Tuesday, November 23, 2004

HERE'S WHY THIS UPSETS ME SO MUCH
I don't know if you've noticed, but since the election, there's been a hunt on in the media for signs of "hypocrisy" from those who voted for Bush for "morals and values" reasons. Things like noting a high divorce rate in "red states," etc. That way, the Kerry voters can feel all superior.

Now, this is bull, even if, for example, all pro-lifers "don't care about the living" it wouldn't change the grave evil of abortion. But, this argument still has appeal to some, and I am sensitive to it.

So, it really ticks me off when a conservative publication, in this environment, publishes a book excerpt favorably noting Machiavelli's advice to leaders, with an example of when a failure to do evil lead to more evil. It makes us look like hypocrites, and feeds the notion that our "morals and values" are based on bigotry rather than a consistent ethic of the value of life.

That's part of why I think it's so important to loudly and clearly reject Ledeen's thinking.

Monday, November 22, 2004

THE WEIRD DOUBLE STANDARD
Mark Shea notes a bizarre double standard.

When the bishops, our spiritual fathers, make statements, we hunt for flaws in their logic or signs of weakness. As Mark said, if in the midst of the scandals, a bishop made some statement of pederasty, or even adult homosexuality, and stopped short of condemning it, the comment boxes would be on fire with condemnation for this bishop, and boycotts of his diocese's fund would be organized.

But then when American conservative commentators do things like favorably refer to Machiavelli's thinking on the treatment of enemies, we make all sorts of excuses for them.

I've noted this before. Why is it?

Some might say that they want so badly for the bishops to be strong leaders that they hold them to higher standards, but I don't really buy that. It's one thing to ask for more strength. It's another thing to say, "they're all buffoons," as I see so often in the comment boxes.

Rather, I think it's becuase the bishops might ask us to do something we don't want to do, and conservative commentators probably won't.

Friday, November 19, 2004

MERE CLUSTER OF CELLS
Good post at Mirror of Justice about how ridiculous it is to refer to an embryo this way, and then refer to those who disagree as the ones who hate science.

Which leads me to another hypocrisy. On the one hand, those supporting embry-destroying research want us to regard embyos a mere cluster of cells when deciding whether it's ethical to perform them. But then when it comes time to fund research, this "mere clusted of cells" is supposedly the key to making the lame walk and the blind see, and must be funded, even at the risk of bankrupting a state.

It seems that if these were mere clusters of cells, it wouldn't be such a big deal.
UNORTHODOX SUGGESTION
I think I've finally pinpointed my frustration with the way the word "orthodox" is thrown around in the Catholic blogs, which has been bothering me for some time.

Per this dicussion, I suggest we stop using the word "orthodox" as a description of people, and use it strictly to refer to individual beliefs. Because we have statements like this...

That statement reminds me of a situation involving Fr. X., a holy and orthodox priest who used to pastor a thriving parish, and was well known for his charity to the poor and his bold orthodoxy in the pulpit.

Fr. X. once told me that he stayed in hot water with his bishop, who was always demanding that he come down to the chancery for seminars, meetings, discussions, and on and on. Fr. X. said, "I never do..."

Now, from what we're hearing this story, there's nothing orthodox about disoberying a bishop to whom one has made a sacramental pledge of obedience. Maybe these requests don't really fall under the pledge of obedience, I don't know.

But there seems to be this attitude that once someone qualifies as "orthodox," then anything that person might say or do is immune from criticism. I can't help but think this is a fruit of the "non-negotiable issues" type thinking. So long as I have the correct positions on the non-negotiable issues, I'm "orthodox," and any criticism I receive for anything is persecution from people uncomfortable with hearing hard truths.

I don't think it's so simple. In fact, I'm not sure any of us could accurately say about oursleves, or another, that they are "orthodox." We can recognize certain beliefs as truly orthodox or heterodox, but I can't say with confidence that every one of my beliefs is in full accord with the Church. Orthodoxy is a journey, not a destination. We don't reach a point where we can pronounce ourselves "orthodox" and stop working to unite our will and intellect with that of the Church.

And, BTW, all this parsing of bishop's statements ought to seem absurd after the Scripture we heard last Sunday from Thessalonians.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

BAD WORDS
Your guide to words that, when uttered by a bishop or are part of a bishop's statement, will cause the comment boxes to explode.

  • "prudence"
  • "dialogue"
  • "uncomfortable"
  • "pastoral"
  • "engage"

If a bishop's statement, espacially on pro-choice politicians, includes any of these words, then we can safely dismiss this statement as insufficiently bold.

Furthermore, if the same bishop later makes another statement about justice for the poor, unjust wars, the death penalty, or torture, that statement can be safely dismissed because of that same bishop's limp stand on pro-choice politicians.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

MORE SUBSTANTIALLY
on this post, this is part of the reason for my opposition to same-sex marriage.

There needs to be a particular name, and a particular respect for long-term committed relationships in which children are created. Yes, our culture has chipped away at the ideal and desirability of marriage, through divorce contraception and "dads as doofuses" stereotype. Nevertheless, what is the incentive for an inner city man to marry the mother of his children, if the same sex couple down the street without children to worry about is also "married?"

We've really screwed marriage up in this country. People don't see it as a relationship that allows me to serve a spouse, children and the world. People see it as a means through which to get ones needs met. When it fails to do that, it can be discarded.

I think we married folks need to give powerful witness to the joys of living a committed married life, and what it allows us to accomplish that we couldn't otherwise. And we need to transform the culture to reflect this.

In the end, opposition to same sex marriage isn't about bigotry. It's about stopping the erosion of marriage in our culture and starting to turn it around. Perhaps that will be the Paschal Resurrection from this debate. The same sex marriage debate is causing us to think about what marriage is, what it should be, and what we need to do to get it there.
GO EAGLES!
Though I have to admit that rooting for the Eagles is a bit less fun now that Terrel Owens is prominently involved. This must be how some Yankees fans feel.
ROOT CAUSE
Interesting discussion about a book on poverty after welfare reform at Slate.

An emerging theme is that it would be better if the single mothers profiled were married, but the men in their lives don't want to get married. Why could that be? Would it have anything to do with the media portraying married fathers as doofuses?

Monday, November 15, 2004

MY LETTER TO BUSH
Dear President Bush,

I was one of the voters who helped you to victory on November 2.
Specifically, I am one of the voters who voted for you because of
"moral values."

I am not happy with the foreign policy your Administration has
pursued, in particular, the war in Iraq, and the apparent disposition
toward war that the war in Iraq made manifest. I am also very unhappy
that the Administration has pushed to make torture an acceptable
tactic.

I voted for you because I could not vote for a president who would not
use his position to do something about the over 1 million unborn
children who are killed each year by abortion, and would push to
expand research that destroys embryos.

I have been disappointed that your Administration seems willing to
bargain with the lives of the unborn before it bargains on other
issues.

I hope you will use this victory to push for some real protections
from the unborn, making judicial appointments who are not inclined to
see the Constitution as denying the unborn any rights.

People like me carried you to victory. Please do not disappoint us
again. You are in my daily prayers as you commence your second term.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I HAVE TO ADMIT
Even though I voted for Bush, and I find Kerry's record on protecting the unborn depicable, I'm not all that frightened at the prospect of Kerry winning today, which seems slightly likely right now.