Monthly Archives: September 2009

Egyptians Claim to find evidence of Joseph

Egyptian archaeologists have found ancient coins bearing the inscriptions of Pharoahs and other important figures . Among the coins are coins bearing the image of a man identified as “Joseph,” the Pharoah’s treasurer.

Episcopal support for Christopher West

Justin Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Kevin Rhoades have offered support for Christopher West in the debate over his work. They contend that West is doing work that needs to be done, even if his approach may be controversial to some, and commend West for his openness to criticism and revision.

Paraphrasing a friend of mine, why is there a white woman on the cover of _Ebony_?

Ever since Michael Jackson died, and especially since Ted Kennedy died, I’ve been thinking of a feature story Fr. George Rutler had in the November 1997 Crisis: “Speaking Well of the Dead.”   Well, Catholicity.com has reprinted it, and here it is!

On July 29, 1997, a representative philosophe of our abortion culture, retired Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, was lavishly eulogized in St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C., where the Requiem Mass for President Kennedy had been sung in 1963. Richard Cardinal Cushing was relatively constrained back then, because liturgical depredations had not yet switched into high gear. It was not thus when President Clinton, who vetoed the ban on partial-birth abortions, was permitted to announce to all corners of the cathedral for consumption in all corners of the world: “Brennan’s America is America at its best.” That is, internecine America is at its best with 39 million fewer children than would have been born were it not for Brennan’s eisegesis of the Constitution. Attorney General Janet Reno later said in a speech to the American Bar Association that the honors paid to Brennan in St. Matthew’s Cathedral inspired her to go on.

. . .

Once in a press conference in which he distanced himself from the angels on significant points of behavior, Senator Edward Kennedy said that St. Thomas More had been “intolerant.” The saint indeed had been intolerant, but of falseness. The logician in him would have found grotesque the Orwellian doublethink of the priest-eulogist who said that one way to honor Brennan’s memory would be to help “a young pregnant girl.” The jurist in him would have raised an eyebrow when the priest declared: “The Brennan mind met the Brennan heart, and in their perfect match was the secret greatness of our friend.” A meeting of mind and heart is anatomically difficult when there is a spine; and when More insisted on this point, his King obliged with an ax. In the majority opinion on Roe v. Wade, Brennan concurring, mind and heart congealed to produce the words: “If the human race is to survive, pregnancy will always be with us.” The twentieth century has taught that such banality can be the diction of cruelty incarnadine.

Senator Kennedy often seems innocent of historical information, as he was in an interview with an Italian reporter in 1982 when he placed the Battle of Lepanto in the Second World War. This has made him a much sought-after eulogist. Except for his recidivistic neglect of verbs, the rhetorical senator can excel Bossuet on the death of the Prince de Condé. At a requiem for Mr. Stephen Smith, he pictured his father and brothers playing golf on a cloud with his spontaneously beatified brother-in-law. The press quoted this recreational account of the Beatific Vision with murmurs of approval.

It is not that Senator Kennedy should have said anything tactless over the corpse, or that he should have mentioned some more vigorous sport instead; he simply should not have been saying anything at all from the pulpit. [emphasis added]

That bit about the mind and heart is one of my all-time favorite quotations.

Read the rest.  It is both hilarious and insightful, and just as true about the Celebrity Canonizations of 2009 as of the ones in 1997.

The Jeffersonian Ideal and the Internet

Many of the colonists who came to America from the British Isles came religious groups seeking a place where they could be free to practice their religions.  There were already pockets of Dutch, German, Spanish, and French colonists.  Even the differences between English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish settlers.  .. . Everyone settled in small communities based upon religion or ethnicity, and the they lived together in those close-knit communities, either in small villages and farms or in city ghettoes. 
This led to the “Jeffersonian ideal,” the homogeneous community.  Ironically, Jefferson himself expressed the hope that freedom of religion would lead to all Americans becoming Unitarians.  However, he still promoted the idea that the United States of America should be a perfectly subsidiarist system.

An extremely limited federal government was only supposed to regulate interstate and international matters–nothing more.

States may have had a little more power than the federal government, but most matters were to be handled at the local level.

This is where “town halls,” of course, came from: the literal town hall meeting of people in a local community.  And “parties” were just that: you got together for a barbecue with a bunch of like-minded people and decided which of your like-minded people you were going to put in office. 

People say today that the electoral college is “obsolete.”  It really isn’t.  It’s still the same thing.  The average person is never going to get to know any presidential candidate beyond a possible handshake.  But the average person *can* find out who his or her local elector is, and then get to know that person. 

Anyway, the idea behind our representative system was not just that representatives at state and federal levels would represent geographic regions but that those geographic regoins would, in turn, have common belief systems.  The presumption was that villages and towns would largely be populated by like-minded people, so the representative elected to serve a locality would reflect the beliefs of his or her locality; collectively, the state legislatures were presumed to represent the overall culture and beliefs of their states, which is why they elected senators.

All of this has been largely abandoned as our nation has grown.  Somewhere along the line, homoegeneous communities were replaced with melting pots as the American “ideal.”

This progressed to everyone learning to “get along.”

Ironically, today, the Internet has provided a new form of the “Jeffersonian ideal.” 

Our society has not become a melting pot so much as a soup.  We’re not all melted together into indistinguishable mush, though many of us are.  Instead, we’re a mixture of distinct beliefs and ideas. 

The problem is the mixture doesn’t always make a very tasty soup.  We’re not just a mixture of metaphorical carrots and potatoes and celery, but we’re like minestrone, chicken noodle soup, cream of mushroom, chili and clam chowder all dumped into the same pot.

So the lonely little pea in our culture spends most of his day floating in the gruel, trying to find someone he can relate to. 

That’s where the internet comes in.  Today’s homoegeneous communities are not to be found geographically but virtually, on blogs, and message boards, listservs and Facebook networks.

Whether it’s a commonality of religion, or politics, or morality, or gardening, or toy collecting or soap operas, people seek out those they share things in common with.

And these groups are sharing information amongst each other and unifying as voices for change.   Like minded people can share controversial news and take on whatever power structure it is–corporations, Hollywood, churches or governments–in a way that has been unprecedented, except perhaps for the earliest days of America.  That is why the “culture of the Internet,” so often derided, is very similar, whether one is speaking of fandoms, religious groups, consumer groups, hobbyists or political groups.

And that’s why it is so threatening to those in power.

The sociologists and other “experts” tell us how “dangerous” it is that people are connecting online, sharing ideas with likeminded people rather than mixing–kind of like what they say about homeschooling versus public schooling.

Is the situation dangerous for the individuals engaging in it?  Or is it dangerous for those in power, and the “melting pot” ideal that keeps them in power?

Ironically, the Internet is providing more than just a means for people to connect virtually and ideologically.  People meet online, whether through matchmaking services or just through regular social networks and discussion groups, based upon shared beliefs, and then get married, raising families based upon those values.

People organize get togethers, and eventually conventions, based upon their online relationships, adding greater cohesion to these new forming groups.  Indeed, realizing the limitations of online communication only, people do their best to use it as a tool to meet like minded people “in person” whenever possible.

*This* is what is so threatening to those in power. 

You can go online now and find a Latin Mass, or a Byzantine Liturgy, or, if it suits you, a clown mass with a gay priest.  Before the Internet, such selectivity was nigh-impossible. 

You can go online and find an NFP only pro-life physician.  You can find a homeschooling group.  You can find a house.  A job. 

A few years ago, I read about a fellow who found a small town with a low cost of living and  a fantastic Catholic parish.  He invited like-minded friends and relatives to come check it out, helped them find jobs and houses, and basically colonized the town with like-minded Catholics.

The Internet makes this possible. 

The very thing that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates thought would perfect the progressive ideal will end up sabotaging it, however gradually.

Most recently, it seems to be facilitating the progressives, as embodied by the Obama election.  But progressives have no core values to maintain their ideology.  Progressivism is a self-defeating ideology because it leads to anarchism.

I’ve long felt that those who voted out the Republicans in 2006 and those who voted in Obama last year were not so much voting *for* anything as *against.*  Obama campaigned on “change”.  Eventually, if you just keep “changing” for its own sake, you’re gonna end up with nothing left to change to except chaos.

Meanwhile, as Deacon Paul Weyrich predicted 10 years ago in his open letter declaring that we’d lost the Culture Wars, traditionalists are gathering in small enclaves, hunting down towns and parishes that are sympathetic, connecting online, homeschooling, etc.

When was the last time you heard a Bishop speak against contraception?

Fr. Tom Bartolomeo had the nerve to preach against artificial contraception, a topic which, before Vatican II, priests were required to preach on at least once per year, and he was removed from his parish for it.

Bishop Joseph Martino resigns shortly after Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe says some bishops are too outspoken on “abortion and the other stuff.”

The USCCB’s “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” document, supposedly a summary of Catholic social teaching, never even mentions “birth control” or “contraception,” even though Mater et Magistra says that

189.  Besides, the resources which God in His goodness and wisdom has implanted in Nature are well-nigh inexhaustible, and He has at the same time given man the intelligence to discover ways and means of exploiting these resources for his own advantage and his own livelihood. Hence, the real solution of the problem is not to be found in expedients which offend against the divinely established moral order and which attack human life at its very source, but in a renewed scientific and technical effort on man’s part to deepen and extend his dominion over Nature. The progress of science and technology that has already been achieved opens up almost limitless horizons in this held.

194. Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members.

199. A provident God grants sufficient means to the human race to find a dignified solution to the problems attendant upon the transmission of human life. But these problems can become difficult of solution, or even insoluble, if man, led astray in mind and perverted in will, turns to such means as are opposed to right reason, and seeks ends that are contrary to his social nature and the intentions of Providence. 

Liberals continue to insist that Archbishop Charles Chaput (who supports the Neocatechumenate Way, Charismatic Renewal, and other heterodox lay movements) is a “far right conservative” just because he’s outspoken on abortion.

We hear from Cardinals Rigali, O’Malley and others say they will not support a health care bill that pays for abortions, which implies that they will support a health care bill that pays for contraceptives.

When was the last time the USCCB issued an official statement

We’re told of people like Fr. Bartolomeo and Fr. Christopher Buckner and Bishop Martino that it is their “pastoral style,” not their “orthodoxy,” that gets them in trouble.  Yet many saints have had a similar “pastoral style.”

We’re told that the “pastoral styles” of O’Malley and Chaput and Dolan are more effective.

Effective at doing what? 
Not actually teaching what the Church does?

Shouldn’t a pastor be making sure his sheep get through the gate?

One poll says 61% of Catholics think contraception should be up to laity and 75% say it’s possible to be a good Catholic and disobey the Natural Law on this matter

A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Study found that 97% of Catholic women over 18 have used some form of artificial birth control in their lives, and a 2005 Harris Poll found that 90% of Catholics supported birth control.

These polls indicate the range of numbers I’ve heard on how many Catholics in the US support and/or use artificial birth control.

Attention, USCCB: the majority of your flock are headed straight to Hell, and you aren’t saying anything about it!!!

How are they supposed to repent if you don’t tell them to????

Instead, the few voices who actually speak on it are called “right wing extremists” or “judgemental” just for being willing to say what the Church teaches.

Has the USCCB ever issued a statement condemning birth control?

Has the USCCB ever issued a statement condemning the “overpopulation” movement or NSSM-200?

Until that happens, I’ll take Judie Brown or Fr. Tom Euteneuer over the fraudulent “shepherds” at the USCCB.