Daily Archives: August 8, 2008

Catholics running for Vice President

Every time I hear names suggested for Vice President, the list includes (for the Democrats) at least one “pro-choice” Catholic. The “current list” for Obama includes recently excommunicated “Catholic” Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Gov. Tim “I pardon witches who do abortions” Kaine of Virginia and pro-choice Hispanic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

The reasoning behind this is the realization that Catholics are such a swing vote in this election. Of course, with “independent” and even some Republican Catholics bending over backwards to justify Obama’s Satanism, in regards that he’s supposedly anti-War (even though Obama’s position is to pull out of Iraq so he can invade Iran), I doubt any of them would care. “Oh, look, a Catholic!” Like they said about Kennedy and whomever else. The outright rejection of Kerry was probably anomalous.

Similarly, in terms of turncoats, they keep suggesting liberal and pro-choice Republicans as an effort at “unity.”

The list of “possibilities” for McCain includes numerous pro-aborts, including Tom Ridge (when even Donald “He/She/It” Trautman has the guts to condemn a guy, you know he must be bad), and “centrists”, when McCain is already seen as too liberal.

But the name that keeps coming up is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: he’s Catholic, very conservative (spiritually, morally and politically); he’s Asian, adding a multiethnic ticket; he’s young, balancing McCain’s perceived age vis-a-vis Obama; he is, like Obama, kind of “out of nowhere.” Unlike Obama, Jindal actually has a *record*: in his short time as governor of Louisiana he’s done a lot of reform to a state that’s proven one of the biggest political albatrosses in post-Katrina America.

I could go for Jindal, but he keeps saying he doesn’t want it.

And people say that socialized medicine (and socialized education) is *not* about eliminating the disabled?

A family tried to move from England–a country with socialized medicine and socialized education–to Canada, a country with socialized medicine and socialized education. Everything was in place, and, after buying a home and flying across the Atlantic, they had their Visas refused on the grounds that their daughter has a learning disability–the tone of the conversation being that the Canadians didn’t want them bringing their daughter in to add to the burden of the Canadian system.

I had a student a while back who was originally from Italy and talked about how many countries treat even the most basic learning disabilities by institutionalizing people for life.

Poltergeist allegedly caught on video

Now, I do believe in what people call “ghosts” or “poltergeists.” These phenomena are, of course, demonic in nature. Where I differ from the “standard” “official” Catholic take on these matters is that I don’t understand why, if saints can have some of the same powers as angels, why can’t the damned have the same powers as demons? If you can pray to St. Anthony or your guardian angel to help you find something, or if God can send the Blessed Mother or St. Gabriel to deliver a message, and if a witch can pray to Satan or a demonaic can get a prophesy from Baal, then why can’t a damned soul torment the living just as much as a demon?

Anyway, I was interested to see what this tabloid video might contain, and it does not even *attempt* to credibility.

The first scene is a grainy picture of a water bottle (apparently glass, from the link it makes when it falls) tipping like the Leaning Tower of Pisa over a table, and then finally falling.

Even a dimestore magician will attempt to show you that there is (supposedly) nothing artificially suspending the bottle.

I can easily think of several ways this “trick” could be achieved, such as gluing the bottle to the table, doing something with magnets, or hanging it by a very thin wire (a longstanding trick of stage and screen).

The second scene is “unworldly scratches” allegedly appearing on a guy’s back. First, it’s a very grainy video (again), with a very red tint, and there is no way to enlarge the small video. Second, the guy’s skin is rather red, overall, so I can barely even see the alleged scratches.

It starts off zooming in on the bottom of the guy’s back, mostly on his pants. It keeps swerving down on his pants and away from his body altogether (real professional camera work). It then focuses in on the “scratches,” which look just like the mild redness anyone gets after just scratching one’s skin. If the video showed a clear back, with a steady view, and the scratches apearing, that would be one thing.
But it doesn’t even *attempt* to this. Instead, the camera just moves back and forth around the guys back, zoomed in really tightly, and the muffled voices say things like, “Look, another one just appeared,” when all it did was move to another area of the back, or “Look, they just got darker,” when the camera was clearly changing its focus. Finally, the camera zooms out, and you see deeper cuts on the guy’s middle back that just haven’t been shown before–again, with the implicit claim that these “appeared” while it was being recorded.

Yeah, right.

One of the main arguments for embryonic stem cell research is debunked

By Harvard no less.

One of the most seemingly “legitimate” justifications for ESCR is the issue of genetic disorders. It is easy to see why it’s easier to heal someone’s broken leg with his or her own stem cells. But it is also easy to see why doctors might want to seek cures for genetic defects using embryonic cells.

It is also often stated that embryonic stem cells have “chameleon” properties that adult stem cells lack (of course, the problem is that those “chameleon-like” properties, when applied to living adult patients, cause cancer). Well, Harvard researchers have created stem cell lines for 10 genetic disorders by reprogramming adult stem cells to act like embryonic stem cells, so they can see the tissue development in those disorders.

Here’s something I don’t understand about articles like this. 13 years ago, I donated my own skin so researchers could study the tissue development of Marfan syndrome. They wanted a deep chunk of my skin–all the way down to the muscle–so they could get the stem cells. I still have the scar on the back of my arm and consider it a badge of honor, even more than the much larger scars from my heart surgery a year later.

So what is the big deal?

They can harvest adult stem cells (and an “adult” stem cell is from any human being, including an unborn baby beyond the “embryonic” stage) and watch tissue development.

"Adult stem cells don’t work!" "Adult stem cells don’t work!"

Yet here is a study about nine Australians having their broken leg bones healed by their *own* stem cells. No aborted babies necessary. No “IVF Leftovers” necessary.

Here’s what they did:

Mr Giancola faced further surgery to take a bone graft from his pelvis but
recovery was not guaranteed and the procedure would be painful and
lengthy.
Instead he was recruited to the trial and had bone marrow stem cells
harvested from his pelvis in a non-invasive day procedure using a needle.
The
cells were then grown in a laboratory, reproducing countless times to create 15
billion cells in six weeks. This allowed surgeons to conduct an operation to
administer the stem cells to the fracture sites, where they began to form bone.
Mr Giancola was walking the following day.

The FDA will never approve this procedure. It’s too cheap.

What I don’t understand is why it even *needs* FDA approval. Why is it that doctors in other countries can just try this stuff, and our docs can’t?

My news ticker is so lame

I have the Google news ticker on the side set up so that readers can see the latest news on my topics of interest–and so that *I* can see the latest headlines and comment on them.

One of my entries is for news on the ‘disabled’. Most of the time, what I get are articles about athletes being put on “disabled lists.” So what?

Same with Marfan syndrome: it seems that most of the “news” I get on Marfan syndrome consists of human interest stories explaining what it is. What I really find amusing is when it’s an informational article written by some doctor (particularly in a foreign country), yet it’s presented as if the doctor is saying something astounding.

Case in point:

The aorta is torn apart in Marfan syndrome

Whoa! Big time reveal! I’m shocked to learn this!

Sarcasm aside, they are least realistic on life expectancy:

The patient can then die from internal bleeding. Patients’ average life
expectancy is 32 years without treatment, but can be extended to 60 years with
optimal therapy

It would be nice if they also noted variance in manifestation ranging from “severe infantile Marfan” to “I never had a problem with my aorta till I was 60” Marfan, but one takes what one can get.

Scientists find other genes that contribute to aortic aneurysm

This both helps to identify non-Marfan causes of aneurysm and to explain variances in manifestation. I’ve always argued that Marfan by be caused by fibrillin mutation, but that it *has* to be more of a ‘soup’ in terms of manifestation. This proves it: one person may just have FBN 1 mutation and have a “healthier” aorta than a person with FBN 1 mutation and a defect in one or more of the other genes discussed in this article.

My mother and my grandmother both have enlarged aortas, and my grandmother’s late brother had aortic valve problems his whole life, but none of them have Marfan syndrome.

I have Marfan syndrome, and I needed aortic root replacement when I was 19, after 17 years of beta blockade and restricted activity, when other Marfans often don’t need surgery or die till their 40s with therapy.

I’m sick of hearing that "Republicans do nothing to help pregnant women."

Republicans may not, but Democrats don’t help them, either.
Democrats do everything they can to crush crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life efforts to help women.
Republicans may not push for government programs, but they do a great deal in regard to private charity and individual compassion.

The Fruits of Liberation Theology: Death Threats against Pro-Lifers

Pro-Life leaders in Ecuador are getting death threats for their opposition to proposed changes in the nation’s constitution:

“we will no longer permit agents of the extreme right, like you, to block our
route”said the letter.

These death threats are being made by socialists. What do Liberation Theology advocates have to say about this?

The English Mass will soon be Valid again!!

Back in 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a document called Liturgiam Authenticam (Authentic Liturgy). The basic point of this document is that vernacular translations should be as literal as possible from the official Latin texts. The Catholic Church has always been concerned with expressing her doctrines as precisely as possible, and She has always had great concern that language be exact. Also, the purpose of liturgy is to pray together as a Church, not just locally, but in all places, and even across time.

That is one of the arguments for having a universal language of the Church, or at least of the Rite. When Byzantine Catholics pray the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, they pray a liturgy that has been used since the earliest centuries of the Church. Since the Mass is mystically timeless, the timelessness of liturgy itself symbolizes the fact that the Mass touches on eternity.

This can be understood also in the context of the Divine Office: one person praying the office is still, mystically, praying with the entire Church, still praying the same exact prayers (more or less) as everyone else.

So, both for purpose of doctrinal clarity and symbolic unity, the mass in the vernacular must be in accordance with the Latin original, and must neither add nor subtract from that text.

Here are some key points:

76. In implementing the decisions of the Second Vatican Council, it has become
evident from the mature experience of the nearly four decades of the liturgical
renewal that have elapsed since the Council that the need for translations of
liturgical texts – at least as regards the major languages — is
experienced not only by the Bishops in governing the particular Churches, but
also by the Apostolic See, for the effective exercise of her universal
solicitude for the Christian faithful in the City of Rome and throughout the
world. Indeed, in the Diocese of Rome, especially in many of the Churches and
institutes of the City that depend in some way on the Diocese or the organs of
the Holy See, as well as in the activity of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia
and the Pontifical Representations, the major languages are widely and
frequently employed even in liturgical celebrations. For this reason, it has
been determined that in the future, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the
Discipline of the Sacraments will be involved more directly in the preparation
of the translations into these major languages.

In other words, “the local bishops’ conferences and translation organizations have been doing uch a rotten job of it that the CDW has to step in and take over.”

From the press release:

Translations must be freed from exaggerated dependence on modern modes of
expression and in general from psychologizing language

On “inclusive language”:

30. In many languages there exist nouns and pronouns denoting both genders, masculine and feminine, together in a single term. The insistence that such a usage should be changed is not necessarily to be regarded as the effect or the manifestation of an authentic development of the language as such. Even if it may be necessary by means of catechesis to ensure that such words continue to be understood in the “inclusive” sense just described, it may not be possible to employ different words in the translations themselves without detriment to the precise intended meaning of the text, the correlation of its various words or expressions, or its aesthetic qualities. When the original text, for example, employs a single term in expressing the interplay between the individual and the universality and unity of the human family or community (such as the Hebrew word ‘adam, the Greek anthropos, or the Latin homo), this property of the language of the original text should be maintained in the translation. Just as has occurred at other times in history, the Church herself must freely decide upon the system of language that will serve her doctrinal mission most effectively, and should not be subject to externally imposed linguistic norms that are detrimental to that mission.

It goes on to say that gender terms that refer to the Persons of the Trinity, to angels and demons, and should be retained, as well as the reference to the Church as feminine.

On “big words”

53. Whenever a particular Latin term has a rich meaning that is difficult to render into a modern language (such as the words munus, famulus, consubstantialis, propitius, etc.) various solutions may be employed in the translations, whether the term be translated by a single vernacular word or by several, or by the coining of a new word, or perhaps by the adaptation or transcription of the same term into a language or alphabet that is different from the original text (cf. above, n. 21), or the use of an already existing word which may bear various meanings.37

A good example of this is “genitori, genitoque” in Tantum Ergo (which is, technically, a liturgical text):
genitori, genitoque
laus et jubilatio
salus, honor
virtus, quoque
sit, et benedictio
procedenti ab utroque
compar sit laudatio. Amen.

Usually, it’s translated as something akin to
“Glory, honor, adoration
Let us sing with one accord
Praised be God, Almighty Father,
Praised be Christ, His Son, Our Lord,
Praised by God the Holy Spirit,
Triune Godhead, be Adored.”

Pretty enough, and mostly “OK,” but missing some of the profound theological nuance that St. Thomas wrapped into his adaptation of Rev 5:13.

Because it’s literally, “To the begetter and the begotten, may there be [sit] praise et jubilation,
health, honor, and also strength and blessing. Likewise [compar] give jubilation to the one who proceeds from them both.”

Kind of a good example of both how the poetry of different titles of God is lost in an overly simplified translation, *and* how theological significance is lost.

Also, it’s interesting that Liturgiam Authenticam calls for the coinage of new words if an adequate word cannot be found. Nice thing about English, though, is that the British Isles have been Catholic sing long before English was a language, so many English words come *from* Latin and *from* Catholicism. We already have ’em, but people like Bishop Trautman keep insisting that laity are too dumb to know what words like “chalice” and “consubstantial” mean (uh, if otherwise intellectually capable adults don’t know what “consubstantial” means, then they don’t know what “transubstantial” means, and they shouldn’t be coming to Communion).

Paragraph 65 specifically calls for the Creed, which is the expression of faith of every individual Catholic, to be singular, not plural.

Paragraph 74 notes that care should be taken to make sure that the parts the people memorize remain consistent, and should not be changed without grave reason. However, since the translations were already screwed up, any changes that needed to be made should be made quickly and all at once.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is “go to the source,” as commentators tend to add things and confuse what is their opinion with the text. So, I was convinced for the past 7 years of things Liturgiam Authenticam “called for” that it did not, explicitly, call for. However, since it *does* call for a more accurate translation, these are the key points that many commentators (including, I believe, Cardinal Arinze himself) identified:

1. et cum spiritu tuo is “And with your spirit,” not “And also with you.” It strikes me that in 40 years that have seen the priesthood gutted by scandals and laicizations and falling vocations, the laity in many countries have not been praying for their priests’ souls in the way the Church asks them to.
2. pro vobis et pro multis: “for you and for many.” Christ, speaking through the priest, echoes His words to the Apostles. “For you and for all” used in many modern translations suggests Universalism. This is noted as being an important point, since it involves the actual consecration of the Eucharist.
3. consubstantialem patri has been rendered “one in being with the Father.” This is, while in some sense literal and explicatory, somewhat inadequate to the meaning of “consubstantial,” which really means “sharing the same substance,” but that implies understanding of “substance” and of “the divine substance.” All of that should be taught in CCD, so “consubstantial” is short hand for a lot of theological complexity. “One in being” is oversimplified, inadequate and slightly inaccurate.
4. incarnàtus is cut from Et incarnatus est de Spìritu Sancto.
5. mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa should be “my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault,” not “my own fault.”

One that commentators do not normally discuss, but I take note of, is this one:
hóstiam puram, hóstiam sanctam, hóstiam immaculátam

Now, in the Traditional Latin Mass, that’s one of the parts that usually whispered by the priest, so most people never hear it. But if you hear the Novus Ordo in Latin (and follow along), it can be one of the most powerful and poetic moments in the Mass.

But, in the translation that’s been in use, it’s rendered, “this holy and perfect sacrifice.”

Again, these points are not *explicitly* raised in Liturgiam Authenticam, but they’re clearly the kind of thing it means in calling for a literal translation from Latin, not significantly adding or subtracting words or “trying to reinterpret,” etc. And they are specifically referred to in many commentaries.

Paragraphs 131-132 set a five-year deadline for the new translations to take effect, which certain US bishops balked at, insisting that a new translation would take *years* to accomplish.

Adoremus has a list of quotations responding to the document, from various parts of the “spectrum.”

Years ago, before this document came out, I found websites omparing the texts of the different Masses. Here is the rendering of the 1975 Missal in both Latin and the previously approved English translation. Here is one text of the traditional Latin Mass. I found the differences between the 1975 Missal in English and the 1975 Missal in Latin to be far greater than the differences between the 1975 Missal in Latin and the 1962 Missal in Latin. Here’s an article by someone who made a similar discovery.

One thing striking about all this debate is that one can pick up any edition of the 1962 Missal and see an English translation of the Mass which is literal, poetic and theologically appropriate.

Similarly, and very ironically, Ignatius (used to?) put out a pamphlet for the Novus Ordo in Latin. Interestingly, rather than using the official English text, it used its own translation which was, again, literal, poetic and theologically appropriate. We used to attend a Novus Ordo Latin Mass which used this booklet, and Mary used to ask, “Why can’t they just approve the translation in this book?”

Even *more* striking is that many of the controversial texts (e.g., the Creed, or the response “and with your spirit”) are the same across many different Rites of the Church, if not all of them. And when looks at the official, approved English translations for the Byzantines, or the Maronites, one sees these phrases rendered perfectly.

So, again, why not just use what they use?

Well, Mahony, Trautman and company reacted in protest, insisted it would take at least 10 years to compose, approve and implement a new translation, and kept raising their usual objections to following the Pope.

In response, the CDW established a commision, Vox Clara, to oversee the translations in contentious languages like English, saying that, if the international committees and local episcopal conferences insisted on stalling and insisted on improper translations, then the CDW would just present its own translation and mandate it.

So, in 2004, both Vox Clara and the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) offered draft translations. While ICEL’s 2004 draft had shown a “good start,” it still wasn’t quite perfect when compared with the high expectations raised in 2001.

Even the National Catholic Reporter was saying, as early as 2004, that “conservatives” had won the “bruising liturgy wars,” but, having read the draft translations. However, as various drafts have been written and issued over the past several years, and batted between the USCCB, ICEL and Vox Clara, it’s gotten rather discouraging.

Well, things have gotten simultaneously a lot more *encouraging* and confusing:

A translation has been approved by the Holy See and is now available on the USCCB’s website. The cover letter from Cardinal Arinze to Cardinal George notes that the text is considered “binding.” I’ve read the complete text, and it brought me to tears of joy. I carefully examined it, word for word, and it is flawless and beautiful! The Vatican has not compromised at all.

However, in a mail-in ballot following their June 2008 meeting, the US Bishops already *rejected* the translation. Here is an article quoting many bishops who think we’re dumb (OK, most Americans are dumb, especially when it comes to their own language, but nobody rises to low expectations).

So, in other words, in June, the Bishops voted “inconclusively” and opted for a mail-in vote to follow up. Subsequent to that, Cardinal Arinze, now completely ticked, as indicated in a 2006 statement, wrote them a letter saying, “This is binding. So get over yourselves and accept it.” Then the bishops’ simultaneous mail-in vote came back against the Vatican.

So, the USCCB officially releases the new translation on its website , and kind of ignores its own vote against it (note how there’s a “roundup” about the June meeting, no mention of the July mail-in vote, and then the July 25 release on the Vatican’s mandating the new translation).

Supposedly, the USCCB voted against only part of a process. However, the text above is quite clearly the whole Ordinary of the Mass. Of course, there are the Collects, the Lectionary, etc., but the document sent to the USCCB is basically “the Mass, “and I really fail to see how the USCCB’s negative vote matters a darn, except to further indicate the intention of people like Trautman and Mahony to force a Schism.

Incomplete Truth Versus Lies

In Trojan Horse in the City of God, Dietrich von Hildebrand elaborates a theory of the difference between “incomplete truth” and “falsehood.”

The Church is often compared to a tree (Jesus started it!). An acorn–or a mustard seed–has all the genetic material of a full-grown tree, but it takes years of growth and nourishment for that DNA to see its fullest development.

So, when we look at the “failures” or “flaws” of the Church in the past–meaning, the teachings of the Magisterium, not the practices of individual Catholics or Catholic organizations–they have to do with not fully expressing the Truth which was always in some ways known in a preliminary way. Bl. Pius IX did not invent the idea of the Immaculate Conception, for example: he verified a truth that has been known from the beginning of the Church. Paul VI did not invent the idea that marriage is unitive, or that the unitive and procreative purposes of marriage are equal: he just vocalized what was long implied but never overtly addressed. And, while some official documents previously *did* put priority on procreation (based upon St. Thomas Aquinas’s flawed logic), they did so *without* reference to unitive means.

On the other hand, falsehood is saying what is absolutely wrong, and one will be hard-pressed to find any Magisterial teaching that is absolutely wrong, versus merely being inadequate or misapplied truth. I challenge anyone to give me an example.

So, recently, Pope Benedict has said that the Church has often been neglectful in teaching the importance of honoring God’s creation–a teaching always found in the Scriptures and in the Saints. However, he has condemned the notion–promoted by extremists of both the Right and the Left in different ways–that Christianity endorses destruction of the environment. Quite the contrary, he notes, destruction of the environment is caused by materialism.

Why is the word of one priest who’s a professor at Gregorian University equated with the Pope?

First paragraph:

THE Archbishop of Canterbury was not the only church leader to be thankful
that the Lambeth conference ended with the Anglican Communion still in one
piece. An almost audible sigh of relief could be heard from the Vatican.

Only actual citation of a “church leader”:

“The last thing the pope would wish to do is support any kind of division,”
said Keith Pecklers, a Jesuit professor of Liturgy at the Gregorian University
in Rome.

After that, the only other comments concern how many laity (myself included, though not for the reasons liberals usually give) like the idea of a married priesthood, and how liberal Catholics wouldn’t welcome the arrival of millions of “high Church” Anglicans who “can be more papist than the pope”.

Now, the idea that widening and formalization of the Anglican Use is a major priority with Pope Benedict has long been part of the “Vatican Rumor Mill.” On the Anglican side, entire bishops and conferences have expressed interest in formal reunion with Rome. Contrary to the false interpretation of Vatican II cited in the Economist article, Rome wants Christians to acknowledge the primacy of the Pope: if that means that the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Patriarch of Constantinople, were to say, “Hey! We’re coming back!”, great! But, in the mean time, the Church *also* teaches that anyone who *knows* the Catholic Church is the true Church and refuses to act on it is almost certain of going to Hell. So if that includes an Anglican bishop, he needs to go for it.

After all, the Vatican’s official ecumenical office said years ago that the ordination of women and open homosexuals in the Anglican Church was going to sever all hope of an official reunion.

While many have suggested that Cardinal Law has been relegated to an unimportant job (and he has certainly been relegated to behind-the-scenes work), his job the past several years has been working with the Anglican Use, a project he was always a big supporter of.

Those “in the know” say that Anglican use priests have been flying to and from Rome frequently and that there is a lot of active dialogue going on.

Far more than saying that Pope Benedict’s priority is preventing schisms in other “denominations,” it’s more precise to say that Pope Benedict’s priority is *healing* schisms from Rome, be they RadTrad, Orthodox or Anglican.

The Fruits of Liberation Theology: Death Threats against Pro-Lifers

Pro-Life leaders in Ecuador are getting death threats for their opposition to proposed changes in the nation’s constitution:

“we will no longer permit agents of the extreme right, like you, to block our
route”said the letter.

These death threats are being made by socialists. What do Liberation Theology advocates have to say about this?