Monthly Archives: June 2009

Idolatry

That’s what it is.

Idolatry. I was gonna be sick when I saw the headline the other day–was it Yahoo?–that put up a picture of Michael Jackson with “Princess Diana” and talked about “Jacksons friends who died young” or whatever.

I don’t get it. When these people are alive, the media tear them apart, and then, as soon as they croak, it’s “Oh, what a good person he/she was.”

One of my all-time favorite essays is Fr. George Rutler’s classic from the December 1997 Crisis, “Speaking Well of the Dead,” which contrasts the funerals and media canonization of Gianni Versace, Diana Spencer, and Justice William Brennan with the death of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta.

Michael Jackson was a wreck of a man, and a miserable musician. Now, there’s a post at Vox Nova asserting that Michael Jackson’s so-called “music,” not the Consecration of Russia, brought down Communism! 

I can’t believe any Catholic would actually *listen* to Michael Jackson’s music, much less be a fan of it. 

And while I’m singling out the Viva La Revolution folks, some of my conservative Catholic internet friends have expressed similar sentiments. 

I can’t believe any Catholic would actually *listen* to Michael Jackson’s music, much less be a fan of it. 

Listen, I don’t know what the man did or did not do with little boys.  But it’s surprising the vitriol at Catholic bishops for their negligence of dealing with child molester priests, that every single Catholic priest is tainted by the behavior of a few, but Michael Jackson, despite the many allegations against him, is still idolized, and his critics are the ones despised.

He quite obviously engaged in multiple cosmetic surgeries, which is intrinsically evil. 

That a man who showed very little virtue of any sort is being so held on a pedastal. 

That people are looking to the satanic music of this man who helped build the edifice of evil that is MTV, and trying to interpret as somehow working for good.

Because, of course, rebellion is good to those who reject the past, and Michael Jackson’s music is about rebellion.

Bach said all music is worship.  If your music isn’t pointing to God, then who is it worshipping?

I have Michael Jackson to thank for one thing.

He’s a major reason I’m a conservative.  He’s also a major reason I’ve always had a great deal of scorn for my generation.  Him and Garbage Pail Kids.

Other kids would watch his videos on MTV, and I’d think, “this is disgusting!  How can you watch this garbage right under your parents’ noses?”

I’m sorry he’s dead for the same reason I’m sorry George Tiller is dead: he’s very likely in Hell, having died an unprovided death.

Scientists study recombination

Geneticists unearth the Roots of Human Genetic Variation“, says this sensationalistic headline.  In reality, it’s just a study of the exact process of recombination, and the “what to take home with you” in this article isn’t anything different than what I learned in Advanced Biology 17 years ago.

But it’s still interesting to read.

Now here’s an interesting list.

A compilation of 52 film suggestions to watch during the Year for Priests.

Evangelium Vitae on Other Offenses to Life

Expounding on the vast range of offenses of the Culture of Death, John Paul II writes, in Evangelium Vitae,

What of the spreading of death caused by reckless tampering with the world’s ecological balance, by the criminal spread of drugs, or by the promotion of certain kinds of sexual activity which, besides being morally unacceptable, also involve grave risks to life? It is impossible to catalogue completely the vast array of threats to human life, so many are the forms, whether explicit or hidden, in which they appear today!

Ecological responsibility is a pro-life issue.
The drug war, obviously, is a pro-life issue.
But it is interesting that John Paul notes, in passing, how sexually promiscuous behavior, due to spreading STDs, is also an offense against life.
Interesting contrast to those who say that the Church is irresponsible in regard to AIDS by opposing condoms: how about those who engage in promiscuous sex are “irresponsible” in regard to AIDS?

Obama *is* a Communist; what should we do? Pray.

Here’s a column from Marie Jon at Renew America, which lists various policies of Obama that are communist, quoting in turn:

  1.   He wants to convert the government-owned bank stocks to make the government the majority shareholder in the banks.
  2. Obama is arranging the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies to the Labor Unions are the first creditors paid off.
  3. Obama ignores the Constitution (as did Bush) and changes the government procedural rules to suit his will
  4. Rahm Emmanuel has written a book called The Plan, calling for a mandatory militia like that of Hugo Chavez (how about Hitler)
  5. “Public hate and disdain for people of faith”

She also quotes someone named Hal Licino:
Throughout history, communist leaders have seized power by promoting themselves as populists, and often completely hiding their own ideology. Indeed, in a poll taken after communist Hugo Chavez’ first election victory in Venezuela, only 3% of the electors believed Chavez to be a socialist, let alone a communist. Currently 32% of Americans believe Obama to be a socialist.

The rest of the article argues that the best way to deal with this is prayer and heroic virtue, and Christian networking. “Dare to be a Daniel,” she says.

Colleges don’t want students who “study, study, study”

Walter Williams reports on how California colleges are afraid of ever-increasing enrollment by Asian students.  So they’re trying to get around a 1996 law that outlaws racial discrimination in college admissions.  Why are they against Asians?  Well, says one administrator, “Asians are ‘too dull — they study, study, study.'”

Williams is commenting on this column by Ward Connerly, former regent of the University of California.

Is there a new kind of Culture War emerging?  Albeit one that has been under the surface for a while now: as America descends into national mediocrity adn worse, it will engage in an ever-increasing war against those who actually work hard.

As the French Revolutionaries and Russian Revolutionaries discovered, it is a lot easier to tear down greatness than it is to build it.

If one’s goal is egalitarianism, it is much easier to punish those who succeed than to help up those who refuse to try.

Are you afraid of the flu?

One of my major pet peeves with modern Americans is their fear of illness.
This is especially true when it comes to people who claim to be Christians.

Whether it’s discussion of vaccinations (ethicality or otherwise), distribution of Holy Communion (even though I disagree with common distribution of the Chalice, anyway), the technical rules of the VIRTUS program according to its website (church employees and volunteers are to stay home if they cough or sneeze, for fear of causing a lawsuit for infecting smoeone), or attendance at Mass (some say it’s morally obligatory, not just permissible, to stay home if you’re sick), it baffles me why anyone who has faith in Christ should fear illness.

As Fr. John Corapi puts it, “It is not fit for a prince or a princess of the kingdom to be afraid.”

Think Fr. Corapi’s a “right wing extremist”?  OK, how about this “extremist” “fideist” fanatic?

“And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28; this and next several from Douay-Rheims).

“He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.” (Mt 10:39).

“2 And when they had seen some of his disciples eat bread with common, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews eat not without often washing their hands, holding the tradition of the ancients: 4 And when they come from the market, unless they be washed, they eat not: and many other things there are that have been delivered to them to observe, the washings of cups and of pots, and of brazen vessels, and of beds. 5 And the Pharisees and scribes asked him: Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients, but they eat bread with common hands?

6 But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men. 8 For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups: and many other things you do like to these.[. . .]15 There is nothing from without a man that entering into him, can defile him. But the things which come from a man, those are they that defile a man. (Mk 7:2-15).

“41 And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is necessary.” (Lk 10:41-42).

So, what do you have to be worried about?  Don’t you know that every hair on your head is counted, that your Father in Heaven will protect you as He protects the lilies of the field?

That isn’t to say you won’t get sick.  As St. Teresa of Avila teahes, and experience proves, God’s will is often precisely that we *will* be sick and suffering.  God wants to keep us knocked down so we’re dependent upon Him.

But God will provide.  What possible thing is there to worry about in getting the flu?

Death???  Are you, a Christian, really afraid of death??? 

“O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Cor 15:55)

Why be afraid of death?

“Now the sting of death is sin: and the power of sin is the law” (1 Cor 15:56)

The only reason to be afraid of death is when we live in Sin.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. (1 Cor 11:29-30).

When we sin, we place ourselves under the law instead of the freedom of Christ.  We lose God’s protection–except in efforts to bring us to repentance–when we live in sin.

That is the real reason people fear the flu.  They fear their own sins, which put them in subjection to the Devil.

If you fear death, go to Confession.  There is a Catholic psychologist who says obsessive compulsion is just a “guilt complex,” and that guilt complexes come from unrepented sin.  He recommends that compulsives make a constant prayer of Psalm 51.

Otherwise, if you are trying to live a holy life, if you are trying to be as close to Christ as possible, why fear death?  Why obsess over organic food?

If you die, it’s God’s will.  You can’t escape that.  Certainly, you must do certian basic things to maintain your life, but obessively pursuing health is contrary to the Gospel.

So you eat your organic food and exercise an hour a day and wash your hands every hour, and sterilize everything, and brush your teeth 4 times a day.  Even if you live like Adrian Monk, how can you add a single day to your life?  Can you really escape death?

“You fool: don’t you know this very day your life will be demanded of you?” (Lk 12:20).

“But I have responsibilities,” you say.  “I have a family.  A spouse.  Children.  Elderly parents.  They need me.”

Do they?  Do you, in your pride and vainglory, presume to be so important?  Do you not trust God to provide for them? 

In vain is your earlier rising,
your going later to rest,
you who toil for the bread you eat,
when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber. (Psalm 127:2)

If you are worried about providing for your family, live in a state of grace! Those who live according to God’s Will will always have their needs provided by God’s Providence. Those who die in a state of grace, and free from attachment to sin, will go straight to Heaven. The best way to provide for your family after your death is not a “nest egg” or life insurance policy.

The best way to provide for your family after your death is to become a Saint.

So, what have you, Christian, to fear from the flu?

Are there Two Catholic Churches?

My latest encounter with the “post Vatican II”  Catholics over at Vox Nova, in conjunctoin with watching a film on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, has me wondering of , in the end, Averroes was right.

Averroes, whose Arabic name was Abū ‘l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd, was one ot the great est Muslim philosophers in history. He is known in the West because of his commentaries on Aristotle. 

Now, what’s interesting is that Aristotle’s science contradicts the Bible: far more than modern science  does.  Aristotle, for example, said the Universe was eternal.   The ancient Christians just threw Aristotle by the wayside, and one wonders, given the history of the West since the 12th Century, if that wasn’t the better way to go.

Anyway, Averroes developed a solution to the faith/science debate that has been adopted by many over the years.  And while Averroes is regarded as an Aristotelian, his explanation of how to reconcile science and religion is straight out of Plato–and Aldous Huxley.

Plato, in the Republic, teaches an idea called the “noble lie.”  He says that government creates religion as a way to keep the people mollified, and that while the “philosopheer kings” should know the truth of how the universe works, the Noble Lie of religion is a way to keep the masses in check.

So, Averroes says there is a truth of Philosophy and a truth of Religion, and that Religion is just a way of teaching Philosophy to the people.  The scholars can know the truth, because they have the knowledge to handle it, but it’s OK for the people to believe the religious version of truth.

It is also the basic idea taught by Gnosticism.  It’s what “Gnosticism” means: that there is hidden knowledge reserved to the Elite.

There is a persistent attittude among the liberals who graduate from modern Catholic universities which mirrors this.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been told in my life that I need to get a theology degree to overcome my overly simplistic view of Catholicism.

I have always taken solace in the saints, especially the mystics and mendicants.  They have a simple, Gospel-based faith, and try to live it.  They try to live radical poverty, and embrace sufferinng, and adore the Eucharist, and practice spiritual growth.

And in return they get rejected by the authoriities of the Church, who tell them they’re not practicing “prudence” and they’re being unrealistic and not acknowledging how the world really works.

And then you read someone saying that the Church”permits certian pious language” among the laity but generally thinks completely differently.

And it’s all very confusing.  One wonders if there are really two “Churches,” and whether that has always been the case.  I mean, it’s obvious that there are and always have been many sinners in the hierarchy, but that’s not what I mean.

I mean that, when traditionalists speak of cabals of Freemasons at the Vatican, manipulating the Holy Father and tthe Curia, that’s not just true now, or a hundred years ago, but since before the “Freemasons” existed in name.

I mean whether the Vatican really is like the  World Controllers in Brave New World, or like Plato’s philosopher-kings, telling all of us a “noble lie.”

I used to think that claim made no sense because there was no profit motive in it.  Now, knowing the lies that  have been perpetrated by the likes of Fr. Maciel, Cardinal Bernardin and Archbishop Weakland, knowing the vast extent of the Scandal, wondering how many “false accusations” in the history of the Church have been genuine, I’m quite troubled.

Pro-lifer attacked by Pro-abort in SUV; CNN silent

From LifeSiteNews:

James Canfield, a regular pro-life protester of a Planned Parenthood and Women’s Health Center in Chico, California, was almost run down during a protest last Wednesday, according to the Chico Enterprise Record.  His alleged attacker, Matthew Haver, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Where is CNN?  MSNBC?  FOX?  ABC?  CBS? NBC?  NYT?  
Where are the calls for NOW to change their rhetoric?
Where are the cries that public schools are responsible for this incident for not teaching kids basic human development?
You’d think this would at least make it into SUV news.

St. Teresa of Avila on Spiritual Warfare

“I will now explain what mental prayer is, as some of you will not understand this. God grant that we may practise it as we should! I am afraid, however, that, if we do not achieve the virtues, this can only be done with great labor, although the virtues are not necessary here in such a high degree as they are for contemplation. I mean that the King of glory will not come to our souls — that is, so as to be united with them — unless we strive to gain the greatest virtues.[47] I will explain this, for if you once catch me out in something which is not the truth, you will believe nothing I say — and if I were to say something untrue intentionally, from which may God preserve me, you would be right; but, if I did, it would be because I knew no better or did not understand what I said. I will tell you, then, that God is sometimes pleased to show great favor to persons who are in an evil state [and to raise them to perfect contemplation], so that by this means He may snatch them out of the hands of the devil. It must be understood, I think, that such persons will not be in mortal sin at the time. They may be in an evil state, and yet the Lord will allow them to see a vision, even a very good one, in order to draw them back to Himself. But I cannot believe that He would grant them contemplation. For that is a Divine union, in which the Lord takes His delight in the soul and the soul takes its delight in Him; and there is no way in which the Purity of the Heavens can take pleasure in a soul that is unclean, nor can the Delight of the angels have delight in that which is not His own. And we know that, by committing mortal sin, a soul becomes the property of the devil, and must take its delight in him, since it has given him pleasure; and, as we know, his delights, even in this life, are continuous torture. My Lord will have no lack of children of His own in whom He may rejoice without going and taking the children of others. Yet His Majesty will do what He often does — namely, snatch them out of the devil’s hands.[48]

Oh, my Lord! How often do we cause Thee to wrestle with the devil! Was it not enough that Thou shouldst have allowed him to bear Thee in his arms when he took Thee to the pinnacle of the Temple in order to teach us how to vanquish him? What a sight it would have been, daughters, to see this Sun by the side of the darkness, and what fear that wretched creature must have felt, though he would not have known why, since God did not allow Him to understand!

Blessed be such great pity and mercy; we Christians ought to feel great shame at making Him wrestle daily, in the way I have described, with such an unclean beast. Indeed, Lord, Thine arms had need to be strong, but how was it that they were not weakened by the many [trials and] tortures which Thou didst endure upon the Cross? Oh, how quickly all that is borne for love’s sake heals again! I really believe that, if Thou hadst lived longer, the very love which Thou hast for us would have healed Thy wounds again and Thou wouldst have needed no other medicine. Oh, my God, who will give me such medicine for all the things which grieve and try me? How eagerly should I desire them if it were certain that I could be cured by such a health-giving ointment!”

(Way of Perfection, Ch. 16, paras. 7-8).

Minnesota Program encourages people to help, not crit

Great idea.

Corporal = Physical

Since His Holiness Pope Paul VI clarified in Mysterium Fidei that the Eucharist is the “corporal” presence of Christ, I thought I’d look up “corporal” on http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/corporal.  Sure enough, it defines “corporal” as “physical.”

Article: “Revolt begins against Obama’s Fascist Agenda”

That’s what the headline says.  While it starts off by accusing Obama of a eugenicitst agenda in “health care reform”, it goes on to complain that Obama is actually *cutting* federal programs or calling on funding of those programs by putting higher taxes on poor Americans.

In other words, this article claims that Left, at least the traditional Left (e.g., FDR/JFK types) are getting mad at some of Obama’s policies.

This is also supported by Phyllis Schlafly, who reports that the Senate budget committee is unhappy with the terms of the Obama/Kennedy “health care reform” plan, saying that it will a) cost too much, b) leave too many people out and c) hurt those who already have private insurance.

The shoe drops

Speculating regarding the idea of “minimum standard of Catholicism” advocated by the Catholic Left, a month or so ago, I argued that such a minimal standard should include attitudes towards the Eucharist and towards contraception.

Now, a blogger at Vox Nova, who says his research specialty is “ecumenism” (note: clear difference between a specialty of “ecumenism” and a specialty of “apologetics”), has written a piece claiming it’s heresy to say Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist.  He uses the testimony of an unnamed female theology professor and a bunch of Rahnerian doublespeak according to which “substance” is not something physical but something spiritual.

In the process, he claimed that anyone who believes the Eucharist has miraculous properties is actually a materialist(!) or a fideist. He said that those who believe the Eucharist is truly the Body of Christ are guilty of “Caphernism” (is that even a word?), saying that faithful Catholics who think Jesus is physically present in the Host are like the people at Capernaum who turned away at the Bread of Life Discourse.

I mean, that’s the epitome of poor logic: if you think the Eucharist is miraculous and cannot cause disease, you’re a materialist; if you think the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, you’re the equivalent of those who denied it.

All of this twisted logic to avoid giving offense to the Lutheran heretics, whose insults to the Eucharist caused so much sorrow for St. Teresa of Avila.

Philosophy 101: substance is that which makes something what-it-is.  Substance is what remains when a thing has lost all accidental properties.

I offered an immediate rebuttal, but here is one with citations.

First, excerpts from an EWTN article called “Modern Misconceptions of the Eucharist”, by Fr. Regis Scanlon (I think it’s the same one I quoted to “Anonymous” last month):

St. Thomas also gave a very good reason why bread and wine cannot remain after the consecration: “Because it would be opposed to the veneration of this sacrament, if any substance were there, which could not be adored with adoration of “<latria>”.”[9] If bread and wine remained, Catholics would be committing the sin of idolatry by adoring it. So, physical bread and wine do not remain!

Jesus is corporally, that is, physically, present:

Finally, in 196:S, Pope Paul VI taught most clearly that, after the consecration at Mass, “nothing remains of the bread and wine except for the <species> (smell, taste, etc.)” and that Christ is (bodily) present whole and entire in his lt;physical> ‘reality,’ corporeallypresent, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.”[11] So, the “<physical” thing> that remains after the consecration is Jesus Christ and not bread and wine.

On Rahner:

In 1966 the late Fr. Karl Rahner stated that “one can no longer maintain today that bread is a substance, as St. Thomas and the Fathers of the Council (of Trent) obviously thought it was”.[12] For Rahner, the “substance” of a thing did not include its <material and physical> reality, but the “meaning and purpose” of the thing. [13] So, according to Karl Rahner, transubstantiation meant that, after the consecration of the Mass, the physical bread remained physical bread but it now had a new “meaning” of spiritual food because it was now a “symbol” of Jesus Christ.[14]

I was speaking with a theologian friend of mine, a former department head at Duquesne, and he said that, in part, Rahner was right: we cannot identify Aristotelian substance with modern ideas of matter, but that does not mean it is not physical, since modern physics knows that the universe is composed of far more than just energy and matter.

But Rahner reduces the Eucharist to symbol by saying its “significance” changes.  The problem is a definitition of physicality which is limited to matter–in other words, materialism.

At what point do we say we’ve had enough?

The US Bishops have revised a document on Jewish relations to say that, while Catholics should not “proselytize” Jews (and that word has a lot of debate as to its exact meaning), we should share our faith in Christ and encourage them to join it.  For this, some Jewish leaders are predictably outraged.

Listen, we believe that Jesus is the savior.  We believe that Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s covenant with Israel.  It is popular to say that the covenant was “never revoked,” but it is a legitimate question whether those who practice Judaism today are, in fact, being true to God’s covenant, both in their rejection of the Messiah and in their actual failure to observe the tenets of the Torah.

In any case, at what point do Christians say “enough!”?  We’re not allowed to pray for their conversions?  We’re not allowed to encourage their conversions?  We’re not even allowed to talk to them about Christ??

Evangelicals talk about Spiritual Warfare, but fall short; Catholics barely talk of it at all

Why do Evangelicals talk about spiritual warfare but not Catholics?

Let’s start with the first of two columns in which a minister explains what spiritual warfare is:

We are in a war that is beyond anything the world has ever seen, and the battle is raging all round us. . . . how many of us run to the battlefield everyday without any means whatsoever of fighting against the enemy? . . .
Why do we need spiritual armor? Because the war we’re fighting is spiritual, and the armor will protect you from what the enemy wants to do to you.

Fascinating that Evangelicals often talk of Ephesians 6 and the “armor of the Lord” then attack us for using sacramentals.

Here’s a crucial point:

Always remember: The fight is not with the person you know; it’s with the power at work against your soul.

Muslims try to tell us that jihad is just “spiritual warfare,” in spite of the example led by Mohammed. The secularists suspect that, when Christians talk of “spiritual warfare,” we are engaging in a similar deception and calling for a literal Crusade. Of course, the activities of some Christian activists would indicate that’s what they think.

But the idea of “spiritual warfare” is to protect ourselves against the undue influence of the demons and to pray for the deliverance of those who are in their control.

The sad thing is that many people today don’t believe in Satan anymore. When I begin to articulate the ways in which Satan is still a powerful force in our world, people look at me funny, with their heads turned sideways and blank looks of disbelief on their faces. People tend to think that those who speak of the devil have been watching too much late night television. . . . I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no one can be a Bible-believing Christian and not believe in the reality of Satan.

In his follow-up article, Pastor Powell talks about the armies of fallen angels under Satan’s service and the target of his attacks:

And who does he fight the most? The believer! Satan is attacking lives and causes that are most likely to defeat his plan. That is why all of us who are Christians feel so much of the effect of Satan’s presence. In other words, he is not after those who belong to him; he is after those who want to defeat him. We should be mindful, as Paul has warned us in 1 Corinthians, that it is vitally important that “we be not ignorant of Satan’s devices.”

I find among Christians today concerning the devil’s influence on their lives and society at large two components: (1) ignorance – they just don’t know – and (2) indifference – they just don’t care. And so Satan continues to succeed at his agenda because so many people don’t know, or perhaps, even worse, they just don’t care.

Yep. Or, if you try to talk to believers, they’ll say that talking of the Devil is “scary”. They’ll say that they don’t need to worry about that because they’re Christians. They’ll say that talking of the Devil means being preoccupied with it.

We should not be fooled; we cannot stand against the enemy of our soul and persevere unless we are prepared. What shall we do? Paul says to put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand against the devil. How? We will learn in the coming weeks.

Interesting, again. On the one hand, Evangelicals talk about sola fide, and insist that all you need to do is “confess that Jesus is the Savior.” When a Catholic counters, “well, I do that, but I do *more*,” the Evangelical replies that such “doing more” is offensive to Jesus and makes His sacrifice inadequate, etc. Then, in a different context, Evangelicals will make a big deal about the “full armor of God”. What is that?

  • The Sacraments.
  • The Sacramentals.
  • Personal Virtue.
  • The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.It would be nice if the Evangelical and Holiness Christians who spoke of this stuff would get the point.

It would also be nice if Catholic priests actually preached their homilies on this subject.

Now, here’s a review of an allegorical and apocalyptic novel that deals with spiritual warfare. It’s called Final Quest, by someone named Rick Joyner. The story depicts an allegorical battle where demons and angels tide not on horses but on the backs of the humans who do their work.

Gonzo Fiddles While George Burns, A Year Later

A year ago, I expressed astonishment that movies were doing so well in the middle of a recession. 

Now, Iran is practically in a civil war. Increasing threats of nuclear war by North Korea have reached Catholicity.com.

What are the top news stories today? 

The death of Farrah Fawcett (who, to her credit, apparently received the Last Rites from a Catholic priest before her death).

The death of Michael Jackson, a clown whose biggest credit is having made very insidious, if not outright demonic, music.

The crash of “Twitter” over the Hollywood deaths yesterday (and a couple rumors).

Governor Mark Sanford’s adultery.

Speaking of Sanford, one of the “I don’t want to be right, but I bet this is how it will happen” purposes of this blog is to predict and chronicle the Republican Party going the way of the Whigs in the 1850s. 

Part of me is extremely disappointed that a politician who was being pointed to as a potential bright light in a dying movement has added another nail in the coffin of the Christian Right. 

Part of me is happy to see another nail in the coffin of the GOP.  It will take a complete shift in the party structure to see the tide turn in the Culture Wars.

1.  As long as Christians keep giving our vote to people who talk right and don’t live up to their words, our  causes will only be given lip service and minimal action.

2.  As long as conservative Christians show themselve willing to sell out to the wrong aspects of American conservatism, and neoconservatism in particular, we lose credibility.  When our pundits and politicians preach pro-life and then support torture and unjust wars, and oppose programs that provide financial assistance to struggling families, their claim of being “Christian” rings hollow, and they give fodder to the liberal Christians who compromise on abortion and marriage.

Pray for our country.

Pray for North Korea.

Pray for the media.

Pray for the Conversions of Pro-Choice “Catholics”

A new website, One Nation Under God, seeks to refocus the debate on pro-abortion Catholic politicians by praying for their conversions.  Certainly sounds like a great idea to me!

O Blood and Water, which gush forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, we trust in You!

Women who have migraines with “aura” have higher risk of brain lesions.

Interesting.

Reflections on Iraq IX: Voting Implications

I’ve touched on this subject already in this series, and previously on this blog, but one the most crucial questions regarding the War for the average person is, “How does this effect my vote”?

Well, early in the series, I tracked down the direct statements from the Vatican that condemn the war as such. However, the same Cardinal Ratzinger who wrote that the war was unjust in 2003 wrote in his 2004 letter that the war did not carry the same moral weight as abortion for voters, because the Church gives a certain leeway for Catholic voters to use their own prudential judgements regarding war. This is not just a “loophole” for Catholic Republicans: it’s the teaching of the Church. Recent statements by the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life notwithstanding, the Church never permits direct abortion. The Church does, sometimes, permit direct warfare.

In a post that garnered some attention a month or so ago, I addressed the question of “just war” and civilian casualties. A war that may be just in its intent may commit unjust acts along the way, such as direct targeting of civilians. However, I concluded that a voter cannot be held responsible for such decisions.

Another problem with “civilians” is when one is fighting in a war against guerillas, insurrectionists and/or terrorists, when anyone is a potential soldier.

My US history professor recounted a story he’d heard from another professor who had served in special forces in Vietnam. An old man came out of the woods in one of those traditional Asian robes where the long sleeves serve as huge pockets. He calmly walked up to a jeep, pulled a grenade out of his sleeve, laid it on the jeep, and walked back into the woods.

How do you fight an enemy justly when every civilian is a potential enemy soldier? There are several questions there, but I wanted to lay it out for discussion.

In any case, the voter, in weighing a war, has to decide:
1) Does the voter think the war is unjust?
2) Does the voter think the incumbent president thinks the war is unjust?
3) Does the voter feel confidence in the incumbent’s leadership, given the incumbent’s level of care in determining whether to go to War?
4) How much of a consideration has the voter given to issues like torture and targeting civilians? Does the voter think the president is personally responsible for such evils, or they are being perpetrated under his nose without direct orders?
5) Is the opponent, if we presuppose the two party false dichotomy, likely to end the war? At this point, even if the war *is* unjust, is it wise to just “pull out”?

I think the key is really #5, as neither Kerry nor Obama was likely to get us out of Iraq soon, despite campaign promises.

War or no war, I have always been adamant in my conviction that the two parties are a false dichotomy, and we should vote for the candidate who *best* embodies our views, regardless of apparent popularity or regardless of the apparent size of the party, that, if everyone really voted his or her conscience rather than falling back on the two party “lesser of two evils” system, the country would be a much different place.

Unfortunately, there really were no noteworthy 3rd party candidates in 2006, and the idea of another pro-abortion “Catholic” in the White House was too much to bear.

In 2008, there *were* a variety of third party candidates. There was a Democratic candidate whom the pacifists drooled over, even though he said he wanted to get out of Iraq to invade Iran. And there was a Republican candidate who was moderate-right on the war, opposed to torture, and picked an outstanding vice presidential nominee.