Daily Archives: January 28, 2009

"Obama is more famous than Jesus"

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) says that Obama’s bipartisanship is a lie

Yeah, he uses a nice friendly “tone,” but when it comes to actual dialogue, Obama and the Congressional leadership “have locked the door to negotiations.”

First Burke’s successor, then Fr. Euteneuer, then Burke himself, and now Bishop Vasa!

“The human embryo is a human person.”

It’s nice to see that our bishops and priests are finding their voice in this new era.

It’s quite a change from 16 years ago–or, at least, there has been quite a change in that the Internet allows us to know about this stuff.

When Clinton became president, we heard about how wonderful he was because of his positions on “social justice” issues and health care, how great it was that the president had attended a Catholic university. And, hey, Clinton gave Georgetown the dubious credit of inspiring his pro-choice position: after all, at Georgetown he learned about “conscience” and about how, allegedly, it was uncertain when a baby got a soul.

New ALL Ad: Homeschooling Barack Obama

Click here to view (it’s a large graphic)

Kansas, Texas and South Dakota present abortion *regulation* bills

We’re talking about regulation here: informed consent, ultrasounds, ability to meet the abortionist before the procedure–that kind of stuff.

But the pro-abortion lobby, which claims to be “pro-choice,” which claims to seek common ground, which claims to want to prevent abortion, fights tooth and nail to prevent such legislation from passing.

Malta is such a cool country

“Whoever does not accept Christ’s teachings should be honest with themselves and excommunicate themselves from the Church,” said Bishop Mario Grech of the diocese of Gozo at a recent meeting of parish priests in this small island off the Maltese coast.

On a side note, isn’t Malta a “small island” to begin with?

Archbishop Burke blames USCCB’s "Forming Consciences" document for Obama’s victory

Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, says that _Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship_ has caused a great deal of confusion about Catholic social teaching and contributed to Catholics voting for Obama.

"Stimulus" Bill still includes $335 milion for "sex ed" and condoms

Here’s a thought: instead of using all this “stimulus” money to fund existing corporations, why don’t they put it to small business loans, so individuals who have lost their jobs can rent all these storefronts and office spaces that are sitting empty and start their own small businesses?

*That* would be in accordance with Catholic social teaching.

A great article on the truth behind "Catholics United" and "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good"

Students for Life starts shock-value campaign against FOCA

What the FOCA

Speaking of Walden Media . . .

Why is it that Phil Anschulz is described as a “real estate baron and supporter of Christian conservative causes who seems to own half of America“?

Why isn’t Warren Buffett described as an “atheist stock baron and supporter of secular liberal causes who seems to own half of America”?
Why isn’t Ted Turner described as an “atheist media baron and supporter of secular liberal causes’?


Fr. Euteneuer echoes Bishop Hermanns’ call for a more spirituality-based approach

Hermeneutic of Continuity?

I don’t like the term “hermeneutic.” It’s up there with “phenomenology,” “paradigm,” “hegemony,” and “existential”: trendy jargon buzzwords that people use to “sound smart,” but it’s never really clear what they mean.

Apparently, hermeneutics is the study of interpretation theory (again, why not just call it that, or philology?).

So, recently I’ve been seeing an interesting term pop up: the hermeneutics of continuity, a term coined by Cardinal Ratzinger. Basically, the idea is that, when we see apparent “contradictions” in Scripture and/or Church teaching–particularly relevant to debates over the Second Vatican Council–we should seek the interpretation which allows both apparent views to be correct (e.g., Pius IX’s condemnation of freedom of religion and Vatican II’s support for freedom of religion).

This is basically something I’ve done for a long time, but I never knew there was a name for it. Case in point: Quo Primum, the motu proprio from St. Pius V that mandates the use of the “Tridentine” Mass. Quo Primum was written to address a variety of local innovations that were being practiced in the liturgy. St. Pius V said that the Mass as issued from Rome is the mandatory liturgy for the entire Latin Rite, and other liturgies can only be used if they are more than 200 years old (e.g., the Ambrosian Rite or the Dominican Rite).

Now, traditionalists take this document to say that “the Tridentine Mass should be the Mass in perpetuity” and that “since the Novus Ordo is less than 200 years old, it’s invalid.”

However, that’s not what Pius *says*. He says that the “mass as issued from Rome”: he doesn’t preclude the idea that Rome can revise the ligurgy; he’s just saying that, if Rome should revise the liturgy, everybody should follow it, but local bishops don’t have the authority to change the liturgy. OTOH, _Quo Primum_ *can* be used to support the continued use of the Tridentine mass.

Here’s a piece on “Cardinal Dulles and the Hermeneutic of Continuity.”

A Key to Underestanding Benedict XVI.”

Here’s a whole blog named after the concept.

Perfect Example of a "Benedict Bishop"

When the debate over gay marriage was heating up last year, Archbishop
Allen Vigneron was arguably the most vigorous among the Catholic bishops in
California who united in their opposition.

That isn’t saying much.

Conservative Catholics posted photographs of Vigneron celebrating the Latin
mass that some progressive Catholics view as a return to the rigid
construction of the liturgy that existed before the epochal reforms of the
Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s.


Vigneron arrives with a reputation as a conservative activist who is not
only a traditionalist in his approach to the church, theology and liturgy, but a
cleric who has no qualms with asserting that point of view. Coupled with a
personality that is more scholarly and introspective than his predecessor

Funny how those two things–conservative activism and scholarship–go hand in hand (e.g., Card. Stafford, Pope Benedict) while the scholarly credentials of the most liberal bishops are always rather weak.

“Given the major issues of the church today, the challenge is to provide the
kind of leadership that does not deepen division and polarity,” said the Rev.
Christopher Viscardi, a professor of philosophy and theology at Spring Hill
College, a Jesuit university in Mobile, Ala. “A desirable leadership finds the
heart of what the Catholic vision and the Catholic faith is about and brings a
sense of unity into that diversity.”

Yes, and the heart of the Catholic vision is made up of orthodoxy, emphasis on the sacraments, reverent liturgy, belief in Natural Law, and practice of self-denial.

“I was impressed that he was on the board of directors of Ave Maria
University (the conservative school established by the former owner of the
Tigers, Tom Monaghan), so I knew he was more of a traditionalist,” said Paul
Vargas of San Leandro, Calif. “Last weekend, we had a March for Life in San
Francisco, and he is one of the organizers of that, which we’d never had before
in the diocese.”

Sounds good–these are the kinds of facts I’d like to hear about Bishop-elect Guglielmone

But Mark Gotvald of Pleasant Hill, Calif., said he and other more progressive
Catholics blanched when Vigneron discussed re-establishing traditions like
monthly confessions.

????? Confession is one of our greatest gifts as Catholics!! Monthly Confession is basic spiritual advice.

“Another thing that really bothered me was one of the Christmas letters he
had published in which he basically said that when you become a Catholic you
have to check your private judgments at the door,” Gotvald said. “Part of the
Second Vatican Council was the freedom of conscience. And if the church knows
better, then what about the history of its support of slavery, of usury, and at
first allowing married priests and then disallowing it, and once saying that
eating meat on Fridays was a mortal sin, when it isn’t anymore?”

Excuse me??? What kind of Catholic is this Gotvald dude?
The Catholic *Church* opposed slavery and got slavery outlawed in Spain. In the US, many Catholics spported slavery against the Church’s teachings–just as people like Gotvald support abortion and contraception today.
The Church has never allowed priests to marry–She has permitted married men to become priests, and certain particular churches still allow it.
And it is still a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays; you’re just permitted to substitute an alternative penance.

Obama Disagrees with Pelosi: cut abortion/birth control "bail out"

Getting Republican support on the bail out is hard enough without adding controversy to it, says the Prez.

Apropos of my recent post about bad people making good films and good people making bad films . . .

Thanks to Netflix, I stumbled on a very interesting film the other night. It is called Shortcut to Happiness (2007?), but its original title was The Devil and Daniel Webster . Now, Stephen Vincent Benét’s short story of the same name takes the Dr. Faustus archetype and updates it to a patriotic satire.

The film fits the aforementioned topic because it stars Alec “I want to stone Henry Hyde and his family” Baldwin as Jabez Stone, the guy who sells his soul to the Devil, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt. In one those “reality imitates art” situations, this movie was filmed apparently ca. 2001, but it was not released for 7 years because one of the producers got in serious legal trouble for financial malfeasance unrelated to this film. It ended up the property of a bankruptcy court until it was purchased back by the original producers, who then had a devil of a time finding a distributor.

In the process, they changed the title to Shortcut to Happiness. Now, *part* of the film’s moral is that fame and fortune are empty–a popular Hollywood message that comes off as blatant hypocrisy (see also the creepy “I Pledge” video). Or maybe take the religious moral out in favor of an environmentalist one, like in Evan Almighty.

Jabez Stone–a farmer in the short story–is an aspiring writer whose life is hopeless. One of his best friends, Julius Jenson (Dan Aykroyd) has hit it big with Webster publishing. His agent is the allegorically named Constance Hurry (Kim Cattrall), who is also apparently carrying on an affair with Julius, whose wife we meet a bit later. When the story begins, Jabez is finishing an all-nighter . He believes he has finally written something really, really good.

Jabez doesn’t exactly have a “prayer of Jabez” life. He has sent a manuscript to Daniel Webster (Anthony Hopkins)-the man, not the company. In one day, he a) loses his job; b) finds out that his brother is spending $80,000 on an anniversary trip for their parents (he offers a nominal check for $100 to contribute, and his brother cashes it); c) makes a desperate plea to Daniel Webster (who keeps an interesting trophy above his desk–a strange tail), who says “Go home and write something better”; d) gets mugged and his computer (and the manuscript he spent all night writing) stolen; e) breaks his typewriter; and f) kills a woman when he throws his typewriter out the window.

Enter the Devil.

The movie proceeds to chronicle his rise to fame and fortune and all its consequences. At the end, he reneges on the deal and gets help from a guy he suspects has had previous experience with “Her.”

In Benet’s satire, the Devil’s Jury is made up of historical and fictional ne’er-do-wells from American history, but only a few are named. In this film, the jury is made up of apparently damned writers: Truman Capote (interesting), Oscar Wilde (also interesting–though Wilde died a repentant Catholic), Charlotte Bronte, and Sylvia Plath, among others.

Only, in an added blow, where Benet’s Jabez Stone was judged by the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ancestor from the Salem Witch Trials, this Jabez Stone is judged by none other than Julius Jenson–his former friend (whose own downfall and demise were consequences of Stone’s deal).

Even if I wanted to give away spoilers, I can’t even remember the words of the speeches. However, the speeches in the trial scene are very powerful. Again, they could have easily have gone with some liberal approach to moral questions and/or politicized the Faust archetype the way Benet did.
However, they did just the opposite. They took it right back to the theme of salvation itself.

Benet’s “Daniel Webster” is the historical figure himself–the great antebellum orator and lawyer–in his own time. This “Daniel Webster” is more a mythic figure, an archetype come to life (hence the tail in his office). The film suggests that the Devil and Daniel Webster have been foes for ages.

The Devil gives an amazing speech expressing the reasons for the Fall–the Devil’s own pride and hatred of God for creating such an “imperfect” world. Other speeches in the court scene deal with the problem of evil, the necessity of free will, etc.

And where movies that treat the Devil as a reality tend to do so in a Dualistic/Gonstic fashion, this film clearly puts God on top, even arguing (contrary to Catholic teaching) that the Devil has no real power at all, just the power of persuasion.

Archbishop Burke’s successor sums up the purpose of the Lewis Crusade

Archbishop Burke’s successor (is he permanent or just administrator?) has written what LifeSiteNews calls the best pro-life piece ever, and I have to agree.

Starting with the obvious basic facts about the new president, Bishop Robert J. Hermann focuses on the Catholics who “bailed out” on their Church and voted for Obama.

He then proceeds to remind us that the real pro-life battle is spiritual, and the best way to build a culture of life is to be the best Catholics we can be.

Also, interestingly enough, he groups the “Catholics” on the Supreme Court (i.e., the guys who voted for the horrendous _Carhart II_ decision) in with the “Catholics” in Congress and the Vice Presidency.