Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Jews of Europe

There are two pieces by Mark Steyn which ought be read together.

He wrote the first in the wake of the attacks in France on Jews by Mohammed Merah.  Excerpts:
...If the flow of information is really controlled by Jews, as the Reverend Jeremiah Wright assured his students at the Chicago Theological Seminary a year or two back, you'd think they'd be a little better at making their media minions aware of one of the bleakest stories of the early 21st century: the extinguishing of what's left of Jewish life in Europe.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

HHS Mandate, Catholic Church, and Religious Liberty

Here's an explanation of the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception and objection to the HHS mandate, brought to you by Promise Productions:

Bishops, Obama Administration, and Wolves

Intemperate, indelicate, non-pastoral, polemical...but this paragraph is one for the ages:
Every bishop is given a crosier upon his ordination to the episcopacy. A crosier is a shepherd's staff. It is a six to seven foot long staff that a shepherd uses to beat the crap out of wolves. That's your job. Beating the crap out of the wolves - not killing all of the sheep yourself so that there is nothing left for the wolves to eat..."

Monday, May 28, 2012

HHS Mandate, Guttmacher, and Why We Fight

Not sure what all the rumpus is about?  Check out the Becket Fund's FAQ.  Why did the HHS mandate come into being in the first place?  An interesting point raised (links in the original).  Excerpts:
...I read the NIM study and checked the research on which it (and the subsequent HHS mandate) was based. It was not surprising that every single premise drew on research from the Guttmacher Institute of Planned Parenthood. Nor was it surprising that President Obama, to whom Planned Parenthood is a key donor, would be adamant about enforcing directives based on its agenda.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecost, Divinization, and the Holy Spirit

Happy Pentecost!  From the highly recommended The Wellspring of Worship by Jean Corbon, an excerpt:
...In the economy of salvation everything reaches completion in Jesus through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; in the liturgy as celebrated and as lived everything begins through the Holy Spirit. That is why at the existential origin of our divinization is the liturgy of the heart, the synergy in which the Holy Spirit unites himself to our spirit (Rom 8:16) in order to make us be, and show that we are, sons of God. The same Spirit who "anointed" the Word with our humanity and imprinted our nature upon him is written in our hearts as the living seal of the promise, in order that he may "anoint" us with the divine nature: he makes us christs in Christ. Our divinization is not passively imposed on us, but is our own vital activity, proceeding inseparably from him and from ourselves.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Media Pro-Gay Marriage

I know, a real shocker, right?  Excerpts:
...For one thing, with no disrespect to how different the media’s views on this issue are relative to, say, voters in the thirty-plus states that have advocated retaining a traditional definition of marriage as a heterosexual union, I wonder how well situated the media are to covering this story, particularly as it relates to unintended consequences or any potential downside or, simply, the views of those who disagree.

That they are open about their inability to cover this issue without emotion or religious-like fervor is a fantastic thing. I think it’s only appropriate that media critics and ombudsmen at Newsweek, NPR and the New York Times — among others — are open and honest about their intractable bias on this topic...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kathleen Sebelius, Religious Liberty, and Constitutional Law

Hm.  Well, that's quite interesting.  Excerpts:
...HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is a continuing insult to the beliefs of traditional Catholics. Testifying at a recent House hearing, Sebelius admitted that she had consulted no constitutional precedents and asked for no legal advice from the Justice Department while making her decision on the contraceptive mandate. “Congressman,” she explained, “I’m not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of the constitutional balancing tests.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

China and Chen

Well, this wasn't exactly unforeseen.  Excerpts:
Chen Kegui, nephew of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng, was arbitrarily arrested by police in Shandong. He has been denied access to his family lawyer and his wife has been placed under house arrest. The nephew was taken into custody on 9 May for his role in Chen's escape on 26 April to the US Embassy in Beijing, the China Human Rights Defender (CHRD) reported. The latter monitors human rights in China.

Chen Kegui is accused of "intentional homicide" because during the dissident's escape, he used a knife in self-defence against agents and unidentified people who burst into his uncle's home, slightly wounding some of the attackers. Why he was charged with homicide is unclear since no one died.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Catholics, Courts and President Obama

The Anchoress, as always, has a good round up on the news of the 43 Catholic entities filing suit against the current administration regarding the HHS mandate. Notre Dame explains why all Americans should oppose the HHS mandate. Excerpts:
...This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives. For if we concede that the Government can decide which religious organizations are sufficiently religious to be awarded the freedom to follow the principles that define their mission, then we have begun to walk down a path that ultimately leads to the undermining of those institutions. For if one Presidential Administration can override our religious purpose and use religious organizations to advance policies that undercut our values, then surely another Administration will do the same for another very different set of policies, each time invoking some concept of popular will or the public good, with the result these religious organizations become mere tools for the exercise of government power, morally subservient to the state, and not free from its infringements. If that happens, it will be the end of genuinely religious organizations in all but name...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pills from Northeastern China Smuggled Into Korea: "IT'S PEOPLE!"

Well. Your "human interest" story of the...well. Excerpts:
South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from dead babies, which some people believe can cure disease, officials said Monday. The capsules were made in northeastern China from babies whose bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder, the Korea Customs Service said. Customs officials refused to say where the dead babies came from or who made the capsules, citing possible diplomatic friction with Beijing. Chinese officials ordered an investigation into the production of drugs made from dead fetuses or newborns last year. The customs office has discovered 35 smuggling attempts since August of about 17,450 capsules disguised as stamina boosters, and some people believe them to be a panacea for disease, the customs service said in a statement. The capsules of human flesh, however, contained bacteria and other harmful ingredients. The smugglers told customs officials they believed the capsules were ordinary stamina boosters and did not know the ingredients or manufacturing process...
What might have conceivably inspired such a move?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Eucharist & Cannibalism

It's a common objection to Catholic teaching on the Eucharist--how can you really believe that you're eating Jesus's body and drinking his blood?  That's cannibalism!

Until recently, I didn't have any better answer to that question if Catholic teaching and John 6 are to be taken literally than "The accidents of bread and wine make a difference.  Also, it's a sacrament--it's not as though we run up to Jesus and start tearing chunks off!"

Then I was on the phone with a friend, discussing this very question, and I realized that, in fact, we don't run up to Jesus and start tearing him apart because we are not being nourished on him from outside of him. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Occupy Wall Street and Revolution

So sometimes you just need to stop talking and listen to what someone is saying.  Case in point.  Excerpts:
“It’s up to you to decide if our movement goes the way of Paris ’68, the dust bin of could-have-been-insurrections, or something more daring, more inspiring, something not yet dreamed...

Will you allow Occupy to become a project of the old left, the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades? Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn our struggle into a “99% Spring” reelection campaign for President Obama?

Whatever you do, don’t allow our revolutionary struggle to fizzle out into another lefty whine and clicktivist campaign like has happened so many times in the past...
Okay, having listened, first of all--"clicktivists"?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Franciscan University and the Health Care Law

Well.  They have been clear.
Now, they begin to react.  And I quote

Paul Ryan's Liberal Catholicism

Heh.  Excerpts:
Paul Ryan shocked the gentle souls at Georgetown University when he traveled up to their campus last Thursday and said: "We believe that Social Security legislation, now billed as a great victory for the poor and for the worker, is a great defeat for Christianity. It is an acceptance of the idea of force and compulsion." The Wisconsin Republican went on to lament that "we in our generation have more and more come to consider the state as bountiful Uncle Sam," and that citizens justify what they get from the state by saying, "We got it coming to us."

Sure sounds like Mr. Ryan was channeling Ayn Rand.

Except for one thing.

The American Catholic Church

Something some people truly wish to see--so sayeth the Anchoress.  Excerpts:
...Julie is on to something when she ties Americanism to Disobedience and finds something troubling in the mix. Our ingrained independence doesn’t understand the idea of something not being a democracy, subject to a campaign and a vote. Someone sent a rant to me the other day, written by a Catholic who was insisting that if “the Spirit of Vatican II” is not honored, then the Roman Church may no longer be considered as being influenced by the Holy Spirit.

This, of course, is an opening salvo in a move toward schism and the creation of an “American Catholic Church” that some would love to see.

Intolerant Seattle Pro-Choicers at UW vs. Abby Johnson

What?  Excerpts:
A divisive Thursday night lecture on the subject of reproductive rights brought both sides of the issue to the University of Washington, and some attendees ended their night with a trip to the police station.

On a college campus were [sic] writing is a requirement and lively debate is the norm, it's not surprising that Thursday's visit from Abby Johnson created controversy...
See, now, when I hear "controversial pro-life speaker" and "divisive lecture,"  I think of Randall Terry or possibly, I dunno, someone who's going to start pulling out aborted baby pictures. But Abby Johnson?  Really?  One of the sweetest, gentlest speakers you're ever going to hear?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good Comments on the LCWR Reform

from John Allen, including this fun note:
...Whatever else comes from the tumult, it's already prompted one minor miracle that most Catholic observers probably thought they'd never live to see: Sr. Joan Chittister and George Weigel actually agreeing on something.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Matt Archbold, Religious Liberty, and What to Emulate

He does good work, he's ubiquitous where it counts in the culture wars, and he's a darn sight more popular a blogger than I am.  But he's got me worried.

So this piece, 8 Reasons Catholics are the Worst Protesters, raised some interesting points. It also said this:
You ever see the Occupy Wall Street protests? Those folks are angry. I mean spittin' mad. Catholics aren't really good at anger. You ever been to a pro-life March? There's more smiles and sing alongs than at a Barry Manilow concert. Occupy Wall Streeters are liable to bum rush a police station. Catholics pray the Stations of the Cross. I just can't imagine Bishop Lori turning over a Chevy Volt in protest, can you? You get that on YouTube and you've got a viral hit on your hands, my friend. Come on, Detroit Red Wings fans turn over cars when their team wins a playoff game and we won't do it when Obama torches the Constitution? I'm not saying we should. I'm just saying that we should maybe act like we're ready to. Let's make the administration remember who invented the Crusades and the Inquisition, punk.
Of all the people Catholics could and should think of looking up to, Occupy Wall Street just isn't it.  And we don't usually make up songs about how "they will know we are Christian by our anger, by our anger!  They will know we are Christians by our anger!"

On Christianity And Political Parties

A few friends thought this worth keeping, so I repost it here.

Someone was commenting on the tendency of certain organizations and institutions to dialogue until Christians and conservatives submit, to repress expressions of Christianity and more traditional ways of being and thinking in the name of progress and equality. He said he saw little use in talking with them so long as they persisted in "their willingness to use such measures as they challenge the biblical founding of our great nation, as well the biblical principles of the Catholic faith. They continue to provide aid and comfort to those who seek to promote ideas and even legislation that goes against both, while at the same time denying students the ability to challenge those positions." His reaction was quite understandable, and yet it was a complete concession to the other side.

You know, so long as Christians get afraid, withdraw, and cease to pour out their time and care on the people who hate us and wish us destroyed, we will never see the conversion of the world. We will never have the ability to challenge their positions because we will have given up on our own.

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