Sunday, November 30, 2008

In Case Anyone Actually Cares What I Think

Charlie Weis should not be the head coach at Notre Dame next year. Whether he resigns (which anyone with dignity should at this point) or is terminated, he has failed. He has embarassed a school dedicated to the Blessed Mother and which should be a shining example to the entire world of Catholic excellence in all things.

Yes, I know McBrien is still a professor there, but excellence will not be perfection on this side of the eschaton.

I will not comment on who his replacement should be. Anyone other than himself, Radio Willingham, or Bob Davie.

Is Faust still available? At least he could beat Socal.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Re: the Hate

A question oft-posed by my comrade Karl has occurred to me.

How long until Catholicism is regarded as a hate crime? It is part of the very essence of Truth to be wholly intolerant to falsehood. The Church cannot accommodate the errors of modernity and subjective morality. Therefore, it condemns them.

How long until we are told that such intolerance will no longer be tolerated? Maybe never, I suppose. The scene below, FOCA, the plight of Catholic health care providers refusing to provide contraceptive services, etc. seem to indicate that it's at least a possibility.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Much is a Christian's Life Worth?

About $250 according to Hindu extremists. The Times Online reports:

Extremist Hindu groups offered money, food and alcohol to mobs to kill Christians and destroy their homes, according to Christian aid workers in the eastern state of Orissa. . .

The US-based head of a Christian organisation that runs several orphanages in Orissa – one of India’s poorest regions – claims that Christian leaders are being targeted by Hindu militants and carry a price on their heads. “The going price to kill a pastor is $250 (£170),” Faiz Rahman, the chairman of Good News India, said.

Yet there doesn't seem to be a lot of public outcry over this. At least the persecution of the Catholics in Iraq has gotten a 60 Minutes segment. No real outcry, but it's something. Christians in India are being exterminated.

Orissa has suffered a series of murders and arson attacks in recent months, with at least 67 Christians killed, according to the Roman Catholic Church. Several thousand homes have been razed and hundreds of places of worship destroyed, and crops are now wasting in the fields.

God please protect these poor people.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Whither the Hate?

You've probably seen this by now, but it's new to me, so I'm just now getting it up here for comment. This is a newsclip from election night that focuses on California's vote on Proposition 8. This was the initiative to ban homosexual marriage. Observe, and please watch for the entire three minutes.

Not exactly marching on Washington and singing "We Shall Overcome," is it? I suppose we shouldn't be all that surprised with the trampling of the Cross. I'm ashamed that I can type that sentence. Still, you could have seen that coming from a mile away.

I must admit to complete awe at the stupidity of the anchorman, though. "Hate on both sides"? Really? The old lady walking around with the Cross was hateful? So hateful that you could make an equivalence between her activities and a crowd of assailants shoving her around and stomping on the sign of the world's redemption? I certainly hope this newsman lost his job. He might be outstanding at reading a teleprompter, but he's clearly far too stupid to be allowed access to a public forum.

The weird part about this for the homosexual marriage proponents is that they are obstinately refusing to see a very obvious Truth that the Church has taught for centuries. If you succumb to the secular nonsense that rights come from the citizenry or the government, you have no rational argument when your claim to a right is denied or rescinded. You have left your status to the will/whim of the masses or the elected officials. What is needed is an objective source of rights that transcends whatever might be the fancy of those in authority. Modern secularism, having rejected even the most primitive notion of natural law, lacks this objective principle. Yet they still gripe and complain and do violence over phantom violations of alleged rights that they have no basis to claim.

And somehow, we Catholics are labeled as the stupid, backward, and unenlightened ones.

Cardinal Schonborn Blasts Bishops for Cowardice Re: Contraception

Catholic Action UK has this story. Many thanks to them.

Given the well-publicized liturgical shenanigans that he's been a part of lately, this is a breath of much-needed fresh air.

But those bishops, said Cardinal Schonborn, were "frightened of the press and of being misunderstood by the faithful". Blame lay not only with the bishops responsible at the time - none of whom is still alive - but with all bishops for the fact that Europe is "about to die out". "I think that it is also our sin as bishops, even if none of us were bishops in 1968," he added. Bishops have not had, or did not have, the courage to "swim against the tide" and say yes to Humanae Vitae, he said. The cardinal, who is close to Pope Benedict XVI, particularly criticised two of the many 1968 bishops' conference declarations on Humanae Vitae, which all stressed the importance of the individual conscience.He singled out the Maria Trost Declaration, whose signatories included Cardinal Franz Konig, the late Archbishop of Vienna, president of the Austrian bishops' conference and a Father of the Second Vatican Council, and the Konigstein Declaration, whose signatories included Cardinal Julius Dopfner, the late Archbishop of Munich, president of the German bishops' conference and another Council Father.

Cardinal Schonborn accused the signatories of "weakening the People of God's sense for life", so that when "the wave of abortions" and increasing acceptance of homosexuality followed, the Church lacked the courage to oppose them.

This is pretty heavy stuff coming from such a high-level prelate, especially since he's singling out the hierarchy on an issue that's very third-rail for a lot of folks.

Of course, the question becomes the same as the one posed by Cardinal George's recent comments below. Folks still aren't doing what they are supposed to do in this respect, and I'm talking about priests and bishops here. What is going to be done about it?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh, Those Wacky Jesuits!

The new Superior General thinks that liberation theology will be just fine as long as it's given time to "mature" and is saddened that this heretical BS hasn't' been given a "vote of confidence."

What the hell is this? I gladly kicked dirt on the grave of liberation over a decade ago. Now this guy wants us to give it a "vote of confidence." Really. I'm not making this up. CNA has the story:

In an interview with El Periodico, Father Nicolas said Liberation Theology “is a courageous and creative response to an unbearable situation of injustice in Latin America. As with any theology, it needs years to mature. It’s a shame that it has not been given a vote of confidence and that soon its wings will be cut before it learns to fly. It needs more time.”

We've been dealing with this stuff for decades now. It has been condemned by the current pope and the previous one as completely incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps Fr. Nicolas would like for us to give Arianism another shot. How about rolling iconoclasm out of the garage and kicking the tires on it for another century or so?

Here was Cardinal Ratzinger's first broadside, way back in 1984. This made for a steady stream of attacks all the way up to his first encyclical.

The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. . .

The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. The Church is one of those living forces: she is alive with the love enkindled by the Spirit of Christ. This love does not simply offer people material help, but refreshment and care for their souls, something which often is even more necessary than material support. In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live “by bread alone”—a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.

Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est

Hmmm. Materialist conceptions of man? Wonder who might promote that? Smells like Marxism, which is the engine that drives the whole liberation theology bus.

Yeah, maybe Fr. Nicolas isn't referring to any of the condemned "versions" of LT, but if that's the case then he should make that distinction. Not to mention the very fact that he's talking about "cut wings" and such indicates that he is specifically referring to what has already been classified as heresy.

In almost Kasparian fashion, Fr. Nicolas closes out with an even more outrageous comment:

He said it was “possible” that the Church in Spain has “a tendency to be reprimanding.” “I’ve always found it bothersome and incomprehensible that a priest lectures his people. What right does he have to do that? It’s a mistake,” Father Nicolas said.

Screw those spiritual works of mercy. Why bother sinners with correction or the ignorant with instruction? How could anyone think that a priest would lecture/reprimand his flock? Maybe because Jesus did and instructed his apostles to do likewise. Surely there's a problem with the translation here.

It seems like a short time ago that JPII directly intervened in the Jesuit's election of their Superior General. We know that both Cardinal Rode and Pope Benedict made a point to emphasize the 4th vow to the Society prior to this election. It seems that neither action has done any good.

Let us pray for the Society, its members, and those entrusted to their care. St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Peter Canisius, and St. Robert Bellarmine, pray for them!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quas Primas is Almost TOO Awesome

Yesterday was the Feast of Christ the King, which was established by Pope Pius XI back in 1925. Used to, it was on the last Sunday in October, an appropriate counter to the Protestant celebration of Reformation Sunday. We have since moved it to the Sunday before Advent.

Here's the problem. I've re-read it several times in an effort to post about it. I can't. I wouldn't do it justice and would wind up just posting the whole thing and telling you to read it for yourself.

I'm going to come up with something, or maybe even a series of somethings. The Social Kingship of Christ is a concept very foreign to a lot of folks these days. (Note: I seem to say "these days" a lot.) The whole encyclical is brimming over with goodies that I'd like to talk about. I just need to figure on it a bit more.

In the interim, here it is. Read, enjoy.

Cardinal George, FOCA, and Automatic Excoms

I wish these comments from CNS gave some sort of comfort. Yes, I know a lot of bishops stepped up to the verbal plate this past election. That's a good thing. However, that's just a small step compared to what His Eminence is talking about here.

When asked last week whether a Catholic politician voting for the FOCA – which would impose nationwide abortion on demand and government funding of abortion – would incur automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said the question would need to be discussed once the actual language of the bill was known. . .

At a press conference at the fall meeting of the USCCB held in Baltimore last week, asked Cardinal George if the language in the Catholic Catechism that says “formal cooperation” in abortion incurs the penalty of excommunication would apply to a Catholic member of Congress voting for FOCA.

Passage of FOCA can be seen as nothing less than a declaration of war against the Church and, by default, Christ Himself. That alone should be sufficient to qualify for ecclesiastical sanction, regardless of what sort of casuistry is used to opt the Act's supporters out of formal cooperation.

Can. 1374 A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict.

If this sounds extreme, I'd advise you to read the text of the Act. Granted, what it looks like in its final passage might be different, but judging from what it says now, I think my point is valid.

It would be very nice if the same clerics who were so outspoken during this election would stop making statements like this (condemnations with ample wiggle room) and then failing to take action. It only serves to create scandal and further sap the Church's credibility when push comes to shove. It's a shame, but I can't believe in the veracity of such threats until I actually see them enforced.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Challenge: Have Sex for Seven Consecutive Days

That's the gauntlet that's been thrown down by Ed Young, a Dallas mega-church preacher, to his congregation. For some reason, this report is in the Boston Herald.

Young, 47, said he believes society promotes promiscuity and he wants to reclaim sex for married couples. Sex should be a nurturing, spiritual act that strengthens marriages, he said.

A hearty "Amen!" to Mr. Young. I've said many times that no religion promotes sex as much as the Catholic Church. We just don't want folks corrupting it with chemical or other artificial garbage so as to negate the fruitfulness of the act.

I would like to see a bishop do something like this. Really. I don't see it as scandalous, and I don't think he should put some sort of set timeframe in place, but married couples should really get a full lesson on the Church's teachings about sex. I think a message that starts with an encouragement to practice the "nuptial embrace" regularly would be a good start.

On the down side:

Young said he will deliver his seven-day sex challenge while sitting on a bed in front of his Dallas-area church campus.

I can do without the ooginess of having the guy deliver the message whilst seated on his bed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Planned Parenthood Ducks and Covers

Or at least tries to.

Per LifeNews, Cardinal O'Malley of Boston was audacious enough to lack hope in our President-elect, not to mention re-visiting the reprehensible ideas that gave rise to Planned Parenthood:

"My joy, however, is tempered by the knowledge that this man has a deplorable record when it comes to pro-life issues and is possibly in the pocket of Planned Parenthood," O'Malley said.
The Catholic cardinal told the newspaper that Planned Parenthood "in its origins was a very racist organization to eliminate the blacks" and "it’s sort of ironic that he’s been co-opted by them."

Of course, PP isn't going to take this sort of talk lying down. If most folks knew that Sanger's vision was driven by eugenics and the general idea that blacks are inferior, political clout might suffer. At least, I hope it would.

The response from the CEO was the typical crap about how guys like His Eminence are "out of step" and how Catholics "overwhelmingly" (cough, cough, BS, cough) support PP services. Most interesting, though:

She didn't respond to the racism contention but claimed O'Malley's views don't represent those of Boston Catholics.

Coward. The fact that your evil activities are fed by one foul disposition rather than another is quite irrelevant, so why cower from these facts? You know the Cardinal's words are true, Ms. Luby. I'll admit it would be a bit awkward to concede that your entire corrupt enterprise was spawned from the same hellish mind as the Final Solution, but at least then you wouldn't come off as utterly gutless.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remember That Scene in Scanners Where the Dude's Head Exploded?

That's pretty much what happened to the liberals of the world when they read Pope Benedict's latest shpiel on Vatican II. If you were to ask most of that crowd where we should look to really understand the Council, they'd probably sing all sorts of songs about the wonders of Karl Rahner, Hans Kung, Ed Schillebeecx (sp), or John Courtney Murray.

The Pope has different ideas. Per this article in Zenit, we would be best served by looking to Pius XII. Specifically, "with the exception of sacred Scripture, this Pope is the authorized source that the council cites most frequently."

Quite interesting, especially since Pope Benedict directly references Mystici Corporis, which many liberal tried to claim was somehow no longer relevant in light of VII's "People of God" language. Let's think in even more detail. This means Mediator Dei and Humani Generis should be in the mix as well, with all their condemnations of archaelogism in the Mass and confusing the natural and supernatural orders.

And you can't just write these things off as random, isolated footnotes either.

"Moreover," he continued, "the references to these documents are not, in general, mere explanatory notes, but rather frequently are authentic integral parts of the conciliar texts; they do not just offer justifications in support of what the text affirms, but further offer an interpretive key."

In other words, when in doubt as to what the Council means, check Pius XII first.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bishop Trautman Attempts to Insert Pelagianism Into the Liturgy

Fr. Zuhlsdorf has the story over at WDTPRS.

For those who don't know him, Bishop Trautman has earned the nickname Bishop Trautperson for his efforts to mutilate the liturgy with inclusive language. He's also famous for thinking that we're all idiots, as was discussed here.

Anyways, Fr. Zuhlsdorf relates some events from the USCCB on the translations for our liturgical texts. Bishop Trautman requested that the prayer be changed from "cleanse from vices" be changed to "help to cleanse us of vices." In the midst of the initial passage of this item, Cardinal George stated the truth that "This is Pelagian."

Pelagianism is the idea that we get to heaven on our own efforts rather than by means of a supernatural grace from God. Grace, of course, is gratuitous and cannot be earned by human efforts. By saying that God merely "helps" cleanse us from our vices, Bishop Trautman is clearly claiming that we are able to cleanse ourselves and maybe just need a little assist from the Almighty with doing so. This is an impossibility and, as Cardinal George said, heretical.

Luckily, the final product doesn't seem to have had this crap item included. Still, it's a bit disturbing to see this kind of thing seriously considered.

Monday, November 17, 2008

For a Great Summary of the Recent Synod's Working Document

Check out Boniface's blog, Unam Sanctam. He just finished a very thorough review of the Instrumentum Laboris that was used at the synod.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The 44th Anniversary of Black Week

November 14-21, 1964 has been given the name "Black Week" by the progressives of Vatican II because it marks the point when their power finally began to wane. It was then that Paul VI and more orthodox Council Fathers started to figure out that something was amiss and began asserting themselves much more in the conciliar proceedings. I mention some the earlier shenanigans that tipped them off in this post. You don't see this mentioned much because to do so would shatter the popular image of the Council. I've been told that Hans Kung was actually the guy who coined the term "Black Week," but regardless, it's popular enough that everyone who was there who thought that this stuff was bad calls it that.

Basically, this one week saw a delay in the vote on what became Dignitatis Humanae, requested revisions to what became Unitatis Redintegratio, and Paul VI declaring Mary as "Mother of the Church" on his own authority. This last was an especially big deal considering that the progressives (with the exception of Cardinal Suenens, I think) were absolutely opposed to such a measure, fearing an ecumenical backlash from Protestants. As though that should be a consideration. This title of Our Lady had actually been excised from an earlier draft of the Constitution on the Church and rejected outright in the form of a separate document that was meant to be just about her. Anyways, this move by Pope Paul ticked off a lot of people.

Really, though, the biggest thing to come out of Black Week is what's now known as the Nota Praevia. This was an "explanatory note" that was added to Lumen Gentium. It clarified certain aspects of the document's teachings on the authority of bishops and the Pope. Otherwise, LG shaded awful close to heresy. The bad thing is that this addendum is supposed to be a "prefatory note." In other words, you're supposed to read it first. Somehow, it always winds up being put at the end, where a lot of people miss it. Other folks ignore it altogether. This is how we got a lot of our misguided ramblings about "collegiality" and that bishops are no longer answerable to the Holy See.

If anyone wants to learn more about this, check any of the books I have listed to the right that concern the Council.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Should Liberals Leave the Catholic Church?

That is the title of a Joan Vennochi article that I stumbled across here. It's old, being from 2006, but I am going to discuss it because it sheds a lot of light on current events.

The honesty here is refreshing, and I applaud Ms. Vennochi for acknowledging a lot of things that most folks are leaving unsaid. Granted, she belittles and degrades the Mystical Body of Christ for no other reason than to make a point, but in doing so still does a good thing, I think, by marking out the stark contrast between the two kinds of people you find in Catholic churches these days.

The first part is just her insulting Cardinal O'Malley. Nothing to see here. Then it gets interesting when she brings up the Catholic Charities upheaval from that time.

Last week, seven members of the board of Catholic Charities of Boston announced their resignations. They were protesting the effort by Massachusetts bishops to prohibit gays from adopting children from their Catholic social service agencies. The seven who quit said the prohibition ''threatens the very essence of our Christian mission."

We see the divide beginning. The "mission" is not one defined by the Church. It is defined by these seven people, regardless of what the Church thinks. This is made clear a couple of paragraphs down:

If you agree with those principles (ie- what the Church says), you are, according to the Vatican, a Catholic in good standing. If you don't, you're not.

Of course, this is unacceptable to those who desire to declare their own subjective morality apart from the authority granted by God.

Liberals raised as Catholics refuse to accept this reality. We think we can be prochoice, pro-gay marriage , pro-gay adoption, and in favor of married and female priests and still call ourselves Catholic. The people who make the rules say we don't meet the criteria.

Note here what the primary characteristic is. Vennochi rightly describes these individuals as liberals first, who happened to have been raised Catholic. This is practically an admission of the temporal, political views as having superiority over views regarding the supernatural.

''I know a lot of Catholics, gay and straight," said O'Connell, a lesbian mother of a 5-year-old daughter. ''Everyone continues to go to church and act like their parish is not part of all of this -- the sexual scandal, the association to the Vatican and its stand on gay adoption. Everyone who believes that is in a state of denial."

''It's time to find a new path," she said.

I'm reading three items here: the sex scandal, association to the Vatican, and the Vatican's stand on gay adoptions. One of these things is not like the others, but to the liberal mind, they are all the same.

Finally, we get the real meat of the article:

Catholics who don't agree with church doctrine are doing the unexpected -- sticking around where they are unwelcome, rather than moving on. The stubborness is rooted in nostalgia, inertia, and arrogance. We cherish some memories, like the lacy white communion dress and the innocence of childhood confessions. Despite spotty attendance, we enjoy the ritual of Sunday Mass. We also believe our views are the enlightened ones and Rome's represent the neanderthal; eventually we will get a pope who understands that.

Nothing in this article expresses any liberal interest whatsoever in such minor things as getting to heaven. It is all about pretty dresses and having a place to go on Sunday morning. Going to Mass is a ritual, rather than mystical participation at Calvary or the marriage of heaven and earth. Only neanderthals would believe in such nonsense. Our more enlightened brethren have made it a mission to save us from our ignorant embrace of the transcendent.

A colleague of mine who is a recovering alcoholic once summarized the bulk of 12-step programs as the acceptance of two major principles: First, God exists. Second, you aren't Him. This principle would be most helpful to the sorts of people Ms. Vennochi is describing. Catholic dogma requires submission to the belief that we are not gods, despite what the serpent claimed. We need His help, for without Him, we can do nothing. The liberal mindset expressed in the article is quite opposed to this. The guiding rule becomes- God exists (I'm assuming), and whatever we don't like, He better get used to it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Check Out Fr. Neuhaus's Shpiel on the Bishops

It's over at First Things. Of interest to readers here:

After the election, some Catholics with itching ears who are manifestly embarrassed by the Church’s being out of step with the new world of “the change we’ve been waiting for” have gleefully pointed out that the assertiveness of the bishops had little political effect. In the presidential and other races, Catholics voted for pro-abortion candidates. So what? It is not the business of bishops to win political races. It is the business of bishops to defend and teach the faith, including the Church’s moral doctrine. One hopes they will keep that firmly in mind in their Baltimore meeting.

One hopes.

Earlier this year, the bishops issued “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It was, as I wrote at the time, a fine statement in almost every respect. But its elaborate attention to nuance and painstaking distinctions made it a virtual invitation for the Catholic flaks of Obama to turn it upside down and inside out. The statement was regularly invoked to justify voting for the most extreme proponent of the unlimited abortion license in American presidential history.

Yet Cardinal George seems to think that this is not possible. How could someone distort such a clear and direct document?

That unintended invitation to distort, eagerly seized upon by those with a mind to do so, was especially evident in the statement’s treatment of a “proportionate” reason to support pro-abortion candidates.

I hope it was unintended, Father. I really do.

In the last four decades, following the pattern of American Protestantism, many, perhaps most, Catholics view the Church in terms of consumption rather than obligation. The Church is there to supply their spiritual needs as they define those needs, not to tell them what to believe or do. This runs very deep both sociologically and psychologically. It is part of the “success” of American Catholics in becoming just like everybody else.

Disgusting, but true.

And finally:

What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor. Part of the thinking when it was established in the ideological climate of the 1960s is that Catholic concern for the poor would not be perceived as credible if CHD funded Catholic organizations.

I mention this last bit because the guy who was giving the talk to the USCCB on the Campaign for Human Development/ACORN issue (I didn't catch his name) was asked about this by Bishop Bruskewitz. He declined to give a real answer, saying instead that it was his "understanding" that Catholic groups could receive funding but that this was all he knew.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anybody Else Watching the USCCB?

Weird stuff.

The first bits I saw had a lot of griping about abortion and the catastrophic consequences of FOCA being passed, including the effects on Catholic hospitals and health care providers. It's good that this is being noticed here at the 11th hour. Maybe a display of guts over the last 30 years would have prevented our arrival at this precipice, but hey, better late than never.

Then came a bit on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, with some focus on the ACORN shenanigans that have come to light recently. Funny how supporting an organization that has been unabashedly partisan hasn't drawn any ire from the church/state separation crowd.

The last part I saw was a small panel with Cardinal George of Chicago and Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco. I was very disappointed in their comments. Apparently, in a segment I somehow missed, Bishop Martino (who freaking rules as we have already established) spoke about issuing canonical penalties for politicians who support abortion in the same way that Archbishop Rummel did for segregationists in New Orleans a few decades ago.

It warms my heart to think that Bishop Martino might read my blog.

His Eminence responded that a politician who claims to reject abortion personally while voting in favor of such measures so as not to force his view on another is different from a politician who claims to believe personally that a certain racial group is inferior and then votes that way. Of course, he provided little rationale for this position. I certainly fail to see one. The politician who claims to reject abortion personally but tries to Cuomo/Biden/Pelosi his way out by citing an unwillingness to subject others to his opinion has already rejected the teaching of the Church.

Abortion is homicide. Politicians vote in favor of measures punishing homicide quite frequently. If one believes abortion is homicide, they should have no problem prohibiting others from diong so. The excuse is irrational and uses logic that would only be acceptable to an insane person. It's not like this issue hasn't already been addressed at the highest levels anyway.

Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cried from earth to Heaven.

Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii

His Excellency, Archbishop Niederauer, then gave a very confusing answer to the question by saying that Archbishop Rummel's situation was different because it had to do with events going on "within the Catholic Church." I think his point was that Rummel's initial efforts were in desegregating the Catholic schools in New Orleans, so it was "entirely" a Catholic matter.

This doesn't make sense either. The issue went well beyond that and into the political realm very early on. It was absolutely a threat made based on political positions held by self-proclaimed Catholics in elected office. I have no idea how this makes it any different or less of a scandal. If anything, the sheer difference in gravity makes it worse.

That's not the end of this story, though. Another reporter stood up two questions later and mentioned that, with all respect to the answers described above, Catholics really wanted to know how to take an allegedly Catholic politician who espouses pro-abortion stuff. Cardinal George simply responded by saying that this was "clearly answered" in the Faithful Citizenship document from the USCCB.

Clearly? Is that why you had people on both sides of the issue claiming that the document supported their views? Is that why you had bishops all over the country basically ditching the entire reasoning of Faithful Citizenship and throwing it in the trash? As my colleague Karl mentions below, Faithful Citizenship "succeeds minimally." We saw how well "minimally" does at the polls.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One Last Item Re: Tuesday

From a Zenit interview with Brian Burch, president of Fidelis:

Q: An estimated 54% of Catholics voted for Barack Obama, despite the strong stand of over 50 heads of dioceses against candidates who support abortion. How did Obama successfully win the majority of the Catholic vote?

Burch: The notion of what constitutes the "Catholic vote" is widely debated. While Obama won the Catholic vote overall 54% - 45%, among Catholics who attend mass every week, McCain won 55% - 43%. Clearly the main reason Obama succeeded overall was the fact that Catholic voters echoed the concerns of the rest of the electorate in citing the economy as their top issue.They concluded that Obama’s economic policies would benefit them more, and ignored the teaching authority of many bishops who explained that concerns about the economy do not justify a vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

Translation: What mattered to most was that the trains run on time.

Q: Did the strong stance of the episcopate have any noticeable affect on the election? What could the Church have done more of?

Burch: The results of the election seem to indicate that, for the most part, Catholic voters ignored the guidance of their bishops. The results simply do not show any dramatic shift away from the larger trends seen during the past several election cycles.One area of concern was the document "Faithful Citizenship," which was used by many organizations to improperly justify support for pro-abortion candidates. The shortcomings of the document forced many bishops to issue their own pastoral letters, leaving many voters confused. Regrettably, I believe the net effect of "Faithful Citizenship" was more confusion than clarity.

Translation: We need more Bishop Martinos.

Liberty and Death

I've been thinking about this for a few days, but there's lots of it that I'm still mulling over. Bear with me. Maybe I'll even make sense at some point.

Historically, both for the Church and the secular perspective of the United States, liberty has always been something connected with the notion of life. [On a side note, since most folks who read this probably don't cipher the philosophical notions of freedom and liberty, I'm sticking with the everyday usages which have them as pretty much the same thing and I think the basic point I'm making will still apply regardless of the potential conflicts between false "Enlightenment" ideas and those of the Church.] The Declaration talks about inalienable rights like life and liberty (endowed by the Creator, no less). Patrick Henry linked liberty with life when he proposed death as the alternative to living under tyranny. Augustine's instruction on liberty was to "Love, and do what thou wilt" in his Sermon on 1 John. Pope Leo XIII called liberty the "highest of natural endowments" on which the power of all his actions in life rested. There was also an interest in protecting the rights of others, albeit the limits on such protections would have made for disagreements.

This isn't to say that death didn't enter the picture (eg- choosing martyrdom). It just wasn't the emphasis.

The prevailing view seems to have rejected the close association of these concepts, or is at least rapidly swinging in that direction. Liberty is now understood primarily in terms of death.

For some time now, it has been common to hear assisted-suicide advocates to treat their cause as one that allows "death on your own terms." This is sort of what I'm talking about. The ultimate expression of one's liberty now has less and less to do with living. It has more to do with destroying one's own life or the life of another.

Consider the Freedom of Choice Act. This legislation would elevate abortion to a "fundamental right" (clearly one not endowed by the Creator). Not only would Sen. Obama sign this legislation, he appreciates it so much that it would be "the first thing" he'd do as President. The destruction of life in the womb has taken on an almost apocalyptic significance for those who justify the "right" to take such an action. Don't believe me? Read Justice Blackmun's dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and tell me if I'm exaggerating:

Three years ago, in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, four Members of this Court appeared poised to "cast into darkness the hopes and visions of every woman in this country" who had come to believe that the Constitution guaranteed her the right to reproductive choice. All that remained between the promise of Roe and the darkness of the plurality was a single, flickering flame. Decisions since Webster gave little reason to hope that this flame would cast much light. . . And I fear for the darkness as four Justices anxiously await the single vote necessary to extinguish the light.

This is the kind of language I'd expect from Tim LaHaye about the coming of the AntiChrist. Here we have an example of how the ultimate exercise of one's freedom has become defined by the ability to destroy the life of another. Considering that FOCA envisions the test for any restriction to be "viability" as specifically discussed in Roe v. Wade (yet admitted as a rather worthless standard by the plurality in the Casey opinion), we will have accomplished the amazing feat of making life a completely arbitrary determination.

The same arguments were used in Washington for Initiative 1000 and really any other assisted suicide law. The murder of self is touted as the greatest freedom one can exhibit. The life of the individual is no longer regarded by himself or others as something with a completely objective value. Due to ____________ circumstances, the life in question is now somehow diminished and of such lesser value than pre-___________ life, that extermination is appropriate. The height of freedom is not the ability to transcend whatever fills in the blank. It is cast instead as the willingness to succumb to it.

These are just a couple of examples. You could make much the same point about the stem cell proposition in Michigan. I do not know how this paradigm shift took place. Death, for oneself or others, has now come to signify liberty. This is a far cry from inalienable rights endowed by a Creator, unless we are to turn Jefferson's words on their head and say that death is the true right granted by God.

Maybe I am making some leaps here that I shouldn't. I'll admit that this sort of just popped in my head Wednesday morning whilst in the shower. I do know that I have seen a remarkable (r)evolution in this nation's thinking over my brief life span. It does not appear to be for the better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

True Hollywood Story Presents: Martin Luther

That's what this latest story from The Guardian reads like. A bunch of Germans have gotten together and attempted to reconstruct Luther's life from things in his kitchen, his trashcan, and his commode. You read that right. Martin Luther's crapper is now the subject of intense scientific scrutiny.

Beer tankards, grains of corn, cooking pots, even his toilet are among the finds dug up during the five-year project in the three places in Germany he spent his life. The items include his wife's golden wedding band, a collection of 250 silver coins and the medicines used to treat his various ailments from angina to constipation.

It also turns out that some of the stories that have grown up around Luther, or that he constructed himself, might not be true. Shocking, but true.

New evidence has shown that already as a young man, his father owned land and a copper mill and lent money for interest. His mother was born into an upper middle-class family and it is unlikely, as Luther suggested, that she "carried all her wood on her back".

The discovery in his boyhood home in Mansfeld of a skittles set made out of cow bones and glass marbles also suggests the family was relatively well to do.

Of legit interest was the discovery of some evidence as to why Luther joined the Augustinians in the first place.

But the claim by historians which will arguably be most upsetting for followers is the recently uncovered written evidence that it was not, as thought, a lightning bolt which led to the then 21-year-old's spontaneous declaration he wanted to become a monk. Rather, it was his desperation to escape an impending arranged marriage.

Yet even with this, the article still seems to have an unhealthy interest in Luther's bathroom behaviors.

It debunks something of the Luther myth to know he wrote the 95 theses on a stone toilet, which was dug up in 2004.

Does the Bible envision anything like Faithful Citizenship?

That's the name of the pallid document produced by the US bishops to attempt to walk the tight-rope of defending the teaching of the Church without antagonizing the vast majority of Catholics who want to be good Americans and vote for their favorites without moral qualms. The current document succeeds minimally.

I've been thinking whether or not this is the proper approach. In the New Testament, there is no provision made for how one should act as a member of a democracy. There weren't any democracies then. No commandment is given "Ye shall vote!" Indeed, there isn't any real impetus for Christians to assimilate into their communities. We are not to be just like the Romans, or just like the Greeks, but a holy nation, a people set apart. That's what the texts say.

I recently gave a little talk on 1 Cor 4-6, and what struck me particularly was that Christians in Corinth were condemned by St. Paul for participating in the political realm, or at least for participating in the courts. They should have been dealing with their problems in the Church, not in the State.

I don't have time to work out all these thoughts, but here's the executive summary: The Church should not worry about influencing politics. It should not worry quibbling about what proportionate reasons could allow someone to vote for the Democrats. It should drop all that and simply proclaim the truth of the Faith. Witness to the dignity of the human person, in whom we are to see Christ always, and if the politicians take it as a condemnation, respond with a genial "If the shoe fits, wear it." But don't wiggle around and try to be all things to all parties.

Perhaps I will expand on this later.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Priests Need More Psychology

That seems to be the conclusion of a new Vatican report from the Congregation for Catholic Education, per Zenit. It's not that I really disagree with this. It's lines from the article that talk about how we need to put more emphasis on psychological profiles in the discernment process and how priests need psychological maturity, not just a sound spiritual life.

Is it weird to think that the latter will typically entail the former? I don't know too many people with a solid spiritual constitution who are also psychologically frail.

Here's my concern. If you ran psychological profiles on the Cure of Ars, Padre Pio, Catherine of Siena, St. Benedict, etc., I'm willing to bet none of them would have been admitted to the religious life. You can imagine the exchange:

Psychologist: "So, Mr. Vianney, tell me about your problems."

Cure of Ars: "Well, things would be great if Satan would stop beating the crap out of me at night."

Psychologist (hurriedly scribbling a commitment certificate for intense inpatient therapy in a maximum security facility): "Next!"

Yeah, something like that. Just look at how members of Opus Dei are treated. Corporal mortification? These people are disturbed. They must be a cult. There needs to be an investigation.

And so forth.

More Persecution in India

We had a few posts a while back on past and present persecutions in Asia. The envelope continues to be pushed.

Sr. Meena Raped by Hindus while Police Watched

The article is graphic and horrible overall. Just a reminder of what our religious face when they attempt to spread the Gospel.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bad Day for Life

I have decided to post on the results from yesterday. With our president-elect, we have a guy who is for the Freedom of Choice Act (something that I've found even "dedicated supporters" of his didn't know until 2 weeks ago) and against emergency care for infants who survive abortions. We know this is not good, and everyone should go ahead and write a letter now to oppose the adoption of FOCA.

However, there were other items yesterday that also do not bode well. Washington passed Initiative 1000, which is an assisted-suicide law. Michigan adopted Proposition 2, which provides for a large expansion of embryonic stem-cell use. I know what some may be thinking. "It's Washington. What more do you expect from left coast whackjobs who thought that hiring Ty Willingham was a good idea?" Or perhaps, "It's Michigan. They hired Matt Millen as a GM. Isn't Kwame Kilpatrick from there?"

These are both true. That aside, the passage of these laws by a vote of the electorate, rather than by representative or judicial fiat are troubling for deeper reasons. I'm still putting my thoughts together about it. Full post forthcoming.

Speaking of Catholics Making Stuff Up

This heretic in Australia is really taking the cake right now. It's a one-way train to ShelbySpong-ville with non-stop service. We should really pray for these parishioners. Per The Australian:

On the line for parishioners of St Mary's and several other parishes in Queensland and NSW are fundamental church doctrines such as who can celebrate Mass, whether Jesus Christ was God, whether Mary had as many as six children, the bodily Resurrection, and the need for sacramental celebrations for same-sex marriages.

In a booklet being sold for $20, a NSW priest, Peter Dresser of Coonamble in the Diocese of Bathurst, insists Jesus was not God and did not think he was God.

In God is Big. Real Big! Father Dresser -- who prefers to be known as Peter -- says: "This whole matter regarding Jesus being God ... not only does violence to my own intelligence, but must be a sticking point for millions of people trying to make some kind of sense of the Christian religion ... No human being can ever be God, and Jesus was a human being. It is as simple as that."

Pete, if anything does violence to intelligence, it's the asinine title of that booklet. Good job with that stuff on God not being able to be human. Why hadn't anybody else thought of this? Oh wait. . . maybe I have heard something similar before.

Recently, the priests at St Mary's -- Peter Kennedy and Terry Fitzpatrick -- also canvassed the idea of Catholics celebrating the Eucharist in their homes, without a priest.

Of course, if you're view of the Eucharist is this:

"The community of believers would call forth one of its members to preside at this memorial service. This person could be either man or woman, married or single ... with no special designation except being chosen or called forth to leadership by the community."

Then why would you need a priest? Priests offer sacrifices. It's who they are. It's what they do. If there's no sacrifice, then of course any random shmoe could do it.

But none of this really touches on the biggest issue here. As was pointed out by a colleague on Steve Ray's board, this guy has apparently been doing invalid baptisms. Check this out. Recall that Rome has ruled that screwing up the baptismal formula invalidates the whole thing, meaning you have to do it all over again the right way.

Is this guy in Pell's jurisdiction? I'm assuming not or else he would have been excommed long ago. Somebody needs to stop him. It's time for Cardinal Levada to earn his paycheck.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why are Catholics Like Humpty Dumpty?

Tim Rutten gives us a clue in the LA Times. The article is entitled "The End of the Catholic Vote."

Basically, it's about how Catholic voting patterns are shifting. The reasons that are apparently behind the shift are the interesting part:

What we're seeing in these three swing states is the end of the Catholic vote, as conventional political strategists traditionally have expected it to behave -- in part because it's now so large it pretty much looks like the rest of America; in part because of its own internal changes. National polls have shown for some time that, although Catholics are personally opposed to abortion, they believe it ought to be legal in nearly identical percentages to the rest of America. Moreover, as a survey by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found earlier this year, only 18% of Catholics "strongly" agree with the statement: "In deciding what is morally acceptable, I look to the church teachings and statements by the pope and bishops to form my conscience."

This last bit reminded me of a quote from Through the Looking Glass. Humpty Dumpty drops this gem of wisdom:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

Basically, modern Catholics are saying the same thing as Humpty Dumpty when it comes to the word "Catholic." This word, like so many other things in our society, has lost any semblance of objective meaning for these people. Rather than describing an intellectual submission to the Truth of certain propositions, it instead means whatever the given individual declares it to mean. How can this many people be so intellectually dishonest?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Somebody Actually Agrees With Us

Boniface over at Unam Sanctam has produced some great elaboration on the Instrumentum Laboris that was used for the Synod. If you have been wondering what I meant about "fluff" being the primary substance of the interventions, check out his posts here and here. Subjectivity covered in warm modernistic gooiness with no crunchy center is probably the best nutshell version. He does a great job of breaking down various points of the whole document.

I would especially suggest hitting the parts about the Old Testament and why they are "difficult." There's a reason why kids always seem to prefer OT stories to NT ones. They make a lot more sense. Really. You don't have to explain David and Goliath to a child. Parables need explaining. Epistles need elucidation. Acts gets a pass. Anyways, the point is that even the high-minded allegory guys like Origen weren't so blithe about dismissing the historicity of Scripture.

Just showing that Karl and I aren't crazy when we write this stuff.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Have a Little Help From My Friends

Happy All Saints Day!

Pray for Us!