Friday, May 31, 2013

A review of sin

In case you've forgotten the basics.
So then: Here is a brief tutorial on the Catholic conception of sin. Nothing, not even Satan, is purely evil. That’s because evil is fundamentally parasitic on good

. . . .

In the same way with the even more inferior creature called Man — even the man we call Hitler — we find that all human sin is a radically disordered form of love, as Augustine tells us. Sin consists — always — in the pursuit of a good object by disordered means: putting what should be second in first place. In short, it’s not that the sinner doesn’t love; it’s that he loves things in the wrong order and puts, say, wealth or power (both good things) before persons or human beings before God.

. . . .

This frightens us, and we love to trot out the rhetoric of outrage at this point. “Oh, so poor Hitler meant well because he loved his dog!” we shout. “So I’m supposed to feel sorry for Ted Bundy who was only looking for love, eh?” Note the Manichaean thinking: Truly Evil People can’t possibly be motivated by love. Nor can they possibly be seeking happiness or a good end. They do what they do because they are bad right through. If we entertain the possibility that Charles Manson or Heinrich Himmler sought some good end just as we do, then we (gasp!) humanize the grave sinner — which is as good as saying that they “mean well,” which is as good as saying that what they are doing isn’t even a sin! Why? Because that’s what we tell ourselves to exonerate ourselves of our own sins.
Emphasis mine.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bad things

In the last couple of weeks there have been a series of attacks on gay people in New York City, with one person being murdered in cold blood in the west village. The friars and staff of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi would like to make a clear statement deploring these heinous and sinful acts of violence.
Continued . . .

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Contraceptives and control

Responding to
There are many people who will look and say, “If you’re with the priest, you’re not with me. If you’re with the religious entities, you’re not with me.” Democrats harnessed this issue in a manner that was very calculated. They were running and saying, “You know you need to control your body. Republicans not only are opposed to abortion, but they don’t even want you to get contraception.”
We have the observation
Where to begin? Maybe at the top: contraceptives aren’t for people who want to “control their own bodies.” They’re for people who can’t or don’t want to do so because they think that sex is a ton more fun than self-control.

That’s obviously true. What’s not at all obvious is why other people should pay for the fun.

Labels: , ,

Fear and Responsibility

Most modern freedom is at the root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.
G. K. Chesterton, of course.

Labels: ,

Nathenson and lying

Unsurprisingly, he is against it:
Dr. Nathanson: “No, I wouldn’t lie, even to save babies. … You said that I was converted to the cause of life; and that’s true. But you must remember that I was converted to the cause of life only because I was converted to the cause of truth. That’s why I wouldn’t lie, even in a good cause.”
Mark Shea's commentary is also good as per his usual goodness:
Augustine, Aquinas, George, Nathanson, and the Catechism?: Old and Busted. Lies and temptation to mortal sin?: New Hotness.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 24, 2013

Personalism, biologism, and contraception

Nothing new (in fact it's from 1988), but a good writeup of the situation overall. I don't know this Cormac Burke, but he seems like a decent writer and expositor thus far.
Until quite recently, the argument presented by christian moralists against artificial birth-control has mainly been that the sexual act is naturally designed for procreation, and it is wrong to frustrate this design because it is wrong to interfere with man's natural functions. Many persons are not altogether convinced by this argument, which does seem open to rather elementary objections. After all, we do interfere with other natural functions, for instance when we use ear-plugs or hold our nose, etc., and no one has ever argued that to do so is morally wrong. Why then should it be wrong to interfere for good reasons with the procreational aspect of marital intercourse? The defenders of contraception in any case, dismiss this traditional argument as mere "biologism"; as an understanding of the marital act that fails to go beyond its biological function or possible biological consequences, and ignores its spiritual function, i.e. its function in signifying and effecting the union of the spouses.

Labels: ,

A congressman I can get behind. Well, until he opens his mouth again.

From LGF
We laugh at Texas Gongressmoron Louie Gohmert a lot, because he comes out with so many deliciously stupid remarks. But this story is a reminder that, comical though he may be, Gohmert is also a first class heartless Republican bastard, as he tells a woman who had a medically necessary late term abortion that she should have carried the baby to term -- even though the child had no chance of surviving and would be in constant pain.
Apparently it's heartless to believe that life is worth living, and we make the world a worse place when we kill the weak in pain instead of trying to help them. Or for a slightly different scenario, let's say your one month old gets a disease, and seems quite likely to die in great pain over the next two months. Do you take him to the vet to have her put down? No? But it's medically necessary, the baby will die in pain! Guess I'm heartless to answer no.


A big yet

The result is an accelerating paradox. Over the last five decades, millions of lives have been remade for the better. Yet within this brighter tomorrow, we suffer unprecedented despair. In a time defined by ever more social progress and astounding innovations, we have never been more burdened by sadness or more consumed by self-harm. And this may be only the beginning. If Joiner and others are right—and a landmark collection of studies suggests they are—we’ve reached the end of one order of human history and are at the beginning of a new order entirely, one beset by a whole lot of self-inflicted bloodshed, and a whole lot more to come.
Sadly true.


Like a good Catholic

Sorry, this is a serious story, but just to give you an idea of what it's like to be in my head. The story is about the girl who was conceived to provide a bone marrow donation, and what her and her sister are up to. It has this gem
Amid the heated national debate that followed the family's decision, Marissa Ayala was born April 3, 1990. Fourteen months later, Ayala successfully gave a matching sample of bone marrow and saved her older sister's life.

Since then, Ayala’s sister has fully recovered and worked to build up the number of potential Latino donors.
If you know what I mean. Ugh, so bad, so bad.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Me? Stubborn?

As SS writes
One of the problems is the small dating pool. Another is that the small dating pool is full of people stubborn and eccentric enough to belong to a small, devout, liturgically colourful Christian community instead of to much bigger and much more easy-going communities. And if the people are stubborn and eccentric about religion, they might be stubborn and eccentric about other things, too.
That may indeed be a problem . . .


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ten steps to become a war criminal

As CNN reports:
The first time he kills a villager, it is terrifying. The second time, it is hard. The third or fourth time, it starts to feel almost easy. Eventually, he finds himself competing with his fellow soldiers to see who can do it fastest, most often, most creatively.
A conscience can be dulled to permit any arbitrarily horrible action, which is why your conscience isn't a terribly good guide of what is horrible and what is good.


Baby names and the Gospels

Long story short - the names of people in the Gospels suggest at the least that they were written by local yokels in Palestine at approximately the correct time.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Abortion and disability

It is profoundly human in that sense for women to say, “I would like us humans to use our big brains to master a genuine difference between the sexes: the fact women have babies and men do not.” And much like many cases with disability accommodation, in order for the accommodation to be provided, someone else’s rights must be curtailed. A business owner might prefer to avoid the expense of making his business wheelchair accessible. Heck, he might not even like the handicapped. But his failure to accommodate limits the freedom of disabled people and we as a society have said that in most cases the rights of the business must give way.

The problem in the case of abortion is the fear that you are actually costing people’s lives when you do it. And if we can borrow a little more language from the law of disability accommodation, what the pro-life forces are saying is that at some point after conception and before birth, the fetus becomes a living baby in gestation and therefore the desire for an abortion is an unreasonable request for accommodation.
An interesting perspective indeed. He also ties all of this into gun ownership, an impressive combination.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Homeownership troubles

Not such a great thing after all ...
The study makes clear that homeowners don't necessarily have higher rates of unemployment. Instead -- and this is really important -- they conclude that high rates of homeownership affect the entire labor market through lower rates of productivity and entrepreneurship. Regions with higher homeownership created fewer new businesses and had longer commute times and lower rates of labor mobility.

You tend to get tied down and unable to do new things. Which can be good or bad, I suppose, depending on your perspective. If you want to prove to someone like a spouse that you're not a flight risk, buying a house may be on the same order of signaling as a diamond engagement ring.


Friday, May 10, 2013


As C. S. Lewis said in God in the Dock, "I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity."
I need a little more religion, and a lot more wine.

Labels: ,

Law and WordPerfect

Add a disgruntled federal judge, and I'm in heaven!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A review of "Evil and the Justice of God"

I love that N. T. Wright.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 03, 2013

Efficient government is the enemy of good government

Said it before. Will say it again.
The bill was passed rapidly: Mr. Cuomo, a longtime gun control supporter, was eager to move when public outrage was high, because, he said, that was the only way to get the Legislature to act on the issue. The Legislature moved so fast — the Senate approved the measure on its first day in session, and the Assembly on its second — that few lawmakers, and almost no one in the public, had time to read, digest or debate the details.

From the NYT.

Labels: ,

Higgs field as proof of God's existence

Just read a post advocating this. Survey says no.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Physical keyboards on cellphones?

I say yes. That Blackberry Q10 looks pretty sweet to me.


An educational prayer request

For all those who are studying for their finals, and for some in particular.

Labels: ,

Sexual morality debated on Popehat

Clark and Ken argue. Chaos erupts in the comboxes. And I find a lovely new image:
So, by this heuristic, how does Broussard do?

Well he stands up for traditional Christian sexual morality – whatever you think of that – and was very clear that he considers premarital heterosexual sex to be sinful as well.

That itself is a wildly unpopular position. To use Ken's term, this isn't just snarling against the next asteroid; it's snarling against the one that already hit (and had a detrimental effect on the dinosaurs).
Snarling against an already hit asteroid. Does that sum up my life? Maybe, yes.

And all this in what's not actually a Catholic blog, despite the name.

Seriously though Clark and the comboxen makes some good points about how these things all fit together, point out some common faults in popular reasoning (why do people who have divorced and remarried three times seem to talk about the sanctity of marriage? Why do people seem to turn a blind eye to heterosexual fornication disapprove so much of homosexual fornication?), and also manage to talk about bananas with dreadlocks, which I suspect is some cultural reference that I just missed.

Labels: ,

The Shroud of Turin

Still looking good after two thousand years, and with more evidence of authenticity, or at least non-forgery. And of course you get some insight from Mark Shea
Still, I have a high degree of confidence this will not turn out to be a fake, not because I believe it to be the burial cloth of Jesus by faith, but for much the same reason I have a high degree of confidence that Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy: because it's the most sensible synthesis of the available physical evidence. I have nothing riding on the authenticity of the Shroud. I just think it's the best explanation of all the data.
And a quote from Chesterton. How could you go wrong?

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?