Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Unrelated horror writing

I happen to like the writer who lives at the above URL and so am posting a link to his site. If you like HP Lovecraft, he does some similar stuff.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The high cost of porn

My pal Dave M pointed me to this recently released report on the social costs of pornography. Quite important to view, imho. I'll let his words summarize how I feel - note that this is especially convenient, given that we share a first name:

Forgive me if you've already seen this, but it's an important study on a
topic that is incredibly serious and not given much, if any, attention. I
strongly encourage you all to read it. It's sad that we need research to
tell us what is utterly common sense, but such are the times we live in.
Please read this and help get the word out.



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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not Catholics in disguise

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Kill 'em all

On January 21, 2010, the District Court dismissed the case based on the dangerous and incorrect theory that because so many people have been impacted by the widespread surveillance, no individual person has a "particularized injury."

That sounds about right. Kind of like if you nuke an entire country, you can get away with it.


Oops I bought a stolen book!

Now what do I do?

In summary:

In this case, the buyer still has to fulfill the commandment of returning the lost object, but the original owner has to reimburse him for the price of his purchase (assuming it is a fair market price). Any legal action against the thief will be taken by the original owner, who is left with a monetary loss.

Or "takanas hashuk", if you're looking for it in an index.

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A little analysis on the Pope's letter

ROME, MARCH 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Whether in favor, opposed or divided, the world's media received Benedict XVI's letter to Ireland's Catholics as an "unprecedented" document, not only for being the first dedicated by a Pope to the issue, but also because of the grief with which it is written.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Understanding delayed

I'm no big fan of Cardinal Brady, but I am somewhat amused that this story, which was news 14 year ago, is now becoming a big issue. Next on the 11 pm news - Paul VI issues Humanae Vitae, dissident Americans react.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

The sacred cow

But what is the long-term justification for putting taxpayers on the line to subsidize homeownership? Is this nothing more than a sacred cow in American society — a political necessity because so many voters own homes and are mindful of their resale value?

In fact, there is much more to the history of subsidizing housing. While the crisis in the housing market shows that our current approach is far from perfect, there is a certain wisdom behind it, related not only to economic stimulus but also to the preservation of a sense of national identity. It’s important to remember this as we consider re-engineering our institutions as the crisis ebbs.

Maybe. But I still think it's a sacred cow. Possibly because my grandparents were renters.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

For Singles and Vowed Celibates: Worth a Read

Or a reread... I skimmed this book a year ago, but today went back and closely reread the entire book. At 100 pages, it's a manageable feat for someone as uncommitted to books as I am.

Whether single by choice or by accident this book is an excellent guide to exploring the reasons for being single, and gives practical advice to the challenges of this state. A suggested alternative title for this book, is Chastity with Pizazz, which captures the spirit of Fr. Groeschel's writing which does much to uphold the dignity and potential joys and gifts of this state.

Fr. Groeschel presents the strength of the chaste single state as one stemming from the grace of a life rooted in Christ. A quote from the introduction by Dr. Susan Muto:

When our hearts are singly oriented to these transcendent meanings, we may find that gradually, over a lifetime, God's love begins to suffuse our entire being, to direct our whole life. The goal of this life, as [Fr. Groeschel] so frequently implies, is harmony. It is a style of living centered in Christ, in the Absolute Beauty, who is the source of goodness and the goal of our longing.
I think every single person would do well to read this book and reflect upon their journey in chastity. Fr. Groeschel presents chastity as more of a journey than a destination, and rightly so as human nature will attest. Anyone who has embraced chastity, or simple happened to find themselves single for reasons beyond their control, and has not taken the time to examine their state in life, would benefit from a careful examination of their motives and practices in this virtue, rather than to take things for granted.

I also applaud this book for presenting the single-state so positively. I have heard some debate in Catholic circles as to whether or not being single is a vocation. Some people seem to think that everyone is either destined for marriage or consecration. This black-and-white narrow view of the world does not recognize the messy reality in which most humanity lives, where many devout lay people find themselves single for very practical and good reasons. It's true that being single isn't a vocation in and of itself, the way perhaps religious life can be; surely if you are single you have all the more reason to fill your hours with charity, prayer, and hard-work, and therein lies your vocation. But I guess the same argument could be made for a religious. Simply taking vows does not a vocation make - it's how you live them out, and how you love God and your neighbors that will be the true sign of your vocation.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Illegal not to have a prom

Apparently it's become something of a thing in the past few years that schools are required to have proms and allow people to bring dates of the same sex. I missed the part of the constitution that guarantees every sixteen year old's right to a junior prom, it must be one of those later amendments or something.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Renting out the Lord

It might be a good idea to throw a few extra dollars into the collection this weekend.

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R-rated Bible

“The First Book of the Bible Graphically Depicted! Nothing Left Out!”

How could you go wrong?


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

13 Catholic schools slated the close in Baltimore

I am posting a link not to the main article detailing which schools are closing, but to an editorial from the Baltimore Sun giving reasons for hope in this difficult moment for Baltimore Catholic education.

I am following this story closely as I have friends teaching in several of the schools that are closing. These friends will have to find new jobs and doubtless this will be a painful transition for faculty, staff, and students. One of the schools (Cardinal Gibbons) was next door to my old school where I taught, and was a place where I taught summer school. But I also lived next door to St. Rose of Lima, and saw first-hand how badly enrollment had declined and how inefficient the school was. I will be sad to see that school shuttered, but financially it was unsound.

The editorial posted above lists many reasons though to be hopeful in Catholic education in Baltimore. I think that Archbishop O'Brien made a bold and daring move, that ultimately may help shape Catholic education for the better. Catholic schools need to reinvent themselves in order to survive. Our populations and demographics have shifted, and the schools need to change to reflect different needs. We shouldn't be duplicating services or competing with public schools. We have to reflect on what makes us different and unique to offer that public schools can't: our religious values and vigorous religious education. If we are just offering a school that is better than public school alternatives, then when public schools improve (which is a good thing) Catholic school enrollment declines. We have to offer quality education, of course, but we also have to offer something more, something that makes these schools genuinely a mission and a ministry rather than just another school.

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