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May 2005 Archives

May 2, 2005

The Dissident Book Club

Just too funny not to post. Courtesy Jeff Miller at The Curt Jester.

The Answer to the Vagina Monologues

How do you attack vulgar nonsense? Why, with more stupid,vulgar nonsense (and a helping of mockery). Then, it is unmasked for the absurdity it is. I'm just glad someone had a sense of humor at the Roger Williams College. Warning: bawdy material!

May 3, 2005

Liberal Catholics Urged to "Keep" the Faith

This has to be one of the more ironic subtitles to an article. Isn't the whole point of being a "liberal" Catholic is that you don't want to "keep" the faith, but change it to fit your liking? What exactly is being "kept?" It's like that Voice of the Faithful slogan: "Keep the Faith, Change the Church." So what is "the faith?" It must be that amorphous "spirit of Vatican II" that keeps haunting us, like a "ghoul in a late night horror film." (law junkies will get that last reference).

The point of the article amid all of the gnashing of teeth about the crushing of dissent: just be patient folks, change will come.

I'd also like to see if the woman who was told she couldn't receive communion for having a John Kerry sticker on her car was actually done so by a clergyman. In Boston? Give me a break.

This just seems another of the litany of articles that are appearing demonstrating nothing more than liberal hysteria at the continued reception of contraception and women's ordination. Both things that most assuredly will not change.

Oh, and I am completely annoyed at how folks (like Tim Russert on Meet the Press a few Sundays back) keep trying to use the "no salvation outside the Church" club against those who say that church teachings on women's ordination and contraception won't change. The fact is, the Church still believes there is "no salvation outside the Church." However, our understanding of the concept of the Church has grown and developed. Just as the document "Dominus Iesus" made abundantly clear that no one gains salvation except through the unicity of the work of Jesus Christ, whether they are Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist. By necessity then, no one gains salvation except through the Church, the mystical body of Christ. That mystical body "subsists in" the institutional boundaries of the universal Catholic Church. Thus we know for sure that some people are "in" the Church, because it is made present most fully by the Catholic Church. But we don't know how far the "boundaries" of the mystical body extend. Protestants too? Which ones? Abrahamic faiths? People of good will? If people are "saved" it is because they are grafted onto the vine, the mystical body. Thus, there really is no salavation "outside" the Church. We definitely know that some people are "within" the Church (Catholics, presumably), but we don't know who is not, so we leave open the possibility that other folks will be "saved." This has strong biblical precedent as Jesus's salvific work continued to manifest itself outside the institutional "boundaries" of the historic People of God (Israel). It seems likely that God is also working outside the institutional boundaries of the New israel, the new People of God -- the Catholic Church, especially when we consider our Jewish and Protestant brethren.

Let's all do what we can to clarify this point as it continues to come up. If you've got a bone to pick with the way I've laid out the issue, drop it in the comments.

Here is the article from the Boston Globe:

Continue reading "Liberal Catholics Urged to "Keep" the Faith" »

Justification by Faith and Works

Congratulations to "The Seventh Age" co-blogista(o?) David Paul Deavel on the publication of his article examining the biblical treatment of justification in the excellent journal Homiletic & Pastoral Review.

"How the Catholic Church Built Civilization"

Often, we hear talk about how the Church decided to reject integrism and embrace secular ways of thinking on a number of issues, especially in "Gaudium et Spes," and its invocation of "the world." Besides the fact that the document in many ways stood on a faulty understanding of modern liberal culture. Furthermore, there are specifically Catholic ways of thinking about every subject under the sun: politics, sex, art, economics, science, pscychology, etc.

Many of these specifically Catholic ways of thinking about the world are chronicled in the ever-prolific historian Thomas Woods' new book "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization." Never one to shy away from a controversial argument, Woods takes on those that claim to be "free and civilized," we need to abandon religion.

Gentlemen: Are You Completely Style-Challenged?

Stumbled across this site today, which warns that it could be "life chaning." Probably not.

However, fine men's dress is one of the great pleasures God has bestowed upon us. It truly is an art, and "AskAndyAboutclothes.com" might just be able to pull you out of your style-challenged universe. As a professional, you've got to be a little "clothes-minded."

Additionally, there is a fun debate raging about whether it is ever permissible to wear the beloved seersucker suit before Memorial Day. I've been pondering at what point in my career I can begin to wear the seersucker and not look like a complete idiot. You have to be at least somewhat professionally distinguished, and perhaps at least 30 years old to really pull it off.

Hat tip: Southern Appeal.

May 4, 2005

Loud and Clear

Cardinal says same-sex marriage is a crime which represents the "destruction of the world?"

Yowsa. While a grave threat to the family, and thus society at large, I'm not sure I'd go that far.

Actually, that line was taken a bit out of context by the LifeSite news service in their headline, and is instead a reference to laws that criminalize the actions and words of those who speak out against gay marriage, as is the case for the bishop of Calgary at the present moment.

Read the actual interview here

May 5, 2005

University of St. Thomas ... National Embarrassment?

In the continuing saga of the fallout from the University of St. Thomas's disastrous handling of "Coutlergate," Ms. Coulter was on the "Hannity & Colmes" show last night (Fox News), discussing the campus backlashes her talks have provoked. Of course, the St. Thomas fiasco was the lead-off. Coulter said the quality of the questions asked by students was so poor she couldn't even remember them. In the local coverage of the event, not a word was mentioned of the disgraceful hecklers and campus brownshirts that were at the event, only the little "McCarthyites" who found her "hate speech" funny.

One sensible point she made last night was how liberal students, incubated by the MSM, liberal professors, and the broader popular culture, don't need to learn how to defend their positions. When confronted with opposition, they have to shout and yell obscenties because they can't think for themselves. While the state of conservatism has floundered as of late because of folks like Coulter and "sound-bite Republicans," it is no where near the depravity on the Left. Thoughtful liberals are the exception, not the rule.

The Powerline blog has continued to chronicle the story at St. Thomas. You can access their recent posts here.

In particular, you may wish to view the post regarding St. Thomas "Standard" editor Katie Kieffer. Katie is a bright young woman and an alumna of Trinity School, where I used to teach. St. Thomas administration wished to drag her before a room of her peers where they could express their "offense" at some of the things Coulter said. Kieffer, in a wise manner, refused such a request, preferring to respond to the accusations in print. Particularly interesting reading, and another low-point for a university that bends over backwards to make itself more "diverse and welcoming," which is just shorthand for liberal and multiculturalist.

The New Trans-Atlantic Evangelist

Victor Mooney believes AIDS is preventable. And as a devout Catholic, he also believes abstinence and education are the only effective ways to combat the disease. Inspired by Cardinal O'Connor, and encouraged by Pope John Paul II, he has a plan to bring this message to the world. He is going to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Cardinal George Speaks Out Against Contraception Coercion

As we noted here last month, Govenor Blagojevich of Illinois is out to require all pharamcists to either dispense or provide referrals for the morning after pill regardless of moral reservations.

In his first public statement, Cardinal George attacked the rule change head on:

"People have a choice what pharmacy they want to go to, and pharmacists should have a moral choice also," George said. "I don't think the state has any business encroaching on the conscience of people. We haven't done this in this country, we've respected individual conscience as something that is of great moral importance, so I would hope the governor would rethink his regulation."

George also met with Blagojevich in person, but no word yet on what they discussed. You can bet this was part of it though.

The New Faithful

More good news for Christian orthodoxy from U.S. News & World Report.

The article profiles Matthew Lickona, author of "Swimming With Scapulars: True Confessions of a Young Catholic." When I get time, I'm sure this will be a good book. Interestingly, the writer notes Lickona's "strict interpretation" of Catholicism. Umm, yeah. You mean, like, orthodoxy?

Pentecost is Almost Here...

That means its time for the latest Rainbow Sash controversy in the Archidiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

However, in a positive turn of events, Archbishop Harry Flynn has issued a letter stating sash-wearers should be denied the Eucharist.

Tim Drake has the details, along with a link to a story from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Hat tip: Open Book.

Beyond Liberal or Conservative

One of my heroes, Fr. James Schall, has penned a fun essay describing how the terms "liberal" and "conservative" have lost much of their meaning and can often get in the way of thinking critically about particular ideas. One important point he makes is how 18th and 19th century liberals would be called "conservatives" in most Anglo-American political circles.

When asked if he is liberal or conservative, Schall responds that he is a "Thomist." That would be a better description, however, there are also many varities of Thomists.

A lot of people complain they don't like the terms "liberal" or "conservative," but not for the reasons Schall describes. Most don't want to be associated with bedfelllows they may not like to have (understandable - I don't like Jerry Falwell one bit). However, this sentiment often arises from a refusal to go back to first principles and consider the implications of those truths for one's worldview. Except for a few cherished issues (if any) most folks want to do take a common-sense, pragmatic approach that is both conciliatory and goes with the flow. If there is anything one wants purposely to avoid, it is showing any hint of extremism. As one good friend put it, "we are all moderates now." Just look at our college campuses today. There is harldy a whiff of radicalism or rallying to some cause, and no one gets excited politically these days except for the defense of deviant sexual behavior, whether personal or someone else's.

I for one will gladly retain the moniker conservative, despite its baggage. I don't think we need to abandon terms because folks don't understand them or they have been dumbed down. I think certain labels are helpful as they provide a reference point for discussing issues. If I know where someone is coming from, I can seek to establish common ground and then move the discussion further to some conclusion. The folks that don't understand conservatism, its variants, or what it stands for, generally aren't the sort that will want to engage in these sorts of discussions anyway, so why abandon the term so that these folks won't get confused about what I stand for. Let's seek to educate folks about what conservatism is and isn't.

In my view, conservatives stand for authority, community, and tradition. These are the basic principles of social order. Social order provides the medium through which liberty is properly exercised and develops into virtue. Man's true end is to grow in virtue and holiness. The state should assist man in this goal, but it is emphatically not the state's responsibility to make man virtuous. It provides the peace, order, and freedom for man to pursue this end.

So, in my view conservatives are not necessarily: 1) Republicans; 2) Theists (although that is a more tenuous position); 3) foreign policy hawks (or isolationists); 4) enemies of the welfare state; 5) suburbanites with SUVs and Wal-Mart cards; or 6) tempermentally conservative (reserved might be the better word). The last point gets to the fact that conservatives need not be boring or sticks in the mud. Most might reject the degrading culture that surrounds us today, but may enjoy dancing, jazz, most of the rock music that has been released (debatable), and a whole host of other universally-acknowledged "cool" or "fun" things.


Benedict XVI on Economics

Finally, someone (in this case the Acton Institute) has dug up a 1985 presentation from then-Cardinal Ratzinger on the subject of the proper functioning of the economy. Echoing his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that markets do not function properly without the necessary moral and cultural foundations.

A good read, and hopefully the start of a more intensive conversation on these matters.

May 6, 2005

Religious Law Schools and UST

Over at Mirror of Justice, legal scholar Michael Perry alerts readers (and new St. Thomas law prof Rob Vischer) that NPR has identified the University of St. Thomas School of Law as one of four "conservative" Christian law schools, along with Ave Maria, Regent, and Liberty, the former being two fine schools, the latter is Falwell's new start-up in Lynchburg.

Interestingly, following through to the link Perry posted no longer lists the University of St. Thomas School of Law as one the four "conservative" Christian law schools. Hmmm. Do you think the PR people at UST rushed to make sure their new enterprise (that, incidentally, does heavy advertising on MPR) isn't identified as conservative so as not to scare off the progressive, idealistic second career folks who might choose to attend? Might the threat of lossed advertising revenue have something to do with MPR's decision to "pull" St. Thomas off the list? Is MPR's journalistic integrity being influenced by St. Thomas?

UST continues to shoot itself in the foot, trying to be all things to all people. In the end, no one is pleased and the university suffers. Why can't they make the easy distinction that rather than "conservative," they are committed to faithful adherence to Catholic orthodoxy and the teaching of the Magisterium? Or, is that a message they don't wish to communicate?

UPDATE: UST Law's Greg Sisk has a posting at MOJ proclaiming that UST is not "conservative" but instead "Catholic." OK, fine, but the point is that the school was lumped in with the others (and how much of this controversy relates to not wanting to be associated with those other schools?), because UST Law is a religiously conservative (at least theoretically, or hopefully) institution. To secular folks that might mean UST is backward-looking, narrow, or close-minded, but to others, religious "conservatism" or orthodoxy means radical dynamism, a faith powerful enough to transform the world. The label should be embraced, not rejected, because young idealistic Christians are looking for a place where they can be formed in the law within the orthodox Christian, particularly Catholic, tradition. There are a zillion "Catholic" law schools out there, but they are largely indistinguishable (as previous MOJ posts have pointed out) from their secular counterparts. Besides an unstable institution like Ave Maria (or, to a lesser extent Notre Dame Law School), shouldn't there be some "institutional diversity" out there, a gap maybe UST Law could fill? By needlessly rejecting the label "conservative" and removing itself from a list that includes Regent and Ave Maria, St. Thomas says in effect (along with the "we have gays, blacks, and all sorts of people that look different or are indifferent to Catholicism!" -- which, BTW, was the same line the UST admission department gave to my then-Presbyterian wife to induce her to attend UST), that it is just like every other Catholic school. You can come here and not be "oppressed" or "imposed" upon. This is dismaying to folks who want to engage the tradition heartily, and it is later dismaying to folks who want to avoid the faith, but have bought the misleading advertising and then are stuck in a jurisprudence course or with a professor who likes to raise philosophical or religious views in the classroom.

I am all for welcoming people of different races and backgrounds into the intellectual community, and actually do think it adds to the quality of the educational experience. But I am continually perplexed why we expect so much accomodation by our own tradition and institutions, and don't ask those that don't share our religious commitments to accomodate our mission if they choose to attend our school. A Catholic Law School should have a jurisprudence course, where folks such as Aristotle, Aquinas, the Spanish scholastics and others are covered in detail. It should have a PR course that touches on issues that may create conflicts of interest for people of faith. It should also have a course in canon law, bioethics and law (in this day and age), and a required course in Catholic Social Thought. By having these requirements and course offerings, no one is imposing anything on anyone. If you don't like them, don't come to the school. It is a two way street. The tension that arises when students are misled into thinking UST is this muliticulturalist, Catholic-lite institution are often disappointed, and deeply hinders the practical mission of being an engaging Catholic university that welcomes other perspectives into the conversation without being absorbed by them. Be honest and clear about the mission. People actually might come even if they aren't "conservative" or Catholic.

I chose the University of Minnesota Law School rather than a consciously Catholic institution because after two degrees at St. Thomas and time in Rome, I wanted a secular, and what I knew would be a liberal perspective. It would sharpen my arguments and help me critically engage the secular legal worldview. Ave Maria law school has a very diverse student body, with folks from all over the racial and religious map. Often, folks end up coming to Ave Maria and becoming Catholics themselves. That is because the school appears to focus on formation as well as academic training. Isn't that a concept that should be embraced by more places, perhaps like UST, which doesn't have to carry all of Ave Maria's baggage???

Which Brideshead Character are You?

Damn! I knew I'd be Bridey (Lord Brideshead). He is such a square, but blunt and usually right on. I was fearful of this outcome, but then I thought of the alternatives: an immature agnostic (Charles Ryder), a drunken man-child (Sebastian), a withering adulterer (Lord Marchmain), or a gossiping homosexual (Anthony Blanche). I then thought, SMASHING!

You are Lord Brideshead. You do your duty and do
it faithfully. People think you're dull, but
you manage to enjoy yourself.

Take the quiz.

May 7, 2005

Response from MOJ on Conservative Law Schools

Rob Vischer at MOJ responds to my post about St. Thomas running away from it's label as a "conservative" Christian law school. Additionally, Tom Berg of UST Law also has an excellent post on distinguishing "conservative" and Christian.

Rob makes a good point that we should not conflate "conservative" and "orthodox" in principle (even though the conservative/liberal tags been forced upon the Church since at least the council, and often serve as a proxy for orthodoxy and heterodox). However, my complaint about St. Thomas running away from the label "conservative" was for prudential reasons. I am glad that St. Thomas made the clarification about being a Catholic school, which would have been fine it itself and laudable, but then it had to tag the usual disclaimer about how inclusive it is, as if to say, yes, the Church and its teachings can be offensive and intolerant, but we soften the edges around here to accomodate. For better or worse (especially if one is trying to correct improper "labeling"), that is the message folks are going to take away from the disclaimer. Note also, that in my original post I stressed how good inclusiveness can be for the educational mission of a Catholic university, but it should not come at the expense of boldly proclaiming "hard truths." The Church is the most globalist, multicultural institution on earth, and it is not because it softens doctrine or moral teaching to accomodate other perspectives. Often, this seems to be what Western liberals think needs to happen to accomodate others.

My broader point was that this whole "clarification" process is going to scare off a lot of bright Catholic students, who, if going to effect the sort of social change and virtues the Gospel asks of us, need an institution where they will receive the sort of formation that will allow them to pursue this vocation. Part of building a great Catholic law school requires that you have some Catholics as students. While institutional concerns are important, the most important thing in the educational/formation process of a student is often the quality of fellow students in the classroom. If students are not engaged or interested in taking ideas seriously, or are simplistically ideological or "cause" driven, then everyone suffers.

From what I hear and have observed, St. Thomas has lots of students that are "cause" driven, but not serious about the implications of the Catholic intellectual tradition (and that generally didn't change after four years at the undergraduate division of UST). St. Thomas is not landing the bulk of the "orthodox" Catholic students that are going into the profession in droves. Personally, the opportunity to attend UST paled in comparison to Ave Maria, Catholic U, and Notre Dame. The other schools guaranteed there would be at least a "critical mass" of both fidelity of the Magisterium and an encounter with the Catholic intellectual tradition. Good professors and Mass (and UST has both) aren't necessarily enough. Fostering a certain culture on campus, where an orthodox perspective is embraced by both students and professors alike rather than continually challenged and questioned is a deciding factor for a lot of students. When we don't have to always question the basics, such as the authority of the Church, women's ordination, contraception, etc., we can get on to the more important and challenging issues that are really shaping our world, and we have a duty to address. St. Thomas suffers as a Catholic law school because it does not attract more of these students. As Amy Welborn noted, the NPR story was meant to scare its listeners into thinking there are a bunch of little theocrats who are going to impose all sorts of nasty things on their secular, cosmopolitan listeners. Saying that UST is not like one of those schools where faith is at the forefront of everything, where religiously-minded folks can come to be trained to take their faith into the public square, will discourage those that want their faith to impact their work, and believe it really can change the world. And often, those students are both orthodox and politically "conservative." (I commend to Rob and others my post entitled, "Beyond Liberal and Conservative.

I was also thinking that maybe not (always) running away from being labeled as politically conservative could do the school some good as well. It appears that at least a strong plurality (or perhaps a majority) of committed, orthodox Catholics are political "conservatives." Since liberals have implicitly declared in their broad condemnation of our social democrat, anti-war pope that the real issues relate to sexuality and human anthropology, most orthodox Catholics are coming down on the side of political conservatism because of issues like abortion, bioethics, and a popular culture that is largely dysfunctional and sexually-driven. Stating emphatically that the school is not politically conservative (along with including all of the usual inclusiveness buzz words) may also give the impression to prospective students that the school is not a place where conservative ideas are embraced. Judging from the overall low student participation in organizations like the Federalist Society or Law School Republicans on the UST Law campus, and its overall image of having lots of "greens," anti-death penalty folks and other assorted "social justice" advocates (not deeply versed in CST), this should be a cause of concern. Having a robust Federalist Society is almost essential these days for vigorous debates about jurisprudence and constitutional law (among other areas). While a local chapter's hosting of speakers is not dependent upon total student numbers (just a few committed organizers), the debate can't be carried into the halls or classrooms if students aren't willing to engage the ideas. So, maybe not running to disclaim the impression that UST Law is even "politically conservative," which was less the NPR show's angle than the theocratic one, would not be such a bad thing from a prudential standpoint.

So, to sum up, my arguments are aimed at the prudential level and deal with student recruitment and institutional image. If UST runs away from the conservative label, in our day and age (rightly or wrongly), it will have a tough time being perceived as a seriously Catholic institution. This will diminish viewpoint diversity and the overall quality of the student body, as those students turn down the large scholarships offered by UST and head to pastures where their perspective will not be under continued attack, but welcomed and a vital element of the school's identity. At this point, if there is a mass of students who desire a robust Catholicism (that often may manifest itself in politically conservative ways) it is decidedly a subculture.

I appreciate Rob's inclusion of me in the conversation and I look forward to meeting him upon his arrival in the Twin Cities.

Media Ethics and Blogging

The AP reports that those "journalists without rules" are meeting in Nashville to discuss techniques and ethics for the latest information medium.

The article describes how bloggers are educating themselves to increase their reporting savvy (such as learning to read government statistics). Additionally, the article quotes one blogger who explains how the blogging medium increases societal ownership and participation in the news media.

Introduction to Hans Urs von Balthasar

Don't know much about the prolific Swiss theologian, who ranks among the greatest of the twentieth century and co-founded the international theological review Communio with Joseph Ratzinger aka Pope Benedict XVI? Then check out this great article written by an interesting priest in Rome.

Coultergate Campus Reactions

I just came across the University of St. Thomas newspaper, the Aquin from last week (April 29th). The editorial page (Click here for the PDF version) consisted of an editorial on how the new pope may be too conservative due to his rejection of liberation theology and homosexuality. Then of course two letters critical of Coulter's presentation, and a letter from a fallen away Catholic that bascially reiterated the editorial.

I know the newspaper does not necessarily reflect the views of the administration, but in light of Jason's comments today on the role of one's fellow students in shaping one's educational experience, one begins to see that troubles are brewing at UST.

Jesuits Get A New Editor

Father Thomas Reese, former editor of the Jesuit America has been forced to resign. Apparently the Vatican was threatening to appoint a board of censors for the mag after repeated run ins. An editorial published after John Paul II's death calling for using condoms to prevent AIDS, ordination of women, etc. apparently put things over the top. He got the ax when he returned from covering Benedict XVI's election.

His replacement is Jesuit Fr. Drew Christiansen. I don't know much about him, but this press release from 1998 gives you a flavor.

The Pope, Condoms, AIDS and South America

Yes, its time for another go around with the "we really abhor Church teaching but we'll pretend to kind of like the Church for a little while to get in some doctrinal digs" people.

This week's contestant is Nicholas D. Kristof over at the New York Times with his op-ed entry The Pope and AIDS.

Here is a flavor:

Let's hope that Pope Benedict XVI quickly realizes that the worst sex scandal in the Catholic Church doesn't involve predatory priests. Rather, it involves the Vatican's hostility to condoms, which is creating more AIDS orphans every day.

Nobody does nobler work throughout the developing world than the Catholic Church. You find priests and nuns in the most remote spots of Latin America and Africa, curing the sick and feeding the hungry, and Catholic Relief Services is a model of compassion.

But at the same time, the Vatican's ban on condoms has cost many hundreds of thousands of lives from AIDS. So when historians look back at the Catholic Church in this era, they'll give it credit for having fought Communism and helped millions of the poor around the world. But they'll also count its anti-condom campaign as among its most tragic mistakes in the first two millennia of its history.

Bascially, Kristof wants the Church to do the compassionate thing and "start a condom factory right in the Vatican." Never mind the fact that folks have been handing out condoms in Africa for years with little progress to show for their efforts, or that infection rates seem to be highest among the most sexual promiscuous. The Church has a moral obligation to embrace contraception, not for the sexually liberated Amercians, but for her suffering southern hemisphere faithful.

Of course this line of reasoning begs the great question of common sense. If you are dealing with a sexually transmitted disease, why on earth would you hand out condoms and encourgae people to continue to have sexual relations? Wouldn't you tell them to avoid sex in order to avoid the disease?

Blatantly obvious, I know.

So it seems the Church is defintiely landing on the more compassionate side of the coin if you truly value the lives of those invovled as Kristof claims he does. But where does this put his position? I would venture to say it places him squarely in the "sex is more important than life itself" camp.

It is only a value hierarchy that places the opportunity to engage in sexual relations above avoiding infections that would advocate the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. What man, who truly loves his wife, would put her in a position where she may contract the disease?

There are those who will argue that we have an obligation to help those who "will do it anyway" but the fact of the matter is if they don't care about the Church's teaching on sexual relations, they sure aren't going to care about her teachings on contraception or condom use.

Of course the more interesting part of all this is not Kristof's opinion, but the extent to which it reflects the broader agenda laid out by "Catholics" for a Free Choice. In an open letter outlining their hopes for the first 100 days of the new pontificate, their two main areas of emphasis are on the clergy sexual abuse scandal and the Church's opposition to condoms as it relates to AIDS. Kristof's opening paragraph follows this formula to the letter.

May 8, 2005

...to the shores of Tripoli

Here is an article that gives the little known history behind the United States' war against the Barbary pirates and its first excursion establishing its tradition as the foremost enforcer of international law. The story is part of the famous "Marine's Hymn." The historical parallels to today's global geopolitical scene are certainly striking.

Now Showing ... Ratzenfreude

A fun multimedia presentation entitled, "Ratzenfreude," is available for viewing at the Weight of Glory blog. There are some funny spoofs of some of the usual suspects. All done in charity of course!

May 9, 2005

What a Catholic Law School Should Be

At the Mirror of Justice blog, Ave Maria law prof Richard Myers gets it just right about how Catholic law schools should orient themselves -- toward the vision laid out in Ex Corde Ecclesiae. A Catholic law school should be born from the "heart of the Church," and by necessity requires both a high percentage of both faithful Catholic faculty and students.

His post can be read as an interpretive key for the comments I made about the University of St. Thomas Law School here and here. I was trying to get at all the major themes he discussed in such an eloquent manner. My particular point was that in order to reach the goal outlined by Richard, and build a certain "critical mass" of students and faculty committed to the vision outline in Ex Corde, the school should not run away from being associated with other "conservative" religious law schools like Ave Maria and Regent. Furthermore, while portraying itself as Catholic rather than conservative, (which I wholeheartedly agree with from an institutional perspective) it should not keep tagging disclaimers about how open and inclusive it is. Doesn't Catholic mean integrated and universal, that is, inclusive? Contrary to Tom Berg's comments, if the school wasn't worried about how people perceive labels or believe people perceive buzzwords in characteristic ways (as I suggested), then it wouldn't need those qualifying phrases in the first place.

Thanks to Prof. Myers for his helpful comments.

A Blueprint for Sacred Music in the Parish

Courtesy the Schola Cantorum of St. Cecilia. This could be an excellent resource to share with your pastor.

Hat tip: Open Book.

Crunchy Conservatives

Maybe folks would be more comfortable referring to themselves as "conservatives" if they knew about Crunchy Cons.

The creator of the term "crunchy cons," Rod Dreher, has written a new book entitled:

Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party).

His book tries to redefine conservatism, or perhaps at least define one subset of conservatives: those that prefer Russell Kirk to Rush Limbaugh. I had heard of Dreher's term awhile back, but hadn't seen the above article until today, when he announced the release of his book. Some of the themes he touches in resemble some of my points of a few days back in a post entitled Beyond Liberal and Conservative.

I suspect that "crunchy cons" will be a label with which lots of Christians will identify and want to embrace.

It is also surprisingly (or not so since he cites Chesterton) very consistent with Distributism. If you want to hear more about this, come to my talk at the 24th annual G.K. Chesterton conference at the University of St. Thomas on June 17th at 4pm. I'm sure "crunchy cons" will come up in the discussion, especially at the panel on Saturday, June 18th.

May 12, 2005

New NRO Judiciary Blog

The National Review Online has a new feature up called “Bench Memos.” It’s a blog along the lines of the Corner focusing on our esteemed judiciary, especially the current Congressional nomination burlesque. There all already a couple of interesting posts. It should be fun to read over the coming weeks.

Catholic College Hosting Drag Show Tonight

The local "Catholic" women's college. the University of St. Catherine, is hosting a drag show tonight as part of their course Engl/Wost290W: Women and Literature, lesbian texts in context.

Apparently, according to the Cardinal Newman Society:

The radical feminist professor of a course on lesbian literature at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, is sponsoring a "Drag Show" on campus this evening, May 12. This is the third year that the event featuring lesbian themes and sexuality will occur on the Catholic campus. The event is co-sponsored by a group called PRIDE and the student government, with funding from the St. Kate's Activities Team.

Announcements of the event identify the main sponsor as "Lesbian Texts in Context," an English and Women's Studies course taught by the chair of the English Department, Cecilia Konchar Farr. In Farr's syllabus for the course, which requires reading homosexual-themed books including Oranges Aren't the Only Fruit and The Dyke and the Dybbuk, she informs students that the course "may appear to more political to you than others...Please be assured that your views... will not affect your grade (except when they are poorly articulated)." The spring semester course ends with a "Queer Graduation Party" held on May 10 and a "Final Exam: Queer Coffee" on May 17.

The recipient of a 1992 National Organization for Women "Women of Courageous Action" award, Farr received national attention in 1993 when she was dismissed from the faculty of Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution. Although herself a Mormon, Farr provoked the ire of Brigham Young officials by advocating abortion rights and other tenets of radical feminism. She spoke at a 1992 abortion rights rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, identifying herself as a faithful but "pro-choice" Mormon, and later published her speech.

How long Lord, how long?

What is a Conservative?

I've always thought being labeled a conservative is a badge of honor. It stands less for a collection of dogmas or ideologies and more for a few bedrock principles that society cannot trespass. Less than a mechanism or ideology for ordering society, it is a protection against the "disordering" of society. It is an appreciation and conservation of those "permanent things."

The topic of conservatism has come up a lot lately, with a new book on Crunchy Conservatives, a Catholic school eschewing the label, and my own post about an idea to go beyond liberal and conservative. While I do think being a conservative requires adherence to at least a few principles (such as a general suspicion of concentrated power, especially the state), it doesn't require adherence to a number of other things like being Republican, libertarian, a Wal-Mart enthusiast, or a stick-in-the-mud. To a certain extent, it can be a big tent.

Now, Jonah Goldberg describes what he believes to be the difference between conservatives and liberals, and why conservatism is necessarily a big tent. Here is an excerpt from the absolutely hilarious article:

"Contrary to all the bloviating jackassery about how conservatives are more dogmatic than liberals we hear these days, the simple fact is that conservatives don’t have a settled dogma. How could they when each faction has a different partial philosophy of life? The beauty of the conservative movement — as Buckley noted in that original essay — is that we all get along with each other pretty well. The chief reason for this is that we all understand and accept the permanence of contradiction and conflict in life. Christians and Jews understand it because that’s how God set things up. Libertarians understand it because the market is, by definition, a mechanism for amicably reconciling competing preferences. Agnostic, rain-sodden British pessimists understand it because they’ve learned that’s always the way to bet. Conservatism isn’t inherently pessimistic, it is merely pessimistic about the possibility of changing the permanent things and downright melancholy about those who try."

May 13, 2005

Two Announcements From Rome

Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he is bypassing the traditional five year waiting period to begin the canonization process of Pope John Paul II. This happens on the 24th anniversary of his assassination attempt, and the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Also, it is confirmed that Archbishop Levada of San Francisco will head the CDF.

More Judicial Advocacy of Homosexuality

Yesterday it was reported that a federal judge in Lincoln, Nebraska struck down Nebraska’s recent constitutional amendment protecting marriage from homosexual appropriation. Sayeth the robed master:

“[T]he court finds that the deprivation occasioned by the passage of [the amendment] is the deprivation of the right to associational freedom protected by the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, which encompasses the right to participate in the political process, also protected by the First Amendment.”

Read the opinion here. That language makes it sound as though homosexuals have been disenfranchised completely. But such shrill demagoguery is standard operating procedure these days. The plain language of the amendment makes clear that the people of Nebraska intend to both define marriage traditionally and to protect encroachment on that definition by stopping the benefits of marriage (spousal insurance coverage, survivor benefits, etc) from accruing to homosexual couples regardless of what Orwellian appellation they chose to describe their relationship (domestic partnerships, civil unions, etc).

The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The Court notes that two separate laws favoring homosexuals have died in the state legislature after it was determined that they would contravene the marriage amendment. Thus, the plaintiffs here (the usual suspects) argue that they can no longer assemble for the purpose of promoting their agenda and can no longer petition the legislature. But this is plainly not so.

Continue reading "More Judicial Advocacy of Homosexuality" »

May 14, 2005

Jiminy Cricket Theology

With the big Cathiolic Church vs. Rainbow Sashers. showdown schedule for tomorrow at the Cathedral of St. Paul, people on both side are staking out their positions.

Archbishop Flynn had a front page article in the diocesan newspaper explaining how Sash wears would be denied communion now that is has, "become apparent to me that the wearing of the sash is more and more percieved as a protest against church teaching."

An editorial by editor Joe Towalski in the same paper tries to make peace with both sides, noting that:

First, the church isn’t trying to deny the Eucharist to homosexuals. All Catholics — no matter their sexual orientation — may receive Communion as long as they are in a state of grace and free from mortal sin. Each individual must decide in good conscience if he or she meets those requirements. No priest or bishop can see into a person’s soul and make the determination for them.

Of course the problem with this Jiminy Cricket approach is it can be read two different ways, depending on ones orientation (no pun intended).

Continue reading "Jiminy Cricket Theology" »

May 16, 2005

Kudos to Archbishop Flynn

The Pentecost Mass at the Cathedral yesterday made national news today (Fox, Daily Cat Box Liner) after as many as 100 Rainbow Sash agitators and pin-wearing supporters were denied communion. The good news is that there was very little news to report. In this the Year of the Eucharist, the attempted politicization of the sacrament was successfully diffused. Simply protecting the Eucharist was the goal of the Archbishop’s policy. The issue of recusant homosexuals in the Church and their pandering enablers in the media is a complex one, and one that will not be resolved by any single act or policy, but yesterday the truth prevailed.

I have questioned the Archbishop’s pastoral care and administration pointedly in this space (and elsewhere). But in looking at the proliferation of adoration chapels, the renewal of the seminary, the growth of vocations and the glaring lack of priestly abuse spectacles here, it must be stated that we have a fine archbishop. What many want is not a different disposition, but a more forceful one. Archbishop Flynn has obviously given thought to this matter. He sought advice from Rome and was open to altering his policy as he heard more clearly from Rome and as he learned more about the nature of the Rainbow Sash organization. He publicized the policy and Father Sklucazek at the Cathedral and other faithful priests throughout the archdiocese implemented it. While the faithful may legitimately wonder at the tone of the ongoing dialogue with the homosexual lobby, and will certainly wonder what will be said to the disobedient priests who reportedly gave Communion to sash-wearers, it must be said that in the matter of the Rainbow Sash, Archbishop Flynn has given humble and honorable service to his flock.

May 18, 2005

Lawyers, Litigation, and Car Insurance

It seems there are three things assured in this life, death, taxes, and rising car insurance premiums. And now I have found out why.

A week ago my wife was invovled in a little fender bender. She stopped for a pedestrian in the crosswalk, as did the car behind her, but the car two behind her kept on coming, causing a mini pile up. When all was said and done, there was no damage to my wife's car, and after submitting her information to the authorities she left the scene. Life happens.

Fast forward to yesterday. She got not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, but SEVEN unsolicited letters in the mail from different attorneys explaining how insurance companies are out to get her, injuries may not appear for months OR YEARS, and how she needs to act RIGHT NOW to preserve her rights and claim the money she has coming. One firm was going to cover her taxi fare to and from her initial free consultation.

Of course the net impact of this is more lawsuits, merited or not, and while some may claim this keeps the insurance companies honest, my guess is the added expense shows up on my annual bill.

UPDATE: 3 more solicitations in today's mail, lots of chiropractors getting in on the action. The total is now 10 and counting.

UPDATE: 2 more lawyer solicitations, 3 more chiropractor solicitations, total is now up to 15 and counting.

May 19, 2005

Church Finds Porn Taking Italy by Phone

A study commissioned by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications found that Italians spent 140 million Euros downloading porn to their 3G cell phones in 2004, 3 times what they spent on paper porn.

The numbers are dismal, but kudos to the PC for doing some statistical homework on the problem.

May 23, 2005

President Attends National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

George W. gave the following remarks at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast last Friday. Yet another example of the growing influence Catholics are exerting in our nation. Seventh Age blogger jaadkins was in attendance, and I look forward to his "on-the-ground" report. In the meantime, here are the President's remarks:


Washington Hilton Hotel
Washington, D.C.

8:42 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for that warm reception -- especially for a Methodist. (Laughter and applause.) It's an honor to be here at the 2nd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. This is a new tradition, yet, its promises are timeless for Catholic Americans: to thank the Lord for the blessing of freedom, to renew our shared dedication to this great republic, and to pray that America uses the gift of freedom to build a culture of life. (Applause.)

Continue reading "President Attends National Catholic Prayer Breakfast" »

Washington’s Gubernatorial Election Goes to Court

The extraordinary story that no one is covering enters a new phase today. In case you get your news exclusively from the MSM and are therefore in the dark, Washington’s election for governor is still in dispute. A Washington Superior Court judge will open a trial today in the matter of Borders v. King County. The case centers on claims by the Republican candidate that the margin of votes that sent his opponent to Olympia were fraudulently cast and fraudulently counted. It’s far better than fiction. We have dead people and felons voting. We have The DNC and the RNC involved. We have a complicit mainstream media. We have the labyrinth of Washington’s Democratic machine exposed and the liberal wing nuts’ desperate grasp to keep that machine operating. Finally, we have an electorate that slowly awakening to Democratic shenanigans and its own culpable disinterest in the election process.

The entire saga has been admirably chronicled throughout at the fine blog known as Sound Politics. In a better world, this guy would have a Pulitzer and the two Seattle newspapers would be holding bake sales. As it is, the public service here is heroic. The election revealed a deep fault line in Washington between the cipher Democratic Party with its shrill diversity speeches and its Pavlovian tax increases on the one hand and the growing suburban and rural population that has witnessed two successive generations of unmitigated liberal policies and now lives in the desolate aftermath. Reading the Seattle papers would lead one to think nothing is amiss, but check out Sound Politics. Their posts generate substantial comments and, like Power Line here in Minnesota, they are now officially slandered and libeled by both MSM papers. A sure sign they are doing something right. Just today, in response to a call to cancel subscriptions to the Seattle Times after yet another lame article pooh-poohing fraud claims, the site had enjoyed nearly 6000 views before 10am.

Continue reading "Washington’s Gubernatorial Election Goes to Court" »

Once More to the Abortion Tea Leaves: SCOTUS to Rule on Parental Notification

A few years ago, the State of New Hampshire exercised an, old quaint governmental function known as “the legislative process” to require minors seeking an abortion to notify their parent or guardian two before the deed. Not to seek permission; merely to inform. Naturally, a federal district court struck down the NH law because it did not include the compulsory self-eviscerating exception for the health of the so-called mother. NH claims that other state laws currently protect the health of the woman so such a clause is unnecessary. Also, NH is asking for clarification from the overlords on the legal test that will be applied when looking at laws that do not in any way stop a woman from destroying her baby, but merely insert a modicum of accountability here or there.

Such clarification would indeed be a great boon to the people, a kind of judicial revelation that might indicate to us at least the color and style of this hand basket we are riding in to Hell. We could at least accessorize. Unfortunately, no such clarification will be forthcoming There is no rational judicial principle in operation. The usual dignified locutions will be peddled. There will be talk about “balancing tests” that weight “undue burdens” upon the woman against “the State’s interest.” Ultimately, though, there is no principle to be discerned other than the will of the oligarchs.

The NY Times dutifully casts the argument in shades favorable to the liberal agenda they serve, stating that the NH law “required that a parent or guardian be notified if an abortion was to be done on a woman under 18.” A woman under 18? I think the technical term for that is “a child.” Of course, what is a child to the Supreme Court? The most vulnerable are cast aside. No court in the land will hold a minor to a signed contract and you can’t execute them even for the most heinous crimes, yet they enjoy a full right to free speech. Their proclaimed right to an abortion is vigorously protected, but their rights do not limit the rights of virtual child pornographers or repeat sexual predators who otherwise would be locked up under Three Strikes laws. The Court was conceived of as a mechanism to resolve the inevitable conflicts of legislative enactments, not to be the source of such conflicts.

This bizarre situation now clashes with the even more incoherent abortion jurisprudence. The result of this case is irrelevant. There mere fact of it, and the background against which it will be played out, is enough to once again make it clear that something must be fundamentally altered to bring the Court to heel.

Newsweak: More Un-American Activities

Little Green Footballs has this shining example of freedom of the press in action among our international allies. Apparently the fictional Koran-flushing story was nothing new to Newsweak.

I’ll have to stop blogging now until my fists unclench.

May 26, 2005

Archbishop Foley on Reese and The Pope's Death

Some interesting remarks from Archbishop Foley, given at the joint meeting of the Catholic Press Association and the Catholic Academy of Communications Arts Professionals.

American Idol Votes And the Collapse of Democracy

Just as I was sitting down to watch a movie last night (Kenneth Branagh's Henry V) I did a quick channel surf, and as fate would have it, caught the last five minutes of American Idol. It's kind of like basketball, the last 5 minutes are the most interesting. I must confess, that was alI I saw of this year's season, and I found it quite troubling.

In those five minutes, it was revealed that over 500 million people cast their votes for Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice (in case you're like me, and totally oblivious to this national craze, Carrie Underwood won). Now if you recall, President Bush, with his largest vote win in American history, received a paltry 122 million votes.

The implications for our democracy are stark. Neil Postman warned us we are Amusing Ourselves to Death decades ago, and his prophecy was proven correct last night. When it comes to the future of our nation only 122 million people (about 60%) care enough to cast a ballot, but when it comes to who will be the next American Idol, everybody gets excited.

The emerging answer, evidenced in my own state of Minnesota, is to make politics entertainment. Here in Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, with a little luck and some entertaining action figure commercials, was able to capture the govenor's mansion, and Arnold followed suit soon after in California. Ronald Reagan did Hollywood before he did Washington. And let's not forget Bill Clinton's surprise saxophone appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show during the 1992 campaign, which some critics say turned the election around for him.

Perhaps the answer lies in making the next American Idol president of the U.S.

I know it sounds far fetched, but hear me out. It wouldn't take much. The shows are already carefully scripted like presidential debates and campaign stops. There is plenty of intrigue and scandal built in to keep the media interested. There is a left-wing blue state Holloywood slant that matches up well with the MSM coverage of the elections, they rarely if ever discuss anything of substance, and in the end you have two final candidates, one of whom is declared the winner.

Not only that, voter turnout numbers could skyrocket, voter fraud could be easily accomplished by Republicans and Democrats alike, and in the end, Americans could feel good about their next president. Heck, we could require the president to put all proceeds from his (or her) new found stardom toward the deficit, and balance the budget overnight. Of course such an approach would require the elimination of the electoral college, but with the presidential campaign broadcast into every living room every week, no state would be left behind.

2008 hopefuls, auditions are scheduled for Austin, Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and Boston. Book your flights and fine tune your acts now. The whitehouse awaits you!

Mother F***ing Teresa – Courtesy of Viacom

Read more here.

Forget about slouching toward Gomorrah, this is an all out sprint.

May 27, 2005

Taxes Come to the Archbishop

Newly-minted StarTribune (daily cat-box liner) columnist Katherine Kersten kicked off her new column in style by taking Archbishop Harry Flynn to task for consistently advocating higher taxes.

Kersten makes the altogether convincing argument that many of these programs actually hurt the poor, and marshals powerful evidence in favor of her claim, much of which has become mainstay conservative (I should say, Republican) rhetoric. While I am not always convinced by some of the trickle-down economic arguments made by Kersten, it is obviously true that government anti-poverty programs are wasteful, inefficient, and ineffective, which makes them prima facie suspect. That being said, I don't necessarily think the specific programs advocated by Flynn would necessarily "hurt" the poor, as they are targeted toward folks in particular situations. And in a time when legislatures are ratcheting up spending on casinos, stem-cell research and corporate welfare, maybe we should reprioritize our spending habits.

That being said, my objection to Flynn's proposal is on two different principles: 1) higher taxes hurt families, and 2) Harry Flynn (as I've said many times before on this blog) is stepping way outside the bounds of his competency.

My particular beef with more taxes is not the sort of trickle-down job creation arguments espoused by Kersten, but instead, that high taxes actually hurt the middle class and are anti-family. How many folks are forced to work two jobs or have both parents work because of high taxes? (Yes, there is a standard of living issue there as well.) Furthermore, many middle class folks would love to give more money to organizations that they find are effective anti-poverty programs, as well build a civil society and culture of life that prevents family breakdown. And it is the "root cause" of family breakdown that is the number one cause of poverty. Government programs always attack the symptoms, but never the source (and since it is the family that is often the source, that might be a good thing). Higher taxes continue to disempower citizens and prevent them from exercising their responsibility as stewards (often, large diocesan fundraisers, usually called stewardship plans do this as well).

Being a good steward means making responsible choices as to how to use resources. Just writing a check to big government or big church thwarts this responsibility and leaves us as passive rather than active citizens in church and polis. Evangelicals are far better stewards of financial resources primarily because their institutions remain financially decentralized. Just because we have a bishop, it does not mean that the diocesan financial resources have to be concentrated in him. It seems that large chanceries and the USCCB have wasted hundreds of millions of lay dollars on bureaucracy alone. As spending at the diocesan level has gone up, "mission effectiveness" has gone down. At an institutional level, the Church is failing miserably in its role as pastor, teacher, and evangelizer. Is there a connection? I think so. Renewal in the Church today has largely come from independent initiatives of the laity as well as the movements, who were galvanized by the late Holy Father (mirroring other renewal movements within Catholicism - Gregory I, Cluny, Franciscan, Trent).

If the Church wishes to advocate government spending as a way of alleviating poverty and helping people "participate" in economic society, they should begin to think outside the box. One place they could like, ironically, is the Bush Administration's conception of an ownership society. Despite the fact that many inside the administration are not a fan of these programs because they require more money, or are not particularly committed to using religious organizations to renew society, it is a bold initiative championed by the President, Jim Towey (former attorney for Mother Teresa) and Sens. Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback, that thinks outside the box on solving poverty. For instance we have friends here in town who were able to buy their first home without a down payment because of a grant from a HUD program spearheaded by the ownership society initiative. This is really giving people a stake in society and allowing them real independence and participation.

But once again, the real problem is that bishops should not be making particular judgments about certain pieces of legislation, especially involving economic matters. They should elucidate the principles clearly, consistently, forthrightly, (subsidiarity, solidarity, the dignity of work, preferential option for the poor) and not feel afraid to condemn certain things that are clearly violative of human dignity. They could even lead rallies on the capitol steps where they protest grave injustices. However, they should not have organized bureaucracies where particular policy initiatives are pushed. And I am going to make the bold statement that this includes the "life" issues such as abortion and the death penalty. Many were glad to see the end of the juvenile death penalty in Roper v. Simmons, but the jurisprudential path to that result was highly questionable, and further complicated by an amicus brief by the USCCB. The task of political change is ultimately the province of the laity. I want our bishops to stand for justice, to proclaim the sanctity of human life and the evil of abortion, the dignity of work, etc. But having policy arms and pronouncing on particular legislation hurts the credibility of the Church, as well as the active involvement of the laity and their responsibility of stewardship. This is not an agenda of retreat, it is one of renewal where in the end, the just causes will be furthered, and the Church will not lose its credibility by advocating the rescue of the snail darter (remember the TVA v. Hill case anyone?). Ending poverty is a bedrock principle of Catholic Social Thought. But beyond the very broad principle of subsidiarity, there is no "Catholic" way to end poverty.

One last thought as to our good Archbishop. The folks whom he has entrusted to craft these policies need to be removed. They are essentially left-wing political activists and ideologues who work under the cover of religion. Why their prudential opinions and spin on CST should guide the Church in this diocese remains a mystery. Abp. Flynn should seek the counsel of priests and theologians in his diocese, not recovering activists, who understand the tradition and its limits and possibilities. My radical position regarding politics need not be adopted for genuine improvements in credibility and policy to be made. Government spending is not only not the only way to be compassionate and responsible, it often doesn't even take care of the problem it was meant to solve.

As a final note, because this issue is near and dear, I thought I'd step out of my self-imposed (and unanounced) blogging hiatus to put in my $.02. I will be on blogging break until September, when I'll have more of a chance to follow the news and write frequently. Right now, I'm working full time (no computer access), editing two journals, preparing two papers for publication and a lecture, and trying to spend a good amount of time with my beloved son and wife. So, I'm a bit busy and will have to rely on my co-bloggers to keep our happy ship running over the summer. Perhaps we'll add a blogger or two?????

Make sure to keep checking back in with us. In the mean time, check out such fine blogs as Mirror of Justice, Southern Appeal, Open Book, Touchstone's Mere Comments, IgnatiusInsight, and The Remedy by the Claremont Institute. Happy Reading!

May 30, 2005

The View from Hollywood

Every once in a while, I check out a blog called "Church of the Masses" run by Hollywood guru Barbara Nicolosi. The blog is always full of good insights on movies, pop culture and the Church.

Of late, she had a couple of really good posts worth reading. One is her notes from a speech she recently gave to the Catholic Press Association meeting in Orlando.

The other is a satire of what it might look like if modern-day Catholics were led to the scaffold and had to pick their own requiem song much like the Te Deum sang by the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne on their way to their death during the French Revolution. Very funny, but almost depressingly true.

Are You in the Know?

To be in the know on the latest developments from Rome and the Church universal -- not just the gossip -- but actual news and communications from the Holy See, you have to subscribe to ZENIT Catholic News.

ZENIT is a free news service that functions a lot like the AP. While Catholic publications are required to be subscribers, individuals and churches can receive the service free, sent daily to their inbox or accessed online, through its main site.

ZENIT (Spanish for zenith, a popular symbol for Christ, the morningstar from the East) is a valuable resource and relies on donations to keep it going. Right now, they are running their annual fundraising drive. I call all TSA (The Seventh Age) readers to drop a few shekels in ZENIT's bucket. You can make a donation online on their main page.

Not sure it's worth it? Check out the testimonials of grateful readers around the world for whom ZENIT is their lifeline to the words of the Holy Father and the activities of the Church around the world. Remember, in many parts of the world, Catholics are persecuted, and resources like ZENIT, accessible clandestinely by computer, can be a real boon to local churches.


About May 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Seventh Age in May 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2005 is the previous archive.

June 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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