ongoing between a couple in our parish whose kids my know my own kids slightly, and you may be assured that I have done all that I can to shield them from knowing any of the details about that situation.

  • The bible is far more concerned with matters of prohibiting what food you eat and the clothes you wear than condemning homosexuality. You pick and choose the words of your almighty god. If someone were to tell me they took their morals from the bible, I would refuse to stay in the same room as them. The bible teaches that it is good for a man to impregnate his brother’s widow. That it is good to send out your virgin daughters to be raped by a mob in the place of 2 strange men. That after a victory, you should kill all of your enemies apart from the virgin women, who you should take for your wives. You do have more than one wife and have plentiful offspring, right? If you only have your father around, getting him drunk then having sex with him is doing the lord’s work. Doing otherwise would surely be an affront to god. I understand that this venue is not going to find anyone with an open mind, but have you read the bible lately? It’s full of filth, incest, murder and confused mistranslations and repeats. Holding up the moral writing of livestock obsessed tribesmen with no knowledge of how the universe worked is not something to be lauded.
    The catholic church in particular needs to stop persecuting others on such a minor matter as 2 people who love each other while ignoring the far more serious matters of abuse within its own ranks. Protecting abusers and exposing children to known criminals has been institutionalised. Having loving parents, no matter who they are, is not something to recriminate.

  • You are not being persecuted, and if the matter were ‘minor’, the opposition would not be so vehement about it.

  • Stop being such an emotivist, Eli, and think with the brain that God gave you. In our hyperindividualist society, in which anything that stymies self-determination is considered a sin, it’s no surprise that such responses are common. But really, give it a shot: Think about something other than the reflexive sympathy of “two people who love each other should be together.” Think about the family as the unit of civilization. Think about cultural norms about marriage and how they might be negatively conditioned by permissive attitudes and laws. Think about how the principle you apply to gay marriage would work equally well with any other number of logical absurdities.

    Just think, for crying out loud.

  • “It’s full of filth, incest, murder and confused mistranslations and repeats. Holding up the moral writing of livestock obsessed tribesmen with no knowledge of how the universe worked is not something to be lauded.”

    Ludicrous. I assume your reading of Scripture is limited to what you have cribbed from atheist websites. The lengths people will go to hang on to their cherished sins.

Red vs. Blue Families

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

It’s fairly common for advocates of more liberal social policies to point out that “red states” tend to have higher rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, etc than “blue states”. This is taken to suggest that, however much conservatives may go on about “family values”, it is actually more liberal social values which are best for families. Ross Douthat does a good job of addressing this mentality in his column from last Sunday, in which he takes a closer look at some of these “family values” statistics.

Today, couples with college and (especially) graduate degrees tend to cohabit early and marry late, delaying childbirth and raising smaller families than their parents, while enjoying low divorce rates and bearing relatively few children out of wedlock.

For the rest of the country, this comfortable equilibrium remains out of reach. In the underclass (black, white and Hispanic alike), intact families are now an endangered species. For middle America, the ideal of the two-parent family endures, but the reality is much more chaotic: early marriages coexist with frequent divorces, and the out-of-wedlock birth rate keeps inching upward.

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20 Responses to Red vs. Blue Families

  • There are more problems with this book that I’ll outline in about a week. I have the post 3/4’s written but have to run some regressions and what not. I imagine you and your fellow travelers will largely be in agreement with me.

  • You read Douthat’s piece and came away with a completely different impression of it than I did. Of course, in my blog post on the subject, I did acknowledge that I may have been reading Douthat’s piece through my Ross-colored glasses, which probably tends to somewhat negatively distort anything written by the guy.

    I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

  • I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

    I thought it was pretty obvious from the context that he was characterizing the authors of the book as the kind of people who would make such a comment rather than taking a swipe at her himself. Judge for yourself:

    This is one of the themes of “Red Families v. Blue Families,” a provocative new book by two law professors, Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. The authors depict a culturally conservative “red America” that’s stuck trying to sustain an outdated social model. By insisting (unrealistically) on chastity before marriage, Cahn and Carbone argue, social conservatives guarantee that their children will get pregnant early and often (see Palin, Bristol), leading to teen childbirth, shotgun marriages and high divorce rates.

    I could be wrong, but it never occurred to me to read it otherwise. He is laying out their argument in that paragraph; and the rest of the editorial is critical of that simplistic portrayal of Red America, and (implicitly) the kind of people who would cite Bristol Palin as the exemplar of backwards redstate America. Notice, the conclusion of the piece:

    By comparison, the “red family” model can look dysfunctional — an uneasy mix of rigor and permissiveness, whose ideals don’t always match up with the facts of contemporary life. But it reflects something else as well: an attempt, however compromised, to navigate post-sexual revolution America without relying on abortion.

    Translation: Red State America does not take abortion as an easy way out; this decision has consequences that aren’t always pretty, but it also reflects a lived moral conviction.

  • MZ,

    Sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye out for it. (In the mean time, I’ll try to figure out if I should be flattered or perplexed at having “fellow travelers”.)

    Jay,

    Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it. But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says, Ross Douthat doesn’t fall in that camp for me.

  • Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it.

    I’m with Jay on this one – it sounded like it was Ross himself backing the authors’s thesis.

    There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken. Instead we get a subtle jab that leaves the reader perplexed as to what exactly Douthat’s personal point of view is.

  • It was pretty clear as written, Paul; certainly Darwin and most of the commenters at the New York Times picked it up quickly enough. Douthat’s point is that attitudes toward abortion – not abstinence education or an emphasis on marriage or the simple stupidity of people in Red America – account for most of the differences we see in out-of-wedlock birth, early marriage (and accompanying divorce), etc.

    The contemporary liberal narrative downplays this fact. Abortion is becoming increasingly unpopular, so liberals want to argue that increased access to contraceptives will reduce the need for abortion, and that it is cultural conservatism that, in effect, increases the abortion rate. Douthat just points out this argument doesn’t square with the facts; teen pregnancy is lower in blue states primarily because abortion is more prevalent. That’s why Darwin and Chris Burgwald flagged the article; it refutes a central part of the contemporary liberal diagnosis of red state America – the myth of social conservatism increasing the abortion rate.

  • Jay:

    I’m normally a Douthat fan, but I did think this article was weirdly written for some reason so while I noted as Darwin did that he ultimately refuted the thesis, that I didn’t feel great about him doing so. Not sure why.

  • The whole concept of the book is wrong-headed I think in its analysis of Red and Blue states. There are really very few states that fit in that category. For example I live in Blue Illinois. Outside of Chicago and some of the suburbs, most of Illinois has life conducted along the lines of a Red State by the lights of the book. The reverse is true of Red States, Texas for example, with large urban enclaves. This mixed quality of the states would have to be taken into consideration when looking at statistics regarding marriage and divorce. Additionally, I think we are at the beginning of a political era where the Red and Blue divisions may soon seem like relics as much as the divisions between the Whigs and the Jacksonian Democrats do today. The political landscape is changing rapidly, as I think Illinois will demonstrate in the fall.

  • “teen pregnancy is lower in blue states because abortion is more prevalent”

    Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates that would be lower in those states. I have seen lists of nations with the lowest teen pregnancy rates and the lowest teen birth rates side by side, and they are NOT identical, so statisticians do have a way to compile those statistics separately. (Switzerland, for example, is in the bottom five nations as far as teen birth rate, but does not have the same ranking for teen pregnancy rate.)

    If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    The only other possible cause for such a disparity would be a high rate of miscarriage or stillbirth due to poverty or poor medical care; that might be a factor in some Third World countries but probably not so much in the U.S., even in areas of extreme urban decay.

  • Also, figures in some of the red states may be considerably skewed by the impact of (illegal) immigration.

  • There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken.

    There is little indication from his writing that Ross Douthat has the background to have much critical engagement with a piece of quantitative social research, so he would be advised to tread rather carefully in commenting on that. It’s regrettably been years, but I have done this sort of work on this sort of topic and (judging from the literature I reviewed and my own analyses) you generally get ambiguous results.

    Of course, the book could be flawed in all kinds of ways that a layman could spot quite readily. Awful lot of groupthink in academe.

    But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says,

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

  • Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates

    Yeah, mistyped.

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

    Heh. A little harsh, but there’s a lot of truth there.

  • If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    While the terms are being used a bit interchangeably in the comments here, Douthat does successfully make the distinction, and the data he links to does indeed bear this out. For instance:

    Alabama has a pregnancy rate for 15-19 year olds of 73 out of every 1000 women. Connecticut has a rate of 57. For in Alabama only 20% of those pregnancies end in abortion, while in Connecticut 53% do. West Virginia has a teen pregnancy rate of 62, which is the same a Rhode Island’s rate of 62 — but in West Virginia only 17% of those pregnancies end in abortion while in Rhode Island 42% do.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about, Bristol Palin should not have been brought up at all.

  • The bigger point might be the supposed connection between morality and whether one is red or blue. As much as either side tries to convince that it is more moral than the other, neither the public examples, nor the statistics are there.

    If you wanted to analyze the big picture on abortion or divorce, you’d have to draw in economics, religion, and education, among other factors. They used to say the moral majority is neither. It’s still true.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about

    It’s not that she typifies the type of people the authors were writing about (although she does in some respects). It’s that she is a common example cited by people like the authors. Douthat is laying out the lefty worldview; and Bristol and Sarah Palin references are common. Is that unfair to Bristol? Sure. But I don’t think re-stating the blue state critique of red-state America in its own terms makes Douthat morally reprehensible.

  • Todd,

    I’m not clear that moral conservatives necessarily claim to be more moral than social progressives, they just claim that they continue to espouse morality while their opponents consider it “repressed” or “outdated”.

    Of course, the other point here is that claimed moral beliefs are certainly not the only difference between the populations of “red” and “blue” states. In this sense, although it’s an oft used distinction, trying to make these distinctions is overly broad.

    As I’m sure you’d agree “red” and “blue” (there’s a certain late-Roman quality to how attached we are to these color designations) in the sense of left-politics/right-politics can contain a whole host of contradictory groups within one label. I would imagine that you share much more in moral/cultural outlook with those in the Moral Majority (however distasteful you may find their politics) than you do with the sort of folks who write long self-examining essays about how monogamous marriage doesn’t make sense in the modern world for The Atlantic, even if you might share some of the same favorite politicians.

    Data that I have seen which is more explicitly broken down by actual stated moral beliefs does show that, while as should come as no surprise to anyone those who espouse traditional moral beliefs are far from perfect in their practice of them, people who claim to believe in traditional morality, attend some sort of religious services regularly, etc. do tend to have fewer sexual partners, “wait” longer as teenagers, etc. Whether people claim allegiance to moral norms is not irrelevent to their behavior, even though many do not life up to their own stated ideals.

  • I suspect those on the left have their own moral positions though they may deny that. Just look at the furor over such issues as immigration restrictions, global warming etc. And like those on the right, there are many on the left that do not live up to their moral positions.
    No one is the equal of their ideals. The problem is what ideals are the right ones. Then, how to implement them.

  • Thanks for the comment, Darwin. I suspect that “researchers” on this topic go after their perception of hypocrisy from the Right. In a way, all they have to do is point to select developments in Republican-leaning regions, say “gotcha!” and move on. Point proved.

    I have yet to see a serious across-the-board study that would link abortion, divorce, and other issues with geography, politics, wealth, education, race, etc.. Unfortunately, any serious sociologist who attempted one would either be too biased from the outset, given the polarization of the culture, or would get hammered from both sides of the ideological divide. For now, I think we exist in a state of ignorance when it comes to other people’s morality. And maybe it’s better that way. Heaven knows I have my hands full with my own moral temptations.

    I’m not sure I would equate this situation too much with the parable of the two sons, the one who promised to work then didn’t (conservatives) and the one who declined to give lip service, but then reconsidered and labored (liberals). But we do know there are prominent folk who do not live up to their stated guiding principles. I’m disinclined to credit that as a torpedo to the movement, even ones I disagree with.

    I know, for example, a number of homosexuals who are highly moral people. For some people on the Right, they would trip over the sex and not get any further.

    Sex is a big part of morality, in part because of our culture’s fixation on it, but it’s not the only factor.

  • I grew up in New York and raise my family in NJ, the statistics in this book challenge stereotypes of both liberals and conservatives. However, I just read Frank Luntz’s book, “What Americans Really Want…Really”. Based on polls taken in the U.S. it states that families who regularly attend church and children who are brought up conscious of God and family life are often more aware about the consequences of their decisions and how a religious family life is beneficial to children. Luntz states that children who attend church, eat dinner as a family, take family vacations etc are less likely to take drugs. He also states parents should go over their children’s homework daily. There are tips that can benefit both red and blue families. If rural America and poor areas tend to have higher teen birth rates and unstable families then the U.S. Govt should be working harder to bring quality education and jobs and rescources to these areas especially. Also, many jobs that illegals hold may be desirable to poorer and less educated Americans. Hence, the unfortunate recent bias attacks in Staten Island where people in poorer areas were hostile as illegals came to their neighborhoods and took the jobs available in a sluggish job market. Also, since contraception is so widely accepted since the 60’s the governments role in promoting (politically or financially) contraceptives doesn’t seem so vital in blue states. Teens in middle class blue states are educated and now have the access they need.

Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

Sunday, May 9, AD 2010

When I was growing up in the late Sixties and early Seventies the number one sex symbol going away was the actress Raquel Welch.  What little I had heard of her opinions seemed to be those of a conventional Hollywood liberal.  Therefore I was shocked by this column she wrote for CNN on the anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill:

Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.

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6 Responses to Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

  • Putting these two quotations next to each other was a stroke of genius. Many thanks!

  • Amazing how these two different kind of people’s opinions could be brought together in agreement.

  • Divine Wisdom as it’s best…Thank You…GOD!!!

  • “‘I know one thing you don’t. I know the difference between right and wrong. They didn’t teach you THAT at school.’

    Rose didn’t answer; the woman was quite right: the two words meant nothing to her. Their taste was extinguished by stronger foods – Good and Evil. the woman could tell her nothing she didn’t know about these – she knew by tests as clear as mathematics that Pinkie was evil – what did it matter in that case whether he was right or wrong?

    ‘You’re crazy,’ the woman said. ‘I don’t believe you’d lift a finger if he was killing you.’

    Rose came slowly back to the outer world. She said, ‘Maybe I wouldn’t.’

    ‘If I wasn’t a kind woman I’d give you up. But I’ve got a sense of responsibility.’ Her smiles hung very insecurely when she paused at the door. ‘You can warn that young husband of yours,’ she said, ‘I’m getting warm to him. I got my plans.’ She went out and closed the door, then flung it open again for a last attack. ‘You be careful, dear,’ she said. ‘You don’t want a murderer’s baby,’ and grinned mercilessly across the bare bedroom floor. ‘You better take precautions.’

    Precautions. . . . Rose stood at the bed-end and pressed a hand against her body, as if under that pressure she could discover. . . . THAT had never entered her mind; and the thought of what she might have let herself in for came like a sense of glory. A child . . . and that child would have a child . . . it was like raising an army of friends for Pinkie. If They damned him and her, They’d have to deal with them, too. There was no end to what the two of them had done last night upon the bed: it was an eternal act.”

    (The inimicable Graham Greene, Brighton Rock)

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Marriage Improvement

Wednesday, December 23, AD 2009

It seems to me that marriage and family are probably the area in which different sub-cultures of our country have diverged most radically. Reading this New York Times feature about the author’s attempts to improve her marriage is in some ways a more alien experience than reading an anthropological study of some distant tribe. The instinct behind the exercise is laudable:

The idea of trying to improve our union came to me one night in bed. I’ve never really believed that you just marry one day at the altar or before a justice of the peace. I believe that you become married — truly married — slowly, over time, through all the road-rage incidents and precolonoscopy enemas, all the small and large moments that you never expected to happen and certainly didn’t plan to endure. But then you do: you endure. And as I lay there, I started wondering why I wasn’t applying myself to the project of being a spouse. My marriage was good, utterly central to my existence, yet in no other important aspect of my life was I so laissez-faire. Like most of my peers, I applied myself to school, friendship, work, health and, ad nauseam, raising my children. But in this critical area, marriage, we had all turned away. I wanted to understand why. I wanted not to accept this. Dan, too, had worked tirelessly — some might say obsessively — at skill acquisition. Over the nine years of our marriage, he taught himself to be a master carpenter and a master chef. He was now reading Soviet-era weight-training manuals in order to transform his 41-year-old body into that of a Marine. Yet he shared the seemingly widespread aversion to the very idea of marriage improvement. Why such passivity? What did we all fear?

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3 Responses to Marriage Improvement

  • Interesting thoughts. As Catholics, we believe that we were created to know, love and serve God. In serving each other, we serve God. So, in serving our spouse, we serve God. About five years ago, while intensely exploring my faith and trying to understand some things, I decided to stop thinking so much about my needs and try really serving my spouse so as to better serve Christ. Some of the things that were really bothering me, I decided to offer up to Christ for those who were suffering in bad marriages, which mine wasn’t. Somewhere along the way the dynamic of our marriage began to change. As my husband saw me cheerfully serving him, almost no matter what, his attitude changed about a lot of things, and he began serving me more too. Now, about five years later, we have a great marriage, in that we both seem to be able to let the little things go and are better able to communicate about the larger things. When you take the focus off of yourself and just try to serve Christ, amazing things happen. Also – in today’s society, we are so focused on the children that we are spoiling them and often neglecting our spouses. Our order of priorities for our commitments should be: God, spouse, children…when your priorities are straight, a lot of other things fall into place too…

  • Hear, hear. I had the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” playing on my mind as I read. I hope our intrepid authoress doesn’t end up “improving” her union into oblivion.

  • From JP Spear:

    “…if there is a marriage then there is NO maximum required level of commitment to saving the marriage. ALL effort is required because that is the only thing to be done when a real marriage is in trouble.”

You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.

Friday, November 6, AD 2009

Okay, that’s a heckuva long title for a blog post, but it also happens to be almost perfect for the subject of this particular entry at The American Catholic.

On Tuesday, the voters of the state of Maine — surprisingly — rejected same sex marriage (SSM) and reaffirmed that marriage in Maine is between a man and a woman. Naturally, SSM supporters were shocked and outraged (the Catholic Church appears to be the early target), while supporters of traditional marriage were overjoyed with the results; Maine, after all, isn’t exactly in the Bible Belt.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), was typical of the latter: “Every time Americans vote on marriage, traditional marriage wins.” And she’s right: when it comes to ballot initiatives, SSM is 0-31.

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19 Responses to You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Oleson makes a lot of sense, and my own feelings of despair over the current same-sex marriage debate (despite its repeated losses at the ballot box) have a lot to do with the uncomfortable notion that we’re fighting over the hollow shell of something. If we’re fighting for what everyone else calls “marriage” but is actually the personalist-emotivist vestige of that institution, then we’re doomed to lose the debate. That ship sailed long ago, and it had contraception, divorce, and the sexual revolution stoking its boilers!

    Oleson misses a few points, however, that can be employed in a rational argument for traditional marriage. In addition to the indissoluble and procreative nature of marriage, there are other social/cultural reasons for giving heterosexual marriage preferential treatment. I quite liked the analysis by Canadian professors Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson (neither Christian, one gay) seen here:

    http://catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/ho0064.html

    Based on their cross-cultural/historical analysis of marriage, they conclude that the culture surrounding marriage must accomplish several things:
    (1) the bonding between men and women to ensure cooperation for the common good
    (2) the procreative aspect (plus child-rearing at least until adulthood)
    (3) bonding between men and children
    (4) a healthy form of masculine identity apart from “provider” and “protector” which have been joined gradually by women
    (5) the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults.

    One of the most important things a culture can do is socialize its males; marriage (traditionally understood, with all the duties it entails) is one of the best ways to do that. If the culture fails to support heterosexual marriage by taking away the unique, ritualistic way that it encourages men to “settle down” and “grow up”, we’re in for a lot more trouble than we realize. Yet again we see that marriage has a public/social character that is poorly understood by most Americans today.

  • I have long recognized that the word marriage as it is now being debated does not mean what it has traditionally meant. It certainly does not mean what the Catholic Church means when it says the word marriage. I have somethimes wondered if the suggestions to use the word marriage for heterosexual unions and the phrase “civil union” for homosexual unions might be better replaced among Catholics by a suggestion to abandon the word marriage altogether. It has already been hijacked by the broader culture and there really isn’t much we can do about that. Let the broader culture have the word marriage and let that word refer to heterosexual “marriages” and homosexual civil unions. We on the other hand would use the prhase “sacramental unions” and its meaning would be restricted only to what has traditionally been meant by marriage. I know this isn’t the best option – but in the end it might be the most we can salvage from the wreckage that seems to be coming upon us.

  • It seems to me, however, that the grassroots resistance towards same-sex marriage might stem from the recognition of what marriage really ought to be. Though the failure rate is so high for the real, most people still cling to and hope for the the ideal. That’s not a bad thing, when one considers the alternative is a mercenary cynicism.

  • I’d love to think that you are right, cminor, but I tend to think that the resistance is from a (correct) recognition of what marriage ought *not* be, rather than what it *ought* to be… I guess it’s good that they have that, but it’s still pretty paltry.

  • Stephen Leacock summed up the matter concisely: what was once a sacrament has become a contract.

    Which incidentally reduces all children to bastards, having no claim on the progenitors.

  • I think it is true that we are not in a fight to avoid the redefinition of marriage, but that we are in a fight about whether or not to include homosexual couples in an already redefined marriage. As you point out, that is a battle that can’t be won. I do not see how one can support artificial contraception and reject same-sex marriage without at least some hint of bigotry.

    One interesting question follows: will this logic have any purchase on the large number of Christians (Catholic and Protestant) that oppose same-sex marriage but have been using contraception for at least two generations?

  • What about a faithful Catholic couple who entered into marriage with the full knowledge of sterility? Should we not consider that marriage?

  • RR: “at a fundamental level, marriage is oriented and structured towards childbearing, even if pro-creation never in fact occurs” (emphasis added).

    The same thing applies to a couple that marries beyond the age of fertility… while they will never bear children, their relationship remains fundamentally ordered towards them.

  • Can you spell that out further for me? How is a marriage where procreation is a biological impossibility, fundamentally ordered towards childbearing? And where does that leave people like Caster Semenya who have genetic or hormonal abnormalities which make their gender ambiguous?

  • Because the factors which render the act of sexual love sterile are “outside” of the action itself, as well as outside the intentions of the couple (i.e. all things being equal, they wish they *could* bear children).

    I don’t see that the infinitesimal number of people with indeterminate sexuality have any bearing on this debate.

    What’s your larger objection, RR?

  • Thanks. I don’t have a larger objection, just had questions.

  • Gotcha. Just wanted to see if there was another question “lurking” behind these or not… feel free to follow-up or ask another.

  • RestrainedRadical,

    Excellent questions!

  • I think there is some misunderstanding about the question of procreation in a marriage. The text is in Genesis: “Increase and multiply”. As the footnote in my [old] Bible comments “This is not a precept. God addressed the same words to the birds and animals who cannot receive a precept. It is a blessing”.

    Further, we use the word “procreation”. In a sense husband and wife are responsible for the body of the child [confirmed by DNA]. But it is God who creates the soul.

    For the matter of couples beyond child bearing age, consider Abraham and Sarah.

    The point is not to interfere with the conjugal act.

    Contraception [most of which methods are abortifacient] is properly defined as mutual masturbation. It is degrading to both parties, but particularly to offensive to the woman.

  • Pingback: Round Up – November 10, 2009 « Restrained Radical
  • It is ironic that the net result is that couples who do not, and never will have children, can get married – but couples who do have children, or who want to have children, will be denied marriage.

    Very directly, the argument that same-sex couples can’t get married because marriage is all about having children, means that hundreds of thousands of children across the US are being denied married parents by people who claim that marriage ought to be all about protecting children.

    Hm.

  • Jesurgislac, if marriage means an institution which is intrinsically about sexual love leading to childbirth & childrearing, and which is intrinsically indissoluble, are you interested in said institution?

  • Jesurgislac, if marriage means an institution which is intrinsically about sexual love leading to childbirth & childrearing, and which is intrinsically indissoluble, are you interested in said institution?

    When I meet the right woman. 😉

    Same-sex couples are as likely to have that kind of marriage as mixed-sex couples.

    It would be possible to deny marriage to any couple who physically/biologically couldn’t have children together – but that would mean no woman past the menopause could be allowed to marry, no man with a vasectomy, no woman with a tubal ligation.

    It’s a question of whether you really believe married parents are beneficial to children. If so, there’s no excuse for denying the children of same-sex couples married parents – but that’s what opponents of same-sex marriage do – usually justifying it by claiming that as they believe the children of same-sex couples are already in sub-standard families, those children should be further discriminated against by being denied the benefits of married parents.

  • Jesurgislac:
    Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage has done a great job of outlining the custody issues if same-same unions take place. Also, tax disadvantages of marriage now. Interesting to note her stats on how few same-sex attracted pairs actually “marry.” In other words, she completely blows you ideas about how beneficial same-sex unions are just because they call them selves married.
    You might want to consider the marriage question from the civil rights perspective. In this country our rights are alienable because we are endowed with them by a Creator. Highly doubtful the Judaeo-Christian Creator our Founding Fathers had in mind is okay with a contractual arrangment between two adults of the same gender as marriage. Marriage between a man and a woman is first and foremost a covenantual relationship -the first unit of civilization. Family, cland, tribe, nation – follw OT history and you’ll see what I mean.

Chivalry: A Personal Definition

Sunday, October 25, AD 2009

Chivalry to me is the call for men/boys to respect women/girls even if they apparently don’t respect themselves, or even aggressively market themselves as mere sex objects. The visual hardwiring for males is tough to short-circuit since it is there for some very excellent reasons- but a boy in-training to become a good man, must develop the capacity to say “No” the same as for the girls- and he must learn to divert his eyes rather than feasting on the nearly ubiquitous female forms in various stages of undress parading by our senses. It is no wonder that St.Paul said it was better to marry than to burn, and Jesus laid out some very high standards when He said that lusting for a woman in your mind was adultery- pretty clear advice from someone whose opinions form my own.

I know that girls who don’t have close and affectionate relationships with their own fathers will act out sexually at earlier ages to try to fill in a spiritual hole in their hearts. I hope that with my own girls I can reinforce their beauty and worth in the world by showering them with my attentions, my hugs and kisses, and all the verbal and non-verbal affirmations of their excellence and my love for them- with the added bonus of giving all praise and glory to God for them as gifts to me and their mother and the world. They should never have to feel that they “need” some sexually-charged teen to give them the idea that they are special and deserve physical and spiritual affection from a male in their life. I hope and pray that this gives them some invisible support to make the correct choice to wait until marriage for the very special gift of their physical selves to another.

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6 Responses to Chivalry: A Personal Definition

  • I’m also under the impression that how the father treats his wife affects the perception of young little boys and girls. Especially when they mature themselves, they mimic, imitate, and follow many of the same traits and behaviors their parents act out towards each other when they have spouses of their own.

  • I like your definition, but why do you subjectivize it? Why is it “chivalry … to you”? Why isn’t it just chivalry?

  • Zach-
    Because too many folks have re-defined “chivalry” for their personal use, meaning everything from “oppressing women” through “treat women like smaller, weaker men” and up to more sane definitions.

  • It is a “personal” definition in the sense that I take what I know about chivalry and describe it in my own words and way. Additionally, I add some personal detail by bringing it home to my own relationship with my daughters- so I am not saying that one can view chivalry apart from it’s classic definition- but in application to modern society and one’s own family experiences, there is bound to be some individual touches in the description of one’s personal definition.

  • “Chivalry to me is the call for men/boys to respect women/girls even if they apparently don’t respect themselves…”–Tim Shipe

    …or men and boys.

    Thanks, Mr. Shipe, for re-affirming that the expression “male chivalry” is redundant. And oh, does a female counterpart to chivalry even exist?

  • I think it’d be “polite.” Possibly “being a lady” or “decent.”

    I can think of a lot of examples of things that violate it– from false rape accusations through chewing someone out for holding the door, all the way up to demanding concessions for being female while demanding that everyone ignore that fact….

Brideshead vs. RCIA

Friday, August 28, AD 2009

Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is one of my favorite novels, and unquestionably my favorite Catholic novel. (Spoiler warning for those who haven’t read it — this post has to do with events which take place at the very end.) Not only does Brideshead give powerful and beautiful expression to Catholic themes, but having read it in my late teens, not long before leaving home, it represents one of those crystallizing experiences for me through which Catholicism became not merely something I was brought up in, but something deeply my own and at the root of my understanding of the world.

And yet, there’s a key element of the plot which clashes with the modern experience of joining the Church — as I was reminded tonight when attending the opening RCIA meeting as a member of this year’s team. Near the very end of the novel, Julia (a cradle, though intermittently lapsed, Catholic) tells the man she has been living with for several years (they’re in the process of divorcing their estranged spouses so they can marry):

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9 Responses to Brideshead vs. RCIA

  • As co-director of our RCIA and the so-called “marriage expert” for our parish, I came to the same conclusion as to why so many marriages are declared null – lack of catechesis with no understanding of what a Catholic marriage is. And, I know what it is to be married outside the Church without an annulment – my husband and I both went through the annulment process when he decided to convert after 23 years of “civil” marriage. In fact, nearly every member of our RCIA team has been through the process. It is, indeed, an incredibly rewarding process to walk the journey with the candidates and catechumens.

  • I had a similar thought when read The End of the Affair (not to give too many spoilers, but as in Brideshead, part of the plot turns on the fact that one of the characters was in a voidable marriage and thus was “trapped” according to the Church). My assumption was that whatever the official doctrine, remarriage in the Church in England at that time was just not done (the trouble C.S. Lewis had in marrying Joy Davidman despite her prior marriage being invalid and the fact they were Anglican tended to re-enforce this impression). But the biographical detail about Waugh throws me a bit (I had somehow got the impression that his first wife died after the divorce before he remarried).

  • But the biographical detail about Waugh throws me a bit (I had somehow got the impression that his first wife died after the divorce before he remarried).

    This sent me off into paniced googling, since I had basically assumed that the marriage had been annulled by the Church since I knew his second marriage was Catholic. As it turns out, though, she lived until 1994:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-evelyn-nightingale-1429113.html

  • Yeah, I’m not quite sure how I got the idea that she had died. Weird.

  • I’ve been interested in a while now on how Brideshead is a lament for the losses of the First World War.

    Anyway, here is a good piece on his early life
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/6023040/Evelyn-Waughs-mad-world.html

  • “My assumption was that whatever the official doctrine, remarriage in the Church of England at the time was not possible.”

    How ironic, given that the Church of England was created more or less for the sole purpose of enabling King Henry VIII to divorce and remarry.

    It has also occurred to me that Jack and Joy Lewis’ dilemma regarding their marriage would have been easily resolved had they been Catholic, even though the Catholic Church at the time was regarded as much stricter about divorce. The Catholic Church would have regarded Joy’s first marriage as null and void on the grounds of “ligamen” or a prior bond on the part of Bill Gresham, who had been married and divorced before he met Joy.

  • Is it is possible that the author was presenting people who were under the mistaken impression of how the church dealt with matters and acted accordingly? (I’ve never read Brideshead)

    It is not uncommon though for authors, even sometimes catholic authors, to present the church in a more rigid or legalistic manner than it actually is… and in some ways it is a stereotype often employed in the popular culture.

    God Bless,

  • Interesting post, Darwin. The same thought had crossed my mind second time I read it. Perhaps Waugh was relying on the readers’ ignorance, his point being that Charles was an occasion of sin for Julia–that Julia’s change of heart has her wanting a purer state of life. I never liked Julia–and Charles always seems so wimpy. I never could believe in their love as a higher love. And yet I like the book. Best is the dying Signum Crucis, and Sebastian’s finally finding peace.

  • And yet something Waugh reveals to us, through Lady Julia, is that sometimes God gives us extravagant grace through which we can do what seems impossible and unbearable. When He speaks to us in such a way, the only possible answer is a resounding, if fright-filled, “Yes!”

Culture Crash

Friday, July 17, AD 2009

That mainstream American culture is something of a train wreck is hardly news at this point, and that regard there’s a certain wisdom to the approach, “Let the dead bury their dead,” rather than having the brashness to be the one shouting, “Oh, hey, look! A body!” Still, occasionally one runs across things which are at the same time so sad and so indicative of our cultural ills one feels the need to comment. Such a case, to my mind at least, was this article from the most recent Atlantic Monthly suggesting that for the modern Homo suburbanicus middleclassus marriage is a failed idea which should be pretty much abandoned. Or as the cheery sub-headline succinctly put it: “The author is ending her marriage. Isn’t it time you did the same?”

The author is a 47 year old woman, a successful performance artist married to a musician, who after twenty years of marriage and two children find herself in the aftermath of an extramarital affair deciding that she really doesn’t feel like doing the work to rebuilt a relationship with her husband.

Which is not to say I’m against work. Indeed, what also came out that afternoon were the many tasks I—like so many other working/co-parenting/married mothers—have been doing for so many years and tearfully declared I would continue doing. I can pick up our girls from school every day; I can feed them dinner and kiss their noses and tell them stories; I can take them to their doctor and dentist appointments; I can earn my half—sometimes more—of the money; I can pay the bills; I can refinance the house at the best possible interest rate; I can drive my husband to the airport; in his absence, I can sort his mail; I can be home to let the plumber in on Thursday between nine and three, and I can wait for the cable guy; I can make dinner conversation with any family member; I can ask friendly questions about anybody’s day; I can administer hugs as needed to children, adults, dogs, cats; I can empty the litter box; I can stir wet food into dry.

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33 Responses to Culture Crash

  • I guess the first thing I’d say to any of these materialistic people is “No matter how bad you think your life sucks it can get a lot worse, trust me.” Not that that would dissuade them from any course of action.

  • Gee, I thought I heard “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy in the background as I read this article. Time to dig out the platform shoes and glitter T-shirts.

    You would think the author invented the idea of “nuturing superdads” staying home to change diapers and cook dinner while the moms went off to work. She’s not a youngster, so I wonder where she was in the ’70’s, when Mr.Mom and the sensitive male were supposed to be the wave of the future. In fact, all the alternative lifestyles she breathlessly catalogs were exhaustively discussed – and practiced by some “enlightened” souls – 30 years ago.

    Since then, research has clearly shown that children do best in a two-parent household where the parents are married to each other. But then, it’s not really about what’s good for the kids, is it? It’s about – well, Tom Wolfe didn’t call it the Me Decade for nothing.

  • It’s one thing for a silly post-modern feminist to come out against traditional marriage. When a “Catholic marriage spokesman” does it, it’s a bit more outrageous:

    Who said this?

    “Statistically, children do best in a family where the adult relationship is steady, stable and loving. Note that I stress adult, not married, since there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with heterosexual couples.”

    Was it

    (a) The head of the Consortium of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Anti-Discrimination voluntary and Community Organisations

    (b) The chair of the Haringey and Islington Travellers, Roma and Refugees Education and Information Strategy Board

    (c) Terry Prendergast, chief executive of Marriage Care, the Catholic Church-linked marriage agency which is still paid for by churchgoers up and down the country?

    The answer, sadly, is (c). Well, at least he will say it today, in a speech due to be delivered today to gay and lesbian Catholics in Leicester.

    Prendergast is proof that the culture wars are well and truly over (and we lost). Surely there is some second-rate university sociology department that could put him on the public payroll, one would think, and yet so far gone is the fanatical loony Left infiltration of British public life that he ends up working for the Catholic bureaucracy.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100003646/married-couples-no-better-as-parents-says-catholic-marriage-spokesman/

  • I wouldn’t blame the institution of marriage so much as I’d chalk it up to a bunch of insufferable boors trying to live together.

  • The hardness of their hearts.

  • I think my dear husband summed it up pretty well, if not very kindly:
    “It’s people being idiots. That’s always a problem. They probably can’t be happy, just like (family friend who also seems to enjoy being depressed and alone, although he’s mild.)”

  • Funny, but just today on another conservative blog, the blogger quoted an article soon to appear in “City Journal” which claims that marriage is alive and well among the middle and upper classes — it’s the poor who are experiencing and suffering most from the decline of marriage — and that the divorce rate for college educated women has actually DROPPED in the last 30 years. I’ll have to look up the author’s name.

    Another thought: perhaps if “Ellen” and others like had not wasted her “hot 20s” on a bunch of “bad boys” and had instead saved themselves for their spouses, it might have made their single lives duller, but their married lives more interesting! I believe other studies have actually shown that the couples who are overall happiest with their sex lives are — surprise, surprise — religiously observant, married Christians who abstained before marriage!

  • The article cited above is “Marriage and Caste in America” by Kay Hymowitz, in the July 3-5 weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal.

  • Performance artist? Isn’t that just a narcissistic mime in denial? And someone took her seriously?

  • Those stories reminded me of the childish, unhappy spouses in the film Little Children.

  • Good one, Rick!

  • I too was going to mention how marriage is very much an upper-class or middle-class thing. Of course, part of that phenomenon may be because divorce is impoverishing.

    Ross Douthat writes about looking around at his Harvard classmates and noticing they all came from intact families. Pieces like these can only be written by someone so secure that ordinary, necessary human institutions seem superfluous. She looks for example to tribal Africa, with customs not operative in the West since prehistoric times!

    In a previous era, these women would be leading decency crusades against pornography. Now they have careers and permissive attitudes that seem cool in your twenties, but are deadening later in life.

  • Kevin, another part of that phenomenon is that people who can barely support themselves, let alone anyone else, due to lack of education or employment opportunities tend not to marry, even if they already have one or more children. Thus a vicious cycle develops: when men in particular lack employment prospects, they do not marry, leaving women to raise children alone; the children, lacking father figures in their lives, drift into lifestyles that hamper their future employability (dropping out of school, drugs, crime, having children out of wedlock), so they do not marry, and the pattern continues into the next generation.

    I think Darwin has hit on an important point, in that husbands and wives tend to get along better when each has a distinct role that they fill — even if that role is not “traditional” — rather than scrupulously trying to divide everything 50-50. For a number of years when our daughter was young, my husband was the stay-at-home parent and I was the breadwinner, due to the fact that my job paid more and had much better health insurance benefits than the job he had before she was born.

  • Donna V. – I agree with you completely. Terry Prendergast should have lied rather than saying what the studies have found. What’s more important, some silly and obsolete prohibition on “bearing false witness”, or the Greater Good?

    You see, the problem is that while there’s ample evidence that two parents are better than one, and that a stable loving relationship benefits children, what evidence there is also says that it makes no difference if the parents are married or not, or even of different sexes or not.

    Several studies have been conducted on this to prove that a married relationship, and only a married relationship, provides these benefits: but stubbornly, the children of stable, unmarried couples keep on doing just as well as the children of married parents. Even the children of gay or lesbian parents do just as well.

    It would be inhuman to persecute these children so they do badly – so our only course is to supress these dangerous studies, and manufacture from whole cloth data to replace them. Fortunately there are many groups such as NARTH who see the need for deceit here.

    While we all have moral qualms about deceit, it’s the only way open to us if we are to justify these beliefs. An alternate, minority view – one I subscribe to – is that a monogamous and faithful marriage is the best way of assuring that a relationship remains stable, and justifying it that way.

  • The problem with looking to studies, regardless of how great the data and process is, is that they still won’t matter. I don’t think for a minute that anyone who chooses to shack up rather than get married or enter into a gay relationship and adopt kids do so because they think kids will be better off in that sort of home. A study showing otherwise will fall on deaf ears. All the talk that attempts to turn common sense and the Natural Law on their head are merely an attempt to soothe the conscience or transform our society (for the worse, IMO).

  • The problem with looking to studies, regardless of how great the data and process is, is that they still won’t matter.

    Family law and public policy with regard to foster care, adoptions, and even school curricula and discipline can be properly informed by sociological inquiry, and if the politicians are receptive, these studies will matter.

  • Family law and public policy with regard to foster care, adoptions, and even school curricula and discipline can be properly informed by sociological inquiry, and if the politicians are receptive, these studies will matter.

    Very true, and that’s the way it should be. My point, or rather, my cynicism is based on seeing policy and laws derived from contemporary fads and PC mores rather than empirical evidence, common sense, any sense of morality. Those people are not likely to heed any empirical evidence that runs counter to their desires.

  • Folks are also very likely to canex any study that will get them labeled as haters, and thus fired.

    As much as that annoys me, I can understand it….

  • Whatever happened to giving your word and sticking to it? The quoted article is sickening in its childishness. “I want! I want!”.

  • Zoe Brain writes:

    “but stubbornly, the children of stable, unmarried couples keep on doing just as well as the children of married parents. Even the children of gay or lesbian parents do just as well.”

    As I recall, children of such couples turn out to be more likely to be indifferent towards cohabitation and less inclined towards traditional marriage. That’s at least one sign they’re not doing just as well.

  • Zoe Brain: Can you provide a link? Ed West provides a link to one study which shows that children do best in a married two-parent family setting:

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/pubs/experiments.php

    It’s one thing for a silly, self-absorbed performance artist writing for a secular audience to bash marriage. It’s another thing for a man whose salary is paid by the Church and who works for an organization called “Marriage Care” to do it.

  • Oh, and noble truth teller Prendergast apparently missed this story, reported by the notoriously right-wing MSNBC:

    Children living in households with unrelated adults are nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries as children living with two biological parents, according to a study of Missouri data published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005.

    Children living in stepfamilies or with single parents are at higher risk of physical or sexual assault than children living with two biological or adoptive parents, according to several studies co-authored by David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center.

    Girls whose parents divorce face significantly higher risk of sexual assault, whether they live with their mother or father, according to research by Robin Wilson, a family law professor at Washington and Lee University.

    “This is the dark underbelly of cohabitation,” said Brad Wilcox, a University of Virginia sociologist. “Cohabitation has become quite common, and most people think, ‘What’s the harm?’ The harm is we’re increasing a pattern of relationships that’s not good for children.”

  • Here’s the link to the story I quoted above.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21838575

  • Donna, there was also an article (on the same study, I think) published here:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/camilla_cavendish/article6244593.ece

    I thought it sounded more like “I am Woman, Hear Me Whine”, myself.

  • Oops, nope–multiple studies, opposite sides of the pond. It appears the Brits are finding the same problems we are.

    Recently I noticed a study indicating that the children of gay couples were significantly more likely to experiment with homosexual behavior (indicating behavioral influence and not just biology.) Keep in mind that gay couples raising children together are a very small population with not much history. Though it’s one case, I think the recent arrest of a Duke prof who was attempting to prostitute his adopted son (whom he and his parter were also abusing) should make us all rethink our prevailing paradaigms.
    Link here:http://durham.mync.com/site/Durham/news/story/37372/duke-health-policy-official-arrested-charged-with-offering-his-adoptive-5-y/

  • cminor: That Duke story is disgusting – that child the Duke prof was pimping out is 5 years old. Now, before Zoe Brain rushes back here to accuse me of close-mindedness and bigotry, let me say I think there are certainly unmarried couples – even gay couples – with children who love their kids and strive to do their best by them. And certainly abuse and neglect occur in married two-parent homes.

    “Single moms” have always existed: women who have struggled to raise their children by themselves because their husbands died or deserted the family. Many of them did, and still do, a very difficult job well and their children turn out fine. But never until the late ’60’s and ’70’s did anybody pretend that being a single mom was an enviable state of affairs and a model for young women to emulate. Never until then did people like Zoe try to propagate the romantic myth that children will blossom just fine in any exotic configuration of adults that happens to call itself a family.

    Zoe wrote:

    Several studies have been conducted on this to prove that a married relationship, and only a married relationship, provides these benefits: but stubbornly, the children of stable, unmarried couples keep on doing just as well as the children of married parents.

    Not this study, surely?

    Rates of victimization of children vary significantly by family structure, and the evidence shows that the married intact family is by far the safest place for children.6 (See Chart 3.) Although the United States has yet to develop the capacity to measure child abuse by family structure, British data on child abuse are available. These data show that rates of serious abuse of children are lowest in the intact married family but six times higher in the step family, 14 times higher in the always-single-mother family, 20 times higher in cohabiting-biological parent families, and 33 times higher when the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend who is not the father of her children.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/family/bg1732.cfm#pgfId-1075817

  • Thanks for giving original sources.

    The heritage foundation material is entirely from a book published in 1993, supposedly based on raw data which can be found on the Bureau of Justice Statistics site.

    Except the raw data does not support the conclusions.

    The analysis ignores divorce as a factor. It compares couples who are still married, with single parents who have been in non-marital relationships for less than 6 months.

    If you compare those who have been married (including those subsequently divorced) with those who have been in stable non-married relationships (including ones that have subsequently broken up), the figures are as near as I can tell, identical. I’m open to correction on this, teasing this data out from the masses of tables is not easy.

    We have to be very careful not to confuse cause and effect here – it is not unknown for marriages to breeak up because one partner abuses the children. Being married reduces the chance of abuse, but having been married per se is no protection. If we made divorce more difficult, the rate of child abuse in marriage would rise.

    From Medscape:

    Oct. 13, 2005 (Washington) — An analysis of multiple studies of 500 households shows that rearing children in a same-sex household does not affect the their self-esteem, gender identity, or emotional health, a Boston researcher reported.

    The researcher and colleagues looked at data from 15 studies evaluating possible stigma, teasing, social isolation, adjustment, sexual orientation, and strengths. The findings were presented here at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition.

    “The vast consensus of the studies is that children of same-sex parents do as well as children whose parents are heterosexual in every way,” Dr. Perrin said. “In some ways, children of same-sex parents actually may have advantages over other family structures.”

    It has been estimated that one to six million children are being reared by committed lesbian or gay couples in this country. Some children were born to a heterosexual couple and later raised by a same-sex couple; others were placed in foster homes, were adopted, or conceived through a surrogate mother through artificial insemination.

    Previous studies of same-sex parenting have been criticized for being biased, but Dr. Perrin said the research team was extremely careful to select only solid, evidence-based research for review.

    Based on nine studies from 1981 to 1994 of 260 children, aged three to 11 years, reared by either heterosexual mothers or same sex-mothers after divorce, the researchers found there was no difference in intelligence of the children, type or prevalence of psychiatric disorders, self-esteem, well-being, peer relationships, or parental stress. “The children all had a similar emotional experiences with divorce,” she said.

    What they did find was that after divorce children being reared by lesbian mothers had more contact with fathers than children reared by divorced heterosexual mothers, Dr. Perrin said. “There are interesting suggestions that these children are more tolerant of differences.”

    A separate longitudinal study of 37 children of 27 divorced lesbian mothers and an equal number of children with divorced heterosexual mothers found no differences in behavior, adjustment, gender identity, and peer relationships.

    “What is exciting about this study was that they followed the children 11 years later when they became adults,” Dr. Perrin said. “But they still found no difference in adjustment, self-esteem, psychiatric or psychological problems, family relationships, or in identifying sexual orientation.”

    Four other large studies of more than 100 couples that evaluated children either born or adopted into families found that same-sex parents were more likely to have contact with extended family for social support as well as a more equal division of labor in the home. However, children of same-sex parents did experience some stigmatization.

    “The researchers found no differences in the parents other than that lesbian couples share household and child care tasks more equitably,” said Dr. Perrin. “The children of lesbian couples also appeared to be less aggressive, more nurturing to peers, more tolerant of diversity, and more androgynous,” playing with toys for both boys and girls.

    A further analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health used randomly selected representative data from 44 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years. The study compared children living with two women in a “marriage-like” relationship to teenagers living with two heterosexual parents.

    The study showed that the adolescents were similar in intrapersonal adjustments such as self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. They also were similar in school success, family relationships, and neighborhood integration, Dr. Perrin said.

    “What is striking is that there are very consistent findings in these studies,” she concluded. “But further study conducted in a long-term systematic manner in community samples needs to be conducted.”

    Personally, I think it very likely that the additional stability of marriage vows is very desirable in a relationship. The problem there is that this inescapably leads to an argument for gay marriage, or at least a legal recognition of a relationship which is an exact equivalent, looking at things purely from the view of child welfare.

    I’m more troubled by the serial polygamy practiced in the USA, with it being seen as quite normal and socially acceptable for people to have been divorced and re-married, often more than once.

  • Donna V.

    Never until then did people like Zoe try to propagate the romantic myth that children will blossom just fine in any exotic configuration of adults that happens to call itself a family.

    I think it is time I put in a disclaimer, as honesty compels me to say that my objectivity has to be severely questionable in such matters.

    I am in about as “exotic” a relationship as it is possible to be. One that has had canon lawyers and theologians scratching their heads and praying for guidance. The Magisterium remains silent, and I expect an answer long after I’m dead, if ever.

    There’s a condition called “Intersex”, meaning born with a body neither wholly male nor wholly female. There’s hundreds of different medical syndromes under this broad category – women with the 46xy chromosomes usually only found in men, men with the 46xx chromosomes usually only found in women, both men (Usually) and women (rarely) with 47xxy chromosomes, people with ambiguous bodies classifiable as neither, mosaics and chimerae with either male or female body parts – and male or female chromosomes in them – depending on which part of the body you look at, all sorts.

    True fertile hermaphrodites are nearly unknown, one in several million.

    More common, but still rare, are serial hermaphrodites, those born looking like one sex, but who change in a natural process to the other. Very rare in humans, though the norm in many other species.

    Usually the change is from female to male, and happens during a late puberty, due to either 5ARD or 17BHDD syndrome. Very few such people marry that early. Usually. Female-to-male changes can sometimes be complete, and the men able to father children, though usually they’re partial, and the men are sterile.

    About 1% of such changes go the other way, and about 8 out of 10 of those happen around age 45-50.
    Before the change, the women concerned are usually misdiagnosed as mildly intersexed men. It’s only when they have a female puberty in their late 40’s that the medics give them vast numbers of tests, and re-diagnose them as severely intersexed women. The change is never complete, and sterility results. But while they’re infertile before the change, they may not be sterile. They’re often married, with children, as they have the normal maternal instincts.

    So… I’m married. But to another woman. And we have a son. Our relationship is celebate (of course), as neither of us are lesbian.

    “Exotic relationship” is right. But our vows were “in sickness and in health”, no cavils or waivers for what medical conditions counted. We love each other just as much as we always did. And we love our son, who is our whole world, and who needs two parents.

    If the data had said that being raised by same-sex parents was bad for children, we would have separated and found new partners. It would certainly have been easier than lifelong celibacy, even though we love each other dearly. You do after nearly 30 years of marriage. So we did a lot of research on the subject.

    I admit though that my objectivity under the circumstances must be questionable at best. My son’s welfare depends on us successfully making this “Romantic Myth” a reality. We just don’t have the choice to do anything else.

  • Zoe, thanks for sharing your story, though it must have been difficult for you. I would like to add a few points here that I hope will be helpful to you although I am hardly an expert in sociology or canon law.

    What is true as a general rule is not necessarily true in every individual case. I’m sure all of us know people raised by single or divorced parents who turned out just fine and went on to have stable marriages. We also know people who were raised in intact families who turned out seriously messed up. It doesn’t change the fact that IN GENERAL, it’s better for children to be raised by a married mother and father.

    Also, there’s a big difference between a “broken” or “exotic” family situation that occurs as a result of circumstance, through no fault of the persons involved (e.g. being widowed with young children; a single aunt/uncle taking in an orphaned relative) and one that is entered into deliberately with little or no regard for the welfare of the children involved (a single mom choosing to cohabit with a guy she just met).

    If I understand your situation correctly, you and your wife did not choose to enter a same-sex relationship — it happened long after your marriage due to a medical condition that caused you to become biologically female. As a result you now live in celibacy, but remain faithful to your original marriage vows. It’s not the same as a same-sex union in which the persons involved clearly identify themselves as gay or lesbian, enter a relationship intended to be homosexual, and choose to bring children into that relationship by adoption or some form of surrogate biological parenthood.

    I don’t know how old your son is, or how aware he is of your condition. You can explain to him at an appropriate time, if you have not done so already, that his dad has an extremely rare medical condition which made him become female later in life. It doesn’t change the fact that you and your wife entered a traditional, valid marriage. No “romantic myth” involved there, just two people who take their marriage vows seriously even when life dealt them a hand they probably never imagined.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d present a more objective point of view in hopes that it would be helpful to you. Your family will be in my prayers.

  • Zoe, in an earlier post I wrote: ” let me say I think there are certainly unmarried couples – even gay couples – with children who love their kids and strive to do their best by them. ” You are not unmarried, nor are you and your wife exactly a typical gay couple. You did not opt for a sex change operation; what happened to you was beyond your control and both you and your spouse have made the best of a situation that is unimaginably difficult. I apologize for my earlier snarky tone and wish you and your family well.

    I’m with Elaine here. I think the reason I reacted so strongly to the article posted by DarwinCatholic and to Prendergast’s statement is that I am only a few years older than the woman who wrote that article. Over the years I have known many people who think like her. I also have seen what impact the sexual revolution has had on their lives (and on my life; I am very far from being free of sin in this area). I have also seen the impact on the lives of their children and so I bristle when people who are old enough to know better still pretend that it’s all been just one big jolly romp and accuse anyone who says otherwise of prudery and intolerance. That is simply willful blindness.

    My ex- brother in law left my sister, his wife of 20 years and his then-13 year old son for a 26 year old. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I answered the phone at 2 a.m. to listen to her sob while that was going on. The 26 year old got pregnant, but, contrary to the other woman’s expectations, he did not marry her after he divorced my sister. So now he’s a 60 year old man with 2 year old twins who spends a lot of time in court. My best friend’s husband left her and their 2 children for someone he met online. I could go on and on and on – and so could most of us, I suspect.

    I agree that a stable relationship, even one outside of marriage, is probably better for children than serial pologamy. The trouble is that it is very difficult for me to think of anybody I know who has one. A lot of my friends “shacked up” with guys back in their 20’s and 30’s – none of them are still with those men. One issue I have with gay marriage is that none of the gay men I was friends with back in my younger years exhibited much respect for the idea of monogamy, whether they were in a relationship or not. And these were not flaming queens, but respectable, very “straight-acting” men. They did not fill me in on the specifics of their sex lives, but I learned enough to know that casual sexual encounters are considered entirely acceptable by many gay men, even those in relationships. Men with SSA who are living chastely are the outliers. (Apparently, fooling around is less acceptable among lesbians – I can’t say because I’ve never known any lesbians well.) So, at a time when children are already suffering from the effects of selfish and irresponsible behavior on the part of straight people who have to scratch every itch, do we open the floodgates even wider and pretend that marriage and adoption of children by people in a subculture already famous for promiscious sex will do no harm?

    My problem with Prendergast is that a spokesman for a Catholic organization that supposedly promotes Christian marriage ought to be, er, promoting Christian marriage, not pretending that having a wedding ring on the finger or not makes no difference as long as the relationship is “stable.” Especially in the UK, where marriage rates are at an all-time low. It’s like having the Surgeon General tell a group of smokers that an occasional Marlboro really won’t hurt.

  • A friend working in a large urban hospital in a poor section of town reports on the large number of abused babies. It happens in “relationships” where the man is not the father of the baby. And when the baby cries [as babies tend to do] will beat the child.

  • At the risk of (temporarily) de-railing the thread – my thanks to everyone for your best wishes. A few clarifications. Yes, it hasn’t been easy – but the change was a release from a terrible situation I’d resigned myself to live in with what grace I could. I just hoped for an early and honourable death.

    In that regard, I was no different from any trans woman. I don’t see their situation as being any more of a choice than mine was. In fact, the only difference between them and myself is that I lacked their courage to act with honesty and integrity. I kept on living a lie until that became impossible.

    My son has just turned eight. He was three at the time the change started. I used to do (and still do) some simple stage magic, making coins vanish and re-appear to entertain children, that kind of thing. He viewed my changing into a woman as being just another magic trick.

    He understands more now. There are some children at his school with two mommies, but he’s the only one whose daddy turned into a girl before his very eyes. He doesn’t say that to other kids though, as they don’t believe him.

    It is… difficult… explaining to new after-school carers and teachers just exactly what the relationship between my boy and myself is. You just have to see the funny side.

    Women as terribly intersexed as I am are almost always unable to have children. Now I could not carry my child, and yes, my instincts feel a pang there, but he is my son, my own flesh and blood, and my heart goes out to all those women who were unable to conceive. I wasn’t either, but I cheated.

    I’d count my blessings – but I have far too many of them to count. Let’s see, a release from a hellish situation (you know about half in that situation suicide?), able to have a child despite unbelievable odds… Oh yes, I’ve been blessed all right. The only question I have is why me? Why not one of the many people I know who deserve it far more than I did?

    Now after that little digression, back to the issues at hand.

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Father Alberto Cutie Leaves The Catholic Church For The Episcopals

Thursday, May 28, AD 2009

Alberto Cutie

Father Alberto Cutié has abruptly left the Catholic Church and has joined the Episcopal church today.  Father Cutié was recently caught in a scandal involving a woman in a two year affair and asked and received an indefinite leave of absence from Archbishop John C. Favalora.  This has come as sudden and unexpected news to the Church.  Archbishop Favalora of Miami has not spoken with Alberto Cutié since his request and has expressed shock at the news.

“I am genuinely disappointed by the announcement made earlier this afternoon by Father Alberto Cutié that he is joining the Episcopal Church,”

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39 Responses to Father Alberto Cutie Leaves The Catholic Church For The Episcopals

  • So, pursuant to his original premise concerning the high regard he had for the Catholic Faith, he effectively demonstrates his loyalty to such principle by yielding to the abhorrent Act of Supremacy?

    Where are the loyal Romanists of today who would, though few in number, rise up and stand bravely & ever the more faithfully to their beloved and ancient Catholic Faith in a modern-day Pilgrimage of Grace?

    Our worst enemies, it seems, tend to come from within than without.

  • (Incidentally, thanks Tito! TAC citizenship finally restored!)

  • Father Alberto Cutié’s actions do not come without consequences. He will no longer be able to celebrate the sacraments and preach or teach on Catholic faith and morals in the Archdiocese of Miami. Archbishop Favalora further added, “His actions could lead to his dismissal from the clerical state”…

    Somehow I don’t think those “consequences” are going to matter much to this priest.

    this “bishop” needs reminding that the Episcopal ecclesiastical community was born and based on adultery

    Reminds me of the Newt…

  • Reminds me of the Newt…

    to Protestant we may now safely add Novatianist to Michael’s pedigree.

  • or Donatist, take your pick.

  • You can’t call me a Donatist. The Donatists lived a long long time ago.

  • Somehow I don’t think those “consequences” are going to matter much to this priest.

    not in this life anyway.

  • The “fiancee” was described early on (when the very first stories about him on the beach with a woman) as “divorced”. Does that matter in his plans to “marry” her once he is laicized?

    What an astounding display this whole thing is.

  • Reminds me of the Newt…

    Really, Michael, you might do well to step back and examine the things you say through a Christian lens. I don’t care any more for Newt than I do any other stranger, but think about what you’re doing. Aside from me thinking your politics bear poor witness to the Faith (my opinion, anyway), stuff like this is giving awful witness in an objective sense. You’re not really condemning adultery here nor are you identifying and calling out wrong or evil actions. What you’re doing is saying that repentance and conversion is futile. There’s no room for mercy and a new start. Ironically enough, it’s that mercy and hope for a new start that usually touches the convert, and how fortunate it is that the Church was built on that sort of encouragement rather than reminding us of our past sins at every opportunity.

  • Our gain is the loss of the Episcopalians.

  • Chesterton once said that journalism largely consists of saying “Lord Jones Died” to people who had no idea Lord Jones was even alive.

  • Now think about this. The Episcopal Church takes within weeks a Catholic Cleric

    (1) That very well might have been living a life of sin outside marriage
    (2) Was in the middle of emotional and public turmoil
    (3) and within WEEKS WEEKS ordained him a Episcopal Priest”

    My God when Anglicans come over there is a huge period of discernment and evaluation.

    What was this Anglican Bishop thinking over there.

  • jh,

    He’s maximizing this for full effect.

    In response to Archbishop Favalora’s statement of ecumenical manners, Bishop Frade basically said “sour grapes”, or more like “na-na-a-boo-boo” while sticking his tongue out.

    Classy.

  • JTBF,

    The “fiancee” was described early on (when the very first stories about him on the beach with a woman) as “divorced”. Does that matter in his plans to “marry” her once he is laicized?

    What an astounding display this whole thing is.

    Unless the Holy Father dispenses his vows of celibacy in addition to laicizing him he is impeded from marriage on that grounds as well.

    While we feel a sense of relief that this is now an Episcopalian problem, there is a tragic consequence… mercifully Anglican orders are invalid so no sacrilege takes place at their services. With an ordained priest, unless there is a defect of form, or intent he is confecting a valid sacrament.

  • 1. “Fiancee.” Always a good reason.

    2. Is he more like Henry VIII? Or the British cat who tossed aside the crown for his American cutie? Or just handsome dude who was caught in really embarrassing picture?

    3. Seems like the Episcopalians owe us something for signing a Free Agent. Cash, or seminarians to be named later.

    4. Think people will follow him on teevee now that he’s switched teams? And just what will we do with those old Padres jerseys with his name on the back? Round here in Philly, public jersey burnings after Terrell Owens left Birds for stinking Dallas Cowboys. Somehow, joining the Fighting Episcopalians doesn’t inspire confidence.

    5. Cheap p.r. stunt by all concerned. Pay no heed and pray for his soul.

  • Gerard E.,

    4. I’m an Eagles fan and I think we can still win the Super Bowl this upcoming season, if only McNabb plays consistent.

    5. Cheap PR stunt by the Episcopal bishop IMO.

  • This is so very sad. I hope the people in his people aren’t terribly confused or distraught by this, especially children.

  • What you’re doing is saying that repentance and conversion is futile. There’s no room for mercy and a new start. Ironically enough, it’s that mercy and hope for a new start that usually touches the convert, and how fortunate it is that the Church was built on that sort of encouragement rather than reminding us of our past sins at every opportunity.

    Well said, Rick. Thank you.

  • Unfortunate, but at least consistent.

    He clearly values his personal actions more than belief in truth. He found a place to match his choices.

  • Naah, MI’s not being a Donatist, at least by the America magazine definition. He’s not “attempt[ing] to keep the church free of contamination by having no truck with [governmental] officialdom.”

  • Alberto Cutie lied to the Roman Catholic Church. He seems not to understand the consequences of his actions. His lack of honesty says nothing good about him. I admired him. Now, I see a man that is arrogant, defiant, selfish, opportunistic…. The woman that he will marry is not a good woman of faith. She is the one who first contacted him and let him know about her interest for him. Bishop Leo Frade apppeared happy to welcome Alberto Cutie(I no longer respect him to call him Father), he will bring money to the new church. It is a shame that this church accepts people of low moral character. Shame on you Alberto Cutie.

  • I don’t know who is more delusional, Cutie or Fade.

  • “I admired him.”

    Cutie is but the 2nd priest on EWTN who, like Fr. Mark, initially professed such a high regard for the Catholic Church and their Catholic Faith on past EWTN broadcasts.

    I will, henceforward, be a little more cautious & skeptical concerning not only clergy but of any person who generally appears there, less these become but another Judas Iscariot and the once fond admiration held by not only myself but by impressionable family members are not only wasted but contributing to final cynicism especially as regarding those whose sincerity for the Faith essentially boils down to not a Calling eminating from Christ but, ultimately, a Calling eminating from the loins.

  • I think JH is onto the bigger story here. A priest leaving the Church is nothing new, but the Anglicans willing to take him after such a turn around is so insulting that it can’t help but to seriously harm ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Catholics, particularly in that area.

  • Michael D.,

    insulting to who exactly? The real setback is not any offense from this, it’s the fact that the Episcopals are really not Christian anymore, and the Worldwide Anglicans are not far behind (with but a few exceptions).

    Time to move this to the “inter-religious” category.

  • The dialogue between Michael Denton and Matt McDonald only proves this already self-evident deterioriation within the ranks of even the Catholic Church herself.

    To actually deplore the heretics in such a way so as to give them credence, as would seem the case in Michael’s own comments, and, even further, to state that “Episcopals are really not Christian anymore“, shows just how accomodating we have become to what was once considered heresy.

    Perhaps what Cutie has done is not so exceptional after all.

  • While I am inclined to agree with Matt that dialogue with the American Episcopal church is increasingly a waste of time and valuable tree pulp that can be put to better use elsewhere (e.g., Charmin), it’s not fair to write off the entire Anglican communion as apostate. Certainly the western branches (North America, England) are “apostate-friendly,” but the African and Asian Anglicans are still a very solid lot who preach Christ crucified.

  • Dale Price,

    While I am inclined to agree with Matt that dialogue with the American Episcopal church is increasingly a waste of time and valuable tree pulp that can be put to better use elsewhere (e.g., Charmin), it’s not fair to write off the entire Anglican communion as apostate. Certainly the western branches (North America, England) are “apostate-friendly,” but the African and Asian Anglicans are still a very solid lot who preach Christ crucified.

    I said not far behind, and the exceptions I’m referring to are the Africans and Asians. I guess I was being a little “euro-centric” in my “but a few”, since they are a pretty substantial portion in reality.

    Additionally, inter-religious dialogue is also important, but it is decidedly different from “ecumenical” dialogue.

  • e. ,

    The dialogue between Michael Denton and Matt McDonald only proves this already self-evident deterioriation within the ranks of even the Catholic Church herself.

    To actually deplore the heretics in such a way so as to give them credence, as would seem the case in Michael’s own comments, and, even further, to state that “Episcopals are really not Christian anymore“, shows just how accomodating we have become to what was once considered heresy.

    Perhaps what Cutie has done is not so exceptional after all.

    I’ve sometimes been a defender of you despite your often rancorous approach, but I have to tell you I’m starting to question your sanity.

    Adherence to a heresy generally does not exclude one from being acknowledge as a Christian, one who departs entirely from Christianity is an apostate.

    The Catechism is a sure norm in understanding your Faith better to avoid such error in the future:

    2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”11

    I doubt one could avoid the sin of calumny if suggesting that Fr. Cutie is guilty of apostasy just yet.

  • Matt: Yeah, it was the “but a few exceptions” part I had a problem with. The solid branches of Anglicanism contain the majority of the adherents (if not the actual monetary resources).

  • Rancorous?

    I suppose that those who hold to a more traditional Catholicism are a deeply malevolent bunch indeed.

    More Luther, Less More.

  • Since when did embracing genuine tradition automatically render one a schismatic?

    There was a time when a person such as that was simply called ‘Catholic’.

    And people wonder why there are the Iafrates of the world; if anything, such folks are but the inevitable products of such an age as this where the Thomas Mores of the world are put to the rack while the Luthers of the world are ultimately heralded as Saint.

    To answer the question put before me, no I am not; I remain loyal to the Church of Rome, though I remain dis-loyal to the modernity that tends to possess a certain of its members.

  • I could only assume since you reject the Church’s understanding our separated brethren since the council of Trent that you were SSPV.

  • Matt,

    I have no personal quarrel with you or monsieur Denton; only with the heresy itself that you and he seem to hold in special regard.

    Ecumenism is a necessarily Christian act in healing a now hideously divided Christendom torn asunder by the innovations of heresy that has hitherto unfortunately fragmented the Body of Christ; what is unnecessary and, indeed, outright blasphemous is accomodating heresy so as to sacrifice our very Catholicism. That does not promote the healing of Christian divisions; on the contrary, it promotes further Christian disfigurement.

  • e.,

    what is the exact expression from either of us that you find so offensive? I fail to see where we have done what you accuse us of.

  • Sad, but really nothing new here. Anybody remember Emmanuel Milingo, the African archbishop a few years back who joined the Moonies, married one of them, and eventually went schismatic and ordained married bishops? Remember Fr. Francis MacNutt and Fr. Brennan Manning, who were both pretty well known in the charismatic movement back in the 70s? They left the Church to marry and eventually went off into their own ministries. Remember Fr. George Stallings, the African-American priest who eventually started his own schismatic church? There are plenty of other examples.

  • I can’t help to see how many Romanists are so clueless about Anglicanism. Just remember Pope Leo XIII only declared Anglicans “Null & Void” in the 1890’s – and that was at the behest of the English Roman Catholic Hierarchy. That means that from the Reformation until the 1890’s, Anglican clergy were “Valid but Irregular,” an amusing Romish comment. Do you want to curl a few more clerical hairs? The Episcopal Church (American Anglicans) has, for well over 100 years – until 1976, had its Bishops co-consecrated by the Bishops of the “Old Catholic Tradition” (Polish National Catholic Church in the USA). It was John Paul II who formally recognized and welcomed back all PNC Bishops/Priests, Deacons and congregations into Full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Think what that does to the legitimacy of the Anglican Clergy whose Apostolic Succession can be traced to these PNC Bishops? In the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY alone, our Bishops have always had 2 or more PNC Bishops at Consecrations of our Bishops. I remember PNC Bishop Zilinski and others who shared their Apostolicity with us Anglicans. It’s funny to have so much in common and still have all the backbiting, name calling and finger pointing between Roman Catholics and Anglicans. It was Paul VI who called us a Sister Church. We as Anglicans proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ as Savior, we celebrate 7 Sacraments, Celebrate Holy Mass, which some of us call Divine Liturgy, Holy Communion or Eucharist and we try to teach the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith as is found in the Holy Scriptures and the traditions of Holy Mother Church. But what do we do – we focus on our differences rather than our commonality and faith. Satan loves to see us fight and otherwise have us not hear God’s small voice, “that we all may be one.” I think that things, on either side are not so cut and dry, let alone pure. Our Catholic Christian faith should empower us to practice what we preach and in doing so, always remember that for the people of the world “we may be the only Bible that people will ever read.” In the end – as we stand before the awesome throne of God – it will be our faith in action, our sin repented and a loving and forgiving God who will judge our worthiness to enter into Heaven itself. We strive to “daily die to sin,” for that one day that we will hear from our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

  • The schism between Rome and the Anglican Church is more complex still. Unlike the earlier Henrican schism, not a single serving diocean bishop accepted the new ecclesiastical regime set up by Parliament and all were thus forced to resign. As such, only an extremely partisan and polemic reading of history can portray this (the product of the sidelining of the whole hierarchy and the explicit intrusion of the civil power in Church affairs) as a unilateral act on the part of Rome.

    Even then, the new excommunicated bishops were still invited to participate in the Council of Trent to help resolve the schism. Those disposed to do so where prevented by the Crown. I suspect that it is only at this point that Rome concluded that the matter ceased to be merely disciplinary and entered into the realm of formal definitive schism (to be reinforced by formal heresy under the Edwardian regency).

    But my point isn’t to launch into a historical argument about who did what to whom. A joint, fair, nuanced and intellectually honest reading of history is part of a process reconciliation that involves accepting the other’s “truths” as legitimate, no matter how painful or inconvenient, so long as it has a factual basis. Reading selective history used to score polemic points is just tiresome.

    Unlike my interlocutors, I as well as Rome consider the matter concerning the Anglicans still guilty of heresy and, therefore, remain, as it were, obviously invalid as concerning their purported ‘holy orders’.

Tortured Credibility

Friday, May 22, AD 2009

It has become an oft repeated trope of Catholics who are on the left or the self-consciously-unclassifiable portions of the American political spectrum that the pro-life movement has suffered a catastrophic loss of credibility because of its association with the Republican Party, and thence with the Iraq War and the use of torture on Al Qaeda detainees. Until the pro-life movement distances itself from the Republican Party and all of the pro-life leadership who have defended the Iraq War and/or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on detainees, the argument goes, the pro-life movement will have no moral authority and will be the laughing stock of enlightened Catholics everywhere.

Regardless of what one thinks about the Iraq War and torture (myself, I continue to support the former but oppose the latter) I’m not sure that this claim works very well. Further, I think that those who make it often fail to recognize the extent to which it cuts both ways.

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42 Responses to Tortured Credibility

  • I don’t think being “pro-life” will lose credibility because the position is True, but “pro-lifers” who associate with other violations against human dignity might.

    Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    The decision was not only an act of aggression, it was unconstitutional and a strategic blunder. It put us on the road to bankruptcy and rather than secure our safety I believe it to be contributing to an environment for further violent conflict. The truth is, almost a decade out from 9/11 and we were given Saddam Hussein on a platter instead of Osama bin Laden.

    The fact of this occurring under a Republican administration is rather irrelevant. If party actually mattered the war funds would have been taken away by the Democratic congress at any time after 2006. Now, half a year into Obama’s tenure and the line on withdraw is “give us three years”.

    The fact that this messy war has tainted other Republican “values” is not surprising. Look at everyone suddenly crying out that capitalism has failed!

    I would expect that if Obama does not end the war in a satisfactory way by the next election, or if there is a new conflict in Pakistan or Africa… leftist values too will begin to be dragged down. Voters will become sick of everything he says, just like Bush. The anti-war left would likely be as deflated and the pro-life right.

    If you ask me its the insanity of tribalism at work. If you take the “us vs. them” two party system and combine it with the general ignorance… well what do you expect? And besides, its not as if people on the genuine left and the genuine right really make it into power, is it?

    The war was never about securing the American people. It was however, about securing the American federal government; it dominance and control. Thats something both center-left and center-right can agree on. Ironically, they are losing both bit by bit, British-style.

    To this day I believe that the path to regain power is within Republican hands: all they have to do is repudiate the war. Maybe change their name, too. 🙂

    As far as the pro-Life movement is concerned… I do indeed think it is in their best interest to grow beyond the party. I think they have to if they are looking to build majorities that can withstand the back-and-forth of American politics.

    Most libertarians seem to be pro-choice, which is mind-boggling. There’s room there to grow a little bit.

    Pro-lifers do not need a majority of Democrats on their side. Just enough to make the larger party think twice when it comes to abortion legislation. They have to consider which piper they are going to pay. If abortion were more often argued in terms of the civil rights movement, perhaps left-leaning politicians could be persuaded.

    I guess, Darwin, my broader point is – none of it matters. Its tit-for-tat politics and none of the influential players are interested in moral consistency, just majority-building. By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    Or, perhaps I made no sense, even to myself.

  • Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    Well, I think I can at least claim to have been sober, in that I’d supported forcibly removing Hussein from power ever since 1991. I considered it profoundly immoral for Bush Sr. to have called on the people of Iraq to rise up against their dictator, with the implicit promise that the US would support them, and then leave them to die in the hundreds of thousands instead. I would have supported an invasion at any time since then, and I considered it to be justified, given that Iraq had never satisfactorily obeyed the 1991 cease fire anyway. If Clinton had been willing to get rid of Hussein at any point during his term, I would have supported that.

    I do think that the WMD justification was poor at best. Yes, there was a general belief (even among Iraq’s military) that they had chemical weapons. But they were not a great threat to us. However, given that I’d been in support of deposing Hussein for over ten years already, I didn’t consider the punitive justification a major obstacle to what seemed long overdue already.

    But, I can certainly understand why other Catholics would believe differently.

    By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    I don’t know that I’m so much defending the status who as pointing out that it’s hardly surprising to anyone. There are parts of the GOP platform that I absolutely disagree with (I’d support open borders) but I don’t think anyone does himself any favor by getting all worked up over where the current alignments are. It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. All are known to be highly partisan agendas with established bases of support, and pretending that’s news to anyone does not strike me as doing one credit. Even if one would appreciate realignment.

  • “It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. ”

    I suppose it would depend on how you see credibility. The movement is philosophically credible by being moral and constitutionally correct. But politically I can see how some would say they’ve lost credibility in terms of their ability to win elections, win court cases and influence legislation. If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues. Only the thick-headed would exclusively equate political success to intellectual legitimacy.

  • Anthony,

    If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues

    the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?

    The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

  • The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

    This is due to american historical amnesia, of course.

  • Rather a reaction to the coming Obama Crash. Unless there is a major terrorist attack, and I wouldn’t rule that out, the economy will be the overriding issue in 2010 and 2012 and the signs are not good currently for Obamanomics.

  • Michael I,

    what Donald said. But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well. Their disatisfaction was almost entirely due to the poor state of affairs until it was rectified by the surge which President Bush (R) ordered at the recommendation of General Petreus (R?), and the urging of Senator McCain (R), and the majority of the Republican party. The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over, or that Obama snapped defeat from the jaws of victory, very unlikely since he kept on the Robert Gates(R) to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.

    Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.”

    I think the point is not whether or not the choices, in the short-term, of what seemed best for the survival of the movement is correct. After Roe v. Wade, the Democrats became increasingly dominated by pro-choice politicians, supported by the abortion-minded groups, etc. The GOP was very welcoming.

    I think the point of the criticism (right or wrong) is that possibly unforeseen affects are what we’re experiencing now.

    I think he is saying that the pro-life movement by making itself dependent solely on the success of a single party has made its own success contingent on that party. If positions predominantly accepted by that party are, largely down-the-list, against one’s best judgments of what better achieves justice then despite their pro-life convictions, some will feel disenfranchised and/or uncomfortable or even alienated by the rest of pro-lifers, some, not all, of which give a blind stamp of approval to the platform because of the party’s stance on life issues.

    And because this issue has divided itself across party lines, it appears to be a partisan issue when it really should not be.

    I posted a link from a story in the Human Life Review a while back talking about trouble pro-life Democratic candidates had in receiving funds, despite their records, from pro-life groups; other problems included Republican candidates being endorsed over pro-life Democrats with untainted abortion records — though, as far as I know, this hasn’t happened so much on the federal, rather than, state level. It’s why people — rightly or wrongly — say that some pro-life groups might as well be Republican PACs.

    Another problematic case is the fact that pro-life Democrats are so “diaspora” and not collectively organized at the local levels that it makes it rather difficult, even for principled, pro-life Democrats to actually launch a campaign. They don’t have the resources, even for those who are unequivocally pro-life. Some settle and work in the trenches for pro-life groups or other justice causes. Others simply — and I imagine this happened during the Reagan years — became Republicans.

    As a result, it is very very difficult for the pro-life movement to enter the realm of the Left because fellow pro-lifers are suspicious, perhaps with valid reason, to suspect “double talk” or false pro-life credentials.

    However, this very reality, I think makes the pro-life movement a house divided against itself while the pro-choice movements is moving in lock-step and that’s the source of their temporal victories.

    Now, I’m sure no one is saying that a one-party pro-life party is the way to go to. Some are hesitant, I’m sure for valid reasons, that it is difficult, or even counter-productive, to support self-described “pro-life Democrats.” Perhaps they’re right.

    However, here are my criticisms — some valid, perhaps some not. Everyone will have to judge for themselves.

    When Reagan was the president, the pro-life movement gained quite a bit of ground. Yet, the Clinton Administration quickly turned the direction of abortion and bioethical policies the other way. The Bush Administration was eight years of undoing the damage done by the Clinton Administration and restoring and adding new pro-life policies. Now we’re in another reversal.

    This tit-for-tat can keep going, or the other party can be infiltrated from within. There has not been much ground on this made, necessarily, but the organization Republicans for Choice (http://www.republicansforchoice.com/) are all but invisible. After the election, I’ve read a many articles and seen many people claiming that it was the “values-sector” of the party driving out moderates with their alleged extremism and litmus tests. I’m not making their argument; I am simply stating their assertions. The GOP, as seen, has no problem recruiting pro-choice Republicans to run for office (more than likely in liberal districts) to win office. I suppose the thinking is that it’s better to have someone with you 90% of the time then 0%.

    This reality tried to manifest itself in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries. The pro-life movement responded forcefully — not for the best candidate in my view — but responded nonetheless. Yet, I cannot help but wonder: what if?

    What would happen if the GOP with its new RNC Chair, Mr. Steele, so committed to “inclusion” and diversity and non-application of litmus tests went in a different direction? What if, God forbid, at some point, the pro-life movement split between viable candidates and all pro-choice and socially moderate Republicans concerned with fiscal conservatism, not cultural values, line up behind a single, less-than-pro-life candidate?

    I think that’s the bind. What is a pro-life person to do in this situation? Surely, a hypothetical, cynical GOP strategist might ask: would they really go to the other party? If this did occur: what would you do? Some I imagine would put a protest vote and not vote at all. Others would vote for the GOP, take what they can, and work to change the case next time. But it would surely be a source of division and debate: a house divided against itself. It seems that if voting is a moral obligation, then, one can’t simply sit at home and let good pro-life Republicans lose their seats and more pro-choice seats be taken in Congress by the Democratic party. What about pro-life Governors? What about the Presidency? The latter of two who appoint judges (depending on the State) and can realistically set a judicial seat in the pro-choice camp for perhaps a generation. Right now, that’s the scare with Obama’s SC nominee coming. Surely it would be better — and on this no one disagrees — that power can exchange between the parties and there would be little concern over nominee’s abortion positions.

    It seems that the success of the pro-life movement rises and falls with the GOP. I think it’s problematic.

    I don’t think it’s nonsense per se to envision Republican strategists, pure pragmatists, to realize that abortion is a potent electoral tool and not so much a human rights issue. This isn’t to say that there are several candid and sincere pro-life Republicans serving in public office.

    In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    This goes back to the question of pro-life Democrats. I think many Democrats who are pro-life cannot garner the resources or support to make it to office. The Democratic party won’t fund pro-life candidates, but rather would search for pro-choice candidates — anyone — to run in opposition to such candidates in primaries. That’s the key. A pro-life Democrat might do fine in a general elections against a Republican. In recent decades, they usually win. But rather it is the Democratic primary is an incredible challenge because of a lack of resources to compete against their fellow party-members who are singling them out surely over abortion. The GOP doesn’t hesitate to fund it’s pro-choice candidates: primaries are fair game. Let the voters decide.

    The list of pro-life Democrats who had high political ambitions who realized this reality is growing. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, and many more were all at one point pro-life.

    Now certainly there change of conviction is morally incorrect and a reflection of poor character and courage. Many of such candidates do so for political expediency; others remain “pro-life,” but compromise their position and “moderate themselves” to win some base votes that they otherwise cannot win office without. Some later become explicitly pro-choice; others try to uphold the pro-life facade. Surely, the cooperation in evil doesn’t justify such actions. However, I think the fact that this occurs reflects a support that is not there, not just for cowards who will compromise, but for those who genuinely will seek office and never win it because they aren’t willing to sell out their principles.

    Yet, it just makes me wonder, if a pro-life Democrat launched an exploratory committee to seek the presidency and actually made it onto the ballot for the Democratic primary, how many pro-life groups or pro-life Americans, might actually extend help in resources for such a candidate to survive the assaults of NARAL, Emily’s List, and Planned Parenthood which is without a doubt the most organized, financed political movement in the U.S.? I’m skeptical of the number of people who would cross over from the GOP and cast their vote to ensure the pro-life candidate wins. I’m sure they have their reasons for it as well.

    I’m not sure anything I’ve said is valid or just my jumbled, ramblings.

    Perhaps, my most controversial thought is this…

    I won’t say it is a double standard.

    I just will say I dislike the reality. It seems that to be authentically a pro-life Democrat you must support Republican candidates, even with the most strident conviction that these candidates will not work fervently, or even with passion, to curtail the horror of abortion — but are rather giving you lip service. Right or wrong, I believe this to be the case. Yet, if you vote for or support pro-life Democratic candidates, some, again, not all, will see this as a moral compromise and support for “pseudo-pro-life” candidates. To such candidates, much scrutiny is given; but this same critical eye is not extended to the pro-life politicians in the GOP; it seems to me, perhaps, I’m wrong, they get quite a bypass. Nor do such individuals see any sort of necessity in helping such candidates win and defeat pro-choice candidates in a party direly in need of pro-life presence.

    Pro-life Democrats can never achieve leaders seats on committees and roles of leadership if they aren’t greater in number to be a force not to be thrown around.

    So, at the end of the day, pro-life Democrats seem to have a responsibility to ensure that Republican candidates beat pro-choice Democrats; yet, the issue of pushing their party in a more pro-life direction, seems to be an issue that is sort of “their problem” — and I cannot see how this current reality doesn’t lend itself to helping the Republican party politically. It maintains its hold on a crucial voting bloc.

    So, not so surprisingly, I agree, at least, in part with critics that the pro-life movement in some respects behaves like a Republican PAC.

    As it so happens, two parties that are pro-life forces competition, competition produces results. It seems then that pro-life Democrats are a potent tool for pro-life success. Even from 2000 to 2006, not a piece of pro-life legislation could pass through Congress without the remaining pro-life Democrats to neutralize and overcome pro-choice Republican votes.

  • But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well.

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?”

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    There has to also be a way that makes the pro-life cause and Democratic political interests better partners. Recall that after 2004, some Democrats began to wonder aloud (perhaps not seriously, but still) of becoming more friendly to the pro-life side of things. I had hoped the “Blue Dog” Democrats might be a moderating force, but not so it seems..

    Though, a third party would always be welcome in my view, however unlikely. It will never happen until enough disillusioned but still caring individuals decided to organize and work to breakdown election rules.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    And in the not-to-distant future they will see that Obama is carrying on that proud tradition, just in a lefty, Oprah-y way with nice posters and logos. Whether they have the courage to see past it remains to be seen.

    “The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.”

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Don’t get me wrong… the Democrats are guilty of all that too!

    “Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).”

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008”, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Will inflation be the issue? Of course, thanks to the billions spent, borrowed or created at the start of Bush’s term and exponentially increased under Obama.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

  • Anthony, I agree. Despite my own previous assumptions, I’m not so sure I’ll be crossing over and helping the GOP in 2010; maybe not in 2012.

    I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.

  • “I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.”

    My mind is being tragically torn into a million pieces that the very thought of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome… and POTUS!

    Thomas Jefferson would be very, VERY disappointed!

  • If you say you won’t support pro-life Republicans in 2010 or 2012 for office against pro-abortion Democrats… what’s the logical conclusion?

    If you say you don’t want the Republicans back in power any time soon, and you’re not insane enough to think that somehow a magical third party will take sweep the congress in 2010 and the presidency in 2012, then the only conclusion is you prefer the RADICALLY pro-abortion Democrats.

    If you don’t see the strategy of supporting the Republican party straight ticket, then vote your conscience on each legitimate candidate on his own merits. That’s the ONLY moral option.

  • I said I’d write in candidates.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

    Of course it’s true, 70% of the population supported the invasion, and both parties with a very few exceptions.

    Relevence? It’s relevent to the point of what will happen in 2010/2012.

    Anthony,

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    I agree, we should patiently pursuade the luke-warm to be on fire for pro-life, and for the pro-abortion to be pro-life or at least luke-warm. THis applies to either party of course. Franly though, you can have a much greater influence on Republican platforms that you like or don’t like than you will on dropping abortion from the Democrat platform. THere is just a lot more tolerence for dissenting views in the Republican party.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    I don’t think most people really have as short a memory as you do about the invasion (bipartisan and popular support), if their memory is short they’ll probably only remember that we won (unless Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, and that they’ll REALLY remember. Expensive? In 2003-2008 terms perhaps, but it is so small compared to Obama’s spending sprees it will not really factor on the decision.

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue. 40 million murdered innocents and counting… no comparison.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Shame on you.

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008?, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    That’s my point, Iraq war, initiated under popular support, waged by the Republicans (poorly at times, but later brilliantly and successfully) from 2003-2008. The wrap-up is Obama’s to screw-up, it will not help him if he lets the job be finished properly, but it will devastate him if he screws it up.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

    are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.

  • Eric Brown,

    I said I’d write in candidates.

    let me get this straight. You consider your objections to the Republican platform to be on such a morally equal level to abortion, even when balanced against the alternative’s incredibly immoral policies… that you would vote AGAINST a viable and authentically pro-life candidate in your congressional district, or for president?

    Think about your position here, it’s untennable. If there is a viable and authentically pro-life candidate you have a moral obligation to support him. In the case of two less than authentically pro-life candidates the Church leaves your conscience to measure the best course, but not when one of them is authentically pro-life.

  • Well, I voted for quite a few Republicans in 2008 and not without a lot of hesitation.

    However, the problem is, that I don’t take at face value that the GOP and Republicans are “authentically” pro-life. Better on abortion than Democrats by far, but not per se…

    And I am not sure if it is a Catholic moral obligation to vote straight ticket Republican.

    I might have reservations to cooperate in the scheme, but I’m not opposed to doing it.

    Read my earlier post.

  • “Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue.”

    Killing is killing. Maybe you’re capable of making value distinctions between innocent, unborn children and innocent Iraqi lives (unless you’re convinced none are innocent), but I’m not.

    The “bigger picture” you refer to is only a numbers game. But the result is the same: death, unintended consequences and damage to human dignity.

    “Shame on you.”

    I’m going to explain myself rather than take that personally. This is the internet after all.

    Our intervention in Japan and Germany is not over. We’re still there, in one capacity or another. And we shouldn’t be, regardless of whether the Germans or the Japanese wish us to be. Here it is 60 years after a terrible and bloody war and American treasure is still being sent abroad to places in which the native peoples are more than capable of taking responsibility for themselves.

    Oh yeah, and dropping two atomic bombs? Morally reprehensible. Nothing to be proud of about that. I can’t imagine Christ doing anything other than weeping.

    So sorry, I’m not going to take The History Channel view of American “victory”.

    “Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.”

    Its a trillion dollar war now, Matt. Plus untold losses on the Iraqi side and an incalculable amount lost in terms of productivity. Who cares about percentages at that point?

    If that money had to be spent, it would have been better but towards meeting our burdensome domestic obligations. The bills are adding up…

    By other “foreign policy” spending… do you mean wasted things like… diplomats?! Linguists?! Negotiators?! You know, the guys that try to resolve problems without killing someone. 🙂

    I’ll give you one thing, if you’d get us out of the U.N. I’d back you up. Thats some prime property here in Manhattan I’d love to see sold off.

    “are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.”

    I don’t consider myself a pacifist. I do however, believe that the threshold for a just war is extremely high and rarely reached. Additionally, in cases where it is justly reached rarely is it justly executed. I have the same attitude towards the death penalty.

    The American Revolution and The Southern War for Independence to my mind were justified. (I also want to include The Texas Revolution, but my memory is a bit faded on it) Our involvement in WWII was justified, but I think we should have no delusions about the politics that lead up to our entering the war. I also believe portions of how WWII was executed were unjust.

    The Spanish-American War, WWI (a special shout-out here), the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War I and II etc. are unjust wars in my view.

    The current war in Afghanistan should have been formally declared after 9-11, with victory clearly defined. My opinion has been that it should have been declared specifically against Al-Qaeda, since they did the same to us in the late 90s. War against the state of Afghanistan should only have been declared if they chose to continue material support to Al-Qaeda.

  • I think the issue is less guilt by association than it is the fact that association can draw you into defending things that really shouldn’t be defended. Over the past month, for example, folks at EWTN, First Things, Inside Catholic and the American Life League have defended the use of torture (or enhanced interrogation, or whatever they’re calling it these days). They didn’t have to do that, and I suspect that if the sides had been reversed (with Dems largely supporting these methods and Repubs opposed) that they wouldn’t have done so. But there’s something about politics that makes people feel that they need to “defend their team” regardless of the system.

    To some extent this may be inherent in the nature of politics (if it weren’t for this political ‘team spirit’ I doubt you could get very many people to participate in the political process or even vote). And it certainly applies on the left as well as on the right. But the danger is real.

  • Blackadder is correct.

  • In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    In the interests of precision it should be that George Bush – pere made just two appointments to the Court, one of which worked out badly. Please also note that Republican presidents have had to maneuver eight of their last 12 court appointments past a legislature controlled by the political opposition. This reality has been salient with regard to the tenure of Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. One might also note the list of registered Democrats who have sat on the Court since 1969 (one of which was nominated by Gen. Eisenhower):

    1. William O. Douglas
    2. William J. Brennan, Jr.
    3. Byron White
    4. Thurgood Marshall
    5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    6. Steven Breyer

    Not one of them had to run an obstacle course erected by a Republican Senate. Only one of these (White) ever showed much resistance to enactment by judicial ukase of whatever the prevailing ethos was in Georgetown (and it is doubtful that Mr. Justice White’s most controversial acts of refusal would have been regarded as remarkable either in the legal professoriate or among politicians at the time he was appointed in 1962). Seven of the twelve Republican appointments have been failures, in part because of negligence (Gerald Ford’s and George Bush-pere’s), incompetence (that of Richard Nixon, John Mitchell, and John Dean), and in part because (it is reasonable to surmise) of successful deception by the candidate in question (Sandra Day O’Connor).

    What is a more interesting question is why Mr. Brown would have more than a laconic interest in the competition between the two parties with regard to any other nexus of issues. Both parties are promoters of some version of the mixed economy. The Democratic Party is a reliable ally (the Republicans merely acquiescent) in the promotion of the designs of the social work industry, the organized appetite of academia, the teacher’s colleges, and the public employee unions. Certain subcultures within the population appear to be tribal Democrats). Why should these distinctions excite Mr. Brown’s loyalty?

  • Anthony, I think a lot of it depends on whose ox is being gored. Being partly of Cuban ancestry, I would take issue with your statement that the Spanish American war was unjustified–or at least, that element within it that consisted of Cuban citizens fighting to rout their foreign rulers. And while my Southern creds are impeccable, I confess that I remain deeply divided about the legitimacy of the Wah of Nawthun Agression–particularly the nasty little bit of Confederate adventuring in Charleston Harbor that set off the whole powder keg.

    I am glad to see, however, that you have no false illusions about WWII. Though there is no doubt in my mind that it was justified, I have often reflected recently that the brutality inflicted by all sides–Allies included–in that conflict, makes the sturm und drang about the Iraq War seem doubly ridiculous.

  • Art,

    Then it seems then that more careful vetting would be something GOP presidents should work on and pro-life advocates should strongly affirm that they desire anti-Roe judges and won’t settle for compromises.

    Even in the 1980s, the Democratic party was markedly pro-choice, but there were still a few pro-life Democratic votes in the Senate and I don’t think it was filibuster proof. I’d have to look into that; I’m not so sure if compromise and “moderate” candidates was so necessary.

    Agreed, however, that O’Connor was successful. I must say that I’ve been disappointed with the most recent women firsts — Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, to be particular. They were all pro-choice…so sad.

    On another note —

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform. And I feel that I simply wouldn’t fit in with the GOP. I practically diverge away on every issue.

    In regard to competition, my only point was that if the Democratic Party had a pro-life plank, the GOP couldn’t half-ass deliver on its promises or fail to give abortion the priority it deserves because pro-life advocates could find a home and place in the Democratic Party. Therefore, competition would increase and the party’s would try to out do each other — but the effect of that is real progress in stopping abortion.

    In other words, the tit-for-tat of pro-choice vs. pro-life means one Administration puts in place pro-abortion policies, another Administration rolls it back, then again, and again. Progress is very slow; if this were not the case, then progress would quicken.

    My feeling on this is that the pro-life movement because of the grave evil of legalized murder doesn’t have the luxury to make up strategy as it goes. I happen to think our current strategy is too tied up in one party. People can disagree; but I think my reasons are valid. Thanks.

  • cminor – Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    What I object to in my list of unjust wars is the element of military intervention. Its one thing to philosophically support foreigners, or offer them peaceful-oriented material support (food, medical aide, etc. – mostly for civilians). Violent intervention is a bridge too far. I’m one of those guys who think neutrality is a legitimate and respectable response to foreign wars, especially ones at great geographical distance.

    Eric –

    I’m of the personal view that if the Democrats did have a pro-life bench they would be wildly successful and almost impossible to defeat.

    Granted I’m not a Democrat and never will be. The concerns that their platform addresses I might have heart for, but their solutions more often than not have unintended or misunderstood consequences. LBJ’s Great Society, for example, was anything but. FDR’s social security has contributed ironically to making us less financially secure. These policies, sold to the American public as being in line with liberty, over time make the population dependent – and I would even say pawns or slaves – to the state.

    The Democrats are in essence the party of social and economic intervention. The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism. When politically convenient or necessary, both parties will swap philosophies.

  • Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    Interesting. In most ways, I think I would tend to say the exact opposite.

    Indeed, one of the American wars I have more difficulty justifying is the Revolution. And my sympathies in the Civil War are definitely with the North.

  • The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism.

    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.

    Eric,

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform.

    Wow. That’s quite a statement since many of their platform items are contrary to Catholic teaching.

    – abortion
    – contraception
    – secularism
    – limiting the rights of parents to educate their children

  • Matt,

    Last time I checked, party platforms are quite long lists.

    National security policies (which covers an array of issues), foreign policy (again an array of issues), health care, public funding of education, energy, taxes, fighting poverty through private and public sector solutions, and the list goes on.

    If you consider the whole of the platform, I agree with the vast majority of the points.

    Lastly, I don’t think anywhere in the party platform does it state we support “secularism.”

    I’m not saying that many Democrats have a wonderful understanding of the idea of separation of Church and State, but that’s flat out not in the platform.

    I didn’t say I agree with every point of the platform.

    If we had a point list and went down the party platform of each party and I had to respond ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ — the Democrats would win. Ask me to vote between candidates and probably not.

    Matt, could you really work on not being so overly aggressive and condescending as a commenter? Seriously. It’s not really in this post, but there are more charitable and engaging ways to address people.

    You could have said quoted my comment and asked:

    “Eric, could you clarify what you mean here? A few tenets of the Democratic platform contradict Catholic teaching.”

    That’s very charitable and not so assuming.

    I’m sure we’re all guilty, but we argue on this blog so much about “good” Catholics and “bad” Catholics, let’s strive to actually imitate Jesus.

  • Darwin –

    Perhaps living in Texas will influence your outlook. Certainly myself having been born and raised in Houston I experienced a subculture in America that took pride in its republican sovereignty as a historical footnote. However, Texas by and large is mostly just ‘bark and no bite’ when it comes to independence. Post-Civil War they’ve been properly beaten into submission and made to feel guilty (like the rest of the South) for ever daring to give Washington the screw.

    In the case of both The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy but merely her expulsion. If the South succeeded in gaining independence, perhaps the war would have been known as ‘The Southern Revolution’ or ‘The Second American Revolution’. Had both the above conflicts been genuine ‘civil wars’ I would think the endgame would involve usurping power in London and Washington D.C.

    Thats all I’ll say… I’m already too far off topic.

  • The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy

    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.

  • ****
    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.
    ****

    Matt,

    Maybe I’m being dimwitted, but I think you just responded to my ‘talking points’ with your own set.

    The Republican record is atrocious, especially when it comes to the litmus test of a strict reading of the Constitution and following what I can only presume are Jeffersonian principles. On matters of free speech, spending, declarations of war, states rights and social/government programs they have not lived up to their speeches. They pick and choose which rights and which liberties and which kind of justice just as much as Democrats.

    Our politicians are ‘Cafeteria Constitutionalists’ if I can paraphrase.

    Clinton might indeed have more military interventions (Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq immediately spring to mind), but the cost was no where near that of Bush II. My ‘militarism’ reference is more geared toward the current state of the party and the cultural attitudes attracted to it.

    Like I said above, those described philosophies are also quickly swapped depending on the political weather. Right now, for instance, the Republicans have become much better on a variety of issues. The problem is they have zero credibility.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.
    *****

    I’d love to debate all these points, but it is another topic thread. Unless we have permission to go free-for-all. 🙂

  • Anthony,

    Following the self-indulgent principle of “it’s my thread so I’ll take if off topic if I feel like it”, because this strikes me as an interesting topic:

    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good. In the case of the American Revolution, it strikes me that the injustices being imposed by the British were arguably very small compared to the evils of a drawn out war. Though the political philosophy of the American founding fathers strikes me as sufficiently far superior to that of the British empire that I an strongly tempted to say it was worth it anyway.

    In the case of the Civil War, I’m mildly sympathetic to states rights, but the stand was only being taken over states rights in order to insist on slavery. In that regard, I would happily have carried a rifle for the Union.

    Still, interesting conversation. I hope you’ll be around next week when I post my review (possibly multi part) of Empires of Trust. That should generate some interesting conversation.

    Blackadder,

    I think you’re right on tribalism. The temptation seems to have been too strong for some pro-life advocates to defend what they should not. Though at the same time — I don’t necessarily see the mistakes of those people as discrediting the movement as a whole. Or at least, it should not do so in the eyes of people who have long been used to swallowing the bitter pill of abortion support in the leaders they look up to on various “social justice” issues.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.
    *****

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone argue that the British crown was illegitimate, just tyrannical. The grievance, as I remember, was basically that a.) the crown’s actions were unjust and economically destructive, and b.) there was not sufficient representation in Parliament for the American colonies to voluntarily submit if they wanted to.

    Had those matters been better negotiated I would not have seen much cause for political separation. But they weren’t, so in my view it was justifiable to expel the threat to life, liberty and property and replace it with a better suited form of governance. It was time, as they say, to ‘appeal to heaven’.

    With regard to the war between the states its messier and more complicated, but similar to the situation with Britain.

    Let me first say that slavery is as reprehensible as abortion, contrary to any conception of liberty and should be rejected at all times and by all peoples. Were I living in America circa the 1850s, 1860s I would have been anti-slavery, but at peace with Southern secession.

    I often wonder if perhaps by allowing the South to secede, in time slavery could still have been done away with; particularly if Southern states sought to rejoin the Union at a later date. That way we could avoid the half million American deaths and a century of racial and and cultural resentment that is the Civil War’s sad legacy.

    I do not believe that slavery was the exclusive issue at stake in the Civil War. Not every individual fought for the same reason. If truly the war was one of liberation and not one of radically changing our Union’s understanding simultaneously, then permitting secession followed by an invasive mission to free slaves would have made more sense. Abolishing slavery in those states that did not secede would also have been more consistent on the part of the Union. Buying slaves and freeing them would also have made more sense. But both sides dug in… there had to be more to it than the lone moral debate over slavery.

    The South, in my view had a natural and popular desire to dissolve a political arrangement; no matter how imperfect or disgusting their own house could be. (Slavery, if I recall rightly, was enshrined in the CSA Constitution).

    Also I believe there to be legitimate historical and philosophical arguments over Lincoln’s goals at the war’s outset and the role tariffs and taxation played in further aggravating the conflict. Pro-Union historians who concede certain points about Lincoln usually argue that the president grew into being ‘The Great Emancipator’ over the course of the war thus legitimizing the “it was all about slavery” view. But if that is to be allowed then it could also be allowed that for the South what began as a wrong-headed defense of slavery grew into a larger and legitimate cause for political liberty.

    Its a real historical shame that the principle of ‘state’s rights’ – or rather a deference to local government – is tainted by the stench of slavery. Perhaps its only fitting that large, federal government is duly being connected to the stink of abortion, euthanasia, war and economic foolishness.

    *****
    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good.
    *****

    I’m not certain there is much to say from the Church’s perspective and I only have a few, sketchy thoughts here.

    For one, after life, liberty is a natural and necessary condition in order for mankind to pursue good. I tend to think that if liberty is abridged (either by a state or individual) it further complicates pursuing a moral good via moral means. An individual or a people placed in a desperate situation they’re likely going to react desperately I’d imagine. The slave is legitimate in his revolt against the master, just as the South had legitimacy in its desire to no longer be under Washington’s growing power.

    Second, and perhaps more telling, concerns the general attitude towards ‘the State’. Where as I see the Church as a ‘higher’ form of institution that teaches and loves (however imperfectly some times), the State is considerably lower or lowest in my estimation. Indeed, I find it positively parasitical and unproductive.

    I would note that this does not mean I am not patriotic. I love my country. I love its peoples, my family, my friends, its lands, its culture and even its intellectual traditions. I cannot transfer that love to the State, indeed I find love of state to be dangerous and inescapably competitive with the things I ought to love (my neighbor, my God, etc.).

    Were I to run for office, my platform would likely be to tie the federal government’s hands as much as possible and follow the Constitution to the letter – even when inconvenient.

  • As has been remarked, parliamentary representation in Britain prior to 1832 was quite haphazard – – rotten boroughs, pocket boroughs, dominacy of Lords over Commons, &c. The lack of assignment of representation to the colonies was an aspect of that. (To this day, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the residuum of overseas colonies do not have such representation). Why a series of excise taxes should spark a territorial revolt is an interesting question, from a sociological standpoint. Excises on paint and paper and tea may be good or bad policy. Such does not ‘tyranny’ make.

    Lincoln’s original motivations are an historical question. My purpose was to make a rough and ready statement as to why I would conceive of the use of force in that circumstance as legitimate.

    Personally, I think the U.S. Constitution is manifestly defective and should be scrapped.

  • I did not know about the sketchy representation in Parliament. Huh… the more you know!

  • Anthony

    As to Lincoln and the Civil War

    As a Southern one hears that often the Victors write hisotry. However as to the Civil War I often find the losers(we southerners) have often wrote it or “rewrote it” with amazing success. This was whiched one of its climaxes when Woodrow Wilson was elected and suddenly that horrid film he screened became the offical line

    First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away. It seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds in Texas. That was once a Catholic NO SLAVE STATE. It is without a doubt that SOuthern Leadership wanted a slave empire. Their constant designs on Cuba and Central America a prime example. In fact a slave Manifest Destiny with desgins on California. I suspect if things had gone differently if DC had been captured and even Philly I am not so sure that areas like New Mexico and Arizona to say the least would have been given back. There was consideravle Confederate action in New Mexico for example and the COnfederate recognized a Arizona Seccesionist Govt

    As to the “growing Federal Power” if you look at the Seccession Declarations of the States SLAVERY was the issue. While a few threw in talk of light houses and the occasional tariff this was the prime concern

    Southerners had used Federal Power quite a bit. They imposed a gag rule on Slavery in Congress, the mails could be censured of anti slavery things. Also what they wanted in the end was a Federal Slave Code. That would have been the largest exapnsion of Federal Power ever. In fact it was largely on this that the SOutherners broke with the Democrat party on that fateful day in Charleston at the Democrat Convention

  • First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away.

    Counter-factual speculation is somewhat idle. However, it ought be noted that the abolition of slavery in the United States was appended to the abolition of hereditary subjection all over Europe and Russia over the period running from 1789 through 1864. (Admittedly, serfdom is a qualitatively different institution). Also, I believe that the abolition of slavery in Brazil was enacted just a few years after the close of the American Civil War.

  • Well, the boll weevil would have done in the cotton industry one way or another, so retaining large quantities of slave labor would have become considerably less profitable for one major export at least. Importing new slave labor would also have become increasingly difficult and unprofitable, considering that standard practice on the big plantations in immediately antebellum Georgia and the deep South was to work slaves more or less to death over several years and then replace them. Slave escapes would likely have largely emptied border states (maybe we’d have a wall down the middle of the continent!) There might still be slavery, but not to the same extent as before; likely the system would have gotten extremely draconian before finally starting to fizzle, however.

    Currently I live in a South that, all things considered, is in pretty good shape. If a war (that we started) is what it took to bring the abomination that was slavery to an earlier close and my Confederate forefathers had to lose it so that this corner of the country wouldn’t degenerate into a demagogue-ridden third world state, though they haunt me for saying it, it’s just as well.

    For the record, I got the full Southern version of history in grade school. The victors didn’t write it all.

  • BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.

  • My favorite history of the Civil War was written by Shelby Foote, and the best study of command in the Civil War, Lee’s Lieutenants, was written by Douglas Southall Freeman. When it comes to the Civil War, the Southern viewpoint has produced myriad first class histories.

  • “BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.”

    I never said slavery was not part of it. My view has always been that the debate over slavery poured into a lager crisis over the meaning of the Union.

    I merely reject the argument that the Civil War was exclusively over that acute issue. The question of both liberty for slaves, political liberty for the Southern States and the Union’s meaning under the Constitution.

    You can’t disconnect the slave issue from its Constitutional aspects, its economic aspects any more than you can its moral ones. I’d also add that as one who leans rather libertarian the lens through which I’m viewing things is liberty itself. Questions of authority are antithetical. Why can’t one believe that slaves should be free and Southern states free? It seems rather “American” to me.

Dolan: Man-Woman Tradition Is In Our DNA

Sunday, April 26, AD 2009

His Grace Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York spoke eloquently in a recent interview which touched on hot topics such as ‘gay’ marriage and a married priesthood by Dan Mangan of the New York Post.  The following is the entire article followed by the video interview [emphasis and comments mine]:

Archbishop Timothy Dolan yesterday said advocates of gay marriage “are asking for trouble,” arguing that traditional, one-man/one-woman marriage is rooted in people’s moral DNA [His Emminence is not parsing his words here, amen for that.].

There’s an in-built code of right and wrong that’s embedded in the human DNA,” Dolan told The Post in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview, a week after becoming the New York Archdiocese’s new leader.

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4 Responses to Dolan: Man-Woman Tradition Is In Our DNA

  • “your emminence”

    I’m only quibbling on a minor point here, but technically, in the Roman Rite, he would not be referred to as eminence until he is made cardinal. For now, he would be excellency. I apologize for going off-topic (feel free to delete this).

  • “An in-built code of right and wrong that’s embedded in the human DNA” is about the best modern definition of “natural law” that I’ve heard yet.

  • Alan,

    You are absolutely correct.

    I was just going to post on how to address religious and I got ahead of myself.

    I pray that His Excellency does receive the red hat, but more importantly that he does the will of God.

    No quibbling at all and no need to apologize.

    ;~)

    Tito

  • I regularly attended the Archbishop’s Mass at the Cathedral of St. John in Milwaukee, so I (and my fellow Milwaukee Catholics) felt sadness when he left. Our loss is truly New York’s gain, and I can guarantee that the Big Apple’s new Archbishop (who does not have a shy bone in his body) will deliver orthodox Catholicism to his new flock with humor, wit and grace. I will also wager that many Manhattanites will not want to hear it – but, hey, New Yorkers are supposed to be tough cookies, right?

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-1-2009

Wednesday, April 1, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. I recently received confirmation from Lila Rose to post here on American Catholic that a little over two weeks ago she converted to the Catholic faith on March 15 in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Deo gratias!

Lila Rose is an impressive young lady.  A few weeks ago she was the keynote speaker for the Houston Coalition for Life Benefit 2009 dinner.  She has an excellent grasp of the history of the pro-life movement and to my nice surprise she is also very knowledgeable of the role of Catholics in the Pro-Life movement from Mother Teresa of Calcutta to Fr. Frank Pavone.

I had the opportunity to speak with her briefly at the benefit dinner and I came away deeply impressed.  She is a talented and motivated young lady and she’s only a junior at UCLA.  She began getting involved in the pro-life movement as a sophomore in high school by founding a pro-life newspaper!  She now runs a production company, LiveActionFilms.org, and is editor-in-chief of the pro-life newspaper at UCLA, The Advocate.

She is the newest crop of Pro-Life warriors that will contribute to the end of abortion on demand nationwide.  With the growing strength of the Pro-Life movement being energized more and more with babies, toddlers, children, teens, and young adults, the days of Roe v. Wade are numbered.

2. There is a wonderful story of how two Catholics met online using Ave Maria Singles.  The adventure begins when Katie and Devin, for different reasons, chose Ave Maria Singles to search for a spouse.  Katie three years out of college saw slim pickings at work, at church, and definitely not at a bar.  Devin had been looking online for a spouse for four fruitless years, yet still carried a positive attitude.  After an initial ‘dust off’ by Katie and a close call by Devin, the two, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit were able to find their sacramental partners for life via Ave Maria Singles.

It’s a sweet and compact romantic love story that spans two articles, so for the introductory portion click here.  For the final encounter and happy ending click here.  To learn more about Ave Maria Singles click here.

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Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-30-2009

Monday, March 30, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Please pray for Father Benedict Groeschel as he suffered a stroke last week.  For the story click here.

2. Jay Anderson is contemplating leaving blogging.  It seems he is being worn down by the grind of writing on politics and religion.  For the story click here.

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4 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-30-2009

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-20-2009

Friday, March 20, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1.  Seems like priests and their habits have been ruminating around the blogosphere as of late.  Now Fr. Z has followed up this with insight concerning those for and against this trend.

For the link click here.

2.  Speaking of religious, after enduring the many innovations following the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, vocations have rebounded:

“Nearly 70 percent of Catholic religious communities have seen a jump in vocation inquiries in the past year”

The vast majority of those entering the religious life are tradition-minded adults under the age of 40.

For the link click here.

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One Response to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-20-2009