July 2005 Archives

A sentimental moment


It's not often that one of your boyhood heroes gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. Permit me then, a moment of indulgence and hometown pride, as I congratulate Ryne Sandberg on his achievement.



You earned it, Ryno! Enjoy!

Bookmark and Share

Images and the transmission of the faith


Sandro Magister wrote about the new Compendium a few weeks ago. In his piece (see about 3/4 of the way down the page), he includes an article that appeared in Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' Conference.

The use of sacred images is nothing new. Long before there were written catechisms, the Church made systematic use of art in order to communicate the contents of the faith. This was much more than a pragmatic stratagem, and perhaps this greater dimension has sometimes been misunderstood or overlooked in the past. Benedict XVI has done justice to Christian art.

Of course, the sensitivity and commitment of his predecessors prepared the way. But now, with this important step, the pope has restored the image to the people of God precisely where the Church communicates to the people, through the catechism, the great deposit of the faith.

Imagery is a structural part of the Christian faith. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul defines Christ himself as the image, the icon of the invisible Father. The Gospels and the letters of John similarly emphasize the fact that, in Christ, what previously was a verbal expression has become an iconographic expression. The Word became flesh so that we could see. The Word of God made himself visible, the first letter of John says, so that we could contemplate him, see him, and touch him with our hands.

So, as one of Paul's other writings says, what God spoke on many occasions to our fathers through the prophets he no longer says in words, because words have shown themselves to be inadequate for expressing the full weight of what God has to say, and for man's capacity to understand his message. In these last times, God has spoken through something that everyone can see: the manifestation of his very being in the glory of his Son.

The whole thing is quite good.

Bookmark and Share

Note to self...

| | Comments (1)

...visit here frequently after you hit the lottery.

Bookmark and Share



NPR has a news piece on Patrick Fitzgerald, the US Prosecutor in Chicago.

I don't know much about his politics, but what I do know is that he is all over every important case in this state. His wrath is bi-partisan - he's gone after both Governor George Ryan and Mayor Daley's regime - and from everything I've ever read and heard he gets results. This piece confirms all of that. He's a nice antidote to our hissy-fit pitching Illiois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who sees sidewalk counselors as a top threat in our state.

Bookmark and Share

Worse and worse


This headline from Lifesite News gets more and more horrifying as you read it, until the end, when it sorta unfortunately makes sense.

'Ordained' Woman...

is Pro-Abortion...

Religion Professor...

at Catholic University...
Stop! Stop! Pleeeeeaaase!

of San Diego...
Oh. Surprise, surprise.

NPR has this audio report on the play-date.

Some gems (emphasis mine):

NPR: "Some would say that you are leaving the Catholic Church." Non-Priestess #1: "Yes, I think that some of the bishops and the message that we get from the Vatican is that we are excommunicating ourselves, and I just want to answer I don't ever remember doing that."


The eight Americans and a Canandian walk single-file to the river. They are led by three women in tie-dyed red silk robes - these are the bishops.


The boat is symbolic of early Christian symbolism. Also, they couldn't find a Church to host them...


The liturgy is alternative...


[Just-ordained Non-priestess #2] looks drained, currently eating the rest of the bread in her Eucharist bowl.

Bookmark and Share

Tons of great stuff...


...in this week's Word from Rome.

But first, a disclaimer: I don't agree with the National Catholic Reporter on many things, but John Allen is a great journalist. His column is always full of solid reporting with true balance. Occasionally, I don't agree with the tone of something he writes, but it's very rarely and usually a very mild offense.

Anyway, on to the Word.

Allen discusses the Pope's views on Islam, including a lengthy excerpt from Ratzinger's The Salt of the Earth discussing Islam.

He also discusses the Vatican-Israeli dispute that occurred this week, including one possibility for Israel's drastic over-reaction:

Some looked to explain the harshness of the Israeli reaction. One commentator suggested the broadside was an excuse to scuttle a meeting between Israeli and Vatican negotiators scheduled for Monday, to discuss agreements on the financial and juridical status of church institutions in Israel. Those negotiations have been dragging on for 11 years.

Others suggested that traditional Jewish sensitivity to alleged papal "silences" on anti-Semitism, and not the specifics of the current negotiations, were more likely the underlying motive.

Whatever the case, sources tell NCR that the Israeli/Holy See negotiations are currently stalled, among other things, over the question of what force an agreement would have under Israeli law. In essence, the Israelis want the agreement to be subject to the ordinary legislative process, so that if the Knesset decides a year from now to overhaul the country's tax system, church institutions would be included. Vatican negotiators insist that the point of a bilateral agreement is that its terms cannot be unilaterally altered by one party.

Optimism that an agreement could be worked out quickly seems, in the wake of this dispute as well as the new diplomatic flap, to have abated.

Perhaps the biggest news in the Word is that Allen has heard that the next World Youth Day will be held in Sydney, Australia in 2008. That's great and all, but it doesn't look like a party me and the fam are gonna be able to attend.

There's also a peculiar piece concerning the United Nations. I don't understand all of the U.N. politics involved, but the gist seems to be that some European countries want to "eliminate the distribution of emergency food in Africa and other famine-stricken regions," alleging that the U.S. uses these distributions as an outlet for surplus agricultural goods. One U.S. ambassador is outraged and is asking the Holy See to weigh in.

I'm not sure why these distributions are supposed to be harmful. The food is going to feed starving people who couldn't otherwise purchase it. Furthermore, the European idea of replacing those distributions with cash donations handled by the United Nations seems to rank somewhere behind Crystal Pepsi on the All Time Greatest Ideas list - why not just have the Chicago Water Department handle it? Allen doesn't discuss the implications, but it would be interesting to see if the Holy See takes the side of the U.S. against the E.U in this debate.

Anyway, like I said, lots of good stuff here.

Bookmark and Share

Tell me again what Republicans are good for?

| | Comments (1)
Bookmark and Share

A different mission

The Mission aims to pass on to the next generation the rich vision of human possibility inherent in the American project, and to enlist them into passing down that vision to yet another generation, in what sociologists used to call “the reproduction of society.” What goes around, comes around.

You don’t have to have a Ph.D. to know that many poor parents have not signed up for the Mission.

From What’s Holding Black Kids Back? by Kay S. Hymovitz, a nice piece that looks at the differences between middle and lower class families with regards to child rearing.

But it should be clear by now that being a middle-class—or an upwardly mobile immigrant—mother or father does not mean simply performing a checklist of proper behaviors. It does not mean merely following procedures. It means believing on some intuitive level in the Mission and its larger framework of personal growth and fulfillment. In the case of poor parents, that means having an imagination of a better life, if not for you, then for your kids. That’s what makes the difference.

I like the piece, but I take issues with a few of her assertions. I don't agree with the assertion that smaller family size is evidence of an increasing focus on The Mission. For some families yes, but for others, it's evidence of wanting to "be done" early and reture at 50.

Additionally, subscribing to The Mission doesn't necessarily make one a good parent. I'd rather raise good, happy children than four-sport all-stars who play 12 instruments and have wretched attitudes. Any family that is "training [children] to prosper in an individualistic, commercial, self-governing republic" at the expense of teaching a child how to live in relationship with God, nature and fellow man is not an enviroment for raising healthy children, it's a Young Capitalist factory.

Even though the article isn't concerned with that distinction, much of its critique of lower-class parenting can also be applied to the moral dimension. It's interesting at this time of assault on traditional views of the family to have a piece like this which makes the case for an intact family.

According to Berger, when working properly, the bourgeois, nuclear family is by its very definition a factory for producing competent, self-reliant, and (at its most successful) upwardly mobile children. Close the factory, as in the disappearance of the inner-city two-parent family, and you risk shutting down the product line.

Cringe though you rightfully may at the capitalistic wording of that last sentence, the truth of the notion remains.

Bookmark and Share

Berlin to open giant brothel for '06 World Cup


Insert World Youth Day joke here.

Bookmark and Share



An "alternative" source os stem cells.

Hey man, whatever works and is ethically sound, I guess.

Bookmark and Share

A glimpse...


The parody blog catholicnews.org has a hilarious piece on a man whose wish that the Church never existed gets fulfilled:

In just a matter of hours, classical works by Homer, Ovid and Vergil disintegrated, Europe was overun by Moors and is now under a theocratic dictatorship, works by Michaelangelo and other artists vanished, the slave trade resurrected, his wife ceased to be, and 2000 years of unsaid prayers went unanswered.

Here's the whole thing. Cute.

Bookmark and Share



That was the vote in the Polish lower house in favor of making October 16 a holiday in honor of Pope John Paul II.

The annual holiday will be dedicated to remembering and studying John Paul's teachings, but it won't be a government holiday. Banks, schools and government offices will stay open.

OK, so it won't quite be a national holiday, but really, isn't that remarkable both for the beauty of the gesture and for the sad fact that a similar gesture for an [incredibly hypothetical] American pope would never fly?

Bookmark and Share

MT 3.17

| | Comments (1)

This is my first post with MT 3, which stblogs.org just installed.

Due to the large amount of comment spam, I now have comment registration. You don't have to register, but if you don't, then your comment won't show up until I approve it. If you do register, your email address will be kept confdential.

Bookmark and Share



This week the Pontifical Academy for Life responded to a request by an American woman seeking moral guidance on the issue of vaccinations that were derived from aborted fetuses.

Here is the PDF file with the 8 page response, which is very detailed and informative. The document lists the cell lines that are derived from aborted fetuses and analyzes the moral culpability of those with various degrees of involvement in the use of these tainted vaccines.

Here is the meat of it as pertains to those of us parents who are forced to deal with the decision to use these vaccinations or not:

As regards those who need to use such vaccines for reasons of health, it must be emphasized that, apart from every form of formal cooperation, in general, doctors or parents who resort to the use of these vaccines for their children, in spite of knowing their origin (voluntary abortion), carry out a form of very remote mediate material cooperation, and thus very mild, in the performance of the original act of abortion, and a mediate material cooperation, with regard to the marketing of cells coming from abortions, and immediate, with regard to the marketing of vaccines produced with such cells. The cooperation is therefore more intense on the part of the authorities and national health systems that accept the use of the vaccines.

However, in this situation, the aspect of passive cooperation is that which stands out most. It is up to the faithful and citizens of upright conscience (fathers of families, doctors, etc.) to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life and the "culture of death" which underlies them. From this point of view, the use of vaccines whose production is connected with procured abortion constitutes at least a mediate remote passive material cooperation to the abortion, and an immediate passive material cooperation with regard to their marketing. Furthermore, on a cultural level, the use of such vaccines contributes in the creation of a generalized social consensus to the operation of the pharmaceutical industries which produce them in an immoral way.

Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin. Equally, they should oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.

As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if the latter are exposed to considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience. Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles.

In any case, there remains a moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means in order to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries which act unscrupulously and unethically. However, the burden of this important battle cannot and must not fall on innocent children and on the health situation of the population - especially with regard to pregnant women.

To summarize, it must be confirmed that:
-there is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems;
- as regards the vaccines without an alternative, the need to contest so that others may be prepared must be reaffirmed, as should be the lawfulness of using the former in the meantime insomuch as is necessary in order to avoid a serious risk not only for one's own children but also, and perhaps more specifically, for the health conditions of the population as a whole - especially for pregnant women;
- the lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one's children and of the people who come in contact with the children (pregnant women);
- such cooperation occurs in a context of moral coercion of the conscience of parents, who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.

My reading of this is that it's OK for us to grudgingly use these vaccines, provided that there are no licit alternatives and that we reject the procedures by which they were obtained and do our best however we can to fight the injustice by which they were derived.

I called Christie Clinic here in Champaign, and a nurse explained to me that they order their vaccines through the pharmacy, and they may have different vaccines they use at different times. She did, however, tell me that the doctor or nurse we see when vaccination time comes could let us know what vaccines are available at that time, so I will make sure we always have the list with us when we go in.

Also, a friend emailed me the Children of God website, which has this more detailed list that also lists alternatives..

A nice local way to organize would be to circulate petitions among families stating our desire for morally licit vaccinations, and then present the petitions to the local hospitals and clinics to encourage them to stock the licit alternatives.

Nationally, the same petitions could be sent to drug companies (the Children of God site has a petition here). Even if the drug companies don't care about the value of the human life destroyed, the desire for profit (the ol' invisible hand does come in handy occasionally) may lead the companies to create licit lines and make them more readily available.

So, while the Vatican says that in the interest of protecting our children, it is acceptable to use these vaccines when there are no others available, let's also remember the call to oppose these lines in every possible way, and do what we can in prayer and action to ensure that families don't have to choose between cooperating (however remotely) with evil and leaving our children unprotected.

Bookmark and Share

If this doesn't get you hyped for World Youth Day...

In less than a month, I will also go as a pilgrim to an historical European cathedral, that of Cologne, where young people have made an appointment for their 20th World Day. Let us pray that the new generations, drawing their vital sap from Christ, will be able to be in European society the leaven of a renewed humanism, in which faith and reason cooperate in fruitful dialogue in the promotion of man and the making of authentic peace. We pray for this to God, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, who, as Mother and Queen, watches over the path of all nations.
Bookmark and Share

Shocked, SHOCKED


A Durbin quote from 1982, found chez Diogenes:

I was shocked to learn that [my primary opponent] has chosen to call my friends in Right to Life and try to convince them that I now favor abortion on demand. ... This type of negative campaigning infuriates me and particularly because it involves the issue of abortion. My record of opposition to abortion on demand has been public record for eight years. Long before my opponent moved to this district I worked closely with Springfield Right to Life and served as master of ceremonies at the annual banquet. As recently as this January I was honored to serve as Master of Ceremonies at the annual observance in the State Capitol for the fifth time. ... I oppose abortion on demand. I support the Hatch Federalism Amendment which has been endorsed by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

What a difference a couple of decades and 5 or 6 figures from NOW makes.

Bookmark and Share

Somebody has to be wrong


Either it's Laura Vanderkam, who says overturning Roe v. Wade will have a minimal effect on abortion, or it's Ted Rall, the title of whose piece says it all: "SAY SAYONARA TO ABORTION."

Vanderkam seems to me to be closer to the truth, as most states either have enacted or would enact fairly liberal abortion laws. The point she misses however, is that the many of the very reasonable limitations passed by states in the past 10 years will then be enforceable. This means the people of any given state will be free to decide that maybe 13 year olds should not be able to get abortions without their parents permission. Who can really be sad about this?

Not only is Rall wrong in his prediction, but he's also wrong in his facts. Roe v Wade is not in danger. If Roberts is confirmed and if he turns out to truly be pro-life and if Rehnquist retires soon and ifanother pro-life justice is nominated and confirmed, then there will still only be four pro-life justices on the Supreme Court. Sure, maybe some of the restrictions on abortion that have been stricken down such as partial birth abortion and parental notification laws might get passed, but the vast majority of abortions - elective early term abortions on grown women - would still be legal.

Thanks for the reasoned discourse, Ted.

By the way, here's an interesting excerpt from Rall's piece"

In a sick way, the end of Roe v. Wade may turn out to be a net positive for America. For one thing, Roe was a legally dubious decision based on flawed constitutional logic. Rather than pass abortion rights into law, 14 cowardly congresses and seven weasely presidents have relied on the 1973 ruling to avoid taking political fire from the Bible-thumpers.

So Ted's whole rant is based on his mistaken assertion that a court decision that he admits is "legally dubious" and "flawed" will be overturned. Still, it is nice to hear somebody on the left admit that Roe v. Wade is terrible law.

Bookmark and Share

A different kind of P.O.D.


How about "Psychotically Over-Devotional?"

ROME (Reuters) - Thousands of Italians have flocked to a small town outside Naples armed with mobile phones in the hopes of filming a statue of the Virgin Mary that residents say has miraculously moved her legs.

Parishioners at St. Peter's church in Acerra said they had witnessed the plaster statue's legs turn flesh colored and move "as though she were walking toward us." One man told reporters last week that he had filmed the "miracle" on his mobile phone.

Full story.

Mama-Lu sniffed this one out immediately: "Don't Mary statues usually have really long robes covering the whole legs?"

Bookmark and Share

Speaking of the Supreme Court

| | Comments (1)

You gotta love this nonsense from Howard Dean:

"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is."

What? Didn't the entire right wing plus O'Connor join in dissent to Kelo? Or is he referring to those famous right wingers Ginsburg and Stevens?

So is he a liar or does he have absolutely no control over the bile spewing from his facial orifice?

Bookmark and Share

Relax, Roberts is one of "us"


From the first paragraph of the second page of this Beliefnet story on the Catholicism of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

John Roberts apparently has always taken his Catholic faith seriously. As a high school student, he was a sacristan, assisting with sacristy upkeep and care of the sacred vessels used in the mass.
Bookmark and Share

Hillary the "moderate" "centrist"


This NPR piece sounds like a parody. Bruce Reed of the Democratic Leadership council denies Hillary has a liberal reputation ("I wouldn't say that"), calls her "culturally conservative" and denies that her new prominent role in the DLC's efforts amounts to an endorsement of her for the presidency in 2008.

Bookmark and Share

Pot, kettle, black


Of all the errors in Andrew Greeley's latest, here's the silliest:

The cardinal's assertion will upset most Catholic scientists and confuse many of the educated laity (something that the present pope has always deplored). Moreover, it provides the New York Times another chance to pursue its anti-Catholic bias.

Huh??? Is he serious? What does the NYT ever say against the Church that Greeley himself doesn't agree with?

Bookmark and Share

John Roberts

| | Comments (4)

Cautiously I wade into this territory. So little we know for sure, though all signs are encouraging.

I am very optimistic about a Justice Roberts, and if indeed he turns out to be faithful to the Constitution, then this will be a brilliant pick by the President.

By all accounts, he will stand up for life. We don't know this 100%, which is uncomfortable, but all the signs are good.

First of all, his wife was active in Feminists For Life. I'm with Jill Stanek - it would be a hard for somebody so actively pro-life to be married to somebody who didn't share her views.

Additionally, he has been described as a faithful - even a "traditional" - Catholic. His two children are adopted. These are all good signs.

Politically, the main reason I feel good about him is that Bush and Rove should darn well know better than to put another pro-choice Catholic on the Supreme Court. Many otherwise liberal Catholics hold a weak allegiance to the Republican party based primarily on seeing in them the best hope of reversing the national tragedy that is Roe v. Wade.

Rove (the demographics guru) knows that the Catholics are trending Republican precisely on this issue, despite being against the Presidents foreign policy. If Roberts is everything he appears to be, they will stay Republican. If Bush fails on this nomination and adds insult to injury by giving us another Kennedy, the Republicans will lose the Catholic vote in '06 and '08.

Bush may not be overly concerned with his legacy, but if he wants the '07-'08 Congress to have more R's than D's, Roberts better come through. And for all the assaults on Bush's intellect, we know that one area where he is as sharp as anybody is political strategery.

If Roberts falls through, and Catholics see that they cannot count on the Republicans to protect life, then they will walk. Bush knows this, Karl Rove knows this. This makes me feel very optimistic about Roberts.

There are reasons to worry. I personally am a bit skittish with the fact that Roberts made his bread and butter for years as a corporate lawyer. And the fact of the matter is, we don't know if he is pro-life or not.

Aside fom all of that, the boys at Southern Appeal seem to be pretty psyched about Roberts. For what it's worth, I'll take their vote of confidence over Ann Coulter's hatred of Roberts for representing a welfare mother free of charge anyday.

By the way, see Southern Appeal for tons of great coverage on Roberts.

Bookmark and Share

Pakistani Police raid Daughters of St. Paul


This is from a few weeks ago:

According to Father Arthur Charles of the Karachi Archdiocese, on June 12 at 2 a.m. the police tried to enter the convent of the Daughters of St. Paul, but were stopped by the security guard.

The following day, the police went to the bookstore, locked some clients and women religious in, and began searching for CDs and videos, according to the priest.

The Karachi Archdiocese issued a statement condemning the police raid and the false accusations against the sisters' bookstore.


Bookmark and Share

Interview with Navarro-Valls


I don't believe I've seen anybody appear so deeply human in such a brief interview as Joaquin Navarro-Valls, head of the Vatican press office, does in this interview with the Italian Espresso Online.

First, he recounts his experience of the death of Pope John Paul II

Q: The whole world watched, live, as you wept for the death of pope Wojtyla.

A: "Yes, in the end I displayed all of my vulnerability. Until that moment I had been able to carry out my duty of providing information on the worsening condition of John Paul II while keeping my emotions in check. But then, when a German colleague asked me: 'But how are you experiencing this bereavement personally?', I was pierced with sorrow and could no longer hold back my tears."

Q: Three months have gone by. Is the pain going away, too?

A: "It is in fact diminishing, and the reason for this is precisely the rich and full character of the pope himself. It is easier to reconcile oneself to the death of a man who has left a mark like he has. I would like to tell you about something that has been kept private until now. Do you know what was the first prayer said by the persons in the room at the moment of his death?"

Q: A Requiem?

A: "No, a Te Deum, which is a solemn hymn of thanksgiving. The religious sisters, the secretary, and the few others who were present spontaneously intoned it to thank God, not for his death of course, but for those 84 years that were so fruitful. I myself found it extraordinarily difficult in that moment to recite the usual prayers on behalf of the deceased."

Is that not a beautiful image to bring to mind?

Q: And what was your family of origin like?

A: "It was wonderful and close. My father, a liberal lawyer of great intellectual rigor, permitted me to become a doctor without insisting that I follow the juridical tradition of the family. My mother, who is now 91, was a mother through and through, devoted and affectionate. I wanted to unite both of their last names with a hyphen, in order to keep both of them always with me. And then there was my sister Assunta: it was wonderful to be with her."

Q: Your face lit up just then. Did you love your sister very much?

A: "I loved her very much, but she died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at the age of 35. She left four little children, and I was present when each of them was born."

Q: Now your face has become very troubled. It seems that this is still an open wound.

A: "It is. We were almost like a couple, with an extraordinary mutual understanding. She was just a year older than me, and we did everything together, we even danced together. When we were young, at parties people would ask us to perform the tango. My girlfriend would be there, too, but I danced with Assunta. It seems that we were quite good."

Later on:

Q: Doctor Navarro, even though you look very good for your age, you are 69 years old. Do you feel the sadness of declining?

A: "My reaction to growing old is rather one of surprise. Good grief, I say, I'm no longer capable of the great mastery in tennis that once was laughably easy. Am I perhaps out of training? No, I’m just getting old."

Q: And this doesn't make you afraid?

A: "Not at all. I look at the limitations of our culture, which experiences old age as an insult. Once the child making his first communion was dressed as an adult. Now the adults dress like children, and they are ridiculous. But the wonderful way in which the pope grew old may have been a corrective. He taught that life leads to death, but that this is not the final end of life."

It is a wonderful read all the way through.

Bookmark and Share

More thoughts on Selkie's post

| | Comments (1)

I was just going to comment, but Papa-Lu wants a post, so quickly here's what I said when he told me about the article and after reading it for myself.

First, rules don't raise happy children. Studies show that juvenile delinquents come half from families that were neglectful and half from rigid families with all the rules. Also, breastfeeding will not guarantee a happy child or a fulfilled adult. I grew up in a Le Leche League house and boy could I tell you stories of some very freaky, angry, socially delinquent pepole- all breastfed or breastfeeding. Father Virtue makes this point in his book (which has not been read by a large number of the people who talk about it). He points out that hostility at the breast is more damaging than bottle feeding and that it is possible to nurture a child fully using a bottle, if the situation requires it.

Anyway, another response I had to the post is that a disordered attachment to the rules leads to a blatant disregard for the human person, evidenced in a lack of compassion and empathy. An attitude which Selkie's post pegged perfectly, not only in its competitiveness and tendency to blame people for their own problems, but also in its datedness, out of step with the modern world and with modern theology as found in JPII.

Finally, when it comes to parenting I sympathize with the people who feel the need for rules. Children have a way of making a person feel like a faliure and rules provide security. However, my current reading and thinking leads me to say that normal children will grow up to be normal people if their parents do the best they can and trust their instincts. Only special situations require special rules and systems.

Oh, I would also like to add that I used to fit the rules person description perfectly down to the matilla, scapular and bad attitude and have turned into a happy, fulfilled URP married to an URP and raising little people who can make up their own minds.

Bookmark and Share

Great post


by Selkie.

Comment left there by me, last paragraph edited for clarity:

With the caveat that I think any woman who can breastfeed should (though I refuse to dictate how often or for how long), I heartily agree with what you wrote here. Many of those who push certain parenting and birthing techniques with the admonition "do this or your kid will be a serial killer" seem to miss the point that 95% of ensuring social stability in your progeny is simply being lovingly present to your children. Yes, there are techniques and methods that have been shown to work, but those same techniques used by selfish, uninterested parents won't yield great results. Similarly, a lovingly present parent who doesn't have "the rules" down is not destined to raise a flock of degenerates.

I don't mean to denigrate those concerned parents who seek out strategies and methods: if something is known to work, why not use it? My distaste, rather is for those who reduce parenting to a program or a technique that can be mastered. Parenting is a relationship that develops organically, it is a loving response to the glorious revelation of God's love that is a child. Approaching this relationship with a "strategy" seems somewhat strange. Then again, I may just not be a rules person.

As for CCL, I read a witness to the glory of NFP in their newsletter once. It left my wife and I with the distinct impression that this woman was mistakenly foregoing seriously needed psychotherapy and marriage counseling by clinging to NFP as a cure-all for her and her husband's problems. NFP may have been working for them, but they had serious issues that were going to bubble over into trouble sooner or later. This was aparently a success story.

I feel I should add the disclaimer that I embrace and endorse the Church's teaching that periodic continence for the purpose of delaying conception can be a moral good. People always seem to question that when I say things like this. Indeed my wife and have had recourse to such natural spacing

Bookmark and Share

Who does this help?


Not only is Catholic Answers hosting a debate on whether the Novus Ordo Mass is valid (really, with all the crap going on in the world, is this in any way necessary?), but in his E-Letter discussing the debate and the ramifications if the theory that it is not valid is in fact correct, Karl Keating fails to actually take a stance in the matter.

I understand Karl may want to publicize the debate, but if one is to raise the subject of whether or not we currently have a valid pope to however many hundreds or thousands of subscribers Karl has to his E-letter, it would be a kind and charitable thing to do to assure these people of the outright nuttiness of the theory.

How serious is the matter?

Consider now a hypothetical example. Let's say that a man was ordained a priest in 1951. He would have been ordained under the old rite, and, according to Matatics, that ordination would have been valid. So far, so good.

Now let's say that the same man was ordained a bishop in 1977. That would have been under the new rite, so, if we follow Matatics's logic, that second ordination would have been invalid. In reality the man still would be a priest; he would not have been elevated to the episcopacy.

Let's take the hypothetical one step further and imagine that this man, who was ordained a priest but not a bishop, is elected pope. What happens?

By definition the pope is the bishop of Rome, not the priest or layman of Rome. No man can be pope unless he is a bishop, just as no man is married unless he has a wife. If our hypothetical man is not made a bishop, either before or just after his election, he cannot be a real pope. There is no such thing as a layman pope or a priest pope. The bishop of Rome must be a bishop.

Now let's bring this hypothetical into the real world.

Joseph Ratzinger was ordained to the priesthood in 1951. He was ordained archbishop of Munich-Freising in 1977. He was elected pope in 2005. If his priestly ordination was valid but his episcopal ordination was not, then he is not a true pope. He is an anti-pope, a pretender, an imposter.

He may be called the pope. He may be addressed as "Holy Father." He may wear papal white. He may live in the Apostolic Palace. He may preside at Vatican events. But, according to this logic, he is not the pope.

This is the inevitable implication of the position that Matatics is now said to promote. If the Catholic Church has not had a valid rite of ordination since 1968, then today it cannot have a true pope. This is sedevacantism.

I'm not saying that Karl takes the side of the sedevacantists (indeed, his tone is somewhat reproachful), but considering the gravity of the subject (which Karl describes as and the fact that his organization is called "Catholic Answers," I think Karl has erred by not clearly refuting the position held by Gerry Matatics to his subscribers.

In short, I wish to assert the fact that we do indeed have a Pope.

Bookmark and Share

Hot and thirsty?

| | Comments (2)

Try this.

Espuma Summer White Sangria

Yield: approximately 1 gallon

4 bottles white wine (something dry and fruity)

3 oranges, cut into eighths

1 lime, cut into eighths

2 fresh bay leaves

10 mint leaves

20 cracked peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick, whole

3 peaches, preferably white, cut into eighths

1 tsp salt

10 lemon verbena leaves (optional)

1 vanilla bean (optional)

Pour the wine into a large pitcher or carafe. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the oranges and lime. Squeeze the citrus into the wine, herb, and spice mixture and add the fruit, as well. Stir the mixture. Allow the pitcher to stand at room temperature for 4 hours before serving, or cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, fill a glass with ice and pour the white sangria over the ice until almost full. Top off with a spash of soda water or champagne to give it a bit of pizzazz!

Bookmark and Share

Pope's Prayer Intentions for July


I forgot to post these a couple of weeks ago. Better late...

General prayer intention:
That Christians be sensitive to the needs of everyone, without ever hiding the radical requirements of the Gospel message.

Missionary intention: That all the baptized be committed, each in their own state of life, to transforming society by permeating the mentality and structures of the world with the light of the Gospel.

Bookmark and Share

Maggie Gallagher: "The Christianist Conspiracy"


Maggie Gallagher is definitely one of my favorite columnists. Here she starts with Eric Rudolph...

Eric Rudolph, who bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, two abortion clinics and a gay nightclub, wrote to his mom about born-again Christians: "They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible." His letter was published by USA Today.

Oops, there goes another Christian fundamentalist terrorist....

Touches on Islamic Terrorism...

Even Islamists, as many have pointed out, have far more in common with Marxist and other avant-garde ideologies than with traditional Islam. Random bombs that kill women and children on London buses do not represent a return to the Muslim past, but avant-gardism in a new context. Like good social constructivists, Islamists indulge in a sophisticated new interpretation of an ancient text in order to escape a traditional moral prohibition (in their case, the killing of innocents). (What makes genteel academic social constructivists believe that they are the only ones who get to dream up new stories, once those old absolutist moral taboos are swept aside?)

I hate conspiracy theories. But one can't avoid noticing the ongoing effort among certain powerful groups to craft a dramatic new storyline for religion in America: to lump Christian "fundamentalists" in with Muslim "fundamentalists," to equate evangelicals with fundamentalists and Catholics with evangelicals, merging all traditional religions into one scary, irrational and potentially violent "Christianist" mass. A traditional religion, in this view, is any faith community that does not accept sexual liberalism. This is the core of liberalist drama in America today, the line that if crossed will put you in the crosshairs.

and ends with Cardinal Schonborn:

A Catholic cardinal announces that Catholics believe that creation has meaning and purpose and was not a random event. How can this be front-page news?

Perhaps because it is useful to the grand liberalist metanarrative portraying religion as an irrational, backward force for evil in America today?

Read the whole thing here.

Bookmark and Share

The Goyal Foil

| | Comments (2)

When White House spokesman Scott McClellan is getting slammed in the press room, one of his outs is to call on India Globe reporter Raghubir Goyal, who without fail asks a question relted to India and/or Pakistan. This changes the subject and often provides news networks with a good time to cut away from the conference.

NPR has the hilarious story.

Bookmark and Share

Mike Fumento on stem-cell deceptions


Why the Media Miss the Stem-Cell Story

The intro:

There's little doubt that opponents of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research have their work cut out for them. Polls repeatedly show large majorities (in the 60-70 percent range) want the federal government to promote and fund the research. Californians backed their opinions with money with 59 percent of those who showed up at the polls voting for last November's Proposition 71, which will funnel $3 billion of the cash-strapped state's funds into embryonic stem-cell research over the next decade.

But why – on a scientific issue, about which most people know relatively little – does public opinion seem so lopsided?

One explanation is that the polls often feature loaded questions that begin with tales of the medical miracles ESCs will allegedly bring us: cures for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, you name it. They don't even try to find out whether respondents really have any idea of what ESC research is. And as a rule, they don't mention possible alternatives – namely, so-called adult stem cells (ASCs), which are obtained without the ethical conflicts of harvesting human embryos.

But the biggest reason may simply be that the mainstream media are doing a lousy job of informing the public on the state of stem-cell science. By and large, they're telling people all about the potential of ESCs – especially the supposed ability to become any type of cell-without talking about certain little drawbacks, like a tendency for ESCs to be rejected and even to become cancerous.

Perhaps more important, the media aren't telling people how much more advanced ASC research is, or how rapidly it's making breakthroughs. Certainly they're not telling people about it nearly as often as they're hailing the promise of ESCs – and when they do, they tend to undermine the news with pooh-poohing, often-groundless quotes from ESC advocates. (More on that later.)

As a science writer who has covered the topic extensively, I know something about this. I see the media coverage practically every day. On rare occasions I'll find blatant falsehoods: Last August, for example, influential New York Times science writer Gina Kolata told readers "so far, no one has succeeded" in getting adult stem cells to treat diseases.* That statement either reveals startling ignorance or is an outright lie: Adult stem cells routinely treat or cure more than 80 different diseases, while no ESC research is anywhere near becoming a human clinical trial.

Usually, though, I see something less blatant, but perhaps more harmful: a subtle but persistent bias in reporters' choice of subject matter, interview subjects and quotes, all skewing the reader toward embryonic stem cells and away from any alternatives.

Nor am I the only one who's noticed.

I talked to a number of stem-cell researchers and the only journalist willing to be interviewed for this story and found a consensus that there's a strong media bias. What interested me most, though, were their thoughts on how and why that bias comes into play – and the role of factors like attitudes toward religion, manipulation by the pro-ESC lobby, and just plain ignorance and laziness.

The whole piece is quote good.

Bookmark and Share
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - A woman has been arrested on child neglect charges after giving birth while drunk, police said. Melissa Irene Tanner, 37, is accused of having a blood alcohol content close to three times the legal limit when she gave birth to a baby girl on June 30.

Is there such a think as "attempted manslaughter?"

Full story.

Bookmark and Share

Catholic Bishop shot, killed

A Roman Catholic bishop from Italy was shot and killed in northern Kenya in an attack that may be linked to escalating interclan violence in the volatile region, police said.

Bishop Luigi Locati of the Isiolo diocese, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of the capital Nairobi, was shot in the head and the neck late Thursday and died shortly before he was due to be airlifted out, said Robert Kipkemoi Kitur, the assistant commissioner of police in Kenya's Eastern Province where the raid took place.

Full story.

Bookmark and Share

Maybe I'll see the movie sometime soon

| | Comments (2)

You scored as Mace Windu.

Mace Windu


Clone Trooper




Padme Amidala


Emperor Palpatine


Anakin Skywalker


Darth Vader






General Grievous




Obi Wan Kenobi


Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
Bookmark and Share

Live from taxpayer-financed stadium...


Scandal-by-Scandal Baseball Coverage from NPR.

They also have this interview with Howard Bryant, author of Juicing the Game.

Bookmark and Share

The first three months

Bookmark and Share

Podcasting from the Vatican


Zenit points us to the Vatican Radio homepage, where you'll see a new podcast link in the upper left part of the screen.

They also point out Catholic Insider, a podcast from a Dutch priest.

Bookmark and Share

Meet the right lung


Crisis Magazine: The Other Catholics: A Short Guide to the Eastern Catholic Churches

So who are these “other” Catholics? They have their own hierarchies and liturgies, as well as their own distinct apostolic lineages. They may look and act like Eastern Orthodox churches, but they recognize the pope of Rome as the head of the visible Church on earth and have suffered for the cause of that unity.

Meet the Catholic Churches. There are more of them than you think.

A nice introduction to the east. Personally, I would find it hard to belong to a Church that counted only 2,345 members (The Greek Catholic Church in Greece), but I am fascinated by this overlooked part of the Church.

Bookmark and Share

Article on post-abortive women needs more info


This, from LifeSite News:

A new study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology has found that women with a history of induced abortion are three times more likely to use illegal drugs during a subsequent pregnancy. The study supports a growing body of evidence which suggests later pregnancies may arouse unresolved grief over prior abortions which women may seek to suppress by increased reliance on drugs and alcohol.

I agree with the notion that induced abortion probably increases abuse of drugs and alcohol during later pregnancies, but the article that describes (but does not link to) the study says nothing of whether the study controlled for drug and alcohol abuse prior to the abortion.

Here are three theories that are all plausible explanations of drug use among women who have had abortions depending on the rate of drug use among women before they have abortions

  1. These post-abortive women may have used drugs and alcohol at a lower rate during or before their preganancy which resulted in an abortion In this case the theory offered in this article, that unresolved grief leads women to be depressed and turn to drugs and/or alcohol.

  2. These women may have used drugs and alcohol at the same rate before or during the aborted pregnancy. In this case, the explanation may be simply that women with substance abuse habits are more likely to have abortions.

  3. They may have used drugs and alcohol at a higher rate before or during the aborted pregnancy. In this case, it could be argued that the abortion was actually somehow a positive experience as evidenced by the decrease in the rate of drug or alcohol abuse during a subequent pregnancy. In this case, their rates of substance abuse may still be higher than non-post-abortive women depending on how bad the rate of abuse was before the abortion.

If the latter two scenarios are the case, then pro-choice advocates would unfortunately applaud the figures. For - as in the second case above - if women with substance abuse habits have more abortions, they would say that lessens the risk that children would be born with certain birth defects, and that those women would be unfiot mothers anyway. Or - as in the third case above - if women abuse drugs less following an abortion, they could say - as I noted - that the abortion was somehow a positive experience.

There is not a doubt in my mind that the first case is more likely true, but without the statistics that say what these women's drug and alcohol habits were before the abortion, we have no way of knowing the truth, and a press release claiming that post-abortive women abuse more drugs than non post-abortive women gives an incomplete picture of the situation and raises more questions than it answers.

Bookmark and Share

Caritas in Iraq


Caritas is doing wonderful work in Iraq.

Caritas-Iraq continues to give highest priority to its infant nutrition program, aimed at malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

The aid reaches some 20,000 beneficiaries at risk, both Muslim and Christian, in Baghdad, Basra, Nassiriya, Umarah, Dialah and Saladin, according to the Catholic agency.

Caritas' nutrition program, which has been carried out for years in Iraq, benefits children under 8, women in their sixth month of pregnancy and beyond, and nursing mothers with babies under 6 months of age.

In addition to food aid, the beneficiaries are entitled to care in Caritas-Iraq's health centers, as well as free medical treatment.

Like other voluntary groups in the country, Caritas-Iraq works amid precarious security conditions. On Sunday an explosion occurred only 100 meters from a Caritas office in Baghdad, reported Sami Yousif Toma, president of Caritas-Iraq.

"Fortunately, there were no personal injuries," he added. "But all our staff is understandably very worried by what happened as no one can predict what will happen the next time."

From Zenit.

I wanted to link to the webpage to show you how to donate, but the Caritas International webpage doesn't have a donation link that I culd find, so perhaps it would be easiest to give through your local Catholic Charities.

Bookmark and Share

First encyclical on the way

INTROD, Italy, JULY 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has started to write his first encyclical, taking advantage of his peaceful surroundings in the Italian Alps, where he is vacationing.
Bookmark and Share

Why? Why? Why?


What is the motivation for running through narrow streets chased by angry animals with large horns?

Does anybody think this guy isn't regretting his decision?why.jpg

What about this fellow? Surely he had greater aspirations for his trip to Pamplona than this?uhohspaghettios.jpg

Speaking of aspirations, I understand many make the trip to prove their mettle. Yes, well, let's ask these fellows how important showing their noble quality is right at this moment:
Please note the particularly undignified posture of the fellow hiding on the ground behind the post. "Yeah, let's go running with the bulls! It'll be loads of fun!"

I think this one speaks for itself, although I wil add that there's nothing quote like hearing a click and seeing a flash of a camera two feet away while your face is getting gored by a pissed off bull.

Now here's a man I can sympathize with:
This guy didn't have a meeting with the business end of a bull. No, he had a nasty run-in with the authorities, receiving a beat-down for trying to run through the streets drunk. Those mean Spanish cops think maybe drunkards lack the judgment required to play tag with enraged cattle.

Bookmark and Share

Attention fellow stblogs.org bloggers

| | Comments (2)

If you've been having problems posting, here's how I get around it.

When I click save, I get the internal server error. The post gets saved , but it doesnt publish. The way around this is to rebuild. Yes it takes a long time, espeecially if you have a large blog with losts of posts, put then all of your "error" posts show up properly.

Bookmark and Share

How I spent by morning


Reading this testimony given by Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center at Senator Sam Brownback's hearing on Roe v. Wade.

Here are some things I took away from reading it. Most are things I already knew, but Whelan makes the points forcefully

  1. Roe v. Wade is a legal atrocity, based upon a clause in the 14th amendment that states may not "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Why this means that states cannot - through due process - enact resonable laws banning or limiting abortion remains a mystery.

  2. The majority opinion in Roe and subsequent decisions supporting it are laughable to read. Laughable that is, except in light of the power-driven egomania behind them. Especially offensive is the majority opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which implies that our legitmacy as a nation of law abiding people demands that Roe v. Wade not be overturned.

  3. The dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey by Justice Scalia is wonderful. Here are some passages cited by Whelan in his testimony:

    "The Court’s description of the place of Roe in the social history of the United States is unrecognizable. Not only did Roe not, as the Court suggests, resolve the deeply divisive issue of abortion; it did more than anything else to nourish it, by elevating it to the national level where it is infinitely more difficult to resolve. National politics were not plagued by abortion protests, national abortion lobbying, or abortion marches on Congress, before Roe v. Wade was decided. Profound disagreement existed among our citizens over the issue—as it does over other issues, such as the death penalty—but that disagreement was being worked out at the state level." 505 U.S. at 995.

    "Roe fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general, and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court in particular, ever since. And by keeping us in the abortion umpiring business, it is the perpetuation of that disruption, rather than of any pax Roeana, that the Court’s new majority decrees." 505 U.S. at 995-996.

    "The Imperial Judiciary lives. It is instructive to compare this Nietzschean vision of us unelected, life tenured judges—leading a Volk who will be ‘tested by following,’ and whose very ‘belief in themselves’ is mystically bound up in their ‘understanding’ of a Court that ‘speak[s] before all others for their constitutional ideals’—with the somewhat more modest role envisioned for these lawyers by the Founders.

    ‘The judiciary . . . has . . . no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society, and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither Force nor Will but merely judgment . . . .’ The Federalist No. 78.

    "Or, again, to compare this ecstasy of a Supreme Court in which there is, especially on controversial matters, no shadow of change or hint of alteration … with the more democratic views of a more humble man:

    ‘[T]he candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, . . . the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.’ A. Lincoln, First Inaugural Address (Mar. 4, 1861)." 505 U.S. at 996-997.

Scalia writes with grace and humility, basing his decisions on the Constitution. Those who constitutionalized Roe ramble on with vanity.

I encourage you to read the whole testimony.

Bookmark and Share

Happy feast day, Papa!


St. Benedict of Norcia

For more on the Father of western monasticism, check out his page on new Advent.

Born in Norcia about 480, Benedict's first studies were in Rome but, disappointed with city life, he retired to Subiaco, where he stayed for about three years in a cave -- the famous "sacro speco" -- dedicating himself wholly to God.

In Subiaco, making use of the ruins of a cyclopean villa of the emperor Nero, he built some monasteries, together with his first disciples, giving life to a fraternal community founded on the primacy of the love of Christ, in which prayer and work were alternated harmoniously in praise of God.

Years later, he completed this project in Monte Cassino, and put it in writing in his Rule, the only work of his that has come down to us. Amid the ashes of the Roman Empire, Benedict, seeking first of all the kingdom of God, sowed, perhaps even without realizing it, the seed of a new civilization which would develop, integrating Christian values with classical heritage, on one hand, and the Germanic and Slav cultures on the other.

There is a particular aspect of his spirituality, which today I would particularly like to underline. Benedict did not found a monastic institution oriented primarily to the evangelization of barbarian peoples, as other great missionary monks of the time, but indicated to his followers that the fundamental, and even more, the sole objective of existence is the search for God: "Quaerere Deum."

He knew, however, that when the believer enters into a profound relationship with God he cannot be content with living in a mediocre way, with a minimalist ethic and superficial religiosity. In this light, one understands better the expression that Benedict took from St. Cyprian and that is summarized in his Rule (IV, 21) -- the monks' program of life: "Nihil amori Christi praeponere." "Prefer nothing to the love of Christ."

Holiness consists in this valid proposal for every Christian that has become a true pastoral imperative in our time, in which one perceives the need to anchor life and history in solid spiritual references.

A Sublime and perfect model of sanctity is Mary Most Holy, who lived in constant and profound communion with Christ. Let us invoke her intercession, together with that of St. Benedict, so that the Lord will multiply also in our time men and women who, through an enlightened faith, witnessed in life, will be in this new millennium salt of the earth and light of the world.

-From the Holy Father's address at yesterday's Angelus in St. Peter's Square, translation by Zenit.

Bookmark and Share

Test your knowledge of 20th century saints



You scored: 8 / 10
Total points: 80
The average score for this quiz: 5 / 10

The two I got wrong were Italian saints I'd never heard of.

Bookmark and Share



The official site, in several languages with more to come.

Bookmark and Share

Ratzinger Bibliography


A friend emailed me a bibliography of the Pope's English-language works published before he was pope. It was put together by the Institute for Pastoral Theology at AMU.


Bookmark and Share

July 7 2005 General Audience


Here is the Zenit translation of the Pope's general audience this past Wednesday on Ephesians 1:3-14.

A taste:

Many, therefore, are the saving events that succeeded one another in the unfolding of the canticle. They involve the three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity: beginning with the Father, who is the initiator and supreme author of the plan of salvation; fixing the gaze on the Son who realizes the plan in history; coming to the Holy Spirit who imprints his "seal" on the whole work of salvation. Let us now reflect briefly on the two first stages, that of holiness and of filiation (see verses 4-6).

The first divine gesture, revealed and acted in Christ, is the election of believers, fruit of a free and gratuitous initiative of God. In the beginning, therefore, "before the foundation of the world" (verse 4), in the eternity of God, divine grace was disposed to enter into action. I am moved meditating on this truth: From eternity we are before the eyes of God and he has decided to save us. This call has our "holiness" -- a great word -- as content. Holiness is participation in the transcendent purity of the divine Being. And we know that God is charity. Therefore, to participate in divine purity means to participate in the "charity" of God, conforming ourselves with God who is "charity."

"God is love" (1 John 4:8,16). This is the consoling truth that enables us also to understand that "holiness" is not a reality removed from our life, but instead, in the measure in which we can become persons who love God, we enter into the mystery of "holiness." Thus the agape becomes our daily reality. We are led, therefore, to the sacred and vital horizon of God himself.

Bookmark and Share

Left Right Left

| | Comments (4)

All you need to know to understand the errors in this piece by Father Richard McBrien is that he deliberately conflates centrism and truth.

I published an article almost 13 years ago in America magazine (8/22/92) entitled, "Conflict in the Church: Redefining the Center." I may be presumptuous in saying so, but I believe that the article is even more relevant today.

It began with a reference to a familiar Scholastic axiom that truth is found in the middle, somewhere between two extremes. Many Catholics in the middle-aged and senior generations heard that axiom frequently repeated in their seminary, college and university classes, where they were admonished to always look for truth and virtue in the center, while avoiding the extremes.


The pope offered no examples of left-wing Catholics, but if the late Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers constitute the right wing of the Church, would that not mean that Opus Dei, the Legionaries of Christ, Crisis, Communio and First Things magazines, as well as most of the bishops appointed and/or promoted by John Paul II occupy the center?

And if such individuals, groups, and publications are in the center of the Catholic Church, it would also follow that the late Cardinals Joseph Bernardin and John Dearden and such bishops as John Quinn and the late James Malone --- all former presidents of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops --- as well as the Catholic Theological Society of America, the drafters and supporters of the U.S. Catholic bishops' pastoral letters on peace and the economy, and Commonweal and America magazines are left-wing and, therefore, out of the Catholic mainstream.

The "center" was introduced as the place to find truth. Now he's pitting First Things and America against each other as contenders for the center. Also, please note the decidedly American tilt of the list in that last paragraph. Apparently to McBrien, the center of the Roman Catholic Church was found in 1983 in the United States.

The real problem is that politics prevails in McBrien's thought. Instead of seeking out orthodoxy as a reference point and aligning himself with it, he uses American Catholics of 20 years ago. Ths leads to some absolute absurdities of reasoning.

For instance:

Catholics of the center-left and the center-right differ only on the pace of change and the details of implementation. The center-left, for example, favors a much quicker time-line for a change in the discipline of clerical celibacy and in the church's official stance on the ordination of women.

Catholics of the center-right (which includes the shrinking band of so-called moderate bishops, many of whom were appointed by Pope Paul VI) prefer a more cautious course, stressing continuity more than change, while not opposing the two.

To McBrien, the "center-left" includes those who want married priests and ordained women (two vastly different topics by the way) on "a much quicker time-line." Let's analyze this with regards to the ordination of women.

If you want to divide up views left and right, this is actually a kooky far-leftist position that is never going to happen. However, let's assume that it is as McBrien says. If "a much quicker time line" for women's ordination is a center-left position, and a "more cautious course" is on the center-right1, then what else could be between them but the "fact" that ordination of women is coming eventually?

In other words, the center - or, as McBrien stated earlier, the locus of "truth and virtue" - is the condemned heresy that eventually women can be ordained. Somehow, this man is allowed to teach Catholic theology at a University dedicated to Our Lady.

To properly confront this topic, the real question is not "should women be ordained?" It would be "what is the truth of the role of femininity in God's plan for humanity?" The "center" could be found in the late Pope John Paul the Great's writings on the dignity of women. Insisting that women need ordination to gain dignity insults the real dignity and inestimable value they already have.

Such thinking is too complex if your view of the Church and of the truth is bound up with ideas of power and gender politics. Unfortunately this piece appears to be the first in a series.

1. McBrien's description of the center-right is also informative. Who are these people who want women to be ordained, but want to be cautious about out of respect (!) for continuity? One gets the feeling that these are the people he wishes he were in dialogue with. He (and the others who are pushing for "reforms" that will never happen) can't grasp the reality that the Church - guided by the Holy Spirit - has already come to a definitive conclusion on this topic. Instead, he creates a position nearly identical to his own and held by nobody, and claims that it represents a part of the center of Catholic thought on the matter.

Bookmark and Share

Istanbul was Constantinople


The Pope will be there this fall.

Bookmark and Share
My name is Bao Yuanjin and I'm a priest in China's north. I entered the priesthood several years ago. I was baptized only 11 years ago. Before that, I was an atheist, and indeed an activist in China's Communist Party.
Full story from Zenit.
Bookmark and Share

Trappist beers online


Trappist beers and monks

I've had Orval and loved it. Pricey, but if you can afford it, it's worth every penny.

Bookmark and Share

The Word this week


This week, The Word From Rome includes the Pallium-ation, interviews with Archbishops Gregory and Fiorenza, JPtG's process, a very encouraging-sounding seminar on hermeneutics, the Compendium and the new book by the Pope before he was Pope.

The most interesting part though, was this passage about the Pope not limiting his ecumenical outreach to words.

Even Benedict XVI's body language bespoke ecumenical concern.

During the entrance procession at the beginning of the June 29 Mass, Benedict walked straight up the central aisle of St. Peter's Basilica. He made a point, however, of walking over to Metropolitan Johannes, who was leading the delegation from Constantinople, and shaking hands.

Later, when the Mass had ended and Benedict walked down under the main altar to pray briefly before the remains of St. Peter, he was positioned by papal liturgist Archbishop Piero Marini with Johannes behind him. Benedict shuffled to the side and motioned to Johannes to join him, and the two stood side by side.

I am reminded of Pope Benedict's words in Bari that "Concrete gestures are required that will penetrate spirits and stir consciences, inviting each one to that interior conversion that is the premise of all progress on the path of ecumenism."

Bookmark and Share

Pope Bilbo I

Bookmark and Share

Gems from Mark Steyn


The guy is a wordsmith. Here he is in an interview conducted by John Hawkins of Right Wing news.

Most European countries either had de jure state churches, like England, or de facto ones, like Catholic Italy. One consequence of that is the lack of portability of faith: in America, when the Episcopalians and Congregationalists go all post-Christian and relativist, people find another church; in Britain, when Christians give up on the Church of England, they tend to give up on religion altogether.

So the dynamism of American faith exemplifies the virtues of the broader society: the US has a free market in religion, Europe had cosseted overregulated monopolies and cartels. The other salient point is that obviously Europe does have a religion: radical secularism. The era of the state church has been replaced by an age in which the state itself is the church. European progressives still don't get this: they think the idea of a religion telling you how to live your life is primitive, but the government regulating every aspect of it is somehow advanced and enlightened.


The utopian welfarism of Europe has so corroded the basic impulses necessary for societal survival - ie, breeding - that I doubt anything can be done. But if the US seriously wanted to help it would accelerate the closure of all Continental bases. Even if that didn’t persuade them to get real, it would still be worth doing, as when the European powder keg goes up America will want to be well clear. On the basic problem of their deathbed demographics, a reader of mine, Jim Ellinthorpe, thinks President Bush should give speeches mocking the virility of European men. I'm all in favor of this, though mainly on entertainment grounds. A Berlin airlift of cheap generic Viagra might also be useful.

Heh-heh. Why not put that cowboy image to good use?

Bookmark and Share

I am pro-life, and I love science


From this Maggie Gallagher piece:

Let's get this straight: I'm in favor of stem cell research. What I'm against is turning human beings into research objects that are "harvested" without their consent in the name of scientific progress. I'm greatly in favor of stem cells. I'm against cloning and killing in order to get them. I'm pro-scientific progress. I'm against creating an industry based on the destruction of human life. I don't want to eat my own offspring to find the fountain of youth -- or anyone else's children either.

Nor do I believe it is necessary. I believe that if you cut off immoral and destructive paths, new scientific vistas will open up, and more quickly than skeptics can imagine.

Indeed, it's already here. Professor Markus Grompe, a geneticist, and Professor Robert George, a Princeton political scientist who is on President Bush's council on bioethics, announced in this week's Wall Street Journal that scientists have discovered several new ways to get embryonic stem cells that do not require the creation or destruction of human life. For example, Oocyte Assisted Reprogramming (OAR) can take the nucleus from your skin cell, insert it into an egg cell, and with a flick of a genetic switch, make a factory for producing embryonic stem cells. Not only would this protect us from becoming consumers of unborn children, but "their genetic constitution would be virtually identical to that of the donor, thus helping to overcome the problem of immune rejection."

Scientists didn't stumble upon this method by accident, but by conscientiously seeking a method of obtaining needed stem cells that would not require the killing of any human life.

Some people want a new political wedge issue. They want to convince you that endorsing cloning and killing of innocent human life is the gateway to paradise, to most likely a cure for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes and a host of other cruel diseases.

Ah, but the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. I believe that truth, goodness and scientific progress all lie in the same direction. I believe that human beings, made in the image of God, have the creativity to find better solutions to human problems than those that require killing human life. I believe that, if we seek it, science can unlock human wonders that draw us together rather than divide and conquer our humanity.

What a miracle to find its already happening.

This is an incredibly important message to spread when many powerful, wealthy forces want to demonize those of us who acknowlegde the value of embryonic life.

Bookmark and Share

Bogus beer list


I was excited about this list of the 50 top beer brewers until I realized it was based on a Web poll. Don't even bother with it. Any such list where 38 out of the top 50 are American is a fraud.

Bookmark and Share


Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2005 is the previous archive.

August 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.