Daily Archives: July 20, 2009

This is NFP Awareness Week

July 19-July 25 is NFP awarness week (July 25 being the anniversary of Humanae Vitae). 
What a great time to share the Church’s teachings with those you know!

“Country Club Republicans”?

Apparently, Ron Paul has called Sarah Palin a “Country Club Republican,” saying that her lack of overt criticism of globalism implies support thereof.   Yet Palin herself endorsed Ron Paul in the primary.  And I don’t see how there is much need for infighting at this level of the conservative movement.

I like this part, though:

On reflection, it is the country club Republicans who have been most critical of Sarah Palin. That would be the Peggy Noonans, the David Frums and the Colin Powells of the GOP’s Vichy wing.

Who really cares about “social justice”?

As with the theme I’ve been on the past day or so, one of the red flags that always strikes me about liberal Catholics is that it’s a lot easier to demand that other pepole’s money be taxed, or to call for non-violent overthrow of dictatorships in some other country, than to deal with the people *right there.*

Those Catholics who are most vocal about “social justice” will look on the disabled and sick in their own parish and scoff. The nun who made a big deal about Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity who would mock the man with Down’s syndrome who attended daily Mass. . . .

You may hear a priest preach against the “rich” or against the Republicans.

You may hear a priest preach for something called “stewardship,” which usually amounts to giving money to the latest building fund.

But do you ever hear a priest preach about the demand that all Christians embrace the counsel of poverty? Do you hear a priest preach about the need for self sacrifice or the need to *personally* give to the poor?

Not at the normal Novus Ordo parish. Oh, I know one priest I’ve heard say those things: Fr. James Haley, and he was silenced.

Now, go to a traditionalist parish, and it’s quite another matter.

At a traditional Latin Mass, you’ll hear a sermon on some point of doctrine (even the touchy ones), or on some point of morality (even the touchy ones), or on self-sacrifice, or on caring for those less fortunate. You aren’t likely to hear a liberal exegesis of how Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes by getting people to share. You aren’t likely to hear a priest expressing hope for the death of the Pope. You aren’t likely to hear a thinly veiled Democratic stump speech. You aren’t likely to hear a New Age self-help pep talk.

So, on July 12, we were in attendance at the Latin Mass at St. Martin’s in Louisville, KY, and the gospel of the week was the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

The priest said how this reading has been discussed ad nauseum, and usually with one of the same basic approaches, and he was going to offer something different.

The new approach was the question of what it was like for those who *brought* the loaves and fishes Jesus used. They were the “smart ones,” the “pragmatic ones,” who brought their food in anticipation of needing it, and here Jesus was asking them to share it with those who didn’t. How they must have burned inside with resentment–or did they?

He then proceeded to talk about the need to share what we have with others, to give of ourselves till it hurts, etc.

Feast of St. Elijah the Prophet

Today is the feast of St. Elijah the Prophet, who, along with Our Lady, is considered one of the spiritual founders of the Carmelites, since the community of monks who had been at Carmel since before the Crusades but for an indeterminate length, claimed that they were following the example of Elijah, and of Elisha who based his guild of prophets from Carmel.  The historical boast of the Carmelites, of course, was that they actually *were* the direct descendants of Elisha’s guild prophets.

Anyway, Elijah’s one of the coolest figures of the Bible, and it’s great he gets a Mystery of the Rosary thanks to JPII.  I especially like the part about slaying the 300 prophets of Ba’al.

What Went Wrong with the Pro-Life Movement

Ever since the victory of the Enlightened One, the “President of the World,” people have been doing post mortems on the pro-life movement.  Obama’s “abortion prevention” is a slightly more effective reworking of the “safe, legal and rare” motto of the Clinton Administration (even though the abortion lobby was the one interest group Clinton *didn’t* betray in his 8 years).

Now, even European politicians are getting into the act.  John Allen reports how some Italian politician, allegedly “John Paul’s favorite,” has said the pro-life movement went wrong by pitting mothers against children.  Here’s what he said:

“God entrusts a child to its mother in such a special way, that to defend the child against the mother is just, but impossible.”
“We have to support the mother, making her more free,” said Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione. “The more free she is, the more difficult it will be for her to renounce the child.”

M-hmm.

I wonder how people would react to a politician who said,

“God entrusts women to men in such a special way, that to defend the woman against the man is just, but impossible.”
“We have to support the man, making him more free,” said Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione. “The more free he is, the more difficult it will be for him to engage in rape or abuse.”

How, exactly, does *increased* freedom bring an end to sin?

As for the rest, in the US, at least, the “failure” of the pro-life movement is due to two factors:

1. Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” nonsense: if you want to talk about “consistent life ethic,” I’m with you, but not all issues are equal, especially when most seamless garment types won’t include contraception in their “garment.”
2. The National Right to Life Committee’s “30 year strategy.”

Again, Obama’s supposedly “pro-life” devotees have been blaming the approach of ALL and HLI, or the approach of Operation Rescue, when, in fact, they should be blaming the approach of NRLC. They’ve been saying that we need to abandon an “all out” approach, but the official political strategy of the pro-life movement, run by the GOP and NRLC, has never been an all-out ban. It’s been to spend years and billions of dollars to outlaw one specific form of late-term abortion as an “incremental” step.

Very few have ever tried to completely outlaw abortion, and their efforts have been shot down: by others in the pro-life movement, including Catholic bishops.

The real problem with the pro-life movement, if we are to say the movement has failed (which it has), is that it fails to see where the underlying enemy is.

The Left wants to say it’s economic conditions that allegedly lead to abortion, except for two problems:
1) that is based upon the statistics that come from abortuaries; the exact number of abortions by middle class and rich women–who get abortions at regular hospitals or OB/Gyn offices–are unknown, and likely the vast majority of abortions.
2) those women aren’t driven to abortion by poverty; they’re driven by pressure from their families and from the Planned Parenthood clinic.

No, the underlying problem of the pro-life movement is that the leadership is the enemy. The pro-life movement needs to ditch the NRLC (which stays in business as long as abortion is legal) and the GOP, both of which are benefitting from a double effect. As long as abortion is legal, the GOP and the NRLC can get lots of money and votes out of pro-lifers, while still reaping the benefits that legalized abortion has for those in power.

Who was one of the only politicians to take direct action to overturn Roe v. Wade (and that was just to overturn it, not outlaw abortion)? Ron Paul.

“Population Control” is integrally tied to “globalization.” The Constitution Party says not to vote for anyone who’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, which severely narrows the number of eligible candidates, but is really worth looking into.

NSSM-200 was a Republican policy originally, and remains so.

St. Teresa of Avila on the Need for God

“How right and how very true is that which comes from the lips of Truth Himself! In this life the soul will never thirst for anything more, although its thirst for things in the life to come will exceed any natural thirst that we can imagine here below. How the soul thirsts to experience this thirst! For it knows how very precious it is, and, grievous though it be and exhausting, it creates the very satisfaction by which this thirst is allayed. It is therefore a thirst which quenches nothing but desire for earthly things, and, when God slakes it, satisfies in such a way that one of the greatest favors He can bestow on the soul is to leave it with this longing, so that it has an even greater desire to drink of this water again.” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 19, para. 2).

Are Catholics badly catechized?

Earlier, I posted on my worries concerning the more educated part of the IPod Generation.  Those of us who came of age in the 90s roughly fell into two camps: those who accepted Clinton’s argument that he “did not have sex with that woman,” adopting oral sex as the preferred means of teen fornication and generally threw away morals with their president; and those who took a more traditionalist stance, such that Andrew Greeley calls us “young fogeys.”  Thankfully, most of our priests are coming out of the latter group.

Those just a few years younger than me-and some my own age who haven’t quite matured yet–fall into two different camps:

1) The “emergent church” types.  In the Catholic Church, these are represented by the folks at Vox Nova and their ilk

2) The Michael Moore-watching, violent video game playing anarchists.

Ever since I came to realize the cultural divide that exists between those born before and after 1980, I have felt that a big part of this is cultural literacy.  Maybe I’m biased from teaching community college and adult ed, but my students are almost universally culturally illiterate, even in regard to pop culture.  OTOH, I read somewhere (I think it was cosmos-liturgy-sex) a quotation from a college professor who pointed out that it used to be one would at least see college students carrying books–even if they weren’t their class books.  Now, it’s unusual to see university students carry books at all.

Anyway, it’s a common claim of conservative and traditional Catholics that most laity are “poorly catechized.”  George Weigel apparently used that analysis in regard to the Holy Father’s new encyclical, and Todd at Catholic Sensibility has dismissed this as “Republican thinking” or as a “rape-and-pillage” mentality.

But, the plain fact is that Catholics are poorly catechized.

When CCD class is usually treated as a cross between day care, elementary school art class and a new age group therapy session, what else can we sexpect?

When a group of middle aged Catholic men who are fairly active in their parish, and most of whom are active in Cursillo and/or Charismatic Renewal, don’t even know what the Angelus is, how can we say that laity are *not* poorly catechized?

When most Catholics think indulgences are bad, and that “Vatican II got rid of them,” how can we say that laity are *not* poorly catechized?

In early 2005, I was talking to a friend who was director of the schola at Latin Mass.   Her husband had been an editor at a traditionalist magazine.  I was mentioning some of the stipulations in Liturgiam Authenticam, and even she didn’t know about them.  It was then I realized what an uphill battle it is.

There is so much about our faith that people are just ignorant of: devotions, history, etc., much less theology or liturgy.