Papa-Lu: April 2006 Archives

Stirrings

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An old friend of this blog (well, actually of my old blog) has a couple of fresh posts up. Any of you fans of Dylan's fine blog should say hi to him if you can spare a moment.

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Towards a Christian Humanism

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Glenn T. Stanton of Focus on the Family has an excellent piece in Christianity Today calling for development of a Christian Humanism:

We must become students of humanity. We must become humanists: people who are unreservedly committed to human life at its fullest, and people deeply pained by human life at its worst. Yes, someone from the Religious Right said we must become humanists.

I don't primarily mean that the suffering of the modern era should drive us to humanism. As Christ said, the poor will always be among us. Human suffering in all its forms is a tragic reminder of the reality of the Fall. We will only be free when Christ's redemption is complete. However, we must become serious students of humanity because just as the Fall is real, so too is the Incarnation. The Incarnation of the second person of the Trinity—the Son of God leaving his eternal and divine communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit to become flesh and dwell among us—this is what should draw us to the question of what it means to be human in these inhumane times.

I applaud his efforts (as should all Catholics and Christians), and want to point out that the Catholic Church and Pope John Paul II are way out in front on this one.

READING LIST

Second Vatican Council:

Pope John Paul II

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Nerdy Catholicism Makes a Comeback

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It seems there is some renewed interest in The Catholic Nerd Blog.

I put up a few posts earlier this year, and suddenly there are 20 or so new comments and a whole lotta new hits.

Jenny, Monika? Feel like posting?

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Happy Easter!

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Things have been busy here Chez-Lu. We had an excellent Triduum, even making it to the Vigil at our parish (my first Easter Vigil celebrated somewhere other than the place where I was Confirmed and received my first Communion).

Regular, blogging has been impossible and looks to be so for a little while, but just 'cuz I hate to show up empty-handed, here's a nice little blurb on Easter in Mongolia, where 70 new Catholics were baptized this Easter, bringing the Catholic community there up to a grand total of 370 members.

Not many diocese can say they grew by 23% in one year...

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Shakers, Rattle and Roll

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Simple Gifts: The Power of Classic Hymns from NPR. The inside story: "Simple Gifts" was the one hymn I vetoed for our wedding. Mama-Lu still chides me over it, but I'm pleased with the soundtrack we ended up with.

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The Ever-Gracious Peggy Noonan

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For a lesson on how to sharply criticize a man with utter charity and graciousness, please see Peggy Noonan's latest column at OpinionJournal.com.

The greatest criticism of the president's governing style and White House is that they are uncalibrated. It's not enough they commit themselves, they must commit future presidencies. It is not enough they do their job, they must announce "the concentrated work of generations." It's not enough they hit Afghanistan, they must hit Iraq; it's not enough they improve, they must remake. It's not enough they must fight a war, they must reform America's most important social welfare program at the same time. It was not enough that Don Rumsfeld manage a war, he must at the same time modernize and revolutionize the military. It's not enough to allow spending to rise or raise it modestly, you must back the biggest growth in government since the Great Society. It's not enough to call for liberty, stand for liberty and assist the spread of liberty; you have to insist on it, now, or you are not America's friend. It's not enough to do A and B and C, you have to do Z too. It is all so uncalibrated.

Inside the White House they say, "We think big." Maybe. But maybe they're not thinking. They say, "We're bold." But maybe they're just unknowing, which is not the same thing. The bold weigh the price and pay it, get the lay of the land and move within it. The dreamy just spurt along on emotions.

It's as if Bush doesn't understand the concept of danger. He understands sin, redemption, practicalities (every man has to make his living, life is competition, etc.). But danger? Does he understand how dangerous life is? It's not cowardly to know this, and factor it in. It is in fact strange not to.

I sometimes think about people who ski. It has seemed to me that people who ski don't know how dangerous life is. Life hasn't taught them. So they look for danger on their vacations. They strap pieces of wood on their feet and propel themselves down high mountains full of snow and trees, drops and turns.

They consider this invigorating. The rest of us consider it perplexing. The rest of us are trying to take a holiday from danger. We are all shaped by experience. Lately I think the president could have used a time in his life when his father couldn't pay the rent. Such experiences tend to leave you unwilling to count on good luck coming, or staying.

Sometimes Mr. Bush acts as if he doesn't know you don't have to look for trouble, it will find you. When you are the American president, it knows your address by heart.

I know that on some level he knows this. The president has taken, those around him say, great comfort in biographies of previous presidents. All presidents do this. They all take comfort in the fact that former presidents now seen as great were, in their time, derided, misunderstood, underestimated. No one took the measure of their greatness until later. This is all very moving, but: Message to all biography-reading presidents, past present and future: Just because they call you a jackass doesn't mean you're Lincoln.

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Iran

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Mark Steyn, from this Sunday's Sun-Times:

You know what's great fun to do if you're on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you're getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I've got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It's OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn't got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it's highly unlikely he'd ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That's just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it's entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the cabin crew."
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Abstinence on NPR

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That is not a typo. And it was actually positively portrayed. Have a listen and consider dropping them a line to express your appreciation for using your tax money for something good.

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More Human Sexuality

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Speaking of the teachings of the Church, David of the "Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex" blog recently completed a five-post series on "Sex and the Human Person" that would serve as an excellent primer for those who've never encountered the Church's dealings with the subject.

Part I: The Problem
Part II: Sex in Creation?
part III: Sex Differences
Part IV: Complementarity
Part V: Consummation

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Birth Control Debate

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I found this link last week, don't remember where. It's a debate between Janet Smith and Charles Curran on Humanae Vitae. I was able to listen to it last night at work.

It's a two-hour long debate, so budget some time. I'm far from an objective listener, but it was hard to hear it as anything but an overwhelming victory for Janet Smith. She had data and common sense on her side.

Most unbelievable moment: After opening statements and rebuttals, the debaters had a chance to ask each other questions. Smith asked Curran why it is that those of his camp have never critically engaged the thinking of John Paul II on birth control and human sexuality. His answer? JP2 didn't really contribute anything new to the discussion.

!!!

Smith did make one mistake, though. At one point, she said (and repeated about a dozen times) that ordinary Catholics don't have time to read all the documents of the Church and study moral theology to inform their consciences on the subject. She said it falls to pastors and theologians to make the teachings accessible, and draw couples into the thinking of the Church on the issue.

That is all exactly right, but later, when speaking about couples who actually live the teachings of the Church, she (repeatedly) praised them as couples who have read the documents and live by them. I know she didn't mean to say that you have to read the documents to understand the Church's teachings, but it almost sounded like she was trying to have it both ways.

All in all, a great performance by Smith.

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I Love You!

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NPR has a feature called StoryCorps, where a van equipped with a recording both roams the country and anybody can reserve some time in the booth to interview a friend or relative who has an interesting story to tell. The feature airs weekly on NPR and the stories are archived at the Library of Congress.

A few weeks ago, Joyce Lee interviewed her mother, Hee-sook, a first generation immigrant, who tells the story of how she got her husband to begin telling her that he loved her. It's a incredibly sweet story, well worth a listen.

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Should Cubs fans be worried?

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The Chicago National League ballclub's farm system has only one of the top 50 minor league prospects?

What a difference a few years make.

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Collective apology owed

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Remember all those Polish jokes growing up? You know what I mean... solar-powered flashlights, submarines with screen doors, etc. In the marketplace of ethnic jokes, the Polish (or "Polaks") had a monopoly on being called stupid.

Well, it turns out that Poland is Europe's third smartest country, trailing only Germany and the Netherlands with an average IQ of 106 as measured in a new study.

Here's the story from the UK's Times.

(France ranks 19th with an average of 94, right between Greece and Bulgaria, for those of you given to gloating.)

I wouldn't gloat too much, though. This was a study of Europe only, and really, do we want to know where America would rank?

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April Prayer Intentions

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From Vatican Information Services:

The Holy Father's general prayer intention for April is: "That the individual, social and political rights of women may be respected in every nation."

His mission intention is: "That the Church in China may carry out its evangelizing mission serenely and in full freedom."

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Papa-Lu in April 2006.

Papa-Lu: March 2006 is the previous archive.

Papa-Lu: May 2006 is the next archive.

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