Thursday, May 28, 2015

With arguments like these

Who needs enemies.  It makes no difference at this point.  CAEI is beyond help.  There are a few who keep plugging away.  Though I had resolved to stop going there, some events compelled me to continue for a time.  But only for a time.  But reading things like this, that would embarrass an uneducated fundamentalist Baptist evangelist in a tent revival on sawdust floors, are increasingly a waste of valuable time.  Still, I have to continue for a few extra weeks, perhaps a month or so.  Until then, I have to endure this.

When I visit some parts of the Catholic blogosphere

I think of The War of the Worlds.  So these alien vessels were lying dormant for thousands of years, waiting for the signals from space to awaken them and prod them into action.  So there seems to be an entire segment of the Catholic world, most notably on the blogosphere, that sees itself as the First True Catholics since the apostolic age, or perhaps since Aquinas.  The world has waited as the True Church sank into slumber, awaiting the first Trinitarian Popes to come and awaken them.

Probably not accurate, but I think it.  I especially think it when I see things like this.  I admit, I paraphrased what was said by my team lead.  I took some liberties and condensed what he said and other points he has made.  He also didn't serve overseas, but was wounded while serving here in the states.

In another setting I might elaborate and be more detailed.  But notice antigon.  Now antigon hates me with the white hot fury of a thousand suns.  Don't know why.  But he loathes me and holds me in contempt.  He is why I'm still there. For reasons I don't know, antigon has taken it upon himself to charge in whenever I comment and begin calling me names.  Calling me a moron, dolt, idiot.  Accusing me of being stupid, a liar, a wimp, a sissy.  And strangely enough, Mark has done nothing but join him a couple times to accuse me of being a right wing partisan to boot.  There is no way in the world I'm leaving the blog and letting him think he's the reason.  Hence my remaining for a time.

Now, you'd think insults, accusations, and a flagrant disregard for fellowship would be a problem.   Not so for the modern Fanboy Catholic who dominates the blogosphere.  It's a bizarre mix of liberalism, fundamentalism, and the worst stereotypes of Catholicism. The teachings of the Church and Christ simply don't apply to them.  Be assured, not all Catholics are like this.   But it's enough that this approach is becoming more popular, and in fact Mark has been rewarded for this direction.  So someone in the Catholic world likes the combination.  Especially if they consider themselves the first True Catholics who long awaited the coming of the only Popes who really matter.

When Political Correctness matters more than the Gospel

You can bet your socks that Catholics will be nearby.  So St. Louis University removed a statue showing a Jesuit missionary praying over some Indians Native Americans.  Racist.  It's gone.  But, what about the Gospel?  Wasn't that good that the Natives came to the Gospel?  Sure, much of what accompanied it was wrong.  It was really bad if you accept PC's Multi-Cultural mandate that only the Christian West was evil, all other cultures were pure in their moral and intellectual superiority.

But you'd think the Church would say 'things were done that were bad, but in it all the Light of Christ was able to be seen, and many who lived in darkness came to see the great Light. And that's what we celebrate.'  Or something.  But nope.  In following with the implicit to be explicit universalism in modern Catholicism, the Gospel is just stuff.  The Social Doctrine as presented by the victorious Secular Left must be embraced.

And the dying West?  What of the civilization that the Church built?  Well, we turn again to that favorite prophet whose words may not be quoted, but they sure are lived:
 "A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all ... This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power ... There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means." Saruman the Wise, The Fellowship of the Rings

Monday, May 25, 2015

Two unrelated lessons on this Memorial Day

Make sure you take time to remember what it is all about.  Giving honor to those who fought and those who died, and for the cause for which they did so.  For my money, declaring the US always and historically the Great Satan goes a long way toward saying you can't possibly honor what they stood for.  But for me and my house, Catholic though we are, we also love our country despite its sins.  After all, every culture and society in history has its sins, and most don't have the blessings we've enjoyed.  And for that alone, I thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so I can enjoy the blessings we currently have.

One way we do this is to visit local cemeteries and visit the graves of veterans.  Another way we do this, if the former isn't practical, is to watch war movies.  Not to be taken as real history (though most modern historical studies shouldn't be take that way either), they can at times bring to mind what war is, and why we owe those who fight them so much.

Because my oldest three boys all are working, we've not had the time we've had in previous years.  So our patriotic nods were confined to two movies dealing with war and America and those who fight and sometimes die.  Oddly, they were released the same year and were both hits, which says something about trying to shove Americans into easy media categories.

One movie was Patton, the other MASH.  You couldn't imagine two polar opposite takes on warfare.  MASH was a Vietnam war movie protest, heavy on anti-everything to do with traditional American values.  The other is one of the best war biopics ever made, precisely because it doesn't take sides.  It takes one of America's most colorful military leaders of all time, avoids the issues our modern PC world would obsesses about, and says 'here's this guy who was a general and was complex.'

Two things came to me as I watched them.  Since I've seen them many times over the years, I didn't expect any real revelations.  But two things hit me about the times we live in.  In Patton, the Americans are pretty slipshod and undisciplined.  When Patton arrives, the first thing he does is get in their face and discipline them.  In many cases with the basics.  Not sleeping in, no wearing soiled uniforms, always wearing helmets.  Little things, but the basics.  The fundamentals.

One thing as a Catholic I've noticed, Catholics seem to almost take pride in giving no consideration to the basics of Christian living.  Being polite.  Being considerate.  Restraining from behavior that might be offensive to others.  Not being stumbling blocks to others.  Actually acting with a minor amount of discipline in small things.  Oh, most Catholics, especially on the Internet, have all the answers to all of history's great scandals and tragedies.  Why there would be no war or poverty if only they ran the world.   But when it comes to small things, like not calling people raca and fool, or not treating others the way they aren't treated, many Catholics, and most on the Internet, aren't the least bit interested.

That's a little like telling Patton 'no general, we're not interested in the basics and the fundamentals.  Just give us our orders and we'll beat the Germans.'  Anyone who has been in the military, or in sports, knows you don't start with the first game.  You begin practice weeks and months before, and always with the basics.  I've often wondered if the reason so many Catholics are known for not following the actual teachings of the Church - all the teachings - is because they, and the Church, seem to spend so little time focusing on the nuts and bolts, the little things of what being a descent Christian, much less a descent person, mean.

The other thing that hit me was about our modern era of post-liberal PC multi-cultural intolerance and fundamentalism.  Ben Mankiewicz is the host of TCM's movie show, obviously preparing to replace the aging Robert Osborne.  He was the host who introduced MASH last night.  After the movie, he made an interesting 'apology'.  See, despite its popularity, the times have changed and clearly the way the doctors in the movie treated women was deplorable.  Thankfully, the TV series modified that and became an instant TV classic.

That got me to thinking.  MASH was middle finger to just about everything traditional America: the army, the war, religion, traditional values.  Having affairs, sleeping around while married, mocking religion, mocking the military - the whole movie was one giant slap against Americans who held to pre-Boomer values.

And so was the TV show.  Including sleeping around and treating women like sex objects. Sure, the language was modified.  It was early 70s television.  But the attitudes were still there, at least until the later seasons.  And it was a hit then.  And you know what?  Those who didn't like MASH were often the same ones who didn't like its drugs, its sex, its objectification of women.  The same ones who the liberals who loved MASH mocked and ridiculed along with Hawkeye, Trapper, Duke and the gang.

And yet who is it now that bemoans the movie, and its horrible treatment of women?  That would be the modern liberals of today.  Funny thing about liberalism.  It has a knack for saying 'ditch those stupid values or you're an idiot', only later to come about and say 'anyone who did what we said to do is now the idiot.  Or at least the misogynist.'  The lesson there?  Just because the latest liberal movement declares this way to behave, this attitude to have, or this viewpoint to hate and mock, don't be quick to listen.  It might just be another case of liberalism's 'here today gone later today' approach to unchanging values.  And if you listen today, you might just end up being that example of inexcusable hatred and idiocy tomorrow; and bemoaned by the same liberals you listened to today.

Pope Francis and the Irish Vote: An Alternate Perspective

Interesting.  In most of American Catholic apologetics the message is clear: the Church can never be wrong, we are now at the pinnacle, the latest pope is the most awesome example of awesomeness in the awesome history of awesomely defining the awesome word awesome, now shut up and obey!  But there are other views out there.  And one thing we know from history, in fact the biblical witness, is that we should be careful about dismissing the other views.  Here is one.  Read it as an alternative viewpoint.  Not saying it is right.  But not saying it is automatically wrong because conservative Catholics who love liberalism say anything short of declaring the last three popes a new Trinity is therefore hating the Church.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Post modern Nazis on the march

So Isis has captured territory that puts it in reach of some of the world's most cherished ancient ruins.  We've all seen them.  They are a favorite for educational films, movies, documentaries, and history texts.  And we know how Isis loves to destroy such things.  Again, like my boys said, they are Nazis for the post-modern age.  Caring about nothing or owing no loyalty to anything but their own crazed and arbitrary standards.   Just like so many in the post-modern internet age. 

Speaking of PC Censorship for the stupid

So a Democratic congresswoman is called out for racially insensitive gestures.  Her sin?  She invoked the old Indian war cry during a speech.  Oh my.  The humanity.  Since such war cries only happened as a result of stereotyping Indians Native Americans, and it can only be a racist gesture to invoke one.  PC.  It's how you get an educated generation to embrace censorship and thought control.  Stupid.  Lazy.  Arrogant generation.

Political Correctness is simply Big Brother

In that it matters not whether something is true or false, we are told we must speak the acceptable words.   The fact is language today considered racist (like rebel, thug, and radical among others), was within my memory commonly used.  And child molestation?  There was always an 'ick' factor, but it was good for a laugh.  Remember the movie Airplane!?  These things are facts.  And yet when someone points them out, it is against what our Big Politically Correct Brother has demanded the past and the present be, and so a comedian who might be able to be cutting edge in some cases, is called out on the carpet for failing to have is life experience conform to the preferred unreality.  Orwell.  Prophet for all the wrong reasons.  His novel was supposed to be a cautionary tale, not a not a how to manual.

Fun history

The fun thing about history is that we really know little about it.  Compared to what has happened to every person in every moment of every life, we have about two pieces of a ten million piece puzzle.  So here is an interesting article sent along by one of my readers.  Who really is responsible for European imperialism and colonization?  Ah, we wonder don't we?   Read the article here.  Of course like all things that try to say 'we didn't know but now we do', I take it with a few grains of salt.  But it is interesting and food for thought.  Maybe there's a little Celtic Basque in all of us!

Ireland supports gay marriage

Not surprising.  Like most countries approving gay marriage, the factors in place to allow it to happen are killing the culture anyway.  It's not that gay marriage destroys civilization.  It's that the attitudes and values needed to allow gay marriage go far in destroying a civilization.  So Ireland, having jettisoned its Christian moorings, has watched its birth rate plummet along with most other Western cultures (including the US).  That's because kids are perhaps a great commodity to manipulate and manufacture based on our whims and fancies, but they should have nothing to do with sex and marriage.  Which is the moral viewpoint needed to accept gay marriage.  And it is also needed for a culture to abort itself out of existence.

So once again, a culture hellbent on suicide takes the next forward step toward hastening that outcome.  Well done.  Well done indeed.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.   Isaiah 5:20

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Catholics for consequentialism?

For those who have never visited the Catholic blogosphere, you might be shocked to find that consequentialism is the most horrible sin one can commit, and it apparently is unique to the United States.  I mean, you can do just about anything and be swell and awesome, but consequentailism might be outside of the reach of God's grace.

So it was at first a bit of a shock when I saw that Mark Shea, one of the most vocal crusaders against consequentialism, posted a post in which he seemed to be saying stealing from people with abundance was justified.  Of course by abundance, we always mean people with more than us.  Not us.

Now there is a long history of feeling that those who have obtained their wealth dishonestly deserve what they get.  And if you steal from someone who has taken wealth wrongly, and give it to those who are in need, there are worse things in the world.  But this post seemed to be saying the rich deserve what they get, no rules.  No Commandments.  As long as you're doing it to the rich, you're in the clear.

Now, in fairness, I've learned that consequentalism, like so many things across the Catholic blogosphere, is only an evil as long as it advances the Cause or wins the latest argument.  So when Catholics violate the Church's clear teaching about how to treat others, or not judging, or interpreting what people say in the best way, it doesn't matter.  For the sake of greater good they are free to ignore those teachings.  Even the teachings of Jesus! And that's how they justify it!  They're doing it for the greater good.

And clearly if it isn't an intrinsic evil, there is no end to the wiggle room that Catholics can find across the blogosphere to justify things.  Why, it has been said a million times that it's better that ten thousand babies be murdered than to tell a white lie to save them.  Nonetheless, you are free to be dishonest, deceitful, and to weave entire tapestries of falsehoods as long as you don't technically lie.  After all, being false is not an intrinsic evil.  Only lying is.

So unless you can show that all stealing is actually an intrinsic evil, then sometimes it might be awesome.  That's not to say you can ask such questions about interrogation methods or anything.  Then you're just trying to be stupid and consistent.  In the case of torture, it's always evil and anything done might be evil without question.  But stealing isn't always evil so it can sometimes be right unless not.

See how easy it is?  Are you confused yet?  For my money, I was more interested in this post, in which Mark praised those holding truly consistent pro-life ethics, including an obviously progressive evangelical who, by his own website, opposes increasing the legal restrictions on abortion rights.  Sure, like most liberal Christians he says he's opposed to abortion.  Just like President Obama.  But like most, apparently he believes that the right to abortion shall not be infringed upon while we seek to eliminate the root causes of abortion like poverty. Something that used to be not pro-life.

Perhaps I misread the evangelical, but he echoed, along with his support of gay marriage, the same viewpoints I heard other liberal evangelicals hold.  So I would be interested in knowing how someone opposed to legally restricting abortions can be consistently pro-life, while a person holding to the Church's traditional teaching - and still its official teaching - regarding the death penalty is not.  But then, again, if you're asking questions like this about the Catholic blogosphere, or how a self proclaimed conservative Catholic can love liberalism and hate conservatism, then I'm afraid you're just being stupid and consistent.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Obviously busy

Busy, busy, busy.  Mostly struggling through life, juggling the older three having jobs, home school, and our oldest prepping for college, remembering to be there for our youngest, helping my Mom, and continuing to get zero from the Church in terms of either material aid or vocational direction.  With that, I must admit, we've been casting our eyes askance at other potential ecclesiastical alternatives.  Still, theologically and, to be honest, culturally I'm Catholic.  Always have been, even in my Protestant days.  So it's like finding out your wife is having an affair.  Do you just leave her, or work through the betrayal and the pain and heartache in the hope that something will turn a corner?

Nonetheless, as we struggle with bills, a bleak future, and a clear message from those in the diocese that 'you don't serve our kind', things are tough time-wise.  And with juggling so many things, the blog has obviously taken a back seat.

Still, I've had a couple emails and some questions, such as why am I still visiting CAEI when I said I would be done with it at Easter, and a profound question asking our take on some current issues in the news.  I'm working on the second, and will elaborate on the first.  But for now, a reader sent this link along and all I have to say is 'yep.'

This explains why so many Catholics have gotten so mean and unbelievably fundamentalist in their zeal to defend the Pope and the Church.  Proud of their conservative leanings and their belief that authentic conservatism and the Church are one and the same, they are stuck admitting that both this Pope, and the Church in recent years, is tacking seriously to the left.  Its approach to economics, political policy, social issues, theological and critical scholarship, scientific theories of human origins, are all more in line with a more liberal viewpoint than anything Catholics would have recognized even 50 years ago, much less 100 years ago.

Therefore, their desire to be both loyal to the Vatican, which for many is the same as being loyal to the Church, and yet insisting they are ever and always just good old conservatives like grandma used to make, produces quite the strain. One of the favorite go-to answers to why Pope Francis sounds so liberal if he really isn't one is that he is just misquoted.  Or his words manipulated.  Or stupid evil Catholics and Francis haters aren't smart enough to get his wise words.  In any event, he's just not to blame. Ever.

Well, John-Henry Westen at LifeSite News disagrees.  He believes, somewhat foolishly, that if you are in the business of communicating important things - like the Gospel - and you continually see your words being twisted by powers that ostensibly represent the powers of Hell, then a new strategy or approach might be in order.  And yet, it isn't.  Pope Francis continues, as does the Vatican, to lean on 'we didn't mean it that way' as the favored approach to insisting that the somewhat liberal sounding words weren't really liberal at all.

In keeping with the mood of the post-JPII Catholic apologetics world, expect Mr. Westen to be skinned.  At least verbally.  For I've found that for some Catholics, ever since the rack and thumbscrews went out of style, the world of apologetics and the blogosphere are  the best they can do.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rest in Peace Nigel Terry

It came to my attention this week that British actor Nigel Terry has died.  For many of my generation, Nigel Terry is and will ever be King Arthur.  With his sad, beat dog eyes, he exemplified the sorrowful, melancholy king of legend.  Not torn over love or betrayal, he was torn over the burden of being a man for all eras and simply wanting to be a man.  And Terry nailed the look perfectly.  Of course he had other film credits to his name, not the least of which was his impressive spot in The Lion in Winter.  More recently he captured the ill fated, love sick Mr. Boldwood in an excellent production of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd (no Marcus, not Far From the Maddening Crowd!).  Mostly an actor of the theater, Terry made his mark during the period I call the great Fantasy Renaissance that was ushered in by Lucas's Star Wars, and remained until sometime in the mid-1980s.  There will be other films about the boy and the sword in the stone, but for me and many my age, there will only be Terry's saddened leader wielding Excalibur.  RIP,

"I was not born to lead a man's life, but to be the stuff of future memory." 

A prayer for a happy Mother's Day

Here they are, a sizable part of why I wake up in the morning.  May God bless them half as much as they bless me,

Speaking of prayers, my wife received a call from McGraw Hill, possibly getting an interview for the job she had.  At the same pay!  Yes, it would be contract rather than permanent, but right now, that would be like water to a dying man in the desert.  We at least would be back to surviving even with our heads slightly above water.  Something we've not known for these going on seven years.  So prayers for that would be appreciated.  That we be faithful to God no matter what His will for us, but that His will possibly be this job.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Take studies with a grain of salt

Especially when they are about subjective topics like art and music.  So this article breaks through with the  news that a recent study shows the Beatles and the Rolling Stone eclipsed by Hip-Hop.  That's the headline.  What could it mean?  Hip Hop is more popular?  More critically acclaimed?  More influential?  More people like Hip-Hop?

Well, nothing really.  It was based on "a computer analysis of 17,000 songs."  What does that even mean?  Did it include only rock songs?  All rock songs?  All recorded music?  Probably not the last one, as I doubt there have only been 17,000 songs recorded.

But what does it mean?  Not a damn thing, that's what.  It is, in keeping with the modern 'science and computer models know all' mentality, the latest in attempts to get headlines by saying nothing at all.  And as if to reinforce the uselessness is a statement by the study's author touting the supremacy of a scientific approach to music analysis:
"For the first time we can measure musical properties in recordings on a large scale," he said. "We can actually go beyond what music experts tell us, or what we know ourselves about them, by looking directly into the songs, measuring their make-up, and understanding how they have changed."
This assumes that the computer woke up one day and suddenly decided to study 17,000 songs, as opposed to being programmed by rather subjective and biased programmers setting the parameters of the study.  Once again, the idea that where lab coats are, all biased and personal preference have been eliminated.

Again, it says nothing.  Nothing, except perhaps that the individuals who programmed the study may need to look at influence versus inspiration in the arts a little more closely.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The facts never stand in the way of liberalism

So it looks like the death of Freddie Gray may have been a horrible accident, perhaps - if the recent accounts are accurate - brought about by gross negligence on the part of the police.  Again, that last part is still outstanding.  Despite the musings of Michael Moore and Morgan Freeman (proving that actors should act, and not comment), as well as the assurances of Catholic bloggers, it wasn't a bunch of white, racist cops.  In fact, as the media has begrudgingly reported, three of the cops involved in his death were, again in fact, African American.  And lest we challenge the esteemed Sally Field (see the actors and commenting rule above) who wishes women could take over the world because that would bring peace, one was also a woman.  

Anyway, we'll have to wait for justice.  And pray for it.  If the police officers were to blame, they should be held accountable.  If not, they should be exonerated.  And if it turns out they are not guilty, great wailing and humbling on the part of many should happen.  Of course it won't.  Even now protests are going strong, No doubt many will continue with chants of police brutality, racist cops, and of course, terrorists in America.  Expect it to get worse, since the Race Card (TM) has been removed by unfortunate facts and some justification for all the outrage will have to be provided.  

Remember kids, the GOP is hurt because of stupid conservatives who say stupid things.  Liberals, of course, are never wrong like that or say stupid things. For example, as the estimable jroberts548, late of CAEI, once explained, don't cry me a river over the increase of cops killed in the line of duty.  More garbage collectors proportionally die on the job!  But then, since only about 600 or so Americans were killed by cops last year, compared to 300 million Americans.  I'd say proportionally Americans have less to complain about.  Heck, more Blacks will murder Blacks this year than all the racist cops could hope to.  And in a sane country wishing to solve problems and help our fellow man, that would change the discussion right there.  But in our nation of punditry over principles, don't hold your breath.  

Stupidity is the oxygen that keeps liberalism alive.  Lies and falsehoods are the meat and drink.  

Disclaimer: This is not, repeat NOT, to say I'm not alarmed by some of what I see in our law enforcement, the growing trend to go nuclear on the part of police officers, and the militarization of a society increasingly warm to the idea of ending liberties and rights in the name of sex and drugs.  I am.  But I try, really hard, to keep things in perspective. The ones screaming brutal racist cops! the loudest are for the most part the ones most behind the rest of what alarms me. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

America wasn't made for people who don't agree on anything

So said my 16 year old.  It is an affront to the remnants of the English language to apply the word 'United' to anything to do with America.  And as if in answer to his observation, this wonderful article came to my email.  Possibly one of the best assessments of the cultural rot that has destroyed the society we must soon bequeath to our posterity.  The divisions and the collapse of reason, much less revelation, is a cancer that could be beyond curing.  The best part comes at the end.  From that wonderful insight:

"We now know that the Enlightenment Project has utterly failed because we cannot possibly agree on what human flourishing looks like, what hinders it, and how we can solve our problems. We become more and more fragmented because the only thing that we really do agree on is that we all need to pursue our best life now, as long is it fits with what “society” deems is acceptable. The problem is that “society” and it values/truth is not rooted in anything objective other than what can be shouted loudest, advertised, manipulated, and forced upon the rest of the people through persuasion and even force. Reason is no longer appealed to. Just persuasion and ridicule if one does not get with the program." (emphasis mine)