Monthly Archives: May 2011

Larry King and Tavis Smiley are Racists

I happened to hear a few moments of the _Tavis Smiley Show _ on PBS, in an installment where the host was “turning the tables” and having special guest Larry King interview him on his own show about his upcoming book.

Smiley was making a very good point about, as he puts it, “failing up”–turning incidents of failure into opportunities–and gave the example that our abortionist-in-chief, Barack Obama, “failed his way up” by losing some elections.  Then King notes, “Plus, he kind of won by good luck because he had a terrible opponent,” and Smiley agrees, “Yeah, he did have a terrible opponent.”

Now, of course, to start with, Obama’s opponent in the 2004 Illinois Senate race was the disgraced Jack Ryan, ex-husband of _Star Trek_ star Jeri Ryan, who resigned from both the election and political office because of a very outrageous sex scandal.   However, his actual opponent in the election was former Ambassador Alan Keyes, Ph.D., who is of course one of my personal political heroes.  Dr. Keyes started the whole “birther” movement in that election in a notorious debate moment (later suppressed by the MSM) where he pointed out that Obama did not meet the requirements for the presidency because he wasn’t a natural born citizen, and Obama said, “Yes, but that’s irrelevant because I’m not running for president.”   Keyes also famously said that Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama, and no Christian could in good conscience vote for Obama, because Obama was not just “pro-choice” but opposed Born Alive Protection, something that even Hillary Clinton and NARAL are at least “neutral” on.  Any regular reader of this blog should know all this background, but it bears repeating.

So, either Smiley and King don’t consider Keyes to have been Obama’s “real” opponent,” or else they consider Keyes a “terrible opponent.”  Why?

This gets to the reason why Keyes has never won an election.  He is labelled a “bad candidate” by the media, constantly, and the good Republicans listen to their media masters just like they do about every Republican candidate who has any convictions and doesn’t suit the needs of the liberal media.

They cannot tolerate the idea that an African American man is a pro-life, constitutional strict constructionist conservative.  Hence, they are racists.

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Treatise Against Sedevacantism II: Bad Hermeneutics

The problem with Sedevacantism is it undermines every Catholic apologetic versus Protestantism or Orthodoxy. When it comes to considering the questions of Orthodoxy and Protestantism, a Catholic points out that the Catholic Church is the most truly “universal” form of Christianity, and the most truly evangelical. Protestant sects continually divide over every dispute. They have no sense of authority other than the “book.” They are very provincial. Orthodoxy is equally provincial, but doesn’t win converts. Only the Catholic Church has the full sense of what Christianity should be. If the sedevacantists are right, she doesn’t.

Most importantly, if the Seat is vacant, then where is our standard of authority? As Catholics, we are to see the primary authority not in any book but in the living authority of the occupant of the Chair of St. Peter. Sedevacantists are textual fundamentalists: they look at the pre-Vatican II texts, and the Vatican II texts, and they balk at any apparent contradiction. Rather than considering historical context. For example, Pius XII was condemning very specific things that were going on in specific countries at the time of his writing. Pius XII in many of the RadTrads’ favorite passages was writing to specific audiences about contexts that were specific to his day. It’s like today when a Pope writes about something going on in some dictatorship, and liberal Catholics take the teaching and assume it applies to what’s going on in the US.

Pius XII was very clear in defining what he was condemning: a certain notion of liberty or “freedom of conscience” which separates the individual from both society and the Church. He was specifically condemning radical libertarianism and the French model of “liberty.”

Meanwhile, certain passages from Paul VI get taken out of context, particularly the following from Paul VI (Address During the Last General Meeting of the Second Vatican Council, 7 December 1965):

Secular humanism, revealing itself in its horrible anti-clerical reality has, in a certain sense, defied the council. The religion of the God who became man has met the religion (for such it is) of man who makes himself God. And what happened? Was there a clash, a battle, a condemnation? There could have been, but there was none. The old story of the Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the council. A feeling of boundless sympathy has permeated the whole of it. The attention of our council has been absorbed by the discovery of human needs (and these needs grow in proportion to the greatness which the son of the earth claims for himself). But we call upon those who term themselves modern humanists, and who have renounced the transcendent value of the highest realities, to give the council credit at least for one quality and to recognize our own new type of humanism: we, too, in fact, we more than any others, honor mankind.

RadTrads are fond of quoting the above passage by starting with “The religion of the God who became man” but leaving out the part where Paul VI calls secular humanism “horrid” and “anti-clerical.” He says secular humanism has “defied the Council,” yet the sedevacantists try to use this very passage, inexplicably, to accuse Paul VI of secular humanism!!!tw

A similar conflict occurred in the late Renaissance.  In the Renaissance, two forms of “humanism” emerged: one embodied by Erasmus, and the other by St. Thomas More.  More was criticized by many in the Church merely for being a “humanist”, even though his humanism was not in conflict with Catholic teaching.

A few centuries earlier, St. Thomas Aquinas was criticized for trying to reconcile Aristotle to the fath.

Why is it evil for a Pope to suggest a different approach to dealing with the world, an approach of sympathy?  I cannot understand what there is to object to in this passage, unless one is admitting to a view of judgementalism and hatred?

In my Carmelite group, which has some pretty brilliant people, including two highly trained theologians, it always strikes me that I’m the only one trained in literature, and while I often regret that I never got a theology degree, it amazes me now how much my literature degree has helped me better understand theology.

Text is always open to interpretation, reinterpretation and misinterpretation.  Text is never absolute.  As Catholics, we know we must look at the Bible through the guidance of the Church.  We know that the Biblical authors were writing in historical contexts that we must understand to fully understand what they’re saying.  We know that the Biblical authors were addressing specific audiences about specific issues, and we must consider those audiences and issues.

Did Jesus have “brothers” or “brethren”?  Or did Jesus speak a language, Aramaic, which had one word for both?  When Paul says things about fasting or eating meat, was he talking about Catholic disciplinary practices or was he talking about things the Gnostics were doing?  We understand, as Catholics, that we must read the Bible with the Church’s guidances, yet somehow radical traditionalists think they can read the Church’s documents without the Church’s guidance and take them out of context.

If the Church tells me how to read a document, I’m going to listen to the Church’s guidance on how to read that document. My job as a Catholic is to believe in order to understand.  I trust my own reason only so far, and I do not presume the arrogance to think that I’m smarter than, say, Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Dulles or Cardinal Arinze or certainly Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict.

_Sherlock_: Post-_House_ Holmes

This weekend, on Netflix, I discovered a new BBC/WGBH co-produced series called Sherlock. It takes Holmes and Watson and moves them into the Twenty-First Century. The producers said they wanted to recapture the characters for audiences by moving the setting and not necessarily following the canon, but I get the sense of the influence of _House_ and _Monk_, as well. Certainly a lot of cliches of the genre, but watching the pilot movie _A Study in Pink_ (they did 3 movies in 2010 and have 3 more coming up in 2011), I caught a lot of things that could have been “ripped” from _House_ or _Monk_, which is only fair.

I don’t recognize the dude who plays Holmes, but he’s *very* good.

Martin Freeman, “Tim” from the original UK The Office, plays Dr. John Watson, who in this case is a veteran of the contemporary Afghanistan war as opposed to the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–1880). Watson has a leg injury and limp which may be real or psychosomatic, which obviously evokes Dr. Greg House but also plays on the inconsistent way Conan Doyle treats Watson’s leg in the books.

Their choice of how to handle Lestrade evokes something of Capt. Stottlemeyer on _Monk_, and I kept waiting for them to say that Holmes was an ex-cop. There are two cops who can’t stand him-DI Lestrade’s sergeant, whose name I don’t recall but they should call her “Gregson”, and a forensics guy named Anderson. In a scene reminiscent of both _Monk_ and _Psych_, though again potentially cliche, Holmes deduces that the two are having an affair, and the Sergeant spent the night at Anderson’s house–because she’s wearing his deodorant.

Interesting that forensics basically exists because Conan Doyle pioneered the idea through Holmes, and that is one of the challenges here. As shows like _Monk_ have handled the problem, they emphasize Holmes’ ability to see the significance things that others don’t catch, such as a victim’s death note actually being her computer password, or the victim’s coat being wet in a pattern that indicates she was recently in the rain (he whips out his Smart Phone and looks up where within a 2 hour radius of London it had rained that afternoon). The series definitely makes use of computer technology–in a more realistic manner than _Bones_ or _CSI_ but far more than contemporary whodunit shows like _Monk_ and _Psych_. The characters carry smart phones and netbooks, and Holmes doesn’t have to know everything in this version; just how to look it up.

He tells Watson that he knows he has a brother with whom Watson isn’t close who’s going through a divorce, probably due to alcoholism.
Watson asks how he figured that out. Holmes replies that Watson is an out of work Army doctor looking for a cheap rental to share, so he obviously doesn’t have a relative he’s close enough to stay with, nor a lot of relatives. The condition of Watson’s fancy smart phone indicates he got it for free, and the smart phone is inscribed “To Harry Watson, from Clara.” Holmes observes that the phone’s power connector has scratches like a person fumbled to plug it in all the time; unsteady hands most likely indicate alcoholism, especially in the context of Holmes’ hypothesis. The recent model phone was obviously a gift to “Harry” from “Clara,” so they’d have to be married to have such a fancy expensive gift, and separated or divorced for Harry to regift it to John Watson so quickly. Tying into the power supply thing, the divorce is probably over alcoholism.

Watson is astonished that Holmes got it “exactly” right. Holmes says, “I never get it exactly right; there’s always something.” Then Watson replies, “Clara gave Harry the phone 6 months ago for their anniversary, and they split up 3 months ago because of Harry’s alcoholism, but ‘Harry’ stands for ‘Harriet.'”

When Holmes and Watson arrive at 221B Baker Street for Watson to decide if he wants to rent the extra room, Holmes explains his rent is so cheap because he helped Mrs. Hudson a few years back when her husband was on trial in Florida for a potential death sentence. “And you got her off?” asked Watson. “No, I assured his execution,” Holmes replies dryly.

The cops keep warning Watson that Holmes is a psychopath, and that the day may come when he gets bored with solving murders and starts committing them. When Anderson calls Holmes a “psychopath” in his presence, Holmes snaps, “I am not a psychopath; I am a high-functioning sociopath. Do your homework.”

Plus, Watson gets abducted by one mysterious figure, who claims to be Holmes’ greatest friend and greatest enemy, while Holmes learns of another mysterious figure, a “fan” of Holmes (Holmes has a website) who financially sponsors promising murderers.

This is a great show. Too bad it wasn’t picked up for a full series but only the series of movies, but hopefully it will have as long a life as the classic BBC/PBS mystery movie series from the 80s and early 90s.

Treatise Against Sedevacantism 1: Compare and Contrast

Pope John Paul II kissed a book, to be polite.
Pope Alexander VI kissed a bunch of women, out of lust.
Pope John Paul II prayed with Muslims.
Pope Urban II preyed on Muslims.

The Church and history tells me the Crusades were “just wars.” I believe it. John Paul tells me that there’s a higher standard of behavior, and war is always a failure of humanity, and I believe that, too.

The Church tells me that the sins of Rodrigo Borgia do not constitute a violation of the Papacy because his personal sins do not constitute heresy. Yet the Sedevacantists would have me believe that the alleged personal sins of John Paul II–which may or may not even have been sinful in his case–constitute acts of heresy.

Now, it’s important to observe the caveat that they may or may not have been sins in his case: after all, intent is a key element of mortal sin, and those who judge these acts to have been mortal sins on JPII’s part are thereby judging his intent.

What I don’t get is why the sedevacantists tell me to honor the papacy of Alexander VI and not that of John Paul II? Why does some corrupt Medieval pope who lived in luxury and filth merit my respect, but John Paul–whose life exhudes evidence of living the Beatitudes–does not?
If I were to hold up the two and say, on the basis of actions, “Which is obviously an invalid Pope? Which of these is not living according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” The answer would not be John Paul II.

If sedevacantism is possible–and I’ll grant it’s theoretically possible–then there are a lot more presumptive popes throughout history who have been invalidated than just John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Hour of Mercy: Don’t forget the Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the Homeless
Visit the Sick
Ransom the Captive
Bury the Dead

Hour of Mercy: Jesus, I trust in You!

An Article Which Proves, Once Again, that the “Fashion” Industry is run by Gays

. . . And has nothing to do with what men actually find attractive, but men get blamed for supposedly holding women up to impossible standards. No, the impossible standards are set by homosexual “friends” who tell women they have to look like freaks.