Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2015

Pope Francis and Kim Davis

Just when I think I have Pope Francis figured out, I am back at square one.  Inside Vatican is reporting that Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis:

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

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54 Responses to Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

  • Good for Francis. I had a wish that he would join a march in front of a Planned parenthood aboritorium.
    Imagine the response from both sides as they pass each other shifting their evolving likes and dislikes.

  • I read about this yesterday. I hope it is true. If true, then it should be publicized far and wide..

  • Pope Francis seemingly defends marriage between a man and a woman. Very sad that this should shock us.

  • . On a similar note, he blasted the pro gay/ pro euthanasia Mayor of Rome as a pretend Catholic. Could he have been touched by the US meeting with Davis into “judging” the Mayor at some level…

    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-shows-no-mercy-blasts-rome-mayor-pretend-201914363.html

  • BTW, folks, the news articles published on Yahoo and elsewhere are getting the expected cursing from all the pelvic crazed baboons.

  • I hope this meeting with Kim Davis represents a shift in Vatican attitudes and policies toward the sodomites

  • On the papal flight back to Rome after the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis was asked about Kim Davis and he didn’t know who she was.

    I’m digging around to try to confirm this story, if it’s true or not.

  • Tito,
    Some degree of non familiarity is shown in the gifts of rosaries to two Protestants who then gave them to Catholic parents. I suspect he was hurriedly briefed on the story and presumed they were Catholic.

  • The yahoo news article about the mayor of Rome described him as unpopular in the Italian press. If you’re wondering why the pope is publicly criticizing him, but not Pres Obama etc, their comparative popularity might be relevant info.

  • Bill Bannon,

    I agree.

    I’ve dug around and about 40 minutes ago, the mainstream media (secular and liberal press) just exploded on the news.

    The Vatican, Fr. Federioc Lombardi, has confirmed the meeting took place but won’t divulge any details.

    The lawyer for Kim Davis, Staver, also confirmed the story.

    Kim Davis as well has confirmed the story.

    The story looks genuine and true.

  • NBC on the 28th prior to knowing about Davis has the Pope saying to reporters on his return plane that conscientious objection in such situations is a human right..

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/pope-francis-visits-america/pope-francis-i-understand-anger-catholic-church-sex-abuse-victims-n434681

    Good response by Francis on the matter of those intimately radicalized against God for the sex abuse by priests…” I understand that woman”.

  • “…pelvic crazed baboons”
    .
    Paul W. P. you are a genius of the keyboard.

  • Pingback: Pope Francis Met With Kim Davis - Big Pulpit
  • From Yahoo, I’m not surprised. The NHL blog I used to read there, Puck Daddy, was run by a big time gay marriage supporter. I presume he is not alone at Yahoo with that view.

  • If they were intellectually consistent, the papal positivists would treat this the same way they did, say, his phone call to Jaquelina Lisbona–i.e., it’s just her version of the story, she has an interest in it being spun this way, she misunderstood, etc.

    Now, I’m inclined to think this turned out the way the Davises said it did–but I also believe Mrs. Lisbona, too. Getting in contact with the Pope would be pretty well unforgettable.

  • How did ETWN coverage miss this?

  • Explains the sudden spinning of the Pope telling Islamic folks who don’t like being associated with terrorism that they should, y’know, CONDEMN IT as “pope calls Koran a book of peace.” (He did one of those “hey, if you are saying X, then you should do Y” rhetorical devices.)

  • This just confirms my belief that the Pope had his hands tied, to a certain degree, on the stage of Catholic political issues, coming to America. He can criticise an Italian mayor because frankly, he isn’t really anybody. Criticise an American congressman, and you’ll feel it. As someone previously said, congressman act like little gods.

    he isn’t rocking any boats publicly, because they’ll pressure him out like they did with Benedict. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but it all makes sense. He is treading his power very carefully, whilst staying true to the Gospel.

    And it also confirms my initial belief that his speech to congress was intentionally diplomatic, otherwise he would not have been invited.

    I Wouldn’t be harsh on him on this matter. We don’t see what really goes on behind those Vatican walls, nor the conversations or the decisions that are made.

    This is not excusing his lack of a “heavy hand”. This is understanding the logic behind his politics.

    PF is a good man doing a very tough job. I Pray for the Pope.

  • Bergolio’s “leaked” (Really? You believe that?) “secret” encounter with a Christian who refused to issue sodomite “marriage” licenses, in my opinion, was a media stunt, well organized by his buddies in the Vatican.

    Seriously now, are we THAT naive?

    “WOW, you see, Bergoglio is against sodomite marriage”… REALLY?

    The guy should be ashamed of himself pretending to be the Vicar of Christ and doesn’t have the COURAGE of a Protestant to declare and proclaim his faith and say to a nation that “what you did was wrong and either you correct yourself or you will go to Hell.” How many public speeches and homilies he gave in America? How many times he explicitly condemned the sodomite marriage law when he had the chance? Not one single time. Most, if not all of his gibberish was about his freaking mother earth and government’s redistribution of wealth.

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • Will you please decide if the Vatican is great at setting things up, or horrible? And if they want to slap orthodox Catholics in the face, or make us like them?

    Also, how on earth a “well organized media stunt” manages to go past the Catholic media that would welcome it, mostly bypass the official media, and only sneak around the back with the far side of crazy that hate the Pope because he worships anything but their goals?

    I found out about it this morning from someone that assumed it was another “all dogs go to heaven” type rumor that went viral.
    ….
    I think the Pope has rather poor personal judgement on a lot of issues, and without a doubt holds some very questionable notions. That’s different from not being Catholic.
    You don’t think he’s strident enough, great. You don’t agree with his tactics. I don’t, either, but your choice of tactics is rather questionable when it drives someone who agrees that the Pope should be acting differently out of wanting any kind of association.
    He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step.

  • Question: Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?

    There is no doubt at all, if you watched his actions and words since he was put on Peter’s Chair, that when addressing non-Catholics, when addressing issues that are contrary to Catholicism when meeting the non-Catholics, he NEVER says anything defending the teachings of the Catholic Church and never says any objectionable word to these people.

    He wants to be nice to sinners. He wants to be popular and the media darling. He is from this world.

    Instead of correcting sinners, he welcomes them and even declares a year of “mercy”.. i.e. everything is allowed for a year because that’s what it’s really about… the “year of mercy” … starting with allowing and facilitating for Catholics to divorce.

    And don’t assume that after the year, everything will go back “Catholic”.. No Sir Ree Bob!!!

    Once he opened the door for “everything is allowed”, and the Synod will confirm it, it will be the new “normal” just like sodomite “marriage” is the new “normal.”

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • “He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step”

    Agree Foxfier.

    I wander sometimes, in the way some Carholics carry-on, what differentiates them from a fanatic Muslim Ayatollah. ?

  • While the pope’s meeting with Davis is, in itself, praiseworthy, I find it strange in the context of the entirety of Francis’ visit to the U.S. When the pope is speaking about the hoax of man made global warming errr Climate Change and the naked anti-death penalty activism, he is not only bold but in your face about it. But on stuff like this that actually has bearing on Catholic Christian morality, he is oh so secretive. Something doesn’t smell right here.

  • >>>Throughout his papacy, Francis has insisted that marriage is between a man and woman, but he didn’t emphasize this church teaching during his trip because he wanted to offer a “positive” message about families to America, Lombardi (Bergoglio’s “press secretary”) told reporters<<<

    I wonder what would Jesus say or do….

    Correcting sinners, leading them to Heaven or telling them everything you're doing is honky-dory, it's "mercy time"??? "I'm not going to offend you, I'm going to be nice to you because that's how you're going to believe in me…..I'll let you live and die sinners."

    Hmmmm

  • Ezabelle –
    bodycount?
    ***
    Greg- if we assume he really is trying to draw people into the faith, and that in the US the global warming and anti-death-penalty folks are most likely to be, ah, not in agreement with the important bits… he may be trying to get common ground, get them to like him, so they’ll listen to him enough to save their souls. That whole “find common ground” tactic.
    He didn’t make a secret of the visit to the Little Sisters, but it didn’t much hit the news outside of Catholic circles– and they’re nuns, people would EXPECT him to visit them!
    I heard folks talking about his speech to Congress and expected a lot of open borders junk…I go read it, and find that he did a good job of drawing a distinction between what HE supports, and what principles we need to apply.
    ( I sure as heck don’t think it’s very loving to be the pressure relief valve for Mexico, so that the folks who are most desperate can take the “steal a loaf of bread when starving” route with immigration laws rather than improving the country.)
    Of course, that goes back around to the question of his practical judgement… did he KNOW that his speech would be mined and treated as ammunition for exactly the opposite, to drive people away from the Church? If not, who the heck isn’t doing their job about briefing him? I know that they mentioned he doesn’t let anybody know everything he’s planning to do, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get a blessed briefing about “ways the English language media is going to screw this up.”

  • What would Satan do?
    ———————————

    Satan would be nice to people, all people because he wants to have followers. So, he will not offend anybody. He will welcome everybody. He will be merciful to everybody. He will not correct anybody who offends God.
    .
    Instead, he will tell everybody that there are no sinners as fas he is concerned.
    .
    He will give people the impression that God is judgmental, not nice, bigot, discriminatory, and evil. But that he isn’t any of these.
    .
    He is merciful, loving, caring, welcoming, accepting, forgiving.
    .
    He will let you do anything you want and he will never judge you but instead he will encourage you and help you do what you like to do.
    .
    Satan would be the good guy and God the bad guy.
    .
    Satan will appoint a representative on earth. And who can represent him better than the pope himself, the Vicar of Christ, Satan’s sole enemy?

    Bergoglio is leading souls to Hell.

  • “Bergoglio is leading people straight to hell”. Ok. We’ll tally them up at the end of his papacy. If you believe some, the body count is going to be huge!

    It seems he won’t please anyone until he starts condemning the infidels to hell. Sounds like another religion to me.

    His name is Pope Francis, not Bergoglio.

  • Some, err, many so-called “Catholics” venerate to the point of almost worshiping humans instead of their creator. And I don’t care if this human is the pope or not. He was created just like the rest of us and unfortunately, Jesus is ignored even by the pope. If Jesus, with a BIG Halo, was walking in St. Peter’s Square while ANY pope is doing his round, people will still be cheering for the pope and ignore Jesus. I bet my life on it.

  • I rarely comment despite the growing hatred and vitriol so common on almost every online news outlet. I did not expect to find the same entrenched intolerance in reading a Catholic publication. Obviously I disagree with most of you. Kim Davis is breaking the law. If her principles and conscientious objection are more important than her $80,000+ a year salary, then she should quit. It is not her right or job to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.

    Like millions of others who claim rich faith in God, Davis is usurping His right to make judgement. Reading many of these comments, it seems you think God applauds intolerance, hatred, and judgement. That concept goes against everything I was taught as a Catholic, including that He loves all of his children. I simply cannot fathom why so many of those who profess abiding conviction in God’s plan and wisdom, do not trust his Judgement. It is, or should be, at the core of our faith.

  • Err…whatever JPIV…and in more important news, I received this letter from RTL this afternoon…

    Good morning all,
    I am speaking at RTLA Conference tomorrow.
    However at the last minute yesterday Peter Dutton cancelled the visa of the keynote speaker Troy Newman due to pressure from the far left pro- abortion lobby lead by opposition leader Penny Wong.
    Troy Newman is the President of Operation Rescue who have exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted foetal tissue.
    Troy Newman landed at Melbourne Airport at 7am this morning and is currently being questioned in immigration. RTLA have sent a lawyer and many people are lobbying Peter Dutton to reverse his decision.
    Please pray that righteousness, truth and wisdom will prevail and no weapon formed against Troy and his wife Mellissa (and their family in the US) will prevail.
    Thank you so much.
    Kind regards,

    * Penny Wong is a left-leaning federal politician in opposition. She is also alesbian with two children conceived via IVF through a donor.

    Lois

  • Sorry to bombard Donald- but this is also happening currently in Australia – if anyone is interested.

    Perhaps the effort in micro-analysing PF could be put in fighting and defending our own Catholic communities.

    “As you may have heard, Archbishop Julian Porteous is being taken to the Anti-discrimination board in Tassie, (Tasmania, Australia), by the greens representative, for distributing the “Don’t Mess with Marriage” pastoral letter to parents at Catholic schools and also to Catholic parishes. Aside from the great power of prayer, this petition is another active way to support the Archbishop and to join your voice in support of marriage:

    http://standwithporteous.com

  • “to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.”

    Nan, do you realize just how ridiculous you sound? Throughout all of recorded history marriage has been between men and women, and that remains the teaching of the Catholic Church. You act shocked and outraged because many of us do not agree that same sex marriage is marriage. This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre.

  • “Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?” Well yes, of course, when it comes to certain issues that all his well educated friends in high places are against. God bless him for the meeting, but the lack of openness about it sends the message loud and clear. I was instantly reminded of the scene from Blazing Saddles when out of gratitude an old woman brings the black sheriff a fresh baked pie and asks him if he has the decency not to mention it to anyone. After all, appearances you know.

  • Comment of the week F7. Take ‘er away Sam!

  • Congratulations to Pope Francis for his mysteriously stealth support of Kim Davis and against SSM. Let us hope he comes out again , openly and frequently, in support of Catholic doctrine. When he does this he is most impressive and worthy of attention.

  • “This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre”.

    Amen.

  • Nan –
    your trigger-word program needs work. When claiming to respond to comments, it helps if the topic you’re commenting on was actually MENTIONED in the comments; two dozen comments into a thread, they’re all about figuring out the Pope, and your “oh I OF COURSE am always here” comment is about…. a totally unrelated subject.
    Not just name-calling and lying, but doing a bad job of it. Dang.

  • “Big underground success”!
    Just maybe the last Our Father of the rosary said by the faithful for the intention of the pope and other prayers for him are being heard.

  • Foxfier:

    The anti-death penalty movement effectively exploiting the Church hierarchy and using it as a wedge between pro-lifers to advance their anti-life agenda (yes the anti-death penalty movement is anti-life at its core) has long proved the whole “find common ground tactic” a failure. It seems to me even St John Paul II started to realize that taking sides on capital punishment was a mistake. When Cardinal Ratzinger sent that letter to Cardinal McCarrick stating that Catholics enjoy a “legitimate diversity of opinion” with regard to capital punishment, he acting not merely on his own personal behalf, but in his official capacity as head of the CDF. To my knowledge, he said nothing publicly about the death penalty as Pope Benedict XVI. I searched in vain to find any statements to that effect. And now Pope Francis not only digs up the whole anti-death penalty nonsense, he ups the ante with his opposition to life sentences.

  • Greg-
    I don’t disagree on how effective it is, at least in the US, but it is still something a person can reasonably disagree on…especially when they are charismatic.
    ***
    Given that the Pope obviously doesn’t trust organizations to have power– even while he thinks they MUST have that power– supporting life in prison over death penalty makes sense. (Do YOU trust Iran’s use of the death penalty?!) Same way his view of capitalism makes sense if he thinks crony capitalism is normal.

  • Foxfier:

    First of all, Pope Francis opposes life sentences. He calls it a “hidden” death penalty. Do I trust Iran’s use of the death penalty? I don’t trust Iran. It has nothing to do with the death penalty per se. Our very judicious use of capital punishment is in no way comparable to the way it is used in totalitarian hell holes like Iran, China, North Korea etc. The pope surely knows that. If he doesn’t, his ignorance is scandalous. We don’t execute people for expressing political disagreement or engaging in homosexual acts, or the like. I think the fact of the matter is this pope is more concerned with advancing an ideological agenda than he is the mission of the Church.

  • It doesn’t matter if he knows it’s different in degree, if he’s bought into things like the Innocence Project’s stories that it’s not different in kind.

    GIGO.
    Same reason it’s not good for the Church to jump into scientific situations, it confuses folks about her authority; a simple and LOUD lay-out of the principles involved– without their preferred course of action even mentioned— would be nice, but… yeah, I’ll take a pony, too…..

  • I think the very low key, later leaked meetings with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Davis (well, in Davis’s case, as I understand it, the Vatican didn’t even leak it; an American made the claim and the Vatican didn’t deny it, was how the story first broke) show a distinct difference.

    America has probably more people who would be attracted to a guy who talks about conscience rights and freedom of religion than people who are attracted to a guy who talks about the evilsi of air conditioning.

    The only way making one message loud and clear, and the other muted and unadvertised, is so that he can emphasize one, and leave a bread crumb for orthodox Catholics who want to think that the pope identifies with them too.

    But the idea that this is a good evangelical strategy is not convincing. 1 because the Good News himself probably priorities life issues and the freedom to worship him above air conditioning, and 2 because, this guy has never made Jesus the focal point of his public life. Yeah, he talks about him, but proclamation of Jn3:16 sounding concepts is not a priority with this guy when we are honest with ourselves.

    Priorities. What are yours?

  • Autocorrect apparently wet crazy on the above, apple culpa.

  • I don’t care if he “identifies with” Snips on My Little Pony– and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that does actually matter, immensely, to the sort of folks that he’d be trying to reach if my theory is correct.

  • “…if he bought I to the Innocence Project”

    Maybe the Church hierarchy will buy into common sense. I’m not holding out too much hope of that happening anytime soon.

  • Re local DC FOX news this a.m. – Kim Davis’ lawyers say she and her husband met with PF for 15 min in private. The Vatican says PF met with a group of people inclluding Davis at the Vatican embassy before leaving for NYC. That he did meet in private with someone, but it was not Kim.

    Well someone is lying. What a mess.

  • To CAM. I guess it was too good to last. Since they are getting flak from their gay constituents the Vatican is walking back, the now infamous (apparently to them), Kim Davis episode. What a bunch of mealy mouthed creeps. Disgusting. Let us hope the news report on this was incorrect.

  • I am disgusted again: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/vatican-publishes-clarification-on-pope-s-meeting-with-kim-davis
    .
    Maybe we should start paying attention to our local parish briest and our local diocesan bishop. And if we don’t have a good parish priest, then maybe we should change parishes until we find one. Maybe in the end it is best if we pay no heed to what comes out of the Vatican – it is just too darn depressing.

  • What in the world? The Vatican’s comment on the meeting with Davis…( Pope Francis: ” Stay strong”) now says the meeting should “not be considered as support for her position.” Apparently the Vatican sees Francis’ words …stay strong…as possibly an exhortation to do push ups and sit ups every day. The translation of English into further English continues.
    Seriously this could have one legitimate nuance if a moral theologian from a Rome university called the Vatican and said that in his opinion the cooperation of a County Clerk was remote material cooperation with a homosexual marriage …somewhat like a Catholic fuel truck driver delivering heating oil to an abortion clinic….bad looking but permissable. If that type of cooperation in sin technicality motivated the Vatican, they should have revealed that and given a lesson in moral theology according to the opinion they are favoring while other moral theologians might take a stricter view and see it as sinful cooperation. But by the Vatican not explaining their comment, it sends a signal to active gays like those at NCR combox that change…repealing Romans chapter one….is possible.
    Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker.

  • “Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker?”
    .
    I dunno probably the latter: lavender mafia. I have no familiarity with moral theologians. I imagine it’s very hard work making up stuff both about God and about morality. My reaction to the news that Pope Who had met with the brave woman was, “A stopped clock is correct twice each 24 hours.” And now they screwed up that.

  • Greg Mockeridge,.
    You like Pope Benedict probably for other reasons but he publicly as Pope called for the elimination of the death penalty unfortunately. What is bizarre is that all three of these last three Popes did not look at figures for those regions of the world which have millions of poor people which is where deterrence becomes obvious….China murder rate 1 per 100,000/ non death penalty Brazil and Mexico 24/20 respectively….per 100,000. Links to Benedict calling for its end follow:

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-end-the-death-penalty

    http://ccky.org/2011/11/pope-benedict-xvi-praises-efforts-to-ban-the-death-penalty/

  • Paul W Primavera-
    hold the disgust, and remember that’s from the guy who is careful with his words.
    Looking at what they’re careful to label the full statement, here:
    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/10/02/_statement_on_popes_meeting_with_kim_davis/1176270
    it jumps that he’s dancing around something by being very, very specific… I would guess that the Pope didn’t give anybody a heads up about this.

Various & Sundry, 8/27/13

Tuesday, August 27, AD 2013

Weariness and Current Events

Some chap named Paul Zummo has written about Jody Bottum’s white flag essay over at the Catholic Stand. You should all go read it.

But Hey, We Don’t Really Have to Worry About Same Sex Marriage

Speaking of the issue that will single-handedly destroy Catholicism, Erik Stanley provides more evidence that maybe, just maybe, First Amendment rights aren’t so secure in a same sex marriage tolerant regime.

Vice President Biden Threatens Impeachment if President Bombs Foreign Country Without Congressional Approval

Whoops. My bad. That was Senator Biden. Now that he’s Veep he’s totally cool with such actions.

Beware Common Core

Few people are talking about common core, but we should be, as it poses a serious threat to American education.

Common Core, now adopted by 45 states and DC, is a set of national standards and goals related on the surface to English and math that have far-reaching implications into who controls curriculum (teachers teaching to the national test), along with implementing data-mining for a jaw-dropping universe of facts provided to the federal government about your children and you. Can I implore you to watch this video of a Common Core creator celebrating the collaboration with Obama’s data team and how to use data to achieve political ends?

Common Core has dismal quality, puts us behind other countries, views teaching as job training and not the development of our children’s minds, and has backers that would make your head swim were you to conduct even a perfunctory search.

Tolerance, Health and Fascism

Dennis Prager uses the “f” word and so will be ignored, but he shouldn’t be.

Now this is a Professor I Wish I had in College

Mike Adams is a professor in the University of North Carolina system. One friendly reader labelled him the biggest embarrassment to higher education. Why? Because Mike actually believes marriage should be between one man and one woman. Mike wrote an open letter in response to Ed, and it’s truly worth your time to read.

Why the Left Needs Racism

James Taranto takes down a buffoonish article written by Margaret Carlson about the movie The Butler. I think the absolute kicker was this written by Carlson:

“I wish Chief Justice John Roberts and four of his Supreme Court colleagues would see [‘The Butler’], too,” she writes. “Maybe it will help them understand how wrong they got it when they recently decided that we are so far past Jim Crow that we can dispense with a central provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”

Yes, if only Clarence Thomas had seen a movie about life in the Jim Crow south he’d have been more amenable to upholding Section 4 of the VRA.

Too Much Chant at an Extraordinary Form Mass?

Scott W. sounds incredulous that anyone could complain about too much Gregorian Chant at an EF Mass. I have to admit that at the last EF Mass I attended – one which lasted two and a half hours, and was not the Easter Vigil – at one point I was kind of hoping for the choir to shut up for a minute so that the Priest could continue. Of course that was a polyphonic choir, so perhaps it’s not quite the same thing.

Indian Satire of Breaking Bad

Extraordinarily funny if you’re a fan of the show. By the way, Sunday night’s episode may have been the greatest hour of television I’ve ever watched.

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5 Responses to Various & Sundry, 8/27/13

  • “one which lasted two and a half hours”

    You got me there. Even I’d say it’s too much of whatever is making Mass go that long.

    To clarify, what this particular complainer was getting at is that there was too much chant displacing the Greatest Catholic Hits of 1956. For him, there are basically about five or six hymns like Salve Regina and Schubert’s Ave Maria that are acceptable for Mass and we were supposed to just cycle through them. As I often say, getting rid of the cloying and mawkish schmalz of the 1970’s is not a solution if it is replaced by the cloying and mawkish schmalz of the 1870’s.

  • “I have to admit that at the last EF Mass I attended – one which lasted two and a half hours,”

    Wow. I must say that I like the old “hunter” low mass of 20 minutes. On special occasions I like elaborate masses, but usually a shorter mass suits my taste. I also tend to get irritated if a priest speaks for more than ten minutes after the Gospel. Some priests have the gift of eloquence but many do not. Many a good and holy priest I have encountered keep their sermons short because they understand this. I sometimes, and I know this is bad of me, feel like holding up a sign saying “Just Here for the Eucharist!”

  • For the record, it was a special Corpus Christi Mass at my parish. Even at the extended length, it was still beautiful.

    There was a rector at St. Mary’s in downtown DC who celebrated the Extraordinary Form Mass every Sunday, and his homilies were regularly about 5-7 minutes. Of course, there’s another priest who regularly celebrates there currently (Msgr. Pope) whose homilies run much north of that time, though he’s the rare exception of being the kind of gifted orator who can get away with it.

  • If only I had the luxury of complaining about too much Gregorian Chant at Mass. You stand a better chance of hearing Gregorian Chant as background music at a secular coffeehouse than at your local Catholic parish.

  • Years ago a priest from my diocese said he learned this homily tip from a priest friend: Put a Life Saver in your mouth when you start your homily. When it’s gone, stop. He used that rule of thumb even when he preached the funeral homily of the priest who gave him that advice.

Bad Night for Barack

Wednesday, May 9, AD 2012

In a Presidential election year, primaries become much less newsworthy after the presidential nominees for each party are decided.  However, last night’s elections were of interest, and the results are bad news for President Obama:

1.  President Obama won the West Virginia primary with approximately 60% of the vote.  His opponent, who got approximately 40% of the vote, was Keith Judd, or as he is also known, Inmate No. 11593-051.  Judd is serving a 14 year term for extortion in a Federal prison in Texas.   Democrat Senator, and former West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin refuses to say if he voted for Obama in the primary.

2.  There is a strong push in the Democrat party to have the President come out in favor of gay marriage.  Biden recently came out in favor of it, citing the old sitcom Will and Grace, which I am sure played a huge role in his decision to support changing an institution as old as Man.  There is a move afoot in the Democrat party to have a plank put in their party platform calling for gay marriage.  The party convention will be held in North Carolina.  Last night the voters of the Tarheel State approved a constitutional amendment, 60-40, banning gay marriage and the fake gay marriages called civil unions.  The Democrat party in North Carolina is in chaos as a result of the party chairman of the state party being accused of gay sexual harassment.  It is rare for a party to wish to raise a social issue that will harm them in the general election, especially in the key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, but that is apparently what the Democrats are in the process of doing.  Pass the popcorn!

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22 Responses to Bad Night for Barack

  • 60-40 was nice but hardly overwhelming. The rainbow brigade will be out in full force outside both conventions. It will get ugly

  • In elections Joe, 60-40 is always overwhelming. Gay thugs demonstrating against the GOP will drive up the Republican vote in the Fall. Gay thugs demonstrating against the Democrats will drive down the Democrat vote in the Fall. Where the homosexual activists are strong, icy blue states, they will produce wasted votes for Obama. Where they are weak, the swing states, they will drive up votes for Romney. The politics of this issue are crystal clear on the national level.

  • I was happy to see a Mourdock win in Indiana. Now, as long as Pres. Obama comes out strongly for Joe Donnelly, and pushes the gay marriage issue hard, Indiana will go Republican.

  • I dunno, Don. 40% is a high number. 4 out of 10 voters in secret favor GM; when polled publicly its 50-50, according to Gallup. How does 1 percent of the population get 40% support? That’s hardly proportional.

  • As a Hoosier, and one who worked on Lugar’s first campaign back in high school, seeing him not slaughter his primary opponent is something that recent memory cannot offer. So, a 60-40 loss – yea, verily, a loss at all – is quite remarkable.

  • Sadly, the distribution of votes in Mecklenburg County was 45.82% for Amendment One and 54.18% against. Thankfully, the rest of the State is smarter! And even more thankfully, Bishops Burbidge and Jugis spoke out publicly in favor of Amendment One. That, I think, was critical – two Bishops lending their names to this very important State Constitutional Amendment. Praise God!

  • Joe-
    it’s a very emotional issue, easy to build sympathetic stories around the support of; I wouldn’t call it “secretly” supporting gay marriage– quite the opposite. I remember what I went through being the token conservative in school. Between the people who go along to get along, the folks who don’t think about what they believe on this or that issue that doesn’t directly touch them and the people who refuse to set themselves up as targets…. Ugh.

    One problem with surveys is that if someone calls me up and says they’re asking about gay marriage, I’m going to hang up. I already know what happens then.

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  • If my own experience of working in politics at that level is representative, you cannot very well keep the body of signatures on nominating petitions wholly confidential. You might be able to contrive a system where an aspirant challenger posts a bond to be able to examine the petitions (in lieu of publishing the names). The risk of systematic forgery is too much to allow the petitions to be submitted and propositions approved for the ballot without vetting.

    I am as disgusted as anyone at the mixture of harrassment and defamation heaped on some people who have contributed funds or provided court testimony (Maureen Mullarkey, to name one), but for the most part these perps are not dangerous, merely disgusting, and no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It is something that can be borne and it is not edifying to have attorneys effectively conceding the public square.

  • How does 1 percent of the population get 40% support? That’s hardly proportional.

    I think 2% of the population is closer to the mark.

    1. Fashion

    2. An extension of the phenomenon you see both in domestic life and political life generally which has an occult origin: a tendency to give bon bons to clamoring constituencies.

    3. A loss of a sense of fixed standards in all realms of the common life (a corollary of which is referred to in point 2).

    4. A conceptualization of marriage which has it as a ratification of desire among expressive agents acting against their surrounding society rather than taking their place within it. Plays like West Side Story and The Fantastiks made the case for this sort of romantic attachment fifty years ago.

  • Art-
    there is a difference between fraud prevention and the argument that signing a petition is public speech which should be published.

  • Art, where do you get the 2% figure? That would be 6 million, which even counting a big chunk in San Francisco, seems excessive.

  • Another sign of the Apocalypse. I never thought I’d see the day when the President of the United States would endorse so-called “gay marriage.” What has America come to?

  • How is it that 60% of WV dem primary voters are so stupid as to prefer the worst POTUS in history to a convicted felon?

  • Art, where do you get the 2% figure? That would be 6 million, which even counting a big chunk in San Francisco, seems excessive.

    IIRC, Edward Laumann’s estimate was 2.8% of the adult population, of which 2/3 were male. The figures propagated by the Kinsey Institute which you used to see quoted a generation ago you do not see much anymore.

    Just shy of 20% of the population is prepubescent and (among the homosexual population) a small percentage of men (and larger percentage of women) are of sufficient age that it hardly matters on a day-to-day basis. So, you would be talking about somewhere north of 4 million men and 2 million women. The male population would be divided into a core of about 2 million and a periphery of about 2 million. Unadulterated lesbianism is rare; the bulk of the female set would be in the periphery (think Susan Sontag or Camille Paglia). So, yes, the core population would likely not exceed about 1% of the total population of the U.S.

  • there is a difference between fraud prevention and the argument that signing a petition is public speech which should be published.

    There is a difference. The implication of either argument is that the list of signatories cannot be confidential (even if you do not publish the names).

  • I’m no lawyer, Art, but I was under the impression there was a lot of daylight between “force the bigots to be publicly known” (which I recall from the radio coverage at the time) and “can be accessed by those investigating to see if there’s fraud.”

  • I think the 40 percent comes from family and friends who love their “gay” children, and want to “support” them. There are lots and lots of families in that situation– trying to decide what to do when he says he wants to marry him….

  • Anzlyne-
    from my facebook, the folks without that reason are the same ones that want more social programs that won’t directly help themselves.

    I can assure you, as a mom, saying “no” is hard. Especially if someone is willing to be emotionally manipulative. (Like a dear family friend’s nephew, who disowned them when they said “dear, we love you, we wish you well– but we believe what you are doing is wrong. We won’t lie about that. It’s wrong.”)

  • They disregard the Gospels and St. Paul’s Epistles which are the Truth about eternal life.

    It’s unlikely that the 40 percent that love their gay children and their gays will be getting into Heaven.

    But, it’s okay!

    They’re happy here. The Hereafter is not a consideration.

    The same goes for anybody voting democrat.

  • I’m no lawyer, Art, but I was under the impression there was a lot of daylight between “force the bigots to be publicly known” (which I recall from the radio coverage at the time) and “can be accessed by those investigating to see if there’s fraud.”

    There is daylight as to the motivation. There is less daylight as to practical implications. (And no, we should not give a rip if the likes of Dan Savage, et al call us ‘bigots’).

  • Not motivation-daylight, but legal restrictions type.
    I know some things are absolutely confidential, while some things are limited access, and some things are on-request, and some are if-you-request-it-you-can-publish-it. Those are just the ones I know from the military– different levels of classified.

MSNBC/NY Times Poll Alert: “Are Religious Rights Being Trampled on by Government?”

Thursday, December 29, AD 2011

Fr. Z says it best:

Perhaps other blogs will pick this up and help.

An article from the ultra-liberal New York Times (“Hell’s Bible”) is posted on the even more liberal MSNBC.

The article concerns the objections of the USCCB against pressure from the Obama Administration and/or states to force Catholic adoption agencies to allow homosexual “couples” to adopt.

You have to scroll down to the bottom of the MSNBC webpage to find the poll form.

Click here!

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5 Responses to MSNBC/NY Times Poll Alert: “Are Religious Rights Being Trampled on by Government?”

  • Chris Matthews of MSNBC has blatantly stated that he wants to see Obama re-elected. They are obviously using this survey to find chinks in their secular armor, and to defend Obama’s policies.

  • For roughly half a century, it has been the right of the Adoption Agency to determine who is fit to be a parent, why is it that the government feels that that right must be changed now? Why can’t we say that homosexuals aren’t fit to be parents?

    I agree that this is a complete intrusion of the rights of religion. Thanks for the heads-up on the poll (when I voted, roughly 18,300 voted and it was a 49-49-2 split).

  • Not a very good poll design– I tried a different browser after I voted and it would have let me vote again.

  • Interesting. I just voted @ 9:30pm Eastern Time and the poll results were:
    18,148 votes and 49-49-2 split.

  • Interestingly, the article states that the Lutheran Church in Missouri is going to go ahead with referrals to gay couples. I read that the Lutheran Church membership is dwindling, and they’re looking to expand their membership. Herbert W. Chilstrom is former presiding bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Chilstrom has written an open letter to the Bishops of Minnesota asking them to accept gay ‘marriage’ because gays are like blacks or something (his words).

    Changing doctrine to accommodate members is a short-term solution. The one thing that make the Catholic Church strong is it’s unity, catholicity, apostolicity, and holiness. The Lutheran church is making itself weaker, not stronger by bending God’s word to accommodate its membership.

    Back in 2001, Dr. Robert Spitzer, a noted psychiatrist had reported that homosexuals who really want to be cured, can become heterosexual using a variety of techniques.

    “Contrary to conventional wisdom,” Spitzer concluded, “some highly motivated individuals, using a variety of change efforts, can make substantial change in multiple indicators of sexual orientation, and achieve good heterosexual functioning.” Spitzer looked at 200 homosexuals – 143 men and 57 women. To the researchers’ surprise, good heterosexual functioning was reportedly achieved by 67% of the men who had rarely or never felt any opposite-sex attraction before the change process.

    Here’s a link to Dr. Spitzer’s discussion of his work:

    http://www.narth.com/docs/spitzer2.html

    Incidentally, Dr. Spitzer was the lead on getting homosexuality removed from the DSM in the 1980s because it supposedly couldn’t be cured. They gay community raised him on a pedestal then. Now they want him to go away.

WEDNESDAY EXTRA EDITION

Wednesday, May 18, AD 2011

A round-up of some of the best punditry in the Catholic Blogosphere, courtesy of ThePulp.it:

“Why Is Mugabe Visiting the Vatican?” – James Kirchick, New Republic

. . .Mark Stricherz of Catholic Vote wrote about this here. . .

God & Political Science – Timothy Shah, Daniel Philpott & Monica Toft, PD

Exposing the Death Dealers – Amy Welborn, Crisis Magazine

Syria Christians Fear for Religious Freedom – Reuters

Pro-Lifers Help Win Canadian Baby Battle – Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller, OSV

About Face on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ – Joan Frawley Desmond, NCRegister

Abp. Jose Gomez: You Have a Duty to Confront This Culture – Cal Cth Daily

Fig Leaves & Falsehoods (Lying & Planned Parenthood) – Janet E. Smith, FT

Quaeritur: Selling a Rosary & Other Sacred Things – Father John Zuhlsdorf

Paternalistic Violence in the New World – David, The School of Salamanca

Monster Baptism & Chemical Pregnancy – Doctor Stacy Trasancos

The Sistine Chapel, In the Depths of Wales! – Richard Collins, The Guild

_._

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Same-Sex Marriage Bill Killed in Maryland Assembly

Friday, March 11, AD 2011

This looked like a done deal after the Senate approved it, but the same-sex marriage bill  went down to defeat this afternoon.  I find this to be particularly noteworthy:

Advocates for the bill had hoped Maryland would join five other states and the District in allowing same-sex marriages. The bill had significant momentum coming out of the Senate but ran into resistance in the Democratic-led House from African-American lawmakers from Prince George’s County, who cited religious opposition in their districts, and conservative Democrats in Southern Maryland and the Baltimore suburbs.

People assume that because Maryland is a deeply blue state that same-sex marriage would find more support than in other areas of the country, but there is some innate social conservatism here thanks in part to the substantial African-American population.  This was brought home to me just yesterday when I read an op-ed opposing gay marriage in an independent local paper aimed at the African-American community, and not one normally noted as a bastion of conservative thought.  But I think this vote represents one of the potential areas for schism within the Democratic party.  Just a year ago or so Marion Barry expressed his opposition to DC’s imposition of same-sex marriage, and now we have lawmakers from a majority-black county blocking same-sex marriage in Maryland.

All in all, a day for rejoicing.  For now.

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6 Responses to Same-Sex Marriage Bill Killed in Maryland Assembly

  • This is great news. I think the bill would have been over turned on referendum anyway, but its better this way. A lot of people, I think, tend to view Maryland through the lens of the DC suburbs (particularly Montgomery County), which is very liberal. But I think in many other areas of the state, there are a lot of us left who may favor liberal economic policies, but still tend to feel our working class immigrant roots. I voted Democrat for years because I saw them as the party on the side of the little guy (and to a certain extent still do); I stopped voting Democrat because of their increasing embrace or abortion and moral relativism (gay marriage being but the latest example of that).

  • This got me thinking. In a two-party system, minorities who identify primarily with their fellow minorities will not be divided. African Americans will be primarily Democrats or primarily Republicans. And their secondary concerns will tend to follow the party. African Americans have already become pro-choice and they will in time favor gay marriage. Hispanics aren’t far behind. I see only two ways to avoid this. Either eradicate race as an identity or have a multi-party system. It’s not just a matter of politics. Souls are on the line. The two-party system may have worked well when voters were all white land-owning Christian men and the major division was between southern farmers and northern capitalists but we’re too diverse today.

  • The vote in the Senate:

    http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/466a18365c194c9686894fab849ab819/MD-XGR–Gay_Marriage-Roll_Call/

    In the House it was a voice vote to send the bill back to committee so don’t know what the count would have looked like:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2011/03/maryland_house_killes_same-sex.html

    Just for those who care, all but one Republican in the Senate voted against (ten Dems also did). Even with the African American Dem’s opposition, it was likely the House Repubs. who provided the bulk of the majority to stop the bill.

    Just a jab to those who still claim there is no difference between the parties. Well, except for election years. Except this is not an election year. Go figure.

  • “Same-Sex Marriage Bill Killed in Maryland Assembly”
    lol – Violent, eliminationist rhetoric . . .

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AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

National Public Radio’s ludicrous firing of Juan Williams and a subsequent mainstream media article on Catholic bloggers may seem to be two separate issues. Some may say what does the overwhelmingly conservative leaning Catholic blogosphere have in common with the liberal leaning Juan Williams? The answer is quite simple; both scare the mainstream media because Juan Williams and the majority of the Catholic blogosphere put forth interesting solutions to often discussed questions.

The modus operadi of some in the mainstream media is to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. Combine this with a Juan Williams quote which most of America agrees with and voila you have it; the ultimate straw man from which you can tear apart any minority who appears on Fox News or any Catholic blogger who faithfully defends the teachings of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church.

In this Associated Press article on the Catholic blogosphere, the piece mentions Thomas Peters and Michael Voris (who is known for his videos not his blogging,) but focuses on harsh unnamed Catholic bloggers. The article quotes John Allen who calls elements of the Catholic blogosphere “Taliban Catholicism.” The highly respected Mr. Allen, who though working for the dissident leaning National Catholic Reporter, is often known for his many high ranking Church contacts and his fairness. He should have know better than to give the quote that he did. To take a few bloggers from the right (or even from the left) and call them the Catholic blogosphere is the type of journalism that would not pass muster for a high school paper, let alone the AP. This would be akin to taking the worst rated college or pro football team and telling the world this is the best of American football, or perhaps watching the Walla Walla Community theater production of Hamlet and saying this is Hamlet at its finest. John Allen should have realized where this article was going and chosen his words more carefully.

The AP article continues by naming a Church official who seems worried about the Catholic blogosphere. One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Semple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana. I worked for years in a diocesan office and I have yet to meet, even in my travels, a diocesan official who is well versed in the blogosphere. It seems to be a generational thing and most diocesan officials are not to be confused with the younger, more conservative seminarians or young priests being ordained.

While some in the mainstream media snicker at the Pope and Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) they in reality have their own magisterium. In their secular magisterium anyone who believes in the Catholic Church’s authority is hopelessly outdated, because according to gatekeepers in the mainstream media, true thinkers are those in the dying liberal churches who don’t know what they believe. Sadly, GK Chesterton prophetically predicted this would happen. He said, “It’s not that atheists and agnostics believe in nothing, they believe in everything.” In modern parlance, “It’s all good.” How sad that some who proclaim to be “open minded” can’t see the obvious; liberal Christianity is dying on the vine.”

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19 Responses to AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

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  • Keep preaching brother!

    I nominate the following excerpt to be the quote of year here at The American Catholic.

    “One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Simple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana.”

  • Nothing to “wonder” about. The answers are self-evident.

  • Well said, excellent, wonderful!

  • Uh…it’s “magisterium.”

    Good piece, though.

    🙂

    -Theo

  • It’s not clear to me that Allen was interviewed for the AP story. He was using “Taliban Catholics” in his own writing at least as far back as February.

  • Great piece with good insight. I especially like your quote about people not knowing the difference between Catholic bloggers and others.

    One note: Allen’s quote reveals more about himself than it does about Catholic blogging or orthodox Catholics. For all those who believe him to be fair, you might want to read his work more closely and don’t forget that he chooses to work for the dissident Reporter. His work displays some real blind spots.

  • It’s just funny that in article that to some extent is bemoaning in the incivility of the blogosphere, the term “Taliban Catholic” is so casually tossed about as though there is nothing uncivil about that comparison.

    But that, of course, is par for the course for people who yelp the loudest about tone and the harshness of dialogue. What it really is is an attempt to change the topic and avoid having to defend indefensible positions.

  • Defending the indefensible?

    As in an article that defends the civility of Michael Sean Winters but paints Catholics who are righteously standing up and saying enough as fringe.

    30-40 thousand readers a month may be ‘nobody reading’ to you, but I think it is enough to get an army of Catholics to get folks who espouse the opinions of dissent, silenced.

    It is half past time we take our parishes and schools back.

    We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Carry on.

  • Someone should ask John Allen when was the last time a Catholic blogger destroyed millenia-old works of art. Or shot a woman in the back of the head as halftime entertainment at a soccer match. Or sponsored terrorists who flew airplanes into buildings killing 3000 people.

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people who should know better consider John Allen to be “fair”. “Fair” people don’t make such idiotic comparisons.

  • We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Umm, what? I was critiquing the Allen quote and the condescending tone of the AP article, not Dave’s post.

  • Please, please, please – check your spell-check and correct “magEsterium” to “magIsterium”. The word comes from the Latin – magister.

  • Paul,

    Yes, my comments were about the article, not your comments which I completely agree with and thank you for stepping up to the plate to say.

  • p.s. I am not of the opinion that the article had coded message in it that needed to be cracked.

    There are many of us that are finished with letting teachers and priests preach and teach dissent and we area shutting it down by exposing what is going on with teaching, sanctifying and governing.

    Writing intellectual treatises on the internet is swell but it is not helping our children down at the local school being hoodwinked by Sister Mary Wear the Pants and Fr. Hehirtic. We have had to flee from our parishes, pull our children out of schools.

    What are we running from? It’s time to go back and demand our religion be taught.

    1. Pour through every bulletin and expose every problem, naming names and exercising your gifts by explaining the theological problems and consequences to our children.

    2. Start holding the priest accountable.

    3. If the priest won’t be held accountable, go to the Bishop.

    4. If the Bishop won’t be accountable, go to the Nuncio.

    5. If the Nuncio won’t hold them accountable, go to the Holy See.

    Round up as many in your area who are willing to do it.

    If in time, they do not intercede and do something to stop the people poisining the wells our children are drinking from, start a campaign to hold up the money on the annual Bishops appeal.

    Build it and they will flee.

    People may call it harsh. People like this author will call it fringe. Whatever hits you have to take from the author of this article on The American Catholic or anyone in the AP – Do it anyway.

    :O)

  • Anna, I do hope your not talking about me as being part of the dissent, or just sitting at my computer composing essays while Rome burns. I do think my bona fides as a writer, educator (working in the Church and taking a lot of heat from Church liberals) etc should fit pass muster. I would hope so anyone, considering how many nasty names I have been called by the liberals in the Church. If I have misinterpreted your remarks, please forgive me. However, it would appear to me that you think this article is somehow not orthodox enough. I don’t know how that is possible. It would seem to me that the first three or four commentors (among others) like what I have to say. Anyway, God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I actually never knew you existed before I found your article, but I can see that you are not a dissident.

    It has been such a refuge to come to the internet and read solid opinions. But we need those opinions to get into our schools and parishes and it is time to do something a little different.

    As a Boston activist who is part of the blogging community described in the AP, those of us on the ground doing this difficult ministry not only get called ‘names’ by dissidents, we are undermined by people on the right, sitting staring at their computers using their orthodoxy and bonafides to take cheap shots at us.

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    Is blogosphere a game of “who is the bigger player”? Is it about chumming around with folks who post comments telling you how great you are?

    Oh wait…

    Look, I’ve done my share of years of writing and defending the Magisterium.

    But you know what we realized?

    Not a single dissident in our children’s schools been removed from teaching children by the things we are writing on the internet (myself included)

    A lot of us have been parish shopping for ten years.

    It’s time to go to plan b.

    I can appreciate your frustration with the article that they failed to recognize the big wazoos who have been banging away at their keyboards. But the work we are doing is critical new work and the author of the AP article knew more about that then you did!

    Nobody on the ground is a threat to your thunder. We will not be competing in who is the greatest of them all contests. At ease.

    We are people who are trying to focus getting orthodoxy to our own children, family and friends while you bang away at your ministry doing it for people in the com boxes. Not as worthy as the work you are doing, but it is nonetheless, worthy work that did not deserve your cheap shot.

    The kicker was your respectful attitude towards John Allen, who in between working with Joan Chittister, Tom Roberts, Michael Sean Winters and Bishop Gumbleton (talk about fringe!) serving up poison to Christ’s souls, characterized parents fed up with dissent that is continuously being taught no matter how much you write with concerns to your Bishop, as lecherous murderers.

  • Goodness Anna I think the liberals have got the best of you. I spoke kindly of John Allen? I took him to task for his comment. I only said he was respected by many. Have you ever read what Father Zuhlsdorf says about John Allen? Father Z calls him “his friend and highly respected.” Do you think Father Z has gone wobbly too?

    I understand what you must be going through living in Boston. You may remember that I mentioned in my article that my childhood parish was scourged with not only one priest sent to the slammer for molestation, but two. Some of those these two deviants molested were my friends, so believe me I don’t need any lectures on that subject.

    I would suggest you take some time to pray over the whole matter, calling those that are on your side not wholly orthodox doesn’t help. God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I must not be making myself clear.

    I have the greatest respect for Fr. Z. But I disagree with his characterizations of John Allen. I am NOT attacking Fr. Z or his orthodoxy. Nor, am I attacking your orthodoxy. Nor am I attacking you.

    Phew.

    There is no need to be defensive. Be at peace.

    The AP wrote an article about a new ministry in the Church and your reaction to it was a knee-jerk.
    Look here:

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    The good people in Boston are getting off their fannies and taking our schools and parishes and chancery back. That’s what the article was about.

    What is it about that you wouldn’t embrace?

  • Anna, there is nothing about what you said that I wouldn’t embrace. God Bless you and the good people of Boston who are helping turn the tide. May God Be With You All!

Natural Does Not Equal Good

Wednesday, September 1, AD 2010

“Unnatural, mummy? You tell me, what’s nature’s way? If poison mushrooms grow and babies come with crooked backs, if goiters thrive and dogs go mad and wives kill husbands, what’s unnatural?”
Richard, The Lion in Winter

One of the claims to which people seem peculiarly susceptible at the moment is that if something is “natural”, it must be good. “Natural” foods are believed to be uniformly healthy. The finding that some particular behavior (say, polyamory) is found in nature is taken to be some sign that it is a good thing.

I think a fair amount of this results from our culture having lost a sense of tragic vision in regards to nature — we naturally assume that unless some active force comes along and makes things bad, that they will be good. This could not be farther from a traditional view of nature. While neo-pagans are sure that being “in tune” with nature would be a blissful and pleasant state, real pagans of the ancient world saw the natural forces that were bound up with their gods as capricious, sometimes cruel, and almost always unconcerned with the impact of their actions upon mortals.

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51 Responses to Natural Does Not Equal Good

  • Darwin,

    I think the appeal of “natural” things is really a reaction against the scientistic arrogance of the modern technocracy. And I think that is a good thing.

  • They’ll argue that it’s natural, but won’t admit the possibility that defects also occur in nature.

  • I think the appeal of “natural” things is really a reaction against the scientistic arrogance of the modern technocracy. And I think that is a good thing.

    Actually, I think that’s a really good point, Joe. And that can be a valuable check to our “we can do anything we want” modern outlook. I often find myself pointing to what we are and how we work as creatures in order to say, “No, human beings aren’t meant to work this way.”

    At the same time, I think there’s an unhealthy way to turn to nature as well.

    So sure, Bonobos engage in casual group sex to defuse social tensions and reduce conflict. They also at times engage in cannibalism. I don’t think that the fact these critters are comparatively closely related to us and exhibit these behaviors means those behaviors are “good”.

  • If we all acted on our natural desires, Charlize Theron wouldn’t get a moment’s peace. The men of the world would amass around her house and fight to the death for the chance to be with her.

    When did we accept this idea that all desires are to be indulged, anyway? I know you could trace it back to the Romantic movement, or the Enlightenment, or ultimately to the Fall, but no one actually believed it. It was a theory. Humans would sit around and talk about how cool it would be to do whatever we wanted, then our moms would call us for dinner, and we’d obediently go home. The only new thing under the sun is that we actually think that this nonsense is a workable life vision.

  • “If we all acted on our natural desires, Charlize Theron wouldn’t get a moment’s peace.”

    First I would have to know who she is Pinky. If we get past that hurdle, I am sure my good wife would help make certain that my natural desires, such as they are, would keep themselves firmly in check. 🙂

  • If we all acted on our natural desires, Charlize Theron wouldn’t get a moment’s peace. The men of the world would amass around her house and fight to the death for the chance to be with her

    We need a comment of the year award at TAC. That’s awesome, lol.

  • All this shows is that people confuse fallen desires as natural desires, and engage heresy by saying nature is not good. Got it.

  • So, while we must make it clear that what is natural IS good (and that is why NATURAL LAW is valid), we are not always engaging the world according to nature (and why people misconstrue natural law by assuming fallen mode of being as being what is natural).

  • Henry,

    When most people talk about something being “natural” they mean “found in nature”. That is the sense that I’m using here.

  • Tone aside, Henry’s probably right.

  • I think there’s a general recognition that not everything natural is good but I also think people are skeptical of messing with nature in ways we don’t fully understand. Some of it is warranted. Things once thought safe have been proven to be unsafe. Some of it is due to ignorance of the science and some of it is due to the fact that the science is unclear. I see a paradox here. On social and economic issues, conservatives like to argue that we should be cautious because we don’t know the unintended consequences of changes. But on environmental issues, liberals make the same argument.

  • “So sure, Bonobos engage in casual group sex to defuse social tensions and reduce conflict. They also at times engage in cannibalism. I don’t think that the fact these critters are comparatively closely related to us and exhibit these behaviors means those behaviors are “good”.”

    Much the same can be said for Bobos.

  • Much the same can be said for Bobos.

    Now, that is in contention for comment of the year. Ha!

  • There is “nature” and then there is “natural law”. For the Catholic Church the natural law is God’s law. For a very complete and nuanced discussion of natural law and how it should be incorporated into the laws of the State, I would recommend reading Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Libertas”. If you don’t want to read the whole thing you can read my article on it here:
    Pope Leo XIII on Freedom

    The cult of freedom is one of the central problems which American society faces. Unrestricted freedom is not a blessing; it’s a curse. When America drops the teachings of Jesus Christ as the basis for morality, then it is left with no basis for morality at all. This is clear from reading the decision by Judge Walker on Proposition 8. Morality is one of those things that is not subject to reason. The same arguments that the Judge uses to say that religious arguments are absurd with regards gay “marriage” can be applied to just about any moral issue.

  • “Now, that is in contention for comment of the year. Ha!”

    As soon as people start saying you’re the best, every young kid with a revolver comes gunning for ya.

  • You’re right, Pinky. I’m blowing this blog and heading for safer waters. Vox Nova. No one shoots straight there.

  • Baba,

    If we had more freedom, and less judicial tyranny, Prop 8 would have been upheld.

  • It’s not surprising that both Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan are enthusiastically pushing this book. Both men are 1. gay and strongly in favor of gay marriage and 2. are or have been quite promiscuous. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want the financial benefits and societal respect accorded marriage, but they also wish to continue to sleep around. If polyamory can be widely accepted as “natural” and thus superior to “oppressive” old monogamy, then they can continue to bedhop after marriage without censure.

    It’s hardly stop the presses! news to anybody that people may be attracted to other people besides their spouses. It’s also not news that some married folks will yield to temptation. What is a modern twist is the rather sad need some people have to have all of their own sexual quirks and proclivities and tastes applauded and approved of by “society.”

    What those people wish to avoid thinking about is the idea that unlike bonobos and dogs and chickens, humans form deep relationships with their mates. A hen does not suffer agonies because tonight her true love Col. Foghorn Leghorn is spending the evening with another cute chick. Anybody I’ve known who has favored polyamory (and gee, sorry guys, but it always seems to be men who argue that polyamory or polygamy are natural and therefore we women are much too hard on straying mates)ends up saying people, i.e. women “shouldn’t” shouldn’t suffer agonies, shouldn’t be possessive, shouldn’t get all hurt and unreasonable. Sorry, but they are and those feelings of betrayal and agony and hurt are every bit as “natural” as polyamory.

    What hedonists also ignore is that “nature” is pretty darn hard on the promiscuous. Before AIDS, there was syphilis and there are still quite a few lesser STD’s which can make one’s existence very uncomfortable.

  • Joe. You seem to be taking the Libertarian view towards freedom. This is the logical conclusion of the view that absolute freedom trumps all other values. This is the creed of the cult of freedom. “I believe in Freedom.” (Or Liberty if you prefer.)

    Catholic teaching is quite different. It emphasizes submission to God’s will which results in a very different kind of freedom which is freedom from sin. We are all slaves, we just serve different masters. A judge who is serving God can and should do everything possible to change a law that is against God’s will. So there is a justification for judicial activism if used properly.

    In fact there is nothing inherently good about democracy. If “we the people” are not guided by God’s law, then democracy is just another form of dictatorship. In fact Pope Benedict XVI talked about a “dictatorship of relativism”:

    “Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”
    http://www.vatican.va/gpII/documents/homily-pro-eligendo-pontifice_20050418_en.html

    You notice that the Church of Christ is not a democracy. (And neither are most businesses.) I think the “overturning popular opinion” argument is one of the weakest, and is a position that is being taken because it conveniently suits the purposes of those opposing gay “marriage”. If we concede that religion should not be the basis for morality and therefore the law, then we have lost not only the battle but also the war. The biggest flaw in the Constitution is that it does not mention God, but this is in line with Enlightenment thinking. And now we are seeing where this flaw finally takes us, which is back to the morality of the ancient Greeks.

  • Why does “it’s natural” almost always boil down to “I wanna”?

  • “Sorry, but they are and those feelings of betrayal and agony and hurt are every bit as “natural” as polyamory.”

    More so Donna, since without those type of feelings it is impossible for the deepest of love to occur, something that hedonists eventually learn to their cost. When everything is reduced to the physical and the surface, with no intention of deeper attachments being formed, it becomes completely meaningless, and often sooner rather than later.

  • Good Morning baba,

    I understand these principles in our personal lives. Free Will gives us the freedom to do whatever we wish; which is to say that we are entirely free to either follow God’s plan or go it on our own. Ultimately, there are consequences to choices and true freedom is the ability to sleep soundly because we are ready to be taken home at His command.

    I wonder if I might persuade you to tie this into the larger civil society though? I suspect that most readers and bloggers here agree and understand the principles you state. But, once we get past our personal lives, there is a bit of a vacuum as to the application. Perhaps you are saying that, while the larger civil society SHOULD be organized to direct us towards those principles, as a practical matter, it is not and never will be?

    I suspect that the last statement is true and look to the experience of the Israelites – each reorganization of society around different leadership principles meant to “correct” the defect of not following God’s commands and each failing miserably – and Christ’s admonition to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s for support. Do I have it right?

  • I’ve always refuted the natural=good argument (such as is found in “Marijuana grows in nature so it’s okay”) with “Arsenic is natural. Are you going to ingest some of that?”

  • G-Veg. I guess we need to ask why the US was successful at implementing a democracy, while in France it failed. I think this is because the US did not fully embrace enlightenment principles the way France did. The US did not reject Christianity, but rather embraced it. This kept the US from falling into a dogmatic death spiral like what happened in France.

    In the US there was an undeclared truce that was worked out between the deists that wrote the Constitution and the vast majority of the population which were Christians. The deists while not believing in Christianity took care not to denounce it – at least not in public. (The exception being Thomas Paine in “Age of Reason”.)

    There was an unwritten concordat (if you will) that delineated the boundaries between the state and Christianity. (In contrast in France under Napoleon there was an actual written concordat with the Vatican concerning the roles of the state and the Church in education and marriage, etc.)

    This arrangement worked well enough in the US until the 20th century. The biggest factor I think was the emergence of mass communication (radio, TV, movies) which was quickly seen by the Humanist forces as a powerful weapon which could be used in a cultural war. The dogmatism imposed by the state from above (by force) was replaced by a creeping dogmatism that infiltrated into the individual conscience through constant exposure (via the media) to enlightenment ideals.

    So to answer your question, the solution is not to impose Catholic doctrine in a dogmatic fashion from above. The only solution is to nurture a Christian conscience in individuals, and then encourage those individuals to work through society to make changes from within. This probably means that in the future Christianity will become a dwindling minority in the US. Of course we need to remember that for God all things are possible, and we must continue to have faith in His Plan.

  • Well, I just can’t stay away! 😉

    Henry is right. We need to be careful to distinguish between natural desires and fallen desires. Natural desires are rightly ordered desires–ordered according to the meaning and purpose of human existence. Fallen desires are disordered (yet still natural and still good) desires–ordered contrary to the meaning and purpose of human existence.

    So while the feeling of sexual attraction that a man may have for a man is still *natural*, it is disordered, and hence, fallen.

    Yes, everything is natural. But no, not everything is ordered as it should be. Sexual attraction, and sexual behavior, is ordered toward the purpose and meaning of sexuality.

    Perhaps when someone says, ‘it is natural’, we should ask: well, what do you mean by ‘natural’? Do you mean that it is part of the natural order and oriented toward the purpose of that order? Or do you mean simply that you saw it happen somewhere at some time?

  • And now I promise to go back to my Amish-Catholic web-free zone. God bless, everyone.

  • To Joe’s point in his first paragraph, Fr. Benedict Ashley OP has made the compelling point that Romanticism (which values nature in the sense which Darwin uses it) and modern technocracy are two sides of the same coin. I wish I could flesh out his point more, but the book in which he makes the point (Choosing a Worldview and Value System) is currently boxed up for an office move! In any case, it’s a provocative point which might be worth following up upon.

  • Chris. The Romantics, if you’re talking about people like Percy Shelley, were anti-religious, so they fit in nicely with the thinking of Darwin and Huxley. The “theory” of evolution is largely a pretext to attack religion – especially the Bible. Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound” reveals his anti-religious thinking. Prometheus is the Titan who stole fire from the gods of Mt. Olympus, who are used to represent religion. The fire which Prometheus gave to Man is used to represent technology.

    The hope of Darwin, Shelley and others (Malthus, Huxley, etc.) is to unbound science (Prometheus) from religion. This is the same sort of Enlightenment thinking that drives the French Revolution and socialism. One of the things that results from this is the absolute separation of Church and State. (Notice also the similarity between Prometheus and Lucifer the “light bearer”.)

    Shelley’s wife, Mary Shelley, wrote Frankenstein. The complete title is “Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus”. You can see that even back then they were thinking of how Man could create a new form of life. The ultimate goal of this movement is for Man to become like God. This is Nietzsche’s Superman. (“God is dead.”) This is also the origins of the eugenics (“good gene”) movement.

    Today we have people like Craig Venter playing God through biotechnology. And we have the Humanists telling us how wonderful stem cell technology is – especially if they can use human embryos to experiment on – because this paves the way for creating a real life “Modern Prometheus” (Frankenstein).

    And the flip side of this is people creating a robot with artificial intelligence which is another way for Man to become God. The ultimate goal is to create a “Transhuman” which goes beyond natural evolution to create a new species of Man that incorporates both biological and computer technology. (Also nano-technology.) I’ve explored some of these ideas on my blog:
    Agnostica Eugenica Transhumana – A Dragon’s tail
    Iron Man as Prometheus Unbound

    So yes, Romanticism and Technology are oddly coupled. The Romantics would probably have been deists that looked to nature as their god and would have been revolting against Christianity since they would say that it Christianity against scientific reasoning. Not very “romantic” if you ask me, but then Humanist aren’t very humane either.

  • Clarifications:

    Henry is right. We need to be careful to distinguish between natural desires and fallen desires. Natural desires are rightly ordered desires–ordered according to the meaning and purpose of human existence. Fallen desires are disordered (yet still natural and still good) desires–ordered contrary to the meaning and purpose of human existence.

    Natural inclinations are rightly ordered through the acquisition of virtue (or through growth in the infused virtue). Fallen desires may be equivalent to desires not yet ordered by reason, or it may mean disordered desires. That they may have a good object does not mean that the desire itself is good, if it is opposed to reason.

    So while the feeling of sexual attraction that a man may have for a man is still *natural*, it is disordered, and hence, fallen.
    An analysis relying upon hylomorphism:
    A defect may be said to be natural in so far as it proceeds from matter and not form. I deny that SSA is natural in the sense that it is proper to the form. Those who wish to make same-sex attraction natural are implicitly arguing this.

    Yes, everything is natural. But no, not everything is ordered as it should be. Sexual attraction, and sexual behavior, is ordered toward the purpose and meaning of sexuality.
    The problem is ordering — if same-sex attraction is unchosen and pre-rational, then it makes no sense to say that it is not ordered as it should be, since order comes with reason and not prior to it. Unless you mean that it is not ordered with respect to the author of that desire, God Himself. This is akin to saying that God made them homosexual even though He wants them to be heterosexual.

    One cannot “order” a desire which has for its object that which is intrinsically opposed to reason. One can only not act in accordance with it.

    Thus to say SSA is “natural” without the necessary clarifications is to concede too much to the homosexual agenda.

  • Baba-
    argument slightly weakened by Frankenstein (and the storyline, which has been copied to the point of parody) being a classic story of why it’s bad to play god– you’ll lose everything you love.

  • PB-
    I think the “order” they’re talking about is from a specific theory– short version, in the ideal world it wouldn’t exist. No natural disasters, no babies with crooked backs, no inborn perverse desire. I can’t remember which philosopher it was, one of the classics?

  • Apropos to this interesting topic is an essay written by Paul Griffiths that was published in April or May in First Things, in which he denies our epistemic ability to distinguish between natural and unnatural desires given the fall. That essay caused a big ruckus, but I think its main point holds, and is an important point for American Catholics to keep in mind. (For one thing, it eviscerates the pretensions of new-natural law theorists who pretend as though we can read off from the structure of practical rationality a conclusion about same-sex marriage, among other things.)

  • WJ

    Paul is right, and I have discussed similar topics before when dealing with the problems behind “natural law.” The issue is not that the idea behind “natural law” is in error, nor that there is an element of truth which we can get to when addressing it, it is, however, limited and obscured by sin. For an interesting thinking who writes on the problems of natural law, I would always recommend Ellul. I think he goes too far (too much Barth and negativity toward the human) but I do think he reminds us concerns.

  • WJ — FT is for subscribers only, so I can’t comment on it, but there is this: Desires Natural and Unnatural: A Reply to Paul Griffiths

    As for a book that touches upon the concept of nature, see Steve Long’s latest.

  • The “not a choice” supporters should explain why they do not approve of incest, bestiality and ephebophilia or paedophilia (all very “natural” to those who commit them, who will claim that they “do not have a choice”). Instead, the liberals pick a particular perversion (homosexuality) and decide that *that* is all right because it’s “natural”.

    If they do approve of all the other abominations, they shouldd say it out loud so that the majority of decent (if gullible) people may become fully aware of their evil thinking.

    M

  • WJ & Henry,

    Sadly, I’m not a First Things subscriber at the moment, so I can’t get to Griffiths’ essay right now, though I’ll make a point of seeking it out in a month or two when it comes out from behind the subscriber-only wall.

    It does certainly strike me, at a practical level, that one of the big problems with natural law is that it is hard to get people of differing viewpoints to agree on what it is. There is most certainly a reality of how things work in regards to our nature and the nature of the world which we can know through experience and observation. But there’s also, obviously, a lot which goes on in nature and can thus be observed which is not natural in the sense of conforming to our nature/ideal form.

  • pb,

    I had not read that response. Thanks. I wonder, though, if the response of Snell doesn’t just push the problem to a different level. Snell writes:

    “The Thomist never looks at the soul to find some natural shape to its structure; the Thomist examines the intentions of the human being, the “why?” and “what for?” of action. A person does x. Why? Well, for the sake of y. He or she intended y and so chose x. This is the domain of intelligibility, of form.”

    But I take it that one of Griffiths’s major points–a point supported by Augustine, Nietzsche, and Freud–is that the answer to “why?” is never so tidy as a typical new natural lawyer would present it as being. At issue is not the contention that such a domain of intelligibility exists (at least not for Augustine, which distinguishes him from Nietzsche), nor that that domain does not, if fully understood, reveal the hierarchy of ends culminating in God (which distinguishes Augustine from Freud), but that our *epistemic* access to such intelligibility is so impaired that, beyond the most general or abstract level (say, the level of the primary precepts of the natural law), we must simply throw up our hands. This, I take it, is the Augustinian alternative to what many perceive as the naive optimism of new natural lawyers.

    Of course, both positions are well within orthodoxy; though they sometimes issue in very different assessments of what can or should be expected of a polity not formed by Christ and his Church, and consequently of whether, for example, arguments against gay-marriage should have any rational force for those not already being formed in Christ.

  • “The Thomist never looks at the soul to find some natural shape to its structure; the Thomist examines the intentions of the human being, the “why?” and “what for?” of action. A person does x. Why? Well, for the sake of y. He or she intended y and so chose x. This is the domain of intelligibility, of form.”

    I don’t know what sources he has consulted, but Snell is just wrong on this point if this is meant to be exclusive. The Thomist looks not only at the intention but also at the external act. But as to the more important point — how is our epistemic access. I don’t think it’s a problem with the intelligibility of ends, as those who advocate same-sex marriage, for the most part, appeal to the same set of goods. The question is of the means, and whether the means is correctly ordered to the ends. And yes, here it is possible that the lack of order in the soul, whether it be through vice or an unnatural inclination, can affect our moral reasoning. The problem is not with the reasoning or the “intelligibility” but with will’s influence on the act of judgment.

    Now, the “real world situation” may be the same regardless of which account is better, but even there I’d disagree with what you wrote to a point — just because arguments for certain laws do not have rational force for some people does not mean that those laws should not be put into effect. Good Catholic moral theology (or Catholic teaching, for that matter) has never endorsed the sort of egalitarianism which demands that all laws must be assented to by all before they can be promulgated.

  • pb,

    We are really not very far away from each other, are we?

    I agree with you that Snell’s (and Finnis’ and George’s) is an attenuated Thomism. I suspect that the reason why it is so is that–at least in Finnis and Grisez–the is/ought distinction is accepted as the starting point for ethics.

    I suppose that I am not as certain as you are that the question “why are you doing x?” is as easily answered as you present it as being. It may be that these parties, while they appear to agree, are in fact using the same terms in equivocal senses; it may be that each party is doing x for some reason other than what he/she presents to him/herself upon refletion, and that he/she really has no access to a determinate answer to this question, etc.

    But of course I grant that, assuming a non-equivocal response, the arguments most usually turn upon whether the means advocated by each party in the dispute align with or fall away from the ends toward which they are directed.

    I also agree on what you say about law at the conclusion of your comment. I’d just want to add that, once you realize that certain laws do not and cannot be expected to have rational force for large sectors of the population, you are then faced with the *prudential* decision about how the Church should act in relation to it. To take up the case of same-sex marriage, for example, Paul Griffiths holds (unsurprisingly) that Catholics should forget about what the American polity can or cannot be rationally persuaded of and should instead refocus their energies on revitalizing their own ecclesial community, hoping by doing so to display the beauty of Christian sexuality and thus, God willing, gain converts. Robert George has a different answer to this question, of course. And they both seem to me to be well within the Catholic tradition.

  • WJ, apparently not! It seems likely that I’d disagree with the substance of Griffith’s argument, but I do agree with his practical recommendations for the most part–though I do see a place for some sort of “political activism” at the local or state level in those areas where such can be effective.

  • Would that I was as well read!!! It has been a fascinating discussion to watch unfold. Thank you.

    I wonder though if the personal experiences of Catholics are as conflicted as the theoretical framework seems to suggest we should be.

    I know what I do is wrong and I know why it is wrong from the moment that it enters my head. It is not a rational response. I simply “know” that a particular act is wrong. Unfortunately, I often do it anyway. Tragically, I frequently analyze before action – specifically recognizing both that the particular act is wrong and that there are alternatives. It is this reality – knowing what is wrong and consciously choosing to do it – that condemns me.

    I have absorbed tens of thousands of rules that are at play behind the scene – “do unto others…, Thou shalt not…, It is unlawful… etc.” and I do not doubt that the basis of the conscious conscience is formed rather than imbued. My experience though is that there is a deeper understanding – something that drives the eyes down in shame before reason kicks in – at work. It is THAT force that I think of as “natural law.”

    It is my experience that the force that wells up from beneath reason is a surer test of right and wrong than my later analysis. It is haunting in a way that cannot be managed or manipulated, it can only be accepted or rejected. All of the rules that are laid on top, even those which come verbatim from Scripture, can be maneuvered around: I apply exceptions and allowances that let me get some of what I want (and know to be wrong) – like I am negotiating with God.

    In case I’ve failed to make my point clear, my experience has been that I simply “know” (perhaps “feel” is a better word) that something is wrong and then, after I have done it, reason kicks in to explain away my culpability. Even if reason cannot fully exonerate me, the exercise allows me to imagine that I am not as guilty. And yet I am ashamed and that shame is the surest proof that no reasoning can take away the reality of my sins.

  • Reading over what I wrote, I had one thought to share: those “tens of thousands of rules that are at play behind the scene” tend to be extremely valuable for avoiding the opportunity for sin more than as the reason for knowing that something IS a sin or that I ought to avoid it. It is because I know the Golden Rule (and because I know that “what goes around, comes around” that I DON’T embarrass someone I dislike at a meeting. That particular acts are unseemly removes opportunity to sin.

  • G-Veg, pb, and WJ,

    Why not get a pic to your name?

    Go here:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  • Thanks for the pointer. Let us see if it took.

  • Me thinks I need to go back to the drawing board. The images is of St. Michael but it is too complicated for so small as space. Shrunk down, it is unintelligible.

  • Simple, elegant, bespeaking better days for the Keystone State…

  • Of course, I should have emptied my cache first.

  • I don’t want to kill this thread though. There is an important discussion about natural law going on. Forgive me for dragging it into the trivial.

  • Pingback: Thought of the Day 2: Is Natural “Good”? « My Goddess Blog

Not So Fast…

Monday, August 16, AD 2010

A Panel of the 9th Circuit has surprisingly issued a wise decision, deciding to allow Proposition 8 to remain in place while the 9th Circuit considers its constitutionality.

This was undoubtedly the right decision. It makes no sense to force a state to marry people while knowing that a later decision could invalidate all those marriages.

One hopes that this is the beginning of a trend in reversing Judge Walker, whose rulings in this case can best be described as what happens when judicial activism meets the dictatorship of relativism.

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12 Responses to Not So Fast…

  • Judge Walker’s performance in this case would warrant impeachment if we were living in a just world. His bias in this case has been clear from the beginning and totally shameless.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/243693/most-egregious-performance-ever-federal-district-judge-ed-whelan

  • Was this actually surprising? Wasn’t everyone expecting a stay? I was half expecting Judge Walker to stay his own decision.

  • I was half expecting Judge Walker to stay his own decision.

    Sucka.

  • I was, but I was hoping Walker would be impartial enough to grant the stay himself. I hadn’t been paying attention to the trial, but I think Don is right: this is a really poor performance by a judge, and I sincerely hope Christians who handle abortion trials learn from Walker’s example of how not to behave.

  • Isn’t it awesome how the people of the state can decide the matter, but its really up to a judge or a panel of judges to decide what’s good for them.

  • I’m really curious about how the law schools will spin this. There was so much effort spent “debunking the myth” that Left-leaning judges are “activist.” Some decisions though have got to be hard to re-cast. This is probably one of them.

  • I’m really curious about how the law schools will spin this. There was so much effort spent “debunking the myth” that Left-leaning judges are “activist.”

    Actually, that’s not been my experience. The current spin (and I got it today in the opening class for Con Law II, which is about the Bill of Rights) is that all judges today are activist, not just liberals. Basically, when Scalia (their favorite target) or any conservative attacks activism, they’re being hypocrites and point to the gun rights decisions, among others.

  • when Scalia (their favorite target) or any conservative attacks activism, they’re being hypocrites and point to the gun rights decisions, among others.

    Judge A thinks the phrase “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, in a brief article which concerns that subject and the utility of the militia, refers to a personal right. Judge B fancies the phrase, “deny any person the equal protection of the laws” in an omnibus amendment granting freed slaves citizenship and cleaning up some other business from the civil war, requires county clerks to issue marriage licenses to pairs of dudes no matter what the various elected officials and general referenda say. Both are equally ‘activist’ to your classmates in Con Law II. Emphasis on ‘con’.

  • Good Morning Mr. Denton,

    1st – I hope your law school years are good and fruitful. Good luck and God bless.

    2nd – The narratives keep ranging back to what the Constitution IS – the whole Originalist vs. Living Constitutionalist debate. Since you are in law school, I’ll remind you that the Constitution is whatever your prof says it is. Work with their narrative and your grades will reflect your wisdom. (That is something I often found hard to do and my grades reflected that pig-headedness.)

  • In my experience, liberals embrace judicial activism. I think that’s a much more intellectually honest position than claiming that originalists are equally activist.

  • In my experience, liberals embrace judicial activism. I think that’s a much more intellectually honest position

    The notion that the phrases “The Judicial power shall extend to all cases under this Constitution” and “deny any person the equal protection of the laws” give you a roving mandate to arbitrarily annul any social policy you care to can be called many things. “Intellectually honest” is not one of them.

  • RR,

    How about a gravatar pic for your handle?

Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

The proposed mosque set to be built near Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001 attacks has brought a sweeping condemnation from both rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia. Now that President Barack Obama has weighed in the matter, seemingly supporting the effort, one can only imagine how this will be used in the fall elections. However, a rift has appeared to have been opened concerning the views of the rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia following the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker over same-sex marriage. Many of the conservative intelligentsia, along with the establishment wing of the Republican Party has either been silent or voiced the view that the wished the whole gay marriage issue would simply go away. This has led to bewilderment from some conservative voices.

The best Catholic tie in with the efforts to build a mosque on Ground Zero came from the famed conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is Jewish. In his opposition to the mosque being built near Ground Zero, he correctly pointed out that Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

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27 Responses to Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

  • Which members of the conservative intelligentsia who aren’t also rank and file Republicans, have expressed opposition to the mosque?

  • There are plenty of natural law and non-religious arguments against homosexuality. It is not a natural co-equal with heterosexuality. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Men and woman are complementary, not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically.

    Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Almost every society, primitive and complex, has had laws and taboos against homosexuality. This isn’t just a Christian thing. There will always be a visceral reaction to homosexuality because it goes to the very heart of the survival of our species.

    Where homosexuality occurs in the animal world, it is primarily a temporary condition, and when the opportunity presents itself, animals will copulate heterosexually.

    Two-parent heterosexual families, despite the exceptions, are proven over history, across cultures, as the better way for healthy child development. Healthy children produce healthy societies.

    It’s time, in my opinion, for a Constitutional amendment that establishes once and for all that marriage is between one man and one woman. Then we can put this issue to bed.

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage. I suppose it is because Americans of all stripes have internalized the notion that it is “mean” to express “intolerance” toward homosexuality. Genuine intolerance, however, including intolerance toward Catholics, remains quite socially acceptable.

  • discarding Western Civilization’s definition of marriage (2,000+ years) is simply a non starter.

    As pointed out above, it’s not just Western Civ’s definition, it has been humanity’s definition since recorded history, and likely pre-dates that as well. try more like 5,000+ years.

  • From what I can tell, those members of the conservative “intelligencia” who aren’t members of Fox & Friends or proprieters of talk radio shows have mostly remained in favor of religious freedom — as they should.

  • Try on this one, Bunky:

    “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage.

    I suspect you usually could not do this without making evaluations of their personal disposition and conduct, as in noting that some folk appear other-directed by default (Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher) or have been married four times (Theodore Olson), or make use of the self-description ‘conservative’ to obfuscate (Conor Friedersdorf).

    Someone on the payroll of The American Conservative or the Rockford Institute can likely also supply a dismissive commentary to the effect that those resisting this burlesque have neglected some deeper cultural deficiency which these resisters are too shallow to detect and about which we can do nothing in any case.

  • “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

    Fits alright.

  • Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Same can be said of blacks. I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

  • Tide turning towards Catholicism? Just today I read a credible report saying that in the last 10+ Catholic marriages have decreased. One point of view is that the religion is too strict and another is that it is not needed with modern thinking. I just had a conversation with a liberal who said life is a pendulum goes from one extreme to the other finding it’s way in the middle. I do not believe this that societies do go by the wayside, that they undo themselves, with no virtue to survive pop trends.

  • I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

    Why don’t you try making the case FOR it? Start with an explanation of why male friendships which do not incorporate sodomy as part of their daily practice should received less recognition than those which do.

  • Art Deco, I don’t know why you want me to make the case for it but you asked so I’ll try.

    The closer the relationship, the greater the rights and responsibilities between them are. If we want to legally protect expectation interests, we will want to recognize intimately committed couples in ways that we don’t recognize mere friendships. We may also want to legally recognize friendships but that’s not at issue here.

  • RR,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored? Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    My question was rhetorical. The gay lobby wants this as a gesture of deference. The only reason to give it to them is that they will be put out by refusal. Lots of people do not get their way, and public policy is enough of a zero sum game that that is inevitable. For some, it is incorporated into their amour-propre to regard some clamoring constituencies as composed of those who are So Very Special. Then there’s the rest of thus, who are not so well represented in the appellate judiciary.

  • AD,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored?

    It shouldn’t.

    Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support. When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties, it would be unjust to allow one party to escape their duties at the expense of the other(s). It’s why we enforce contracts. If your father and his friend did have such an arrangement, it should be enforced.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

    Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

  • Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

    Nobody would object if those wanting to building the mosque volunteered to build it elsewhere. But who is the more honorable person? The Jew who welcomed the Carmelites or the Jew who told them to go somewhere else?

  • Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

    They ignored the law and act to frustrate lawfully constituted immigration policy. Can we have a wee bit o’ antagonism, pretty please?

  • I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support.

    I cannot say if they borrowed money from each other or not. Ordinarily, working aged men are expected to be self-supporting if not disabled.

    When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties,

    Human relations are not commercial transactions and the law does not ordinarily enforce amorphous and unwritten ‘expectations’ that someone else is going to pay your rent.

    Right now, RR, I am pricing insurance policies. I was offered (unbidden) discount rates by the agent if I was in some sort of ‘committed relationship’ with some other dude. Uh, no, nothing like that Chez Deco, ever. I inquired about purchases for my sister. No discount offers there.

    Maybe sis and I can manufacture an ‘expectations interest’ and get you and Judge Walker to work on our problem.

  • And if it is written?

    Are you opposed to insurance discounts for spouses or for discounts for siblings?

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  • This article has a lot of interesting points. However, it rambles all over the place. The essay would have been easier to understand if it was broken up into three mini essays.

    There’s no intrinsic connection between the Cordoba Mosque, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage. Why lament that some conservatives have an opinion on one topic but not the other? You might (rightfully) argue that the establishment of a mosque near Ground Zero does not carry even a tenth of the socio-moral import of same sex marriage. But the logical independence of the two questions renders party lockstep on the two issues irrelevant. Let the GOP/right/conservative rank and file make up their own minds about the relationship between these two variables.

    Gratuitous aside: I know that you and other faithful/orthodox Catholic bloggers must boost reparative therapy. To not do so would negatively impact one’s orthodox Catholic street cred. Still, one can be a faithful Catholic, live morally, and not support COURAGE. Indeed, I found the meetings emotionally intrusive and psychologically manipulative. I wish that the Catholic orthodox/conservative/right would think twice before lavishing praise on an organization and therapeutic model that at the very least has emotionally troubled some participants. Sing your praises only after attending a meeting or two.

  • Sorta Catholic, the beauty of writing an article for a blog or newspaper column is that you have the freedom to write it as you see fit. Perhaps, some would like shorter columns, while others may favor longer columns, the choice is up to the writer.

    As for Courage, the group’s spiritual mentor is Father Benedict Groeschel, his credentials are certainly good enough for me. Perhaps, the meeting you attended was not run properly. I can only tell you that the group is trying to impart the Church’s teachings in a world that has become enamored with self, and not with faith.

    As for orthodox-minded street cred, we aren’t trying to impress anyone only help spread the message of Christ through His Church. We have divergent opinions on a variety of topics, but yet we fall under the same umbrella of supporting the Church’s teachings. The longer you submit to the will of God, the more you realize the wisdom of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church. It really does make you a more content indiviudal, free from the whims of the modern world. Take care!

  • It is a shame that the likes of Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh would let their libertarian views get the best of them when it comes to SSM. Divorcing that from their preaching for conservative values is not the charitable thing to do when the eternal salvation of those who engage in homosexual acts is at stake. Frankly, by doing so, they are committing the grievous sin of omission. A priest in Texas recently made that point clear when he said that Catholics have a moral duty to oppose abortion and SSM.

  • By the way, one of my favorite journalists, WorldNetDaily’s founder Joseph Farah, hits the nail on the head of this issue in offering his take on why some conservatives are “capitulating” to the gay agenda pushers: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=192761

  • Hi Dave,

    A person that bases his or her judgement of an organization on the perceived reputation of a founder/leader/mentor in that organization commits the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority”. Now, Fr. Groschel is an upstanding authority. I respect him as a religious leader even if I do not agree with many of his points. Even so, the absolute metric for any organization is its ideology/methodology. Perhaps you’ve provided a rigorous defense of reparative therapy elsewhere on your website. If so, point me there. Otherwise, an appeal to authority without prior analysis of an institution’s ideology or methodology is rather insubstantial.

    Appeals to authority or subjective statements such as “X is trying to impart the Church’s teachings […]” sometimes hide insufficient research. Also, “orthodoxy” (i.e. strict adherence to a religion’s dogma/doctrine) does not guarantee the success or failure of a particular therapy.

  • Hi SortaCatholic, I hope your day is going well. I must say that I find these sorts of exchanges very interesting. I don’t believe my “Appeal to Authority,” is some sort of man made or earthly authority. You see I have worked for the Church in a number of capacities. I have seen the good, bad and the ugly. There is some great people who work for the Church and some really inept ones. I have always felt with all of these inept folks, the Church would have to be who she says she is to have survived 2,000 years!

    Perhaps someone at Courage might come across this and answer some of your questions. I do know that God does help us and prayer does work, but rarely in the sort of miraculous way in which we would like it to happen. God sorts and sifts us. We all have our own sets of problems, blessings, gifts, talents and struggles. I have always found Christ’s words of seek and you shall find, knock and you will be heard to be very true (Matthew 7:7-11.) In addition, I have always found this Scripture reading from Hebrews about God showing us the way through trial and struggle very revealing in my own life (Hebrews 12:5-12.) Take care!

Culture War

Thursday, August 5, AD 2010

People justly tire of the term “culture war” and find themselves asking, like the philosopher Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

And yet watching the disparate reactions to yesterday’s Federal Court ruling overturning California’s Proposition 8 (for now) it struck me that the culture war terminology is quite apt. What is termed the culture was is essentially a zero sum game over which of two roughly equally numerous groups will be allowed to define the dominant understandings of culture and society in our country. by taking this to the federal level, same sex marriage advocates have made it clear that no degree of regional acceptance is satisfactory — their understanding of the nature of marriage must be the single dominant understanding enforced throughout the country, and those with a traditional understanding of marriage must be the ones who find themselves aliens within their country. And, presumably, is same sex marriage advocates lose, they will in turn consider themselves aliens within the country. Given that it is the most basic units and purposes of society which are in dispute, it seems hard to see how it can be any other way. And while the dispute is to an extent regional, it is much more so philosophical and ideological, making the culture war more resemble the Spanish Civil War than the American. Every city and region has representatives of both sides.

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19 Responses to Culture War

  • To your point about it being impossible to make the traditionalist case: I thought Frank Beckwith’s following comment over at What’s Wrong With the World was spot on:

    Political liberalism was invented in the mid-1980s in order to provide a theoretical foundation that can exclude religiously-informed policy proposals while seeming to defend religious liberty and citizen participation. There had, of course, always been many liberalisms, including the Lockean, Kantian, Millean, Hobbsean, and Roussean varieties. But each suffered from the same problem: each presupposed a particular philosophical anthropology as the correct account of humanity. This was a problem because popular liberalism suggested neutrality on matters of worldview. So, you could not very well say that the state should be neutral on such matters while requiring it to embrace a particular one. Social conservatives understood this since the mid-1950s, as seen in what Bill Buckley called “the great liberal dilemma.” But with the ascendancy of the religious right and its insistence that “liberalism” is not as neutral as its proponents claim–that it too tries to answer the same questions that traditional religions answer–folks like Rawls needed a new way to defend liberalism in a pluralistic society that was both morally required but did not depend on a particular metaphysics. Presto, we get “political liberalism,” and with its numerous defenders including Rawls, Gaus (who is more of a libertarian), Nagel, and to a certain extent Dworkin.

    So, instead of explicitly defending metaphysical liberalism, we get political liberalism with allegedly none of the metaphysical commitments. But, strangely, on every issue about which metaphysical liberalism would take a stand–e.g., abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, etc.–political liberalism gets the exact same results. Wow, what a coincidence! But the benefit of political liberalism is you can rule your opponents’ views as a priori violations of political liberalism while saying that their views are still “rational.” This means you get to sound like you respect pluralism, diversity, and the rationality of your opponents’ point of view while shutting them out of the debate on “principled grounds.”

    This is why on the issue of homosexual conduct, those that are critical of it for moral reasons cannot be considered reasonable actors who simply disagree with others on the issue. They must be irrational. For if they are rational–that is, if there views are not unreasonable to hold–then the state cannot, according to the canons of liberalism, force these citizens to acquiesce in their public and private lives. But this means that same-sex unions would not be treated equally, since political liberalism would grant the legitimacy of those who think homosexual acts are immoral. Consequently, the bigot charge is so fierce and not well-argued. It is meant to intimidate and silence, not persuade or convince. For, again, to suggest the position is arguable is to grant it legitimacy, and that simply cannot be allowed.

    So, despite Rawls’ wonderful intention to provide a theoretical grounding on which people with differing points of view on worldview matters can dialogue in a climate of mutual respect and understanding, he failed miserably. For what he in fact did was give to either side in the culture war, the ultimate weapon: declare the other side “unreasonable,” for once that sticks the game is over and there is no need to treat the other with respect or equal regard.

  • Well, apparently the history standards used in CA are even worse than I thought if Judge Walker can say with a straight face that historically there were no restrictions on marriage based on gender and that marriage was traditionally a matter of mutual consent. Heck in many parts of the world today, mutual consent STILL has nothing to do with marriage. I bet he would die before giving the Catholic Church credit with introducing consent as a feature of marriage.

    And since when does marriage have nothing to do with procreation? Many states require blood tests for Ruebella, which has everything to do with preventing birth defects in the future children of the marriage. (They don’t excuse you from the blood test just because you say you don’t plan on having children.)

    Also, inheritance law is very much intertwined with marriage both now and historically. But hey, with after death conceptions now due to IVF technology, maybe our culture should just declare children chattel and stop trying to pretend everything that the adults want magically is good for the children. We can just declare it so and move on with clear consciences!

  • Why should they (gays) be happy? They may as well be miserable like the rest fo us. Farce/OFF

    Did the judge rule YOU cannot have religious morailty in LAW? I like that part. Get the welfare (Catholic Social Justice) state off our backs.

    To your point: J. M. Barrie, “God gave us memory so that we could have roses in December.”

  • The following comment of mine was censored by the Huffington Post and taken off the site. It stated, “This comment was removed in accordance with HuffPost’s moderation guidelines.” I was totally taken aback. My words were neither offensive or in bad taste in anyway. Here is what I wrote:

    When anyone is vocal against gay marriage and homosexuality, supporters of gay rights like to label them as intolerant, prejudice and ignorant. I don’t consider myself any of the three. I was taught that we are all part of the human race and, therefore, no one is better than anyone else, regardless of race, class or religion. I feel I have always been on the right side, fighting for the poor, the minority, etc. But being gay is a desire and not a right.
    Whatever people do in the privacy of their homes is their business. It is not anyone’s place on this earth to judge others’ actions and desires. I know people who are gay, and I treat them no differently, than I do anybody else. Everyone should be free from ridicule and attack, but to go so far as to give rights to an abnormal desire that contradicts nature since the beginning of time is wrong and can only lead to an untested and precarious road. You don’t have to be religious or a moralist to know that what isn’t natural shouldn’t be. Gay people should neither be attacked nor encouraged, but helped and prayed for. This ruling is misguided because the law has no place in sanctioning unnatural and defective desires and acts.

  • Well now you’ve said several offensive things. Calling homosexuality a “desire” and not a “right”. Calling it an “abnormal desire that contradicts nature” and labelling it “wrong.” Finally you call for us to “pray” for them. You are engaging in hate speech you know.

  • by taking this to the federal level, same sex marriage advocates have made it clear that no degree of regional acceptance is satisfactory — their understanding of the nature of marriage must be the single dominant understanding enforced throughout the country, and those with a traditional understanding of marriage must be the ones who find themselves aliens within their country

    well, obviously that was the goal all along. But they would not have gone the federal route if they could have won state by state. when the people are asked, they emphatically say no.

    Today, gender is not
    relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law.

    where the hell does he come up with this?

    It is not anyone’s place on this earth to judge others’ actions and desires.

    I would have to quibble with this. It is precisely our place to judge actions and desires. We do that all the time – it’s called enforcing the law. The judge himself did it in this case by judging that those whose actions/desires are that same sex couples should not be recognized as married are wrong.

    It is not our place to judge the eternal destination of someone’s soul because of those actions and desires.

  • The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household

    Great. So when does polygamy kick in? I chose a spouse in 2010, then I chose another spouse in 2011, then I chose another in 2012….

    Someone owes the Mormons a BIG time apology!

  • If those words were offensive, then most comments would be pulled, since I have seen a lot worse on the web. We have something in this country called freedom of speech. You may not agree with me, but I kept it clean. I guess they just thought my simple words would sway others.

  • I was being sarcastic. I actually agree with you.

  • But I suspect others would not be sarcastic if they said such to you. That’s why your post was pulled. Soon you may not be able to say it publicly.

  • Ruth,

    It’s pure and simple censorship.

    You are evil if you disagree with them. At least they are not planning to destroy you, yet.

  • Jess,

    …maybe our culture should just declare children chattel…

    Welcome to the Roman Republic circa 150 BC.

    Where children were actually described as property of the father (they were a strictly paternally driven society back then).

    So with that, progressives are advocating for a regression towards olde tyme Roman Law.

  • Dear Judge: repeat after me: The state did not create marriage. The state does not own marriage. The state receives marriage as a cultural institution. The state is not the culture, it serves the culture. The state is a servant obligated to respect and foster the culture’s pre-existing and more fundamental institutions. Marriage is a cultural institution constituting relations between a man and a woman, period.

  • Tony-
    Judge Walker would take your framework of thinking about marriage and say that homosexual unions are apart of the contemporary culture and that Prop 8 was the state trying to own marriage.

    But of course, I get what you are saying and you are correct: marriage is a pre-political, natural institution; the state has no competency to alter it.

    There is no chance for common ground on this issue: as Elizabeth Anscombe noted decades ago, this battle was lost when artificial contraception became normal.

    Time to get out your MacIntyre, reread it and weep.

  • Also, Frank Beckwith noted a key logical flaw in Walker’s opinion:

    “Oddly, the judge claims that the belief that heterosexual monogamy is better than homosexual unions cannot be one of the reasons. But in that case, the judge begs the question, since that is precisely why we should privilege male-female marriage. So, it turns out male-female marriage is unconstitutional become it is male-female marriage. That’s called begging the question.”

  • For the sake of a view from the other side, here’s a post by a Christian who voted against Prop 8 & now regrets it…good illustration of how constant media exposure can muddle thinking:

    http://www.elizabethesther.com/threes_a_crowd/2010/08/why-i-regret-voting-yes-on-prop-8.html#comment-6a00d83451d95b69e2013486109b9c970c

  • Fellow Catholics, we must beat on our own chests. Judge Walker’s reasoning is largely unassailable and may well be upheld by the Supreme Court, perhaps even with the votes of some Catholic justices. The case in favor of Prop 8 was prepared weakly, and the defendant (Gov. Schwarzenegger) didn’t really want to fight it. Both Schwarzenegger and the Attorney General of CA have since come out in support of same-sex marriage. Nobody saw that the issue shouldn’t be presented as about the nature of marriage but as about the nature of sex. It should have been built on “Male and female He created them” (Gen 1:26), by arguing that individuals (or, for Catholics, persons) by nature belong to one of two sexes and that there is no artificially chosen “gender”. Catholics appear to be about the only ones left who have an interest in pursuing the case. Will we even be strong enough to grasp the last and minute chance before the Supreme Court? Now or never. Unified and strong leadership by our bishops is necessary, as is support by our universities, media, and best legal minds.

  • Do any of you know anyone who is gay? Do any of you know any gay couples? There are many, many, gay couples in committed relationships who simply want the same benefits under the law. Spousal inheritance, survivor benefits, next of kin rights at the hospital, visitation rights. Have any of you read the science on homosexuality? It is not a choice, and it is natural. Homosexuality is present in nature in many different animal species. Homosexual people are physiologically different than straight people. 10% of all populations are historically gay, and not something people can control and not something you should discriminate against in civil law. It is the American Law we are talking about here. Now you can decide.. do you want to live in a Free country, where we are all able to pursue life, liberty and happiness, or would you rather your homosexual brothers and sisters just continue to commit suicide for fear of rejection by their families, be forced from their homes when their partners of sixty years pass away and their relatives come and take everything, or lose rights to children they raised in a break-up? Jesus Christ never spoke of homosexuality, and by the majority of theologians he was the radical liberal of his day. Learn to live and let live. The agreement two people have to each other under the law affects none but those two people. In a pluralistic, free society we have to learn that the law applies to EVERYONE, not just the majority. A man and a woman can still get married as they always could have so tell me how does this impact them? This is about equal protection under U.S. law for all families in this country. If you want the rule of religion to to be the basis of civil law in the country you live in, please go look at Muslim countries that run on Sharia law as an example of how backwards it could become. Separation of Church and state, as well as Freedom of Religion are a beautiful thing. Now, if you want to really focus on ridding the world of sexual deviance, take a look at your own “celibate”, child molesting priests and the Popes who shelter them.

  • David,

    There is an unselfconscious irony in someone showing up to demand tolerance, while loudly displaying his own intolerance of anyone with a view different from his own. A great deal of what you say is ignorant, or untrue, but what comes through very clearly is that you absolutely and unconditionally despise anyone who thinks different from you. How you expect this to be persuasive from those who differ from you because they have thought long and deeply about their beliefs is beyond me.

WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.

Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

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4 Responses to WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

  • Great column as usual, Dave. It just blows my mind that our nation is no longer a republic of, for and by the people but an elite and arrogant oligarchy that is unleashing one perverted social experiment after another on us.

    The far left have the nerve to needle the conservatives for wanting to have less government yet have government restrict marriage. Quite the contrary, we want to be able to decide how our society should function, not have the government do so.

    It’s a shame that the voters in my state of California were robbed once again, but we can still hope for the Supreme Court to save the day. In the meantime, this should serve as a wakeup call for the voters, especially those in the 45 states who have kept marriage to one man and one woman, to vote the radicals out in the fall and make sure the Democrats never control government again as long as the militant secularists who are ruining this nation continue to call the shots for the party.

  • This is almost a grand slam!

    This is government hate speech against, and injurious to, Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    Oh, that’s okay!?

    Never mind.

    Thanks for voting for them dems.

  • Prepare for the worst. There is little doubt that in the near future Christians will be arrested and imprisoned by the American Socialist State if they continue to preach the gospel and traditional morality. The American politicians have created their long desired Atheistic State which will have no tolerance for believers. Prepare for the dark days of persecution but the good news is that it will separate the wheat from the shaff and the sheep from the goats.

  • But Jesus and the Apostles were arrested and even put to death for their speech.

    When DeGaulle was reproached for not taking more care against assassination, he replied: “It comes with the job”.

It's About the Children. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

I must confess that today’s judicial ruling out of California which overturned Proposition 8 has riled me up, suprisingly so. I heard about the ruling while listening to the livestream of a tech podcast in which one of the three podcasters is a lesbian (previously “married” in CA) and the other two (middle-aged married men) evidently supported the decision. The ease with which they threw out bromides (“finally, equality!”) bothered me, primarily because it revealed two things: 1. a group of intelligent people couldn’t grasp that there might be real objections to same sex “marriage”, and 2. as I’ve noted previously, too many (probably most) Americans simply don’t understand the essential nature of marriage. Simply put, the state’s interest isn’t strong feelings or commitment… it’s children. And — to state the obvious — a homosexual relationship isn’t structured towards procreation the way marriage is.

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29 Responses to It's About the Children. Seriously.

  • Well said.

  • Exactly. Americans, even conservative Protestants, have removed children from marriage. Without a procreative intent, admittedly, there is little reason to ban gay marriage. Or incest for that matter.

  • Americans?

    Westerners. America still has the highest birth rate in the Western world, and Utah has the highest birth rate out of all the states.

    Supposedly “family friendly” Europe cut children out of the picture a long time ago. All of the welfare provisions, reduced work weeks, paid maternity/paternity leave didn’t do a damned thing to reinforce families or birth rates.

    This is because Europe not only removed children from the marriage, but God from their lives and culture. Mormon Utah thrives for exactly the opposite reason. When will Catholics get it?

  • Actually, welfare did help increase the birth rate in Europe. The Scandinavian countries have the highest birth rates in Western Europe.

  • How would things look if marriage were dead? Out-of-wedlock births, acceptance of any cohabitation arrangement, the presumption that any relationship in non-binding…exactly what we have today. Marriage is dead as a norm in the West. There are only pockets and subcultures that preserve it.

    We talk about the “war on Christmas”. Christmas has been stripped of its old meaning and given a new purpose; a few of its traditions are unthinkingly continued. By the time the courts started enforcing “holiday pageants” in public schools, the war was long lost. That’s exactly what’s happened to marriage.

    Maybe my blood sugar is low or something, because even I am not usually this pessimistic. I’m just not seeing any reason to be encouraged.

  • Marriage is dead as a norm in the West.

    Yes, this is what I’ve been saying about the SSM debate all along. To those who ask, “How is SSM going to harm your (traditional) marriage?” I say, “It’s not — the damage has already been done. I just don’t see the reason to codify the death of marriage in law.”

  • Marriage is certainly in disrepair in the west. Many forces contributed to that, but the disentanglement of sex, children and marriage via modern birth control options is certainly a key part of it, resulting in the normalization of premarital sex, cohabitation, divorce, serial monogamy, etc. That said infidelity (i.e., extramarital sex) is still largely unaccepted in the US. Marriage may be in the ICU, but it is not dead yet.

  • Pingback: Supporting Gay Marriage: It’s Not About the Children. Seriously. « Agree to Disagree
  • The trolls are out.

  • restrainedradical wrote Thursday, August 5, 2010 A.D. at 8:29 am
    “Actually, welfare did help increase the birth rate in Europe. The Scandinavian countries have the highest birth rates in Western Europe”.

    The birth rate in Sweden is 1.67 children born/woman (2010 est.), i.e., less than replacement. Much of this is probably due to immigrant populations.

  • It seems to me that there is an assumption that the U.S. is a fine moral country.
    The opposite seems to be true. The number of child murders continues to increase.
    Poverty is widespread despite “Wars on Poverty” [because of?].
    The immigration question continues to fester. {On what moral basis can immigrants be denied entry?].
    The continued base treatment of Indians reeks to heaven.
    Justice Ginsberg speaks of “undesirable populations”.
    Multi-skillionaires give much money to killing babies in this country and abroad.
    Pornography becomes more and more widespread like a plague.
    Actors are treated as moral gurus, because their faces are familiar, not because they know how to behave.
    To put it succinctly: what is it in the U.S. which gives it any claim to be a light unto the nations?

  • I’m not sure I understand the argument. People who don’t procreate shouldn’t get married? Then where are the rallies against childless marriages? Why aren’t we banning people whose disabilities prevent them from having children from marrying? Or the elderly? Why aren’t we protecting the procreative institution of marriage from these barren impostors? And what about adoption? Since adoption by same-sex couples would challenge your argument, you must be against that, too. In which case, shouldn’t we stop straight couples from adopting, too? Those children may be in need of care, but of course the bigger need is for people to have their own babies. Please help me understand how we can include the disabled, the elderly, adoptive parents and those who are childless by choice into the Prop 8 campaign, because clearly we’re leaving a lot of people out.

  • Thanks for the comment, Maisha. You raise a common but good question with regard to our position, and it’s one that certainly seems to follow from my post. I somewhat oversimplified the argument last night, but in so doing left the door open for your objection. Let me see if I can offer at least a beginning of a response.

    Our position is that marriage is an institution in which a man and a woman come together with a desire to grow more deeply in love and with an openness to children, *even if children are for some reason impossible for them*. For us, the act of marital love — sexual union — is itself ordered towards procreation, even if in at any particular time procreation is impossible (perhaps due to infertility, because the woman is not in the fertile stage of her cycle, or whatever). So in the case of an elderly couple beyond childbearing years, the sexual union remains structurally oriented towards procreation.

    Such is obviously not the case for the same sex couple, however: same sexual acts of their nature cannot be procreative, while — all things being equal — heterosexual acts are always structurally procreative.

    That’s the beginning of a response… let me know where I’m unclear, and I’ll try to clarify.

  • When I comment on subjects like this my post is in danger of being deleted, which is ok, I have to answer to God for me, not whomever does the deleting.

    That being said:

    With the Catholic Church, the children are really just pawns. The real battle is keeping the pews full, I think for the power that gives the Church. I would like to think otherwise but I really do not, based upon personal experience.

    When divorce happens, the Church does and says nothing, to heal a marriage, when it is clear to the Church, as they have all the evidence they need in nullity cases, that a marriage has simply been abandoned and the abandoner has taken the spoils, including the children.

    Rather, should not individual priests and bishops in authority, address the situations, especially when these are presented to the Church for nullity investigations and work, tirelessly, pastorally and with canonical strictures, to restore marital union? Especially so when nullity is shown NOT to exist?

    No such thing happens, at all!

    No, Chris. I do not agree it is about the children. It is about power and control, although it should not be that way.

    If you must delete this, go ahead. I did not mean any disrespect by it. I just commented on my personal experience and from what I have heard from others, who have been through it.

    Regarding marriage, I believe, the chemical inability to make the sperm/egg do not invalidate, the inability to “perform the act” necessary for procreation, either physiologically or psychologically, is what validity and hence, real marriage, hinges on, provided the people are free of all other impediments.

  • If I’m following you correctly, Karl, two comments come to mind.

    First, there are programs present in the Church which try to heal broken/dying/weak marriages… Retrouvaille comes to mind.

    Second, I’m not sure what you think clerics can do to get two people back together who refuse to do so.

    Can you elaborate or clarify?

  • Going there would hijack the topic. I simply wanted to infuse my personal experience into my comment.

    I have never, once, seen the slightest concern for the scandal and abuse our five children have experienced by any of the priests or bishops who were supposed to pastor them. To this day the scandal is encouraged.

    Our acceptance of divorce has prepared the groundwork for this “dumbingdown” of marriage.

    It is about the children and their souls, that is clear, but I do not see the Catholic Church as having the moral high ground. Not over divorce, Chris.

    God is teaching his Church, if it will listen to spouses like myself and others who have seen its evil deeds, to repent and to LISTEN. Bur for twenty years, the ears of the Church have been sealed, in my personal experience.

    I hope, whatever it takes to break the back of the dead consciences of the Catholic intelligencia, lay and clerical, is done. They do not listen. They listen to “experts” they DONOT

  • LISTEN to their victims.

  • The Church must defend marriage, period, not selectively in the face of a homosexual challenge.

    It must cease allowing its teachers to stress the “benign” nature of divorce. It must do so with strong canonical sanctions. It must hold to account, with formal canonical sanctions those who abandon marriages, particularly when they do not seek counsel from the bishop or when they abuse those few specified canonically allowed circumstances when separation is allowed.
    Wrongful divorce must not be unaddressed, in public and those who refuse, without substantive, serious reasons, to work, endlessly if necessary, at reconciliation, especially if there are children involved, should be formally and very much in public, be admonished and in short order, formally excommunicated, if the refusal to work toward healing the marriage continues. All those who cooperate, formally, with the support of the unrepentant, should similarly be held to account, with more vigor if they are a religious or in any position of authority/importance in the Church.

    The Church has lost all credibiliy due to its generations of laxity regarding marriage. This is constantly used against the Church and justifiably so.

    Unless this is addressed and addressed, last year, the Church is the hypocrite it is so often accused of being.

    May God have mercy on His, very unfaithful Bride. It is those of us who are struggling to be faithful to both our spouses and our faith, who God requires
    His Bride to listen to. The Pope and the rest of the Catholic clergy need to understand how much harm they do each day our cries are left unanswered with almost anything but disdain, from those who should know better.

  • Karl,
    When you write that “the Church” has been moving in the direction of accepting divorce, I believe you should modify that by saying many [most?] priests and bishops have been moving in this direction. And it is, as you rightly note, part and parcel of the sexual scandals. Once start hedging – even in the smallest manner – on matters of Church teaching, the hedging simply grows.
    The hierarchy is mealy mouthed when it comes to the use of the pill. Most of the pills are abortifacient. All of them sterilize. How often do priests and bishops note this? How often do they remind the faithful that they are committing a mortal sin by the use of the pill?
    But I believe there is a mistaken notion that our bishops, as such, are a saintly lot. They are not. You have but to read a bit of the history of the episcopacy to realize that bishops do not contribute much to the list of saints, to those we are enjoined to emulate. They are for some reason a timid lot.

  • Unfortunately too true. We must remember that the priesthood and episcopacy are charisms, gifts for the good of the Church, and not holiness. A mother at home raising her children may have a far greater place in heaven than many a bishop.

  • How is SSM going to harm your (traditional) marriage?

    That is really the incorrect question – it should be “How is SSM going to strengthen marriage as an institution?”

    And the answer is, it is not. It will only further hide the now barely recognized fact that the proper end of intercourse is procreation.

  • I think there’s a real serious question whether ANY church in the USA takes marriage seriously–with (ironically) the possible exception of the Mormons. Among Catholics, even those who cannot remember the number of the commandments, let alone the content of the list, can tell you that when we want to divorce and remarry in church, we just get an annulment on some (frequently bogus) “psychological” ground. This happens no matter how long the supposedly invalid marriage has lasted or how many children it produced. This last point is especially important; the annulment regime now in force is saying that it is NOT important to stay married “for the children’s sake.”

  • ron chandonia, I agree that there have been serious abuses in Catholic Church annulments. But the idea of an annulment does not hinge on whether the apparent marriage lasted many years, nor on how many kids there are, nor on whether it is better for the kids’ sake to stay together. If a couple never did get married to begin with, despite appearances, then it means that they have been living an error for however long the apparent marriage has been going on, whether short or long. I accept that a long-lasting arrangement suggests that there must have been a real commitment to permanence, but there are other commitments needed for the marriage to have taken place to begin with.

    I know a couple who got married 20 years ago, and got an annulment 2 years ago: the guy had been a pornography addict and sexual deviant the entire period. He was incapable of a real commitment to marital fidelity at the time of the wedding, because he was addicted to porn.

    The Church usually states that if a couple has kids, they both have a deep, serious obligation to see to their welfare even if a divorce or annulment occurs. How can it be better for the kids for the Church and society to pretend that a marriage took place when it didn’t. I should think, generally, that a couple with young kids, who discover that they never did truly marry, ought to ask themselves whether they might have a moral obligation to actually make real the apparent marriage that they had been living in action, for the sake of the kids. But of course, nobody discovers this without a marital breakdown, and at that point it is often difficult to establish that it really would be better for the kids if their mom and dad got married even when they hate each other.

    Given that at least 30% of heterosexuals don’t seem to have a grave problem with the very idea of homosexual marriage, it is probable that many, many people don’t understand marriage enough to actually form a marriage bond with another person. Given that, it should not be surprising that many annulments are granted correctly.

  • May one not also ask what is the difference between gay “marriages” [sodomy] and marriages in which the female uses the pill to sterilize herself? Marriage is not even chiefly for procreation. Procreation is an added blessing. To reject that blessing is to reject the Almighty.

    Consider also the vow “until death”. As Harry Truman remarked “if a man will not keep his word to his wife, to whom will he keep it”? The Church does not prohibit divorce when it is but separation. It prohibits divorce – it points out the breaking of the vow – for “remarriage”.

  • Gabriel,
    It is my understanding that the Church does not so much prohibit divorce as simply not recognize it. Indeed, while legal separations may be favored over divorce as such, I believe that the Church understands that divorce under civil law is often necessary in order to ensure protection of the weak — usually but not always the wife or children. Consequently, what is not permitted is remarriage (absent an annulment of course), since the first (without an annulment) the marital sacrament remains in place and remarriage constitutes adultary.

    Thanks for the Truman quote. I was unaware of it.

  • How mislead and scandalous these comments are.

    How easily you have swallowed the Kool Aid of divorce to think that it is anything but condemned.

    Do you reacall it says…..God Hates Divorce. How easily man has rejected the expressed Will of God and searches for rationalizations for his sins.

    Watch and learn as society and the Catholic Church decay for their self-serving attitudes, especially towards marriage. The reconing will come.

  • Karl,
    Emoting about Kool Aid is not productive. While I’m hardly an advocate of divorce, and it is certainly true that the rate of broken marriages is scandalous, the fact is that obtaining a divorce in and of itself is not understood by the Church to be a sin. Indeed, the Church views a civil separation and a civil divorce indentically. Neither has any effect whatsoever on the marital Sacrament. The Church recognizes that the parties are not morally enjoined from selecting whichever legal route leads to greater justice under our civil law system. This is especially important in the case of serious abuse. Neither legal approach, however, permits “re-marriage” in the Christian sense, even if civil divorce does so under civil law. The sin occurs if a person bound by the marital sacrament to his spouse remarries or otherwise has relations with another regardless whether the married couple are separated, divorced, or neither. Note the important fact that the Church does not view civil divorce as disturbing the status of a Christian marriage.
    Of course, as I noted the rate of divorce is evidence of deep and disturbing problems within our society. The wounds, especially to children, are incalculable. But divorce is a symptom of sin, not the sin itself. This is pretty straightforward Church teaching.

  • Karl,
    Catechism 2383:
    “The Church teaches that the separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases. The Catechism states: “If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Which is to say “divorce” is a civil separation, not a breaking of the marriage vow.

Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

By now I’m sure you all know that Proposition 8 was struck down by a federal judge. Who knows what will happen on appeal. There is much to be said, but I want to focus on one narrow and possibly tangential point. This phrase from the judge’s ruling, a phrase being reposted on facebook in many statuses:

“A private moral view that Same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation.”

The absurdity of that sentence really struck me. There was nothing “private” about the view of the “superiority” of hetereosexual couples. It has been carried on through generations of communities and in the present day was represented by 52% of Californians. How a popular decision that represented thousands of years of ethical thinking and concern for the family became a private morality is baffling.

More troubling is the implication of the judge that a “moral view” is not a proper basis for legislation. Since when has this been the case? Our laws on pedophilia, minimum wage, health care, torture, human rights, etc. are based at least on part on “moral views,” views that in some respects may be just as if not more private than the ones the judge rejects today.

If morality is not a basis for legislation, what on earth is? Morality guides us in making decisions; without a moral or ethical compass (or perhaps even without a religious one) there is no basis for legislation to be made. Laws are supposed to help make society run better, but there is no way to make society run better unless you have a notion of what a “better society” looks like, and you don’t get to that notion without morality.

State recognition of homosexual marriage is one thing, but this ruling attacks the foundation of our government. Morality must have a place in the public sphere and must be one of the foremost foundations of legislation.

To be sure, the judge is simply smoke-screening for the fact that he is imposing his own standards of morality. But the fact that his statement rejecting a moral basis for legislation is being so celebrated should worry all Americans.

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6 Responses to Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

  • I heard several commentators on the radio using this language today. We need to put a stop to this “inferior” vs. “superior” language altogether. It is irrelevant to the question at hand and just pulls on the emotional strings of those on the fence who are concerned about “equality.”

    Gay marriages are not some form of marriage which we think is an “inferior form” to the “superior form” between heterosexuals. Gay marriage quite simply isn’t a “form” of marriage at all. It doesn’t exist. To let the pro-gay-marriage crowd frame it in these emotional, egalatarian-based terms is to get off track and play into their hands.

  • From the ruling:

    “Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage….. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage…”

    This passage from the ruling is the real core of this debate. Gender historically had and currently has nothing to do with the core of marriage? What an astonishingly bold and bald lie. That’s the level of unreality we are up against.

  • This is stupidity on afterburner. I’m actually ashamed of our judicial system; these judges are a joke. Between this and the “sweet mystery of life” passage, the rule of law is effectively dead. Pack up and go home.

    I suggest as a form of mass civil disobedience that all Christians commit a petty crime and use this decision and Casey as a defense. “The heart of liberty is to define one’s own concept of existence, and morality is no basis for legislation.” Our robed masters said so.

    There is no such thing as law free from morality; there is no metaphysically neutral politics. I have no sense for what greater good this progressive-liberal culture is aiming; what is its summum bonum? At least with Christianity, one knows where one stands. But where will this nonsense end? What moral outrage will we be forced to accept next year and the year after that?

    Not that I would do it, but I’m sort of starting to see why people burn American flags. I’m disgusted by this.

  • Really good article and pertinent to the points made here. I met the author, Thomas Messner, in my travels a few weeks ago, really smart with a law degree. Forgive me if it has already been discussed/posted here.

  • Given that the Dems control the Senate, is there any point to pushing for a removal from office of this judge? At this time the push would lose. Would that losing effort help or hurt the larger cultural war?

  • Depends on how strong a push you could mount. If anything, it should make those Senators up for re-election nervous to see the natives restless.

    The best push would be to push some of those Senators out (although I heard this guy was a Republican appointee).

All That Is Necessary For The Triumph Of The Same Sex Agenda Is That Good Men Do Nothing

Friday, July 23, AD 2010

All that is necessary for the triumph of the same sex agenda is that good men do nothing.  The fear of reprisal, both materially and physically, can cause good men to do nothing.

Having not experienced this form of intimidation, I am still disturbed by the tactics that are utilized by the more militant arm of the same sex marriage agenda.  This exposure to such violence is almost non-existent for me.

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12 Responses to All That Is Necessary For The Triumph Of The Same Sex Agenda Is That Good Men Do Nothing

  • I fully agree that prayer is the answer. I believe that both action and informing the public about the purpose of traditional marriage, how it relates to Christianity, and explaining the reasons why same-sex “marriage” goes against the purpose of marriage- procreation- is very important for traditional marriage defenders to be able to win this debate or culture war. It is impossible for same-sex couples to have an openness to procreate. Traditional marriage couples have that openness (to procreate) regardless of whether the couple is having infertility issues or not. But, it is an impossibility for two males or two females to procreate naturally.

  • Seems extreme/fanatical narcissists believe in free speech for themselves but not for us. That they can silence those who may believe differently than they. The Age of Enlightenment is past.

    When we find ourselves alone and the government is derelict in its duties to protect liberties and persons. There are instances wherein physical force is justified.

  • I just can’t take this debate seriously any more.

  • Anthony,

    Should I laugh at your comment?

  • Do what you like, Tito.

    I just think that its near impossible to discuss the matter in a rational way.

  • I think I agree with Anthony.

    As Orwell (or was it Gibbon?) said (I think, I don’t have it here.) “I never make the mistake of arguing with irrational people over beliefs/issues to which they they cling that have no moral or rational basis.”

  • I’m just a little blogger, myself, and yet I’ve had a radio host suggest that people beat me up, while a kind person over at Daily Kos once opined that I should be strung up from a street lamp with a meat hook. Meanwhile, my partner in blogging was once upon a time roughed up by union goons who didn’t like his opinion being expressed in the public square.

    Some years back I managed to catch some flak for calling our progressive friends “junior-league Leninists” – it was a “how dare I?” moment. But that is what they are: narrow minded, bitter, hate-filled fanatics. They don’t want debate – to debate implies that the other side might have a valid point, and they’ll never accept that.

    And so, this is what we see – and I really doubt its a new phenomena; its likely that we’re just seeing more of it due to the advent of the New Media. In the end, this is a good thing – the more these kooks are exposed, the more outrage builds among average Americans and thus comes the greater chance of securing the power necessary to make real changes.

    Mark Noonan

  • Anthony,

    I understand now.

    n4nadmin, Teresa, T. Shaw,

    Yeah, at times (maybe most) it is impossible to engage in any dialogue with people that are this intolerant and bigoted against us.

  • “the more these kooks are exposed, the more outrage builds among average Americans and thus comes the greater chance of securing the power necessary to make real changes.”

    Just to ruffle feathers, I will say that I have little confidence that once power is obtained it is utilized properly. Power is predictably used to (1) bring reprisal on political enemies and/or (2) make it difficult to dislodge who’s in power.

    Supporters of “traditional marriage” are just as susceptible to that kind of corruption as the pro-gay marriage side.

    To this day I still believe the only peaceful way out of the argument is to walk away from state-sanctioned marriage. Both sides of this debate concede a crucial (and I think, fatal) point: that governments, even secular ones, have authority to tinker with the personal relationships between consenting adults.

    There are moral hazards on both sides of that coin. On the pro-gay marriage side there is a real risk that the next logical step is a breach into theological issues by governments, forcing religions to accept same-sex marriage or finding ways to punish them for not. On the traditional side, there is a real risk of some individuals hiding behind the issue in order to enact homophobic policies (the genuine kind, not the trumped-up kind).

    The only role I could possibly see for governments is in their authority to enforce contracts and mediate contractual disputes between individuals. There’s nothing about that power which requires the word “marriage” attached to it.

  • I tend to lean to Anthony’s side–the State didn’t create marriage, and if it were to get out of the marriage business entirely there wouldn’t be much to yell about, would there?

    Realistically, I don’t see that happening. It may be useful to remind folks who think their “tolerance” badge will be tarnished if they don’t give in to this exercise in social engineering that the State really shouldn’t be meddling if it can’t demonstrate a compelling interest. The State’s interest in traditional marriage is that it provides the best environment for raising children who do not subsequently become problems for the State. I believe that compelling interest is largely absent (or at least, highly optional) in same-sex relationships.

  • My qualm with “the State’s interest” is that it shifts with the political winds.

    Under certain circumstances it could be in the state’s “interest” that abortion become illegal. The need for cheap labor, future soldiers, taxpayers and population collapse could all be reasons for the state to do away with abortion. On the other hand, reducing costs, freeing the supply of goods, eliminating undesirable traits and population control could (and are) used to justify abortion.

    Take marriage. I could just as easily justify allowing gay marriage by saying the practice would (or could) stabilize promiscuous behavior, “normalize” certain consensual sexual acts, reduce instances of violence against gays while providing the state with fiscally stable homes in which to place unwanted children. All are reasons to be a-okay with letting gay marriage move forward. And, selfishly, the State will undermine the Church, thus increasing government’s sway with people over that of religion.

    Where do we really go to worship? The Church, or the State? It’s an important question to answer because it seems that both sides wish to see their values either codified or validated through the coercive powers held by government. If “my values” receive the government’s stamp of approval then “the Truth” be damned.

    These are questions Christians of all stripes should think long and hard on before rushing to pass laws or fire shots in the culture wars.

  • The State isn’t going to get out of the marriage business. Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock foundation of our society. Homosexual “marriage” is a travesty being foisted upon society by those who wish the State to give its stamp of approval to homosexuality and use the coercive power of the State against those who dissent. This is an important battle and should be fought against by all those who realize that this is part of a struggle waged by those who wish to turn the concept of family on its head.

American Bar Association Considering to Support Same Sex Marriage

Wednesday, July 14, AD 2010

The American Bar Association will be considering supporting same-sex marriage at their next meeting in San Francisco.

It urges state, territorial and tribal governments to eliminate laws restricting marriage between same-sex partners.

Supporters say the adoption of the measure would build on past ABA policies supporting protections for gay couples and their families. The House of Delegates in 2004 approved a recommendation opposing efforts to enact federal legislation preventing states from allowing same-sex marriage. “Everyone who worked on it is hopeful,” said Michele Kahn, a partner at Kahn & Goldberg who chairs a New York State Bar committee on gay rights. The State Bar in June 2009 came out in support of same-sex marriage, dropping its support of civil unions or domestic partnerships as alternative measures.

Kahn said so far no formal opposition has come forward against the measure.

What I find amazing is that there is no formal opposition.

I know a lot of pro-life and practicing Christian lawyers, how can this be?

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17 Responses to American Bar Association Considering to Support Same Sex Marriage

  • There are a lot of pro-life doctors, too, yet the AMA and the ACOG are officially pro-abortion. There are pro-life teachers, but nobody would ever know that if the NEA were the only voice of that profession.

    It’s not about what the average professional wants. It’s about who is in power.

  • There may well be formal opposition to this within the legal profession, but it may not be widely known.

  • You’d be surprised by how many pro-lifers are for gay marriage, especially among the young. I think polls bear that out. I’d suspect that there are more among lawyers. Today, even pro-choice lawyers will concede that Roe v. Wade was a weak decision. The legal case for gay marriage may be stronger. The government interest in preventing abortion is stronger than in banning gay marriage. If you separate procreation from marriage as we have done in the US, there’s little reason to ban gay marriage.

  • Lawyers aren’t required to be members of the ABA to practice. So I oppose this kind of stuff the ABA does by simply not joining it.

  • I’m a member of the ABA but haven’t a clue how to express “organized opposition.”

    The ABA isn’t like the K of C. There aren’t any local monthly meetings in which policy is discussed. Instead, you are regularly invited to events like meet-and-greats or seminars – all useful to an aspiring lawyer but not a venue for expressing discontent with ABA support of particular political or social issues.

    In other words, her statement seems to me to be a misrepresentation since it presumes that there is a venue for such discussion – that ABA members are asked whether they support same sex marriage policies or not. This simply isn’t so.

  • The ABA is a completely voluntary association. About 29% of all American attorneys are members. I have never belonged simply because the ABA, like most professional associations in this country, has long been dominated by leftist activist members.

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2009/03/obama-brings-aba-back-inside-judicial-nominations-process.html

    http://volokh.com/posts/1237317675.shtml

    A good alternative for conservative attorneys is the Federalist Society.

    http://www.fed-soc.org/aboutus/

  • I agree with Don. The sort of lawyers who are strongly pro-life and opposed to same-sex marriage aren’t the sort of lawyers who would involve themselves in the ABA.

  • I quit the ABA years ago. It has a terrific Tax Section that is very valuable to tax lawyers, but I could not stomach the lefty politics. Most tax attorneys lean conservative and ignore the liberal politics of the ABA. I just couldn’t take it. Unfortunately I do not believe that the Federalist Society has a tax section.

  • Many of us left when it adopted a pro-abortion position in the early 90s. I had the privilege of resigning twice. My firm inadvertently re-enrolled us the year after I first resigned. I got the chance to write a second letter of protest and resignation.

  • A very similar thing happened to me, ctd.

  • I don’t disagree with the analysis of the ABA’s policy stances. Indeed, there are few law schools that are not as far Left. However, there is a caveat that need be stated: new lawyers cannot afford to paint targets on themselves by publicly stating their politics.

    The Bush Administration was not the first to use the internet to vet CVs and resumes and will not be the last. The present administration – in all of its departments down to the lowest level that hires attorneys – looks for the writings and affiliations of applicants to determine whether the prospective attorney has the right “temperment” to be hired. This is true for non-profit and for-profit corporations as well. Certainly the law firms are doing the same.

    Unless new attorneys wish to go right into their own practice – a choice that few can afford to make – newly minted lawyers should, in general, not donate money to campaigns, join organizations that betray their political leanings (e.g. like the Federalist Society or the St. Thomas Moore Law Society), or become active in local politics. They SHOULD join their local bar association, if nothing else than for the contact opportunities and in order to get notification of Continuing Legal Education opportunities. The ABA also provides these opportunities and the new lawyer ignores it at their own peril.

    Some would say that this position suggests a lack of conviction. Such a view is short-sighted.

    In order to have conservative judges, justices, prosecutors, and the like, there must first be lawyers that can find a job after passing the bar. Rashly putting one’s politics out there is foolish. I would even go so far as to say that first year law students should be advised by thier administrations to take down their social networking sites and adopt a pseudonym when commenting anywhere on the net.

    Such is the world we live in.

  • Well since i am only a pre-baby lawyer i can’t say too much about the ABA. I haven’t joined the organization and my only dealings are with Model Rules. I agree with G-Veg. I am weary of the internet and posting my views until i figure out the job plan. I don’t want to burn bridges before I get into the practice.

  • I don’t know how to respond to B-Veg’s rather sober assesment as a general matter, but I will say that at my law firm (which has decidely more Dems than Repubs), we hire plenty of lawyers with STM Federalist Soc memberships on their resumes. Thankfully, very few of my lib partners are intolerant of conservatives and vice versa. We disagree plenty, but are seldom disagreeable about our differences. I have a hunch that this is true at many other large law firms, but can’t really for sure.

  • Very sorry for my clumsy typo, G-Veg.

  • I think G-Veg outlines one of several possible approaches new lawyers can take. It really depends on the individual. As far as I know, my friends in both the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society listed those affiliations on their resumes. I listed STM, but not FedSoc or (for obvious reasons) ACS. None of my classmates relayed any horror stories or uncomfortable conversations in the interview process as a result of listing those affiliations; although a fellow summer clerk said he had once been treated to a lengthy lecture by a left-leaning partner who saw FedSoc on his resume (and a swiftly sent rejection letter).

    With regard to blogging and social networking, I think prospective new lawyers would be well-advised to make sure they monitor their Facebook pages, and comment under a pseudonym or handle of some type while blogging(although that may just be because I occasionally wish I could take back something I wrote, and wouldn’t want a prospective employer evaluating me based on that). Blogging and social networking are somewhat informal, and carry greater risks than a simple listing of membership on a resume.

  • I wish that “liberals” would actually be liberals and live up to the standards of their “coexist” bumper stickers. Aren’t they opposed to marginalization? Here we have the ABA marginalizing some lawyers; there we have the University of Illinois outright dismissing a professor. I just read a story in the local rag about eHarmony moving its corporate HQ out of Pasadena; the local hopenchangers are absoulutely giddy to be rid of that “homophobic” company.

    Where’s the tolerance? Where’s the love, man??

  • I never have joined the ABA although they keep calling me every couple years to sign up. Why would I pay $$ to a group that supports abortion and now, apparently, gay marriage?

    I just politely tell them I cannot join because of their pro-abort position. I guess I will now be able to add anti-marriage as well the next time they call.

    Not being a member of the ABA hasn’t hurt my career at all. You are better off (at least as a litigator) joining groups like your local bar associations.

Elena Kagan Says It Is Fine If The Law Bans Books

Tuesday, June 29, AD 2010

SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan has argued before the Supreme Court that it’s fine if the Law bans books.

Her rationale?

Because the government won’t really enforce it.

I’m no legal scholar but this sounds like a 3rd grade argument.

Aren’t our nominees suppose to have better reasoning skills and a solid grasp of the U.S. Constitution?  As well as a fundamental understanding  of such concepts like Freedom of Speech?

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14 Responses to Elena Kagan Says It Is Fine If The Law Bans Books

  • Bibles banned in China – is that what is coming here?

  • So is Elena Kagan willing to support banning pornography magazines and books?

  • Like all the other “brilliant” liberals, Kagan the pagan is incapable of right reason.

  • Scratch the thin veneer of liberal bu!!$#it and you slam into totalitarianism.

    Peace, justice and human dignity: the slaves will enjoy free health care, free lunch, and free fornication!!!

  • But don’t you know that if you don’t want free health care, free lunch and free fornication you are part of the “let them eat cake” coalition?

  • And what’s with the new symbol thingies?

  • Phillip and all the non-gravatar readers,

    I got tired of looking at the random abstract icons, so I switched the default to MonsterID’s in the faint hope that some of you guys will sign up for free gravatar accounts/icons.

    😉

  • And what’s with the new symbol thingies?

    Yeah, Tito. How are we supposed to upload a real picture? I tried registering at WordPress, but it won’t accept any reasonable facsimile of my real name as a user name. Can we upload a pic without registering at WordPress?

  • I kinda like my monster thingie. 🙂

  • I also had the same problem as j. Used multiple variations of my name and said they were all used. Must be a govt. program.

  • Phillip et al.,

    Just so everyone knows, MonsterID links that icon permanently to the email address you provide.

    So if you get tired of it, you have motivation to go over to http://en.gravatar.com/ and sign up for a free account!

    🙂

  • To be fair I am rather doubtful that Kagen wantts to ban books. I am trying to recall the exact sequence of events here . I actually think what started this all this were the ealier comments of the Deputy Solicter that gave the SUp COurt Justices the heebee jeevees and thus Kagen here is trying somehow to recover.

    That being said the Supreme Court can make the most seasoned lawyers look like idiots and also (and this is the problem the GOP will have in her hearings) she is basically just working for the boss. So when these hypos come out that go to the most alarming degree well there is not exactly a easy answer.

  • jh

    Nail! Head!

    She’s going to rubber stamp Obama. She’s a nothing and will continue to do nothing except vote for whatever the boss wants.

    Phil, I’m paying for the free health and lunch. They’re on their own when it comes to fornicking. I’m of the “let them have the opportunity to pursue happiness” coalition.

    My grav seems appropriate!