Monthly Archives: February 2010

USCCB’s compendium on Torture

Found this great document on the USCCB web site:
http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/TortureIsAMoralIssueCatholicStudyGuide.pdf
It examines the issues surrounding torture, official Church documents (notably the much-discussed passages from the Catechism and Veritatis Splendor), etc.

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The homeless helping the cripple

The big event I was praying for for the past 2 weeks was in Atlanta. My biggest worry all day was finding my car when I got out, because it was tough to find parking (my van doesn’t fit in parking garages). I was expecting a more suburban location. Anyway, so, of course, I got out and couldn’t find the parking lot. Plus, I was exhausted from a long day and a bit disoriented. And I was worried I’d done something wrong with the ticket process and that I might get towed.
This nice lady came up and said, “Excuse me, sir, but you seem to need help.” I said, “Yes, I’m trying to remember which parking lot I put my car in. It was one of this company’s lots, because this was the kind of sign. It’s a big blue van with handicapped plates and bumper stickers. Hard to miss.” She said, “Did you try further down that way?” I said, “That’s where I was gonna look.” So I went that way, then came back. She said, “You didn’t find it?”
“No.”
“How about this? You look this way, and I’ll look that way.”

I said, “Thanks!”
She said, “By the way, I live in a shelter, and I don’t have anything for food or bus fare.”
I said, “Let me get to my van, and I’ll see what I can do.”
So I found the car, then drove back. I pulled up, and she walked up. I said, “I don’t have much, and I don’t know my way around here to do anything more, but here’s what I can offer,” and I gave her the rest of my snacks I’d packed for the day, along with the random change I found in the cupholder.
She was very grateful.

What am I? A Political Pariah, that’s what

I’ve said it many times. I became disillusioned by the Republican Party when I was 15 years old. NRLC declaring _Planned Parenthood v. Casey_ a victory broke my heart, as did the number of people I heard saying, “I agree with Buchanan, but he can’t win, so I’m not voting for him.”

Now, my political views have refined as I’ve learned more about the Church’s *true* economic teachings (as opposed to the liberals’ caricaures of them), and as I’ve learned about the horrors done by the Bush Administration’s torture policies. Then, of course, I did my study of the issues around the Iraq War and found the actual quotations (which liberal Catholics seem to think are unnecessary to cite) where John Paul II and Benedict XVI have called this war unjust.

Therefore, I’m in a situation where:
1. I support an extremely limited, constitution-based, subsidiarist federal government.
2. I oppose laissez-faire capitalism as much as I do socialism.
3. I support distributism, which calls for giving each person the ability to control his or her own labor, so each person has a fair shot at participating in the market. To me, this is a truly “free market,” in the sense of “liberty” that says people should be free to pursue virtue, not free to do whatever they want. Or, perhaps a better term would be “fair market.”
4. People have an inalienable right to property, and they should have the rights to use their property as the basis of income/survival. Thus, I’m opposed to HOAs and zoning laws that prevent people, for example, from growing their own food on their own land or operating reasonable home or from utilizing alternative energy or even hang-drying their clothes.
However,
5. The right to own *some* property is not a right to own all the propety you want. This is true of both Hobbesian conservatism *and* Catholic moral teaching. I find the “Joe the Plumber” argument as morally reprehensible as the NOW position. I used to think capitalism facilitated charity, but I know too much now about how the rich think. I believe that people have the right to a living wage and that there should be caps on exactly how much money any one household can make, derived from a reasonable standard of living and accounting for each person in the household so that only one person needs to work.

6. If there were such income limits, if each person had a fair shot at getting a job or being self-employed, and had ownership over his or her work, and if people were paid a living wage at minimum, then there would be little or no poverty. And families would be stabilized by the ability of the father (or mother, if necessary) to make enough with *one job* to support the family.
Also, if people weren’t expecting to make so much, and if companies didn’t have to make so much money to pay off Interest, then consumers wouldn’t have to spend as much, and they wouldn’t have to get into debt, and that would also prevent poverty.

7. I’m against the war. I’m against “foreign entanglements.” I’m against torture. I am for assassination of dictators.

8. I’m against abortion, contraception, divorce, and legal recognition of same-sex relationships. I am *for* programs that help families. I’m for the idea of expanding the definition of “dependent” so people who live in the same household and support each other can share benefits–unless the relationship is a business one (i.e., a renter or a live-in employee).

9. I’m against globalism, outsourcing, etc.

10. I believe in conservation of natural resources and “Green” living, and I believe these things should be supported by some level of government, but I oppose the Environmentalist movement per se.

So, where does that put me?

I am still, and always have been, a Kirkian conservative.

St. Teresa of Avila on how we mock God’s goodness

“Oh, far other must be that life in which we no longer desire death! How differently shall we then incline our wills towards the will of God! His will is for us to desire truth, whereas we desire falsehood; His will is for us to desire the eternal, whereas we prefer that which passes away; His will is for us to desire great and sublime things, whereas we desire the base things of earth; He would have us desire only what is certain, whereas here on earth we love what is doubtful. What a mockery it all is, my daughters, unless we beseech God to deliver us from these perils for ever and to keep us from all evil! And although our desire for this may not be perfect, let us strive to make the petition. What does it cost us to ask it, since we ask it of One Who is so powerful? It would be insulting a great emperor to ask him for a farthing. Since we have already given Him our will, let us leave the giving to His will, so that we may be the more surely heard; and may His name be for ever hallowed in the Heavens and on the earth and may His will be ever done in me. Amen.” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 42, para. 4).

Novena to Our Lady of Fatima, Day 9

Most Holy Virgin,
who has deigned to come to Fatima
to reveal to the three little shepherds
the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary,
inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion,
so that by meditating on the mysteries
of our redemption that are recalled in it,
we may gather the fruits
and obtain the conversion of sinners,
the conversion of Russia,
and this favor that I so earnestly seek,
that things will go well for me on Feb. 20,
which I ask of you in this novena,
for the greater glory of God,
for your own honor,
and for the good of all people.

Amen.

3 Our Father…
3 Hail Marys…
3 Glory Be…

Our Lady of Fatima Novena, Day 8

Most Holy Virgin,
who has deigned to come to Fatima
to reveal to the three little shepherds
the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary,
inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion,
so that by meditating on the mysteries
of our redemption that are recalled in it,
we may gather the fruits
and obtain the conversion of sinners,
the conversion of Russia,
and this favor that I so earnestly seek,
that things will go well for me on Feb. 20,
which I ask of you in this novena,
for the greater glory of God,
for your own honor,
and for the good of all people.

Amen.

3 Our Father…
3 Hail Marys…
3 Glory Be…

Our Lady of Fatima Novena, Day 7

Most Holy Virgin,
who has deigned to come to Fatima
to reveal to the three little shepherds
the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary,
inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion,
so that by meditating on the mysteries
of our redemption that are recalled in it,
we may gather the fruits
and obtain the conversion of sinners,
the conversion of Russia,
and this favor that I so earnestly seek,
that things will go well for me on Feb. 20,
which I ask of you in this novena,
for the greater glory of God,
for your own honor,
and for the good of all people.

Amen.

3 Our Father…
3 Hail Marys…
3 Glory Be…