Thursday, February 25, 2016

Reading Around: “Pro-Life”, Education, and Scientific Proofs of God

Part of the culture of blogging is writing about other people’s writing, sometimes even copying posts and essays whole (because it’s much easier than coming up with something original!). What the heck … doesn’t hurt to say, “Hey, guys, this is what I’ve been reading recently! Take a look!”

So there are three essays I want to commend to your attention: one on the pro-life movement’s “devil’s bargain” with the Republican Party, one on American educators’ theft from students of their cultural heritage, and one on the problematic nature of proving God from science.

Distributist Review: “Pro-Life or Anti-Abortion?” by John Médaille

This article came just before I read that a Google extension is soon to be released which would change all instances of “pro-life” to “anti-choice” for those who want it. Frankly, I believe the extension would likely infringe on copyrighted material (“If I’d meant ‘anti-choice’, I’d have written ‘anti-choice’!”); right now I have neither the funds nor the interest to pursue the matter further. If pro-aborts are that desperate to maintain the illusion that they control the terms of the debate, I suppose that’s their problem.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Blocking a President’s Nomination: Historical Precedents

Robert H. Bork under fire by the Senate Judiciary Committee,
1987. (Photo: Jose R. Lopez, New York Times.)
Associate Justice Antonin G. Scalia’s body was barely on its way out of the ranch resort where he died when Republicans started a movement to block Pres. Barack Obama’s eventual nominee for the empty SCOTUS seat. 

Indeed, between the progressive celebrations (“Good riddance!” “Ding, dong, the witch is dead!”) and the indecent haste in politicking, it’s a wonder that anyone managed a moment to pay sincere respect for a man who, right or wrong, exerted tremendous influence over our nation’s jurisprudence … and whom many people thought was a likeable guy. (I find it interesting that his long friendship with his colleague, the arch-liberal AJ Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was made the subject of a light opera!)

Some progressives are content to wait the Republicans out, convinced that the Democrats will win in November and that either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will get Scalia’s place filled … in fact, some want Obama to fill the spot. However, others are not as confident, and want others on the left to start pressuring Senate Republicans to confirm whomever Obama names. To that end, various people are creating memes with distorted or bogus facts, all arguing to the idea that the Senate is somehow obligated to give Obama one more SC justice.

The Facts

Refusing to confirm a nominee, even delaying an appointment into the next presidency, isn’t a new tactic. Refusing to confirm a nominee on grounds other than his/her legal competence isn’t exactly new, either; there’s a reason why they call it “Borking”. (If you’re too young to remember, and not too lazy to look it up, Google-search “Robert H. Bork”.) Nor have Democrats been mere rubber stamps to Republican presidents’ wishes (again, see “Robert H. Bork”). Of the 151 men and women nominated to the bench since 1789, 29 were unsuccessful at least on the first try. Only 12, though, had been fully considered and rejected; the  rest were withdrawn, tabled, postponed, or nullified by circumstance.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Catholic Stand: Casting Your Vote as a Faithful Catholic

Here we are, coming into the backstretch of the quadrennial presidential election cycle. Of course, from here on out, you’re going to have your eyes and sensibilities assaulted by talking heads telling you for whom you should vote — or, at least, traducing and belittling every candidate but the ones they prefer.

Many of the talking heads are Catholics. It doesn’t follow, however, that what they advise is always fully compatible with Catholic moral and social teaching, even when the head doing the talking belongs to a bishop or priest. As American citizens, they’re entitled to their opinions; as Catholics, their opinions aren’t covered by the infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium. Neither, for that matter, is mine.

I’m not here to tell you who to vote for; nor am I going to tell you how I’m voting. What I’d like to do instead is give some pointers about voting as a faithful Catholic in communion with the Holy See.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Vatican’s Chronic Case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Msgr. Tony Anatrella. (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.)
The late Fr. Andrew M. Greeley once remarked that the Vatican not only doesn’t tell the left hand what the right hand is doing, it sometimes operates not knowing that coordination is required. Nowhere was that tendency more evident than in this latest kerfuffle over reporting clerical child abuse. Here, the lack of coordination has led to another episode of Vatican foot-in-mouth disease, another piece of evidence that the Vatican just doesn’t get the sex-abuse problem.

“Comply with Requirements of Law”

Prior to 2001, bishops and ordinaries weren’t required by canon law to report suspected predator priests to the local authorities. (Then again, neither were schools, Boy Scout troops, or Little League officials required by civil law to report their suspicions about any adult in their organizations.) Even after Pope St. John Paul II, at the prompting of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger, issued the motu proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela promulgating newer, faster procedures for removing said priests from the clerical state, no requirement for reporting was written into the Code of Canon Law.

However, the CDF did eventually create a “Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations”, which was posted on the Vatican website. When the SST norms were updated by the CDF in 2010, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi referred to the Guide in his prefatory note, stating that “in the practice suggested by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith it is necessary to comply with the requirements of law in the various countries, and to do so in good time, not during or subsequent to the canonical trial.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

NARAL Twitter rant makes Doritos official snack of pro-life movement

Clueless Dad.
Two days later, the Twitterstorm NARAL Pro-Choice America touched off on Twitter hasn’t fully subsided. On the best of days, the Twitterverse is a festering compost heap of sneer, snark, and verbal bullying, occasionally broken up by links to articles. However, NARAL’s tweet concerning the Doritos commercial might have been just one more turd in the sewer had the person in charge of their social-media messaging not chosen to expose the institution’s fear of the effect of ultrasound technology on their message.

Whoever it was on the keyboard must have had a big bowl of grumpy flakes before settling down to not enjoy the show. Tweet after tweet flew from the NARAL account as the designated spitter whined humorlessly about every commercial that didn’t fit within her ideological constraints, from the Gary Busey Snickers commercial (“transphobic”) to Kevin Hart’s Hyundai commercial (“taking your daughter’s autonomy away”) to Audi’s failure to feature a single woman astronaut.

And then Doritos, for “using #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight”.

To give this unknown schlimazel due credit, she did point out that the “clueless dad” trope is long past its sell-by date, though I can’t blame the mom for being uptight … after all, Clueless Dad’s messing with Johnny Unborn was causing her a bit of uterine distress. But apparently no one’s clued in the unknown schlimazel to the fact that almost all expectant mothers have an ultrasound done at some point during gestation. Heck, now it’s Baby’s First Picture.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why I'm supposed to be writing

I apologize for the overload of vertical pronouns in the following post. However, yesterday I got a reminder of why I got into the blogging game ... or, rather, why I'm supposed to be writing. A big, fat message from God saying, "You're doing it wrong."

On Nov. 4, 2012, I published a post here exploding the elitist-left trope that people join the military because they're "too dumb to go to college"

College tuition assistance, I wrote, has been a big draw for the military over the last forty years. You have to have a certain amount of intelligence just to be able to join; and if you don't have the intelligence, self-discipline, and self-motivation to succeed in the armed forces, you're not likely to succeed in college, either. Besides, I explained, you're not likely to have a long or prosperous military career if you don't get an advanced degree along the way — a bachelor's, if you're enlisted; a master's, if you're an officer. Some have even gone on to earn doctorates while still in uniform. The Department of Defense spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year just on paying tuition for the currently-serving, veterans, and retirees. Overall, I concluded self-righteously, the "too dumb to go to college" is long past its shelf life, and needs to be discarded.

Yesterday, I received an email from a Marine veteran:

Sir, two items:

I appreciate your post about servicemembers being well-educated, citing the example of the Grammar Marine on twitter.‎ I'm passing it along to my Marines in grad schools.

Also, thank-you for linking the Drexel University veterans' program. The VA lost my MGIB, of course, forcing me to drop out of my PhD program. Then I'd gotten nowhere with AMU‎ Admissions: It seems that an unacceptable candidate is one publishing multiple internationally-acclaimed works and achieving a GRE of 1220 *after* a major brain injury. So I have just now enquired of Drexel's online graduate school instead .... you've given me hope and, fingers crossed, a way through.

Semper Fi, my friend, and thank you for your service. Please pray for this Marine, and for all veterans facing similar difficulties.