Daily Archives: August 12, 2010

Ray Bradbury on the IPod Gen (predicted in 1950)

Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so [. . . ] full of ‘facts’ that they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change.

–Captain Beatty in _Fahrenheit 451_, Pt. 1.
(Editor’s note: I feel awkward censoring a quotation from a book on censorship, but isn’t all quotation a form of censorship?]

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G. K. Chesterton on Pragmatism

This bald summary of the thought-destroying forces of our time would not be complete without some reference to pragmatism; for though I have here used and should everywhere defend the pragmatist method as a preliminary guide to truth, there is an extreme application of it which involves the absence of all truth whatever. My meaning can be put shortly thus. I agree with the pragmatists that apparent objective truth is not the whole matter; that there is an authoritative need to believe the things that are necessary to the human mind. But I say that one of those necessities precisely is a belief in objective truth. The pragmatist tells a man to think what he must think and never mind the Absolute. But precisely one of the things that he must think is the Absolute. This philosophy, indeed, is a kind of verbal paradox. Pragmatism is a matter of human needs; and one of the first of human needs is to be something more than a pragmatist. Extreme pragmatism is just as inhuman as the determinism it so powerfully attacks. The determinist (who, to do him justice, does not pretend to be a human being) makes nonsense of the human sense of actual choice. The pragmatist, who professes to be specially human, makes nonsense of the human sense of actual fact.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Ch. 3.

Sharia Law, Catholic Style

One of the many things that’s increasingly annoying me about my fellow “conservative” Catholics is their attacks against Muslim laws regarding Modesty.  Now, I admit the Muslims take it to an extreme, and it’s hypocritical that, here in the States, one sees African American muslim familes where the women are wearing scarves on their heads, if not full fledged hijabs, and the men are wearing tank tops with their pants around their knees.

However, up until 40 years ago, Catholic women were Canonically required to cover their heads in Church–many still do–and there is the Calhounian argument that, since the 1983 Code says nothing one way or the other on the subject, we should still err on the side of headcovering.

Then there’s the whole issue of nuns and monks wearing their habits and priests wearing their cassocks. . . .
But there’s a big difference between saying a woman should wear a hijab and allowing people to come into Church in anything they darn well please.

Of course, as soon as you mention modesty at Mass, people start arguing against the “blue blazer and brass buttons” mentality, totally missing the point.  I for one have never understood the idea of Sunday best when going to worship a Jewish Carpenter.  My preferred attire for Mass is a comfortable pair of pants and a Catholic T-shirt.  I have no problem with people wearing *casual* clothes to Mass, so long as their bodies are covered.

Indeed, I’ve often argued that “fancy dress”, for women, is just as immodest, and it works both ways.  Going to Mass in downtown Columbia, I often see women wearing contemporary “evening attire”.  They’re following the principle they should get “dressed up” for Mass, but they certainly aren’t following the principle of modesty in their halter tops, strapless gowns, etc.  I’ve also seen plenty of women at Latin Mass wearing fancy black dresses with turtle necks and sleeves down to their wrists, but the dresses themselves were very form-fitting.

Then there were the the infamous three teenagers at a Mass at St. Patrick’s in Fredericksburg I’ve referred to in the past: they sat in the pew in front of us, and they all had on completely sheer tops, with colored bras.  They spent the whole mass chattering and awkwardly pretending to “do the motions.”  Two of the three went to Communion–one, in front of Mary, going to the priest (Fr. Scalia), and the other in front of me, going to the EMC.  The one in front of Mary did not consume the Host immediately, and Father stopped distributing Communion, grabbed the girls arm, demanded the Host back, and consumed it himself.  The girl in front of me appeared to not consume it either, and, when she got back to the pew, she and the other two went into a huddle and laughed, looking at something in their hands.

Then there was the teenaged girl who walked in front of me at Mass, where, kneeling, I was eye-level with her bare midriff and jeans that were so low-cut I saw her pubic hair.

Then there’s the video I posted yesterday.

It seems to me there’s something in between hijabs and Playboy: the Mass Edition.

So, reason I bring this up: the Vatican has extended its modesty rules beyond the actual Basilica and into the Vatican as a whole.  Anyone who comes in wearing shorts, mini-skirts or sleeveless tops is now being stopped by the Swiss Guard.

The article linked above, in some European “independent” publication, by some dude named Nick Squires, claims the Vatican is “under fire.”  As evidence of this, Mr. Squires provides one–count ’em-one quotation from some septigenarian biddy who wouldn’t even give her real name:

<blockquote>”Given all the scandals the church has been involved in, what possible right can it have to be preaching about the morality of sleeveless dresses?” asked one woman in her 70s, identified only as ‘Maria’.</blockquote>

Well, let’s see, maybe you’d have less priests sexually abusing people if you didn’t provide them with as much temptation?

Maybe the Church *has* been dealing with it?

Maybe, as Pope Benedict said earlier this year, the Church rightly sees the sex abuse crisis as an indication of the problems of the post-Vatican II Church getting too lax about matters of discipline?

Rudy Giuliani famously turned around the crime rate in NYC by enforcing laws against littering and graffiti.   Same principle applies