Category Archives: ex corde ecclesia

The Time I got a Letter from Bill Donohue (sort of)

I maintain, therefore, that the common sociological method is quite useless: that of first dissecting abject poverty or cataloguing prostitution. We all dislike abject poverty; but it might be another business if we began to discuss independent and dignified poverty. We all disapprove of prostitution; but we do not all approve of purity. The only way to discuss the social evil is to get at once to the social ideal. We can all see the national madness; but what is national sanity? I have called this book “What Is Wrong with the World?” and the upshot of the title can be easily and clearly stated. What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right.

– GK Chesterton

Back in 1998, when the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights was still that, and not the sounding board for every personal opinion of Dr. Bill Donohue, I got a survey that they sent out to people on their mailing list, asking my opinions on various matters of anti-Catholicism.  Instead of filling out the survey, I wrote a letter.  I explained how I really supported their work, but I felt that sometimes they emphasized the negative.  While some things need to be called out, criticized, boycotted or whatever (Nothing Sacred), sometimes they seemed to give undue attention to bad stuff that nobody would notice, and that was done purely to raise anger to begin with (a crucifix in a jar of urine).  On the other hand, they never seemed to draw attention to what was right, and I gave some examples of positive portrayals of Christianity or Catholicism in popular culture that ought to get some attention.
A few weeks later, I got a letter in the mail.  “Dear Mr. Hathaway, I am Dr. Donohue’s personal secretary.  He was very impressed that you took the time to write a response to our survey, and he wanted me to write and thank you, and say how he’s going to try to do what you suggest,” or something to that effect.
A few days after that, Dr. Donohue wrote a glowing review of The Prince of Egypt.  

As Mother Angelica says in one of the opening sequences that have been merged into one in the reruns of the past 13 years, “The essence of evangelization is to tell everybody ‘Jesus loves you.'”  There is a reason why people who hate Christianity think we’re all the same as Westboro Baptist: because sometimes we act like that.  When all we say is what’s wrong with the world, and I know I have often come off that way, to my shame, we look like we’re hiding an inner thought that “God hates everybody”–and maybe we are.

Someone was recently listing the Cardinal Newman Society with “Church Militant TV” (aka “Real Catholic TV,” aka Michael Voris).  The difference is that a) the Newman Society is an actual organization and not just one podcaster with a professional studio, and b) the Newman Society doesn’t just go around attacking Catholic colleges that aren’t living up to the faith.  It also helps students, provides campus ministry support, and praises colleges that are doing it right.

That’s what Vatican II was trying to say, and really what we’ve been reminded over and over, from the Gospel itself to Pope Francis, including by St. Francis de Sales, who is credited with coining the proverb “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”


Thank you, Bishop Jugis!

The Most Rev. Peter J. Jugis, JCD, bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte, NC, has finally come to the defense of Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, OP, STD, of the St. Cecilia Mother House and Aquinas College in Nashville, TN, saying he found nothing wrong with her talk and that she’s always welcome in his diocese!!
Meanwhile, Deacon Greg Kandra shares an anonymous email from a mom at one of the Charlotte Middle Schools that supports Charlotte Catholic High School, saying that the majority of parents there really are faithful Catholics and are usually very supportive of Fr. Matthew Kauth.  She claims the dissenters are a very vocal minority who fed the controversy with support from outside forces, that most of the parents were mainly upset about the consent issues (the aspect to which I agreed).
If you took the time, as I did, to request this action, please also take the time, as I did, to thank His Excellency.

Apparently an STD doesn’t Qualify A Nun to Talk about STDs (so to speak)

So, thanks to screaming protests and threats by thousands of “parents” at a Catholic high school in Charlotte, NC, not only has Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, OP, STD, of the St. Cecilia Dominican Congregation and its affiliated Aquinas College in Nashville, TN, been disinvited from future speaking engagements in the Charlotte Diocese: she has now “voluntarily” stepped down from both speaking and even teaching at the famously orthodox college.

Why has Sr. Jane been subjected to more censure than the “nuns on a bus” or the Leadership Conference of Women Religious or the National Coalition of American Nuns?
For citing studies that argue that homosexual inclinations are learned, not innate and supposedly for stepping outside the range of her academic expertise!

I’m sure if a nun had said, “Studies prove homosexuals are born that way and have no control over their behavior,” the few parents who might have voiced objections would have been ignored.

If the expression of the Truth is not safe in those circumstances, an orthodox nun from an orthodox order and college speaking at the invite of an orthodox pastor under an orthodox bishop, we’re all doomed.

The “parents” who came to the “parents only” meeting and apparently exceeded the number of enrolled families should be ashamed.   The injustice of this whole thing breaks my heart.

The Real Problem

One of the claims that gets floated around in the internecine disputes of the Catholic blogosphere is that So-and-so is attacking “good Catholics” or “good pro-lifers.” Supporters of the American Life League/Human Life International approach argue (as I do) that the incrementalist approach of the National Right to Life Committee is self-defeating, while the NRLC-supporters say that the ALL/HLI types are unrealistic. Those who question certain methodologies (e.g., the infamous example of lying to Planned Parenthood in the name of “exposing the truth” or the question of whether to show graphic images of aborted babies) are accused of “attacking pro-lifers” and serving the enemy. Michael Voris attacks Catholic Answers and EWTN people for “making money off of apologetics,” and they call him a demagogue (and both criticisms arguably have some merit). Both “sides” accuse each other of driving people away from the Church.
The fact remains that the vast majority of Catholics in America do not vote for Democrats because a handful of online Distributists argue against *both* Capitalism and Socialism but because their pastors and the mainstream media tell them the Church supports socialism.
They do not support legalized abortion because a handful of online pro-life Catholics have questioned the methods of certain “pro-life” groups but because their parents or grandparents taught them Catholicism was about “not pushing their morals on other people,” and their pastors constantly teach “Judge not.”
They do not oppose traditional liturgical practices and approaches to catechesis because of what some blogger or apologist has said: for most of them, everyone from EWTN and Catholic Answers to Michael Voris to the Society of St. Pius X are “traditionalists,” and “traditionalist” is defined by their pastors as “Old people who don’t like the changes of Vatican II, and we’re just waiting for them to die off.” For them, Vatican II, defined by their pastors, Nuns on the Bus and the Mainstream Media, is this vast “progressive” overhaul of the Church that rendered all previous teaching and praxis obsolete (the “hermeneutic of rupture”). So while “conservatives” fight among themselves, the majority of Catholics in our country waddle on in indifference and ignorance, welcoming people like John Dominic Crossan and Richard McBrien to speak at their parishes.

Religion is more than just something to do on Sunday

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” –G.K. Chesterton

Football season is beginning. It always strikes me that people who are afraid to talk of “politics and religion” for fear of offending friends or relatives will get into absolute feuds over football. Meanwhile, they treat politics and religion the way they treat sports: a form of recreation; merely something to do on the weekends.
The other thing that football has in common with politics and religion is that people generally seem to choose their religious and political affiliations the way they pick their football teams: as a form of patriotism, or because of their families (either to show loyalty or spite their families), or because of their friends. Thus, just as they support the Steelers, or the Redskins, or the Browns, or the Panthers because of where they happen to live, people tend to simply accept (or reject) their family’s religion or political party without necessarily thinking of *why* they support it.
Thus, people will speak of “religion,” as a concept, in ways that can be quite baffling. On the one hand, you have people who insist that they’re Catholic, even though they reject the Church’s teachings from transubstantiation to the evil of contraception to the very Incarnation itself, because “it’s too hard to leave the Church,” like She is some kind of blood cult or something. They’re attached (rightly) to the nostalgia evoked by the liturgy (particularly the infamous Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter liturgies), and they attribute the devotion of other Catholics to a kind of extreme nostalgia (hence the “People who want the Traditional Latin Mass are just old people who don’t like change” argument).
On the other hand, you have people who say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious,” meaning that they’re not affiliated with a particular denomination or worship service. “Religion” has come to be defined according to the Masonic view as something subservient to “society” or “culture” (which is the main reason the 18th Century popes condemned the Masonic Lodges). The “church” or synagogue, temple or mosque is treated as something like a Lodge: a place to meet every week, have some fun, engage in organized charities, and host major life events like weddings and funerals. The Sacraments become similar “life events”–Baptism (or “Christening”) becomes a ceremony to recognize a birth, and so the same young parents who were offended at the notion in pre-Cana counseling that they should live as Catholics become offended at the notion they must promise to actually raise their children Catholic. They participate in First Communion and Confirmation (aka “graduation from CCD”) for the same reasons. It’s really very sad.
Thus, both the nominal Catholic and the “spiritual” non-Catholic are baffled by the notion that any religion should claim to be superior or to actually teach the Truth about Divine and Human Nature. Theology is seen as arbitrary and superstitious. Ironically, though, the claim that all religions are equal and that people should have “freedom of worship” means that “religion” should not be extended into “public life.” It’s just something to do for an hour a week, and not to actually effect one’s life beyond some base common denominator of being a “decent person” or a “good citizen.” Any religion that claims to do *more* that that is immediately suspect for violating the commonly accepted definition of “religion” that the Masons have taught us for nearly 300 years.
So the Left has fought for legalization of so-called “same sex marriage,” insisting they only want “equal rights,” and that no one should feel threatened by it. Christians warned that it would lead to persecution of those who didn’t want to participate. Others insisted and continue to insist that it was about “marriage equality” and that opponents were “homophobic.” Yet, now that the Supreme Court has essentially legalized it nationwide by throwing out the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the California Proposition 8, a court has ruled that Christian photographers cannot refuse to photograph gay weddings, a Christian bakery has closed due to “LGBT” threats and protests, a millionaire “gay” couple has sued a church in the UK for not performing their “wedding,” and Ugandan homosexuals have sued a Christian evangelist for “crimes against humanity.” Yet, like Nancy Pelosi’s infamous comment on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), “conservative” Catholic literary critic Joseph Bottum argues that we have to allow gay marriage to happen to see if it might do some good.
The LGBTQ lobby is powerful, as the UK case illustrates, precisely because it’s rich, but also because of “well meaning” Christians who think it’s about “fairness,” and others who don’t think that “religion” shouldn’t intrude on the “public sphere.” It’s the same reasoning behind the HHS contraception mandate: the alleged “right” to violate Natural Law supersedes the right of employers to chose not to engage in material cooperation. Indeed, the notion of “material cooperation” goes over most people’s heads or is used in the opposite of its intent.

Who is Really “Marginalized” in the Church?

The resignation of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has led the media to engage in one of their favorite passtimes: berating the “controversial” teachings of the Catholic Church, and expressing hope that the Church will “listen to” allegedly “marginalized” Catholics who “have no voice” in the Church by changing controversial “policies” such as teaching the objective truths that male gender is a material requisite for the priesthood, or that abortion, contraception and homosexual behavior are intrinsically evil.

This idiotic article is just one more example of this claim. What struck me about this particular authress’s screed is that she talks of nuns who complain about being “marginalized,” and that really ticked me off.

It is a popular meme of liberal Catholics that Jesus “embraced those who were marginalized.” Like most lies, that’s partially true. However, Jesus also *called* on His followers to *become* marginalized. The fundamental difference between an orthodox and a liberal Christian is our *reaction* to marginalization. The orthodox believer recognizes that we must be marginalized by the world in order to live out the Evangelical Counsels, that marginalization is the path the holiness. The liberal believer sees marginalization as a bad thing, and fights against it.

But whatever they want to say about the “official” teachings of the Church, these people have been running things for quite some time.

I have been “marginalized” by liberal Catholics my entire life.

Every liturgical document from Sacrosanctum Concilium to Liturgiam Authenicam to Redemptionis Sacramentum to Summorum Pontificum has emphasized the importance of Latin as the official liturgical language of the Roman Rite. When B16 called the world synod of bishops shortly after his accession, they voted by a huge majority to promote the use of Latin and to mandate that multilingual congregations offer Mass in Latin as opposed to the vernacular. The documents all say Mass should be primarily in Latin. Where Vatican II gives options, the preference is supposed to be on the more “traditional” option. And as B16 noted in Summorum Pontificum, the Tridentine liturgy was never “suppressed,” so it never should have required an “indult.” Strange that Vatican II options which were *supposed* to require indults–reception in the hand, use of lay ministers of communion–have become commonplace and are considered almost obligatory, yet there has been every effort made to suppress the Traditional Latin Mass. Who is voiceless and marginalized?

I have never heard homilies in favor of Latin or of traditional liturgical practices at “ordinary” Ordinary Form liturgies. I have heard such homilies frequently at extraordinary form masses, or ordinary form Masses in Latin, or Eastern liturgies–situations where the priests were literally “preaching to the choir.” I have never heard an “ordinary” priest give a homily at a vernacular Mass trying to explain why traditional liturgical forms are good. I *have*, however, heard priests preach from the altar that they wished traditionalists would all die off and stop bugging everyone. I have heard priests say from the altar that they “hope this pope will die so we can get a new pope who will get rid of all the rules” (this back in the days of John Paul II). I have heard priests say from the pulpit or other public venues that Latin is to be discouraged because it scares people away and people don’t understand it. I have heard priests preach about how wonderful all the changes “Vatican II made” supposedly are, even though many of the things they’re talking about were never mentioned by Vatican II and actually defy the explicit teachings of the Council.

Speaking of which, I’ve heard and read the claim that the Society of St. Pius X is “heretical” or schismatic because one must accept all the teachings of the Council to be Catholic, even though Pope Paul VI said otherwise and Pope Benedict has frequently critiqued certain aspects of the Council. Yet if that is the case, then why is there no action taken against liberal Catholics who openly defy express teachings of the Council, such as S.C.’s order that the Church provide classes in Latin to all laity?

Then there are the moral issues? Who’s really marginalized when Catholics with “large families” are mocked by their fellow Catholics, openly, and even at or after Mass? When I got engaged, and asked my pastor about NFP classes, he scoffed, and said, “I only know 2 families in the parish who are into that stuff. It’s not that important. You can just use birth control; it’s OK. If you really want to, I can give you the numbers of those couples, because I wouldn’t know anything about it.” At the same meeting, he told me he helped *design* his diocese’s Engaged Encounter Program, yet he claimed to know nothing about NFP! (Thankfully, a lot has changed since then, and many diocese in the SE are using Family Honor, but I’m not sure if it’s part of the official pre-Cana process yet). I was grateful he told me we could do it in any diocese we wanted, since we were a long-distance engagement, so long as we provided the parish with a certificate. So we did our Engaged Encounter with the Diocese of Arlington, where about 1/3 was Theology of the Body and about 1/3 was NFP.

My wife once went to a lecture by the diocesan interfaith coordinator, shortly after the publication of _Dominus Iesus_, in which this priest insisted that then Cardinal Ratzinger was trying to “tie the hands of John Paul’s successor”! What a surprise for him that Cardinal Ratzinger *was* John Paul’s successor.

I have rarely been able to attend any parish meeting, adult class or spirituality group, or whatever, without grinding my teeth in frustration at the heterodoxy and dissent that are openly discussed, sometimes by people who have been educated in heterodoxy for so long that they don’t even know they’re material heretics! They *think* that traditionalists are the heretics who “don’t follow Vatican II,” and yet, if they actually took the time to read Vatican II, and compare the teachings of “both sides,” most Catholics would be shocked to discover that the Society of St. Pius X is far more in line with what Vatican *actually* teaches than what the habitless nuns and cassockless priests have told them for decades about the “spirit of Vatican II.”

This is why, when I read articles such as the one in the _Detroit News_, I get infuriated. And I get infuriated that, when traditional and conservative Catholics *express* their frustration at such articles, people say, “See?! That just proves traditionalists are vindictive and hateful!” During the Mother Angelica-Cardinal Mahony feud, Bishop Thomas Tobin, then of Mother’s hometown Youngstown, OH, wrote a fantastic piece (which I can’t find, so I have to link this article about it) in which he tried to play diplomat, but he observed that perhaps there is some justification in the anger of conservative Catholics who have been routinely shouted down and mocked since the Council.

Liberals run the religious ed programs and schools. They run the liturgy committees. They run most of the seminaries and diocesan vocation programs and–as many ex or would be seminary candidates, along with a few brave vocations directors and bishops have attested to–they specifically reject candidates they deem “too conservative” while promoting candidates who are at least friendly to liberals. Then they beat them down in the seminary with liberal indoctrination. And the religious houses have done the same thing, dwindling their numbers as they come to look like gay and lesbian communes, while the more orthodox communities are thriving. Yet as they get grayer and grayer, the “progressives” continue to insist they speak for “young Catholics.”

Where? Where are these “young Catholics” they claim to speak for? Why aren’t these “young Catholics” flocking to join liberal convents and liberal monasteries? If there are all these women who are supposedly “called the priesthood,” why aren’t they joining the LCWR affiliated convents in droves while they await their “dream pope” who will do all this for them?

And why is there no connection made to the fact that the Cardinal who *most* supported their “progressive” agenda has been completely disgraced as perhaps the worst offender when it came to covering up for sex-abuser priests–so much that other bishops knew he was the easy go-to man for re-assigning sex offenders to his diocese? Why is no one acknowledging that it was precisely Roger Mahony’s “liberal” attitudes towards homosexuality and sex that led him to support these priests?

But, no, liberals have no voice in the Church at all. Bloody hypocrites.

My latest Publication: _Les Miserables_ and the Index

It’s about responsibility.

We hear it over and over when a catastrophe like Sandy Hook occurs: “Ban guns!” “Ban video games!” and so forth.
What about personal responsibility? What about teaching morality?

The problem with Liberalism–and in this case I mean *all* liberalism, or humanism, the philosophy of the Enlightenment (i.e., “conservatism” used to mean resisting Modernism)–is that it’s a philosophy that denies personal responsibility. Because the Enlightenment teaches that people are fundamentally good–denying the dogma of Original Sin–Enlightenment thinkers are constantly looking for someone to “blame” for the behaviors we call “evil.” This is even more with the modern day “Left,” but it’s also true of the “Right,” and both sides have their pet “causes” they try to blame for acts of catastrophic evil.

Despite those atheists who try to say religion is the cause of evil (a perfectly acceptable Enlightenment argument–and, btw, as much as I love _Les Miserables_, it’s good to remember the novel was once on the Index, and for good reason), when one looks at the history of the world *before* Christ, and the changes Christianity has made in the world and in people, one has to say, “Where would be without Christ’s grace?”

Henry Nouwen tells the story about someone attacking him for allegedly “unChristian” behavior (I love how some people are quick to “judge” others on this vague notion of “unChristian behavior” but say “judge not” when it comes to clearly defined moral principles), and he says, “imagine what I’d be like if I weren’t a man of faith.” One of the things I keep thinking of since Sandy Hook is the Crusades. Here were men with Sacramental Grace, Catholics who were supposedly catechized, and they engaged in horrific acts which, whatever the justification of the wars originally, clearly violated “Just War” principles and were condemned by the Popes. The question should not be “why do people do evil,” but “why don’t people commit atrocities like this more often?”

Of course, we do. 2000-4000 children a day are murdered in the US, and nobody cares. You don’t even see “pro-life” presidents crying on TV and demanding change. You don’t see people raising a hue and cry over how abortion needs to end now.

My kids were asking questions about ratings for games and movies. “What does ‘M’ mean?” “What does ‘R’ mean?” I said, in soapbox mode, “In theory, they mean only adults are supposed to see them. In practice, they mean absolutely nothing.”

I explained that movie ratings are based upon a weird number system: so many occurrences of one swear word mean “R” and less than that is “PG-13,” but another swear word can be said a bunch of times and just be a PG, etc. Sometimes, a movie like _The Passion of the Christ_ gets an “R” and a movie gets a “G” or “PG” that anyone with an ounce of a moral compass would insist should have a PG-13 or R.

On the other hand, the ratings don’t even have any “power,” because parents and other adults DON’T PAY ANY ATTENTION. We had a great party the other night with members of our homeschooling group. A lot of the conversation revolved around _The Hobbit_ and _Les Miserables_ and, by extension, ratings and how to deal with children and media. We all had slightly different views on parenting and popular culture, but what we all agreed on was our responsibility to protect and form our children (obviously, or we wouldn’t be homeschooling).

One mom said how her nephew watches anything he pleases, and it’s problematic when her son goes to visit at her brother’s house. One time, her brother said, in astonishment, “He actually said, ‘I’m not allowed to watch that.’ I can’t believe he said that!” He was surprised because he just expected his son to always sneak around and do what he wants.

A few years ago, I happened to read an article about how some activist group, using the “buy stock” boycotting strategy, got a Catholic priest on the board of Best Buy, and he got it established as policy that clerks must ask for ID and only sell “R” rated movies and “M” rated games to adults. Just a few days after reading this, I happened to be in Best Buy and saw it in practice.

A little boy was in line in front of me. There was a woman behind him, and while they were of different races, I assumed she was the adult in charge of him, since the notion of a child apparently around 10 years old shopping by himself is already strange to me. The kid had a copy of one of the Wayans _Scary Movie_ films. The cashier told him he could not buy the DVD because he was under 18, and he had to get an adult. So he said he’d be right back, and she held up the line for him. As the rest of us waited, he returned with a young woman whom I believe was his sister, not his mother.

She grumbled about being inconvenienced, and instead of seriously questioning why the child wanted to buy the movie, or doing the responsible thing and telling him he shouldn’t, she instead complained to the cashier for inconveniencing her. The cashier explained apologetically that it was policy, with a tone of agreement that she thought the policy was stupid, and the woman complained some more. She at one point nominally turned to the boy and said something like, “Why do you want to buy a movie called _Scary Movie_, anyway?”
“It’s not REALLY scary. It’s funny, and I already saw it at a friend’s house.”

That was it.
1) How would one see the humor in a parody movie *unless* one had already seen at least some of the movies it was parodying?
2) If I had to choose one or the other, I’d rather my children see a ‘scary’ movie than a Wayans style comedy.
3) The ever-present danger of the “friend’s house,” and the problem that arises from placing one’s children in the care of irresponsible adults.
4) Why didn’t this “responsible adult,” whoever she was, have the slightest interest in protecting the kid’s soul?

Indeed, when adults *do* censor kids’ viewing, it often has little to do with moral formation and simply has to do with avoiding nightmares, or some such nonsense.

That’s what’s wrong with America, right there. That’s why we have events like Sandy Hook. And it’s something you’re not going to legislate easily in this country. If there’s an amendment we need to change to prevent mass murders, it’s not the Second: it’s the First.

Unless our government starts talking about Morality, which means Natural Law, which means the Catholic Church (see Benedict XVI’s Caritas et Veritate), this will continue to happen.

Unless families start taking real care for the moral upbringing of their children–their #1 duty and obligation as families-things like Sandy Hook will continue to happen. And that means various things. It means parents must be vigilant. It means parents must be very careful about who their kids’ friends are and who their own friends are. When kids see their parents engaging in or tolerating the very behavior they criticize in their children, it creates a double standard. It means questioning whether it’s safe to send their kids to public school or even parochial school, not because of the physical danger posed by the 1 in 1,000,000 chance a mass shooting will happen, but the very real and ever present spiritual danger posed by 8 year olds who read _Twilight_ (or worse) and play “vampires versus werewolves” on the playground.

I have a good friend who won’t let his children go to public restrooms unescorted, not just because of concern over perverts, but because he worries they’ll read the graffiti on the walls. We were dining together in November, and his daughters kept asking to use the bathroom. He was suspicious, and finally got his daughter to admit there was a TV in the restroom that they were watching.

All parents can and should be that vigilant. What’s more important: your children having a “college fund” or their immortal souls? Not to mention the damage a lot of material goods can do to our souls. Oh, wait. It’s impossible to risk someone’s soul, because people think Jesus is just gonna forgive absolutely everything they do and let them come straight into Heaven, and all that stuff about Sacraments and Penances and Purgatory is just a bunch of made-up Catholic nonsense. Jesus is a nice guy hippie dude who just wants everyone to have a good time, and He’ll understand because we’re doing it out of love. St. Augustine *did* say, “Love and do as you will,” right? (No, he didn’t: he said “love your duty and then do what comes of that”).

I have, of course, addressed this topic frequently, as I did in this post, where I quoted the actual version of an often misquoted story about St. Pio of Pietrelcina. A couple who were sad that their sons were all in jail asked him for a blessing. “I absolutely refuse to bless you! You didn’t pull in the reins when your children were growing up, so don’t come along now when they are in jail and ask for my blessing.” Bl. Louis Martin would not let his daughter’s read the newspaper (of course, in an example of how such absolute bans can backfire, his daughter St. Therese snuck around to read the newspaper to follow the case of the murderer Pranzine, whom she helped get into Heaven). Holy Mother Teresa of Avila was bothered by some lifelong sin habit that she never specifically discloses. Some insist that it was scruples, but whatever it was, she implies in her _Life_ it was a sin against chastity–and she said that despite her temptations, she never crossed certain lines because she did not want to bring scandle to her family–she once got up the nerve to tell her father, and he practically disowned her.

Why can’t we have that style of parenting today? Why have parents become so permissive, so afraid of actually rearing their children? You can ban whatever you like, but until *that* changes, our society will just see worse and worse violence. After all, children who are not taught a modicum of self-control are not going to care about what the government bans, either. They’re just going to want it all the more because it’s banned.

Do Liberals Always Think We’re Angry Because *They’re* So Angry?

In his short-lived sitcom Bob, Bob Newhart played a cartoonist who had been a popular comic book writer a generation before and was hired by a comic book firm to work with a hip young writer on reviving the superhero he created with a “gritty,” 90s approach. In the show’s most memorable scene, often used in ads, the younger writer encourages Bob to express his anger in his work.
“But I don’t have any anger,” says Bob.
“Show me your anger, Bob!” shouts the other guy.
“I don’t have any anger.”
They go back and forth a few times, until “SHOW ME YOUR ANGER, BOB!”
Until Bob finally screams, angrily, “I DON’T HAVE ANY ANGER!!!”

One of the surest ways to incite someone to anger is to claim they’re angry when they’re not, and a favorite debate tactic of liberals is to accuse conservatives of being angry, especially when we’re giving impassioned defenses of causes like the Right to Life. Ever since those early 1990s, the racist, sexist expression “Angry white males” has been used to dismiss conservatives.

So, the other day, after what I’ll admit became a bit of an angry Facebook discussion with a self-proclaimed daily Mass attending Catholic who supports gay marriage and opposes the Church’s right and obligation to tell the State what to do in matters of Natural Law, I posted a reflection on how we often speak of “poorly catechized” Catholics, but there are actually a lot of *badly* catechized Catholics. Some woman who, from what I can discern from her blog isn’t Catholic but likes to post a lot of anti-Catholic stuff, posted an extremely condescending comment with three points:

1) She claimed that my mission statement is a lie because I oppose Obama. Apparently, she thinks that abortion and eugenics constitute support of children and disabled people.
2) She approved of my interlocutor’s disrespect for the Pope, made condescending comments about how she presumed I must have been “dismissive” in my tone, and how people have to be nicer to each other when debating vital moral truths, and how I ought to be capable of seeing some good in my interlocutor’s demonic positions in support of government-endorsed sin.
3) She said she sensed a lot of “anger” in my post.

Hmm, that’s funny, since I thought in the post in question I was being fairly neutral, if not expressing dismay and sorrow that so many Catholics have been misled about what Catholicism is. I sometimes confuse Ven. Fulton Sheen’s observation that not 1 person hates the Catholic Church but millions hate what they think the Catholic Church is with GK Chesterton’s observation that Christianity has not been tried and found wanting but found difficult and not tried. It is also Fulton Sheen who said, after the infamous Land of Lakes convention that fomented dissent against Humanae Vitae in Catholic universities, that the worst thing a Catholic parent can do is send their child to a Catholic college.

Ironically, as I noted in my previous post, I had baited my “Catholic” interlocutor at one point the other night with a charge that he had been brainwashed by a secular education, expecting him to say he had a Catholic education–since usually when I encounter someone who thinks they way he does, that person has been to 12 years of Catholic school, and probably has an MA in theology from one of several universities.

The first time I was suspiciously dismissed from a teaching job was at the first Catholic college I taught for online, when I had been careful to do everything they said, and had even done a great deal of work, unpaid, because I had been verbally offered classes several quarters in advance, only to be told at the last minute that my classes were assigned to someone else. “Did I do something wrong?” “No. We just had to give your classes to someone we hired after you.”

Later, I applied for a job with the online program of another university. My training went well, though I was uncomfortable with the notion they wanted me to do a semester of “training” unpaid. The very last training assignment was an essay on “diversity.” I was puzzled. I had never had to talk about “diversity” at any of the public or secular for-profit universities I’d worked for, so why at a Catholic school? Then I did a more careful perusal of the school’s main site to find they had an active “LGBT” program, including a Gay Rights Week on campus. So I wrote my essay on how great it was to finally teach at a Catholic institution and be able to incorporate my faith in the classroom, and I never heard from them again.

Anyway, I’m getting off track from this post’s intent.

Another time I was directly fired from a teaching job, this time at a for-profit college, it was nominally for cause (they always emphasized how gradebook and attendance errors could be grounds for immediate dismissal, and I had a couple due to entering the information in the computer the wrong way), I felt that the firing was not due to that. I had a couple openly homosexual students, and I found myself put on the spot at one point, and in the following class session, I was being observed again, when I had just had an observation a few weeks before, and a week after that I was called in to the dean’s office and fired. I was vindicated, however, when I saw the campus advertising for a dean and assistant dean later that quarter.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI, has said that he expects to die in bed, but he expects his successor to die in prison and his successor’s successor to be publicly executed. Archbishop Chaput has made very similar statements. As I’ve noted many times since last January, the Holy Father himself, addressing the US bishops at their ad limina visit, said the “gay rights movement” and the present administration pose an unprecedented threat to religious freedom in our country, particularly the freedom of the Catholic Church. The UK this year passed a “gay marriage” law that specifically requires churches to participate if they provide weddings to non-members. My interlocutor the other night kept insisting that legalizing gay marriage isn’t a threat to the church, even after I listed the number of ways that it is a threat to the Church and to heterosexual couples (for example: various government forms are now changing to say “Spouse 1” and “Spouse 2”, rather than “husband and wife”), including the stated goal of many homosexual activists–and many of my students whose papers I graded over the years–that they want to see the day when the Catholic Church, specifically, is forced to endorse gay marriage.

When Archbishop Levada was appointed prefect of the CDF by Pope Benedict XVI, a lot of people were concerned because of his compromise on San Francisco’s law requiring employers to provide benefits to gay couples. After unsuccessfully suing the city, Archbishop Levada said he was going to allow employees of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to name any adults who lived with them without paying rent to be “dependents”–thus not creating a special right for homosexuals but also providing a needed benefit for adult relatives who live together, etc. In a discussion with some other Catholics who were concerned about whether this made Levada a “liberal,” some of whom were from Canada, I asked what the justification was for the “gay marriage” movement in Canada. Here in the US they make impassioned arguments about legal property rights and insurance coverage, when Canada has socialized medicine. One fellow said, “They don’t make any pretense about it. They openly say their goal is to force the Catholic Church to recognize gay marriage.”

If I say that gay marriage creates a situation where it’s harder to protect my children from sin, that means I’m a “hater.” If I say that it’s frustrating to see so many openly gay characters on television, and how gay couples are becoming more and more prominent on TV, that somehow extrapolates (as my interlocutors the other night directly accused me of saying) that I want to kill gay people or something. No, it just means the same thing as why I try not to let my children see programs involving cohabitation. They still think of the Sixth Commandment as the _Veggietales_ “Dance with who brung ya,” and they think it’s gross when people who aren’t married kiss each other.

Canada is now saying that homeschooling families can’t teach Christian morals to their kids. Canada is saying that it’s “bullying” and “hate speech” to say that homosexual behavior is wrong. Members of the “Christian Left” will respond that we are all sinners, and that’s perfectly true. The other night, one of the guys I was arguing with (there were two, but one was more active than the other) pointed out that the only New Testament passages that explicitly mention homosexuality group it with drunkenness, theft and slander. I responded that I try not to let my children get exposed to drunks, thieves and slanderers, either, and that if someone started a movement to legalize drunk driving, theft and/or slander, people would object to that. That didn’t go over well, and I was accused of confusing bigotry with reason.

Again, angry liberals like to accuse conservatives of being angry when they don’t have a leg to stand on in their arguments.

Then there’s the famous, “It’s biological,” which I’ve addressed many times. My body’s propensity to have its arteries blow up is also biological. Just because I am, as “Lady Gaga” tells her followers, “Born that way,” doesn’t mean it’s God’s intention: the Church has that covered in the doctrine of Original Sin. Sociopaths, manic-depressives, addicts and schizophrenics are all, in some extent, born that way. That doesn’t mean we allow them to *stay* that way. My autistic children are “born that way,” and autism actually has a lot of redeeming qualities, but that doesn’t mean they should be permitted to throw self-destructive fits.

If there’s a biological basis for homosexuality, that doesn’t mean God intends it or it’s something good. I often mention the “study” a few years back where some geneticists got together and debated homosexuality: normally, a favorable genetic trait leads to individual health and procreation, and if something doesn’t meet those criteria, it’s a genetic defect. Homosexual behavior doesn’t lead to procreation, and it leads to all sorts of health problems. A logical conclusion would be that it’s a genetic defect, but these geniuses decided to redefine the standard for an advantageous evolutionary trait and say that homosexuality is a natural tool for population control! So much for survival of the fittest!

But, again, that’s hate. That’s anger. That’s bigotry.

When an unmarried woman gets up in front of Congress and claims that college students like herself have to spend close to $1000 a year on birth control, and someone calls her a “slut,” that’s dismissed as anger and bigotry.

I call it the little boy pointing out that the emperor’s naked.

There’s a difference between “Badly Catechized” and “Poorly Catechized.”

We often say the problems in the Church today, particularly in America, are due to “poor catechesis.” This is true. Indeed, but proper faith formation has been a problem before the past 50 years.

However, I often find that the problem is not just “poor catechesis” but “bad catechesis”: that is to say, people have been very well formed in a false conception of Catholicism.

Yes, I long ago learned to realize how very few people actually read the documents, or seem to get anything out of them when they read them, and there are a lot of people who just need to be informed. I also have encountered plenty of people who know what the Church teaches and simply reject it.

What still blows my mind, however, and deeply frustrates me are people who *are* well-read, who know what the Church teaches but insist that’s not what the Church “really” teaches, or that it’s wrong, people who think they are wonderful Catholics because they have inculcated a “Catholicism” that is totally alien to any kind of orthodox tradition. I assume this is a problem in other cultures, but I know it’s especially a problem in America, and was a problem in America long before Vatican II. After all, Leo XIII was well aware of the problem.

Europeans who emigrated to America came here in rejection of the authorities back in Europe, and often those authorities included the Church. This led to a breed of Catholicism that has been traditionally defiant and suspicious of the Vatican’s authority. In _Crisis_ back in the 90s, Fr. James Schall described the division we sometimes characterize too simply as “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics as “American Catholics versus “Roman Catholics”: although ironically the Catholics who emphasized their identity as “American Catholics” within the Church were more likely to balk at patriotism when it came to their secular lives.

So tonight I had a very long exchange with a fellow who brought forth all the standard talking points of both anti-Catholics and the “Catholic Left”: Crusades, Inquisition and all that. I’m surprised he didn’t bring up Galileo! He pulled out the recent claims that the Church only cared about marriage between a man and a woman after Aquinas and insisted the first millennium church endorsed “gay marriages”. He dismissed my every reference to Pius IX, Leo XIII, or even John Paul II or Benedict XVI (whom he insisted on calling “Ratzinger” and accusing of being a Nazi sympathizer).

Yet this fellow insisted he was a good Catholic, that Jesus’s primary teaching is “love” (in the words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I don’t think you know what it means”),and that I was just a bigot. He insisted that, by saying, “It’s wrong for people to try to force society to endorse their sins,” I was *actually* saying that some sins should be singled out as worse than others (well, objectively, that’s true).

I keep thinking that “Obama Catholics” are unaware that the Pope has said the present administration, in conjunction with the gay rights movement, poses an unprecedented America) threat to the Church. I keep thinking that “Obama Catholics” are unaware of the numerous statements by bishops about the threat posed to freedom of religion (a message the Pope told them to speak about in that same speech), a threat posed not just by the HHS contraception mandate, not just by Obamacare’s infringements on individual conscience, but by the “gay marriage” movement and the trend towards labelling the Bible “hate speech.”

But, no. They’re very much aware, and they just say, “Non Serviam.” They still buy into the “We Are Church” mentality and see the Pope as an out-of-touch German guy. Since he served unwillingly in the Hitler Youth, they speak of him as if he personally participated in the Holocaust. They apply the same principles they use about Catholicism today–“Lots of Catholics use birth control, so birth control is OK for Catholics”–and extend them to the past. Thus, if they can dig up some Catholic priest or bishop in 800 AD who seemed to approve of homosexuality, in spite of the statements to the contrary in the Fathers, they say, “The early Church approved of homosexuality.”

If they can find some Catholic priest in the US who endorsed slavery, it’s “The Catholic Church endorsed slavery,” and when told about papal statements going back centuries that condemned slavery, they insist that the Popes approved of it because they didn’t excommunicate Catholics who supported it (they did).

If they find some Catholic bishop who was a racist, then the Church was racist.

It’s maddening, but it’s a deeply ingrained worldview that comes from generations of American Catholics who have gradually adopted beliefs that are more Masonic than they are Catholic. It comes from their easy adoption of secular thought and the falsely Catholic ideologies they have encountered among their religion teachers.

A Periodic Reminder about Subsidiarity in Education

A friend of ours just got her kids kicked out of a Catholic school because she stood up for her and her children’s rights under Canon Law. It’s obvious these school officials have no concept of Canon Law or Catholic doctrine, and one wonders if they even believe in Jesus Christ to treat a dedicated family so uncharitably.

Here’s a great article about Homeschooling in Canon Law, which takes the argument that “Catholic schooling is the norm, and homeschooling is the exception,” to task. It is also great material for those Catholic parents who opt for Catholic school and but heads with administrators and pastors:

Some gems from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2217 As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”22 Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so.
. . . .
2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.

2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.”31 Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:

He who loves his son will not spare the rod. . . . He who disciplines his son will profit by him.32

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.33

2224 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies

. . .
2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

From Bl. John Paul II, _Letter to Families_ (1994), section 16:

Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents. They share their educational mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State. But the mission of education must always be carried out in accordance with a proper application of the principle of subsidiarity. This implies the legitimacy and indeed the need of giving assistance to the parents, but finds its intrinsic and absolute limit in their prevailing right and their actual capabilities. The principle of subsidiarity is thus at the service of parental love, meeting the good of the family unit. For parents by themselves are not capable of satisfying every requirement of the whole process of raising children, especially in matters concerning their schooling and the entire gamut of socialization. Subsidiarity thus complements paternal and maternal love and confirms its fundamental nature, inasmuch as all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization.

If the Catechism is as dogmatically binding as some people believe it is, then arguably a lot of Catholic school officials are in states of heresy, or something approximating it.

If only more Bishops were Pro-Life, or “How Islam Gave Us Nancy Pelosi”

We all know that there was a concerted effort by many bishops, priests and theologians in the 1960s to tell everyone the Pope would soon permit birth control (even though Bl. John XXIII condemns it in _Mater et Magistra_). What is lesser known is that some bishops actually *squelched* efforts by *Democratic* Catholic politicians to fight contraception. I once read how Chicago’s legendary mayor Daley organized a movement against legalization of contraceptives–till the archbishop of Chicago told him to stop because supposedly the Church was going to permit contraception. Then there’s how “Fr.” Drinan told the Kennedys to adopt a pro-choice position (I always forget if this infamous meeting took place during JFK or RFK’s campaign, but it’s well-documented).

Fr. Bing Arellano can be a bit of a “nut,” but when I went to a conference he gave in Atlanta a few years ago, before the stuff about the USCCB and the Canadian Bishops’ funding of pro-abortion organizations became a public issue, he claimed evidence that back in the 1980s, the US Bishops were giving millions to pro-abortion groups (turned out they were doing so more recently than that).

It was of course another Archbishop of Chicago, Joseph Bernardin, who gave us the “seamless” garment notion that blurs the prioritzation of “respect life” issues, even to the point of putting racism and health care on par with abortion or the death penalty. Regardless of whether people agree that the “death penalty” is a “pro-life” issue (and Bl. John Paul II, the late John Cardinal O’Connor, and even Fr. Frank Pavone all say it is), I think it’s pretty obvious that there’s a difference between directly killing someone and something like “racism” or health care–unless, of course, you’re the kind of person to believe the “Mitt Romney killed my wife” ad.

Ever since I finally read (or perhaps reread, as I think I read it in high school) Etienne Gilson’s classic _Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages_, I’ve wanted to write a piece called “How Islam Gave Us Nancy Pelosi.” When Greek wisdom was re-introduced to the west after centuries of “Dark Ages”–which were really a time of great Christian enlightenment, where the Greek “wisdom” was just considered irrelevant to the spiritual journey–it came via Muslim translations and commentaries, of Greek to Arabic and back to Latin, or even of Greek to Latin to Arabic and back to Latin . So there was some translation error, and since these translations were done as commentaries by Avicenna and Averroes (Latinizations of their names), their commentaries colored the texts.

Aristotle was, at the time, end and all and be-all of what we now call “science,” and Aristotle’s “science” contradicted Scripture–for example, Aristotle said the universe is eternal (a question about which scientists still debate). How did you reconcile Aristotle with “Creationism”?

Averroes attempted to answer this question first, in turn borrowing from Avicenna and the Jewish philosopher Maimonides before him. “Eastern” and “Western” thought is separated primarily by the question of paradox versus the law of identity. Aristotle, building on Socrates and Plato, established the principle of identity and the principle of non-contradiction: a thing is what it is. Something cannot be BOTH A AND B. It cannot be BOTH A AND -A. Two objects cannot co-exist in the same space. This principle (which I once tried to illustrate using symbolic logic on an Aristotle exam, prompting the professor to write “Uncle!” in the margin) underlies all Western thought, but is alien to many non-Western cultures.

Islam is an eastern religion, and relies on many things that Westerners would consider paradoxes. For example, the Bible is to be honored as the Word of God, but recognized as also corrupt. Jews and Christians are “People of the Book,” but there’s the ambiguity about whether we are “Infidels” or not. Meanwhile, Plato had taught his famous notion of the “noble lie,” that “mythology” is a “noble lie” taught to the people because they cannot understand philosophy. Plato said that myths and philosophy teach the same concepts, but mythology allegorizes them to be palatable to the public’s level of intelligence.

To a certain extent, Catholic philosophy even adopts that notion–as even Augustine and some of the other early Fathers recognized a level of allegory and symbolism in Genesis.

However, Averroes took it to a new level and said, basically with Plato, that the Bible and Aristotelian science didn’t *have* to be reconciled. A person could believe *both*. He took Plato’s argument that the Bible is just a symbolic expression of the truth’s of philosophy, and that religion is subservient to philosophy, just a menas of expressing philosophy to the people, but he departed from Plato in that Plato’s philosopher kings are supposed to acknowledge that *to themselves*. Averroes held that people had to believe *both* the “noble lie” of the Bible *and* the philosophy of Aristotle, but in the fashion of Eastern logic, he argued that these truths could be confined to different spheres of life.

So it was Averroes who gave us the concept of the “secular world,” that we can hold one set of beliefs in our religious lives but an entirely different set in our “secular” lives. This idea set in in the Universities in France. The work of Scotus, Aquinas and Bonaventure was a reaction against this trend in philosophy.

However, as Gilson explains, Aquinas and his fellow Scholastics in some ways failed. Averroeism remained entrenched in Catholic universities for centuries. So while we may rightly condemn Masonry, Modernism, etc., for the problems in the Church, they also date back 800 years.

When America arose, it gave Averroeism within the Church a new impetus: it became known as “Kennedy Doctrine,” though in turn it can be found in the writings of John and Charles Carroll, as well: religion is a private business, to be kept private and at church, and civic virtue is another matter. The “heresy of Americanism,” condemned by Leo XIII, kind of covers a lot of things, but one of the things it covers is the relegation of religion to a private sector in return for a secular virtue in public.

I don’t know if Gilson ever explained in another work how this entrenchment operated from the 11th to the 18th century, but it’s clear how it manifested itself in America. Then came the infiltration of the Church, and the Masonic and Communist infiltrators used the existing foundation of Averroeist philosophy to teach priests and bishops to hold the same view.

And it was these priests and bishops who went around in the 1960s and told Catholics both that it was OK to use contraception and that not only should they not fight efforts to legalize contraception, they should *support* those efforts.

Some people have their knickers in a twist over the fact that radical pro-death philosopher Peter Singer has been invited to speak at Georgetown. Now, the circumstances are very important: is he being presented as an “esteemed” philosopher? Is he being presented in some honorary fashion such as a graduation speech? Or is he being presented as a speaker whose views need to be heard, even though we disagree with him?

Pro-life Catholic Robert George is often pitted as Singer’s arch-rival because they both teach at Princeton. They are often presented on a “joint ticket” debating with each other.

The purpose of a debate in the fields of rhetoric or law/political science is to win over public opinion and possibly change the other person’s mind.
The purpose of a debate in the field of philosophy is to take an opinion and strip it down to the person’s first principles.
That’s why George says he ultimately doesn’t have much to debate against Singer about. Singer is at least honest that the entity in the womb is the same as the entity out of the womb. He only differs from us in *how* that entity is to be treated, so from a philosophical perspective, there is little to debate with him about. He is clear on the logical connections between his first principles and his conclusions. Changing his first principles is a matter for prayer. Other pro-choicers would do well to at least learn Singer’s consistency, and hopefully hearing his views will change the minds of people who think they’re “pro-choice” but fail to realize the implications of that viewpoint.
George says that Singer’s views *need* to be heard because they expose the truth of the “pro-choice” viewpoint that most “pro-choice” people are in denial about.

If it looks like a Prostitute and acts like a Prostitute. . . .

Some poorly educated Georgetown Law Student named Sandra Fluke has decided to make herself the poster girl for forcing the Catholic Church to not only condone but provide birth control but pay for it.  Actually, she enrolled in Georgetown precisely to force the university to provide birth control.

Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute,” and now he’s being condemned for his “abhorrent” comments.  Baby-Killer in Chief Barack Obama called Fluke to offer his support

First, since when is “slut” offensive?  1980s sitcoms like _The Golden Girls_ and _Cheers_ used in practically every episode.

It shows how poorly educated this Fluke person is that she doesn’t know that St. Augustine said any woman who uses birth control is a prostitute.

It’s like the famous story of G. B. Shaw asking the actress, “Would you sleep with me for a milllion pounds?”
Actress: “My goodness!  Well, I’d certainly think about it.”
Shaw: “Would you sleep with me for a pound?”
Actress: “Certainly not!  What kind of woman do you think I am?!”
Shaw: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.”

Our society is full of prostitutes.  The fact that they provide men with sexual favors in return for a few free drinks or dinner and a movie doesn’t make them any less prostitutes than the ones who do it for cash: it’s just a question of the price.

I was recently having a fairly respectful exchange with a secular feminist woman on a thread started by a FB friend who’s a convert.  My friend told me she hoped the conversation would stay civil, and she was focusing on birth control from a purely scientific perspective and was worried one of her Catholic friends might come off as too judgemental.  So I pulled some punches, and it was a very interesting conversation.

I pointed out that it baffles me how the people who tell us not to eat at McDonald’s, not to smoke, not to drive without seatbelts, etc., suddenly start protesting about personal choice regarding sex, that the people who talk about the brainwashing techniques used by corporate advertisers won’t acknowledge that the same brainwashing techniques are used by Planned Parenthood, that the people who expect people to use self control in all those other issues say self-control is impossible regarding sex.
“Well, the difference is that McDonald’s isn’t healthy for you, but sex is healthy.  It’s a great form of exercise and promotes emotional health.”
I replied that that’s true of monogamy, but promiscuity is extremely unhealthy because of STD’s, and of course birth control pills don’t protect against STDs, so promoting birth control pills is promoting unhealthy behavior.

“Well, you can never be certain that your spouse is faithful to you, so being married and monogamous is no safer than being promiscuous.”

What a sad world so many people like this lady live in.

I read a story on FB a few years ago; I don’t know if it’s a true story or just a parable.  A Catholic mother was at a public school parent-teacher conference on “sex education.” She asked about including abstinence in the curriculum, and everyone, including the teacher, laughed at her.  The teacher insisted that abstinence didn’t work.  Angered, the woman didn’t say anything else and sat back, praying for guidance about what to say or do.

They broke up for social time, and the teacher said they’d close with a little exercise.  The Catholic mother refrained from social time since she was mad at everyone.  The teacher had all the parents take a slip of paper from a bowl before they began mixing.  After the social time, she asked everyone to return to their desks.  She said, “Pull out your paper.  One of you has a slip of paper with an “X”.  Please raise your hand.”  One father raised his hand.
The teacher said, “That ‘X’ represents an STD.   Let’s say that shaking hands represents sex.  Who shook hands with Mr. __?”
All those people raised their hands.
“OK, now: who shook hands with *them*?”
By now, all but the one lady were raising their hands.
“This shows that you can never be sure who has an STD, and any time you have sex, you’re putting yourself at risk of an STD.”
The Catholic lady shook her head and said, “I can be sure.”
The teacher, indignant, said, “Oh, yeah, why?”
“Because I abstained.”

In one sense, I’d agree  that “abstinence’ education doesn’t work, because you can’t teach morality from a purely secular standpoint.  But if we taught *chastity*, and especially theology of the body, then that’s a whole different matter.  That’s not to say people won’t sin.  That’s not to say that people who are genuinely in love can’t get overwhelmed by passion.  But it’s certainly better to have a situation where people follow the old fashioned rules about shame and honor, and sometimes make mistakes (and then own up to those mistakes with commitment) than to have the current situation where people treat what should be the most honored human activity as a cheap form of self-destructive recreation, completely ignoring its import or its emotional impact while insisting on how “great” it is.

“Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman.”
–G. K. Chesterton 

Why Catholic Education in America is Totally Screwed Up

Even in the 1990s, we were hearing of Catholic schools being closed left and right, and it’s gotten worse with all the lawsuit garbage of the past decade. Meanwhile, the sense of Catholicism in Catholic schools, the orthodoxy of teaching, and the spiritual life have all been steadily declining since the 1960’s. Some of this is due to intentional agendas like the ones Dietrich von Hildebrand addresses in _The Charitable Anathema_, but, these days, it has less and less to do with intentional malice as it has to do with a system that’s just totally screwed up by a variety of factors, such that people don’t even know where to begin to reform, and a lot of people don’t even have a clue that reform is necessary.

1. Lack of Religious, and severe lack of them living their vows:
Let’s face it; priests and religious used to be and should be the backbone of Catholic schools. Education is one of the top four reasons religious orders exist. Education is *how* Orders recruit. We hear too much of how horrible “the nuns” were. Whenever someone talks about how “bad” the nuns “were” with their discipline, I have to point out the contrast to today’s children.
Then, the ones we *do* have of course, are largely ideologically liberal and, worse, they’re using the “relative to your society” interpretation of “poverty.” It’s like the recruitment ad I saw a few years ago for one of the Daughters/Sisters of Mercy/Charity orders: “We’re just like ordinary people. We wear ordinary clothes and work ordinary jobs for ordinary salaries. We just live in a community with other unmarried women and come home at the end of the day to share community and prayer.” Basically, “Hey! Join us! We’re a Coven of Lesbians!”
The point is that, besides the question of orthodoxy and declining vocations, religious are basically demanding the same salaries and benefits that lay teachers make. This takes away the financial advantage Catholic schools used to have of religious teaching there for poverty-level wages.
[While rising orders like the Dominicans of St. Cecilia or Dominicans of Mary Mother of the Eucharist are handling the “vocations shortage” and “lack of orthodoxy” issues, and while the nuns are living in a much truer spirit of poverty–our friend who’s a Nashville Dominican told us the motherhouse didn’t have A/C the first few years she lived there–I can’t say one way or the other if they’re helping on the financial side. The schools they teach at tend to have pretty high tuition.]

2. Catholic identity: the basic criticism that Catholics like us have against most Catholic schools is that they aren’t Catholic in *all* aspects of life. A Catholic education isn’t just supposed to be about 1-5 hours of “religion” per week–let’s ignore the fact that such “religion” is usually watered down milquetoast mush about “Jesus is nice.” It’s about integrating prayer–Catholic prayer–into the daily life of the school: school Masses (with proper liturgy and proper homiletics), school Adoration, school Rosary and maybe even school Divine Office. It’s about talking about the regular subjects from a Catholic perspective (i.e., intelligent design in the science classroom, morality and religious symbolism in the literature classroom, discussing Catholic figures in the history classroom).

Catholic schools celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., in January and talk about the pagan god Janus instead of talking about the Feast of the Most Holy Theotokos and what that means, or talking about the Saints of the month. They’ll talk about “Christian Unity Week” but not about the anniversary of _Roe v. Wade_. They’ll celebrate Native American History without talking about Archbishop Charles Chaput being the first Native American archbishop, or about Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha, or St. Juan Diego, or St. Martin de Porres. Do they talk of Chief Seattle being a convert to Catholicism? Does talk of African Americans or Native Americans deal with St. Katherine Drexel and the many other great Catholics who have worked to help minorities in this country who were being oppressed by the Protestant Overlords? What about Mother Mary Lange?

A Catholic school should teach the students to exemplify Catholic virtue in all aspects of life. What we usually get is “Christian virtue,” with the same “values” that are taught at public schools willing to teaching “values,” of the sort expressed by Thomas Merton’s teacher who said, “Being a Christian is much the same as being a gentleman.”

There are three reasons for this problem, but I’m listing it, and them separately.

3. “Accreditation”: Secular Accreditation, as many Catholic homeschool associations and independent Catholic schools argue, is a big hammer used to suppress faith formation. First, in order to be accredited, schools have to teach certain subjects a certain way. This leaves out the question of teaching them in the aforementioned *Catholic* way. We’re talking about Martin Luther King instead of Martin de Porres precisely because the accreditation rules require talking about MLK and forbid talking about subjects that aren’t on the approved curricula for accreditation. Accreditation requires having “accredited” teachers, which means Catholic schools are hiring teachers based upon secular credentials, rather than on those teachers’ credentials as members of the Catholic faith. That gets to my favorite statement by Bishop Vasa, regarding how he requires a mandatum of all employees and volunteers in his diocese: “If I let a known child predator serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Communion or a CCD teacher, people would rightly accuse me of neglect of my duties. If I require, though, that the people distributing Communion and teaching CCD actually believe in transubstantiation, they criticize me for it.”

As I noted in an earlier posts and in many posts in the history of this blog, I get so sick of hearing that I should praise a given principal or teacher or other school employee because of secular credentials. Tell me about the person’s moral practices, prayer life and personal habits.

Just as accreditation means the curricula have severe deficiencies from a Catholic perspective, so too does it mean that the teachers have adhered to a particular course of education that probably means they’re deficient in other areas. Everything I’ve said about “accreditation” applies to the EEOC and several other government entities, as well.

Even more deeply than that is that education is about formation of a person. We forget that theories of education are to be based upon philosophies of human nature and how best to form human beings. The Classical Theory, the Ignatian Theory, the Scholastic Theory, the Liberal Arts Theory, and the Great Books Theory are all very traditional or neo-traditional methods that in different ways conform to the Catholic view of the person. Today, they get lip service from having textbook snippets about Plato or something, and they get lumped into vague categories by the schools that even bother to try, so that no one bothers to explore their nuances or differences. In any case, a school that is following the rules for “accreditation” cannot, by definition, adhere to any of these methods of education. It can try to adapt some principles of those methods to fit the Modernist, Masonic view of education that “accreditation” comes from, but no “accredited” school can be truly Classical, Ignatian, Scholastic, Liberal Arts, etc., and therefore no “accredited” school can be truly Catholic.

4. The people running the schools are badly catechized. The declining Catholic education system of the last 50 years is the system that produced the people doing the teaching and administrating these days. First, they’ve been taught by their teachers, pastors, etc., to shun “that stuff that Vatican II got rid of,” like Saints, Feast Days, sacramentals, devotions, dogma, etc. They’ve been horribly catechized, so they often don’t know what to do even if they want to. For the most part, the people who *are* properly catechized, whether by formal or self-education, are some combination of a) resigned to ostracism, b) homeschooling, c) not “accredited” as teachers according to secular standards (see above).

They’ve been taught that evangelization is “forcing your religion on other people.” They’ve been taught that “all religions are basically the same,” that we’re “multiple boats on the journey to the same place.”

Again, most of them are well meaning–they’ve just been totally brainwashed by the institutional rot in our culture and in our Church, and they don’t know any better. They probably sincerely believe that birth control and chastity are optional, that women’s ordination is on its way, that the Eucharist is just a symbol, etc., but unless someone sits them down and corrects them, they won’t change.


A school operating according to Catholic principles shouldn’t need much money. Good old books don’t cost that much money–keeping up with the “latest curricula” costs money. Technology and facilities cost money, OK, but those are the kinds of things that can be directly donated. Hiring “certified” lay teachers who need to support their families costs a *lot* of money.

Getting back to point 1, hiring nuns and monks who went straight into the monastery out of high school and received their education and training from the Church would cost a fraction.

So, if it weren’t for the desire for secular accreditation or the lack of vocations, the cost of running Catholic schools would be a *lot* less.

The Supreme Court ruled at some point that government money can go towards religious schools so long as the money is applied to non-religious activities. This ruling helped destroy Catholic schools in the 1960s and helped create the long-term problem. Prior to that ruling, there were extensive publishing houses of Catholic textbooks–on all subjects. After that ruling, Catholic schools started using completely secular textbooks in all their non-religion classes. This killed the Catholic education textbook publishing industry, so the books aren’t even available except for a handful of publishers like Seton.

All the various ways that the government supposedly “helps” Catholic schools–tax exemptions, grants, vouchers, scholarships, Title Whatever, etc., serve as subtle tools with which to undermine a school’s ability to incorporate Catholicism into all aspects of academic life. (This is the argument against vouchers raised by Maggie Gallagher and others). Even when the government *doesn’t* forbid religious activities in connection with some funding, the schools still fear being audited or whatever, so they stand their guard.

6. Parish Money:

A Catholic school *ought* to be getting the majority of its money from the parish and diocese, from tuition and from donations from well-to-do Catholics. The goal of most parishes and diocese, however, is to minimize the money they have to pay, since their budgets are so strapped. Therefore, they rely on secular grants and the aforementioned government money.

7. Confusion of Mission:

Lastly, there’s the confusion of mission. Catholic schools exist for two reasons: to give Catholics a safe environment for raising their children and to provide a good education to poor children (hopefully evangelizing them and their parents in the process). All the factors I’ve previously listed point to the fact that schools are *not* in general evangelizing their non-Catholic students. We were once involved in a Catholic school where the priest told the kids, “God doesn’t want everyone to be Catholic.” Now, we’re at a school where the priest clearly teaches Catholic dogma in his school homilies, and encourages the students to take that home to their parents, and that’s a great blessing to have these days.

However, there’s still the problem that when you have Catholic kids mixing with non-Catholic kids, or even Catholic kids mixing with other Catholic kids, no matter how good the school is, there’s still the issue of peer pressure. This brings us to


Dr. Z. is an OB/Gyn who prescribes birth control pills and gives a great deal of money to the parish.
Mr. Y. has 8 kids, is theological orthodox, and politically conservative, *BUT* tends towards the “preppy” view of education, and gives a great deal of money to the school.
Mrs. X. is on her third husband and has 2 kids in the school.
Mr. W. isn’t even Catholic but is one of the wealthiest people in town and sends his kids to Catholic school for the “quality.”
Ms. V. is a non-Catholic racial minority mom trying to get her kids a good education.
Miss U. teaches at the school, is a registered Democrat and “volunteers” at Planned Parenthood (and not by praying the rosary on the sidewalk) on the weekends.
Mr. and Mrs. T. have a number of kids in the school, they struggle to make ends meet on a middle class salary while adhering to the teachings of the Church. Z, X, W, V and U consider them to be “goody two shoes” and “judgemental” and “Pharisaical.” Y doesn’t like them because they don’t dress nice. They’re the constant gossip of parent meetings and teacher meetings. They bring up any topic about the Faith, and it’s “Oh, they’re at it again.” They get virtually ostracized from the school and parish community for being “troublemakers.”
Miss S. is a young teacher who grew up in a family like the T’s, or maybe even like the Y’s. She never went to Catholic school but was either homeschooled or public schooled, or a mixture of both. She recently graduated from Christendom or FUS. She chose to teach at Catholic school because of her commitment to the faith. She gets in the classroom, and here’s a kid who’s parents are divorced and remarried; that kid’s parents have a mixed marriage; that kid’s parent is Dr. Z; that kid’s parent is an *ex*-Catholic; that kid’s parent is a Baptist minister; that kid’s parent is fighting in Iraq; that kid’s parent is a stockbroker. One kid is from the T. family, and the rest are non-Catholics. Miss S. finds herself walking on eggshells on every subject.
Principal R. wants to run an orthodox Catholic school but most parents, particularly the ones with money, are only interested in an elite prep. school. If any of the alternatives I’ve suggested (i.e., dropping accreditation in favor of Catholic identity, dropping some of the trappings to save money, hiring all religious to teach there) is implemented, then they lose their “elite prep school” aspect. If they get more orthodox in their teaching or practice, the various parents I described get ticked off and pull their kids.
Fr. Q. has recently transferred into the parish and gives firebrand homilies.

Mr. & Mrs. P. have just transferred their kids into the school after years of homeschooling. Suddenly, their kids who grew up on VeggieTales and EWTN and a carefully selected dose of secular entertainment are talking about iCarly and Hannah Montana and boyfriends and jewelry and make-up and “Justice” clothes. They want to know why their parents won’t let them do the “fashionable” things. They aren’t interested in watching _VeggieTales_ or _EWTN_ anymore. Even the youngest kids in the family are saying that _The Wiggles_ is a “baby show.” They find that their second grader’s classmates are talking about Stephen King movies and playing “werewolves and vampires” on the playground. Their kids get teased for dressing up as Saints for All Saints Day, for not participating in “vampires and werewolves,” etc.

They appreciate that Miss S., Principal R and Fr. Q are really doing their best. They wish the school would do more to integrate a Catholic life in all aspects of the curriculum, but that, for the various reasons I’ve listed in this article, they know the school is afraid of losing its government money, accreditation, rich supporters, etc., if it does so. They realize that maybe the faculty and staff don’t even realize how much they *could* be doing, but fear that if they suggest anything, even constructively, they’ll be ostracized just like the T family.

In any case, it boils down to the bad influence the other kids are being on their kids. The P’s don’t really know any of the other parents well or know how to address things. How do you tell another parent, “The shows you’re letting your kids watch aren’t only endangering your children’s salvation, but they’re endangering *my* children’s salvation by your kids’ bad influence”?

The P’s know that, when they homeschooled, they could just steer clear of families in the homeschool association whose parenting methods they disagreed with. If their kids had issues with other kids teasing or fighting or whatever, they could go straight to the parents and get the issue resolved, where at the Catholic school, they have to go to the overworked teacher and bring it up and hope for the best.

So the P’s go back to homeschooling, and the cycle continues.

Rosary Crusade for Fred Phelps and Osama bin Ladin

People like to organize rosaries and novenas for the Pope, or Mother Angelica, or sick people, or for “causes,” but you never hear calls for prayer for the conversions of specific people.

When conversions happen, we’re happy (Mary’s currently reading Abby Johnson’s _UnPlanned_), but we seem to doubt God’s power to do it when it comes to the challenge of hoping for it.

I’ve said it since 9/11: wouldn’t it be great if Osama bin Ladin (assuming he’s still alive) suddenly announced his conversion to Catholicism?

Or Barack Obama?

Or Fred Phelps?

Or whomever is currently president of Planned Parenthood?

Fred Phelps certainly doesn’t have much time left–the guy’s 72ish. It would be an amazing triumph for God to have that bastion of Satanic hate and misguided Fundamentalism suddenly soften his hardened heart and cross the Tiber.

We really need to start unleashing the power of the Rosary on the world. It’s been 94 years since Fatima, folks, and we still haven’t done it.

This year will be the 440th Annivesary of Lepanto. Think about what would have happened if the Catholics of Europe had kept it up past Oct. 7, 1571! Imagine if the Pope had called for a Rosary every day from everyone, for a different cause.

Back when I was in high school, I read a book on the power of the Rosary and the role of Mary. I forget its title or who wrote it. It had a chapter each on Judaism, Protestantism, Islam, and other religions and how the Blessed Virgin could be used both in prayer and in apologetics to convert each of those groups. The book also talked of the power of the Rosary, and it pointed out how lax Catholics are about our obligation to bring others to the Church.

It pointed out how simple it would be to convert the whole world to Catholicism if each and every Catholic took his or her faith seriously.

I’ve said it before about elections, and even more about conversions: look at how many Catholics there are. If even a significant fraction of us took our faith seriously, we could change the world. Only 24 percent of people who claim to be Catholic go to Mass weekly. Only 10%–if that–of those who attend Mass weekly go to Confession regularly. Much less engage in any serious form of daily prayer such as the Rosary or the Office or daily Mass or reading the Bible.

I used to feel rather alone in the world. Now, I’m surrounded by all sorts of wonderful Catholics on the Internet, in my Carmelite group, etc., but then I stick my feet slightly out of my comfort zone, and am reminded how superficially most people treat their faith and how badly catechized most people are.

And that’s not just because of Vatican II. After all, like I say, we should have achieved this centuries ago.

Judas was an Apostle. The bulk of St. Paul’s letters address all the corruption that was already rampant in the early church. We don’t read the passages at Mass where Paul is denouncing Christians for engaging in incestuous relationships and stuff. . . . Yet, at the same time, those early Christians were amazing. Even if the early Saints were as rare among the Christians of their times as today’s saints, back then you had Christians who said, “Hey! Let’s get ourselves arrested so we can be martyred and get to Heaven quickly!” You had martyrs who actually guided their executioners’ hands, cracked jokes from the scaffold or sang hymns of praise while being eaten alive.

Today, it’s “We don’t want to be martyrs because we have responsibilities” or “Being a martyr means you’re causing someone else to commit murder, so that’s wrong.” Even worse, it’s “We need to preserve our lives in this world” and “We don’t want to cause people embarrassment” or “We don’t want to lose money.”

Yet if every Catholic made a serious effort at both prayer and study, and if every Catholic made a serious effort at helping other people to the faith, and if every Catholic brought at least one person into the Church per year. . . . Imagine.

The book I’m talking about took it further: 3 converts a year per Catholic, and the world would be converted in 3 years. It’s that simple.

So, why not start with prayer. We’re supposed to be fishers of men, and the more “big fish” we bring in, the more “small ones” will get caught in the net as well. So let’s make a serious effort to pray specifically for the conversions of Westboro Baptist Church and its “pastor” Fred Phelps, and for the conversion of Osama bin Ladin and his al Qaeda people.

Remember: Jesus said to St. Faustina that, if a person in a state of grace prayed the following prayer sincerely for a person, that person would make it to Heaven, even if only by a deathbed conversion:

“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You!”

Lesbian Coach fired by Diocese of Springfield, MA

Christine Judd, who has been Athletic Director of Cathedral High School in Springfield, MA, for 3 years and and “dean of students” for four years, has been fired since she “married” another woman this summer.

Oddly enough, she opted for resignation over termination, since the main reason to accept that is avoiding the stigma of being fired, yet she’s appearing in national media over it. She claims it’s the decision of the diocese, and the school still supports her. If that’s the case, the entire administration of the school needs to be fired.

“Cathedral had nothing to do with this,” Judd said. “This was a diocesan decision. In the end, the timing of this issue really affects the kids. That is where it has the most effect.”

Yes, it effects the kids. It shows them this behavior is unacceptable.

Of course, the secular jerks who always comment on Yahoo articles are out in droves with their pitchforks, criticizing the “intolerance” of the Church and asking why this woman is being denied the “sacrament” of marriage.

Gee, how about: “From the beginning, God intended them male and female”?

Does your Party Teach You, or Do You Teach Your Party?

Today, I was in a FB discussion with a blogger who was asking, apropros to Libertarians, Rand Paul, etc., what people thought the motives of the North were in the Civil War.

I made the point that the motives of the North in waging war against the South were not the same thing as the motives of the Republican party at the time, the motives of the people, etc.

Anyway, my friend said something to the effect of “That’s not what the Republican Party teaches,” and I replied, “What Magisterial authority does the Republican Party have?”

It struck me that this particular discussion hit at a common crux of debates I have with other conservative Catholics, and a problem many Catholics have when dealing with their faith in public life.

C. S. Lewis talks of Christianity “And”–where the cause becomes just as important as the Christianity, and then eventually Christianity becomes a tool to the cause. Indeed, certain movements that were notoriously condemned by the Church were condemned for this reason. Action Francaise was not condemned by the Church for its monarchist position–that was endorsed by the Church. The Church condemned Action Francaise in the early 20th Century because its leadership at the time (which was, oddly enough, atheist) claimed that the Church was a tool of monarchy, rather than the opposite.

Well, that kind of thing happens whenever a Catholic becomes too embroiled in any political movement. That Catholic may be perfectly orthodox, or 99% right. But there comes a point at which some people stop saying “The Church teaches X . .. “and saying they support the Party because the Church teaches X, and switch to saying, “The Party teaches X. . . .” And it isn’t long before it changes from
“I support the Party because the Church teaches X, and that position is in the party platform”
“I support the Church because the Party teaches it, and that position is in the Catechism.

As Catholics, we are called to deal with one another charitably in matters where the Church gives us freedom to decide for ourselves. As John Paul II explains in _Veritatis Splendor_, there is a difference between negative moral laws–which are always absolute prohibitions–and positive moral laws, which give some freedom to the individual to interpret *how much* he or she will implement those laws.

When the Church gives us freedom to discern, we can discuss with one another *what* the Church teaches, and *whether* we think a particular application is appropriate.

I am not bothered by other Catholics who take positions different than mine, so long as they are honestly taking the Church’s teachings into account. It is when I see those teachings intentionally obfuscated, or else subjugated to the State or (worse) the Party, I have a problem.

So when “just war” becomes “moral war,” or even “Just war doesn’t apply to this situation,” I take issue. When I am being judged on the basis of whether I conform to “Republican Party teaching,” I take issue.

Christ and His Church always come first.

_St. Elmo’s Fire_: What’s Wrong with Catholic Universities in America

Today, if you didn’t know, is the feast of St. Erasmus, better known as St. Elmo.

Interestingly enough, in June 1985, 25 years ago, one of the definitive films of the 1980’s was released, St. Elmo’s Fire. It was, along with The Breakfast Club, one of the two films that defined the so-called “Brat Pack”, as three cast members, Emilio Estevez, Allie Sheedy and Judd Nelson, were in both movies. Combinations of cast members had already collaborated on a few films, and would go on to work together on various films in the late eighties and early nineties. Officially, the “Brat Pack” were the main stars of both films, but some other frequent collaborators, such as John Cusack, get grouped in sometimes.

Oddly, in one film, the characters are high school students, and in the other, they’re recent college graduates, though both came out the same year.

In any case, what makes St. Elmo’s Fire worth noting on this blog, besides its title and today being the feast of St. Elmo, is that the film concerns seven young adults who have recently graduated from Georgetown University.

Huh. Other than the name of their favorite campus bar, there is not really any reference to the fact that Georgetown is supposed to be a Catholic university. There is really no reference to religion at all, save an implication that one character’s family are Jewish.

Also no reference really to the expense of a Georgetown education, and the graduates are given a socioeconomic diversity that would seem more appropriate in a public university. One character has fathered a child and is in a “shotgun marriage,” officially living in the slums, but he doesn’t support his family. By the end of the film, he’s already divorced.

Another couple are shacking up right out of their Catholic education, with the female not wanting to get engaged while the male insists on it. The same guy drops his less-paying job working for a Democratic senator to scandalize his friends by working for a Republican (because Republicans are soo much richer than Democrats, you see). “I always knew he was a Republican!” gasps Demi Moore’s character.

Three characters can’t hold down jobs. One is a cocaine addict. One a drunk. One a stalker.

They’re all living out their modern American college education: getting drunk and partying. Sex, drugs and Rock & Roll. No responsibility. Huge debt. No work ethic. And those that are working are yuppies.

Why did their parents waste all that money?

Mere fiction or the encapsulation of most college graduates coming out of modern American universities?

Latest from the National Catholic Distorter

The latest from the piece of trash that has Gumbleton and Chittister among its columnists:
“Bishops urged to restore civility in pro-life efforts”
Considering that lack of “civility” is hardly a fault of most US bishops, and the one who can be most faulted for it was forced into retirement last year, I can’t figure out what this would mean except, “Go back to not talking about it.”

The priest who offered this message of wimpiness to the US bishops is the Jesuit president of Georgetown University. In the article’s picture, he’s shown wearing a suit and tie.