Tuesday, August 31, 2004
IT'S AN INTERVIEW WITH TELFORD WORK! excerpts: "...I don't know whether ['The Passion of the Christ'] will have helped or hindered knowledge of Christ in the wider culture. I have no idea what unchurched Christians' long-term reactions will be. However, within evangelicalism I am a little worried about it. After the film I spent a good deal of time explaining Catholic soteriology to some very confused and distressed Protestant students. Evangelical theology is a poor theological grid for interpreting passion plays, because passion plays presuppose a participatory rather than substitutionary doctrine of atonement. Evangelical students were liable to take the hypersuffering in the film (e.g., the traditional three falls of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross rather than the single fall in the gospels) as underlining their own guilt at making Jesus suffer instead of them.
"A friend of mine put his reaction to The Passion of the Christ beautifully: 'For the first third of the film I was mad at the Romans for inflicting all that punishment. For the second third, I was mad at myself for doing the sinning that had to be paid back this way. For the last third, I was mad at the Father.' This is a natural, if unusually candid, evangelical interpretation of the film. It was traumatic for my friend, and also for many of my students. They were greatly relieved to learn that Catholic soteriology reads the cross as human suffering appropriated by Jesus in solidarity with us, rather than as Calvin reads it. ...
Lifted from eve-tushnet.blogspot.com
Why am I a bad person because I don't think the world is good simply because you think we've gotten quite enough accomplished.
Oh the chaos
Monday, August 30, 2004
How to know you've been reading too much
I was reading Augustine's De Trinitate and came across the name of Porphyry in a chapter introduction. The translator says, basically, that Augustine attacked Porphyry and Plotinus for thinking that the the One could be sought by unaided intellect, and that Porphyry in particular was criticized in De civitate Dei for being a fan of magical cultivation of demons by theurgy, sentence I can't quite understand.
At any rate, I got to thinking of Crime and Punishment and was wondering if you could see any connection between Porphiry's methods with regards to Raskolnikov and this ancient philosopher.
Hope the summer was excellent, and I'm still available to help out w/ the Mac if you'd like.
Marriage in the Church, briefly considered
The ABC program made it clear that the Catholic doctrine of the
sacred indissolubility of marriage, which was solemnly canonized at
the Council of Trent, is at stake. This doctrine is also one of
the tension points in the ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic
Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The tension is present
because of divergent interpretations of the so-called exceptive
clause of Matt. 5:32 and Matt. 19:9. The roots of divergence may be
found toward the end of the eighth century when, "in order to
guarantee peace and harmony for the Church," Patriarch Tarsisius
decided in Emperor Constantine VI's "Moechian Affair" to
tolerate remarriage after divorce and "not to inflict severe
canonical penalties on one who has transgressed the divine
precept." However, it was about three centuries later that "from
about the beginning of the second millennium (as far as one can
ascertain) the Eastern Church accepted fully that the clause in Matt.
5:32 and 19:9 referring to 'unchastity' constituted an exception to
the rule and in the case of adultery divorce and remarriage was to be
The Catholic Church makes an implicit statement of her understanding
of the exception through her tribunal system. The Eastern Orthodox
Churches implicitly point out their understanding of the exception by
applying their canonical institute of
(administration) to marriage cases. Some Catholic clergymen who
do not accept the internal forum solution, reasoning that the
Orthodox Church also is founded on the apostles, wonder why the
Catholic Church does not adopt this avenue to remarriage after
Briefly, and without intending any offense to our Eastern separated
brothers, it must be said that difficulties exist both in the
institute itself and in its basis on the Matthean divorce pericope
without giving full force to the Lord's "solution" in Matt. 19:12b.
As a general institute, economy can be assimilated by Western legal
minds, if ever, only with the maximum of difficulty. "It seems to
belong to the science of jurisprudence; it can solve seemingly
insoluble issues.... There are many explanations of economy in
Western literature; few of them are faithful to the Eastern
The weakness in the institute may be seen especially in its
application to marriage cases. Even though its use is restricted to
bishops or even to a synod of bishops, the Orthodox have not been
able to limit it to the case of adultery. For "the Orthodox Church,
while continuing to uphold the right of an innocent spouse to divorce
and remarriage in the case of adultery, gradually has come to grant
the same freedom to those who are victims of other types of
misbehavior by their spouses, such as cruelty, abandonment, or
serious neglect of duties toward the family." Once the Orthodox
went from dissolution because of
to "divorce . . .
permissible under circumstances for grave causes which make married
life impossible," they placed themselves in danger of giving
no-fault documents of freedom to remarry.
When the case was first filed, Mrs. Macfarlane had asked the judge to send
both herself and her husband to conciliation services, so they might resolve
their conflict, but Judge Karner would not do so unless both parties were
willing to attend, and Mr. Macfarlane refused.
Mrs. Macfarlane then learned that Cuyahoga County had never even instituted
any conciliation programs, as are required in Ohio Revised Code 3117, which
was enacted to ameliorate the affects of the "no-challenge" system of
no-fault divorce, where the petitioner is always granted his/her request for
a divorce. She suspects that this Code has not been properly implemented in
any Ohio county, which means there is nothing offered to the spouse who
wants a chance at preserving his/her intact family when facing the threat of
The change to "no-fault" divorce was originally promoted in the late '60's
by lawyers as a way of actually saving marriages --- by eliminating the
bitter acrimony of the "fault"-based divorce system where one party had to
accuse the other of wrongdoing. In addition, discussion about changing the
law included the idea that "court-ordered counseling" would be part of this
The sinister side to no-fault divorce is that most people assume no-fault
means "mutual consent", whereas up to 80% of divorces are "coerced" by
judges who believe they need to keep the divorce "conveyor" belt rolling.
Reluctant spouses are forced to sign "agreements" about property and
children at the threat of being jailed. Mrs. Macfarlane has been
so-threatened, and she tells her story --- including the judge's own words,
taken from the court record --- in a quickly-written book called, "and
Justice for None". Her motive is to convey to others the diabolical nature
of this country's prevailing divorce system, where jurisdiction over
marriage is based solely on a residency requirement and where judges deny
any measures requested by the defendant that might salvage marital
Now, what we have here is basically an attempt to enforce the contracts that Catholics enter into when they marry to agree to the laws of the church regarding marriage. Mostly because the Chruch doesn't conceive of marriage, as most of the secular world does, as a sacred bond that can be broken by any party at any time for no reason with no avenue of recourse and with attempts to reconciliate being illegal.
I say, sock it to 'em.
change Her teachings in order to allow those of us divorced our 'rights'.
But where else does the Church 'have' to do this? In Her teachings on
contraception? In Her teachings on Euthanasia? In Her teachings on
Homosexuality? We put our 'compassion' many times in the wrong places and
often make things worse. "Current practice" in the US is not always in
line with the Church teachings in MANY areas, as dissent is so very
prevalent, even among our Tribunals, some of our hierarchy, etc.
I realize we have Canon lawyers here who may disagree with me. But even
among Canon Lawyers, there are many who do. Simply because it happens here
in the USA does not mean we are correct in some of our interpretations and
practices. There is a huge disparity in the number of null verdicts here
when looked at world-wide. I can't debate, but can point to
http://www.defendingholymatrimony.org/html/contents.html for the Holy
Father's words, and to Fr Hettinger and others who agree with him.
Many times, the justification for the drastic increase of null verdicts is
the dramatic rise in divorces, in failed marriage. So, rather than looking
honestly at why this has happened, and understanding that no fault or
forced divorce has made it unilaterally easy for one party to get a
divorce for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with valid
grounds, today it is almost universally assumed that if a divorce has
taken place, it was not 'valid'.
No fault divorce became legal in the same year that abortion became legal,
1973, and is driven by the same spirit. We have raised an entire
generation with this same mentality. Abortion is legal. Divorce is easy
and legal. But it is one sided, most times. Very few are 'mutually'
wanted. It is another way to destroy what God created, and we have bought
I sense that today will be "Divorce Day"
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Can I persuade the Googler to settle for a Cezanne on a lady's forearm? How about a bee painted on a scapula? No deal? Gotta be a dog on mammaries? Too bad for you, chap. You are ahead of your time.
It's like that old joke about the internet. You type: "Show me pictures of a flaming goat." And it replies: "Search returned too many items. What breed of goat?"
August 17, 2004 Volume 2, Number 2
Ignoring Sex Differences Harms Society, Studies Show
Women, men and their children are not well served by a society that
fails to acknowledge the inherit differences between the sexes according
to Steven E. Rhoads, the author of a new book that presents the case that
gender differences are based in nature and are not the result of a social
construction. Drawing from an abundance of social science data and
biological research catalogued in his new book, Taking Sex Difference
Seriously, Rhoads spoke to a packed lecture hall at the Heritage
Foundation in Washington DC last week.
A professor of public policy at the University of Virginia for more
than 30 years, Rhoads argued that masculinity and femininity are not
constructed and he stressed that much of the differences between the
sexes have firm roots in biology. He said the amount of testosterone
babies are exposed to in the womb have a lot to do with how they turn
out. Rhoads cited a study that reported that male infants are already
more aggressive than females by the age of 16 months. That men are more
aggressive, he said, is born out by the fact that there are 28 men in jail
for killing another man for every woman incarcerated for killing another
Rhoads said one area where society has suffered due to the denial of
this basic difference is in mens sports. Current law requires women to be
equally represented in college athletics. Because womens interest in
playing sports is not as high as mens many schools have had to cut mens
programs. Rhoads is concerned that many men who need organized sports as
an outlet for their aggression will turn to less appropriate outlets.
Rhoads also said that a wealth of research indicates women are better
nurturers than men, and that for the most part women prefer being with
their children to pursuing a professional career. He says that children
benefit from having their mothers home as well. In countries where the law
requires both men and women to be given time off for the birth of child,
surveys indicate that men are much more likely to want to return to their
jobs than women.
Even when women are fulfilled in their career, Rhoads said children
suffer. Rhoads pointed to one study that showed that the more mothers
loved their job the less mentally healthy their teen-daughters were. But
mental health for teen girls improved as their fathers job satisfaction
increased. Another study reveled that chemicals reflecting stress
increased in small boys while in daycare and were lower on the weekend
when the boys were with their mothers.
Much of the data Rhoads cites about men make them out to be cads. By
nature, he said, men tend to seek multiple sexual partners and eschew
commitment. But Rhoads did say that men seem to have a natural aptitude
for fulfilling duty. One study showed that in unhappy marriages men were
more likely to stick it out because of concern for the wife, while women
were less concerned with hurting their spouse by calling it quits.
While Rhoads book is not intended to offer government solutions to the
problems that have come from the androgyny of the sexes, he did suggest
some simple policy changes. First and foremost Rhoads would end Title IX,
the US law that requires gender equity in college sports. Rhoads also
notes that many state text book committees have strict rules that limit
how women can be portrayed. Some rules require that women never be shown
performing household tasks or holding a baby. Rhoads says such rules ought
to be changed. Rhoads also calls on changing the tax code to offer
incentives for one parent to stay home with their children.
Copyright, 2004 --- Culture of Life Foundation.
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
Culture of Life Foundation
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Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 289-2500 Fax: (202) 289-2502
Thought I'd also link to a fascinating article by Jennifer about the fameous free speach zone established outside of the DNC. And I do mean outside. Check it here.
Since he became the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990, Patriarch Alexei Mikhailovich Ridiger has frequently complained about Catholic "proselytism" in traditionally Orthodox societies. He and other Russian Church leaders have charged that Catholic missionaries seek to attract converts from the Orthodox faith. Catholic officials counter by pointing out that they are seeking to evangelize the vast majority of Russians who are not actively affiliated with any church.
I, too, cannot understand what the Patriarch means when he descibes countries as "canonically orthodox." As I recall, I saw a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Nice, France. And last weekend, I attended a festival at the local Greek Orthodox parish and saw several bulletin boards with photos of the church's missionary activity in Catholic MEXICO! If the Orthodox, Russian or Greek, can bring souls to Christ with these activities, more power to them; but please, Patriarch, stop the hypocrisy!
Saturday, August 28, 2004
St. Monica, on life
"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, always new, late have I loved you. YOu called, you shouted and you shattered my deafness."
"Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you."
He was obsessed, I think, with the Lord's beauty and truth. I think that's something that we could all use.
Also I wish a farewell to Jessica who is departing for Wellesley today. Benedicat eam Dominus Deus in scientia ea, and may she return soon.
all things but never itself enters the sphere of the finite. God is not
simply infinite distance; he is also infinite nearness. The human person
can confide in him and speak to him: He sees and hears and love. Although
he is not within time, he has time: even for me...What of the insight into
man? Human beings are such that they cannot stand the person who is wholly
good, truly upright, truly loving, the person who does evil to no one. It
seems that in this world only momentarily is trust met with trust, justice
with justice, love with love. The person who exemplifies all these virtues
quickly becomes insupportable with others. People will crucify anyone who
is really and fully human. Such is man. And such am I-that is the
terrifying insight that comes to me from the crucified Christ." (from
Dogma and Preaching)
QOTD, curtesy of Jennifer
- Chesteron, Heretics
So basically, you realize that it's ok to kill people that were your daughter's age when she was born, but you're not really upset that this is happening thousands of times a year, because of a conception that will makes right. Fascinating.
Monday, August 23, 2004
Those stories are inaccurate. Here are the facts:
Haley Waldman suffers from celiac disease, a rare but very serious malady that makes it impossible for her to digest anything made with wheat.
In order to celebrate a valid Mass, the priest must use bread made from wheat, and wine made from grapes. This is not an arbitrary rule concocted by the Vatican, but the Church's response to a divine imperative. "Do this in memory of me," Jesus said at the Last Supper. And so the priest does as Jesus did, consecrating simple bread and wine. The priest could perform the same ritual with rice cakes and apple juice, but then he would not be doing what Jesus did; the ceremony would not be the Sacrifice of Calvary.
Haley's mother has asked the Diocese of Trenton to change Church rules in order to accommodate her daughter. No doubt diocesan officials would have been happy to oblige, if they had been dealing with a local regulation or a question of ordinary ecclesial discipline. But it is not. The question of what constitutes the Eucharist-- of how the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ become present on the altar-- involves the most essential elements of Catholic doctrine. As Trenton's Bishop John Smith told the media, "This is not an issue to be determined at the diocesan or parish level, but has already been decided for the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world by Vatican authority,"
Because she could not consume a consecrated host made from wheat, Haley Waldman was given another host, made of rice. Unfortunately, that was not valid matter for the sacrament. She did not really receive the Eucharist. Some secular stories have reported that the Trenton diocese "invalidated" the sacrament. That's not accurate, either. It wasn't the action of the diocese that made the sacrament invalid; it was the use of improper matter for the host. The diocese merely took note of that fact.
The Eucharist is consecrated in two forms: the bread that becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine that becomes his Blood. Ordinarily, at Sunday Mass, lay people receive only the Body (the consecrated host) and not the Blood (from the chalice). But each is complete in itself; anyone who receives Communion under either form receives Jesus fully-- "body and blood, soul and divinity," as the catechism formula accurately puts it.
Neither the Trenton diocese nor the universal Church wants to deprive Haley Waldman of the Eucharist. And in fact many people who suffer from celiac disorder do receive Communion on a regular basis. If their condition is so acute that they cannot digest a wheat-based host, then they receive the Blood of Christ from the chalice. In doing so, they receive Communion as fully as someone who consumes the Body of Christ in the form of wheat-based bread.
It's true that in order to receive Communion from the chalice alone, the individual may have to make prior arrangements with the parish priest. But anyone who suffers from celiac disorder is quite accustomed to making such arrangements-- at restaurants, in friends' homes, at school-- in order to avoid wheat products.
The controversy surrounding Haley Waldman is doubly unfortunate. It is sad that she suffers from a medical condition that will make her life very complicated, and she cannot escape those complications even in her parish church. It is also sad that she has become embroiled in a controversy that could readily have been avoided entirely, through a full and accurate teaching of Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist.
A kind of cultural relativism exists today, evident in the conceptualization and defence of an ethical pluralism, which sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law. Furthermore, it is not unusual to hear the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy. As a result, citizens claim complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices, and lawmakers maintain that they are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value. At the same time, the value of tolerance is disingenuously invoked when a large number of citizens, Catholics among them, are asked not to base their contribution to society and political life – through the legitimate means available to everyone in a democracy – on their particular understanding of the human person and the common good. The history of the twentieth century demonstrates that those citizens were right who recognized the falsehood of relativism, and with it, the notion that there is no moral law rooted in the nature of the human person, which must govern our understanding of man, the common good and the state.
Or, why Catholics should be Catholic when they vote and not some other random thing.
In the initial post, I said that I thought Julian David may be correct in saying this teaching concords with the unanimis consensus patrum. I want to repeat that I have not done the research, so I would not feel comfortable making the latter claim in an academic forum. But my gut says he's right.
Doctrines proxima fidei and the unaminis consensus patrum are binding on the conscience of the believer beyond mere "reverent silence" about matter if one initially disagrees with it. Or so says Dr. Ott in his manual. How's that?
Then we must do some reflecting, no? As usual he provides an excellent place to begin.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Calc pick-up lines to compliment the Catholic ones
- Take my derivative and you will find a local max where my slope is, "O!"
- Take me to your limit, and I'll be continuous to your endpoint.
- I don't know if you're in my range, but I'd like to take you to my
- I would rationalize your denominator any day.
- Nice asymptote.
- Hey, baby, I know we're still vertical, but i'm heading towards your
asymptote and going horizontal.
- I may be going out on a tangent, but it's plane to see that your points
are not just two dimentional.
- Just give me a sine, and I'll give you a cos.
- I don't know where your points of intersection are, but i'm going to
plot every single one of them.
- You're so hot, you raise my exponent to a higher power.
- You can solve my equation anytime, you know, x marks the spot.
- We should go make some slopes, and I'll be the dx over your dy.
In a California courtroom, witnesses will testify that Alvaro Rafael Saravia, a former Salvadoran military officer who now lives in California, planned the murder of the famous prelate, who was gunned down in his own cathedral. The killing-- one of the most shocking episodes in a period of bloody conflict in the Central American nation-- was quickly ascribed to right-wing zealots.
The case against Saravia is being brought by Center for Justice and Accountability, a human-rights organization based in San Francisco with ties to liberal political leaders. The witnesses against Saraiva will include Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a former auxiliary of the Detroit archdiocese who now devotes his time exclusively to social causes; and Robert White, who was the US ambassador to El Salvador at the time of Archbishop Romero's assassination.
Second on the list we have a comparison to Baal. You know, the one who had people go into his temple and burn babies on the altar and stuff like that. Sounds just like some people's perception of the
Catholic Chruch, I suppose, but I don't see how you could compare that to the Baptists or some such.
Saturday, August 21, 2004
A couple of things need to be pointed out here. First, the Church does not call me as a man living with same sex attraction to a different standard than to which she calls all other unmarried people. In case Crain hasn't been paying attention lately, there are an awful lot of those unmarried folks around. Scads. My parishes have a lot of folks roughly my age, 41, who do not live with same sex attraction and who have either never been married and have about as much chance of being married as they do of being hit by lightning. And the Gospel calls them to live chastely too. And this does not even address the lives of the formerly married either through widowhood or unwilling divorce who also live chastely.
Second, Crain's position appears to be deeply dehumanizing, dare I say even loathing, of people with same sex attraction. It appears that in Crain's mind it is just cruel to ask McGreevey or anyone else to live up to a Gospel standard, chastity, that they simply could never meet - as though people with same sex attraction are little more than animals who must obey their urges like other species coming into heat.
This is simply a manner of thinking which is completely contra to the very core of the Gospel which is that God created men and women in His image and that we all, whether same sex attracted or not, have the free will to either choose to follow Christ or not, to choose to seek the Gospel or not.
McGreevey, like all married people, have the choice of whether to honor their vows to their spouse or not. That he failed to honor them with another person of the same sex might be titillating or even provide a cloak of justification in this day and age, but in no way does the presence of a same sex partner or even a gay self-identification remove the power and responsibility of free will.
The Ohr HaChaim says that the last judge must vote his opinion of ''not guilty,'' even though that will result in the opposite of what he believes to be just. Why? Because a person is obligated to speak the truth as he sees it, rather than consider the result.
According to Torah ethics, the process must be righteous, because it is the process that lies in human hands. Results are up to G-d.
Ever heard the expression deciding the sentence then finding the verdict?
Yeah. Bad idea.
Friday, August 20, 2004
The attorney general's announcement-- which came in response to a question from the state's health secretary-- is not legally binding, and some opponents have hinted that they may appeal the decision. But Lautenschlager's statement indicates that state prosecutors could take action against employers whose programs do not include contraceptive coverage, arguing that their programs are in violation of existing law.
Kathleen Hohl, a spokesman for the Milwaukee archdiocese, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Church leaders are not making any immediate plans to change their insurance programs, which do not cover birth-control costs.
This, of course, is the state where the people got sick of the Governor's vetoes of their partial birth abortion ban and proceeded to collect enough signatures themselves to override the veto because the legislature was too wussy to do anything about it. I think, anyway. I don't have the story handy. Grr.
I did, however, find this lovely story about freedom of speach.
Collections at the Sunday Mass amounted to just $220,000-- barely over $1 for each member of the congregation-- the bishop reported. The overall budget for the Pope's visit was nearly $1.5 million.
Bishop Perrier said that he is confident that more contributions will be forthcoming, and "people will be generous" to make up the budget shortfall.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Thanks to CFOI for the link.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Old friends suck
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 18:08:07 -0500
From: "Marty Barrack"
Subject: RE: Jesus's Patrilinial Descent
In Halakha, Jewish Law, Jewishness is matrilineal but ancestry is patrilineal.
Rabbi Yeshua was Jewish because Mary was Jewish, but in the line of David
because Joseph was in the line of David.
Our far-seeing Father a thousand years before had grafted Ruth the Moabite into
the House of Israel. Now He would graft Rabbi Yeshua into the House of David.
An angel told Joseph, (Mt 1:20) “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary
your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will
bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” The angel could have addressed
Joseph in the traditional manner, (Mt 1:16) “Joseph, son of Jacob,” but He
specifically said, “Joseph, son of David.” He certainly intended to present
Son of God as being in the line of David.
Moreover, the angel showed that, despite the need for a divine Person to place a
divine Person within Mary’s womb, our Father intended Joseph to be a real
father. The archangel Gabriel had told Mary before the Child was conceived, (Lk
1:31) “You shall call his name Jesus.” In Jewish law, since the time of Adam,
the power to name someone or something expresses dominion over it. Only a father
or mother has authority to name a child. The angel’s command to Joseph three
months later meant that Joseph was to be a true father to Yeshua.
Have a blessed day!
Orémus pro invicem, <><
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
A: Some critics of inerrancy see the discrepancies between these lists as one of the most serious challenges to the inerrancy of the Bible. Actually it does no such thing. First a "red herring" that is an incorrect answer, then a common Christian answer, and finally the most probable answer.
Incorrect answer: Both lists are correct, but the lists are different because they were made at slightly different times. By the time the later list was compiled, a few more people had come, some had left, and the offerings were different.
However, the total number of additional people coming and people leaving had to match exactly, since the overall totals are identical.
Common answer: While we do not possess the original manuscripts, inerrancy [allegedly] means the two lists had to be identical in the original manuscripts. However, a combination of simple copyist errors, and a change in the alphabet around that time, which produced more copyist errors, is responsible for the differences in numbers that should have been common between the two lists. (Nothing prevents one list from having details the other list does not have.)
However, 22 differences out of 50 numbers is a large number of differences, even with the writing change that occurred about that time.
Most probable answer: Nehemiah inerrantly copied the list that was available to him (and that list had errors). It was accurate enough to give a representation of how many returned, but Nehemiah’s qualification cautions us that this list is not guaranteed to be without error. This is analogous to the Bible inerrantly recording the Pharisee’s errors, Jephthah’s rashness, and Abraham’s foolishness, without explicitly telling us whether or not we are to believe and do those things too.
Why did the Bible not tell us the precise numbers of everyone in Nehemiah’s time? Probably because it is not important. 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 2:9 tell us we are not to devote ourselves to endless genealogies.
I prefer the last sentence myself. Squach's answer: How many people squeezed in to an Israeli headcount 2500 years ago really doesn't have much to say about whether Christ is risen.
Many of the statements that groups such as the Jewish Council nowadays regard as anti-Semitic are in fact anti-Israel - there is a difference - and most of those that cross the line come from Arab or other Middle Eastern sources which, really, can be forgiven.
Hear that? It can be forgiven, because it's from Arabs . . . yeah. I don't think he has Christian forgiveness in mind here, I'll be honest with you.
But the way he did it was a masterstroke. He turned opprobrium into compassion.
He did it with one sentence. "I am a gay American."
On the face of it, it is irrelevant to whatever wrongs he may have committed against his state, his wife or his religion. But he did so because he knew that it would immediately deflect attention from his actions to his sexual orientation.
And then he would receive at least as much understanding and compassion as condemnation.
Because the moment he announced he was gay, people assumed that he did what he did because a homophobic society forced him, a homosexual, to live a fraudulent heterosexual life. Who then could blame him? If society forced you, dear heterosexual male reader, to live with a man all your life and deny yourself the physical love of a woman, wouldn't you, too, eventually crack under the pressure and make love to a woman?
That is how at least half the country thinks about McGreevey now: "Well, he was wrong, and sure, he shouldn't have given that man a six-figure-a-year job advising the governor of New Jersey on the life and death issue of security, but let's be decent here. The guy's gay, and he's been living with a woman all his adult life."
Moreover, the country — or at least its liberal half, which includes the leading news media — has a different standard for homosexual and heterosexual sins. Heterosexual men who have many partners are condemned as womanizers; homosexual men who have many partners are largely ignored. There are no "manizers."
When Massachusetts gay congressman Barney Frank confirmed, as reported by the Washington Post, "that he paid Stephen Gobie for sex, hired him with personal funds as an aide and wrote letters on congressional stationery on his behalf to Virginia probation officials," and that Gobie ran a gay prostitution service from Congressman Frank's apartment, it meant nothing to his voters or to most of the country. Imagine, on the other hand, if a heterosexual politician had such a relationship with a call girl who ran a prostitution ring from his home. The man would have been forced to resign in a week.
So, Governor McGreevey knew exactly what he was doing when he announced, "I am a gay American." In addition to eliciting compassion, he was appealing to the double standard the country holds on behalf of gays — and striking a blow for same-sex marriage. That is why, as the New York Times reported on its front page, McGreevey's "precisely worded bombshell line — 'I am a gay American' — was strategically devised with the help of a national gay rights organization the governor had consulted."
A pro-homosexual group, Forum for Equality, had sued to prevent inclusion of the referendum on the September 18 ballot, arguing the amendment would violate the state constitution's guarantee of individuals' rights to enter into contracts and own property together. Judge Michael Caldwell ruled that under Louisiana law such a challenge can only be made after the election is held.
I thought that constitutional amendments were, by definition, unconstitutional. That's why you need an amendment. How can you complain the amendment to the constution is unconstitutional? Bizarre.
Monday, August 16, 2004
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.
And another thing. How come no one has a straight answer on Satan? Whoever you talk to has their own interpretation, usually managing to call the Catholics Manichean, which more than anything shows a lack of knowledge of where the word comes from. So confusing.
My oh my I'm ranting this morning.
It would be difficult enough if Paul were warning of the world's condition. However, the conditions he describes are not isolated to pagans or atheists, for such attitudes have always run rampant in the non-Christian world. Paul is warning about the worldly attitudes of people in the church. His concern is that many Christians will be intoxicated with the pleasures of this world. He then tells us that a religious veneer will mask this preoccupation with pleasure: Christians will hold "to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power" (2 Tim 3:5).
Beloved, Paul is warning about the conditions in many of our churches in the western world.
We need a deep, cleansing revival that returns us to passionate, biblical Christianity. I am not talking about a "flopping, hopping, run around the church sanctuary" emotional experience, but an all consuming return to the pursuit of Christ's character and power.
Nothing I like more than someone bizarre who manages to be a lot better Christian than you. Keeps you 'umble.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Welcome back to Tina!
By Patrick Madrid Copyright
10. May I offer you a light for that votive candle?
9. Hi there. My buddy and I were wondering if you would settle a dispute we're having. Do you think the word should be pronounced HOMEschooling, or homeSCHOOLing?
8. Sorry, but I couldn't help but noticing how cute you look in that ankle-length, shapeless, plaid jumper.
7. What's a nice girl like you doing at a First Saturday Rosary Cenacle like this?
6. You don't like the culture of death either? Wow! We have so much in common!
5. Let's get out of here. I know a much cozier little Catholic bookstore downtown.
4. I bet I can guess your confirmation name.
3. You've got stunning scapular-brown eyes.
2. Did you feel what I felt when we reached into the holy water font at the same time?
1. Confess here often?
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Seneca, Letters XXXIX
Finally, instead of dissembling behind ambiguous notions of Gallic joie de vivre, someone in this leisurely land has declared outright that the French should eschew the Anglo-Saxon work ethic and openly embrace sloth.
Corinne Maier, the author of "Bonjour Paresse," a sort of slacker manifesto whose title translates as "Hello Laziness," has become a countercultural heroine almost overnight by encouraging the country's workers to adopt her strategy of "active disengagement" - calculated loafing - to escape the horrors of disinterested endeavor.
"Imitate me, midlevel executives, white-collar workers, neo-slaves, the damned of the tertiary sector," Ms. Maier calls in her slim volume, which is quickly becoming a national best seller. She argues that France's ossified corporate culture no longer offers rank-and-file employees the prospect of success, so, "Why not spread gangrene through the system from inside?"
Kind of reminds me of the Unitarians, boldly calling for us to embrace sins as our friends . . . yeah I don't quite get that one. A sin is by definition something that's bad . . . Don't get me started.
Friday, August 13, 2004
And what you got is an avalanche of money into politics this year as George Soros, Democratic big shots and, to a lesser extent, Republican moneymen (Republicans are slower on the uptake) get into the business of "independent" political expenditures.
All that McCain-Feingold did was make it impossible to make huge personal contributions to political parties. But if you have far more money than you can ever hope to spend, what to do? Buy another Gulfstream V? No. Play an even more important role in politics by bankrolling your very own "527," a tax-code loophole that enables the fat cats to fund their own political advertising so long as they do not "coordinate" with the candidate.
The ads have another restriction. They cannot advocate voting for anyone. I love that part, for two reasons. First, it produces comical scripts that say, "President Bush, friend of Halliburton, likes taking food from the mouths of orphans. If you think that this is not nice, write President Bush and tell him so." Of course, the ad buyers mean: "Vote Kerry." But they cannot say so.
Second, I like the poetic justice. The goo-goo do-gooders who endorsed campaign finance reform have another great cause: the awfulness of negative campaigning. Well, they have produced a system that is practically designed to produce negative ads.
What a bunch of upstanding citizens
(Reading: "USC gene-therapy pionmeer arrested on molestation charges," Los Angeles Daily News, 7/30/04, http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200~20954~2305392,00.html; "Gene therapy pioneer denies child molestation," Bio-IT World, 8/6/04, http://www.bio-itworld.com/news/080604_report5782.html)
Happy birthday to Doomed0
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Bishop Klaus Kung, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) to conduct an apostolic visitation of the troubled St. Polten diocese, announced on August 12 that he is using his authority to close down the seminary "right away."
The seminary had failed in its mission to select and train young men for the Catholic priesthood, the Vatican-appointed investigator said. "A new beginning is necessary," Bishop Kung concluded.
The scandal in St. Polten erupted when a police discovered thousands of pornographic images of children on a computer at the seminary. At the same time, an Austrian magazine published photos of seminary staff members embracing and fondling students. The scandal prompted calls for the removal of St. Polten's Bishop Kurt Krenn, an outspoken and unpopular conservative prelate. Bishop Krenn-- who has received very little support from other Austrian bishops-- has refused to resign.
"So what does the parable of the talents teach us?" -- Becca
"God is a free-market capitalist" -- John
Short chain of logic
1) Kids are hardwired to get things from their parents, kind of like ducks.
2) Parents have been immoral because they came from a dark time I will refer to as "The 60s"
3) Kids take this attitude from their parents
4) They conclude that, since their parents are immoral, morality is therefore an impossible pipe-dream and there was never a time where people were moral or had any control over their sexuality.
5) This is aided by a rather poor sense of history, eg people thinking that Gandalf took down the Spanish Armada with a little of his pimp action
OO continues on modesty, again, against someone who I think Jenni dislikes
This blog was never conceived as a place to address leftist arguments, nor will it become such. The pile is just too deep; the work too unenjoyable; and the personal relationship usually required to convert another's heart on fundamental issues, absent.
That said, I turn my attention briefly to this young lady's objections to my modesty post.
First off, a stylistic point. I thought conservatives were supposed to be the pre-fabricated, indoctrinated ones! I mean, really. If I tried to write the usual leftist objection to my own article, it would not be far from this. One wonders whether to look for a direct cable connection from her head to a 486 in the basement of NARAL.
Second, I have absolutely no idea whether the lady is going to hell. I have no idea about her education, motivations, or life history. I also know that just about every bourgeois college girl I've met in DC holds the same opinion as she does. You can't be spoon-fed into hell; you actually have to do some of your own work to contribute to that general trajectory. That aside, filling the mind with bad philosophy and concupiscence makes the Devil's job a lot easier. Having been led to a precipice, one only needs to make a surprisingly small individual contribution to end in disaster. I am surprised the Devil has anything to do at all after Kant, Rousseau and the 1960s. If the state of Catholic education continues the way it has been, someday we (viz., the Devil and I) may meet in the unemployment line -- surely a bizarre encounter.
Now, on to the argument in the briefest form possible:
" . . . strikes me as a teeny bit crazy."
Yet the lady doesn't articulate a single concept that could be used to judge when dress is "sane" or "insane." Instead she appeals to taste, which is relative and subjective.
Or, to put her statement and my response another way:
"God forbid that we shouldn't look like the people we see on TV!"
As a remedy, I suggest a dose of history. You'd be surprised what weird shit people once did. The wrong lesson to take from this is that your own culture's most recent, default mindset just happens to be -- by the greatest coincidence in the world -- the non-weird one. And saying "We're all weird in our own way" is contentless. Against the more fully-clothed example of earlier generations, are we really so sure we're not the crazy ones? And how would we know? Are the fashion debacles of the 1970s so distant that they can't be used as a metaphor? I'll try, nonetheless. Have you at least seen pictures of the ugly people in avocado and puce polyester clothes with the nappy hair? Did you notice how happy and fashionable they think they are? The flesh-kaleidoscope that typifies fashion this latest half-century might look as weird as chartreuse bellbottoms 100 years from now. In 2105 we might be calling now "La Nue Epoche," except the fin-de-siecle decorative posters will be completely abstract or cubist, and so not nearly as racy as one might imagine. Nonetheless they will just as dated, and bought by 22nd-century college students trying to decorate their rooms in slightly antiquarian fashion. The miniskirt: bustle of the mid 1900s. But that's crazy talk, I’m sure.
Then the interesting stuff
But in reality, such an offer of reciprocity is not generous. It is an imposition. Politics is about how we structure our public life. Despite how often we reassure ourselves we are perfectly autonomous rational islands -- doing whatever we want in self-directed isolation from everyone else unless we are physically coerced -- communal life really shapes how each of us thinks, what we value, how we act, and how we respond to the events of daily existence. Your world where people are free to abort or not abort, gays are free to sodomize or not to sodomize, and people are free to masturbate to their hearts' content or be chaste, is a very different world than a place where sexual morality obtains the force of law.
Both worlds shape the people who live in them involuntarily. Both are impositions. The only question is therefore: Which imposition is better? The lady's whole blog doesn't offer a single argument which gets beyond the presumptuous self-referential impasse of the "-choice" canard.
What a rip!
The Jewishness of LH is overwhelming.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
people of the world who were not expecting him. We gentiles received a
savior we dared not hope for. He came to show us the way to Life, but we
did not even realize we were dead -- until we saw what Life was! But there
was a people, there was a chosen race who, long before the arrival of this
Savior, had been gathered, taught, formed, chastized, exalted, and
showered with signs and wonders by God, and also been promised an Anointed One who would come to save both them and the surrounding nations. This was a people who knew their sins; this was a people who knew that their lives were not being lived in fulness; this was a people who knew their lack and longed, yearned for the coming days when all wrongs would be made right, all crooked ways straight, valleys filled an mountains laid low, who hoped for the glorious coming of their Promised Vindicator and Lord, ushering in a time of unparalleled peace.
. . .
Gentiles fall in love with Jesus. We encounter him, talk with him, let him show how great he is and, in the process, we realize that we are need of something that we didn't even know we lacked -- something that we can have in Him. Just like any two people become good friends or fall in love, we don't even realize how unhappy we are until made happy by the other. That is one thing; it's another thing to lie in in yearning and sometimes agonizing expectation all your life for someone who you have already been told about, who, in some way, you already know, and who has promised to fulfill your deepest desires -- then finally to meet them face to face! The Jew is in some way already in love with Jesus. He or she needs only to ask, "Is it you? Can it really be you?"
In my opinion, the only authentically universal educated approach to Jesus is through Judaism. That is how we see into the import of Christ's advent into history. That is how we see the twinkle in Miriam's eye and feel the jump in Joseph's heart each time a prayer is made for the Messiah in the synagogue. That is how we understand the prophetic drive and passionate outpouring of the Yeshua who preaches on the mountains, cures the infirmed in the streets, and opens his heart to his closest at his last Seder meal.
Steven Hill, West Coast director of the liberal Center for Voting and Democracy, aptly expressed this misconception in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "The point is that the Bill of Rights and Constitution were really there to guarantee the property rights of the rich and the rich wannabes."
The nation's inequalities, he added, "are a direct result of - not in spite of, but because of - the priority given by the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution to protect the private property of rich individuals and wealthy corporations over basic human rights."
Yet as a recent Michigan court ruling makes clear, property rights are not primarily about protecting the "rich and rich wannabes."
They are, first and foremost, about protecting those without political power from those with power.
That this sounds counterintuitive only reinforces how far the nation has traveled from the ideas embraced by the founders.
Consider this defense of property rights by William Pitt, the British prime minister in the late 1700s and early 1800s: "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail. Its roof may shake, the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement."
That was - and remains - a wonderfully radical idea.
"Love never fails. Prophecies will ceaes, toungues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love."
-- 1 Corinthians 13: 8-9,13
This, I think, describes the Church in so many ways today. Our prophets have fallen silent, people are forgetting basic teaching. We need, in their place, saints. Holiness. Love.
I'm glad St. Paul's on top of the situation.
As I've said more than once, the Sudanese Janjaweed butchers are walking, talking WMDs. There is no international dispute about whether they exist or whether they pose an immediate and grave threat to the Sudanese people; there is merely a diplomatic squabble about who can best handle removing the Janjaweed. Since when did he USA care so very much about the opinions of Europe or Egypt or Sudan in resolving volatile African and Middle Eastern situations?
Please pray for a friend of mine
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Squach (8:32:47 PM): umm
Squach (8:32:48 PM): maybe?
J-Money (8:33:30 PM): I'm trying to convince him to hang out with people like me and you and Walder on Thursday
J-Money (8:33:36 PM): you know "Good Neo-conservative influence"
J-Money (8:33:39 PM): Rather than go clubbing
J-Money (8:33:43 PM): since he is a religious catholic
J-Money (8:33:49 PM): and a staunch Reaganite
Congratulations to Jessica for getting email from an ambiguously Jewish nun
> We look forward to the gift of books from the
> gold award project. They are most welcome for
> our school library. I know the efforts you spent
> to have these donations and the amount for
> sending them. You can imagine the joy of
> receiving them and the wealth of knowledge.
>These young minds will benefit from your
>generosity. God love you and loved ones.
>Sr. Ofel Ibañez, ICM
Strongbad is so true.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, it is necessary for humans to feel pain in order to feel joy. We strive to be happy our whole lives and avoid all sadness and pain. But only people who truly know pain and sadness can truly know pleasure and joy. And only people who truly know pleasure and joy can know pain and sadness. We live in a dualistic world. We know black from white and white from black, up from down and down from up. At the very breathtaking peaks of life are the beginnings of the slopes down. The mountain and the valley are interfaced and one. To be fully alive and aware we must be willing to embrace the total spectrum of human emotions and experience. We must be willing to feel the pain and pleasure, the sadness and the joy because they are the two sides of the one coin of life.
Getting on my nerves
There are two men and a bee looking at a flower. One man is colorblind. He says that it's grey. The second man says that it's blue. The bee only sees ultraviolet and says it's ultraviolet. They're all right and there's no right answer.
Wrong. They're all wrong.
It's an informational problem. You could know everything colorful about a flower and what wavelengths it reflects. Not by just glancing at it, but by working with it.
It is similar in the religious realm. Many people glance at God and say this or that about him. He loves us. He's a she. He approves of what I do. But, like the colorblind man, we might not be able to see what's there, or like the bee, we may only see a small slice of what's there. It doesn't follow from this that we can never know what God's like or that He doesn't have any real attributes. It just means that you have to think about it before you can get to the right answer.
Monday, August 09, 2004
Having said that, we must now go on to point out the serious error of those Catholic "traditionalists" who go much further than simply to rebuke an unduly lax, permissive and one-sided pastoral approach to NFP, and who claim that the practice is, in principle, immoral, and that it also stands condemned by the previous ordinary (or even extraordinary) magisterium of the Church. Never has the use of quotation marks around the word "traditionalist" been more apt than in this case, because, as we shall see, there was never at any stage a Catholic "tradition" – not even a lower-level, 'non-infallible' tradition – against the use of periodic continence. Practically as soon as the first rudimentary methods of estimating the infertile period arose, with the advance of medical science in the mid-19th century, the See of Peter immediately and explicitly gave its blessing to this practice! RTF 103
Decisions by people free to make their mutual accommodations with other free people were called "dictates" while having third parties tell all of them what they could and couldn't do was not.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for laying down the law.
A fond farewell
Sunday, August 08, 2004
And just as the Council of Trent was implemented—in fact, rescued—by a few great popes, especially St. Pius V, we now have in the pontificate of John Paul II the council’s definitive interpretation. One reason for Wojtyla’s election in 1978 was the conclave’s awareness of his vigorous promotion of the council’s decrees in the Archdiocese of Kraków. Even before the council ended, Bishop Wojtyla told his flock, “I want to awaken the Archdiocese of Kraków to the true meaning of the Council, so that we may bring it into our lives.” Such words were not heard on this side of the Atlantic. Catholic dissenters who complain that this pope has “betrayed” the council forget that John Paul was an enthusiastic participant in all four sessions, strongly aligning with the “progressives” against the ecclesial bureaucrats who wanted simply to reiterate doctrine in the accepted neo-scholastic format. And he hasn’t changed at all
This is not a battle between "liberals" and "conservatives". Or, it is. But both of them are wrong, because the Church fits into neither of those categories and has no desire to either.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
. . . . . .
While Americans continue to export cargo-loads of condoms to the continent, they remain blithely ignorant of the true uses to which the condoms are put. The current favorite use is to put jelly in the condom and throw it at a car windshield. When the driver stops and attempts to clean it off, he will be attacked while the other hijacker speeds off in his car
.. . . . . . .
But the contention that because he didn't spring from his seat like Ahnuld, and start barking orders he was therefore "paralyzed" is, well, kind of silly. It took nearly four months for the United States to respond *at all* to the attack on Pearl Harbor (Doolittle's Raiders in April 1942). And that was basically done simply to remind the Japanese we hadn't forgotten. It was a publicity strike more than a serious military blow. Less than *one month* after 9/11, Bush had organized a crushing military campaign against the Taliban that resulted in the smashing of their regime by early December 2001 (and, in my opinion, the death of bin Laden).
Subject: Overlapping Religious Institutions
Father Flannigan, of St. Thomas Aquinas, and Rabbi Metzger, of Beth
El Congrgation, both of the Bronx, were engaged in a technical
discussion. Said the priest;
"I have noticed, Rabbi, that the Jews consider the time after
sundown as belonging to the next day, which makes your holidays
begin at sunset on the previous evening."
"That is so," agreed Rabbi Meltzer.
"Then why is it that Purim is different from all your other
holidays? You celebrate Purim with a feast on the following evening!"
"You might call it a matter of overlapping religious institutions,
my friend," the rabbi grinned. "You Christians regard your holidays as
beginning in the evening of the same day - exactly the opposite of our own
practice. But your question about Purim prompts me to ask this question;
"Why do you gentiles celebrate Christmas on the eve of the approaching day
as we do on our holidays?"
"Hmmm," the priest muttered. "That is a good question!"
"Let me answer it myself," said the rabbi, still smiling. "We Jews
are thankful to a goy named Haman for the festival of Purim, so we
celebrate it according to the gentile fashion. On the other hand,
you gentiles owe your Christmas to a Jew, so you observe it in the
From the Crisis e-letter. Oh my, it's getting bad in here.
their Catholic faith. To do so would be to violate the separation of
church and state. The same holds true about Catholics who vote in line
with their religion... They're just imposing their beliefs on everyone
Wrong. Catholics aren't seeking laws that require citizens to attend
church or observe Lenten fasts. That's ridiculous. On the contrary,
Catholics support the protection of basic human rights through legislation
and policy, such as the right to life and the right to educational
freedom. These are laws and policies that embody the values that we -- as
a nation -- agree to live by.
I've heard some weird stuff in my day, but how could someone actually think that voting according to your conscience is a violation of the First Amendment? Do people actually believe this crap? How else are you supposed to vote?
Friday, August 06, 2004
Quote of the Day
We were back to that. Back to the same hollow rhetoric that reduced the lessons of the Holocaust to some watered-down notion of the importance of tolerance for all people. We were back to the flawed assumption that hatred is a package deal. Yet if that were true, the campaign would be useless from go — because if you're a hater, you do hate everyone. Obviously, there is something that separates hatred of Jews from hatred of other minorities, and its effects need to be addressed more directly rather than universalized.
A George Will quote comes to mind: "Celebration of tolerance is the first refuge of the intolerant."
I remember reading a piece years ago by Penn and Teller, talking about how stupid it was that they got asked for their political insight because they were famous for tying balloons and making stuff seem to disappear. They're right, of course. Why on earth should anybody care what some pop musician thinks about Bush or Kerry?
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Mark Shea's latest
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Unless you are a World War II history buff, you probably do not recall the
name of Charles W. Sweeney, who died on July 16 at the age of 84. He had
finished his Army career as a major general, but he became famous while a
major for piloting the plane the dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. That
was on August 9, 1945.
Sweeney's obituary explained that "At 11:01 a.m., the pumpkin-shaped bomb
called Fat Man was dropped on the industrial city of Nagasaki, killing and
wounding tens of thousands, heavily damaging a steelworks and arms plant,
and demolishing an estimated 14,000 residential buildings."
In a ghostwritten autobiography published in 1997, Sweeney said, "I took
no pride or pleasure then, nor do I take any now, in the brutality of war,
whether suffered by my people or those of another nation. Every life is
precious. But I felt no remorse or guilt that I had bombed the city."
Those who should have felt remorse and guilt, said Sweeney, were the
Japanese leaders who brought the war upon their own people.
Many justify the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima by saying the abrupt
end to the war saved as many as a million American lives that would have
been lost had Japan been invaded. I don't know where the figure of one
million came from. My understanding is that the War Department estimated a
maximum of 46,000 casualties in an invasion. That was a worst-case
scenario, meaning the likely number of casualties would have been far
Some commentators have argued that no invasion was needed at all, since
Japan no longer had an air force or navy and had no domestic source of oil
for its industries. A blockade would have resulted in the Japanese war
machine and economy grinding to a halt. The war thus could have ended
without an invasion, though the end probably would have come long after
the summer of 1945.
Be that as it may, what concerns me is the attitude, so prevalent among
political conservatives (most of whom are religious conservatives), that
there are no limits in defensive warfare: If the other guys started the
fight, they deserve whatever they get. In a defensive war it is not a
matter of "My country right or wrong" but of "My country can do no wrong,"
which is an odd thing coming from conservatives who, on domestic matters,
can be highly critical of their government's moral failings (as regards
abortion or homosexuality, say).
Catholic moral principles are easy to apply to other people, difficult to
apply to ourselves. This is as true in public life as in private life.
During World War II our enemies did atrocious things on the battlefield,
to conquered nations, and even to their own people. Many of these evils we
knew about during the war; others came to light only after the cessation
Even those evils we knew about during the war were so prevalent and so
gross that, to many, it seemed permissible, for the duration, to lay aside
a principle that we insisted be followed by our enemies: The end does not
justify the means.
Rephrase that in Catholic terms: To achieve a good, you may not perform a
sin. To provide your family financial security, you may not rob a bank. To
protect your wife's health, you may not abort the child she is carrying.
And to defeat an enemy in war, you may not violate just war principles.
But we did--and more than once, sad to say.
The atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, like the fire bombings of
Dresden and other German cities, cannot be squared with Catholic moral
principles because the bombings deliberately targeted non-combatants. The
evil done by our enemies did not exonerate us from the moral law. Their
evils did not provide us justification for evils of our own. Being a
Christian in peacetime is difficult; it is more difficult, but even more
necessary, in wartime.
Fat Man exploded directly above the Catholic cathedral in Nagasaki. The
city was the historical center of Catholicism in Japan and contained about
a tenth of the entire Catholic population. The cathedral was filled with
worshipers who had gathered to pray for a speedy and just end to the war.
It is said their prayers included a petition to offer themselves, if God
so willed it, in reparation for the evils perpetrated by their country.
Until next time,
Reading a little constitutional challenge
Opponents of such measures said while the ballot language suggests
minors' privacy rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution will be
maintained, the opposite would be true. They said it would take away
minors' privacy rights granted under the state constitution.
Natasha Baker-Bradley, 19, a sophomore majoring in psychology at
Boston University, said informing parents of a teenager's planned
abortion could harm some teens.
"I know people whose parents aren't great," she said. "Sometimes kids need
to be protected from their parents."
Yes indeed. Some kids do need to be protected from their parents. Most of them, however, have yet to be born.
The email, the email, what what the email!
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 10:00:24 -0700
Subject: RE: Re: Mitochondrial DNA is the key
This may sound initially unrelated, but there has been a recent program on
the Discovery Channel about the Yellowstone supervolcano, which I found
incredibly interesting on any number of scores. There are signs the thing,
which is overdue for a massive explosion, 2500 times Mt. St. Helens, may
be getting active again. If it blew, we'd all be in deep deep trouble. The
reason they call it a supervolcano is that it would probably kill everyone
within a 500 or 600 mile radius, then send the planet into "nuclear
winter" for 4 or 5 years. IOW, there would be no harvests for 4 or 5
years till all the ash in the atmosphere cleared to let the sun back in,
and huge numbers would starve. Rather a similar effect as a massive comet
strike. (Every time I think of it, I wonder about the prophesied "Three
Days of Darkness".)
Anyhow, what makes it relevant to this discussion is that some scientists
are linking the last planetary supervolcano eruption (Toba, 75,000 years
ago) to a so-called "genetic bottleneck". The idea is that mitochondrial
evidence points to the fact that prior to 75,000 years ago, the human
population of the world was far more genetically diverse than it is now.
Then, suddenly, about 75,000 years ago, some planetary-wide disaster
happened that reduced the human population to a few thousand, probably in
a couple of closely related population groups. Those of us alive today
are all descendents of that small group of a few thousand, hence modern
man's remarkable genetic similarity. Hence also, I would guess, the
reason why we can all be traced back to one "Eve" about a hundred thousand
Food for thought.
"The Mystery of Things": http://www.idyllspress.com/books.htm
And i started to think. Hmm. The mitocondrial Adam/eve stuff is old, but this volcano . . . does it sound a little Noahic to anyone but me? I've always thought that therewas a mankilling disaster in the tradition of Noah even if there was no actual flood. This gets me going along those lines onece more.
So: Why does a Christian forgive the wrongs done against him? Because he loves the wrongdoers as he loves himself. Because he loves the wrongdoers as Christ loves them.
The thing to note here is that a Christian loves the wrongdoers. That love is what makes the Christian's forgiveness Christian -- or better, Christ-like. Or even Christ's.
So yes, forgiving another person is the only way you'll get over the wrong, and yes, nursing a grudge is spiritual poison, but Christ didn't forgive because it was psychologically and spiritually healthy for Him to forgive. It's not an act of love for another to act out of love for yourself.
We must begin where we are. As St. Augustine wrote in his Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love:
It is a smaller thing to wish well or even to do well to one who has done you no evil. It is far greater - a sort of magnificent goodness - to love your enemy, and always to wish him well and, as you can, do well to him who wishes you ill and who does you harm when he can....
Such counsels are for the perfect sons of God. And although all the faithful should strive toward them and through prayer to God and earnest endeavor bring their souls up to this level, still so high a degree of goodness is not possible for so great a multitude as we believe are heard when, in prayer, they say, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Accordingly, it cannot be doubted that the terms of this pledge are fulfilled if a man, not yet so perfect that he already loves his enemies, still forgives from the heart one who has sinned against him and who now asks his forgiveness.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Pope calls for equality, gets booed for attacking feminism
August 3, 2004 Volume 1, Number 52
Vaticans Call for Broad Roles for Women Labeled Anti-Feminist by Media
A letter published last week by the Vatican celebrates what Pope John
Paul II calls the feminine genius and calls for women to have access to
positions of national leadership. But the document received a largely
negative reception in the mainstream press where it was characterized as
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of
Men and Women in the Church and in the World was issued by the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and made public on Saturday. As
its title indicates, the letters thrust is that women and men have
complementary roles to play in the Church and in society. The letter warns
against a tendency in new approaches to womens issues that make women
and men adversaries in a struggle for power.
The document is critical of the idea, gaining traction in academic and
public policy circles, that there are no differences in nature between the
sexes and that apparent gender differences are the result of social
conditioning. According to this perspective, human nature in itself does
not possess characteristics in an absolute manner: all persons can and
ought to constitute themselves as they like, since they are free from
every predetermination linked to their essential constitution.
The 7,000-word letter says that man and woman were created with
differences that are complimentary and that both family and society
benefit from feminine values. Chief among such feminine values is what
the document calls the capacity for the other which it defines as the
ability to elicit life, and contribute to the growth and protection of
the other. While this feminine attribute is closely linked to a womans
ability to bear children, the letter stresses that this does not mean
that women should be considered from the sole perspective of physical
procreation. The close link between motherhood and female identity does
not require that a woman give physical birth, according to the document.
Women have a special role to play in the life of the family, the letter
says, but her sphere of influence ought not to be limited to that role.
[W]omen should be present in the world of work and in the organization of
society, and . . . women should have access to positions of responsibility
which allow them to inspire the policies of nations and to promote
innovative solutions to economic and social problems. The letter calls on
society to not discriminate against those women who want to work
exclusively in the home and to make it possible for those women who wish
also to engage in other work . . . to do so with an appropriate
work-schedule, and not have to choose between relinquishing their family
life or enduring continual stress.
Despite its calls for women to be treated equally, headlines from both
the national and international press claimed the letter condemned feminism
and this despite the fact that the word feminism never appears in the
text of the document. Many reports, including the Washington Posts,
claimed that document accused feminism of undermining the traditional
family and paving the way for homosexual marriage. In reality it is the
blurring of the differences between the sexes that the letter said was
having this affect. This theory of the human person, intended to promote
prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological
determinism calls into question the family, in its natural two-parent
structure and makes homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually
equivalent . . .
Copyright, 2004 --- Culture of Life Foundation.
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
Monday, August 02, 2004
Fr. Hogan, I believe what is missing from many of these posts on the intent of NFP being the same as other methods is the notion of sacrifice.
1 - I don't believe the intent NOT to have children is evil in itself, and is perfectly fine in many circumstances.
2. The Method does make all the difference in the world. I can either punish my child by beating them, or making them forego something they enjoy. The intent is the same, however, the method of getting there is quite different.
One of the major difference between barrier, pill and the rest of these contraceptives, is that there is no sacrifice involved. There certainly is with NFP, and it can be difficult. If this suffering is endured for the sake of Christ, and the love of His Church's teaching, is there no merit to it?
Tanquerey stated "In Heaven we shall love without any need of self-immolation. Here on earth it is quite otherwise. In our present state of fallen nature, it is impossible for us to love God truly and effectively without sacrificing ourselves for Him."
And if the Church is wrong on this issue, how is it that it is right about every other one?
Occasionally, a bit of faith is involved, and is not too much to ask.
Thanks and God Bless Kevin