Sunday, August 5, 2018

When the "development of doctrine" fetish hits...

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"If capital punishment is wrong in principle, then the Church has for two millennia consistently taught grave moral error and badly misinterpreted scripture. And if the Church has been so wrong for so long about something so serious, then there is no teaching that might not be reversed, with the reversal justified by the stipulation that it be called a 'development' rather than a contradiction. A reversal on capital punishment is the thin end of a wedge that, if pushed through, could sunder Catholic doctrine from its past—and thus give the lie to the claim that the Church has preserved the Deposit of Faith whole and undefiled."

If you weren't interested in the counter-narrative, you wouldn't be reading this blog. So, for reference, the Vatican used to have its own public executioner, Giovanni Battista Bugatti, and yet it was somehow the seat of the Vicar of Christ. Funny how that works, innit? 

"Free Mumia Christ!"

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"And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: 'If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.' But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: 'Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.' 

"Whereupon the first robber answered him, saying: 'AKTCHUALLY, the death penalty is per se contrary to the message of this guy in the middle, and is inadmissible as an affront to the inviolability of human dignity, mmkay?'"

-- The Gospel of Loss 23:39-41

The Crucifixion of Jesus with Two Robbers | ClipArt ETC

Orestes Brownson? More like Neo-Restes Brownson!

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How fitting that I get a chance to return to an earlier post of mine, thanks to the latest gyration of Pope Francis's abysmal papacy!
"[As a Catholic,] I owe obedience to the Pope only insofar as the spiritual head of my Church. Nevertheless, I have maintained and maintain that this spiritual authority extends to the morality of temporal things, in so far and only in so far, as they are spiritually related or have a spiritual character; that is, so far as they have a right to pronounce for the Catholic conscience, whether they do or do not conform to the law of God; for the Pope as the head of the Church is the interpreter and judge for Catholics of the divine law, natural or revealed. ... [Oh, and by the way:] The Pope [prior to 2018] has recognized the [death penalty] as compatible with the law of God...."

-- Orestes Brownson, 8 October 1855

Pope Boxwine the Nth

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"Whosoever shall shed man's blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God."

- The Lord (Genesis 9:2)

Happy Catholic*: Genesis Notes: Covenant Renewed
 "Dankgebet nach Verlassen der Arche Noah", D. Morelli, Öl auf Leinwand, 27,5 x 40 cm (za. 1901)


"It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity. It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator...."

- Papa Franzia

Name! That! Anglican!

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"It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity. It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator".

Friday, July 6, 2018

Slavery by way of libertarianism...

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At this point, the best thing I can say about lolbertarianism, is that its cringey, forced memes (e.g., obligatory military service is liderully slavery) are a helpful reductio of trying to establish a functioning social order upon an "EE" (Enlightenment-Egalitarian) basis; which is to say, far from bolstering political libertinism, lolbertarian reductio-memes point towards a return to hierarchy, patriarchy, political finitude, and robust solidarity (e.g., slavery is best understood as one form among many of the duties imposed by being born into a social order).

In other words: open borders --> open buttholes. 

Vatican Too: Big To Fail

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"[Conservative critics of the liturgical perestroika] ... note a certain confusion, and therefore a certain annoyance: first, these observers say, it was quiet, everyone could pray as he wanted, everything was known about the performance of the rite; now everything is new, surprise, change....

"We will not criticize these observations, because we should show how they reveal little penetration of the meaning of religious rites, and let us not glimpse a true devotion and a true sense of the meaning and value of Holy Mass, but rather a certain spiritual indolence, that does not want to spend some personal effort of intelligence and participation to better understand and better perform the most sacred of religious acts, to which we are invited, even obliged to associate ourselves. ... [I]t is in the nature of a practical, as well as spiritual, reform of inveterate and piously observed religious habits, to produce a bit of agitation, not always pleasant at all; but ... some explanation, some preparation, some thoughtful assistance soon remove the uncertainties and immediately give the sense and the taste of a new order. ...
"[W]e should not believe that after some time we will return to quiet and devoted or lazy, as before; no, the new order must be different, and must prevent and shake the passivity of the faithful present at Holy Mass; first it was enough to watch, now it is necessary to participate; before the presence was enough, now attention and action are needed; first someone could doze and maybe chat; now no, he must listen and pray. ... The assembly becomes alive and operative; intervening means letting the soul enter into activity, attention, conversation, song, action. The harmony of a community act, accomplished not only by the outward gesture, but by the inner movement of the feeling of faith and piety, gives the rite a particular strength and beauty: it becomes chorus, becomes concert, becomes rhythm of an immense flying wing to the heights of mystery and divine joy. ...

"[In contrast, we hear praise for the new rite from those who say,] finally you can understand and follow the complicated and mysterious ceremony; finally we get a taste; finally the Priest speaks to the faithful, and we see that he acts with them and for them. ...

"[I]t is to be believed that the warning of the religious intensity that the new form of the rite demands will not fail".

-- Pope Paul VI, 17 March 1965

"To explain myself..." - Orestes Brownson Edition

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"[As a Catholic,] I owe obedience to the Pope only insofar as the spiritual head of my Church. Nevertheless, I have maintained and maintain that this spiritual authority extends to the morality of temporal things, in so far and only in so far, as they are spiritually related or have a spiritual character; that is, so far as they have a right to pronounce for the Catholic conscience, whether they do or do not conform to the law of God; for the Pope as the head of the Church is the interpreter and judge for Catholics of the divine law, natural or revealed. To explain myself. The people of this country [viz., the USA] had on their gaining their independence the right to adopt such a form or constitution of government, not repugnant to natural justice or the law of God, as seemed to them good; this constitution, when adopted, is obligatory upon me as a Catholic citizen, and not being repugnant to the divine law, is obligatory on the Pope in his relations with us as upon us. Then every law made in conformity to it is obligatory on my conscience, and consequently on the conscience of the Pope; for what binds the conscience of the simple believer binds alike the conscience of bishop and Pope. The Pope has recognized the American constitution as compatible with the law of God. ... [As such,] I assert no civil or temporal jurisdiction for the Supreme Pontiff, for I extend his authority only to the decision of the spiritual question involved in the temporal...".

-- Orestes Brownson, 8 October 1855

Cf. pp. 557 ff.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

AFRICA FOR THE CHINESE (aka, "Wait, Why Are Political Eugenics Bad Again?")

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"My proposal is to make the encouragement of the Chinese settlements at one or more suitable places on the East Coast of Africa a part of our national policy, in the belief that the Chinese immigrants would not only maintain their position, but that they would multiply and their descendants supplant the inferior Negro race. I should expect the large part of the African seaboard, now sparsely occupied by lazy, palavering savages living under the nominal sovereignty of the Zanzibar, or Portugal, might in a few years be tenanted by industrious, order loving Chinese, living either as a semi-detached dependency of China, or else in perfect freedom under their own law. In the latter case their would be similar to that of the inhabitants of Liberia, in West Africa, the territory which was purchased 50 years ago and set apart as an independent State for the reception of freed negroes from America.

"The opinion of the public on the real worth of the Negro race has halted between the extreme views which have been long and loudly proclaimed. It refuses to follow those of the early abolitionists, that all the barbarities in Africa are to be traced to the effects of a foreign slave trade, because travelers continually speak of similar barbarities existing in regions to which the slave trade has not penetrated. ...

"On the other hand, the opinion of the present day repudiates the belief that the negro is an extremely inferior being, because there are notorious instances of negroes possessing high intelligence and culture, some of whom acquire large fortunes in commerce, and others become considerable men in other walks of life.

"The truth appears to be that individuals of the mental caliber I have just described are much more exceptional in the negro than in the Anglo-Saxon race, and that average negroes possess too little intellect, self-reliance, and self-control to make it possible for them to sustain the burden of any respectable form of civilization without a large measure of external guidance and support.

"The Chinaman is a being of another kind, who is endowed with a remarkable aptitude for a high material civilization. He is seen to the least advantage in his own country, where a temporary dark age still prevails, which has not sapped the genius of the race, though it has stunted the developed the of each member of it, by the rigid enforcement of an effete system of classical education which treats originality as a social crime. All the bad parts of his character, as his lying and servility, spring from timidity due to an education that has cowed him, and no treatment is better calculated to remedy that evil than location in a free settlement. The natural capacity of the Chinaman shows itself by the success with which, notwithstanding his timidity, he competes with strangers, wherever he may reside. The Chinese emigrants possess an extraordinary instinct for political and social organization; they contrive to establish for themselves a police and internal government, and they give no trouble to their rulers so long as they are left to manage those matters by themselves. They are good-tempered, frugal, industrious, saving, commercially inclined, and extraordinarily prolific. They thrive in all countries, the natives of the Southern provinces being perfectly able to labor and multiply in the hottest climates. Of all known varieties or mankind there is none so appropriate as the Chinaman to become the future occupant of the enormous regions which lie between the tropics.... The Hindoo cannot fulfil the required conditions nearly as well as the Chinaman, for he is inferior to him in strength, industry, aptitude for saving, business habits, and prolific power. The Arab is little more than an eater up of other men's produce; he is a destroyer rather than a creator, and he is unprolific.

"[T]he countries into which the Anglo-Saxon race can be transfused are restricted to those where the climate is temperate. The Tropics are not for us, to inhabit permanently; the greater part of Africa is the heritage of people differently constituted to ourselves. On that continent, as elsewhere, one population continually drives out another. ... It is into this free flight among all present that I wish to see a new competitor introduced-namely, the Chinaman. The gain would be immense to the whole civilized world if we were to out-breed and finally displace the negro, as completely as the latter has displaced the aborigines of the West Indies. The magnitude of the gain may be partly estimated by making the converse supposition, namely, the loss that would ensue if China were somehow to be depopulated and restocked by negroes. ...

"The Chinese have a land hunger, as well as a love for petty traffic, and they would find a field in which to gratify both of these tastes on the East African Coast. There are many Chinese capitalists resident in foreign parts who might speculate in such a system and warmly encourage it. If once successfully started, it ought to maintain itself. The colonist could not starve; and when they began to succeed they would send money to their relatives to enable them to follow, just as they now do from the many other parts of the world where they are located."

-- Francis Galton, letter to the Editor of The Times, June 5 1873.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Note to self:

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If you take a staple gun apart, expect it to stay that way forever and ever, amen.

"Am I being infringed upon?"

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[know thy titular meme]

The major premise of the following reflections is that, in a democracy,  conservatism is always a rearguard action for progressivism.

I think the angst that hardcore Second Amendment advocates are expressing is a reflection of a deeper reality, namely, that 2A conservatism is now in the same position that segregation was sixty years ago, that restrained immigration policy was in fifty years ago, that the anti-abortion consensus was in forty years ago, that anti-affirmative action pundits were in thirty years ago, that fiscal conservatives were in twenty years ago, that pro-marriage advocates were in ten years ago, etc.

The outrage that a Republican president would betray our gun rights is the sound of a dying canary in a collapsing mine. Americans have lived with rigorous infringements on their rights to own guns for at least a century, and this is a trend --a feature, not a bug. Like it or not, there will be tighter, more European-style regulations in the nearish future, America will survive these minute adjustments (the goldfish-like memory of zealots notwithstanding), and Trump will in all likelihood win a second term even more handily than he won his miraculous first term. The outrage some are feeling about Judas Trump, gun-grabber-in-chief, is the feeling cucks of every stripe (and now "bump cucks") felt during the primaries and Trump's first year: the feeling of being rhetorically/dialectically/diegetically irrelevant for a change.

Is it the end of America? That depends; ask the groups I cited from the past sixty years. The wailing we heard for one messy news cycle among countless others was really just the sound of team red's marching  band continuing its rearguard action towards, we hope, reactionary fascism.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A book idea...

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I want to use this post to initiate a research project. The label will be Aquinas On Metapolitics. I want to use posts in this category to compile my findings on what St.Thomas Aquinas, and other leading Scholastic philosophers, taught about 1) race and ethnicity, 2) gender and identity, and 3) teratology and problematic biology.

I don't believe St. Thomas proposed his arguments under such rubrics, not the least since they are (post)modern concepts, but I do believe that the perennial wisdom of his teaching, and of the Church's Scholastic patrimony in general, does "speak to" those contemporary categories and debates, precisely by being perennial teachings.

123 best images about St Thomas Aquinas on Pinterest ...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

I guess I'm back...

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For the past few years, I was using WordPress . com to blog, but then, between a general collapse in my blogging stamina, and some authentication headaches with Wordpress, I guess I'll be returning to this humble old address to pen my random musings.

You're ecstatic, I'm sure.

Here are two things I've been thinking about lately:

1) I've been reading about the European Renaissance for the past half year or so, and whilst reading about "wit" in Jacob Burkhardt's famous book on the topic, it dawned on me that TV/online journalists might fulfill the same role for our society that courtiers filled for Renaissance society. They are not Socratic gadflies so much as intellectual jesters. (Also, if the past two years have taught us anything, it's that Media Personalities are probably all sociopaths, to varying degrees.)

2) Upon the advice of a chat-friend, I am now aware that Alois Hudal is a rich subject for historical and ideological study. To wit:

"In his own 1937 book, [Die Grundlagen des Nationalsozialismus {$IC!},] Hudal proposed a reconciliation and a pragmatic compromise between Nazism and Christianity, leaving the education of youth to the Churches, while the latter would leave politics entirely to National Socialism. This had been the line followed by German Catholic politician and former Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen.

"In the autumn of 1934, Hudal had personally explained this strategy to Pius XI: the 'good' ought to be separated from the 'bad' in National Socialism. The bad -- Rosenberg, Bergmann, Himmler and others -- according to Hudal represented the 'left wing' [or dare we say the 'alt-right'?] of the Nazi party. The Nazi 'conservatives', headed, he believed, by Hitler, should be directed toward Rome, Christianized and used against the Communists and the Eastern danger. Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, was never put on the Index by Rome, as censors continually postponed and eventually terminated its examination, balking at taking on the chancellor of Germany."

As admirable as Hudal's intellectual contributions may be, I am severely nonplussed by his ongoing efforts until his death to sustain the "ratlines" for escaped Nazi leaders, since, by then, the formal opposition between the Thousand Year Reich and Holy Mother Church had long been established. With all due respect to Herr Hitler, if he had ever truly wanted to reconcile his political aims with the Church's, he could have amended his life to receive Holy Eucharist on the tongue instead of a hot bullet through the hard palate.


Having said all that, I cannot promise that  I will return to a consistent blogging pattern, though I certainly hope to produce what I can when I can in the next few months.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A dialogue, sort of, about gay marriage… 

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Some background:

I'm very new to Tweeter. I "took it up" (ahem) a couple weeks ago, partially because I got a new "smart" mobile phone recently, and partially because I've heard Twitter is the more "professional" social medium. (I think LinkedIn really is the professional social medium to use, but I've found Twitter to be much less consuming, and much more focused, than Facebook.) I suspect it's not a coincidence that the core of the word "twitter" is "witty". In fact, I might say I've found my " twiche ". Probably my favorite aspect of Twitter is that it forces me to be concise. I can write more by outlinking to TwitLonger, but I like the challenge of trying to make my point in 140 characters. As Goethe said, "Der Meister zeigt sich in der Beschränkungen."

So, the following dialogue is a revised reconstruction of an actual dialogue I've been having on Twitter the past week or two.

Full disclosure: my interlocutor's moniker is nothing less inflammatory than "ifollowHATE". He or she chose to follow me because I have either retweeted comments against "gay marriage", or voiced my own objections to it.

Codgitator: [Upon discovering that I was being followed by "ifollowHATE"] So if you hate hate, do you follow yourself? Or hate yourself? Or just hate others for differing from you?

Some Tweeter: No, I hate the lies that people tell to harm others. That is hate. It is sinful.

C: You mean lies about the Catholic Church's authentic teachings? I assume you follow me because I oppose "gay marriage".

S: We are talking about civil laws, not the Catholic teachings. The organizations that you follow advocate for laws that harm others.

C: By tarring nonconformity "hate" I feel you cheapen the language and derail dialogue -- the prerogative of demagogues.

S: By supporting banning gays from marriage, I feel you cause harm to them and derail their rights.

C: I get your angle. The question is whether marriage is a right in service of individuals or in service of the common good. Law forbids consanguinous, underage, and bigamous marriage. Law is for a common future, not for special interests.

S: Not special interests. The same right that everyone else enjoys. The right to marry the one person that you love.

C: Why limit marriage to 1+1? Awful prejudice. Why not 1+1+1? 1+1+/-1? 1+x+y? Is the point of law only point to protect "love feelings"? Defending gay marriage as a civil right begs the question. What is the point of marriage? To what do gays want access by winning "marriage"?

S: What important government purpose is accomplished by banning gay couples from Civil Marriage? Do you have a reason for limiting marriage to all those people, or is it just prejudice against them?

C: Any definition of marriage imposes limits, as I've shown in your monogamy bias. A definition… by definition… is limiting. The key is to legislate to the long-term good of marriage.

S: What important governmental purpose is furthered by banning gay couples from marriage? Just one.

C: If legal limitations are implicitly unjust, what's the point of any government marriage laws? What is the purpose of marriage? What does "gay" add to it? Indeed, why can't siblings marry, if they're as deeply as in love as any gay or straight couple? Making that kind of bond "marriage" undermines the common benefit of marriage over generations.

S: What good does it do to ban gay people from marriage, then? Give your reason for the line that you have drawn.

C: First, marriage is no more a right than hunting or driving or bartending is, hence we need licenses for them. It's not in the interest of the law to widen the licensing gate for marriage [or should I say, lower the bar?], and thus lower the long-term stability of marriage as a pillar of society. Gay marriage adds nothing to the long-term security of marriage (to put it mildly), and bars gays from no more than enjoying the feeling of having Sneetch-belly-stars of their own. No bloodlines can be formed in gay marriage, so it's not marriage. Marriage is the social analogue of biological continuity.

Second, asking why government can "ban" gays from marriage is not only inflammatory but also begs the question. It has never been the case that a loophole was open for gays to marriage, until one day some conservative cabal decided to "ban" the trickle of gays who were finally taking advantage of their "right" to the loophole. What has happened is that one group has stormed the courts to jam a loophole into marriage law for their own special interests. No-fault divorce advocates did the same decades ago, to the grave detriment of marriage. Why add insult to injury with another judicial revamping of nature? Gay people aren't being banned from loving and living and dying with whomever they wish. They are being denied a license on the grounds that their lifestyle would adds nothing to the actual, long-term practice of marriage as a biological and social reality. Not giving a motor license to a blind man is radically different from banning him from traveling at all, by other means, such as private or public transit. As pro-queer journalist Victoria Brownworth has stated, "[A]llowing same‐sex couples to marry will weaken the institution of marriage."

S: Prove it.

C: The point of the quotation is precisely that Brownworth is pro-gay-marriage.

S: I know who she is. I also know the entire quote. As I said. Prove it. It should be easy.

C: Here's my basic problem: you deny that marriage has any essential features–– you deny there is any real nature of marriage beyond how we speak of it–– yet you want gays to enjoy this chimerical "marriage". But what is marriage? If marriage is just a social convention, a purely legal custom, then what is it gays could possibly gain by "marriage"? Any essential features you propose for marriage–– gay, straight, or otherwise–– must be based in something above the law. The problem is that, for whichever features you propose as maritally non-negotiable, there is a special interest group which would brand those features as narrowly prejudiced and as merely legal customs. (If you were lucky, you'd even get a boob from their camp to follow you via a popular social medium.) Failing that, if you admit marriage is just a word, just a social game, then why should thee be any marriage law at all? There cannot be laws about pure fictions. You can't have it both ways. Either marriage really is of an unalterable nature, which must be explained and obeyed by all, or it is just a wax nose, and law is irrelevant to the satisfaction of gay intimacy.

Fourth, I'm not sure I should bother giving you reasoned answers, since your moniker implies the only reason I could have for opposing gay (as well as bigamous, underage, incestuous, fraudulent, necrophiliac, etc.) marriage, is because I "HATE". Yes. That's it. How insightful of you. Here's to an America where the only choices are doe-eyed social conformity or blind "hate". If you honestly think having principled objections to a radical, partisan innovation just is "hatred", you are a boob and really ought to follow yourself.

S: So… owning a gun isn't a right, because it requires a license?
C: Even American toddlers lack a right to guns without a license. Call it inflammatory or not, you put the cart before the horse.

S: In all that, you still didn't answer the question. What is the important governmental purpose accomplished by banning gay marriage? "We will be more American on the day after we permit gay marriage than we were on the day before". That's one of your guys [Blankenhorn in Propostition 8 corss-examination].

C: I have said why it's not in the interest of the state to reinvent the wheel on marriage. Gay marriage is no more banned than unicorn chariot rides are: both are fictions. Government policy should aim to promote longterm good for the whole polity. Gay marriage (GM) merits no more government aid than bigamy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Microcogditations from the front…

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This humidity must be part of my penance the priest slipped in when I wasn't listening. Despite everything, Marcus Aurelius never had to deal with this weather!
#TropicalKickToTheHead #Stoicism

""Both [Paganism & Stoicism] were consistent, philosophical, and exalted... [but] the first leads logically to murder and the second to suicide. ... It is only the Mystic, the man who accepts the contradictions [of life], who can laugh and walk easily through the world." - GKC

Passing an ad for plastic surgery, asked wife if she wants that. Bugged eyes: "No. I'm beautiful."

The nail in the coffin for FTL Neutrinos: LINK.

I stand sideways in conversations so people realize I want to go, but doing so only seems to drag it out.
#YouDoItToYourself #Fail

I'm leery of writing his O'ness' name in conjunction with the HHS struggle, since doing so not only misses the point (i.e. it's bigger than him, if not bigger than his ego), but also risks making opposition to HHS qua "O____care" a political campaign, at which point religious opponents of HHS have overstepped the very bounds they're trying to protect.

@eckharttolle "Real love doesn't make you suffer. How could it?" By making you sacrifice, how about? Saying "I love you" even when you don't 'feel' it is just what validates your love: the difference between loving and being "in love".
#SacredHeart #Crucifixion

George Clooney arrested in Washington, D.C. "for protesting Sudan’s attacks on its Nuba people."
"How many more bodies until the Nuba mountains become the next Darfur?"

My friend wanted to let me be happy in my "new baby" bubble, filter bad news, but I kneel to a crucified peasant everyday: my bubble is… congenitally open.
#SacredHeart #Crucifixion

The duality of human fecundity (maker/medium, male/female, thought/act) finds unity in the absolute simplicity of God as all-wise Creator. Mary's virgin motherhood is but a portrait of the deeper mystery of God's virgin fatherhood. God as Spirit thus transcends and grounds sex. Atheism is ontological solipsism.

It must never be forgotten that economy originally meant family budget.

Scientismatics want a final theory, a theory which would in principle be universally valid, and thus physically deductive, yet they reject religion i.a. because theistic claims are "not in principle" falsifiable. Huh?
#scientism #CultofGnu

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The culture of separation...

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According to traditional western metaphysics, death is the separation of a person's body and soul. According to Cartesian dualism, by contrast, a person's life consists in precisely the radical existential cleft between body and soul. In so far as our culture is still pervaded by Cartesian conditioning, our culture is rightly labelled a culture of death. The ideology of death, aka nihilism, is driven by the underlying principle that plurality means discord, that difference entails disunity. Hence, divorce is a tendril of separationist nihilism, because it severs the bond between free commitment and eternal transcendence. Abortion is likewise a tendril of dichotomous nihilism, as it severs the bond between a woman's good and her child's. Contraception similarly forces a wedge between the distinct yet inseparable goods of sex and procreation.

By the same token, any movement which promotes homosexual intimacy as an equally valid form of human family life, is implicitly trying to reduce the awkward plurality of the male-female unity into a more manageable system of genderized uniformity, and as such is just as much a tendril of separationist nihilism as the others I have mentioned. It is precisely the distinction between an axe and wood which gives them a unity that finds its purpose quite literally in the family hearth. With an axe man may chop lumber and build a home, in which he can, in turn, make a family. With an axe he likewise may chop wood to make a fire, over which, in turn, a meal may be made to feed his family. What will not suit the man is an axe only or wood only. He can only make his home by unifying the difference between an axe and wood in the service of a higher end.

What the same-sex movement strives for, alas, is effectively endorsing axes to chop axes and wood to split wood, out of which I believe can only be made a heap of scrap parts, or, ultimately, tinder for an everlasting fire fueled by the inquenchable flame of self-love, which is the apotheosis of same-love. If a man cannot find himself (which is to say, lose himself) in a woman, it won't do him much good to seek himself in a man, on the assumption that men can love each other as well as if not better than men can love women, since, you see, the former bond is free of the complexity and political phoniness of the "male-female" dichotomy. If a man funds utter easier to love someone who is more like him, he may as well go the whole way and admit he loves the person more like him than anyone else, namely, himself. That he is more attracted to men than women is one thing; that his attraction can legitimize a whole alternative way of the human family is something else completely. An axe may fit better on the shelf with another axe, but thus does not mean heaping axes together is a valid alternative to using axes to chop wood for the good of homemaking.

That, of course, is the fundamental difference which must be acknowledged, and the basis for every person's fundamental choice between worldviews. The world is either a place for making homes ur for making heaps. At the heart of the Christian worldview is an icon of unity in plurality, of harmony based on difference, of a family of unique persons. The regnant worldview of our mass culture, by contrast, enshrines the supremacy of unity based on uniformity (the collective heaping of axes) or, if uniformity cannot be satisfactorily commodified or imposed, sacrifices harmony for the unqualified blind good of plurality for its own sake (the nominalistic scrapping of all).

Monday, March 12, 2012

A study in ecclesiastical motive...

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The therapeutic stance towards sin is among the greatest aids for sinning yet more. An examination of the clerical abuse scandal in Denmark bears this out. The milieu for that scandal was one in which sexual liberty, indeed, sexual rambunctiousness, was encouraged in mainstream elementary pedagogical texts, based, of course, on the regnant psychological theories of the time. Such theories regarded repression and moralistic guilt as infinitely worse sins than masturbation, fornication, pornography, and the like.

The same theories pervade Family Planning materials, in which children are explicitly encouraged and instructed how to explore their own bodies and the sexual capacities of others. It is not a question of accepting a child's sexuality but one of actively stimulating it. If it happens that one of the best guides a child has for activating his sexuality is a minister, coach, or priest, then we must allow the exploration to advance , since both parties are willing co-explorers. Above all we mustn't judge or condemn in a dogmatic, moralistic spirit.

I am certain a similar broadminded lassitude was present in the American abuse scandal. It is no mere coincidence that the crooked handling of offending priests went in parallel with the sexualization of psychiatry, a trend which came to a head in the nineties, when pedophilia was clinically chicAn offending priest would be given a change of environment, not a swift and dogmatic censure, since he is not to blame, indeed, none of us is to blame, for we are but the product of our environment. The abuse festered not because it is a particularly Catholic thing—indeed, rates of abuse are at least as high if not higher among non-Catholic and secular contexts which allow for abuses of intimacy, trust, and authority—but because the motives of clerical administrators was skewed by a therapeutic bias. The aim was not to do the right thing, for such a course necessarily implies one can do or has done a wrong thing, has committed a sin, plain and simple, and that the right thing to do is to dispense and suffer punishment. Punishment is however an outdated shibboleth of dogmatic moralism. As such, the only right thing to do, the only socially commendable motive, was not to do right, but to do right by a psychologically maladjusted subject, the hope being that an adjustment in the subject's surroundings would yield an adjustment (not to use so high-handed a term as rectification) of the subject's behavior. Redeem the efferent phenomena by tweaking the afferent noumena, as it were.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'No constitutional rights', full stop…

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WH: Signatures to Rescind HHS Contraceptive Mandate Exceed Those on Petition in Favor of Policy 5 to 1
By Edwin Mora
February 6, 2012

That petition, which was created on Jan. 28, notes that HHS “is mandating that all employer healthcare insurance plans provide coverage for procedures which violate the beliefs of the Catholic Church, and Catholic institutions.” …

HHS will begin enforcing the policy in August and has given religious organizations an extra year to implement the mandate.

Despite concerns by the Catholic community including over 100 bishops and leaders of other denominations, the White House last week said that there is: ‘no constitutional rights issues’ surrounding the mandate.

Freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Catholic, has introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which will overturn the HHS mandate.

Stop the Birth Control Mandate…

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Stop the Birth Control Mandate - A Petition Sponsored by St. Gianna Physician's Guild

I wholeheartedly express my solidarity with the Stop The Birth Control Mandate petition promoted by St. Gianna Physician's Guild protesting the recent decree by the Department of Health and Human Services of our federal government. I encourage Catholics to sign the petition and thus unite their support of Holy Mother Church by protesting the most grievous violation of the right to religious liberty for Catholics in the United States.
Raymond Cardinal Burke

–– Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura

As Mark Shea would say, "Episcopal Spine Alert!"

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Updated: *168* Bishops (More Than 90% of Dioceses) Have Spoken Out Against Obama/HHS Mandate

SPECIAL MENTION: “The Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in North America just issued a formal statement of protest against the HHS mandate in which the Assembly, representing all 53 Orthodox bishops in North America, references their complete agreement with the statements of the USCCB.”…

NOTE: If you would like a statement by an Eastern Rite bishop to be included please send [Tom Peters] the link/document or post it in the comments! Thank you. I’m trying to provide documentation for all the bishops listed and Eastern Rite bishops have been harder for me to track down. Thank you for understanding!

UPDATE: Of the 183 dioceses (by my count) in the U.S. who have a bishop currently serving as its head, 167 of them have issued statements. So more than 90% of bishops who head dioceses have spoken out against the Obama/HHS mandate.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The big antlers serve the good of the species by enhancing reproductive success...

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The core of Frank's thesis is that unmitigated self-interest does not, according to Darwinian awareness, produce the larger, collective, common good.

Money is only forty years old, and having a mid-life crisis....

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A spledind lecture, a solid historical precis. I found 16:00 onwards for a little while most intriguing, since, yes, "distributed" commerce is mentioned.

For some, the lecturer's accent may make the lecture...

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For others, less aesthetically gifted, the content will have to stand on its own.

The upshot is that, unless ethics suffuse economics, the idol of economic efficiency will effectively censor (and reconstruct) people by giving them over to their own insular, most efficiently satisfied impulses.

Note the parallels he draws between education and industrialization...

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Friday, February 3, 2012

A conversation I recently had at work…

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There I was, minding my own business, finishing yet another reading of the epistle of James, waiting for the students to arrive, when suddenly my co-worker blurted out, "The Bible?"

"Yes," I said, "that old thing."

"Have you read the whole thing?"


Unlike you, I'd wager.

"Why are you reading it? Just to… re-fresh… your… or…?"

"Yes, I'm one of those. I'm a Catholic."

"Still? Oh."

"I wasn't always Catholic. I was raised Presbyterian, but about five years ago, I entered the Church. I take it you are… interested in the Bible?"

By interested, of course, I mean titillated by your own sophomoric disdain for anything older or bigger than you.

"You mean the official Bible, or the ones that were repressed?"

"Ah, yes, I'm familiar with what you mean, but no, I'm reading the orthodox Bible, not the Gospel or Judas or Thomas or anything like that. Do you study religious history?"

As in, do you imbibe as much of the Huffington Post and Youtube clips as your leisure affords?

"Well, I was into history and soash at uni, so… yeah."


"So, you like religious history?"

"I like… facts. I mean, not that there are any."

Well, that's a relief. Here I thought you were challenging my faith based on damning facts about the Bible. Good thing there are no facts with which I must contend, aside, I suppose, from the fact of your visceral loathing for Christian tradition and the very idea of truth.

"Ahh. Okay. Right."

"I'm interested in how society… how social ideas can… influence or shape people's actions. Like Scientology, wow! I saw this amazing documentary on BBC last night about Scientology."

Sweet lamb, if only you realized how the "social determinist" argument cuts both ways. If you turn your read, just so, in just the right light, I can only faintly detect the thread of silver running from Dawkins' blog to the ring in your nose.

"Oh, BBC, they're pretty good."

"Yeah, but, well, everybody's got a bias."

Fortunately, everyone but you, right?

"What are you gonna do?"

"I try not to think about it all. I just want to be happy."


Books I've read in the last six months or so…

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As you may know, I keep a running tab on my "mental diet" (books and movies), but decided to share my latest explorations. Has anyone here read any of these books and have any opinions to offer?

If you visit my log, you'll notice I'm still (still!) reading a few other books, which means I've been reading about two books a week lately, so, roughly (in theory), I read 300 books last year. Here's to another 300 this year! The interesting thing is, that's more than twice as much as I used to read in high school and college per annum. If only I could get back to writing as much as I used to then, as well.

Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction (2002) by Christopher Janaway
An Introduction to Philosophical Logic (1982; 1st ed.) by A. C. Grayling
Self, Logic, and Figurative Thinking (2009) by Harwood Fisher
The Development of Logic (1962) by William Kneale & Martha Kneale
Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writings (1998) (ed.) Ralph McInerny
• God Is a Bullet by Boston Teran
The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Duma Key by Stephen King
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Terror by Dan Simmons
The Talisman by Stephen King & Peter Straub
Point Omega by Don DeLillo
Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
The Nature of the Mind by Peter Carruthers
Personal Identity by Harold Noonan
Theory and Truth by Lawrence Sklar
Philosophical Logic by John P. Burgess
Philosophy of Logic by W.V.O. Quine
From a Logical Point of View by W.V.O. Quine
Everywhere and Everywhen by Nick Huggett
Thinking about Physics by Roger G. Newton
Real Essentialism by David Oderberg
Why Marx Was Right (2011) by Terry Eagleton
Logic (1985) by Juan Jose Sanguineti
Nominalism and Realism – Volume 1 of Universals and Scientific Realism (1980) by D. M. Armstrong
A Theory of Universals – Volume 2 of Universals and Scientific Realism (1980) by D. M. Armstrong
Couplehood by Paul Reiser
What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth by Wendell Berry
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy, Ph.D.
Toward a Truly Free Market: A Distributist Perspective on the Role of Government, Taxes, Health Care, Deficits, and More (2010) by John M. Médaille
Leibniz's Mill: A Challenge to Materialism (2011) by Charles Landesman
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism by Kevin D. Williamson
In Defence of Global Capitalism (2001) by Johan Norberg
The "Poisoned Spring" of Economic Libertarianism –– Menger, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard: A Critique from Catholic Social Teaching of the 'Austrian School' of Economics (2011) by Angus Sibley
Micro (2012) by Michael Crichton w/ Richard Preston
The Case for Working with Your Hands, Or Why Office Work Is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good (2010) by Stephen Crawford
The Conscience of a Liberal (2009) by Paul Krugman
Free Lunch: Easily Digestible Economics, Served on a Plate (2003) by David Smith
The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (2000) by Hernando de Soto
Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction & Economics (2005) by Paul Ormerod
What's Wrong with the World (1910) by G.K. Chesterton
The Servile State (1912) by Hilaire Belloc
The Sun of Justice: An Essay on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church (1938) by Harold Robbins
The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War ([1981] 2010 2nd ed.) by Arno J. Mayer

Thursday, February 2, 2012

We can't strike out on this one…

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Conscience Protection

Bishops Vow to Fight Coercive HHS Mandate

Watch his video
take action today!

Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.

Send an e-mail through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center at: HERE.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, sharply criticized the decision by the Obama administration in which it "ordered almost every employer and insurer in the country to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans.... Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."

The language of liberty…

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Consistory Hall
Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dear Brother Bishops,

… One of the most memorable aspects of my Pastoral Visit to the United States was the opportunity it afforded me to reflect on America’s historical experience of religious freedom, and specifically the relationship between religion and culture. At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.

… To the extent that some current cultural trends contain elements that would curtail the proclamation of [Christian] truths, whether constricting it within the limits of a merely scientific rationality, or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God. …

[T]he Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth. … The Church’s defense of a moral reasoning based on the natural law is grounded on her conviction that this law is not a threat to our freedom, but rather a “language” which enables us to understand ourselves and the truth of our being, and so to shape a more just and humane world. …

The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.

… [I]t is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. … Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. …

… The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.

[R]espect for the just autonomy of the secular sphere must also take into consideration the truth that there is no realm of worldly affairs which can be withdrawn from the Creator and his dominion (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 36). There can be no doubt that a more consistent witness on the part of America’s Catholics to their deepest convictions would make a major contribution to the renewal of society as a whole.

Freedom, schmeedom…

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U.S. Bishops Vow to Fight HHS Edict

January 20, 2012

The Catholic bishops of the United States called “literally unconscionable” a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today's announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers.

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The cardinal-designate continued, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty. … The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs….”

“This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights,” said Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the board at Franciscan Alliance, Inc., a system of 13 Catholic hospitals. …

Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, voiced disappointment with the decision[:] … “This was a missed opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience protection….”

Pay up…

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Get ready to pay. …

Secretary of Health and Human Services and pro-abortion Catholic Kathleen Sebelius [has] announced that the proposed mandate requiring all insurance plans to pay for contraception, sterilization and some abortion drugs is official -- and Catholics cannot escape….

Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan responded…: “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

Beginning August 1, 2012…, the insurance premiums we pay, including the insurance premiums paid by Catholics for employees of churches and schools … will be used to cover drugs and procedures that are in direct conflict with the teachings of our Church. … Our government will now force us to pay for insurance coverage for birth control, sterilization and even some abortion drugs. …

Make no mistake, this decision is a direct attack on you, our Church, and the religious liberty of all Americans.

… Pope Benedict XVI addressed the bishops from the United States who were completing their "Ad Limina" visit in Rome. The Holy Father specifically cited the "grave threats" to the freedom of the Church in America, and urged the Catholic community to respond, especially with "an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity." …

[In twelve] months, America will welcome a new president, or usher in four more years of Barack Obama and his assault on our liberties. This irony is not lost on us. … The Catholic vote must rise up like never before.


Brian Burch, President

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A quiz for reader(s)…

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"_______________ is a politico-economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and in which the powers of the state are limited to the protection of the individual's rights against the initiation of physical force. … Under _______________, the state consists essentially just of a police force, law courts, and a national defense establishment, which deter and combat those who initiate the use of physical force."

The answer to the above blank is…

A. Capitalism

B. Laissez-faire capitalism

C. Socialism / Keynseanism

D. Distributism

Enterprise, so called…

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"Hardly anybody…dares to defend the family. The world around us has accepted a social system which denies the family. It will sometimes help the child in spite of the family; the mother in spite of the family; the grandfather in spite of the family. It will not help the family. … We live in an age of journalese, in which everything done inside a house is called ‘drudgery’ while anything done inside an office is called ‘enterprise.’"

-- G.K. Chesterton, Dec 1931

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Maximum initiative…

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"All who believe that ownership in the means of livelihood is normal to man, and necessary to liberty, and all who dislike and distrust the concentration of control advocated by Socialists and practiced by Monopolists, should join the [Distributist] League … [The League] stands for the Liberty of the Individual and the Family against interference by busybodies, monopolies, or the State … [and for] … the better Distribution of Property (i.e. ownership of land, houses, workshops, gardens, means of production, etc.). … [As such, the League] fights for small Shops and Shopkeepers against multiple shops and trusts…[, for] Individual Craftmanship and Cooperation in industrial enterprises… [, and for the] Small Holder and the Yeoman Farmer against monopolists of large inadequately farmed estates … [In a word, the League stands for] the Maximum, instead of the minimum initiative on the part of the citizen."

-- G.K.'s Weekly, March 29, 1929