Daily Archives: May 17, 2009

Fr. Weslin started "Lambs of Christ"

Much of the controversy surrounding Dan Brown’s novels comes from his use of Opus Dei, and his misrepresentation thereof.

In the pilot episode of The West Wing, Martin Sheen’s character Jeb Bartlett makes a reference to a pro-life group called “Lambs of Christ,” which, he says, sent some kind of offensive message to his granddaughter. This is the scene that won Sheen a “Maggie” Award from Planned Parenthood.

Well, there really is a group called Lambs of Christ, founded by Fr. Norman Weslin, who made headlines this weekend when he was arrested for the crime of saying the Rosary on the campus of a “Catholic” university dedicated to Our Lady.

Here’s a very biased Time Magazine article on the Lambs of Christ, calling them “the most zealous and aggressive of the pro-life organizations ” The gist of their case is that Lambs of Christ are a “paramilitary” group because Fr. Weslin is a retired Lt. Col., the group uses some military organization tactics and code-names, and Fr. Weslin talks in terms of spiritual warfare–although their actions are all in the nature of nonviolent protest. The pro-choice claim is that they are “intimidating”.

Ever seen an environmental rally?

So, basically, according to this site, they come to do sidewalk counseling, and there’s a line of pro-abortion “women” blockading the clinic. They sometimes try to push through the line — ‘this big, scary 300 lb. men’ — and they claim they’re engaging in “violence” and “terrorism.”

But, boy, that’s what a great pro-life Catholic Martin Sheen is. He advocates all his Pax Christi left wing School of Americas protesting, then he goes around and vilifies pro-lifers who do the exact same thing.

You know, this isn’t about "Civil Rights."

You know, we’re not talking about people being told where they can or cannot sit on a bus.

We’re not talking about people being made to use a separate restroom.

We’re not talking about people being educated at separate schools.

Those are all bad things, but, ultimately, they are things that a person can live with, that don’t really matter a hill of beans to a person’s individual relationship with God.

We are talking about babies being torn to shreds, or chemically burned. We’re talking about babies being partially born and having their necks cut with scissors. We’re talking about babies being expelled from the womb and allowed to suffocate because their lungs aren’t developed.

We’re talking about women being left to bleed to death on hospital tables by a “safe” and “legal” procedure, and their deaths being reported as “hemorrhaging”.

We’re talking about women being permanently scarred and losing their ability to reproduce because of this procedure.

We’re talking about a class of surgery that is performed more than any other major surgery yet whose practitioners refuse to be subject to the same regulations as regular hospitals.

We’re talking about a procedure that kills far more people than heart disease, which is allegedly the leading cause of death in the country.

We’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan because of approximately 3,000 people killed in one day by four acts of terrorism seven years ago.

Meanwhile, 4,000 children a day are being slaughtered in our country, and if you just put a sign up about it, you’re an “extremist”.

What is wrong with this picture?

Battle of the Endangered Species: Bald Eagles eating Cormorants

Liberals believe that teaching Darwinian Evolution is *soooo* important. I mean, evolution applies to so many things in my every day life.

I frequently find occasions when I try to remember my trigonometry to figure out some distance or something.

Knowledge of practical biology (e.g., how a cell works) comes in very handy all the time.

Chemistry’s pretty helpful in household cleaning.

Proportions, fractions, probability, algebra–all find their way into my life at least once a week.

Literature? Yeah, I can read. I quote it all the time.

History’s handy to know about when looking at current affairs, and fishing for an anecdote in polite conversation.

Religion class? Matters at least once an hour.

But I can’t think of a single time I’ve “used” evolution, except in arguing the whole Darwin v. Genesis controversy. Not once has Darwin played any role in my daily life, except in speculating that, if evolution happens, how do we know if and when we’re evolving ? How do we distinguish genetic “defects” from evolutionary steps?

But even that doesn’t matter in everyday life. It’s not like any of my kids has six fingers, or chameleon skin, or retractable claws or something.

It just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t help me solve day to day problems. It doesn’t provide me with valuable information to analogize. . . ..

Wait, well, it *does*, actually. As Ben Stein argues in Expelled, the only practical application of evolution is what we call “social Darwinism”: if survival of the fittest is the order of Nature, then why not practice laissez-faire in society? Why not practice eugenics?

One area it *definitely* ought to apply is to, well, animals. It never ceases to amaze me that the very people who emphasize Darwinism hate it when Darwinism happens in real life: they hate the survival of the fittest. It’s like Rush Limbaugh says: if some bird is too dumb to know a balloon isn’t food, then why not let the bird die, get eaten, and hopefully its species will evolve to have members that recognize that balloons aren’t food.

It’s one thing when animals become endangered specifically by human activity. But here is a situation where humans, in the interest of saving an endangered species, were successful, but that formerly endangered species, the bald eagle, happens to be a predator. Of course, environmentalist/animal rights types also tend to be vegetarians, so they only have a grudging fondness for predators, if the predators are endangered.

Once they’ve saved their precious endangered species, and it starts practicing Darwinism by feeding off weaker species, then they have a problem:

“They’re like thugs. They’re like gang members. They go to these offshore islands where all these seabirds are and the birds are easy picking,” said Brad Allen, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “These young eagles are harassing the bejesus out of all the birds, and the great cormorants have been taking it on the chin.”

THUGS??? They’re birds. They are hungry. They see food. They eat it. They don’t have morals. They don’t have reason. They don’t have consciences. They just eat. If you didn’t want them eating smaller animals, why’d you save ’em to begin with? What happens to “survival of the fittest”???

PS–One practical application of evolution that occurs to me is, of course, in fighting diseases and fighting pests, since both have shown to evolve and survive our wonderful technologies

The problem with weakly worded post-Vatican II teachings

On one of my birthdays when I was little, probably my seventh, I said, “Thank you, Grandma,” after opening her present.
Grandma said, “You’re welcome, John. You’re a nice grandson. But Brendan’s a nice grandson, too. And Gabriel’s a nice grandson. And Jason’s a nice grandson. . . . All my grandchildren are nice. . . .”

Grandma was afraid of offending anybody, so she’d often give little lists like that, to make sure everyone was included, even if, as in that case, the people in question were not there. . . . One can find a similar effect in reading John Paul II, the Catechism, and many Vatican II documents. There is this desire to be so all inclusive that meaning is somehow obscured by the diversity of subjects covered in a short space.

Simultaneously, there is a desire to avoid the “strictness” of the past, even when expressing the same idea, so the Church today tends to shy away from the terms and approaches that used to define Catholic teaching.

Consider the following example. Recently, the following paragraph has come up a lot, for obvious reasons:

2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of
threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally
wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely
against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to
extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is
contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed
for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations,
mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the
moral law.[90]

Interestingly, this is the passage which many of us cite to argue that such things as body piercings and tattoos are mortally sinful.

Some, such as Judie Brown in this EWTN forum post, see ambiguity in the wording of this paragraph. It’s kind of like the whole “I am the Lord Your God, you shall have no other Gods besides me; You shall not make a graven image” thing. How do we break it up?

As an English teacher, I would criticize this paragraph for lacking a clear topic. It starts by kidnappings and terrorism. Judie Brown and others have suggested that the entire paragraph refers to kidnappings and terrorism, and related practices.I don’t think that’s true, but there is a missing topic sentence.

One problem here is the problem that we conservative and traditionalist Catholics usually point out with Vatican II and postconciliar documents: “Where’s the anathema?” In the good old days, when the Church said something was wrong, She made it clear.Today, instead of “mortally sinful,” the Church uses vague terms like “gravely against justice and charity” or “contrary to respect for the person and human dignity.” I mean, lots of things are “contrary to respect for human dignity,” but not all of those things are mortally sinful. I think comedians like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are contrary to respect for human dignity.

Another passage often cited on torture comes from Veritatis Splendor, quoting Gaudium et Spes, and includes, among offenses against life,

degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons

Doesn’t every corporation treat its labourers are “mere instruments of profit”? Do public school teachers, for example, get treated as “free responsible persons”?
Another one:

attempts to coerce the spirit

What does *this* mean? “Behave at Mass or you’ll go to your room when we get home”? Many “torture apologists” have tried to say that the Church permits coercion but not torture–yet this passage specifically mentions coercion.

Another one:

subhuman living conditions

OK, subhuman living conditions are *evil*, but whose sin?

No Republican Politicians (besides Alan Keyes) at Notre Dame

So, the who “Protest Obama at Notre Dame” phenomenon is about winning votes for Republicans, right?

That’s why one of the first bishops to speak out was Robert Lynch and one of the last bishops to speak out was Donald Trautman.

I guess it’s also why no active Republican politicians are participating in the Notre Dame rallies.

I’m sure they’re not going so they can play the moral high ground?

At a time when the relationship between the Republicans and the pro-life movement is hanging by a thread, when even Sam Brownback is opting for compromise with the enemy, one would think that some member of the GOP leadership would show up.

Especially if there’s any credence to the claim that the whole thing is just an effort to win votes for Republicans.

Fr. Z talks about _Quo Primum_, in honor of Pius V.