Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Catholic Stand: Time For Catholics to Leave the Democrats?

Now that the election is over, the post-game analysis and forecasts for the coming sessions will occupy the media for at least the next week or so. It’s also a good time to consider whether it makes sense for faithful Catholics to remain tied to the Democrat Party.

Catholicism is the largest single religious communion in the United States; we number between one-fifth and one-quarter of the population. Being so large a bloc, if we voted as consistently as do black Protestants, we would have tremendous influence on public policy: we would not necessarily be able to impose what laws we wish, but we would be in a far better position to persuade the rest of the nation to go along.

However, the political amity that my colleague, Dr. Denise Hunnell, so well described in “Elections and Eternity”, probably could be best described as the remnants of a temporary unity, brought on by the shared experiences of our political leaders in the Great Depression and World War II. The tension of subtly shifting values was manifesting itself even in the 1950s, and it finally erupted in the riots, protests, and violence that scarred the “Vietnam era”. Today, the “conservative Democrat” and the “liberal Republican” are mere memories, even oxymorons.

The explosion, when it came, functionally split the Church in America in half. The split was further polarized when Ven. Paul VI issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae; so certain had so many people been that the teaching on contraception would be changed that, when the pope forcefully restated it, the shocked and disillusioned abandoned the pews; weekly Mass attendance fell below 50% almost overnight. Even today, the “cultural” or “Christmas and Easter” Catholics are more likely to be liberal in their politics, while those who are highly active in their parishes are more likely to be conservative.

Read more in Catholic Stand!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A coldly calculated soft genocide—UPDATED

Nairobi, Kenya
Kitui, Kenya is about 83.1 miles (133.9 km) east of the capital city of Kenya. The following extract is from the website of the Catholic Diocese of Kitui:

Stand by the truth

Dear Christians, fellow Kenyans and all people of good will, We, the Catholic Bishops in Kenya, meeting at St. Mary’s Pastoral Center in Nakuru, greet you in the name of Our Lord.
During our weeklong Ordinary Plenary Assembly, we have taken stock and reflected deeply on the state of the nation and have identified the following issues of great concern:

  1. 2.   The Tetanus Vaccine
Dear Kenyans, due to the direction the debate on the ongoing Tetanus Vaccine campaign in Kenya is taking, We, the Catholic Bishops, in fulfilling our prophetic role, wish to restate our position as follows:
  1. The Catholic Church is NOT opposed to regular vaccines administered in Kenya, both in our own Church health facilities and in public health institutions.
  2. However, during the second phase of the Tetanus vaccination campaign in March 2014, that is sponsored by WHO/UNICEF, the Catholic Church questioned the secrecy of the exercise. We raised questions on whether the tetanus vaccine was linked to a population control program that has been reported in some countries, where a similar vaccine was laced with Beta-HCG hormone which causes infertility and multiple miscarriages in women.
  3. On March 26, 2014 and October 13, 2014, we met the Cabinet Secretary in-charge of health and the Director of Medical Services among others and rasied our concerns about the Vaccine and agreed to jointly test the vaccine. However the ministry did not cooperate and the joint tests were not done.
  4. The Catholic Church struggled and acquired several vials of the vaccine, which we sent to Four unrelated Government and private laboratories in Kenya and abroad.
  5. We want to announce here, that all the tests showed that the vaccine used in Kenya in March and October 2014 was indeed laced with the Beta-HCG hormone.
  6. On 13th of October 2014, the Catholic Church gave copies of the results to the cabinet secretary and the Director of Medical Services. The same was emailed to the Director of Medical Services on October 17, 2014.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Not a news flash: Catholic Church still doesn't have female priests

Angela Wilson: perhaps a priest, but not a Catholic priest.
Note to the London Telegraph: Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger is not a Catholic priest. In fact, since she wasn't ordained in any church which has female priests, she isn't a priest. If she'd been ordained in the ELCA or the Church of England, I'd call her a priest. She wasn't; therefore, she isn't. She's not a bishop, either.

Self-identification doesn't turn fantasy into fact, no matter what you do to support the illusion. I can call myself an elephant or the King of Ireland for the rest of my life; I could spend those days eating peanuts and communicating in nasal trumpets, or wearing a crown and issuing edicts; the rest of the human world would still be under no obligation to indulge my mishegoss. No amount of foot-stamping insistence would change that. No news story full of gushing adulation for my foot-stamping insistence would change that.

It wouldn't matter if a validly and licitly consecrated bishop in good standing performed the rite of ordination perfectly according to the rubrics: "... the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women ...." (Pope St. John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis [1994], 4) This wasn't just the late pontiff's whim; it's been a fact of the Church since the beginning (vide CDF responsum ad propositum dubium, 1995). If the Church doesn't have the authority, then neither do the individual bishops. Nor can individual bishops obtain such authority by appeal to Scripture or the Holy Spirit; that's a piece of Protestant legerdemain, not Catholic teaching.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lena Dunham's rubber reality check—UPDATED

Photo: Dianna E. Anderson.
It used to be a "tell-all autobiography" told everything about people other than the author; the author himself would confess to a couple of juicy sins here and there, and would immediately return to dishing the dirt on other Famous Figures. But even the most jaded, libertine celebrity kept some secrets, understanding that there would be some things that would alienate the fans.

The point of an autobiography, after all, is to brag on yourself. The subtitle of every autobiography ought to read "How I Made It to the Top, and All My Glorious Achievements". In the case of the tell-all, it should read "How I Made It to the Top, All My Glorious Achievements, and Some of the Wild Bacchanalian Adventures I Had Along the Way".

I haven't forgotten the subdivision of autobiography that comes closer to the Confessions of St. Augustine: "How I Got to Be So F**ked Up, and How I'm Recovering". Now, in this kind of book, you can blame your mother, your father, yourself, the Church, the State, society, blah blah blah; the point is, though, you recognize that being f**ked up isn't a good thing.

Unless you're Lena Dunham. Then you confess to doing all sorts of things to and with your baby sister that are creepy even for a seven-year-old, compare your behavior to that of a sexual predator, then get upset — in her own words, go into a "rage spiral" — when people accuse you of having molested said baby sister. This isn't just classic narcissist behavior; this is a reality check that failed.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

TIME admits MSM “has nearly no understanding” of Catholic Church

© 2014 Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images
I’ve been saying it for a few years now. Terry Mattingly and Mollie Hemingway at have been saying it for even longer. Hell, at least three times a week you can go to your favorite aggregator and pick up some Catholic blog where the writer is saying it yet again. Now, finally, Elizabeth Dias at TIME has said what we’ve all been saying over and over again for years: “the mainstream media has nearly no understanding of the Church.”

 The proximate cause of Dias’ ire is the wild ballyhoo with which the media has greeted Pope Francis’ declaration Monday at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so. He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment. ... The Big Bang, which today stands at the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of a divine creator but demands it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.

“Anyone who knows anything about Catholic history knows that a statement like this is nothing new,” Dias huffs. “Pope Pius XII wrote [the] encyclical Humani Generis in 1950 affirming that there was no conflict between evolution and Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that, stressing that evolution was more than a hypothesis, in 1996. Pope Benedict XVI hosted a conference on the nuances of creation and evolution in 2006. There’s an official book on the event for anyone who wants to know more. Pope Francis’ comments Monday even came as he was unveiling a new statue of Pope Benedict XVI, honoring him for his leadership.”

The media went gaga over the Pope’s statement precisely because they don’t know anything about Church history. In fact, where religion is concerned, most journalists seemingly prefer to consult their own private well of pseudo-knowledge than to find reliable and authoritative sources.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ask Tony: What's the big deal about the Synod on the Family?

Answer: There is no clear objective answer; so much depends on one’s ideological or ecclesial perspective.

First of all, let’s discuss what a synod is. Synod is a general word for an ecclesial gathering, and can range in size from a few local priests to as many bishops from around the world as can fit in St. Peter’s. Synod and council, according to the old Catholic Encyclopedia, are synonymous terms. Only when the bishops of the world are gathered under the presidency of the pope is it deemed an ecumenical or general council capable of legislating for the entire Church.

If we leave our description here, it would seem that this Synod is simply a “talk shop”, a manufactured event in which the participants can discuss change without actually changing anything ... much like a session of Congress. It’s not quite that simple or cynical an exercise.

We in the West — especially in America — tend to assume that our concerns are shared by the whole world, or at least that they ought to be, and that the only people who matter are the people who think just like we do. This isn’t the case; what may sound like a splendid idea among American or German Catholics may not fly with Catholics in Estonia, or Burkina Faso, or South Korea.

For as much as has been made of Francis being the first pope from a Third World country, culturally he is in many respects as much a European as were his predecessors. Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has been carrying the standard for divorced and remarried Catholics, is a German of the Germans. The synod allows the pope and Cdl. Kasper to float trial balloons in an arena where the response is more international, and isn’t shaped by the Western media.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How to Get Men to Fix Things Around the House

So my cousin's daugher (my first cousin once removed), April, posted this picture on her timeline, with a little laughing rant about how we should do things right away, without talking about it, "unless you enjoy hearing us nag you".

Well, on the positive side, it helps to be reminded every now and again.

One thing I've noticed over the years, though, is that the things that stay longest on the "honey-do" list are tasks that will 1) take plenty of time (especially if you don't do that kind of repair work for a living), 2) require plenty of physically strenuous effort, and 3) necessitate a minimum of two (2) trips to Lowe's or Home Depot — the second to get the things you didn't know you needed or forgot to get the first time around.

In other words, it's not gonna be something the man can do when he gets home from work, or when he's "got a free minute" while he's doing something else. They won't be things he can multitask; you can't talk to the COO about the rollout of the latest cybersecurity package while you're struggling a water heater out of a space not big enough for a coat closet ... even with Bluetooth.

And, in most cases, it'll be something that's mostly cosmetic, or something you can do without for now, so it'll be lower on the priority list. At least, lower on his priority list; sometimes, it'll be higher on her list because she can't stand to have a kitchen that looks like it was modeled after an A&E Channel reality series (the kind that makes you moan, "YECCH! How can people live like that!?"). And will that unfinished pergola look good when it's half new and half weather-stained?

Monday, September 29, 2014

9 Best Things About Being Filipino-American

Number 10 is that Filipino-Americans are great friends to have. (Shout-out to my buddy, fellow Knight of Columbus Ray Huie!)

I've mentioned before in this blog that I lived for over a year in the Philippines when I was a child, back in 1969-1970. Clark AFB, in Angeles City (about 40 miles northwest of Manila on the big isle of Luzon), was my dad's last station before he retired from the Air Force. I learned the pole dance; and I grew to love chicken adobo, a very simple dish the recipe of which includes quite a bit of — yes, you guessed it — vinegar. By the way, vinegar IS an all-natural, effective household cleaning solvent.

Although there are quite a few Buddhists, Moslems, and  Protestants in the Philippines, it's a predominantly Catholic country, a legacy of Spanish domination. And yet, while many Filipinos have at least a Spanish first name, only a handful of people still speak Español, and only a little over a million people speak Chavacanos, a collective name for six creole languages that use Spanish words in Austronesian grammars. So I hesitate to call the Philippines a Latin or Hispanic country; it's more an Asian/Polynesian hodgepodge with a Latin brio.

It's been over forty years since I left. I'd love to go back.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Catholic Stand: Eugenics and the "Hitler Card"

The Fallacy Files website, which is devoted to exploring and exploding errors in reasoning, gives the following forms for “the Hitler card” fallacy (also called the “ad Hitlerum” or “ad Naziarum”):
Adolf Hitler accepted idea I.Therefore, I must be wrong. The Nazis accepted idea I.Therefore, I must be wrong.
Hitler was in favor of euthanasia.Therefore, euthanasia is wrong. The Nazis favored eugenics.Therefore, eugenics is wrong.
Hitler was a vegetarian.Therefore, vegetarianism is wrong. The Nazis were conservationists.Therefore, conservationism is wrong.
The author of the blog puts the fallacy as a sub-category of the “guilt by association” fallacy, and explains, “Some instances of the Hitler card are factually incorrect, or even ludicrous, in ascribing ideas to Hitler or other Nazis that they did not hold. However, from a logical point of view, even if Hitler or other Nazis did accept an idea, this historical fact alone is insufficient to discredit it.”

Certainly, comparisons to Adolf Hitler and the crimes of the Third Reich get over-played. For example, I recently saw a meme in Facebook which compared side-by-side quotes from Hitler and Hillary Clinton on the need for an authoritative government. However, you can pull similar quotes from many people whose goodness was unquestionable, or who were at least no better or worse than the rest of us. If you doubt me, check out Romans 13:1-7 — if that isn’t giving a full-throated approval of a strong governor, nothing is.

If all contentions, which invoked Hitler/the Nazis, argued to the wrongness of a specific position from the support of Hitler/the Nazis for that position, I would have no qualms with this taxonomy. The “broken clock” maxim applies as much to psychopathic dictators as it does to anyone else. However, in the case of eugenics and euthanasia, our logician is committing a fallacy — specifically, a straw man.

Read the rest at Catholic Stand!