Vatican Weighs in On Middle East Christian Crisis

Tuesday, June 8, AD 2010

The Vatican  released a working paper during Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to Cyprus to prepare the way for a crisis summit of Middle East bishops in Rome. What I take away from this- along with the Holy See’s call for lifting the blockade of Gaza- is something of a vindication for my more raw views urging for a sea change in American Catholic opinion and action regarding the overall situation in the Middle East, and in Israel-Palestine in particular.

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14 Responses to Vatican Weighs in On Middle East Christian Crisis

  • We really need to get even-handed if we even want to have credibility in the larger Arab world- something the polls indicate we are sorely lacking- to be it mildly.-Tim Shipe

    “Even-handed” in relation to the Arab world of progrom-states and their target is… what, exactly?

    Hamas and extremist Jewish settler movements…

    Conjoining those two categories leads one into a muddle. Let’s have a look at how many missiles, homicide bombers, etc. the two groups, normal Hamas supporters and ‘extremist’ Jewish settlers, have used to terrorize their neighbors.

  • Bravo. There won’t be peace in the Middle East until Americans, including Catholics, stop spoiling Israel and start treating it like we treat every other nation.

    I think this is the one area of Obama’s presidency where I think Obama has been more positive than negative-though he still does too little.

    Conjoining those two categories leads one into a muddle. Let’s have a look at how many missiles, homicide bombers, etc. the two groups, normal Hamas supporters and ‘extremist’ Jewish settlers, have used to terrorize their neighbors.

    The settlers have no need of such tactics since they’re supported by the Israeli military. If they need force, they don’t strap on a bomb; they have the planes drop a bomb instead. It is unquestionable that settlers, at the behest of the government, have continued to expand and continued to take Palestinian land. This is clearly not a motive of peace but one of a desire to usurp and it ought to be opposed.

  • “The settlers have no need of such tactics since they’re supported by the Israeli military.”

    The body count would seem to indicate that the Israeli military then is doing a poor job. From 2000-2008 I believe 45 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of Settlers while 238 Settlers have been killed at the hands of Palestinians. In regard to umbrage at the Settlers, I am a bit puzzled. I have heard some people here at AC condemn Arizona’s law against Mexican illegal aliens as Nazi-like. Perhaps any moral difficulty with the Israeli Settlers could be cured if we simply consider them to be illegal aliens on the West Bank?

    Of course I believe the preferred term would be undocumented immigrants. Someone else on the net has already taken the Israeli Settlers as undocumented immigrants concept and ran with it:

    http://bikyamasr.com/wordpress/?p=12393

  • Tim, the political leadership in the West Bank, Gaza, and the camps want no settlement that is not constructed on the ruins of the Jewish state. Deal with it, please.

  • The body count would seem to indicate that the Israeli military then is doing a poor job. From 2000-2008 I believe 45 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of Settlers while 238 Settlers have been killed at the hands of Palestinians.

    Don:

    Here is an opposing view which objects to the stats you and your favorite paper, the NYT, toss about.

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/media/nyt-report.html

    Statistics are like “you know whats”. Everybody has one.

  • Art Deco – I agree with your post whole-heartedly.

    The Pope is wrong here. Israel can give up its blockade after he sends the Swiss Guard home. Before this flotilla stunt, did anyone know that Gaza was being blockaded? A response like this from the Holy See indicates that the stunt has worked.

    The Jews have built a beautiful, thriving country in the desert within the span a 50 years. A feat the Arabs have not managed to do in their own countries for centuries. This whole thing is about envy.

    Arab Christians are being routed by whom exactly? This is not a difficult question to answer.

  • Fuji, your calling the New York Times my favorite newspaper is almost as humorous as your citing If Americans Knew, an organization which is bitterly hostile to Israel. Paul Findley is on its board. Findley was the pro-abort and pro-PlO Republican Congressman from Springfield in my state of Illinois. Thanks to my efforts, along with the efforts of many others, he became an ex-Congressman in 1982.

    I would as soon accept a press release from Hamas as a credible source, as I would anything put out by If Americans Knew.

  • The ADL has some interesting information linked below on Alison Weir who runs If Americans Knew.

    http://www.adl.org/Israel/anti_israel/alison_weir/anti-Semitism.asp?m_flipmode=3

  • Fuji,

    You’ve completely misunderstood the purpose of the If Americans Knew “study” — it doesn’t deal at all with whether the statistics which the NY Times publishes about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are accurate, it deals with how often deaths on each side are mentioned in the headline or the first paragraph of an article. Its claim is not that the NY Times presents false information, but that it talks more about the deaths of some people than those of others.

    An example of this would be, if one news story said, “A Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up in a shopping center, killing three Israeli adults and two children.” and then the next day another story began, “The Israeli defense minister promised to take ‘strong action’ in retaliation for the attack Monday which killed five Israelis, including two children, at a crowded shopping center,” this ‘study’ would consider that to be reporting 200% of the number of Israeli dead, since they were mentioned in two separate stories.

    Nor is the statistic that Palestinians kill more Settlers than Settlers kill Palestinians inconsistent with the fact that overall far more Palestinians have died in the conflict than Israelis, since obviously not all Israelis are settlers and not all Palestinians killed (indeed, very few) are killed by settlers.

  • You can take your rose-colored spectacles off when viewing Israel and still conclude that Hamas and other Islamofascist groups are evil. Not blindly supporting Israel is not a tacit approval of all things Arab and/or Muslim.

    In regards to this so-called peace flotilla – it is obvious that it was a false flag operation designed to denigrate Israel and it is working. In regards to Israel – they are a far better friend than Arab/Muslim states – but they are not a very good friend.

    Israel has a right to exist and to defend herself and I would argue to occupy territories the UN and the British gave to Egypt and Jordan for her defense. Who constantly gets screwed as Muslims and Arabs use the Palestinian Arabs as a tool to beat the West with? Not Israel – the Palestinian Arabs do. The people, especially the children and most especially the Christians suffer at the hands of so-called Palestinian leadership, a secular Jewish state that engages in horrible behavior and the UN and other Arab states.

    Now that we have allowed the Isalmofascists to indoctrinate generations it is practically impossible to work for peace and no one wants it anyway – no one save for possibly the Pope and the poor Christians who live in the Holy Land.

    Can peace be brokered – we can hope – but it is doubtful until the King returns. Muslims specifically never enter a permanent peace with anyone in Dar Al Harb (the House of War). They certainly won’t enter a permanent peace with Jews – Mohammad practically built his religiology on capture of booty, imperialism and slaughter of Jews. Not to mention copious copies of the Torah and Nestorian heresies.

    Strategically speaking, the USA would be fools to turn our backs on Israel – but having blind support for her is just as foolish. I don’t necessarily fault Israelis for their bad behavior, historically speaking – they were coming from a very frightening place and fear makes you do stupid things – they are nevertheless, still responsible but that does not absolve the British for solving their Jewish-problem with better PR than the Nazis. Instead of killing the Jews, the British shipped them out of England to their own homeland – neglecting to tell them they promised the same land to the Arabs that had lived there since the 7th century.

    What did they think was going to happen? Had a different and more balanced solution been developed between 1917 and 1947 – the current mess could have been avoided. I doubt that is what those who want a weak and unstable mid-East wanted. Lebanon and Palestine had the best chance for Christianizing the rest of the Arab and Muslim lands – however, just like the Crusader Kingdoms – the West dropped the ball on supporting them and the price is war and the shrinking of the Christian population and the ascendancy of Islam. Make no mistake – Islam is an imperial totalitarian ideology and will align with the subversive Left in the West to gain entry and then turn on their tolerant, peace-loving, pot-smoking friends.

    If anyone can broker an honest peace in the Middle-East it would be the Pope, but he may need American guns.

  • How would the gallant Turkish (NATO member) army/navy respond to the following? A bunch of Armenian-Americans (two Israeli humanitarian groups already are planning such) get up a couple tons of humanitarian aid and stage a huge guerrilla theater propaganda extravaganza of bringing it to the six Armenians not yet murdered in Turkey. Or better analogy, do it for the Kurds fighting for their independence.

    Hamas, Hizbollah, etc. will end the terror war against Israeli civilians, women and children (and the Arab women and children they use as human shields) when the last Israeli is either murdered or driven into the sea.

    The Pope ought to denounce the Holy See bureaucRAT that came up with this hateful paper.

  • I don’t think you can figure out the justice of a conflict simply by counting up bodies. However, it is a fact that far more Palestinians than Israelis have died in the conflict.

  • I’ll take the Vatican seriously on matters concerning the Middle East, if they would express themselves in the same forthright manner on other wars and conflicts that plague the globe, in particular those that concern Catholics and Christians. The Catholic Church’s hollowness in these matters could be seen most clearly at work in early 2009. In December of 2008 the Israelis invaded Gaza to put an end to the constant rocket barrage, and my how the Catholic press and heirarchy waxed eloquent, counterpoising each other with elavated talk about ‘just war’, ‘human rights’ and the rest of it, not stinting to blame the Israelis by name for all manner of wrongs real and imagined. The bishop here in Singapore (where I live) got on the bandwagon and launched an appeal for Gaza.

    Three months later, in March the Sri Lankans launched their final push into Jaffna, when the dust settled more than 20,000 civilians were dead. Given the proportion of Catholics in Jaffna, it is reasonable to surmise that the number of Catholic dead alone exceeded the total death toll in Gaza. Yet where was the Vatican in all this? Why was no appeal launched for them? Does the criteria of ‘just war’ not apply to the darker nations? Apart from generalised handwringing, nothing much was heard from our Vatican friends. No one tagged the Sri Lankan army with brutality. Their reticence doubtless owed much to the restraining hand of Msgr Malcolm Ranjith, himself a Ceylonese and thus in a position to know that the government would take out any displeasure on the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.

    This in essence is the well established pattern of Vatican hypocrisy; when it comes to Israel, break out the tomes on jus ad bellum and set them terms that no nation in history has been able to follow, and thereby not incidentally burnish the Vatican’s own street cred with the Muslims at the expense of Jews. On the other hand, when it comes to countless attacks against Christians, from Nigeria to Pakistan to Indonesia, put out a pro forma declaration hoping that the problem goes away.

  • An aside. But perhaps an example of how diplomacy doesn’t work, or at least works poorly:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/08/AR2010060805406.html

"I agree with the Church in principle, but …"

Friday, January 8, AD 2010

Last week I posted a reaction to House Speaker Pelosi’s interview in Newsweek (cross-posted to First Things‘ “First Thoughts”). Perusing the comments, I discovered that the author of No Hidden Magenta — a blog with the daunting task of “bridging the gap between ‘Red and Blue State’ groupthink” — has responded with fury and dismay:

At least one reason why neither the Pope nor the Archbishop have denied Pelosi Holy Communion–despite having ample opportunity to do so–is because prudential judgments about how best to reflect a moral principle in public policy involved technical considerations of practical reason that do not go to the heart of what it means to be a Roman Catholic; in other words, they are not about the central value at stake. If Speaker Pelosi believes that abortion is a positive good that should be promoted by the state (rather than as a privacy right for all women) that is one thing (and her recent actions with regard to Stupak suggest that she doesn’t think this), but there are any number of good reasons for supporting less-than-perfect public policy as she claims to be doing in trying to reduce the number of abortions while not supporting an abortion ban. …

Now, we can and should have debate about this question–and I think Pelosi is profoundly mistaken in her position on public policy–but let’s be clear: both the Pope and her Archbishop do not think such a position puts her status as a Roman Catholic or as a communicant in jeopardy. And those who think it does would do well to follow their example in distinguishing between ‘moral principle’ and ‘public policy.’

I’m relieved that the author believes Pelosi is “profoundly mistaken” in her position on public policy. I’m less convinced, however, that “the Pope and her Archbishop do not think such a position puts her status as a Roman Catholic or as a communicant in jeopardy”, and the author’s explanation for why they allegedly do not think so.

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6 Responses to "I agree with the Church in principle, but …"

  • How could anyone say she accepts Church teaching on the matter?

    Pelosi: “I would say that as an ardent practicing Catholic this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is over the centuries the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said three months. We don’t know. The point is it that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to chose.”

    Aside from her deficient understanding of Augustine and the Church(speaking as charitably as possible), she still negates her argument by the last line. “A women’s right to choose [killing her unborn child]” is not a Catholic concept and is clearly at odds with the Church (including Augustine and the other Doctors – not to mention that the Doctors aren’t the Magesterium either).

    Many bishops published corrections of Pelosi’s transparent theological hack job and there is nothing to indicate she was persuaded.

  • There may be several ways to exercise prudential judgment on how best to reflect the principle that abortion is evil in a specific public policy. But proposing and voting for legislation to keep it legal at all stages for any reason, refusing others to exercise their own conscience in opposing it, and getting it publicly funded ain’t one of them.

  • Public policy is crouched in the public good and unity. The good for the public could mean a need for euthanasia. We see these ideas put forth in the heathcare debate. Some illness are way too expensive at the end of life. So Ms Pelosi is saying she can separate ethical and moral discernment when it envolves public policy. What upsets me is that her ideas confuse her own beliefs in principle and she tell us we should follow her way.

  • W Posh,

    The public (common) good does not call for a moral evil. Euthanasia is such and is not consistent with the common good.

    Now it will in fact be that there will need to be limits on health care. Individuals will disagree with what should be covered for all and what some may pay for out of their own resources. These distinctions can be in concordance with the common good. But setting those limits is different that actively seeking to kill a person.

  • Pelosi, and others seem to be trying to justify themselves into Heaven. Isn’t this whole piece about relativism? 2 + 2 = 4, for ever and always – that’s a truth. God issued a COMMANDMENT, not a suggestion, which states (as near as we can tell) “thou shalt not murder” – that’s also a truth. No matter when you think life begins, if you plan and act to cause that life to cease, then you have committed a grave ( we used to use the more descriptive term “MORTAL”) sin. It doesn’t matter what your religion, it is STILL a Mortal Sin.

    Remember, God created us with free will. In the Garden, we exercised that free will, and turned our backs on God, chosing to follow the creator of lies. Why do we STILL follow those who justify their lies to us? At the end of our lives, and for all time, we will be in Heaven or Hell, Forever.

  • I agree with you marvin the only reason they changed the name to grave is people thought that mortal was to harsh… why is that so hard? dont like it? then don’t sin..

Abortion, Capital Punishment and War, One of these things is not like the other

Friday, November 27, AD 2009

Ed Stoddard of Reuters’ religion blog Faithworld carries a roundup of the skirmish between Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, has claimed that Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin.

In conclusion, Stoddard asks:

This leads to a question about the consistency of views in the U.S. Catholic Church leadership. The Church opposes abortion and therefore liberal politicians who support abortion rights risk being refused communion. The Church supports a healthcare overhaul that would make the system more equitable. So does a conservative Catholic politician who opposes this reform risk being denied communion for ignoring the Catholic social teaching that justifies it?

How about support for capital punishment, which the Vatican says is unjustified in almost all possible cases, or for war? In the build-up to the Iraq war, Pope John Paul was so opposed to the plan that he sent a personal envoy to Washington to argue against it. Did bishops threaten any measures against Catholic politicians who energetically supported that war despite Vatican opposition?

The author’s questions reveal an elementary ignorance concerning the moral issues in question and their relationship to varying levels of Church teaching. While I am disappointed by his answer (Faithworld is generally one of the better and more educational “religion blogs” in the secular media), it is understandable — as even many Catholics find themselves confused on this matter.

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33 Responses to Abortion, Capital Punishment and War, One of these things is not like the other

  • Thanks for this excellent clarification, Chris.

    It’s going on my facebook 🙂

  • What about Justice Scalia who not only disagrees with the prudential judgment of our bishops on capital punishment but rejects Church teaching on the matter entirely?

    Also, as pro-choicers like to point out, there’s a difference between supporting abortion and supporting abortion rights. Can’t one accept Church teaching on abortion and still believe that criminalization is bad? Isn’t the legal status of abortion a matter of prudential judgment? I realize that this still doesn’t apply to Rep. Kennedy who not only supports keeping abortion legal but also supports promotion through subsidies.

    And can’t some prudential judgments concerning capital punishment or war be so obviously correct no reasonable person can oppose it without supporting the underlying evil? For example, suppose Obama stated that we’re waging war against Canada to raid their natural resources.

  • “Also, as pro-choicers like to point out, there’s a difference between supporting abortion and supporting abortion rights. Can’t one accept Church teaching on abortion and still believe that criminalization is bad? Isn’t the legal status of abortion a matter of prudential judgment?”

    The distinction between supporting abortion and supporting abortion “rights” is completely fallacious. That is akin to attempting to argue a distinction between being pro-slavery and supporting the “right” to own a slave. As to criminalization of abortion Catholics are required by the Catechism to support that:

    “2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
    ‘The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.'(79)

    ‘The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.’ (80)”

  • I understand what Restrainedradical means — sometimes it seems reasonable to concede the legal matter (abortion is legal) and work on the practical one (getting people to stop aborting, or to not get pregnant). But that’s where prudence comes in. That approach has not worked, any more than (per D. McClarey’s example) attempts to get slave owners to give up their slaves worked when slavery was legal. Concentrating on the practical matters only ensures (barring a widespread change in social mores) they will continue as they are.

    All those practical things should be done, of course, because that’s all that most people CAN do. But it is a fallacy to think that because a thing has been declared legal, it is therefore right. Unjust laws can and should be repealed. People who make and influence legislation have a different obligation than the rest of us when it comes to action. We can and should work on the practical matters that are in our power, but we should also demand the legislative action that is within the LEGISLATORS’ power, and they have a moral obligation to do something about it. If a law is unjust, and a legislator does nothing about it, then is that legislator not guilty of perpetuating injustice and, in the case of abortion, murder?

    If we were talking about apartheid, wouldn’t we agree that the legislators had an obligation to end it, even if it were difficult and unpopular?

  • Ditto and amen to Gail’s, Donald’s and Christopher’s points above. Much like the ridiculous, one-sided “debate” b/w Chris Matthews and Bishop Tobin, the entire specious argument of “should women who procure an abortion be put in jail?” betrays a logical fallacy in thought. Nobody who makes that argument would ever make a similar one against women’s right to vote, legalized slavery, etc. And the ones who don’t recognize the difference b/w an intrisic evil like abortion and Just War or even the judicious use of the death penalty would also never make such an argument “defending” those who make the decisions to apply the death penalty or to prosecute a Just War.

    For the amateur philosophers out there, what kind of logical fallacy is the one that such wishy-washy “pro-lifers” use, namely the one we’ve all mentioned here on this thread? I’m no logician, but even I recognize that such thinking must be the result of some logical fallacy!

  • I’d like to clarify that Justice Scalia doesn’t reject Church teaching on the death penalty, he rejects the recent stand– counter to, in his phrasing, the “2,000-year-old tradition of the church approving capital punishment”— where various members of the leadership claim that the death penalty isn’t needed to protect society.

    This is solidly inside of prudential judgment, although it has (of course) been very poorly reported. Ton o’info here, including a response from Justice Scalia and a defense of the Justice by Cardinal Avery Dulles. (who does not agree with him)

  • I’d like to clarify that Justice Scalia doesn’t reject Church teaching on the death penalty, he rejects the recent stand– counter to, in his phrasing, the “2,000-year-old tradition of the church approving capital punishment”– where various members of the leadership claim that the death penalty isn’t needed to protect society.

    Exactly. As Cardinal Dulles himself emphasized the prudential nature of the disagreement:

    As to the Pope’s assertion that the death penalty should today be rare, I would reaffirm, against Justice Scalia, that this is to be understood as an exercise of the Pope’s prudential judgment. “Prudential” has a technical theological meaning with which Justice Scalia seems not to be familiar. It refers to the application of Catholic doctrine to changing concrete circumstances. Since the Christian revelation tells us nothing about the particulars of contemporary society, the Pope and the bishops have to rely on their personal judgment as qualified spiritual leaders in making practical applications. Their prudential judgment, while it is to be respected, is not a matter of binding Catholic doctrine. To differ from such a judgment, therefore, is not to dissent from Church teaching.

    It is of course possible to hold, with Justice Scalia, that the Pope is imprudent. Catholics are not obliged by their faith to hold that their pastors are always prudent. I personally agree with the Pope that the death penalty should be very rarely, if ever, applied in the United States today. In saying this I do not rely only on “steady improvements in the organization of the penal system,” the motive mentioned by the Pope. I would add that limitations and deficiencies in the penal system create a danger of miscarriages of justice. In our society, moreover, the death penalty is often seen as an instrument of popular vindictiveness and retaliation rather than of divine justice, since the transcendent order of justice is not generally recognized. The practice of capital punishment also reinforces that disrespect for human life which is all too prevalent in our society. For these and other reasons, I would be reluctant to approve of the death penalty except in cases of rare and prudential judgment assisted by the wisdom of the duly appointed pastors of the Church.

    And agreed with Scalia, that John Paul II’s intention was not to overturn traditional Catholic teaching on the death penalty:

    Like Justice Scalia, I doubt that the older tradition is reversible, but even if it were, I contend any ecclesiastical authority reversing it would have to propose the new doctrine with great emphasis and show why the older position is no longer tenable. In fact, however, the Pope says nothing against the traditional doctrine.

  • In my view, the greatest penalties ought to be reserved for the abortionist himself and whatever propagandists or pushers he might have at his disposal.

    I also don’t think a woman should be punished for abortion until an investigation into the father of her child’s status is conducted, due to the high number of coerced abortions.

    Hysterical liberals like Chris Matthews and NARAL promote the fantasy that every abortion is some kind of feminist triumph over patriarchy. The reality is that many abortions are coerced – the father has threatened the mother with violence, or with abandonment. Or her own parents have done the same.

    In the end, someone must be held responsible. But I don’t believe it should always be the woman who gets the abortion. And this we must make absolutely clear. Too many women who end up in the abortion clinic are themselves victims.

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  • Boo-Hoo for whomever is “responsible”, what we still have is A DEAD INNOCENT CHILD.

    With respect to the tradition of the Church on Capital punishment.

    There are serious fissures in the Catholic Church over traditions, that can be argued were “reversed” in Vatican II, so poo-poo on that Scalian argument, thus you have the discontinuity and continuity problems with many kinds of quasi-schismatic Catholics.

    Perhaps the Church needs a much more comprehensive revaluation than just what it is talking with the SSPX about. Perhaps Catholics in the United States need to see things in a BIGGER picture as well.

  • That is akin to attempting to argue a distinction between being pro-slavery and supporting the “right” to own a slave.

    Or being pro-war and supporting the right to wage war. There is a difference.

    As to criminalization of abortion Catholics are required by the Catechism to support that

    Thanks.

  • “Or being pro-war and supporting the right to wage war. There is a difference.”

    The analogy to war is telling restrainedradical. The Church acknowledges just war. The Church does not acknowledge a just abortion. It is also possible to support the right to wage war while being opposed to individual instances of war. Once someone is pro the “right” to have an abortion, the ability then to oppose instances of abortion goes out the window due to the support of a “right” to abortion.

  • Maybe a more fitting analogy would be “Or being pro-murder and supporting the right to murder. There is a difference.”

    Perhaps “Or being pro-rape and supporting the right to rape. There is a difference.”

  • This moral hierarchy you are discussing is imperceptible to most modern thinkers. One of the most unfortunate consequences of political liberalism and the democratic ethos is the overpowering influence of equality. Equality is the fundamental end of our moral thinking and our political life, even when it contradicts justice and charity.

  • Or being pro-obesity and supporting the right to be obese. Or being pro-smoking and supporting the right to smoke.

    A supporter of abortion rights wants abortion to be legal. A supporter of abortion wants to increase the number of abortions.

    Anyway, that’s the pro-choicer’s argument and it does make sense but I too use pro-abortion as shorthand for pro-abortion-rights just as I use pro-death-penalty to describe not only those who want to see more capital punishment but also those who think it should be allowed.

  • “A supporter of abortion rights wants abortion to be legal. A supporter of abortion wants to increase the number of abortions.”

    Not necessarily. Some pro-aborts do want to increase the number of abortions, usually for mercenary or ideological reasons. Others are merely content to have abortion remain legal. In both cases the key agreement is that neither would want any abortion to be prevented by the State, which is what makes them pro-aborts.

  • For this simile to work the thing substituted in has to be not just bad but immoral– war, the death penalty, being fat or being a smoker aren’t inherently immoral.

    Killing babies, committing murder or raping someone are inherently immoral.

  • Some war can potentially be inherently immoral – for example, Cheney’s 1% pre-emptive war doctrine. There may not be definitive pronouncement on it, but I would consider such a position to be very close to, if not actually, inherently immoral.

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  • To clarify I am against abortion! But it seems to me the church in its teachings apriory sets a double standard in at least two ways:
    1) in cases of war and capital punishment the justification for respectful disagreement is in knowledge or presumed knowledge / interpretation of the facts
    In abortion this ” caveat” is denied since the beginning of human life if postulated without any further proof or facts proffered.
    could it be that the abortion is an individual decision and war and capital punishment is a system’s decision , made by the “king”
    according to your response …..“The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”…..
    Hitler had the responsibility for the common good at least de facto therefor according to your thoughts the Germans really had no further responsibility but to say: The Fuehrer knows best…. ( Well most followed the churches advice? lead ? and said Sieg! Heil!)
    May be this is the foundation to Hochhuth’s novel The Deputy
    I think the Catholic Church should move away from its over reliance on legal maneuvers and learned logical reasoning and return to its roots which seem to me to require to make firm moral stands and demand firm moral comittments, especially where life and death questions are involved, regardless of the costs to itself or its members. Anything short of this, degrades it into a mere club
    Revelations come to mind: But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you… .(Rev3:16)

  • With regards to the determination of moral criteria, the Catechism maintains “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”

    to my knowledge throughout history there never was an unjust war in the eyes of those who started it and have been at the time “responsibility for the common good” as you call it.
    This makes the Just War Theory a practical sham , without any significance for the people. It also is insulting to our intelligence and smells of the discontinued practice of the “Index”

  • …You’re really not even trying to understand the arguments, are you?

    If you really are, please try to say what, exactly, you’re having trouble with– I’d be pleased to try to help you understand it.

  • I thought the argument is pretty clear.
    there seem to be two standards in taking a life. One is ( in the case of abortion) to be on the safe side and and postulate when life starts since it cannot start any earlier than with conception therefor that’s when its starts . We have no proof for it but rather err on the possibility that it might start there. Fair and good, i fully support this.
    In the other two cases – capital punishment, war a different standard is invoked. It seems to me this is clearly expressed in the phrase given earlier ( (paraphrased)….the Prosecuting attorney can respectfully disagree with the Church on individual case of capital punishment….
    In this case a life can be taken even if the judgment of the person involved turns out to be wrong.
    In case of war there are 2 points , to my humble opinion involved:
    1) again the parties involved respectfully agree to dis agree and this is morally justified … Well we are all humans and mistakes are made….
    since never in history the aggressor felt the war was not absolutely necessary the whole just war theory became a mute subject it est meaningless
    2) Your argument that the moral decision should be left to the proper authorities seems to me to patronize any believer who is not in power. this leads to my comments regarding Germany etc.
    what is important to the argument here however is the willingness to agree to respectfully disagree
    This in my opinion is a double standard and is probably based on political considerations as it can be demonstrated throughout much of history ( especially since Constantin)
    What I think the stand of the Church should and has to be is consistent. Since I think the stance of the church and beginning of life is the prudent decision the same principles should apply to the other two cases. Anything short of this smells of intellectual dishonesty.
    By the way, in arguing this case I don’t think the Catechism can be invoked since the argument is consistency in reasoning the cases and not what the cases actually say.
    I thank you for your interest in setting me straight.

  • Innocent life vs non-innocent life.

    There’s no justification for me walking into a mall and shooting someone; there is a justification for me shooting a guy who is trying to kill me.

    We have no proof for it but rather err on the possibility that it might start there.

    Scientifically speaking, conception is the start of life– an embryo is a unique organism from the mother, while an egg or sperm cell is not. We don’t know when that organism gets a soul— but then, we’re guessing that you or I have a soul, as well.

    since never in history the aggressor felt the war was not absolutely necessary the whole just war theory became a mute subject it est meaningless

    Highly improbable. Beyond that the just war theory doesn’t just say whoever starts it has to think it’s needful, even with my horrible history education I can think of wars that were started for advantage, not need. I seem to remember Bismarck was famous for them– he had a tactical goal, expansion/reuniting Germany, but that’s not absolute necessity.

    Your argument that the moral decision should be left to the proper authorities seems to me to patronize any believer who is not in power.

    1)”It’s patronizing” isn’t a refutation of an argument.
    2) Hitler did have a responsibility for the public good. He did not fulfill that responsibility, needless to say.

    In human interactions there will always be leaders and followers– that’s the only way there can be cooperation. If there are leaders, they have to be able to lead– especially in the case of large organizations, it’s not possible for everyone to have all the information and properly assimilate it, and get everything else done.

    Life is highly valuable. What, then, does your notion of consistency make of those lives who try to take lives?
    Should those who are innocent be slaughtered at will by those who are not, simply because we’re all valuable– or is killing, as a last resort of defense, acceptable?

    By the way, in arguing this case I don’t think the Catechism can be invoked since the argument is consistency in reasoning the cases and not what the cases actually say.

    I try not to quote the Catechism unless the topic is what the Church believes– even if what I end up saying is simply a rephrasing of what it says. If someone agrees, then there’s no argument– and if they don’t, why cite something they disagree with to try to change their mind?

  • You dodged the topic by starting your defense with innocent versus non innocent life this does not seem to me a serious attempt to set me straight. May be that is not your intent?
    patronizing is a remark that is used in my opinion to indicate that the argument lacks substance and is movind into areas of emotional domination not a good thing to do in an argument.
    The Hitler example does not focus on Hitler but on the obligation of the Germans as suggested by your argument.
    Actually the historic response by the Germans can by justified with your argument. And by extension the dire consequences

    Life is highly valuable. What, then, does your notion of consistency make of those lives who try to take lives?
    Should those who are innocent be slaughtered at will by those who are not, simply because we’re all valuable– or is killing, as a last resort of defense, acceptable?
    Again this is not the argument. The question is are we consistent in our moral judgement
    take the Iraq war; it was deemed and turned out to be an unjust war , however you claim a different mechanism for the individual , up to the pope himself, than for the decision of abortion or euthanasia. What i am arguing for is that the same methods and principles are applied. After that we can start to talk about innocent life versus not innocent life.
    This latter discussion might prove even thornier than the first, especially if one allows for biblical guidance.

    I try not to quote the Catechism unless the topic is what the Church believes– even if what I end up saying is simply a rephrasing of what it says. If someone agrees, then there’s no argument– and if they don’t, why cite something they disagree with to try to change their mind?
    It might be that I see inconsistencies in the catechism and I said I might not that I necessarily did.
    In that case it would be good to grapple with the passage instead quoting it as gospel which it is not.
    I guess I subscribe to the motto Schiller coined in his poem “Die Glocke” what you have inherited from your fathers earn it in order to own it.
    this – I suppose – means grapple intellectually with it in order to understand it. It does not have much value intellectual or moral if one just accepts it without an earnest attempt towards understanding to ones capabilities. I think this would be demeaning to the human dignity.
    I still hope you will take the time and effort in truly showing me the light, since despite of what I wrote I feel the topic is much deeper and important than we both touch upon this far.
    thank you in advance for your effort.

  • You dodged the topic by starting your defense with innocent versus non innocent life this does not seem to me a serious attempt to set me straight.

    You seem to be dodging the topic by not seeing a difference between killing without cause and killing in defense.

    That’s what just war and the death penalty boils down to– it’s a nation-sized case of self defense.

    If you support self defense by individuals, but not by leaders on behalf of those they have responsibilities towards– or, more so, if you support defense on behalf of one’s children, but not on behalf of one’s citizens– then the lack of consistency lies with you.

    Actually the historic response by the Germans can by justified with your argument.

    A bold claim; so justify it, using my arguments.

    In that case it would be good to grapple with the passage instead quoting it as gospel which it is not.

    You’re getting off topic, reindl. You stated that I should not “invoke” the CCC because you disagree with it, and I did not quote the CCC.

    ((On the side– you can make it easier to read what you’re replying to by using < brackets around I and /I to trigger italics.))

  • Thank you for the suggestion I will try to use it, but I do not quite understand your hints Do you mean:
    I will try this!

    We are arguing two different things
    I am NOT touching the subject Killing versus not Killing.
    the subject – as I see it – is the way killing is justified in principle.
    in abortion case it is easy to argue not to kill no problem!!
    In case of war there might be the justification to as you call it self defense etc. the problem arises to determine when it is Justified.
    You seem to say in this case it depends on all sorts of things completely beyond the capabilities of the lay person , because he or she is incompetent.
    (that is where the patronizing comes in by the way)
    if that is the case however it is the Church’s responsibility to educate and support the “flock of sheep” so they can make the right moral choice. If the church is incapable of doing so it should say so.
    That it is possible for lay persons to make the right choice can be seen in the case of Franz Jaegerstaetter who resisted serving Hitler and was beheaded for his pains. he did this against his bishops advice ( Bishop of Linz Austria)who used precisely the argument you are using and urged him to serve in Hitler’s army.
    I am certain you are aware that the Church has beatified F.Jaegerstaetter proving him justified or right and his bishop or your argument wrong.

    I also would like to remind you that you intended to explain things to me. I am only raising questions and from me perceived inconsistencies


    You misunderstood me, I did not mean to imply that you cannot use the ccc as you call it, what I meant was that you would have , or should argue the points from first principles. I apologize for the mis-understanding.

    I am still looking forward to your responses to my original arguments. The ” stuff” in between as far as I am concerned was an attempt on my part to clarify my side of the argument and to give you enough info to refute correct … it as you please and can.
    Let me point out that I am trying to argue a Moral/ethical point that could be perceived as being “to the right” of your position as I perceive it now (if it would be a political debate of course)
    As always thank you for your interest

  • I tried to quote a passage of yours but it did not work I am too ignorant in these and of course also other matters If you could give me some more detailed instructions I would appreciate it. Thank you.

  • Use I to start, and /i to end.

    In case of war there might be the justification to as you call it self defense etc. the problem arises to determine when it is Justified.

    If you agree that it is ever justified, then your complaint that allowing the death penalty is inconsistent, due to allowing killing, is invalid. It becomes a matter of you not agreeing where the line is drawn, rather than if the line should be drawn at all.

  • You are avoiding the argument. I like you to comment on the Jaegerstaetter example I gave , as it is pertinent to this discussion. The argument was not whether killing might be allowed or not the argument IS to determine within a morally consistent framework when killing is allowed and it expanded – the argument that is – to who is allowed or has to make these choices.
    Please use the Iraq example I gave the pope determined that the just war theorem indicate that the looming – at that time- war would be unjust. Yet after the war started there was no further comment that participating in a unjust war – according to the just war theorem – is tantamount to murder.
    It is at that point that moral inconsistencies arise
    because murder is murder if nothing else killing a conscious being adds torture to the act of murder which – if one has to /wants to categorize these things-. The torture part comes with the fear and realization that you have to die I presume , never had to do it myself-.
    I think the abortion/ war/ capital punishment/… debate goes much deeper since there are corollaries to all this. And it are these corollaries that , in a practical sense might be even less palatable to us as a society than the results of the Killing argument.
    In any event I think any relativism in arguing the case should be avoided otherwise anything goes and the result is strictly utilitarian devoid of any claim to
    morality. one has to be able to argue the case consistently and continuously starting with abortion if you like and ending with war if you like.
    I am sure you understand what I mean.
    You asked in the beginning whether I am serious. I think this is and has been the defining challenge for the Church in the last and undoubtedly this century.
    The Church seemed to have failed its test during WW1 and WW2 (as well as many other conflicts thereafter. (see Jaegerstaetter example consider it a case study)
    But this does not mean we cannot remedy our transgressions in the future.
    Splitting up the argument of killing or shall I say murder – which would be unjustified killing and which would equally apply to abortion and war – certain wars etc into separately compartments to my mind is a moral dodge and with it makes our whole stand immoral one acts morally or does not.
    A murderer does not always have to kill in order to create immense suffering. it enough if he does it only in one case and not the other.
    thanks for the info on writing . the following is just a test so please ignore it.
    i test test test /i

  • Your original argument was that by differentiating between murder and abortion on one hand, and war and capital punishment on the other, there is a “double standard” in place.

    You futher claimed that, due to war and capital punishment being decided by the “system” or a “king,” Hitler was somehow justified.

    If you cannot manage to hold to your own argument and feel the need to accuse those who do of dodging the topic, I have no further time for you.

  • Sorry you feel that way

    I do have to respond to your interpretation – insinuation that:

    You futher claimed that, due to war and capital punishment being decided by the “system” or a “king,” Hitler was somehow justified.

    I never claimed that . What i did say is:
    IF your interpretation that responsibility for moral decision is vested in those of proper authority THEN
    The Germans where justified to line up behind their Fuehrer I think quite a bit different from your interpretation
    Unfortunately as in many of these discussions it often turns out that folks are not really interested in finding out or letting others find out the “Truth” or their truth and try to explain it in logical and dispassionate ways.
    It seems they are more interested in formulas than arguments and convictions ( I don’t mean just adopted beliefs) they can be passionate enough to defend.
    It was not me who offered to set me straight remember.
    the task obvious became too difficult
    Thank you for your time

  • a bit different from your interpretation

    No, it isn’t. Your argument against there being a difference between war and abortion was exactly as I stated.

    Unfortunately as in many of these discussions it often turns out that folks are not really interested in finding out or letting others find out the “Truth” or their truth and try to explain it in logical and dispassionate ways.

    Exactly why I am not going to waste any further time, barring some sign of actual interest in information– as opposed to dancing from claim to claim, then accusing those responding to you of “avoiding the argument.”

    If you admit any instance where self defense, unto death, is admissible– then you commit the same “inconsistency” you accuse the Church of committing. You may draw the line in a different spot, but still admit the difference exists.

    It seems they are more interested in formulas than arguments and convictions ( I don’t mean just adopted beliefs) they can be passionate enough to defend.

    A logical argument is a formula.
    And there is no inherent exclusion of conviction in an adopted belief, let alone an exclusion of passion in adopted beliefs.

    It was not me who offered to set me straight remember.

    Amazingly, it was not I who offered to set you straight, either; I offered, if you were truly trying to understand, to attempt to aid you in understanding. The latter has happened, but the prior is in doubt.

Some Advice Before You Get Married

Monday, November 2, AD 2009

I am a single man that believes that my vocation is that for marriage.  So when I came across this article I thought it prudent to read it since I have much, much to learn about marriage.  Me being the type that I would like to prepare for it the best I can rather than “learn on the job”.

Regardless, this struck home, not because of any past sin, but because it is rare to see a good priest speak truth to power.  Once cloning technology gets perfected I plan on mass-producing this priest.  Yeah, I know, cloning destroys the dignity of man so I was only speaking rhetorically.

So here is a warning for you all before you read the article.  Of course the author issues his own warning, but it is best to be safe than sorry!

Continue reading...

30 Responses to Some Advice Before You Get Married

  • I have seen/been to weddings like this – well, maybe not so caricatured – thankfully though, not in the Catholic Church. Mainly the garden variety wedding.

    But don’t let your own post put you off Tito. It doesn’t have to cost $29,000 you know.

    I would have thought that an articulate dude such as yourself would have been hitched by now anyway. 🙂

  • Don the Kiwi,

    I’ve learned that it will be on God’s time! 🙂

    But, yes, I’ll be keeping an eye on costs if I ever get there. It probably won’t be that much since I’m nowhere near where I need to be to afford something like that!

    I gave up on credit long time ago. I only use credit for home and car loans. (and sadly I need to have a credit card because rental car agencies don’t accept cash, debit cards, nor checks anymore.)

  • My wife and I had our wedding reception at the Parish Hall of Saint Mary’s in Paris, Illinois with food supplied by my Mom and her friends. I doubt if more than $500.00 was spent for the whole thing. 27 years later, I’d say my wife and I have gotten our money’s worth.

  • Getting married in January, I will say it’s very very difficult to keep costs down. You can’t find bridesmaids dresses for much less then 200, and when you do you have to pay for alterations to put sleeves on them to make it proper for churches. Having a rehearsal dinner & a large family for guests at the reception racks up very quickly. In the end, I think we’ll be under 10,000 but we’ve had to be real smart about it.

    Of course, if you can get away with a small wedding, then the costs will be much cheaper, as you can ditch the large cots with catering i.e. Donald

  • I agree some of the absurdities of modern weddings, but I have to take issue with this:

    “All this tells me that the photographs are over one hundred times more important than the grace of the sacrament, in most peoples’ estimation.”

    If a priest really held that opinion, I would harbor serious doubts about his orthodoxy. Would he then expect people to pay big dollars to the priest every week for all the sacraments?

  • Michael,

    You can get the materials for the sleeves by cutting out the mid-riff area. You see girls showing their belly buttons as being the fashion now, so you can be hip and cost effective at the same time!

  • This was certainly tongue in cheek; however, it is sadly quite true.

    Our modern culture has elevated the wedding far above the marriage. I think that may be one reason why we are tempted to have multiple weddings and virtually no marriage.

    My wife and I paid for our own wedding, our bridal party was no help because most people think the job of the bridal party is to plan the debauched bachelor and the worse bachelorette party, rather than host the wedding so the bride and groom can celebrate the sacramental union.

    We didn’t spend much money because I didn’t have it. Thank God for that – it can be a waste of money – not that money shouldn’t be spent but it should only be spent in honoring Christ and sharing the best wine, not on frivolous and vain trimmings. Our marriage has been great because of Grace and not any of my doing. We were so hip when we did it that I convinced my wife that we did not need the sacrament so we had a civil wedding. No one in the family objected and I wouldn’t have put up with it anyway because I was going to give my wife her day because I was an arrogant prick.

    God had different plans, as He always does. He allowed us to be married because He ordained the union even though this prideful sinner had no idea at the time. We so easily blind ourselves. Bridezillas and $10,000 dresses institutionalize the vanity of that pride. God breaks it down.

    Thanks be to God we enjoyed the convalidation of our wedding without fanfare, without a million people who could care less about the sacrament or about Jesus and we had a nice (albeit expensive) dinner following with both of our fathers and a couple of close friends and relatives. It was amazing and I cried. I didn’t cry the first time. It was just a contract that I was going to will to keep because I was my own god. This time it was a sacrament and I was called to climb on the cross for my bride and she was called to submit to me. Without the acknowledgment of sacrifice in a marriage instituted at the wedding, it is just a mere modern convenience (or is that inconvenience). Why would I be emotionally caught up in that? I didn’t. I love my wife. That is with MY OWN love for her the first time.

    When we did it right I loved and love her more today with His Love, He is Love and without that, the marriage is dead before it starts.

    Before anyone is to think that our marriage worked or didn’t until we came back to the Church let me clarify. Our marriage worked but not because of our wedding, it worked only because of our convalidation. Since God is not subject to time, He must have graced us in advance of our convalidation prior to our own knowledge of the convalidation. He knows that we were coming back home.

    I tell you these things because I want you, especially Tito, to know that He has blessed you with a wife or He has blessed you without a wife. What transpires doesn’t matter. All that counts is that you turn to Him, He’ll do the rest. I thank Him everyday for my wife and more importantly, I think Him for Him. Without Him I don’t know how long I would have had a wife (or for that matter a living soul), not that we had any shattering problems, but I am sure we eventually would have. He married us. I used to think I did that. Pride and arrogance lead to envy and vanity. The modern wedding is vain, the modern marriage is empty, the modern family is dead.

    We must have strong sacramental weddings, which lead to stronger trinitarian marriages. A marriage in which the purpose is to help each other get to the third person in the marriage – God. It is not a 50/50 (partnership) split. It is 100% (communion)! Either you are all in, sacrificially, or you may as well be all out. Strong marriages make for even stronger families and authentically orthodox Catholic families are what this vanishing country, this dying civilization and this decadent world needs to be lifted up out of the mire and set on a hill.

  • Tito:

    Between telling me to have the bridesmaid bare their midriffs (which would cause a heart attack for the poor priest at whose church-which has mandated Latin hymns at all weddings there, god bless them-we’re having the wedding) and telling me to move to Houston on facebook, you’re just full of terrible ideas.

    😉

  • And people wonder why kids these days are just living together.

    Let’s see….

    “Dear ignorant slut;
    How dare you ask about something like how long the main isle is? I will proceed to assume that it is to prolong “your” section of the ceremony, which you have somehow managed to bully the poor idiot you’ve been sleeping with into going through with, and which you only want because it’s the Done Thing.

    What kind of creature are you, to hold a once in a lifetime event as somehow special, or something to be daydream about? You are obviously totally ignorant about anything to do with the Church, and you don’t even care about the actual sacrament, because I won’t charge you as much as the photographer or DJ will.

    (Nevermind man hours invested, material investment, supply and demand or any other things that change price– it’s purely an expression of what you value, and you can set the price at will!)

    There is no way you could actually have everything not related to the location under control and just want to know how long the isle is; you can’t actually both be Catholic, or give a damn enough to have researched what’s required to be married in the Church. Because you’re an ignorant slut trying to get married to the first guy who didn’t run away fast enough.

    -Yours truly, Rev. Know-it-all
    PS- why are so few people getting married in the Church, and why do the young not follow the Church’s teachings on sex?”

    Yeah, totally not offensive to those folks who actually grew up faithful, and fought against the assumption that they were going to have sex with anyone they dated for more than a month, or for that matter that they screwed anyone male they were around socially for more than a month.

    How dare a young woman dream about a celebration of her unity with the man she loves, before God and all? What, does she think marriage is special or something?

  • I’ve heard it said that many women these days get divorce only so that they can get married again simply because of how they’re so infatuated, not with the Sacrament of Marriage itself as any such sacred institution (obviously), but because of the very experience behind all the big hoopla of a wedding event.

    As regarding how non-Catholics view the Catholic version of Marriage, it’s often a common complaint that Catholics take marriage too seriously by requiring too many things prior to an actual marriage (e.g., Cana, etc.). Those non-Catholics I’ve met who’ve married Catholics (including the Catholic herself) often complain why the Catholic Church can behave so unreasonably.

    Whenever I hear such things from non-Catholic acquaintances, in the back of my own mind, I often wonder if only marriages were taken as seriously as the Catholic Church does, then perhaps their marriage might perhaps live up to the Sacrament that it actually is.

  • Foxfier, I’m mostly with you. I saw this linked elsewhere and did find it entertaining at first — and was very surprised that it was on a real parish website! But it laid on the sarcasm so thick that I started to think that rather than shedding new light for anyone, it would serve mainly to inspire pride and self-righteousness like I started to feel in myself reading it (because I mostly don’t see myself in the negative description, although I was hardly the ideal bride,) or to alienate those who either have not been taught or have rejected the different and better way and who are being so harshly characterized.

  • Clearly this was ‘sarcastic’ and somewhat tongue in cheek. Perhaps that isn’t the best approach. Nevertheless, it is precisely because the Church is ‘strict’ that makes her attractive. When I decided to come back to the Church the difficulty I had was in accepting Christ; choosing which church was easy. There is only one Church. If I had found the Church lax in the application of the teaching of Jesus Christ or in her sacraments or precepts then why would I waste my time?

    The Church is attractive because she is strict. If I had found the church to be relaxed or I had stumbled into a liberal parish I am not so sure I’d be Catholic today and I may not have brought my marriage into the Church. I found no appeal in any of the Protestant churches and I may as well have remained totally democratic in the church of me.

    I had a good marriage and I thought that was because I made it so. Marriage is only good in Christ. Can someone stay married and maybe even seem ‘happy’ without? Probably, but it is not real and the purpose becomes to exult each other rather than help each other get to Heaven. It degrades into hate or idolatry. Ultimately, it is a loss. Deep down inside we know that; so if we know it is a loss anyway, then why bother keeping it when it gets hard. Why not just get a do-over?

    Weddings do overshadow marriages in the modern culture and it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart. Look at what is being proposed now. Men marrying men, women marrying women, multiple partners seeking the same ‘right’. It is falling apart and the only constant seems to be the ever expensive ‘virginal’ white dress worn by non-virgins marrying drunk grooms after sleeping with the bridesmaid – that may be the groom or the bride – hard to tell these days.

    Marriage has become a joke and the wedding just another debauched party. If we want weddings back and we want wedding feasts back we have to restore marriage to what it is supposed to be. I have never been happier, more in love or had a clearer sense of purpose and duty in my marriage than now after bringing the marriage back into the Church. How many more are out there? Unless the Church offers a true solution, who cares?

    Human freedom is broad, but it has limits. Those limits, set by God through His Catholic Church are what set us free to become who we are supposed to be. Without those limits, our priorities get skewed and we fall into slavery disguised as freedom. The married state is for the purpose of bringing the bride and the groom to Heaven where they can be united, all in all, eternally. Without that intent it is just a legal contract and headed toward disaster even if it is not legally dissolved.

    Stable marriages, even those without a huge reception and expensive accessories, may be especially those, build stable families and stable families build stable communities. It is absolutely necessary. Additionally children from sacramental marriages and stable families make for single people who are more likely to choose the priesthood, religious life, consecrated virginity or matrimony. Why? Everyone of those is a lifelong commitment, you know, like a sacramental marriage. We have been too lax and careless about this for too long.

    We cannot confuse the message and the messenger. I am a sarcastic person so this letter appealed to me. You may not be so it won’t. The message is still accurate.

    There is money to be made in weddings, marriages lead to families and that is a burden on our government and Mother Earth. If we could just kill all the married people before they are born, we’d solve the problem and then Fred and John can walk down the isle and act like bridezillas with virginal dresses by Vera Wang and drive off in a Humasine. How cute?

  • There is a world of difference between being abrasive or sarcastic, and being flatly insulting to someone who has shown no sign of deserving it.

    Again, I’ll point at the assumption that the Rev. puts forth that anyone who would be interested in being married in his church is a slut. Amazing how when my mom was growing up, that was a major insult– and now, it’s a defended base assumption against any young woman interested in a wedding.

    Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.

  • “it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart.”

    It is not the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament or else marriage itself falls apart.

    The responsibility lies where it has always been in the first place: both spouses.

    This is why the sacrament of marriage itself is actually not conferred by the priest but by the spouses themselves. As the Catechsim itself teaches:

    1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.125

    The only reason why the ceremony has to take place in the Church in the presence of a priest is precisely because:

    1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.122

  • I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them. Like I said, I read it at first with some feeling of enjoyment — and superiority, essentially, not really gratitude to God for His grace that my life isn’t like that. I already know the writer’s point and it’s not giving me ideas on how to evangelize those who don’t. I’m not saying there’s no place for this kind of commentary anywhere, but seriously, what is its effect on most of the people reading it?

  • It made my laugh.

    e., you are right, perhaps faithful wasn’t the right choice of words. However, most lay people look to the clergy for guidance and cathechesis, so the clergy’s committment to the sacredness of all the sacraments including matrimony will guide the flock.

    Reverence for marriage is essential for society to fucntion. The bride pursuing her wedding based on popular media, modernist cultural (de)values and the peer pressure of prurient minds is not going to respond to a ‘nice’, PC message about how holy marriage is. And young men don’t even want to bother – why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds, drink beer and play video games without ever growing up. If they have an ‘oops’ there’s always abortion.

    Some people, especially stupid young ones and their hippie parents need an in your face approach. Or I could be wrong, but it is worth a shot.

  • “I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them.”

    Foxfier’s comments more than made up for it:

    “Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.”

    American Knight may have a point here:

    “And young men don’t even want to bother; why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds…”

    I remember some saying that goes: why buy the cow when you’re already milking it? Or something like that.

    Anyway, most acquaintances I know from university practically utter the same: that is, why marry your girlfriend when you’re already receiving fringe benefits from her already?

    Sad, but true.

  • Why would anyone marry in the Catholic Church when annulments are so easily obtained that “counting” on a life long commitment has become a farce?

    It is a sad state of “affairs”, quite literally.

  • Karl,

    The easy access to annullments is a problem, no doubt. But why would someone want to marry in the Church? I married outside of the Church and I can tell you the grace we have been freely given since we married in the Church is amazing. The reason to marry in the Church is to be married to each other in Christ, the bridegroom supreme. It makes a difference and those who do not beleive are missing out on the beauty of this world and I shudder to think what awaits in the next.

  • One of the best articles I ever read on this topic was “The Wedding Merchants” by Caitlin Flanagan, in the February 2001 issue of The Atlantic. You can read it at this link:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200102/flanagan

    I wish I’d read it before my own wedding in 1994. I tried very hard to do everything on the cheap and be elegant but not extravagant. In the end we (me and my parents) spent just under $5,000 on the whole thing, well below the national average to be sure, but in retrospect, even THAT amount of spending probably wasn’t necessary.

    The formal wedding as we know it today is really a relic of early 20th-century high society culture, in which 1) brides married very young and went directly from living with their parents to living with their husbands; 2) they were presumed to be innocent, not only of sexual experience, but also of experience in running a household; 3) women didn’t work outside the home, and so could devote all their time to planning and attending social events like weddings; 4) attending and giving formal parties was a routine part of life, so they didn’t have to learn the etiquette involved from scratch.

    As Flanagan says, there was a time when a girl who “aped the ways of rich folk on her wedding day” would have been ridiculed, not admired.

    Perhaps more Catholic couples should consider getting married during regularly scheduled parish Masses… it CAN be done, sometimes very beautifully; it saves money on flowers and church decorations since they are already there; and it enables an otherwise tiny wedding party to enjoy the presence of a packed church.

    This story contains a wonderful example of how it can be done:

    http://www.sj-r.com/homepage/x19928804/Dave-Bakke-Soldiers-strangers-celebrate-wedding

  • Dear Am Knight,

    I was married in the Catholic Church and once believed as you do. In theory, only, I still do.
    Pray for the Church and if you have time left over, for my family as well. Thank you.

    My snide remarks come from heartbreaking experience, not bigotry against the Church. I appreciate the kindness of your response.

  • Karl,

    You will be in our prayers. Life can be painful and we are all looking for healing and you are already in the right place to receive it even if the perception is that the problems are caused by the Church – God only allows that which sanctifies us; that is probably going to hurt.

    I didn’t find your remarks ‘snide’; I think you are accurate re: annullments. The question we have to ask is why bother getting married at all? It is biologically possible to have children without marriage and these days a willing partner for ‘just sex’, ‘friends with benefits’, ‘I don’t want a husband just give me a baby’, etc. are easily found. If you do bother, why stick through the rough spots? I can just get marriage 2.0, you know, an upgrade.

    There is only one reason – Christ. We can keep our marriage vows to our spouse even if they do not reciprocate. Remember that our disposition at judgment is in how we directed our will, selfishly or conformed to God’s. Will there be pain and damage? Yes. Will there be grace? Of course.

    God bless you.

  • It thought the article was a hoot. I somehow missed the slut part, but the opening question is just plain funny. “I visited your church *once* and am thinking about having my wedding there ….” That alone is worth a chuckle, and then punctuated with “how long is your main aisle”? Come on, that is just classic display of superficiality.
    Sarcasm and parody can be effective. Many people who are invincible to measured reason (often due to their own arrogance) are quite vulnerable to well-placed ridicule. Like the fellow who insists on wearing white socks with dress trousers because he thinks the conventions of dress are just stupid anachronisms. He’ll stop only after folks point at him and giggle.

  • I guess horribly superficial things like “I’d like my parents to be able to come to my wedding” never crossed your mind, Mike.
    Most of the folks I know who aren’t getting married near a parent’s home do get married at a different place than the one they live– so that people can actually make it to the celebration.

    Silly, superficial things like “airports” and “hotels” come into play, though occasionally “the church is breathtakingly gorgeous” or “my grandparents were married in that church” will influence such a desire.

    Oh, and when you accuse a lady of routinely sleeping with whoever they’re dating, you’re calling them a slut. First block-quote in, second line.

    I must say, I didn’t know that we had so many mind readers around! To know that Mary is a shallow, materialistic person who knows nothing of her faith from a single line? And to know the only thing she’ll respond to, from a two-line note, is to be publicly mocked and accused of multiple violations of binding Catholic teachings?

    So, where’s the “funny” and “effective” accusation against the lady of having had a couple of abortions?

  • Another issue I’ve seen discussed in other forums is the difficulty of finding MODEST wedding dresses that aren’t strapless or cut extremely low in front or back. Apparently designers assume that all brides want to look “sexy,” which creates problems for those who want to show proper reverence in church.

    One way to get around this problem is to shop at a store or website that sells Quinceanera dresses (for Hispanic girls celebrating their 15th birthdays). The online stores carry all sizes (up to size 28!), most styles are available in white or off-white, and most come with matching jackets or shawls to solve the problem of dressing modestly in church.

    There are also stores and websites that cater to Mormon brides who need modest dresses for their temple weddings. I don’t think there’s any law against non-Mormons shopping there 🙂

  • Elaine,

    That is what I see among my friends as well.

    The difficulty of finding modest wedding gowns. It’s amazing how our culture have degenerated.

    Like I joked before, but it’s true, I’ve noticed now bare mid-riffs at wedding ceremony’s.

  • Tito:

    Now, come on.

    What precisely can be a better way of celebrating the Sacrament of marriage than having your to-be-wife dressed up as a crack whore, except without the dignity?

  • Pingback: Round Up – November 3, 2009 « Restrained Radical
  • e.,

    I hear the crack *#ore look is in!

Asking the Wrong Question

Wednesday, November 26, AD 2008

M.Z. over at Vox Nova has a post up entitled “No you can’t wash your hands” about voting for flawed candidates. He makes a fair point insofar as both parties support policies that are in tension, if not contradiction, with Catholic Social Teaching. Voting is basically a binary choice in American politics, and in many cases voting for either candidate constitutes material cooperation with evil. However, his description of the choice facing Catholics this past election was very puzzling. Here it is:

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15 Responses to Asking the Wrong Question

  • Douthat was cribbing from Larison primarily, so yes I’m familiar. One of McCain’s first reactions to the tsunami in Myanmur was to state that we should send an invasionary force. Send troops is McCain’s hammer and every problem McCain sees is a nail. No, Obama isn’t a pacifist, and he may indeed have the most militaristic sympathies for a Democrat since Johnson, but he ain’t McCain.

  • So M.Z. basically voted for a radical pro-abort because of an impression of McCain that is little more than a caricature. Meanwhile, President-Elect Infanticide has all but signaled a continuation of the “evil” Bush regime’s foreign policy, altering it in little more than rhetoric.

    Good to see one’s priorities in order.

  • Send an invasionary force?

    As I recall, he said that we should use the Navy and Air Force to rush humanitarian aid to the area — as we have repeatedly done successfully in the past. The dictatorship in Burma didn’t want them, so basically no aid got through.

    To insist that a president McCain would have proceded to forcibly invade suggests that one is either intentionally exaggerating to the point of falsehood, or else very much carried away from reality by the hysteria of one’s new political bedfellows.

    Why the hyperbolic approach? Would “I think that the possibility of getting a few plums for union bosses and maybe even an infusion of federal cash into the Great Lakes states’ self inflicted economic black hole is plenty of reason to shelve the anti-abortion agenda” sound overly selfish?

  • Thanks Darwin. I look forward to inflated rheotic from MZ and his ilk over at Vox Nova for the next four years.

  • Looks like MZ responded while I was writing. Looks like he considers truth to be “cute.” Now that’s cute.

  • Invading Myanmar? What a crock of s***! Is that the kind of ignorance that made Catholics vote for Obama?

  • Phillip,

    I do not think it is fair to make generalizations about everyone at VN. I wouldn’t link to them if I did not respect many (if not all) of the writers.

    DC,

    No need to caricature M.Z. (even if he is caricaturing McCain). Whatever M.Z.’s reasons for supporting Obama, I think it is charitable (and probably correct) to assume they were more substantive than a desire to help union bosses.

  • Look, MZ, I understand that you may consider that a rather unfair blow. But let’s be honest: Would you be any more likely to let me off if I’d spend six months actively trumpeting a rabidly pro-choice libertarian candidate (who proceeded to win, over an at least self proclaimedly anti-abortion progressive) and justified my choice by claiming that abortion wasn’t an active issue anyway and we desperately needed free trade and less regulation? And then when backed into a corner went over the top and claimed that the pacifism of the pro-life progressive would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths as a result of unforseen but doubtless inevitable circumstances in which our weakness resulted in new wars?

    Give me a break.

    While I’m willing to accept that you think that it will make very little difference who is president in regards to abortion, you can hardly be surprised at my thinking that your main motivation (discussed fairly honestly in the past) is the hope for lots of Keynsian help for your particular region — help which from my own economic perspective won’t even get you any benefit.

  • Fair enough, John Henry. And it is your post.

    My apologies.

  • John Henry,

    Agree. That’s why I said “…and his ilk.” Not all at VN are of his ilk. But those who are I expect will be using similar rhetoric for the next four years. And I will be correct.

  • Well, here is McCain’s actual reflections on military intervention in Burma. He strikes me as being opposed to the idea:

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2008/05/15/when-would-mccain-intervene/

    On the other hand Obama during the campaign made several statements that indicated a willingness to risk a potential military clash with Pakistan:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0132206420070801

    How any of this justifies a vote for the most radical pro-abortion president this nation has ever had eludes me.

  • My delicate eyes- and high blood pressure- compel me to avoid blogs like VN. Translations like those over here work well- sometimes the interpretations are more accurate than the original rants. So he dismisses McCain as warmonger. Oh- someone from four generations of men who have faced down war. His dad and grandpa were admirals. One son is among our heroic guys and gals in Iraq. Another son is months away from graduation at Annapolis- meaning, he may be facing battle shortly thereafter. And of course, the years of butt-kicking he underwent at the Hanoi Hilton. While Obama faced crises like oh dear I only earned a C on my law school paper. The folks who have faced down war tend to become the biggest pacifists. Because they want legit reasons for battle.

  • Of all the VN contributers, my guess is about half supported Obama, but it may have been slightly less. I think it is indisputable that he is the most radical president or major party presidential nominee on the question of abortion in American history, and I hope he fails on any point related to it, if we may project based upon his rhetoric, promises, and supporters.

  • Gents: It appears “M.Z.” took his ball and went home, a place where no one will bother to puncture his dorm-room fantasy world with facts or logic.