Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Mr. Hoopes, unfortunately, seems to be infected with "The Kmiec Syndrome." Pathetic.
Right or Wrong?
December 2, 2008
Each Christmas Day, the Pope delivers a message "Urbi et Orbi"--to the City and the World. Last year, Benedict XVI said that at Christmas, "the great hope that brings happiness entered the world." Perhaps in his Urbi et Orbi this year, Benedict will sound again the Christmas note of hope. It would be familiar to the American people who have just elected a President who promises "change" through "the audacity of hope." That political hope, however, is different from the hope Benedict sees in the Christmas event.
In his 2007 annual Christmas address to Rome’s university students, the Pope urged them to reflect on "the hope of the modern age" as described in his encyclical Spe Salvi ("In hope we were saved."). From the 17th century on, he said, "human progress" was seen as the work only of "science and technology." Reason and freedom were separated from God so as to construct the "kingdom of man... in opposition to the kingdom of God." In this "materialistic concept...changing the economic and political structures...could finally bring about a just society where peace, freedom and equality reign." The "fundamental error" in this, said Benedict, is that man is not merely the product of economic and social conditions. "[W]ithout ethical principles science, technology and politics can be used, as...still happens...for...the harm of individuals and humanity."
Some changes promised by our president-elect could serve as Exhibit A for the truth of that last comment. Barack Obama not only pledges that "the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," which would remove all restrictions on the "fundamental right" to abortion. He also strongly supports, and co-sponsored as a Senator, federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR) beyond the limited funding allowed heretofore. Each embryo is a living human being. In ESCR, human embryos are produced, by cloning or otherwise, for the purpose of killing them by removing their stem cells which are then used for biomedical research. This is not only wrong in itself. It opens the door to the mass production of human beings as objects of science, the creation of "designer" human beings, etc.
In his 2002 book, God and the World, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, discussed the description in Genesis 3 of the posting of angels east of Eden with flaming swords to keep man, after the Fall, from eating of the Tree of Life. After the Fall, man was forbidden to eat of that tree which gave immortality, "since to be immortal in this [fallen] condition would...be perdition." People are now, Ratzinger said, "starting to pick from the tree of life and make themselves lords of life and death, to reassemble life." "[P]recisely what man was supposed to be protected from is now actually happening: he is crossing the final boundary.... [M]an makes other men his own artifacts. Man no longer originates in the mystery of love, by...conception and birth...but is produced industrially, like any other product."
This is serious business, indeed. "[W]e can," said Ratzinger, "be certain of this: God will take action to counter an ultimate crime, an ultimate act of self-destruction, on the part of man. He will take action against the attempt to demean mankind by the production of slave-beings. There are indeed final boundaries we cannot cross without turning into the agents of the destruction of creation itself, without going far beyond the original sin and the first Fall and all its negative consequences."
In this presidential interregnum we already know that the "hope" offered by our political messiah includes the utilitarian abuses described above. In that "hope," man can be treated as an object and the intentional killing of the innocent is an optional problem solving technique. Perhaps some Catholics, especially in the professoriate, will come to reconsider the enormity--and frivolity--of their voting into power a politician committed to the implementation of such a "hope."
Christmas tells a different story. Christmas overturned "the world-view of that time, which...has become fashionable...again today. It is not...the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love—a Person...who in Jesus has revealed himself as Love." Spe Salvi (SS), no. 5.
The smart guys of the media, the academy, and the political world can’t tell you where you came from, where you are going and how you get there. But "Christians... have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality [is it] possible to live the present as well." SS, no. 2. We know this by experience. We ask ourselves, "What’s it all for?" We look for answers here but we know there has to be more. "[W]e need," said SS, "the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day." But "anyone who does not know God, even though he may entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately without hope, without the great hope that sustains the whole of life." SS, no. 27.
So what is the lesson of Christmas? As Pope Benedict said last year, it gives us the "great hope" that is true. That hope transcends political counterfeits because the Person born at Christmas is, himself, Truth with a capital T. In him we "have a future." Merry Christmas.
Professor Emeritus Rice is on the law school faculty. He may be reached at 633-4415 or email@example.com.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The nuns caring for Eluana Englaro in an Italian hospice have refused to carry out a recent court order allowing her father to starve and dehydrate the young woman to death. Eluana has been in a state of minimal consciousness since an auto accident in 1992. The highest Italian court recently gave her father the right to kill her the same way Terri Schiavo was murdered in a Florida hospice in 2005. Read more here. The nuns want to continue to care for Eluano. Will the woman's father let them do it or will he insist, like Michael Schiavo, that his daughter would be better off dead? Pray that the dear sisters, who love her like a family member (let me rephrase that), who love her like a member of God's family, may succeed in taking on the guardianship of Eluana -- not only for her own sake, but for her father's. There is something particularly evil about a father, who should be willing to lay down his life for his child, wanting to kill her instead. But that's the way of the world in the culture of death.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The Catholic can only do that effectively if he knows how to think rightly--about God and everything else. It is troubling to me that there are many "faithful Catholics" whose theology is as unclear as their public statements. I make no judgement as to the state of their souls nor to their motives, however, based upon their statements and lack of precision, one must wonder at the true health of the faithful. What occasioned this thought was a recent posting on Fumare which called for prayers through the intercession of aborted children. The author of the post claimed to have received this message during prayer from "the Heavenly Father." He then claims that there "has been a great deal of confirmation that God is asking us to pray through these aborted babies." What confirmation? From whom? The author then claims that it is "a powerful prayer." How does he know? Whence his authority? There seemed to be a great deal of support as indicated in the comment boxes. Likewise, there were some dissenters questioning the whole effort.
The true Catholic position was that of the dissenters. While praying to aborted babies may be emotionally satisfying, it is intellectual sloth and leading others into error and of dubious efficacy. The Church has flatly stated that we entrust infants who have died without baptism to the mercy of God and that there are good reasons to hope that they are with God. Any more than that is incorrect. This is not "hard-hearted" it is honestly adhering to the Magisterium. In the end, I am confident that the purported message to pray through the intercession of these children came from someone other than God. Perhaps the well-intentioned interlocutor.
The point of all this is that if we plan on changing the culture and winning the war for the souls of our neighbors and fellow Americans, we must know first principles. We must know the basic tenets of our faith and know how to communicate them effectively. Saccharine spirtituality and pseudo-mysticism does much to undermine the Church and her reasonableness and credibility. Catholics must start thinking rather than feeling. For Catholics, true pious practices are essential along with the intellectual life. There are no greater examples than John Paul II and Benedict XVI of those who truly live(d) this.
Archbishop Gregory, who in 2001 became the first African American to head the US Bishops Conference, serving for three years, said that the election of Mr Obama was "a great step forward for humanity and a sign that in the United States the problem of racial discrimination has been overcome".
A great step forward for humanity? Racial discrimination overcome? Tell that to the unborn black kids who will not live to see the world outside the womb.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The day after the election we heard all about how Obama will bring us together as a nation. How is that possible? Can pro-life Christians take the bloody hands of a modern-day Hitler who embraces the genocide of the "unwanted" unborn? I certainly cannot. Nor can I congratulate him on his win like Archbishop Wuerhl and Cardinal George. America chose a tyrant. Did Cardinal von Galen congratulate the Nazis on their win? I seriously doubt it. I cannot wish Obama well; I pray for his conversion. He does not bring "change" but bloody business as usual and more of it. As for "hope," what hope is there in the mangled dead body of an innocent baby and the mutilated body of his mother?
As Joshua said to the Israelites, "Choose this day whom you will serve...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. I recommit to the battle to defend the unborn. I urge all to put on the armor of God and be determined to fight and not grow weary. Become informed and be an effective footsoldier for the Blessed Mother with a rosary in one hand and the sword of the spirit, the word of God, in the other.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Unfortunately, it's another country. But it sets a good precedent!
Could our bishops do the same? Or would they fear losing billions of dollars in federal taxpayer subsidies? And an investigation of the bishops' coverup of the abuse scandals?
Monday, October 27, 2008
What do bad guys do when they rob a bank? They put on a mask. Well, there are some bad guys trying to rob real Catholics of the truth. Frances Kissling of Catholics (sic) for a Free Choice [CFFC] was an early pioneer. Her organization, which pretended to represent Catholics but later admitted it had no members, was funded by those who hated Catholic truth. According to the website DiscoverTheNetworks.org, "Between 1996 and 2000, [CFFC] raised approximately $15 million, more than 70 percent of which came from five sources that have never contributed to an officially recognized Catholic nonprofit: the Buffett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Ford Foundation (which gave a total of $4.4 million). All five of these foundations have supported Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, and the National Organization for Women. Other funders of CFFC include the Open Society Institute of George Soros, the Summit Charitable Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, the Compton Foundation; and the Turner Foundation."
This election cycle some copycat robbers are going after the Catholic vote. Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United are shilling for Obama claiming Catholics can, in good conscience, vote for the most pro-abortion, pro-infanticide candidate in history. So...who's funding these groups which are connected? George Soros for one. LifeSiteNews recently did an article exposing the connection between the anti-Catholic Soros and these bandit groups. Bill Donohue of The Catholic League told LifeSite, “The reason Soros funds the Catholic Left is the same reason he lavishly funds Catholics for Choice, the pro-abortion group that has twice been condemned as a fraud by Catholic bishops: they all service his agenda, [which includes making] "support for abortion rights a respectable Catholic position."
There's a great scene in the movie, The Hiding Place, a film that tells the true story of holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom and her family. When Corrie tries to get a Lutheran pastor to hide a little baby on his farm outside the city of Haarlem, Holland where they live, he responds, "Risk all for one Jewish baby?" After the pastor leaves, Corrie fumes until her elderly father says, "Corrie, just because the mouse is in the cookie jar, doesn't make him a cookie." There are a lot of rodents in the Church these days masquerading as Catholics. Expose them for what they are: masked bandits trying to rob the faithful of the truth.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Phyllis Schlafly, one of my heroes, has an insightful article about the scary possibilities for education in an Obama presidency. Consider former terrorist William Ayers as Secretary of Education. He has, after all, shifted careers from bombing buildings to brainwashing children, a much more effective way of destroying America.
"From his prestigious and safe university position," Phyllis writes, "Ayers has been teaching teachers and students in rebellion against American capitalism and what he calls 'imperialism' and 'oppression.' The code words for the Ayers curriculum are 'social justice,' a 'transformative' vision, 'critical pedagogy,' 'liberation,' 'capitalist injustices,' 'critical race theory,' 'queer theory,' and of course multiculturalism and feminism."
The impact of brainwashing a generation is already apparent in the growing acceptance of homosexuality as normal. What's miraculous is that after all these years, abortion continues to defy the evil left's efforts at acceptance. Most Americans still oppose most abortions.
Could an Obama presidency with Ayers as the top teacher change that? Let's hope we don't have to find out.
Friday, October 24, 2008
"'I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks,' Obama wrote. 'I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.'
"To make clear that he wants no distinction in law between traditional married couples and same-sex couples -- including in laws regarding the adoption of babies -- Obama sent a second letter Aug. 1 to the Family Equality Council, a group that says it envisions 'a country that celebrates a diversity of family constellations.'
"'We also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families,' Obama told this council. 'And that's why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws.'
"The federal Defense of Marriage Act that Obama wants repealed does two things. It defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman, and it says states will not be forced to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states, as they ordinarily would under the Constitution's 'Full Faith and Credit Clause.'
"The Full Faith and Credit Clause requires all states to recognize the judicial acts of other states but says, 'Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.'
"If the policies Obama supports come to pass, California will have same-sex marriage, and the federal law protecting other states from recognizing California's same-sex marriages will be repealed.
"Then it would be up to the sort of federal judges Obama would appoint to decide whether the Full Faith and Credit Clause -- barring an act of Congress saying otherwise -- would require every other state in the union to accept California's marriage law as their own."
If you want to see what Same-sex marriage laws mean to your family go here and here. And pray that Obama loses on November 4th.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
‘The intent to turn Pius XII into a saint is unacceptable,’ said Mr. Herzog, who is the son of the late Israeli President Chaim Herzog.
He is apparently the head of the ministry against ThoughtCrime.
By the way, the term "unacceptable" is coming into vogue on the part of the Bush Administration too, usually with regard to events over which is has no control (but wishes it did). Perhaps that's where Isaac is getting his talking points.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"We do not write these things and do these things because we think that we will ultimately be able to persuade the other side; we do them because we know that when the other side fails and finally there are no other options left, we will be there with the solutions that are true and that will work."
"Martino, who arrived while the panelists were stating their viewpoints, took issue with the USCCB statement, which was handed out to everyone at the meeting, and also that his letter was not mentioned once at the forum 'No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese...The USCCB doesn’t speak for me....The only relevant document ... is my letter....There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable....Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does.... 'Another argument goes like this: "As wrong as abortion is, I don't think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote." This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. ... National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973. One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price.' The letter also states that Catholic public officials who 'persist in public support for abortion' should 'not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion.'"
If you'd like to thank Bishop Martino here's his contact information:
Diocese of Scranton
300 Wyoming Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503
Main Chancery Number: 570-207-2238
Fax Number: 570-207-2236
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
This fellow would be dumfounded to meet Mably and Meslier, or the Left Hegelians, or Lenin, the Menscheviki ... and all those other self-described socialists who were really denominating themselves as ... well, you know.
"Everything's up to date in Kansas City," the song goes -- except this doofus. But he serves the Obamic purpose, which is his wont, I suppose.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The collection will be taken up this year on November 22-23 in most dioceses in the United States. Check out the Catholic Media Coalition website to read up on the connection between CCHD and the Obama campaign. If the most pro-abortion candidate in the history of the country is elected in November you can thank the Catholic bishops and their annual collection for advancing him and his liberal brethren. BOYCOTT CCHD! Pass it on.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
My, My, what a surprise.
When the ANC was dangerously unpopular, nobody wanted to join. When it finally came to power, all the manipulators and hucksters jumped on board.
It's exactly what happened to the conservative movement. In the 60s, we were "kooks." By the 80s, even lefties like Jim Baker signed on to cash in.
And by 2001, the Trotskyite neocons left the Democrats behind and jumped into the trough.
And they killed the conservative and pro-life movements and the GOP. Heckuva job, guys!!
Time to start over.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
"Unless John McCain understands what is at stake here, Nov. 5 is going to resemble the smoking rubble of Dresden in the wake of the Allied firebombing of that city. The Republican Party is going to be in shambles."
Not quite the same, Michael: the thousands of civilians deliberately killed in Dresden were innocent.
Now Joe declares that everybody in the USA just loves America.
"We all love this country," he brays... yes, even Farrakhan, Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers and "Bernadette the Bomber" Dohrn, not to mention the Mexican drug and smuggling gangs that are taking over our southwest border ...
"Catholic" Joe loves abortion, too (Augustine would call that a "disordered" love), and he loves to talk, plagiarize, and to be a crashing bore (on the Foreign Relations Committee, when Chairman Joe begins to talk, even the Democrats start reading their newspaper clips).
Last in his class in law school, and no class. That's Joe.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
>>At a moment when America feels angry and betrayed, when our leaders have forfeited our trust and jeopardized our future, we lost an American icon who stood for traits that have been in short supply in the Bush administration: shrewdness, humility, decency, generosity, class.<<
Uh, say.... Mo??!!
Have you forgotten all of the 1990s?
shrewdness – Hillary Health Care?
humility, -- Oh such humble people, condemning the decade of greed – NOT the 90s (Howell Raines, OMB director, call your office at Fannie Mae, where you raped and pillaged for tens of millions, James Johnson -- ditto!!)
decency -- Gennifer Flowers? Juanitta Brodderick? Bill and "decency" are, well, not acquainted.
generosity -- they deducted donating their USED UNDERWEAR from their taxes !!!!
Class? Hey Monica, how do you spell it?
There is not enough room in my barn and pastures for this fertilizer.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This morning, in an interview with Father Ted Hesburgh, longtime president of Notre Dame, the journal's twit frames a "balanced" question:
"WSJ: In your day, the Church produced figures such as Bishop Sheen and Father Drinan and Pope John XXIII. Who are the Catholic leaders today of their caliber? Are there any?"
Father Drinan, the proud pro-abortion congressman who had to leave Congress in disgrace (or leave the Jesuits), is sandwiched into a trinity with two giants of the Church. Why, doesn't he come to **everybody's** mind? (oops, we forgot Teddy Kennedy!)
Talk about a loaded question! Or maybe just a load.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Right or Wrong?
September 24, 2008
Are you "pro-life" but tired of the way abortion becomes a political football every four years? The politicians make their points on one side or the other. And then they forget it—for another four years.
If you are looking for a positive and non-political approach, consider the 40 Days for Life, an interfaith initiative which began "right here in River City" on September 24th and will run until November 2nd. The campaign, organized by local residents, is part of a rapidly growing national effort. It includes Notre Dame students, faculty and staff who have joined it.
First, let’s take a look at how the 40 Days for Life campaign works. It has three components. If you can’t do them all, do what you can:
1. Most important: Personal prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. Decide for yourself how to do this. You can pray anywhere, anytime. Fasting can be of the Lenten sort, giving up something for forty days, even something as big as chocolate.
2. Peaceful, lawful witness for life, 24/7, outside the Women’s Pavilion at 2010 Ironwood Circle, South Bend, between Edison and Rte. 23. This constant vigil is neither a demonstration nor a protest. It is primarily a prayer, reminding ourselves and the community that the legalized execution of the innocent is an evil that cannot be overcome by politics as usual but indispensably through the grace of God. You can sign up for a particular time but you don’t have to. Just come when you can, if only for a few minutes. You will make a difference.
3. Community outreach, taking a positive pro-life message to individuals and the community in every constructive way we can.
The national 40 Days for Life began as a local event in 2004 in College Station, home of Texas A & M. It was organized in a few weeks but enlisted over one thousand participants. One result was a 28 percent reduction in abortions in that community. In 2005 and 2006, the campaign spread to a half-dozen other cities, with positive results including the closing of abortuaries or reduction of their "business" hours. In 2007 the program went national and began to take off, with campaigns in the fall of 2007 and spring of 2008 in 139 cities in 43 states. More than 150 thousand participated, with 35 thousand in the prayer vigils at abortuaries. The fall 2008 campaign is the largest yet, with 40 Days for Life in 173 cities in 45 states as well as the national capitals of Washington and Ottowa.
Why take part in this unique testimony for life? Because the stark reality of legalized abortion requires each of us to take a personal stand. Evasions won’t work. When Louise Brown, the first "test-tube baby" was born in 1978, the whole world knew exactly when her life began—at the union of the sperm and the ovum in the in vitro fertilization process. To deny this reality of another human life inside the mother, at every stage from that fertilization, can today be the product only of ignorance or willful denial. "In simplest terms," said Cardinal Edward Egan of New York, "they are human beings with an inalienable right to live."
The new technology of morning-after pills and other early abortifacients is making abortion a private matter beyond the effective reach of the law. Surgical abortions, such as those performed at Ironwood Circle, are decreasing in frequency. The 40 Days for Life vigil at Ironwood is not therefore to infer that the existence of such execution centers is the only problem. Rather, the abortuary on Ironwood is one sign of a malignant culture in which the intentional infliction of death on the innocent is accepted as an optional problem-solving technique. The "greatest destroyer of peace today," said Mother Teresa at the 1994 Prayer Breakfast in Washington, "is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?" We were appalled at the random killings at Columbine, Virginia Tech and elsewhere. But, except for the age and visibility of the victims, how were those murders essentially different from the thousands more that are legally committed each day in abortuaries throughout the land?
The prayer and witness components of the 40 Days for Life are more than a reminder of the reality of every abortion, whether surgical or chemical. Abortion, now moving beyond the reach of the law, is the first sacrament of the militant, agnostic secularism which is our dominant public religion. The only remedy for abortion is the voluntary reconversion of the American people to the conviction that every human life is precious because it is a gift from God. The 40 Days for Life campaign is a positive way of asking for the grace of increasing that conviction in the minds and hearts of all of us.
For more information contact ndjusvitae[at]gmail[dot]com or www.40daysforlife.com/southben. Or call Dr. Tom Akre and Mary Akre at 574-933-1835.
Charles E. Rice is Professor Emeritus at the law school. He may be reached at (574) 633-4415 or rice.1[at]nd[dot]edu.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This saga has been going on for quite awhile now. No time here to recount the specifics. (Check the archives of AveWatch and Fumare for the details.)
Suffice it to say, "Friends don't let friends go to Ave Maria [University] [School of Law] [Town]." Even more, "Friends don't let friends take ANYTHING from Tom Monaghan."
Sunday, September 21, 2008
A political theorist might object that the pope's ideas stray from the field of politics properly understood. But that's not how Benedict XVI sees it. He is convinced that societies, states, and the international community must rest on solid foundations. One of his intentions as pope is to preach a universal "grammar" founded on natural law, on the inviolable rights engraved on the conscience of every man, whatever his creed.
In his address to the United Nations on April 18, 2008, Benedict XVI emphasized part of this "grammar," "the principle of the responsibility to protect," meaning that "every state has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights." And he added that "If states are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene." But Pope Ratzinger did not stop there. He went to the foundation of this principle, without which the responsibility to protect would be at the mercy of conflicting interests. And he identified this ultimate foundation as the "the idea of the person as image of the Creator," with his innate "desire for the absolute and the essence of freedom."
Benedict XVI knows well that not everyone accepts this anchoring to transcendence. And it is rejected precisely by a culture that has its origin in the West. But he maintains that it is necessary to proclaim ceaselessly to world powers that "when God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose, and the 'good' begins to wane." Pope Ratzinger maintains that the "secular" formula proposed by Grotius on the basis of the coexistence of peoples is outdated: to live "etsi Deus non daretur," as if God did not exist. He proposes to all, including those who do not accept transcendence, the opposite wager: that of acting "etsi Deus daretur," as if God does exist. Because it is only in this way that the dignity of the person finds an unshakable foundation.
Magister also notes that the Holy Father's esteem for the United States derives from her founding principles which pay homage to the natural law. It is interesting that Holy Father speaks with more clarity regarding the foundation of our Republic than do our own politicians.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Quoth Ratzinger in 1999:
There is also a second threat to law, which today seems to be less present than it was 10 years ago, but it can re-emerge at any moment and find a link with the theory of consensus. I am referring to the dissolution of law through the spirit of utopia, just as it assumed a systematic and practical form in Marxist thought. The point of departure was the conviction that the present world is evil--a world of oppression and lack of liberty; which must be substituted by a better way of planning and working. In this case, the real and ultimate source of law becomes the idea of the new society: which is moral, of juridical importance and useful to the advent of the future world. Based on this criteria, terrorism was articulated as a totally moral plan: killings and violence appeared like moral actions, because they were at the service of the great revolution, of the destruction of the present evil world and of the great ideal of the new society. Even here, the end of metaphysics is a given, whose place is taken in this case not by the consensus of contemporaries, but by the ideal model of the future world.
There is even a crypto-theological origin for this negation of law. Because of this, it can be understood why vast currents of theology--especially the various forms of liberation theology--were subject to these temptations. It is not possible for me to present these connections here because of their extent. I shall content myself with pointing out that a mistaken Pauline idea has rapidly given way to radical and even anarchic interpretations of Christianity. Not to speak of the Gnostic movements, in which these tendencies were initially developed, which together with the "no" to God the Creator included also a "no" to metaphysics, to a law of creatures and Natural Law.
Sounds like Ratzinger's warning about the "re-emergence" of this second threat to law has proved to be the candidacy of the Junior Senator from Illinois. If only Prof. Kmiec would recognize this.
Read the whole address here.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
It contains some very good insights, so sad but so true. The trouble with Weigel and Novak, both of whom i consider friends, might be the rush of adrenaline that comes with an invitation to the Oval Office, and the gushing of adulation, if not idolatry, that follows. The record shows that, once infected, it's very difficult to recover.
Superbia Vitae is the greatest sin of concupiscence because, unlike lust of the flesh or lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), the lust for power is completely insatiable because it lusts after the infinite power of God Himself.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Worldly "community organizers" -- and Obama foremost among them -- agitate people to steal from the government, the taxpayer, their employer (if they work for a living, which is often not the case), and the Church (usually through coercion in South Chicago. It's a tradition maxed out by Jesse Jackson, who was a shakedown artist of the first order.
Both Hillary and Obama are scions of Saul Alinsky, who drove Mayor Daley (Sr.) nuts when i lived in Chicago forty years ago. Alinksy was a master provocateur, and his "Rules For Radicals" should be at the bedside of every traditional Catholic (as St. Ignatius says, "know the enemy better than he knows himself.") He was filled with hatred and a thoroughgoing leftist, but, like Lenin, he knew how to "organize":
Witness Lenin's tirades sent as telegrams to commissars in the towns he was visiting on the railroad line: "If I don't see a bourgeois hanging from every telegraph pole when I arrive, you will be hanging there when I leave."
That's Obama's "experience." Oh, that, plus twenty years of Reverend Wright's hatred of America -- which Michelle Obama managed to pick up in the pews, although Obama was apparently too fixated on maximizing his self-esteem to soak it all in.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Also check out Tom Roeser on how Sarah might actually help McCain climb the mountain, and Paul Likoudis’s fascinating history of the conflict in France between the revolutionaries and the Church – on the occasion of the visit today by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
Likoudis’s article indicates how insightful was the question of Otto von Habsburg of Chou En-Lai in 1934:
“What do you think of the French Revolution?” (asked von Habsburg, the heir to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire).
“It’s too soon to tell,” replied Chou En-Lai, Mao’s intellectual henchman – who, like von Habsburg, had studied in Paris.
(If the story sounds familiar, it’s because Henry Kissinger stole it and told it of himself, in his memoirs).
Lots of other good stuff – and my memories of the 1988 GOP vice-presidential selection, which augurs not so well for Sarah.
Our friends at goodjesuitbadjesuit.com have a very interesting story regarding how the bishops dealt with the abuse issue’s national review board after they fired Frank Keating for refusing to cover up for the bad apples. Looks like Judge Burke, Keating’s successor, didn’t want to either.
It’s a sad commentary because Cardinal George, whom Burke accuses outright of dishonesty, is the president of the USCCB, and his likely successor is also knee-deep in the abuse mire. That means that Phil Lawler is right – only a tiny minority of priests were guilty of abuse, but a vastly larger percentage of bishops covered up for them – and are running scared even today.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Right or Wrong?
September 8, 2008
Since 1982, Kennesaw, an Atlanta suburb, has required every head of a household to own a gun and ammunition, with an exemption for those who conscientiously object. One effect of the enactment was the appearance of yard signs: "Never Mind the Dog—Beware of Owner." Another was that the Kennesaw crime rate dropped and remains well below the national average.
What brings Kennesaw to mind is District of Columbia v. Heller, decided last June, the Supreme Court's first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment. That amendment provides: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The Court held, 5-4, that the District of Columbia's "ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense." The Heller ruling was hailed by many as a decisive victory for "gun rights." First impressions, however, can be misleading.
One lesson here is that saying too much can get you into trouble. The Second Amendment is the only one in the Bill of Rights with a prefatory clause stating its purpose. That "militia" clause, over the years, gave rise to endless debate, which the Court settled in Heller. In the majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court held that the amendment "protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." The dissenters argued that the Amendment protects only the right to possess and carry a firearm in connection with militia service. The ruling, however, did not settle much beyond that point.
"[T]he Second Amendment," said the Court, "codified a pre-existing right" which developed in England as a protection against government. "[T]he Stuart Kings Charles II and James II," said Scalia, suppressed political dissent "in part by disarming their opponents. .... [T]he Catholic James II had ordered... disarmaments of [Protestant] regions." The English Bill of Rights of 1689, the predecessor of the Second Amendment, reacted by providing "That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law." This was, said the Court, "clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia."
When the Second Amendment was adopted, the "militia," said the Court, consisted of "those who were male, able-bodied, and within a certain age range." The Amendment, wrote Scalia, "helped to secure the ideal of a citizen militia, which might be necessary to oppose an oppressive military force if the constitutional order broke down…. [T]he… prefatory clause announces the purpose for which the right was codified: to prevent elimination of the militia. [It] does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting. But the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms was the reason that right—unlike some other English rights—was codified in a written Constitution."
The law struck down in Heller totally forbade handgun possession in the home. It also required that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled, or disabled by a trigger lock, at all times. But the ruling left the door open for restrictive regulation rather than prohibition. The Court said the Second Amendment "does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns." The Court also noted approvingly the "longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."
The gun issue is far from settled. The District of Columbia reacted to Heller by imposing a regulation practically as restrictive as the one the Court struck down. A new appeal is underway. The Supreme Court has held that most of the protections in the Bill of Rights are binding on the states and local governments as well as on the federal government. But in Heller the Court interpreted earlier cases to establish that “the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government.” Future litigation may turn on provisions in state constitutions comparable to that amendment. Justice Breyer’s dissent in Heller highlighted also the uncertainty that still surrounds the level of judicial scrutiny that must be applied in Second Amendment cases.
So what can we learn from Heller? It is far from a mandate that every American community become a Dodge City or even a Kennesaw. On Supreme Court decisions, and everything else, don’t jump to conclusions without reading the fine print.
Prof. Emeritus Rice is on the Law School faculty. He may be reached at 633-4415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Right or Wrong?
August 25, 2008
Notre Dame should, but probably won’t, commemorate this anniversary. Forty years ago, July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI, in Humanae Vitae (HV), reaffirmed the traditional Christian position on contraception. Until 1930, no Christian denomination had ever said that contraception could ever be objectively right. Luther, Calvin, and Wesley rejected it.
The 1930 Anglican Lambeth Conference gave cautious approval to contraception. Pope Pius XI replied that “any use… of matrimony… in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature… and a grave sin.”
When the Pill came on the market in the 1960s, the Catholic Church came under pressure to abandon its solitary stand against it. HV’s disapproval of the Pill brought a storm of dissent and ridicule on Paul VI, e.g., “he no play-a the game, he no make-a the rules.” Four decades later, nobody in his right mind is laughing.
Experience has validated the prediction of the Washington Post on March 22, 1931, that the approval of contraception “would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality.”
Contraception deliberately separates sex from procreation by acting to make procreation impossible; it makes man, of both sexes, the arbiter of whether and when life will begin; and it prevents the total mutual self-donation that ought to characterize the conjugal act. It also accepts the idea that there is such a thing as a life not worth living, i.e., the life that might have resulted had not contraception prevented it. If, through contraception, man makes himself (or herself) the arbiter of whether and when life shall begin, he will predictably make himself the arbiter of when it shall end, as in abortion and euthanasia. John Paul II described abortion and contraception as “fruits of the same tree.”
In HV, Paul VI foretold three evils that would result from the acceptance of “artificial methods of birth control”:
1. “[C]onjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.” No. 17. One reason why sex should be reserved for marriage is that sex has something to do with babies. But if it is entirely up to man (of both sexes) whether sex will have any relation to procreation, why should it be reserved for marriage, why should marriage be permanent and why should marriage be heterosexual?
As Methodist Pastor Donald Sensing wrote in 2004, the legalization of “homosexual marriage” became inevitable when the Pill severed “[t]he causal relationships between sex, pregnancy and marriage.” A contraceptive culture will legitimize not only homosexual activity, but also promiscuity, pornography, divorce, in vitro fertilization, cloning, etc. President R. Albert Mohler, Jr., of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said in 2005, “The … separation of sex from procreation may be one of the most important defining marks of our age—and one of the most ominous…. [T]he pill gave incredible license to everything from adultery and affairs to premarital sex.” From 1960 to 2000, the percentage of children born out of wedlock in the United States rose from 5% to 33%. Over half of all first marriages are now preceded by cohabitation. The 2008 Gallup Values and Beliefs poll showed that 61% of Americans approve of sex between an unmarried man and woman. And so on.
2. Woman as an object, so that the man considers the woman “as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.” No. 17. The objectification of women is evident in the prevalence of pornography, especially on the Internet. Women are the big losers in the contraceptive culture. Francis Fukuyama, in “The Great Disruption,” said the pill and abortion liberated men from responsibility and put the burden on women, allowing “many… ordinary men… to live fantasy lives of hedonism and serial polygamy formerly reserved only for a tiny group of men at the very top of society.”
3. “[A] dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of … public authorities.” No. 17. Since 1970 the federal government has promoted population control through contraception, with a focus on minorities and third world countries. Planned Parenthood and other publicly funded entities promote all forms of birth control among minorities to the extent that 37 percent of all abortions are on black women although blacks, at 36 million, are only 13 percent of the U.S. population. Since 1973, 10 to 13 million black babies have been aborted.
“Contraception,” said John Paul II, is “so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified.” That conclusion is not disturbed by the legitimacy of natural birth regulation. As HV put it, “If … there are serious motives to space out births… it is… licit to take into account the natural rhythms… for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles.” No. 16.
HV was a defining event because Paul VI refused to follow an insane world over the cliff into an abyss of nihilism. He stood for the Truth of love and life. Conjugal love, he said, “is total … . a very special form of personal friendship, in which husband and wife generously share everything, without undue reservations or selfish calculations.” No. 10.
Members of the Notre Dame community could best commemorate HV by a prayerful consideration of its Truth.
Prof. Emeritus Rice is on the Law School faculty. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (574) 633-4415.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Feel free to use our weekly Friday message (this one) to post your reactions and comments on our stories and commentaries.
Right now I'm looking for response to John McCain's savvy selection of Sarah Palin as his VP running-mate. One thing is already clear: the Left is apoplectic!
So have at it, thanks for coming, and stay in touch here with The Catholic Guys!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Not a complete explicatio, but here goes.
Re: Obama on Abortion. The guy is the most pro-abortion candidate that this country has ever seen--radically so. He voted to allow children of botched abortions to die rather than be saved. There can be no compromise with the basic moral principle that an innocent life may not be intentionally terminated. That one issue IS more important than other issues of social justice. It is paramount and, from a moral perspective (and a sound philosophical one), cannot simply be one in a list of "other issues" whereby one weighs them and, on balance, other concerns outweigh the fact that the candidate is for murder. Murder can have no legitimacy in a civilized society. He is radically for murder. (He is consistent here.)
Re: Obama and Government Social Programs. Look to the Constitution. The founders set up a government of limited powers and based upon principles of federalism. I.e., the original design of the federal government is basically (and I am being terse here) to provide for a common defense of the states and to regulate mail roads. All other powers belong to the states. Subsequent to the Civil War and the adoption of the 14th Amendment we have a significantly changed constitutional structure. Significantly changed because the Supreme Court, in the early part of the 20th century, created the "incorporation doctrine" which applies the Bill of Rights to the states (illogical--and not the intent of the Founders!!!). Likewise, through an overbroad interpretation of the commerce clause, the Supreme Court--coupled with the influence of positivistic jurisprudence of the Holmesian version--has greatly expanded the power of the federal government that we see today. It is bad jurisprudence. It is wrong. And it is contrary to the Constitution. Thus, in addition to judicial activism which had no small role in creating the Leviathan, we have a federal government that encroaches into our lives more and more and regulates the states and individuals more and more. Unfortunately, it is the prevailing jurisprudence today.
The Founders, in their federalism, had a view of the government that was very much in keeping with the Catholic Principle of Subsidiarity, i.e., what can be handled at the lowest possible level, should be handled at the lowest possible level. Thus, I can spank and discipline my own kids when they get out of line--the city shouldn't do it, nor should the state, nor should the federal government. But what we see with the Hillary and Obama types is the "it takes a village" mentality. Their view is that the government should have the solution. The government should set policy. The government should be the answer. The government should tell me how to discipline my kids. (We see this already happening in CA.) Conservatives (as distinguished from Republicans) answer--"Government, get the hell out of my life. I know how to best govern myself and my family." This is not to say that there is no role for government, there is. But it is limited. It shouldn't extend to mandating health insurance or setting curricula in schools or disciplining somone's kids.
The Church and intermediary groups should be providing for social welfare. Good Catholics can differ on approach. I would challenge the pro-government-as-providing-social-welfare types to point to me one program that is a success! There are none. (Case in point: public schools.) They have all been abysmal failures. In fact, they are inimical to anyone wanting to live the culture of life. Let's take a few examples from Obama. Utilizing the power of the federal government he wishes to expand contraception, sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, expand sex ed in the schools and further his radical agenda on "reproductive rights." (see here) (There are other things as well, but I am focusing on some paramount "cultural issues.")This all under a theory of government that says the government should do these things. This takes power away from the people and places it in the hands of the jackasses in Washington.
I will leave aside all of Obama's questionable associations with noted socialists, his esteem for the writings of communist Frantz Fanon and a number of others whose views are inimical to our country's traditions, and finally, his esteem for "critical legal studies" (the view that legal language is, in fact, a false discourse that perpetuates hierarchies-men over women, rich over poor, majorities over minorities whereas the object of law is to not merely determine "constitutionality" but force-feed "equality" whether the law requires it or not)as opposed to a sound jurisprudence.
For Catholics and those interested in common sense, there is nothing that can possibly commend this guy to gaining our vote. Creating further dependence upon government and making it more difficult for families to live as Catholics in an increasingly secular and regulated society is what Obama is all about. He's an arrogant socialist.
These discussions are better over drinks and cigars (if we can find a place to smoke them).
In Domino, etc.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
But Father Z gets it right:
Let’s not forget the facts and underlying issues. Service at the altar is not a right. No priest can be forced to have altar girls or women serving. The custom of service by boys and men is to be given first priority and fostered.
For those interested in reading more, here's the Washington Times follow-up.
On April 29, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of
Not only did CCR of Richmond arrange an abortion for the girl and deliver her to the abortionist, but also “one member of [CCR] staff signed the consent form necessary for the minor to have an abortion.” The letter goes on to say that “about two months prior to this abortion the minor had been assisted by CCR staff with [the] implantation of a contraceptive device.”
Two USCCB officials signed the letter with Bishop DiLorenzo. One, Bishop John C. Wester of
According to their letter, the three bishops decided to write “because we felt the need to provide you [brother bishops] the information in this case so that you will not be caught by surprise should it be brought to your attention by other means…. It was, therefore, our desire to place this information before you proactively so that you can have confidence in the leadership and management that guides this work.”
In other word, damage control and saving face were paramount.
The bishops readily state that “the implantation of the contraceptive device and the abortion were contrary to basic teachings of the Catholic Church.” They state that they have “some responsibility” for the offices in which the “situation” occurred. “In addition,” the letter states, “ we are aware that this incident is a most regrettable stain on the record of excellence both of MRS and of Catholic Charities.”
First, The Murder; Then The Stonewall
I contacted the offices of all three bishops. Only Bishop DiLorenzo’s chancery responded. Anne Edwards, who is listed on the diocesan website as an advisor to the bishop, referred me to William Etherington, of the Richmond Law Firm of Beale, Davidson, Etherington & Morris. Mr. Etherington, who represents the diocese, confirmed that, once the incident came to Bishop DiLorenzo’s attention, neither the diocese nor CCR reported it to the Virginia Child Protection Services or to law enforcement authorities. Why not? In Mr. Etherington’s professional opinion, the incident did not constitute a crime in the
Since Mr. Etherington told me that the incident had not been reported, I tried to report it. After all, if abortion isn’t child abuse, what is? I called Maryjane Fuller, who is listed on the diocesan website as the Safe Environment Coordinator. It appears that CCR employees do not work for the diocese, they work for Catholic Charities. So Ms. Fuller told me that the CCR director, Joanne Natrass, should receive reports of sexual abuse regarding Catholic Charities employees. But I had already called Ms. Natrass. As soon as I mentioned the abortion, her secretary, Anita, said, “No Comment,” and hung up.
Ms. Fuller told me she had never heard of the incident. “This is horrible,” she said, and then, as we discussed it, she raised the question again: Does abortion even amount to “child abuse” under the Dallas Charter? Mr. Etherington, who is not a Catholic, had given his professional legal opinion, but Ms. Fuller sounded less certain. Whatever the answer, she emphasized that “the Diocese always stresses that you should report abuse not only because of the law, but because it’s the moral thing to do.”
Why The Coverup?
The Richmond Diocese website’s page for “reporting ‘ministry-related’ sexual abuse” lists telephone numbers for the County Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services Division; the Virginia Department of Social Service; and the Virginia State Police. On the advice of counsel, neither the diocese nor CCR reported the incident – the abuse of the mother and the murder of the child -- to any of them. Nor did they inform any of the other chancery officials and pastors in the diocese with whom I spoke. They were all shocked when I read to them about the incident from their bishop’s letter.
The bishops waited three months to inform their fellow members of the USCCB, and apparently told no one else. But what are they trying to hide? Haven’t our bishops learned that cover-ups don’t work? Wanderer readers might remember a similar pattern during the 1990s, as one abuse scandal after another broke into the secular press and into the criminal and civil courts in one diocese after another. The stonewalls never worked. In fact, they did great – even historic -- damage to the Church – not to mention to the victims, their families, and their communities, and to the Mystical Body of Christ.
Bishop DiLorenzo plaintively laments that “some members of MRS staff were not sufficiently aware of Church teaching,” so they did not “take stronger and more appropriate action.” Well, whose fault is that? Doesn’t it sound all too familiar? For years, the Wanderer has warned that the USCCB and CCUSA bureaucrats are much closer to the pro-abortion crowd in
One Catholic official in HHS put it bluntly: “It’s come to this. The U.S. Government can’t trust the Catholic Church to take care of children.” This story is not over.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Some have speculated on Kmiec's seeming overnight change from a political and cultural conservative to a supporter of Obama, arguably the most left-wing and most pro-abortion candidate that the United States has ever seen. Some have opined that he is acting like a woman scorned from betrayals from the Bush Administration over the War in Iraq. Others speculate that the seeming dulling of his exercise of practical prudence is a result of the onset of Parkinson's disease. Whatever the reason, it is clear that Kmiec is not reasoning well in his support for Obama. Consider the following from Kmiec's June 7, 2008 article on Catholic Online (referenced above):
The on-going intelligent and civil discussion also allows us to grasp how no candidate who merely checks a pro-life box in a superficial way should be permitted to blind us from the balance of Catholic social teaching, including the strengthening of the family with a family wage and tax structure that is responsive to the needs of the average family; the ending of an unjust and disproportionate war; the care and stewardship of the human environment; and the structuring of society to look after the most vulnerable among us, including especially the elderly, the poor, and of course those whose voice can only be heard through ours.
Kmiec sounds like a seamless garment kind of guy. "The balance of Catholic social teaching," in Kmiec's mind, seems ignore the very foundations of marriage and the family. While I agree with his comments on the family wage and tax structure, his comments on the other issues seem disturbing. The "ending of an unjust and disproportionate war" is a judgment and position that may be taken by a thoughtful Catholic, but other thoughtful Catholics may disagree and still remain Catholics in good standing. The "care and stewardship of the human environment," is a curious phrase. I'm not quite sure what the "human environment" is. Perhaps it is the family built on stable marriage? Finally, the "structuring of society...," is the most disturbing. "Structuring" or "Re-structuring society" is a favorite buzz-word of faculty lounge and coffee house Marxists. These types generally see big government as the answer and, in the process, they give short shrift to the Church's time-honored teaching of the Principle of Subsidiarity. Based upon his associations--aptly pointed out by Tom Roeser--it is not unfair to put Obama in this camp. Has Kmiec joined him?
Here are the facts:
- Obama is pro-abortion; for expanding sex ed in public schools; for expanding access to contraception; for embryonic stem cell research.
- Obama is on the record at a gathering of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (June 17, 2007) as saying that the first thing he will do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.
Professor Kmiec has yet to explain to us why Catholics should vote for Obama.
Oh wait...he has:
"Obama's conception of promoting the common good is situated in those regular but welcoming neighborhoods most of us call home—foreclosure aside. He intends to ask government and non-governmental entities—and you and me—to do our part. Frankly, it is more than a little exhilarating to be given that much faith and trust."
With all due respect, Prof. Kmiec, there is no such thing as a common good that includes the murder of the innocent and the undermining of marriage and the family.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Compare this "progressive group" with another group in the Catholic Church--this one. Unlike the former group, this one holds fast to the truth and has the uncanny ability to sniff out a fake.
The paradox here is that the truly mature are and remain young, whereas those caught in a perpetual adolescence become increasingly old and irrelevant.